iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus Earpiece Glitch After Screen Repair - Solved!

Earpiece Not Working After Screen Replacement On iPhone 7/8 Plus Plagues Many

8 Plus Earpiece Glitch.jpg

If you’ve cracked your iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus and had the LCD assembly replaced, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve run into this annoying glitch due to a design flaw in these two iPhone models.

After removing the flex assembly from the original broken screen and transferring it over to the new LCD assembly, many repair techs have reported stories of the earpiece speaker failing to work. I have run into this myself on at least 1/4th of all the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus repairs that I have done.

Apparently, the flex cable is super sensitive and cannot be bent in the slightest manner without causing the earpiece to stop working. But some say that it occurs when you don’t replace the small black piece of insulating tape that sits behind the proximity sensor. Others claim that it’s due to the earpiece itself. But I have found that these two theories aren’t exactly right.

When you pluck out the flex assembly to move it to the new frame, you have to be super careful not to damage the cable. But even when exercising extreme caution and applying low heat to soften the adhesive, you can still end up with a dead earpiece once you are done.

The flex assembly has the earpiece conductor leads, and also contains the noise canceling microphone, proximity sensor, and the front facing camera. But what is odd is that only the earpiece assembly seems to sustain damage when it is moved.

Whatever the case, this boils down to a design flaw. After dealing with this common issue ever since the release of the iPhone 7 Plus, I have not been able to nail down a definitive answer on what is causing the problem. But I have figured out a fail-proof workaround.

When you have a 7 Plus or 8 Plus screen repaired, it is best to get a high quality replacement LCD assembly that comes with a new proximity sensor flex cable pre-installed. These cost a little bit more than the plain replacement screens, but having the new earpiece speaker and flex assembly installed from the manufacturer completely eliminates the chances of running into this issue.

It’s best to let the manufacturer test the screen and proximity flex assembly to insure all of the components are working, rather than taking the chance on moving that super-fragile cable and ending in complete frustration when your customer can’t use their phone without their ear buds. There is nothing worse.

I’m going to keep looking into this issue, and hope to pinpoint the actual reason this problem occurs. Until I figure this out, my recommendation on iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus screen replacements is to go with the pre-installed flex assembly & new earpiece. It’s definitely worth the peace of mind!

If you’ve got some advice or an opinion of why this glitch is happening, I’d be super grateful if you’d share it in the comments section. As always, thanks for checking out the story, and for supporting the blog!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

READY TO UPGRADE? Grab your next iPhone from Amazon.com and have it shipped to your doorstep! Help support the CarltonZone blog so I can continue bringing you the latest and greatest in the world of tech!

Prop Bills, Facebook Marketplace, and Stupid Criminals: A Warning to All

HOW I GOT BURNED BY THE LATEST TRENDING SCAM: PROP BILLS

Fake Bills.jpg

I own the Gadget Gurus repair shop. I'm a well-known tech blogger. I'm an Apple device expert. I do keynotes on the topics of technology and social media. I warn people about the perils of buying used iPhones. So I'm the last person in the community that should have fallen for the latest scam...

Movie prop currency.

It was actually a combination of phony stage prop $100 bills, the Facebook Marketplace, and one seriously stupid criminal that did it. Let me tell you my story, and then I'll issue my word of warning and closing advice.

I fix phones for people. Sometimes, my customers bring me broken phones that they no longer need, and I fix them at my cost. I sell them on their behalf, so they don't have to go through the trouble of selling the phone, and I take my repair fees out of the proceeds and give them the difference. Sometimes things can go wrong, and this past Saturday things went seriously wrong.

I had an iPhone 6S rose gold edition phone that I fixed and was trying to sell for a friend for $310. I posted the phone on Facebook Marketplace, which is free to list. I thought it was relatively safe. Nothing could go wrong here, because it's a fairly public place where people must use their true identities.

Two months had passed, and none of the 15 people who had expressed serious interest had ever come to close the deal. Then I got a message at 11:30pm on Saturday night from a would-be buyer who claimed to be from Columbia (30 miles up the road) but happened to be in Jefferson City that night.

He claimed he needed to buy a phone for his "girl", and he was in a rush. I told him I was getting  ready for bed, and to contact me on Sunday. Then he offered me $400 for the phone.

I jokingly responded, "oh sure, that make sense... you're going to pay me more than what I'm asking?!"

I asked him why on Earth would he offer more than the asking price, and he claimed it was due to the urgency of his need, and he wanted to motivate me to meet him despite the lateness of the hour.

I told him that I would not accept more than the offer price, and his response didn't make any sense. He said "if you're in Jeff City I'm only giving you $310". That was the second clue to me that this was a potential scammer. He wasn't making logical sense.

I checked his profile, and it didn't look good. He appeared to be a young man in his twenties, and was not shy about posting pictures depicting alcohol consumption and smoking of various vegetation products. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is not the type of person who you would want to transact business with.

But I had three things working against me: First, it was late at night and I was tired. Second, I really wanted to get rid of the phone and make the money for my friend. Third, this young man and I had a mutual friend who attends my local church, so I figured I could trust the situation a bit more.

That was the kiss of death.

Against my better judgment, I left out to go to the shop and meet the young man to sell him the phone. My plan was to meet him in a public place and only accept cash, of course. After changing the location where we were supposed to meet twice, we finally decided on the Break Time gas station on Stadium Drive.

The young man messaged me three times while I was on my way, asking how long I was going to be. That was another indication that something was wrong. I arrived at Break Time, and there were no cars in the parking lot... yet another indication that this was a scam.

I messaged him again asking where he was, and he said he was in a white truck across the street at the Stadium 66 gas station. I crossed the street, and the "white truck" turned out to be a white Mercedez Benz SUV. That was another red flag. He saw me park, and waived out the window for me to approach.

I walked over to the car, and there were 2 young men inside, with the buyer in the passenger seat. He let the window down, and I started asking him questions. I asked where he was from, and how he knew our mutual friend on Facebook. He didn't understand what I was asking at first, because he was in a dazed stupor (it may have been the result of oxidizing the vegetative product and inhaling the combustion components).

After an initial "huhhh?" and a silent pause, the lights came on and he and smiled, telling me that he had met the mutual friend at a party (yet another bad indication). He was very polite and respectful, however, which was also part of what clouded my thinking.

After explaining the specifics of the iPhone I was selling, in order to make sure he was absolutely clear on what he was buying, he asked me to "hold on one minute" and rolled up the tinted window. It was still open 2" from the top, enough for me to get on my toes to look and see what he was hiding.

In his lap was a stack of $100 bills. He was counting out three of them, and then let the window back down after putting up the stack of money. I looked very closely at the money, and immediately noticed the bright colors and the security strip found on the new $100 bills. It looked legit. I had no doubt about the authenticity of the cash.

He handed me the bills at the same time that I gave him the phone. The bills had a few folds, and I could feel that in my hands. But as soon as I turned to take one step back to my car, I noticed that the bills were way too slick feeling on my finger tips. I looked back and the SUV  was pulling out of the lot.

