Before You Buy 137 (Transcript)

Show Tease: Coming up! A hot new phone, only available in China. Jason Howell has it! We’ll review a mechanical keyboard with a nice clicky sound, a wearable camera, and the latest tablet from Toshiba. 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 Before You Buy is brought to you by Bark Box. Ruff! A monthly box of high quality, fun, and healthy goodies for your dog, delivered right to your door. Save 20% when you sign up for a new subscription. Visit, and use the code TWIT at checkout.

Leo Laporte: Hello everybody! Welcome to Before You  Buy, the product review show where we get real live TWiT staffers to use products and give you their opinion of what it would be like to actually own this product. We got an email from a viewer not so long ago, a couple of weeks ago saying, Hey, I have a Xiaomi Mi 4. This is a phone, a smartphone that’s available only in China. Xiaomi got a lot of attention when Googles Hugo Barra left Google to go run Xiaomi. And many think it’s a really up and coming phone company. But you can’t get their phones yet in the US. We thought we’d get it for Jason Howell, host of All About Android, so he can review it. And I think he likes it. There’s the Mi4.

Jason Howell: We just got this yesterday. By the way, that gentleman is Pete Lambros, he’s the one that reached out to us and gave us the invite. I guess when he bought one through an importer, they ended up charging and sending him two of them. He was like, well I could return it for a fee or if you want it, I’ll sell it to you for what I paid for it.

Leo: Oh. How much was it?

Jason: $470, 480 dollars, right around there.

Leo: Okay, so it’s less expensive than the traditional smartphone.

Jason: Yes exactly, although if you’re in China buying this unlocked, it’s 320 dollars equivalent, so it’s a pretty low cost phone.

Leo: It may be called the Mi2, it’s very similar to an iPhone.

Jason: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. I’ve only had it like I said for about 24 hours now, and I have to say my initial impression is that this is a really awesome device. I’m super impressed with it. It does take a lot of design cues, both on the software, and the hardware, looking, you know, at the front of it, it looks a lot like an iPhone.

Jason: Or a Samsung a little bit.

Jason: Exactly. Particularly on the back. The back looks like a Samsung back plate of some type. So it’s kind of sandwiched together for things that work good for other manufacturers. Xiaomi Mi seems to be really good at taking those features and making it their own. The thing is, like, when you look at a device like this on video, you know, my initial reaction before I had it in hand was oh, looks like a knock off, I bet it’s kind of a cheap device.

Leo: It does, doesn’t it?

Jason: But man, when you use this device, I can honestly say I have not used an Android device that’s as snappy and responsive as this one is. And it’s running Xiaomi Mi’s own version of Android. Forked version called MI US, and everything feels super fluid. You can see it’s different than the normal Android layout. Apps are arranged on, you know, sideways as opposed to in an app drawer. Which kind of mimics the way it’s done on IOS.

Leo: This looks very much like IOS, yeah.

Jason: Yeah, there’s a lot of similarities, but it’s really cool. So what I’m doing today, obviously, I’ve only had it for 24 hours, so I’m going to be playing with it for the next week, and I’ll do a full review for next week, but what I think what’s interesting here is what makes this important, right? You said that Xiaoui Mi is a Chinese manufacturer, a Chinese company, you can’t really get this device in the United states,  unless you go through some sort of importer, which is ultimately…

Leo: Which you can do! We have one!

Jason: You can. You can go online and find it right now for around $470, 480 dollars. And that’s unlocked, and still how this device, this hardware compares to the top of the line devices like the Galaxy S5 right now. In my time with this, I would choose this over the S5, and it’s still less expensive, at $480 it’s still a great deal.

Leo: I have to say, it’s a beautiful screen.

Jason: the screen is phenomenal.

Leo: I think you can even tell in the video that the screen is very solid and crisp.

Jason: It’s a 5 inch screen. 1920 by 1080 P IPS LCD at 441 pixels per inch. So I mean, the resolution is just out of this world, and its super sharp and vibrant. It’s really an impressive thing to see.

Leo: But not unique. I mean the same is the HTC1 or the Galaxy S5.

