Before You Buy 159 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: Coming up we've got the Movo Wave Fitness Band. We've got the Spotcam, a little trip back in time with the Blackberry Classic and I've got a little robot pal that is fun to play with. It's time to watch Before You Buy.
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Leo: Hello everybody, welcome to Before You Buy, the TWiT product review show where we get some of the latest, greatest stuff bring it in here, and let some of our staff bang on it until they come up with a review. We ask for each one of them to tell us whether you should try it, buy it, or just throw it out the window. We'll start with the Movo Wave Fitness Band, Chad Johnson of OMGcraft is here. Get Movo for $30.
Chad Johnson: Movo. The Movo Wave is a fitness band that you put around your arm.
Leo: It's getting to be a crowded category, isn't it?
Chad: Very crowded, and the place that this is trying to settle in is the inexpensive stripped down version of a fitness band.
Leo: Yeah, it's $30.
Chad: It's only $30, so going over the hardware, it's like a latex or simulated latex type rubber material and it comes with a band that you can cover over the middle.
Leo: What is that, it's like a rubber band...
Chad: Part of their accessory pack, yeah.
Leo: Oh, ohh colorful.
Chad: It comes with a black and a red one in the box, and then this will pop off-
Leo: Oh, look!
Chad: And you have an audio jack. And these two fit together so the way to make sure they don't pop off while you're walking around is to-
Leo: Put the band on...
Chad: Put the band on. So now, don't lose the band or it might fall off. So I'll just put that around my finger for the moment. And once you've walked around for a little while, you're going to plug it into your phone with the Movo app already installed...
Leo: Any phone - iOS, Android...?
Chad: So Android is hopefully coming soon. Right now it's an iPhone only app so if you're looking for like the iPad you have to be sure to click the iPhone on the apps. So once it's connected, it has a button built in and you hit the button and it should sync and put all of the data that it's collected from the band into the phone over a small syncing period. This doesn't do some of the things that other fancier bands do. It doesn't tell you the time, it's not going to give you an estimation of your goal or anything like that-
Leo: Is there a read-out on the band itself?
Chad: Not at all. No.
Leo: So you won't know what you're doing until you sync up?
Chad: Absolutely, you won't even know if you've hit your goal. There is an LED that has red and blue colors but it's not going to flash once you've hit your goal or anything like that.
Chad: This is the app, inside the app you have two different views. So you have the day view, which is a little difficult to see but the amount of steps you've done every day is on the bottom.
Leo: And do you take a picture of yourself?
Chad: You can.
Leo: Seems weird.
Chad: I actually found that was pretty nice. So let's go into today.
Leo: Oh, nice. You've taken 12,000 steps today?
Leo: What have you been doing?
Chad: I was in San Antonio, TX this morning.
Leo: Oh, okay. Those airports can really mark up the steps.
Chad: Exactly, exactly. You'd be amazed at how many steps you can get while sleeping on an airplane. It will also give you an estimate of how many miles you've gone and how many calories you've burned that day.
Leo: That's pretty good, you had a good day.
Chad: Yeah, you should see some of the convention days... I just came back from convention. So you can also add a photo, which I thought was really gimmicky but it actually kind of helps you remember what you were doing that day. So it's actually kind of nice. I like that a lot. So the largest day I had was like 27,000 steps.
Leo: Holy moly, 13 miles... And that's a good picture to go with that. What convention?
Chad: PAX South.
Leo: Oh, you were at PAX.
Chad: Yeah, this is the convention hall room that we were in and then we rode on a horse buggy thing.
Leo: You got 24,000 steps just for riding on a horse..
Chad: Just for riding on a horse. And also it will give you kind of a graph of your progress-
Leo: That's pretty nice.
Chad: -I started a few days ago.
Leo: And the app is free?
Chad: The app is free. And you can see, since I've had the Wave I've gone 60 miles while walking and close to 120,000 steps.
Leo: You win the prize for the most used fitness band. No one has ever come on here to review a fitness band with 60 miles.
Chad: 60 miles under the belt, yeah.
Leo: That's impressive.
Chad: Right. So anyway, that's a little look at the app. And the app is definitely a work in progress. The Android app isn't even out yet. There's a tabs down here, Challenges and Profile, that both of them go to 'Coming Soon' screens and they don't do anything. It's kind of jarring to be honest.
Leo: Hamster says you hooked the band up to a paint shaker, you wouldn't do that would you?
Chad: No. The worst that I could have done is my leg bounces a little bit, it might have been resting on my leg.
Leo: I think some of the people here sit on those balls and they're bouncing all the time.
Chad: Sure. Absolutely! So in terms it will only track steps.
Leo: Not running? It'll do running, right?
Chad: Well it won't count that you're doing extra activity. It'll calculate the steps that you're running.
Leo: Well even expensive fitness bands, I can do rowing or bicycling and it won't know which one I'm doing.
Chad: Exactly. And then it will calculate based off of that your miles and calories. So that was food, I had some good food with some family. So it calculate how many calories you've burned and how many miles you've walked based off of-
Leo: Chad, you're a workout-aholic!
Chad: I had the convention going for me. You have to realize that I don't just go out every day and walk sixty miles.
Leo: Showoff.. Does it count steps like upstairs?
Chad: No. So you know how like the FitBit, it will calculate altitude.... But this thing doesn't track sleep-
Leo: It's a pedometer.
