Before You Buy 164 (Transcript)

Father Robert Ballecer: Coming up, it's a high-res audio player, a brand new venue from Dell, a first look at an Acer convertible tablet. Raspberry Pi 2, a smartphone for people who hate big screens. That's right, we're mixing it up. That's why you've got to watch, Before You Buy.

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Fr. Robert: This episode of Before You Buy is brought to you by SmartThings. SmartThings lets you monitor, control, and automate your home from wherever you are using your smartphone. Right now SmartThings is offering Before You Buy listeners 10% off any home security or solutions kit and you get free shipping in the United States when you go to and use the offer code twit at check out. And by Prosper. Prosper is a peer to peer lending marketplace that connects people who are looking to borrow money with those who have money to lend. Visit and receive a $50 Visa gift card when you get a lone.

Fr. Robert: Welcome to Before You Buy, it's the TWiT show where we give the latest gadgets and gizmos to the TWiT staff to see what they really think about the latest and greatest out of the consumer world. I'm Father Robert Ballacer, the digital Jesuit. Now you may notice that I'm not Leo Laporte. Well that's because we asked Leo to take it easy, he's been hosting this show for the better part of 3 years and we wanted him to relax so we gave him this. This is a high-res all aluminum audio player. We said Leo, take some time. Exercise and just enjoy yourself. So let's take a look at the Fiio.

Leo Laporte: Oh, Hi! Let me turn this off here. Hold on a second, I'm working out. And you know, when you're working out you want to listen to some tunes. I'm not listening to my iPhone though, I'm not listening to my iPod either. I'm not even listening to my fancy-Dan Neil Young Pono Player. I'm listening to something brand new. My review today is of this, let me take the headphones out and show you my new Fiio X1. It's in the silicone case, I do that to keep it from getting wet and it's sealed all around which is kind of nice. Just exposure to the click wheel and the screen. Inside a really pretty aluminum, solid aluminum case. This is a high-res music player, so it can play back any kind of digital file I have, not just AAC and MP3s but it will even play FLAC, the lossless compression, FLAC, Apple lossless. And it will play back bit rates up to 192 kilohertz, 24 bit. I mean the highest quality in high-res files. Portable audio player like this wouldn't be any good if it didn't sound good and they put some pretty good hardware inside of here. Fiio chose to use the Texas Instruments 1542 digital to analog converter, it's a new part. Audio files haven't really weighed in on it yet but it does have 112db signal to noise, that's very good, a lot better than an iPhone for instance. Maybe not as good as some of the higher end audio file decks but this is a high quality deck with a nice sound. Also a very good headphone amplifier in here, that's able to power even high quality headphones. I've been using my Etymotic ER4s, these are excellent in ear monitors but it will even power my high impedance headphones like my magnetic planar headphones HiFiMAN headphones which take a lot of juice, I think they're 35 Ohm headphones, that's a high impedance. And there's enough juice here to listen at normal, even somewhat loud listening volumes. The controls are good, this has not a touch screen but a nice color screen that has a fairly useful interface, lots of good stuff too. Gap-less playback, that's something Neil's Pono Player doesn't do. It also has a 7 channel equalizer with presets and boy look at all the buttons on the front of this. Not only is there an on/off button but volume up and down. Previous channel, next track, back and settings button and the scroll wheel unlock the iPod actually scrolls. You can even hit the big fat click wheel. So in some ways there's actually a duplication of functionality but that's fine, I find it very easy to use, very easy to find what I want. The screen displays album art in color also bit rate information. I think this is well made, this is kind of a post iPod portable audio player. I saved the best for last. The Fiio X1 is $100. $100! Now that doesn't include storage, in a way I kind of like this idea. It uses micro SD cards and you supply your own SD cards up to 120GB. So I bought a Sandisk 128 gig micro SD card for $100, so $200 total for storage. And the Fiio X1. Nice though, you can have multiple SD cards, one for your workout, one for chilling. And you know, that's kind of cool. Certainly enough to store as big a music library as you'd want. $100 for this. So let me give you the pros and the cons. But for that I think I need to retire to my relaxation zone. Ah, after a workout it's so great to relax in the hot tub with your tunes and the X1 comes along with me, thanks to that silicone wrapper. It's not waterproof but at least it keeps splashes off of it. And notice it's even powerful enough to drive these high impedance HiFiMAN HE 560 headphones, at a reasonable level, that's pretty sweet. Probably shouldn't wear those in a hot tub though. Let's take off the silicon wrapper and give you the pros and cons on the Fiios X1. Pro, well it stands right out at you, it's beautifully designed. This is aluminum, the functions are easy to use, we're in the post iPod era, people pretty much understand how one of these is supposed to work. I love the return of the click wheel. It's kind of rubberized, feels great. The big button makes it very easy to use. It doesn't have a hold button but when you press the on/off power switch, if you turn off you don't see the screen but also the buttons become inactive so it doesn't really need a whole switch. I like software, I love the equalizer, the gap-less playback. Dark Side of the Moon baby, awesome. And it's great that I can do both line out and headphone out, one jack. The USB, micro USB port means I can charge it with pretty much anything and that's both charging and data which is nice so if you don't have a micro SD card reader, don't worry. You just plug it into your computer, copy your files onto it. 11 hours battery life and Fiio says they're going to get to 15 with a firmware update, that's more than enough for me. On the cons there's only a couple... oh I left out the most important pro, the price. $100. On the cons, of course it doesn't include headphones but for $100 you have a little extra to buy some high end headphones, you're not going to want your Apple earbuds in this, you need some good high fidelity in ear monitors to really get the most out of it. It also doesn't include any memory but I think that's great, it gives me the flexibility to buy one or more micro SD cards to fit my needs and with 128 gigs of storage and the player, I'm still only paying $200. That's half the Pono Player. Okay, maybe the Fiio X1 doesn't sound as good to those golden ears as the Pono Player, I really can't tell. It sounds great to me and it can play back all of my files, even the high res ones. It's a definite buy for the Fiio X1. So I'm going to chill out, relax, listen to some tunes and send it back to you Father Robert. You, you... you can't tell I'm naked in here, can you?

