Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

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    We live in a world where everything is available "on the cloud". We have more online storage options that I can count. Streaming radio is not only so widespread, the majority of online radio stations even stream for free on the T-Mobile "uncarrier" network. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others offer streaming video with HD resolutions, even up to 4K. We have LTE that provides data speeds in the dozens of Mbps, HSPA+ picks up the slack when we wander outside of LTE coverage, and we're almost always within range of someone's WiFi bubble. Even with all those streaming options and methods, I ...

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    I've been rather impressed with the SoCs that Qualcomm has been releasing under the "Snapdragon" brand, and really fell in love with the chips with the S4 line up back in the day. The S4 Pro was the sought after processor for smartphones and tablets - back in 2012. As we all know, technology marches ever onward. Phones and tablets powered by the Snapdragon 800 series took center stage in 2014. Now that 2015 is upon is, there's a new generation of SoCs on deck, but the Snapdragon 810 is quite a bit different than any Snapdragon you've seen before. Not Krait Qualcomm makes the Snapdragon ...

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    If you ask "certain" people, they'll tell you that Android is inherently laggy (then again, if you don't ask them, they'll eventually volunteer that opinion anyway). In the past, generally speaking, Android hasn't been "laggy" per se, the operating system just handles processes and priorities differently than others may. Put simply, as soon as you touch the screen of an iPhone or iPad all processing stops while the OS devotes its full attention to your interaction - at the expense of stopping everything else. This gives the impression of fluidity and speed, but in reality, processes take ...

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    Some phone makers have to scramble to combat the wave of people reporting its new models are bending... other manufactures embrace it as a feature! The latter being the case for LG's latest smartphone, announced at CES 2015, the G Flex 2 - and based on its spec sheet and our hands-on experience, it's already the best smartphone of 2015. Will it bend? When shopping for a new phone or tablet, we generally look at build quality as a major deciding factor. Bending is usually an indicator of sub-par workmanship, and whether consciously or not, products that bend quickly earn a "pass". ...

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    I'm a big fan of Qi wireless charging (just in case you didn't know that already). I use an Anker charger on my desk at home. My Moto 360 smartwatch came with its own Qi wireless charging stand (but I can put it on any other charger just in case I need to top it off throughout the day). I have two chargers at work. I even have a wireless charger in my car and a Zens battery with Qi built right in. (And just in case your phone or tablet doesn't come with Qi out of the box, you can add it quickly, easily, and very inexpensively!) It sounds perfect, right? There is, however, a problem with ...

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    I've been a T-Mobile customer since the company was called Voicestream - yeah, that long. One of the things I always loved about the service was that I could tether a PDA, tablet, or laptop to my phone and be able to get work done anywhere I needed to. I'm not a road warrior, so I don't use a lot of data when tethered, nor do I tether very often, but I need to be able to tether with only a little notice. Regardless of whether I was using Windows Mobile or Android, tethering was never terribly difficult, I just opened the settings, turned it on, and away I went. When Android KitKat came ...

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    We've long been fans of Qi Wireless Charging, but not all devices support the standard. Devices that include Qi can be recharged through electromagnetic induction rather than by directly connecting to a power source via  a charging cable. This requires some additional components inside Qi-compatible devices as well as a "base station" or charging pad, but once you've tried it, you'll very likely be hooked. However, if your phone or tablet didn't come with Qi support built-in, you may have thought you were out of luck. Not so! If your smartphone or tablet has a micro-USB port, it's ...

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    Yesterday I talked about why I rooted my Nexus 6. No, it wasn't to run a custom ROM (though that's a great reason to root your smartphone). No, it wasn't so I could run a custom kernel (although that's another wonderful reason to root as well). My reasons for rooting the Nexus 6 were much more basic: so I can run tools and utilities, and make configuration changes that I wouldn't otherwise be able to do. Many of you mirrored my sentiment, and even listed off a lot of apps and utilities that you use thanks to rooting your own phones (thank you for that, by the way, I've got a whole lot more ...

