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 long-rumored, long-awaited "Amazon Phone" is finally here, and it's a doozy in more ways than one. Over the past week of testing, we’ve shown you its most fun features and run through its camera capabilities, and we've taken your questions live on the air during a special segment of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast. Now it's time to see how our impressions of the Fire Phone have changed since our first hands-on. As Amazon's own site helpfully reminds buyers, Fire is the only smartphone on the market with "Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, Mayday, and more." It's the only phone that gives ...

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    The Fire Phone is many things to many people: a funky 3D screen; a portal to a Prime membership; a refreshing escape from the normalcy of the typical smartphone world; a gimmick to be disregarded until the next generation – the list goes on. But whatever your personal opinion, the fact remains that as Amazon's first-ever smartphone, the newest Fire is indisputably significant. And part of its significance lies in its camera. The Amazon Fire Phone camera is a 13MP sensor backed up by the usual slew of glowing marketing material on the device's purchase page: it's a "custom-tuned camera ...

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    The Amazon Fire Phone is still a newcomer to our labs, but it's already been reviewed in several publications the world over. The verdict thus far: this might not be the phone you bring home to momma – not yet, anyway. Though we offered some initial impressions on the Fire Phone in the latest episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast and in the unboxing video embedded below, our minds are still chewing on the question of whether Amazon's first smartphone deserves to exist. The answer will have to wait for our full review coming (very) soon, but in the interim, we thought we'd whip up ...

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    You might buy a Fire Phone for its sweet Amazon Prime bundle, or for the Firefly feature that makes it even easier to add to your vast piles of material wealth. You might buy it to fiddle with its Dynamic Perspective display or to see just what its optically-stabilized camera can do. You might even buy it just to say that you own Amazon's first smartphone. Or, you might decide not to buy it at all, preferring to play the everlasting waiting game we talk about on the Pocketnow Weekly podcast. Whichever way you go, you'll want to know what the Fire Phone looks like. Humans being the vain ...

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    It’s known mainly for a marathon of metal monster phones ... but HTC is savvy enough to know that not everyone is all about aluminum. Accordingly, it’s released the HTC One E8: a polycarbonate version of its well-received One M8 with very few sacrifices and a somewhat reduced price. We’ve already compared the two devices in a head-to-head faceoff, after giving the device an initial once-over, a beauty pass in our photo studio, and showing you what its camera can do. Now it's time to see how well our "Electric Crimson" review unit fares all on its lonesome, in our HTC One E8 review ...

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    Update: Due to today's difficulties with Hangouts, the below Hangouts video is not the ideal recording of today's Weekly episode. Instead, we highly recommend the Libsyn-hosted version, edited by our own Jules Wang and available for streaming and download at the links below. Thanks for listening! One of the nice things about hosting your own podcast is that you get to decide exactly what qualifies as "news." Not in the mood to pretend the latest wave of iPhone 6 display-glass leaks fit the description? Well, tweak the filter a little, and suddenly you've got just a small handful of ...

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    As we might have said a few times before, we really appreciate the unibody aluminum of the HTC One M8, and the unique look and feel it gives the device. But variety is the spice of smartphones, as they say ... and in its quest to broaden its device offerings (and possibly also to remind everyone that it's no one-trick pony), HTC now offers another choice in its high-end Android space. Meet the One E8, a Snapdragon 801-powered Android smartphone made of polycarbonate and toting almost exactly the same specs as the One M8, along with a few added features for the global market. We’ll ...

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    Those quotes up there in the title do more than apologize for our unoriginal, lame pun: they acknowledge a truth that's gotta be tough for Amazon to swallow. The company's first smartphone, which we laid hands on last week, has seen mixed reviews in its first wave of press. There are good reasons for that. With a dubious exclusivity deal in place, a boatload of extraneous features masking its not-quite-Android OS, and a price point that's all kinds of wacky, the Fire Phone's utility isn't clear outside its role as a portal to easier, faster Amazon purchases. Factor in the ho-hum ...

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    Compared to its One M8 sibling, the HTC One E8 trades an UltraPixel camera for a more conventional 13MP shooter, single-subscriber support for a globetrotter-friendly dual-SIM configuration, and –most visibly– it ditches the aluminum chassis for a polycarbonate unibody that changes the whole look and feel of the device. The other changes are important and will be addressed in our One M8 vs One E8 comparison and our full HTC One E8 review, but admit it: you're as vain as the rest of us, and you want to know just how good the E8 looks in the hand. HTC offered several flavors of ...

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    When we first laid eyes on the Martian line of smartwatches, I was unimpressed. Too low-tech. When we first laid hands on the Martian Notifier, I remained unmoved. Too low-key. When AT&T and Martian dropped a Notifier on our doorstep, I almost recycled it for our summer of giveaways. Too busy. Then I used it for a week ... and I had to schedule a review. Too awesome. In a world with smartwatches like Android Wear, Samsung’s Gear line, and the Pebble, you might think the time for a simpler wearable has long passed. But a company called Martian Watches is betting the other way, ...

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    HTC built the One E8 as a companion device to its One M8 flagship, intending it as a more flamboyant, slightly cheaper version of the same. It's a phone for markets where dual-SIM support matters, a phone for folks who prefer flashy polycarbonate over brushed aluminum ... and most importantly for our purposes: it's a smartphone that places resolution above creative design when it comes to its camera. With its high-end One M8, HTC opted for an unconventional optical arrangement: a 4MP "UltraPixel" camera working in tandem with a dedicated depth-finding sensor to enable some faux bokeh ...

