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Before You Buy 128
Show Tease: Coming up! Sara’s got a Kitty Cam! We’ve got the Clip and the flip, the Twins review red notebooks. And it’s time to watch Before You Buy! Netcasts you love, from people you trust. This is TWiT. Bandwidth for Before You Buy is brought to you by CacheFly, at CacheFly.com. Before You Buy is brought to you by Smart Things, the easiest and most affordable way to create a smart home. Protect and control your home from anywhere, with no contracts or monthly fees. For 10% off any home security kit, visit smarthings.com/twit, and use the code TWIT10 at checkout. And by Nature box. Where you can order great tasting healthy snacks, delivered right to your door. Forget the vending machine, and get in shape with healthy delicious treats like whole wheat apple pie figgy bars! To get 50% off your first box, go to Naturebox.com/twit. That’s naturebox.com/twit.
Leo Laporte: Hey! Welcome to Before You Buy, the TWIT product review show, where we get some of the latest and greatest gear and gadgets, and give it to our staff to get a real world experience of what it would be like to actually own that product. And then we tell you buy, try, or don’t buy. And we are unequivocal, we are adamant! We know what we like and what we don’t like! We thought, we got this new camera, the Swann camera, we thought there’s no better person to review a camera than Sarah and her kitties. Sarah Lane has this report.
Sarah Lane: Hello Everybody! Sarah Lane from TWiT here. And I was tasked with a pretty cool product from Before You Buy, because I have two kitties at home and I like to know how they’re doing when I’m not around, because they’re indoor only. So why not test out a little home security system? What this product is, it’s made by Swann security. They go, they run the gambit on products as far as buying just a little surveillance camera, to an all in one system. That’s what I got, I got the wireless system, so it’s a combination of a camera that you mount somewhere that you want to monitor. And then it comes with its own, basically like a tablet, and that is sort of the interface where you set up everything from. The camera itself, just a camera. All the wireless activity is configured through this Swann tablet itself, that says in your house as well. That confused me a little bit at first, because I thought well what is this? I’ve got a camera, and do I take this tablet with me? The tablet has to stay in the house, how is it helping anybody? So I happen to live in a pretty small apartment. So I’ve got my camera set up, kind of looking into the apartment, and I’m pretty much looking at the whole thing, besides the fact that you can’t really see my upstairs level that far. What this is designed to do though is to monitor up to four different areas in a larger estate. I will say that setting it up was kind of a pain. My little Swann tablet here that I mentioned is running some very odd version of Windows. And it was, it’s a touch screen, but it doesn’t really work that well. You kind of have to really, really touch it. The tee sort of stuck here and there. It was a little bit of touch and go getting my wireless network to see my camera. Once it did though, it was smooth sailing from there, and I could pretty much put my camera anywhere. Here’s the thing though. I am now looking at what is a live video version of my house, at this time. Which is, I set the date, I set the time, so yeah, we’re fine. But I’m noticing the seconds are skipping a little bit, and that’s because my wireless network is not connecting to my hub all that beautifully. Part of the reason might be because when I was lifting up my little wireless antenna, on either side of it, which are important for the signal, one of them almost broke off, because I didn’t realize how fragile they were. Again, that’s a bit of a user error, but something to consider. What’s really great is I am running a version of my home view on my iPhone and my iPad. I wanted to try them both out, it’s technically just an iPhone app, but it runs on the iPad pretty nicely. Down on the bottom, this is where I can choose to take a photo, maybe of something I see. I can choose to zoom in or zoom out on the camera, or even change the aperture size. I can record a video of something. I can turn on or off the sound. They can’t hear me, my cats. Which would be kind of funny because if I were able to yell at them, they’d come running down the stairs. I know they’re sleeping under the bed right now, but I could hear them if there was some action. So it’s sort of nice to be able to have this going on two different systems. But the app is slightly jinky. I definitely, on the iPad app itself, particularly because it’s running an iPhone app. It looks pretty good when you blow it up to full screen, but every once in a while the camera doesn’t want to connect, and I have to restart the app. It’s never really failed me for more than 30 seconds at a time, but you would like something a little bit nicer. What is nice, is the image, the image is crystal clear. We’re looking at my house, oh you know, about 2 PM in the afternoon. I’ve got a lot of windows, besides a little bit of light being blown out in the back, I think it looks pretty crisp. I’ve seen other surveillance systems. Drop Cam is one, where images are okay, but they’re a little grainier. This is a very nice camera. And here’s the best part, we’re not looking at this at night, but there are infrared sensors in the camera itself, so at night, if I were to check in with my