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Before You Buy 108
Leo Laporte: Coming up, we’ve got headphones, a brand new Dell, a waterproof iPad case, yet another one of those robot vacuum cleaners, and look at this! A phone somebody already sat on. Actually it’s the LGG flex. Coming up! It’s time to watch Before You Buy!
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Leo: Hey! Welcome to before you buy, the TWiT product review show, where we get all these great products in here and let our staff play with them, and give you a real world experience of what it would be like to own this device. When we get headphones we like to give it to Jammer B., John Slanina, our Studio Manager. He loves music, and he loves nothing more than lying on his back with the album, reading the liner notes, and listening on his great big COS headphones. We thought we’d give him something a little bit smaller this time around. From Sennheiser, let’s take a look.
John Slanina: Hi! I’m John Slanina and today for Before You Buy, I’m reviewing the Sennheiser Momentum on ear Headphones. As you can see, these pink headphones are colorful and stylish. And you kind of have to be stylish, I guess, to compete in the modern world of headphones. But these come in a variety of more muted colors, kind of pastel, than some of their competitors and their bright vibrant colors, so that’s pretty cool. I like the adjustment for the size and they’re easy to adjust to just the way you like them. They come with two cables and an interesting twist lock connecter that lets you change the cables. The second cable it comes with has a microphone and playback controls for Apple devices. The controls work pretty well, and the microphone lets you make and receive phone calls. The phone calls, I had a friend give me a call using these headphones, and the microphone sounds pretty good. It rejects the outside noise pretty well, and I didn’t notice the rubbing, the fabric noise with the cable that we usually get with these kind of microphones. So let’s talk about the sound. The highs are really bright and I was listening to a Cymbal and the cymbal crash was almost harsh. For the mids and the lows I was listening to some Hammond organ and some rock, and it seemed not as full, it seemed kind of thin in these compared to some other headphones. I listened to some of my favorite rock, I listened to some classical passages, and I listened to podcast for voice. And in the classical there was a movement with some symphony slowly fading out, and it just didn’t have the full low resonance that I was able to hear in some of their competitors. So these are the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones. They cost between $200 and $230, depending on the color. The pros for these headphones are that the size adjustment is easy and continuous, so they’ll fit just about everyone. The unique cable lock that prevents the cable from accidently disconnecting, I like that too. And the microphone for making phone calls, works pretty well. The cons are all related to the audio. I really am surprised to say, because I’ve liked Sennheiser headphones for decades, that these don’t sound as good as other headphones that are in the same price range and even less expensive headphones. So the highs are a little too sharp and two bright. The lows and the mids are a little thin. So for these Sennheier Momentum On-Ear headphones, I have to say don’t buy. I’m John Slanina and these have been the Sennheiser Momentum on-ear headphones.
Leo: Thank you, John Slanina. Jammer B, we call him from his many years in our chat room, our studio manager, and the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones. Shannon Morse is here, Snubs, our producer of the show.
Shannon Morse: Hello.
Leo: The woman who braingles all the gear, all the products, and this is kind of interesting because this is a new dell Latitude,
Leo: They make pretty good business laptops, but this one is mil speck.
Shannon: It is. So this is the Dell Latitude E7440. So this is one of the many laptops in their latitude 14 7000 series. You can get laptops in that series for as little as about 1000 bucks, for a 1089. This one in particular costs, $1849 on their website.
Shannon: And that is with a coupon, on the Dell website, it’s very expensive!
Leo: How come it’s so expensive?
Shannon: This is made for people that travel a lot. People that are going to be out and about, on planes, moving it around in backpacks and things like that. So what they did with this is stylized a military chasse on the inside, that can not only deal with things like vibrations, but can also deal with spills on the keyboard. They did a lot of testing with that, as well as high temperatures and low temperatures. So if you have it in your car in the middle of summer time in Arizona, you’ll still be fine with this. If you need to open and close it several times because you’re traveling and you need this in a bunch of different locations. The chasse will end up working very well. It’s also built with Aluminum, and on the back it has nice carbon fiber footprint on it. So it’s really, really pretty, it feels really nice because it has the soft texture to it. And the one big thing I did not like about this was the keyboard. So if you notice, you might be able to notice on the screen, you can see a little bit of a flex going on with this. And I’m not pushing very hard.
Leo: Why, why, why? Especially with something that tough and an aluminum chasse!
Shannon: No, you can see a little bit of flex to it. And I feel like this part was made cheaply. And that bummed me out. So as far as the interior goes, it has a 4 gig ram, so plenty of memory. An HD 4400 integrated graphics , a 256 gig hard drive.
Shannon: Yes, solid, state drive.
