Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

Contact Joe Levi

  • by |

    Back in August we took Blackphone through its paces - two of them, actually. You see, a phone by itself isn't all that compelling. After all, you've got to have someone with another phone to talk to. Such is the case with Blackphone. As a quick refresher, Blackphone is more than just a phone, it's a secure platform (based on Android) that includes a suite of apps and subscriptions to various services that really make the phone an ultra-private communication tool. It was great in concept, but only garnered a 6.6 in our full review. As a concept, Blackphone is amazing; in practice, it left ...

    Share
  • by |

    I've been using the Nexus 6 as my daily driver for several days now. It's a beautiful phone! It's fast, has excellent graphics, a camera that does everything I need it to, and a battery that I've been longing for! The only down-side? It's big. REALLY big! It's for that reason that the Nexus 5 should stick around for another year - if not more! To start things off, I'm not a small man, and I've got quite large hands. No, we're not talking basketball all-star size, but I can stretch an octave plus three keys. (If you don't know how far that is, find a piano and see how far you can stretch.) ...

    Share
  • by |

    Back in May of this year we took the HTC Desire 816 for a spin and concluded it was "a mid-tier phone with flagship DNA". We hoped those genes were dominant and that we'd begin to see more flagship-like performance out of HTC mid-rangers. This time around we're looking at the HTC Desire Eye – and with its huge front-facing selfie camera, it's looking right back at us. How does it perform? Will it follow in its brother's near-flagship footsteps? Should you consider the Desire Eye for your next phone? Let's dive right into the HTC Desire Eye review! Video ...

    Share
  • by |

    When we talk about root or "rooting" your smartphone or tablet, we're talking about bypassing the built-in securities and permissions that come prepackaged on your device so you can obtain "privileged control" or "root access". Our Apple-toting friends often call this "jailbreaking", which, in a manner of speaking, it is. OEMs lock our devices down "for our own good", to keep us from breaking them or allowing malicious software to get inside and do damage. A secondary objective is to make sure that we can't do anything that the OEM, carrier, or OS vendor don't want us to do - which makes ...

    Share
  • by |

    I love everything that I can do with my Android-powered smartphone. Not only does it keep me connected wherever I go, it helps me be productive even when I'm away from my computer. However, I spend most of my days in front of a computer screen writing code and making sure servers hum along nicely. That's when my smartphone sits on my desk, charging up for when I need to go "into the wild". During my day I'm usually neck deep in a compiler, spreadsheet, or database, but all my alerts still go to my phone. Phones are great that way, they aggregate all our messages regardless of their source ...

    Share
  • by |

    A while back, Jesper Jensen from Denmark wrote in to the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast with a question about antivirus software for Android, specifically, whether or not he needs it on his new Xperia Z3 Compact. I have just received my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and I am infatuated with this little beauty. Coming from a Nokia Lumia 620 it is quite a leap ahead, though I do find I miss a few things about Windows phone. One of the things I didn't miss about Android is the ... more or less useful (apps that come pre-installed from Sony, such as) AVG antivirus. Under normal circumstances I would ...

    Share
  • by |

    Yes, you read the headline correctly! Although the Nexus 9 is the Google-branded tablet that was recently announced and is currently available in the Play Store, it's got us scratching our heads. Android 5.0 Lollipop is great, no question, and having the (arguably) first 64-bit Android-powered device certainly sets your status well above those of us mere mortals that are stuck in the archaic days of 32-bit processors (queue the Apple fanboys touting the fact that "their" platform has had 64-bit for a "long long time"). We've taken the Nexus 9 head to head against the iPad Air 2 and even ...

    Share
  • by |

    Thanksgiving in these United States is historically a time for people of different backgrounds and beliefs to come together to enjoy each other's company and conversation over a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Or so the greeting card companies would have us believe! In reality, it's one of the most stressful days of the year as family (who have been avoiding each other all year) are forced into the same room. Diverse opinions and preferences clash. Tempers soar. Words are said. Feelings are bruised. Eventually more than a few go home vowing to write off their ...

