Syllable A6 Bluetooth Earbuds: All Around Premium Quality for $30

*Don’t have time to read the full review? Scroll to the bottom and read the ‘review at a glance’!

Wireless headphones are great. Without wires, one has the ability to move freely without feeling confined or worried about damaging the headphones. This freedom is especially useful when exercising, whether it be running, weightlifting or other physical activity. This luxury usually comes with a price. With the A6 earbuds, Syllable, a Chinese-based audio company, aims to impress without breaking the bank…and succeeds. Here’s our full review of the Syllable A6 Bluetooth Earbuds! Continue reading

How I Fixed my Seemingly Non-Repairable Android Tablet (Works With Android Phones Too)

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

 

A little over two years ago I received my first Android Tablet as a gift: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. I was coming from a Kindle Fire, so it was quite an upgrade. After a few months of limited use, the device began to disintegrate. There were battery problems, overheating with no apps currently running, laggy performance and a strange flickering effect on the screen.

I tried a few different methods to try to repair the device and after multiple failures, I gave up. Recently, I decided to revisit the problem because I began to miss using the tablet. I made sure my virtual possessions were all backed up on the cloud or elsewhere and did a factory reset of the device. This totally wipes the software and turns the device into a form visually identical to when it came out of the factory. This process is done via the settings app (under backup and reset.) After the problems persisted, I concluded that the device was beyond repair and it was time to get rid of. As I was considering my options for disposal, I decided to try one more option and then call it quits. I turned to Samsung’s live chat for help, curious to see what they would suggest. I mentioned to the representative that I had already performed a factory reset on the device. After giving him all of the information about the device and the problems I was experiencing, he suggested I perform a hard reset. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what the difference between a factory reset and a hard reset was. So I asked the representative! To this he said that a factory reset completely wipes the device’s software, while a hard reset wipes the software and the hardware. Once he said this, I became hopeful, because I figured the problems were due to a hardware issue. So I performed the reset and setup my device once again. So far, the device is working as good as new!

Of course this method won’t solve any and every problem Android users experience. However, if all other options have been exhausted, I recommend trying this method as it did work for me. For your convenience, I have provided instructions on how to perform a hard reset below. This should work for most Android phones and tablets. Good luck!

Hard Reset – Begin with the device off

  1. Hold down the device’s power button and volume up button
  2. Scroll down (using on-screen instructions) to the “wipe data/factory reset” option or equivalent
  3. Scroll down to yes
  4. The device should begin to reset

Note: This will completely wipe all data from the device, perform at your own risk.

Hopefully this article was of help to you! Please follow the blog on Twitter @amcoffeetech for new post notifications, sneak peeks at future posts and more! Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you in the next one!

Images Courtesy:

androidforums.com

allthingsd.com

3 Reasons Why Google Drive has Replaced Microsoft Office on my Devices

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

Any student ranging from the middle school to graduate level has a career that depends on word processing. It seems like every subject from English to social studies to foreign language and beyond regularly requires the composition of essays or reports of some sort. In order to do so properly and efficiently, one must have an adequate office suite. Ever since I got my first laptop, this office suite had been Microsoft Office along with 7.1 million other users, according to Microsoft. This changed once I discovered Google Drive. It only took a few days of use for me to permanently make the switch over, here’s why. Continue reading

What I Put in Today’s Afternoon Coffee

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

 

Ahh coffee, where would we be without it? I certainly wouldn’t be here energetically typing on my computer if I wouldn’t have already indulged in two cups today. There are many arguments among avid coffee drinkers about what is the best way to brew a cup of coffee. Whether you use a standard drip machine, a french press or a Chemex brewer, each method has its ups and downs. One argument that I have never heard is that a Keurig makes the best cup of coffee. Don’t worry, I am not about to make this argument. However, I do believe the Keurig is the easiest way to brew a cup of coffee.20151012_151007

Yes it’s bitter, yes it lacks flavor, yes the pods are terribly overpriced and the list goes on. I love my cheap Kitchen Aid drip machine. My father and I are lucky enough to wake up to a fresh brewed pot of coffee every morning courtesy of my Mom, who is always the first one awake in the house. This morning pot of coffee is always strong, fresh and flavorful. However, when brewing a single cup of coffee for myself it just isn’t practical to use the drip machine. This is why the Keurig sells so well despite its coffee quality leaving some to be desired. Sometimes, you just gotta rough it out! I am, however, always looking for ways to compensate for this quality gap. With things like this, Google is your best friend. Today’s Google search was: “how to naturally make vanilla flavored coffee”. Immediately I was taken back to when I first started drinking coffee and my olfactory senses brought me to my Grandma’s place where coffee was first introduced to me. I was little, so it wasn’t the strong, caffeinated beverage I enjoy today. It was a small amount of decaf coffee sweetened with the delicious, overly sweet artificial creamers and cinnamon, what could go wrong? This afternoon I recreated this memory using a homemade, mild, all natural flavor enhancement for my coffee: lets check it out!

