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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    A time not too far into the past, Apple's mobile products were the gold standard of the industry. The iPhone dictated the direction of the coming year, and it was one of the few smartphones with incredible design and a consistent and reliable user experience. Further, tablet-optimized applications were made almost solely for Apple's iPad. However, Apple has been slow to update its software, hardware innovation has almost slowed to a crawl, and other OEMs are closing the gap in many areas – tablet market share, tablet-optimized apps, and even customer satisfaction. Apple got comfortable. ...

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    To date, I've used all of Samsung's Galaxy Note devices. I've owned two of the three previous Galaxy Note smartphones – the original and Galaxy Note II – and loved them both. I really enjoyed the Galaxy Note 3, as well, but never felt compelled to buy it for personal use. But I'll get into that in a second. All year, I've been waiting – like many of you – to see what the Galaxy Note 4 is all about. I reviewed the Galaxy Note 3 for AT&T back in October of last year and gave it one of the highest scores I've ever given a device in a review: a 9.3 out of 10. The only cons I listed ...

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    Originally thought to be a niche product line from Samsung, the Galaxy Note brand has grown into a staple amongst its most notable mobile products. It has quickly become the go-to smartphone for power users, gamers, or anyone looking to get a little more out of their smartphone. Each year, rumors about new products soar, and the Galaxy Note, being the extra high-end model from Samsung, tends to be at the end of the most extravagant and lofty rumors. For instance, it's been said to be made of metal – an extension of the Galaxy Alpha we a few weeks ago – and it will allegedly come with a ...

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    Our own Michael Fisher proved last week that it is possible to scratch a synthetic sapphire display on a smartphone. Specifically, he roughed up the Kyocera Brigadier through several heinous tests, and impact with a hard material got the better of the extra hard sapphire. No less, the Brigadier is an impressively rugged smartphone that has both the IP certifications and the real world beefiness to back up the claims. But handling a drop or dunk in water isn't all that this phone is capable of. In this video, we cover three of the Kyocera Brigadier features you may not know about!

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    The Moto X, as modest and bland as it appeared on paper, was, by and large, one of the most impressive smartphones of 2013. Unlike most new phones, I could recommend it to buyers without a sliver of doubt. While its camera wasn't all that great and the specs were far from the best, it was an incredibly solid, well-rounded smartphone with lots of lightweight value adds in the software. This came as a surprise to most when the Moto X was finally revealed. The months leading up to its announcement, the so-called X Phone (or XFON) was rumored to come with all the best specifications possible ...

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    Most will agree that Windows Phone 8.1 was more than just a minor point update. We even gave it a full review. It bore a ton of new and useful features which finally put Windows Phone on the map for many people. Cortana, for example, is a major win for the platform. Action Center is a no-brainer. And the Start page got some much-needed pizzaz. The Windows Phone 8.1 update has come and gone. Maybe it's just because I don't use Windows Phone regularly, or maybe it's just because the platform still needs a lot of work. But talk of Windows Phone 9 has already started, and many seem to believe ...

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    Usually, when I hit Publish on a review, I've had enough time to mull over the words and reread everything enough to be completely certain of everything I wrote. And if I question anything, I can just grab the phone, double-check my thoughts, and reassure myself that I got it right – right then and there, firsthand proof. In all the phones I've reviewed, there was only one time I can recall that I hit publish and immediately wanted to take it back. It wasn't that I was unsure of what I had said. It was that, no matter how certain I was, I didn't want to believe what I wrote. I remember ...

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    "What do you need most in a smartphone?" That is always my answer to anyone who asks me which smartphone they should buy. People assume that because I review smartphones for a living and have played with most of the new models, I have all the answers and automagically know which smartphone they should purchase at any given time, right off the top of my head. I don't. Everyone needs something different. Maybe you need something with a larger screen for watching movies, browsing the web, or gaming. I know my sister wants something smaller, since she has rather petite hands, and I know my mom ...

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    For many of us, web browsing is the heart and soul of our mobile usage. Browsing web pages from a coffee shop on your phone or buying something from Amazon while waiting in line are what make modern smartphones so different from their ancestors. Mobile browsing today is not all that bad, fairly enjoyable, and actually pretty efficient. So how do the two most popular mobile platforms compare when it comes to mobile browsing? Ignoring all the third-party options available on both and not considering meaningless benchmarks or page load times, the out-of-the-box browsing experience on Android ...

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    For many of you, the new school year is just beginning. Others have just a few days or weeks before they're back in the classroom, as well. Fortunately, the transition back into the school year doesn't have to be so hard. Education and productivity applications are available in droves. There are literally hundreds of note taking applications, task list managers, calendar apps, and more. There are even applications where you can go to ask questions about your homework, or knowledge engines to reference, right from your phone. If you're after help inside or out of the classroom, we have a ...

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    I remember how free I felt the first time I dabbled in alternative operating systems on my old family PC. After growing tired of using Windows Vista, I started looking around and asking friends what I should do. One suggested trying Windows XP Black Edition, a hacked version of XP, and another suggested trying various builds of Linux. Ultimately, I gave Ubuntu a try. I never looked back. From that day, I stopped using Windows. It felt incredible to load whatever software I wanted onto my hardware. This instilled a certain mentality in me that carried over to smartphones, which were ...

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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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    Our review of the Xiaomi Mi4 went up earlier this week. In short, it's a really nice piece of hardware with some serious software issues. However, MIUI has been around for some time and a major update – MIUI version 6 – is just around the corner. It's always been known for its deep customization options and putting the power in the hands of the user. While we did talk a lot about the software on the Mi4, we had to skip over some of the more nitty gritty features. That's just the way it goes with time-sensitive review periods. As such, we've picked three of our favorite Xiaomi Mi4 ...

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    The stylus has had a pretty traumatic life. It was a necessary tool back in the beginning of the smartphone and PDA era, as mobile operating systems weren't designed with stubby fingertips in mind. Rather, buttons, soft keyboards, and entire UIs were fixated beneath resistive touch screens, which didn't discriminate between a user's fleshy digits or retractable pen tips. Quite literally, you could use just about any ol' object as a stylus, so long as it was strong enough to squeeze the protective plastic coating and digitizer together. The finer the point, the better. The stylus all but ...

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    The selfie phone is an actual thing – or it's becoming a thing. As much as that makes me not want to live on this planet anymore, it's actually a good thing. No, the word "selfie" itself is a monstrosity. But that front cameras on smartphones are finally getting the attention they deserve is a wonderful thing. Today, the front camera is where fond memories and borderline narcissistic social culture meet. A group of friends out for an increasingly rare night on the town all huddle around one person's phone to capture the fleeting moment forever. Meanwhile, fishing for compliments, a ...

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