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Before You Buy 133 (Transcript)


Download and watch the episode here:
Before You Buy 133

Show Tease: Coming up! A phone everybody wants, but can’t buy! And a phone but no one wants, but is easy to buy. Plus, we’ll go driving with Tonya and her new PapaGo dash cam, and a thunderbolt docking system. It’s all coming up next! 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.

Leo Laporte: Hey! Welcome to Before You Buy! The product review show that’s got a little bit of a different twist. We get some of the greatest, latest products in here, in some case, like this one, something that was really hard to get, and then we ask our staff to use it as in the real world, so you get an experience of what it would be like to actually own the product. And this first product is one that is so hot right now that Expanses, which I buy a lot of my unlocked phones from, is scalping it for 200 bucks above list price!

Jason Howell: That’s crazy! Although.

Leo: You can’t get it! You’ve got to get an invite!

Jason: A: you can’t get it and B: the device is actually really good. So if it was to come out at that cost, people probably would have spent that money on it.

Leo: They’re charging 500 bucks. Its 300 bucks for the 16 gigabyte version.

Jason: Right.

Leo: We’re talking about the OnePlus One.

Jason: We previewed it last week, so yes it is back, but I spent a whole week with it so I have new things to talk about.

Leo: But you’re right. For a high end smartphone 500 bucks is even affordable.

Jason: Yeah, it really is. We’re used to seeing 650 dollars for an unlocked high end smartphone.

Leo: So tell us about this OnePlus One. It looks like it’s big.

Jason: Yes, it’s definitely big. Its 5.5 inch display. 1080P display. Super sharp. I was actually super happy with the quality of the display and just using it over time it has really nice kind of brightness in sunlight. All that kind of stuff. It’s a non-removable 3100 milliamp hour battery, back here somewhere that you can’t get to, of course. But 3100 is ample and I’ve got to say man, the battery performance on here was great. Minus a few issues, which I’ll talk about in a few minutes, but. It has the 13 megapixel rear facing camera that takes some pretty great pictures. Although, you know the standard kind of, there we go! Hey Bryan you found it and I didn’t even have to tell you.

Leo: Oh Brick wall! That’s out back, that’s our alley outback!

Jason: That’s out back. If you zoom in it’s got great detail, although probably on here you know, again, nice detail.

Leo: Oh look at that! That really looks good.

Jason: Really sharp, and bright sunlight. What else do we have here? So this is really low light, and actually I really like the effect that it made. It was early in the morning, before the…the sun was just starting to brighten up the sky and everything, yet really sharp, kind of detail on my youngest daughter. This was last night. Okay, this is rear facing camera with super low light at night time.

Leo: Are you using the flash? No.

Jason: No, this is no flash. I think the next one has the flash.

Leo: It has those dual LED flashes.

Jason: And I’m frowning in both for some reason.

Leo: Now everybody wants these because of the white balance. And the white balance does look good!

Jason: Yeah, it’s alright. I’m not a huge fan.

Leo: That’s very grainy. What’s that?

Jason: That’s front facing camera.

Leo: Ah.

Jason: Front facing camera, no alterations. Still it brightened it up. I had hardly any light on in that room. This is without HDR.

Leo: Boy that looks good.

Jason: And then the next one is with. So you see a little bit of that extra. Although I’ve got to say I took a lot of pictures with HDR, and it almost does too much of the effect.

Leo: It’s extreme. It’s more than a lot of cameras.

Jason: Yeah. The more you use it, the more you recognize how much process is there. This is just your token ‘ahh’ photo.

Leo: That’s the best looking family ever. Look at that.

Jason: I agree! I totally agree! And Then I think this was a video. Yeah, so this is kind of video quality.

Leo: A little bit of the rubber sea moss rolling shutter.

Jason: Yeah, when you’re kind of moving around, but quality is pretty sharp.

Leo: Well this is good enough to be your family camera.

Jason: Yeah, I was really happy with the performance of the camera.

Leo: How’s the sound? It sounds pretty good too.

Jason: Yeah. Sounds great. Good stereo when you’re listening to it too. She was trying to eat the peanut with the shell. I was trying to tell her no you can’t do that. I can, but you can’t! So I was pretty happy with the camera. Let’s see here, what else? It is unlocked.

Leo: Oh we were wondering about that. So you found out…it comes with, the biggest thing is Cyanogenmod as the firm ware. Without unlocking it, just the way it is.

Jason: That’s right Cyanogenmod 11S which is a special version of Cyanogenmod. Which means you get a lot of customization. If I go into the settings here and kind of show you, there’s a whole personalization section here down in the settings. Cyanogenmods home screen is tribute, however you want to say that, so that allows you to do a lot of different things, like hide the icon labels.

Leo: I like that.

Jason: Or show them however you want. The search bar, all that kind of stuff you can go in there and do that.

Leo: You know what I like though. Despite the fact that they’ve got a lot of additional customizations, it still looks like a plain Google Android phone.

Jason: And that I think is one of the big positives of this. This is kind of the best of both worlds. So often we’re used to seeing a modified version of Android that looks nothing like android. This really does operate and perform like stock Android. It’s like Android Plus. It’s Android with some bells and whistles that are actually very useful. Similar in some ways to the moto X, right? One thing I think I showed briefly last week is that it has certain screen off things. So like I did a V, and that turns on the flash light.

