Before You Buy 169 (Transcript)

Fr. Robert Ballecer: Coming up, Leo’s got the brand new Samsung Galaxy S6, Miriam’s got the Lumia 735, OMG Chad’s got an OMG Bot, and I’m taking a look at a sensible, mid-range $6,000 PC.  You’ve got to watch Before You Buy.

Narrator: Net casts you love from people you trust. This is Twit! Bandwidth for Before You Buy is brought to you by Cachefly at

Fr. Robert:  This episode of Before You Buy is brought to you by IFIXIT.  You can fix it, and IFIXIT makes it easy with free step-by-step repair guides, high quality replacement parts, and all the tools that you’ll ever need.  For $10 off your purchase of $50 or more, go to and enter the code BEFOREYOUBUY at checkout. 

Fr. Robert:  Welcome to Before You Buy.  It’s TWIT’s product review show where we take the latest in gadgets and gizmos at the TWIT brick house, and we give it to our hosts, to our guests, to the people who can give you the most honest review of technology that you can possibly get.  And, I am proud to welcome the first reviewer.  You know him, you love him, it’s Leo Laporte.

Leo Laporte:  Yay.  Yay.  I came in on my day off to review this, I’m so excited about it.

Fr. Robert:  I know, what are you doing here?  You should be soaking in a tub, or walking through the fields.

Leo: (laughing)  I could bring this in the tub.  It’s not waterproof though, let me tell you. 

Fr. Robert:  Speaking of this, there’s been a lot of buzz on this device, and I’ve been watching your albums.  It’s nothing short of spectacular.  This is the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Leo:  Came out today as we record this, although I don’t know why, but I was able to pre-order on T-Mobile’s site a week ago and got it a few days, actually I think I got it Monday of this week, so I’ve had it for five days.  I love this phone.  I brought the iPhone 6 along too, to give you some idea of size comparison.  It’s very similar, it’s almost, it’s 7mm, almost exactly the same thickness.  Screen is bigger.  But at least to give you an idea of what it’s going to feel like to hold this thing.  This is, this is a very slim, light, and I think, beautiful phone.  Yea, it’s mad at me because, I’ve been using it, I’ve used up the battery.  It is a fingerprint magnet, like the older iPhones it has a glass back, this is a Gorilla Glass 4, and there are two, as you know, Galaxy S6s.  This is the Edge, where they’ve actually bent the glass, the screen around the edge slightly, and that gives it, I don’t know, some people might not like this, but I just feel like this is the most elegant and beautiful phone I’ve ever beheld.

Fr. Robert:  You know, when I heard about that edge, I thought, that’s a gimmick, who cares if the glass is bent around the edge, but it makes it look like a futuristic phone.  It looks good.

Leo:  You could probably feel, it’s getting a little warm.  That’s one of the, what you’re going to see in there is a phone where there is no compromise in terms of the processor, the screen, this is an amazing 2560 x 1400 screen that’s giving you 577 dots per inch.  I can’t think of any screen I’ve seen on any phone with that kind of resolution.  That means it is more than retina, I mean you could use a magnifying glass you probably couldn’t see pixels on this thing.  And as always with Samsung screens, the color reproduction is very, very nice.  You know, we should, this poor little iPhone’s going to get unhappy if we leave him there.  He’s just going to start to feel bad.  They’ve done a, you know, they have four or five different settings, actually more like three different settings, you could have adaptive, this is the photo setting for it.  And I like that, it seems to be the most accurate color space.  Of course it’s got TouchWiz on it, but it is Lollipop 5.0.2.  First thing I did when I plugged it in, they gave a, they had sent an update app.  And I have a feeling there’ll be some more updates. Because there are a few things on this that are a little odd.  But let me give you a tour of some of the great features.  First of all, it does have a finger print reader, as the Note 4 and the S5 did, but remember, Samsung was really disappointed with the results in the S5, it just wasn’t different enough from previous generations.  And it had that industrial feel, as does the Note 4, where they compromised design and function, design for function.  And I love the Note 4, it’s what I’ve been carrying.  But this is a no compromise design. I mean, it is just gorgeous.  In every respect you can kind of, you don’t want to put this in a case.  No, I don’t know, I haven’t dropped it yet, I don’t know resilient it is, but it is just gorgeous.  So, the, they’ve had a fingerprint reader, but it’s always required a swipe, it’s that old school fingerprint reader.  This is an iPhone style fingerprint reader.  Unfortunately, I’ve set it up so it recognizes I’m at work and it keeps it unlocked, so I don’t know if I can show you the, let me see if I can do this one more time.  No, see, it’s unlocked.  But all you have to do is touch it, just like you do on the iPhone, it works almost, not quite, but almost as well as the iPhone, instantaneous reading without any movement, you don’t press the button in, and it’s pretty accurate.  Of course, banks, financial institutions, LastPass uses it.  So that’s good, you feel much more secure with this phone.  There’s a backup password you can enter if your fingerprint doesn’t work.  But the thing most people are going to talk about is the camera.  Now notice there is a little camera bump, when a phone is 7mm you can’t get a camera in there without giving it a little bit more room then they have there.  16 mega pixels, very fast F19.  That is as fast as the, there’s nothing faster on the market.

