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HTC One S Review

One s review

let me start by saying the One S is not a super, all singing, all dancing flagship device. This device is perfect for anyone coming from a feature phone or for someone who wants a good sized device that doesn’t feel like you are holding a clipboard.  So if you aren’t blown away by the specs don’t blame me, or HTC.

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2 June 2012 Review 2 Comments Short URL
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[REVIEW] iMainGo XP

I didn’t realize when purchasing an iPad 2 how many freaking accessories are available for it. I’m used to Android tablets, in which you get a handful of first-party items and a trickle of third-party stuff. But WOW, there are a ton of things you can hook your iPad into.

One of those items is the iMainGo XP, a nifty portable speaker solution for the iPad that you can rock out with. Let’s dive in!

HARDWARE

Right out of the box, the iMGXP feels nice in the hand. Its outer shell is a soft touch plastic, and it’s definitely got a good grip and smooth feel to it. There are two toggles on the top and bottom that extend/retract posts that lock and unlock the device — but they’re a bit tough to slide, to be honest.

Opening the “french-doors” on the device shows off the speakers (which flank the iPad dock space). You can use an original iPad or an iPad 2 (the iMGXP comes with an easy-to-install plastic frame for the iPad 2. I personally really love the way this thing looks all opened up; however, it’s possible someone using this on a desk or nightstand might feel its footprint is too wide. Generally, though, the matte finish is welcome and looks great next to my bed.

It’s incredibly easy to mount your iPad into the iMainGo – it pretty much snaps into place without any trouble, and feels very sturdy when it’s in place. I never worried about it falling out, and you can close the speaker doors sans issues.

SOUND

There’s something really pleasant about the iMainGo’s sound — I have a lot of older artists like Ginny Simms on my iPad, and the sound reproduction gives that warm, rich feeling and sound of vinyl that I find lacking in a lot of these types of speakers. Even cranking up the volume all the way didn’t produce any noticeable fuzz or distortion on these older tracks (which tends to happen, as they’re not optimized for the digital music revolution). You’d be hard-pressed to find any speaker/case combo for the iPad that’s better than this; in fact, it performs better than some speakers above its class. Seriously. It’s good.

The stand that comes with the iMainGo XP is really handy and will ease your fears of the “open book” falling over; in addition to making the whole unit sturdier, it allows you to adjust the angle at which your iMainGo is situated, and I found that was helpful when I wanted to fill a room with music by setting it at a 45-degree angle in the corner. And it WILL fill a room with music, and easily, too.

CONCLUSION

There’s something I really love about the iMainGo XP — the speakers also act as a protective case for your iPad 2, making this a must-buy for anyone out there who loves to take their iPad and play music on the go. On top of its soft plastic case, the sound quality is top notch for its price range (~$100). If you are (or know) a music lover who’s searching for a perfect combination of sound quality and protection, an iMainGo is just the thing.

Here’s the link to Amazon if you feel like picking one up.

 

Full disclosure: I make no money off referrals or whatever for Amazon, but I did receive a free unit for review!

-AE

21 November 2011 Main, Review No Comments Short URL
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[REVIEW] HTC Rhyme (or, “That Purple Android Phone”)

I’m SO far behind on reviews, folks. So far behind. But I promise to start getting reviews out as time allows! Let’s talk about the HTC Rhyme. This is that grape-colored device you’ve probably seen in a very weird commercial with a multi-armed lady doing all sorts of “multitaksy” things. Here, see for yourself:

Now that we’ve covered that oddity (honestly, not much better than the creepy Palm Pre girl commercials a couple years back), let’s get into the meat of the Rhyme.

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4 November 2011 Review No Comments Short URL
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[REVIEW] – HTC Status (HTC ChaCha, “The Facebook Phone”)

Hey guys! First off, I’ve missed you dearly. If you’re wondering WTF has been happening with Techfoolery, hit up this little link before the start of the review:

http://geekevolution.tumblr.com/post/7664137849/techfoolerys-future

Ok, now that you’ve read about all that, I’ve got a review for you today! You can expect a review of the HTC EVO 3D coming soon as well. For now, let’s talk about the HTC Status.

It’s an interesting little device. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to review it — what would I do with an Android device that employs a dedicated Facebook button and has a physical keyboard? To be honest, it just all seemed… weird. And who would buy this? Well, after using it for a couple weeks, I have some ideas.

