Download and watch the episode here:
Before You Buy 136
Show Tease: Coming up! A Chromebook you can touch, a sporty Galaxy S5, and a 4K laptop at a 2K price! 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 Nature Box, order great tasting, healthy snacks delivered right to your door. Forget the vending machine, get in shape with healthy delicious treats like honey Dijon pretzels. Oh baby! To get 50% off your first box, go to naturebox.com/twit. That’s naturebox.com/twit.
Leo Laporte: Boy, it’s kind of laptop day today on Before you Buy. I think every one of us is reviewing a different kind of notebook or laptop style computer starting off. Actually no, you’ve got a phone!
Chad Johnson: Yeah I do! I’ve got a phone!
Leo: Chads got a phone.
Chad: I also happen to own a laptop.
Leo: Yeah, so… He’s got a lap in his top. Or a top in… Never mind.
Leo: So this we’ve talked about, I’ve reviewed the galaxy S5, it’s been out for a while now and as Samsung did the galaxy s4, they’ve released some variance on it. This is the sport model of the Galaxy s5.
Chad: Right, this is the sport edition of the phone. The things that this is… basically everything you get in the Galaxy S5. What you’re doing is you’re sacrificing a little bit of thickness for ruggedness and a few other features built in. The main feature is that this is waterproof. Not waterproof, but water resistant for a little while for…
Leo: Yeah, you know, the term waterproof/water resistant. There are technical definitions for this. What level of water resistance does it have?
Chad: This one I believe it’s 30 feet for 30 minutes.
Leo: Well that’s not bad. Believe me you don’t want to go down thirty feet unless you’ve got…
Chad: Exactly, I’m actually trying to find exactly what that was.
Leo: They give it a letter designation but that’s fine.
Chad: Right. The other thing they have just like the S5 is the heart rate monitor on the back, so you can place your finger of this sensor and it’ll test your heart rate. Other than that, the specs are there’s a 16 gig, 16 megapixel shooter on the back, a 2 megapixel shooter on the front. This is 5.1 inch display, this is a 1080 display so that’s 430 pixels per inch. Of course, Android, it’s 4.4.2 and with lots of touch whiz. So if you start getting in here you’ll notice touch whiz kind of right off the bat, especially in apps and settings, and things like that. All your settings have different drop downs and a much different look than your normal Android. On top of that, they’ve added lots of apps to bring this phone to a more sporty feel when it comes to the apps that they bundle in. This is the sprint version. So it has Sprint fit live, over here on the home screen. You can uninstall that, and then it also has this little pull down over here which has you know map my fitness and S-health as well, and that’s always on the home screen. Unless if you get a different home screen.
Leo: Yeah, and S-health is part of all of the galaxy phones. I’m not sure about map my fitness. Do you think t hat’s unique to the sport edition?
Chad: I haven’t seen the original.
Leo: I’m trying to remember. I don’t remember map my fitness. So maybe that’s just for that.
Chad: Okay, it also has these people in the background that look like they’re running.
Leo: Ah that’s well!
Chad: Get motivated. Absolutely, I hope that you’re excited about your S5 sport.
Leo: It makes me want to leap to my feet and yawn. I mean!
Chad: Of course, it has like the magazine features, it has all the Samsung touch whiz features. And then lots of bloat ware. This whole page. They give you a whole page of bloat ware. On top of that, they put the spring bloat wear in its own little folder, you can use this to uninstall everything.
Leo: That is, by the way, ingress protection rating 67.
Chad: Oh! Well now you know! Sorry that what I was saying wasn’t quite clear enough for you! Ingress level 67.
Leo: That tests for dust protection and water intrusion only a meter for 30 minutes.
Chad: A meter for 30 minutes.
Leo: Big difference.
Chad: So I was thinking thirty feet times 100 centimeters for 30 minutes.
Leo: Oh, you’re absolutely right. Its 1000 millimeters for 30 minutes.
Chad: You’re absolutely right. I didn’t think about that! 1000 folks!
Leo: It does say it’s not shock proof. So…
Chad: But it’s the rugged design. It’s the sport, it’s what you get. Okay, well that’s crazy. Looking around at the hardware. You have the headphone jack on the top, the power button on the side which is nicely placed for your thumb. On the bottom, you have a micro USB charger, on the bottom hidden behind a door here, this is a little bit intrusive, but that’s what you have to deal with in order to get the water proof.