Fr. Robert:  So you can finally get indoor pictures with and Android phone.

Leo:  Yea.

Fr. Robert:  Wow, nice.

Leo:  And in fact, why don’t we show some of those pictures, oh, my phone’s ringing.

Fr. Robert:  (laughing) it is Mission Impossible.

Leo:  How do you like that?  Great speakers, and you know, one of the things I really like about this phone, and Samsung’s done this before, they have an adaptive audio capability.  So when you plug in your headphones, you actually do a sound, a listening test, a hearing test, and then it adapts, it makes an equalizer frequency response according to your hearing, and I love this.  I couldn’t find it in the Note 4, it was in the S5 and the S4.  They put it, they brought it back, that actually is a great big selling point, especially as you get older and your hearing deteriorates, I can’t hear the high frequencies as well, so they equalize them up, and the music sounds, the headphones sound great on this.  But, let’s show you some pictures, because that’s where this camera phone sings.  I am willing to say it right now, this is the best.

Fr. Robert:  The best.

Leo:  It’s better than the Lumia 1020.

Fr. Robert:  Bar none, really?

Leo:  This is low light.  Now they’re saying low light is good, yes it is.  This is low light, because this is in my wine closet.  With like one bulb, keep going through these, here.  You got a little slide show going.  This, by the way, is using the adaptive focus, so you, it’s kind of funky, you can change the focus, but this is with no lights at all, watch the next picture, that’s no lights at all.  It’s dark in there.  Looks fantastic.  You’ll see a little graininess a little bit, but it looks fantastic.  Now, given enough light, as we did yesterday when we went, Lisa and I went on a walk in the park, I’m getting pictures, that’s a pano, and you can see there’s a little flaw in the bottom there, there it is, where it’s cropped out.  Every bit as good as my digital SLR it feels like.  I mean these are amazing, the color reproduction, the crispness, it’s incredible.  This is easily the camera phone for you if you want to take photos.

Fr. Robert:  Now, one of the things that I’ve noticed about a lot of Samsung’s previous phones, is they just overkill with modes on the camera, did they do that on this?

Leo:  They do, let me show you what the modes look like, though, because I think they’ve done it in a nice way.  So I’m going to go back to the home screen here and launch.  This is the Samsung camera.  Of course there are third party camera’s you can put on here.  The modes are here, and you see, they’ve made it much less offensive.

Fr. Robert:  Oh, that’s not bad.

Leo:  It used to be, and you can check, you can take more, you can download more, you can take them out.  The basic modes are auto, pro is an all manual mode, I really appreciate that, where you can adjust everything.  You can change the ISO, the white balance, you can change the exposure, the focus, it’s really nice to have all of those modes there.   It has a great pano mode, you’ve seen some of the pano pictures, they really come out great.  Slow motion and fast motion, much like the iPhone, you can select which part of the video is slow or fast.  It’s got a nice little video app built in.  The virtual shot is a 360 pano.  Animated GIF, that’s one I downloaded, kind of fun, you take a, if you do a burst mode it will turn it into an auto also much like Google does.  You don’t really need that.  But you see, it’s very unobtrusive.  I feel like they are not really overwhelming you with the modes.  Let’s go back to auto mode because I don’t want to overwhelm the screen.  You do have an auto HDR which I’ve used almost exclusively, all the time because it just seems to do a good job, and because this is such a fast camera, the auto HDR is very fast.  You almost feel like it’s taking multiple pictures, it’s just the same as without it.  Now this, that’s what’s interesting thing about this particular phone, is they’ve got an eight core, Samsung Ecynos processor in here, but what it really is is two Quad-core processors.

Fr. Robert:  Ok, so they bonded them together.

Leo:  There’s a Cortex-A53 running at 1.5 GHz and there’s a Quad-core 2.1 GHz, Cortex-A57.  And that’s where you see some interesting results, because when the camera turns on, or when you’re doing a lot of processing, all of a sudden that bigger processor will kick in, and you can almost see the battery go…  So, it gets, and feel it, it gets a little bit warm in the back.  You do, you kind of, this is a phone where it’s hard to say what the battery life is, because it depends a lot on how you use it.  The battery life, though, is disappointing.  10-12 hours in my usage.  When I went out to take pictures, these pictures, let’s show some more of these, because I think they’re so good.  When I went out to take these pictures, we went for an hour walk…

Fr. Robert:  This is all auto HDR, right?

Leo:  No, some of it’s not.  That’s not, that’s just regular.

Fr. Robert:  Really?  Wow.

Leo:  When we went out I lost about 30% of the battery in an hour.  Because I’m taking a lot of pictures.  So I find that a little bit disappointing.