Chad: It's a pedometer only, that goes around your wrist that has colorful bands to customize it based on your personality.
Leo: That's it..
Chad: That's all it does. It's a little bit water resistant.
Leo: A little bit?
Chad: A little bit. They do not suggest that you take showers or swim with it.
Leo: So you can spit at it..
Chad: You can wash your hands safely. They offer all kinds of different sizes between extra small and extra large. There's all kind of different things, depending on if you're a body builder or a child basically. So let's go on to the pros and cons. The pros is that the battery will last for two weeks between charging.
Leo: It ought to it's not doing anything.
Chad: It's not doing much.. And you can change the color of the bands. Then, this could be a pro or a con but there's always tracking, you basically cannot turn it off. There's no off.
Leo: It just does what it does..
Chad: Just does what it does always. For the cons, the app needs work, and they could work on it since the Android one isn't even out yet and the iOS needs work. It's not water proof, and I wish there was some sort of locking mechanism that could prevent you from needing a rubber band to go around it- Because I lost- It comes with a black and red one and that was perfect for my hair. -I lost the red one, I don't know when it fell off or where it went but it took me a while to get another one back on because I was out and about until I could get back home to grab another band from my backpack. That was kind of a bad design. So for $30 the Movo Wave Fitness Band, I'm going to give it a 'Don't buy.'
Leo: Not so hot.
Chad: I think you could go out and get a pedometer for much less. They're very inexpensive, and it just wouldn't have the app. But there are bluetooth pedometers out there.
Chad: They do exist. And let's be honest, it doesn't do anything that the health app on my phone-
Leo: Actually, that's true.
Chad: I mean...
Leo: But you have to put your phone in your pocket all of the time.
Chad: Right. You just have to keep your phone with you, which isn't-
Leo: Most people do.
Chad: Yeah, so that was the Movo Wave and you can get it at getmovo.com.
Leo: Getmovo, that is Chad Johnson. You can get him at Youtube. Youtube.com/omgchad or-
Chad: There's /omgchad or /omgcraft. One of those two.
Leo: There are two different channels. And then of course, his patrion is patrion.com/omgchad.
Leo: Thank you Chad, it's always nice to see you.
Leo: Do you cook, ever? I know you make sandwiches a lot.
Chad: I do make a lot of sandwiches. I have been getting into cooking though.
Leo: You need Blue Apron. You know what? I'm going to get you a Blue Apron box. This is so cool. This is how people who love to cook, or would like to love to cook, or think this would be cool can do it so easily. It's one thing to say, oh well you know I have half an hour to make dinner. It's another thing to say I have another hour to shop for it, find the recipe, the meal planning and all of that. Blue Apron takes all of the hard stuff out and you still get to cook fresh, delicious meals for yourself and your loved ones. Blue Apron is such a great idea and our family here at TWiT has become huge Blue Apron fans. Take a look at the recipes at blueapron.com. Now, here's how it works. It costs about $9.99 per person, per meal. It's a lot less expensive than going out. Which, you're going to make meals that a really restaurant- Like fancy restaurant meals. You get a refrigerated box with exactly the right ingredients- Even the salt and pepper, there's nothing more that you need. -In exactly the right proportions. Plus you get these lovely laminated cards, these step-by-step recipe instructions with pictures that make it very easy to cook. All of the ingredients come from local farms, you'll be getting produce that is in season right then at the peak of freshness, they design everything to be that way. And the meals are phenomenal. This would be ideal for like a dinner date. I'm going to make you dinner for two and you put out the candles, you don't have to tell them it's from Blue Apron. I tell you, they’re going to think you cooked from scratch- You did cook from scratch, that's the beauty of this. This is not somebody else prepared it, froze it, brought it to your door. These are all the ingredients fresh to you- The fish, the meats, everything. -Fresh to you in a refrigerated box, they work around your schedule and your dietary preferences. Cooking takes about half an hour, shipping is always free and the menu always features new recipes. They will never send you the same meal twice. Once you cook it for the first time you'll have the confidence to go out and do it on your own. You'll make meals like Shrimp and Pineapple Rice Stir-Fry or Winter Panzonella with Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower Piave cheese and Fennel. I mean, these are amazing. Look at those center-cut pork chops, and you get it all.
Chad: This is perfect.
Leo: You get the salmon you get the chicken, there's no shopping.
Chad: That's perfect, cause I do want to learn-
Leo: You will learn.
Chad: What always happens is I'll find a recipe that I like and then I don't have that one ingredient.
Chad: And I had already been to the store, so it just throws everything off which makes me revert back to the instant meals.
Leo: And look at like these little baby carrots.
Chad: It's great.
Leo: Everything is so beautifully picked, so fresh, so good. So go see what's on the menu this week and by the way, get your first two meals free when you go to blueapron.com/twit. Blueapron.com/twit, I think it's a really great idea and parents, if you have a son or daughter going off to college or getting out on their own for the first time, this would be such a nice gift to set them up. You know, so they get this box every week- It's like a care package.-Every week. But you get this benefit because they learn how to cook and become gourmets honestly. Blueapron.com/twit. Actually, that's where the name Blue Apron comes from, the very fancy French Cordon Bleu restaurant in Paris. If you were a chef there, you wore white aprons, the apprentice chefs wore the blue aprons and that's how you knew they were learning to become great cooks. Alright, next we have Shannon Morse. Look at that Chad just got magically replaced.
Shannon Morse: Ta-da! He got prettier all of a sudden.