I knew I had been scammed. Beating myself up in my mind, I got back in the car and fumbled for my phone so I could shine a light on the bills to see what the heck they were. They looked fake.

I took them back into the gas station to have the clerk verify my major error, and she did. She used the marker on the bills, and they all failed. But that's not the worst part...

She brought my attention to the front face of the bill, where it stated "For Motion Picture Use Only" where it normally has "Federal Reserve Note". It also said "This Note Is Not Legal Tender".

If I didn't feel stupid already, this rubbed salt into the wound. I'd been had. Tricked. Bamboozled. Ripped off.

I immediately wrote the young man back on Facebook messenger. I said, "bring that phone back NOW". I warned him that I would go straight to the police if he didn't, but got no answer. Then I informed him that the entire deal was made in bright light and would be on the gas station security camera system. Still no answer.

I got to the Jefferson City Police station to report the scam, and someone had reported a similar occurrence just 20 minutes before I got there. Then two young ladies entered the lobby holding the same fake movie prop $100 bills that I had in my hands.

The perpetrator was apparently on a shopping spree that night, buying iPhones from unsuspecting people via Facebook Marketplace and paying for them with fake bills. I'm not certain, but he may have scammed as many as 5 people that night.

What confounded me was his level of stupidity. He used his true identity to set up the deals on Facebook, with his profile picture on full display. Plus he chose to meet in well-lit gas station lots where security cameras record 24 hours per day. Add to that the use of the fake currency, the "movie prop" $100 bills, and you've added counterfeit charges to possible stolen property charges.

I have never been scammed like this in my entire life. But the look of these bills was so authentic, it caused me to drop my guard long enough for the criminals to get away.

Numerous eBay listings for movie-prop cash

Numerous eBay listings for movie-prop cash

Be warned, the use of movie prop $100 bills are popping up across the country. Since movies and television shows are going high definition these days, the prop makers have started making high quality full-color paper money to look authentic on camera. They look better than any fake money of the past, and sadly, you can buy them on eBay legally.

Combining Facebook Marketplace, the best-looking fake money ever printed, and idiot criminals significantly raises the possibility of the average swap-shopper being exposed to this threat. The reports are running high.

My advice to you? Be super careful buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace and the FB swap shops. Anything can go wrong. Choose safe locations, meet during the day, take a friend with you, and take the safety advice of your local law enforcement agencies.

I beat myself up pretty bad for allowing myself to be fooled in this situation, but everything happens for a reason. If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. And the positive is, I get to share this story with everyone and it might save you some grief as a result.

My story ended well. The idiot criminal is in the custody of law enforcement, and I'll be getting my friend's phone back soon. But be careful everyone, because you don't want to take chances like this. Trust your instincts, err to the side of caution, and you can't go wrong!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

Smartphone Water Damage! What to Do When Your Phone Takes a Dive

THE GADGET GURU'S ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH WATER DAMAGED SMARTPHONES

Water Damage.jpg

Summer time is that fun time of year that we get the most occurrences of water damaged phones. It’s hot outside and people are often swimming, boating, playing in the fire hydrants and sprinklers to escape the heat.

Since we are so attached to our beloved smartphones and can't be without them for even a few minutes, we sometimes lose all sense of mind and go head first into the cooling water, forgetting that our phones are tucked away in a pocket or in the clutch of our hands.

Swimming holes can spell disaster for technology. But as summer comes to a close, there are still plenty of other ways that smartphones can meet their demise in a watery grave. One of the most common is actually the toilet bowl. As a matter of fact, I just got a toilet-damaged phone in the shop last week.

Whatever the case, it’s critical to know what to do when your smartphone takes a dive in the swimming pool, the beach, or a hopefully-fresh toilet. 9 times out of 10, just from lack of being taught, people do the wrong things and end up roasting their phone when it could have been saved.

That being said, here’s what you need to know if you EVER have the misfortune of taking your smartphone for a refreshing swim!

1) Do NOT check to see if your phone still works by activating the screen. If you do, you might short out the backlight or fry the logic board. After a phone gets wet, the last thing you want to do is put a surge of electricity through it. If the screen is asleep and you press your home button or power button waking it up, just to check to see if it still works, you could cause the battery to dump ALL of its remaining electricity into the phone.

2) If the phone was already off, do NOT try to reboot it. It might turn back on, but that could be the last time it DOES turn back on after you short out the logic board.

3) Do not set it out in the sunlight to dry. The sun will bake the LCD assembly and ruin it.

4) If you happened to have put your phone in a bowl of rice for a few hours, or even days, don’t test it and turn it on until you take it to a repair shop. No matter how long you leave it in rice, it’s not going to suck up all of the moisture trapped inside of the phone.

Those are the don’ts. Read those 4 points again to make sure it soaks in (no pun intended.) Now let’s move on to what you should do after your phone has gone skinny dipping!

Once you retrieve the phone from the water, dry it off as quickly as possible and wrap it in a towel or absorbent cloth. And again, DO NOT TURN IT ON. Remember, if you turn the phone on, all of the electricity left in the battery might discharge all at once and burn up your phone. It will sound like French fries dropping down in hot grease. You might even smell smoke. This isn’t the barbecue you want at your family outing. Leave the barbecuing to the grill.

Next, get your phone inside if you can and put it in a bag of rice. Believe it or not, I’ve heard reports of people putting their phones in COOKED RICE. Yes, that has actually happened. Please don’t put your phone in cooked rice, and don’t pour gravy over it. And don't butter the rice. Dry, UNCOOKED rice is what you want. The rice will absorb some of the moisture, drawing it away from the inside of the phone and get the drying process started at least. A Ziploc bag is best.

Once you get the phone in the rice, contact me (or your local smartphone repair shop) ASAP. An extra word of advice, don’t try to dry out your phone with a hair dryer or heat gun. You could end up doing more damage to the phone. Just get it in the hands of an expert who knows what they’re doing, someone who knows the proper amount of heat that can safely be applied.

When I get a phone that is water damaged, the first thing I do is open up the phone to check for water. If there is water, I blot out as much as possible, and then I dry the logic board and components with a professional heat gun. I know the limits of heat a phone can receive before it can be damaged.

Next I remove the battery, and check the connectors for moisture. I can usually tell if a battery has been ruined just by sight. Once I determine the condition of the battery, I check for the most minimal clues that the logic board still works. Then I let the phone continue to dry overnight.

Get great deals on official refurbished iphones on amazon!

Get great deals on official refurbished iphones on amazon!

Sometimes the LCD assembly will be fried, which means it needs to be replaced. The backlight of the LCD assembly can get zapped and black out the screen. You can tell if the phone’s logic board is still okay by the LED charging light. The battery is then checked with an amp/voltage meter to see if it is still functional.

If the phone does not boot, my last choice is to disassemble it completely to give the logic board a solvent bath which forces out any remaining water. At that point I can try again to see if it will boot up. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. But it is the last option for recovery.

