Before You Buy 148 (Transcript)

Show Tease: Coming up! The latest tablet from Google. Chad will sound the alarm on the Skylink net. We’ll also take a look at the last Nokia Lumia. The 830, with Mike Elgan, and I’m going Turbo! It’s time to watch Before You Buy.

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Leo Laporte: Welcome to Before You Buy, TWIT’s product review show where we get some of the latest and greatest stuff. We get it in house, we give it to our team, and they bang on it, and give us a real world review how it feels to use it. And we’ve got Jason Howell right here, he produces TWIT, TWiG, MacBreak Weekly, he’s the Host of All About Android, the Host of Android App arena, he’s the man about town, and he’s carrying the stylish Nexus 9!

Jason Howell: Oh boy, Check this out! This is the HTC and Google collaboration. The Nexus 9, and yeah! You know, it’s a good tablet, it’s got issues though. We can talk all about it.

Leo: It’s also the first device we’ve seen with lollipop!

Jason: It’s the first official device with lollipop. It’s also the first official 64 bit Nexus device tapping into the 64 bit capabilities of Lollipop. And so, you know, you kind of hope it’s going to kind of speed things up a little bit, give it a little better management of the resources, and all that kind of stuff.

Leo: it’s very aesthetically pleasing.

Jason: Yeah, if not a little bit.

Leo: No I was talking about lollipop.

Jason: Oh, lollipop is fantastic.

Leo: I think the look of Lollipop is great. The Nexus 9 may be a little bit less so.

Jason: Yeah, the Nexus 9. It wouldn’t be a first for Nexus devices. They’re usually kind of, I don’t want to say basic, but they don’t necessarily go overboard as far as design notes. But, you know, one thing about this one, of course, you have the kind of metal casing around the side. The back is a soft touch plastic. It’s getting a little bit of heat for the fact that, and you’re not going to see it in this camera, but it kind of has a little bit of a hollowness in the center. Which for a tablet that starts at 400 dollars for the 16 gig version.

Leo: You mean you press it and it goes in?

Jason: Yes!

Leo: It’s got a soft spot like a baby?

Jason: Kind of, a little bit.

Leo: Yikes!

Jason: It’s back there. It’s not the worst thing in the world, I’ve definitely seen worse, but it’s there and for the OCD people in the world, it might bother you a little bit.

Leo: This is the successor to the Nexus 7s and Nexus 10s of last year.

Jason: Yes, exactly and this is definitely different. Those were 7 inch devices. This is an 8.

Leo: 7 and 10, this is in between.

Jason: Right, yes. Exactly. 8.9 inch display.

Leo: Who makes this?

Jason: This is HTC. So this is HTC, HTC has been out of the tablet game for a long time.

Leo: Yeah, they have.

Jason: Honestly, I think I would have expected a little bit tighter control over the design for HTC. They’re very known for their design and usually they’re kind of little tanks.

Leo: Yeah, HTC one is a gorgeous phone. I would have loved to seen a tablet based on that design.

Jason: I don’t hate the design here, and the body, the kind of flexing in the back doesn’t bother me that much, particularly in use. It is a little heavy, but…

Leo: Was HTC constrained by the price? Was this a low cost tablet?

Jason: I wouldn’t say it is low cost. I would actually say it’s pretty close to premium versus the competition. $400 for 16 gigs, $479 for 32 gig. That’s what this model is.

Leo: Oh, its IPad cost.

Jason: Yes, exactly. And eventually a $599 for a 32 gig with LTE.  And you’ve got a 2.3 gigahertz In-video Tegra K1 duel core processor.

Leo: This is the new K1. The 64 bit K one.

Jason: Yes. Exactly. So you know, it’s pretty fast. I would definitely say though there are sometimes when I’d go to do things and I’d get a little bit of choppiness, jitteriness. And I don’t know if that’s just inherently an Android at this point, because I’m always hopping for things like that to go away, but more or less it’s pretty snappy. But every once in a while things will kind of jitter around.

Leo: It feels decent. How high resolution of screen is it? Is it pretty high res of screen?

Jason: Yeah! 4240 By 1532. That’s 281 pixels per inch.

Leo: Okay, so that can slow it down a little bit. That’s a lot of pixels to shove around.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. Not QHD necessarily. So at least there’s that. But to my eyes, pixel wise, everything looks super sharp.

Leo: Yeah.

Jason: It has an 8 megapixel rear facing camera, back here. I kind of like the chrome styling around the camera. Pretty unimpressive camera performance. Yet again, my complaints with tablet cameras is that, you know, A. I don’t take a lot of pictures with my tablet, but B. they just generally come out kind of washed out. A little hard to get a nice fully sharp focused picture, and this tablet is kind of no different. This is the Veterans Day parade.

Leo: Earlier today.

Jason: Earlier today I went for a little walk with the tablet. But, you know, having said that…

Leo: Is it clean? It feels like there’s a smudge at the top of the lens. Is it clean? Look at the back there? It’s a smudge! Either that or it’s a really crappy camera, its terrible!

Jason: Hard to say, I didn’t see a whole lot down there.

Leo: Nice lion.

Jason: That was a picture on the side, I decided not to buy that. But somebody else is going to end up with that picture of the lion. Yeah, so camera, kind of unimpressed. Oh hey! I know that guy!

Leo: What’s Zach doing?

Jason: Oh he’s just pushing buttons like he usually does.

Leo: Is he doing the PCA broadcast for the TV out there? I think he is.

Jason: I believe he is. But you can see in general, kind of washed out. Not really vibrant. This is kind of a close of up flowers.

Leo: It looks terrible.

Jason: Not really that impressive.

Leo: That always looks good though. Every camera looks good with that picture. See how that’s smudged up there. It feels like it might be smudged. But you say it’s not! That’s just not good! It doesn’t handle the bright light from above.

Jason: No, and you know, a little bit of motion blur, this is front facing good light, front facing bad light.