[slideshow]

HARDWARE

The HTC Status reminds me a LOT of the Flyer when you look at its design. Seriously, look at it. The white accents, the lovely brushed aluminum… it’s like the Flyer’s teenage cousin. Very cute. As someone who’s a fan of a skinny, solid black slab, I was impressed with the build quality of the Status. It’s a sturdy little thing. It’s fairly light, but doesn’t feel fragile. One portion of the phone I was kind of iffy on was the decision to place “Phone” buttons on the device beneath the screen — a green one for making calls, and a red one for ending them. Since the screen’s capacitive, they kind of felt superfluous, until I realized there’s no “Call”/”End Call” buttons on the screen when you make a call. That’s REALLY weird for an Android user, but anyone using a BlackBerry or upgrading from a featurephone shouldn’t have too many problems with it. Most people who buy the Status won’t think twice about it.

There’s a 5MP camera on the back with a single flash (media section later), and the display consists of a much-smaller-than-I’m-used-to 2.6″ TFT LCD Gorilla Glass screen. Not shabby for a phone like this, but like I said, I wasn’t used to the screen size. I’ll talk later about how HTC worked Sense into the Status.

Getting under the battery cover was crazy difficult — but recently, that’s been kind of par for the course on the HTC devices I’ve reviewed. When you’re terrified of breaking the back cover when you remove it, that’s probably not the best possible cover design.

The processor is solid (Qualcomm MSM7227 Turbo SoC – 800MHz CPU/Adreno 200 GPU, 512MB memory) and while it’s not lightning fast, performs well enough. It wasn’t so fast or slow that I have much to say about it. It lagged out sometimes when it’s overwhelmed, but it didn’t happen often enough that it was any kind of issue.

Overall, the hardware is solid, thin, and good looking. “But what about the keyboard,” you ask? Well…

KEYBOARD

I wanted to put the keyboard stuff in its own section, because I used to have a Palm Pre and feel like I have some experience with physical keyboards. A small anecdote: I positively HATED the idea of a virtual keyboard when I had my Pre. It seemed like the worst idea ever. I liked being able to feel the keys and know the buttons by tactile press.

Then I upgraded to the HTC EVO last year and didn’t look back.

Coming back to a tactile keyboard was, dare I say it, kind of fun. That’s right, I said it. Using the Status keyboard made me feel like a texting machine again. Teenagers, who don’t tend to use email and prefer to use texting and Facebook to communicate, will LOVE this phone for that reason. I wasn’t quite sure of how wide teh phone was when I first pulled it out of the box, but then once you really use the keyboard, you realize that the keys are spaced out _just_ right — there’s no thumb-cramming like I had with the Pre (or the Pixi) — even if you have large hands, this is a much easier keyboard to type on than many others in its class. I actually liked using it more than (*gasp*) the hallowed BlackBerry keyboards. In the end, I definitely think the spacing out of the keys plays a major factor in that enjoyment.

Here’s a little video I made to show you guys the keyboard in-hand. I was positioned really awkwardly, so I didn’t type at all (straddling a tripod and trying to make sure there’s no reflection really affects your mobile typing skills), but you can see what it looks like in the hand:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKKQqomHRl8]

SOFTWARE

If you’re familiar with any HTC phone running Android, then you know what Sense is like. And if you’re like me, you took one look at the Status and thought, “How exactly is HTC going to cram Sense into that tiny screen?” The answer: very carefully! In all seriousness, HTC’s made some interesting modifications to Sense in order to get it onto this phone, making your Android experience pretty familiar. Here’s a super short intro video on what Sense is like on the Status:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0eJJBAFW-A]

The Status runs on Gingerbread (yay!) with what’s dubbed “Sense 2.1 with Messenger,” which is Sense modified to fit on smaller screens. It’s very nifty, but it’s not without its flaws. One major issue: but if a third party app doesn’t support rotation… well, you have to stare at the screen sideways. Yes, even if you want to type something. There was one point I laughed and said, “If you love using the Engadget app, you’re going to end up with a serious neck problem and a very rich chiropractor!” Yes, I know it’s not HTC’s fault, but it seems like a thing that should have been tested in QA — and I’m very shocked that HTC would sign off on something that egregious. It’s maddening at times!

Unfortunately, that’s not the only problem I had with Sense. It seems buggy, to be honest. One of the things I really liked on first sight about the keyboard was the Settings shortcut, which you can see is accessible by using Alt+Space… it turns out it’s broken, though. Every time I tried to access the Settings menu from that shortcut, I was taken to a blank contacts page? Bizarre.