Fr. Robert: Huh. Yeah. Okay. So um... now I know why it says naked aluminum on the sheet. That was Leo Laporte, with the Fiio X1 high res audio player. Thank you very much for that... comprehensive review, Leo and you go on relaxing. Make sure you relax a lot. And next time work on the crop a little bit. Alright so when we come back, we've got plenty more. We're going to be looking at cell phones for people who are tired of big screens. It's not that simple, I mean I know there are people who like all different types of phone and if you've gotten tired with the space race to get bigger and bigger screens and you're tired of looking like you hold a tablet up to your head, you're going to want to take out Myriam's review of the Sony Xperia. It's the latest and greatest from the giz whizzes over there. But before we do that, let's go ahead and talk about something that I hold near and dear to my heart because I was at CES this year. And at CES, one of the big buzzwords was automation. Specifically home automation. How do you make your home smart? Now there were a lot of solutions at the show and most of them required you to use your home and your appliances and your things in the way that they wanted you to use. I mean it's only natural, they design it, they create it, they make it so you use it that way. But you could it a different way. You could do it the SmartThings way. SmartThings quite simply is a way to speak to everything. It doesn't matter what equipment you use, it doesn't matter what you want to automate, it doesn't really matter what you buy because SmartThings speaks to it all. That's right, it's seen as highest rated smart home system. It allows you to monitor, control and automate your home from anywhere using your smartphone. Now your lights, your locks, your thermostat, your home security are all connected through a single app. Think about that, it's a single pane of glass to control everything in your house. It has intuitive controls that allow you to set the rules on your smart home through their free iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps. With SmartThings you can customize the way your smart devices talk to each other. So now you can tap goodnight on your phone and the lights will turn off, the thermostat will adjust and the doors will lock. You can set your lamps to brighten each morning at sunrise, or when you want to wake up. You could even keep your home protected with SmartThings with home security, motion detection, water detection and more. Now, Brian, go ahead and go to the table here because I want to show you some of the things that smart home can give you for your smart home. SmartThings... this is the hub. This is where it all starts, but all of these sensors around me allow you to customize your smart home the way that you want it to work. For example I could have this present sensor on me so that when I walk towards my home it automatically knows that it should unlock my doors, it should change the thermostat, it should turn on my Sonos system. It should look at the drop cam to make sure that no one is lurking my entryway. These are all the rules that you could work with. For example, if you want to integrate this with If-T, I call it If-T. It's not just that it works with these modules, it works with the home automation that you already have and that really is the genius of the SmartThings smart home. Again, SmartThings was named CES 2015 Editor's Choice Award, so if you are looking at a home automation system, something for your internet of things... this is where you need to go. Now to get you started setting up your smart home right now, SmartThings is offering Before You Buy listeners 10% off any home security or solutions kit, and you get free shipping in the United States when you go to and use the offer code TWiT at checkout. That's And we thank SmartThings for their support of Before You Buy. Now let's get back to it, again I like big screens but some people don't like having a laptop in their pocket. That's why we had Myriam Joir take a look at the new Sony Xperia for those people who want something a bit more petite.

