Posts by Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher has followed the world of mobile technology for over ten years as hobbyist, retailer, and reviewer. A lengthy stint as a Sprint Nextel employee and a long-time devotion to webOS have cemented his love for the underdog platforms of the world. In addition to serving as Pocketnow's Reviews Editor, Michael is a stage, screen, and voice actor, as well as co-founder of a profitable YouTube-based business. He lives in Boston, MA. Read more about Michael Fisher!

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    Back in December I was faced with a situation familiar to anyone who's ever bought a gadget as a gift: I needed to replace my parents' iPhones. Not because there was anything wrong with them, and certainly not because my parents have a need for the latest or greatest in mobile technology; rather, I needed to replace their devices because, after two years, their paltry 16GB apiece of storage had run out. You don't need to be an iOS user to know the pain of running out of smartphone capacity. With more and more Android manufacturers omitting the once-standard MicroSD card, choosing the ...

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    Update: Hey, look at you! Getting the podcast from our post. Podcatchers can update their feeds starting at 3am Eastern on Sunday. Alcatel One Touch might be shipping the new Idol smartphone in Virtual Reality packaging, iPhone error 53 is frustrating users who have had their home buttons repaired, and Tim Cook takes his ball and runs home after people tweet mean things about his Super Bowl photo. Another week of mobile technology news has passed, and we’re going to talk about all of it, on episode 187 of the Pocketnow Weekly! Watch the video broadcast from 2:15pm Eastern on ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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    Update: Hopefully you'll forgive the "airport" audio quality in the latter half of the show. Thanks for being patient. Fitbit gets a fancy new band, manufacturers old and new are picking up the Windows Mobile mantle and a phone that'll probably never see the light of day changes up its OS. It must be another week in mobile technology, and that must mean it's time for another episode of our little pow-wow. Join us as we get ready to get techy on episode 186 of the Pocketnow Weekly! Watch the video broadcast from 1:15pm Eastern on February 4 (click here for your local time), or check ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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    You know what's cool? Having a bunch of connected gadgets. You know what sucks? Having a unique phone number for each and every one. Thanks to the proliferation of instant messaging and VOIP calling services, being tied to a mobile phone number has become less of an issue in recent years – but there are still those who prefer the old-fashioned voice call, and the venerable SMS is still a solid standby when you've got friends who chafe at the intrusiveness of Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts. For them, the idea of maintaining separate phone numbers for a 4G tablet, ...

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    Update: Our official audio podcast publication will be set to run at 3:00am Eastern on Sundays most weeks. We'll advise you of special cases as necessary. And as always you can hit up the podcast post on the site for direct access to the download links as soon as they're up. Like, right now. Enjoy! Our CES followups are done, our convention-center head colds are almost dribbled out, and the first small scents of jamon are starting to waft over from Barcelona. It must be almost springtime for Pocketnow, and you know what that means: the MWC 2016 rumor reactor is humming its way up to 100% ...

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    As efforts like After The Buzz, the Pocketnow Weekly and Empty Nest demonstrate, we’re constantly searching for fresh ways to review mobile technology. The newest product of those efforts is Pocketnow’s “Review Rebuttal” series, in which a member of our team is assigned to test a smartphone or tablet that’s already gone through our standard review process. While the resulting video or editorial doesn’t affect the “official” Pocketnow review score, we hope it provides added context by showcasing an editor’s personal opinion, rather than a team-wide consensus. We call it ...

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    In 2016, most chatter that includes the word "BlackBerry" is focused on the company's Priv handset, and for good reason. As BlackBerry's first Android phone, the Priv is a dramatic shift in strategy (and a tacit admission that the company's previous one wasn't working). As one of the few Androids with a physical keyboard, it's also a sorely-needed bit of novelty in a landscape otherwise dominated by ever-homogenizing slabs. Despite its flaws I quite like the Priv, and I'm excited to see what BlackBerry has in store to follow it. There was even bigger news out of the erstwhile king of ...

