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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    How much do you spend each month just to stay connected? As cell phones – namely, smartphones – have increased in popularity over the last decade, the cost of keeping them connected has slowly crept upwards. Cheaper functions, like voice calling and SMS, have taken a back seat to the more convenient and bandwidth-hogging mobile data. As such, calling plans and text messaging are now, more often than not, offered in unlimited quantities. However, gone are the days of $20 and $30 unlimited data plans (unless you're lucky enough to be hanging on to a grandfathered plan). The cost of ...

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    Smartphone cameras are of greater importance than ever before. Of course, the convenience factor – being able to easily slip your smartphone into your pocket and snap awesome photos in a moment's notice, no matter where you go – creates some leniency in the actual quality of the pictures smartphones usually snap. But as entry-level point-and-shoot cameras fall to the wayside, expectations for smartphones to step up and fully fill the gap are growing. Several OEMs have focused a great deal of attention on mobile image sensing. HTC introduced UltraPixels, or simply 2µm pixels on a ...

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    I would hesitate to call the Moto X a success story. By the usual definition we tie to "successful" smartphones, the Moto X does not apply. Motorola hasn't sold tens of millions of Moto Xs like Samsung does with the Galaxy S series every year. And it didn't help pull Motorola out of quarter after quarter of revenue losses like the One M8 has done for HTC. Still, I wouldn't consider the Moto X a failure either – not by a long shot. It was easily one of the most intriguing smartphones to launch in 2013. Motorola introduced some truly compelling features alongside its overly modest ...

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    I remember a time when I was switching phones every other week. Literally. I would buy a phone without a contract from an AT&T or Verizon store (or my place of employment), use it for a week or two, then turn around and sell it to the highest bidder on Craigslist. In most cases, I would trade the new phone for a slightly older phone plus some cash. Then I would sell the phone I had just received through the trade for its full value, thus walking away with more money than I had put into the original phone. It's not like I was making money hand over fist, but I was playing my cards ...

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    Some view iPads and Android tablets as little more than devices made for multimedia consumption – watching YouTube videos, playing games, reading books, and Web browsing. But some people seek a little more out of their tablets and opt to pair them with a Bluetooth keyboard. The problem is, a lot of mobile keyboards are poorly executed. They're either completely separate or they don't add a lot of protection. ZAGG has the answer to this problem: the Rugged Folio. Available for both iPad mini models and coming soon for the iPad Air, the ZAGG Rugged Folio is both a truly rugged case for ...

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    Back when I owned my very first smartphone, I never paid any attention to the placement of any of the buttons or ports. But that quickly changed as the smartphone itself evolved and as I noticed how different button and port configurations affected how I used each device. On the Moto Q, the call and end buttons were exactly where you would expect them to be – on the face of the device, flanking a d-pad in the center. The end key doubled as the power key. There was no manual standby function we now associate with the power key. The Curve 8330 I later owned, however, did have this ...

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    When LG's G3 was announced, it was instantly in the running for being one of the best smartphones of the year. It has one of the sharpest smartphone displays ever, some of the best and most progressive specifications, a compelling design, and updated software. In our time with the G3, we weren't exactly able to focus heavily on all the software features. While LG did wonders to simplify its custom UI and cut back on the clutter, it didn't get rid of many features. In fact, it added some. No less, we took our time with a U.S. variant of the G3 to tinker around in the settings and find some ...

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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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