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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    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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    The Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro is similar to the 10 inch YOGA Tab 3, but with some big upgrades. Its 10 inch IPS screen is QHD 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution with 299 nits. It's running Android 5.1 on an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor. You've also got IP21 splash proofing, four front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos 3D Surround Sound, a 10200 mAh battery for up to 18 hours of use, a 13 megapixel AF rear camera and a 5 megapixel AF front-facing camera. Oh, it's also got a 70 inch rotating Pico Projector with 50 nits, digital focus, and gesture control. The previous Lenovo YOGA Tab 2 Pro had the ...

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    For the more business-related and content creation crowd, Lenovo makes the ThinkPad YOGA series and today two new models have been announced; the ThinkPad YOGA 260 and ThinkPad YOGA 460. These are a couple of 2-in-1 tablet PC convertibles that are able to pack a huge amount of power both as a Windows 10 tablet or a Windows 10 laptop computer. They're very similar, but the 460 is capable of packing even more features into its form factor. Both have the 360 degree screen hinge that offers multiple usage modes; laptop mode, stand mode, tent mode, and tablet mod. Both come with Windows 10 as ...

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    On the company's website, we learn that "Nextbit is a small band of rebels who want to free people from the limits of today’s mobile technology." It's a new company formed to try to attack the smartphone market from a different angle since the market seems kind of boring these days. Everyone just keeps releasing phones and user experiences that copy each other even if what everyone else is doing makes no sense at all. All smartphones out there are currently just a rectangular touch screen with a grid of app icons that launch something when you tap them. Sometimes the screen size ...

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    Today, my Microsoft Band kicked the bucket.  After 10 months of heart rate monitoring, GPS location tracking, footstep tracking, sleep monitoring and smartphone notification displaying, it's no longer functional. The screen has stopped responding and well... after 10 months of heavy amounts of sweat, the rest of device ain't pretty either. If you want to see what my Microsoft Band was like when it was brand new, take a  look at our original review from last year. A lot has changed since then. Of course, the Microsoft Band has seen a few nice updates since it was originally released.  ...

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    In response to our Windows 10 review where we mentioned some drawbacks of the ergonomics of the new Windows 10 tablet mode, one of our readers made a graphic about how Microsoft could pretty simply make the taskbar much more tablet friendly. Patrick's suggestions are mainly things for Microsoft to implement, but some of them you can do right now to make your Windows 10 tablet much easier to use. Even in tablet mode, the taskbar with the start button, system tray icons, Cortana button and task view buttons are along the bottom edge of the screen. I'm sure Microsoft did this for consistency ...

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    The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL is now available on AT&T in the States and we've got one of them to test out. As is the theme with Microsoft and their Windows Phones since shutting down Nokia, this is a budget friendly device that won't let you show off any ground-breaking incredible new features like Nokia used to do with the likes of the Lumia 1020 or Lumia 1520 from 2013.  The Lumia 640 XL is, however, quite a nice phone especially if you're into the giant-screen phablet style devices.  The Lumia 640 XL is only a bit smaller than the Lumia 1520 with its 5.7" screen versus the 1520's 6" ...

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    Windows 10 is finally here!  While the Windows 8 interface was designed for the future of computing where software could recognize where your eyes were looking or understand your hand gestures in three dimensional space, people just aren't ready for that. We want that same old start menu that we've known and loved ever since 1995. Enter Windows 10, which brings a lot of backpedaling to the UI for those who just didn't get Windows 8's interface (of which there were many), but at the same time adds a "tablet mode" which retains many of the touch-friendly interface features of Windows 8. So ...

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    We've written a few articles about how much of a mess the Windows 10 Mobile preview has been, but now we're deep into the summer with the desktop counterpart ready to release at the end of the month. How's the mobile version of Windows 10 shaping up? Well, there have been quite a few improvements in Windows 10 Mobile, but what we're looking at in build 10166 is still pretty much all over the place. It's not even close to being on feature parity with Windows Phone 8.1. First let's look at some of the major system-wide issues. The most visible problem is when adding a background image to the ...

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    As you may already know, the Skype team at Microsoft somehow decided to discontinue the "modern" full-screen touch-friendly version of Skype for Windows 8 before any reasonable replacement was available. I received an email on June 16th, 2015 that said, "From 7 July, 2015 you’ll no longer be able to sign into the Skype for modern Windows app." After July 7th, the modern app was supposed to forward you to a website where you can download the x86 desktop version of Skype. The big advantage here would be that Skype no longer would have to keep developing two versions of the app for the same ...

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    It's in vogue these days to complain about the horrible user interface direction that Microsoft has turned to in their Windows 10 Mobile preview and its associated apps. Most of the clever and beautiful design innovations Microsoft brought forth with Windows Phone 7 and 8 are getting thrown out. Maybe the "Metro" design language idea isn't going to translate well between large screens, laptop screens, and small screens like Microsoft needs it to for their one-operating-system-to-rule-them-all vision for Windows 10. Or maybe Microsoft wants Android and iOS users to feel like it's a familiar ...

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    The last time we saw a Nokia Lumia on Verizon was last year with the Lumia Icon. That device has been discontinued and Verizon's Lumia Windows Phone selection has been seriously lacking. Now Verizon has finally gotten a new Lumia Windows Phone in their line up and it's the Lumia 735. Of course, this device is kind of old too. The original version was unvieled in Berlin in September of 2014. 9 months later, the Verizon version of the Lumia 735 is now available. The Lumia 735 is kind of a mid-range phone by last year's standards, but in 2015 it still has a few nice things going for it. Last ...

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    Over at Windows Central, Daniel Rubino has found that when the new Windows 10 Mobile build 10136 is installed on a phone with a screen size larger than 5 inches, a new feature is enabled. The new feature is very similar to Apple's reachability option on the iPhone 6 Plus which allows you to reposition the contents of the screen in the lower half of the screen so that you can reach poorly-placed buttons with one hand while holding the phone. While on the iPhone, the feature is activated by double tapping the home button, on Windows 10 Mobile, you have to hold down the Windows key at the ...

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    Ever since Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile device division, the Lumia line of Windows Phones has been focusing on affordable smartphones that still bring a lot of good-enough features with less compromises. This is probably a good strategy, since I'm sure a huge percentage of the population doesn't need an $800 iPhone for texting, Facbook, and Instagram. The Lumia 640, is one of the first Lumia smartphones to finally include Microsoft's own branding, and it removes many of the compromises you might have to endure on other low-priced budget smartphones like the Lumia 5XX series and even the ...

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    As of today, Huawei's new P8 Lite smartphone and TalkBand B2 fitness tracker/Bluetooth headset are available on GetHuawei.com and Amazon. The P8 Lite will also be available B&H in-store/online, Fry's Electronics in-store/online and Target.com with availability in Best Buy coming soon. The two new devices were announced yesterday in New York City as part of Huawei's goal to become a bigger player in the U.S.A.'s smartphone market. They are not currently partnering with a major carrier, so the P8 Lite will be sold unlocked for use on any GSM compatible network. Huawei has found that ...

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    We've been using MixRadio on Nokia devices for years. Back in 2013, we called it the best music service ever. It's free, it's got unlimited streaming, no commercials, and offline music mix downloads so that you don't have to use your data connection. It even automatically predicts what kind of music you're going to like (based on whatever you tell it you like and what you appear to enjoy listening to). The problem was that it was only available for Nokia branded phones and tablets, and Nokia's market share had taken a bit of a nose dive.  Sure you can get a nice Lumia with free MixRadio ...

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