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    Despite their creeping commoditization, smartphones are still some of the most exciting pieces of technology you can buy today. The old joke about using such a powerful device mainly for watching cat videos is a good one, but I find myself identifying more strongly with its setup than its punchline, the bit about carrying a device "capable of accessing the entirety of knowledge known to man." Knowledge is useless, though, without a fast and easy means of accessing it. That's where, for the past decade or so, smartphone manufacturers have been trying to one-up one another. Because more ...

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    When we first laid eyes on the Huawei Mate 8 at CES 2016, we were only mildly impressed. While its clean industrial design and oversized battery were welcome additions to the Mate family, the phone still came with software quite literally designed for another continent – and its overloaded feature set seemed more at home on a Samsung phone from 2012 than a modern Android flagship. A week with the Mate 8 back home in Boston hasn't changed our feelings about the phone's shortcomings, but it has given us time to appreciate all the advantages this device has to offer. And when one of ...

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    Update: The podcast will be on your RSS/iTunes/Xbox feed starting January 24 at 3:00am Eastern. It's also down below right now. We would've liked to feature some fanart this week, but we'll have to wait until next time to show it off. HTC Nexus phones, a free smartwatch with your smartphone and iOS apps coming to Windows Phone. Who says the post-CES lull has to be dull? All of the above –plus a special announcement from Pocketnow's Editor-in-Chief and your listener mail– awaits on episode 184 of the Pocketnow Weekly! So put on your Perfume and varnish up your Islandwood; we're ...

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    If you followed Pocketnow's CES 2016 coverage, you'll know that LG didn't follow up last year's G Flex 2 with a third-generation sequel. That's a shame, because it likely would have been the star of the show, at least from a smartphone perspective. For two generations, the G Flex line has brought the most futuristic features LG has to offer, including them not in a reference design or engineering prototype, but in a consumer smartphone available to everyday people. With the LG G5 rumored for MWC 2016 in Barcelona next month, here's a few features I'm hoping make the jump from the ...

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    When Huawei announced its new smartphone lineup at CES earlier this month, it followed up the hoopla with its usual generosity. That is: it gave everyone in attendance a review sample of either its new Mate 8 phablet, or a gold-colored refresh of the Nexus 6P. My colleague Jaime Rivera, perhaps anticipating an After The Buzz video in his future, went for the 6P. But despite my deep respect for the newest Nexus, I sprung for the weirder of the cousins for two reasons: I knew Pocketnow would have to post a Mate 8 review, and I wanted to write that review. The last Huawei smartphone I ...

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    It’s been nearly a year since we first tried HTC and Valve’s game-changing VR headset. In the time since, it’s gotten a new name and better hardware, plus rumors of a hefty price tag to go with its four-month delivery delay. But despite the challenges, the Vive Pre still delivers the best virtual reality experience we've seen yet. We went hands-on with the new visor on our last day at CES 2016 and our entire ground team got to put their faces in Valve's virtual world; check out the video below for a taste of what we saw. (In the mood to read instead of view? For a full write-up of ...

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    The question comes sharp and laced with an incredulity borne of too much exposure to the power-user tech-news cycle: you actually like the Pixel C? Why? It's a fair question. Our review, while largely positive, called into question the Pixel C's pricing and its apparent identity crisis –is it a tablet or is it a convertible?– while other outlets dove deep to discover its troubled upbringing. With such a damning origin story and an overpriced accessory practically required to make the thing worth using, why would a so-called technology expert like me take a $650 hit to build ...

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    Update: The podcast is available for direct download on this page right now! It'll also be hitting the RSS feeds (ergo, your podcatcher) at 3:00am ET on January 17. Enjoy! The comfortable Airbnb with the log burning in the fireplace is gone, as are the dry sandwiches and free coffee of the press room. We're back in our respective cities following the crazy hallway podcasting days of CES 2016, most of us wiser, all of us older, and at least one of us with a big 'ole post-Vegas beard. And now that you're caught up with where we're sitting ... we're gonna catch you up with what's new in ...

