Sunday, December 1, 2013

Do I Regret Getting Blackberry Playbook


A friend asked me the other day if I regretted getting the Blackberry PlayBook. Without hesitation, the answer in no.

I love the swiping motion used to turn on or close programs. It doesn't have a 'home' button. Almost everything can be done with the touch screen. At the time I bought it, it was the best device for me.

Yes, it lacks apps. By today's standard it is slow and the screen is low resolution. But I still use it. So it is good enough yet.

Mobile Banking Deposit and iPhone 4

My Black Friday gift to myself is a Virgin Mobile iPhone 4. It was only $99. Took the $35 a month plan. 300 minutes talk, unlimited text and 'unlimited' data. I believe data is 3G for only 2.5GB, then you get throttled to 2G speeds. No LTE reception where I live, nor where I work, so the phone will be fine.

Picked the iPhone 4 because of the camera and price. When my Credit Union offered mobile check deposit, I jumped at it. Signed up for it and took out the HTC One V and snapped a picture of a check and nothing. The image was so bad, I could not make out any letter or number from the check. None. The HTC is supposed to have a 5MP camera, same as the iPhone 4, but the pictures are not clear. It could just be my device is defected, but I have had it for so long, I can't return it.

Looked at the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Moto X, Moto G, Lumia 520/521 and Lumia 1320. the Lumia phones were out because the needed app is not availale on Windows phones. The Nexus 4 sold out, but all reviews pointed to a camera that was lacking. In fact, it seeems most Android phones had mediocre cameras, except the high end ones like the Galaxy S4. Didn't want to spend that much.

Have not tested the iPhone yet, but I have tried the camera and it took good pictures. Hope it works out.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mobile Check Deposit and Me

I was so glad when my Credit Union got mobile check deposit. You know, where you take a picture of a check to deposit into a bank account, without ever going to a branch or ATM. Available as a Android or iOS app. It would save me so much time. Having direct deposit would be better, but I am not offered that at work. So this app would benefit me so much.

If it worked. Not sure why, but on the HTC One V, with a 5MP camera, it just would not work. Can't be sure if the camera is defective, but the 5 times I tried taking a picture, I couldn't read one letter or number on the check. It was a garbled mess.

Not sure what to do, as I want the option to do mobile check deposit. My next check, I will try to do a mobile check deposit using either my mother's iPad Mini or my sister's Iphone 4S. I would need to download the app to their devices and get it verified by the Credit Union for the device to access my account. I hope it works.

If it does work, I may be getting a new iOS device, as I know they would work.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chromecast Needs Good Internet

Chromecast seems interesting, and at $35, seems like a steal. But the more I look at it, the more I don't like it. The first thing I don't like about it - it doesn't support the BlackBerry PlayBook. Again, not much of anything supports the PlayBook.

The biggest drawback, for me, is that it requires the Internet. As my service can drop to very slow speeds at times, I hate streaming videos. Watching YouTube videos can be annoying, choppy and always buffering. If I had better service, then maybe.

You really can't use it for traveling. If you go to a hotel, you would need Wifi and Internet access. And it seems maybe an ac adapter. The Chromecast dongle needs a little power, some HDMI ports can power the device, some can't.

It won't playback media stored on your device. This is a Google product. Google believes everyone should live in the cloud. I don't live in the cloud. I don't. I have no friends, so I don't need to save my contacts in the cloud. I don't take pictures. I don't need a calendar. I don't have mobile Internet, as I don't have a data plan for my phone. I just don't need it. Nor can I afford it.

It doesn't  do much right now, I think only 4 apps can use it at this time. It may get more apps, but that is what they said about the PlayBook . Remember, buy what it is right now, not what it may one day be.

But it is just $35.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Me and My Orphans

This week, Barnes and Noble announced that they will stop manufacturing color tablets. Then, a few days later, BlackBerry said that BB10 will not be ported to the PlayBook. Both announcements basically making my 2 tablets orphans.

As for the Nook HD +, I expected that Barnes and Noble would exit the tablet business, as the price cut was quite steep. And sales have been disappointing.  I still would recommend the Nook HD + to people who don't need video chat. It is a good tablet for the price and for people who are not sure if a tablet is right for them.

As for the PlayBook, I do feel sorry for people who paid full price for one. I paid $200 for mines. I have never regretted my decision. At the time, November 2011, it was the best tablet for me. Not sure what I would use a tablet for. Turns out, mostly reading news articles, watching videos (not too much streaming videos), paying bills and ordering things online. I do write this blog using my PlayBook. I have played videos onto a LCD HDTV, using the micro HDMI out, but not often.

I do wish the PlayBook had certain apps. The most wanted for me is a text/sms app. But other people want Skype and Netflix. Also nice would be a good VoIP app. When your phone dies, it is helpful to be able to make calls and text. Using a tablet to make a phone call may look stupid, but at least you could do it if needed.

For most people looking for a tablet, I would recommend a iPad, if they can afford it. I find Android has a less apps for tablets iOS. Would not recommend a Nexus 7, as I don't like the screen too much and quality control issues. I would never recommend a Kindle Fire, to locked down to Amazon.

Even though my tablets are orphans, The still have life in them. They might not be the fasted, have all the bells and whistles, but they do what I need and that is all that matters.

Two words of advice. Buy what you need. Buy on what it is and not what will be.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nook Good

I really like the Nook HD +.  A 9 inch screen that is beautiful to look at. For my taste, I like the colors of the LCD screen. With a pixel density of 256 pixels per inch, reading is a joy. Words are well formed on the screen. Reading from a e-ink is thought to be easier on the eyes though.

Watching videos on the PlayBook is nice. But the videos I watch on the PlayBook look good on the Nook HD +. But those videos are not 720p or even 1080p videos. Playing a 720p video on the PlayBook look fine, but on the Nook, it is great. Only problem is the size of the videos for 720p are larger. 1080p is even worse. Good thing I bought the 32GB version of the Nook. And the Nook HD (7 and 9 inch models) accept up to a 64GB micro SD cards.

The Nook HD + weighs 515 g  (18.2 oz). As compared to the PlayBook, which weighs 425 g (14.99 oz). The Nook, while heavier, feels more comfortable in my hands. The bigger size evens out the weight better for me to hold for longer periods. The iPad 3 or 4 is heavier ( 652 g/ 23.04 oz), but has a bigger screen with a higher pixel density. I would also assume the iPad has better battery life. I really can't say how good the battery life is on the Nook HD + , as I have not tested it, but most reviews give it about 9 hours.

The Nook has no cameras or GPS. It uses a proprietary cable for charging. It has a HDMI out, again using a proprietary connection. It operating system is Android 4.0, not the latest.

But I really wanted to just for video, so I'm very happy. At $149.99 for 16GB version, USA, It is a great deal. Maybe not for everyone, but I'm happy. So happy I brought one for my friend.