Leo: That’s nice.
Shannon: Yes, it’s enough space.
Leo: That’s one of the reasons it’s expensive. It has a big solid state drive.
Shannon: Yeah, exactly and is has Windows 8 pro, with a bunch of extra security settings that you can get from Dell as well, from this specific laptop series.
Leo: Does it have a thumbprint on it or not?
Shannon: This particular one does not. But you can get that as an add on.
Leo: But its touch screen?
Shannon: Yes, it is. It’s a nice touch screen, I love this screen. It’s really bright, it’s bright all the way up to 100%. And the colors are beautiful on this. It’s a, let me see what the specs are on this one.
Leo: The resolution.
Shannon: Yes, the resolution, I didn’t write it down, on it.
Leo: This is an ultra-book, you don’t see a lot of tough ultra-books. You don’t normally think of them as particularly tough. It does look like a low res screen though. 1366 x 768.
Shannon: They do have a lower screen one, this one is 1920 x1080.
Leo: Okay, so this is the more expensive one.
Shannon: Yeah, that’s what I thought, they fit in here because if you play on the desktop you can definitely see it when you open Windows and things like that.
Leo: You can tell right away when it’s a 1080P.
Shannon: Yes, you can, so you can tell when it’s a higher res.
Leo: So it’s 14 inches.
Shannon: Yes, it is, its 14 inches and 3.6 pounds. So when you lift it up, it is a little bit heavier, on the heavier side of ultra-books. It comes with all the ports you really need it has HDMI on the back. It has USB 3.0, and no 2.0 ports on it surprisingly. It has an Ethernet jack on the back, if you need that. This one also comes with wireless AC too, instead of just wireless N or ABG and N. Really nice laptop, very interesting. The wireless, the camera up at the top, it’s pretty average, but their speaker quality is really, really high. It gets so loud, I was very impressed with that. So my pros and cons with this, really excellent build quality, you can do a lot of travel with it. Very nice screen, I really like the resolution on it. And the loud speakers are super fun to play with. Now on the con side though, the touch pad does lack a little bit of sensitivity, and you can kind of notice that when I move around on it, but they do include the pointer stick right here, just in case you still like one of those.
Leo: Business users love those.
Shannon: I’ve seen that a lot lately. The battery life on this, it does have a battery on the back that you can take out yourself. It only lasts about 6 hours, which is kind of low end for a pricy ultra-book like this. You can buy an extra battery if you really want to, but I would not recommend it. I would want the big battery that’s built in. And also the keyboard of course, it does flex. So if you are traveling and you want a nice ultra-book, I would recommend it, but that’s only if you buy the external battery, in addition to this one, so you can switch it out. So I would have to give this on a try. Not necessarily a buy, because it’s not for me, but a try.
Leo: So this is the higher end $1800, version of the Dell Latitude. This is the E7440. 3.6 pounds. And I wasn’t joking it really is Mil speck.
Shannon: It is! Yeah!
Leo: I think they said Mil speck 1800G. So that’s, I don’t know what that means. You could drop it out of a helicopter, I don’t know. But you know, it looks nice.
Shannon: It looks nice, it’s built really nice, the quality is nice, so yeah, and it’s nice!
Leo: If we wanted to look at it. And as always with any of the Dell Latitude series, there’s always great features for integrating in the door Enterprise.
Shannon: Yeah, there definitely are.
Leo: Management features, and all that stuff.
Shannon: Plenty of that stuff is included through Dell, so they have excellent support as well. You get quality with Dell products.
Leo: Probably your company is going to buy it for you.
Shannon: Yes! (Laughs)
Leo: In most cases. Thank You Shannon,
Leo: Shannon Morse, Snubs, is the producer of this show, and of course, a regular, a host, on Coding 101.
Leo: We’ve got a Code program that is now, Friday’s right?
Shannon: It’s on Thursdays.
Leo: Thursdays is my Saturday. So that’s why I’m confused. Thursdays with Father Robert Ballacer, about 4?
Shannon: About 1:30 we do the show.
Leo: Oh, it’s earlier.
Leo: Okay, I’m not around, so I don’t really get in that.
Shannon: And it’s very fun!
Leo: It is! I do watch it, I see it after the fact! So Chad Johnson, producer extraordinaire, and the host of OMG craft and the Giz whiz, likes to apparently, go diving with his IPad. That’s what we gave him, a couple of IPad cases that are waterproof. Let’s take a look!
