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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    Since the new iPhone 6 came out, everybody's talking about all the new features and especially the new 8 megapixel camera. Many are giving it some great praise, but as Micheal said in the "Here’s what the iPhone 6 camera can do" piece, it's a good camera, but it ain’t no Nokia. In this piece we're going to take a close look at how the picture quality of the iPhone 6 plus really compares to a few of the other smartphones out there, as well as a midrange DSLR just for fun. Before you go reading through all of my commentary in this camera phone shootout, I'd like to invite you to look ...

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    Well, okay, maybe it's not better at everything, and maybe it's not better for everybody but this one-year-old phone is still better at a few key things that I've been spoiled by. Yes, I've tried the new Galaxy Note 4 flagship Samsung device, and I've tried the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the HTC One M8, the HTC One M8 for Windows, etc., etc. After I saw those, I decided to buy a Nokia Lumia 1020; a phone that was originally released back in July of 2013 well over a year ago. I've never bought a new phone that was originally released such a long time ago, but considering that there is no ...

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    One of the reasons that Apple has always been reluctant to release a large-screened phone was because you couldn't reach all parts of the screen with one hand while holding the device. That's a very important aspect of mobile phone usability. When we're mobile, we're often carrying something in one hand while walking with our legs and we may need to use a phone with one hand to make a call, send an email, look at a map, etc. That's the whole reason that Steve Jobs was so adamant that the original iPhone's screen size was the perfect size. Then screen sizes started getting bigger on the ...

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    First of all, let me clear up that headline right away. Samsung's "new craziness" is meant as a compliment, not an insult. We need some craziness in the mobile technology world. Have you ever looked for a new phone on any of the carrier websites? They all look the same except with different pictures on the screens!  Anyway, Samsung itself recognized the original Note smartphone as a bit crazy. Most reviewers derided it as being way too big and too difficult to use, but customers didn't care what the reviewers thought and they bought it in droves anyway.  Today, Samsung is taking some ...

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    As some of you may know, my usual daily driver is the Nokia Lumia 925 on T-Mobile since it's got wireless charging, T-Mobile's LTE, WiFi calling, and a decent OIS camera, but since I've been running the Windows Phone 8.1.1 developer preview and since T-Mobile still hasn't released the Cyan firmware update, my Lumia 925 has been freezing randomly, over heating, and stuttering during music playback over Bluetooth. So when MixRadio sent a new Lumia 530 over with a couple of Coloud Bang portable speakers, I decided to switch my SIM card into it for the weekend. Ergonomics are great When I ...

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    It's easy to tell if an app sucks when there are issues with its basic functionality. If it crashes all the time, or causes the phone to freeze, or just doesn't respond to certain functions, that's a pretty obvious problem and we all know how to inform the developers of those issues in the app store reviews. However, there are lots of really poor design decisions that are common-place in today's smartphone apps. For some reason, people don't care as much about these obvious flaws that should be common sense, but have somehow become acceptable. Perhaps Paul Rand put it best: "The public is ...

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    HTC recently announced a new version of its flagship HTC One M8 smartphone and the only difference is that it's running Windows Phone 8.1.1. This instantly made many of us remember the old days when HTC was king of smartphones in part because it allowed the hacking community to have free reign over their phones. The comments on our first impressions of the device lit up with wishes and hopes for dual-boot capabilities. Back in 2002, HTC released a touch screen smartphone codenamed the "Wallaby" and it was originally released by O2 as the O2 XDA. That's how the XDA-Developers site came ...

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    Facebook has been in the news a lot lately for its decision to spin-off its chat and messaging features as their own app. The Facebook Messenger app has actually been around for a long time, but just recently Facebook has decided to force it on its users and remove the private messaging capability from the primary Facebook app. Previously, we figured it was just a waste of time, especially on Windows Phone where Facebook chat was both integrated with the Messaging hub and it could be pinned as its own live tile from the Windows Phone Facebook app. Back in 2011, I actually hailed Facebook ...

