Google Nexus 7 Review and Some Tips

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Google Nexus 7 Review and Some Tips

If you are considering buying a tablet and would like to learn some info on the Nexus 7 from a real user / tech guy then read below. I don’t side with Apple or Android or Amazon. So I try to compare everything fairly.

I’ve had the Google Nexus 7 tablet for about a week and it’s better than I expected.

(more…)

About the Author

Have worked as an IT guy for over 10 years developing applications and websites for business marketing.

Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and 5 compared to the Apple iPod

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Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and 5 compared to the Apple iPod

The Samsung Galaxy Player has been officially released in the USA. I have had it for about 5 days. I didn’t know much about Android but did know I needed a larger screen than the Apple iPod so I had no choice and Android it was.  Now keep in mind I’m not a big fan of how Apple but I have owned 5 iPods in my life because I think they do a nice job with them and actually there wasn’t much competition until now. So you can be sure I’m not siding towards one or the other.  I’m just looking for the best devices out there for me.

OK so if you are trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy Player 4 or 5, or an Apple iPod touch here is some info that might help you.

I compared and Apple iPod touch 4th generation with IOS 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Player 5 with Android Gingerbread 2.3.5. I am making the assumption the Samsung 4.0 version is about the same except the flash on the camera but that device I actually have not used so can’t say for sure.

First of all if you want a screen size between larger than 3.5” and less than 10” you have no choice but to get an Android. That was my main reason for getting it. Apple only has 3.5” iPod or the 10” iPad screen size options.

I can go on forever about things I like and dislike but I’ll try to keep it to the most important. Basically to sum this up I will say that both are different and not one can really be called better than the other. Each device I feel will appeal more to certain people. For the interface the Android is more based on popup menus and IOS tries to use other methods to avoid popup menus when possible.   For example when you delete on IOS you usually swipe an object. On the Android you hold down on it and a popup opens asking if you want to delete it. This results in IOS feeling a bit more user friendly but having some limitations.  For the average person who just wants something simple for internet email and social apps the IOS probably if for you. For more technically folks who don’t like to be limited then you may prefer Android.

Personally I love the larger screen size, 4” I feel is the perfect size for phones and all but unfortunately Apple does not offer 4” screens for people who like IOS.

Price:
For the Samsung the prices are $229 for the 4”and $269 for the 5”. Both have 8GB storage and you can add on up to 32GB.  The extra 32GB will cost you $40. You can get a 32 GB iPod for $300. So if 8GB is enough for you then you can get the Samsung for a bit less than the iPod.

Camera:
You get a 3 Megapixel camera with a flash on the Samsung Player 5. Note that there is no flash on the Samsung Player 4 though.  The iPod is less than 1 megapixel (I believe) with no flash. The flash on the Samsung Player 5 even works for video on the Samsung which is great. Still not as good as a regular point and shoot but better than the iPod for sure, especially in dark areas.

Audio Quality
I do a lot music and recording on these devices so this was important to me. The Samsung defiantly records and plays back audio well in normal situations. It has 2 speakers so it can get louder and clearer than the iPod which is nice. The microphone though does a better job on iPod when you have a lot of background noise. When I’m in my car the iPod records decent but the Samsung picks up all the car noise which distorts the audio a bit. You probably will want an external mic if you plan to use the Samsung in your car. The recording app that comes with Android records in low quality which sounds bad.  There are plenty of apps on the Android market that have higher quality sound recording apps which I would use instead.

Exterior:
The Samsung obviously is thicker and bigger but still fits ok in jean pockets. The 5” is a bit much so most probably would want the 4” if they don’t care about the large screen. The iPod is very thin if you don’t like thick objects in your pocket. The Samsung’s body is plastic and the iPod is that metal like more solid feeling body. I’ve heard people not like the Samsung’s cause they feel they will break easy.  It is plastic but something tells me its durable. The screen is nice on the Samsung and doesn’t leave to many fingerprints.

