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Before You Buy 122
Show Tease: Coming up! One of these phones is not like the others, is the world ready for a high fidelity smartphone? Plus the zoom, the papa Go, and the Fugaboo. What is it called? Time to watch Before You Buy!
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Leo Laporte: Hello! And welcome to Before You Buy! The product review show, where we take some of the most interesting products coming out right about now, and pare them up with our crack team to give you an idea of what it would be like to actually own, and use this product on a day to day basis. Chad Johnson is here with our first silly product. Actually this isn’t so silly. I’ve been a fan of the zoom recorders for some time. Chad is one of our producers, hosts OMG craft. And a brand-new show Redditup on our network. A show with big reddit stories of the week. Take a look at this thing! What do you think that is? It’s called the zoom Q4, and it’s both audio and video. Let’s take a look.
Chad Johnson: Hello! My name is Chad, I’m with TWiT and Before You Buy, and today I’m reviewing the zoom Q4. What is the zoom Q4? Well it is a video camcorder. Now, this is an interesting review because I’m actually using the product to review the product. I borrowed this mirror from Liz and you can kind of see, hey! There you are, there I am! This is a little mirror to show off, yes I’m in fact using the Zoom Q4 to shoot this very review. This is a camcorder made by Zoom. Zoom is known for really high quality audio equipment for audio recording. This camcorder comes with a built in XY microphone, right on the top of the camcorder. And that’s what I’m actually using to capture all of my audio right now. In terms of the hardware of the camera. Right on the top you have the power button, and record button. It comes with a wind screen that you can place on top of those microphones. Along the side is where your LCD is, it’s a 2 inch LCD. It has physical buttons on the bottom of the LCD, and it does swivel all the way around. This is not a touch screen LCD. You have to use those physical buttons. Along the other side of the camera, you have volume, up and down, for your headphones. You have your game control, low, medium, or high. Then you have auto or manual gain. This is for audio only. You also have a low cut filter, and then you have indicators for if your memory card is filling up, or if your battery is running low. Inside there’s a 1/3rd inch 3 megapixel sema sensor. This is an F3.8 lens. There is no zoom on this bad boy. What you see is what you get. And it is a 130 degree wide angle lens. The audio can be recorded up to 24 bit, 96 K, kilohertz audio. And that’s uncompressed in wave format. They also do a compressed AAC, which is a little bit lower quality. Video quality goes up to 1920 by 1080 progressive, at 30 frames a second. And that can be dropped down to 60 frames if you use 720. Not only does this camera have a tripod mount on the bottom, but it also has a 3 prong action camera mount. This is the same mount that Go pros use, so you can use those suction cups and mounting devices that you already have attached to your helmets, and things. Along the back, you have a mini HDMI port, you also have a mini USB, this is not micro, this is the old mini style USB. You also have a headphone out, and even an external microphone in. I recorded most of my video in 720, 30 frames a second, because I know that’s what we publish at, and capturing anything larger is just kind of a wasted space. I could get about 3 hours recording time off the battery. With the USB cable, the Mini USB cable, you can plug this into your computer, and use this as either a webcam, or a USB microphone. Which I actually found really cool, because this is really high quality video for a webcam, and incredibly wide angle so you’re able to capture your entire person. So for the pros and cons of the zoom Q4. On the pros, I really did like the image quality. I also loved the audio quality up to 24 bits, and 96 kilohertz audio. And I also liked that it had the 3 prong action camera mount on the back. For the cons, there’s no manual control when it comes to video. You have concert mode, and night mode, and that’s it. There’s also the fact that the mic is built into the camera. You have to be very careful to make sure that you don’t actually touch the camera in such a way that it screws up your audio. Tripod mount would fix this. There’s also no image stabilization. So if you’re walking around, you’re going to get a lot of jitter. Finally, I didn’t like that it was a mini USB on the back, instead of a micro USB. You can find this camera for around 300 dollars on line. MSRP is a little bit more, but street price is all around 300 dollars. Buy, try, don’t buy for the Zoom Q4, I’m going to give this camera a buy! I think that they have a really good market on the audio and video quality this is a great sort of logging camera with its super wide angle lens. Obviously there’s a lot of downsides, because of the market they’re going for, and the price at around 300 bucks. But if this suites all your needs, I absolutely suggest this camera is the one you should get. There are downsides, but I’ve explained them all, already. Thanks so much for watching, I’m Chad for Before You Buy, and TWiT.tv See you later.
Leo: Every time I see something like this I feel like I should be vlogging more. The Zoom Q4. You hear that little laugh? That is Padre, Father Robert Ballecer, host of this week in Enterprise Tech show, and Coding 101, and Know How, he’s a busy guy. Oh and let’s not forget Padres Corner, here on the TWiT network. We gave Robert something, I don’t even know what it is, and apparently you can strap it on your head. It’s called the foo Goo. Let’s take a look!
