Before You Buy 123 (Transcript)

Show Tease: Coming up! It’s the summer time edition of Before You Buy. We’ve got flashlights you can clamp to various parts of your body, or your campsite. We’ve got the dash cam cameras, as seen in Russia. And a blow dryer for your BBQ! It’s time to watch Before You Buy!

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Leo Laporte: This is crazy! Plus a Firefox phone, a wet dry robot, a vacuum cleaner, we’ve got a ton of stuff today! On Before You Buy! Welcome everybody to Before You Buy, the product review program on the TWiT network, where we get some of the most interesting stuff, and this time we’re going to do kind of summer time, camp ground stuff. And we give it to our staff, and let them see what it’s like to use it. We’re going to start off with my old friend, Chad Johnson here, the producer of many of our shows and, of course, host of OMG, chads mine craft.

Chad Johnson: OMG Craft.

Leo: What is it called?

Chad: OMG Craft.

Leo: I gave it the short version, its OMG craft, but it really stands for OMG chad Johnsons mine craft Show.

Chad: About the game mine craft that has blocks that are about cube squared. It’s like morasa.

Leo: Apparently it’s taking off big.

Chad: I hope so.

Leo: I talked to a guy who said, my kids have watched every one of these episodes. They love this show!

Chad: Thank you!

Leo: Chad also hosts Reddit up, which is our new show about reddit. What else do you do? Is that everything?

Chad: Well I produce your shows. TWiT, TWiG, Macbreak Weekly. I TD Triangulation.

Leo: So we gave you some flashlights.

Chad: GizWhiz. That show!

Leo: You’re on the gizwhiz. I forgot about that! Sorry, didn’t mean to blind you. This is the kind of thing Dickey Bartolo would love. He loves flashlights, he loves LED devices. These are called the Black fire clamp lights.

Chad: Right. And I’m doing this a live review so…

Leo: Alright, so should I give you one of these?

Chad: Yeah, give me one of them, at least. So this is kind of a series by Black Fire, and we reviewed these on Gizwhiz.

Leo: Oh you did?

Chad: We did, so this is kind of a cross review. The main idea is they’re camp lights that you can take camping with you. They have a clamp so you can clamp it to your tent, or to your BBQ, or to the Table. And they have kind of a nice feature, which the clamp will also open up, and then stay open if you push this latch. Which you might think, oh that’s kind of silly, but you can put these feet down, and now it becomes a stand.

Leo: Oh it stands by itself!

Chad: Just by itself. Now it doesn’t quite stand that well on these leather chairs, but you get the idea, you could easily put that on a flat surface, or on the ground. Then the top of the light swivels. This one just kind of snaps into a few different locations. There’s another, this is kind of like the… and both of them, their clamp is sized such as you could easily just use this as a normal flashlight, if you were out camping, or in the house, or whatever. So they have this larger one has a few different modes. It’s also a lantern, so it has just normal lantern mode, It has a brighter lantern mode, it has a flashing lantern mode.

Leo: Yeah, that’s the one I found. It’s also got a light on the top, so you can have a flashlight as well.

Chad: It does. And that only has one mode. There isn’t a brighter, or flashing mode.

Leo: This is a revolution in flashlights is LED technology, because you get very, very bright lights, incredible battery life.

Chad: Yep.

Leo: For camping especially.

Chad: And this uses just one LED in there.

Leo: Really?

Chad: Yeah, just a single LED.

Leo: But a lot of reflector.

Chad: A lot of reflector. That’s definitely the idea. This uses 3 AA batteries, it’s a larger one, and the smaller uses three AAA batteries, and the feet here just kind of move back in place.

Leo: Now you probably didn’t have enough time to run these down. Did they claim how long the battery life is?

Chad: Yeah, I didn’t. I didn’t have enough time to run these down.

Leo: No, you’d have to have them for a month to run them down.