Leo: Oh wow! It turns on the flash light.

Jason: Which is great. It’s also, you’ve got to be careful with it. Many, many times I would pull the phone out of my pocket and the flashlight was on.

Leo: Oh that’s not good.

Jason: Or! Like last night when I was writing up this review. No joke, this happened at like 12 at night. Getting ready to go to bed, and suddenly this band, Tree people, loud guitar rock band, starts playing in my pocket, as loud as the phone is. And everybody is asleep and I was scrambling to turn it off because it just fired off in my pocket. So you can turn that off, thankfully. But when that happened and I didn’t catch it, it hurt the battery.

Leo: Can you t urn off the gestures entirely? Is that what’s going on? The gestures are waking it up.

Jason: Yeah, exactly.

Leo: Because it’s a double tap to turn it on.

Jason: You can turn them all of independently, so you can select which ones you want, which ones you don’t. So personally, I would probably turn them all off except the double tap to turn it on. Because at least that times out, you know what I mean?

Leo: But my HTC One also has the double tap to turn on and I always find it’s on in my pocket when I don’t expect it. So that’s a good thing, I might turn that off.

Jason: Yeah, you’ve got to be careful.

Leo: I mean, it’s handy!

Jason: It is very handy, but you just have to be careful with it. For some reason it was just firing off all the time. Performance wise this is running the snapdragon 801 processor. 2.5 gigahertz quad core CPU. It’s the same as the S5, Galaxy S5. And you know everything is super snappy and fluid. I mean, there’s just no question that this is high performance. 3 gigs of RAM, so you’re not running out of, you know, any RAM underneath the hood. You’re going to get everything that you throw at this thing.

Leo: that seems pretty good. Are there any negatives?

Jason: Well let’s see here. So design wise, one thing I find a little strange. So you’ve got the on screen buttons down here, right? If I go to the buttons mode, and then I turn that on, you’ll see down here, you can hardly see it, but down there are capacitive buttons. And when they light up, I mean even in real life, you can hardly see them. You can’t even see them in the camera.

Leo: I can’t see them at all! That’s full light?

Jason: I know. That’s full light. That’s as bright as they ever get. And the order is different, so it’s really kind of backwards. So you have the option, which is kind of nice, between capacitive, and the on screen. But they’re backwards and if you use the capacitive you can hardly ever see them anyways.

Leo: Backwards, you mean that the left most one is recent apps? The center one is home and the right one…

Jason: No the left most one is menu, even. The right most one is back, and the center one is home.

Leo: That’s Samsung style and it drives me nuts!

Jason: Yeah, it’s very weird.

Leo: But you don’t have to use that, so that’s the good news.

Jason: No you don’t have to use that, of course, you can turn that off, which is what I did. I don’t mind sacrificing a little screen real-estate for that.

Leo: That’s the Android way.

Jason: To be quite honest, the cons, there are very few. The invite process, I would say is probably one of the biggest, right?

Leo: We still can’t figure that out. It’s obviously good marketing but it’s severely limiting the ability to buy this.

Jason: And I wonder, at what point, if any point, they lift this and just say alright, it’s available to everyone. Because it’s already been a couple of months, and there is no indication on their site, if you go to their site, as far as like, if I want to buy, what is my option? Your option really is to play a contest or know someone that has one. And that’s really it.

Leo: That’s it.

Jason: So it’s very limiting. Everybody wants top quality hardware, low price, but you have to kind of like know somebody, or get really lucky to get it. And that’s too bad, nobody likes that.

Leo: In fact, that’s how we got that. We should thank…

Jason: Absolutely. Casey Mills is the gentleman that reached out to us and said, hey I have one! It’s unopened, if you would like it it’s yours. So we paid him for that.

Leo: Thank You Casey.

Jason: Thank you Casey.

Leo: Because I’m sure you tried to get an invite. I’ve asked for an invite.

Jason: Oh yeah. We’re scouring.

Leo: Nobody could get one.

Jason: Now they’re kind of releasing a little bit more. I feel like since we’ve got this, I’ve had a few more people, in fact they gave out one on Twitter because someone hit me up on twitter and said, expires in 3 hours and I have no one for it and I just put the call out.

Leo: So at 300 bucks for 16 gigs, 3…

Jason: $350 for 64 gigs. That’s what you do! If you get this, get the 64 gig.

Leo: If you’re going to spend the money, it’s such a good deal. If this were widely available, it seems to be this would be our standard recommendation.

Jason: It’s right at the top, right. Of all the kind of top of the line devices right now, running Android, this is probably in your top three. Absolutely, no question.

Leo: So I’m guessing a buy.

Jason: Definitely a buy. I’d say pros, bang for your buck, performance, Cyanogenmod is really more like stock plus, stock on steroids of Android. And then the cons, like I said they were kind of hard to come by, or come up with. But the invite process is just kind of lame. The gesture shortcuts, you’ve got to be kind of careful with those. And the size, it’s large, it’s not for everybody. Not everybody is going to feel comfortable with a 5.5 inch phone.

Leo: Jason Howell, you’re going to go on a trip, are you going to take that phone with you or?

Jason: I’m going to go ahead and give this to you!

Leo: I’m going to make you a deal. I’ll trade you this Amazon Fire phone. And we’ll talk about that in a little bit!

Jason: Alright, I can’t wait!

Leo: This has 6 cameras!

Jason: Okay fine! You win!