Chad Johnson: Hi! I’m Chad with TWiT and Before You Buy. And today I am reviewing two products. The Brydge keyboard for the iPad and the REPEL iPad waterproof case. Let’s go ahead and start out with the Brydge. The Brydge is a keyboard that you add to your iPad 2, 3 or 4th generation. This does not work with the IPAD air, it needs to have that sort of long edge design of an older iPad. It does collapse up and fold out, almost like you would expect a laptop to do. And I really do like the hinge that is on this keyboard. It uses just sort of these rubberized latex inserts around aluminum hinges that keep your iPad in place. I would say that the keyboard is on there pretty sturdy. So is the IPad. The case connects with the IPad via Bluetooth, and it also has multimedia keys at the top for things like home, brightness up and down, volume up and down, play, pause, that sort of thing. And it also has stereo speakers right on the top as well. Now the keyboard, it’s a full sized keyboard, it makes typing a dream on the iPad, especially if you have to do it an awful lot. The case is made out of aluminum, the same type of aluminum you would expect to find on your mac book or the back of your iPad, which is nice. It has rubberized stoppers so you don’t scratch up your iPad or the table on the front, and the back. Now I’ve had this case for coming in at around a month and a half, mine hasn’t failed, but it is something to definitely keep in mind that the warranty does not cover all that long. And there are a lot of people saying that this breaks after six months. Okay let’s get into the pros and cons for the Brydge full sized keyboard. I really enjoyed the full-sized keyboard, and keys, it felt very nice. I loved the fact that it had multimedia buttons that worked very seamlessly with the iPad and the extra speakers were fantastic. On the cons, this was pretty heavy, it was pretty heavy, I didn’t like hefting around the exact same weight as an iPad air. The weird Bluetooth paring process that you have to go through, is a con. And finally the horrible amazon reviews, is also a big con. Buy, try, don’t buy for the Brydge IPad keyboard case, I’m going to have to give this a try. The price was a small factor in that, because I don’t see a lot of people who would want to spend close to 200 bucks for just a case, a nice looking case. If you’re someone who has to type, I might understand but also with the cons, of especially those amazon reviews, I couldn’t give this a full resounding buy. So that has been the Brydge. Next, we have one more iPad case. And this is also for the 3 or 2nd generation iPad. It’s the REPEL Waterproof case. This is a case that you can submerse in water up to 33 feet. Let’s go ahead and set it inside. You start with a Velcro, and you get past 3 zip lock, little zip lock areas. There is an orientation to the case, because on the back of the case there is an opening for the iPad camera. The front plastic works just as you would expect, allowing you to tap in, tap around, it’s just as responsive as you would hope for. The case does have magnets to keep the front door closed and it also work with the iPad smart cover technology. Along the back, you have two places that you can put the cover into, so that it will hinge and stay on an angle. What would you use this for? Of course, boating, along the pool, you know, when you’re out at the beach, on vacation. The Shower! Because you want to use your iPad all the time. You don’t want just a silly shower to slow you down! So let’s get into the pros on cons of the REPEL iPad case. On the pros, it definitely keeps your iPad dry, it also has a cutout for your camera on the back side of your iPad. And I really like the magnetic clamping that this case does. On the cons, it definitely does feel like a lot of plastic, and the edges, well not, like sharp, they’re not going to cut you, they are very hard edges, and don’t feel luxurious at all. It’s also very hard to get at any of the side buttons, once this iPad is incased in the plastic. It’s very hard even to hit just the unlock button, or I can’t figure out a way to get to the volume up and down buttons, I’m trying as hard as I can just to squish up there and I can’t get to them. There’s no way to get to the ports of just the headphone jack. Which isn’t too much of a con, because you would sort of expect it in a water proof case. This comes in at $49.95. And buy, try, or don’t buy? Let me tell you, I saw go ahead and buy this thing! 50 bucks, it might be a little bit expensive for something like this, but it does work! And if you’re someone who needs this hardy, up to 33 feet of water, you could take this snorkeling, you could take it scuba diving, within reason. I really do think that this is quite nice. I’m Chad Johnson for TWiT and Before You Buy and thanks so much for watching! See you next time!
Leo: Chad Johnson, the red head, the old red head, and a couple of iPad cases. Now you may remember we took a look at the iRobot rumba 770. And you may remember I hated to do it a do not buy because I just felt like it didn’t do the job. It’s cool, it’s cute, it wanders around your apartment, and vacuums stuff up, I felt like I still had to vacuum. But they’re not the only contender in this space. There’s something from, how do you pronounce that? Moneual?
Leo: The rightest robot vacuum cleaner. We gave it to Brian Burnett, a noted slob, and asked him to tell us what he thinks.
