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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    Update: Edited to correct screen measurement figure. So there I am this morning, preparing some wearable videos featuring the latest and greatest from LG and Samsung (the G Watch R review and Gear S hands-on, if you're interested), and suddenly the internet explodes. There's a new thing from Nokia, apparently, a milled metal slab of science featuring Real Aluminum and Real Android, two things everyone has been clamoring for over the last several years of polycarbonate Windows-running Nokias. Now that Nokia is Nokia again and Other-Nokia has been absorbed into Microsoft, the former has ...

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    Samsung's newest Gear is also its most ambitious. The Gear S smartwatch packs a curved two-inch display, IP67 ingress protection, and a custom Tizen UI into a cuff-like wristband that weighs in at a surprisingly airy 66g. Oh, and it packs cellular and WiFi connectivity along with the usual Bluetooth. That last important detail makes the Gear S more than just your typical smartwatch. As we discovered during our first hands-on at IFA 2014, the Gear S is capable of fully independent operation, smartphone or no. Sure, you still need a smartphone to set it up –and a Samsung one at that– ...

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    If you’re shopping for a new smartwatch in the Google Play Store, you’re faced with a sea of choices from chic to super-minimal … but only one stands out as a watch that would survive an extended dose of real-world use and abuse. If that's the kind of thing that winds your crown, then the LG G Watch R is very possibly your next Android Wear smartwatch. The G Watch R brings more to the table than its hulking stainless-steel body, of course. Its P-OLED display is just as sharp and vibrant as the Super AMOLED on Samsung's Gear Live, and it's a perfect circle to boot. Its software load ...

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    My reservations about the Nexus 9 began shortly before my fingertips graced its ill-fitting, trampoline-like back cover. We'd heard rumors that Google's next stock-Android tablet would arrive as a more direct competitor to Apple's iPad, carrying a larger screen (and a larger price tag) in the process. I found the strategic pivot logical, but when I first laid eyes on the Nexus 9, my very first impression was a deflated "that's it?" And my first hands-on with a buggy pre-release review device didn't exactly help matters. It's been eleven days since that rocky start – eleven days of ...

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    Updated with high-quality download and streaming links, as well as timecodes. We'll see you next week! Android gets sweeter, YouTube gets more musical, and Lumia gets more Microsoft. Those are the headlines this week in tech news and views (backed up by a lot of crazy happenings from Samsung, LG, Sharp and more) and by sheer force of will, we're going to try covering them in 90 minutes or less on the fanciest podcast this side of Tuxedo Alley. Joining us this week to help with that monumental task is Joshua Vergara of Android Authority, a veteran of our live recording session from IFA ...

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    On paper, Motorola's latest DROID carries on the brand's storied legacy in spectacular fashion. A tablet-sized battery mated to a searing hot processor and a super-sharp display, with the whole thing wrapped in a splashproof casing of metallized glass (or better yet, ballistic nylon). "This is what the Moto X should have been!" cried the commenters on our initial hands-on several weeks back. Well, maybe not. While the DROID Turbo did quite well against the second-generation Moto X in last month's face-off, another twelve days of testing ultimately demonstrated why the X is the ...

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    Updated with timecodes and links to download and stream the high-quality audio version. As always, thanks for listening, and see you next week! The Android Lollipop release is finally here, and it's the most beautiful thing that's ever happened to Google's mobile platform. We'll talk about that with the assistance of some Nexus 9 review units in our Gadgets in Hand segment, and we'll touch on when you can expect Lollipop to land on your device. Before that, though, it's been a big week if you're in the market for an Apple Watch or a Microsoft cloud solution: you can now start saving the ...

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    LG G Watch R vs Moto 360. As far as Android Wear videos go, it's our most-requested comparison of 2014 – and a week after unboxing the G Watch R, we've finally gotten around to it as promised. They’re two of the only round-faced smartwatches you can find today, and there’s only a $50 difference between them. But despite their surface similarities and near-identical software, these Android wearables are targeted at two totally different types of customer. The G Watch R is a P-OLED packing powerhouse of a smartwatch, with a Snapdragon 400 under the hood protected by a rugged ...

