Before You Buy 139 (Transcript)

Leo Laporte: Coming up, we’ve got our first look at the new Moto X phone. Plus, a round smart watch. Father Robert’s here with an Acer convertible and I’ll take a second look at a camera I loved the first time around. Is it possible I could love it even more? It’s time to watch Before You Buy.

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Welcome to Before You Buy, the TWiT product review show where we take the latest greatest stuff and give it to our TWiT family for a real-world review. And we’ve got a good one, one I’ve been waiting for for a while. Andy Ihnatko who works for the Chicago Sun Times was in Chicago last week when Motorola introduced its new round Androidwear watch. A lot of people have been really intrigued by this watch because of its shape. Andy doesn’t have a full review yet. He’s only had it a few days. But we thought we’d ask him, while he’s down in Cupertino for the Apple event, to take a look at the new Moto 360. Andy?

Andy Ihnatko: I’m Andy Ihnatko, the Chicago Sun Times for Before You Buy. And this is the Moto 360, Androidwear watch. All summer long, people who are at Google IO and who saw the LG watch and the Samsung watch, were telling me no, the 360 is the one people are going to want to wait for. Now we’re done waiting for it and man was it worth the wait. Obviously the big difference is this is a round screen. Yes, try not to pay attention to the fact that there’s a little slice of screen underneath it that is not a screen. But I find that having used so many of these smart watches before that are square; as soon as you find yourself with a round thing on your wrist, you interact with it in a much more homey way than you can with this computer that you had from Samsung that was on your wrist. I’m really liking it a lot. I was also pleased that on my wrist, now a larger guy, it looks pretty good on my wrist. On photos and videos, it looked like it might be honking huge. And it is certainly largish for a man’s watch. But it’s certainly not ridiculous. I’ve been wearing it every hour of every day since I got it about six days ago. And not once have I caught anybody staring. Which is not what happened when I first tried Google Glass, let me tell you that. I think that you don’t need to worry too much about it being too big. On a lady’s wrist, it’s definitely a fashion choice. It will be up to you to decide whether it’s a good choice for you. But yes, it will attract attention. Although I have been paying more attention to the size of watches people are wearing these days, and I’ve seen some women with watches that are as big as this. The big thing that I really like about it though is this is the best expression of Androidwear. It does run the exact same features, the exact same functions, and more or less the exact same way as it does on any other Androidwear watch. But the fact that you’ve got this nice little touch button means you don’t necessarily have to have skin contact with the screen in order to make it work. It makes it a very more intimate experience. If you haven’t used Androidwear before, what I really like about it is the fact that it’s… if you’ve used the Pebble smart watch, you are looking at your destination device. Your destination is this wrist watch and you’re going to be interacting with this wrist watch. And your wrist watch can listen to your phone and maybe take notifications from your phone. But mostly it’s cool because you run special apps on it that do wonderful things and maybe connect through your phone to other services. What I like about Androidwear is there is such a tight level of intimacy between the watch on your wrist and the phone in your pocket. That’s the big payoff. Apps that are written for Androidwear that are written really well let you leave the phone in your pocket. In fact, there isn’t necessarily such a thing as an app for this watch. All there are, are your podcast catcher app. You’ve upgraded from version 2.4.2 to version 2.4.3 and with that little upgrade it includes support for this watch. Where if you are running your pod catcher app and that app notices that oh, he’s got Moto 360 on his wrist, all of a sudden if I’m listening to podcasts in the car, it will add a little bit of a music player to this screen. So I really like that. It fits in well with how I think a wearable can help you out. There’s so many tasks where you don’t need to take the phone out of your pocket. You don’t need to unlock it or drill down to an app. All I want to do is tap it and say take a note. Remember tomorrow that I have to take a picture of that new sign when I get to the Boston Public Library. And it does the text to speech immediately and now I’ve got an ever-note stuck there. This would be a lazy 15-second operation on my phone but why do I have to reach into my pocket. People 10 minutes ago are seeing me, oh where did I put that phone because I’ve got so many pockets. I’m doing keynote and I’ve got papers everywhere. When it’s right here and all you need to do is take a note, boy that works so great. Bottom line, I think this is the best Androidwear watch that’s been released yet. And the other thing is it’s not yet a product that everybody will have a use for. But what I think is that there are a lot of people that are dismissing Androidwear watches and are thinking, why would I want to have a computer on my wrist. Gracious, isn’t that big and ugly and stupid looking. Maybe, but you should really take a look at one before you decide that. I certainly had skepticism before I tried this watch and now I’m thinking this is one of the nicest things that I’ve used in the last six months. Food for thought. They’re available in stores, at Best Buys, some Best Buy stores. Maybe while you’re out getting frozen yogurt, if there’s a Best Buy nearby and they have one of these Moto 360’s, go in and take a look. For Before You Buy, I’m Andy Ihnatko. Thanks for watching.