I have tried adding pure vanilla extract to coffee, hoping that the heavenly smell of the stuff would translate to a heavenly taste, but all it made was an even more bitter cup. This is when I decided to let Google help me out. Google brought me to many recipes for simple, natural, vanilla flavorings predominantly created by fellow bloggers. After skimming through the seemingly unlimited arsenal of different recipes I found the simplest, healthiest and hopefully tastiest out there. I was surprised to see maple syrup as one of the three ingredients. This sense of surprise immediately faded once I licked the spoon, like a child would. Before I added my Dad’s premium maple syrup, I thought up some alternatives, hoping for a lower calorie option. I thought of honey and agave, both of which had comparable calorie counts. So I went with maple syrup after all, adding a teaspoon to my usual amount of half and half. Finally, the key ingredient: vanilla extract. I added this to the mixture and stirred until the mixture turned golden. (I pretty much eyed out ingredient amounts, feel free to adjust based on how sweet you want your beverage to be.)

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I then brewed a Starbucks pod in my Keurig, gave it a stir and took a sip. YUM. Subtle, sweet, and (relatively) guilt-free. I even found myself forgetting about the bitterness that a Keurig user must adapt to.

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As much as I enjoy strong coffee, I sometimes crave a sweet addition. If you are like me and crave this taste but don’t feel like cheating too much on your diet, give this recipe a try on your next afternoon cup of joe, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this small break from the subject of technology here on Morning Coffee Tech. If you’d like to see more posts like this, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. I’d also like to hear if you tried this recipe and if so what you thought. Finally please make sure to follow us on Twitter @amcoffeetech. As always, thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

Kinivo BTH240 Review: Decent Headphones at a Poor Man’s Price

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

 

*Don’t have time to read the full review? Scroll to the bottom and read the ‘review at a glance’!

Intro, Device Overview and Comparison to Predecessor:

In my previous review of the Logitech Bluetooth audio adapter, I shared how much I appreciate the convenience of Bluetooth connections over standard wired connections. I happen to also be a lover of music. Fellow music lovers will appreciate good sound and will notice poor sound. It is for this reason that a few years ago I decided to stop getting my music through shady Youtube to MP3 converters and switch to a legitimate streaming service (currently Beats Music). To make the best use of such a subscription, I needed a good set of headphones which I could use to enjoy this high quality music. So I purchased the Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Headphones. A solid set of headphones they were, but they came at a cost ($250 to be exact!) It is of course nice to have a top quality pair of headphones around for at home listening needs. However, when you go to the gym, to a big city like New York city, or even to school, it is very hard to bring a $250 pair of headphones with you. The worries of the headphones being lost, stolen or broken outweigh the sound quality. For this reason, I like to have a pair of “throw around” headphones that get the job done, but if broken or stolen wouldn’t make me stay up nights. It was over two years ago when I found the Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon for a mere $25. For headphones with Bluetooth capabilities, this price point seemed nearly too good to be true, even for the lowest quality headphones. After purchasing these headphones I was pleasantly surprised. They weren’t the most stylish pair of headphones nor did the sound blow me away but everything in perspective. Noise cancellation was passive and minimal, sound quality was adequate and the battery life was great. I only had to charge the battery every couple of weeks, using the headphones a couple of times per week for about a half hour each time. All of this for only $25! For these reasons, when my BTH220s finally stopped working (a two year lifetime for a product of this price is excellent, especially considering exposure to sweat at the gym) there was little thought required before purchasing the BTH220’s successor: the BTH240.

The BTH 220s (left) and 240s (right)

The 220s are now $20 and the 240s take the $25 price point on Amazon. Everything I loved about the headphones’ predecessor is still present, but subtle improvements help give these dirt cheap headphones a more premium feel than before. This is the review of Kinivo’s BTH240 Bluetooth Headphones.