Fr. Robert Ballecer: I’m Father Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit, and I’m having a double helping of Fugoo. The fugoo is a Bluetooth enabled wireless speaker lined with a twist. Built around a common core, any fugoo speaker can fit into a specially designed sleeve to morph into a style designed for everyday use. The sport, designed for more rugged applications, and the tough, built to withstand serious shock to the system. This means that you buy one speaker, and you customize it for your specific needs. The Fugoo has buttons for power, Bluetooth paring, and control, As well as USB for charging. There is only two ports. Micro USB for charging and a 3.5 millimeter audio jack for those who want to physically connect to their music devices. Sound is generated by six drivers built into the core. Two neo denium tweeters, two neo denium woofers, and two passive radiators. All built with an 8 degree upward tilt to provide 360 degree sound around the Fugoo. A 6 millimeter amplifier powers those speakers with a 60 hertz to 20 kilohertz frequency response. The Fugoo uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect wirelessly to devices at distances up to 33 feet. It also uses Bluetooth LE to connect to the optional, wearable remote control that can provide play, pause, forward, reverse, and power functionality to the connected device. Also supported are the A2DP, the device, and the headset profile 1.1 protocols. For using the Fugoo as a 360 degree full duplex conference speaker phone. Complete with Omni directional echo canceling microphone. Power is provided by a lithium ion battery that can be charged from empty in about 3.5 hours. Run time is rated for an astounding 40 hours of continuous play at 50% volume. And our repeated tests met or exceeded that number of the course of two months. Using the Fugoo is a breeze. The speaker gives you audio cues upon every step of the setup process and I was up, pared, and playing in just under 20 seconds. Audio quality is very good. With clear sound, and exceptionally accurate source reproduction. The low end felt a little weak, but that just may be my addiction to base added speaker systems. Well the Fugoo is more than a competent speaker, what makes is special is its flexibility and durability. The sport, and tough cases include a dock at the bottom of the sleeve, which allows you to mount the Fugoo on a multi-mount, a strap mount, and a bike mount. This gives you a fantastic number of ways to attach the Fugoo to bags, belts, bars, and vehicles. As awarding the flexibility means that you can attach to almost anything. But there are a few things that probably should never be attached to your fugoo. As for the toughness, you’ve probably seen your share of speakers get dropped, junked, and jostled, but I thought I should take the Fugoo to at least one place that is usually death for electronics with moving parts. The beach. For the better part of the day, I tried to kill the Fugoo. To increase my chances, I removed the core from its protective casings, tossed it, buried it in the fine sand, threw it into the surf, got it mucked, and just for good measure, I managed to coat the core in fine metallic particles. This kind of treatment would usually kill even a ruggedized speaker, but after a little wash and shake the Fugoo was ready to power, and play. After banging the last of the metallic particles from the core, the Fugoo slipped back into its sleeve, no worse for wear. The Fugoo is available now, you can find them online for between 199 and 229 dollars. I was a fan of the Fugoo when I saw it as CES 2014, and now that I’ve had two months to play with it, I’m even more enamored. It’s everything they told me it would be. Plus quite a bit more. Now on the pro side, I’d have to say the first thing is the overall sound quality. It’s got really accurate sound reproduction. It’s not bass heavy like a lot of other speakers. It will give you more of what the source actually sounds like, and I like that. The other thing is the flexibility, I’m not talking about just the cases, the cases are cool, but I mean all the secondary functions, yes you’ve got the core, yes you’ve got all the little accessories you can get from the remote control to the straps. But you also get things like the conference phone functionality, and it works really well. Any time you give me more functions out of the same device, well, I’m sold! The third pro has to be the toughness. This thing is a tough cookie. Because they have this core module that is waterproof, that is dustproof, that is impact resistant, it means that you’re going to be able to use the speaker in places that you wouldn’t want to bring another device form another manufacture that maybe doesn’t do so well in the sand, or doesn’t do well in the water, or doesn’t do well in a sporting activity event type place. I kind of like that! The last thing, and this is big, is battery. 40 freaking hours of battery life! That’s a long time, and that’s not a lie! At half volume you will get the 40 hours each and every single time. And that’s just head and shoulders against any other speakers in this range. Now on the con side, I’d have to say there are two things. The first is there’s some directionality of the sound if you get it too close. If you get it within two feet, you know which side has the woofer, which has the tweeter, and which side has the mids, and that’s not really a problem but if you’re going to be using the speaker too close, you won’t get that full 360 sound. The other thing, and this is going to be big for some people, is the lack of really low bass response. Again, I like my music more accurate than boomy, but if you’re one of these people who likes a lot of bass, even if it’s artificial, than this may not be for you. Still, looking at the pros and cons, if you would ask me, buy, try, don’t buy, I’d say that the Fugoo is an absolute buy! I’m father Robert Ballecer with Before you Buy.