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    It's hard to review an iPad these days. The last Apple products to cross our review desk, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, were significant upgrades that catapulted the company into the realm of the large-format smartphone, while maintaining the ease-of-use and reliability that made the iPhone so popular to begin with. The Apple products that keep Pocketnow running day in and day out are some of the most impressive computers we've ever used, with even our lower-tier MacBook Airs capable of handling very intense video production tasks every day for years without giving up the ghost. In the palm ...

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    Google’s newest tablet is for “movers and makers,” according to the company’s website. We’ll examine more about what exactly that means in the weeks ahead, but for now, we'll settle for getting to know the shell of the device in our Nexus 9 unboxing. The de-packaging experience itself is best described as minimal. The Nexus 9 comes in a fairly nondescript box with bare-bones branding calling out its Android ancestry, and once you get inside all you’ll find is some very low-key literature and a USB charging cable with wall wart. That wall adapter's design will be ...

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    Updated with links to stream and download the high-quality audio version of the podcast. We hope you enjoyed, and we'll see you next week! If you want your very own huge Google smartphone, great news! Preorders are open right no– oh, never mind; they're sold out already. But not to worry! If you missed out on claiming your own Nexus 6, we've got other mobile happenings to sate your salacious smartphone and smartwatch desires: an Oppo with a motorized camera, a fitness band Microsoft maybe wasn't quite ready to announce, and a new Droid made of something called ballistic nylon, just in ...

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    Motorola has never been known for its terrific camera performance. I've always appreciated the company's other specialties: its robust hardware, its aggressive styling, and (recently) its innovative software ... but from my first-ever Motorola smartphone to my current daily driver the Moto X, the camera's never made the list of favorites. I've never seen a great photo opportunity and said "Quick! Bring my Motorola phone!" There's always been a smartphone with a better camera, if not nearby then at least on my mind. That's a situation Motorola looks to change with the DROID Turbo camera, a ...

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    We're running out of synonyms for "powerful," "rugged," and "beastly" around these parts, so to kick off this photo tour we'll just say that the Motorola DROID Turbo is an absolute monster of a smartphone. Verizon's flashy new exclusive bears all the smarts of the impressive Moto X, mated to the screaming specs of an absolutely top-of-the-line handheld. From the Snapdragon 805 to the 3900 mAh battery, this ain't your average Verizon variant. Of all the ways the DROID Turbo advertises its take-me-seriously dominance, the most apparent is its fit and finish.  The Turbo is available (in ...

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    Those in search of a round-faced smartwatch have a new possibility to consider as they stalk the shelves of their favorite online retailer. LG's newest piece of Android Wear-powered kit is a stocky circle of stainless steel with a leather strap and a perfectly round P-OLED screen that even Motorola's gotta be envious of. We're going to be taking a long look at the G Watch R next week as part of our review treatment, so we'll save our detailed impressions for that video (and the Moto 360 comparison that will likely precede it). For now, we'll say that the G Watch R is the brawniest ...

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    Update: The Weekly 119 is now available in super-HQ audio form – your ears will thank you if you download or stream from one of the links below. See you next week! As one brand gets a supersized juice-up, another goes a little quicker to the retirement home – and the rest undulate in uncertain undertakings from the sensational to the soporific. So it goes in mobile as in any other field, and we're here to cover it in the brief lull between reviews at Pocketnow's Boston offices! In between talk of the Lollipop-flavored new Nexii and the sandblasting of Nokia logos from Microsoft's ...

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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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    Unlike Apple's iPhone or Nokia's Lumia series, Samsung's Galaxy line has never been consistently lauded for its camera performance. While Samsung has proved itself capable of delivering great photos with niche devices like those of the Zoom family, that performance hasn't always bled over to its mainstream offerings. April's Galaxy S5 brought excellent daytime shooting (at the expense of authentic colors) but suffered in low light – and last year's Galaxy Note 3 added wobbly handling and an odd viewfinder to those deficiencies (anyone remember Golf Shot?). Samsung's Note ...