Myriam Joir: Hey there it's Myriam Joir for BYB and this is the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. Yes, compact. That's why it looks so small next to my gigantic head. But you know what, there's a lot to be said about flagship devices that are compact and this is one of the few. Right now if you want a flagship phone, you can't get anything that's easy... small and 5 inches really. And this is one of the few, and probably the only one that doesn't sacrifice in any way shape or form on specs or performance. I really like this phone, this is a really really good device. So let me walk you through it a little bit. This is a cool orange color, it comes in a bunch of colors if you go to Sony's website. Be aware this is sold unlocked in the US through various retailers, including Sony, I believe Amazon as well and... I don't have an exact price point but it's around $450 which is really quite affordable for a fully fledged device with working LT bands for the US and a very nice version of Android. Very little contamination in terms of manufacturer or carrier. Obviously no carrier software of any kind whatsoever. And it's running the latest, well not quite the latest, it's not the latest Android but it's 4 point 4 point something so it's pretty good. Let me walk you through a little bit so you can have an idea what's in the package and so you can understand this is actually really worthwhile in terms of being a flagship device. First you've got the display, it's a gorgeous display. It's only 720p, 4.6 inches. But it's got Sony's Triluminos technology I believe it's called. And what it is it enhances the brightness, the colors, the blacks are really black which is really beautiful because this is not an OLED panel it's an IPS panel. You can see here the colors are, it's kind of just floating on top of the display. Very very nicely made, you've got the usual sensors and speakers and stuff, you've got a speaker right on top with the Sony logo here, 2 megapixel front facing camera, you've got another speaker at the bottom, and if you flip it over you get the pièce de résistance, just like the Z3 non-compact, this phone has a 20 megapixel camera. Yes, 20. By default it shoots at 8 megapixels and I actually recommend you leave it in that mode because it adds a whole bunch of functionality like image stabilization, auto HDR, a bunch of other really helpful things. So the camera you know, looks great on paper but it's I would say one of the better ones but not nearly as great as Sony would like you to believe. It also shoots 4k, which is pretty awesome. In terms of specs internally you've got a Snapdragon 801, 2 gigs of RAM and only 16GB of storage but thankfully there's a micro SD card slot so you're not completely stuck with terms of storage. But that's one of the areas that I think Sony could have done a better job, you've an LED flash obviously, NFC, all the things, bells and whistles you'd expect. What is cool is that if you do a tour of the sides here on the right hand side there's a power key volume rocker but there's also dual to ten camera button. So you know, you can take a photo by just half clicking and then for focus and fully clicking. I think every Android phone should come with this. Very few do, but if you're into photography this is a really major thing to have. On the bottom you have a microphone and a nice little spot to put a lanyard. I wish more phones went back to doing this, a lot of phones used to have a lanyard hole and it's nice, you don't drop your phone if you have it, especially if you're taking photos with it. You're on a boat or something, put the strap around you, nothing bad happens. On top you've got obviously the 3.5mm headphone jack, secondary microphone for noise reduction and you know, that's it essentially. On the left hand side a bunch of ports and so this is interesting, this phone is water resistant. You can immerse it in a sink or do the dishes with it, drop it in the sink when you do the dishes nothing bad is going to happen as long as these flaps are closed. There's two flaps on the left hand side. One on top which has the micro USB and the SD card slot, micro SD. And then on the bottom there's one that's actually interestingly not labeled. But underneath it is where you'll find the nano SIM for this phone. So it's a nano SIM I think more and more devices seem to be headed in that direction so you'll probably have to get used to it, and of course closing these little flaps is important because that's what the water resistance is all about. So just be careful that you close it properly. There's also a custom connector that's magnetic, it's for a dock that Sony makes, I've never seen it in person and you know I've seen a lot of Sony products so don't count on this being quite useful. But in terms of this overall, this phone if you're looking for a high end phone but you have small hands or you don't want to go for something that's going to take a lot of real estate, this is the phone. 4.6 inch, 720p display. Could be 1080p I guess but at 4.6 inches it's really not a big deal and most importantly, it saves battery to have less pixels to drive and speaking of battery, this is a 2500 or so milliamp power battery. Battery life is great, Snapdragon 801 is very efficient. So it's kind of the best of both worlds. I like high end phones as you know, and again the camera really you know, is being pushed really hard by Sony but honestly I think if this had OIS, optical image stabilization, which is really a technology that's becoming more and more popular on high end phones, this might actually be my daily driver. This would probably be the phone I use every day. For me as a photography buff the OIS is really what's missing from this device, but other than that everything about it is delightful. So, pros... as I said, top specs, small, water resistant, probably the big three. And it's, I think, a really beautiful design. The fact that you get a very plain version of Android to work with, no glut here. And cons... you know, probably the camera. Not that it's a bad camera, don't get me wrong it will definitely get the job done, but Sony has hyped the camera so much that it just doesn't live up to the oh my god 20 megapixel because it lacks OIS. In closing, to me the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is an absolute no doubt buy, it's probably one of the top 5 or 10 phones on the market today. Comes in funky colors, is small, compact, beautiful, you know, Sony's done a really good job not cutting corners on this except for perhaps OIS on the camera. So there you have it, the Sony Xperia Z3 compact, here on Before You Buy, I'm Myriam Joir and I'll catch you next time.