Jason: Sure, but yeah, I guess ultimately when you get to that kind of high pixels per inch, you hope for that and I’m always wanted to have a reason to turn on this display because it’s so beautiful.

Leo: IT is quad core but it’s an 800, not an 801.

Jason: No it’s an 801.

Leo: Oh it is 801. Okay.

Jason: It’s 2.5 gigahertz quad core snapdragon 801 with three gigs of RAM. So I mean, it’s screaming. When I’m playing games on here, it has a couple of different modes versus like, you know, kind of a battery efficient mode versus full power. And it has a 3080 milliamp hour battery.

Leo; Oh that’s big!

Jason: And the battery so far has been really great. I turned it on full power and today I’ve been running on that and you can hardly see any dent in my battery. Of course I’ve been here where there’s plenty of WIFI and everything. This particular model only runs on, like I’m on LTE, and I have my SIM in there but it’s a 3G phone here in the states. The only place you’re going to get LTE in China on their…

Leo: Ah! The frequencies are wrong.

Jason: Yeah. LTE TBA in China. They are coming out with a version of this later in the year, I’m aware of that will be compatible with other LTE.

Leo: We were a little concerned that you’d be in Chinese, but apparently you can have that in English.

Jason: You set that up in Setup. It defaults to Chinese. The very first screen you see when you first start up, the factory reset is select your language, and everything kind of falls in line. But yeah, you know, it’s a really interesting device. In China Xiaou Mi is the number one OEM. Their phones are priced nearly at cost, narrow profit margin. They’re looking to make money off the ecosystem, things like themes. You can go into their theme store and you can use MI points that you purchase. Kind of like Xbox points, right? Where you purchase points and you can find all these different themes and apply them and everything.

Leo:  So they’re not a carrier, they’re a manufacturer.

Jason: Manufacturer, exactly.

Leo: Are they on China Telecom? All the Chinese carriers predominantly?

Jason: Yes.

Leo: This is the phone.

Jason: Yes, exactly. Their devices are sold for 18 months, that’s to maximize profit, and available through their site they do flash sales. So for example, today the Mi3, which is the phone before this one, had a flash sale of 20000 devices to India, sold out in less than 3 seconds.

Leo:  What? Wow!

Jason: It took three seconds for 20,000 people to add it to their card is what that means. So people go crazy for these devices.

Leo: The MI UI operating system is based on Android. You said no Google services.

Jason: No Google services. However, if you go to the Mi market, there is an app that allows you to install the play store.

Leo: Oh!

Jason: And it does get updated from Google once it’s installed. So it passes that security, kind of check point on Googles part.

Leo: And then you can get any play store app.

Jason: I’ve got a folder here with all my google apps and they’re all in there and they’re updating through the play store and everything. So yeah, that was one of the first things that I did. So it’s an interesting device, and I’m really looking forward to playing with it. The build quality is just top notch, super snappy, the screen is incredible, and so far I’m really digging it.

Leo: It’s an interesting mix, which we don’t’ see much in the US, of metal and plastic. It is a metal case.

Jason: Stainless steel Chasse.

Leo: That’s kind of beautiful, but then it’s got a plastic back.

Jason: It does, but then it’s not a hollow plastic. What I’m realizing now is not all plastic is created equal, right? There’s some plastic phones that feel like a toy, and then there’s some plastic, even the one plus One, that’s a plastic backing but it feels premium. It’s just a different type a plastic done right, and this? Done right! I think it feels really great.

Leo: What do we know of their plans to sell in the US?

Jason: Well that’s the tricky part, right? There is so much here that if this was sold in the US there’s lawsuit written all over it. So, I think, Xiaou Mi has a lot to overcome if they plan on entering the US market, and part of the reason they hired Hugo Barra from Google is because, you know, he is now the VP of international at Xiaous Mi and he’s made no bones about the fact that their plan is to open it up. So maybe we’ll see it someday, but they’re going to have to tread lightly as far as their design points are concerned. Because down to these little details where it’s kind of shaved on the side, it’s kind of hard to see on video here, but it looks so much like the iPhone that it’s just kind of uncanny. Ronamino of Ars Technica, he’s going to be on tonight’s All About Android and we’re going to be talking about this. And he made a really good point, which is that Xiaou Mi as a creator of hardware, yes, their designs are very derivative, but that doesn’t make them bad. You know what I mean? They do it really well. They have derivative design that’s executed really, really well.

