Posts by Adam Z. Lein

Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!

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    Now that Apple has launched a new iPhone that removes the long-standard 3.5mm TRS (tip ring shaft) headset jack, there's a lot of controversy as to whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Lenovo actually released two Moto Z Android phones last month with no 3.5mm headset jack either (and one with the headset jack this month). The annoyances and complaints are in full swing. (Also see "The impending horror of USB Type C audio adapters") If this all seems like Deja-Vu, you might have been using smartphones for more than 10 years. The exact same thing happened around 2005 when HTC ...

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    Back in October of 2015, the new Microsoft Band 2 was first released. Our review was based on only about 1 week of usage and we felt that every complaint about the original Microsoft Band had been addressed. It really felt like a huge improvement. Last year in August, we also revisited our review of the original Microsoft Band with a 10 month later wrap up of how the band fared with a good amount of real health-tracking usage.  So today, we're going to do another wrap-up about how the Microsoft Band 2 has held up to 10 months of all sorts of health tracking. We've seen quite a few ...

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    What's the most important feature in a smartphone? We've asked you that before, and usually one of the most popular answers is the camera. There hasn't been very much innovation in terms of really good high-quality smartphone cameras ever since Nokia released the Lumia 1020 and Pureview 808 over 3 years ago, though that's not for a lack of trying. We were kind of hoping for a nice camera attachment expansion pack for the Motorola Moto Z smartphones that were launched in July, but all we saw were battery expansions, speaker expansions, and a projector expansion. Today our hopes for a high ...

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    You may have already seen our extensive review of the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force flagship Android phones from Lenovo only about one month ago. It's the end of August and we've already got a 3rd version of the Moto Z!  This one is called the Moto Z Play and it's got some significant yet subtle differences. The Moto Z Play is about 1mm wider and taller than the Moto Z, and it's almost 2mm thicker. That gives you room for a much larger 3510 mAh battery. The Moto Z Play also uses a different processor.  It's got the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 processor with up to 2 GHz Octa-Core CPU with ...

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    Now that nobody's interested in smartwatches anymore, we've moved on to cloud-based chatbots that reply to your instant messages right away as the latest progression in human-computer-interaction design. The idea is that you simply type what you want to do in a message to a specific chatbot and they'll reply to help. Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have announced a number of these chatbots that you can add as friends in each company's respective instant messaging program. They're not new People are acting like this is something new and exciting, but it isn't. Chatbots like this have been ...

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    I know what you're thinking, "Huawei made a Windows 10 tablet PC?" It's true, the brand isn't well known for making Windows PCs, but apparently the burgeoning 2-in-1 tablet PC market is too attractive to avoid grabbing for a piece of that pie. The Android and iOS tablet market has gone into decline and there really isn't much of an opportunity for growth in those segments anymore. However, the tablet PC 2-in-1 market... especially those devices running the full Windows desktop operating system has seen a 73% year over year increase. That's the fastest growing tech device market right now ...

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    Huawei's press conference launching their new MateBook 2-in-1 tablet PC sounded a lot like the press conference where Samsung launched their 2-in-1 Galaxy Tab Pro S tablet PC, so we think these two non-Microsoft-made Windows 10 tablets deserve a little comparison. Both are very close to the same size, both are very thin at less than 7mm, and both are very light. Both use Intel Core m processors with HD 515 GPU chips. Both have only a USB-C port and 3.5 mm headset jack for peripherals... except for a proprietary keyboard connector on the bottom edge for the detachable keyboards... which ...

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    The desktop version of Microsoft Outlook has always been pretty much the most powerful personal information and email management program around. This is the THE software that most employees in most businesses have open and running at all times. If you're a blogger that swears by Gmail or an employee who's business has switched to Google Docs, you're missing out on some serious functionality that makes life so much easier especially when paired with Microsoft Exchange server of Office 365 Business (if you know what you're doing). We're talking about conditionally formatted email listings, ...