Fr. Robert:  So you’re always, you’re always waking up that second CPU, just to handle that processing.

Leo:  Well, there are a few, right, for some things.  Not for making a phone call, not for texting, not for a lot of the things one does with a phone, but unfortunately, the thing you’re going to want to do with this phone, which is spend a lot of time on the screen reading stuff, and a lot of time taking pictures.  Let me show you, this is a really weird one.  This is, ok this is a little strange.  It allows you, I rotated the phone around Lisa, it allows you to make a kind of three dimensional, I should do this to you, Padre.

Fr. Robert:  Oh, that’s going to take a lot of processing power.

Leo:  Well, just, I started playing this back and it killed the battery.  So yes, exactly.  But you got it.  The processing power is there if you want it.  You’re just going to have to be aware it’s, you’re going to be carrying a batter pack, because this doesn’t, unlike previous Samsung phones, does not have a removable battery, does not have an SD card.  In fact, you’re going to want to get enough memory, they sell it in three variants, there’s 32, 64 & 128 GB.  I got the 64, I know from past experience, that’s plenty for me.  And the truth is, with 128 GB, if you get that much, you don’t miss the SD card. It’s actually better to probably have it all inside the thing.  So, let me give you the pros and cons.  Easily best screen you’ve ever seen.  I think the most beautiful, and this is a matter of taste, but I think it’s the most beautiful phone I’ve ever used.  It just feels good in the hand, if you pull it out of your pocket you go, ahhh.             And of course with that great screen, you are looking at something that seems like it should be very expensive.  And it’s not, it’s about the price, I paid, I think, $759.  You pay $100 more for the curved edge on the side.  Performance is very good.  I like that adaptive sound.  Fingerprint reader works for  the first time, it’s as good as Apple’s or very close to as good as Apple’s.  It also has wireless charging, and this, this is smart.  Not only Qi charging, which is kind of one standard, but the power mat standard.  Both built in.  Now, you’re going to want to use adaptive charging, it has that fast charging capability most of the time.  And that’s the one thing that compensates for bad battery life, you can get about half of the charge back in about half an hour, if you use the fast charger which comes with it.  It also comes with a pretty good pair of headphones.  On the con side, as I mention, the battery life is weak, 10-12 hours, there’s no SD card, no replacement battery, I’m going to miss that.  I have noticed some software glitches, but those will be fixed, I’m sure, with another update.  This is just come out, and usually that’s the case.  One of the things I noticed, is sometimes the home key is unresponsive.  For such a snappy phone you don’t expect unresponsiveness.  The other thing is, it’s very easy to actually use the Edge screen by accident, and launch applications.

Fr. Robert:  I was wondering about that, because I have fat hands.  I’m always going be touching the edge of that screen.

Leo:  It’s actually part of the screen.  They bend it at a very high temperature.  So the oversensitive screen sometimes can be a little frustrating.  You kind of learn to hold it like that.  I haven’t even shown what the edge does.  It doesn’t do much, it’s not like the Note 4 where the edge is a very fancy thing, if you do this just right, as you can see, you see it’s showing some stuff.  You can get the date, the weather, it’s upside down again, but I can get it to turn around, I don’t know how it go.  You know what, there’s some confusing stuff in here.

Fr. Robert:  They’ll get that stuff sorted within a month or so.

Leo:  They will.  You can see I’m also getting sports scores, I’m getting stocks.  So there’s some tweets, I can get news updates as well.  And there’s a really weird thing, you can have five people that have colors.  So let me pull this in, these are my five favorites.  Each of them has a unique color.  Whoops, let me do that again so you can see it.  You see how it’s kind of finicky?  Each of them has a unique color, so the phone will glow with that color when I’ve got a notification or a call from them when I have it face down.  It also has a night clock which I turned off because it’s supposed to just illuminate the edge, but the whole screen is faintly lit, which mean I have another light in the room, which is not acceptable to me and others.  But it’s mild, it’s like a little night light.  And then you have a side clock.  So, that’s the pros and cons.  Price, as I said, I paid $859, it’s $300 subsidized.

Fr. Robert:  Steep, a little steep.

Leo:  Well, because you’re paying for the curved edge.  It’s $100 more, I don’t know if you need that.  A number of reviewers said just get the un-curved edge, you’ll save $100. I think it’s pretty.

Fr. Robert:  It’s pretty.  It’s really pretty.

Leo:  So you have to decide if $100.

Fr. Robert:  You can’t see it, but yea.

Leo:  It’s pretty.

Fr. Robert:  I would actually get the edge.

Leo:  I would say there is no question in my mind that this is the best Android phone on the market today.  And I’ve looked at them all.  It’s probably going to be the phone of 2015.  And I think it, even if you’re an iPhone user, you’re going to want to take a look at this, it gives it a strong run for the money.  The best camera ever, even better, even better than the iPhone 6.  So, a definite buy on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

Fr. Robert:  Thank you very much, that’s Leo Laporte with a buy for the Samsung Galaxy S6.  If you are looking for a new phone, if you’re in the market for the latest, the greatest, the one with the best camera, the one with a beautiful screen, that just may be the choice for you.  Again Leo Laporte, you can find him, well everywhere, I mean, just turn on TWIT, he’s going to be there.  How many shows do you do now?

