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 Editorial Director, 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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    The Apple Watch has been on the market for a grand total of three days, and already reports of Apple Watch problems are rolling in. On the hardware side, probably the most visible Apple Watch problem thus far comes from noted YouTuber UnboxTherapy (of #bendgate fame), who took a variety of abrasive materials to two purported samples of the Apple Watch cover glass and found that the Ion-X material scratches more easily than expected. Granted, you're not going to be taking sandpaper to your smartwatch every day ever, but this does raise the question of just how well the Watch will fare ...

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    Apple may not be your favorite technology company, and it's first-generation smartwatch might be a little pricey for your taste, but any device that outstrips the competition's annual sales in a single day demands attention. Our own Adam Doud stayed up pretty late a few weeks back to order up a Sport edition, and now that it's hit Pocketnow's Boston offices, it's time to kick off the first step in the review process: the Apple Watch unboxing. In this video, we take you through the process of freeing the Apple Watch Sport from its retail packaging, stripping away box, then ...

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    The International Funkausstellung Berlin is more than an excuse to break out our best German pronunciation on the Pocketnow Weekly podcast; it's an annual showcase of the best in consumer technology, with a broad enough spectrum to include everything from washing machines to smartphones. It's in that latter category that some of the most visible announcements have come from IFA: four years ago, Samsung took the stage in Berlin to announce its groundbreaking Galaxy Note phablet, and it's used IFA as the launch venue for every subsequent Note handset since. Technology news isn't ...

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    At Pocketnow, Grundig isn't a brand we talk about too often, and the kitchen isn't a room we spend a lot of time in either. But the company just gave us a demo of its new Virtual User eXperience system at the IFA Global Press Conference, and the details were too cool not to share. Essentially, the VUX is a projection-based control system for a variety of kitchen hardware. An integrated projector built into the overhead fume hood shines down on the surfaces surrounding the stove, and the result is a scalable, movable user interface shining up from the countertop. The effect is a little ...

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    We're in Malta for the IFA Global Press Conference, where manufacturers have gathered to showcase everything from refrigerators to smartwatches. As you know, we're not too big on the appliance side of the scene (Haier's impressive compressorless refrigeration aside) so we were excited to find ZTE's Waiman Lam here with a boatload of mobile offerings to showcase, along with a peek into the company's plans for expansion going forward. First came the metrics. ZTE currently boasts 60 million active users around the globe, having shipped 100 million total devices in 2014 (48 million of which ...

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    Each year, Samsung releases two smartphones separated by roughly six months: one a mainstream flagship, the other an overpowered phablet. These are the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note, respectively, and though they target materially different types of consumer, we nonetheless directly compare them every single year. That's because there's a significant amount of bleedover interest when you get to this level of features and cost: people who don't really like large phones may nonetheless consider the Note 4 for its added features, just as those who really don't like compromise may find themselves ...

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    We learned last fall that Huawei knows a thing or two about fancy packaging … but this is taking things to a whole new level. As we described in our hands-on post last week, the Huawei P8 is the company's 2015 flagship offering, a 6.4mm-thin, 144g slab of steel that's currently the thinnest smartphone in our Boston review labs. Our Mystic Champagne review device packs a 13MP optically-stabilized camera and a 5.2" 1080p display, with processing handled by Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin 930 chipset backed up by 3GB of RAM. The software is Android 5.0 embellished with Huawei's custom EMUI 3.1 ...

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    Update: Well, between Hangouts corrupting the video stream and a MacBook malfunctioning, we're able to provide you a fairly rough cut of the high-quality audio podcast. Our apologies for the delay for the Direct Download activation down below, but hey! There's always this week! Enjoy. It's the best rhetorical question we've seen this week: where can you mix 1990s sci-fi references, history lessons about famous steamships, and modern musings on the state of leatherbound smartphones? If you know the answer, congratulations on knowing the time of day and your ear from your elbow. If you ...