Leo: That’s for the water proof, or I’m sorry, the ingress protection.
Chad: Ingress protection. There you go. You have a volume rocker on the back. The buttons on the front are tactile, these are physical buttons, which I actually really enjoyed! I really liked having real buttons.
Leo: That’s a big difference! Because the regular S5 only has one home button and then the rest are onscreen, so that’s interesting!
Chad: No capacitive button, so that means if it gets wet or something you can still hit the home button without the screen screwing up, because it’s half tick or capacitive. I actually really like these physical buttons which definitely sets the sport apart.
Leo: That’s different, if you want physical buttons that’s one of the few phones today that still has all physical buttons.
Chad: Right. All physical real buttons. The back sort of has the rubber… if you want a different style of Band-Aid back, you can get the S5. People were making fun of the note back.
Leo: They call this electric blue, and I find it shocking.
Chad: Yeah, there are a few different colors. So they’ll have blue and red and it sets the colors. So if you really want some sort of metallic color for your phone, this sport is where it’s at. It also does have a..not only a SIM card but a micro SD card slot.
Leo: And removable back, which is great. In fact, a little surprising on a waterproof phone, but…
Chad: Now it will remind you every chance that it gets that you need to make sure to plug this thing up, with popups that definitely feel like popup ads, every single time that you do something like remove the back, or open this thing up to charge it, and you also have to make sure that you always…you have to put in the bottom first otherwise there’s no hope. There’s absolutely no hope if you don’t do that. So another, now the battery life, I found the battery life on this phone was fantastic. It was really, really good. I took some screen shots of over 24 hours of having this phone on. I was really, really, really impressed with battery life. Camera performance was also pretty good. So here’s a screen shot of the battery. Come on, oh there we go! This is two days and an hour.
Chad: Now granted I just reset the phone, so I had used this phone for about a week and a half when I customized everything. I changed the home screen, I changed the home screen. I did everything. And then I reset the phone back to stock so I could play around with the stock apps that it comes with. So this is kind of a day of it kind of just sitting on standby on my desk.
Leo: What’s the screen on time? Because that’s really the key on that.
Chad: The screen on time is down here, does it say?
Leo: I don’t see. It’s just a graph.
Chad: Yeah, it’s just a graph. So down here is screen on time. And then I picked it back up and used it for the rest of the day. So this is two days… If you’re someone who doesn’t pick up your phone and use it a lot, I could easily see this stretching even further. So I was really really impressed with battery life. When it comes to the camera, you’re going to have sort of the same camera that is on all of the Samsung devices that feels a little bit difficult to get into because there’s so many different modes. There’s so many different features. There’s beauty face, every single time you put the phone into selfie mode, into using the front facing camera, it automatically turns on beauty face. Which I think is funny. Look you want to take some flawless photos with beauty face?
Leo: With Beauty face.
Chad: Yeah, sure I’ll take some beauty face photos! There we go! Absolutely.
Leo: Nothing it can do for me.
Chad: Nothing better than the beauty face. Look at that! I look like I have the tiniest head! Wow!
Leo: That’s a duck face! That’s not a beauty face.
Chad: In general, I found that the camera was fine. Which is really nice. There’s some photos of my cats in my sock drawer. Some Snapchat photos and some combusha photos. Anyway, generally I found that the camera was really good. So the pros, it’s waterproof and dust resistant as well. It’s rugged, which I really liked and the battery life was really, really good.
Leo: As long as you don’t use it.
Chad: Well I used it! I mean, I also used it on a normal basis and it lasted me throughout the day with twenty percent battery at the end of the day. So overall I was very happy with the battery life.
Leo: Now this is the sprint exclusive I think.
Chad: This is the sprint version. So for the cons, I’d have to give it the software was very, very annoying. So unless if you plan, like basically I wouldn’t recommend this phone unless if you’re going to tweak it in the software department.
Leo: Or you love Samsung a lot.
Chad: Yeah, you really love Samsung phones a ton.
Leo: That was my complaint about the regular S5, it’s just larded up with Samsung stuff.
Chad: It’s horrible. Also on the cons, I did not like this design. I’ve got to say, it’s flashy, it’s kind of absurd.