Leo: Coming up in a just a bit, we will have a review of the Fire phone, but first, let’s go over to Padres corner. He’s in the corner right now, to give us a review of a docking station. How many of you have laptops you’d love to get home, plug it in and have all access to all the ports you could ever desire? Well Padre’s got one, a thunderbolt docking station from Startech. Let’s take a look.

Fr. Robert Ballecer: Not too long again, I took a look at the Startech USB 3.0 dock. A very interesting device that took a single USB 3.0 port in, and then turned it into multiple USB 3.0 ports out. Along with HDMI, VGA, GVI, Ethernet, and Audio. Pretty much everything you might need if you wanted to dock your laptop. It was a good device, but we had some people who complained saying, “but Padre! I wanted to use Thunderbolt! What Am I to do?” Well first, don’t do that. That’s annoying. Secondly, StarTech has got you covered. The TB dock HDPBC is StarTechs Thunderbolt laptop docking station with HDMI, Mini display port, and gigabit Ethernet. That’s a mouthful to say, and a horrible model number. So I’m going to call it the StarTech Thunderdock. The Thunder dock is a relatively inexpensive way for users to finally unlock the potential of their thunderbolt ports. While some thunderbolt devices are relatively inexpensive, they typically lack the ability to be daisy chained. All the other devise may be full featured, but they’re crazy expensive. What StarTech has done with the Thunderdock was combine some of the most requested devices into a single box and sell it for a relatively low price. The Thunder Dock is about the size of a TV remote. At 7.4 inches by 4.9 inches by 2.8 inches wide, and just over 14 ounces heavy. It comes with a power brick, power cables for every corner of the planet, thunderbolt cable and a detachable weighted vase so it can operated with either a horizontal or vertical orientation. With the Thunderdock, one port enters, many ports leave. The rear of the device is decked out with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports, with mini display port compatibility, an HDMI jack, and gigabit Ethernet. The front of the thunder dock adds a third USB 3.0 port and audio jack. Using the Thunderdock is simple. Power it up, connect one of the thunderbolt ports to your properly equipped Mac or Windows pc, then Connect USB, HDMI, Ethernet, Audio and additional thunderbolt peripherals at will. The HDMI port supports a maximum resolution of 1920 X 1080. While the past thunderbolt/mini display port can support monitors with resolutions of up to 2560 X 1440. Video quality was smooth with no jitters, skip frames or system hiccups. Even with Motion rich videos and music video transfers simultaneously. Unlike some USB to display adapters, thunderbolt connected video displays, even those running through adapters have no lag. Seeing the laptop screen alongside either the display port or HDMI connected screen, shows no discernable lag, even when the video adapter was taxed with multiple streams of HD video. One note of caution. If you’re planning on using a Thunderbolt pass through to connect a natively equipped thunderbolt monitor.  You can display both the thunderbolt and HDMI outputs simultaneously. However, if you want to use the mini display port functionality, it’s either or. Plugging in an HDMI enabled display will disable the mini display port functionality. Beyond the video capabilities, the Thunderdock gives you full spec 10 gigabit thunderbolt connectivity. As well as 5 gigabit per second USB 3.0. The Thunderdock supports USB attached scuzzy protocol, or UASP for faster transfers. When we tested transfer rates with crystal disk mark on our windows box, the scores from a USB 3.0 flash drive, connected through the Thunderdock were almost identical to the scores of the same drive directly connected to our test system. Just for giggles, we plugged the same drive into a USB 2.0 port and well, let’s just say that if you have a system with USB 2.0 and thunderbolt, you definitely want a thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter. The gigabit Ethernet port worked as promised. There have been reports of glitches in getting both Windows and mac computers to recognize the Ethernet port, but our test unit was up and running within seconds. In all, the StarTech Thunderdock is an excellent addition to the desk of anyone using a thunderbolt equipped notebook. It’s fast, relatively low priced, and nearly bulletproof. The StarTech Thunderbolt laptop docking station is available now with a two year warranty. You can find it online for under 200 dollars.

Leo: Well there you go! The StarTech, is the company is startech.com I guess?

Fr. Robert: Startech.com and the model has that really weird name like TD. So I just called it the thunder dock. It’s the StarTech Thunderdock.

Leo: How many PCs have thunderbolt? I thought this was a mac only thing.

Fr. Robert: Very, very few. In fact, I had to send back the PC I had that had thunderbolt, because it was a review unit, so I had to finish the review on MACs, but yeah there are a few. It does work, and it works fantastically on PCs, but it really is a back peripheral.

Leo: It has to be PC enabled. And its Thunderbolt 1 not thunderbolt 2.

Fr. Robert: Correct.

Leo: I don’t know that it makes much of a difference.

Fr. Robert: No, you will get full 10 gigabits per second on this Thunderbolt bus, and you’ll get full 5 gigabit transfer on the USB 3.0 ports. So you’re not really going to be transfer limited.

Leo: Okay, good.

Fr. Robert: Pros and cons. The pros is the price is right. Especially when you consider this is a thunderbolt pass through device, which tend to be way more expensive. 185 to 200 dollars. It’s a sweet spot, you’re not going to find anything else that’s this good for that price. The other thing is ports. Lots and lots of ports. All the best, its 3 USB 3.0 ports, the display port, the thunderbolt pass through, the Ethernet, the HDMI, that’s all fantastic! On the con side, it’s not really a limitation of the dock, it’s a limitation of thunderbolt, you can run two displays on this, but it has to be HDMI and a thunderbolt. A native thunderbolt display.