Leo: And you could argue everybody is deriving something from everybody else at this point. There’s no completely original phone. You wouldn’t want it! Oh great!  A phone shaped like a circle. You know!

Jason: I don’t know, we may see that someday if people freak out as much as they do about the Moto 360.

Leo: Alright, thank you Jason Howell. We’ll see more tonight on All About Android, and Next week a full review of the Xiaous Mi mi 4.

Jason: That’s right.

Leo: We know you can’t get it in the US but you know, we’re seeing all over the world,

Jason: You kind of can!

Leo: In China, and yes, second of all, you can!

Jason: You just have to go through a few hoops to do it.

Leo: Just no LTE, and that’s something important. Thank you Jason. Now we go to Chad Jonson, and he’s getting funky.

Chad: Funky!

Leo: Chad is the host of OMGcraft, and RedditUp

Chad: And GiZwhiz.

Leo: And GizWhiz and he has the Func KB-460 mechanical keyboard.

Chad: Yeah, so this keyboard is one in a long line of keyboards that has fully mechanical keys. These are really, really desired when you’re gaming, or you do a lot of typing. It’s very, here let me make sure I’m not going to type on anything that I don’t want to type on.

Leo: Oh, so it’s hooked up to your laptop?

Chad: It’s hooked up to my laptop because I wanted to show off the backlit keys. So you can see that these are backlit.

Leo: Oh! In a nice pretty red lighting.

Chad: Yeah, and also back behind that back lightening there is some red behind each individual key, which is kind of nice.

Leo: I like that.

Chad: The board back there is also backlit. These are cherry MX red switches, so they give a nice tactile click when you start to type.

Jason: Ah that sounds nice.

Chad: It feels really nice, it sounds nice. Obviously if you’re in a studio like us, or you record video games for YouTube, like I do, this is going to be too loud to do something like that. But hopefully this won’t annoy your neighbors if you’re in an office too much.

Leo: But if you’re writing a book at home and you don’t mind the noise.

Chad: Writing a book at home or programming.

Leo: Or programming. That’s really the way to go.

Chad: Right. Every single key is mechanical, including the function keys, the home, delete, insert end keys, and the NUM pad. All the keys are mechanical. Sometimes keyboards will skimp on some of the less used keys. Back light has, for me, I found that it had four different variations. Full, bright, sort of a medium, low, bright and then an off. They say that is has seven, maybe I haven’t a different version! But anyway, four different variations of user selectable backlighting. There’s a few functions as well. There is the func function. Which basically turns off your windows and alt tab keys, so that you’re not actually going to lose, leave your game.

Leo: Nice for gamers.

Chad: Yeah, this is func mode, so you hit down function and turn on func mode, and you can tell over on the side that func has been enabled, and then that’ll turn off when you turn that off. It comes with a braided cord on the back, which is pretty nice. It’s just kind of a nice accent kind of a pro.

Leo: I like that. Plus they don’t ‘tangle that way.