Leo: That’s actually a better camera. Oh yeah, a lot of grain.

Jason: That was pretty low light in my living room so. As far as, we’ve kind of talked a little bit about the device design itself. It is one of the first, if not the first android tablet to be in 4.3 like the IPad. And personally, I actually really like the 4.3 aspect ratio on a tablet. I think it, it just kind of matches. Kind of like holding a sheet of paper, you know what I mean? Versus the super tall slender device which is what we’ve had in Android tablets a lot.

Leo; Like the Nexus 7, which is just so tall, because it’s 16.9.

Jason: Now, the down side to that, of course, is if you’re using this to watch a movie.

Leo: It was good for video, yeah.

Jason: So let’s go in to play movies.

Leo: You’re going to have title bars.

Jason: Yeah, you’re going to have a little bit of title bars, but doesn’t really bug me because back in the days of laser disks this was just the way.

Leo: That still looks good, you know.

Jason: It does. And it might be hard to point this out on video, but you can see on the edges, this might seem like nit-picking. The LCD panel has this kind of edge bleed that in certain, when you have certain things on the display really show themselves.

Leo: Oh look at that! You can see it there dramatically! It’s almost like a 3D bezel or effect.

Jason: It’s pretty significant. All LCD panels have a little bit of this. This one, and I’ve seen it in a lot of reviews, has it a lot and I think where it falls apart is, this is considered relatively premium tablet, so when it has issues like that you kind of wonder if they didn’t do their homework before pushing it out. Same with the back that kind of bows in a little bit. Collects a lot of fingerprints on the back, but again, that doesn’t really bother me. If you have the black casing you’re probably going to see it a little bit more. What else? Heat, if you’re playing games, I’ve played quite a few games on this, and it does a really good job of the processor does a great job playing these games, like Road racing three, and everything like that. But the tablet actually gathers a lot of heat while you’re doing that. And sometimes if you’re playing a game that has a lot of touch screen controls, like you’re dragging your finger over it a lot, you feel that heat through the screen. So that can kind of get a little annoying, but everything has a little bit of heat so I guess it’s not the end of the world. As for lollipop, Lollipop is fantastic. It has a lot of really great features. Multiuser guest mode.

Leo: that’s the thing that’s interesting. So you have this set up for yourself. But you have a guest mode, which is kind of like the traditional guest mode, and then kind of a company mode.

Jason: Yeah, which I’m not even using my TWiT Demo account for whatever reason, but yes, you can set up these profiles.

Leo: It’s easy to swap one to another?

Jason: Yeah, it’s pretty easy.

Leo: So if you gave it to a kid would you use the guest mode and anything they do gets wiped out kind of?

Jason: See I just switched over to…

Leo: Oh look at that.

Jason: … my TWiT demo mode.

Leo: That’s neat.

Jason: Its own sandbox. All the apps are completely isolated.

Leo: It’s completely different.

Jason: Although they’re only installed once, so if I install an app on one side, and I go to install it here it’s not going to actually download and install it a second time, it’s just going to clear that app to work on both sides, so you save your storage space that way. So that’s kind of nice. Material design, product voltage, its battery management, and I found the battery to be pretty great on this, gaming would slow it down of course, but in regular use I found the battery to be super sufficient. They rate it around 9 hours for that. Yeah, and, you know, it’s a Nexus device.

Leo: What does that mean?

Jason: Generally it means you’re going to get speedy updates direct from Google. Speedy is kind of up in the air right now, because as we were talking about before the show, the Moto X 2014 edition is already getting Lollipop soak tests. And that’s before any of the other Nexus devices have received it yet. So there’s a little bit kind of a brewing tension going on with Nexus fans that are like, “Hey! This is a Nexus device, we’re supposed to get it first!” But I think ultimately it’s a good thing for everybody if these updates come faster. And yeah.

Leo: I mean, it has lollipop on it right now, and I guess because it’s nexus it’s pure lollipop, there’s nothing else on there.

Jason: That’s right. There’s no extra added apps that aren’t part of Googles basic, you know, standard approach for Android. So it keeps it really stripped down and basic, and you know if you like Matias Dortea and his influence you’re going to like this. That’s exactly what it’s all about, so that’s kind of the Nexus 9, 76700 milliamp hour battery. I already said it’s rated at nine hours, but for you spec folks out there, there you go. Ultimately, I can give you the pros and cons if you’d like to hear them.

Leo: Yes! No I don’t want to hear those, move on. Yes please!

Jason: Alright, next product. Okay, so I really like lollipop on the device, of course. 64 bit Intel is fantastic as well.

Leo: Can you tell really? 64 bit you can?

Jason: What’s that?

Leo: 64 bit, you can tell the difference?

Jason: Here’s how I feel about 64 bit. It’s early, obviously. And it’s hard to know for sure, whether you can actually see any sort of improvement from OS or not, but the OS is 64 bit so you might as well have something that’s capable of doing 64 bit.

Leo: Here’s my opinion. Because I don’t think 64 bit is in any way an improvement, except for one thing. You can do more memory. But no tablet yet is doing more than 3 gigs. And that’s only got two. So I think that in a way, 64 bit could actually slow you down because the registers are larger, you’re dealing with things in bigger chunks. It speeds you up in some things, it doesn’t speed you up in other things.

Jason: I just want it all Leo.

Leo: It’s bigger number.

Jason: If it’s capable, I want it.

Leo: I don’t think 64 bit is going to be a reason to buy a tablet for some time.

Jason: I completely agree. And some apps…

Leo: When we start seeing 5 and 6 and 7 gigs.

Jason: There’s some incompatibility on apps I’ve discovered with this.

Leo: That’s the other side of it.

Jason: I have to imagine that’s partially due to the 64 bit.

Leo: And lollipop I imagine is part of the issue too.