Leo: I love the name! Fugoo is a blowfish, right?
Fr. Robert: It’s like a blowfish, yeah.
Leo: If you eat it, and it’s not properly prepared, it’ll kill you.
Fr. Robert: You die, you die, yeah.
Leo: So that’s a good name for a product! You know, they do have the puffer fish in their logo.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, it’s actually part of their logo.
Leo: So Robert, we’ve seen a lot of speakers like, this is a very crowded category. What makes this one different, or better?
Fr. Robert: You know, when they first approached me, I asked them the exact same thing. I said, listen we do a lot of speakers here, if this isn’t something special, I don’t want to waste my time. It’s really the flexibility. I like the idea. You have a common core, this is the important part, right?
Leo: Right, that’s the speaker.
Fr. Robert: This is super tough, we through this in the ocean, I threw it down a hill, and then you just put it into the case, that makes sense for you that day.
Leo: It’s kind of cool.
Fr. Robert: It is cool, and it’s one of those things where it does a lot of things, and it’s pretty damn good at all of them. Even the sound, it’s a little bit lacking in the low end because of the size, but it’s…
Leo: You know, Apple should have bought this instead of beats.
Fr. Robert: I know, this would have been much more of a steal, but yeah, this is definitely a buy from me because when I look at all the different speakers I could have selected, this is the one I would choose.
Leo: Yeah, I like that one. Very practical. Robert Ballecer, host of This Week in Enterprise Tech, Know how, Coding 101, but my favorite is your newest, Padre’s Corner. You take over the studio, there’s nobody here usually, right?
Fr. Robert: Yeah, I’m all by myself on a Friday night. It means there’s no limits.
Leo: There are people watching though, you know that, right?
Fr. Robert: Yeah, I know.
Leo: But you interview some very interesting people, including Hewlett!
Fr. Robert: Yeah, we had Dave Hewlett on the other night. The star of Star Gate, the universe. He’s Dr. Rodney McKay. Yeah, that’s the stuff we like to do, we geek out!
Leo: That’s awesome! Well we’ll watch it every Friday on the TWiT network. What do you think that is? We had the Fugoo, now we have the Papago. I feel like we’re having a Polynesian buffet here. We gave Brian Burnett, our technical director here, because it’s a camera and he’s reviewed all our GoPros and stuff like that. And he’s got a motorcycle, so who better to review the Papago, go, go, go Bryan!
Bryan Burnett: Hi! This is Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, and we’re taking a look at a mobile camera. Not dissimilar from the GoPro series called the Papago extreme! Yeah, kind of a weird name. So it comes in the go life extreme package, is you get a mount for your handle bars if you wanted to do a bicycle or something like that. A USB charger, and a plug in kit. A sticky mount for mounting to your helmets, or anything else that you would like to permanently have a mount attached to. And then the PAPAGo camera itself, it almost looks like a lipstick case, or something. It’s just a camera tube, with two buttons at the end, and on the other end is the camera. But pretty basic, it has a power button, and a record button. And it has built in WIFI for connecting to your phone, which you have to download the GO life extreme app. And it works both on Android, and IOS, but that is what you will use to interface with the camera and change settings as needed. The Papago comes in at around 200 dollars. It has an all-aluminum aloid body, its shock proof, dust proof, and water proof up to one meter. And that’s all without having a plastic houses similar to the gopro. It’ll record at 1080 at 30 frames. 720 at 30 frames, and also 720 at 60 frames. So in front of the camera it has a detachable lens protection cap, so if something hit it, you could always replace the cap pretty easily. And then you unscrew the back cap to access the HDMI, the USB port to charge the camera, and it also has a slot for a micro SD. Now the instructions that come with the PAPAGO are pretty bare bones, and basically just instruct you to download the app. The app itself is pretty straight forward, you go into your WIFI settings and the PAPAGo comes up as a WIFI hotspot. You connect to it, open the app, and it searches for the camera. You can preview what the camera sees so that helps for mounting purposes. One downside is that you can’t record while using the preview, which is a feature the Go Pros have included with their software. The only way to get to the settings is through the app, but it gives you a pretty simple view of what options you have available. And originally Padre was supposed to be doing this review, but he had a bit of problems getting his ego to fit inside the helmet, so I ended up doing it myself. I mounted the three cameras to myself, and I looked like a space man. So as I flipped back and forth between the audio on the hero black, and the Papago, you can tell that the hero definitely sounds like it’s inside a plastic case, whereas the Papago, sounds a little bit more exposed, which it is. Now what that meant in wind noise, is that the GoPro you could hear the bike a little bit more, and with the Papago, it was mostly just wind noise and that’s all you could hear from it. Doing a side by side comparison with the Hero 3 black, obviously the black is a much more expensive camera, and it’s going to look better, but you can see that the dynamic range on the go pro is a lot better, things aren’t as blown out, maybe a little too saturated. The Papago also has a smaller sensor than the GoPro cameras. Whereas the black has a 12 megapixel sensor, the