Leo: The plastic looks cheap. I’ve got to be honest.
Chad: It’s cheap, and really I was kind of embarrassed taking this phone out of my pocket, in all the colors.
Leo: I want to do something here. Before you give us your buy and don’t buy, do the heart rate monitor, because I happen to have here a medical heart rate monitor that one of our fans who’s visiting from New Mexico. Jim from New Mexico.
Chad: Put my finger on it, hit okay
Leo: Because it’s got a light on the back, you put your finger on it and you have to measure it. It looks like you’ve got 89 bits per minute. Now let’s try this medical heart rate monitor. This also measures blood oxygen, which Samsung does not.
Leo: Everybody is asking does it make phone calls? Were you able to make…
Chad: It does make phone calls. I was able to make phone calls.
Leo: What’s your heart rate there? Here it comes.
Chad: The beats per minute is 88.
Leo: 88! I think that’s close enough for government work!
Chad: So we might actually be able to do this at the same time.
Leo: Simultaneously. It’s within a beat, that’s good enough.
Chad: Within a beat, at least…yeah, we know it’s not skipping a beat.
Leo: It’s fairly accurate. That’s also good. Now we get the bottom line. Buy, try, don’t buy?
Chad: Buy, try, don’t buy? I would say on this phone, Buy! It’s leaning towards try!
Leo: Not an enthusiastic buy.
Chad: It’s not an enthusiastic buy. I felt that it was a very solid phone. It was fast, battery life was great and it has some cool features. It’s hard to recommend to someone who I know isn’t going to tweak it because the…when I use this phone and I deleted the apps I didn’t want, I changed the home screen and I changed it, this was my daily driver. The moment that I reset it back to factory and tried to live with it based off of Samsung’s apps that they put onto the phone, I basically didn’t want to pick it up and use it because there’s popups all the time, and extra features on the home screen I didn’t care about. I’d accidently click them when I was going for another app. It just because a really frustrating experience. I feel, I still feel like the hardware is a great phone, so if you’re going to tweak it, buy.
Leo: Did you go diving with the depths of 1000 millimeters with it?
Chad: I did dunk it in water. And it survived.
Leo: That’s good enough!
Chad: Right. So it’s a buy, please tweak it! Please delete all of Samsung stuff off of it.
Leo: Yeah, that’s kind of our general attitude towards Samsung stuff. It’s fine if they wouldn’t just crap it up.
Chad: If this is for your grandma, no!
Leo: If the Google play edition, they don’t offer google play edition but if they did, then it’d be a no-brainer.
Chad: Yeah, right.
Leo: That’s Chad Johnson, he’s the host of OMGcraft, and Redditup!
Chad: Who gave us this heart rate monitor?
Leo: I told you Jim did, and Jim is lying on the floor so we better give it back to him right now. Thank you Jim I appreciate it. And thank you for your review.
Leo: Now it’s all laptops, notebooks, and that kind of thing. We gave Padre the latest from Toshiba. The Tecra W50 and he had this to say about it.