Battery Life:
I am not sure what either manufacture says you should get with battery life but I feel I get about the same on both. The iPod might last a little longer. I have both with brightness dimmed down from the default and I get close to 5 hours of normal use. (I don’t mean when they are sleeping I mean 5 hours of using them with mixed apps like email and videos photos). So I can go about a day or 2 without a recharge. The Samsung I do notice takes a lot longer to charge than the iPod. It must have a larger battery since it has a larger screen. I believe it took about 6 – 8  hours to charge the Samsung from totally dead where the iPod I believe takes about 2 hours to charge. The Samsung you are gonna want to just charge overnight.

Apps:
Apps definitely are still better for the iPod. Many are available for the Android but I can tell they aren’t all made as well for some reason. One app that the Android is lacking for me is the ability to watch TV on the Android through my cable company (Cablevision). They have an app for the iPod but the Android app currently doesn’t support watching TV, it only lets you set your DVR. I heard they might be working on an Android version but who knows. So things like that you might not get on the Android. It’s not because Android can’t do it, it’s just that the iPad was out first and an app like that seems to make more sense for an iPad. The iPad currently dominates 73% of the large 10” tablet market. Android though is more popular in the smart phones area than the iPhone as of this moment. Do make sure any apps you really want are available for the Android before you get it.

File Structure:
A nice thing about the and Android is I can view it on my computer as a hard drive. This for me is great because I can easily grab recordings off and videos without having to go through iTunes. This is probably a benefit for more advanced users not just the regular person who doesn’t do a lot of file transferring. But it’s nice not being locked down by Apples restrictions.

Synching:
Synching photos is easier in iTunes I would say if you are trying to have multiple folders for you photos. But as I said if you know how to use the Android like a hard drive you can just create folders in the photos folder. If you know how to do that then the Android will actually be easier for you. Or you can use Picasa’s upload photos from what I read to synch photos. I have not tried this though. To synch music playlists you will have to download a free app called doubleTwist. This to me works pretty much like iTunes and will even import your iTunes playlists if you already have some.

Crashing:
Both devices apps do seem to crash now and then about equally. I do notice the Android will tell you there was an error. But the iPod just seems to close the app on you with no message which makes it a bit quicker getting back to the app. I think most people don’t even realize the apps crashed cause of the way it responds. Either way I’m fine.

Interface:
I’m not a big fan of Androids interface on some things like email where it’s white text on black. I understand that it saves battery life but I find it hard to read. In many cases you can change it like when you open and email you can have black text on white. But I can’t find a way to change it when you are on the screen that lists all your emails. That is one thing I don’t like about the droid. Apples interface is nice and clean overall compared to the Android. They both really have their ups and downs, you have to play around with both to get a feel which you like better. The maps app I like best on the Android.  It even has an option for street view which runs really smooth and easy to use.

I don’t believe you get the Siri with the new iPod, it seems to only be iPhone. Which makes sense because you probably won’t use it much if you don’t have internet all the time. But the Samsung Galaxy Player does have the equivalent to it where you can use Google voice and say things like get directions, send email and so on. So that is nice to have even though it only works when you have Wi-Fi.

Email:
The email interface on IOS I feel is better than Android. Some reasons are it’s quicker to refresh email manually on the iPod since you just hit refresh without having to open a menu. Also if you have multiple accounts IOS refreshes them all at once. With Android you have to refresh each one at a time. Not fun if you have 4 accounts. The IOS interface is just cleaner to use in general. Both devices tell you the last time the email refreshed. The Android gives the time per each account and IOS gives the one time everything was refreshed.  Like I mentioned early I do not like the black background with white text on the email listing screen. I find it hard to read compared to IOS’s email interface.

Keyboard:
I really am getting the hang of the Swype keyboard on the Android which the iPod doesn’t have. It’s a faster way of time once you get the hang of it. This might not be appealing to everyone though. I really like Androids spelling suggestions when typing a lot better than the iPods auto correction. The auto correction on all Apple devices drive me crazy cause they automatically change words and sometimes it put a totally wrong word and I forget what word I really meant. It’s frustrating when you write notes to yourself.