Design and Sound Quality:

The BTH240s still have a relatively flimsy, plastic design. 

That said, they conveniently fold into a tiny package which fits perfectly in the complimentary carrying case that comes with the headphones. 20151011_204537

The 240s look sleeker and higher quality than the 220s, but the buttons are harder to feel for while wearing the headphones because they are flush with the earcup, as opposed to the 220s whose buttons were slightly raised. The 240s feel tighter around my ear than the 220s but in a way that makes them feel secure rather than uncomfortable. I can now bend over without worrying about the headphones falling off of my head. There is still a blue, blinking LED light on the headphones which some people were bothered by, but personally, I couldn’t care less. For charging, the 240s now use a standard micro USB cable (the same one used for all Android phones and most other headphones and accessories) instead of the dedicated cord used with the 220s. This is a convenient and welcomed change. Sound quality is still good considering the price of the device. In a noisy, crowded gym with music playing on their speakers, I was still able to concentrate on my music.

Battery:

As I mentioned before, the 220s blew me away with how long the battery lasted. The 240s promise an additional two hours (ten hours total per charge) and this has so far held true for my usage. This is only five hours less than the $250 Bose headphones I mentioned earlier at one-tenth of the price.

Overall Value:

So far, the BTH 240s have impressed me just as much as their predecessor. $25 will buy you a solid, portable Bluetooth set of headphones that last ten hours on a single charge. The catch? Nothing so far. Sound quality isn’t comparable to top of the line headphones and noise cancellation is only good enough to fully cancel out conversations and relatively quiet noises, but this is to be expected given this price point of headphones. The 240s have been more comfortable than most other budget headphones I have used, and I wouldn’t be terribly uncomfortable using these headphones for extended periods of time.

Review at a Glance:

The Good: Battery life, price, Bluetooth connection

The Acceptable: Comfort, ergonomics, sound quality

The Not So Good: Appearance, noise isolation

In case you decide to purchase these headphones for yourself, I have provided the Amazon link below. Questions, comments or greetings are always encouraged in the comments section. Thank you for reading Morning Coffee Tech and we’ll see you in the next post. (Feel free to follow us on Twitter @amcoffeetech!)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Kinivo-BTH240-Bluetooth-Stereo-Headphone/dp/B00AWIPITS/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444610293&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=kinivo+bth440

Microsoft Early October 2015 Event Summary & Thoughts

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

In the past weeks, consumers have seen the unveiling of a wealth of new devices from technology’s top developers. In late September, both Apple andGoogle held events where we saw multiple new devices including a new line of iPads, a new generation of iPhones, two new Google phones and more. You can find my summary and thoughts on these events by clicking on the hyperlinked words above. For all of the Windows lovers out there, Microsoft too has had their moment under the spotlight this past Tuesday where they unveiled some intriguingly powerful devices. Lets check it out!

Surface Pro 4:

Since its unveiling in 2012, the line of Microsoft Surface convertibles has made quite the impact in the world of technology. For most consumers and lovers of technology, any device that flawlessly switches between a laptop and a tablet is a direct competitor of the Microsoft Surface. Convertibles are in my opinion, what tablets will eventually completely transform into. As I have mentioned in other posts, I don’t believe tablets are useful enough to stay relevant. Tablets tend to be under powered, using mobile chips and mobile software. This really just makes them feel like a very big phone. Convertibles on the other hand, tend to use computer grade chips and use full Windows software while sticking with the small, portable and thin form factor that we all love about tablets. With convertibles, a user can really get stuff done. With the new Surface Pro 4, Microsoft has made this even easier by making the high-end configurations really powerful. Microsoft changed the screen size slightly to 12.3 inches. This makes it a nice medium between the 11 inch and 13+ inch standard laptop form factors. The device is also thinner and lighter. When compared to tablets such as the iPad, it may seem a little thick, however when compared to other laptops, it will be noticeably thinner and lighter. Like I said, depending on the consumer’s choice of configuration, this device can be really powerful. Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 4 will be 50 percent faster than the Macbook Air from Apple and worlds ahead of the Surface Pro 3. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering you can purchase the convertible with the latest i7 processor from Intel and a whopping 16gb of RAM (four times the amount of RAM when compared to the laptop I am currently typing on). Remember: all of this in a package that is comparable to a tablet in build quality. Speaking of build quality, you get a beautiful metal build with the famous hinge on the back which seems to greatly improve each generation. Now I must, of course, talk about price. I hate to sound like a broken record from post to post but I have no choice. This device starts at $899. However, if you want the version with the specifications I mentioned earlier (of course you do!) you will end up paying well over a grand on the device. Now, when compared to its competition, this isn’t a bad deal. The device is quite powerful and the form factor is desirable. But I still find it hard to cough up over a thousand dollars for a laptop when there are low end alternatives for a fraction of that. Naturally, you get what you pay for. But as I have mentioned time and time again, in the world of technology, I believe we are paying way more than we should be. Take this as it is, of course. I think the Surface Pro 4 is an incredible device. If I had more money to spend, I would undoubtedly consider it for my go-to device for travel (travel being to and from school, work, etc.)