cats, let’s say I’m in Europe, it’s mid-day, but it’s midnight, I would be able to see my apartment almost just as well. At least well enough to know what’s going on. So this is a pretty nice system. I would say the pros are the image is great. It was fairly, it’s fairly easy to check in, to use the apps. And I can take photos and videos, and toggle on and off audio. The cons, it was a b word to set up, I thought it was cumbersome. The, you know, the manual walks you through it, but if I was less well versed in technology I think that it would really confuse me. My mom would probably have a hard time with this, let’s just say, and she’s not an idiot either. The other thing is the apps seems a little bit jinky. They seem a little wonky here and there. And I think it’s a little bit odd that you’ve got your little Swann tablet that’s supposed to monitor everything that you need to keep in your house. Again, this is probably for somebody, if you are LeBron James, and you’re on the fourth story of your huge mansion and you’ve got your little tablet here because you want to make sure that you can see who’s at the front door before you buzz them in. Makes perfect sense to me, otherwise I don’t really know what to do with this thing, because all I really want to do is monitor on my house on my app. Overall though, I know I have to make a decision, so I think I’m going to say buy. It’s a good product, the camera is nice. If you like quality it’s pretty solid and you do have a lot of options, I think that the pros outweigh the cons in this case. So that’s a secure Kitty Cam buy from me. I’m Sarah Lane. Thanks everybody for watching and for everyone at Before You Buy, be secure!
Leo: Aww, the little kitties liked it. Thank you Sarah Lane. Sarah, boy it’s hard to. I don’t have enough time in the show to run down all the things she does. Host of Tech News tonight, Monday through Thursday on this network. Our evening news show at 4 PM pacific, 7 PM eastern time. Host of IPad today with me. And on Mondays at 12:30 Pacific, 3:30 Eastern. Host of I five for the IPhone. At times unknown Wed. afternoon. Something like that. And a longtime friend, a good friend. Hey thank you Sarah. Oh I forgot the Social hour, the Social hour, she’s a busy, busy woman. And know we thought we’d get Tonya Hall, our newest Host on the TWiT network, to take a look at a couple of Bluetooth speakers from JBL, the Clip and the Flip. Watch.
Tonya Hall: Hi, I’m Tonya Hall, and I host marketing Mavericks. And I’m going to review two Bluetooth speakers by JBL today. The first speaker that I’m going to review is actually the JBL Flip 2. It is the second version of the Flip, and it comes in a nice leather carrying case. Comes in a variety of colors, this one is a beautiful bright yellow. It does come with a wall charger, and a cable. The charge time was about 3 hours for the speaker. And the battery time, once you start playing it, does vary, depending on how loud the volume is. But it ranged between 4 to 5 hours. The cool thing too here is that you can actually play it on its side. Or you can flip it, and stand it up. It does have one thing that I really like is the speaker phone capability. It also has, of course, the power on and off and then the Bluetooth adaptability right there. So it is definitely great for a party, so if you friends over, and you’re having a party outside, you want to carry your phone around and listen to music. You’ve got roughly 4 to 5 hours of music time. Right here it has an ability to tell you how much it’s charged. Which it’s full right here. So it has an audio input and a place where you can, of course, charge USB, which most of us have the ability to do that. I really did like this speaker, and again, it does come in a variety of colors, so if yellow is not your color, it certainly comes in black, and some other colors. The pros would be that it’s got great sound quality. I like the volume a lot. I like the fact that you can flip it and put it into a different position, and it does have even better yet, the speaker phone capability. The cons would be the battery life. I thought it could be a little bit longer, because if you listen to it really loud you’re going to have less battery life. And the other thing that I didn’t like which would probably be really easy for JBL to fix. Is that the chargers don’t fit in this nice little case. They could probably, even if they just wanted to put the cord in here, they could probably extend the case just a little bit more, and you’re going to get all the other things in here. But outside of that, I really did like it. And I think that, you know, I would recommend it as a buy for sure. So the next speaker I have from JBL is the Clip. Which is actually something I really liked. It’s actually the, the successor to the micro, which is very similar, there’s only a couple of different changes. And they’re really good ones. It’s got a built in integrated carabineer, which the original micro did not. Which is probably one of my favorites. You can see that there. It’s also got a built in microphone, so you can actually clip it to, I don’t know, your backpack, or your beach bag or whatever, and use this with your phone as a speaker. Right here there’s your phone, there’s your power, and then your Bluetooth accessibility. It’s got a metal mesh, which actually can get scratched up, because unlike the micro this one doesn’t have a little carrying case, or bag that comes with it, which I think would be handy because it is easy to throw in your bag and get scratched up, or rubs up against