Leo: Exactly right, I wasn't going to say it but you're exactly- So here is Shannon Morse, host of the new TEK Thing. How's it going?
Shannon: Yes, TEK Thing is going great, we're super excited and have been doing a lot of cool projects and we're super excited and we're going to be growing it out from there.
Leo: Yeah, I watched it. It's great, Patrick Norton, Shannon Morse. Basically, don't tell anybody but it's Techzilla. They took it and are doing it on their own, it's great.
Shannon: It's even better now.
Leo: And you're raising money on Patrion?
Shannon: Yes we are, patrion.com/tekthing.
Leo: Great. And of course, tekthing.com-
Leo: -For more information. We gave Shannon this little guy, I hope you weren't insulted. It's a little robot that's watching you. It's called the SpotCam.
Shannon: Yes, so that is the SpotCam HD, it's $149 and the company also has the ability to do a DVR functionality for an additional cost if you want to do that as well.
Leo: It's kind of like the DropCam. It does that too, right?
Shannon: Very, very similar. Yeah. Even the login and the settings you can get on the site are very similar.
Leo: So tell us about this, what does it do?
Shannon: Okay, so it's a video monitoring tool, it has a mic built in so you can talk to it, as well as get audio feedback back.
Leo: That's on the top here, right?
Shannon: Yes, it sounds pretty good. It's pretty clear, I didn't have a lot of dropouts when I tested the audio quality in the application.
Leo: Maybe it's on the front. Is there a speaker too?
Shannon: The front has an LED on it, and yes there is a speaker.
Leo: That's what this would be.
Shannon: I could set it up at home with my cats and talk to my cats.
Leo: Meow. So that's what that must be, so there's a speaker and the microphone would be on the front.
Shannon: There's also a blinking LED for while you're setting up as well as when it's completed setup on there. You can also get nightvision out of it, which looks very nice and clear. It has 720p HD video, as opposed to 1080. So it looks really good and it only had about a 3.5 second delay on the video when I was testing it out at my household.
Leo: That's unusually low.
Shannon: Yeah, it was very very low. It was definitely very good quality on the video and the audio.
Leo: That means when you're watching online you're seeing what happened only 3.5 seconds ago.
Leo: Which is kind of good.
Shannon: It is.
Leo: If somebody is robbing your house, you don't want to see that 3 minutes later, you might be gone already.
Shannon: Yeah, and with the application you have the ability to do things like record live video where all you do is push a little record button and record into a .mp4, you can also play back the last 30 seconds but if you want the full DVR functionality for 3,7, or 30 days, you have to pay an additional like $100 per year.
Leo: Yeah, because you pay for their storage. That's how DropCam works too.
Shannon: And to log in to the video you just go to the website and set it up from there. I did have problems with setup though. And that's my main issue with this toy. So I tried to set it up on my PC and you have to download an executable file to set it up on your network.
Shannon: Really really creepy and a little scary, because my virus detector detected it as malware.
Leo: Oh, that's nerve-racking.
Shannon: Yeah, so I had to close that out.
Leo: It could have been a false positive though.
Shannon: It probably is, but there is no NB5 checksum, there's nothing available like that so I don't know and the executable isn't in a zip file so there's really no way to tell so that gave me a red flag so I just set it up through the application online instead.
Leo: So you can do that.
Shannon: Yeah, Google App, there is an iOS App as well and both are free. Anyways, I set it up on my phone, but the problem with the phone. This is the log in screen, I don't know if you can see that but it's one column of text that goes straight down.
Leo: Something went wrong.
Shannon: Yeah, so it's very hard to see. Let me lower my- There we go.
Leo: It's formatted strange.
Shannon: So it looks horrible right?
Shannon: So I was eventually able to get into it, right now it says it's disconnected-
Leo: It is.
Shannon: Right, it worked fine at my household but as soon as I try to use it on the TWiT network it went janky. It told me I was signed up under a different account, wouldn't let me sign up on my new account on here-
Leo: That's not good.
Shannon: So I had to do a new account and I also couldn't reset this, as there is no reset button on the camera so it made me very irritated, I wanted to throw this thing across the room.
Leo: It showed up under somebody else's account when you logged into our network?
Shannon: It did, it said you already have this under a different account, do you want to de-register it?
Leo: That's weird.
Shannon: So I attempted to log in to my other email account and I couldn't find the camera there and I was like I thought I had it-
Leo: Do you think the account is associated with maybe your IP address or something?
Shannon: Quite possibly, but if that's the case they should have a reset button on the camera itself.
Leo: Right because now you can't move this to any other house.
Shannon: So I was like, that's irritating because I wanted to show the nice quality video because it really does look good. So I was very angry about that. And they also state that you can do realtime alerts through the application, but they don't have any how-to on how to set that up and if you go into the realtime application settings, it doesn't give you the ability to set things like motion detection to go to your email address and things like that so that was irritating as well there are no setup instructions.
Leo: You're just supposed to figure it out I guess.
Shannon: Yeah, you just figure it out. I was like, that's no fun.
Leo: So this is somebody in China's video I guess since we couldn't get yours.
Shannon: So you can share videos with others, you just put in their email address and hit 'OK' where it will send them an email, they can login with their email address- It has to be the same email address and they can view your live feed. If you put in the wrong email address and don't notice, you'll be sharing your camera with somebody forever with that email address you messed up.
Leo: Oh, oh.... Oh.