It’s hard to say what percentage of phones can survive water damage. I’ve had a phone dropped in salt water that was entirely rusted on the insides that I was able to recover, and I have had phones that showed very little traces of water that ended up not surviving. It’s very unpredictable.

But the best method of dealing with water damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Now let’s move on to my best advice to keep yourself out of harm’s way when it comes to your precious smartphone.

Things to do to prevent water damage:

  • Leave your phone inside before you go out to the swimming pool or the creek. Keeping your phone as far away as possible is best. Remember that water splashing out of the pool onto your phone can cause just as much damage as a phone that has been fully submerged. It doesn't take much!

  • Give your smartphone a break and be one with nature. Enjoy the outdoors undisturbed and uninterrupted from the distractions of your phone, and it will be safely waiting for you when you return.

  • Use a LifeProof case if you can’t be away from your phone while swimming. Even though they aren’t very good at preventing breakage from dropping, it will give you a better chance of survival in water if it is accidentally submerged. But remember, no case can provide 100% protection against water damage even if they are made for that purpose.

  • Last but not least, if you don’t have insurance on your phone, get supplemental insurance coverage NOW. You don’t have an option of owning a smartphone in 2017 without insurance, because these new devices are just too expensive and they are very intricate and susceptible to damage.

  • Double last but not least, backup your phone to the cloud RIGHT NOW. You don’t know how sad it makes me to tell a person who hasn’t ever backed up their phone that their precious pictures and videos are lost forever. Back up your phone on a regular basis. Better yet, set your phone to do automatic backups.

I hope you never have to deal with with a smartphone water disaster. But if you do, please remember my tips, and share with everyone you know. You might save a friend from suffering significant smartphone misery!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall - Breaking It Down

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GALAXY NOTE 7 RECALL

If you are a Samsung fan, you've probably heard about the Galaxy Note 7 recall by now, especially if you were one of the first in line to get it, and you own one. I've had lots of questions about this issue, so we're going to spend a little time and break this down.

So why did Samsung recall all of the Note 7 smartphones? This was due to a problem with the battery cells failing on 35 phones (as of today's date) which caused them to catch fire, and also explode. Of the million or so phones that are out there, this is an extremely small number. But if you're one in a million that has a phone blow up in your face, I don't think you'd appreciate being told that it’s only a low percentage that fail.

The problem happens due to bad battery cells that overhead when the lithium layers inside the battery are compromised, and short circuit. This is something that has been more of a common problem with iPhones since the iPhone 5, but I suppose Samsung wanted to join the bad battery party and share in the attention.

The reason we are seeing so many battery problems as of late is because the design engineers are making thinner phones, thus needing thinner batteries, but with more power than their predecessors. When you smush the battery layers to minimum thickness, and add more power, you have more of a chance for failure to occur. There’s no way around it.

All of these batteries come from China, from some of the same suppliers, and from the same manufacturing processes. And it’s going to take a long time to get all of these phones replaced. You can’t simply pop out the battery and replace it like you could with the older Samsung phones (from Galaxy S4 and earlier). The back battery plate is glued on, and you have to remove a few things to free up the battery that is directly wired into the logic board.

You’ve got a couple of options here in the US for having your phone replaced. First, you can turn in your Note 7 and wait for the replacement. You’ll probably need a backup phone while you wait. Or, you can trade your Note 7 in for an S7 Edge, or regular Galaxy S7 and be refunded the difference in price (I think it’s around $100).

You can call Samsung at 1-800-SAMSUNG to get your exchange kicked off. For all your trouble, they are offering $25 phone bill credit to most major suppliers, so make sure you ask about that. You can either send in your phone directly to Samsung, or work with the retailer where you bought the smartphone originally.

Is it worth all this trouble to own the Galaxy Note 7? I say absolutely YES. I own the Galaxy Note 5, and I can’t live without the S Pen stylus. If you’re a big fan of the S Pen and all of the advanced features that come with it, it’s worth replacing and sticking with the Note 7. It will be the most advanced smartphone on the market, even after the iPhone 7 has been released (this is the first time Samsung has outdone Apple to the point where their subsequent next-model release doesn’t match the current Samsung model’s specifications).

If you’re sick and tired of all these battery problems with your new Samsungs and fancy iPhones, you need to write the designers and tell them to go back to the days of fat candy bar phones and stop trying to win the wafer-thin smartphone war. Until then, get used to problems like this. It won’t be the last.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Guru Supreme

THE CELLULAR SERVICE CHOKEDOWN - A TECH CRISIS?

As time goes on, it seems that cellular service is getting worse and worse. Is this just a passing phase, or are we in the midst of a cellular service choke down?

Three years ago, the tech blog prognosticators predicted a major bottleneck in cellular service due to increasing demand.  The increase was said to be fueled by the big shift towards mobile internet use, thanks to faster 4G LTE speeds being served up by the big telecoms.

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't believe it. The reason? Because we had the same failed predictions regarding internet service back in the days of linear dialup modems.

Once dialup modems "topped out" at 56kbps of data transfer speed, the doom and gloom said that they would no possible way to jam data through the telephone network any faster. 

Then came broadband.

Someone figured out a way to cram a lot for data through the same old network by using a different frequency which was above the audio range of human ears. This made it possible talk on the phone and surf the Internet at high speed at the same time!

Nobody ever thought such a thing would be possible, but that was just the beginning. coaxial table and fiber optic table later took it to the extreme.

That being said, I'll show you how that relates to the current topic. 

We are on the front end of the same type of mess, but with the cellular network. Now that the majority of people are using their smartphones to access the Internet rather than laptops or desktop computers, there has never been more demand put on the cellular network than the present time. 

While the log jam was predicted years app, I was of the belief that it would never come to a critical head before done new fancy technological breakthrough solved the problem.

I was partially right. 

After the 3G high speed cellular network was built about 4 years ago,   the "HSPA+ enhanced" days service brought us speeds upwards of 10Mbps on our smartphones. But over the next year, that dropped down to about 1.5Mbps.

The reason? Too many people flooded the network with their smartphones sitting the net like never before, and the system couldn't handle it.

It's the same effect you get when you're at a concert or large gathering, and you notice that your cellular service drops off to zero and doesn't return to normal until the crowd disperses.

Well folks, right now we are hitting rock concert levels in the current 4G LTE network. What started off as an unmitigated data speedway where we had blazing downloads as fast as 50Mbps has now turned into a log jam of snail data traffic that you're lucky to get 1Mbps out of on a good day.

On the one hand, I'll say that I believe the prognosticators on what they said about the "dead end" of the cellular network. But I don't believe this will be the dead end overall.

We're smack dab in the middle of a paradigm shift. More and more people are ditching desktops for smartphones each and every day, and we've already hit critical mass.

But one thing I have learned from history when it comes to the advancement technology is that the very minute the "experts"   say that we have reached the limit, we are blindsided by a new quantum leap inducing breakthrough that catapults us into the future.

My prediction for our current saturated overused overwhelmed cellular network? The problem will fuel technological advancement, and we are more than likely on the brink of our next quantum leap in data transfer. And when it happens, it well be bigger, faster, and more amazing than anything we can even imagine.