Jason: And that’s all going to iron itself out. I wouldn’t ding that against the Nexus 9. The battery I found pretty great. Nexus of course, equals fast updates, so that’s great. As far as the cons are concerned, I think the light bleed in the display is something that’s going to turn some people off. Particularly in this price point.

Leo: Now that you pointed it out, I see it!

Jason: Yeah, that’s the thing, once you pointed it out it’s hard to unsee. The hollow design is going to turn some people off as well. The camera, you can’t deny that the camera isn’t that fantastic. And I think just in general, this is one of the first nexus tablets definitely in a while, and possibly ever, that’s priced around the same premium levels as the competition. So you really expect the fit and finish to be up and elevated for that cost. I don’t know if it’s necessarily there with this. So I…

Leo: Buy, try, don’t buy?

Jason: I have to say it’s a try. I don’t think it’s a bad tablet, I just don’t think it’s a no brainer.

Leo: Are they still selling the old ones, the Nexus 7 and 10? That’s what I would buy!

Jason: I don’t think they are anymore. I think the Nexus 7 is done. I could be wrong on that but I feel like I heard that.

Leo: I don’t think I’m alone on this, because I have a Nexus 7, I felt no urge to buy the Nexus 9.

Jason: Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tablet, I’m happy to have it, I’ll definitely use it and everything. I just don’t think it’s a no-brainer. Other Nexus tablets have been a no brainer.

Leo: There are other good choices.

Jason: Do you see them on there? Nope!

Leo: They took it off.

Jason: Nexus 7 is gone.

Leo: So I guess this is the tablet of the future.

Jason: This is for the foreseeable future. As far as official Google tablets…

Leo: Will you use this going forward as your go to tablet for All About Android? I think so, because it’s pure google.

Jason: Yes, exactly. And I have a, it has slim port capabilities so I can also use it to demonstrate apps on Android App arena.

Leo: But I have to say as a user of the Nexus 7 I feel no urgency to upgrade. I’m getting everything I need with the 7.

Jason: I think you’re okay with that. They’re going to get Lollipop.

Leo: Yeah, right. And it’s swift and happy. Jason Howell, he hosts All about Android, and Android App arena. He’s an expert on Android, and the Go to guy when it comes to Android devices. Thank you.

Jason: Cool. Thank you.

Leo: I appreciate it. Coming up in just a bit we’re going to get a loud alarm from Chad on the Skylink Net alarm system. Before we do that though, I want to tell you about my mattress. My Casper, I’m so comfy in my Casper. Do you have the video Bryan of me and my Casper? You might say, why would I buy, why would I buy a mattress online when I could go down the street to a mattress store, lie on a bed for about a minute with a sales girl staring at me, look up at the ceiling and go, “yeah, that feels right.” I can tell you know, I’ve bought a lot of mattresses that way, I’ve returned a number of them. The Casper, yeah, admittedly you don’t get to lie on it first. Trust me it’s great. But what you do get is 100 days to try it! 100 days is plenty of time! And they will easily return it. They’ll come and get it, so it’s completely risk free. You can buy it online, and I think the technology in this is awesome. Look at this. Here we go! One, two three, jump! It is so comfy. It’s actually both firm and soft. I don’t’ know how they do this. The memory foam on top conforms to the lumps and bumps in my body, but the latex underneath is very firm and you get a very comfortable supportive sleep. Both soft and supportive. It’s so awesome. I actually kind of took a little nap on my Casper mattress. Just the right sync, just the right support, and its risk free. 100 days. Ozzie even likes it! 100 days to return it. Casper understands why it’s important to try out a mattress that’s why they let you try it in your home, at night, all night, with your loved ones and you’re pets for 100 days. I love Casper! These guys are great. You’ll love working with them. I liked it so much I sent one to my son, he’s in college in Colorado and he has just moved out of the dorms, so for the first time he’s living with his buddies. He needed a mattress. I said, wait, let me send you the box, it’s easy, he loves it, we’re a few months into that text now and he’s says absolutely you’re not getting that out of my hands. Casper is really great, I want you try it right now. They’re very affordable by the way. 500 dollars for a Twin. $950 for a king, that’s a lot less than the industry average, let me tell you. And we’re going to save you an additional 50 bucks because you’re watching. Go to and use the promo code BEFOREYOUBUY, all one word, and you will save 50 bucks on your Casper mattress. We love our Casper mattresses. And I think you will too! Highly recommended! Two thumbs up, actually I’m not allowed to do that, that is a trademark of the two thumbs up people.

Jason: Two up thumbs.

Leo: Two up thumbs. Two fingers up!

Jason: That could go wrong real quick!

Leo: Hey, let’s get Chad Johnson, the old redhead in here, he’s going to take a look at a home alarm system. The Skylink net alarm system starter kit. Chad.