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    "If you’re looking for the best flagship smartphone experience, but want to stand out from the crowd, this phone's for you." HTC CEO Peter Chou's words, taken from the press release announcing the company's One E8 early last month, elegantly sum up the eye-catching device. When our review unit arrived in the office yesterday morning for its unceremonious off-camera unboxing, we took a few beats longer than usual just to stare at the "Electric Crimson" paint job of its polycarbonate unibody construction. The phone bears a thick glossy coating that we'd normally revile, but here it ...

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    I'm more connected than ever before, and I have the smartwatch to thank for it. To those who think we're already too deeply mired in the muck of always-on communications, that might not sound appetizing – but smartwatches don't exist merely to bring us more connectivity; the good ones connect us to the world in a smarter way. Skeptics of the new category focus mainly on its redundancy, which is a fair point (why wear a smartwatch when I can just pull my phone out instead?). But once you've worn one for a while, you realize just how useful it can be to have notifications and simple ...

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    Update: Edited podcast with download links has been added below the YouTube embed, courtesy of our excellent podcast editor, Jules Wang! Get to downloadin', folks! The big guys have enough time in the limelight. It seems every week we're spending 80% of the podcast talking about the huge players in the mobile space, along with their commensurately huge smartphone and tablet offerings. While we're not ignoring those established forces in this episode, we are devoting a bit more time to newcomers: from Amazon to OnePlus to a little firm called GoTenna, there's a lot going on in mobile's ...

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    AT&T was kind enough to host us at a hands-on event in NYC last night, and of all the things we came away with, one of the biggest was a renewed appreciation for what a crazy-busy review season it's been. We'd already reviewed almost every single one of the devices AT&T had on display, from wearables like the LG G Watch to affordable smartphones like HTC's Desire 610 to outliers like the not-quite-so-durable Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. Standing apart from these devices, though, was the holy grail of the event: thanks more to its rarity than any one distinctive feature, the ...

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    At its core, the mission of a smartwatch is to make life easier. To improve on the smartphone experience by giving you leave to keep it in a pocket or leave it on the table across the room, because your messages, calls, emails, and other notifications are coming straight to your wrist. The nondescript, water-resistant G Watch does a fairly good job of delivering those notifications, popping up inbound messages alongside weather reports, calendar items, pedometer readings and much more on the 1.65-inch IPS LCD. But it's not until the Snapdragon processor spins to life that the G ...

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    Updated with time codes, download links, and the contest winner's name! Thanks to all who participated in our giveaway contest; stay tuned for another one next week as Pocketnow's month of giveaways rolls on! If there's one thing we're about, it's devices. And from Sony's new "Selfie Phone" to the new Android Wear-ables to the rumors of new Droids, a new Lumia 1525, a back-from-the-dead Surface Mini and the lingering possibility of the Nexus 8, we've got no shortage of hardware talk on this episode of the Pocketnow Weekly: the podcast that leaves the broad implications to others, so we ...

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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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    As you might've guessed, we're big on saving pocket space here at Pocketnow ... and we sometimes miss the days when phone holsters were a "thing." I talked about this in a short editorial almost exactly one year ago, where I made a case for the return of the phone pouch: The added utility of freeing up a pocket is almost magical – especially in the summertime when fabric is at a premium. Also, phones don’t clang around on a belt like they do in a pocket, keeping your stride steady and your center of gravity … centered. You’re much more likely to feel vibration alerts when the ...

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    We've unboxed and directly compared the first two official smartwatches from Google (and if you need a refresher, the videos are embedded below for your viewing pleasure). It's gonna take us a few days to rassle up a full review of each new Android Wear device though, so in the meantime we thought those of you who aren't so hip to the YouTubes might like to see the smartwatches in still life in an Android Wear gallery. Below you'll find a series of snapshots taken during the course of filming our latest round of Android Wear videos. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live came to us in ...

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    Neither is the smashing circular sensation of the Moto 360, but neither is by any means ugly – and aesthetic considerations aside, sometimes there's something to be said for promptness. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are the two devices gracing our review desk on today's Android Wear unboxing, the smartphone accessories Google has chosen to redefine the role of a smartwatch. We're not strangers to wearables around these parts, of course. Some of us backed the Pebble long before that device and its descendents came to our professional attention, while others put their money on ...

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    I’ve learned that there are two things about being a mobile technology reviewer. The first thing: you get to handle awesome gadgetry days or weeks ahead of its official release date, and you’re not just allowed to use the heck out of it; you need to, in order to do your job. That’s the awesome thing. The other (less-awesome) thing: you eventually have to give it all back. Empty Nest is a recurring column discussing what I miss -and what I don’t- about the devices I’ve had to return. • All this talk about the maybe-real, probably-fake Sony Xperia Z3 Compact has me ...

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    There are folks out there who don’t have the time for a ten-minute video or a 3,000-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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    Galaxy S5 Prime. Galaxy S5 LTE-A. Galaxy S5 SUPREME. Whatever you call it, we've spent the week getting to know Samsung's most polarizing Quad-HD flagship, and we know you've got questions. So we've got our review unit all charged up and ready for an on-air "live Galaxy S5 Prime review" of sorts, along with some compelling Samsung topics a few eager readers have already sent in, on today's Pocketnow Weekly podcast! But there's more to life than Samsung, so we're mixing in a whole lot more mobile tech talk for your expectant eardrums. We'll cover HTC's newest financials, Lenovo's obscene ...

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    While we don't consider the Galaxy S5 a particularly tough act to follow, we didn't think Samsung would try to one-up itself so soon after its launch (historical precedent aside). Nevertheless here we are: not even three months after the original Galaxy S5 hit store shelves, a revised version with a more powerful processor, more memory, and a higher-resolution display is upon us. Its official name is the Galaxy S5 LTE-A, but others have taken to calling it the "Galaxy S5 Prime." If that doesn't sound right to you, you're not alone: there's considerable confusion surrounding the Galaxy ...

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