Carlton Flowers

Gadget Oracle

 

 

 

upload.jpeg

The Truth About Customer Service With AT&T - Unbiased Testimony

AT&T CUSTOMER SERVICE GETS THE REAL REVIEW FROM THE ZONE

I've heard a ton of opinions about AT&T Wireless coverage, the devices, and their customer service. There are as many opinions out there as there are people. I am often asked what I think of the various carriers, because of my Gadget Gurus business and my superior geek status.

Well I've been a customer since 2006, so I believe I have put in the time to be able to give you the straight no-fluff evaluation. But we will focus this post to one facet of business: customer service

As you can see in the picture, I am proud to officially announce to my esteemed audience that AT&T has received the first ever "Carlton Award - Customer Service Champion" designation from The Carlton Zone! I'll explain why...

The first reason emanates from the the excellent level of customer service on the toll free phone line. I have yet to have one bad experience with customer service agents at the AT&T call centers. I have found them to be courteous, happy to speak with me, and very accommodating when dealing with my situations of need. I can't tell you how many other service companies have dropped the ball in this area. But this is an area that AT&T as excelled in. It must be a company philosophy.

A second reason results from where AT&T excels on a more personal level. Evidence can be found in the experiences I have had at the local corporate store in Jefferson City, Missouri. A small percentage of people say that they don't like the service at the local store. I'm not sure I understand what it is that they are looking for that would spark such a reaction, because I have clearly had only the best experiences when visiting the for any reason.

Our local store stays very busy on a constant basis, and the staff are often swamped with customers. But the way that they handle the load is worthy praise. When I walk in the door, I am greeted with a smile, and an agent immediately logs me into the queue. I am told how long I can expect to wait to see an agent, and then I'm turned loose to "play" with all the devices on display.

The staff has always been pleasant, very helpful, and willing to go the extra mile to see to it that my needs are met. But it's not just about business. After each experience at the corporate store, I feel that I have gained a friend (or two) after my visit.

These are the main two fronts that any carrier will gain or lose ground in customer service, and AT&T has nailed it on both fronts for me. And for those who don't agree with me, let's just say that there are a few other slightly credible sources who would agree... like the J.D. Power 2015 Wireless Customer Care Study. Go ahead, click the link and read it for yourself.

Oh and hey, sorry about "Bogart-ing" your logo, J.D. Power. It was just a perfect fit for The Carlton Award - Customer Service Champion designation to AT&T. By all means, if you want to copy some of my amazing graphics from the blog site, please borrow one for payback. I'll understand!

Carlton Flowers
THE Gadget Guru

 

Microsoft & Nokia Reach Market Dominance In 2015... Or Not

BOLD PREDICTIONS FIZZLE AS 2015 COMES TO FRUITION

A few years ago, I was on the bandwagon of belief when all of the tech pundits made bold predictions that Nokia & Microsoft would reach total market dominance over Android & Apple by the year 2015. What happened?

We all bought the story because of the reasoning, that Nokia once dominated the world of feature phones, and that Microsoft dominated the world of operating systems. Windows Mobile plus Nokia hardware was supposed to equal unparalleled success in the smartphone market.

But what happened?

All of the cards foretold of fortunes to be made by these two tech juggernauts, and the planets were supposedly lined up to create the stage for the impending takeover of the smartphone world. But now that we have reached 2015, where is Microsoft and Nokia in the grand scheme of things?

Apple continues to dominate with the new iPhone 6 and 6+, with the new iOS 8 platform. And Samsung continues to squash the Android market with its flagship Galaxy products, powered by Android KitKat. But our "match made in heaven" comprised of Microsoft and Nokia seems to be lagging far behind, as they always have.

I thought Microsoft and Nokia had a great start with the Lumia 920 smartphone, and all of the later versions of their device. The operating system was supposed to be super easy to use, and a much better match for those of us using Windows based PCs. I thought I would be a prime target for converting to Windows on my smartphone, since I use a PC and a laptop every day.

But it never happened. I've tested and tried the Nokia devices using the Windows Phone platform. While I did find it easy to use, I worried about not having the ability to find all of my most favorite apps under their system. When I switched from Apple to Android in 2012, I was able to download about 80% of my most used apps on the Android platform.

I'm hard-pressed to believe that Windows will capture the attention of developers around the world and motivate them to bring all of my favorite apps to the Windows Phone market. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't have much confidence believing it will in the near future.

While the Windows-based Nokia devices are super slick and durable, I have found them to be a total pain-in-the-derrier when it comes to servicing and repairing the hardware. As the owner of a smartphone repair shop, I have learned to send Nokia smartphone owners to my competitors down the street. Cracked screen? Busted LCD panel? Take it somewhere else, because it's not worth the headache.

That might be part of the reason why Nokia failed to dominate the market as predicted. It might just be that Microsoft and Nokia never became "cool". Whether their devices and operating system functionality is great, or a pile of crap, nothing matters until their products become a "thing".

The smartphone market is like the fashion industry. Until Microsoft and Nokia become "cool" in the minds of consumers, they will never hit critical mass and dominate the market. I would love to see a competitor break into the Apple/Android monopoly, but I don't believe we will witness such an even for a few years if anything.

In the meantime, It's Samsung & Android for me on the smartphone front, Apple's iPad for my tablet, and my Windows-based custom PC for my desktop.

What do you think the reasons are behind the failure of Microsoft and Nokia to fulfill the predictions of the past? I'd sure like to hear your opinion!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - This Will Shut You Up

HIDEOUSLY OBVIOUS REASONS I CHOOSE THE GALAXY NOTE 4 OVER IPHONE 6 PLUS

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are out on the streets. The talking Apple heads claim that the iPhone 6 Plus is the hands-down winner over the new edition of the Note series.

Even tech blog sites are giving the checkered flag to Apple over Samsung in this race to have the most phabou phablet. It doesn't stack up per the tech specs, but Apple clearly has the most votes of confidence.

Everyone has an opinion about device brands and it is mostly due to preference. But I'm having a hard time trying to follow the "logic" of the loyal Fruit Cult following. I don't think they care what the specs are at all, it's just a foregone conclusion that the Apple device will magically be "better" by default.

In fact, I'd like to know exactly what kind of hallucinogenic drugs these people are doing to think the specs give Apple the win, because it would seemingly take some pretty strong stuff to overlook this helpful little handful of hardware facts...