Display Quality:
The Samsung’s screen I feel has nicer colors than the iPod, but specs wise the iPod actually has higher resolution. They both seem about the same sharpness from my eye. With the Samsung you get a little motion blur jerk effect than the iPod when you slide the icons and things like that. It’s not a big deal though, you wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t see an iPod. Videos though play nice on both and images look great on both. The touch responsiveness I would say is about the same on both. The Android has a vibrate option if you are into that kind of thing. You can shut it off if you don’t want it.

Screen Capturing:
There is no screen capturing on the Android which annoys me but there is an app you can get called screenshot it. If you don’t root the Android the app still works with a feature it has where you shake the camera and it takes a screenshot. It’s not as easy as apples screenshot feature but workable. This is something Android needs to have added into it.

Refreshing:
It’s easier to refresh things like email and webpages on the iPod. The android you always seem to have to open a popup menu first then choose refresh which I don’t like. For web browsing though you can get the Firefox app that has an on screen refresh button. There is a feature on the iPods browser though I do not like, some people do though. If you hit the top of the browser it jumps to the top of the page you are on. It’s annoying because I sometimes hit it by mistake when I’m at the bottom of a long forum or webpage and then I loose my spot.

Unlocking:
Unlocking the screen when you turn the device on is a lot easier on Android. I even like how they have a method where you draw a pattern if you want to secure it like that instead of using a password. Or you can still use a pin or password. IOS only has the pin method for securing it.

Files Formats:
A nice plus for the Android is that it more flexible in letting you play files types. For example most video formats work on the droid, such as web formats like FLV, WMV, or MP4. IOS requires you to just use Apples formats which gets frustrating. For example some web formats like FLV and WMV’s do not work on IOS.  I have videos from my snap and shoot camera that don’t play on the iPod but play fine on the Android without me having to convert them. IOS at one time had an app by VLC player guys that helped play more videos but I heard that Apple forced the app to removed so don’t think Apple will eventually allow it. The fact that Android plays so many video types can be great for someone who works a lot with videos.

Car Usage:
My biggest problem with the Android is compatibility with car radios. My car stereo is a 2 year old after market radio I put in that has a USB connection. It also is iPod ready which means I can charge and control my iPod through the stereo. Unfortunately it does not support Android. So I can’t control the Android as easily with my stereo. I only can use it like an mp3 player with USB which doesn’t let me use the Android playlist interface.  Hopefully new car stereos will start to support Android. The Android interface works fine with auxiliary but then you get no charging unless you also plug in the USB and you get no control with the stereo.

Widgets:
Widgets are pretty good on the Android. A notification feature was added to IOS 5 similar but a little different. There is a cool traffic widget on the Android that tells you right on your Android desktop if there is traffic to a destination and about how long it will take to get there. This is nice for people like me who have traffic everyday.

So that’s about it, hopefully that helps someone. Android still has some things it needs to fix up to be more competitive with IOS. Some apps like email just seem clunky vs the iPod. They both have their ups and downs but I do find the more I sue the Android the more I like it from the iPod. I think the only way to really see which one you like best is to try them both out.

About the Author

Have worked as an IT guy for over 10 years developing applications and websites for business marketing.

Windows 8 Developer Preview – Fast Start up Time

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Windows 8 Developer Preview – Fast Start up Time

Windows 8 Developer PreviewWindows 8 developer preview is available for free download. I installed the 64 bit version to give it a test run on a desktop. The first thing I noticed is how fast it starts up. The hardware I used for my benchmarking can be found at the bottom of this post article.

When I installed Windows 7 64 bit on the same hardware, Windows starts up in 31 seconds after the bios. When I installed Windows 8 64 bit on the same hardware Windows started up in 6 seconds after the bios.  Now do keep in mind my Windows 7 does have programs installed that probably are slowing it down about 10 seconds or so. But I’d say we are looking at least a 2 times faster start-up time if you have a dual core processor. I would guess a 4x increase if you have a quad-core processor.

