Sunday, October 19, 2014
Sunday, July 06, 2014
In praise of FM
The one glaring omission in Samsung's latest smartphones is the decision to take out the FM radio. The old HTC One X pictured he has a very nice digital radio built in as did my old HTC Inspire. While I understand that streaming media like Pandora is all the rage these days, FM still has it's place in my opinion.
First off, FM does not use you data plan. If you are lucky (or wealthy) enough to have an unlimited data plan then stream away with your Pandora app to your heart's content. But, if you are like most folks, streaming media is for use when on WiFi only. Secondly, FM will work even when you can't get a data signal. This is especially useful when in poorly served rural areas and when traveling abroad where data is expensive for Americans.
Why Samsung omitted the FM hardware is really beyond me. They choose to include a boat load of other features, many of which are frankly of dubious value in my opinion. As I understand it, HTC still gives you FM on the new HTC One M8. Come upgrade time, that's where I'll be going.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Mophie Juice Pack Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a truely remarkable device. Between the big screen, the camera, the fast Internet connection and the sd card for your music and videos, this is almost a no compromise smartphone. The one area that could use help (like that of most other smartphones) is the battery. The stock battery isn't bad. Its just that this do everything phone is very likely being used so heavily by its fans that no amount of power is enough.
Thats where the Mophie comes in. The case consists of a two part hard case with a soft touch finish that provides another battery with about the equivalent of 80% of the stock cell. The case seems very well built and is relatively slim for what it provides. It is certainly much more sturdy than the replacement battery/caseback combos out there without making your phone too unwieldy for comfortable daily use. I've been using this one for a few months now and, despite a few drops, it is no worse for the wear.
Like all of Mophie's cases, both the case and the phone charge simultaneously through the case's micro usb port. A button on the back activates a row of LED lights to show the charging progress.
The Juice Pack is pretty pricey at $99. That being said though, it does combine protection with power in a good looking well made case. All in all, the added utility makes it worth the price in my opinion. If you are regularly running out of power but are unwilling to sacrifice protection for your phone, get the Mophie.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Cool T Shirt
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Trident Electra battery case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
As the name Electra suggests, this case contains a second 2600mh battery. Like a Mophie Juicepack, you push a switch on the back when your phone's battery is getting low and, presto-it starts to recharge things immediately. The battery/case combo both charge through a standard droid usb port on the bottom of the case. According to the instructions, the case is designed to charge the phone's battery first and then power up the case's battery. From a practical standpoint, a user should see double the normal battery life. Not bad at all.
The other feature that sets this case apart is protection. Trident was really serious about protecting your phone with this beast. The Electra has three levels of protection built into it. First, there is a silicone form fitting case that goes directly on to your Galaxy S4 to cushion it from impacts. Then a hard plastic bezel with a built-in screen protector attaches to the front of your phone. Then those two parts (once fitted together) snap into a hard exterior case which houses the second battery. The exterior case part has impact absorbing corners and easilly grippable soft plastic points on the sides to allow for activation of the phone control buttons. Lastly, Trident includes a belt clip that the case clicks into for carrying. (I'm not a big fan of belt clips like this so I've chosen not to use it).
It is tricky to fit the Galaxy into the case the first time you use it. You have to pull things apart from the bottom and side at the same time to get it all apart from what I can see. It will take some trial and error but it does work out eventually. Once on the phone, everything seems very tight and secure. One thing to note, the charging port on the bottom of the case needs to be inserted very firmly once lined up. It stays put just fine after that.
If you want a case that offers the maximum combination of protection and power, the Trident Electra is it. There are third party batteries for the S4 that offer more juice but none of them offer this kind of protection. This is one very tough customer.