Father Robert Ballecer: The Tecra W50-1-A1501 is Toshibas new 2014 enterprise class desk top replacement. Targeted at IT departments, power users, and executives. To be clear, this is a desktop replacement, it has a battery but it’s not designed to run away from the power outlet. It’s a notebook but it weighs 6 lbs. and is up to 1.37 inches thick. It has a power adapter that weighs more than my Ultrabook. It’s built for power, and power alone. The W50 is powered by a fourth generation Intel haswell 174800 MQ quad core CPU, with 6 megabytes of Intel smart cache. Running at 2.70 gigahertz with a turbo frequency of 3.7 gigahertz. The CPU is supported by 16 gigabytes of DDR 3l system memory, upgradable to 32 gigabytes and an N video quadro Kv200 U. With two gigabytes of dedicated G DDR 5. All that power drives the centerpiece of the w50. A 15.6 inch 16X9 LED backlit Igzo4K ultra HD display. Capable of 3840 by 2160, and supporting 2160 P content. The screen is beautiful. You could stare at it all day and not see a pixel. The colors are deep and rich with no discernable bleed through. In fact, the only issue I could find with the 4K screen was that it was a little dim when compared with laptops with standard 1080P screens. Although specs sound fantastically impressive, the fastest mobile CPU you can shoe horn into a laptop, plenty of memory, powerful dedicated graphics, a monster screen that is beautiful and with a street price of about 2,200 dollars. It’s a decent purchase for power users. The question is, does the rest of the notebook measure up? First up, connectivity. And the W50 has it in spades. On the right side, you’ll find a Kensington lock port, a comically large power port, gigabit Ethernet and video port, USB 3.0, and an express card slot. On the left side are audio, a smart card, an additional 3 USB 3.0 ports, with one of them doubling as an E-seta connector, a VGA and full size HDMI. The front of the W50 houses a media card reader, and the underside hides a docking port. Toshiba equipped the W50 with Bluetooth 4.0 a dual band 80211 ABGNAC WIFI adapter, and a DVD super multi drive. The W50 has a full size backlit keyboard with plenty of spacing, a dedicated numeric keypad, and a standard multi-touch trackpad, with a row of status LEDS just below. As well as an eraser head pointing device. So that’s all the good stuff, and a lot of good stuff it is, but now to the rest. Primary storage on the W50 is a 7,200 RPM hard drive, not an SSD, not a hybrid, not a rotating drive with an SSD cache module, but a straight up hard drive. I don’t understand the thought process of an engineer who thought to combine a high powered GPU and CPU with a load of memory and a 4 K display with a storage device that is slower than slow. It makes no sense. And Toshiba included a makes no sense ohmmeter in the LED that shows hard drive activity. If you’re doing anything that requires even moderate storage usage, your experience will vacillate between awesome and…and awesome, and…. And awesome…and…. Toshiba does include some decent software like an auto parking utility to prevent hard drive damage in the fall, but all those little pieces of bloat ware conspired to keep the hard drive active all the time and that just kills performance. Nowhere is that more clear than in benchmarking. The W50 scored a 9967 in PC mark vantage, that’s well below the 13 and 1400 that we’ve seen from dell and HP desktop replacements. Though the W50 has more CPU and graphics power the hard disk drive bottlenecks all that power. Unfortunately, it’s not just the hard drive, the construction itself is questionable. The unit looks sturdy, but there is way too much flex in the body panels. You’d think that Toshiba would throw in some brushed aluminum, magnesium, or even gorilla glass to stiffen the chasse and lid. In all, the W50 is a machine that has a lot of potential but is crippled by some questionable component choices. The Toshiba w50-A1501 is available now with a three year warranty. You can find it online, for about $2,250.
Leo: Alright! There you go, that is a big…
Fr. Robert: It is a big honking laptop.
Leo: A honking laptop, but with a 4K screen I think…
Fr. Robert: This is the power adapter.
Leo: Oh man! This is a desktop replacement, it’s not supposed to be portable.
Fr. Robert: I’ve had it unplugged, and I think I’m already down to 70 percent. It’s been unplugged for 5 minutes.
Leo: Is it for gamers?
Fr. Robert: No! That was the thing about the review, I’m not sure who it’s for. This does has a lot of pros. The screen is beautiful.
Leo: It’s gorgeous.
Fr. Robert: The 4K screen is gorgeous.
Leo: The back is nice.
Fr. Robert: Its super-fast, the processor is super-fast, it’s a quad core I7…
Leo: But pushing all those pixels gamers aren’t…it’s not going to be fast enough.
Fr. Robert: It’s not fast enough and this is the big con. It’s got a hard drive, a standard hard drive. Not a hybrid, not a cache model, but a hard drive. And that just kills it! It makes me wonder what their engineers were thinking! I mean you save what? 60 dollars with that move? The laptop already costs $2,150, saving 60 dollars to knock 50 % of the performance off your laptop? That’s just silly.
Leo: Yeah. Plus no DVD, no Blu-ray.
Fr. Robert: It does have that! So this is one of those desktop replacements that understood that it should have.
Leo: It sounds like it’s really a home media center kind of thing.
Fr. Robert: It’s a home media center, but at this price?
Leo: That’s a little expensive.
Fr. Robert: its crazy expensive for what it is!
Leo: And it feels a little cheesy.
Fr. Robert: It feels cheesy, this thing is super flexible. I know that people are going to break this. The first time you let it slip, it’s just going to crack the machine in half, and that’s the big expense on this machine.