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Surface Book:

A landmark indeed! Microsoft’s first laptop completely manufactured in-house. This laptop is quite impressive, to put it simply. There isn’t a whole ton to say about this device: its simple, metal, thin, light, beautiful and powerful. What sets it aside from other laptops is a hinge located in between the device and its keyboard. This essentially turns it into a convertible (making it relatively similar to the Surface Pro). This hinge is different from any other that I have seen, and it is relatively difficult to describe with words. Believe it or not, you can fully detach the unit from the keyboard (fully making it a convertible.) When I was reading up on this device, I actually double checked to make sure I wasn’t reading up on the Surface Pro! Like many other laptops across various manufacturers: Microsoft aims to one-up Apple, so to speak. This is a large task at hand, because admittedly, Apple whips up a mean laptop (pardon the informal speech!)  The laptop is slightly larger than its brother (the Surface Pro 4) measuring in at 13.5 inches. This is not a small laptop, but it will certainly feel small given its excellent feel in the hand and its ability to become even lighter, when detached from its keyboard. Like the Surface Pro, this device will be powerful, specifications depending on how much you pay. But without a doubt, if you’re willing to spend the money, you will be able to fly through light tasks and probably heavy ones without too many flaws. I will not retype my rant on prices into this paragraph. However, I feel like with this device, being much more expensive than the Surface starting at a whopping $1599 is more worth it. Will I pay this much for a laptop? No, not right now. But if I were to spend nearly two grand on a laptop, it would probably be this one. It is interesting for me to say this, considering that previously, I thought if I had all the money in the world, I would go for the highest end model of the Macbook, even though I am not an Apple fan. I feel this way no longer! Microsoft calls the Surface Book ‘the ultimate laptop’ and for once, I will not take this caption with a grain of salt. The Surface Book really does seem to be where simplicity meets power and portability. Not to mention the fact that it will probably run Windows better than any other device, being manufactured by Microsoft. The more photos I look at, the more I drool over this device. I have posted some of these pictures below so you can hopefully see for yourself what I mean.

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That is the gist of what Microsoft showed us earlier this week, and it is a big step forward. Many sources are calling this Microsoft’s best unveiling ever…and I agree. Certain companies (such as Apple) just make me wish money was an unlimited resource. This is coming from an Android user of course, but I am not going to lie. When I see people carrying around there beautiful MacBooks, there are a few jealous bones in my body. I feel like with both of the devices discussed in this post, I will feel the same way but even more so. My next laptop will probably be a Surface Book (assuming Microsoft continues this line of devices…but why wouldn’t they?) As always, if you made it to this point, thank you! I look forward from hearing from you in the comments about what you think about the new devices. Of course feel free to post any criticisms you may have about my blog, I am always looking to improve. Please feel free to follow me here on WordPress and on Twitter @amcoffeetech because I have many more posts coming soon! I’ll see you in the next one, thanks for reading.

All images in this post courtesy of microsoft.com

Gadget Review: Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

*Don’t have time to read the full review? Scroll to the bottom and read the ‘review at a glance’!