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    I was one of the people who stood in line during a snowstorm in New York to get the original Surface Pro went it went on sale February 9, 2013. I quickly started criticizing its lack of proper Wacom WinTAB drivers that would enable pressure sensitive stylus use in professional graphics programs like Photoshop and Painter. Microsoft learned their lesson and launched the Surface Pro 2 with practically perfect stability and great hardware improvements to the battery life for example as well as full support for the stylus. The Surface Pro 3 built upon that success with a larger screen, new ...

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    Microsoft's lack of success regarding Windows Phone and now Windows 10 Mobile is widely regarded as being due to a lack of 3rd party developers creating apps for the platform. The head of Snapchat vehemently refuses to develop software for any of Microsoft's platforms and actively disables any APIs that other developers try to use to make Snapchat compatible apps. Google does the same thing.  MetroVoice on Windows Phone was probably the most feature-rich Google Voice app on any platform. It even supported hands-free voice commands for phone calls and texting which is still not possible on ...

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    Here at Pocketnow, we talk a lot about the annoying lack of one-handed usability in modern smartphone software design. The Palm Web OS did some really great things with one-handed usability, as did Blackberry, and even Windows Phone 7-8.  None of those operating systems are really around anymore and even Microsoft has lost touch with one-handed usability when they started on Windows 10 Mobile. Android is a mess when it comes to one-handed usability and Apple has just solved the problem by releasing a new iPhone with a smaller screen that your fingers can reach across. The problem is ...

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    The Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices has started to show up. Most people probably have the automatic updates option turned on which will probably notify you when an update is ready to install and allow you to proceed. There's a few things you might want to be wary of when that Windows 10 Mobile upgrade comes along though. Do you even want the upgrade? Many people think the newer version of an operating system is going to be better than the current version. That is how things should normally go, but that's not often the case with Windows Mobile. In Windows 10 ...

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    For the past few years, Samsung has been pretty synonymous with Google's Android. Some would say that Samsung is really the reason for Android's success. They've released many Android powered phones and tablets to satisfy all of the price points, but these days consumer tablet interest has waned. Everyone who wanted an Android or iOS tablet for media consumption on the couch already has one. There is a different segment that has seen a lot of growth though, and that's in business-friendly tablet 2-in-1's. The Surface Pro 3 was relatively successful as a "tablet that can replace your ...

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    Seriously, why hasn't this happened yet? If you don't know what I mean by an x86 phone, all PCs, Macs, most Linux servers, and Windows tablets run on x86 compatible architectures making it easier for software to evolve over time with lots of backwards compatibility. Most Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices run on ARM compatible architectures which can't run the same software as all of the other PCs of the world. The x86 architecture has grown and been refined over the years to keep up with modern technology since its introduction in 1978. It's time for this architecture to take over on ...

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    Samsung just announced their new Galaxy TabPro S at their newly reopened New York City flagship experience space. The Galaxy TabPro S sounds like the name of a Galaxy branded Android tablet, and it does look like a Samsung Android tablet from the outside, but once you turn it on, you'll see that this is a full-blown Windows 10 tablet PC. It's probably the thinnest Windows 10 tablet around at only 6.3mm thick. It's also the first 12" tablet with one of Samsung's gorgeous Super AMOLED screens. Many of Samsung's Android tablets still had LCD screens, so this is a new development not just for ...

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    Before Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in 2010, they had a smartphone operating system called Windows Mobile which was based on a version of Windows called Windows Compact Edition. It was extremely flexible and feature rich. More so than Android and iOS at the time and in some ways even more than those operating systems today. People hated it because it was too complicated and too difficult to use even though ironically it was much easier to understand than today's Android and iOS user-interfaces that are so popular. A decade ago, Windows Mobile was basically the king of mobile device ...

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    One of the most annoying things about high pixel density displays on Windows is how tiny some user interface elements can be when you load older programs that were designed for the standard 72 pixels per inch pixel density that most displays have used for many decades. When Apple started using high-DPI (HiDPI) displays with many more smaller pixels crammed into the same area, they implemented a work-around in the operating system that would automatically pixel-double old programs that were not updated to adjust themselves automatically to the higher pixel density. That works pretty well ...