Leo: And that’s because its thunderbolt 1, thunderbolt 2 will give you two full res displays.

Fr. Robert: Correct, correct, because if you plug in two display port adapters, which you can, it kills the HDMI port.

Leo: Right.

Fr. Robert: And the other thing is, it’s almost not plug and play for some MACS. If you have an older MAC running an older version of OS10, sometimes it has issues with sleep, and sometimes it has issues with the Ethernet port. I didn’t find that any of the Ethernet ports I’ve tested, but I’ve read plenty of reports from people who say it doesn’t always work the first time.

Leo: And that may not be a StarTech problem, that may be an Apple problem.

Fr. Robert: I think it is. It’s an Apple problem.

Leo: So buy, try, don’t buy?

Fr. Robert: This is an absolute buy.

Leo: We actually bought some!

Fr. Robert: We did! So we did buy! We bought many of these. If you are looking for a way to replicate the ports on your MacBook or even better, if you have an older MAC book that has thunderbolt, but no USB 3.0, absolutely pick one of these up.

Leo: Father Robert Ballecer, the Host of This Week in Enterprise Tech, Know How, Coding 101, and very excited! Padres Corner, which launches two weeks from now.

Fr. Robert: Two weeks.

Leo: What day will that be?

Fr. Robert: Tuesdays. 7:30 PM.  You’ve got to watch it.

Leo: So exciting, I’m really happy for you. Thank you Father Robert. Let’s take a walk over here to say hello to Tonya Hall! She’s the host of marketing mavericks. Produces this show and others. Does a lot of booking for us, and we knew you were an unsafe driver, so we’ve arranged. Not!

Tonya Hall: Right off the bat!

Leo: We’re having Tonya test what looks like a rear view mirror.

Tonya: It does!

Leo: What is it?

Tonya: It is the Papgo GoSafe 260 Dash cam.

Leo: So can you use it as your rearview mirror, or no?

Tonya: You can. And that’s a part of the feature is it actually clips really easily onto your rear view mirror, right there. So it’s got some…

Leo: Yeah, you snap it on. And you can see in the rear view mirror, but then there’s also a camera facing the other way. So that while you’re looking at the mirror here, it’s looking at the world outside. Is it making noise?

Tonya: It is making noise.

Leo: Is it Papagoing me?

Tonya: So what happens is, you actually have to have it plugged in. It does not come with this cord, it actually comes with a cord that you put into your cigarette lighter, and it automatically turns on the minute that you start your car. It automatically turns off. Actually it goes for a like a minute I think, maybe not a full , but a brief few seconds after you turn your car off. And it fit rights over your rearview mirror. So it is design wise, it’s plastic, it’s kind of bulky, my interior of my vehicle is not black, it is actually tan, so really was obvious.

Leo: It clashed a little bit, huh?

Tonya: It did and it was really obvious. I got a lot of dirty looks around Petaluma is all I’m saying.

Leo: I see it has a micro SD card.

Tonya: It does.

Leo: So it’s recording to that?

Tonya: Correct. So that is what it records to. And it will not record, obviously, without that in there. It will turn on, it just won’t record. This camera is adjustable. So you can point it up, you can point it down to the sides.

Leo: Now where’s the feedback coming from? Is it going to show an image of what the camera is seeing here?

Tonya: It will.

Leo: You’re kidding! So not only is it a mirror, but it’s also showing what’s ahead.

Tonya: It does! And it’s actually, so this is actually much smaller, the viewing image is smaller than a lot of its other competitors, which is good. Because it gives you more mirror space, but the mirror itself, is actually one of my least favorite pieces of it. Because even though you have more viewable, you can see more inside your vehicle, but it gets smaller outside, and it’s very dark. If you can see, it’s really dark.

Leo: It’s not a super great mirror in other words.

Tonya: It is a bad mirror, and it is actually kind of unsafe I think.

Leo: Let me see if I can do my makeup in it.

Tonya: Put on your lipstick?

Leo: It’s not great. Can you see yourself ladies and gentlemen in there? There you are.

Tonya: I did use it to put on my lipstick, I was worried that it actually got caught on camera, I had the editor look at that.

Leo: We didn’t’ see it.

Tonya: No you didn’t see it. The cable it comes with is actually really long, you will need to…

Leo: I was showing people, I don’t know if they know it, but I plugged into the…so it plugs into the top, so you’ll run the cable down through there, so you’re going to have a cable down your…

Tonya: You’re either going to have a cable just sitting, or you have plenty of cable to wire it around. Exactly. And that’s what it’s intended for. This monitor is very difficult to see because of the angle of the rear view mirror, so while you’re driving, which probably is actually safe.

Leo: Well yeah, you don’t want to steer using that. That’s more aimimg the camera than anything else.

Tonya: Well this can actually focus in, so if you wanted to focus in on something, for example somebody’s license plate, you could do that.

Leo: Take a picture of that!

Tonya: But here’s the problem. At about 25 feet, Zack actually did it, I used this produc,t as well as Zack, our editor got some beat roll for this, and what happened was when you try to get really close to a car, and you’re driving to actually get their license plate, even at 25 feet  you really can’t focus in on the license plate. As far as the camera quality,

Leo: Geez! I’m glad he has a camera, this guy is speeding through the parking garage!