**Make sure to see the bottom of this post for an update!

Intro: Why Bluetooth?: Switching from standard, wired audio to Bluetooth audio is kinda like switching from bad coffee to good coffee: it is very hard to go back. Bluetooth has many advantages over a standard, wired connection. When using wired headphones, I constantly find myself accidentally stretching the wire by moving my hand or my head a certain way. In addition to being an annoyance, this makes it easier to damage the device. With Bluetooth, there is no wire to worry about, therefore a user has a greatly increased their range of motion. When using wired speakers, a user is tethered to the speaker units. This means that in order to change the song or interact with the device in any way, a user must get up from their comfy chair, couch or bed and walk over to where the speakers are located. For me, this was truly an inconvenience. For that reason, I had considered buying a set of Bluetooth desktop speakers for the longest time. I just wasn’t able to find a suitable pair in my price range. With this, I began looking for alternatives. Finally I found an inexpensive and seemingly reliable alternative. Upon first impressions, I am very pleased. This is a gold mine for anyone attached to their current speakers but looking for some modernization. This is our review of the Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter. Continue reading

Google Late September 2015 Event Summary & Thoughts

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

Being the mastermind company behind the world’s leading search engine and the creator of my favorite operating system and cross-platform browser, Google has made quite a name for itself in my household as well as many others worldwide. Many Android devices are unveiled at the annual IFA event in Berlin, however certain manufacturers choose to unveil their devices an event focused on them. Among these companies is Google, who chose to unveil their new devices only days after Apple (see my posts on Apple’s eventhere and here!) on no day other than National Coffee Day! In addition to their excellent software, Google teams up with various phone manufacturers to make devices that run “pure/stock/vanilla Android”. However you choose to put it, this is essentially Android without the bloat of a manufacturer skin (such as Samsung’s Touchwiz). Why does this appeal to many? Well Samsung Touchwiz for example is feature rich with multi tasking, smart features and Samsung exclusive apps that cannot be uninstalled (they can only be ‘turned off’). Many of these features are handy but any additional software slows down even the most powerful of devices. This is why simplistic Android users love devices such as the Nexus 9 and the Nexus 6 (tablet and phone, respectively): the natural feature-rich Android operating system without unwanted bloat. This equation essentially leads to a very fast and smooth Android experience with minimized lag, crashing, etc. In the past, Google has tended to price these devices relatively fairly (less-so now than before, in my opinion) compared to competition. Will Google’s new stock Android devices live up to their predecessors? Let’s find out, I’m John, you’re reading Morning Coffee Tech and as always, thanks for reading!

Nexus 6P and 5X: 

Following the trend of many popular phone manufacturers, Google chose to release two different handsets side by side. Going in numerical order we’ll start with the 5X.

5X:

Hardware: Manufactured with LG, this device is meant to be a successor to Google’s Nexus 5 released years back. Different from many current phones made of glass or metal, the 5X sports a light and plastic back. The device has a 5.2 inch 1080p display. Following the mobile trend, the new device now sports a speedy fingerprint scanner located on the back. On the inside of the device is a Snapdragon 808 processor with two gigabytes of RAM. This may seem under powered when held side by side with other leading devices, and that’s because it is. The 808 is an outdated processor and two gigabytes of RAM is half of what is found on a powerhouse phone such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. However, similar to Apple products, pure Android doesn’t require as much power to function as heavily skinned versions. Once again, time will tell how this device performs under actual usage. As for the camera, the 5X packs almost 13 megapixels with some promising new software features such as UHD video recording and more. It seems that Google aimed to create a more conservative, mid range device with the 5X. Evidence of this includes the less expensive and less visually appealing (but functional) material choice, very modest specifications and a 1080p screen instead of the QHD screens which are now becoming the norm.

Software: The software situation with Google is pretty much as described in the intro. One’s experience with a Nexus device will be fast, clean and simple. Nexus users also get the luxury of prompt updates that will continue to come for the life of the device (most likely). There are some new software features being described but there is nothing broken and very little that needs fixing with the highly praised “vanilla Android” experience. Of course, the new Nexus devices will come out of the box with the newest iteration of Android: Marshmallow.

Battery: Not much can be said about a phone’s battery prior to its release as battery life is largely based on real life usage and software optimization. Google has put a 2700mAh battery with USB-C powered fast charging in the Nexus 5X. These specifications may give us a day and a half of battery life, which would be quite impressive.

Pricing: Pricing of the 5X starts at $379.00 here in the U.S. which is quite reasonable considering most flagships charge at least $600.00 for their base models. The pricing of Google phones always impressed me, personally.

Overall: The 5X seems like a very promising device. It won’t necessarily appeal to power users because of the lacking specifications, but to those looking for a very inexpensive, solid, pure and simple device, the 5X will probably be more than enough to satisfy and possibly even impress.

6P: Next comes the 5X’s 5.7 inch older brother, the 6P.