Leo: Alright, so your final verdict.
Fr. Robert: I’m afraid that I have to give this one a don’t buy. I want to try it, I really do, but the hard drive is the deciding factor. If I had an SSD in here this would probably be a buy, for that price, for the 4K screen, but with a hard disk drive I can’t give it.
Leo: You know, my sense is at this point the PC manufactures are styming, they don’t know what people want, they can’t sell them know matter what they do. So they’re just trying a lot of different form factors. They’re thinking, obviously Toshiba is thinking that a 4K display should be enough to drive people to the market. No. I don’t think people even want desktop replacements anymore. What is that for?
Fr. Robert: yeah, if I could just get this screen in an Ultrabook format, obviously you can’t tell because we’re broadcasting 720, but it is gorgeous, it’s a beautiful beautiful screen but if you don’t have the stuff from the back end to drive this reliably, then what are you doing?
Leo: Father Robert Ballecer, the hope of this week in Enterprise tech. The host of this week in Enterprise tech! He’s the also the host of padres corner.
Fr. Robert: Tonight.
Leo: We call it PACO.
Fr. Robert: Okay, I like that.
Leo: And it’s on every Tuesday night.
Fr. Robert: 7:30 PM.
Leo: After everybody goes home.
Fr. Robert: After everyone goes home, I basically turn the lights on and do my thing.
Leo: I love that show, that’s awesome. Of course, know-how and coding 101 as well. Just for that you deserve some dark cocoa num nums
Fr. Robert: Oh! I’m kind of addicted to those things!
Leo: They’re really good aren’t they? Mini Cocoa oat cookies. Alright, you can have some.
Fr. Robert: Alright.
Leo: I feel like I’m training him. Good boy! Have a num num! They’re actually called num nums
Fr. Robert: You’re like a drug pusher.
Leo: This is nature box and if you don’t know about Nature box, you ought to know. Visit naturebox.com/twit. Snacks delivered to your door. And if that were all, if it were just that, I’d say go! Do it! Enjoy. But there’s more. Its healthy snacks delivered to your door. Nutritionist approved. They have hundreds of different varieties. It’s kind of mind boggling. Every time we get a new Nature Box we’ve gotten stuff we’ve never seen! Like I hadn’t seen those Cocoa num nums yet. Praline Pumpkin seeds. Whole wheat blueberry figgy bars, honey macadamia pretzel pops. Backed cheddar potato fries. Nutritionist approved. Never any high fructose corn syrup or Tran’s fats. Never any artificial flavors or colors, only good stuff, delicious. And if you’ve got dietary needs you can get those served too. Vegan? You bet it! Just say I want a vegan box. You can also do gluten conscious, soy free. You can choose by a variety of flavor as well, sweet, savory, and spicy. You’ve got complete control over your nature box. My suggestion though is get that first box, we’ll give you half off and get the best variety you can. You’ll never know what people are going to like. If you’ve got kids they’re going to love Nature Box, and you’re going to be happy they’re eating such delicious food instead of that candy bar from the vending machine. We give them to our employees too and they just sit up and go woof! Snaturebox.com/twit for 50% off. I can’t decide. I think I’ll do the honey macadamia pretzel pops today. It’s always fun to go back in the kitchen and see, oh what have I got? All the bags resealable, they’re Ziploc, so you can have one, you know, eat a healthy amount. It’s a great deal. Naturebox.com/twit. Hey, look who’s here!
Jason Howell: I am no longer Father Robert Ballecer, I am Jason Howell!
Leo: He stretched.
Jason: I ate Nature Box and it turned me into a completely different person.
Leo: Look what it’s done for him! We’ve got another laptop for him it looks like.
Jason: Not really a laptop although…
Leo: What is that?
Jason: I’m not too surprised that someone might think so because it’s the Lenovo Yoga tablet.
Leo: It’s a tablet! Can you put a keyboard on it?
Jason: I’m sure that you can connect thru Bluetooth but as it is, it’s a tablet with a stand, but it looks kind of like a laptop.
Leo: Now as the host of all about Android, you’re probably very interested in these. This is an Android device, right?
Jason: yes, it is Android, It’s the Yoga Tablet 10 HD plus 349 dollars.
Leo: That’s a good price. Holy cow! So 10 inch tablet.