Brian Burnett: Brian Burnett from TWiT and Before You Buy, here to show you today, the Moneual Rydis MR6550. The Rydis is 14 inches wide, and 3 inches tall. So that means it can fit under most chairs, and couches. At $299 the Rydis is one of the more affordable robot cleaners on the market. Now the Rydis has a few handy vacuuming modes, like automatic cleaning, corners only, manual cleaning, and shadow cleaning. Shadow cleaning utilizes the sensor on the Rydis to seek out areas under couches or beds. It also comes in handy with a remote, and you can set the vacuum modes accordingly, or you can control the Rydis manually with it. Now it isn’t the smartest robot I’ve ever met, and it has a tendancy to get caught on thick rugs or dog beds. But if you have a floor free of a lot of small objects, the Rydis will find its way around just fine. Be ready to find some items pushed around if you’re like me and have things stuffed under your furniture. I sometimes wonder if Rydis is trying to give me a clue about leaving things under the couch. Now the dust bin tray is easy to remove and clean, and somehow after every time I use it the Rydis finds Corgi hair, it does have little bristles on the front that I attach, but they don’t seem to do much, other than spin around. And after about a couple weeks one of them got clipped on something and fell out. The Rydis comes equipped with a 2800 milliamp battery, which takes about an hour to charge and equates to about an hour and a half to two hours of cleaning. Now as for docking, the Rydis had about a 50% success rate and every now and again, I’d come home to find the poor little guy ran out of battery, stranded somewhere in the hall way. The Rydis also comes with a mop attachment, for tile or hardwood. But it’s mostly going to pick up dust and not much more than that. It also came with a room barrier sensor, which would allow you to block off a room or some stairs, but as for me, my apartment door worked just fine. Two of my favorite features that came with the Rydis is that it’ll also bring you coffee in the DJ mode, but you have to provide the coffee and Bluetooth speaker on your own. Now for the pros and cons: The pros, the Rydis sweeps on carpet and hard surfaces pretty well, and fits under a lot of different kind of furniture. As a pet owner, it picks up animal hair pretty well. Cons: it spends a lot of time trying to dock. It is a little slow at cleaning, compared to some of the other robots on the market. Also, the dust bin is relatively tiny. So buy, try or don’t buy? Well, armed with the knowledge that the Rydis is basically a dust buster with wheels. I’d have to give the little robot, with a heart of gold a buy! It has affordable price, in the cut throat robotic vacuum market. But just know that this isn’t a vacuum replacement, but more of an automatic way of cleaning under chairs, beds, and other hard to reach places. I’m Bryan Burnett and this is my review of the Moneual Rydis MR6550.
Leo: That’s Brian Burnett, our technical director, and a buy! You know, we have to have a face-off between the robotic vacs. I’ll bring over my rumba!
Shannon: I like this idea!
Leo: I’ll bring over my Rumba. Yeah, they can be battling for the dust. So you handed off something very interesting to me. You knew, when you said “Oh Leo! Do you want this?” I said “What is that?!” It is the AtandT LG G Flex, just announced, it’ll be on every carrier in the US except for Verizon. It’s going to be one of those pricy ones, $300 on contract, and that’s because it is, 6 inch’s. Did you notice something? I was looking for the on off switch all around it.
Shannon: I did! Where is it?
Leo: This is like the other LG, G, the G2. It has the switches, on, off, volume rockers, on the back.
Shannon: That is so weird.
Leo: It is just one of many weird things about the hardware of this phone. It’s, I think what happens is if you’re an Android handset maker you’ve got to differentiate yourself, you’ve got to be different. And as a result, Samsung, LG HG, everybody is doing something different. This is LGs claim to fame. Now when the G2s came out, a lot of people raved about this phone. Even the rockers in the back are a little hard to get used to. I have a couple of problems, first of all, I’m just use to looking on the side of the phone. I have to say though, when you hold the phone to the side of your head, it just seems more natural to have the volume up and down right there. And the on off switch. But here’s the problems, see that camera lens? It’s right next to it. How many times have I smudged up that camera lens, by touching the rocker switches. Maybe they could put the lens over here. The other thing that immediately becomes apparent, is the thing is curved. It’s the Flex. They say, and I didn’t have the guts to do it, but you can actually flatten this phone. You can sit on it. I wouldn’t recommend that! I don’t know why they’ve been doing that! They do curved TVs for the same reason. I have a curved TV at home! It’s aesthetically very pretty, but it proposes some problems. It fits a little weirdly in the pocket.
Shannon: Can I try to sit on it?