Leo:  I only do ten shows, what are you talking about?

Fr. Robert:  You’re down to like twenty hours a week I think, so you’re kind of slacking now.

Leo:  Yea, not a bad thing.  I’ve got a new one coming, so maybe I’ll be back to work.

Fr. Robert:  Oh, wait, wait, that’s…

Leo:  Ixnay on the oonay.

Fr. Robert:  Before we reveal any more secrets of the TWIT brick house, let’s go ahead and jump into our next review.  We asked Myriam Joire to take a look at the Nokia 735, here’s what she said about their new hotness.

Myriam Joire:  Hey it’s Myriam with Before You Buy, and this here is the Nokia Lumia 735.  Yes, this is one of the last phones released with the Nokia brand, and it is a really delightful little mid-range phone.  So this Lumia 735 is really designed to be Nokia’s, or Microsoft devices selfie phone, and it has a good back camera and a good front camera because of it.  But, it’s interesting that even though both phones are mid-range and about the same price, they both do some things better than the other.  And you’re kind of compromising either way.  I would probably pick the 830 myself, but let me tell you how the 735 is better than the 830.  And if you look at them side by side, the display is actually significantly better on the 735 than it is on the 830.  The 830 here is a 5” IPS panel, but it’s blacks are very faded, their very grey, you can’t really see it here, but it’s a bit more noticeable when I go in the menu, for example.  Now the 735 is a 4.7” display, but it is, as I said, a much higher quality.  Better viewing angle, better all around.  They’re both 720p, both have similar guts, so let’s go through these guts real quick.  There’s a SnapDragon 400 onboard, quad-core, there is 1GB of RAM, which is pretty standard spec for a mid-range Lumia device.  This 8GB of boot and storage with micro SD, so you really are going to need a micro SD card for this phone.  You’re going to run out of space really fast, whereas the 830 has 16GB of RAM, sorry, of storage.  There’s no capacitive buttons on this phone, whereas the 830 does, so it basically relies on the software on-screen buttons.  And that’s a change that’s come to some of the new Microsoft Devices and Windows Phone phones.  Also lacking is a dedicated camera button, so that’s one draw-back compared to the 830, is you don’t have a double camera button, you have to launch the camera by going here at the top, and tapping on the camera icon, or you can put the tile on you, here it is, you can put a tile on your desktop, on your, here, that’s just the camera.  But that’s a minor thing, right?  Again, it’s a big disappointment because this is a selfie phone, you’d think that, you know, you want to take a selfie, you’re going to have a camera, a dedicated camera key would have been a nice thing.  But I guess they put all the money on the display, so you lose some, some things on, like the amount of storage and the camera button.  But, spec-wise there is nothing to complain about.  This phone you can buy, this is a European model, so you can buy it on-line right now in the US for about $300, it does have LT but the bandwidths are not compatible with the US, so right now I’m on AT&T, but its HSP plus only.  So just bear that in mind, you’re not going to get LT.  There’s a 730 that’s dual sim, potentially with 3G, and there’s a 735 that’s LT compatible.  So this is a 735 with LT.  They’re both exactly the same in every other way.  Again, comparing these two is important, they both have wireless charging, Qi wireless charging, which is great, you don’t see to many mid-range phones with that.  And then the other things to keep in mind, they’re a little different, is that this is a metal phone, so if you drop this phone, well, you’re going to scuff it up.  I mean, it’s very easy, it’s very robust, but you’re going to scuff it up.  This phone is all plastic.  If you drop it, it’s very easy.  You can take the back cover off, and it’s basically the entire phone is the back cover.  So, you just take it off like this, let me just show you, right here, and you just replace this entire back cover that wraps all the way around the phone, and you now have a brand new phone.  So, you know, that cover’s probably twenty bucks or so, it comes in different colors, too, so if you want to change from orange shell to a, say, you know, black or white, I think there is also this shade of green if you want it.  So that’s what’s cool about the 735.  Let’s talk about the cameras, it is a selfie phone, after all.  So there’s two cameras.  There’s a 6.7MP in the back, you’re going to say, huh, that’s kind of weird, who does a camera with such low pixels these days?  Well, I’ll get to that.  And there is a 5MP front facing camera.  And of course, the selfie phone is going to have a nice camera in front, and it does deliver.  Wide angle, no out of focus, but a nice 5MP.  But really, the little gem here is the rear camera.  It’s surprising.  As you know, the 830 has some big, honking 10MP wide-ass camera, that’s what it’s for, it’s a camera phone that’s trying to be almost as good as a 930.  And it delivers.  But with a f/2.2 lens, you know, it does lose a little bit in terms of light gathering ability, which is compensated for with the OIS, the optical image stabilization. This has no optical image stabilization of course, but it’s got a f 1/3.4 lens, what that means, if you don’t know enough about it, is that this thing gathers more light, like, you can shoot in the dark with it.  This is a shot taken pretty much at night on the side of the street, and it’s perfect.  Like you can zoom in, and there’s, again, there’s no optical image stabilization.  And this is what a 1.9 does for you.  So, you know, that’s it in a nutshell.  You’re running Windows Phone 8.1, no surprises here. It’s snappy enough, SnapDragon 400 runs Windows Phone beautifully, there’s absolute need.  You get all the great Lumia apps, you know, you get all the Microsoft Apps like OneDrive, Outlook, all, you know, Office of course.  So this is really a good phone in terms of, you know, if you are working for a company, for example, that has all of their business on Microsoft systems and yea.  I mean, really, I like this phone a lot.  For me, it’s always a toss-up between these two, because they both have advantages and drawbacks, and they’re both mid-range and about the same price.  And, of course, in terms of the US, you can get this on, the 830, on AT&T subsidized.  So this one might cost a little more, but if you’re looking for a very versatile, beautiful Windows Phone, this is it.  So, summary.  Let’s talk about what’s great and what’s not so great.  The display.  This phone, well first of all, it’s a great mid-range phone, so that’s one plus.  Secondly, the display.  Third, the rear camera.  It doesn’t really need OIS is the takeaway, the 1.9 can gather so much light that in most cases you’ll be a happy camper.  Now, the front camera is pretty decent, I’m not a huge fan of, you know, the concept of a selfie phone, but if you take a lot of selfies, this is absolutely a good, worthy choice.  So those are kind of the top things.  What’s bad about it?  As I said, no dedicated camera button for a selfie phone, that’s a bit odd, storage 8GB is a little low, even though there is a micro SD support, you really have to buy a card, whereas with 16GB on this guy, you can go with it for a bit before you have to upgrade.  And that’s really it.  I would say, you know, this is a buy.  Absolutely, get this phone, just keep in mind that’s a probably a better buy in Europe and Asia, where the LT bands work on this phone, and since it’s not really available in the US, it’s a subsidized device.  So, I’m Myriam, with Before You Buy, and this was our review of the Lumia 735.