PAPAGo has a 3.5. So definitely one of the reasons why the image isn’t as good. You can definitely see the detail better in the image with the GoPro. Now the side by side comparison next to the Hero 2, the older edition of the GOPRO, it’s a little bit closer matched. You can see that the image still looks better on the Hero 2. A little bit more saturated and less blown out in certain situations. But the audio also on the hero 2 is a lot noisier. And you get a lot more of the engine noise from the bike, whereas the PAPAGO, again is just the wind noise. Now the battery life on the PAPAGO was about 5 hours, so that was good enough for me to get a full day of riding recorded. And so it’s a little bit better than the Hero black, but it’s about on par with the Hero 2 battery life, when you’re recording at 1080 at 30 frames per second. So pros and cons for the Papago, its form factor would be the main one, It’s less conspicuous than having the GoPro on the side of your helmet. And the shape makes it easier to mount to certain places. At around $200 the image obviously isn’t as good as a top of the line GoPro, but if you just wanted to record something every day events like riding bicycle, or something like that, this would be a great choice, and also ease of use. It doesn’t have as many options as the GoPros do, but if you just wanted something straight forward and simple, and you just wanted to record right away, this is a good choice. Now the image quality obviously isn’t as good as some of the higher end GoPros, or even the older generation GoPro. Another con is that the Papago doesn’t come with as many mounts as the GoPro does, so you’re kind of limited on where you want to use the camera. And the third con is the settings. There’s not as many settings as on a GoPro, so if you really wanted to dial it in to do multi-camera, or something like that then you’re definitely limited through the settings. Now for buy, try, or don’t buy. The Papago Go life extreme, I’d have to give it a buy, mostly because of its low price, and ease of use. If this was an everyday camera, that you just wanted to record your commute, and not have to worry about it too much, then this is a great camera for that. But if you’re a person who wants to make really good videos that look nearly professional, than you probably want to spend the extra money and get a GoPro. This has been Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, reviewing the PAPGO! Extreme HD action camera.
Leo: That’s Bryan Burnett our technical director, and he likes his PAPAGO! Go, go, go! That is kind of cool, it looks like a lipstick camera, but the quality really is remarkable.
Bryan: Yeah, I mean for 200 bucks it wasn’t too bad, and it just works, so…
Leo: It’s less, it is less expensive than the GoPro, isn’t it?
Bryan: It is, and the quality suffers a little bit, but for what it is, if it was just an everyday camera, I’d use it.
Leo: More, and More of us riding Motorcycles these days. So we all…
Bryan: Ride safe.
Leo: Ride safe please. Our show today brought to you by… Coming up by the way, we’ve got let’s see we did Zoom, Fugoo, Papago, what’s next? A venerable name in hard drive, Sea gave. But first a visit to shutterstock.com. Give me a count Bryan. More now than 35 million high quality. It says over 35 million, if you scroll way down, they actually give you the raw number of how many high quality… there it is 36,949,198 royalty free stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and video clips. And more than a quarter million added this week alone. These guys are crazy! They add beautiful images, many of them by professional artists and photographers. Each, of course, is reviewed for quality and content, before they’re added to the library. The best thing about Shutterstock is it’s free to make an account. You don’t even need to give them a credit card. Once you have an account you have the full search capabilities, the browsing, and the light boxes, so if you’re looking for inspiration, if you’re looking for ideas. If you’re just looking for design ideas, go to Shutterstock.com, create that free account, browse around, you can use their amazing search engine. You can search for not just nouns, like robot, but you can search for happy robots, sad robots, and angry robots. This is just Robots. What do you want? Happy robots, alright, let’s see that. So now we’re only going to see dancing for joy, happy robots. You can also narrow it down by color! They have a color wheel! This is really the best search engine I’ve ever seen. And when it comes to a place with 35 million stock photos, and illustrations, you’ve got to have a good search engine. Then save the images you want in your light box, you can access them at any time, you can even share them with others. They have a beautiful app for iPad and Android, in fact, they won a Webby award for their IPad app, and it’s just stunning. In fact, another good example of something you might want to use for inspiration. Multilingual customer service, more than 12 countries worldwide, full time customers support throughout the week. Sign up for your free account. You don’t need a credit card, then if you decide to purchase, you can buy packages of images, you can also buy a subscription, that’s what we have. Use our offer code BEFOREYOUBUY514, and you’ll get 20% off right up front there. That’s shutterstock.com and for new accounts 25% off when you use the offer code BEFOREYOUBUY514. Shutterstock.com. Jason Howell is here, he produces tech news today, Monday through Friday, with Mike Elgan, you also are, and this is important, a father! Congratulations!
Jason Howell: I am.
Leo: I saw! I couldn’t believe it, Savannas first steps VIA google glass!