Leo: Yeah, you can sit on it! But it does feel nice against your head, and the thing about this is it is a 6 inch screen. It is a giant! It’s bigger even than the Galaxy note 3. This is a monster phone! Now I thought, initially, I like, this is a very pretty screen. In fact they do some nice things. It’s a very pretty screen, and if you look at it, you might say ahhh, oooohh. But then after you look at it for a while, you realize you see some pixilation, or some color noise here. You say, “That’s some nice text but I seem to be seeing some pixilation!” It’s 720 P on a 6 inch screen. I think that is too low of resolution. The Note 3, its biggest competition, is a 1080P phone. 13 megapixel camera, much like the Note 3. And just like Samsung, LG just has to do its own thing. So they have some unusual things in the settings, and so forth. Here’s the Q slide aps, this is kind of interesting. Let’s launch the Q slide Ap calculator. The calculator, floats as a window. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t know if I need windows in my mobile phone. It’s ironic, Microsoft is getting away from windows, but Android is getting them. There’s three different kinds of windowing by the way, in this LG G flex. Because one just wasn’t enough, I don’t know! They’ve really got to find a differentiator. They’ve also got the controls, are a little different here, although I do like these quick controls right at the time. If you go to settings, very much like the Galaxy line, you’ve got now several pages of settings, I’m not fond of that. I have to say I’m a little bit, unfortunately perhaps, spoiled by the plan Google experience phones.
Shannon: That’s how I feel.
Leo: Now that I’ve used Kit Kat on the Nexus or the fairly vanilla version of the Kit Kat on my motoX, it’s hard for me to go back to the carrier customization. Some of them, many of them just seem random and strange. Now of course you could use your own launcher so you don’t have to have the aps button over hear on the right, instead of in the middle. You can make it more like a Kit Kat phone. Not Kit Kat though, this is Jellybean 422. And given the number and amount of customizations, on this phone. I have to wonder how long its going to take before they can get Kit Kat on here. There are quite a few fancy camera modes? Where have we seen this all before? It’s very familiar. The camera is pretty good. I would say, it’s, the nice thing about a 13 megapixel camera, is you really get a lot of detail in the shots. This is a tough shot because it’s back lit, and I think it looks quite good, the camera made the right decision. I think it’s a little washed out in terms of color. But I think it’s a good camera, it does a good job. By the way, this is the built in Pano feature, very fast, very easy to use. Of course, it’s got 800 different features. You know what’s missing? The Golf mode! I’m just kidding, that’s something I didn’t like on the Galaxy Note 3. There’s a lot to like about this! Of course, I’m a big fan, you know, of big phones. This 6 inch phone has got plenty of screen real estate. I’m disappointed though that its only 720P, and I do see a lot of pixilation and color noise. It’s just not a very good screen, which is kind of surprising, because LG is known for its good screens. Remember how a lot of people complained about the Galaxy S4s slippery, slimy, plastic back? LGs doing the same thing! It doesn’t bother me, but if you don’t like plasticy backs, you may not like it. Who’s this phone for? Anybody who wants a 6 inch phone, that’s curved! That’s a massive market, right? With buttons on the back, now how much would you pay? I’m sorry, as…
Shannon: 50 bucks!
Leo: As much as I like big phones. I’ve got to knock this down, for 3 things. First of all, it’s not a pure Google experience, it’s not even close. And I just don’t like the carrier croft. Second of all, the screen is just not great. The curve doesn’t add anything. The weird form factor of the buttons on the back. Some people might like that, I find it a little bit problematic, especially since the camera lens is right next to the volume rocker. So I’m going to have to give this, I’m sorry, a do not buy. I admire LG for hanging in there. Samsung and Apple seem to own the smartphone market and LG is really trying to stay alive. They do in fact make the Nexus 5 for Google. So they know how to make a great phone. This is just trying too hard to be something different than the stock Google fund, and frankly I don’t see the reason. There you go, that’s a do not buy for the LG G Flex phone, available on everybody but Verizon on the United States, and I believe worldwide as well. Well that does it for our show. Thank you for watching. Thanks to all of our reviewers, Brian Burnett, Shannon Morse, Chad Johnson, and John Slanina, nice job on the headphones John. Thank You for watching. We do Before You Buy on Tuesday afternoon’s right after Security now. But if you can’t watch live, we have on demand audio and video available in a couple of different ways. This show is unique because we’ll give you each review chopped up individually, and put it on our YouTube channel. That’s youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. You can get the podcast, the whole show at twit.tv/byb. But you can also subscribe, and that’s probably the best thing, and that way you’ll get each and every show every week automatically, at ITunes, stitch or all the usual places. If you want to email us, suggest a product for review, we’d love to hear from you, your thoughts, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m Leo Laporte, thanks for joining us! Remember you’ve got to watch, Before You Buy! See you next time!