Leo: Thank you, Andy. I should add by the way that Andy has had enough time to add that the battery life is alright. We’ve seen a lot of reviews from the Verge and elsewhere saying that the battery life in the Moto 360 doesn’t get you through a full day. Andy says it does. That’s good news. Andy also got, when he was there in Chicago at the Motorola headquarters the brand new Motorola X. I thought this was the phone of the year this year. Will the new Moto X live up to the original? Let’s find out.

Andy: I’m Andy Ihnatko, the Chicago Sun Times. This is Before You Buy and this is the new Motorola Moto X 2014 edition. And I’ve got to say that they’ve done the one thing that has made me actually want to like this camera. I like this phone because it actually has a decent camera this time. Last year the original Moto X, so many nice things about it. I was ready to praise it to the skies, I was ready to say they’ve done so many things that are right. Boy, it’s a very Apple-like phone and how they think about how the device has to relate to the person. And they have a long plan and all this sort of stuff. But the camera was terrible! It was just horrible! It broke my heart! There was no way I could take a decent picture with it, and I have cameras that take… mediocre cameras. Now not every camera can be the Nokia 1020 or the iPhone 5S. But the phone that I have which is neither one of those things; I could at least take a picture and it won’t be the best photo on here. But 30 seconds in iPhoto and it’s wonderful. That’s fine. I couldn’t save anything with the Moto X’s original camera! Fortunately they fixed that in spades. It really does take good pictures now. And now we can get to every other feature of this phone. Is it more powerful than last year’s model? Yes, they’ve upgraded it to the same snapdragon processor you’ll find in other models like the Samsung S5. I’m not a big aficionado of faster processors because it’s not just did you put better silicon in there. It’s does that speed actually present itself to the user. And as I was saying before, the fact that they keep the junk software off this phone is a better boom for not only speed but battery life than anything else. You might also notice that it’s a bigger screen which is something everybody seems to do every two years. Last year’s Moto X was a 4.7 inch screen. This one is 5.2. Large enough to make it into a big phone. It’s not quite as pocketable as it once was but if you’re watching movies on this, that’s a definite plus. And the other thing I’ haven’t mentioned is the front-facing camera has been upgraded. Now it actually takes full 1080p HD video from the front-facing camera. I’ve been shooting some YouTube videos with this over the past 3-4 days and it’s really nice. One thing that I’m glad they kept though; and this is such a silly thing to point out; is this little dimple in the back there. I would have never guessed before I tried the original Moto X that having a little dimple in the back would change how much you like a phone. But look at how easy it is to just tactile orient it in your hand. You don’t accidently have it on upside-down. If you need to move or jog it around in your hand a little bit, you have this nice little pivot point. I almost, if I get the new iPhone 6, I almost want to take it into a machine shop and have a ball-peen hammer, just a little tap, just to put a little dent right there because it’s such a wonderful feature. Let’s just say that’s an aftermarket opportunity for some third-party entrepreneur. There’s so many features of this phone, of the Moto X line, that are intangible of Motorola. They tried to give as pure an Android experience as possible. That means whereas Samsung may have a hotter processor, they also load up the phone with so much junk, that stealing CPU cycles and a lot of it gets burned away in these features that you don’t actually use or need by third-party partners. This, you line it up, and it’s as close to a stock Android as you can possibly get. Without having to spend $600 for a Google Play edition of this device. And the other thing that’s nice about this Moto X phone is that it has a smart notifications and uses active gestures where if I take this out of my pocket, for instance, the screen lights up a little bit. But the fact that it knows it’s been taken out of a pocket, perhaps I should show just the icon of whatever has given Andy a notification since the last time he checked. If I have this face-up on a table while I’m eating and the screen is dark, I can simply waive my hand over it, genie-like, and once again it won’t wake up. It will just simply glow a little bit to show me okay it looks like I have a Twitter notification. And if I actually want to see what it is, I can tap on that thing and stroke down. And it will simply reveal that one notification. All without my having to figure out if it’s worth my taking it off the table and picking it up. I also like the motion gestures; I use this all the time. Now that there’s a camera worth using, it’s great to have this feature where you take it out and just do this. And it automatically launches the camera app and makes it ready for taking pictures. I think that’s why last year and this year too, I think of it as the most iPhone-like phone out there. Which is not to say that Samsung phones aren’t good, which isn’t to say other phone makers aren’t good either. But I think Motorola is the only other company that’s saying let’s think this through; let’s think about what the relationship is between this little gadget and the way people use it. Is there something we’re not paying attention to? Are we forcing people to tap too many buttons when we can actually save them a lot of trouble? The other nice thing is they have changed the style a little bit. They say that people were complaining that the original Moto X looked and felt a little cheap. So now it has a nice aluminum frame just like the iPhone 5. They’ve also added, you’ve always had the ability to customize it with hundreds of different body and trim colors, now they’ve also added wood and leather to the mix. So this, smells like the wallet my grandmother used to give me every other year for Christmas. The other nice thing is this is just $99 on contract. Which if you compare this to other $99 phones you get out there, it’s usually a year or two old. This is brand new stuff and it’s one of the nicer, not the nicest, but one of the nicer phones I’ve used. So really, my recommendation has really changed ever since the unveiling of the Moto X. If you ask me what Android phone to buy, I would have to walk you through a whole bunch of decisions because Samsungs, they’re nice but they have a whole bunch of Samsungy quarks. And if you’ve used Samsung devices, you know what I’m talking about. Please don’t make me elaborate. HTC has a nice HTC One, but you have to be okay with the idea that it has a really low resolution camera. Otherwise it’s fabulous. Xperia, also very nice. Really, you have to walk people through. Now I think I finally have a default recommendation for Android phones. I would say if you’re interested in Android, get this. It’s really great, it’s built really well. You’ll get updates very quickly and Motorola is a company that I’m convinced really does have a long-range plan for their Android product line. As opposed to simply wanting to crank out phones. Again, maybe not necessarily the best phone in the world out there. There’s still the iPhone 6 to contend with but boy, it’s so great when a phone in one single release stage goes from there is no way in hell I would visit this upon my worst enemy to now this is the now the phone I would like to recommend to people if they’re not willing to give me more details on how they use phones and what they need. For Before You Buy, I’m Andy Ihnatko. Thanks for watching.