Shannon: So you have to put in the right email address or you're sharing your live feed with who knows who. It's a little awkward.
Leo: It seems like there are no take-backs with SpotCam...
Shannon: You can do a block setting if you mess up the email address when sharing it and you can do a live feed to the public as well. So it does have a lot of those nice functionalities but at the same time I feel like they should do a password protection or something like that for you to share with people, instead of just an email address.
Leo: Well especially since- There are a lot of cameras that do what the physical camera does out there.
Shannon: Yeah, tons of them.
Leo: This is a very common product.
Shannon: And that one is $150.
Leo: It's really the Cloud services, the apps and the online stuff that distinguish one from another.
Shannon: Absolutely and I have to say that in this case, the applications were not very good unfortunately and the whole executable thing just really really threw me off.
Leo: The good news is you can make that better someday they may get it fixed.
Shannon: Right, in the meantime though let me give you my pros and cons.
Shannon: So great sound quality, great audio, very good on those. And it can record live video which is pretty cool since you can manually do that through the application. On the cons side though, I had a lot of problems installing it and setting it up on a new network, email address to share, I think they should do a password protection as well and I'm unsure about their security with that executable file. Who knows who's watching.
Leo: It is legitimate that since you do all that stuff with hacking that you're a little bit paranoid but that is a good point. In fact, in the past these IP cameras have been cracked.
Shannon: They're still cracked. There's a website to Google those.
Leo: I'm not saying SpotCam is but that's something to be aware of, if you are putting a camera in your home and if other people can see it without your permission.
Shannon: And it's on their own server so they do say that they have SSL encryption but they don't state whether it's 128 or 256 or 512 so we don't know exactly how secure that SSL encryption is.
Leo: I kind of like the form factor, it's good looking.
Shannon: It is.
Leo: But I do have to point out that it's not exactly camouflaged.
Shannon: It's not.
Leo: It's pretty out there.
Shannon: There are nice red LEDs that show up around the front for night vision so it's very obvious.
Leo: You can't use it as a spy cam.
Shannon: You cannot.
Leo: Which maybe not a bad thing but it's also going to take over whatever room it's in. If you've got a baby monitor, it's pretty obvious you've got a camera there, no NannyCam here.
Shannon: So buy, try, or don't buy the hardware is awesome but the software side really sucks right now so I have to give it a don't buy until they actually update all of the settings.
Leo: Yeah, because that's what distinguishes something like this.
Leo: Thank you Shannon Morse TEK Thing.
Shannon: Thank you, nice stickers by the way.
Leo: The keyboard stickers? I know, they're all the comic book characters. Thank you Shannon, we appreciate it.
Shannon: Thank you.
Leo: Alright, I've been hearing about this next device for some time. Everybody tells me, Leo you're unfair to Blackberry and you don't cover it enough. How is Blackberry expected to survive if people like you don't give it the credit it deserves? Myriam Joire is here with the Blackberry Classic. We have amazingly replaced Shannon Morse with Myriam Joire. I don't know how we do it! The technology... Hi Myriam, good to see you.
Myriam Joire: Good to see you.
Leo: I haven't seen you in ages.
Myriam: We should do our '1 million dollars' together. You ready?
Leo: Oh yeah, because we do look like Dr. Evil.
Myriam: 1 million dollars.
Leo: 1 million dollars. Unlike you though, I'm growing mine back.
Myriam: You're growing yours back. It's fuzzy.
Leo: Myriam is a regular around here and she's also an expert on mobile technology, most recently for Pebble, but you also covered mobile technology for Engadget, right?
Myriam: That's right.
Leo: And she speaks French. So we thought, who better than Myriam Joire to review the new Blackberry.
Myriam: Yeah, so you know as a Canadian- It is a Canadian company and has had it's struggles over the last few years.
Leo: See I almost said Canadian but every time I say that about you, you say no I'm French.
Myriam: Well I'm both French and Canadian. It's complicated but I really travel with my Canadian passport because that's the smart way of doing things. But Blackberry has really gone through it's ups and downs.
Leo: Mostly down lately.
Myriam: Down, very much yes. And so they just launched this phone here called the Blackberry Classic.
Leo: I'm kind of excited about this because they've tried other form factors, the Passport was weird-
Myriam: The Z10 and Z30, which were full screens.
Leo: -And so kind of copying what modern smartphones do but this was the original smartphone and it's kind of nice to get back to the original form factor.
Myriam: Exactly. That's why it's called the Blackberry Classic because it's back to the Classic format. Specifically they were trying to go after their most successful product, the Bold 9000. Which, it was a very large phone for it's time and it had very high resolution screen for it's time and a leather back- A real leather back.
Leo: This looks about the same- Is it the same size as the Bold?
Myriam: It's bigger, actually.
Leo: I brought my old Curve out.
Myriam: Let's put them side by side there.
Leo: And you can see there's a big difference in size. This is the last Blackberry I had right before- Actually when the iPhone came out I had this.
Myriam: So the Classic, is really actually a very smart thing. I think it's probably the best Blackberry ever made. Because it combines all the modern things you'd expect that Blackberry 10 brings to the table, but it's 10.3 so it's the latest version of 10. And it combines it with really exquisite hardware. I have to say the hardware- Um, well we're traveling back in time really and if you pull this out- Like I was using it over this last week. -People see it and are like what is that? I'm like, my God have I traveled back in time? Is this 2004 all over again? Because it really feels that way.