Jason: And honestly, it couldn’t have happened more perfectly, right? I was off from work for that day, because she wasn’t feeling well, and I had glass all charged up, and I could tell, you could just see there was something working in her brain, and she figured it out, right at the right moment I pulled out the glass and said, alright let’s do this!
Leo: I remember both my kids first steps, and I remember it well, but I don’t have video of it! And because it was glass, there it is, it’s on your google plus page, because it was glass you and she maintain eye contact.
Jason: Oh totally!
Leo: It’s not like you’re behind a camera.
Leo: oh she’s a little cranky!
Jason: She was a little grumpy! She’s not feeling well at all. But you can tell, I could totally tell she was down for it.
Leo: Dad knew.
Jason: A couple of steps here, get the bunny. I thought that was it, and then she takes like ten more! I was like wow! That was awesome!
Leo: Baby’s first steps!
Jason: Yeah, pretty cool stuff. I can’t wait for her to grow up so I can show her!
Leo: I know! And you know, the video is really excellent. The video I was impressed by that. And so this justified the entire purchase of google glass right there!
Jason: Well that was kind of the purpose. That was one of the reasons you gifted me Google Glass in the first place.
Leo: Because you had a baby! She was born!
Jason: This is going to be perfect for you!
Leo: Yeah, she was just born when you got them.
Jason: Yeah, this is just one example of how I put that to test. As far as that’s concerned.
Leo: Jason Hosts all about Android, In fact, I have an android phone I want to show you in just a little bit, but first let’s take a look at this Seagate device. What is this?
Jason: Kind of coming out of reviewing only Android devices on this show, now I’m reviewing something that works with Android devices, it also works with IOS actually. Its’ the Seagate Wireless plus, basically it’s a wireless hard drive. It’s a 1 terabyte wireless hard drive. You can load and app or tablet onto your device, this is the Seagate Media app that I have loaded on this Nexus 7. Essentially what it allows you to do, is this device broadcasts of wireless broadcast. 802.11N. It can broadcast up to 8 mobile devices. Though if you’re streaming media to the devices they recommend no more than 3 at a time, and I actually kind of noticed a little bit of hiccups streaming it to two at a time, so keep that in mind. Also probably depends on how high resolution, high definition you’re video clips are. You can plug into your computer VIA USB 3 and it becomes a portable hard drive. So it’s really kind of flexible in that regard, like it has a very interesting use case for streaming media to your tablet, or your mobile device. But you can also just kind of use it as a portable hard drive that you can take with you. It obviously has some compatibility issues with video formats. It doesn’t support every video format under the moon. And of course right now it’s lagging for me right now. But this is H2 4 video.
Leo: We should point out, the WIFI environment here is so harsh!
Jason: It really is! I had way more success at home than I do here.
Leo: Oh yeah.
Jason: And I feel like I’m constantly battling it here. But what I’m doing through the tablet actually is I’m connecting directly to the Seagate here.
Leo: So that’s one negative on all these, and there are other companies that make these, is to use this wirelessly you have to attach to it, you can’t then surf the internet, you only are accessing the hard drive.
Jason: Although, if I were at home, I could show you one of the awesome features of this, which is that it allows for internet sharing. So you can connect to the internet through the Seagate wireless plus, and then it will pass through that internet connection.
Leo: Oh that’s nice.
Jason: To the device. I could not get that to work here, no matter how hard I tried.
Leo: That’s just because we have so many Wi-Fi signals, and such powerful Wi-Fi signals. So
Jason: Yeah, it’s definitely battling it, which is obviously going to make it kind of hard to show off.
Leo: It’s not the Seagate’s fault, I should point out. We have trouble with many devices, including laptops, it’s not unusual to have WIFI issues.
Jason: No, doing this from home it was…
Leo: What files can it play, and what files can it not play?
Jason: okay, so HD64, and Peg4 video, motion JPEG for video, Audio, AAC, MP3, Audible formats 2, 3 and 4. Apple Loss less, AVE, WAVE, so it can do a decent amount…
Leo: But not MKV,
Leo: Not DivX.
Jason: But one cool thing here, so I downloaded night of the living dead. It’s on Archive and this is the DivX version, if it can’t play it and it detects that there’s a player that can play it, in this case I have MX player pro.
Leo: Oh! And that will just launch it?
Jason: It will just pass that right through.
Leo: That’s pretty nice.
Jason: From the drive, into MX player, and there you go!
Leo: Look at that! That’s on internet archive? I love that movie!
Jason: Yeah! That’s on internet archive.
Leo: This is good because this is a second generation wireless hard drive, and they have really solved a lot of the issues.
Jason: They have, and everything I’ve read about the first one, they’ve really seems like they address this. They actually just released a new version of the App for all the platforms that support it. Android, IOS, Windows, Kindle fire, Windows RT, there’s no windows phone support, so keep that in mind right now, maybe eventually that will be kind of brought into the fold. But I mentioned that because when I started this review one of my big downsides was the app was just kind of a pain in the butt to use. But this new version, they’ve completely overhauled it.