Chad: For a really long time. The cool thing about both of these is they’re also water proof. They claim on the box, it’s a type of water proof rating. It didn’t say to how many feet the top of this also has a little thing if you want to hang it on something.

Leo: Oh yeah, I do that on the tent, you hang it on the center of the tent and then you have a little light in there. This is great.

Chad: This is kind of nice, it has a little swivel head.

Leo: It’s like a Boy Scout flashlight. Not magnetic though, you have to use the clamp.

Chad: Right, you have to use a clamp.

Leo: This could be used as a work light at home.

Chad: Oh yeah easily. This takes three AAA batteries, the top removes off like that.

Leo: Pros and cons?

Chad: Pros are that the LEDS are very bright, it does have three different modes. You know, bright, medium, and flashing. And the clamp, and stand is really, really nice.

Leo: You’re an eagle scout.

Chad: I am an eagle scout.

Leo: The flashing, what is that for?

Chad: It’s if you need, in an emergency.

Leo: Like come rescue me?

Chad: And a lot of people put these in their cars, it’s a really good thing to shine on the ground.

Leo: A danger light! Or if you’re stalled on the road.

Chad: Yeah, it seems kind of silly, but it’s for those emergencies, or danger lights, or something like that, yeah. Absolutely.

Leo: This concludes our segment of ask an eagle scout. Would you say Buy, do not buy, or try?

Chad: I’m going to say buy!

Leo: OMG Chad! This could be the clamp episode of the show, because I have a device that has a clamp as well!

Chad: I have two clamps!

Leo: I only have one! Oh, but this one’s great, this is also for a summer time use, because Memorial Day is coming. Our producer Carston Bondy handed this to me, and I had to kind of laugh, oh yeah! The BBQ Dragon, what is this, something that’s supposed to get your BBQ heated up faster.

Chad: It’s a flame thrower.

Leo: No flame comes out of it. It’s just a fan, in fact I’ll turn it on. It’s just a battery powered fan.

Chad: It’s not heated or anything.

Leo: It’s not heated. Four AA batteries are enough. Now I used it, I don’t know how long it’ll go, but I used it last night to start the BBQ, and to get it going. And it seems like it’s got plenty of juice left. What’s nice is you can use rechargeables in this, it has a Micro USB port on here, so you could recharge it in the car, on the car battery. So I don’t think battery life is going to be an issue. It certainly was plenty for me to get the coals going. Now the idea is it’s a variable speed fan here. You’re going to clamp it to the edge of our grill. Very strong clamp, had no trouble. And it’s pretty big, so I was able to get it on the wide edge of my ceramic grill, by Big Green Egg. A Webber cooker, or whatever. The only trick on this with a gooseneck it’s not too hard. Make sure that the fan is not setting over the flame, because you could melt it. This thing is like the bellows on a forge. It gets the fire hot, so there’s two ways you can use it. I use a chimney to start my fire, so with the chimney you aim it kind of to go underneath the chimney to get the fire started. And it did, it did a great job. You can see it blows up a little bit of ash, it was a windy day. And once you get the chimney going, you can see underneath it was hot! Yeah lets, there we go. I had to get pot holders out. Then you might clamp it on to blow it. Now you don’t want to do it the whole time because this will burn out your fire in literally five or six minutes. But in about 30 seconds to a minutes, just like a forge, like bellows on a forge it gets, see how fast.

Chad: Wow, you can see the colas getting really hot!

Leo: It gets really hot. So really this is a way to start the fire faster. This is not a charcoal briquettes, I use lump wood coal, mesquite. But it would work just as well with Charcoal briquettes. But remember, don’t do it for the full time, you’re only going to do it for a few minutes to get things started. You know what? This works! It works exactly as advertised! I find nothing wrong with it, its 25 bucks. If you’re in a hurry, one of the things about charcoal grilling is it takes a while to get the coals going. Like 40 or 50 minutes before you’re ready to cook. This cuts it by half, or more. I was really able to get going within 10 minutes within the initial lighting of the grill. So that makes a big difference. So if you want to grill a little bit faster, but you don’t want to use accelerants that will add flavor to the hamburger or something.