  • The CPU - the Note 4 uses an Octa core processor while the iPhone 6 Plus sports dual core
  • 1.9GHz cpu processing speed on the Note 4 compared to 1.4GHz on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • Screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 on the Note 4 versus 1920 x 1080 on the 6 Plus
  • Super sharp screen on the Note 4 packs 515 pixels/sq.in but iPhone 6 Plus is only 400pix/sq.in.
  • 16Mp camera on the Note 4 as opposed to 8Mp on the 6 Plus
  • Front-facing camera on the Note 4 has twice the resolution than it's Fruity Phablet counterpart
  • Real multitasking on the Galaxy Note 4, nothing of the sort on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • A whopping 3 gigabytes of RAM packed into the Note 4 while the 6 Plus gets a paltry 1Gb
  • 3,220 mAh of battery power on the Galaxy Note 4 edging out the 2,915 mAh on the 6 Plus
  • Killer download speed of 42.2Mbps on the Galaxy Note 4 while iPhone 6 Plus drags along at 7.2Mbps
  • The super solid build of the metal-band-clad Note 4 as opposed to the lighter, cheaper, more slippery feel of the iPhone 6 Plus

My conclusion? The amount of hallucinogenic drugs or head-meds needed to "make" the iPhone 6 Plus a better device choice than that of a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 would therefore be significant. But right when you think logic and hardware specs rules the day, I will say this...

I like the look and feel of the iPhone 6 Plus better than the Galaxy Note 4, and would have chosen it over the Android product if Apple included a pen digitizer on their device. Plus the lacking hardware specs don't appear to give it any less of a speedy user experience.

So there you have it.  Shocked that Mr. Android Boy would say such things? Well you shouldn't be. The point is, none of the specs listed for or against a device amount to a hill of beans. It's all about user preference and the user experience.

For me, the lack of a pen digitizer on Apple mobile devices is a deal-breaker. The Galaxy Note 4 is close enough as a great device that I will stick with it just to have my digitizer pen. I can live with the design changes that I don't like as much, as long as I have the digitizer.

Ironically, the one thing Apple Fruit Cult members boasted about most was that their devices were solid and heavy, while Samsung's devices felt cheap, light and "plasticky" (which I prefer). The chickens have come home to roost.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Guru

Apple-Samsung Smartphone Slugfest Phablet Style

SAMSUNG GETS SNIPPY WITH NOTE 4 VIDEO DISS

Okay people I'm back. I've been out-of-pocket lately, on blogging vacation. But with the recent developments on the tech forefront, I think this is a good time to chime back in.

Transient

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch has passed, and phones will start shipping within the next few weeks to anxious customers. While the iPhone 6 Plus breaks "new ground", Samsung has taken the opportunity to make a snarky video about Apple's sudden change in design.

It is truly ironic to see what has transpired, truthfully. Looking back over the last handful of years, we have seen Apple make multiple accusations against Samsung for stealing their designs. At that same time, the Apple execs swore that a smartphone bigger than 3.5" was entirely stupid, and it was something you would never ever see their beloved company produce.

Fast forward to the highly anticipated iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with their massive 4.7" and 5.5" diagonal displays, and it makes me sit rubbing my head wondering what just happened. Apparently, I'm not the only one who wonders what happened in Cuppertino. Maybe they all inhaled, or drank their own Kool-Aid.

How in the world could the same company who accused Samsung of blatant copyright infringement turn an about-face and produce a phone which is in the form of the Galaxy Note without a stylus? Especially after swearing off phablets and larger-screened smartphones?

Samsung released a very sarcastic video that sums it all up. But what I am left wondering is whether or not Samsung will quickly blow the whistle and sue the pants off of their hypocritical chief competitor much in the same way that was done to them.

Only time will tell.

As far as I'm concerned, I'll stick with my Apple iPad Retina Mini for all my iOS needs, but I'll take a pass on the iPhone 6 Plus and stick with the Galaxy Note line and move from the 3 to the 4 when it is released.

I'll let the hypocrites OOPS I mean Apple Enthusiasts have their feeding frenzy with the stylus-less iPhone 6 Plus that they swore off before Apple lost its mind and followed the leader on phablet phorm phactors.

Carlton Flowers
THE GADGET GURU

Top 5 Reasons To Consider The New Samsung Galaxy S5

SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 AVAILABLE FOR PRE ORDER ON 3/21/2014

Okay folks, Samsung has announced opening day for pre orders on the AT&T version of the Galaxy S5 smartphone! Let's take a look at the top 5 reasons that you should consider grabbing an S5 hot off the presses and be the first to get your hands on one when they ship.

1) Standard Price Point - The Galaxy S5 will be available for the standard contract price of $199. Sure, the price will drop over time, but why wait and end up with a smartphone that is going to become obsolete? If you want the cutting edge, get on the edge now. It's not worth waiting several months just to save fifty bucks, more or less. This phone is packed with blazing fast hardware, and tons of new gadgety features.

2) Fingerprint Sensor - Like Apple's iPhone 5S, the Galaxy S5 will come standard with a fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone. The scanner is built underneath the actual display, so it doesn't take up any space and make the unusable portion of the phone any bigger. I would find high use of the sensor, because unlock patterns are a pain in the rear. I normally turn off the security for this reason, and that's a dangerous thing to do with a smartphone. They've really stepped up the ease of total security with this feature. Well worth the effort!

3) 16 Megapixel Camera - The new camera on this phone breaks records again. Sure, there are other models with ridiculous cameras like the 41Mp lens on the Nokia Lumia. But this is the best possible camera you can have on a smartphone without adding ridiculous bulk. Plus the new features that are packed into camera functionality are seriously enticing. They knocked it out the park with this camera, again.

4) Super Fast Processing Power - The Galaxy S5 will set you on the cutting edge of speed with its 2.5GHz quad core processor. For the non-techies, this just means that you will be able to open applications with blazing speed, and multitask apps without dragging down the phone. Everything speeds up when you have a powerful processor like this. Add in 2Gb of RAM, and you won't be sitting and waiting much at all to perform any function on this smartphone.

5) Awesome Display - They've upped the quality of the display yet again with a 5.1" full HD Super AMOLED screen that has 1080 by 1920 resolution and 432ppi pixel density. That means brilliant colors, deep black color, amazing contrast, and viewing that can give you enjoyment like watching an LED TV. Samsung has always brought their "A Game" with the display. This one continues to impress like all previous models. Why settle for less?

Sure, there's plenty more that I could drone on about. But this is enough to kick you off the fence if you are trying to make a buying decision. Chances are, you won't be disappointed with this device if having the best is what you want. All gadget nerds (like me) should be solidly satisfied with what it has to offer.

This is no mediocre incremental upgrade from the Galaxy S4. It will run faster, download data quicker, and tease your eyes with its brilliant display, all while giving you plenty of added features and options to give you the best smartphone experience possible. So there you have it!

Carlton Flowers
Galaxy Watchman

 

New Galaxy S5 - Top 5 Reason Samsung Engineers Are STUPID

WHY SAMSUNG ENGINEERS GET THE "STUPID SIGN" ON GALAXY S5 FEATURES

Time for another Top 5! This time, we will give you the top five indisputable reasons why Samsung enginerds have about as much common sense as a tree stump when it comes to the latest and greatest flagship smartphone coming from the far East, the Galaxy S5:

1) No Text Reflow - Want to be able to zoom in to see text with ease, but without panning side-to-side? You're not gonna be able to do that with the Galaxy S5 stock browser.

2) Must Use After-Market Browsers To Read - Tired of panning on smartphones when the text is not reformatted to fit the screen? You can download an after-market browser. But that means you don't get to use all the new gadgety cool tricks and features that the stock browser provides like tilt scrolling, eye scrolling, and touchless gestures. Pure stroke of stupid if you ask me.