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    I’m in the cockpit of a spaceplane, a control stick in my right hand and a throttle in my left. All around me, dotting the space between asteroids, are the explosions of my enemies. Their fiery destruction is recorded by the computer screens surrounding me, bathing me in a serene glow that reflects off the canopy over my head. In short, I’m in my own personal, impossible heaven. So why does it feel so … conventional?     The Vive Pre is the updated version of the original HTC Re Vive VR headset I tested nearly a year ago, the device that singlehandedly made me a VR believer by ...

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    Chinese juggernaut Huawei has had a tough time breaking into the US market, but that didn't stop the company from becoming the world's third-largest mobile phone vendor in 2015. Buoyed by a well-received smartwatch and maybe the best Nexus phone ever, Huawei is kicking off 2016 with small revisions of each, as well as a new tablet that looks to offer a fuller, richer media experience. We just told you about those, and now we've got some news on the phone front, as Huawei prepares to bring its G8 to US shoppers. Huawei is following up its G8 global midranger with a US-specific version, ...

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    The future of connected fitness is here, and it comes in a big red box. When HTC and Under Armour invited me to a briefing on their newest “connected products” several weeks back, I felt the same way I always do about athletic technology: optimistic about the potential, but guarded because I’m really out of my depth when it comes to anything concerning fitness. And when the demo videos started rolling, a hard rock anthem playing over jump cuts between pro athletes and impossibly fit gym rats, I tuned out. I’d seen this kind of commercial before, more than once, and I had yet to ...

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    Update: We'll see you next week at CES 2016 in Las Vegas! That's if we remember to do the podcast in the first place... The stretch between Christmas/Hanukkah and New Year's is a farce. Even with CES 2016 looming on the horizon and PR pitches landing like buzzword-filled mortars at every compass point, getting any kind of work done with a belly full of holiday food and the crackling anticipation of New Year's Eve is just impossible. So for this final episode of the year, we're turning the wheel over to you, listeners and viewers, by taking any questions you want via email and ...

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    Update: After a week with the Lumia 950's bigger brother, the 950 XL, we've decided to append our new observations to this review. Scroll down to the bottom for that addendum if you're interested in hearing about Microsoft's bigger and badder (in more ways than one) Windows smartphone. When Microsoft announced in July that it was writing down almost the entire cost of its Nokia acquisition and laying off 7,800 employees from its phone division, many took it as a sign that the bell had finally tolled for Windows Phone. Despite a promising debut in 2010 and some very compelling ...

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    For the past two years, my home-for-the-holidays handheld has been a Windows Phone. My trusty Lumia 1020 saw me through a wild New Years' Eve party and a more sedate Christmas the following year, and on both occasions I cited the camera as the reason for my choice. Indeed, the 1020's 41MP monster was a better and more versatile choice than the iPhone or Android cameras available in 2013 and 2014, and it produced some wonderful photos from my holiday vacations. But now, coming off a double-review of Microsoft's two newest Windows Phones Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, I suspect that ...

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    Update: Who doesn't like some high-energy Peter Frampton and a touch of EXID to start a podcast, right? See you Wednesday! Some weeks, even listening to K-pop while prepping the rundown can't make the work go fast enough. As 2015 races to a close we've still got tons of work to do outside podcast-land, like finishing up our Pixel C and Lumia 950XL reviews and leaving the office in time to go see The Force Awakens. So you'll forgive us if we're a little pressed for time today. But not to worry: we're still gonna cover all the critical stuff from the world of mobile technology, like ...

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    The Pixel C probably isn't the tablet you think it is. When it was announced a few months back alongside Google's new Nexus phones, it was presented with its optional keyboard connected and positioned not as a tablet, but as a convertible (in fact, that's what the C stands for.) But while the hardware absolutely delivers in this respect, the software is still more smartphone than tablet. Does the Pixel C belong on your desk this holiday season? Scroll on down for our full Google Pixel C review! Video Review · Hardware & Keyboard · Software · Performance Pros/Cons · ...

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