Chad: Or sit there with a hat and try to get air in there.

Leo: You know, you could use, in fact, who was it? Was it you Carson? He does metal forging, he says he just uses a blow dryer on his home forge. This would work as well. This is great, I’m going to give it a definite buy, if you want to start your BBQ faster, did you see that? Burst into flame, the BBQ dragon, 25 dollars and we got it online, right? You can get it online. So there you go. I think that concludes the devices with clamps section.

Chad: Oh man!

Leo: Aw, shucks.

Chad: I thought we were going to get lobster claws, and all sorts of stuff.

Leo: How about suction cups?

Chad: Yeah! That counts.

Leo: I get this call all the time now on the radio show.  A lot of people are asking about dash cams. Dash cams are little cameras that record your travels as you travel around. I think people have seen them in Taxi cabs, some states, some cities mandate these so in case of an accident, they can look at the video and see who’s at fault. They’re for some reason, very popular in Russia.

Chad: You know why? Because everyone is suing everybody! It’s so crooked, is what I hear. Allegedly, I truly don’t know, but what I hear is that everyone is so crooked that if you don’t have video evidence of what happened, you can’t convince anybody. Of course, you saw that meteorite. I think that’s really the reason why.

Leo: The most recorded event in meteorite history. Everyone had dashboard cams recording the meteorite when it hit the lake in Russia last year. So we’ve looked at a number of different cones, Garmin makes one. This one is fairly inexpensive. It’s a Papago, dashboard cam, and we gave it to the guy who does all of our driving. Bryan Burnett.

Chad: He’s the only one who knows how to drive.

Bryan: He’s the only one who can drive. And he tried it out, so let’s take a look. Bryan Burnett, our technical director and the PAPAGO dash cam.

Bryan Burnett: This is Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, and today I’m taking a look at a couple of dash cams from the PAPAGO company, if you’re like me, and you’ve seen some of the Russian complication videos of some of the dash cam footage. You might think to yourself, why do all the Russians have the fun when it comes to Insurance fraud? Well, no longer. Using one of these dash cams you can record your commute, and it’s a handy way of protecting yourself in case an accident happens, or you capture something out of the ordinary on your daily commute. So taking a closer look at the P2 pro dash cam from PAPAGO. At first glance, it’s definitely feels and looks like something that you would get out of a happy meal. Kind of cheap feeling, but really this is just a simple device that’s going to sit on your dash, and you’re not going to want to play with it that much anyway. So as long as it’s functional, not too big of a deal. So on the back of the P2 pro is a 2 inch LCD screen, which is mostly there just to help you position the camera, and make sure that it’s aimed where you’d like it. Now, neither of these camera mounts allow you a lot of flexibility with the mounting point, so trying to forward Ozzie in the car, wouldn’t work very well. But it did do   great job of capturing Burk almost hitting a pedestrian. Oh, sorry man! What it can do, is record 1080 P at 30 frames per second, and it has a 3.5 megapixel image sensor, with a 130 degree field of view. Which means you’ll be capturing most of what’s going on in front of your car. It also does a cycle recording, which allows an old file to be replaced automatically with new files. It also has HDMI output for HDTV playback, and it has a camera speed warning, a built in G sensor, and a customizable sensitivity settings that automatically back up footage in case of a collision, or some other sort of incident involving your car. I was able to convince Carson and Burke to do some driving for me and get this footage. So Carson took on the P2 pro, and you can see this footage is inside a dark parking garage, so it does pretty well in low light, as he’s driving down the road you can see both lanes of the road, and pretty much everything that’s in front of the car. The P2 pro comes with GPS, which keeps track of your position and monitors your speed. This could come in handy if you wanted to track the exact position of an accident or a route you’ve been going on. It’ll also pick up audio, via microphone on the bottom of it that allows us to listen in on Carstons audio mode.