Hardware: This device was manufactured by Huawei instead of LG like its younger brother (brother from another mother, if you will). Holding this device side by side with the 5X, one can easily see that the 6P was meant to be the more powerful device of the two. A larger 5.7 inch QHD display, metal construction, and better specifications support this. Instead of the Snapdragon 808 found in the 5X, the 6P has the newest Snapdragon 810 processor and an additional gigabyte of RAM. The 6P also has a fingerprint scanner that attracts slightly more attention than the 5X. This is because Huawei is known for very high performing fingerprint scanners in their phones. The camera experience on the 6P should be very similar to that of the 5X.

Software: The software situation for the 6P should be nearly identical to the 5X (please see above). The only difference may be better performance due to the upgraded processor and additional gigabyte of RAM.

Battery: The 6P stunts a larger 3450mAh battery also equipped with USB-C fast charging. The battery on this device is shaping up to be quite impressive, even to power users.

Pricing: The Nexus 6P will start at $499.00 in the U.S. This is still a very impressive price point especially considering how powerful this device is shaping up to be.

Overall: For a user such as myself, there is no contest in choosing between the 5X and the 6P. The 6P is clearly aimed at the power user and should be an excellent performer. With a price point of only $500.00 off contract, the Nexus 6P should appeal to many. I personally am very excited to see how this device turns out.  

Nexus Pixel C:

Finally we have Google’s convertible (yes, that’s what the C stands for). Convertible, in the context of technology is essentially a midpoint between a tablet and laptop. In my opinion, tablets will soon be a thought of the past (be on the lookout for an article further expanding this idea). These “convertibles” are keeping the tablet form factor alive. If someone were to be given just a tablet without the keyboard attachment that makes it a convertible, he/she wouldn’t get a whole lot of work done. No one who I have ever met wants to type an essay, article, etc. using a 7-10inch on screen keyboard. The reason I put quotes around the word convertibles earlier in the paragraph is due to the fact that I wouldn’t call the Pixel C a convertible, I’d call it a tablet. This is because the keyboard is separate from the device. Notice I say “separate” not “detachable”. Google will charge a whopping $150 for the keyboard alone as opposed to a device like the Lenovo Yoga convertible where the keyboard is included with the unit. Either way, Google made the Pixel C out to be a powerful device with serious potential to help the working man with his ever increasing workflow.

Hardware: One thing that I do like about tablet form factor in general is that tablets tend to carry a much smaller footprint than even the thinnest and lightest of ultrabooks. Since they tend to be less powerful than laptops, manufacturers can afford to keep them thin, light and easy to carry with one hand. The Pixel C is no exception to this. Even with the keyboard attached, the Pixel C is small, thin, light and pleasant to hold with its metal build manufactured “end-to-end by Google”. The screen is a pinch over 10 inches, a size I believe to be better for both media and productivity than smaller seven or eight inch tablets. Speaking of the screen, it will be beautiful with a 2560 x 1800 resolution. The device looks simplistic, functional, premium and futuristic, all traits that make a good tablet. Like Google’s phones released at this event, the tablet’s specs are…alright. There is an Nvidia Tegra mobile processor and three gigabytes of RAM. As for the processor, it is important to remember some convertibles such as the Microsoft Surface Pro come with computer-grade processors and more RAM. Devices like this do come at a higher price point of course and also run computer -grade software which naturally requires more power. Still, three gigabytes of RAM is certainly conservative, noting that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 phone has four gigabytes of RAM. Of course, only time will tell how the Pixel C performs under real conditions.

Software: As previously mentioned, software across stock Android devices is pretty constant. A notable feature that comes with the Pixel C is the software integration with the detachable keyboard. The device can sense when the keyboard is magnetically attached and responds appropriately. This is not unique to devices in this class but it certainly is nice to have. Running stock Android on a tablet is pleasant as powerful tablets can sometimes be laggy and slow: words not found in a stock Android user’s dictionary.

Battery: With lack of real world usage at the moment, there isn’t much to say for battery either. Google implemented a 34 watt-hour battery promising around 10 hours of usage.