Tonya: He is a speeder, so it’s caught on camera now Zack.

Leo: We need to add to this, do not try this at home. Untrained driver on open course.

Tonya: But you can see how it adjusts to light, it quickly adjusts, which is actually good.

Leo: You know I’m amazed at how good the image is.

Tonya: The quality is actually very good.

Leo: And you see date and time stamped, that’s something that’s important. Okay.

Tonya: So

Leo: IT does not blink 2.5 X speed, that’s us.

Tonya: Yeah! It does not do that, correct.

Leo: But even if you like took a still of that and zoomed in would you be able to read the license or not?

Tonya: IT was very difficult. See right there, it was very difficult to see the license plate.

Leo: Yeah.

Tonya: But you know, so that could be a drawback for sure. I know these are very popular and from the standpoint of the quality of the video, it’s good. You can also take stills, so if you wanted to take stills you could. Something else that’s kind of neat is if you wanted to create an audio track of what you’re…

Leo: There’s my car! I was able to see that license plate!

Tonya: Busted! If you wanted to actually have an audio, you know inside, actually this is inside, it was much easier in the dark to see the license plate.

Leo: Okay, so he’s using the zoom buttons do that.

Tonya: There is a zoom.

Leo: Now, here’s the question, a lot of dash cams record all the time, but only save the last few minutes, or if there’s an accident, save it. Is this saving it all the time?

Tonya: This saves it all the time!

Leo: Hey! Hey! Get that Slurpee!

Tonya: Petaluma!

Leo: What is this, Glee?

Tonya: What kind of punk kids do we have around here?

Leo: Could we rewind that and see if we can spot who that was? I want to find that perp!

Tonya: That was a perfectly good slushy.

Leo: Yeah, wow, it looked like a rainbow slushy.

Tonya: Now I want one.

Leo: Okay, slow down. Wait a minute! It’s you!

Tonya: No it’s not!

Leo: Okay. Wow.

Tonya: Whoa look at that!

Leo: Nice shot, Zach. Do we know that person, or was that actually an incident?

Tonya: That was a fan of TWiT, they said stop driving around, get back to the show.

Leo: Get back to work.

Tonya: Get back to work. So it actually does record all the time, and actually wants really neat is…

Leo: Here we got in the carwash to get rid of the slushy. Okay good!

Tonya: But it does adjust to the lighting. So the thing about recording is it continues to record, so let’s say it doesn’t just stop recording at the end, if you run out of space, so it will start recording over old.

Leo: It goes back to the beginning. That’s okay.

Tonya: Which is good. So if you accidently forget, or you don’t realize it’s not recording it, it’s always recording, so you have that.

Leo: Okay. And if you have, how much space does it use up? If you have a 32 gig Micro SD card in there, It’s probably hours, right?

Tonya: Yeah, so in fact we didn’t sue up all the space, but we did a lot of driving around. Lots of pretty sensory around here. So the audio quality is good and I was saying if you wanted to create a notebook, if you were going on a family trip, I you wanted to talk about what you were seeing that might be kind of fun. Again, it’s really obvious, I got a lot of dirty looks, and it was kind of a google glass experience.

Leo: Oh, so people could tell they were getting filmed.

Tonya: Yeah, people knew. People were looking at me.

Leo: This does explain a lot, because we got your expense report featuring one slushy and one carwash, and I couldn’t really figure out what’s going on there. So now I understand, that was part of the testing. Give us the pros and cons of the Papago.

Tonya: Easy installation. It was super easy, just clips on, not hard to install at all. Of course you will have to install the cord, but you know, outside of that… the good quality camera for driving, wide viewing range, which is more than most of the other similar cameras. Video snap shot options, you could actually just do a snapshot if you wanted to, you didn’t have to do the whole video. And it’s got anti-glare for evening, which is actually kind of nice. Cons are it’s an eye sore, it’s really obnoxious. It stood out.

Leo: Not a great mirror either.

Tonya: No. Exactly, it was hard to see the video, by the way, while you’re driving, which probably you shouldn’t see. But the thing that stood out the most was the fact that you actually cannot see in the mirror very well. And I felt actually unsafe.

Leo: yeah.

Tonya: In the, with the GoSafe 260.

Leo: This should be really a mirror, not a two way…

Tonya; Yeah, they should focus more on the mirror, because I felt that it didn’t make me feel secure.

Leo: it’s like a one may mirror kind of sort of thing. How much?

Tonya: It is actually not a bad price compared to some of its competition. It’s $170 on amazon. You can get it as cheap as that I think.

Leo: 1080P video, 170 bucks. What do you say? Buy, Don’t buy?

Tonya: It is a don’t buy. Because of the fact that the rearview mirror. Lots of other things were great, but if they could get the rear view mirror I would say buy it. But we have recommended a couple of the other PapaGo products. In fact we had a Papago Gosafe 330 that we did list as a buy, so maybe that’s a better option. But if the rearview mirror isn’t important to you, then I don’t know. But I say don’t buy.

Leo: Thank you Tonya. Tonya Hall, she’s the host of Marketing Mavericks. Seen on most of these NBC stations. No actually, Friday now, you do it Friday?

Tonya: Monday night.

Leo: Monday, okay. Every Friday morning, or Monday night.