3) The Text Reflow Is M.I.A. - How do you like pounding your head on the table after trying to read tons of text on your smartphone? You better get a helmet and get used to it if you buy a Galaxy S5 this spring.

4) Lack of Text Reflow - How bright are the Samsung enginerds to throw in everything but the kitchen sink into the stock browser... EXCEPT TEXT REFLOW? Ya got me, partner. If they could only dumb them down to include the most obvious advantageous function of the browser, that would be nice. But I guess they aren't HTC engineers.

5) Text Reflow No-Show - We complained when the Galaxy S2 didn't have it. We passed rumors about it coming with the stock S3 browser before it came out, and were sorely disappointed. Then we groaned and pounded our heads when it was left out AGAIN on the fabulous Galaxy S4. So if you're holding your breath waiting for it to be included on the Galaxy S5, plan on turning blue.

So there you have it folks! If this doesn't prove that the Samsung enginerds are stupid, I don't know what does. I guess you can tell that this text reflow thing really chaps my buns. Hopefully that has been made obvious here.

I've stuck by Samsung thus far, and it is by far the best smartphone on the market... in my opinion. But if someone releases a device that can out perform and function as well as the Galaxy S5 when I'm due for an upgrade, it's bye bye Samsung for me.

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Activist

 

Is The LG G Flex Curvalicious Display The Wave Of The Future?

REVIEW: LG'S G FLEX SMARPTPHONE BREAKS THE MOLD WITH CONCAVE DISPLAY

I spent a fantastic 2 weeks with the LG G Flex smartphone, and it wasn't the device's technical specifications that had me sad about sending it back to AT&T. It was the display.

In the age of gigantic oversized monstrosities that we call "phablets", not a single manufacturer has come up with something this different. At first, I thought it was a gimmick. But after using it during my test period, it's anything but a gimmick.

The concave display on the LG G Flex smartphone isn't nearly as exaggerated as I thought it would be. We're only talking a depth of about a couple of millimeters in the center of the display at its full depth. But the difference it makes when compared to a flat smartphone is very noticeable.

For people like me who do a ton of reading on their smartphone, the concave display offers a major advantage: it's easier on the eyes. Why? I think this is due to the fact that the radius of your eyesight does not change length from reading the top to the bottom of the screen.

That might sound hokey to you. But is it? The new 4K televisions coming from LG and Samsung have a horizontally curved display to provide a more "immersive" effect, like the big screens at the best movie theaters. I noticed the same effect with the LG G Flex.

This smartphone sports a whopping 6" (diagonally measured) display. With a screen that size, maybe the slight concave design does actually offer something of a different experience to your eyes. And with my 40-something aging eyeballs, I could swear that it added to my ease of reading.

The LG G Flex display doesn't break any records with screen resolution. It's only a meager 720x1280 with 245 ppi. That might sound like techno gibberish to you, but of all the smartphones on the market, this is just average in resolution. But it doesn't need to be any higher than this.

Most of the smartphones on the market that boast better screen resolution don't really make that big of a difference to the average user anyway. But with bright, vivid colors and the huge size coupled with the slight concave design, it brings a brilliance that gives you the experience of watching a big flat screen television.

As far as the flexibility of the display, it doesn't mean that it is indestructible. If you drop the LG G Flex from a height of about 4', you will crack the display. Watching a drop test video did expose the fact that it is not made of an unbreakable material. But the flexibility does have its advantages.

I destroyed the display of my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone 3 months ago. I had the phone in my back pocket, forgot it was there, and I sat on it. While I did not crack the display, my big butt managed to flex the LCD panel, and it was toast. You cannot so much as slightly flex the LCD panels on any smartphone without chancing completely destroying them. They just can't handle that.

But the LG G Flex does have the capability of bending without breaking. When you place the G Flex on a table face down, you can depress the center of the phone until it is flat on the surface and it will not damage the LCD. That means it will probably survive a chance sitting without spelling its demise. Because of that, I think this smartphone is more durable than anything on the market even though it is crackable.

I think we will see more concave design devices enter into the market in the coming months. With the wave of TVs arriving, and the LG G Flex, other manufacturers are sure to follow. Add to that the fact that Samsung has a completely flexible display in development, and I am sure we will see other non-flat designs coming our way.

Have you given the LG G Flex a test drive? Let me know what you think. I'm curious to know if other users find the display design to be easier on the eyes compared to the standard flat display.

I'll close this update by saying the LG G Flex gets a solid "two thumbs up" from the gadget king (that's me). This is a device I would love to add to my cadre of electronics! Big thanks to AT&T St. Louis for the test device!

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Flexer

LG G Flex Smartphone via AT&T

The Future Of Big Smartphones - Will The Trend Reverse?

IN TEN YEARS, WILL MICRO-SIZED SMARTPHONES BE THE "NEW" TREND?

I've always hated iPhones because of their tiny microscopic little screens. That's why I switched to Android. Every day we see a new jumbo-sized smartphone hit the market. Up until now, this made me happy. But now I can hardly hold one in my hand.

I can't even decide what I want... a huge display for my horrible vision, or something I can actually use with my little hands. But this has me thinking about the normal reversal of trends, just like fashion.

Nowadays, we see people sporting the horrendous fashion trends of the 80's. It's just awful. What's the next bad trend to come back? Could it be micro-sized smartphones, leaving the big honking 6" monsters in the technology graveyard?

Think back to the 80's... remember when it was cool to walk around showing off your brand-new calculator watch? How stupid was it to actually sit in class doing math problems poking on tiny pin-head-sized buttons on your calculator watch? This was stupidity in action.

As time went on, you weren't cooll enough unless you had the next tiny thing. 30 years later, and you're not cool unless you're walking around with a phone the size of an iPad.

As stupid as society seems to be, in repeating really bad fads, do you think the microscopic devices will make a comeback? Or will we continue to life-size all the gadgets that we can't seem to live without?

Just a thought...

Carlton Flowers
Technology Rambler

 

All-New "CZ Gadget Talk" For Mindless Ramblings

GADGET TALK INVADES THE CZ BLOG FOR ADD/HD GADGET NERDS

I need a way to let my gadget thoughts flow freely from my mind. When you see this picture, you'll know that there is a mindless short (or long) post coming from the top of my head.

It's hard to write awesome well-thought-out blog posts. It can be mentally draining. Sometimes I will go a week or 2 without a blog post, because I don't have the creative mindset to sound all polished and professional. But I have got to ahve an outlet when I just feel like blurting out random thoughts about gadgets.

Instead of bottling up my amazing thoughts and waiting for inspiration to hit me on organizing it into an award-winning piece that hits page one of Reddit and Digg, the "Gadget Talk" posts will uncork whatever is on my mind at the moment.

Another great advantage? I don't have to whip up some fancy device picture with great graphics and artsy-looking texts. This will be an instant "mind-dump". You can expect a lot of opinion on these posts, and it will serve as a way that you folks can jump on and get a conversation going.