Leo: It looks pretty elegant.
Jason: It’s a lot easier to use! It got confusing connecting to the wireless and then losing connection and then what am I looking at?
Leo: It was a pain! I know!
Jason: So thankfully the changes that they’ve made really did improve things.
Leo: Did you say it did audible formats? So if you listen to books on Audible it will play them back.
Jason: Audible 2, 3, and 4.
Leo: That’s handy for me!
Jason: I didn’t test that, but there you go.
Leo: You know me, I’m an audible fan.
Jason: Yep. And did test that, I don’t spend a lot of time on IOS devices, but I did borrow Jara Bee’s IPad and streamed some video to it, and it seemed to work okay.
Leo: How much is this?
Jason: This is the 1 terabyte version, It’s 180 dollars.
Leo: Wow! Prices have really tumbled! So it’s twice as much as a bare bones drive would be. You’re paying for this additional wireless access.
Jason: Absolutely. Two terabyte drive is 200 dollars. They also have a 500 gigabyte version for 150.
Leo: It sounds like you’d be best buying the two terabyte.
Jason: Exactly, because the prices are so close together.
Leo: it’s not that much more.
Jason: But yeah, and then I’ve got to say the battery, Man I’ve been really impressed by the battery, I’ve been constantly streaming things. The downside is you don’t really know when it’s getting supper low on batteries.
Leo: It just dies.
Jason: It’s kind of hard to tell.
Leo: Lucy and Savanna are setting in the back seat, right in the middle of Finding Neo.
Jason: Right! Honestly if everybody in our car had a wireless device, and they all wanted to watch something different, three people streaming from it, technically it could do it. This could service all those devices.
Leo; The name again?
Jason: The Seagate wireless plus.
Leo: Do you want to run through the pros and cons real quick?
Jason: Absolutely. Super light and portable, just a very portable drive.
Leo: It looks like a flask.
Jason: Yeah, it kind of does. Maybe that’s a version three. Very flexible. I think the fact that it adds media streaming as well as just a basic USB 3 portable hard drive, I think that’s pretty cool. Internet sharing obviously is great, battery performance is awesome. WIFI speed 802.11N means that you’re going to get hiccups. It has kind of at a certain point, kind of stop and go,
Leo: and it’s 2.4 gigahertz, probably not 5.
Jason: Nope, it’s 2.4 gigahertz.
Leo: That’s probably a problem, see if it did 5 you wouldn’t have any problems here.
Jason: Right, and limited file type support, as I said, it doesn’t support every single format under the sun. It’s not transcoding your video if it doesn’t support it so…
Leo: And you were able to go 10 hours with it, you think?
Jason: I would guess. It was kind of broken up in many different places, but I hardly ever had to plug the succor in, and I’ve been just kind of testing it by replaying video over, and over again, and it was taking a long time. So that’s what I think that’s what they’re saying, around 10, to 11 hours of solid battery time.
Leo: So every single product we’ve talked about today has been a buy, are you going to keep that…
Jason: I know! What do you go there?
Leo: Well I’m not going to say, but are you going to keep the string going?
Jason: I will yes! I would say buy it, I don’t have a whole lot of experience with others in this space, as far as this particular type of device, but I think if this is what you’re looking for, you’d be hard pressed to find something that works as well as this.
Leo: Jason Howell, host of all about Android, you were just on a British podcast.
Jason: I did the pocket show on the British network.
Leo: Is that up now?
Jason: It will be up earlier this morning.
Leo: Oh good! I’ll have to listen to it.
Jason: So it’s up now, just do a book for the pocket show, British tech network, you’ll find it.
Leo: Awesome. Thanks Jason. And of course TNT Monday, thru Friday. You really should have reviewed the next product. I snagged it…
Jason: that’s okay.
Leo: I took it away from you. As host of All about android, you have an interest in Android phones, and as a musician you’re probably an audio file, Audio probably means a lot to you.
Jason: It does.
Leo: now, I know that you know I love the HTC 1 the second edition particularly. The M8, that’s my daily driver now.
Jason: Jamie loves it to.
Leo: Yeah, It’s really a beautiful phone. She has the Google play edition, I have the Verizon edition, we both think it’s an excellent build, it’s you know, arguably the most beautiful android phone on the market today. I think it competes very well with every smartphone on the market. It’s certainly my choice. But I was very interested when I heard that Harman Kardon and spring were going to join up to release a new version of the M8, the Harman Kardon Edition, an audio file edition of the HTC 1. Well that sounds interesting. Now a couple of things that are exclusive to it, first of all, it’s sprint only. It has a different color, you see it’s black unlike the one I have which is the gray metallic, there’s also a gold version. This is the only place you can get the black with Gold term. What do you think of the color?
