Posts by Brandon Miniman

Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.

Contact Brandon Miniman

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    Come January 1, there will be a pretty significant behind-the-scenes change here at Pocketnow. For the first time since 2002, I will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of Pocketnow, and I will no longer be Editor-in-Chief. It is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement. Pocketnow is in my blood (literally, as my brother was a co-founder back in 2000) and for many years now it's been a huge part of my life. I've been so incredibly fortunate to have worked closely with the team here, all of whom I consider my friends. And of course, it's been an honor to create ...

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    On paper, the Nexus 5 is a stunner. It comes with the latest CPU combined with the newest version of Android, plus a big battery, a camera with OIS, a high-PPI display, and a fantastic price tag. And indeed, we've determined (along with the rest of the Nexus 5-buying population) that Google's latest Nexus is a fantastic piece of smartphone hardware and deserves serious consideration if you're looking to buy a new Android phone. As has been the case with all previous Nexus releases, I bought a Nexus 5 for personal use, hoping that it'd replace my iPhone 5S (which is already starting to feel ...

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    One of the chief reasons we love Android because it's so flexible and open. The best example of this is the homescreen where one can completely customize the look and feel of what is most certainly the most used part of the smartphone. With widgets, icons, custom wallpapers and third party launchers, the possibilities of customization are endless on Android and the results can be truly breathtaking. The website MyColorScreen is home to a community of Android "artists" that put forth their creativity to make beautiful Android themes. And, in some cases, instructions are posted on how to ...

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    We got two iPhones this year. The lesser model, the 5C, is ideal for those who want an iPhone but want to save a Benjamin and have color choices beyond the typical black or white. The premium model, the 5S, is ideal for those who want the best iPhone. It's the same as the outgoing iPhone 5, save for three areas: CPU, camera, and fingerprint security. Oh, and there's a new gold color if you want to stand out a bit. Are such minor improvements enough to satisfy the increasingly demanding smartphone buyer? Read our full iPhone 5S review to find out! ...

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    Those of you with an iPhone 5 are undoubtedly wondering if the 5S is worth an upgrade. When it comes down to it, you'll get three things: an improved camera, a fingerprint scanner, and a faster CPU. It's also possible you might get better battery life. Taken together, these new capabilities make for a fantastic experience on the 5S, but it's not a vast improvement over the 5. Take a look at our comparison video and decide for yourself. Then, come back for our full review where we'll more closely compare the camera performance of the 5 and 5S.

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    Apple calls its fingerprint sensor "Touch ID." Its function is actually quite limited as of now: you can use your fingerprint to unlock your phone instead of typing a passcode, or you can use it to buy apps in the App Store. In the future we hope that this function is opened to third-party developers because it holds a lot of promise. Setup is super easy and takes less than a minute. Once the device recognizes and stores your Touch ID, the 5S is able to read your print very, very quickly. You're also able to add multiple prints in case you want your spouse or other person to be able to ...

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    The iPhone 5 was one of the best phone's we've ever reviewed. About a year later, it's falling behind in a few key areas that Apple hopes to remedy with the 5S. Chief among them is the camera: the 5S is supposed to have improved low light performance thanks to a larger sensor and a new flash configuration. Recent devices like the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 1020 have been engineered around low-light camera performance. Also new to the table is a faster 64 bit A7 CPU which we really won't see the benefits of until developer re-write their apps to take advantage of the new architecture. Apple ...

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    Compared to the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Note 3 is familiar, yet different. It's an upgrade in every aspect, thanks to the use of 3GB of RAM and the brawny Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU (or Exynos 5 Octa, depending on where you get yours). The display, a bit larger than before, also bumps the resolution from 720p to 1080p; this is one of the best displays we've ever seen. Visually, the two are similar, save for the much smaller bezels on the Note 3 and the reduced depth. The S-Pen is still there but with new software features. In terms of in-hand feel, the Note 3 feels just as ...