Chad Johnson: Hello! My name is Chad, I’m with TWiT and Before You Buy, and today I’m reviewing a Smart Home security kit. This one is from Skylink. The model number on this is SK200. What you get in this kit is you get a Skylink home hub. You also get two door sensors, and you also get one remote, as well as a motion sensor. And, of course, all the cables to make sure that it hooks up to your houses internet. This is the home hub. It’s pretty simple, on the front of it there are four buttons. And also a lock button, and then there is this, which I assume is the speaker. Because it has an alarm feature and it’ll make a really, really loud noise. On the back you have an option to add extra batteries, which I have not. So it’s plugged into the wall. And there’s also the direct, current in, and Ethernet out. It gives you an Ethernet, and currently there’s no way for this to be wireless. So it’s hooked directly into my router. Which is one of the reasons we’re using this location to shoot it, because my router is also plugged into the wall. There’s really no way I can show it all working without being right next to the router. So that could be an inconvenience for you. Let’s take a look at some of the other things and here’s the remote. It has four buttons, a lock, an unlock, a home, and an alarm feature. And I ripped this off of my back door, my sliding glass door. This is what the door sensor looks like. It’s very simple, just like any other door sensor, when it moves away, when the two pieces move away it activates so that it knows, I just got a buzz. Got a push notification on my phone that the door opened and now that it’s closed. So all of this is managed through their Skylink app. Skylink Net is the app that you’ll be using. Skylink is a company that is known for garage door openers, and so you may have heard that name in the past. This is what the app looks like. It’s fairly simple. You just get a grid off all of the different sensors and things that you have connected into the hub. The general feeling of the app that you have to use in order to set everything up is that it is very buggy and not put together well at all. There’s many times when menus would fall off the page, or, like, buttons to move on to the next thing would just fall off of the phone. Which you couldn’t scroll to look at. It just looked like that was some sort of design. There was lots of times where the app would time out, and I wasn’t able to complete actions that I wanted. There was one feature that is just absolutely broken. I don’t know how to fix it. Right now it thinks that the back door is open. Although this is the sensor for the back door, and I’m looking at it, and it is closed. The moment that I move the other part of the sensor away, I’m just going to drop it in my lap, it now thinks that the back door is closed! Even though it’s obviously open. The easiest way to remedy this is for me to go into the settings for that device. Click on learn, so it can learn it again, but every time I do the app crashes. Or it doesn’t crash but it says it’s timed out, that’s an invalid entry, there’s just absolutely no way to do it. Anytime these devices get activated, currently the default is that it’ll send you a push notification. Which can get annoying pretty fast, if say you’re moving or grabbing groceries or something, and you come back to your phone and now there’s 20 push notifications that the doors have opened and closed, they’re activated and now they’re normal. But you can change that on a per device setting if you want. Now it also has a feature of basically what you would expect from a monthly service. Where you can set away times, or you can set that you’re leaving your house, and that it activates everything. And if someone was to enter your house, it’ll give them a count down before an alarm goes off. And the alarm.  Jesus Christ! That’s really, really loud! I can activate it from the app, it’s very simple. I can hit arm home, or I can arm that it’s going to go away, or I can slide to panic. Which will set off the alarm. As you heard, very loud! And that’s probably, that’s like my favorite feature is that if it does go off, my neighbors will most likely be like what the heck is that sound? Seriously go turn it off. Another neat feature is that you don’t just have to have the app on your phone, or the remote, you can also give someone a code and you can set the code up in the app to type into the front of the hub. So for the pros and cons on the Skylink alarm system starter kit. For the pros, I’m going to give that the alarm is very, very loud. And I like the fact that you can add a code to the physical device that is in the house, no app required. For the cons, I’m going to say I didn’t really enjoy the app, it felt buggy, it felt very horribly designed. I also didn’t like the fact that I didn’t feel confident in the pieces of technology that I had around the house. I really felt like it was going to break at any second! This cost 149 dollars, so $150, and that includes everything. So buy, try, don’t buy for the Skylink Alarm System starter kit. I’m going to give this a don’t buy. That’s been my review, thanks so much for watching, you can catch Before You Buy at See you next time! Bye!

Leo: Alright there you go. Chad Johnson thank you for the review. You can catch Chad at OMGcraft., and you can also support him, and I encourage you to do that. He’s got a patreon. And you’ll of course, see him Thursdays on Gizwhiz and here almost every week with product reviews on Before You Buy. Before we get, no actually let’s do this now! And then we’ll do, still to come we’ve got the Braven Bluetooth speaker with Shannon Morse, and I’m’ going to take a look at the Droid turbo, but Mike Elgan is here our news director and host of TNT Monday thru Friday, 10 am pacific, 1 PM eastern time. 1900 UTC. Your daily dose of tech news. And he has the last, it’s funny we’ve been saying Nokia Lumia. People say its Microsoft now. This one is still branded Nokia.

Mike Elgan: That’s right. The last of the red hot Nokia’s. This was announced September 4th. The first Microsoft non Nokia Lumia was announced today, basically! That was on the news this morning. But this is an interesting phone, very interesting phone.

Leo: It’s still, its windows phone.                                                                                                                                             .

Mike: Oh yeah, its windows phone 8.1. It’s 99 bucks with a two year AT&T contract. 450 unlocked. This comes with a free Fitbit flex, believe it or not.

Leo: that’s a good deal.

Mike: Yeah, it’s a good deal. I’d rather have the Microsoft band because it’s newer, but there it is! Yeah, it’s a really interesting price, and it’s interesting for people outside the US in a couple of countries because this brings Cortana to Australia, India and Canada.

Leo: That’s the speech recognition system.

Mike: That’s right. It’s the Siri like, or Google now like, virtual assistant, so they’ll be looking forward to that. It’s essentially a reimagining of the Lumia icon, its thinner, and it’s a very nice phone. Let’s just go through the hardware a little bit, the first thing you notice about this, you think it’s a mid-range, or maybe a low end to midrange phone. But it feels like a high end phone because this is all metal. This whole rim around the outside is metal. There’s some plastic pieces here for the antenna and, of course there’s this Nokia style thing on the back. This retina searing green also has black and white and orange. But this will burn your eyes forever.

Leo: that’s bright.

Mike: Yeah, and if you’re on a desert island and you need to be rescued this will do it pretty much. This particular one came with both the green and the black. I went with the green because it’s just so insane.

Leo: Well there’s no confusing it with any other phone I guess.

Mike: Not at all. So this is an interesting material. It’s a polycarbonate, of course, it’s similar to the other Lumia phones, but it’s very kind of grippy. But not too grippy. It’s really nice, I like it a lot. So the screen on this is a weak spot. We have to mention that it’s a five inch IPS display, right. So one of the things I want to show here, and I’ve verified that this is showable here. So, like a lot of phones, this screen in general goes toward the yellow side. The whites are off, they’re sort of yellow, orange. Some people described it as off in other ways. But it is off.

Leo: That seems to be a symptom of IPS displays.

Mike: It is, but watch it turn. It’s almost brown, to blue.

Leo: Yeah, it’s ugly.