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    Back in the Windows Mobile 6.x days, there was an app and service called MyPhone that Microsoft made so that you could back up content to the Windows Mobile MyPhone cloud website. It saved all of your text messages to the cloud and you could log into the MyPhone website and see them all there. This was great if you wanted to archive, record, or print some communications to show to the lawyers for example. Even before that, there was a 3rd party program for the Windows desktop called Jeyo Mobile Companion which would connect to your Windows Mobile device via the USB cable and load all the ...

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    The new CEO of Microsoft's new mantra for the direction of the software giant is "mobile-first and cloud-first". At Pocketnow, we're interested in the mobile-first stuff. To me, that would mean Microsoft intends to put a lot more effort into making their Windows Phone and Windows tablet operating systems and devices much better than anything else out there.  I'd expect to see better hardware, a wider variety of hardware, better battery life, better games, more frequent new games, a better music experience, an awesome version of Microsoft's Office productivity suite, and tighter ...

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    Last night in New York City, Samsung launched their new Samsung Galaxy Tab S series of Android tablets and after the presentation, we got to try them out for the first time.  You can read more about all the specs and special bundles in our announcement post. The big thing about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is the new Super Amoled screen. We've known about the advantages of AMOLED screens for a long time on smart phones, but this is the first time we've seen them on tablets. Samsung's Super AMOLED screens look amazing on smartphones and they still look amazing on their tablets. Colors are ...

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    Nokia has had a lot of success making really high quality mobile phones at very inexpensive price points. This was true 20 years ago, and these days Nokia (now in the form of Microsoft's handset division) is trying to translate that success to the smartphone market. Of course smartphones are far more complicated than the mobile phones of the 90s and they're more expensive to make, but as Nokia proved with the Lumia 520, it's still possible to make something that works very well without costing $600. The Nokia Lumia 630 is another one of those inexpensive smartphones that cuts out a lot of ...

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    Back in March of 2013 we reviewed the original Surface Pro, and established that it can most certainly replace your laptop provided you adapt to the small 10" screen, buy the Type Cover keyboard instead of the Touch Cover, and learn to use the stylus instead of a trackpad or mouse. Today we're looking at the third generation Surface Pro, a device capable of almost everything the original was, with some significant improvements to boot. The Surface Pro 2 was probably the best tablet I've ever used. Since I'm more than just a tech journalist, I need the power to use real high-end creative ...

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    Today at WWDC 2014, Apple announced a few new features for Mac OS 10.10 and iOS 8. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the keynote live stream video since I am not carrying any Apple products today and Apple insists that only people who use Apple products should be allowed to view it. I suppose I could have dug up my old Mac Pro, plugged it in, dusted off the keyboard and installed the updates to Safari to watch it, but who has time for that? So, my impression of iOS 8 is mainly going to be based on what I read in some of the other media reporting out there. Mac OS 10.10 I started using Mac ...

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    A while back, Taylor asked; Could you go tablet-only for a day? Many of us responded to that headline right away with something like, "yes, of course, my tablet is running Windows 8." Most of the Windows 8 tablets out there are fully capable of running all of the professional programs you might use on a traditional desktop or laptop computer. I've gone over a week tablet-only with any of the Windows tablets I've owned over the past 12 years or so. I still use a more-powerful desktop as a Media Center and another as a workstation in the office though. These days I use a Surface Pro 2 with ...

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    The Surface Pro 2 was the best tablet that I've ever used. The new Surface Pro 3 brings a lot of upgrades to that device, but there are also a few changes that I'm a bit uneasy about.  First, we'll start with the new features that are just fantastic and make the Surface Pro 2 look like old news.  The screen!!  I love the 12" screen on the Surface Pro 3.  This is the size of the screen that I've been used to on my older Windows tablets that were running Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The 3 by 2 aspect ratio may seem too roomy in some of the Metro apps, but in desktop programs like ...

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    The Surface Pro 3 looks a lot like the big brother of the Surface 2. There are a few similarities and a lot of differences. Since the previous Surface Pros were shaped about the same as the Surface RT devices except for the increased thickness and heft, we kind of expected that from the Surface Pro 3. Surprisingly, that is not the case. The Surface Pro 3 (running full high-end 64 bit Windows 8 hardware) feels just as light as the Surface 2 (running an ARM processor and the limited Windows RT). The specifications differences are monumental though. The Surface Pro 3 is available in ...