Pricing: It is in this category where opinion greatly overpowers fact. The device starts at $499 for the tablet only and starts at $649 with the keyboard. I think this is a very steep price point. You may note it is the same price as the recently released iPad Pro, which I also think is steep. The Pixel C is still hundreds of dollars less expensive than Microsoft’s Surface Pro, but you get what you pay for. I think that pricing a keyboard at $150 is unreasonable to say the least. Unless there is a factor that I am overlooking, (this is of course a possibility) it is not expensive to manufacture a Bluetooth keyboard. There are plenty of very nice looking, metal, Bluetooth keyboards one could pick up on Amazon for $20. I do realize that the $150 keyboards found as accessories for the iPad, Surface and Pixel come with nice magnetic strips and software optimization, but nevertheless $150 is a lot for an accessory. I was speaking to a friend of mine the other day about how now that two-year phone contracts are phased out, one must pay $600-800 for a top of the line phone. To this, my friend said: “you can buy a laptop for that amount!” This comment really got me thinking about value. The other day, I was wandering around my local Microsoft store and I came across a tiny, Asus mini-laptop. That’s right, the kind that if you take to school or work you may get laughed at. Yes, this device only had two gigabytes of ram but it was running full Windows 10, was light and thin and was only $300! I feel that these devices are underestimated. I personally feel as if I would get more done on that Asus mini-laptop than I would with a Pixel C. But in the end, the concepts of value and preference are exclusive to the individual. I’m sure there are people out there that can’t get work done on a laptop or anything other than a desktop computer. Whatever it may be, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and who am I to judge?

Overall: The Nexus Pixel C is a very nice device. It will be fast, smooth and responsive with the cleanest mobile operating system available. The keyboard will be a necessary accessory for those looking to get work of any kind done with this device. To those willing to pay for it, the Pixel C will be a great device to keep around to get some quick work done during available down time. Are there better devices out there? That’s for the consumer to decide based on their own wants and needs.

Chromecast Audio:

I try to write relatively concisely, but just like when I speak, once I start, I can’t stop. I will try to make this portion of the post a bit shorter than the previous sections. Essentially, this little device will turn regular speakers into Bluetooth speakers. Instead of using Bluetooth technology, the Chromecast will use Wi-Fi to stream audio from a device (computer, tablet, phone, etc.) directly to the speaker using a downloadable application. The device itself is a circular dongle that will plug into a power source and also into the speakers. Some quick setup is required and compatibility may be limited (to be determined upon release but right now there is no Apple Music support). In my opinion, it is a smarter option to purchase an inexpensive Bluetooth host (the price difference between a device like this and the Chromecast Audio dongle will be minimal) that works almost exactly the same, but a user doesn’t have to worry about setup, downloading an application or compatibility. Also, using Bluetooth, the connection won’t depend on internet connectivity availability. I recently purchased one of these hosts for myself and am awaiting its arrival. Please be on the lookout for a review!

That just about sums up the event! Thank you so much for reading Morning Coffee Tech! Hopefully you learned a little something about Google’s newest devices. Please feel free to leave your opinions, suggestions or just a hello in the comments! Also make sure to follow Morning Coffee Tech on Twitter @amcoffeetech! Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!

-John

Images Courtesy:

bgr.com

indianexpress.com

betanews.com

engadget.com

Thoughts on Apple’s New iPad Pro and iPhone 6s/6s Plus

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

Introduction: When I had the idea to create this blog, I wanted it to be more than just a source for technology news. To be successful in modern day blogging or journalism of any sort, one needs to set themselves aside from the rest. I want Morning Coffee Tech to be more than just the regurgitation of a story you can find in the ‘Technology’ section of your favorite newspaper. To do this, I want my articles to evoke emotion in my readers. I want to make you smile, laugh and maybe roll you eyes every once in awhile with a corny joke or pun. That said, my first post here on Morning Coffee Tech was a summary of Apple’s most recent September event (read it here!). This was simply due to the fact that I put my dream of technology blogging into a reality days after this event. Many of my posts here are going to be more personal, less official and in my opinion more entertaining to read. The article you are about to read will be the first example of this. These are my thoughts on Apple’s new iPad Pro and iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

The New iPad Pro

Parallel to the preceding post, I will begin with Apple’s line of tablets: the iPad. For the first time since the iPad Mini, a new size of iPads was introduced.

Basic Information: The new tablet measures 12.9 inches and calls itself the iPad Pro (unofficially known as the iPad on steroids).

The screen is beautiful and it should be blazing fast with its new beefy specs combined with the newest version of IOS.