Fr. Robert: That's Myriam Joir with a buy for the Sony Xperia Z3 compact, so if you're taking a look at a smaller phone, who knows maybe that's your next purchase. Now coming up next, we asked Jason Howell to take a look at the Dell Venue 8. This is, looks like a standard 8 inch tablet, but this thing has an absolutely gorgeous screen. The question is whether or not that's going to impress a man who takes a look at these day in and day out, so without further ado, hey Jason tell us all about the Venue.

Jason Howell: Hey what's up, I'm Jason Howell and I am here with the Dell Venue 8 7000. This is Dell's new tablet, they unveiled it at CES this year and had a lot of buzz around it because of its thin profile, you'll see it's very very thin and I'll talk about that here in a second. It's $399, you can pick it up at So let's take a look at the specs, it's an 8.4” OLED 2560x1600 resolution tablet, that's 306:1 pixels per inch, it's running an Intel Atom Z 3580 2.3GHz quad core CPU. That's a 64 bit chip inside there, so it will be 64 bit capable when Lollipop comes around which Dell actually says is going to be soon. It's running KitKat right now, which is kind of unfortunate that they didn't launch with Lollipop but that's just how it goes. It has 2 gigs of RAM inside, 16 gigs of internal storage, it does have a micro SD card slot that's expandable to 512 gigs on the side so you can pack a lot of storage in there if you want to. Now it has an 8 megapixel rear facing camera up at the top there, but you also notice two other cameras on the side. These are both 720p cameras that are included for depth sensing and then down at the bottom of the tablet you can see that there is a single 2 megapixel front facing camera shooting forward. It does have stereo speakers as well on one side of the tablet. And a 5900 milliamp hour battery. Alright so let's take a look at the design first and foremost. Its definite key feature here is that it's thin, it's the world's thinnest tablet as Dell says, and pretty light as well. Thinness, it's right around 6 millimeters and that's thinner than a pencil. Still feels pretty solid, definitely solid build, it's an anodized aluminum body. There's front facing stereo speakers like I said and they're loud enough, the only problem with the stereo speakers is that they're only stereo when you're in portrait mode. You go into landscape for a movie or gaming and suddenly those stereo speakers are just kind of pointless, it's just on one side of the screen, kind of a bummer. The buttons on the side are pretty stable, have nice, kind of a nice feel to them and it feels super sturdy but maybe just a little bit too flush I'd say. But overall they're alright. Thin bezels all around as you can see here, but obviously the bottom bezel is the large one and that's just because it's packing everything else. It's got the cameras built into it, the speakers, everything you need inside that single portion of the tablet. And I would say the design in general has pretty sharp edges, so if you're holding onto it for a long enough period of time, it starts to kind of wear on your hands. Overall, design looks nice, I don't know if it's the most functional design in the world, I did register some phantom touches on the sides because of the thin bezels at times so consider that. As for the display, I definitely say it's a key feature of this device. There isn't a whole lot to say about it other than that it's excellent. It's vibrant, saturation is a little strong but still there's enough detail in there and things look good so I'd say it's definitely a strong point of the tablet. Performance-wise, did a little web browsing which I actually put it through the Verge test, switch to desktop mode to see how well it did and I'd say it performed pretty well more or less on the Verge site. As well as general web browsing. Gaming, played some games, my favorite to test right now is Riptide GP2 and it's, you know, I thought it was pretty sturdy, pretty stable on gaming though the device did heat up a little bit over prolonged use. Battery efficient, definitely battery efficient through daily use. I was able to get through a couple of days of using this as my regular tablet so good there. I'd say overall, few minor issues with performance here and there but I was pretty happy with it. Alright now let's move onto the camera which I would definitely say is one of Dell's key features here. It has the Intel Realsense cameras built in, that's the two cameras on the side and then the camera up at the top. This camera up at the top is the main camera and that's what you see through the camera app and that you take pictures through. These other cameras are there, and you can preview them through the app while you're taking pictures but they're pretty much just providing depth information into the photo allowing you to kind of go back and do some you know, rack blurs and that sort of stuff. Unfortunately the position of the camera is down at the bottom so if you want to take pictures, you actually do have to rotate it upside down and they advise you of doing that. Which isn't a deal breaker as you can see the desktop actually re-positions itself when it's upside down, it's just kind of awkward to do. And then of course you have the power buttons, the volume buttons down here that you're managing around and you press the wrong thing and suddenly the volume goes down or the screen goes off, so you just kind of got to keep that in mind when you're taking pictures. Definitely the depth sensing technology requires a lot of really good light and it also has a requirement of objects being 3-16 feet away and it's kind of a sweet spot, it takes a little practice to get in there and even when I got it I wouldn't say that it necessarily looked amazing. I had a couple pictures that looked okay with it. And then just general gripe with cameras on tablets is that low light performance, just the image quality in general is never 100%. A little grainy and just not the best. As for the software, this is running KitKat and it's a pretty unchanged version of KitKat, you can see just kind of bouncing through that everything looks pretty stock, pretty standard to the way Google designed KitKat. A few touches here and there, but not a whole lot. There are a few Dell apps built in, some of which I've shown off already. The camera app, that supports the Realsense depth cameras, there's the gallery that you can actually sync Google Plus, Facebook and Dropbox inside that app and also use some of its advanced photo editing features for, you know, that Instagram effect. There's Dell live wallpaper which you can kind of see on the background right now, I have a little bit of wallpaper that when I move you get a little parallax view. It's subtle and it's neat and the Dell live wallpaper app allows you to select a few of those. And then My Dell is a support app which kind of gives you some diagnostic access there. And finally the Dell Cast. And this is an app that we're going to go into just really quick here, it's an $80 dongle. HDMI dongle that Dell sells as an additional accessory and this tablet can be used as basically a desktop computer, you plug that HDMI dongle into the back of a TV, you sync it up with a wireless keyboard and mouse and plug it all in and run the Dell Cast app on here and voila, your tablet now becomes a desktop environment on any external TV that has HDMI input. I would say in my experience it was pretty laggy, pretty fiddly, it's all wirelessly done so you know random issues arise and you get little break ups and pixelation and all that kind of stuff, and ultimately I'm just not convinced in Android in the desktop environment. I feel like it just makes things... you know their aim is to make things more productive, I feel like it just kind of slows me down. I'm sure over time maybe I can get used to it a little bit more but I'm not sure I give it that time because of my time playing with it, it just wasn't that successful in convincing me that it needed to happen. Alright so the pros of the Dell Venue 8 7000, it's incredibly thin and incredibly light and that's nice. The display definitely pops, got a nice visual representation on the display. Desktop mode with Dell Cast could be a win for some, for me I wouldn't say that it was but some people want desktop on Android so there you go, and the Realsense cameras on the back are definitely different. But in the cons I'd say Realsense still feels like a gimmick. It doesn't feel like a reason to purchase a device, just a nice added feature that maybe you're going to use a little bit more than you think. Picture quality, of course it's a tablet I don't expect a whole lot in image quality, but it definitely didn't stand up. And that awkward chin down at the bottom, with the awkward crazy placement of the cameras just kind of gets in the way more often than I would hope. Now as for my verdict, I was kind of hedging between don't by and trial because it's not the tablet for me but I do know that a lot of people are looking for Android in a desktop environment and maybe that's convenient to them, so I'm going to go ahead a try. It's $400 and that's the same cost as a Nexus 9 which personally I would buy over the 2 but if you want Android in a desktop environment, if you want to play around with some of the advanced photo features that Realsense cameras bring to the table in here, then you know, definitely take a look. This is the Dell Venue 8 7000 for $399. Thank you so much for watching my review, my name is Jason Howell, you can catch my other reviews on All About Android on, thanks a lot.