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    It’s such a small and subtle variation on the standard Galaxy S6 that Samsung didn’t even decide to capitalize its brand name. But don’t be fooled by the understatement: as we discovered on other bold devices from our recent history, it’s amazing what a little curve can do. Editor's Note: This companion text piece to our Galaxy S6 edge review video covers only those areas in which the edge differs from the standard S6. As such, it's shorter and less elaborate than our standard review format. For the full deep dive on Samsung's 2015 flagship, see our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S6 ...

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    Alcatel OneTouch isn't the first smartphone maker to package its review samples in neat-looking press kits, but it's definitely caught our attention with its latest oversized box. With a magnetic flap, multilayered reveal process and mechanical "slide-to-unlock" lever, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3's review packaging is much more elaborate than what will eventually land in customer hands, so we thought we'd treat you to an on-camera unboxing to show you just what you'll be missing at retail. More important, you get to see the phone itself once again. Little has changed since we took our ...

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    I’ll be honest: when I first laid eyes on it at CES 2015, the Alcatel Onetouch Watch struck me as a poor man’s Moto 360. At the time there weren’t many circular smartwatches on the market, so between that, the steel casing, and the circular display –complete with the "flat tire" at bottom– it was tough not to draw the immediate comparison. It took wearing the Watch for over a week (paired to a Galaxy S6 and then an iPhone 6) to understand what it is, what it isn't, and whether it might be for you. ALCATEL ONETOUCH Watch review Its round casing isn’t as rare as it once was, ...

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    We're no stranger to Chinese telecom giant Huawei. About three years ago, we concluded our Ascend P1 review with the remark that the Huawei phone, while imperfect, made us excited for what the company had in store for the future – and that excitement has since proven justified. Last year's Ascend Mate 2 brought outstanding battery life and a competitive price point; its followup the Ascend Mate 7 blended luxury design with top-tier features; and the forthcoming Huawei Watch seems poised to class up the Android Wear catalog when it drops later this year. The Huawei P8 is the ...

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    We’ve given the Galaxy S6 the full review treatment, so you already know how impressed we are with Samsung’s 2015 flagship. But if you’re trying to save some money on your next Samsung phone, you might be wondering what you’ll be missing if you opt for last year’s model instead. In short: better industrial design, better feel-in-hand, a higher-resolution display, a brighter low-light camera, and a boatload of improved secondary features. That almost makes it seem like a slam dunk in the Galaxy S6's favor, but hold on a second. You'll also be giving up a lot of the stuff that ...

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    As a helpful emailer just reminded me, the Galaxy S6 officially goes on sale today in the United States. Anyone who's read our Galaxy S6 review already knows what I think of Samsung's latest Android. With the possible exception of the Galaxy Note 4, it's the best flagship Samsung has ever built: a glass-and-metal wonder with a delicious display and an outstanding camera, held back only by its battery life. And maybe some of its software, too. Here's the thing. After a week of use I was calling the Galaxy S6 (SM-G920T) one of the most responsive Samsung phones ever. Compared ...

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    Update: HQ audio has been distributed and the Direct Download link is in service! Some technicalities made some parts a little wonky, but we thank you for your patience and listening. More next week! Sometimes, 3500 words and a 12-minute video isn't enough. When a smartphone is a truly big deal, sometimes you just need more. And more is exactly what we're bringing you on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, phones destined to change the Android landscape in 2015. We've got an S6 in one hand and an S6 edge brought by the angel of tech herself, and we're taking your questions live on ...

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    About this time last year, I stood with hordes of other press in a packed Galaxy Studio in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, listening to Samsung tell us how its then-new Galaxy S5 would change everything. Over the piped-in orchestra music, we were promised "meaningful innovation." Samsung had learned that its customers did not want "the most complex technology," but rather "relevant improvements for day-to-day use." While a refreshing change from the bizarrely tone-deaf Galaxy S 4 launch event, the Galaxy S5 reveal still felt like a kind of middle ground – a layover for a company ...

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    Update: Sorry for the delay, folks. We had to republish the video due to a last-minute edit. It's up now; enjoy! In 2015, the iOS-vs-Android debate boils down to one hardcore hardware comparison: Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6. After years of alternating iterative improvements on their product lines (and trading legal blows in the courtroom), Samsung and Apple finally bring their best to the world's retail shelves – and the resulting techno-dilemma is set to stymie smartphone superfans the world over. At first glance, Apple's reigning flagship might seem somewhat "senior" for this ...