Fr. Robert:  The Nokia 735 gets a buy from Myriam Joire, thank you very much for that review.  You can find Myriam all over the TWIT TV network.  You’re going to find her here for Before You Buy, but you’ll also see her on All About Android on Tuesday nights.  Just make sure you follow her on Twitter, @tnkgrl, that’s tankgirl with all of the vowels missing.  Now let’s move onto another product, we’re going to be talking a little bit Chad’s new robot, but before we do that, let’s take a moment to thank the sponsors for this episode of Before You Buy.  Now, if you’re like me, you’re a geek, and you like to take things apart.  You like to fix things.  I mean, it’s part of what being a geek is, right?  You don’t just buy things, you make things, you create things, you repair things.  Well, there is no better way to make and repair and create things than with IFIXIT.  Now, IFIXIT is the one stop shop on the internet to go for, not just your tools, but your repair guides.  Do you want to fix  your red ring of death on your Xbox, or maybe you need to work on some of your computer tools, or, perhaps, you’re getting into quad copters because you’re watching me on Know How.  Well, if any of those things are true, you need IFIXIT in your life.  Now, IFIXIT is going to start with this fantastic pro-tech cool kit.  This is 70 seventy tools to assist you with any mod, malfunction or misfortune that may come your way.  Now the tool kit is the gold standard for electronics work, from garage hackers, to the CIA and FBI, but more importantly, their unique tools are used by repair technicians everywhere.  This is a 54 bit driver kit, this nice little plastic piece here, this give you pretty much everything.  If you’ve ever needed to open something, and you can’t find the right bit, well, it’s probably in here.  Because it’s got Philips bits, pentalobe bit, torque and torque security bits, tri-wing bits, triangle bits, even those things you find in McDonalds, they’ve got this, that’s the flexible extension that lets you get into those tight corners where you can’t get a regular screwdriver.  Of course, you get ESD safe precision tweezers, you get an anti-static wrist strap, you get nylon spudgers and metal spudgers, so you can open up cases without marking them.  You know, like when you use a flat screwdriver or a knife.  It’s lightweight, it’s compact, it’s got a durable tool roll, and it’s great for people who, well, deal with computers.  Even our very own Alex Gumpel there.  It’s only $64.95 and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.  A hobbyist and home DIY fixers alike use the pro-tech toolkit for doorknobs, eye glasses, cabinet doors, sink fixtures and more.  If you’re looking for a great addition to an artist’s or hobbyist’s tool chest, really, you need look no further.  Best of all, there are thousands of free IFIXIT guides to help you put your tools to use.  Even repair parts.  So if you want to replace the battery on you iPhone or fix your shattered screen, you’ll find not just the tools and the parts to do it, but step-by-step repair guides.  It’s really what IFIXIT stands for.  So here’s what we want you to do.  We want you to fix it.  And have IFIXIT help you with it.  With IFIXIT you can fix it yourself.  Visit for more than ten thousand step-by-step guides.  IFIXIT also sells every part and tool you’ll ever need.  Just enter the code BEFOREYOUBUY at checkout, and you’ll save $10 off of any purchase of $50 or more.  That’s BEFOREYOUBUY.  And use the code BEFOREYOUBUY to save $10.  And we thank IFIXIT for their support of Before You Buy.  Let’s go ahead and change it up a little bit.  We’ve been very phone-centric for this episode, so we thought that maybe it’s time to introduce the rise of the machines.  Ladies and gentleman, I bring you, OMG Chad.  That’s right..