Jason: There we go! Thank you guys. So it’s a 10 inch tablet, 1920 by 1080 display, which is okay, although I find just after using it a lot it’s almost like the sharpness on it is revved up.
Leo: It’s very sharp. Its extraordinarily sharp looking.
Jason: But almost to the point where small text has this white halo around it. Have you ever, on your TV ramp up the sharpness setting too high, and then it gives you this white halo around detail and stuff? I see that in this display a lot, which I haven’t really liked, although the more I use it the more I notice it and it’s kind of distracting. It’s a 1.6 gigahertz quad core snapdragon 400 processor.
Leo: Okay, not the latest, greatest.
Jason: Right. Its quad core but it’s running at 400 processor, and it’s got the HD display. And my experience with this is just in running apps and switching around and everything I get a lot of the choppiness in launching, or if I rotate it around it kind of jitters before it turns. You know, obviously it does at different speeds at different times, but ultimately I have a feeling that 400 processor that’s in here driving the HD screen might be a little underpowered. I got that feeling over time, especially while playing games. Things really slowed down and jittered a lot.
Leo: Well at that price…that’s a low price, it’s a pretty amazing price for what you’re getting.
Jason: $350 is not a bad price, that’s true.
Leo: How much storage is on that?
Jason: It has 8, sorry 32 gigs of storage.
Leo: That’s plenty. That’s a lot for Android.
Jason: It has a lot of storage on board, and also has an SD card slot, so if you want to add storage you can. It’s a 9000 milliamp hour battery.
Leo: Wow. What do you get for that?
Jason: Pretty solid. They’re rating it at 18 hours. My testing with it, I don’t know if it gets 18 solid hours, I didn’t sit down for 18 hours and sleep for 8 hours, and then come into work the next day with it, but yeah, battery was just something you didn’t have to think about in this tablet.
Leo: That’s amazing. It’s funny because in every way this beats the specs for the iPad, except for perhaps the processor, and it’s a lot less expensive.
Jason: Yeah, but that’s kind of a big deal.
Leo: It is a big deal, I agree.
Jason: Because as you use the tablet more and more, you really notice the slow downs and everything, and it really kind of got on my nerves after a while. I wanted it to be just a little bit faster. It has an 8 megapixel rear facing camera. The camera, as you can see on the design here, it’s very unique with this rounded kind of barrel down here. This is where the battery is, by the way.
Leo: Ah, that’s why it gets such good battery life.
Jason: It’s also like that so you can hold it like a book, right? And it’s very comfortable with that hand. There’s different modes, the support holding it in different ways, although, no matter how hard I tried, setting these modes and trying to figure out why you’d want to switch from stand mode, to hold mode, to tilt mode, I just don’t get it. Every once in a while I’d see maybe the color temperature to change a little bit, but I’m like okay why do I want the color temperature different when I’m holding it like this, versus when I’m holding it what the stand that pops up? I don’t know, but anyway, the camera as I was saying, is on the back of this barrel right here.
Leo: Oh it’s in a weird spot.
Jason: It’s in a weird spot, especially if you’re trying to hold it the way you normally hold it.
Leo: It’s right where your hand is.
Jason: You’re hand is right there and you’re not going to get a very big picture. It’s beautiful, abstract.
Leo: Unless we wanted to know your blood oxygen level, we’d be able to determine that.
Jason: I wouldn’t say that the pictures were amazing. They weren’t horrible actually for a tablet, I kind of give cameras on tablets somewhat of a pass anymore, because how often are we taking pictures with our tablets? Probably not a whole lot. But it was decent. It was a little bit washed out on pretty much everything I took. Everything is saturated.
Leo: Oh that red! It’s really having trouble with that.
Jason: Mm hmm. A little over saturated. And I don’t know what happened to my lips there. I did not paint my lips white when I took that picture.
Leo: Okay, so it’s not a good camera.
Jason: I don’t know, I wouldn’t say it’s the best camera. I’ve seen worse, I’ve seen better. It’s a tablet. It did it again! Maybe it was the lips!
Leo: I think you’re actually…
Jason: Do I have white lips right now?
Jason: Okay, thank you. I appreciate you just cutting this straight.
Leo: Laughs, no you don’t! What version of Android is on there?