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    Every six months, Samsung drops another contender into the bloody phablet-vs-flagship slugfest. This contest is one of Samsung's own making, a result of alternating annual Galaxy S installments with annual Galaxy Note upgrades in the spring and fall of each year. With each new chapter, two things are guaranteed: there will be much indecision among buyers as to which is the better buy, and much confusion in the comments about which comparisons are and aren't worth doing. For the former group –the cash-flush consumers biting their nails and wondering which of these high-end superphones to ...

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    Over the years, many Galaxy Note owners have told me a similar story about Samsung's S Pen. They say it's one of those accessories that gets used a lot in the first week, and then seldom ever again. Despite the fact that the S Pen is one of the crucial differentiators that makes a Note a Note, I understood completely. During my time with the Note II as a kind of "extended daily driver," I felt much the same: the S Pen was an occasional novelty and little more. As I made clear in Pocketnow's full review of the Galaxy Note 4, I'd still like to see more streamlining, simplicity, and ...

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    Updated with the high-quality version of the podcast. Enjoy! Samsung's latest, greatest phablet is here, and it's a hard-edged reminder that it's no longer enough just to be big; you've got to be smart about it, too. We're talking everything from #gapgate to Multi Window to the S Pen on today's podcast-style Galaxy Note 4 review ... and to help us do that, we're bringing in two very sharp tacks from respected corners of the mobile community: Brad Molen of Engadget and Florence Ion of Greenbot! This week's news didn't stop at the Note, of course. We're also talking about the big ...

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    Wireless charging is awesome. This is an objective fact whose merit won't be disputed because 1) I'm just old enough to be impressed by technology that was totally far-fetched when I was young, and 2) I'm writing this piece at 10pm on a Friday night after a 4500-word review and the longest podcast in Pocketnow history, so I'll say what I want and you'll like it. But seriously. For all its missteps and quirky implementations and standards wars, wireless charging is one of the coolest things you can do on a smartphone without turning the screen on. All it takes is a few days of using it ...

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    The most striking thing about the Galaxy Note used to be its size. Carrying a Note meant you'd be stopped on the street, on the train, at the urinal over coffee at the cafe, curious onlookers asking with mild bemusement, "sorry, but ... is that a phone?" But it's 2014 –three years after Samsung unveiled the first Galaxy Note– and in 2014, big is the new normal. For better or worse, consumers have drawn a parallel between display size and device capability: from outliers like Huawei's Ascend Mate 7 to more mainstream offerings like Apple's iPhone 6 Plus and Google's new Nexus 6, ...

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    Last year's Galaxy Note 3 scored high marks in our original review and our After The Buzz followup, but it lacked the aspirational spirit of its progenitors. Whereas the first Note was a wildly (and unexpectedly) successful experiment and the second was a bold "consumerization" of that idea, the Note 3 appeared somewhat dull by comparison. Sure, in the moment, we loved it: it packed great specs and it played an important role in breaking Samsung of its hyperglaze addiction – but in retrospect, its flimsy build and fast-aging software seem more than a little underwhelming. Those are ...

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    If I had my way, that headline above would go like this: "Unlikely mutant success meets when-pigs-fly Hail Mary in acid-fueled crazytown showdown." So maybe it's good that I don't have my way (this time). Put more plainly: this is a comparison I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do. If you'd told me, back in 2011, that Samsung's freakazoid phone-tablet hybrid would enjoy enough success to spawn three sequels (and galvanize an entirely new smartphone category in the process), I'd have called you a crazy person. And I'd have called you much worse if you tried to convince me that ...

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    Post updated with time-codes, and high-quality streaming and download links for Episode 117. We hope you enjoyed – see you next week! Apple's about to drop the world's thinnest tablet with the iPad Air 2, HTC's branching out to build more than just smartphones with the HTC RE, and Sony's ... well, Sony's sticking to its guns with the Z3v smartphone. Last year's guns, to be precise. Amid all this, the rumor mill continues churning forth. Motorola isn't done shedding secrets, with the Nexus 6 and Droid Turbo leaks coming fast and furious in the lead up to a presumably imminent launch. The ...

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