Leo: That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Thank you, Andy Ihnatko. I’m very excited about the Moto X. This is a tough fall. We’ve got some great choices, from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Sony. The good thing is you’ve got a choice in phones. We’ll get a full review of the Moto X and Moto 360 when they actually come out later this month. Now, it’s time to say hello to Father Robert Ballecer. He is of course the digital Jesuit. And the host of Coding 101, Know How, This Week in Enterprise Tech on the TWiT network. And he loves his Acers. We gave him the latest Acer convertible for this review.

Father Robert Ballecer: You want a laptop. But it has to be light. You want a touch screen but you need a keyboard. And you want Windows. No, real windows. And you don’t want to spend more than $390. That in a nutshell is who should look at the Acer Aspire Switch 10 Windows 8 notebook. Our review model was a Switch 10 SW5-11. Featuring a 10.1 inch 1366x768 IPS screen with five point multi-touch. The screen is driven by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 bay trail processor running at 1.33 GHz. Supported by 2 GB of system memory and a 64 GB SSD. The Switch 10 is a hybrid device with a detachable screen that connects to its base with a set of clever friction latches and powerful magnets. Hold down the keyboard base and gently pull upwards and the screen can act as a standalone Windows tablet. Put it back, and it’s a traditional notebook. Flip the screen around and it can tuck the keyboard behind itself. Lift the screen, and it acts as a presentation display. Flip it over, and you’re now in tent mode. The Switch 10 is a small and light device. It measures 10.25 inches by 7 inches by 0.35 inches thick. And 1.2 pounds heavy, or 2.2 pounds with the keyboard. On the left side of the Switch 10, you’ll find a combo audio port, power switch, and volume rocker. On the right side, a micro SD card reader, micro USB port, micro HDMI, and the power port. The right side of the keyboard adds a USB 2.0 port and along the hinges of the Switch 10 are tucked a set of surprisingly powerful stereo speakers and a Windows 8 action key. For connectivity, the Switch 10 has a dual band 802.11 A/B/G and wireless card with Bluetooth 4.0. So that’s the tech. The question is, how does it work? As a Windows 8.1 tablet, the Switch 10 is actually great for the price. It handled YouTube, Netflix, and typical web searching without a hitch. The screen has rich color and deep blacks. Though, at times I wish there was easy way to turn down the sensitivity on screen rotation so the Switch 10 wasn’t always changing orientation. But performance was snappy and the brushed aluminum backing felt good in my hands. As a laptop, well it’s a mixed bag. Acer includes the Office Home 2013 suite, which makes the Switch 10 ideal for students or those who want a basic email, word-processing, web-surfing machine. In PC Mark 8, the Switch 10 scored 1,232. Not a great score, but still enough to do most everything that the average user would want to do. The keyboard base is well-designed. Unlike other hybrid notebooks/tablets, there’s enough weight at the front of the base of the Switch 10 from constantly turning turtle whenever your hands leave the keyboard. Also helping is the fact that the design makes the back of the base when the screen is open, helping to keep the notebook stable. I wasn’t a big fan of the keyboard and track pad. They’re useable but seemed constantly reminding me that I’m working on a budget machine. The keys are cramped which is to be expected and mushy, which was not expected. The track pad is just about average. The two-cell lithium poly battery is rated for eight hours of use. But as always, it depends on how you use the notebook. Streaming Netflix over the wireless connection, I killed the battery in just under five hours. Surfing the web, I averaged nine hours. And using the Switch 10 on and off for reference and occasional Twitter trolling, I could go a week without charging. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is available now for between $300-$400.