Chad: I do too. They don’t tangle nearly as much. Now it does come with an arm, or a palm rest and that’s what, on the front of this there are these little things. They give you, not only the palm rest, but little connectors to connect it to the bottom of your keyboard. This, I’ve got to say, was pretty crappy. The palm rest is just a piece of plastic that they’ve molded and added the sort of non-slick surface onto. But I found that whenever I would move the keyboard around this palm rest did, it would rest against your palms, but anytime you try to move the keyboard it flops around. It would easily become detached if I was trying to, say, move something to get to the back ports or something like that. I found the palm rest to be really just an annoyance more than something that I looked forward to using. On the back there are two USB pass throughs, which is really great, because on the other end of this there’s only one USB cord. Lots of times when there’s USB pass through. On the other end of the cord there will be two or three USB ports to make sure that’s a perfect pass thru. This is not only, basically its working as USB hub, instead of a pure pass thru, which I really, really liked, instead of needing to wire in and using up a second USB port. Now this is a gaming keyboard, so they offer software and gaming features with that software. Like adding your macro keys. You can do up to ten macro keys per profile, you have five profiles. So that’s essentially 50 different macro keys. Their software is okay. It’s not the best, there’s a lot of competition, so there’s some really good software when it comes to keyboard management. This one is in the okay to fine category. It’s not great, you have to like hit a key and then the sign. Sometimes you can record and then assign and stuff like that. One nice feature is that this does have 128 kilobytes of memory on board, on the keyboard so you can save those macros to the keyboard, and then take your keyboard away. You don’t need to save that on the computer and then if you switch computers you’ve lost all your customizations. This does has the in key rollover, which means that you can press, basically as many simultaneous keys as you want, and the operating system will see each of those key presses. So anti ghosting, that sort of stuff with the in key rollover. There are media controls on the top for volume, up, down, play, pause, skip, and next. And you activate those with a function key that’s in between your alt and menu key over here. The cord length is 6 feet. So 1.8 meters is the length on the cord, and they also offer varieties of this in US keyboard layout, French, German, Nortic, Russian, and UK layouts are available. So for the pros, this keyboard I really liked the USB hub, instead of just pure pass throughs. I enjoyed that it was backlit, and I liked the palm. Oh and the in key rollover was another great feature. Now for the cons, the palm rest really left something to be desired. And you can kind of see over here, this, what do you call it? Finish is nice, but greasy fingers will leave greasy stains on this type of, it’s a little hard to see but, sort of greasy palms will create greasy smudges on the keyboard. And the cost is $122.79 currently on Amazon. Retail MSRP is $139.95, or something like that. But I could find it.

Leo: It looks like a nice keyboard.

Chad: I could find it on Amazon for 122. Buy, try, don’t buy for the Func KB-460. I’m going to give this one a buy! No reason you shouldn’t buy it, I didn’t find anything wrong with it and I was really impressed. I love those Cherry red switches.

Leo: It is a little expensive.

Chad: It is very expensive.

Leo: But you get a lot of features.

Chad: This category, yeah this product carries a lot like the upper Exelon kind of higher tier Bluetooth speakers. They’re always above a hundred dollar range.

Leo: Yeah, Now I want to talk a little bit about Cherry MX. We’ve gone on and on about a keyboard, but as long as we’re talking. So Cherry MX is a physical, mechanical switch.

Chad: Yes.

Leo: Sometimes people liken it to the old IBM keyboards, but they used a different technology called a buckling key, which is a little funkier than Cherry MX. Also Cherry offers different fields. Can you get all the different fields on that?

Chad: For this one, this is specifically red, the red switches.

Leo: The red. And those are the clicky ones?

Chad: Yeah, these are clicky. It’ll do an audible sound. I’m going to pull the keyboard up to my MIC so you can hear. Here that click? That’s a click that’s built into the switch. They offer brown switches which are silent. They don’t add that click. Now you’re still going to get a keyboard press sound, but you’re not going to get that physical click.

Leo: People like the feel of these switches because they’re so tactile, and some say it makes you more accurate typer. It’s better for your wrists, things like that.

Chad: Right. And the different colors are the different models.

Leo: Right. Black, red, blue and brown.

Chad: So this one is 45 grams of what they call actuation force. Which is the force to press the key down.

Leo: Do you like that? I know it’s noisy, but do you like that feel?

Chad: This is my favorite switch, the red. Because it’s a light press. It’s not a moderate or hard press to get the key to push down. Some of them are too light. This one I find is my favorite. It just feels natural. Yeah, the red ones are my favorite. Browns are good because they’re a lot quieter. We actually have another brown in this studio that we’re reviewing.

Leo: Really?

Chad: Yeah, we do. We happen to have. The keyboard, these are pro products for gamers, and so that’s why I can say, yeah 120 dollars is kind of normal. They’re definitely making a good margin off of it, so there’s a lot of competition in this space for mechanical keyboards nowadays.

