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Sunday, December 15, 2013

HTC One User Review; From a Nokia Fan and WP User

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a big Nokia user, and like most of their products; and I love WP (even with all its flaws), which is why reviewing an Android device is a big step for me, and completely out of character, but oh well..

As I previously mentioned in my unboxing of the HTC one, this is the only device that I've ever truly lusted after; simply for it's looks. I'm not one to care for internals and specs really; in fact I don't really care as long as it runs smoothly, but toss on a superb camera, or a brilliant screen and you have me hooked. Thankfully the HTC one delivers on both those requirements, but more on that later.

Video Review of the HTC One:


The HTC One, is hands down one of the prettiest devices I've ever seen, let alone had the pleasure to use, the beautifully crafted slab of aluminum has a solid premium finish to it that makes it feel like an "elite" device. The detailed corners, and chamfered edges ooze sexiness, while screaming class. Everything about this device has been thought through to the tiniest detail (except the power button - more on that in a bit)l the micro drilled speakers, which by the way are amazing, the gentle curve of the back of the device all packed in a very neat and thin package that one can't help but appreciate. As I just mentioned the power button placement seems a bit "off"; being placed on the upper left side of the device makes it tricky to handle and awkward to reach at times, also the nice brushed aluminum body of the device is a winder to behold; unfortunately it can easily be scratched (even with your nails) leaving some ugly lines on the phone. 

 Camera Quality:

The HTC One took a risk, rather than going down the well beaten path of the mega-pixel race, it forged a path of its own with what HTC are calling "Ultrapixels". Regardless of what the technology is, what matters is that it works; in fact it more than just works, it works wonders. The HTC One has one fot he most pleasing cameras to use (both front and back) giving solid consistent results with beautiful images and accurate detail production. The zoom might not be the best out there, and the low light images won't compare to the pureview Lumias, but it's more than enough for everyday usage. 

The front facing camera is no slouch either, getting some great images and videos (1080p), although it will come off grainy if the lighting is beneath optimal, but that's to be expected. But for all intents and purposes (meaning selfies, and video chatting), the front facing camera is more than a match for whatever you throw at it.

The main camera was equally impressive, with nice shots, and quick focus capturing (not to mention a kick ass focusing noise), however it did tend to throw the occasional blue tint on images, but these were very limited and isolated occurrences, barely worth mentioning. 

(all images below are from the main camera, except the first which is obviously from the front facing camera).

Reception & Sound Quality:

Unfortunately one aspect where the HTC One struggles is cellular reception, I live in an area with relatively poor reception; and my room in general has the worst reception in the house. In my room on most of the devices I use I got a solid two or three bars on average, however with HTC One I found myself seeing the "no reception" alert more often than not. In fact I often would leave the phone outside my room just to ensure that it rings. 

On the other hand voice clarity was very clear, and the volume of the speaker was quite loud, in fact I kept turning it down sometimes since anyone standing around me could hear what was being said. 

One feature worth mentioning on the HTC One that I really liked, was the fact that the phone vibrates when the call is connected. This is a ridiculously simple feature that makes a world of difference to me, I for one get distracted easily; and sometimes call up a friend then end up talking to someone else while waiting for them to pick up. The simple vibration of the phone lets me know when they've answered the phone, without having to keep it pressed to my ear the whole time. 


(for a more detailed review of the software on the HTC One, check the video at the start of the review, as it's much to difficult to discus it all in writing).

The more interesting part of my experience with the HTC One comes in terms of the fact that it's one of the first Android devices I've ever seriously used. To sum it up nicely, I had almost no issues with Android on the One in terms of lag, crashes or even bugginess; it turns out my fear of android was in-justified.

In broad strokes regarding the software I loved Google now, as it kept everything I could possibly care about only a tough of a button away, with instant access to the sports teams I follow, stocks and most importantly weather conditions. It even goes through your email and offers you tracking info for packages that are on the way to you, or updates to a flight you might have.

Another honorable mention in the software side of things is the offline voice dictation, WP claims to have some sorts of voice dictation, but it's on online service that pretty much sucks; and is only available in messaging and email. Google's voice dictation on the other hand is super accurate, even picking up medical terms I was googling for my studies; and better yet it's system wide and works offline. I know the point of this isn't to be used while driving, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't help me out on the roads. 