Audio: The other woman only started at the anger had gone out of her.

Bryan: The other cam we’re looking at is the PAPAGO save 330. Now this is the 135 dollar dash cam from PAPAGO, and it doesn’t have as many features as the p2 pro, but what it does have is a 2 inch LCD display on the back, and it records at 1080P at 30 frames per second. It has a 5 megapixel image sensor, so things look a little bit more detailed. The color is a little better also, but again this is a dash cam so you’re not going to be making videos out of it. Both of these dash cams have an active car sensitive system that, if it detects an accident through the accelerometer, it’ll automatically record the video, so you don’t have to worry about losing it. So the pros and cons for both these dash cameras is they’re both extremely easy to use, basically plug them in and start recording. The next pro is video, well it’s not on the same caliber as a GoPro, it is good enough for capturing your daily commute. And the last pro is it has a lot of features, like a collision warning system, a stop and go alert, and light reminder, and a driver fatigue alert. A lot of things that you would find in a lot of higher end vehicles. And for the cons, the suction cup, for one, is pretty tiny, and if you don’t get it on the windshield quite well enough it’s pro to falling off. Also Carson noted that the cable that he was using got really, really hot and actually to the point where it kind of melted a little bit. The camera functioned fine, but the cable got really warm. The last con is they both feel like pretty cheap toys. Not that you need your dash cam to feel premium, it’s just they definitely feel like they came out of a McDonalds happy meal. So for By, Try, or don’t buy? For the P2Pro, being at 200 dollars, I’d have to say it’s a try, because it does have a few more features than the 330, and it does have GPS, which could be really nice to have. But the additional price for not much better image quality, I’d have to give it a try. So the 330 I would give a buy, if you’re looking for a simple to use dash cam for every day. So this is has been Bryan Burnett from TWiT, reviewing the PAPAGO P2 pro, and the GoSafe 330. Thanks for watching!

Leo: So Bryan Burnett, thank you for almost crashing my car!

Bryan: No problem.

Leo: In the interest of reviewing the PAPAGO dashboard cam. Let me ask you this, had you actually run into that guy, would the dashboard cam have acquitted you?

Bryan: No! It doesn’t actually exist. That footage doesn’t exist.

Leo: Not any more it doesn’t.  It’s a record of what actually happened, which I think is pretty cool. Do insurance companies give you a break if you have a dashboard cam?

Bryan: Not that I’m aware of.

Leo: They mandate it in some cabs, and some public vehicles but I think, and it’s only a matter of time. Well thank you Bryan Burnett our technical director, and whenever there’s driving involved, he’s the only guy in the office apparently that can drive and review at the same time.

Bryan: And almost hit people.

Leo: And almost hit people, Tonya Halls here, in just a bit we’re going to review a wet dry robotic vacuum cleaner. And I’m mad that they gave that to the woman, like some sexist thing! I reviewed the last robotic vacuum cleaner, so it’s okay.

Tonya Hall: Okay.

Leo: Would you like, I’m trying to make It up to you, a praline pumpkin seed?

Tonya: Yes!

Leo: No wait, there’s more! The Santa Fe corn sticks? What’s your favorite? The Mango... Oh I Love these mango almond bites.

Tonya: You said mango, you had me at mango!

Leo: Lemon Pucker pistachios.

Tonya: Oh will I pucker?