things. And it also has something else that I really liked. It’s got a rubber ring here, which if you want to set it down will keep it from moving. If you can see that. Just kind of nice. I really liked this cable right here. Wraps around, it’s really handy, and you actually, might actually need it, and instead of having to worry about having one you can just use it. It’s really just built in, so it’s awesome. It’s very, very lightweight. So I would say it probably weights about the same as my phone. Which I was kind of surprised, I thought it would actually weigh a little bit more than that. It’s got a pretty good battery life, it’s about 5 hours, which is great. It’s about 4 inches tall, it’s about 2 inches deep and I don’t know, I was really impressed by this. I was really impressed by the sound, it’s much softer in sound of course, considering the size, than the Flip. It’s much softer but if you’re, like I said, using it as a potential Bluetooth speaker for your phone, it’s perfect. It does come in a variety of colors. So if you want to be very fashionable, you can absolutely do that. I would say the pros are the built in carabineer. Which I talked about, which probably is my actually favorite. The integrated cord, which stores at the very bottom. And the spear phone capability. Those things I really liked. I also really liked the soft rubber around it. The con would be that there isn’t a case or something you can put it in when it’s not in use, so it doesn’t get scratched if you throw in your purse, or bag, or whatever. And the price is 50 dollars, so that’s not a horrible con, but it isn’t as cheap as maybe some other speakers in its size. Although the quality is so great. I would say for the JBL clip, I give it a buy. At 50 dollars for the clip and a 100 dollars for the Flip 2. Like I said, both are a buy! This is Tonya Hall with Before You Buy.
Leo: The Clip and the Flip! Thank you Tonya Hall! Tonya is, of course, the host of Marketing Mavericks. I’m trying to reach for our next product. It’s now Thursdays? When is marketing mavericks? Tuesdays? Mondays! Tuesday morning! Nobody knows!
Chad Johnson: Just tune in, and it will be on eon at some point!
Leo: That’s Chad Johnson and he’s coming up to review a red head, a notebook that matches his hair! But before we do that can I mention these Smart Things? This is so cool! Home automation has been almost the holy grail of gadget hounds for 20 years. And finally there’s a solution that communicates with your smartphone and the devices in your home. A hub that can speak to everything, and comes with a variety of additional little units. They can add motion detection, temperature sensing, accelerometer, it can help you find things if they’re lost. You can attach this tag to your dog and know when he leaves home! I’m talking about Smart Things, and it all begins with this, this Smart Things hub. The Smart Things hub will talk to not only all the smart things units, but also your hue, your sonos, it works with GE, schlage, the great schalge locks. The Honeywell, the eon the nest thermostat, the Wee Mo, the Sonos, I think this is just a great idea. Smartthings.com/twit, you’re going to get 10% off your first home security kit. Let me talk a little bit about what the kits are. There’s three different levels. Starting at $329, that’s the basic kit. Includes this Smart Things hub, a smart things motion sensor, and you could put that anywhere in the house, and do all sorts of things. The motion sensor will see you walk in a door, for instance. See you come in the garage, it could see you leave the house, so that can plug in, and it’s very simple, talks to the Smart Things hub. The beauty of this is how easy it is to configure it all, if you’ve ever done, or tried to do home automation. So complicated. All you do is get your Smart Things kit, download the app on your Android, or iPhone phone. And then to pair up a new device you just pull the tab on the back of the device, and it wakes up. I’m not going to do that because we’re not ready to set it up. It wakes up and you pair it with your hub, and then it’s on the network. So with the basic kit you get the hub, a motion sensor, a presence sensor and this multisensor. In fact, I’ve got the basic kit really all right here. I love the multisensor. It can sense when things open or close. It can sense when something moves, but it can also know the temperature in a room or an area. It’s got an accelerometer in it. It can detect vibration. The neat thing about this is that you could then start to use your imagination at integrating all this throughout your house. If you want to take a step up, oh you get three of these multi-sensors by the way. If you want to step up to the $479 smarter home security kit, you’re going to add a motion sensor, A smart power outlet, and the siren strobe alarm. And for $599 the smartest home security kit, includes all of the above, plus an extra presence sensor power outlet, and an outdoor light, plug and control power outlet. There is no simpler, easier way to create a smart home. And to grow your smart home as time goes by. They’ve really solved all these issues of interconnection, interoperation. Smarthings.com/twit. There’s the hub, that’s how simple it is. Ethernet, USB, that’s it! Very simple. Smartthings.com/twit. And use the offer code TWIT10 to get 10% off the purchase of any of these home security kits on checkout. That could be as much as 60 dollars off. At smartthings.com/twit. Alright, moving right along to our next segment we’ve got the redheads. Chad and his brother Patrick.
