Category Archives: Reviews

Acer iconia a100 in my hands

The iconia a100 is a nice 7″ tablet, the review is right here.


Mango Mania Part 5-Browsing For Mangoes

IE9 Portait Browser

In this second to last installment of Mango Mania, I’ll be discussing the new internet explorer 9 browser. So here we go!

The new browser has had quite a few changes, some useful, others taking away from the usefulness in my experience. First of all, the new browser is pretty fast, web pages load up immediately. The look of the browser has under gone some changes too. In portrait mode, gone are the add to favorites, favorites, and tabs buttons, for better or for worse, as it does give you a nice amount of screen real estate, but now to access your other tabs, you have to tap the familiar elipses, which brings up a slew of options, such as:

Tabs-View your other open tabs.

Recent-In the new IE9 browser you can revisit your closed pages.

Favorites-View your Favorite web pages.

Add to Favorites-Pretty self explanatory.

Share Page-Share the interesting article your reading to others via email, and text messaging.

Pin to Start-Pin a website you visit constantly to avoid typing it in everyday.


Settings-From here you can choose to “Allow cookies”, “Get suggestions from Bing as you type”, “allow internet explorer to collect my browsing history”. You can also choose your website preference from desktop and mobile, and delete your history.

You also now have the address bar that you’ve wanted in land scape orientation, with the elipses to access those same options listed above.
IE9 Land Scape Browser
All in all the IE9 browser has seen a nice improvement, especially in speed, but  it seems like it’s also lost some productivity, mainly by losing the tabs button. Just to view any open tabs you have running, you’ll now have to make three taps, as opposed to the 2 in Nodo. You have to tap the elipses, tap the tabs section, then select which tab you’d like to run, although Im gonna miss being able to just tap the tabs icon, but this is also subject to change as this is a beta.

Mango Mania Part 4-Mango Market

Market Place Search

This latest installment is very short, but the next one will be longer, I’ll be discussing the new market place additions, so lets jump right in.
First of all, the market place now has a much better search function, in NoDo, you had to press the search button, and risked your phone switching to the Bing search page, or if it did search for something, you would just get a giant list of music and apps without any kind of filter. In mango, you get a simple search icon as soon as you enter the market place, and now have different search filters, such as apps+games,music, and podcasts. This makes the whole search feature much more accurate and productive, along with a new suggestions as you type feature.
Podcast Search



Zune HD Firmware Update…

So today I noticed a few people on twitter talking about a zune hd firmware update, I immediately checked my local forum, and saw people talking about it on there to, then started thinking”OMG! New FW FTW!” all that good stuff, but unfortunately, according to a tweet posted by Dave Mclauchlan, the man who has a lot of dealings in working with zune, the update is simply a bug fix(Proof:http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/2524375.mspx), although it is still nice to know that the HD did get one more FW update, its last being in april 2010.


Mango Mania Part 3-Mango Media


The Modified Now Playing Screen
I’ll be discussing the redesign of the Zune(music+videos) hub is more productive what with the new features that have been added, such as making playlists on the go, the smart DJ playlists, and especially the OTA(over the air) downloading of podcasts.

Starting with the new now playing screen,
you now have the previous, pause/play, and next buttons at the top of the screen instead of the bottom, and instead of having to tap the album artwork to reveal the favorite, shuffle, and repeat options, they are now on the side of the album artwork. You also now have the option to show the artist your listening to on the lock screen, as seen below.


Artist On Lock Screen Feature

Another new addition to Mango is downloading podcasts on your device via WiFi or 3g. My phone doesn’t have service, so there’s no 3g, but I did download some podcasts over WiFi, and had no problems with it. After selecting the podcast to download, you can then choose if you want to subscribe to it, and from there can choose how many episodes you want to download, along with a helpful only download over WiFi option, so as not to use your data plan up.

The Added playlist functionality is also useful for those of you who like to make playlists on the go. What ever tracks your listening to, all you have to do is tap the elipses in the now playing screen and select ‘Save as playlist’. Easy and quick, and the Smart Dj mix is even easier. All you do is hold down on one artist you like, and a drop down menu appears with the options ‘add to now playing’, ‘play smart dj mix’, and ‘pin to start’. All you do is tap play smart dj mix, and the phone does the rest for you, although it did give me a message on lesser known artists. For one it said, ‘we cant create a smart dj mix for you because we’re not sure who this is.’ but for the most part this feature worked just fine.

All in all the redesign and added features have pretty much satisfied me in the area of Media on Mango.

App Review-Evernote

So this is my first review of an application for Wp7, and I’m only doing this one because I honestly think everyone should use this app if they write articles on a blog And/or are on the move often. I have used this app for all of my latest Mango Mania installments. So lets get to it shall we?
 