Tonya: Well you watch it on ITunes right?

Leo: I watch it live, every single week. So thank you Tonya, it’s great to have you.

Tonya: Thank you.

Leo: I have an Amazon Fire phone, but before we do that, we gave Sarah Lane, who is the host of course, IPad today, Tech news tonight, but most importantly Ifive for the IPhone, and interesting kind of quad lens for her iPhone. It’s kind of a goofy thing you put on your iPhone.

Sarah Lane: Right. It’s from a company called, I don’t even know how you say this, Ztylus. It’s like stylus but with a Z in front of it.

Leo: But look at this! This is like a big, this turns your phone into something about the size of a point and shoot camera.

Sarah: Yeah, this is a two parter. Okay, so we’ve got two different products here.

Leo: Oh this is mix and match, okay.

Sarah: But they go together, they have to. So for 60 dollars you’ve got these camera accessories, which I’ll show you in a second. So for an extra 40 dollars you’ve got the case itself, and that’s what’s around my iPhone right now.

Leo: You have to buy the case though, because you couldn’t use accessory without it.

Sarah: Now here’s the deal. I like to think I’m not a complete fool. So I thought alright, well I’ll just put this all together and see how it goes and I couldn’t figure it out! So I’m looking at trying to figure out where’s the… how do I manual and everything? You actually have to go to the site and watch a YouTube video that they have up on the site to understand how to put it together. Now once you do that, it’s pretty easy.

Leo: But what’s cool is it does look like a camera.

Sarah: It does.

Leo: I mean, you’ve got a camera button. It really turns your iPhone, it’s a camera with a big viewfinder.

Sarah: So okay.

Leo: How it to this camera back here so they can see it.

Sarah: okay, right here. It’s a little bit wonky, right. I’ve got the camera accessory on here, and by the way, even If you were only to buy the case, it is a neat looking little case, but you take the stand off and put the camera accessory on. And then what you have to do is, it’s kind of hard to… again, trial and error here.

Leo: We’ve got to watch a YouTube video on how to take it off.

Sarah: let’s see here. How do I show you guys?

Leo: Ztylus.

Sarah: Yeah.

Leo: Stylus with a Z.

Sarah: You kind of have to get it just right.

Leo: Oh wait a minute! That’s before you take a picture you have to do that!

Sarah: Yeah, yeah. This is nothing.

Leo: That’s nothing?

Sarah: This is where the lenses live inside. That is lens storage, got it? So once you’ve got these opened, and by the way they’re marked. This one happens to be the, gosh, it’s FL, which stands for look inside here. Remind me

Leo: Faster than light.

Sarah: Focal Lane, yeah but they call it something else. It’s the Fish Eye lens.

Leo: The fish lens.

Sarah: So what you do is you open it up. I thought well that’s weird, it doesn’t even click in there. It actually does. There’s a little, there’s an area that’s about the size of what the actual iPhone lens is.

Leo: So let’s see what that is going to make it look like.

Sarah: Okay, so if I was to take a fish eye photo here.

Leo: Yeah.

Sarah: Alright, so you can see there that I’m looking at…

Leo: Oh! How attractive is that.

Sarah: Yeah, I’ll take a picture of you real quick and then I’ll show people. Let’s get up close.

Leo: Fish eyes allow you to get a huge nose.

Sarah: yeah, everybody has a huge nose. So when you look at the photo…

Leo: What the? Can I have that picture!

Sarah: Of course! It’s your new profile picture, you look so hobbit like, and it’s great! It’s really good!

Leo: Maybe people don’t know that’s actually how they do the hobbit.

Sarah: Right, it’s just with this product, it’s only ninety dollars. That is one of the lenses. There’s also a polarizing filter lens. Now that one I was playing around with it in my desk, and I couldn’t get it to sound very interesting.

Leo; Okay, so you rotate that and then you flip it out.

Sarah: Yeah, so you’ve got three different lenses that pop out here. So here’s my polarizing filter here. This is actually more for something that you’d be taking out on a bright sunny day. You know, which will help with glare, and kind of make colors a little bit truer. In something like a studio sense.

Leo: It wouldn’t help here. But it’s like polarizing sunglasses.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And then you’ve got a macro setting as well so if I go ahead and change it again.

Leo: You better not be in a hurry to take a picture because this is going to take a while. I’m sorry. Just stand there, I’ve got to get my lens out.

Sarah: Oh look, a beautiful lady bug! Stay still Lady Bug!

Leo: Here comes my…

Sarah: Let me get my macro lens out! It is a little wonky. It is. I’m not going to lie about that, I do fe

Leo: Let’s see what the macro lens looks like.

Sarah: Okay, here’s the thing, you’ve got a wide angle lens. This one is actually a two parter, you’ve got the wide angle lens and then if you actually take that off, which goes, which goes, shush you guys! I’m trying to show you how it works! Which goes this way! It does!  I did this two seconds ago.

Leo: You unscrew the thing.

Sarah: Alright, one of these, the wide angle lens is on top of the macro lens. So this is actually a two for one. Now that’s going to give you quite a few moving parts. Here we go.

Leo: That’s how a number of other lens systems work for the iPhone. I’ve seen that before.

Sarah: So this is my new macro, that’s underneath the wide angle.

Leo: Now snap that on, and now you’ve got.

Sarah: You snap that on and then you’ve got…that’s a front facing camera, okay. I did actually look, I played around with this and it actually works quite well.