Chad: Hey Patrick!
Patrick Delahanty: Hey Chad!
Chad: Long time no see.
Leo: Many people don’t realize they’re identical twins.
Chad: Yeah. We’re so identical that when I was given this laptop to review, I reviewed it for about a week, and then found out he’s had it for a month!
Leo: He’s the owner of this laptop!
Patrick: I’m the owner of this one.
Chad: He actually owns it! He should have watched Before You Buy!
Leo: Well that’s interesting. There may be a difference of opinion here. So Chad Johnson produces TWiT, MacBreak Weekly, and This Week in Google, but also hosts his own show OMG craft, the Minecraft show that we do, that is growing bigger all the time.
Leo: Taking off! What is the YouTube channel?
Leo: And of course the new show reddit up, which is just about to launch.
Leo: Gizwhiz. He is my successor, doing a great job on that one too. I like the inflatables.
Chad: Next month is drinkables.
Leo: Good! Theme month!
Chad: Yeah, we did that!
Leo: Patrick Delahaney, interhouse programmer.
Leo: Newly engaged, congratulations.
Patrick: Thank you. I’m on Coding 101 for the next 6 more weeks!
Leo: With uh…
Patrick: with Pearl.
Leo: So did you start with Pearl, because we don’t use pearl here.
Patrick: Pearls not the first language I use. But I learned it, I don’t know 15, 20 years ago.
Leo: I do a lot of pearl maybe 10 years ago, but it’s a very interesting language, the creator of Pearl, Larry Wall, motto is there’s more than one way to do it.
Leo: Which is different, for most languages they want to have one common way to do it. This, you can do it anyway you want. That’s a philosophy. So let’s talk about this, this is the HP student Pavilion.
Chad: Right. This is the Pavilion 11 X360. This is, they’re calling it a transformer type of laptop, because it’s main feature is that it has a hinge that can flip all the way around, so you can use it as, I have mine plugged in here, you can use it as a tablet, you can use it in various positions. You can put it, you can flip it back over, if you need it to be more sturdy, that sort of stuff. When you haven’t flipped over the keyboard the keyboard does turn off.
Leo: What happened? You just lost your hair!
Chad: We’re not related! What?!
Leo: You fooled me!
Chad: Oh no! So this is a sort of starter budget laptop.
Leo: Well it’s interesting because the case is unabashedly plastic.
Chad: oh yeah.
Leo: Almost vinyl.
Chad: Absolutely. It comes in two colors. Gray and red. And it’s…
Leo: I’m glad you got the red.
Chad: It’s sort of a soft touch plastic, it does have feet at the bottom.
Patrick: Mines already scratched up a bit.
Leo: Well that’s too bad, because one of the things I would assume about that plastic is that it would be more robust, as say a metal or more shinier plastic.
Chad: My initial reaction was this is a very sturdy machine, that I didn’t mind tossing it in the back of my car. It could run around in a backpack, I’d be perfectly happy with that.
Leo: Windows 8?
Chad: Windows 8.1
Chad: Touch. The screen is touch enabled, I can’t log in here, but yeah, it is touch enabled.
Leo: It didn’t, I’ve got to say it looks a little washed out.