Leo: You will! They’re very tart, but they’re delicious! But you know what’s great about all of these, these are the nature box snacks. They’re all free of high fructose corn syrup, free of hydrogenated oils, no Trans fats, no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors. In fact this, the lemon pucker pistachios, what do you think is in here? Pistachio nuts, sea salt, lemon juice, from concentrate. And a little citric acid to make you go… nothing but good stuff! Nutritionists approved, Nature Box snacks are delivered to your door, every month. You can get three different sizes of boxes, you can say I want sweet, or savory, or spicy, or mix it up for me. You can say I’m a vegan, I want gluten conscious, no nuts, and complete control over what you get. They have over 100 different delicious snacks, and if you use our offer code TWiT at, you’ll get half off your first box. But I’ve got to tell you, they’re addictive. We get them at work here, so much better than, about two in the afternoon, you just want to go in the back there, get a candy bar out of the machine. No! We do not have candy bar machines, or soda machines, do we? Nope. We have Nature Box. And together with Nature Box, we’re fighting hunger, with over 150,000 meals have been donated to date by Nature Box. Thanks to you. Go ahead enjoy your mango clusters.

Tonya: I can eat this now?

Leo: Actually you probably should wait until after the review.

Tonya: Yeah, that’s what I thought. I actually want to try that Pistachio pucker.

Leo: Really? See I told you, don’t pick too soon. There’s a whole lot of different items in the Nature Box., to save 50%. Alright. Tonya Hall is here. The host of Marketing Mavericks. One of our newest employees here. We love having you. Thank you for joining the TWiT network.

Tonya: Thank you.

Leo: She moved all the way from CO.

Tonya: What an honor, too.

Leo: Well, you’re doing great and, by the way, yesterday’s marketing mavericks, you moved it up in time. It’s normally every Tuesday morning. 8:30 AM pacific, 11:30 eastern time. But you moved it up, and I’m glad you did because you got a big scoop yesterday.

Tonya: Yeah! So Scott Monty came on.

Leo: Everybody, we all love Scott Monty. He’s the social media guy for Ford. Very natty dresser. He’s a Sherlock Holmes fan, does a podcast on Sherlock Holmes.

Tonya: And does a lot of voices too. If you’ve ever…

Leo: Love him.

Tonya: I know! And he’s not shy, so…

Leo: No, he’s definitely not, and really he’s done a lot for Ford. He’s been there 3 and a half years now.

Tonya: he’s going to have tough shoes to fill, I think.

Leo: He’s leaving.

Tonya: He is leaving! He announced it an hour before our show. It was breaking, in fact, he was like a couple of minutes late connecting on the show because he was trying to hurry, and write his own blog post so it could go out. It was a busy night for him, I think.

Leo: That was great. Love Scott. Scott, all our best to you. Where ever you’re going to. We still don’t know where he’s going. It’s going to be a very big thing.

Tonya; There’s an office Poll I think. We’re all placing bets on where everyone thinks he’s going to be.

Leo: Alright. So we gave you. Now I have the iRobot, the very, in fact, I think it was the first robotic vacuum cleaner. And I have a couple of those. They do a wet, dry as well. This is from a company called, how do you pronounce that? Moneual?

Tonya: Moneual. It’s a RYDIS H67 Pro. It’s not their most expensive model, but it does vacuum, mop and it has a hybrid mode, so it can do both.

Leo: So this would be useful in a house where like, if you have. Well with Ozzie, he comes in with muddy paws. It’d be nice to sweep up the dust, but then also go over it with a mop to get the paw prints up.

Tonya: Absolutely. I was pretty excited. You know, the idea of having a robot do your vacuuming for you. And unlike you…

Leo: So this is remote controlled. Does this do it automatically or?

Tonya: Yeah, you can set it up…

Leo: What do you mean, unlike me? I’m waiting to hear the rest of that sentence! Unlike me!

Tonya: Well you’re a vacuum connoisseur, you know all of this stuff about vacuums.

Leo: I have four vacuum cleaners, plus several handheld vacuum cleaners, plus two Roombas! So I guess you’re right. I am a vacuum Connoisseur.

Tonya: That’s a resume builder.

Leo: Is this your first? Are you excited?