    Share
  • by |

    Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest iteration of Google's mobile operating system, has been rolling out since the beginning of the month. Not everyone has gotten it yet, and some won't get the update at all. Because of the rapid development cycle of consumer electronics these days, OEMs don't have much incentive to update "old" devices with new versions of operating systems, it's much more profitable just to sell you a new device with the new OS already on it. One of the purposes of the Nexus program is so Google can showcase its latest and greatest software on a hardware reference ...

    Share
  • by |

    Android 5.0 Lollipop brings with it a lot of new features and functionality, and it just looks nicer - but that's not my favorite part. My favorite feature of Android Lollipop, believe it or not, is the setup process! The first thing you'll see when you power on your Lollipop-powered smartphone or tablet is the welcome screen. The screen itself looks beautiful. After you select your language and locale you're asked if you want to connect to your WiFi network to download all the settings and apps using that network rather than your cellular data plan. Once you connect you'll be asked if ...

    Share
  • by |

    October 29th, 2014 was the day that Google began to take pre-orders for the Nexus 6 in these United States. Depending on your source, the ordering period lasted for anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds. Not long after Google announced that it would be making more stock available every Wednesday, but these allotments have also met with terribly availability. As I've mentioned in the past, I try not to get hardware through "special" means. I want to go through the same process as you, the same time as you, and undergo the same experience that you do. This puts me as close to you, the Pocketnow ...

    Share
  • by |

    With the Motorola-made Nexus 6 starting to arrive in customer's hands, the Nexus 4 is hardly noteworthy anymore. It's screen was a measly 720p and measured 4.7-inches with a pixel density of less than 320. With a quad-core Snapdragon APQ8064 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU, LG's Nexus 4 was a powerhouse - back in its day. It shipped with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but got fairly timely updates all the way up to Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Then tragedy struck. Google's support window on devices follows the industry standard of about 18-months. The Nexus 4 was announced in October ...

    Share
  • by |

    It might be a bit unfair to compare the aluminum unibodied HTC One M8 to virtually anything else not made of the sleek metal, but how can you possibly compare the four Ultra Pixel camera on the M8 to a smartphone sporting a 13MP shooter? Thankfully, HTC makes another variant of its popular One, the HTC One E8. As a refresher, the HTC One E8 includes most of the same specifications as its aluminum-clad big-brother, the One M8. Unlike the M8, the E8 opts for polycarbonate rather than aluminum, and includes a 13MP main camera. Both of these features make the One E8 a much better platform ...

    Share
  • by |

    HTC is out to show the world that it can make one helluva shooter. Gone are the "ultra-pixels" that we became so familiar with in the One M8, in are the industry-standard megapixels - in this case thirteen of them! And it's not just the main camera either, HTC put 13 megapixels in the selfie camera on the front, too! While they've got the right numbers, how do they perform in real life? We took our AT&T-branded HTC Desire EYE for a spin. It took a little while to get used to the main camera's position in the very upper corner of the device. We found a finger blocking the viewfinder on ...

    Share
  • by |

    HTC is out to prove it can do cameras just as good - if not better - than everyone else. It recently announced the HTC RE Camera, and the HTC Desire EYE: a smartphone that has a front-facing selfie-shooter that's almost as good as the primary camera on the back. About a month ago HTC invited us out to New York City to show off it's new "camera-centric" lineup, and Michael Fisher brought us an early hands-on with the Desire EYE. It's a stout device, about the same size as the Nexus 5 that I pack with me every day, though a little taller. It's powered by a 2.3 GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 ...

    Share
  • by |

    Thanks to innovations like the GoPro, people are taking cameras into circumstances and situations that they've rarely gone before. As a result we're getting to live life through they eyes of someone else. Now one of our favorite smartphone manufacturers has gotten into the game with the HTC RE. Last month HTC invited us to New York to get a first-hand look at the HTC RE and Pocketnow's Michael Fisher headed to the Big Apple.  As noted in his hands-on video, the firmware powering the RE was pre-production, and the companion software which runs on your Android- or iOS-powered smartphone or ...

    Share
  • by |

    Most of you already know that I buy my own phones. Every daily driver I've used long-term was purchased with hard-earned money out of my own pocket.  Sure, I review phones that carriers, friends, manufacturers, marketers, and Pocketnow sends my way, but daily drivers, those are special. One of my deciding factors is how much bloat comes pre-loaded on a device. Most carrier labeled phones are ripe with bloat, carrier customizations, and cut corners. The DROID Turbo, on the other hand, is a great example of carrier customization done the right way! On a phone that's already got limited ...