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    It feels like every time we review a new version of Microsoft's mobile smartphone operating system, we have to use the trite "one step forward, two steps back" phrase. The last time Microsoft really built upon the previous version of its mobile operating system in an exciting way was probably with Windows Phone 7.5. Ever since then, they've been adding a few nice features here and there, while taking away a lot of really great features Windows Phone users have known and loved. Windows Phone 8.1 took a lot away in the name of being able to update things more frequently via the Windows ...

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    When the iPhone 6s was announced with an upgraded 12 megapixel camera, I immediately wondered how that would compare to the 12 megapixel phone camera on the Nokia N8 that I was using many years ago. The reviews for the iPhone 6s's new camera have been pretty good and some are saying it's the best camera on a smartphone ever. In this comparison, we're going to look at how it compares to a few old Nokia phones; the Nokia N8 from 2010, the Nokia Lumia 1020 from 2013, and the Nokia-derived Microsoft Lumia 640 XL which actually was released early this year but is notably a budget smartphone at ...

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    Here at Pocketnow, normally we talk a lot about smart phones and smart watches and smart tablets. Sometimes we talk about smart cars, too, but what about a smart cruise ship? Last week, the Royal Caribbean's new Anthem of the Seas high-tech cruise ship arrived in New Jersey just outside of New York City where it will start offering some awesome cruise vacations for the foreseeable future. It's Royal Caribbean's 2nd Quantum Class ship and it's the 3rd largest cruise ship in the world. It can hold about 5000 people and acts as a giant floating resort in the ocean. Of course there are tons ...

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    The original Microsoft Band released last year wasn't meant to sell too well. It was really just an experiment to see if people would want a sensor-packed high-end health tracking wearable with a few smart-watch functions. You know, something a bit more than a Fitbit, but not as complicated and involved as an app-driven smart-watch. Microsoft had already done their SPOT smart-watch thing back in 2004 and it's still unclear if enough has changed to make it a viable product category. It turns out the Microsoft Band was accidentally successful. It sold out pretty quickly and Microsoft had to ...

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    Tesla has been considered the most high tech auto maker for a while now. Their electric cars are the best in class. Eve is a service for Tesla's in-car computer that brings a lot of extra functionality to inside the car. What's more, Eve customers just got even more features that will let them control numerous internet connected home automation systems. The Eve system is entirely web based mainly because there are no APIs for third parties to add apps to the Tesla in-car computer. Basically you sign up for an account, add some set up info then log in from the car's web browser. Eve has a ...

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    Lenovo's YOGA Tab series of consumer Android tablets has always been pretty unique. Today an updated set has been announced and the Tab 3 versions bring some new innovations.  First off the Tab 3 will be available with an 8 inch screen or a 10 inch screen. That's the major difference between the two.  The 8 inch one will also have up to 20 hours of battery life with its 6200 mAh battery versus the 10 inch Tab's 18 hours with an 8400 mAh battery. Both will have a 800 x 1280 pixel resolution screen, quad-core 1.3 GHz (Qualcomm APQ8009) processors, Dolby Atmos audio, Android 5.1, an 8 ...

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    The Moto 360 has been considered the poster child for the Android Wear smartwatch platform for a while now. Today, Motorola and Lenovo have announced the 2nd generation Moto 360, with a few design changes and improvements. The new Moto 360 is meant to appeal more to a wider variety of people including men, women, and fitness enthusiasts. It will be available in the $299 to $499 price range depending on your customizations and in addition to the regular online, Amazon, & BestBuy retail locations, Motorola will also be selling the Moto 360 at Nordstrom which will hopefully appeal to the ...

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    Today Lenovo is announcing a new phablet called the PHAB PLUS. Even though Lenovo now owns Motorola, they're still releasing Android phones under the Lenovo name. This one won't be released in the North American market though. The Lenovo PHAB PLUS will be released in India, Asia and some South American countries. It's got a 6.8-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS screen, Qualcomm Octa-Core 64-bit processor, Android 5.0 Lollipop, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, Micro SD support for expandable storage, and a 3500 mAh Li-ion battery. Of course it has Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, and 4G LTE as well, and ...

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