Tonya: This is my first. In fact, I’m kind of anti-vacuum. Next to taking out the trash, it’s my least favorite thing to do.

Leo: Well nobody likes to vacuum.

Tonya: Some people do.

Leo: The idea is, this wonders in kind of a random walk, while you’re away from home.

Tonya: Yes.

Leo: And will just cleanup for you.

Tonya: Yes, and you can be there certainly for it, and there’s probably what I found is a lot of reason to be there. The idea for me was, I was pretty excited because I could set it up, here it goes… What’s going to happen?

Leo: It’s supposedly got edge detection, so it supposedly will not go off the edge, and if it does that would be a fail. Now obviously you don’t do this on your desk, you do this on the floor. It’s got these little whiskers. It’s very much like the Roomba. It’s got little whiskers that whip up the stuff into the…whoa! See that? Look at that! Hey, anybody! Here give me some lemon Pucker pistachios.

Tonya: Okay! I want a pucker!

Leo: Let’s see what happens. Whoa! We should put a dashboard cam on that thing!

Tonya: I know! Are you going to give?  Oh here goes!

Leo: Somebody made a terrible mess on this desk! These are too big for the…

Tonya: I don’t know if it’ll pick that up. I did have a hard time getting it to pick up larger objects. It did great with dust bunnies, in fact, one of the things that it does, is it will go under chairs and tables, it’ll go under your bed, so if you have wipe able floors, which, if your vacuuming with Leo you might want to because you’re going to have a mess.

Leo: Look at that! It’s perfectly clean! It’s amazing!

Tonya: It does a lot of things that I liked. It did get stuck a lot. Whoa! And it’s a fail! I’m so sorry about that!

Leo: It’s saying something!

Tonya: It does talk to you! So you know, this….

Leo: Ohh! Alright. This is like the Roomba. It’s automatic, when it’s done, does it go dock in its station and charge some more?

Tonya: It’s supposed to. It doesn’t always, and sometimes it’ll go for like 10 minutes before it, and finally you just have to pick it up and put it on its docking station. And it’s very difficult to understand. Oh no, Leo. It likes you.

Leo: So here is a video of it doing our floors here. Now one thing I liked about the Roomba is you knew it did some work because you could empty out the chamber and see there was stuff in there.

Tonya: Yes! So it works really well on dust bunnies. Not as well on the awesome…

Leo: Pistachio nuts, it’s not great at.

Tonya: lemon pucker pistachios. That said, it’s pretty light weight. And like I said, it does go under chairs and your table, so one possible use is if you have a dinner party, you want to set this thing up when you go to bed, it’s going to clean up, and it’ll be clean by the time you get up in the morning, hopefully. If it doesn’t get stuck.

Leo: I’ve got to say one thing. These are loud. You probably don’t want to have them running when you’re home.

Tonya: It is a little loud, as we’re talking louder to talk over it.

Leo: All vacuum cleaners are loud. I don’t like it that it’s pushing it’s charger around. That doesn’t seem like good behavior.

Tonya: It’s a bad, naughty robot, but, you know, there’s that.

Leo: Alright. So pros and cons.

Tonya: Pros and cons, pros: If I can get away from the robot for a second. It’s going to knock these over Leo.

Leo: It really is seeing the edge, it’s stopping a little picariously, but its seems to…

Tonya: Pro, It’s a robot! Who doesn’t want to have vacuum robot? And I don’t even like vacuums.

Leo: Right! They’re cool!

Tonya: It does vacuum, mop and it’s got a hybrid mode. I love the fact that it vacuum mops, and one really cool thing is, you know, replacement mops can be expensive, but you can actually use Swiffer and things like that to replace it..

Leo: It’ll work with Swiffer’s?

Tonya: Yep. It’s got lots of features. The cons, is it’s got lots of features, and it’s kind of hard to understand what those are sometimes.

Leo: I still haven’t programmed my Roomba. You can tell it where not to go, you can say what kind of day. It’s very complicated, it’s worse than a VCR.