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    At long last, iOS has been made different. It seems that since 2007, we've complained about being frustrated by sameness. Well, that sameness is now a thing of the past because iOS 7 is a deep change. It touches every toggle, every app, every menu of iOS, and it represents a dramatic modernization of the mobile operating system that propelled the smartphone industry forward six years ago. We got a hold of the developer preview, which seems to be quite stable, in our iOS 7 hands-on. Battery life seems worse than the latest stable version of iOS 6, but overall stability and performance ...

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    The new Lumia 925 will be offered in black and silver. Sometimes when devices are offered in different colors you only get small accents of the color. In the case of the 925, your choice of black or silver will determine the color of the soft-touch backing as well as the aluminum edges, which can be seen from the front of the device, so you'll definitely be able to tell the difference between the two. As is usually the case, silver is the color to get if you want to hide fingerprints, but the black looks stealthy and clean. Which would you choose?

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    We're live in London taking a look at Nokia's newest flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 925. The 925 is an improvement over the 920 in terms of weight and depth (in fact, it's an amazing 50 grams lighter than the 920). It features aluminum edges and a soft-touch backing. The camera is similar to what is found in the 920, so expect great low light-performance, but the addition of a sixth lens means that optical image stabilization is improved further. The display is a 4.5" AMOLED panel with 1280x768 resolution. In terms of other specs, the 925 is nearly identical to the 920 with a 1.5GHz ...

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    HTC really, really needs the One to be a success. Their flagship One X of last year was nice on paper, but was plagued by a sub-par camera and software lag, not to mention lackluster and insufficient marketing. The new HTC One is truly different, though, even as the Galaxy S 4 is on its way out. The combination of new lofty camera claims, hardware that is undeniably beautiful and unique, and innovative features like BoomSound gets us excited about HTC's future and their chance at getting back to financial health. Read on for our full review of the HTC One! Video Review · Specs ...

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    As we work to bring you our full review of the HTC One, we wanted to step back and show you one of the most unique features of the phone: BoomSound, which is what HTC calls their front-firing speaker array on the front of the device. Does this make a difference? Yes, heck yes. Whether it's using the loud, distortion-free speakerphone while on a call, getting more volume from your ringer, watching a YouTube video at a comfortable volume, or using the music player act as a boombox, louder (and clearer) sound from a phone is a feature that really changes the way you use the phone. While the ...

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    The LG Optimus L7 II is a budget/midrange Android 4.1 device that was shown at MWC. Inside it has a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 768MB of RAM. The display is a modest 4.3" and WVGA resolution, and the camera on the back takes photos at 8MP and video at 1080p. The design is typical-LG with rounded edges and an elongated home button. Powering everything is a 2460mAh battery, which is a nice capacity for a phone of this type.

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    The Lumia 520, announced at MWC, is a Windows Phone 8 device intended for budget-conscious consumers. It'll be selling for just under $200 in Q1, which makes it the least expensive Lumia you can buy. It'll be available on T-Mobile as the Lumia 521 starting in the spring/summer. In terms of specs it's got a 4.0" WVGA display and a 5MP camera on the rear capable of shooting 720p video. The battery is rather generous for a smaller phone, at 1430mAh. While the Lumia 520 only has 8GB of onboard storage, you can expand the memory with a microSD card. In terms of power, it has what looks to be a ...

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    HP is getting back into tablets, this time with Android (and not with webOS with the ill-fated Touchpad). Their first device in this category is a budget device that reminds us a lot of the Nexus 7 but with worse specs and a low price. It has a 7" 1024x600 LCD display and is powered by an A9 Cortex CPU with 1GB of RAM. It's running on Android 4.1 and comes without a skin on top of Android. Interestingly, it has Beats Audio, making it the first non-HTC device to bring this audio-enhancing technology since the aforementioned TouchPad. It also has 8GB of storage, but unlike the Nexus 7, you ...

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    Yesterday we witnessed what very well could be a turning point for HTC: the announcement of their new One flagship. With it, they announced a new UltraPixel Camera technology that uses two 4MP camera sensors to take shots that have vastly improved lightning exposure, according to the company. We have yet to test the camera on the One on our own, but one thing is for sure: 4MP is just not enough, despite HTC's claim that "Megapixels don't matter." Of course they matter. Consider this. The Nexus 10's screen is a full 4.0 MP (at 2560x1600). If you pull up a full-resolution photo you've taken ...