Fr. Robert: That's the Dell Venue 8 7000, that was Jason Howell our Android expert. Don't forget you can always find him on All About Android, Tuesdays at 5:00 and for Android App Arena 4:30 on Wednesdays. He gave it a try but if you are looking for an Android tablet in a desktop format, maybe that's going to be for you. We want to do something a little different for this next item. Most of you who have watched any of my shows know that I'm a big fan of the Acer S7. This is my ultra book of choice. It's light, it's powerful, it's beautiful and it's just incredibly well designed. I've been rocking this thing for two years, but recently I called out over to the folks at Acer if there was something else that I should be using, something I should take a look at and they sent me this. Now this is just a first look, I really want to give you an in depth look of what this is. This is the R13, this is essentially an upgrade of the R7 that we took a look at, it must have been like 14 months ago. It's a new generation of notebooks, a convertible. If you were at CES this year, go ahead and back out to the wide, you know that this is what happened to tablets. Tablets all but disappeared from CES and that was because manufacturers are going back to convertible/hybrid notebooks. That's exactly what this is. It's an easel design, so this screen doesn't completely detach from the notebook but what it does do is it allows you to hinge it so that I can put this in a couple of different configurations. I can use it like this if I want to sort of have an easel or even make it float above the keyboard, I can flip it around and it will auto rotate so I can use it as a presentation space or I can just fold it back on itself to use it as a tablet. The nice thing about designs like this is that it's no longer a compromise. In the past it felt as if you were losing a little something, something with your notebook by having a hinge like this. But this is a full featured Windows 8 notebook. It's got an Intel 5410U, so it's a very snappy processor. 8 gigabytes of memory, it's got a 2k screen, that will do 2560x1440 resolution and it's also got a feature that I really like and that is it keeps the RAID 0 SSD that I found so very useful with the S7. Essentially it's two SSDs that they've put together on a board running in performance RAID. RAID 0, which just gives you a ridiculous amount of performance out of a 512GB SSD. One of the other things that they changed between this and the R7 is this keyboard is solid. I think that was my biggest complaint about the old one which was it felt a little mushy. If you hit a key directly it wasn't going to really go over but this one is sharp, it's responsive. And combined with the multitouch touch screen... I think this might actually replace my S7. I'm going to spend, I think the next three weeks or so just putting this through its paces. I'm going to let this become my daily driver here at TWiT. I'm going to see if it can do everything I needed out of my S7, plus all the features they promised out of an easel PC which includes handing this over to our crack artist, Greg Bernett who's going to see if maybe the stylus pen that comes with it is the thing for artists. Now, take a look at this, this is the Acer R13, I'm going to give you an honest to goodness look. A long term review of whether or not this is going to become the new laptop for padre. Now, when we come back we need to take a look at something that's near and dear to my heart, and that is stuff in the  maker space, specifically, we've got Aaron Newcomb and the Raspberry Pi 2. That's right, the brand new version, he's going to let you know if it's something that you should buy if you want to get into making, programming, and doing yourself. But before you do that, let's go ahead and thank the second sponsor of Before You Buy, and it's Prosper. Now if you've watched TWiT you probably know a little bit about Prosper. Prosper is a lending marketplace, it's not a traditional place to go when you need resources. Prosper is all about going from people who have money to lend to people who need money to be lent to them. Oh, face it. There aren't that many good ways to borrow money when you need it. You could call friends, you could call family, you could put it on your credit card. But those just aren't really good, especially traditional bank loans which have all sorts of stipulations and take a long, long time. If you need money quickly for your next project, for your next investment, for your next thing... Prosper is the place to go. You can borrow up to $35,000 in as few as five days! And you can use the money for just about anything you desire. To pay off those high rate credit cards, to fix up the house, and maybe even put it into your business. I remember before I entered the priesthood, before I was working at TWiT, I actually ran my own business and at one point, my contracts were such that I had outstretched my cash resources. I wish Prosper had existed back then because I was forced into the bank shuffle. Going from bank manager to bank manager trying to show them that I was cash positive, I just needed a bridge loan so that I could collect my next month's pay. Well I wouldn't have to do that with Prosper. I can go to the people who have that money, who understand what I'm trying to do and get the cash that I need to keep doing business. Really that's what Prosper is all about. Don't rack up more debt on your credit cards, you can pay them off with Prosper. Prosper's online marketplace does connect those people who have money to lend to those people who need it and what better way can we have it in the generation of the internet? To check your low rate instantly, right now, without a checking, without affecting your good credit, go to and see if maybe their one click custom rate is for you. Now, and for a limited time Prosper is offering TWiT viewers a $50 Visa gift card with your low interest loan. You can get up to $35,000 in your account in as few as 5 days and a $50 Visa gift card by going to That's right, for this special offer, just for TWiT viewers. Do it now, and we thank Prosper for their support of Before You Buy. Let's go ahead and take a look at what the new Raspberry Pi 2 has in stores for makers.

