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.

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    This holiday season, the Nexus 4 and Droid DNA are going to be two of the hottest smartphones for sale. The DNA brings the first 1080p display on a smartphone to the table, plus it has fantastic HTC build quality. The Nexus 4 is one of the most affordable high-end smartphones ever, plus it's running the latest version of Android, with no fluffy interface to slow it down. Both are powered by the brawny Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and have 2GB of RAM. While so different in terms of hardware but quite similar in terms of specifications, how do they compare in terms of performance? Check ...

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    If you're a Galaxy Nexus owner and are wondering whether you should upgrade to the new Nexus 4 (if you can ever get your order in, that is), you're going to want to watch this video. We compare the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus in every way that matters: hardware, display quality, boot-up time, app loading speed, web browser performance, and more. Here are some conclusive observations: The Nexus 4 is faster than the Galaxy Nexus in launching apps by about one second in every case Web browsing performance is about equal, probably because the Nexus 4 uses Chrome, which still isn't as fast as ...

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    The Nexus 4 could very well be one of the most powerful and affordable smartphones ever. But, like anything, it has its high and low points. As we prepare our full review of Google's latest and greatest for you, we wanted to provide some observations on what's awesome and what's not so awesome after a bit of use. We Hate... The screen sensitivity. Remember the reports of the iPhone 5 having screen sensitivity issues, most likely because its use of a new display technology that bonds the touch sensor directly to the display? Yeah, the Nexus 4, with its use of a similar technology, has the ...

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    The iPhone 5 and Nexus 4 are both best in-class devices. They represent the top of the line for their respective operating systems, and for good reason: both are fast, have terrific displays, and offer reasonably good battery life. So which is better? In this video we compare both devices in a variety of ways: boot up speed, app launch speed, web browsing performance, camera performance, pricing and availability, and more. In terms of specifications, both have an impressive spec sheet. The iPhone 5 is powered by Apple's dual-core A6 CPU which has a tri-core GPU, supported by 1GB of RAM. ...

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    If you tried to pre-order the Nexus 4, you likely had a terrible experience doing so. Some of you might have been lucky enough to get your order in at the right time, but most of you probably received an email from Google, noting a three-week backorder. Delays aside, the Nexus 4 very well could be the best Android phone yet, thanks to a terrific combination of the brawny Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU with 2GB of RAM, a fantastic 1280x768 4.7" 320PPI display, and the absolute latest version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean. Unfortunately, it lacks LTE, even though it has an LTE chip ...

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    Amazon's premium tablet, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9", is now shipping to those that pre-ordered. It's got a high resolution 1920x1200 display, granting it a PPI of 254, versus around 300 PPI on the Nexus 10. But, it's priced lower than the Nexus 10 at just $299 for the 16GB WiFi model, compared to a starting price of $399 for the Nexus 10. With LTE and 64GB of storage, the Fire HD 8.9" can cost as much as $599. It's running Android with Amazon's heavily-modified skin on top. It's an Amazon-content-consumption-device, and that's a good thing considering the breadth of multimedia that is now ...

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    Earlier we wrote about how horrible of an experience the Nexus 4/10 pre-order was. And while we still agree with that, it turns out that the Google Play store is still accepting orders for the Nexus 4. In fact, just moments ago I successfully ordered a 16GB model. Here's how (get ready to test your patience): keep refreshing the page for either the 8GB or 16GB model. Every 15 page loads or so you will see the blue "Notify Me" button change to "Add to Cart". Click that. It will take you to your cart, and then most likely will time-out when you hit "Proceed". Do that about five more times ...

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    We're no strangers to the pre-order process. It either happens in one of two ways. One, you fill out a form to be notified when a product is going to be up for pre-order. This is often something Google does. Or two, you show up at a date and time, usually midnight Pacific in the case of Apple pre-orders, and try to put your order in as the clock strikes 12. Either way, the pre-order process is frustrating because for big products, you might find yourself hitting refresh dozens of times as the company's servers are crushed under the heavy load. But usually, if you're willing to be ...