Who knows... these short posts might even inspire one of the regular top notch articles that I am so famous for writing.

Just a little heads up from the Gadget King so you know I haven't fallen off my pedestal of writing greatness.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Blog Master

 

Samsung Galaxy Text Reflow Fail - Will They Ever Get This Right?

TEXT REFLOW STILL A "NO-SHOW" ON GALAXY ANDROID DEVICES

If you found this page using a search engine, you share my frustration. It's about the lack of text reflow on Samsung's Galaxy smartphone devices running Anroid. I haven't ranted about this in a while, so it's high time I shoot the flame thrower at Samsung over this issue.

For those of you who have not been enlightened, "text reflow" is the ability for a mobile browser to reformat the text dynamically to fit the screen when you zoom in on an article of any type. The Galaxy series has never had this ability.

For people like me who consume tons of article content on their smartphone, this is both maddening and frustrating beyond imagination. I still cannot understand why such a useful function can't be incorporated into the best line of smartphones on the planet.

And before any Apple lovers sneer and gloat about an Android fan criticizing Samsung, your crappy devices don't do this either. This is something only HTC and a few other smartphone manufacturers have the common horse sense to value and include in their mobile browsers.

I have forty-something eyes that are plagued with horrible astigmatism and near-sightedness. Reading tiny text on a smartphone really sucks. It makes people like me feel as if companies like Samsung (and definitely Apple) just don't care to take the simple steps to encode this feature into browser codes.

Apparently, not enough people are complaining about this, because Samsung has no plans to incorporate this any time soon. I've waited for years to no avail. If I could take a big stick and whack some of the software development engineers upside the head at Samsung headquarters, I would do it if it meant they would address this and get it right.

HTC on the other hand apparently "gets it", and has included text reflow in all of their browser builds. There are some older devices made by other manufacturers who also had this feature, but it disappeared over time.

I first discovered text reflow when I owned an iPhone 4, and a friend of mine was showing off his flashy big screen Droid Razr Max device. He showed me an article on the BGR website, and while zooming in on the text, it cascaded automatically, increasing in font size, wrapping the sentences vertically so no side-to-side panning was necessary. I was instantly jealous.

Sure, some of the smarty pants geniuses out there claim that Samsung devices do have what they call 'text resizing", but it is hardly text reflow. You basically zoom in on tiny text, but then you have to double-tap the display to make the text fit the screen. But when you do this, it shrinks the font size down considerably, and limits you to a very small amount of resizing.

I want the font size to be as big as possible, and I want to scroll in one direction (vertically) to rapidly read articles. I can tear through text at around 800 to 1,000 words per minute with full comprehension using a device that properly reflows the text.

Another lame work-around that you can use on a Samsung smartphone is setting the text size in the settings window. You can make the text bigger, but you are still limited to the "double-tap-and-reshrink" action. Additionally, it screws up all the text on the screen, giving you major problems with overlapping text blocks. I call that 100% useless.

What people like me want is dynamic text reflow. That means watching the text reformat right in front of our eyeballs while zooming in, ending up with a super large font and sentences that don't fly off the right edge of the display.

The only half-@%$ option we now have is to use a third-party browser like Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. Chrome will not dynamically reflow the text, but it will allow you to increase the font size a lot more than the standard Android browser. Opera will reflow text, but it's not dynamic.

We hit another problem head-on when opting for the third-party browsers... none of the fancy gimmicks and functions that are built into the standard browser will work. I've grown to love the tilt-to-scroll, hands-free scrolling gestures, and other functions of the standard browser. But none of those work when using a third-party browser on a Samsung device.

While this isn't a deal breaker for me, it still makes me mad enough to grind my teeth when I see friends with an HTC One enjoying dynamic text reflow. If you haven't seen this, grab a friend that owns an HTC device and give it a try. You'll instantly see what I mean when you zoom in on text.

Samsung has done so many things right, and I absolutely love their devices. I'll probably stick with this brand for the forseeable future, because there are just so many great things I like about them that you just don't get with other brands.

But at the same time, I sure would be happy if Samsung would listen to customers and tell their developers to pull their heads out of their rear ends and get this encoded into the next software update. But I won't hold my breath.

If you share my frustration, post a comment in the Disqus comments section and tell me what you think!

Carlton Flowers
Arch Text Reflow Advocate Supreme

 

Curvy Concave LG G Flex Flexing On The AT&T Scene Soon

LG BRINGS INNOVATION WITH CURVED FLEXIBLE SMARTPHONE DISPLAY

My trusty AT&T informant has just told me that the LG G Flex will be coming to my favorite carrier network sometime in the first quarter of 2014.

LG has been on the rise for quite some time, tranforming from a brand maker of devices I wouldn't waste my money on to a top-level manufacturer of high quality cutting-edge technology (see my video post on the LG G2).

With the LG G Flex comes a lot of innovation, and it looks like this will be a strong newcomer on the smartphone scene as a result. The G Flex will have a curved form factor that we have not seen on the shelves as of yet. It looks like the G Flex will fit your face fabulously, without fail.

The big fat fantastic phablet front viewing face of the G Flex measures a whopping 6" diagonally, and is what LG calls a "true HD P-OLED Real RGB" display. The catch? It's supposed to reduce glare and provide more of an "immersive" experience.

Looking under the hood of this monster, it's power plant is packing a 2.26GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2Gb RAM, 32Gb storage memory, a 13Mp camera, 2.1Mp front-facing cam, a 3,500mAh battery (wow) and Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.

That's not bad at all, and pretty much keeps the LG G Flex right in the middle of cutting-edge smartphones currently being sold out on the market. We'll have to wait and see how the LG operating environment feels, but if it is anything like the LG G2, I'm sure it will be spectacular.

LG has come of age. I give them 100% respect as a quality hardware manufacturer, and hats-off to them for bringing the first true concave smartphone mainstream.

Carlton Flowers
Innovation Watchman 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite - Could This Be A Hit?

SAMSUNG TO OFFER LESS EXPENSIVE VERSION OF NOTE 3

If this report turns out to be true, I could be looking at my next smartphone purchase. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite could hit a sweet spot with what I want most in a smartphone.

I'm still thoroughly enjoying my Samsung Galaxy S4, don't get me wrong. And I've been eyeballing a Note 3 since its release. But I just can't justify spending the money on making that purchase outright.

But with the prospect of the Galaxy Note 3 Lite, I'm thinking seriously of taking that leap if the price is right. And I'm talking about buying off-contract.

The current Galaxy Note 3 can be found used on eBay for around $550 if you look hard. That's an excellent price, considering this phone is priced at $724.99 via AT&T brand new. But if the Galaxy Note 3 can be obtained brand new for what you would pay for a Note 3 that is used, this could be a winner.

As far as tech specs, the Galaxy Note 3 Lite is looking like it will fall right between the Galaxy Note 2 and the Note 3. Instead of a full HD display, we're talking 720p HD. And that's not bad. I'm sure they will pack at least as much RAM and memory storage as the Note 2, but it could be a bit higher.