Leo: So macro you get close up. Like of an incest or something.

Sarah: That’s right. The iPhone camera is pretty nice.

Leo: Doesn’t the flash get blocked by that?

Sarah: This is not… Yeah. I mean you, this…

Leo: Forget the flash!

Sarah: It’s not for low light situations.

Leo: But the case blocks the flash.

Sarah: The case blocks the flash. What the case wont block is power. Also if you’ve got, if you don’t have your

Leo: Can you use headphones with it?

Sarah: Yes, yeah. The headphone jack…

Leo: Because you have a little portal there so you get right access to it.

Sarah: That’s right. The volume and the on and off stuff is there. For some reason I have a very hard time showing you backwards. It is a little hard to reach though. It is in there, you can feel it, but it’s… I don’t know! I mean, I’m trying to, before we were…

Leo: You need gallium fingers, long skinny fingers to reach in there.

Sarah: I just, I feel like I see a lot of accessories for iPhone particularly on the camera on the market. 

Leo: It’s in your business, it’s what you do.

Sarah: That’s right. So as a package deal, for ninety bucks, this seems high to me. Considering that at least with the test that I took, the lenses all worked fine, but they weren’t like blowing me away.

Leo: And there are other products.

Sarah: And you’ve got some moving parts. You’re going to lose this. And yeah, there are other products. I think the best part of it is what it looks like. You said, “oh that looks cool.” I can’t even put the darn thing back on.

Leo: Pros and cons.

Sarah: Pros,

Leo: Wait a minute, you mean this button, this top button that looks like you push this to take a picture, that doesn’t do anything.

Sarah: No that’s nothing. Oh that’s what you were talking about. No, you’ve been fooled. Because you feel like this is the lens, but it isn’t because you still have to use the iPhone camera.

Leo: It’s clever camouflage.

Sarah: Exactly. It’s a lot of smoking mirrors. I think the pros are the case is actually quite solid. I think it feels really good. I think it looks cool. And again, like I mentioned, even if you weren’t buying the camera connections.

Leo: It’s a case.

Sarah: yeah, it’s a case, a little kick stand, it’s kind of cool .Sort of a rugged look. And I think that the design of the camera accessories, once you kind of get the hang of it is kind of neat. Right? You’ve got all these options, and they’re sort of flipping out, whatever, and once you actually have a lens on top of your original camera lens, and you click it in, it’s pretty sturdy. The cons, I don’t think the images that it’s giving you are going to wow you that much. Considering that you have pretty good cameras that aren’t that expensive anymore.

Leo: Or the Olloclip which we like a lot, which just kind of clips on and does all the same things without all of the bulky case.

Sarah: And for whatever reason you’ve got this and you’re on vacation or wherever, and you want to take it off really quickly, you can’t! Its a few minutes. It doesn’t just snap on and off, because you’ve got a little screw here, that you attach into place.

Leo: I think it’s a cool idea, but what do you think? Buy, try?

Sarah: I say don’t buy. I say…

Leo: Don’t buy. Not at that price.

Sarah: It’s a novelty little accessory, it’s kind of fun but it’s too expensive for what it is. I think its close, but no cigar.

Leo: Sarah Lane, thank you!  A no buy for the Ztylus. Sarah is the host of Ifive for the IPhone, IPad today, Tech news Tonight. In fact we’re going to get out of your way so you can do tech news tonight.

Sarah: Oh thanks!

Leo: But first, before that, I’ve got a phone with six cameras! Would you like to take a look at my…

Sarah: More than anything.

Leo: My fire phone.

Sarah: Oh that?

Leo: It says Amazon on the back, it’s a big ad for Amazon. This is the Fire Phone. Amazon is selling this for 200 dollars with a two year commitment to AT&T, its At&T only, that’s one of the negatives on this because it doesn’t come from any other carrier. It’s a specially redesigned version of Android. They call it Fire OS3.5. And there are some cool features to the Fire phone. For one thing, you’re seeing, if I show you the locked screen what Amazon calls dynamic perspective. This is one of the things, in fact, the only thing that those four cameras on the corners are used for, to see where my head is doesn’t work unless I put my head right in the shot, and then it wil,l you know, this is the, it’s hard to show this off because the camera is not your head, but then you can see I can kind of look around and see those northern lights behind me. This is one of about ten locked screens. They rotate, all of them have time and date, all of them, I don’t know what this image is of, and it’s very odd. But let me, that’s just the locked screen.  Let me get into it. Now what you’re going to see immediately, in fact, let me show a picture I just took of Sarah Lane. It’s a decent 13 megapixel camera, very competitive with most of the other phones on the markets today. In fact, if you didn’t know, Sarah, you might say is that an IPhone? Because it kind of looks like maybe even an older iPhone.

Sarah: yeah, with a case on it or something.