Jason: This is 4.4.2
Leo: It’s okay, it’s not quite the latest, but it’s close.
Jason: Front facing speakers, stereo speakers on the front. Doby digital plus. I found them to be super loud. While I was away on vacation this was our white noise machine and I left it unplugged every single night. It was loud enough you wake up the next day and the battery was long life.
Leo: That’s very impressive.
Jason: Battery is definitely a big plus.
Leo: Do you get this sense…what’s your sense as a host of All About Android how these are going to get updated. Will they go to 4? Will they go to L?
Jason: I would hope so! I mean, you know, this only released back in April. It was a very silent release from Lenovo.
Leo: I think it’s a good looking tablet.
Jason: Didn’t really hear a lot about it. It definitely has, I think the big standout here is A. the battery and B. the stand. If this kind of stand and the flexibility it affords you, you can hold it like that and type, it would orient itself, if it had an onscreen keyboard, or I can you know, pop it up if I’m watching a video, or I can have it, you know, flat and down to the side if I’m reading a book or something like that. So if you need that flexibility and this is probably one of the few names in town that’s going to give you that. If you’re just looking for a straight forward tablet, and you know, it’s hard because $350 is a good price, right? But at the same time, that performance really got on my nerves! Over time, I have a hard time giving it a pass for that. Because if you’re going to use this as much as you hope to use it, than that kind of thing is going to bother you fast.
Leo: Right. Okay, did we do the pros and cons?
Jason: No, let’s do them real quick here. Pros: Battery of course, the stand, which is definitely a killer feature of this tablet. And I was pretty happy with the audio performance con this. So the speakers and sound. The cons, definitely the performance, and that’s a huge con on my opinion. The display could be better. It’s specked well, but it kind of bothered my eyes over time. It’s WIFI only, there is no LTE connectivity, so you’re locked into WIFI if you’re getting this tablet. Personally, if someone asked me, should I buy this? I would say don’t buy it because the performance will grate on you.
Leo: It’ll bug you!
Jason: It bugged me a lot. Having said that, $350 is a great price, so use your judgment, but I wouldn’t recommend my friends to buy this.
Leo: Buddies, my pals. Jason Howell produces TNT Monday thru Friday. He’s also the host of the great All about Android, which is coming up later today. Every Tuesday 5 PM pacific, 8 PM Eastern time.
Jason: And, of course, Android App arena, which is all about the apps and not the hardware.
Leo: That’s a great show and we really enjoy that on TWiT! Thank you Jason.
Jason: Thank you!
Leo: This is also Lenovo. This is their new chrome book, and like Lenovo has been known for, the Yoga is famous for being a bendy, this one doesn’t go all the way over, it only goes… But the idea is this would be a stand mode, and when you do this of course, if flips around, so the orientation is right for the screen. See how it flips upside down? So that’s kind of neat. I mean, and then you get a real keyboard. This is a chrome book running Google Chromes OS, which I don’t need to tell you about, everybody by now understands that essentially this is an online operating system that features all of Googles apps and services.
Jason: I love chrome OS. The more I use it the more I love it.
Leo: I think it’s great for a student. Jeff Jarvis, our host on This Week in Google, has essentially said, I don’t need a computer anymore, I only need a chrome book. And it’s true, for most of what you do, whether it’s surfing, email, he was a writer, he can write. Even simple spread sheets and presentations, you can do that all using google apps and the chrome book. There are lots of app extensions. I don’t need to go into great detail. Really the question people are always saying, well which chrome book should I get? Like all chrome books, they’re very affordable. This is a little more expensive than the one I currently like the best, which is the Acer C720. But there’s a reason for it. This is 329 dollars. It has a Celeron processor, 16 gigs of storage. 2 gigs of DDR3 RAM. Battery life, they claim 8 hours, I’m more like 6 hours. It’s not a super long battery life. But here’s the reason it’s a little bit more expensive. It’s a touch screen. Now there aren’t a whole lot of touch screens in the chrome book world.
Jason: Yeah, and they should all be that, in my opinion. After having the Pixelate it really comes in handy.