Aaron Newcomb: Hi everybody, Aaron Newcomb here for another review, this time it's more technology. I love being on BYB and reviewing all these really cool gadgets. This case, I'm super excited about this as you can tell. This is the Raspberry Pi version 2. I was on a while ago, I reviewed the Raspberry Pi Model A when it came out and at that time, you know, Eben Upton from the Raspberry Pi foundation said they weren't going to come out with a new version of the Raspberry Pi B, the one that usually people use for projects and things until like 2017, hello? But here it is about 6 months later and they have indeed come out with the model 2. This is a great little device, you can buy it online just about everywhere. Amazon or you can buy it directly from a lot of the partners that Raspberry Pi uses to distribute these things. So let me just go over what's different about the Raspberry Pi 2 B Plus. It has a really long name. What they did in this model is they put in a new Broadcom chip. And what that means is that number 1, it's not running at 700 MHz any more it's running at 900 MHz, and they've given you four cores. So the previous model was 700 MHz single core, this is 900 MHz quad core processor. That means that there's so much more processing power available for each use, not only that, they've added some additional memory so now there's 1 gig of memory on this device which is fantastic. Almost nothing else changes, the device is basically the same. It's really easy to identify these by the way, because you can see the memory chip right here on the back, if you're ever wondering if it's a model 1 or a model 2, version 1, version 2. You can always tell by just looking at the back and seeing that little chip there. Not to mention that it does say right on the front that it's a model 2. But so you have the extra CPU, the extra processing power. Everything else is the same though, the form factor's the same, you've still go the same number of USB ports, Ethernet ports, audio, video, power. Everything else is the same but it's just much much more powerful. What this means in real life is that you're going to see a huge jump in boot time, loading of programs, you're going to be able to run things that you weren't able to run before. I'm really excited about this because I can now run my, all my emulators, my video game emulators basically at full speed. And not even really tap into the power of this ship. It's really really fantastic, and I think you're really really going to love it. Not only that, the only thing that really changes programmatically on this board is there's a new kernel to support the new CPU. Other than that, everything should run just as it did before on the original model B. So you won't have to worry about changing any of your programs, all of the tutorials out there that you've, that you go to to run your projects on these boards won't change, you can go do that, you just have to make sure that you load the version for model 2 which has the updated kernel, and that's it. Everything should run, so this is a fantastic board. I'm really excited about it. In my tests, I've been able to see huge jumps in performance. Boot time, this thing boots up way faster than my Windows machine does and it boots up about as fast as my Linux machines do so... boot time is tremendously improved. I think what you'll see in the future is you'll see people modifying their programs to run with the multi-core chip. So for right now, things will run faster just because you're running on a faster CPU even on a single core. But as people start to recompile their programs to take advantage of the multi-core system you're really going to see the performance jump. So I think you're really going to love this. The kicker of this is though, I mentioned this before, is that it's $35 still. It's always been $35, it's still $35 but you're getting an incredible bump in performance with this particular platform, this upgrade that they've done. You're getting a really good performance boost and the price is exactly the same. So if you've been holding off and you've been wondering well, should I get one, should I... could I actually use it as my desktop PC or maybe as the desktop PC for a kid? You absolutely can do this now so it's really really wonderful. The pros on this thing, first of all everything is compatible. There is no difference in programmatically except you just have to load the new kernel version when you load your image. You'll see that there's a model 2 version in the kernel is really the only thing that's changed. Secondly, the form factor is the same, everything stays the same. You're getting a ton of performance improvements, 1 core to 4 core and 512MB to 1GB of memory, those are the real advantages. In terms of cons, there's no cons to this. Go out and buy it, enjoy it. And you know, start hacking on something. Start creating a project. If you were waiting til the performance got better, your wait is over. Go out and buy one of these things today. $35, I really think you're going to love it. So once again, this is the Raspberry Pi Model 2 B Plus. This is Aaron Newcomb, thanks for watching.