Leo: Well I have to say, I love my Acer Aspire S7. You recommended that. Mary Joe Foley also bought one. We both think they’re great laptops. But those are full-size Windows 8 laptops. This is a little smaller and a little bit different. Pros and cons on the Acer Aspire Switch 10?

Fr. Robert: Well the pros is I like the flexibility. I need the ability to use tent mode or…

Leo: Wait a minute, show me that tent mode.

Fr. Robert: This is tent mode. I take this tablet, I take off the screen. I flip this thing around like so. And then I do this. And it will readjust the screen.

Leo: You know, we have some spooky stories that we could get in.

Fr. Robert: Well there’s like four different modes. There’s notebook mode, tablet mode… it’s nice to have that in such a low price-point product. The other thing I like about it is the price. I mean, $3-$400, this really is a back-to-school special. Something that you can have that’s pretty decently powered for the price. And yet you’re not worrying about destroying it.

Leo: I have to say it’s a netbook price. But it feels better than a netbook. It feels pretty solid, nice looking screen.

Fr. Robert: And it’s far more stable than the other convertibles. My favorite has been the Asus Transformer. That’s a tablet that you can put onto a laptop docking station. But unlike the Transformer, this thing will actually stay up on the base. The base is weighted enough in the front that you can get down to like 60-75 degrees before it starts to tip back.

Leo: It actually feels like a solid laptop.

Fr. Robert: On the cons, it’s a $300-$400 device so you’re going to have some build issues. The biggest thing is the keyboard and the track pad. It’s sub-standard. Let me be honest about that. If you’re typing a lot, you’re probably going to want to get an external keyboard just because it’s so mushy. But if you want something that can be a tablet and at the same time can be a full-featured Windows 8 device; for example, I’m running my channelizer on this.

Leo: Show this, Chad. This is kind of cool. So you’re using it as a tablet?

Fr. Robert: I’m using it as a tablet but right now it’s showing me all the RF energy inside the brick-house studio. This is something you cannot do on a tablet. You need a laptop to do this. But because this runs full Windows 8, it’s going to be able to run software like this. And that’s always a good thing.

Leo: So, pros it’s nice for the price. But cons, with anything at that price, there’s some sacrifices. Would you buy it?

Fr. Robert: I would actually give this a buy. If you compare this to something to like the Acer S7, you’re going to be disappointed. But the Acer is 10 times more. So, if you are looking for something, say back to school for a student; if you want full Windows 8, not some funky Windows RT device, this is a buy.

Leo: This is pretty good. Now you said Acer is getting out of the low-end market. Are they going to abandon this or is this something they want to keep around?

Fr. Robert: I think this is a differentiated device. So they want to go high-end for the devices like laptops. Where you can have something elegant. But this is a niche product. And they kind of like niche.

Leo: I like it. At Chrome Book prices but Windows 8 features. Thank you, Father Robert Ballecer. The host of This Week in Enterprise Tech, Know How, and Coding 101. He does a lot of work for us and we’re really glad you’re here and part of our brick-house studio. Thank you, Robert. Let us know how you’re doing with the Y-Spy. Actually, that’s coming up later, isn’t it? Another review item. Meanwhile, let’s take a walk across to Chad. He’s running the board. Should I just walk over there?

Chad: Yea, just mosey on over here. And I’ll say hi to you once you get over here.

Leo: Chad Johnson is of course the host of OMG Craft and the Giz Whiz. The new show Read It Up.

Chad: Yea, OMG Craft will be a Microsoft show soon.

Leo: Did you hear that? Did you hear that? That’s just a rumor. Wall Street Journal is saying that Mojang has been purchased by Microsoft for $2B.

Chad: Yea, that’s what they’re saying.

Leo: You know, if you came to me and offer me $2B for a 40-person company, I’d take it.

Chad: Yea, and I believe Notch might be the sole owner of that company. I’m not sure if they have investors. So that would be very nice.

Leo: He’s not suffering. So we gave you something called the Rockiy.

Chad: The Rockiy, so the Rockiy is this little device here that has two ports on it. It has a micro USB that’s solely for charging.

Leo: Let me guess, this is a hand/palm cooler?

Chad: Absolutely you got it right! It’s actually a palm warmer. Sorry, no. It actually does get fairly warm, which is interesting. It’s not a speaker at all. What this is, and my original thought was that it was a Bluetooth device too. But it’s not that either. The idea behind the Rockiy is that it is a Wi-Fi system. So a lot like Airplay, you can now send music to one of these and then have it plugged in via normal connectors.