Tonya: It should be easy.

Leo: Yeah.

Tonya: It’s got a roller brush too, which I actually don’t like, because guess what? I’ve got long hair, and I had to clean it constantly! Oh god, oh god!

Leo: So picking up hair, not so good.

Tonya: Right, and the other thing is, it does get stuck pretty constantly.

Leo: Stuck how? Underneath something?

Tonya: IT tries to climb over, like if you have sandals by the front door.

Leo: You saw it try to climb over the stanchion.

Tonya: Or a cord on the floor, or something.

Leo: And it just couldn’t go anywhere after that.

Tonya: It will get stuck, and there you go. We had this problem earlier today. It kept getting stuck.

Leo: It’s more aggressive than the Roomba.

Tonya; It’s very aggressive, Leo!

Leo: It’s like an angry Roomba!

Tonya: It’s a little scary, I’m not even going to lie.

Leo: So my problem with the Roomba was even after it ran, It shouldn’t go up on things. Even after it ran, I still had to vacuum, it wasn’t like it was done. It helped kind of to run it regularly just helped a little bit, but you still had to vacuum.

Tonya: Yeah! Which is my biggest complaint! I just told you I don’t like to vacuum, so I was kind of excited but it only is for like dust bunnies, and kind of, maybe in between cleaning. And so…

Leo: It’s mostly cool.

Tonya: It is kind of cool.

Leo: It’s mostly just cool. At $300, this one was $399?

Tonya: It’s $399. Which is another reason I was kind of excited because some of its competition…

Leo: Roombas like 800 bucks, top of the line.

Tonya: Exactly, $799, $699 that do pretty much the same thing. It’s quite a bit cheaper but oh god, it’s mean! It’s mad, naughty vacuum!

Leo: It tried to push my computer of the table! Well don’t use this one the table! Alright, so I’m thinking, what? Buy, try, don’t buy?

Tonya: I really wanted it to be at least a try, but it’s got psychiatric, it’s got issues. I’m going to have to say, sadly, a don’t buy.

Leo:  A do not buy, for the Moneual

Tonya: The Moneual RYDIS H67 pro. It’s so close to being there, and I tell you what, if you’ve got 400 dollars, and you just want to own a robot, maybe it’s a buy for you.

Leo: Yeah. Alright, you can turn it off now.

Tonya: I don’t have the remote! You do!

Leo: Cleaning is cancelled! So is the Rydis computer robot mower, cancelled. Thank you Tonya Hall.

Tonya: Yes!