    Share
  • by |

    It feels like Samsung started the trend - phones that were half-tablet with large screens that barely fit in our pockets. Now it seems like everyone is trying to jump onboard the phablet train! Over the last few weeks I've been looking at the ZMAX from ZTE, which proves that even affordable phones have "big phone" fever! To start with, the ZTE ZMAX is big. With its 5.7-inch screen it's right up there with the big guys like the Note 4 and the Nexus 6. It feels significantly larger than my daily driver, the Nexus 5, even though it only stands about 1-inch taller and a quarter of an inch ...

    Share
  • by |

    I walked into my local T-Mobile store in little Syracuse, Utah, USA and set a nondescript smartphone down on the counter. "I need a SIM for this, please." The clerk picked it up, observing how light and thin it was, rolling it slowly in his hands, looking for the SIM tray. Then his eyes fixed on the bottom of the screen. "Acer makes smartphones?! Where did you get this?!" Before long the store manager was over looking at the little black slab. He, too, had never seen an Acer smartphone and took a good long time taking it all in. As far as the phone itself goes, it's light (110g) and fairly ...

    Share
  • by |

    Based on how 2014 is stacking up, I think it's safe to say this year will be remembered as the year of the phablet. We saw Apple's mammoth iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung released its Note 4, Google is set to begin taking pre-orders for the Nexus 6, and others like OnePlus and ZTE even threw their hats in the ring. Now Motorola has thrown another big phone into the race, and it's being called the DROID Turbo. Interestingly enough, it looks like it's pretty much a Nexus 6 for Verizon with a cool carbon fiber back. How do the two compare, and which one should you get? Specs Let's take a look at ...

    Share
  • by |

    Regardless of how large the batteries in our portable electronics are, or how efficiently their SoCs power them, we never seem to have "enough" power. Thankfully, Android lets you see what apps and processes are using your battery, so you can take corrective measures and (ideally) get the most out of the limited mAhs in your LiPo cell. Take a look at your own stats. Open Settings and tap on Battery. Depending on which version of Android you're running and how heavily your OEM has skinned your device, you'll probably see a chart with a list of apps and processes beneath it. The ...

    Share
  • by |

    When you're talking about trucks or race cars, once you get past how one of them looks, it's the engine which is important. It's got to be built very intelligently to maximize the energy that's being put into it (in the form of gasoline and oxygen) and convert it into mechanical energy that either enables it to pull heavy loads or makes it go fast. The engine isn't the only component in the equation, that's for sure. The transmission has got to be matched to the engine, and the exhaust has to be sized appropriately or it will choke. What do race cars, trucks, and engines have to do with ...

    Share
  • by |

    Here in these United States, Google's latest Nexus smartphone - the Nexus 6 - isn't available for pre-order until October 29th, 2014. That date is approaching quickly, so those of us who are considering making that purchase need to make our decisions quickly. Mine wasn't easy to make. Here's why I almost didn't buy the Nexus 6. I've been a "Nexus guy" since before they were calling them by that name. I started out in Android with the T-Mobile G1. Shortly after the Nexus One was released I joined Pocketnow (has it been that long?!). I've owned every iteration of Nexus smartphone since ...

    Share
  • by |

    When it comes to cellular phones, removable batteries are nothing new, even the very earliest phones had a battery that you could remove and replace. Historically, this was more a necessity than a convenience. Until the last few years, battery technology suffered from various limitations that necessitated their ability to be removed and replaced fairly frequently. For their size, energy capacity wasn't all that great. Charge times were slow, and discharge rates were fast. Over the years, these batteries even developed a "memory" that reduced their capacity due to the buildup of tiny ...

    Share
  • by |

    With all the news about Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google's flagship tablet (the Nexus 9), and Apple's updated iPads, it might be easy for some to forget that those aren't the only tablets available these days. Google's recent "Be together. Not the same." ad campaign illustrates what I'm talking about. If you're in the States and want a Nexus 9 you can head over to the Play Store and pre-order one that will ship by November 3rd. If you're not in the States, if the Nexus 9 is too big, or if you're looking for something a little different, there are some other tablets that you might want to ...

    Share
Mobile Version