So before you get this app you should make sure to already have the evernote desktop client, along with an account obviously. The desktop client and wp7 app sync very well together, in my case I start a new note from my quantum while I’m out, I can type up an article, attach pictures from the ‘pictures’ hub, even attach a voice note. Then when I get back in all I have to do is make sure the evernote client is running on my desktop. It will sync automatically if it is, and pull up the new/updated article for me to finish it on there.(although in most cases their already done from my phone.) it also works vice versa, if I start on another note on my computer, when i open evernote, it will sync automatically, it even includes pictures that i attached from my computer. The only problem I have with this app is that in Mango when I switch to another app and come back, the writing process will lag noticeably, but this is most likely because it hasn’t been updated for Mango yet. But it’s definitely not a deal breaker.

Make sure to check out Evernote’s official Blog Release to learn more about this app

Rating
8.5

Pro’s

  • Syncs well with desktop client
  • Can attach different items in note
  • Can transfer notes to different ‘Notebooks’
  • Free

Con’s

  • Noticeable lag when app switching

Mango Mania Part 2-Game Hub

The games hub has been redesigned very well in Mango. We now have 3d avatars, that’s pretty cool, along with much more integration. On Nodo You have to make an extra tap on your avatar to sign into Xbox live and see any friend requests, achievements, etc. In mango, you have your profile, achievements and avatar editor right there in the games hub, next to your fully animated 3d avatar. Tap him/her to get them to do something, or don’t tap it and it will act on its own, if your playing music, your avatar will actually dance to it, shake your phone and it will trip, sometimes it will actually pull the gaming section over your current section. Swipe to the right to see a seperate section for requests, another swipe takes you to the “Spotlight” section, where you’ll see the deal of the week,articles on the newest games, and gamer spotlights. The next swipe will take you the new games collection section. The games collection is more productive now. You view all of your apps from a zoomed out view, where your XBL games are separated by a divider, and your other games are in alphabetical order, although it’s upsetting how there are no blocks that indicate which letter your on like in the music section, but hopefully that will be rectified by its official release date. I cant really say whether the performance of the games have improved for me, as I never had a problem playing the apps on the NoDo update.

Avatar’s can fall,dance and be as silly as they want, right on your phone!

Mango Mania Part 1-Multi Tasking Mango’s

So I’ve been running the Mango beta update for my Lg Quantum as of late. Today I wanted to touch on “Multi Tasking” the reason for those quotes on “Multi Tasking” is because multi tasking is supposed to be used to increase efficiency, but in Wp7’s case, its the opposite. To be fair, you can switch between apps efficiently, the trouble comes when you attempts close the tasks running. When I saw how this was demoed online, I was confused on how to close the apps, I think Microsoft should take a page out of apples book here and have a red X to close running apps or even switching to another app and pressing the home button, but instead you have to press the back button, which would be fine if it immediately took you back to the homepage, but instead you have to cycle through everything you had done previously. For instance, if i was playing angry birds and switched over to play Pixel Man Zero, another great retro styled platformer for wp7, and then went back to angry birds and wanted to back out, the first back tap would pause it, the next tap would take you the main menu, then the next tap would take you the home screen. Wasnt Windows whole Motto to “Get In And Out” on your phone? it seems like their straying from their mantra with this problem. I’ve found myself constantly pressing the windows button to get back to the homescreen, thinking i’ve exited the app, only to find it is still open later on! Although I am still slightly holding onto hope that this problem will be fixed by the time the official mango comes out.



Lg Quantum Hardware Review

Technology Review

the 2nd technology review of a product on this site!

HARDWARE

The LG quantum has some extra girth to it due to the landscape keyboard, but it still looks nice. The internals are 16GB storage(unfortunately there is no micro sd expansion option, but 16gb should be okay for the average user.), 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM,1 GHz Scorpion processor . On the outside however, the front of the handset sports a speaker, with a mic next to it. Below that is a 3.5” wvga capacitive touch screen, next is a tactile windows button That gives a nice audible click when pressed. Below that is the required two capacitive buttons for search and back.
The back of the handset features the 5 mega pixel camera in the middle. On the right side of the device is a volume rocker, and a dedicated camera button. Atop the handset is the power/lock button, and the standard 3.5mm jack. One problem I have with this phone is that when the device is locked, pressing the central windows button on the phone does not unlock the phone or show the screen saver. Instead you have to tap the power button to take you to the unlock screen, its an inconvenience to the user.

SOUND

The speaker that is located on the back of the phone is average at best. Music sounds slightly tinny. You’ll probably find yourself using headphones with media more than the speaker.

