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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    The latest entrant into the quad core CPU arena for Android is the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. Qualcomm has a fantastic track record of providing fast and power-friendly CPUs all the way back to the ubiquitous single core Snapdragon QSD8250 found in the HTC HD2. Today, the S4 Pro is starting to show up in the market in the LG Optimus G, and is expected to ship in the Nexus 4 and the HTC DLX. But it faces competition. The Nvidia Tegra3 CPU, found in the HTC One X, the Nexus 7, and a handful of other devices, was the first quad core CPU to ship earlier this year. An update to the Tegra3, ...

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    Dear T-Mobile, I live in a suburb of Philadelphia. It's a highly-populated area, though just a few miles down the road it becomes a bit rural. A couple of years ago, I decided to switch to your network. I liked what you were doing to upgrade to HSPA+, and you had some very affordable plan choices. But my stint on your network didn't last long: I quickly witnessed the downside to being on America's smallest carrier. Coverage in and around town was poor. I would drop down to EDGE often, and whereas on AT&T I would normally have full bars, with you, that just wasn't the case. So, I ...

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    The Android Toolbox is a six part video series covering Android essentials. Whether beginner or advanced, this series will introduce you to interesting ways to customize your Android phone or tablet, methods for getting multimedia onto your device, and even apps to control your home or apartment. For many years now, it's been pretty easy to get multimedia onto your device if you're simply transferring it from your computer. This method is ideal for those that own CD and DVD collections and just want to be able to convert their content to digital so that they can have it in their pocket ...

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    When Apple announced the iPhone 5, they claimed they it had improved battery life over the iPhone 4S. Specifically, web browsing over 3G went from 6 hours to 8 hours. And if this claim was true, it'd be great: for many, the iPhone 4S could get through an entire day of use without needing a charge, so logic holds that the iPhone 5 would perform similarly, plus a bit more. Alas, that hasn't been the case for most iPhone 5 users, many of which are complaining about getting terrible battery life, even after a handful of charge/discharge cycles (which should help to improve battery life over ...

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    There are several indications that Windows Phone 8 will have a trick or two up its sleeve. For one, at all recent Windows 8 product launches (whether for the Nokia Lumia 920 or the Windows Phone 8X and 8S), the OEMs were being particularly shy about letting members of the press have hands-on time with the actual software of the device. In fact, the company rep had to hold the device if you wanted to see past the lock screen. This either means that there is something to hide, or that Windows 8 is missing key features, and Microsoft (and its partner OEMs) don't want people to pass judgement ...

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    Michael and I got some to spend some time with the fine folks at AT&T at a New York City event where the company showcased their fall lineup of devices. While most of them we have seen before, there were some new devices on-hand that were just recently announced. We used the event as an opportunity to play around with some new devices, like the One X+, the One VX, the Lumia 920, and the Galaxy Camera. Check out our hands-on video below, and scroll down for some early impressions. One X+ When we reviewed the original HTC One X, we had several complaints: the camera wasn't that great, ...

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    It sounds nice when you say it: "paperwhite". The new eReader from Amazon is one of the biggest changes to the Kindle line of devices yet. The Paperwhite features a higher-resolution display, which uses capacitive touch, unlike previous Kindles which had a lower-resolution display with a less precise screen input technology. But perhaps the biggest change to the new flagship Kindle is the inclusion of a front-light that, like the B&N Nook Glowlight, causes the screen to "glow" without the harshness of an LED bulb that you might currently be using with a Kindle. The backlight is ...

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    As per the earlier rumors, HTC is indeed making a new version of its One X flagship model. The HTC One X+ adds a faster CPU thanks to a Nvidia Tegra 3 AP37 CPU clocking at 1.7GHz (versus the Tegra 3 clocking at 1.5GHz), a bigger 2100mAh battery (versus 1800mAh), more storage at 64GB (versus 32GB), and an improved front-facing camera. Like the Windows Phone 8x, the One X+ has an amplifier external speaker, which is a great addition for those that want to play music without needing a speaker dock. It will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, along with a new version of HTC Sense called Sense ...