Chad Johnson:  Robots!

Fr. Robert:  Coming straight from his cyber-existence, this is Chad Johnson on, this is called the Kubi?

Chad:  Kubi.  This is the Kubi.  This is a telepresence robot, basically.  And the idea is that I have an interface over on my side that I can change this camera all around, to see you, hey…

Fr. Robert:  I’m getting a little freaked out right now, is that ok?

Chad:  Really?  Just slightly freaked out?  So this, the Kubi has a range of three hundred degrees of access.  So if I want to move it all the way around, here we go, weeeeeeee, here we go, you can see the mike that we used, the mike on the Kubi.  Then it will go all the way to the other side.  Hi!  Ok there I go.

Fr. Robert:  I want my mom!

Chad:  Yea, this is all the way down, this is all the way up.  And this is holding an iPad 3, I believe, which is one of the heaviest iPads they’ve ever made.  So, if can handle basically any type of tablet. 

Fr. Robert:  Now, what did they make this for?  So, obviously, it’s a telepresence device.  And it’s for people who want to have some sort of physical presence even when they’re remote.  And I can get that, but, I mean, robot on a stick.  Is that really something that was a big project?

Chad:  So, this is really nicely marketed at businesses, I think.  This is perfect for the conference room, where you need to be in a telepresence, you know, position, but you can actually look around at participants and change your angle.  So this is the interface that I have on my end.  It’s very simple, if I want to see something, I can click on it, and it will center it on that.  Oops, there we go, a little bit of latency.  It’s pretty solid here with the Wi-Fi that we have.  And I’m, I really love the interface that if I want to click that little ball, it now centers the view basically on that.  You also have these little sliders on the side, so if you want to go all the way up, or all the way down, you can do that without just clicking on the interface.  You can also hide your picture-in-picture, decide if you mute your audio, video, speakers in the call.  Now, one of the nice features about this, if you are working at a company that has an internal video system, like say Cisco, or maybe even Skype, who relies on that security of that internal video system, this Kubi video probably wouldn’t work for them.  So, Padre, if you could, end this call, I’ll go back to you over at the set, and start up the other app that I asked you to set up.  So, if you didn’t notice what just happened, currently I’m on FaceTime now.

Fr. Robert:  Oh, ok, so this is app independent.  I can use pretty much whatever communication feature I want.

Chad:  And so this is a 3rd-party app.  What’s funny is FaceTime video is worse than the Kubi video, but on my side, I now have a different interface to use, here let me see if I can make this a little bit better, there we go.  So, on my side, I have an interface where I can click and the Kubi turns, and then over here, my FaceTime application will do exactly what it wants.  So, let’s say I went there, and it moves if I click over here, there we go, it moves.  So you can use this app independent of the Kubi video app, which makes this very expandable.  That you could use it with any, any type of video application, in type of any ecosystem at your work, and people can use it.  So this could work with either maybe two remote devices that can only do one app at a time, or a computer like I’m using right now.

Fr. Robert:  Ok, I can see why this is fun.  I mean, telepresence is always going to be, you know, kind of fun to play with, but, is it really practical, and have you enjoyed using the Kubi?

Chad:  I have, because, you can, you can invite a friend, they can use Skype, it’s not a new program, they’ve used the same program for all their lives, and then they get an interface to control where the Kubi points.  It’s a ton of fun.  And it never gets old.  So I really like it.

Fr. Robert:  Alright, so Chad, give me your pros and your cons.

Chad:  So, pros are that it’s platform independent.  It does have a built-in video, and three hundred degrees of motion is really amazing.  On the cons, it does make quite a lot of sound moving around, there’s “wrrr wrrr wrr.”  The price is also at $500, which really kind of out prices this from a consumer product to really a commercial product.  So, I’d try, don’t buy, for the Kubi.  This is the classic, they also make a secure edition.  I’m going to say try.  Mostly because I fell that the price is a little bit high for the quality of the “wrrr wrrr wrrr wrrr wrrr.”

Fr. Robert:  Right, yea, you know it really sounds more like an enterprise product, because at $500 you’re not going to get a lot of consumers who would just use this on the off chance that they might break it out once or twice a year.  That’s Chad Johnson, OMG Chad, with the Kubi Telepresence Robot, and wait, wait, he’s got two things.