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    There was a time (not that long ago) when Power Users needed to root their Android-powered smartphones to do anything really powerful with them. Primary among those reason was to flash a custom ROM. These days stock Android includes many of the features and functionality that were previously the exclusive realm of custom ROMs. Sure, there are still ample reasons to flash a custom ROM, but for an increasing number of us Power Users, "stock plus root" is good enough. Here's why I went with a Nexus 6 root, but kept the stock ROM. Tethering I'm one of those people who doesn't tether a lot, ...

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    One thing all our portable electronics have in common, whether smartphone, tablet, phablet, or wearable; or Android, Windows Phone, or iOS, is the battery. Unlike desktop computers that get their power through a plug in the wall, all of these devices have to carry their own power source onboard, and battery capacity hasn't really kept up with the rest of the tech inside our devices. To combat this, OEMs have tried to introduce new ways to keep our portables charged. From SoCs that are more energy efficient, more power conscious code, Qi wireless chargers, and now we even have speed ...

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    In this line of work you see a lot of tech: phones of all sizes, tablets from the major vendors, and people you barely know seek you out to get your opinion on whatever is new, or to show off whatever they're packing. Most of the time it's pretty cool. Sometimes it can be creepy. At the end of the day, the positives generally outweigh the negatives, which makes it all worth while. I've been interested in cutting edge tech since I was in high school - maybe even before.  I've seen the evolution from huge "mobile phones" to small and svelte "cellular phones", and I've seen that trend ...

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    Samsung's flagship smartphone is the Galaxy S line of phones, with the most recent iteration being the Galaxy S5, a 5.1-incher with an HD display. With rumors of an upgrade beginning to circle and speculation running wild, what do I want out of the Galaxy S6 - the logical successor to the Galaxy S throne - and what must Samsung do to secure it's top spot in the upcoming year? 64-bit Apple's already gone 64-bit. Desktop computers and laptops have been 64-bit for years. Servers have been 64-bit for even longer. It's time for the switch to 64-bit in our mobile electronic devices, too. Many ...

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    By now we should all know that we need to lock our smartphones, phablets, and tablets, right? How many of us actually do? I know I do! That's mostly because I live in a household with grubby little hands that try to get into all my new toys review units. The other reason is because I work with a bunch of practical jokers. They always want to change my ringtones to something inappropriate. I don't where where they got the idea from, I only pick up their unattended iPhones and say "Siri, call me Star Lord". We all know that passwords are the most secure, but they take too long to type in. ...

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    Back in August we took Blackphone through its paces - two of them, actually. You see, a phone by itself isn't all that compelling. After all, you've got to have someone with another phone to talk to. Such is the case with Blackphone. As a quick refresher, Blackphone is more than just a phone, it's a secure platform (based on Android) that includes a suite of apps and subscriptions to various services that really make the phone an ultra-private communication tool. It was great in concept, but only garnered a 6.6 in our full review. As a concept, Blackphone is amazing; in practice, it left ...

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    I've been using the Nexus 6 as my daily driver for several days now. It's a beautiful phone! It's fast, has excellent graphics, a camera that does everything I need it to, and a battery that I've been longing for! The only down-side? It's big. REALLY big! It's for that reason that the Nexus 5 should stick around for another year - if not more! To start things off, I'm not a small man, and I've got quite large hands. No, we're not talking basketball all-star size, but I can stretch an octave plus three keys. (If you don't know how far that is, find a piano and see how far you can stretch.) ...

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    Back in May of this year we took the HTC Desire 816 for a spin and concluded it was "a mid-tier phone with flagship DNA". We hoped those genes were dominant and that we'd begin to see more flagship-like performance out of HTC mid-rangers. This time around we're looking at the HTC Desire Eye – and with its huge front-facing selfie camera, it's looking right back at us. How does it perform? Will it follow in its brother's near-flagship footsteps? Should you consider the Desire Eye for your next phone? Let's dive right into the HTC Desire Eye review! Video ...