Leo: And yet it is very updated. I mean that's a beautiful- Best screen I've ever seen on a Blackberry.
Myriam: It's very dense and heavy, you could throw this at your worst enemy and destroy their face, and the phone would be fine. It's really remarkable. So you know, as a good business tool should be, it's also a weapon.
Leo: Built like a tank.
Myriam: Right, exactly. The take away is that if you are given this by your employer right now because you work in a big enterprise- You wouldn't be a company, you'd be an enterprise at this point.
Myriam: You could do much worse than this. It's a very productive device. Certainly Blackberry still has quite the job in terms of productivity. The Blackberry Hub is a really cool feature, it integrates one big box-
Leo: Would you move the phone over in front of the camera's view and give us a little demo? Because I think a lot of us probably haven't seen Blackberry in a while.
Myriam: Yeah, sure. So first of all, the whole thing is a touchscreen but the Classic is the first phone to bring back what they call the toolbar, so you have the call and hangup button- Earlier I was calling Voicemail and I couldn't figure out how to hangup, I was like there's nothing on the screen, how do I hang up!?
Leo: But if you look at my old Curve next to it, those were physical buttons but they were there.
Myriam: Right so that's the Toolbar, and it's got the back button and the Blackberry button and then the track pad thing that you can use-
Leo: So they don't do the whole pearl ball thing anymore...?
Myriam: No, but they had gone to this track pad thing long before they had a touchscreen.
Leo: I actually like it.
Myriam: It's really nice. So if you're used to that, you can go back to the old days. But the touchscreen obviously works, it's a 720 x 720 pixel LCE panel.
Leo: And I'll vouch for the quality, it's a good looking screen.
Myriam: Very nice screen, it's probably IPS, it's hard to tell. But it's not at all like the Q10 was, which was the previous Quarty Blackberry running BB10. And it's a large screen, 3.5" for a square screen is a pretty big screen.
Leo: Isn't that funny, that's the first iPhone screen.
Myriam: Right, but not in this form factor.
Leo: Not square, yeah. The keyboard is incredible, here's what really sells this product. Here's one of the cool things about it, there’s all kinds of short cuts. If I lock the phone I can unlock it by scrolling up like that and like I was doing, or using the power/lock key. But you can just go 'U' 'Enter' and you know, like all these old short cuts are still there. You want to start the Brother, hold the 'B' button down and it starts the web browser.
Leo: Oh that's nice.
Myriam: So these are things that are still there... You can use the space bar to scroll through web pages so if you know the short cuts it's very productive and if you want to plow through a bunch of emails this is definitely a very good candidate here.
Leo: That's kind of what the Blackberry was all about.
Myriam: That's really what it's about right? So for Email, Calendar, communication in general has BBM and the hub here is kind of like this unified inbox...
Leo: So yeah, describe the hub because that's kind of new.
Myriam: See, all your Email is here, but it's kind of cool because it's kind of cool because it's Twitter, Facebook, BBM, text messages, all your Email accounts in one inbox and you can choose how to prioritize them.
Leo: That's nice.
Myriam: And it's really easy to kind of keep track of what you're doing. It also supports Android apps.
Leo: This, I find weird. How well does it support Android apps?
Myriam: So it has the Amazon app store, that's how well it supports Android apps.
Leo: So I see FourSquare, I see Instagram-
Myriam: They have their own app store here so they have their own app store for their own apps and Amazon for Android apps.
Leo: That's pobably a good way to handle this. Is it emulation or...?
Myriam: No, it's running a Dalvik Virtual Machine, just like in Android.
Leo: So it is an Android.
Myriam: It's a total Android-capable device. So I've got Flicker, Quadrant, TuneIn, and Vine that came from the Amazon store but of course there is no Instagram on the Blackberry store so I looked for it in the Amazon store and I couldn't find it. But I sideloaded the APK but you have to find the right version that works.
Myriam: After about five seconds of Googling, 'Blackberry Classic Instagram' I finally found an APK that works and installed it.
Leo: Now, how fast is it? Does it run snappily?
Myriam: I'll show you.
Leo: It actually just feels like Instagram on anything that already has it in it's play store..
Myriam: Yeah, it's just fine. And here's what's interesting, you can pull this down- It doesn't always want to work but there's a way to set what resolution you want in the app. So you can run it at a high res where the text is a little harder to read now, or you can run it like an Android device's resolution. So now there are bars on the side but it has the proper aspect ratio.
Myriam: So that's one interesting little thing about running Android apps.
Leo: That's smart because Blackberry will never have the apps in the app store.
Myriam: And so you know, here you are right?
Leo: But this way you get a good selection of Android apps.
Myriam: You know, it runs fine. There's no emulation here, it's just a virtual machine on top of another.
Leo: So this is a chip inside?
Myriam: Yeah, so what's interesting is spec-wise this is a Snapdragon s4 Pro. So that was- It's dual-core. -So that was top of the line when the HTC One S and One X came out.
Leo: So about two years old.
Myriam: So two generation or three generations back, 2 gigs of RAM though.
Leo: That's good.
Myriam: Lots of RAM, which is good for multi-tasking, and by the way this is how multi-tasking works. Every app ends up as a- As you can see, the UI and Native, like not Android, is very slick and smooth despite the hardware being a bit old. But it does chug down.. Here's one thing that I was really disappointed with about the phone, when just listening to the phone playing music every now and then you'll hear little pops and crackles. Like, as if the decoder can't keep up.