On the flip side, I really liked the social widgets HTC implemented in the Status. There’s one in particular that’s a Facebook Chat widget, allowing you to chat right there from your homescreen. Just make sure you sign out, otherwise you’re ALWAYS online to chat!

PHOTO / VIDEO

I’ve got pictures and video I took of the crazy kitties we’re currently fostering, as well as a couple of outdoor shots taken. The 5MP camera performs admirably, but as always with mobile cameras, you’re going to be left lacking in the low-light shooting department, as photos are pretty grainy without decent light.

Without Flash
With Flash

Taking pictures outside produced good results, though my door bucket was kind of muted (those flowers are BRIGHT):

Silk flower bucket

As for video, it’s decent. It’s definitely enough to upload and share on Facebook/YouTube, which is why you’d want the phone anyway, right?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG-Da2R3Y7c]

The camera does its job fairly when you consider the phone it’s installed in (I have much to say about the EVO 3D’s camera, which I feel does NOT perform in tandem with its class of device), and I couldn’t find any major complaints about it. Would this replace my point-and-shoot? No way. But it’ll do in a pinch.

BATTERY

One of the first things I assumed about the Status is that its battery life would be positively BEASTLIKE. I mean, it’s a much smaller screen than a standard Android slab, so the battery should completely rock, right? RIGHT?

Yeah… about that. I threw EVERYTHING I had at the Status and used it like a teenager for a day: Constantly updating/checking social networks, recording short videos, taking pictures… and by the end of the day, I was desperate for a charge. In the words of my dear friend, “WAT.” By mid-afternoon, I was already in the yellow. I slowed down around 3pm, but 6pm rolled around and it went into power save. Sure, it does take longer for the phone to die once it’s in power save, but I wasn’t expecting the Status to only go about 8-10 hours with fairly heavy use. If the phone’s directed at the most hardcore of Facebook users, it should definitely last longer. Alas, it did not. Bummer.

I’m happy to report, however, that when I used the phone moderately throughout the day, I never had a problem with needing a charge. Using it from 7am-10pm wasn’t an issue.

FACEBOOK

The most important part! What makes the Status so special! IT HAS A DEDICATED FACEBOOK BUTTON! Now that most of us have moved onto Google+, it seems like a relic from ages ago. But in all fairness, someone who’s a huge Facebook user will definitely put some mileage on this button. If you’re on a website, you can click that FB button and it will share it (you can add a comment, too), all without leaving the window you’re currently on; a nice feature when you’re browsing the internet and don’t want to switch to the actual Facebook app to post something.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8j8GN9ZAXo]

It definitely makes posting to Facebook easier. If you’re browsing photos in the Gallery, clicking on the button will share whatever picture you’re looking at, etc. It’s an interesting addition that I actually wish had been setup thusly:

The button is just a general “SOCIAL” button — and when you set up your Status for teh first time, you can choose from a set of predetermined social networks you’d like to map it to. Twitter, G+, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon… you get the idea. Then, the phone becomes so much MORE than just a Facebook phone. It becomes a wildly useful device that has VERY broad appeal.

Sadly, that’s not how the button works, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

CONCLUSION

Here’s the deal. The HTC Status is available for just $50 on-contract with AT&T. I won’t even bother sharing my (low) opinions of AT&T — but generally speaking, it’s an attractive price point for such a device.

How does one review the HTC Status? Well, for me, I thought a lot about this question. And I believe the answer is to review it based on who it’s aimed at. To do otherwise would be unfair to the device itself and teh review process. This phone isn’t for me. It’s for someone who’s CRAZY about Facebook and social media in general. Someone who doesn’t use third party apps so much as they text, text, text, update Facebook, text, check Facebook, and so on.

Therefore, this device does a decent job for that person. This is a BlackBerry-esque device with Android software, and that makes it an excellent choice for a teenager who’s obsessed with their Facebook profile and texting with their friends. Would I love to see a more adult version of this device? Hell yes. I’d be VERY interested to see what HTC could come up with if they made the Status ‘grow up’ a bit. There aren’t many devices out there that can compete design=wise with a BlackBerry, and if there’s any company that can do it, I think it’s HTC. While the Status is an interesting device, it misses the mark a little bit. But HTC is definitely on the right track with it if they’re looking to make something to compete with BlackBerry, especially since a lot of BB users are currently looking to jump ship.

I give the HTC Status TWO scores:

As a bleeding-edge technology enthusiast: 2.5/5 Pancakes
As a person this device is geared toward: 3.5/5 Pancakes

2 August 2011 Review No Comments Short URL