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    Update: The podcast has been distributed in audio form! The Direct Download link, as such, has been updated. Also, look for Sarah Connor... if you can. See you next week! Perhaps Rithvik Rao put it best when he said: "the yearly cycle is repeating itself." We're wrapping up our first wave of HTC One M9 coverage with a coming review rebuttal from our Editor-in-Chief, putting the finishing touches on our Galaxy S6 review, and we're steeling ourselves for the LG G4 launch later this month. But amid all this, we've still got to make room for the stuff you keep coming back for: the ...

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    For years, the biggest battle in the Android smartphone world has boiled down to three words: HTC vs Samsung. And 2015 is no different. But the results of this year's comparison ("Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9," if you wanna get all SEO about it) are very different indeed. While we still resist the urge to boil down a smartphone face-off into clearly defined "winner" and "loser," we remain obligated to call out trends where we see them. And this year, instead of siding with the underdog HTC, the winds of favor are blowing strongly in Samsung's direction. That's due to a combination ...

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    Update: Whew! The HQ audio podcast has been uploaded and distributed. You can either find your podcast landing pad or grab the original file through our Direct Download below! Late-night podcasts don't always have to be about naughty things. Sometimes, to paraphrase Bill Watterson, "the days are just packed," and the only time you've got for a podcast is 6:30 in the evening in between the crushing workload of two flagship smartphone reviews. But if you're lucky, when that happens you've got friends at other sites to help bail you out. Florence Ion is that friend on this special ...

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    They've got almost nothing in common besides their aluminum casings – and that shouldn't come as too big a surprise. The iPhone 6 is Apple's crown jewel, a curved and super-thin ingot packing technologies cherry-picked by Apple to run its closed and meticulously managed iOS platform. By contrast, HTC's One M9 is a thick block of precision-machined metals, its sharp angles exaggerated by a dual-anodization manufacturing process, its software a heavily customized version of the much more mutable Android Lollipop. There's so much more to say – but it's all been said; to get the full ...

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    There are folks out there who don’t have the time for a ten-minute video or a 4,000-word review, and they certainly don’t have an hour to absorb a meandering podcast (no matter how many awards it’s won). These people might be sneaking a quick YouTube fix on a bathroom break, trying to make a point to a rival smartphone owner at a bar, or even standing in line at a wireless retail store, waiting to make a purchase. They need the facts delivered quickly, with a minimum of window dressing and a firm conclusion in as little time as possible. For them, we’ve created the 60-Second ...

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    A few months ago, I wrote an editorial questioning why so many people wanted a Nokia N1 tablet. Importantly, though,  I also said that I found the potential of the N1 alluring, and wanted badly to experience it for myself. While we did briefly catch up with the N1 at MWC 2015 in Barcelona, I wasn't on that side of the show floor that morning ... so I had to wait for today to see what all the fuss was about. From what I can see so far, some of said fuss is totally justified. The Nokia N1 is notable in part for its specs, which include a 6.9mm-thick aluminum chassis, a 7.9" 2048x1536 IPS ...

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    If you've got an HTC One M9 question not answered by our stunningly dense 4000-word review and accompanying 11-minute review video, your needs might be getting a little intense. I mean, c'mon. Right? But I know how it is. Sometimes, you don't have time for the full review treatment. Sometimes, you're just interested in seeing what's changed over the past twelve months. Or you already own last year's HTC flagship and you want to see if this year's is worth your trouble. Or you just want to find out how different two products that look nigh-on identical could possibly be. For that, ...

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    As an aspiring naval cadet in my senior year of high school, I was placed in charge of my ROTC unit's drill team. It was a well-regarded outfit, but it had used the same choreography for years; no matter how cool a 12-person team looks spinning 16-pound rifles, anything gets monotonous if you don't change it up. Seeking to leave a lasting legacy while bringing home a trophy or two, I told our unit's Chief of my plans to completely overhaul our stale performance routine. "Fisher," he said, his face wrinkling with impatience, "you've got a good routine already. Don't go reinventing ...

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