Leo: Yeah. This is plastic, not glass. This is yeah I think its gorilla glass in front. It does have a physical home button, just like the iPhone and that’s about it. If I press it, I can see a list of applications, if… and by the way, because it’s using amazons own store, I can see the applications on the device, but I can also go to the applications I’ve purchased from the amazon store at any given time and redownload those. If you’ve used the Amazon fire tablet, you’ll recognize this carousel interface. It shows the most recent things you’ve done in a carousel. So it has, for instance, its own maps, these are license from Nokia, the Here maps. These also use the dynamic perspective, so I can, I think that’s a gimmick. I don’t think it adds too much to the value of it. There is a little bit of a use because you can flick it this way, see I never could get this to work, there we go! If you flick it that way, you’ll see a side bar, you flick it the other way, most of the time, you just go like that, because after a while, it’s like well it doesn’t work reliably. You’re going to see another thing, when I look at this that’s interesting about this carousel interface. If the application has additional data, like this is the map, so it says, recommended for use, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, or on the camera app, it’ll show you pictures you’ve taken, that’s cool. These are messages, these are phone numbers I’ve called, and these are potential settings. But if it’s an app from the app store, it’s going to give you an ad for other like apps. Firefly, you might want to check out. Gazelle, here’s some music you can buy from the Amazon store, here’s some periodicals you can subscribe to. Here’s some other games, like play doodle. So this is really a lot of space devoted on this screen to what’s essentially an ad for other Amazon products. I’m not crazy about that. You also can’t customize this as you could other Android phones, there are no custom launchers or custom keyboards. Fire OS is fire OS, but most, many of the, not all, but many of the android aps you’re use to have been ported over to it, because it’s not such a big thing to do. There’s no Google apps, so I had to use a 3 dollar authenticator program that’s like Googles Authenticator, because they don’t have Google Maps or Google Authenticator, or Google plus, or any of the Google maps on here. As you might expect though, the Amazons ecosystem is well represented, here’s Android books, a kindle reader, of course you can buy stuff from the store, and that’s where a firefly button is kind of interesting. A physical camera button when you press it quickly it’ll just launch the camera, and when you take a picture or video. And when you press it and hold it, it goes into firefly mode. You see those little fireflies, they’re looking for things you could buy on Amazon. Let’s see if it recognizes the Ztylus Case, So I’m going to put it in the Ztylus case, it recognizes a lot of things, not just things you can buy, but also…come on! Come on there! Come on Fire flays. See they don’t know what the hell that is, they’re going to off to the edge, give me something else to take a picture of. How about that flashlight, here, maybe you know what this is Amazon, I’d really like to have this, buy it in the Amazon store, what are you? Oh see the fireflies are gathering. They’re puzzled, they have no idea what that is!  Here give me something else I can take a picture of! How about this. Now if there’s a bar code on a product, while it’ll always work with a barcode, It’ll immediately know what that is, it sees the barcode, and it’s now going to tell me how I can order this fine product at Amazon.com. Right? Maybe not. It has no idea. It read the bar code, but it doesn’t, and this is, you can see the limitation of this. If you pointed at a well-known sculpture, or painting, hey maybe it’ll recognize that sculpture or painting. Amazon demonstrated it and it seemed to work pretty well in that respect. Let’s just delete that from History because that makes no sense whatever that was. Let’s take another picture. Here this is something you’ll probably recognize Fire phone. A picture of the chief TWiT, yeah, see the fireflies are running away as fast as they can. They say I don’t know what the heck that is. So the fire fly feature, a limited interested. It is kind of a show rooming app, you can go into a store take a picture of a product, and if it recognizes it, you can buy the product. The other thing that’s kind of interesting, it has Amazons May Day feature, so if you’re lost, and you don’t know how to use the phone, excuse me, I’ll actually call somebody and it’ll give you live video help. I think that’s kind of neat for somebody who’s using their first smartphone, but really the thing that galls me is this is an Android phone, with a lot of the same Android specs, they’re charging the same price as almost all the flagship phones, but it’s not a standard Android, and that’s a little bit frustrating. I want Android! In fact, I think if they had made this phone a true Android phone, with all these features like May Day and Firefly and dynamic perspective, then I could recommend it. So pros and cons, it’s great at Amazon, obviously it’s definitely a pro. It’s a nice phone, it’s, you know, a snapdragon 800. Not the state of the art, but pretty fast quad core, it has these four corner cameras which give you dynamic perspective, but nothing else really uses them. I’m hoping Amazon comes up with something else for those cameras. It’s got a decent back camera, but in the negatives, it’s just really too small of an app ecosystem. Too oddball of an interface, I can’t really recommend it! It’s…buy an Android phone! I just, there’s not enough different, and new here to make this desirable, I’m sorry to say Amazon, I’m going to have to give you a do not buy, on the Amazon Fire Phone. And now I’m going to try to find somebody who’ll take it off me. The other negative of course, AT&T only, that’s going to limit it for a lot of people. Well that’s that for this edition of before You Buy, thank you to Sarah Lane, Father Robert Ballacer, Tonya Hall.

Sarah: you almost said Harding.

Leo: I almost said Harding.

Sarah: I could tell.

Leo: You could tell? I’m going to have to hit you in the knee for that.

Sarah: Cool!

Leo:  And Jason Howell for your review. Thank you for watching. All the reviews are put up on YouTube, youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. You can get the whole show at TWiT.tv/byb, or subscribe, you can get in on all the traditional pod catchers like ITunes. You can also watch us do the show, semi live. Right after Security Now, about 3 PM pacific, 6 PM Eastern Time, 2200 UTC every Tuesday afternoon on the TWiT network. Thanks for being here. Oh, don’t forget you can email us if you have something you’d like us to review. byb@twit.tv. I’m Leo Laporte, don’t forget, and remember! You’ve got to keep it in your brain! It’s always time to watch Before You Buy!