Fr. Robert: That's Aaron Newcomb and he gives a buy to the Raspberry Pi 2, if you're a maker that's really a no-brainer. Go pick yourself up one right now, and start experimenting. Now, you can also find Aaron here on the TWiT TV network, he does FLOSS many days, he also does All About Android so just watch TWiT TV and eventually you'll see Aaron pop up, and don't forget he is very heavily involved in the Benicia Mini Maker Faire so if you feel the maker spirit and you're in the bay area, why not come out? Now, we've got a little something special starting with this new era of Before You Buy. We always get products in the back room that look interesting sometimes, but don't really merit a full review. We're going to call it our parting shot and here with our very first parting shot is our very own Megan Morrone. You've got this Byrobots droney thingy.

Megan Morrone: Yeah... droney thingy. We didn't intend it to be a parting shot, although from the beginning when I got this, you said it's not so good.
Fr. Robert: Well I mean I said it wasn't for me.

Megan: Yes.

Fr. Robert: It's a mini drone, it can be flown indoors, it's really designed for kids. It's got a couple of interesting features like the ability to play fighter, you can shoot each other down.

Megan: Right. But you pointed out that the way it trains people, it trains kids is not great because all of the quad-copters don't work like this.

Fr. Robert: Yeah.

Megan: And so it can train a child to use it wrong and then they get another one and it's just not so great. So I went into that but then it was fine for my kids for a while, and then... this happened.

Fr. Robert: Wait.

Megan: Uh oh.