Leo: So there’s no speaker on it. It’s a receiver, a Bluetooth receiver that you would then plug into your powered speaker system?

Chad: It’s not Bluetooth.

Leo: Oh it’s not Bluetooth. It’s Wi-Fi. So you have to have a Wi-Fi network and be on a Wi-Fi network. So you can’t use it at the beach for instance?

Chad: No, you can’t. It does have a standalone mode where I think you could actually use it at the beach. You could set this to connect directly to it.

Leo: The beach doesn’t make a lot of sense because you can put the phone right next to the speaker at the beach. This is for when you want the phone in your pocket and you wonder around and the speaker system is over Wi-Fi.

Chad: And because it’s Wi-Fi, you can add multiple to your system. So I could have three of these on my home network, and it’s much easier within the app to choose which…

Leo: It’s kind of like a mini Sonos system.

Chad: Exactly. Let me make sure I’m on the; oh yea I’m on. It’s not turned on. Let’s go ahead and turn it on.

Leo: So these are battery-powered, the Rockiy. You have to charge them via USB?

Chad: There we go. There’s a tiny little green LED that turns on.

Leo: They come in cute colors, too.

Chad: They do. So these are all just to look as shells.

Leo: The Rockiy itself is inside it.

Chad: The Rockiy is inside of here, this shell.

Leo: That’s clever. I hear it.

Chad: So it’s loud.

Leo: It sounds good. But that’s the speaker which is not part of the system. The Rockiy is for existing powered speaker.

Chad: Rockiy said, I’ve successfully connected to your Wi-Fi system. So it does have voice activation. So now that it’s connected, I can choose which Rockiy I want. If I had multiple, I could switch between them.

Leo: Could I play them all at once in a party mode? Or one at a time?

Chad: I could not see a way to link these. But I also only had one.

Leo: It kind of makes sense because the issue I’m doing that is latency. If they’re not exactly in sync, it’s going to sound like you have this echoy system all around you. So you could probably choose one at a time. How much is that?

Chad: This is a $50 thing.

Leo: It’s a lot cheaper than Sonos if you had a stereo. If you have a bathroom speaker.

Chad: Especially if you have an older system that you’ve invested a lot of money in with nice speakers. And you want some way to have your smartphone connect into that. Now, I’m going to say that there’s a lot of cons with this. Mostly, with the app. The app is really bad. I used it on Android, so let me go ahead and close it out so you get the experience from when you stat. When you start it up, it looks like this and has this little home button. It’s kind of confusing because you think Rockiy, let’s go ahead and click it.

Leo: Nope.

Chad: For some stupid reason, they have associated this with the Android back button. Which sort of makes sense if you got to the front screen from somewhere else in the app. Search is kind of really prevalent. And then there’s these panels down here; there’s only two. And the second one is really pixely and ugly. What you actually have to click on is Rockiy Now, which is literally the smallest button on the home screen. So you go ahead and click that.

Leo: Well you’ll learn that quickly.

Chad: Because it’s a third-party app, you need almost all your music on the device. It only works with two streaming services: Sound Cloud and Last FM at the moment.

Leo: So wait a moment. Rockiy is the thing playing the music back. This is why this app is not as important.

Chad: This is a very important app. You have to live in the app. Unless if you’re on an iOS device and you can Airplay to the Rockiy. It will take Airplay. But for me, I was on Android. So that was kind of a big bummer. They promised Spotify or there’s another service in the future. But like, Sound Cloud, you click in and have to log in. Let me go ahead and do that. But you can see when I log into Sound Cloud here, the option I have is to import my playlist and tracks. This is another feature. This should have gone away; why is my keyboard still here? Get that out of here; go ahead hit import. And then it says in an Android notification at the bottom, not a pull-down notification but an on-screen notification that it will have imported my stuff. But where is it? The next thing you probably would do is hit this button which is log out. If you go back, let me try.

Leo: Go back to Rockiy.

Chad: There’s none of my Sound Cloud artists that are in here. These are only the artists that are on the device.

Leo: So software is a little rough.

Chad: Oh, it’s incredibly rough. So it I actually find something from my Sound Cloud, I know for a fact that this is part of it. If I click play, it switched to Nexus 7. So let’s choose the correct device, go ahead and click it to play it. Nope, sorry it’s doing…

Leo: I kind of get the idea.

Chad: The app is horrible. It’s absolutely horrible.

Leo: It’s playing through your phone now.

Chad: It’s playing through my phone; that might have been my fault because I didn’t select this. I tried to choose play, it gets to about four seconds and then just stops.

Leo: Pros and cons?

Chad: The pros is that it’s inexpensive. It’s $50.

Leo: Per unit.