Leo: I have to get a buckling spring keyboard and we’ll compare. We’ll have a little click off.

Jason: I just realized there’s this whole world of knowledge around keyboards that I had no idea about until just now.

Chad: Yeah, and the in key roll over is another really big thing. Because some keyboards will not tell the operating system if you’ve pressed more than five keys. It’ll just stop. So if you’re trying to do some crazy maneuver, where not only are you hitting W,A to move forward and strike left, but you’re hitting 4 to get your gun out, and then you’re also doing something else on the keyboard, like you hit a macro that’s pressing five keys at once. All of that is really, really needed in a gaming keyboard.  So yeah.

Leo: It’s serious topic Jason, Please.

Chad: It is.

Jason: I know! Apparently it is.

Leo: I’ve been taking pictures of you this whole time, with this Vivue squared wearable camera, we’re going to get a review from Bryan in just a second. But first it’s time to get Ozzie to give us a review from our newest sponsor, Bark Box. How about doggy treats delivered every month to your door thru bark box? Don’t you love it? Not just treats that you can eat, although Ozzie really loves these Chicken breast jerky treats, there’s different ones every month, but they also include toys. We’ve got a little toy here, a lobster toy, and then I love this. This was just this month’s box, but this was for wiping his feet off when he comes in doors, or giving a little towel off. You get to choose the size of your dog, he’s the extra small, under 10 pounds.

Jason: I would guess, yeah.

Leo: He’s just waiting. He knows we’re doing the Bark Box add and he’s just been waiting. This is kind of good. This is a Lobster roll with Fresh parsley for…

Chad: Look at him! Look at how nice he’s being!

Leo: He just says, you know, it would be nice if you would give me a taste of my Bark Box! He really loves this Bark Box, isn’t this cute? I want you to visit Ohh You know what?

Chad: Oh god, don’t!

Leo: Umm, that’s good!  What? It’s delicious, it’s food. This is the chicken breast jerky. Ozzie, would you like some? Yes, you’re a good doggie! Oh he loves his Bark Box. It’s not bad! It’s kind of tasty!  You want some?

Jason: Go ahead Chad, try it!

Chad: No! Thank you!

Jason: Chad would totally love to have some!

Leo: Mmm now I have parsley breath. Mmm, we believe, says Bark Box, dogs deserve real food, and what’s great about this is all the treats are sourced from the US and Canada only. Nowhere else, so these are high quality treats. The chews are made in the US, Canada, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. There is no raw hide or anything processed with formaldehyde. If you care about your puppy you know about these things. And we have a special deal for you, you’re going to get 20% off your new subscription when you use the offer code Twit. And Bark Box, by the way, you can get it for just one month if you’re not sure, or if you know, like Ozzie your dog will love Bark Box, you can get a year, that saves you some money, every month more treats! Right, Ozzie? He loves. Oh! Did you see him lick his lips?

Chad: He smells your breath!

Leo: He loves Bark Box. You want to play with Mr. Lobster? He says I’d rather have a chicken treat.

Jason: Seriously? Mr. Lobster? Seriously?

Leo: You’re kidding me.

Jason: You gave me Bark Box and now there’s Mr. Lobster. What are you doing?

Chad: When there’s turkey jerky on the line and I’m going to go after a lobster?

Leo: Oh yeah.

Jason: That’s it! Get brave Ozzie! Go there!

Leo: Alright, alright., save 20% on your subscription right now. I love this sponsor, and he’s very happy!

Chad: Ozzie seems to be enjoying it.

Leo: Ozzie tested, Ozzie approved. Alright. Let’s find out about this camera. The Vievu. We decided, we give all cameras now to Bryan Burnett, he’s just a camera hog. Our technical director here, we asked him, what do you think of wearing a camera around all day? Bryan?