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    While the HTC One M8 is meant to be HTC's new high-end flagship smartphone for 2014, there's also a smaller version for those that want to spend less money and also prefer a smaller screen. The thing is, the smaller HTC One Mini 2 comes with a 13 megapixel camera with 3 times the megapixel count that the high-end HTC One M8 has. People often say that megapixels don't matter and that's sometimes true. At other times they really do matter. Of course, the HTC One Mini 2's camera does not use quite the same technology as the One M8 which has a larger sensor that is able to absorb more light ...

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    Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 was announced this morning and we were pleasantly surprised to get to leave the press event with a brand new Surface Pro 3 with 256 Gb SSD and 8Gb of RAM along with a nice blue type cover with a lot of improvements. We decided to unbox it right away. First of all, the new type covers are sold separately and we didn't get a box for that. We just had it thrown in with the bag. The Surface Pro 3's box looks similar to the boxes for previous Surface Pro devices, but without the angled edge, and there's no longer a secondary flip cover once you slide out the ...

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    The last Windows Phone that I can really consider a flagship was the Nokia Lumia 1020. That's been out for a while and a few other high-end Lumia Windows Phones have been released since then. There's the Lumia 1520 which boasts a very large high-definition screen. Then there's the Lumia Icon and Lumia 930 which also have a high resolution screen, but still both only use a 20 megapixel cameras and to add insult to injury, they don't even support the super-awesome Glance mode. Sorry, but a flagship smartphone really needs to do it all. It needs to be the best of the best. Nokia was pretty ...

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    Today Sprint announced a special version of the HTC One M8 called the Harman/Kardon Edition which is basically a normal HTC One M8 except with a few extra special software editions and audio enhancements that showcase services from Sprint, Spotify, and Harman/Kardon. It's also got a special black color on the back with champagne accents and it will include special high-quality Harman/Kardon earbud headphones. We got to try out some of the new features in New York City today and there are quite a few new additions to mention. Besides the black color options, this version of the HTC One M8 ...

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    Many times we see people who accuse each other of being "fanboys" of a particular platform. You will often see that people who have a favorite platform, such as iOS or Android or Windows Phone or Mac OS or Windows or Chrome OS or Linux, will often criticize those who use other platforms because they think their way is the best way. (We've talked about this before.) Even if you try to be unbiased, it's difficult to make your workflow fit within the ecosystems of other platforms should you want to try something else and see if it really is better than what you already know. We're all guilty ...

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    A few of our readers out there have asked me how I got the WiFi to turn on when arriving at certain locations in the new Windows Phone 8.1. We heard a while back that Windows Phone 8.1 would have the ability to turn WiFi on automatically after a certain amount of time, but the geolocation-based WiFi power-on option is a pleasant surprise. You probably already know that Android has had numerous apps available that can do this type of thing; turning WiFi on and off based on your location. It's really useful if you don't want the WiFi radio on all the time using up your battery life, but you ...

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    While most other platform developers, especially underdogs, might want to build upon their strengths while also strengthening their weaknesses, sometimes some good strengths get totally thrown out for no apparent reason.  We've written about Microsoft's tendency to remove features from their mobile operating system quite frequently. It seems to happen with every new significant upgrade and Windows Phone 8.1 is no exception. Remember when the Office hub lost the ability to edit files older than the 2007 format?  How about that ability to automatically sync music, videos, and pictures to ...

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    In some ways Microsoft's new speech UI, Cortana, has surpassed the speech interface of its competitors in iOS and Android.  Most people are going to be comparing Cortana to Siri and Google Now since those are the two other popular smartphone speech interfaces at the moment.  At Pocketnow, we know a little better and will be comparing Cortana to how she should work. Google and Apple are really quite new to the whole speech UI for smartphones thing.  Microsoft's old Windows Mobile smartphone operating system had a speech interface called Voice Command back in 2002.  Yeah, that was 12 ...

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