Chad: It’s very washed out. So the screen is not my favorite part of this computer. It’s washed out, it’s very low resolution.
Leo: What is it? 1366 X 768.
Chad: Yep. 1366 X 768. Its 11.6 inches across.
Leo: So this is low end. We’re talking an inexpensive notebook.
Chad: It’s very, we’re talking… it starts at 409 dollars for the red version, and then it’s around $399 for the gray version. It does cost a little bit extra to get the red.
Leo: Fairly responsive?
Chad: Fairly responsive, I would say.
Leo: Patrick bought this, what was it about it that you bought it for?
Patrick; Well I bought it because it was cheap, and I did a trade in for an XP laptop at Best Buy and they gave me 100 dollars, so I just wanted something really cheap. Just something I could put windows on.
Leo: Right. And this is your personal computer.
Patrick: Yes, it’s not my primary, not by a long shot, but...
Leo: So you use it more for travel?
Patrick: Yeah, I brought it to Maine with me last week. So it was handy to just throw in a bag and have with me. But I almost didn’t get to bring it to Maine because the hard drive failed on me after I had it for the first month. So they took it back, replaced it and had it for two weeks.
Chad: It’s not a solid straight drive.
Leo: Something I should point out though. It is a spinning drive, it’s cheap. But something I should point out is all computers have failures, the real test though is how the company responds to it, and if they fix it right away. And it sounds like they did.
Patrick: Yeah. It took two weeks to get it back, but its working fine.
Leo: But they didn’t give you a hard time, they said no problem.
Patrick: No, no they said yeah that shouldn’t happen.
Leo: I like that. And HP is a big company, I would expect that.
Chad: So to run down the specs, there’s an Intel Pentium processor in here. It’s a N3520, 3520, I don’t know how they…
Leo: Intel really muddies the water. They brought back the Celeron name, and the Pentium name.
Patrick: And when I was comparing it was hard…
Leo: Because they’re all different, you don’t know! And I think that’s their intent and there’s no obvious way to compare, they don’t want you to know that, do they?
Chad: Right, this my model has 8 gigabytes of ram, do you know how much yours has?
Patrick: Mine too.
Chad: Yeah, it was funny because I was reading other reviews and they said 4, so it seems like they were sending this laptop out with 4, so they doubled the memory. I don’t know if that’s recently or not, it does not have 5 gigahertz WIFI, so
Leo: 802.11 BJN.
Chad: N yes, but not 5 gigahertz.
Leo: And not duel band.
Chad: Right. There are speakers, it claims that this is part of the beats audio line. So hurray for that. The speakers are at the bottom.
Leo: As you may know HP did a deal with beats which runs through the year.
Chad: Basically it adds an equalizer to preferences, and that’s about it. It’s funny because I hadn’t originally found out where the speakers were, and I was confused as to why it sounded better whenever I flipped it in the tablet mode, instead of the other way. And it’s because they’re on the bottom of the device.
Leo: Oh dear.
Chad: The speakers are down here. So that was confusing at first.
Leo: We don’t call that on the bottom, we call that downward firing.
Chad: Downward firing? It’s a downward firing keyboard.
Leo: Doesn’t that sound better.
Chad: yeah. Let me think.
Leo: Let’s do pros and cons.
Chad: Okay, so pros are that it does have a lot of ports on the side. It has 3 USB ports, an HDMI port an Ethernet port, and a SD card slot. I really appreciated that. For the, what else? It’s durable, I felt like I could throw this in the back of a car or backpack, and I wouldn’t be too worried, and finally I like the folding design, that it folds over.
Chad: The screen.
Patrick: Oh it’s terrible.
Chad: Screen is really bad. If you can take an over the shoulder shot, of the viewing angle of this.
Leo: I saw how washed out it was and thought, that’s kind of surprising.
Chad: There we go, finally. Yeah, viewing angles are really bad.
Leo: It’s a low, that’s where they saved money. But you know, this isn’t so inexpensive that, I mean you’re still paying $400.
Chad: There’s other things on the market.
Leo: The trackpad?
Chad: I was super frustrated with… It doesn’t have a secondary right click, but there’s still a right click area, and so if you’re moving your thumb across and you click, you’re going to right click without knowing. Because there’s no definition of right click.