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    You might have heard of Mailbox: an iPhone-only app that claims to change the way we use email. Even if you want to use it right now, you can't, unless you were among the first to reserve your spot in line. If you download the app today, you're looking at an 800,000 person line. Orchestra (parent company of Mailbox) is doing this to ensure that their servers can handle the processing of millions of emails; Mailbox does some server-side action to compress your emails, strip out unnecessary stuff, and push it to your phone in an attempt to provide a fast email experience. And boy, does it ...

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    Something that has always bothered me about iOS is that there are heavy animations throughout the operating system. Whether you're moving between items in a list, going back to the homescreen, launching apps, opening folders, or emailing a photo, there are long, slow animations at every turn. This gives the appearance of smoothness and fluidity, but it's also tremendously ineffecient. Android lets you turn off animations in Developer Options out of the box, but in iOS, you can't doing anything about it. Unless, that is, you jailbreak and download the free app Accelerate. It lets you set a ...

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    It's been over four months since we've reviewed the iPhone 5. Since then, I've been using it on and off, but mostly on. I haven't kept in a case (where's the fun in that?), but I've treated it relatively well by keeping it away from keys and other sharp objects when in my pocket, and by making sure that the iPhone 5 has never taken a fall to a hard surface. So with a medium/average level of care, how has the iPhone 5 stood up to the test of life? Is it durable? The answer is: not really. In fact, if we were to give the iPhone 5 a durability rating, it would be C. As you can see in the ...

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    Around here we do video--lots of video, because we think video is an ideal medium to show you details that text and photo alone cannot provide when it comes to showing you the latest mobile devices. And so we put a lot of time and energy into YouTube, developing shows such as Worst Gadget Ever, After the Buzz, Pocketnow Daily, and more. Today, we're excited to announce that we've hit a huge milestone: 200,000 subscribers! And we just want to thank everyone that has hit the little "subscribe" button on our channel to get an always-updated stream of our latest video content. If you haven't ...

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    If you want a colorful Apple product, you're out of luck unless you're springing for an iPod. Fortunately, if you have an iPhone 5 or iPad Mini, you can change the color of your device with an aftermarket anodization process. I recently sent my black iPad Mini to the folks at Anostyle to get my Mini colored bronze, which is a nice orangy-copperish-brown. The result is impressive: their by-hand anodization process ensures that your iPad Mine or iPhone 5 comes back looking like it came from the factory with the new color. The way it works is that you order through Anostyle's website (where ...

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    For the iPhone owners among you: the Apple Maps ordeal is over with the release of Google Maps for iPhone. No longer will you search for a restaurant in your area and be taken to a place that is hundreds of miles away. No longer will you be subject to the limitations of Apple Maps and wish you could see a street view or public transit information. Our first impressions of Google Maps are very positive, and we've found a handful of hidden gestures that we show you in the below video. As a recap of the gestures, you can: double tap to initiate a single-finger zoom, use two fingers to ...

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    The most popular tablet in the world recently got an untimely update. At the iPad Mini event in October, Apple surprised most by updating the 9.7" iPad to a fourth-generation version which includes a faster CPU, a new connector, and a better front-facing camera. Many third-generation iPad owners and those that are considering the iPad wonder if now is a good time to buy. Well, we've spent the last several months with the iPad 4, and now that the buzz of its newness has worn off, we wanted to circle back and talk about how the newest 9.7" iPad has stood the test of time. First, be sure to ...

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    We were more excited to get our hands on the Nexus 4 than we'd been with any other previous Nexus device. We were looking forward to seeing how fast Android could be with the new Qualcomm S4 Pro quad-core CPU tied to a stock experience of Android; we were happy to hear that the gorgeous screen from the Optimus G would be used; and we were shocked by the price tag. It appeared as if Google had outdone not only itself, but every other Android manufacturer that makes competing devices. Were our high expectations met? Read on for our full review! Video Review · Specs · Hardware · ...

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