Bryan Burnett: Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy and TWiT, here to show you the VieVu 2. It’s a small wearable action cam, touted as a tough versatile camera made by cops for cops. And when taking a close look at the VieVu it does feel like it could take a bullet. With its anodized aluminum housing the VieVu has some heft to it, but feels very high quality. It weighs in at 2.4 ounces with a tough compact print of just 2x2 inches, and it is water resistant. So you can get it wet but don’t drop it into your pool. On the front is a grippy rubberized door that slides down to reveal a tiny camera capable of recording at 1080, 720, or even 640X360. There is one button on the side and it is used for turning the Vievu on and off. And when you want to start recording, all you have to do is slide the door down and Boom! You’re recording. A small flap folds down for the micro USB for charging and transferring files. And next to that is an LED letting you know when the VieVu is fully charged. Inside the VieVu is a 16 gigabyte non removable storage and it does have built in WIFI. So that means you can record up to five hours at 1080P, and during my review I never ran out of battery. If you wanted to do continuous streaming to a device such as your smartphone, you can expect around two hours of recording at 1080. To connect the VieVu you’ll need to download their app. Linking up with my smartphone was a breeze thanks to the easy to use software. The VieVu sets up the WIFI single which connects though the app and you can start using your phone as a view finder right away. I tested out a lot of action cameras that use this similar kind of feature and the VieVu has some really low latency and looks really good on the phone. Also this is where you can access the capture settings and even download the video files directly to your phone. As for mounting hardware, there aren’t a lot of options. For this review I was limited to a belt buckle tab so I had to get a little creative. I first attached it to the GoPro chest mount I had, which worked okay, but the angle was pointed down a lot so that wasn’t that great. Then I taped it to the front of my helmet and that didn’t really work that well either. But it did work well when I clipped it to the color of my shirt. So if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be Bryan Burnett and walk into TWIT, TD IPad today, and edit it later. Well, this is the perspective. For the pros, the fit and finish on the VieVu is topnotch. The all-aluminum housing feels really solid and the door on the front of the camera has an audible click letting you know that you slid it into the filming position. Next is just how simple it is to use. Slide down the door to start recording and the LED blinks red on the top of the camera, and just shut the door when you want to stop recording. The software has no fluff and is just an easy to understand user interface and it just works. As for cons, it is a bit pricy coming in at 349 dollars and 99 cents. That’s just 50 dollars less than the top of the line GoPro. The camera quality is disappointing in lowlight and grainy/hazy in the broad daylight. It’s good enough for its size but don’t expect GoPro S video. The last con is mounting. You only get the clip type mount, which means unless you want a lot of butt shots from your belt, or wear some sort of shirt that has a place to clip it to. Finding good locations that have a lot to clip it to are hard to find. So is the VieVu squared a buy, try, or don’t buy? I’m going to go with a buy! The price is a bit steep, but if you’re looking for a very discreet, well bit cam the Vievu2 offers a rugged camera that’s small enough to carry around in your pocket when you need it. Also sliding the door to record meant I could instantly know if I was recording footage or not without having to actually look at the camera. In the end the VieVu 2 doesn’t match well against GoPros, purely an action camera, due to the video quality but if you’re looking for a little less action, and something tough and portable, the VieUu 2 could be the compact cam for you. This has been Byran Burnett from Before You Buy, thanks for watching.

Leo: So a buy on the Vievu from Bryan Burnett. Bryan is our technical director, runs this show, and technical director for a lot of shows on the twit network. Now we’ve got our news director in house.

Mike Elgan: That’s right.

Leo: Mr. Mike Elgan is here.

Mike: Too a break from directing news.

Leo: You there! Story go there! He’s also the host of TNT Monday thru Friday at 10 AM pacific, 1 PM eastern time, 1700 UTC, your daily dose of tech news. We gave you a tablet.

Mike: Yes.

Leo: You liked the IPad, I remember when you’ve been on twit in the past anyway, that you’ve used a tablet, an iPad with a keyboard, and do you still do that?

Mike: I do and I love the iPad, I’m a huge fan, I’ve owned probably four or five of them now and it’s the best tablet there is.

Leo: So this is Android?

Mike: No this is Windows, this is full windows.

Leo: Oh! It does look a little like windows! Is it RT or windows pro?

Mike: It’s the full windows, including legacy support for legacy apps. This is a surprising device. Let’s start with the basics. It’s 199.99, this is a 200 dollar tablet for full windows. If you look at the back this looks really, really nice.