Leo: How’s the keyboard?
Chad: Keyboards okay.
Patrick: yeah, I do like the keyboard.
Chad: Yeah, I like the keyboard. And then finally bloat ware.
Leo: HP is notorious for that.
Chad: Box, wild tangle games, kindle, MacAfee central, HP connect photo, HP connect drive, youcam, word, augment, fresh paint. It just goes on and on, that’s in alphabetical order.
Leo: You’re just to F.
Chad: Seriously! It’s absurd how much bloat ware is on this computer! So that’s my other con.
Leo: Buy, try, don’t buy.
Chad: 3, 2, 1, don’t buy!
Leo: Now that’s interesting, because I was going to give Patrick a chance to rebut your review and add anything. And it sounds like you agree, and you’ve been using it for a few months now.
Patrick: Yeah, well I’ve had it for about a month, but I didn’t have it for those two weeks.
Leo: Do you regret it?
Patrick: I don’t regret it because I did get 100 dollars off. And its fine, but you know,
Leo: Understand what you’re getting.
Leo: For a student, do you think this would be a good choice, for somebody in 9th grade?
Chad: The only thing I could see doing with this is checking Facebook and writing articles.
Patrick: Your can browse the web and stuff, and you can watch Netflix.
Chad: But even watching YouTube, the default player, which is normally the smallest player, fills up the whole screen because of the lowest resolution.
Leo: yeah. Alright a don’t buy. Tell me the model again.
Chad: The HP Pavillion 11X 360.
Leo: Alright. Open your mouth because you get a snack.
Chad: Oh Hurray! You don’t want to give them to us do you?
Leo: Okay, I’m going to give you a choice, and you each get one. Its Nature box time, and we do this to the staff every day. Cranberry almond bites, Lone star snack mix, coco waffle wafers, these are just a few of the 100s of choices. Santa Fe Corn sticks, which would you like?
Chad: I’m going to take your coco waffle wafers.
Patrick: Oh I wanted those.
Leo: Do you want to share those, or would you like your own? You can have your own.
Patrick: Well what else is there?
Leo: Lone star Snack mix, Santa Fe corn sticks, Cranberry almond bites.
Patrick: Corn sticks sound bites.
Leo: These are good. This box is kind of dwindling, I have to say. That’s one of the problems. Nature box are great snacks delivered to your door. Perfect for dorm room, for an office, or just if you want to kind of encourage yourself to eat healthy snacks. And I mean it when I say healthy. They’re all nutritionist approved. No high fructose corn syrup in any of the 100’s of snacks at Naturebox.com. No HFCs, no GMOs, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, no Trans fats. And really unusual unique snacks that are always delicious. Nutritionists even say that having a small snack is a good idea to keep from getting ravenous before each meal.
Chad: And over eating.
Leo: And over eating, exactly so these are fabulous. So here’s the deal if you go to naturebox.com/twit, we’re going to get you 50% off your first box, just use the offer code TWIT. Half off is a great deal, and they know you’d want to taste these, you can get a random box or you can specify, I don’t want GMOS or I’m gluten conscious, no soy, no nuts. Your choice, you can also specify flavor, style. You can get sweet, spicy or savory. I think it’s a great idea to mix it up a little bit. Get as many different flavors as you can. I think they’re fabulous. 3 sizes, you get them monthly delivered to your door. Naturebox.com/twit and don’t forget the offer code TWIT. Are you going to store those snacks in your cheeks like a little chipmunk for later?
Patrick: I think this is my new favorite.
Chad: This is really good. The Santa FE corn chips. They have a nice zest to them.
Leo: Alright, so I as you know have tried, and in fact, you have, you’ve got my hand me down.
Chad: I love your pebble.