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    It's been a while since I've spent some serious time with Windows Phone. Back in 2010, I used the Samsung Focus as my daily driver for many months. I loved the speed and fluidity of Windows Phone. It was a refreshing change from the rather boring iOS experience, and it felt more cohesive and fluid than the (at the time) still-inconsistent and laggy Android. It also brought a truly fresh approach to the world of smartphones: this idea that you should spend less time diving in and out of apps, and more time just glancing at live information on your homescreen. In fact, Microsoft put forth a ...

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    Just a little Friday fun here: if you're looking for some interesting new photo filters for Android or Windows Phone 8, we have two that you should look at, both of which makes the world around you look like a cartoon in real-time. The first, called Paper Camera, is a $2 Android app, that allows for a lot of control of how cartoony things look around you. Then, CamWow is a Windows Phone 8 camera lens that employs a variety of effects, including Black and White, night vision, and of course, cartoon line-art. Check them out!

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    At long last, our wishes of a smaller and lighter iPad have come to fruition. The iPad 3 and 4 are great products, but they're heavy and thick, and because of this, exhausting to use for a long period of time. Apple has done a lot right to be the leader in tablets. Whether you love or hate iOS, you have to admit that the iPad brand represents some pretty important things: great hardware, great battery life, and a great app selection. For the first time ever, Apple is introducing a new form factor for its iPad, one that is significantly smaller. And there isn't exactly fervent competition ...

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    Back when we first reviewed the HTC One X, our chief complaint with the smartphone was that it was laggy. For a quad-core phone, that was peculiar and quite frustrating. Lag aside, we loved the display and thought the hardware was top-notch. So we were really excited when we heard about the HTC One X Plus, which is a significant refresh of the One X that, thanks to a faster CPU, ought to address these issues of lag. In fact, HTC claims that the One X Plus is 67% faster than the first One X.  Not only does the One X Plus have a faster CPU, but it has a bigger battery, the latest version of ...

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    If you bought an iPad Mini, you might have noticed that it came with the same 5w charger that Apple ships with the iPhone, instead of the 10w charger that comes with the iPad 3, 2, and 1 (the iPad 4 actually comes with a 12w charger). We've found that the iPad Mini, using the 5w charger it came with, takes around 3-3.5 hours to charge from 0-100%. What happens when you use the higher wattage charger? Well, it charges faster! Using the 10w iPad 3 charger, we were able to charge the iPad Mini from 0-100% in about 2.5 hours, a difference of around 25%. It's probably not a best practice to use ...

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    The iPad Mini is quite cute. It's smaller than you think it would be, and it's a whole lot thinner than you're probably thinking. And unless you've held one, the pictures just don't do the size justice. So here's a video, plus a gallery of comparison photos, to help you get a better sense for the size of the iPad Mini.                 iPad Mini vs. iPad 3 iPad Mini vs. Microsoft Surface RT iPad Mini vs. Nexus 7 iPad Mini vs. Galaxy Note II iPad Mini vs. Kindle Fire HD 7

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    The verdict is in: smaller tablets are awesome. They have great one-handed usability, they are portable, and they're great for reading and watching video. The Nexus 7 (which we reviewed not too long ago) and the iPad Mini the are two of the best options if you want a tablet that is smaller than the larger 10" size. But they are also very different. The Nexus 7 is less expensive and is made of glass and plastic, which does indeed make it feel a bit cheap, but lends to a light and comfortable in-hand feel. The iPad Mini, on the other hand, is more expensive and has better build quality. ...

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    If you've got an iPad 3, you might be curious (and also frustrated by the early release of) the iPad 4, which adds a new CPU and the lightning charging port. The most notable feature, certainly, is the faster CPU, which Apple claims to provide double the performance than the A5x, found inside the iPad 3. In our review of the iPad 3, we charged that it was not significantly faster than the iPad 2, offering up occasional lag and stutters. The A6 chip, making its debut in the iPhone 5, is much more promising than was the A5. It's a 32nm CPU that provides increased performance and lower ...

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    It's here! Well, they're here. That is, the iPad 4 (going by the new of "iPad with Retina Display") and iPad mini are in the house. Both iPads, in a way, try to fix what's wrong with the current iPad: it's thick and heavy, and it's laggy at times. The iPad 4 addresses the latter problem by including the Apple A6x CPU, which is a dual-core, quad-core GPU chip that is supposed to be twice as fast as the iPad 3. And the iPad mini addresses the former issue by being super thin and super light. In this video we cover a few first impressions:   First impressions for the iPad mini: The ...