Competitors: At this point, the iPad pro is most comparable to the Microsoft Surface Pro which is slightly smaller with a 10.6 inch screen. The Surface Pro is arguably more powerful with computer grade processors (Intel’s I Series) and a full version of Windows. At first glance, the Surface Pro seems to be a shrunken computer as opposed to the iPad which seems to be a blown up tablet.

Target Usage/Comparison: Both tablets are aimed to replace a user’s laptop. To do so successfully, the device must be able to get stuff done. What does it mean to “get stuff done”? This definition is exclusive to each and every user. This “stuff” can be anything from simple word processing to media consumption to photo and video editing or all of the above.

Pictured: Microsoft Surface Pro

In my eyes, out of all iPads, the Pro will be most successful at completing the task at hand. That said, in comparison to other devices in its class, it seems to fall short. Both the Surface and the iPad Pro boast a price tag comparable to mid-range to premium laptops. Both devices fall roughly in the under $1000 category depending on storage capacity. The two tablets also have insanely priced accessories as the icing on the cake. For example, Apple’s $100 stylus and Microsoft’s $130 keyboard. These two accessories can easily be substituted for alternatives of comparable quality for a fraction of the price.  Some inexpensive alternatives that I prefer, photo taken with my Samsung Galaxy S6

When it comes down to productivity, which is the ultimate goal of devices within this class, hardware is of less importance than software. Apple is certainly improving IOS with new features like side by side true multi tasking, but IOS is still IOS: a mobile operating system used on both iPads and iPhones. Yes there are differences between the two operating system iterations, but nothing mind blowing. When compared to a device running a full version of windows 10, the iPad will appear weak. Yes, IOS is simple, fast and beautiful. For power users craving productivity, this is not enough to satisfy. Users of this nature will crave a full computer experience in the form factor of a tablet; this is why they will pay almost $1000 instead of the constantly shrinking price one can pay for a low end/budget laptop. All of this said, many people will be elated while using the new supersized iPad. These users include those hoping to complete simple tasks such as quick word processing and media consumption on a big, beautiful device.

Price/Value: For the average person, I don’t think it is worth paying $1000 for this. If funds were unlimited, maybe. One of the number one reasons that I personally don’t use Apple products is because of value. I think there are many options where you get a significantly ‘bigger bang for your buck’. (I will expand on this idea in future posts).  As much as I preach this, Apple is still the number one technology company in the market, so whatever they are doing, they are doing right.

The New iPhones

The new iPhones: the 6S and 6S Plus.

What’s New: The new line of handsets are extremely similar to their predecessors: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Contrary to what many others believe, I do not take this as a negative. I said the same thing when the HTC One M9 came out and it was nearly identical all around to its predecessor. What many forget to leave out is that its predecessor (The M8) was rated smartphone of the year many times! It was similar with the more recent Samsung Galaxy Note 5 which was for all intensive purposes is a larger Galaxy S6. Once again: the Galaxy S6 was rated the smartphone of the year by many sources. The iPhone is the most popular phone around and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were excellent models that were held in very high regard by many critics. What many consumers fail to understand is, a company can only greatly innovate so many times. Once they reach the nearly perfect smartphone (in the opinion of their audience) it is only a matter of fine tuning. If every year every company totally changed their phones, they would quickly run out of ideas and have to settle for lower quality. In order to remain premium, top smartphone companies such as HTC, Samsung and Apple release flagships that are nearly identical to their predecessors with only the slightest adjustments. Why fix what’s not broken? In the case of the iPhone, the newest changes include the new 3D Touch screen, an improved camera and some new, faster processing and graphics chips. The 3D touch is essentially just a new way to preview content before actually clicking by touching the screen softer.

This is similar conceptually to Samsung’s features where you could hover your finger (or the S-Pen in the case of the Note Series) to preview certain links, pictures, etc. It is to be determined how well Apple uses this new screen for their own native apps as well as making it available for third party developers to use.

The Bottom Line: That is the gist of the new phones, users who loved the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will love the 6S and 6S plus, possibly even more. It will be faster and have new features, just as a new flagship should. I don’t use iPhones, but if I did, I would happily upgrade to Apple’s newest phone.

Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to ‘follow’ me through WordPress and on Twitter @amcoffeetech and leave me a comment letting me know your opinion on the new products, your opinion on my blog or just to say hi! I look forward to hearing from you and be on the lookout for upcoming posts.

Images Courtesy:

848.co

theage.com.au

theverge.com