The HTC One is one of the greatest devices I've ever used, it indeed is the full package in terms beauty and brains. With the few things that I ad to complain about (which are hardly issues, short of the reception problem); I would call this device near perfect. And I'm glad this is the phone I chose to start my Android journey, as it has only left me wanting more great things, with very little to feel disappointed about. And I can't wait for this year's flagship. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Video Tutorial: How to Insert Micro-Sim Into the HTC One

As part of the HTC one coverage we'll be doing, here's a video demonstrating how to insert the Micro-Sim into the one. If you've owned an iPhone or a Lumia the process is very similar, the one uses the same sim tray ejector/paper clip to eject the tray.

Simply grab the pin and insert it into the hole on the left side of the device and apply pressure. Tada!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HTC One Unboxing and First Impressions (Video & Gallery)

 Earlier this week I finally got my hands on the HTC One, which admittedly isn't the freshest phone on the market but is a very special phone for me. The One is the FIRST Android phone I've ever used as a daily device; and it's also the only Android device that has ever had me lusting after it, wanting to own one.

For those of you who follow me anywhere on the internet, I make no secret of my leanings towards Nokia and Windows Phone, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate and admire another product/OS; which is exactly the case with the one.

The HTC One is still HTC's flagship device, and rightfully so, the device has a stunning 4.7" full HD 1080p screen with a ridiculous ppi of 468. What really got me on this phone though was the design, the beautiful crafted aluminum body that gently curves in your hand is a glory to behold; and is easily one of the prettiest devices I've ever used.The rounded corners, the speaker grills and the chamfered edges are all a beauty to behold, and ooze elegance and a "premium feel". What's more is that this beautiful body packs a decently sized 2,300 Mah battery, as well as a quadcore snapdragon 600 processor with two Gbs of ram, which miraculously still only way a mere 143 grams!

So be sure to check out the unboxing video above, and the images below for a closer look at the device; and expect a full review as well as my thoughts on Android (coming form a Nokia/WP user) soon! If you have any questions, comments or thoughts be sure to leave them down below and I'll do my best to get back to you!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to View Vine Links on Windows Phone

Vines are amazing time wasters, and excellent forms of entertainment. The 6 second clips of comedy, special effects or every day life are fun to watch; and you'll probably want to share them with your friend occasionally. Unfortunately Internet Explorer on Windows Phone doesn't support playing Vines in the browser, meaning you're essentially sending your friends a pointless link. Fret not however as there is a fix!

To get Vine links to play on Windows Phone, you have to run them through a 3rd party app, 6sec to be specific. 6sec is needed since using a bit of trickery you can get Vine links that open in your browser to redirect into 6sec for viewing.

The first step is to add this simple line of code as a favorite in the browser:


(note: to save this as a favorite, first open any webpage; eg:, choose add to favorites, then edit the favorite, renaming it and changing the address to match the code above).

Once saved as a favorite, you're practically done; anytime someone sends you a Vine link, open the link (it'll open in your browser); then head to your favorites and choose the Favorited code you just saved above; this should force 6sec open, and have it instantly direct you to the linked vine. 


This might not be the most elegant solution, but it works; so if you're in the habit of sharing Vines with your friends then this is definitely worth it.  Until WP get's a smart browser that can automatically redirect you to the relevant app (like it does with marketplace links) this is your best shot.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Fix Windows Phone App Updates Notifications on Store Live Tile

Windows Phone is a pretty solid OS in terms of stability, but occasionally it craps out in random subtle ways that you might not realize for a while. One issue that occasionally occurs is that your Marketplace live tile will stop notifying you of new app updates, leaving you in the cold when it comes to bug fixes and new features. Of course you can still update apps manually by opening them in the store and having it check for updates; but fear not, there is a fix!

Basically the fix involves "refreshing" the store live tile and reminding it of available updates, this is done by:
  1. Find any app that has a pending update, and open it in the store do not update the app yet, just make sure your phone registers that there is an update available, then exit the store.
  2. Unpin the Store live tile from your start screen
  3. Soft reset your phone by holding the volume down and power button together for about ten seconds. (note this will also reset your phone's clock, so be sure to fix the time once you reboot).- This will NOT delete any of your data.
  4. Pin the store tile back to your home screen and wait. (it might take several hours for the first updates to appear, as the store doesn't constantly check for updates).
Hopefully that should fix any issues you had with the store not notifying you of new updates.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Galaxy Gear Update for GS4, S3 and Note 2 Rolling Out Now

Anyone who was planning on getting a Galaxy Gear smart watch (and wasn't put off by the lack of detailed notifications), but didn't have a Note 3 now has a reason to go get one. Samsung have begun releasing the firmware update for the Gear that allows it to pair with other Galaxy devices besides the Note 3.