Leo: I paid more than that for the windows 8 disk.

Mike: Yes, exactly. But this is so nice it could almost be a joume. That’s how nice it is. But it’s a really nice tablet, it was launched a couple of months ago. Weighs less than a pound, it does have, this is a windows device, so my first out of the box experience was I had to spend a half an hour updating 33 updates. So it’s not exactly an iPad, runs a quad core Intel Adam Z3740 processor, it has integrated graphics. So that’s one of the corners they cut in order to make it so inexpensive. So the graphics aren’t super great, but they’re good enough. And it has only one gig of ram, so that’s on the low side for a full windows device. Although you really don’t see it using it too much for the most part. In fact, must of the little glitches you see here and there that do pop up are in the graphics side, not in the core processing or in the RAM, or anything like that. So it seems to be, they’re getting away with it, I guess is what I’m saying. This is a 1280 by 800 LED backlit screen. Gets about 8 to 10 hours of battery life, depending on whether you’re watching video or doing anything like that. I can get a little more than 10, so they’re sort of sandbagging it there. It comes in 64 gigabytes of onboard storage. Windows goggles up a huge amount of that, so you’re not going to get anywhere, if you get the 32 gig one, you’re not going to get anywhere near that. And 2.0 megapixel camera, front facing 8.0 megapixel autofocusing in the rear camera, and it’s an okay camera. Everything about this tablet, this is a really interesting tablet, and the reason is that whenever you get into these super low cost tablets there’s always, almost always something that really bugs you. It’s a deal killer. This doesn’t have one. Deal killer. It looks nice, it performs well, it’s got a nice, it’s got a really nice screen but not spectacular, and again price is absolutely killer. It comes with a full version of Windows 8.1 as I said.

Leo: Not office though for that price.

Mike: It comes with a free subscription to Office 365 Personal, which is a 70 dollar value, for one year.

Leo: Alright. For a year.

Mike: And then you have to pay for it. It has a really interesting set of utilities. It has this Toshiba product called true capture. And this is designed for capturing pictures of books and whiteboards and things like that. It’s for capturing content, not art photography.

Leo: That makes sense though! That’s kind of a use cases for something like that. Take it to a meeting, take a picture of the whiteboard at the end.

Mike: Yeah, exactly.

Leo: No stylus though.

Mike: It does not have a stylus, which is different from the ASUS vivo tab note 8, which is a very similar comparable device to this. And, of course, it’s got, you know, little bits and pieces of Toshiba help support software and that kind of thing. Which you always get with these devices.

Leo: Does it have a desktop? Like, its windows 8 so it must have a desktop mode.

Mike: I don’t think it does because it’s a tablet.

Leo: My surface has a desktop.

Mike: If you go into the settings you immediately get into the hardcore windows type stuff. This is a really nice tablet, I like this a lot. It also has a lot more sensors than some of the other tablets in this category. It has an Ambien light sensor, Jira scope, an accelerometer, GPS, digital compass and vibration for haptic feedback. So they’re really not cutting corners on sensors, and I really liked it.

Leo: For 200 bucks, that just blows me away.

Mike: The main competitors, if you compare this with the IPad mini with Retina. The IPad mini with Retina is a better tablet, the app store is better, the screen is much better and if you need the app store stuff, but if you just want a tablet that’s running windows, that’s running windows applications this is really a great one. Like I said it’s comparable to the vivo tab note 8, and that costs about 50 dollars more, now fifty dollars more doesn’t seem like a lot more, but at these prices that’s 25 % more, that’s a lot more. So I’m going to give this a buy.

Leo: This is the desktop buy the way.

Mike: There’s the… well that’s the,

Leo: It’s just, when you get to the desktop it’s so small.

Mike: Yeah.

Leo: I don’t know how you’d use it.

Mike: Right Exactly.

Leo: You can press the windows key also. Normally there’s a physical windows key on these things. It’s up at the top. Look at that.

Mike: You don’t want. I don’t even want to use this on a laptop. I mean, I like the so called metro UI.

