Posts by Taylor Martin

Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition. | Google+

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    Smartphones are commonplace today. Almost everyone has one. My grandmother carries an iPhone and my father – a man who once swore he'd never carry a phone with him anywhere – slaps a Samsung Galaxy S III with an OtterBox case on his hip every morning. It wasn't always so. I remember being the only person at my high school – teachers and administration included – with a smartphone. First, I had the Moto Q, then the BlackBerry Pearl 8130, followed by the Curve 8330. And that's where my story began, back in 2006, taking lesson notes (read: playing Brick Breaker and Asteroids) on a ...

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    When I first tried the One M8, I was pleasantly surprised. For the first time ever, I actually liked Sense. I've used Sense UI from its very first release on the CDMA HTC Hero in 2009 and every following iteration on HTC hardware since. Each time, the custom UI felt overbearing – it used too many resources, the animations were excessive, and most of the changes introduced were changes for the sake of change. Sure, some versions of Sense looked nice, but the bugs, slow updates, and inconsistencies weren't worth the trouble. Sense 6 was somehow different. Last year, HTC lightened the load ...

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    Michael reviewed the LG G3 back in June and called it "more than just a pretty screen." I followed-up a few weeks later with my thoughts, which turned out to be more of a corroboration than a rebuttal. Despite all the collective time we spent with the South Korean G3, we didn't get a full look at the phone and its capabilities because it didn't properly support all the U.S. bands, thus affecting battery life and network performance. Now that the G3 has landed stateside, we felt it was high time we gave the LG G3 another, more in-depth look at what the phone is like when it's made for U.S. ...

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    The iPhone 6 is coming – or so we think it is. Or so we think they are? Are multiple iPhone 6s coming? Is the 4-inch iPhone nearing end of life? What about that plastic thing Apple made last year? Is it dead, too? Oh, yeah. The plot thickens every single day. And we actually have no idea what to think about these upcoming iPhones or all the rumors that claim to have the answers to one of the biggest tech mysteries of 2014. Still, each and every day, I get bombarded with all sorts of questions regarding the upcoming iPhone. "What do you know about the iPhone 6?" "When is the new iPhone ...

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    When it comes to analyzing the quality of a smartphone's camera, there are two main approaches. There's the guided style: "We had a gander at the new [Smartphone] from the fine folks at [Smartphone Manufacturer], and we took its camera out for a spin to see how it performed under a variety of lighting conditions. When it comes right down to it, this camera is [excellent][great][good][not so good][horrendous] ... and here's why." And then there's the choose-your-own-adventure method: "We took [Smartphone] for a test drive to see how its camera performed, and rather than taint the results ...

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    Three years ago, you were lucky if your smartphone display had a few hundred thousand pixels. WVGA (480 by 800 pixels) was sort of a standard resolution back then, and mobile display technology still had a long way to go before pixel junkies would drool over a smartphone screen. Black levels were usually a milky, dark gray, unless you opted for a Samsung smartphone with a Super AMOLED panel. But then you had to consider the disadvantages of the PenTile Matrix subpixel arrangement. Back on 2011, I didn't stress about such things often. I didn't worry about color accuracy, black levels, ...

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    To say I've been excited about Google Now on a smartwatch is a bit of an understatement. I've ranted about how Google Now and wearables were a match made in heaven more than once. And the minute Android Wear was announced, I stopped what I was doing and vented about my buyer's remorse over the $250 I had just spent on Pebble Steel. Things have changed somewhat, though, and I'm now perfectly okay – even quite pleased – with Pebble Steel. Android Wear has finally hit virtual shelves and the launch hardware is, dare I say, boring and bland. And turns out, our Michael Fisher found the new ...

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    The usefulness and practicality of iPads and other mobile tablets as true productivity tools has provided fuel for many debates. Can an iPad be more than a media consumption device? Can you get real work done with an iPad or Android tablet? Or will iPads and Android-powered tablets forever be relegated to entertainment devices best suited for the couch? Back in March and April, I tried to tackle these seemingly simple questions. Office for iPad had just landed after years of rumors. Frankly, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its mobile, touch-friendly rendition of its globally used ...

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    When you consider where we were with mobile imaging just five or six years ago, modern smartphone cameras are incredibly impressive – some definitely more than others. In the last two years, several new technologies have been introduced. Optical image stabilization (OIS) has become something we all would love to see in every smartphone, at least until software stabilization is up to snuff. OIS allows the camera to keep the shutter open longer without being susceptible to the natural shakiness of your hand. This, theoretically, should improve low-light imagery on smartphones, though that ...

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    When I first saw the Minuum campaign on Indiegogo, I was sold. I've said for years that the way we type on smartphones doesn't make sense. Gesture (or trace) typing is a logical step forward, as was predictive and context-aware input. But that doesn't answer why we're still using the same keyboard layout which works best for 10-finger typing. Why do our smartphones use the same keyboard layout that was designed over a century ago to prevent typewriters from jamming? Why do we need a keyboard that takes up nearly half of the display when you're typing? Those were the exact questions the ...

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    The mobile world moves quickly – probably faster than just about any other industry in the world. New devices are announced on what feels like a weekly basis; perpetual software updates are hitting for the hundreds of mobile devices; one-off press events are always happening; and while phones seem to have a longer life span than they did back in, say 2010, they still become antiques in what feels like no time. Back in September, I went on a nostalgia binge and did a throwback review for one of my favorite mobile devices of all time: the BlackBerry Curve 8330. Looking back, it's crazy to ...

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    The great debate about the build quality and materials of smartphones may never end. Some smartphone users prefer all metal smartphone construction as seen in the HTC One M8, while others tend to lean towards the more lightweight, resilient plastics found in Samsung or Nokia smartphones. And, believe it or not, some people still prefer a bunch of smartphone components sandwiched between two slabs of hardened glass. The reasons for different materials such as metal, glass, and plastic aren't purely preference, even if that's what it boils down to in the end for most. Manufacturers ...

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    Sure, the Moto X might be starting to show its age a little. As of next month, it will be one whopping year old. But it still seems to be holding its own. We'll let you be the judge of whether it's the phone's sheer quality, the personalization of the hardware, or the great value the Moto X is at such discounted prices. It could also be the amount of lightweight, yet very useful, software features. Unlike the last two videos like this, we covered many of the Moto X's defining features in detail – Trusted Devices, Skip, Touchless Control, etc. No less, since we gave the One M8 and Galaxy ...

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    I was minutes from publishing a speculation article about the rumored Google smartwatch when Google announced its brand new wearables platform, Android Wear. Then Motorola and LG followed suit, announcing the Moto 360 and G Watch, respectively. Minutes from publishing, I had to rewrite the entire article. I changed the angle from a purely speculative piece about all the rumors we'd heard and whether they were credible or not to a piece about how Google and Motorola made me regret my $250 purchase of Pebble Steel. Sure, it was a reactionary, knee-jerk piece, but it was true. The one thing ...

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    Last week, I reviewed Pressy, the button that hijacks the 3.5mm jack on your smartphone and turns it into a button which you can then use to launch apps, send SMS, place calls, and a few other simple tasks. Frankly, I really like the little bugger. It's not exactly the most practical accessory, it's overpriced, and, yes, it takes up the headphone jack, meaning it could potentially become annoying for someone who listens to music often on their smartphone via wired headphones. I don't. I have two sets of Bluetooth headphones and I typically stream music from my iPad or computer. Still, out ...

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