Chad:  Two more things.  The battery lasts for four hours when unplugged, and this is a universal mount.  So you could put a phone, any type of tablet in this and they have an app store of apps, yea.

Fr. Robert:  And I believe that this is actually the way we’re going to bringing you into the TWIT TV Network from now on, right?  We’re just going to, you’re going to be a head in a jar.

Chad:  Love it.

Fr. Robert:  Fantastic.  Ladies and gentleman, if you want to find more of Chad’s work don’t forget that you can find him on The Giz Wiz, that’s right, just drop over and see him and Dick DeBartolo go over some of the craziest tech gadgets and gizmos that you’ll find, but also you’ll find him at, oh, he plays this very, not very well known game called Minecraft, and he’s kind of a big deal.  Chad, can you tell them where they’ll find you?

Chad:  Yea.

Fr. Robert:  Chad Johnson, OMG Chad, OMG Bot, thank you very much.  Now we’ve got a little bit of a first look for you here.  We’ve shown you some phones, we’ve shown you a telepresence robot, now I thought I might show you a very sensible desktop.  Now many of you know that I am into price performance.  In other words, I like to find the highest priced technology, and then take it down a notch or two, because that’s normally going to be the sweet spot, where you’ll get the most processing power for the least about of buck, but occasionally, just occasionally, you like to go crazy.  And that’s what this is all about.  This is the Maingear.  This is a monster of a desktop PC.  Now, they’ve given us our own custom scheme.  This is not just a standard paint job, folks, this is actually automotive paint.  They put enamel with a gloss.  And it is quite beautiful.  But it’s not just a pretty face, what’s inside this box is actually a beast.  Let me see if I can tip this thing over.  It’s actually quite heavy, because, it’s liquid cooled.  Oh, and remember, what I like about my PC is that I do like to get price performance, but in this case they’ve just gone all out.  This is a vertical heat dissipation case.  So what they’ve done, is they’ve actually flipped around the components so that air is drawn in through the back, over the hot components, and sucked out the top.  That’s actually super important.  You get a quieter case, and you get much cooler components, which means you can push them harder and they’ll last longer.  This is an  Asus X99 Deluxe Motherboard that comes with USB 3, SATA 6, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, basically all the bells and whistles.  This is an Intel Core i7, 4960X.  It’s an eight core CPU running from 3-3.5GHz.  But what they’ve done is, if you look here, Zach, this is actually a liquid cooling system, right next to this power supply.  They’ve liquid cooled the CPU, and they’ve over-clocked it.  Now this is a factory over-clock from Maingear, they guarantee it at 4.5GHz.  It absolutely screams.  You’re also going to notice that it’s got, well, a couple of GTX, this thing is really big, this is a Geforce GTX 980 x 2, 8GB in SLI.  You could add one more.  They’ve actually got a configuration of this that’s even higher that will put it in three way SLI, which is also quite nice.  Now it’s got 16GB of DVR4 Memory, it’s got a Maingear Epic 180 Super Cooler, so you can keep the processor nice and cool without creating a whole lot of heat bloom inside the case, it’s got an 860 Watt Corsair Power Supply, two 256GB Samsung EVO SDs in RAID 0.  Now in RAID 0, those two SSDs will actually give you 750MB per second read.  It’s blazing fast.  They’ve also included one 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT.  That’s the hybrid drive, so that you’ve got speed and you’ve got a lot of storage.  It’s also got dual gigabyte Ethernet, a blue-ray burner, and, one of my personal favorite features, they’ve got a lifetime warranty.  Now it’s two years all-intensive, but they give you a lifetime of service.  It’s not just the hardware, though, they really put a lot of though.  This thing does actually does have a window here, and it’s got lights that you can control.  So if you are one of these people that likes to light up your case, you’ve got that.  They’ve also to this innovative cable management.  I didn’t like it at first, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.  Because they’ve turned the motherboard up, so that all of my components, this is actually the top of the computer.  It means that all the cables get routed out through the top and then you can lock them down.  It makes it so neat, so clean, you don’t have cables dangling off the back of your PC, and, I got to tell you, I’m excited to actually do the full review on this, because I, I don’t think, I actually know, I’ve never had a computer which this much performance before.  From the factory, they say that this will do, what is it, a 3D marked score of twelve thousand, one hundred and five.  That’s absolutely screaming.  But of course, we’re going to verify that.  Now, you might be asking yourself, “Well, what’s all that going to cost?”  I mean, the CPU alone is going to cost over a thousand dollars.  And the video cards are going to be running very nearly that per.  So, it’s actually difficult to price out a Maingear, because they didn’t give us a price in their review, so I had to go to their website.  As reviewed, this is about a six thousand dollar PC, and it’s not even the high end.  They’ve got more expensive units that are far more decked out, that have more memory, that have another video card.  You can drive the CPU even harder.  You can put a bigger power supply.  But we want to see what a mid-range, crazy performance machine will do, and that’s what Maingear is going to let us do.  I’m going to give you the real deal.  I don’t want to just spec this thing out and see whether or not it runs, then say, “Oh yea, it goes, you should go buy one.”  I’m going to use this as my daily driver.  I’m replacing my Predator.  I have an Acer Predator that I use as my video work station back in my studio.  I’m going to do all my production, so every video that you see from here on out until I do the full review of this Maingear box, will be done on this Maingear box.  So by the time I get to the full review, I should be able to tell you whether or not this is worth its weight in gold.  And trust me that would be way more than $6,000 because this thing is heavy.  That’s the Maingear, this thing will be available, actually it is available right now, the Maingear Shift Superstock.  Check it out, just go to the Maingear website and see what we’re dealing with.  And maybe it’s your next PC.  Now, let’s go ahead and move to something that I enjoy.  Here on Before You Buy, we started up a new segment that we like to call The Parting Shot.  It’s a product that typically doesn’t deserve a review all of its own, we get a lot of products that, you know, their nice, their interesting, but just can’t see us spending a whole lot of time on doing them.  We like to hand them out to members of the TWIT family and just let them give us some initial impressions.  And in this case, we’ve gone to Megan Morrone and we’ve given here the FUEL iON wireless charger.