Chad: It’s Wi-Fi which kind of has some cons. There’s a lot of latency with Wi-Fi. It will be about four seconds before anything starts playing. But the pro is that it could happen anywhere in your house. It’s not tied down to Bluetooth.

Leo: It’s one of the few ways I know to send your sound via Wi-Fi to a stereo system.

Chad: And the final pro is that it is Airplay compatible if you have an iOS device.

Leo: $50 buy it or try it?

Chad: Well, my cons.

Leo: Oh, you didn’t even do the cons!

Chad: I didn’t even do my cons. So, an incredibly buggy app. Sound Cloud support just doesn’t really work all that well. The fact that there are tons of little bugs like you can’t drag tracks around. If you drag the above to the top of the screen where you’d expect it to keep scrolling past, it stops. You have to let go, scroll, pick it up, and move it again. It took me about 45 minutes to set this up at my house. Me.

Leo: That’s frustrating.

Chad: Buy, try, don’t buy. This is a don’t buy.

Leo: Unless you have to have a Wi-Fi enabler on your speakers. Not Bluetooth, because there’s lots of those.

Chad: Unless if this really fills your niche. For me at best, it felt like a hack. At worst, it was incredibly frustrating.

Leo: Was it a Kickstarter?

Chad: It was.

Leo: So maybe next generation will be a little bit better. That’s the Rockiy. Rockiy Adapter for sound. Don’t buy, sad to say, from Chad. Thank you, Chad.

Chad: No problem!

Leo: OMG Craft, soon to be by Micro-Jang. Or Mo-Soft, I’m not sure.

Chad: It could be Moj-Soft.

Leo: And of course Read It Up, which what day are you doing that now?

Chad: We do that on Thursdays, no Wednesdays. And then Giz is on Thursdays.

Leo: Alright, rock on. That’s how the kids do it.

Chad: Push you out of here! Get the heck out of here.

Leo: You are a strong guy. I’m going to walk back over here as we continue on. Should I do the shaving thing and then we’ll introduce our newest reviewer? You think? Would that be a good time to shave? Is this a good time to shave or after Joanne Tech-Lover? Alright, I just want to show you my Harry’s. Even when I say that, it sounds kind of funny. I mean my Harry’s shaving kit. I love Harry’s. Now here’s the deal, Harry’s is a great shave at a fraction of the price. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy those big brand-name products, Harry’s is a fraction of that. Plus they’ll come to your door and deliver to your door every other month. The Harry’s shave cream is second to none. And I almost would just say even if you don’t get the Harry’s shave kit, get the Harry’s shave cream. I shave with it every day. I’ve been using Harry’s for about three months and have yet to cut myself. And by the way, this is a small tube; you feel like that’s not going to last very long. It’s lasted me a month because you don’t use very much of the Harry’s shave cream. It’s just a really nice shave cream with marula oil in it. It softens your beard perfectly and then the piece de resistance, the Harry’s blade. Which is made in their own factory in Germany. The guy who started Harry’s was the same guy who started wearing be parker. He did research before he started the company and found out that there were really only two companies in the world that can make a great razor blade. And they’re both in Germany. So he went and bought the company. Alright, I’m going to shave now, are you ready? Here we go. This is such a good blade; that’s the other thing I was thinking. I was thinking that this morning. I don’t shave as much as I used to. A lot of people say oh, he’s not really shaving. Five-blade razor, beautiful German steel. I don’t shave as much because I get such a close shave with Harry’s. Look at that, no water just the Harry’s shave cream. Here’s what I want you to do, go to and pick out a kit. You’ve got your Truman kit, your Winston kit. The Winston, which this is, can be monogramed as well. It’s a great gift for the dads in your family or anybody who shaves frankly. And I think they’re going to love it. And then you can get your razors and blades delivered twice a month from Harry’s. At a very reasonable price. In fact, we’re going to make it more reasonable for you. If you visit and use the offer code BEFOREYOUBUY, you’re going to save $5 off your first order at There’s the Winston set. $25 and you get two blades, the shave cream, and of course this beautiful handle. I’m just a big fan and I know you will be, too., get your kit delivered and then every other month, blades and cream at a very affordable price. A great gift, too, by the way. A good birthday present, graduation gift. Alright, I’ve been watching for some time this next reviewer, Joanne Tech-Lover. She’s a reviewer and you might have seen her on Newegg. She’s been doing reviews on YouTube. I really think she’s great; she’s a gamer. So we thought we’d throw the Zabius Genius GX gaming headset at her. Not actually at her, but in her direction. And ask her for a review. Here’s what we got.