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    Whether you love or hate Apple's iOS operating system, you undoubtedly pay attention to the company's yearly release of the iPhone because it changes the industry for months to come. Some may argue that this industry-changing force has lessened over the years, but make no mistake about it: the iPhone is the phone with which every other phone competes. It's the single most popular phone in the world. The iPhone 5 is not just an incremental update, like the 4S was compared to the 4. It's got a new design, a new CPU, a new operating system, new radios, and even a new connector on the ...

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    Many revere the HTC One X as having the best display on a smartphone: the colors are incredibly accurate and well-saturated, the contrast is just right, and the clarity is extremely high thanks to a solid pixel density. With the release of the iPhone 5 and alleged improvements to the display technology beyond what we got with the 4S, does the One X maintain its position as having the best smartphone display? In this video, we unscientifically compare the two displays of the iPhone 5 and One X and try to determine just which one is better. Which do you think is better? Is there a smartphone ...

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    In this video, we compare the features and experience of the latest version of Android, version 4.1 Jelly Bean, with that of iOS, version 6. As is always the case with Android, Jelly Bean provides a high level of customizability and control. The notification shade is now even better with the ability for developers to add quick actions. Add to that the simplicity of the "swipe to remove" UI we first saw in Ice Cream Sandwich, and it's easy to see how Android provides the best possible notification experience. But iOS, too, has improved the notification window in version 6. New is the ...

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    The iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III are undoubtedly two of the hottest smartphones on the market right now, and for good reason: both have refined hardware, fantastic specs, great cameras, and price points that don't break the bank if you're buying on a new contract. While the Galaxy S III is available on T-Mobile and the iPhone 5 is not, both devices are widely available in the US, and also around the world. Yet both devices are very different, and we can learn about what Samsung and Apple think is an ideal mobile experience based on the features and functionality of these two devices. For ...

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    If you're still not sure whether to upgrade your iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, perhaps we can help. In this video we compare both iPhones in a plethora of catagories: hardware, specs, app launch speed, web browser speed, screen quality, battery life, gaming, and more. In a lot of ways the devices are very different: the iPhone 5's design is new, it has a different connector, and inside, the hardware has changed dramatically. But at the same time, the iPhone 5 takes literally ever spec of the 4S and bumps it up a notch. As such, the iPhone 5 becomes somewhat predictable: apps open faster ...

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    It's here, at long last. The iPhone 5 is Apple's answer to whatever Samsung, HTC, or any other smartphone manufacturer will come up with in the next twelve months. The new iPhone, like its predecessors, will set the bar and literally change product pipelines for many months to come as OEMs try to compete with Apple's latest and greatest (although the extent to which Apple has set the bar again is questionable given that the iPhone 5, in many ways, is like an improved iPhone 4S). Our iPhone 5 just arrived, and in this video, we've unboxed it and given you some first impressions. First ...

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    When many phones switched to the smaller microSIM standard, many found it easy to cut their SIM down the smaller size, either with a razor blade or a special tool. With nanoSIM making its debut on the iPhone 5, does the same process apply? The answer is yes, and here is proof. In fact, the nanoSIM is just a microSIM with no plastic around the edges. Not only will you need a sharp razor blad and a straight edge to guide you, but you'll also need some 180 grit-or-higher sand paper to slightly reduce the thickness of the resulting nanoSIM. And if you fear that you might one day want to go ...

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    Today Adam and I got to spend some time with the new Windows Phone 8x and Windows Phone 8S. No, those aren't new versions of Microsoft's mobile operating system, they are names of HTC's newest Windows Phone devices. And yes, Nokia is still Microsoft's closest partner in their endeavor to sell as many Windows Phones as possible. Setting the newly announced hardware to the side for a moment (I'll come back to that), today was a very confusing day for those of us that have been following the Windows Phone story. Specifically, we became confused when HTC CEO Peter Chou and Microsoft CEO Steve ...

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    Amazon invented the low-cost tablet segment with the original Kindle Fire, which went on to be Amazon's best-selling product ever. For many, it was an ideal media consumption device: it was thin, light, had a reasonably good screen, and was tied to Amazon's rich offering of movies, music, books, and magazines. The new 7" Kindle Fire HD a higher resolution 1280x800 display (the same as the Nexus 7), a dual-core CPU, more RAM, and more storage. It's also thinner and lighter that the original Kindle Fire, plus it has a host of new software features that make consuming content more ...