Leo: Oh, that's disappointing.
Myriam: And I know that's a bug because I mean, the Snapdragon s4 Pro can play back audio no problem.
Leo: Music is easy, but video I could understand.
Myriam: But it's very disappointing that it can't handle it. And the camera is serviceable at best. I mean, it gets the job done, I'll show it right now.
Leo: How's the sound quality, is there decent speakers on there?
Myriam: Yeah, the Blackberry's camera can recall sounds really well and the speakerphone sounds pretty good. You get a more full sound and it's nice. And here's Chad, looking fabulous as always. Again though, the camera does a pretty good job.
Leo: Look at this though, you can pinch and zoom and this is something you don't really expect on a Blackberry phone but just like on an iPhone or whatever, you can just zoom in.
Myriam: So there's Chad.
Leo: I see that it is a little bit soft once the .jpegging of it is-
Myriam: It is a bit soft, but I took some pretty decent pictures... And this one is pretty sharp. You can zoom in and see the spokes of this- This was in Sausalito this weekend. But it's mediocre in general, but low light isn't really all that great.
Leo: Do you know how many megapixels?
Myriam: 8 auto-focus 2 LED flash. With 2 megapixels in the front. And as you see, this is how you run tasks, you can kill them you can say I don't want Instagram anymore and off it goes.
Leo: I kind of like this...
Myriam: Look the BB10 OS is really nice. I just wish that it were running- If this had a Snapdragon 800 and could actually decode music properly while you do something else...
Leo: I don't understand why it doesn't...
Myriam: I mean, battery life is really pretty good because of the battery's size.
Leo: What kind of battery life?
Myriam: It's easy to get a day, and you could probably get 2 if you're careful. It's a productivity-heavy device. As I said, if you were issued this by your employer or if you're just like a hardcore Blackberry person who really misses the days of being productive on a device that feels like a Blackberry,this is your phone.
Leo: Right, because it has a real keyboard. And the Blackberry keyboard is great.
Myriam: Yeah, it is unbelievable. You know, you can start searching anytime right here from the home screen, there's a Cortana assistant as well.
Leo: Oh, there's speech.
Myriam: Yeah, let me bring it up I can go like, who is Leo Laporte? It got that spelling right, let's see if it'll give results. Some LTE on AT&T right now, I don't know why-
Leo: Is it AT&T only?
Myriam: No this is-
Blackberry Classic: Found Leo Laporte.
Myriam: There you go.
Leo: That's pretty good.
Myriam: I don't know if it's you, but... It is you. This is an unlocked phone and you can use it with any carrier.
Leo: So you buy from Blackberry directly?
Myriam: Yeah, it's $450.
Leo: Unlocked? Unsubsidized, that's not bad.
Myriam: It's built like a tank, let me give you a quick tour if the camera is still running here. The battery is sealed but you've got a micro SD card slot and nano SIM slot. Only 16 gigs of built-in storage so it'll probably need an SD card.
Myriam: Standard headphone jack, the Blackberry power/lock key, volume rocker and in the middle is the mute button which can also be programmed to do other stuff which is really cool. And then at the bottom you have really nice speakers and micro USB charge and data port. So you know this is a pretty standard configuration for a modern phone. As you can see here, the little camera, LED Flash, Classic logo, Blackberry logo.
Leo: I am tempted I have to say..
Myriam: I love the hardware. But what lets it down is the Silva software... I like the intent of the software, like for the user's experience what with the idea of multi-tasking, the hub is really nice, they have this other feature that lets you pair your device with your laptop and you run an app that they provide called Blackberry Blend. So it gives you the ability to remote control your Blackberry from your laptop.
Myriam: So if you want to send a text message, and your Blackberry is in your pocket, once it connects to your wifi network and recognizes it's near a device that it's authorized to connect to, it let's you run- Basically remote control the Blackberry from your laptop so you can answer a text message without pulling your phone out of your pocket. Kind of like that thing on iOS, Mac OS...
Myriam: Continuity, yes.
Leo: Pros and cons of it.
Myriam: Pros: Gorgeous hardware in terms of well-made nice industrial design I think it's a good looking phone.
Leo: It is heavy.
Myriam: It's well made. The drawback on the- This is cons, but the chips are outdated now.
Myriam: Other pros I would say if you want to be productive and go back to the old productive way of using a smart phone, very seamless productive experience of being able to use a keyboard for everything and occasionally using a touch screen. And it can be very productive as you know.
Leo: I still can type faster on a Blackberry than anything else I've ever had.
Myriam: That's another pro, the keyboard is an absolute pro. For the cons, the Android compatibility is a bit of an issue because you can't install Google Play apps in any form unless you start hacking away. And there's a very limited selection on the Amazon store, and the selection on the Blackberry store is limited as well.
Leo: You don't buy this for apps.
Myriam: Right, and you don't buy this for multimedia. The camera is definitely lacking. So those are cons.
Leo: The people who should buy this are Blackberry fans who want a state-of-the-art Blackberry, I think you're so smart to-
Myriam: This is the best Blackberry ever.
Leo: I think they're smart to stick with their strengths. I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit. Buy, try, or don't buy it?
Myriam: i would say don't buy it, just because I know the general interests of the fans and audience for this show and they want a device that can do everything, versatile and this is not it. But there's a subset out there though who would really enjoy this device.