Jason: I can’t say that I’m sold on it to be honest. It kind of looks cheaper than the other one.
Leo: yeah, isn’t that funny? Well it does have, and this surprised me a little bit, and maybe it’s because of spring, the bottom piece is plastic, it’s metal on my Verizon version. The metal does scratch really easily and because it’s where the USB port is I’ve scratched mine up terribly. So maybe the plastic isn’t such a bad thing. It still feels as good as any HTC one does. But I was very intrigued, the other thing they’ve done a little bit differently, instead of bundling the HTC headphones, they have a special Harman Kardon headphone. Sprint says these are 140 dollars if bought at retail, this whole package by the way is only about 40 or 50 dollars more than the non-audio file version of the HTC one, and of course Sprint has subsidy packages that make it pretty affordable. The headphones do sound better than the standard earphones that come with my HTC one, and they sound better than most ear buds I’ve used, they’re not perfect, I don’t think they sound as good as I would expect a 140 dollar pair of headphones should sound, and the style is debatable, it looks like an Egyptian or something, I don’t know. This looks like the back part should be metal, it’s plastic. It’s, again, that gold and black, which is kind of an odd color, and it looks like jewelry.
Jason: I was going to say, it looks like earrings or something.
Leo: If you’re a guy, you’re going to feel like you’ve got gauges in. It’s a little strange. They do sound really, really good. Now here’s what makes this the audio file version. First of all, they’ve put an additional settings in the phone settings that you won’t see on any other phone. This is Harman Kardon audio, they’ve got something called clarify. They say that restores the quality of compressed audio, like MP3s.
Jason: I always wonder on that one.
Leo: I turn them off.
Leo: I couldn’t to be honest, couldn’t tell the difference. Look the date is not here, how you are going to make it sound better? I don’t know what you’re going to do. It’s a trick, it’s a trap. Live stage does work a little bit, its only available if you’ve got the headphones plugged in. That will broaden the soundstage, give you a more airy sound stage. Again, I’ve got them both off, but that’s one of the features. The big feature you’re going to be most interested in probably is it has the capability of playing back lossless high bitrate audio recordings. The reason I snagged this away from you Jason is because I’m very excited about Neuens Pono player coming in the fall.
Jason: oh me too!
Leo: The PONO player is going to be able to play back original digital masters recorded not at the CD quality, 441, 44100 hertz per second, sample rate 16 bits. 441 sixteen bits, that’s CD quality. But in fact, as high as 192 thousand, 192 thousand hertz. At out of 24 bit sample size. So much higher resolution also much larger files. So this is capable of going up to 19224 that full quality the PONO player will go to. The thing that makes the PONO player interesting is that it’s going to have a very high quality digital to analog converter. All of these devices have to do that. The data is stored in the music directory as bits and they’ve got to convert it to an analog sound to play it back through the headphones. That to me, more than almost anything, is determines the quality of the audio you’re going to get. This stack, unlike the old M8 can go up to the highest bit rate. The M8 can play back uncompressed flack files, all M8s can. At 9624, this goes to 19224. Now it comes with some samples, but I went out and I bought from HT tracks.com. I bought 3 albums so I could see what it sounds like. I’ve got Michael Jacksons thriller, that’s sampled at 17624. That’s newly remastered. Nora Jones come Away from me that was 19224. And then some classical music, this is Erick Sati’s Jem Nope, now I’ve listened to all three of them, Now I’ll be honest, I’ve read all the music about high tech music, golden ears, I’m the old man, I’ve got no high end to my sound, I fully did not expect to tell a difference. And I did AB comparison not just with the Harman Kardon headphones, but I bought out my Edimotix headphones, you know I’m a fan of my Edimotix in ears. These are very high quality, 250 dollar audio file headphones. Which I frankly prefer a little bit to the Harman kardons. I could tell a difference. There’s significant difference. I listened to the Michael Jackson Thriller remastered to the 120 kilobit MP3, that was what I ripped myself. And the, now remember it’s uncompressed so its flack, which means, already it’s going to sound better than MP3, and it was 176 thousand samples, 24 bit samples a second. There’s a significant difference in the sound, it’s much more open, instruments. The snare drum sounded different.
Jason: They sound alive.
Leo: They sound alive. It was like a different instrument.
Jason: It makes the music alive.
Leo: So you’ve heard this?
Jason: yeah, absolutely, as a music ion I’ve worked with higher bit rate, high sample rate.
Leo: It makes a big difference!
Jason: Music, and then you here what it ends up as when it ends up on a portable device, through stereo, and there is a difference there.
Leo: These M8s have always, the HTC1s have always been great phones, because they have front facing left, right speakers. Which does make a difference. I mean it’s not audio file quality but I’ve you’re listening to audio book or…
Jason: But better than being in the back.