The major reason for this enhancement is Microsoft has improved Windows 8 load times by utilizing the power of all cores of multi-core processors for start-up, hibernation and shutdown.

So far I like the Windows 8 interface which will be great for tablets. I can see why a lot of Windows 7 tablets seem to have disappeared from the market as they probably are waiting for Windows 8 instead. What Microsoft has done is changed the start menu to be optimized for touchscreen rather than mouse. The start menu consists of bigger buttons called tiles and an easy way to swipe between applications and so on.

Now don’t worry, they have the original Windows desktop all in there as well which I would use more for desktops. You can even revert the start menu back to the old Windows 7 look by changing a registry key if you want. You can find this on the web if you search for how to do it.

I definitely see were the world is going as we move to a touch screen world. I think Microsoft made a smart move by combining a tablet touch screen interface into Windows itself rather than having two different versions of Windows.

The only issue I see so far is there is with IE10, it contains a bug that I found in IE9 that Microsoft hasn’t fixed. It’s an issue that occurs on sites that use Helvetica fonts. If you have Helvetica installed then the website’s fonts don’t show. I told Microsoft about it but haven’t heard anything back from them on the bug. Most people don’t have Helvetica installed so maybe it’s low priority for them but the fact some major shopping websites don’t work in IE10 for users with Helvitica fonts should be a critical bug to fix. This would be mostly just developers so commons users shouldn’t have to fear this bug if they like IE.

I did benchmarking on the following PC:
–          Dell Vostro 200
–          74gb Western Digital Raptor hard drive (10000 rpm).
–          Intel duo core 2 e8400 3.0 ghz.
–          Nvidia gtx 480 video card
–          4 GB RAM

 

About the Author

Have worked as an IT guy for over 10 years developing applications and websites for business marketing.

Sony Tablet S – No Gorilla Glass but worth looking at

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Sony Tablet S – No Gorilla Glass but worth looking at

The Sony Tablet S caught my interest when I heard about. It has been out for over a week now and I have been keeping and eye on customer reviews about. I liked the fact it had a SD card slot and that you can control your TV and possibly Playstation 3 with it.  I have not actually found anyone who has attempted to control their PS3 with it yet so am not 100% sure if it can control the PS3.

This tablet runs the same price as all Android Tablets in it’s range. My biggest concern with it is the fact they didn’t use Gorilla glass on it. So the screen appears to be scratchable. Sony does have a screen protector on their site for $25 which solves the scratching issue for the screen, but my problem is if I drop it will the screen crack. I’ve recently bought a Sony DSC T110 camera and dropped it once and the screen cracked. I’ve had old Sony cameras I dropped and never had that problem. It could have been a freak thing but I get the feeling Sony might be skimping on screens for their devices now a days.

The only other issue I see is the SD slot has some limitations such as you only can use it for transferring data.

I’d still go check this out though and see how it feels in your hands. It has a design different than all other tablets that seems would feel comfortable in your hands.

 

 

 

About the Author

Have worked as an IT guy for over 10 years developing applications and websites for business marketing.

Battlefield 3 Beta – Coming in less than a week!

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Battlefield 3 Beta – Coming in less than a week!

The moment we have all been waiting for will be here in less than 1 week. EA has posted that the beta for Battlefield 3 will be coming out by September 29. So take the day off of work!! PC users can pre-order the game from Origin to get the beta key 2 days early.

This game looks killer cool. On the PC it will look wild if you got a nice Directx 11 card. Xbox and PS3 will have the fun destruction and Frost Bite 2 engine but will lack in graphics compared to the PC. In my opinion those console’s are due for an upgrade.


I’ve read they planned to chill out on being able to destroy everything like in Bad Company 2 since there would be no where to go for cover. I kind of enjoyed that but I guess if they leave a wall or two standing that will be OK.

See you on the Battlefield!

About the Author

Have worked as an IT guy for over 10 years developing applications and websites for business marketing.

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