Fr. Robert: Actually this is one of the problems... uh oh! So yeah, not flying straight is not a great... is not a great thing to have in your product.

Megan: Right, and we did all the things like we checked the motor for hairs, that's what happens a lot with these, you know. They get hairs in the motors. But should we try it again?

Fr. Robert: Yeah let's see where it's going to go this time.

(drone flies off screen)

Fr. Robert: Well that was the Byrobots... uh...

Megan: And we should say how much it costs right too because I mean it's not cheap.

Fr. Robert: Yeah, that's the thing. I've seen products like this and you can forgive them because they cost $20, $30. And it's like okay, well you break it but this is a little pricey yeah?

Megan: Yeah it was like $100.

Fr. Robert: Okay, yeah. That's a problem. Now as a mother I know you're always very interested in having products that are safe for your kids. That can also teach them things.

Megan: Right.

Fr. Robert: Does this fit in that category at all?

Megan: Not really. It wasn't dangerous. And we didn't put the guides on it because it didn't really fly very well with the guides. It never hurt anyone, and as you can see I'm not very good at even flying the ones that are easy to fly.

(drone flies off)

Fr. Robert: Oh, I caught it!

Megan: Oh you're good at drone catching!

Fr. Robert: Oh hey reflexes!

Megan: So no...

Fr. Robert: I've also noticed this, every time you have an impact this battery tends to get knocked out.

Megan: Yes, yeah.

Fr. Robert: Which is awesome because it means that if you hit a wall you have to go over and pick the thing back up. But yeah, that not flying straight thing that sounds like a deal breaker.

Megan: Yeah it really is. Especially for kids who are young. I mean my boys are 9 and they get really frustrated and it's no fun when you spend $100 on something and it makes them really frustrated.

Fr. Robert: Yeah, yeah.

Megan: So yeah, I mean we've had other ones. We have the bee copter, you know the quad copter that is a little bee and it's about $40 and it's great.

Fr. Robert: See, that... I think that kills it. It's not that this is a bad thing, it's just that for that expense, for that price you could get something else that's much much better.

Megan: Right.

Fr. Robert: And yeah, that kind of kills it. So I'm not sure if I even have to ask you for this out of a parting shot but it's probably not a buy.

Megan: No.

Fr. Robert: And it's probably not a try.

Megan: No, probably not. I would say no.

Fr. Robert: I'm sorry.

Megan: I mean I like to be nice to everything and we tried but, I would say no.

Fr. Robert: Now if, we are going to have another segment on Before You Buy, we're going to call it redemption where we're going to allow manufacturers to come in, and maybe they sent us a faulty product. Or maybe they've improved it. If you were going to take another look at this, what would be the thing that you tell Byrobots that they need to fix before we take another look.

Megan: Well I would say for it not to break.

Fr. Robert: (laughing) Okay. We'll start with that.

Megan: For the battery to fit in better. Maybe a little cheaper if they could. I mean it's designed for fighting too with the lasers and everything so I mean those are all great features, it had a camera, those are great features to keep. But I would say a little sturdier.

Fr. Robert: Well, that's Megan Morrone, this is the Byrobots Drone Fighter and this has been before you return... and there goes the battery. You are also all over the TWiT TV network. This last week you were really busy because Mike was in Barcelona so you had to cover 10 shows over the week. But usually you are our star for Tech News Tonight which they can find every evening at 4:00 right?

Megan: Right, yeah it's coming up in 20 minutes. If you guys finish on time.

Fr. Robert: And for those people who maybe haven't caught Tech News Tonight, maybe they're living in cave or under a rock, what do you say is the thing that should attract them? What does Tech News Tonight give them?

Megan: Well just the short bit of the news that you need to hear about in 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes 20. Depending on how much I have to say.

Fr. Robert: Megan Morrone, catch her every day 4:00 here at

Megan: And iFive for the iPhone.

Fr. Robert: And iFive for the iPhone, that's right.

Megan: On Wednesdays.

Fr. Robert: On Wednesdays. I want to thank everyone who joined in, and especially all of our hosts who gave us reviews, especially to Leo Laporte, stay in that tub.

Megan: I couldn't even watch.

Fr. Robert: It's a new generation of Leo, and I think we just got the first taste of it.

Megan: Right.

Fr. Robert: To Jason Howell with the Dell Venue 8, to Myriam Joir for the Sony Xperia phone, to Aaron Newcomb for the Raspberry Pi 2, to you for our before you return product and we'll catch you next time. Don't forget Before You Buy has moved to Fridays, that's right. Every Friday supposedly at 2:00 you can find us looking at all the latest and the greatest in the consumer world. Until next time, I'm Father Robert Ballecer, this has been Before You Buy and remember, you've got to watch Before You Buy!

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