Leo: That’s the main one, googles own reference presentation, the pixel. But I also feel like Chrome OS isn’t designed for touch exactly. A lot of the targets are very small, you know, and there’s no real way to make them bigger. The biggest problem I have with this is the screen. This is a, what they call a TN screen, the older form of twisted Pneumatics screen. Not an IPS LCD, and that means, and you can even see it here, it’s washed out, especially at off angle viewing. It just doesn’t look great. They may, you know, they do that because they needed to cut the cost, but you’re already seeing one of the big problems. I had this problem a little bit with the Pixel, but I have it a lot with this, this machine does not have enough RAM and enough processor to really, I hate to say it, it’s doing pretty well right now, but I found a lot of hesitation on this. I’ve always done the Verge test, which is a very challenging website.
Jason: The verge is a good test.
Leo: I’ve found that if you’ve got a lot of windows open, it slows down, and if it’s anything graphics heavy, it slows down and the hesitation much like that Yoga gets to you after a while. On the other hand, Lenovo is famous for their keyboards and this has an excellent keyboard for Chrome Book. It’s kind of MACish feel, that short throw embedded keys, pretty good trackpad as well. So you know, it’s nicely specked chrome book for a little bit more with touch. It unfortunately uses the Lenovo proprietary power adapter, so you’ve got to have that. SD card slot, a couple of USB ports, one 2.0, one 3.0, and HDMI, Mini HDMI out to finish it up. AC 802.11, AC WIFI, you know, on the surface, there’s a lot to like about this. I don’t think at that price point it’s the best Chrome book out there, and I’m very interested with the successor that Lenovo is going to ship to this, which will have a better screen, it’ll be able to lie flat, it’ll have a tablet capabilities, now that’ll be more expensive. Lenovo’s next chrome book is going to be one of the mid-range chrome books that we’ve all been hoping for, in the 500 dollar range. So you get more RAM. I really think Chrome books need 4 gigs of RAM, with two Gigs it just bogs down when you open up a lot of tabs, when you use I the way you most likely are going to want to use this. So pros and cons, I like that it’s touch. It’s a nice keyboard, it’s a pretty good trackpad, and it’s a great price, as always, with Chrome books. The price is excellent. And you, everybody knows the benefits and features of Chrome OS, so I don’t really need to explain how good that is. On the cons side there is hesitation, and you see, when I pass, scroll through this spread sheet you see the jumping, which is really quite annoying after a while. Don’t pay any attention to that strobing you’re seeing, that’s just because our cameras are acting with a refresh rate on that. But it isn’t a great screen. That’s my other con, I would like to see a little bit better screen on this. In my opinion, there are less expensive chrome books that are probably better buy for you, so I’m going to mark this a do not buy. Also because you might want to wait until the next Acer, the 13 inch, comes out with the Tecra K1 ship. That’s supposedly going to be a lot faster, and it has four gigs. In fact, in general, I’d say if you’re going to use Chrome book, you’re going to want 4 Gigs of RAM so I would say don’t buy the N20P, it has some nice features, but you do want 4 Gigs of RAM to use Chrome OS. Still you’ve got to admire these inexpensive, I mean this is essentially a 350 bucks netbook price.
Jason: It really is.
Leo: And it would be fine for a student and given that it is the only inexpensive touch screen that I know of in the chrome book, this would probably be a choice, if you need touch screens. Otherwise stay away, get the Acers or wait for the next generation Lenovo Chrome books which on the face of it, looks to be quite good. Well that ends our edition of Do Not Buy for this week. No wait! We had one buy. Chad Johnson liked the phone. Padre, as you remember wasn’t crazy about the Toshiba, and we have a do not buy on the Lenovo Yoga, and the Lenovo N20 P. They’re never going to send us anymore stuff, are they?
Jason: Sorry, Lenovo.
Leo: Hey thanks everybody for joining us! Thanks to our great host! You know, we do this show so that you can get an experience of what it’s like to actually use this equipment. If there’s something you’d say boy I’d like to know what our TWiT team thinks of a product, just email us at email@example.com. All the reviews are up, as with all of our shows on Twit.tv, in this case twit.tv/byb. But this one, this show is a little bit different, we also put a full version on YouTube, like all the other shows, and a chopped up version review by review on YouTube, so you can share an individual review with a family member or friend that’s interested in buying that product, or shopping around. You’ll find all those YouTube videos at youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. Thanks for joining us, I’ll see you next time! Remember, you’ve got to watch Before you Buy! We’ll see you next time.