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    If you recently updated your iPad 3 to iOS 6.0.1, there's a new feature that Apple hasn't advertised: it includes the same finger-rejection software that is found on the iPad mini. This allows you to hold the device while resting a thumb on the screen without the iPad registering a finger press. It's helpful if you want to hold the iPad with one hand. We have yet to test this function on other versions of the iPad, so if you have an iPad 2, let us know in the comments if you, too, are seeing the finger-rejection feature. We just received the iPad 4 and can confirm that finger-rejection is ...

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    Some might forgot that Microsoft was one of the first to the tablet market. Back in the 2000s, Bill Gates saw tremendous potential in the future of tablet devices. So much so that he pushed his company to invest in pen-input. But the technology wasn't right for the time, nor was the supposition that tablets should operate like a desktop computer. Tablet PCs of the day, also known as "Slate PCs", were thick, heavy, and had terrible battery life, not to mention they were built for stylus input and not optimized for finger input. And while Microsoft continued to invest in the thought that ...

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    Windows RT is difficult to explain, so this video is our best effort to show you how it works and how it's different. But here's a summary: Windows RT is a tale of two worlds. One, the desktop world, that looks like a Windows desktop, but isn't, because no apps can be added to it. The apps that it comes with (IE 10, File Explorer, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and all other built-in Windows apps like Calculator, Notepad, Control Panel, and yes, even Paint) are the apps you are stuck with. If you try to install Photoshop, Spotify, Chrome, or any other executable made for x86-powered computers, ...

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    Here in the northeastern United States, hurricane Sandy is starting to mess up our hair - and our schedules. Google's big Nexus-centric announcement, originally scheduled for today, had to be pushed back due to the storm, but that didn't stop the big G from dropping the news of the new Nexus 4. For 2013, the Nexus 4 will be Google's pre-emptive answer to flagships Windows Phone 8 devices, other Androids, and even the iPhone 5 and perhaps the one that comes after that. While we have yet to get our hands on the Nexus 4, the pieces have come together to create a device that will undoubtedly ...

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    It's finally here! The first Microsoft tablet, hopefully in a long line of Microsoft tablets to come. The reason why this product is so important is because Microsoft pretty much invented the Tablet PC, and sadly never really did succeed in it by depending on its partners to push it. We're not really sure why it took so long for Microsoft to build their own computer in order to drive their innovation going forward, but we're glad it's here. Now this first version of the Surface runs Windows RT, which is Microsoft’s new version of the OS optimized for mobile processors. What makes it ...

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    Samsung has done it again: they've managed to release a product that will find a home on every major carrier in the US, and many around the world. And not only will it be available widely, but the carriers will have little to no say in how the device looks (save for some added bloatware): all Galaxy Note II's will have, at most, some carrier branding on the back cover, and that's it. The Note II is the successor to the category-defining original Note, which went on to be quite a popular device. It seems that people want a huge screen, even if that means that one-handed usability isn't ...

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    Let's say you already own an iPad. Whether the first generation, second, or third, you might be wondering if you need a second tablet...a smaller tablet. Or maybe you're wondering if you should sell your 9.7" iPad and put it towards the purchase of an iPad Mini. Is that a wise course of action? To answer that question, we must look at what the iPad Mini can do that the larger 9.7" iPad mini cannot. Let's break it down.           One-Handed Usability Unless you've got basketball-player sized hands, the iPad Mini is the only iPad you can hold with one hand. That's ...

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    At last. My complaints of the iPad being too thick and heavy were abated today with the announcement of the iPad Mini. While it would have been nice if the screen resolution wasn't that of the last (now last-last) generation iPad, the thinness and reduction in weight will more than make up for the display being not as crisp as the iPad with the Retina display. Because let's face it: while the Nexus 7 is a fantastic value, the app selection on Android for tablets is still terrible. The app selection on the iPad is fantastic. And with the iPad Mini, thanks to not introducing a new ...

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