Leo: Yeah, it’s an improvement. But the headphones make it even better, and I imagine if you plugged this into a stereo system, you’d even here more. But surprisingly enough, using very high quality, uncompressed samples, I was able to tell a distinct difference between high bitrate MP3 versions of this Michael Jackson song, for instance, and the uncompressed flack bit rate version on this phone. So this phone can play back higher bitrates. I don’t, HTC does not say whose Deck they’re using, it is, I guess, a different deck because it has better capabilities than the other HTC1 and I really was able to hear a difference which made me happy! Because a lot of people said you’re not going to hear a difference. Yeah, you can hear a difference. And I Thought maybe it’s just a mind thing, maybe it’s just me. So I did a blind comparison,
Jason: That’s the important thing.
Leo: With Lisa. I said Lisa listen to this. And we tried both headphones. She preferred the Harman Kardon head phones. But every time on a variety of different music, she picked the Harman Kardon edition of the HTC1. She said that sounds better. Right? She’s nodding! So there you go, that’s the real way to test it, is a blind comparison, where they don’t know, you go back and forth, AB and she too can tell the difference. We both agreed that this did sound better. Now, 50 bucks more, is it 50 bucks better? I don’t know. Most of the time you’re going to be listening in adverse circumstances, in the car, in noisy environments, probably using headphones which aren’t great, although these are a little bit better. It is 50 bucks more, although. Here are the pros and cons. The pros: It sounds better! It really does sound better, and these headphones are better than the standard HTC 1 headphones. The cons are its 50 dollars, and you may not like the styling. You don’t get a choice, and of course the other con, it’s Sprint. It’s a sprint exclusive, so if you don’t have a good coverage where you live, and we don’t, sprints not very good here. But if you like spring, you’re a customer, you’re an audio file, you want the highest quality tracks, and you’ll have to spend a little bit more on them, and by the way, they’re about 10 times bigger. About 100 megabytes a file, instead of about 10 megabytes of file. But now, this is nice because the new HTC1 does have an SD card slot up to 128 gigabytes, so there’s plenty of place to store that music. I’d say this is a definite buy if you like audio, I did not expect to be able to tell the difference, but I could. Which makes me very excited about eh PONO player coming, I don’t think it’s just Golden ears, but People will be able to tell the difference. So kudos to Harman Kardon and HTC for trying this. Because I don’t know if there’s a demand for audio file smartphones.
Jason: Right, but audio files are willing to spend a measly 50 dollars more to get access to that, then it’s just that the content, the high definition content to load into there, which as you say, there are ways to find that. It’s interesting how this had, this kind of has more benefit to it than maybe the beats integration had for HTC.
Leo: Well the funny thing was I had the previous edition for HTC one, which was beats. I don’t think that helped HTC, they sold their stake in Bets, which they’re now kicking themselves for, I’m sure. The new HTC1 M8, they called it Boom Sound. It sounds exactly the same as Beats. There’s no difference. I don’t think the software improvement they put in here makes a big difference. Oh, there’s one other thing you can get, the Harman Kardon Onyx speaker system for 200 bucks off when you buy this system. So if you want the Onyx speaker system, which is normally 300 bucks, you can get it for 100 bucks when you buy the phone. So that may be another pro. But I do think, you know, if you care about audio, this is worth it. I should mention somebody saying why did Lisa like these headphones better? The high end was very good on these headphones, remarkably good, it was the bass that was a little bit less to me. It was a little bit tinny. But a lot of mid-range, a lot of high end. But that’s a matter of taste, we do not have the equipment and I did not measure subjectively you know, the frequency curve on these, I think that’s all nice, but what really matters is how do they sound to you. So listen to them before you buy, that’s my advice. Thank you Jason Howell for being here, I appreciate it. If you want to keep this for the All About Andriod show so You can try it, I’d love to hear what you’d think. I’ll live those high definition tracks on there.
Jason: Thank you, can’t wait to listen to those.
Leo: I’d love to hear what you think. Thank you Bryan Burnett, Our technical director, and reviewer. Father Robert Ballecer, Chad Johnson, and you for watching. We do Before You Buy Tuesday afternoons, right after security now, you can tune in and watch live, but the best way to watch, of course, is the full show, which is at twit.tv/byb. And on YouTube, our special YouTube channel, youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. You’ll find not only the whole show, but all of our individual reviews which makes it very handy if you know somebody in the market for one of these products, you can say hey I found a review for you on the YouTube channel. Youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. Our thanks to Tonya Hall, and Carston Bonny our producers, and if you have a product you’d like us to review, You say, Hey I heard about, just find out what you think about this… Just email email@example.com and Carston and Tonya will arrange, it and we’ll get a review out to you. It’s kind of the fun in doing this show, so thanks for joining us, we’ll see you next time! And remember, you’ve got to watch, Before You Buy. We’ll see you, bye, bye.