Leo: If you are a Blackberry fan and want that Classic Blackberry look, feel, and typability and productivity... How about the notifications? How do they work?
Myriam: It's all in the hub.
Leo: I like that hub.
Myriam: But it pops up briefly, appears in the hub and the hub is available by sliding over like this any time.
Leo: This is a business tool, not a recreational.
Myriam: It was very easy to set up with all of the Gmail, calendar, everything just worked.
Leo: Now I use Google Hangouts for my SMS so I probably wouldn't be able to use that.
Myriam: No, but there's an SMS built in and there's BBM.
Leo: And BBM is across platform.
Myriam: Yes. And you could potentially install some sort of IM client for Android that's compatible with Gtalk that are not Hangouts. There are a few. But it starts getting- If you're a productivity person, it's not something you're going to do on your own.
Leo: No, as long as my Google Calendar works and my address book works with it-
Myriam: The Android compatibility here is a crutch it's not really something you want to rely on. So I'd say, don't buy simply for your audience, for some people it might be a buy...
Leo: You'd know if you're a blackberry fan.
Myriam: But like I said, you could also weaponize these things. If you're an IT person and you're watching this and want to give your hard productive workers a productive tool that is also a weapon, and also lets them travel back in time to 2004, this is your phone.
Leo: I think this would be a phone for somebody having two phones. One for home and one for work.
Myriam: I think that's what Joanna said in her review in the Walstreet Journal.
Leo: Yeah.38:54 She loves it.
Myriam: Because she's a hardcore old school Blackberry fan but she also admits that for multimedia stuff it just doesn't cut it. And you know what's sad because I know they could do it. Q&X, the core of the OS running behind there is really great.
Leo: Yeah, it's a great OS.
Myriam: I think with Snapdragon 800 and refining the software a little bit- And maybe you know, fully opening it up to Android may make this an interesting alternative. But as it stands today, it's a don't buy.
Leo: Myriam Joire, thank you for your review of the Blackberry Classic. It is a classic.
Myriam: You're welcome. And it is a classic, indeed.
Leo: We're going to take a break and when we come back, your little plastic pal that's fun to be with... I've got a robot! But first I want to show you- We talk a lot about ifixit and what ifixit does and they're such a great company. We use the ifixit tool kits and the ifixit repair guides, there are literally thousands of repair guides. But the kind of fundamental business- And look, they have Blackberry phone repair.
Leo: But the fundamental business for ifixit is those repair guides combined with the parts and the know-how you need to fix whatever you've got a Mac, an iPhone, an Android device. From broken screens to dead batteries and everything in between. I know a lot of you are do it yourself types and it does save you money, it is convenient, but it's also fun and you learn something new in the process. There's no better way to do it. Look, here's the ifixit, this is a very popular one and it just shows you how easy it is to do the ifixit repair kit for a 5s display. Look at how nicely this is packaged. They've got the suction cup so you can pull the old display off, exactly the tools you need, and here's the actual part itself. Ready to do, and everything you need, including the little alcohol swab to clean the little contacts in this kit. Plus a great price. "Before you use this, both of the cables are very fragile and will tear if-" It gives you some hints and suggests the repair guide on the website. Ifixit, I love this logo, that's what it is. Power to the people, right on, fix it yourself. Look here's the iPhone 5s battery replacement kit. If you've got an older iPhone, the battery is probably ready to go but it's easy to replace and you don't have to pay the extra freight that Apple would charge you to do this. Plus it's kind of cool. You get this feeling, like I did it! I know how! I want you to visit ifixit.com, every fixit kit comes with all of the tools you need. The penelope driver, the spudgers, the plastic opening tools, the suction cup, replacement adhesive for parts that need it. And they are pro grade replacement parts, these parts are tested and are guaranteed to work giving you the peace of mind. If a part fails, ifixit will make it right. Ifixit offers you the best tools, the best repair parts, the best step by step guides to show you exactly how to fix the device you are working on. In fact, they have comprehensive repair guides for every single iPhone iPad and Mac computer, a growing list of Android devices, they're free always online, no purchase necessary at ifixit.com/twit. Ifixit.com/twit for all the tools, parts, and kits you need to fix your broken stuff. And by the way when you use the offer code: BEFOREYOUBUY at checkout, you're going to save $10 off any purchase of $50 or more. That's ifixit.com/twit, I want you to use the code: BEFOREYOUBUY and we thank them so much for their support of Before You Buy.