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    There's a hidden feature of Jelly Bean that Google has hidden from users: multiple user support. This smart feature, only available with a custom ROM or with a little bit of tweaking to your installation of Jelly Bean, allows you to set up new user accounts on your phone or tablet and grant guest users access to select apps. Not only that, but guest users see a fresh installation of Android, keeping your data private. Also, guests cannot change any settings; to change settings, you must switch to the primary account, which you can protect with a password. It's a pretty useful feature if ...

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    Samsung has been mostly uncontested in the phablet space that it invented with the Galaxy Note. We haven't seen a competing device from Motorola or HTC, though there are rumors of a 5" 1080p Android from HTC heading to Verizon. LG, though, is going up against the Note with the Optimus Vu, now available stateside as the LG Intuition on Verizon Wireless for $199.99. The Intuition has a smaller, but wider screen than the Note at 5.0" (versus 5.3" on the Note and 5.5" on the Note II) thanks to its 4:3 aspect ratio afforded by the 1024x768 resolution (making for a pixel density of 256). Inside, ...

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    Whereas the edges of the iPhone 4 and 4S were silver-metallic in color whether you bought the white or black model, the iPhone 5 is a bit different in this respect. If you order the Black iPhone 5, you get slate edges (that is, they're tinted gray/gunmetal). If you order the white iPhone 5, you get silver edges (that is, they're the same color as on the iPhone 4 and 4s). You can see this for yourself if, via the Apple store app, you go to Products, iPhone 5, and you go on to choose the capacity and color. Does this change which iPhone you're going to get?

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    Wondering if you can take advantage of the lower subsidized prices for the new iPhone 5? You can find out right now if you download the Apple store app on your iOS device and select "iPhone 5" then "Upgrade iPhone." You'll be asked to put in your account holder's phone number, billing zip, and other security information. If you are indeed elegible for an upgrade, an iPhone 5 will cost you either $199, $299, or $399 depending on capacity. If you aren't eligible for an upgrade, you can still buy an iPhone 5, but at the un-subsidized price of $449, $549, or $649.

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    As has been the case since the second-generation iPhone came was released, you have a choice of either black or white if you plan on getting the new iPhone 5. In this case, the color you pick will be used for the front panel, as well as on the top and bottom strips that flank that matte metal finish on the back. Not only that, but the black or white color is applied between the cut outs for the antenna. And it's not an easy choice: while the white version will deter fingerprints the best, the black version is more striking and formal. So if you're getting an iPhone 5, let us know in the ...

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    At last, it's here. After what has been eternity since the last major change to the iPhone, the iPhone 5 has been revealed, and wow...it looks familiar. Not only does it look familiar because it was leaked as far back ago as the spring, but also because in a lot of ways, the iPhone 5 is a souped-up iPhone 4S. And as always, that's not a bad thing. Apple literally went feature-by-feature and made the iPhone 4S better, starting with a new design that does away with the two pieces of glass (finally!) in favor of a glass and aluminum design which looks quite handsome. In this video, we talk ...

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    It was at IFA that Samsung announced the new Note I. We were on-location in Berlin to give you an early hands-on preview of Samsung's updated phablet. But as is usually the case at trade shows, three minutes of hands-on time might not be enough to show off the really cool functionality of the device, or to compare it with other devices. Pocketnow was invited to New York recently by Samsung to take a closer look at the Galaxy Note 2. We used it as an opportunity to compare the Galaxy Note II to the first Galaxy Note, plus to show off some of the cool things you can do with the S-Pen that ...

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    For just $199, you've now got two really good tablet choices: the Nexus 7 and the 7" Kindle Fire HD, two very different tablets. It was Amazon that was first to the market with a low-cost tablet. The original Kindle Fire debuted at $199, which was unheard of in a time of $499 iPad prices. It was a fantastic value and became the best-selling product on Amazon. Then Google came around with the quad-core Jelly Bean-packing wonder that is the Nexus 7. It was better in every way compared to the Kindle Fire, and that, too, became a hot seller. Not resting on its laurels, Amazon has announced the ...

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