The latest update allows it to pair with the S4, S3 and Note 2; which should drastically increase the Gear's target market.The update also pushes the gear to Android 4.3.

If you happen to fit the criteria above, and were waiting for your device to be supported, go ahead and grab one from the link below:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lumia 625 Sample Images

As part of my Lumia 625 review, there of course has to be a part where I test out the camera, and this is it; below are a bunch of random sample pictures from the 625:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lumia 520 User Review + Camera Samples

Hey guys, here's a quick full res image sample gallery of the Lumia 520's camera (as part of my Lumia 520 Video review) - which you guessed; it is right below.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Dual Sim Debate

Dual sim phones are undeniably an important part of the mobile device industry, especially in the Middle East and East Asia where it's common for most people to have multiple lines. The issue however arises when you decide which phone gets to get a dual sim variant and which doesn't, I personally am not a fan of allocating the lower end of the device spectrum for dual sim phones; and here's why. 

The reason most people carry two lines/numbers (outside the US) besides the need for a business phone and a personal number is usually a cost cutting measure. In the Middle East for example there's a huge variation between the price per minute/second for a call to the same mobile network, as opposed to a friend on a different network, in fact sometimes same network calls are practically free (keep in mind we're talking about pre-paid lines with no expensive monthly/yearly commitments). 

Therefore it's become common practice in the area to carry two phones or two lines, to keep the cost of your communications down (especially in the younger/college aged community). Personally I don't bother with the hassle of having to lines for a number of reasons mainly that it's not worth the hassle of having to carry two phones at all times and charge them up etc. (I'm a very lazy guy). 

For the sake of argument though, let's assume I wanted to purchase a dual sim phone to cater to my needs, and avoid the hassle of having to carry two phones at all times, what are my options? Instead of having the option to carry one "good" (high end) phone and a second cheap $20 phone, my options are instantly limited, and the selections aren't very nice. 

Playing along with Nokia's strategy of dual sim phones, technically my only option would be to pick a phone from the Asha lineup (S40) or from the S30 Dumb/Feature phone segment, not the prettiest of selections for a guy who likes to do a million things on his phone. This is essentially the problem, why is it assumed that a dual sim phone should be a low end device? This has been Nokia's strategy for a while now, even with S^3 which was also never graced with a dual sim phone. 

Samsung have partially gotten the equation right, with their "duos" line up which offers a decent selection of features with the dual sim capabilities; so when will Nokia decide to do the same (or even one-up them)? 

Recently Qualcomm have announced their latest series of Snapdragon 200 processors which bring (you guessed it) dual sim support to Windows Phone, however once again if you read the specifications of the chip you'll see that this isn't designated for your high end (lumia 920/820- like) device. Most probably we'd end up with a variant of the Lumia 520 9or if we're lucky the 620) with dual sim capabilities, and that won't really cut it. 

Why shouldn't you make a dual sim variant of your flagship (or runner up) phone? I understand there are related costs to creating another variant of a device in production (besides allocating the machines and factory time); but a flagship device is supposed to be your best and biggest hit with your consumers right? So why should you alienate a portion of your consumers and force them to buy an inferioirly specced device, or god forbid drive them into your competitor's arms?

*keep in mind that the biggest argument to advocate low end dual sim devices, is that they are more common with the people looking for a cheaper solution, which is true; but at the same time people with *enough* money to spend also want a dual sim phone (hello business men!).

what do YOU (yes you!) have to say on the topic? 

BlackBerry Opens First Retail Store in Dubai

BlackBerry have just opened their first ever retail store in the MEA area, Dubai to be specific in the famous Dubai Mall.

Blackberry today opened its first official BlackBerry-branded retail store in the Middle East, expanding its presence and bringing BlackBerry even closer to customers in the region. The 1,000+ square foot store, located in the world-famous Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is operated in partnership with Axiom Telecom.
Located on level two of the world’s largest mall, near the Dubai Metro Link and Bloomingdale’s department store, the BlackBerry Store is designed to provide customers with a first-class, authentic BlackBerry shopping experience. Through Axiom, the store will also offer services such as free software upgrades, data back-up and transfer solutions, product set-up, service collection and warranty verification, as well as service and repair logistics.
With BlackBerry launching their own stores in the area only Microsoft (and Google- who don't have any brick & mortar stores) are then only ones missing from the area, hopefully we'll see a couple stores pop up there as well.