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    When we talk about root or "rooting" your smartphone or tablet, we're talking about bypassing the built-in securities and permissions that come prepackaged on your device so you can obtain "privileged control" or "root access". Our Apple-toting friends often call this "jailbreaking", which, in a manner of speaking, it is. OEMs lock our devices down "for our own good", to keep us from breaking them or allowing malicious software to get inside and do damage. A secondary objective is to make sure that we can't do anything that the OEM, carrier, or OS vendor don't want us to do - which makes ...

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    I love everything that I can do with my Android-powered smartphone. Not only does it keep me connected wherever I go, it helps me be productive even when I'm away from my computer. However, I spend most of my days in front of a computer screen writing code and making sure servers hum along nicely. That's when my smartphone sits on my desk, charging up for when I need to go "into the wild". During my day I'm usually neck deep in a compiler, spreadsheet, or database, but all my alerts still go to my phone. Phones are great that way, they aggregate all our messages regardless of their source ...

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    A while back, Jesper Jensen from Denmark wrote in to the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast with a question about antivirus software for Android, specifically, whether or not he needs it on his new Xperia Z3 Compact. I have just received my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and I am infatuated with this little beauty. Coming from a Nokia Lumia 620 it is quite a leap ahead, though I do find I miss a few things about Windows phone. One of the things I didn't miss about Android is the ... more or less useful (apps that come pre-installed from Sony, such as) AVG antivirus. Under normal circumstances I would ...

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    Yes, you read the headline correctly! Although the Nexus 9 is the Google-branded tablet that was recently announced and is currently available in the Play Store, it's got us scratching our heads. Android 5.0 Lollipop is great, no question, and having the (arguably) first 64-bit Android-powered device certainly sets your status well above those of us mere mortals that are stuck in the archaic days of 32-bit processors (queue the Apple fanboys touting the fact that "their" platform has had 64-bit for a "long long time"). We've taken the Nexus 9 head to head against the iPad Air 2 and even ...

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    Thanksgiving in these United States is historically a time for people of different backgrounds and beliefs to come together to enjoy each other's company and conversation over a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Or so the greeting card companies would have us believe! In reality, it's one of the most stressful days of the year as family (who have been avoiding each other all year) are forced into the same room. Diverse opinions and preferences clash. Tempers soar. Words are said. Feelings are bruised. Eventually more than a few go home vowing to write off their ...

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    Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest iteration of Google's mobile operating system, has been rolling out since the beginning of the month. Not everyone has gotten it yet, and some won't get the update at all. Because of the rapid development cycle of consumer electronics these days, OEMs don't have much incentive to update "old" devices with new versions of operating systems, it's much more profitable just to sell you a new device with the new OS already on it. One of the purposes of the Nexus program is so Google can showcase its latest and greatest software on a hardware reference ...

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    Android 5.0 Lollipop brings with it a lot of new features and functionality, and it just looks nicer - but that's not my favorite part. My favorite feature of Android Lollipop, believe it or not, is the setup process! The first thing you'll see when you power on your Lollipop-powered smartphone or tablet is the welcome screen. The screen itself looks beautiful. After you select your language and locale you're asked if you want to connect to your WiFi network to download all the settings and apps using that network rather than your cellular data plan. Once you connect you'll be asked if ...

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    October 29th, 2014 was the day that Google began to take pre-orders for the Nexus 6 in these United States. Depending on your source, the ordering period lasted for anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds. Not long after Google announced that it would be making more stock available every Wednesday, but these allotments have also met with terribly availability. As I've mentioned in the past, I try not to get hardware through "special" means. I want to go through the same process as you, the same time as you, and undergo the same experience that you do. This puts me as close to you, the Pocketnow ...

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    With the Motorola-made Nexus 6 starting to arrive in customer's hands, the Nexus 4 is hardly noteworthy anymore. It's screen was a measly 720p and measured 4.7-inches with a pixel density of less than 320. With a quad-core Snapdragon APQ8064 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU, LG's Nexus 4 was a powerhouse - back in its day. It shipped with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but got fairly timely updates all the way up to Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Then tragedy struck. Google's support window on devices follows the industry standard of about 18-months. The Nexus 4 was announced in October ...

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