Mike: And if you look at it straight on, you can never get a good clean white. And that kind of bugs me. The screen is a weak spot on this. A strong point is the camera. So this is a 10 megapixel pure view rear camera sensor, and it’s a great camera. One of the things I like about this whole platform, is the fact that you have this incredible manual controls. Now if you were to go head to head with an iPhone with this, the automatic controls, even though it’s a lower resolution, with the IPhone is a lower resolution, the IPhone would probably take better pictures. But look at this.

Leo: Look at that. I love this.

Mike: With a Nokia camera. You can set this, if you’re like a super lower light situation you can set the shutter speed to 4 seconds. You have to have a tripod, or some sort of stabilization.

Leo: But that fact that you have capabilities is amazing.

Mike: I just love this.

Leo: Same thing with the ISO. With the, can you set the aperture?  Yeah you can set the aperture.

Mike: Yeah, you can set all this stuff.

Leo: It’s like a manual camera!

Mike: So the combination of this app, plus the quality of the camera, means that this is a great camera. Usually a camera with a great screen. You know, great screens and great cameras more or less go together. This has a lousy screen but a great camera, so if you’re into photography, if you’re a photography nerd, this is actually a really nice camera in this sort of mid-range price range.

Leo: I think all the Lumia’s this is the 8.1 camera. The Zion camera so its’ really nice.

Mike: It’s very good. Now the front facing camera is lousy. Its .9 megapixels, so this is a blast from the past. You don’t want to use it basically.

Leo: You know why? Because they have another one that’s the selfie camera.

Mike: Yeah, go buy that one if you want to take selfies. So it’s a mixed bag in that regard. Of course, video is terrible on this. It’s kind of laggy and you’re not going to get really super good video. It maxes out at 1080 P, but it’s a very slow sort of video. Okay so it’s 16 gigabytes of storage. It’s the minimum and the maximum, it’s the only amount of storage you can get so if you’re into lots of storage, this is not the phone for you.

Leo: How much is free, do you know? Because after the windows phone and system, because the windows phone…

Mike: I don’t know, but typically windows phone takes up a bit, so a gig and a half. So you’re not going to get all 16.

Leo: Less than 16 available.

Mike: It has the Microsoft sensor core pedometer and NFC built in, it’s got an easily accessible micro SD slot. You have to peel off this, it’s easy to peel off and put back on, I’m not going to do it now.

Leo: That’s nice though, I like that. Can you take the battery out?

Mike: You can take the battery out. It’s a 220 milliamp per hour battery and it’s swappable. So if you like to swap batteries, it’s nice and a good battery, you don’t need to swap it, you’ll get more than a day of normal use. So the battery is not a weak spot by any, in any sense. Now I mentioned that the front facing camera is terrible, but there’s an app called Lumia selfie, which basically will automatically, you can use the rear camera to take a selfie. So you set up Lumia selfie, you turn it around, it’ll take a picture of your face, it’ll recognize your face and so on. So that’s sort of one way to get around that problem. Now just in general, the pros, this feels solid, I think that’s an important feature. If you have a cheap plastic, flimsy feeling phone, it just ruins the whole experience. This will not feel flimsy. It’s got gorilla glass in the front. It’s got all kind of great camera tricks and the hardware itself the camera is great. It’s go optical image stabilization. Even the IPhone six doesn’t have that. Six plus does have it. Six doesn’t have it, and this one has it. Which is really quite amazing. And it’s supports wireless charging, and that of course is an option, you don’t get the wireless charging dock out of the box. The cons are that the screen isn’t great. There’s a long process…out of the box with this phone, and all phones like this is horrible. You pull it out, you’ve got to download a bunch of stuff, you have to sign up for things, you have to go through this long arduous process to get it up and running, and that’s very different from the out of the box, from an iPhone or some Android phones. And, you know, the camera is kind of on the slow side, there is no tap to focus, which I find pretty vexing. The auto focus is okay, and it kind of comes and goes. But it’s not great in terms of focusing, especially given the quality of the iPhone focusing, which is really fast and really good. So focusing is not great, but again overall the camera is great, and of course video quality is not so great. However, having said all that, Leo, I would give this a buy, simply because…

Leo: At that price!

Mike: At this price, with this quality camera, with this build quality. It’s reasonably good performance, it’s a phone that’s going to make people happy and I think it’s a great phone if you’re looking for a windows phone.

Leo: Let’s clarify. Its 2200 milliamp hours, not 200.

Mike: That’s right. Did I say 200? 2200.

Leo: I think you left of the 20. Just so everybody knows. That’s about right for a phone that size.

Mike: yeah.

Leo: Same as their phone.

Mike: Yeah, it’s good.

Leo: Mr. Mike Elgan, a buy on the Nokia Lumia 830. The last, sad to say, Nokia Lumia.

Mike: A tear, we shed a tear today for the end of the line.

Leo: Now they’re called Microsoft Lumia’s but they’re exactly the same, so it’s not really a change.

Mike: That’s right.

Leo: Thank you very much. Mike is back every Monday through Friday and 10 AM pacific for TNT. We’ll see you then!

Mike: Alright!

Leo: And you’re doing, we should mention, for the holiday season, you’re going to do a week of special shows.

Mike: That’s right!

Leo: That will broach some of the biggest controversies in…

Mike: That’s right. We’re going to get some of the biggest controversies and we’re going to get to the bottom of them. We’re going to resolve these things once and for all. And I’m not going to say what they are yet, because I haven’t decided what they are, but they.

Leo: Well it’ll be a month from now.

Mike: Yeah. So it’s going to be highly controversial and contentious, and we’re going to get everybody around a virtual table sort of, and we’re going to have at it, and we’re going to get to the bottom of this.

Leo: Alright! Can I be part of the fight?

Mike: Absolutely, absolutely!

Leo: Give me one good one!

Mike: That’s right.