Camera

The 5mp camera is located on the back of the handset. The camera takes surprisingly nice pictures in the dark thanks to the nice LED flash located underneath the lens, along with nice 720p footage. Since this is my first review, I’m not sure how to review the camera other than to post actual sample pictures, so I guess that’s what I’ll do! Look below to find the pictures, some of them are on my new blog for pictures taken with this device, ShadowPicture555

Keyboard

The LG Quantum features a fully fledged, qwerty landscape keyboard. The keyboard has a set of directional keys, along with a emoticon, and symbol key. The keyboard shortcuts actually make the keyboard surprisingly easy to use. Each key has a alternate symbol on it, and all you do is hold down the key to add whichever symbol you wish, this method is fast and easy to use, as opposed to pressing the function button whenever you would want a single symbol.


My Aluratek Cinepal APMP100F Review

Aluratek Cinepal APMP100F Personal Media Player Review


This is my first tech review on this website! I first saw this product about 2 months ago while I was cruising buy.com. I came across a link that show cased a company, Aluratek’s, products(http://www.buy.com/retail/superstore.asp?loc=68614). On that page I came upon the
About 1 month later, it was in my room.

Design



The cinepal features a 8.9 Inch 1024 x 600 LCD screen, with a black entirely plastic back, with a built in plastic kickstand that, although plastic, feels sturdy. At the bottom of the device are 2 speaker grills on the left and right.

There is a silver bezel that travels around all sides of this device, and on the top, going from left to right are the following buttons:

1.Lock switch
2.Power button
3.Mode/Back button
4.Previous/Next
5.Play/Pause
6.Volume +/-

On the right of this device are the following ports:

1.Mini USB port-The device comes with a micro USB to full USB adapter, so you can play videos or music off of a flash drive or even USB hard drive!)

2.Sd Card Slot-takes up to 32gb.

3.Av port-This device also comes with a pair of HD av cables for tv out.

4.Headphone port

5.Dc charging port-I’m disappointed that this device only charges through dc and not USB.


The following items arrived in the package:
Sleeve for the device
Remote
Tv out cables
Mini usb to full Usb adapter
HDTV out cables


Not all the items I listed are in the photo, some are in use.



Video

“Support HD video in AVI, VOB, DAT, MPG, MPEG, DivX, H.264, MKV, and RM / RMVB”

I’ve tried all of these formats not in HD, and am happy to say all of them have played. The support for all of these formats remind me of French Manufacturer Archos’ amazing video support.  I have experienced hiccups when playing certain 720p hd videos downloaded from YouTube. For instance one music video plays very well, but if it’s rewound, the video’s audio will get off sync, another video simply didn’t play, with a message that read:Please wait…, but only played the audio and no video.


My camera takes bad pictures, but trust me, video looks amazing on this device. Here it is running the latest episode of the simpsons in rmvb.

Music

I’ll be honest, the music experience isn’t very great, the main reason I bought this player was for the video capabilities.   On the now playing screen, there is no album artwork, there is only Id3 tag information(artist, album, sound quality, and the size of the individual song). There is also a choice of 5 eq’s, from normal,classic,jazz,pop, and rock. The sound quality of the speakers is good IMO, but they don’t get very loud when at their max for movies. It should work fine for music, but if not you can just plug it into some speakers that use a standard 3.5mm jack.

Pictures

Pictures can turn this device into a entirely different experience, just load your photos on the internal memory, or Sd card, choose how you want the transition from pic to pic to look(there are about 5 choices from scroll up/down,page up/down, diagonal.) and set your music to play at the same time, and then you’ve got a digital photo frame. The picture quality looks stunning.

Conclusion

The Cinepal is an amazing product for the price you’ll pay, which is 119.00+shipping on amazon. No, it doesnt run Froyo,Gingerbread or Honeycomb, or have a capacitive touch screen, or run windows 7 or iOS 4.3. Its just a portable media player that runs video’s very well. For the price everyone should consider purchasing one.

Rating:7/10

Pro’s:
Amazing Video Support
Amazing Screen Quality
Able to play files from usb flash drives and/or usb hard drives.
Very nice transformation to a digital photo frame using slide show with music running in background.
HDTV aux out

Cons:
That its not available from the manufacturer i bought from on amazon for 75 dollars lol
Viewing angles are not great.
Bland Now playing Music Screen.

Link To Buy One:Aluratek Cinepal APMP100F Personal Media Player
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=httpshadowska-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00365YT4E&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
Company:http://aluratek.com/

Aluratek makes other products too. E-readers,Digital camera’s,iPod docks, and more. Based on the quality of the cinepal, I might be buying another one of their products pretty soon.