Leo: I have tried every smart watch on the market. Every health band on the market. I really make a point of trying these, because I do feel like this is a category that is about to explode. And a lot of people say, we’re just waiting to see what Apple does. But this is already a second generation product, this is Samsung’s Gear 2 watch. Now right up front, let’s say its 300 bucks, and it requires a Samsung galaxy phone to use. So if you’re only going to be interested in this if you’re in the Samsung ecosystem and you have a galaxy 2, 3, 4 ,5 this is a note 3 I’m using it with. Then it pairs very easily. Samsung offers a special app to use with the gear two. So you’ll install that first. It uses Bluetooth, I think it’s probably Bluetooth LE, because you get pretty good battery life, I could have gone a couple of three days, but what I always do, is I always charge it. Now a couple things to talk about, first of all, they don’t usually have a way to plug the watch in. That’s probably to save space on the watch. You still have to have, although much improved, this little tiny charger, and that uses a micro USB connector. So you just snap this on the back of the watch, and you know, you’re going to get used to, on any of these watches, just charging it every night. The Pebble will go all week so you can forget it. But the problem with something that goes all week is you forget it. If you do it every night than you do it every night! These are customizable faces. Let me turn it this way so you can see a little bit closer. This is the face I particularly like, it looks like a wristwatch. This by the way, Is a very high quality.
Chad: I was going to say! That looks like a very high definition.
Leo: Nice screen, notice it goes off to save battery life, but when you lift the watch to look at what time it is, it automatically turns back on, so you don’t get the sense that the watch is off all the time. It is a touch screen, they’ve really improved this in many ways. It’s a touch screen that has a huge variety of choices. This is both a notification watch, like the pebble, and a health watch. It has a pedometer, but you have to start the pedometer to use it. It has exercise, you can do other exercises and keep track of those. As you’re going. It doesn’t have a GPS, but it will tie to the GPS in the phone. It will monitor your heart rate. It has a little kind of camera like sensor on the back, but as with most watch based heart rate monitors, it doesn’t work when you’re exercising very well. It’s really for setting down and checking your heart rate. You also have, and this is great, there’s a speaker on here, and a microphone. So you can talk to this watch, I’ll show you that in a minute. Record a voice memo. Notice this, it works with your television. It has a remote control on your television. Whoops, let’s not use that yet. The find my device is great. If I’ve lost my phone I can find my device, and the phone will start making noise. And via versa by the way. I can use the Gear app on my phone to say where’s my watch? I can’t find it. That’s a nice feature. In fact, this is loaded with nice features. I can read notifications, so when a text message comes in, I can go into my messages and I can say oh, I’ve got a message from Lisa. Guess what? I sent this from my treadmill, says Lisa. That was a response, because I said, Guess what? I sent this from my watch. Watch this, I’ve set up the button so that when I double press it, it goes into the text mode. The speech mode, Text Chad Johnson. Hey Chad! I’m talking to you from my watch! Woo hoo! You can’t really hear the voice very well, but it’s kind of a robotic female voice, let me put it up to the microphone. I think it’s going to be a long text. Oh no! It didn’t.
Chad: It’s going to be a really long test!
Leo: Did you hear it, it’s kind of robotic. Yes!
Chad: Woo hoo! You can’t really hear the voice for…
Leo: yeah, but notice it did the voice… and the watch is distant from me right?
Chad: yeah, you didn’t have to speak too robotically for them to catch that last sentence.
Leo: Now, it is connected VIA Bluetooth to the phone, so if the phone is not near the watch, the watch continues to work, but it won’t send this message until it’s connected to the phone. Because remember, it’s really about using the watch and the phone. They have improved the camera on this. The camera no longer is the pimple on the strap that it used to be. By the way, the strap also looks a little better than the previous straps, it comes in a variety of colors. There’s the camera right here. So if I go into the camera app, let’s do that real quickly, you’ll see, the touch is by the way, not super responsive, but okay. You’ll see that it’s taking a picture from this part of the camera right here. In fact, I have some sample pictures. I took this zip line, this is a perfect example of why you’d want to use this camera. When you’re zip lining you can’t really carry a camera, you’re strapped in, and so forth. So not the greatest camera in the world, you see the colors are a little bit washed out, but it worked all right! See there’s a sunset.
Chad: Oh wow!
Leo: It’s a camera on your wrist, it’s very discreet. It’s not super perfect, but you can do a lot of, you know, take pictures. You can even take pictures by saying take a picture, and take videos by saying shoot a video, record a video. So it’s nice it has the voice commands built in.
Chad: Do you have to wake it up before you do that?