Leo: Yeah, you’d probably want to stick with that, just because these touch targets you can barely, I mean my finger is awfully big compared to that.

Mike: Personally I wouldn’t choose a windows tablet over an Android tablet, or an IOS tablet, however, if you need one, you know who you are.

Leo: Well I can see. For instance, if there was a windows app that you had to use day in and day out, and it happened to work on an 8 inch screen like this, this might be a really good choice for you.

Mike: Right. There are lots of people who need Windows Applications. And there’s some people who just like this. Let’s face it, we talked about this a lot, this is a great user interface. They were a little late with it, but this is a really compelling user interface. So for a novice or somebody whose use to windows or whatever, 200 bucks is really cheap for what you get in this tablet.

Leo: Pros and cons.

Mike: The pros are…

Leo: I’ll play with this while you talk. I can’t believe it.

Mike: It’s cheap, it looks good. It’s responsive. And the sound is actually good. Now the sound is interesting. The sound is not good for music, per say. It’s okay for music, but it’s not loud enough. But it’s really good for spoken words, for TV and movies, and so on. I was watching you earlier, live through the stream and it sounded fantastic, it’s got stereo speakers and dull beat sound. For something like watching TWiT shows, it’s really great. The sound is really, really good in that regard. So those are the pros. The cons are there’s some minor graphic hiccups. Every once in a while there’s a little glitches, which is the kind of thing you’d expect. You expect a lot more of that from a Windows machine running at this price. It doesn’t have a docking station, it doesn’t have a stylus. I personally don’t like those kind of things. I’d much rather go with a Bluetooth keyboard, and who needs a mouse? Of course, it’s not high res.

Leo: That’s pretty good. I’m watching us on TV, see there. Very interesting.

Mike: Turn that up. You won’t be able to tell really. But listen to that.

Leo: That’s very good! Very good.

Mike: Listen to that velvety voice. That’s incredible.

Leo: Whoever he is, he knows what he’s doing. Now we’re going to get a very weird inspection mode in a moment here. But you know? That just proves it’s running flash. That’s a real windows. That’s amazing. So a buy, try…

Mike: A buy, this is a buy. I’d definitely give this a buy. At these prices why not? 200 dollars, this is a really good tablet running full windows.

Leo: I can’t believe they’d do that with one gig of ram. That’s amazing.

Mike: It is. I don’t know how they do it.

Leo: No. And of course, there’s competitors. You mentioned there’s a dell venue pro 8.

Mike: Yep.

Leo: There’s quite a few in this category because Microsoft is giving away windows to anybody with less than a 9 inch screen, so might as well.

Mike: That’s right. That helps the price a lot. The bottom line, of course, they cluster on the higher end, the low end for the 8 inch tablets. This is similar to the higher end ones and it’s got a lower end price. And that’s really the killer feature.

Leo: Ladies and gentlemen a buy on the Toshiba Encore. They do, for little bit more, have a 10 inch version of this as well.

Mike: Yes, the do and that…

Leo: It’s not as pocket able though.

Mike: That’s right. This is same screen resolution, same low memory. That one has the one gigabyte as well, so I really prefer this one over the 10 inch and you know, I don’t see any reason to have a 10 inch. If it had a higher resolution screen, yes, but no, they don’t have that.

Leo: This is what Steven Sinofsky was thinking when he came up with windows 8. Very interesting. All right. Thank you Mike Elgan, we’ll see you on TNT tomorrow, every morning Monday through Friday 10 am pacific, 1 pm eastern time. And that does it for our edition of before you buy. If there’s something you’d like to see us review, you can email us at We also make all these available individually on our YouTube site, You can subscribe to the show in iTunes or wherever you get your net casts, including our great third party twit apps. There are lots of them. Stitcher. I know Mike likes stitcher because TNT is always pretty much number one on stitcher.

Mike: It’s, they well love stitcher, stitcher loves us.

Leo: It’s a mutual admiration.

Mike: That’s it.

Leo: Do please, get each and every episode and share it with your friends. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you next time. Remember, you’ve got to watch Before You Buy! Bye, bye.

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