Leo: Thank you Mike. Appreciate it! Mike Elgan. Could you stick around a little bit, I want to show you, I know you used the Moto X for a little while, didn’t’ you?

Mike: I’d love to. Yeah!

Leo: And one of the things I didn’t like about the Moto X was the battery life couldn’t quite get me through a full day so I was very interested… Sorry, I’m not talking to you Moto X… I was very interested in the Droid Turbo when it was announced because it was pretty much a Moto X with a giant battery. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype next. Or in a moment. But next it’s Shannon Morse, She’s got another Bluetooth speaker system. They come out a lot, but is this one you want? We’ll find out. Snubs.

Shannon Morse: Hey everyone! I’m Shannon Morse with Before You Buy, and I have the BRVX Bluetooth Speaker for review today. The MSRP on this is $229.99, but you can find it as low as 169 dollars on places like Amazon. It comes in a couple of different colors, you can either get it in gray and white or black and black. It weighs about 1.5 pounds, so a little bit heavy. The target market on this is obviously your outdoorsy types. People that want to go camping, hang out poolside or go on really rugged adventures. It is IPX certified, water resistant. It is also shock absorbent, it comes with a little strap, so you can attach it to things like your jeep or your backpack. And the nice thing about this is the battery. So it has a 12 hour play time on this. It’s rated for 12 hours which is a 5200 mode battery and it can also charge external devices. But nothing over one amp. So if you have an iPad or different kind of tablet at home, it won’t be able to charge those, but it will be able to charge things such as your iPhone. Now if you aren’t playing any audio after about 30 minutes it will just turn off completely, and that’s to conserve its battery. On the back, there’s a couple of different ports on here. First off, I wanted to point out this indoor and outdoor mode. So this basically means if you’re playing it indoor it’s going to be a little bit quieter sound coming out of it. If you’re playing it outdoor, it’ll pick up the bass, it’ll be a little bit louder. It has NFC capability as well as Bluetooth so you can be about 30 feet away from it and still play it with Bluetooth just fine. It also has AUX in and a USB port to charge all of your devices. But obviously it doesn’t come with the USB cord for that. You’ll have to supply whatever came with your device. And there’s also, of course, the power connector. You also notice on the back that there is a percentage indicator for your battery. So it’ll show you anywhere between 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 % of battery charge. Now let’s move on to the speakers, the fun part. They’re a dual full range 51 millimeters custom drivers in here. Along with both a subwoofer and a passive radiator on the bottom. So you get plenty of sound out of here. One of the nice things about the BRVX2, is that you can also daisy chain it to another BRVX to get left and right stereo operation. Now moving on to another cool part about this, one of my nice features is the speaker phone capability for hands free calling. So it’s very easy to pick up, and answer any calls that might come through your Bluetooth speaker. It’s very crisp and clear and I was able to get excellent quality up to the 30 foot Bluetooth range, so no problems there. I noticed no distortions whenever I was playing vocal music or all of my different podcasts. But the bass sounded a little bit heavier, or more intense than normal. And I tested this with everything from simple podcasts to some rock and roll, and some really tight hip-hop, and some instrumental music. So pretty much everything in that range. I really like the quality in this product and it has this nice rubber footing so it’s not going to bounce around on you anywhere if you are playing music at a loud noise, so all in all, pretty good. Now moving on to my pros and cons, first off the pros, it is rugged. It’s ready for anything. It has a long lasting battery of twelve hours and it’s powerful! I love the audio range on this thing. Now moving on to the cons, I did feel that it was a little large and heavy. At one point five pounds it is a little bit too heavy for me to put it in my backpack necessarily. Maybe it’s not too bad for you though. And it has very intense bass and that might not be something that you favor. Sometimes I felt like it was too heavy. Now is this a buy, try, or don’t buy for me? I would give it a try. Braven has some excellent products out there. This speaker is definitely one of them. I would say try it out and see if you’re one of those outdoorsy types that would enjoy it. Again, I’m Shannon Morse, and this is the BRVX Braven Bluetooth speaker.