Leo: And your pistachio puckers. I don’t have a full review of this, because I’m an idiot, this is, I’m going to talk a little bit about it. We bought this on EBay, Carston bought this on EBay from ZTE. Which is the Chinese phone company. In fact the Chinese phone company, the United States congress said, don’t buy anything from, because it might have spyware in it. This is the first Firefox OS phone. And that’s kind of cool. We wanted to take a look at the Firefox OS, it’s also inexpensive, 99 dollars, not a great phone, but not a bad phone for 99 bucks. One button, a compassitive button for home. There’s no back, or any traditional android buttons. And despite the fact that it kind of feels a little bit like Android, it isn’t android, so don’t get the confused. It’s got icons on the screen. It does have Facebook app, from Facebook. A twitter app from Twitter. And of course, the Firefox browser. You have email and so forth. It will log in when you first set up your outlook account, or your google account, and download all your contacts. I was able to do that and get my contacts into the phone very quickly and very easily. But it’s not synchronizing. That’s a one shot download into the phone. It doesn’t have a huge app store, in fact, if we go to the marketplace, they call it, and you’ll see there’s a fairly limited number of apps here. And none of the, or few of the apps, that you’d expect, Facebook, twitter, there’s a sound cloud app, a fake packman, a fake card game, there’s YouTube. That’s it. It’s not a very complete app store, because it isn’t android. There may be everything you need here. This is not really designed for developed nations. Not for nations where you’d buy top of the line phones. This is a low cost phone, running an open source operating system, designed for places where people want a smartphone, but they don’t want to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for smartphones. Limited services, there’s no google maps on here. It didn’t tie into google calendars, you can get email but you’ll have to configure it kind of by hand. The fact that I entered into google account for the contacts doesn’t propagate to anywhere else. It has a camera, but not a great camera. Again, you really can’t compare this with camera, oh yeah, this is actually good, it does have GPS built in this. It has a radio, FM radio, which is apparently very important to developing nations. But you really can’t compare it to top of the line phones, because that’s not the market it’s aimed after. We got it because we wanted to take a look at Firefox OS. And the Firefox OS is great, I mean, it’s very stable, it’s kind of exactly as you’d expect. It’s hurt just as all the non-android and non-IOS phones are hurt, by a lack of applications in the app store. I don’t expect a whole lot more applications, pretty much what you see is what you get. It’s a good basic phone. I have to say on the buy, try, do not buy, I’m going to say do not buy for almost everybody. There are excellent 99 dollar choices that do have complete app stores. There are Android phones for 99 dollars. Moto G, Moto E, the forthcoming Moto E are excellent phones. But, and inexpensive. Nokia makes a 1520, which is an excellent inexpensive phone. So there are a lot of choices for 100 bucks that don’t involve buying the phone on eBay, taking the chance of buying a phone from a Chinese company that has, you know, maybe shady connections with the Chinese Military. It takes a standard micro Sim. And it does take an SD card, which is kind of nice. There’s room for an SD card here, and a Micro sim here. So you can connect it to any GSM carrier. I’m not sure if it’ll use the LTE bands, I’m almost certain it will not. It’s an interesting phone, it’s interesting to play with. It is probably going to disappoint anybody who has any experience with the Android, and IOS ecosystems. So a do not buy on the Firefox phone from ZTE, but an interesting attempt, and really interesting to see.

Tonya: Why do you think it’s only available on eBay?

Leo: Because to keep the price down, they’ve made sure that they don’t have any relationships with any carriers in the United States. They don’t want to charge, they don’t want to give any money to any retailers. They want to keep that price very low. But there are less expensive phones that are more capable. Even the Nokia X phones, which are running andriod are less than this. So it’s hard for me to recommend it. It’s an interesting phone, the Firefox OS is an interesting idea, and is much more stable than the preleased versions I’ve played with. As far as I can tell, completely stable now. Works great with WIFI. Just can’t really recommend it, unless you know what you’re going to plan for. Maybe you want to hack around with it, you just want an inexpensive phone for a kid that is primarily a phone, with a few smartphone features. Hard to recommend otherwise. The ZTE Firefox OS phone, 99 dollars, eBay only. And, Carson saved me, because I forgot to put the ba… it looked like it didn’t have an opening back, and I tried to charge it and it wouldn’t charge, I thought well it’s broken, partly because I expected it to be broken. And then he said, well no you didn’t put the battery in, so the back does come off so you can put the battery in it. Just a little tip, if you do buy the phone. Alright everybody. That’s it for Before You Buy. Hey I want to thank you, Tonya Hall, congratulations on Marketing Mavericks, it’s a great show. And thanks for your review of the RYDIS robot, the wet, dry robot. This was kind of an interesting show! Chad Johnson for our clamping flashlights. Bryan Burnett for the dashboard cams. We thank you for join us. We do Before You Buy, every Tuesday, right before Tech News tonight. About 3:30 PM pacific. 6:30 PM Eastern time. You can watch the entire show at We make individual reviews available as well on YouTube, If there’s something you’d like to see on the show, you’ll be writing to Tonya who gets gadgets for us. Or Carston Bondy. You can email Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time. Remember you’ve got to watch, Before You Buy! Take care.

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