Megan Morrone:  I am Megan Morrone, and I host iFive for the iPhone and also Tech News Tonight.  And I am here to review the FUEL iON charging system for the iPhone 6.  It’s from a company called Patriot.  And I thought it was ok, it charges through magnets, which is interesting.  It’s a whole system, all of these parts are sold separately, you can buy the case, you buy the case with either the stand or the pad, but you buy the battery separately.  So like most charging systems, you’re not going to get completely free of the wires, they’re still going to hook up to the stand or to the pad. But first it starts with the case.  And you slip your phone into it.  I did not, this was the thing that first was off-putting to me, because it was not that easy to get this in and out.  There was this little connector here bent, which was not so much fun.  But, now I got, it kind of loosened up a little bit as I used it, and then you just snap it in, and that’s the super strong magnets there.  And then you plug this into a USB port, and then just snap it on, which is great.  It works in portrait and landscape as we call it in the business.  And you can probably hear that it’s charging, and you know it’s charging.  A few times when I did it, it said that the system was not supported, and that was a little scary, I was afraid I was going to crash my iPhone, but it didn’t.  The other parts are this battery that you charge the same way you charge the phone, you charge the battery on the stand or on the pad.  You can actually do both, you can charge the battery while you’re charging the phone, or just do one by one.  And here is where the mobile charging comes, if you need a little bit of extra juice you bring this with, and you stick it in your pocket or your purse and snap it on if you need some extra charging.  I think the price is why I would not necessarily call it a buy.  The price is, for the charging stand costs about $40.  The case costs about $50.  The charging pad costs around $36.  And there’s a charging stand that attaches to your windshield so you can use it while you’re driving.  I didn’t test that but that costs about $36 also.  And if you have an older version of the iPhone, I noticed that those are cheaper for all of the parts, but it does come for the iPhone 5, and those parts will still be a little bit cheaper.  The other thing it does, it doesn’t use your traditional iPhone connector, it uses this other type of connector.  So, you’re connector that comes with your iPhone is basically just no longer useful.  And if you have that, you can’t use it on there to use with the charging system.  So, that’s about it, if you want to spend approximately $200 on a charging system, go for it.  For all those reasons, I will call it a don’t buy.  Back to you, Padre.

Fr. Robert:  Doh!  Sorry, so close, but too expenseive.  That was Megan Morrone with the FUEL iON Wireless Charger.  Nice product, but you got to make it more affordable before we can recommend it to our audience.  Now, we want to thank you very much for joining us for this episode of Before You Buy.  A special thanks to all the hosts that made it possible, of course to Leo Laporte, to Myriam Joire, to OMG Chad, Chad Johnson, and to Megan Morrone, who which, by the way, you can find her every week, every day actually, weekday, for Tech News Tonight as well as iFive for the iPhone at iPad Today.  Don’t forget that we do this show live every Friday, around 2:00, 2:30.  We’re probably going to adjust the schedule for that, Pacific Time.  Just go to and you can watch the pre-show, the post-show, and everything in between.  We like to show you how the sausage is made, it’s part of the experiment that is TWIT TV.  Speaking of that experiment, go and jump into our chatroom at  I’ve got a little screen down here where I can read what you’re saying, so as we go along, especially for the live segments, it gives us the opportunity to answer the questions that you may have about the products that we are reviewing.  Don’t forget that you can find our show page at  If you go there you’ll find all of our back episodes so that if there’s a product you want to check out from the history of Before You Buy, you can always go there and get it.  And you can also subscribe to the show so that every episode of Before You Buy gets downloaded automatically to your device of choice.  Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer, this has been Before You Buy, and remember, you got to watch Before You Buy!

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