Joanne Tech Lover: Hi everyone. I’m Joanne for and today I’ll be covering this Genius GX gaming Zabius M gaming earphones. Here’s what you get in the box: you get a user guide of course as well as this handy carrying case. So it’s cloth and hard shell. Let’s take a look inside. Not only can you place your earphones in there, you can also put in there these things. So let’s see what you get. You get two additional ear cushions for different sized ears, large and medium. You also get this adapter in case you want to plug your earphones into a notebook or your desktop PC. So you have a one for headphone and one for mic. Mic is pink and headphone is green. I do like that they color-code it for you. In general, that’s what the colors are. Let’s see what else you get; you get a carabineer. Look at that. I don’t see these very often but this could be very handy. Although I would probably invest in something a lot more sturdy than this. If you were carrying around your earphones. And now for some headphone specs. You get 13mm neodymium magnet drivers inside of these little earbuds. Hard to fit in there. And the standard is what, 8mm or 10mm. So these are pretty good especially for the $35 price tag. Also you get 100 Db sensitivity as well as 16 ohms impedance. And frequency responsive 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. And now for some mic specs. You get an omni-directional mic and you get a sensitivity of negative 42 Db frequency response of 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz. As well as an impedance of 2.2k ohms. And now for pros and cons. What do I like about this? I do like the sound quality of course. You get some good mids and highs. The bass could use a little work. But these are tiny little drivers in these tiny little earbuds. So for what they are, they do a pretty good job. And as for the phone calls, that would be another pro. On the other end, my friend was like, yea it sounds great. You’re clear, you’re loud. I didn’t hear any kind of distortion so that is a plus. What else? I do like the tangle-free cord. I love these flat cords, they’re awesome. Easy to pack away and all that. And also I like that you do get some extras with this. Because I mean I don’t think that every pair of earphones/headset has these: an adapter for your PC. And an extra set of ear cushions; okay maybe that is more common. And the carabineer clip, this is one of the few first I guess for earphones. So that’s it. As for cons, it didn’t sound too great when I was gaming using Team Speak. And it wasn’t muddled on my end or anything. But on the other end, it was in and out. The audio was cutting in and out. And that’s not like ideal for gaming but I guess if you had nothing else, this could work. Because I know how expensive headsets can get, gaming headsets with the integrated mic. Not integrated, I’m sorry; the detachable big mic. Those can range up to like $200. For $35, I would say this is pretty decent. Now these earphones or headset, it’s advertised as gaming. So for sound quality, it’s great. But the mic, not so great. So I would say if you are just buying this for sound, the price is great. That would be a buy. But I would probably say don’t buy if it’s for gaming. So there you have it. That wraps it up for this video on this Genius GX gaming Zabius M headset. I would call it earphones, but anyway. Once again, this has been Joanne for