Leo: Shannon Morse with a try for the Braven BRVX Bluetooth speaker system. You can catch Shannon on Tekzilla, on Revision 3 each and every week. And, of course, on the Hack 5 network as well. In just a bit we’re going to take a look at the droid Turbo. Before we do though I want to show you my IFIXIT. You know IFIXIT? You must know IFIXIT! We love IFIXIT. IFIXIT is, you know, I think people think of them, and they know them well as the teardown company. IFIXIT will send a guy to Australia to be the first to own an IPhone, take it apart,and find out what’s inside. That’s very useful but maybe you don’t know why they do it. They take the stuff apart so they can create a step by step repair guide for pretty much every product in the world. This is their goal. This is the free online repair manual very everything! I mean, if you’ve shattered your IPhone screen. If you need to repair the red ring of death on your Xbox 360. If you need to put a new battery in that old galaxy phone, IFIXIT can show you how. More than 10,000 repair guides. Not just electronics but home appliances, clothing, even your bicycle! They can hook you up with the parts that you need to fix it. That’s nice, they can tell you how to fix it but they can also say, this is what you’ll need. Not just parts, but also tools. They make the best repair tools for consumer electronics. I live and die by my IFIXIT beautiful protech tool kit. This, if you’re looking for a gift for your geek this holiday season, let me show you here, this is the protech tool kit. This is amazing. Everything you need to replace, and to fix consumer electronics. To start of you put on your wrist band, it’s got spudgers, it’s got… it looks like you could do dental work with some of this stuff. But if you know what you’re doing, you’ve got everything you need, and really this is one of the beautiful things. The IFIXIT 54 bit driver kit. There are in here, bits for every possible device known to man. You get two holders, a flexi holder for the hard to reach areas, and you know, it’s all beautifully made, when you get a kit like this you feel these tools, they’re just gorgeous, cast aluminum tools with the best quality. 54 bits, you’ve got Philips bits small and large, you’ve got pentelobe bits, that’s what the IPhone and the IMacs use. The Mac laptops use. You’ve got Torques, and torques security bits. Apple really was the first to use those but now everybody does. Tri-wing bits, you know what that’s for? Your video game console? They even have the little known, but the oft needed triangle bit that’s used for MacDonald’s toys. This kit has a bit for everything! And a little magnet too, because if you, like me, drop the screws in, it’s always good to have a little magnet you can pull the screws out with. EFD safe precision tweezers are in here. The anti-static wrist strap, I showed you that. The nylon and metal spudgers. The plastic opening tools. The lightweight, compact, durable roll kit means you can take this with you everywhere you go. Your geek will love this. It’s light weight, its compact, and it’s durable, perfect on the go tool kit for repair professionals, and people like me who just love having great stuff. $64.95 backed by a lifetime warranty. We can save you a little money on that if you stay tuned. You can use this to fix your eyeglasses, your door knobs, you probably could use it to pick locks, but I’m not saying that! I don’t know, I’m just making that up! You can pretty much use it to do anything, of course, with the IFIXIT guides on line you can always find out how to do it. With IFIXIT you can fix it yourself. I want you to IFIXIT for free step by step guides. They also sell every part and tool you’ll need. And if you use the offer code BEFOREYOUBUY at checkout you’re going to save 10 dollars on any purchase of 50 dollars or more, and that includes the protech tool kit. 10 dollars off., do use the code BEFOREYOUBUY, and we really love IFIXIT. Kyle Weems and the crew are just the best, so we thank them for their support of BEFOREYOUBUY. And I thank them for my IFIXIT protech tool kit. This is the best thing in the world. If you see someone carrying this around, you know, oh I can trust that fella, or gal. Really great stuff. Scooter X says I’ve used that tool kit to take apart many things! You don’t mention putting them back together Scooter X. Alright. I have a new phone and I think a new love in my life. This is the Droid Turbo from Verizon. Now I’m holding it up next to, maybe this would be better to show it over here. Holding it next to my Moto X. These are really very similar phones. The Moto X, second generation, I was so excited by this phone because, you know it’s close to a pure google experience, I loved the leather back from Horwein, and I really was looking forward to, you know, kind of a much improved Moto X experience and I was in every respect except one. The battery life a little scant.  A little scant. I couldn’t quite get through the day, and I took this to London with me and the fact that by the time it was dinner time I had to retire this phone really made me sad. So I was, I had high hopes when this came out. This is the Droid Turbo. Now there’s some negatives you should know about. Verizon only, so don’t even consider this if you’re not a Verizon customer, although there are rumors they’re selling this in Latin America under the Droid Macs name. 3900 milliamp hour battery! That’s 50% more than the Moto X, and it’s, for that reason, a little bit thicker, a little bit heavier and they don’t have the same moto maker style back. So you only have three choices. Ballistic nylon and the metallic glass. This is the red metallic glass. You don’t have a lot of choices in memory either. The red and black metallic glass have 32 gigabytes of storage. You can get 64 gigs, but only if you get the nylon back. I decided not to go with the nylon back, I kind of like red, and I think for many of us 32 gigs is probably enough. They have upgraded the specs. This is the giant, not only a snapdragon 805, I think its 3.7 gigahertz, you’ve got very high end GPU’s, you’ve also got a very high resolution screen. This is quad HD, 25, what is that? 2550 by 1440. Let me put it this way. More than 500 dots per inch. Now, I’m going to point out, as I put this right next to the moto X, which is 1080 P, you really can’t tell the difference. There comes a point when you have a little bit, you know, you have more dots than you really need. These are both really crisp beautiful amulet displays. They really look good. And, by the way, yes the processor is much faster in theory, plus 3 gigs of RAM, should be a much snappier phone, the turbo, not really. Not so much. They’re both about the same frankly. If I load Google plus you’ll see, actually it already loaded it over here, so it loads a little bit faster. But everything scrolls the same, there’s not a huge difference in the capabilities of it. So don’t get this phone because it has more memory or a faster processor. You probably shouldn’t even get this phone because it has a higher resolution screen, although it is a gorgeous screen. They are doing pretty much the same thing Motorola did with the Moto X, you have your own, sorry, wake up command. As you can see I’ve changed the wake up command to this phone to help me OB1 Kenobi, I find it goes off a lot less when I say that.

Mike: You’re our only hope.

Leo: It also has the adaptive display capability, the four inferred sensors that will, when I wave my hand over it, show me the time and any notifications I’ve got. All the things that make a Moto X a great… Okay, you can just stop listening right now. I’m not talking to you! See I think the Moto X is just a little bit jealous of my Droid Turbo. Some of the things that are on the Moto X are missing here. Besides design, that metal rim on the Moto X also allowed it to do some Antenna tuning. So Moto X reception theoretically was better. It’s hard to tell, Verizon’s got a pretty good signal here, so I haven’t seen much of a difference. You should know though, this is a single antenna phone, so if you’re on Verizon it doesn’t support voice and data at the same time. So there are rumors there’ll be a software update that will turn on volte, voice over LTE on this phone, and then with Volte you’ll be able to use voice and data at the same time. But currently as sold, you cannot. So if that’s an issue for you, and I now it is for some people, this is not probably the right phone for you. I have to say, I’m a little miffed. Because they put these giant batteries in here. They’re really fantastic, but then they say to themselves, well gosh we have such a big battery, why don’t we quadruple the display resolution and ramp up the CPU and pretty much by that time, you’ve got no net gain.

Mike: There’s bragging rights.

Leo: This is a spec phone. This is a phone where you just go man I’ve got the state of the art phone. And by the way this is caviler backed metallic.

Mike: Yes, when the bullet comes you want to have that in there.