I'm going to be watching closely for developments, and I'll report back as soon as I see something solid. This would be a great smartphone to run on the AT&T network, my carrier of choice!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Watcher

The CZ Rundown Of The New Motorola "Moto X"

MOTOROLA MOTO X SMARTPHONE - THE QUICK REPORT!

The Motorola Moto X is on the shelves and available for you to nab. Up to this point, I had not read much on this device. But I love the commercials, and the features they stress. So I took the time to look into this handset and give you a quck rundown.

I have not had the chance to test this device hands-on, but that will hopefully happen soon. This one is on my hit list of smartphones that I would love to have a test drive of.

First off, Motorola brags about how the Moto X is "assembled in the US". That doesn't mean much, being that the components are still made in China and Korea, but I guess that's a positive thing that they at least employ some US citizens for putting these puppies together. So that's halfaway commendable.

It looks like a solid design, but I need to hold one in my hands to confirm that. I do like what they are saying about how it is surviving drop tests better than any other device, plus how they have made a seemingly scratch-proof screen. That's all good in my book.

The body is polycarbonate material, like the Nokia Lumia 1020. Some say it even feels ceramic. But that definitely adds strength and durability. The more durable, the better. I think smartphones are way too expensive as it is, so any efforts that the manufacturers make to get these things designed better for standing up to abuse is awesome.

Google has set up voice activation for everything on this phone. Any task you need to perform can be initiated with voice. That would put it a step ahead of Samsung's S Voice, and possibly Apple's Siri. Can't wait to test the functionality of that.

The display looks pretty optimal. It's a 4.7" AMOLED RGB with 720HD & 316 pixels per square inch. It's smaller in size than the Galaxy S4, and closer in size to the HTC One. It might fit in your hand better, but I'm thinking it will still be too big to do much texting with one hand. But this display is supposedly pretty decent to look at.

The camera looks good on the Moto X. It's not the top of the pile by any means, but it will get the job done. It shoots in 1080p HD for video, and the rear camera is 10Mp in size. Plus you get the standard front-facing camera. Not bad at all.

There are a couple of really cool things that are unique with this device. First is the bonus storage space you get from Google Drive. They will dole out an extra 50Gb of space to your free 15Gb account if you buy this phone. That gives you a whopping 65Gb of free cloud storage to jam all of your photos and videos into for safe keeping.

The other cool extra is the ability to buy the Motorola "Skip Clip" for an extra $19.99. You clip this on your belt or shirt, and when you go to your phone, you can unlock it with one touch. If the clip isn't within close proximity, it will abide by the regular unlock settings.

If you get the Skip Clip, you also get three "Skip Dots" for free. They are the sticker versions of the clip that you can stick to your desk (or wherever else you'd like).

The battery on this device packs in a whopping 2200mAh, and reports are that it has a long life in-between charging. That's a plus.

All-in-all, I think this smartphone will be a hit. While it's not on the bleeding edge of technology, is one version of Android under the most current version (4.2 rather than 4.3), and has no SD card capability, I'm still gonna give this device a thumbs-up before I even get one in my hands to test.

I'll post up an audio to discuss this more, and keep your eyes peeled in the near future for some video and a full demo!

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Geek Supreme

 

Rant Alert! What Is With All The "Plastic" Samsung Yip Yap?

ARE SAMSUNG PRODUCTS CHEAP PLASTIC LOW QUALITY JUNK?

I must be on an island all by my lonesome... I'm the only blogger on the planet who doesn't constanty berate Samsung for making cheap, flimsy, plastic-like products.

Is it just me, or is it actually appear that every noteworthy blogger and tech junkie reviewer seems to slam and smear Samsung smartphones for having a cheap build? I see this happening almost daily when I search for Samsung stories.

I've noticed a repeating pattern. The prognosticators will predict that the next big Samsung smarphone will come in new bullet-proof heavy metal packaging, parting ways with their previous plastic design. Then the product is released, and said prognosticators pummel Samsung for failing to provide a new "higher quality" build.

But has the thought ever occured to these writers who constantly complain about the plastic casing that Samsung might have an actual reason for sticking with their basic design? Wouldn't it stand to reason that the #1 selling smartphone manufacturer would be doing this on purpose?

Somewhere back in history, someone equated bulk, breakability, and heaviness with "quality". And this opinion has somehow stuck in the minds of the tech world. If a smartphone doesn't pass the basic weight test, the product must be "cheap".

Writers continue to implore Samsung to produce a "higher quality" device, or suffer sagging sales if they continue to keep the same stance. But the sales success has not stopped.

I'm guessing that I am the sole tech blogger who believes lighter, thinner, less breakable smartphones are what people want. After breaking each and every iPhone I've owned, I'm left with no desire invest a dime in a heavy device that can't survive a drop.

All one needs to do in order to be swayed to my line of thinking is to watch videos of drop tests. Drop an iPhone, an HCT device, and a Samsung smartphone from 3' high to a nice unforgiving concrete surface. I don't need to tell you the results that you will plainly see.

So for all of the critics and complainers, you can keep cursing Samsung and pleading with them to ditch their plastic design concept on their next series of smartphones. I for one sincerely hope that Samsung turns a deaf ear to the anti-plastic yip yap, and continue manufacturing durable, less breakable devices.

As far as the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy Note III is concerned, I say wrap it up in plastic. Stick to your guns, and I'll be the first in line to buy. If you break with tradition and create a heavy, bulky, breakable Galaxy line, I'll say you will have made the dumbest smartphone move possible.

Hopefully someone at Samsung headquarters will see my silly little rant. Maybe it will help them keep on keeping on, making smart smartphone design decisions as they should.

Until then, the critics can keep buying iPhones and the likes, along with their bulky $75 monstrous Otterbox cases... because they have to. Ha.

Carton Flowers
Plastics Proponent

 

 

Samsung vs HTC - The Slug Fest

SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES OR HTC? WHICH IS SUPERIOR, AND WHY?

Okay all you smartphone geeks. Let's start a fight. In this round, we will pit the Samsung Galaxy S4 against the HTC One. Of course you know, I own a Galaxy S4. But this post is not about me. I want to hear from you.

Samsung smarpthones are said to be cheap, light-weight cheap devices with way too many useless gadgety features that muck up the user experience. But others claim Samsung makes the best device on the planet with far superior features.

HTC smartphones are said to be heavy, clunky, and breakable, with a horrible after-market interface (HTC Sense). But they are also said to be the devices with a high quality build, superior features, and devoid of all the junk packed in to Samsung smartphones.

Do you own a Samsung Galaxy S4? Or do you pack an HTC One in your front pocket? PhoneRocket gives the edge to Samsung. But I want to hear why you believe (or don't believe) that your device is better than the competition.

I won't interject my opinion in this post. But I will respond to your comments and tell you what I think. Make your point strong, and show me why your device can lay the smackdown on the competition.

Ding ding ding! Let the fight begin, and slug it out!

Carlton Flowers
Cheif Smartphone Debate Instigator