Leo: Thank you, Joanne Tech Lover. And do not buy on the Zabius. We’re going to see a lot more of her. I think she is really great on Before You Buy. Now we’re going to wrap things up with not exactly a full review; an update on a camera that Russell and I reviewed. Russell Tammany, our tech guy and I reviewed it a while ago. This is a really interesting story. For years, the pros have been shooting with Nikon, Canon. Maybe if they have a lot of money, they’d be shooting with a Leica camera. The problem with those big DSLR cameras is they’re literally big and heavy. And many of us including some pros like my friend Trey Radcliffe have been very interested in the mirror-less camera systems. For a while, I’ve been playing with the Micro Four-Thirds and even some APSC sensor mirror-less camera systems. The lack of a mirror, the lack of a prism means that they’re smaller, more compact, more light-weight. But then along comes Sony and really shakes everything up with their A7 series. These are full-frame mirror-less cameras. In fact, if I take the lens off, you can see that’s the sensor right there. It’s a 35mm sensor. And because it’s mirror-less, you’re going to not have that big prism that has to be moved out of the way. That saves on size, on bulk, and on weight. So you get a much more compact camera. The negative on the mirror-less systems is that through the viewfinder view is not an actual optical view. But is a view through a camera that is tapped into the lens. I’m used to it now and this is the first thing that you have to get used to. So Sony came out with the A7R. We did a review of the A7R and we liked it a lot but it was a quirky camera. Very happy with the pictures we were getting. Not quite so happy with the limited selection of lenses and the odd and difficult to use control system. Sony has followed up on the A7R with an even more expensive; this is $2500 for the body only, A7S and has taken that 36 megapixel beautiful high-res full-frame sensor and dumbed it down to 12 mega pixels. What, how could that be? Well, by making fewer pixels on the same size sensor, those pixels are larger and this camera has amazing low-light performance. It’s also more than enough pixels to shoot 4K video at 60 FPS. This camera will do that with an external recorder. If you’re recording internally, it will do very nice HD video. I’ve taken some sample photos; these are quick and dirty photos and have posted them on Flickr, at Just do a slide show if you will, Chad of all the images. These are JPEGs from the original raw photos. I’ve processed them with a light room. And I just have to say, there’s a little grain here. This is in a dark restaurant in low-light. No flash, no additional light. And just the image quality is superb. I’m just very happy. I think you will be, too. Again, if you want to see my images, I’ll be putting more up there as time goes by. And they fixed some of the quirky controls. Still lots of dials; this is one of the things you’re seeing with these mirror-less cameras. Almost kind of a retro feel to the body. This feels like a small, very high-quality camera. My friend Trey took this to Burning Man this year, using Metabone’s adapter he was able to use his Leica lenses. I have to tell you Trey is a landscape photographer. So the slow-focus of using, in fact it’s really manual-focus, using these third-party lenses with adapters doesn’t bother him. The land’s not moving around a lot. This would be a less desirable choice for somebody who’s shooting people or anything that’s moving around. I got to say, having used this now, this is the camera for me. I’m abandoning my 5DM and all my other cameras, my Micro Four-Thirds. Even the A7R I’m going to have to give that to Lisa because this camera, they’ve smoothed out the rough edges. The image quality even at 12 megapixels is superb. And I love the low-light capability. A couple of things they have added that Russell and I complained about; the very loud chunking sound. Every time you take a picture with the A7R, it feels like the camera is actually shaking. And some people have even complained that you have to shoot at 180th of a second because of the camera shake. This camera has a silent mode and I’m shooting right now and you wouldn’t even know. Let me point it this way so you can see; it’s absolutely silent. And you see how fast it is as well. The silence of this camera; this is the 35mm lens, makes this an incredible street-shooter. Set this at F8 and you can go anywhere and nobody is going to think you have a big pro camera. But you have a full-frame sensor and incredible image quality. Even in very low light. There’s some graininess past say 6400 ISO. But it will go up much higher. And if you can deal with the grain; sometimes grain in street photography is not so bad. Just the images look great. Unfortunately, still a limited choice of lenses. Sony really only has four. This is the F2.835. My favorite is this 55mm F1.8. Both of these are size lenses. Sony also has a couple of zooms, optical quality on those is not great. This F55 1.8, incredible optical quality. This 35mm, incredible optical quality. For a camera aficionado or a street-shooter, somebody who wants to get great images without having to carry around a big heavy camera, this is incredible. Let me give you the pros and cons. The full-frame sensor is among the best. In fact, Sony makes sensors for the Nikon D800E. A lot of cameras and many camera phones, they know how to make sensors. It’s a really beautiful sensor. Twelve megapixels, sure if you’re making giant blow-ups that may be not enough. But for almost everything I do and probably for what you do, 12 megapixels is more than enough. And it makes up for it with incredible low-light performance. You can shoot almost anywhere with this camera. The video’s really good, too. And if you’re going to use an external recorder 422 video at 4K, this is incredible. In fact, I know Chevrolet used this camera with some professional lenses and professional equipment to shoot a Chevy commercial. So this is a great camera for video. And finally, I love the silent shooting mode. With this 35mm lens, this compact camera is a great street-shooter. By which I mean walking down the street. Getting syrupticious pictures without their knowledge. You know, just candid shots. It does have an articulating LCD which can go both up and down. That also helps because you can shoot like this, like you have a rollie and get great images. From the camera, very syrupticiously. The cons on this of course is the price. $2500 is a lot of money to pay. But remember it’s a full-frame camera, full-frame sensor. And I’m afraid the limited lens selection is a bit of a negative for people who would like more capability. The good news is Sony’s road map for these FE lenses, the lenses they use on this camera, is really good. It looks like they’re going to have some excellent lenses. The ones that are available, particularly the 55mm are as good as any lenses on the market today. Plus with the Metabone’s adapter, you can use your Leica lenses, your Canon lenses, your Nikon lenses. Slow, manual-focus but still a great image quality. So, a definite buy if you’re a camera junky. And you know you need it, this is the camera for you. I’m just very happy. This is the Sony, the brand new one, the A7S. $2500. I didn’t mention, but like the A7R, and you should go back to the A7R review for all of your additional features. This has Wi-Fi built in, the ability to upload directly to Facebook and other sites. Things like that. You can download apps from Sony. So there’s a lot more to this camera that I’m not mentioning. But all of those details are in the A7R review that Russell Tammany and I did a few months ago. Thank you for watching this show. That wraps it up. I want to thank our reviewers, Father Robert, Chad, our newest reviewer Joanne Tech Lover. Great to have them on here. We do Before You Buy every Tuesday afternoon right after Security Now and right before All About Android. I hope you tune in to watch live. If you have some comments, suggestions, or items you’d like us to review, email us You’ll find this show on YouTube, especially a good place to go because we take each individual review, chop them up, and put them up on YouTube. If you want to share them with friends or family, or are interested in a particular product, that’s Of course the full show is there as well, as on our website and wherever the best video shows are aggregated like your iTunes, your Xbox Music, places like that. Thanks for joining me. I’ll see you next time and remember, you got to watch Before You Buy! Take care.

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