I am going to show you a little plastic pal that's going to be your friend. This was a kickstarter project called Sparky The Easy Robot. In fact, they raised during the kickstarter $188,000 to build this and it is now available for $149 from Arcbotics and I think this is great. Now you've probably been tempted, as I have, to play with Arduino to create some little Arduino projects and so forth but maybe you're a little put off by this kind of start from scratch thing. So the idea with Sparky is Sparky's done, he's built. He comes with an Arduino Uno inside and it has a lot of really cool features. Not very big- But this is aimed at, I would say at maybe K-6 or maybe K-8, a smart kid being 5,6, or 7 could do this with a grown up a 6th or 7th grader could do this on their own very easily. Let me read you the capabilities that are built into this. Edge avoidance, so you can see it has these little infra red sensors on the front, it can see edges and won't walk off the table, although they do suggest that if you're programming it, not to do it on the table because if it does walk off the table you're not going to be happy. It'll do things like line following, maze solving, wall avoidance, room navigation, object retrieval. These grippers open and close to where you can pick up and move things around. You can either follow light sources or hide from light sources, it has a light sensor built in. Draw shapes- In fact, mom and dad might remember those logo turtle graphics we used to do in Kindergarten. You can do turtle graphics with this and it even comes with this little pen that can grip and- Where's the pen...? - And you can teach Sparky to do some drawing. It also comes with this little Bluetooth module so you plug this module into Sparky and then you control it from your smart phone. When you first get it, it's actually programmed to work with a remote control, so the first thing you do is you turn on Sparky. He takes 4 AA batteries in the back here. You turn him on and he boots up because it's really a little bit of a computer. It has an LCD here, which you can program to say whatever you want, colored lights on the front. Then, you can make it go backwards and forwards, let me put it on the ground so you can see. One thing you should understand is it doesn't move very fast, we're not talking about an attack robot, here. Can you see him? There he goes. Or is it a she? I don't know. She's running a little program right now called line following. In fact, if I put her on the line- This also comes with a couple of maps. There's a maze map and a line following map. If you put her on it she'll follow the black line until it comes to the end and then steer around. Actually, I don't know which program she's running, she might not do that. She might just be running the program to just keep walking until you hit a wall. Let's turn Sparky off and I'll show you how you program her. She's got a USB connector on the back, it comes with a mini USB cable and you plug it into your computer. You can download the free programming tool, which is called Sparkduino. Why don't you show my screen, it'd probably be the best thing... This is Arduino code and if you've ever seen Arduino code, it's basically C code. So this is the default program, the one that works with the remote control. It's kind of fun to read this. But there's also a kind of graphical programming language that works on Windows only, Sparkduino works on Windows, Mac, and Linux it runs through Java. The mini block software that is kind of graphical programming is Windows only and frankly, I wasn't able to figure out- It was a little bit beyond me, so I'm going to stick with something I understand which is basically programming.. I'll show you, this is the line forwarding code effect. We'll download this code right now into Sparky so you just press this button, the code compiles and then gets sucked into Sparky's memory. It can only hold one program at a time. What's fun about this is you can write, compile, and run it on Sparky to immediately see what it does.
Myriam: Does it charge while it's plugged in?
Leo: It would if you have rechargeables.
Leo: So let me turn it on, she does have to boot because it's like a computer in here. Arduino is like a small hobbyist processor.
Myriam: I like the little ultrasonic sensors in there as eyes.
Leo: Isn't that cool? Yeah. So now she's going to do the line following. So what happens is you look at the code and understand how it works and it's a really great way to learn a little bit of robotics and a little Arduino code. Come on, turn.... She's doing this all on her own, completely autonomously she's following the line based- And you learn... There's three IR sensors. And so the program code, take a look at my code here, it measures the left IR sensor, measures the center IR sensor, measures the right and then decides based on that, whether it's going to go left, right or forward. This is it, that's the code. This is a great way I think to teach a kid programming, robotics, code. And it's so fun when you write a program, to have it actually act out in real time, real space. I just think this is a great little kit for people like me who maybe aren't ready to break out the soldering iron and build my own. I know, a lot of you are like, oh I can do that... But at $149 complete, the software is free, I think this is really a great toy but also teaching thing- Probably if your kid is under 13, you're going to do this with your kid. If they're over 13 and are program savvy, they could do it themselves. I actually found it quite fun.
Myriam: If you put it down and it's near the line will it keep going until it finds a line?
Leo: That's a great question, let's try it. See, that's what happens. And you're like, well what would happen- And then you change the code and say well what happens if I do that. So put it in the middle and see what happens when it gets to a line? Oh...
Leo: I predict it will actually start following it.
Myriam: I hope so, that would be the smart thing to program. And if not we'll fix it right now.
Leo: We could fix it in the code.
Myriam: Oh look at that!
Leo: We have code! Look at that, self-righting robot. Pros and cons on the- I know isn't it fun? You're like, I want to do more of this. -The pros and cons of Sparky the Arduino robot: It's built, which is to me a huge pro although some people might say, well that's no fun at all. It is easy to program. You'll be using the Arduino programming language(it's very C-like.) And there are a lot of sensors so there are a lot of things you can do. You can literally teach it to pick up something and move it across the room and find things so the sensors really make it a lot of fun, it's got a lot of intelligence. The negative, it's a little pricey at $149, you could probably do this yourself but I tell you this is designed primarily for educational environments, like schools and parents who want to work with their kids to teach them programming and robotics I say buy, buy, buy. I love this, arcbotics.com for Sparky your plastic pal who's fun to be with. He's stuck because he ran into something. Sparky is not that smart. Doesn't he look cute though? I love how they designed it.
Myriam: It's got a gripper....
Leo: Yeah, you can go get something, pick it up, move it do the whole thing. Bring me a beer, Sparky bring me a beer... If you really work on the programming. Hey, that's it for this edition of Before You Buy. I want to thank Myriam Joire, it's been so nice to see you again. Snubbs, this has been fun. Chad, and the gang for joining us I want to thank you for being here too. We do Before You Buy every Tuesday afternoon, right before Security Now, right before TN2. If you watch live you can catch all of the antics but if not on-demand versions of the whole show available at twit.tv/byb youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. We also do something special on youtube that we don't do usually, we take each individual review and separate them so you can share a single review with somebody. That's at youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. We'd love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address I'm Leo Laporte, thanks for joining us and remember, you've got to watch Before You Buy!