Leo: It’s droid! And as with all droid phones, it’s got a lot of Verizon cruft installed on it, you can disable it, but you can’t uninstall it. The Verizon navigator, VP protection. In fact, a lot of these have been disabled because I just can’t bear to have all those red icon in there. But you know, those don’t take up a huge amount of space. It’s just, you know, and most phones, if you’re going to get it carrier subsided you’re going to have something like that. Let’s talk about battery life because that’s the reason you’ve got it. You see, we’re here. I disconnected this morning at 7:00 AM, we’re at 57 % battery. I run this battery monitor, the GCM battery monitor when I’m testing new phones, and use it over a period of time to get some sense of how the battery is doing. It also tells you which applications are sucking the most battery, and I try to take off the most battery intensive applications. Facebook gone, Twitter gone. Oddly enough the Amazon kindle gone. Now this comes with the amazon, full suite amazon, a deal Verizon made. So you can’t uninstall Amazon Kindle, but you can disable it. That was one of the things I, even though I had no Kindle books on here, I hadn’t signed up for the Kindle account, but it just kept waking up the phone. So I turned all that stuff off. According to Gsam I can expect about 20 hours of battery life. Now for me that’s really good. That’s right up there with the one plus1, I would say this phone isn’t quite as good as the one plus1, it should be two days, and three days because of that size battery. And Motorola, in fact, says you should be able to get 48 hours. But those numbers vary depending on how you use your phone. I know how I use my phone. I use it hard, I talk to it a lot. I’m always looking at the screen, and this is a great beautiful bright screen. But the battery life is not as much as it ought to be. However it is better than the Moto X, and it probably will get you through the day unless you’re really crazy.  A couple of things you should know. This has a 21 megapixel camera. That seems to be a lot better, but in fact, in use I haven’t found it to be any better, and it has a flaw that a number of reviewers have reported that might drive you crazy. Watch how long it takes to take this picture. See that second lag right there?

Mike: And now you have a giant file.

Leo: That’s annoying. And yes it is a big file. Although that gives you the ability as with the Nokia to zoom a little bit. Because you have so many pixels. It’s a good camera. I think the Moto X was a good camera. It has all the features, the auto HDR and so forth of the Moto X, but that little lag every time you take a picture, which could be a little annoying so we’re going to have to mark it down just a little bit for that. On the pros and cons, well the pros there’s no higher specked phone than this. This has got everything you’d want in it. Including a 500 plus dots per inch screen. Wow! Wow! You could tell your friends, they won’t be able to tell the difference, but you can tell your friends. 21 megapixel camera is pretty impressive as well. And hey, this is made out of caviler. I think the red is pretty styling myself. A lot of people like the Nylon Ballistic back as well, it’s unique for a phone. It’s a basically, relatively pure Google experience. In fact they’re already being soak tested for lollipop. I think, every time I say Moto X it wakes up. I’m not talking to you! They’re being soaked tested for lollipop. I imagine the Droid Turbo will as well because it is as pure a Google phone. Minus the Verizon stuff as anything else it. It is a Google phone. It looks exactly the same as google phone. It has exactly the same interface. This is pretty pure, but you’ve got some additional Motorola stuff which is great. I think all of that is a plus and it hasn’t been much of a negative on the Moto X phone. So this is very similar to that, you’ll recognize this immediately. Cons, the battery should be better than it is. There have been days where, in fact, this died on me at about 9:00 a couple of nights ago, and I feel like gosh it should be better. One more pro, like the Moto x and the Galaxy note 4 a lot of the new snapdragon based phones. It does do the rapid charging, that’s a QUALCOMM feature. It does require a specialized rapid charger. I played around with it a little bit, it thinks that the Galaxy Note 4 rapid charger is a rapid charger. The Galaxy Note 4 thinks the Motorola rapid charger is a rapid charger. So this is a standard that goes beyond any particular manufacturer. It does charge it up fast, about 50% in a half an hour. That’s nice, I certainly recommend using it. The other thing that’s nice about this, it supports CHI charging, wireless charging, so I have a chi stand by my bedside. I put this in there and charge it. That’s a very nice and easy way to do this. The Moto X does no support that. I feel like the Moto X is just jealous.

Mike: That’s why you need a battery, because it’s always going off accidentally.

Leo: The cons on this as I said I would like to see more for the battery life. It is thicker, it is heavier. That doesn’t bother me so much. It feels like a manly phone. And that’s what the Droid brand frankly was all about. Power, more power. A definite buy on the Droid Turbo. If you’re looking for Moto X like capabilities, a fairly pure Google experience and a phone that is state-of-the-art across the board lag in the picture. By the way, that can be fixed in an update as could be the issue with voice over LTE. If you can live with those I would say a definite buy on the Droid Turbo. It is a nice piece of work. They’ve done a really nice job on this. Now the only phone that remains for 2014 is the Nexus 6.

Mike: That’s right.

Leo: Jason Howell and I have both ordered the Nexus 6s and they’ll ship on November 21st and we’ll have a review as quickly as we can after we get them. But as we get to the end of the year, I think it might be appropriate, let do this on Before You Buy, to take all the top of the line phones. The One plus1, the Galaxy note 4, the Nexus 6, the Moto X, and the Droid Turbo. Line them all up and figure out which one is the right phone for Android. You’ve already chosen the IPhone so you’re out of luck.

Mike: Dang it!

Leo: Thank you very much for joining us. Thanks Mike Elgan, we appreciate it. Of course to Shannon Morse, Chad Johnson, Jason Howell, and thanks to you for joining us! We do Before You Buy right after Security Now, Tuesdays around 3:30 PM pacific. 6:30 PM eastern time. Stop by if you can, if you can’t though, don’t worry, we make this available in a variety of fashions. Of course, you can go to TWIT.TV/byb. That’ll bring to the Before You Buy page and you can get the entire show there. We also put, not only the entire show, but also each individual review up on YouTube, And you can subscribe and get it every week on any pod catcher of your choice. We’re everywhere. We really want to thank you for being here and I want to remind you, you’ve got to watch Before You Buy! We’ll see you next time. Bye, bye.

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