Leo: Yeah, you do. And it’s a little sluggish and so forth. You saw that I had to swipe it extra carefully to get it to swipe. I’ve always had trouble with these kind of wrists bands, but you’ll get used to it. One thing about it, it’s very secure. And it looks kind of like the pebble watch does on your wrist. I think if you are already in the Samsung ecosystem, I’m not a big fan of the fit because it doesn’t do a lot of these things. The gear 2 kind of does it all, in a fairly attractive, I don’t feel too dorky when I’m wearing this, package. I do love, you know, how convenient it is, and all the things you can do with your pebble, you can do with this. In fact, the only thing it doesn’t do is that long battery life. In every other respect, it’s a functional as the Pebble. You can program a huge number of different watch faces, and you can even download third party watch faces. So you’re never stuck with any particular look. I can change the background. I can even make the background be a picture that I’ve have taken. There are a lot of clock faces, you notice I’m using the analog clock, but the digital clock is much more flexible if you’re doing duel time zones. A clock that has calendar, you’re pedometer measurements, the weather, and so forth. I think that’s pretty nice and like I said, there’s an app store and you can download more stuff. Let’s go back to the galaxy, I’m sorry, not galaxy, I knew I’d call it the galaxy, they’ve taken the name out, it’s no longer galaxy, just the gear. Go back to the gear manager and see the broad variety of apps that are available on it. These are the apps that are installed, but you can install more. It’s a very sophisticated watch. This is the Tizen operating system by the way. This is not android, or android wear. I’ll just show you some of the additional clock faces you can install. You have a handful on the pebble.
Chad: Now, like when you had it, they hadn’t come out with the newest version. There’s a ton now.
Leo: Okay, alright, but are there?
Chad: And the apps is what I’ve found is to be the most compelling thing, because I can check in via foursquare.
Leo: 85 watch faces.
Chad: Do you want to compare watch faces, Leo?
Leo: You can check in via… let me compare social networking I can do here.
Chad: Music box is one of my favorites.
Leo: You can play music on here, it does have a little bit of memory. It only takes 50 images. Mostly it’s going to be pulling from the phone.
Chad: You can’t play music off the pebble, but you can control your device, which is one of my favorite features.
Leo: pack Man game, I wouldn’t recommend it but you can do it.
Chad: Does it have flappy bird?
Leo; It has dummy fish, which is much like the flappy bird.
Chad: Oh there we go.
Leo: But no flappy bird yet, I don’t think. Maybe I don’t know. There’s new stuff coming out all the time. And even some productivity stuff. Some of the people in the chatroom say they use Evernote on their gear. Certainly a lot of health and fitness apps. I find this great. The fact that they’ve got an app store and it has so many things in it is a testament to the fact that this is a second generation. And given the fact that this is a second generation, I have to say a lot of refinement has gone into this watch. So let’s go with the pros and cons. The pros, it’s a good looking screen, with a great watch face. Functional. Battery life, pretty decent. The fact that it has a camera on it, and a decent camera. Voice will read you text as well as let you dictate texts. A pedometer, a lot of the health things. And a very robust app store. It even looks okay! Given that it’s a smart watch. The negative, really the biggest negatives are, its 300 dollars, that’s pretty expensive. It’s among the most expensive smart watches out there. And it requires a Galaxy phone. You have to be in the Samsung ecosystem to use it. But given all that, I have to say it’s pretty good! I hate to give it a buy, because I feel like this is the product in its infancy, but comparing it to all the other devise out there, I would say that this is the one that you should buy. So the first time ever, I’m going to say a buy on a smart watch. This is the Gear 2 from Samsung. I don’t know if it’s waterproof. It’s probably water resistant, but you should check. I wouldn’t take it diving, let’s put it this way. But if they let me have it for another week I’ll take it to Hawaii, that’s where I’m headed. I will not be back next week, we’ll find somebody else to host the show. I’m going to bring my GoPro, I’ll bring this, I’ll bring my cameras, and any gear they’ll let me take with me, I will take with me. I want to thank all our reviewers today. Patrick, thanks for setting in with Chad Johnson. Tonya Hall from Marketing Mavericks, of course Sarah Lane, thank you for joining us. All our reviews are up on YouTube, in fact individual reviews at youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. The full show is available from our TWiT website. Twit.tv/byb, and wherever you get podcasts. I tunes, the Xbox store, and places like that. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Before you Buy. And I hope you remember that before you buy, you’ve got to watch, Before You Buy! We’ll see you next time. Bye, bye.