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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    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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    Weather apps are a dime a dozen. Seriously, search "weather" in Google Play and dozens – maybe even hundreds – will pop up. But any ol' developer cam create a weather app that can display the current conditions and provide you with the forecast. But not every weather app is both functional and pretty. That's what LevelUp Studio, creator of popular Android apps like Plume and Beautiful Widgets, wanted to do. LevelUp released Bright Weather for Android back in May. It's a feature-packed, yet minimalist weather application that's simply gorgeous. Frankly, how polished, smooth, and ...

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    Xiaomi is a company we here at Pocketnow, admittedly, have very little experience with. But last year, when Hugo Barra, former spokesperson and VP for Android product management, announced he was leaving Google to help Xiaomi expand internationally, the popular Chinese manufacturer was suddenly on our radar. Since then, Xiaomi may not have been hard developing tons of new handsets like many other companies, but has instead been taking its business across borders. As such, we felt it was a great time to see how the company and its products compete with those we're more familiar with. Enter ...

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    When we're reviewing a new smartphone, it's easy to overlook some of the finer details, the intricate settings or features that don't immediately jump out at us and demand our attention. Sometimes we flat out have to skip over some of them just so our reviews aren't 5,000 words with a 15-minute video. Fortunately, with the One M8, our time hasn't been limited to a short review window. I picked up the M8 as my personal daily driver a few months ago and have since become quite familiar with just about everything it does out of the box (and even what you can do to it with a little know how). ...

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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. Looking back, it's crazy to see how far the industry has come in less than a decade – from phones that (barely) handled email to pocket-sized computers that a increasingly ...

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    If you're anything like me, it's probably difficult for you to get excited about yet another smartphone release out of China. The fact of the matter is, most Chinese phones never see the light of day here in the United States. The Chinese market operates differently than any other mobile market – releasing phones at its own pace and, ultimately, marching to the beat of its own drum. Most of us (especially here in the States) actually know very little about the Chinese smartphone market. Giant smartphone manufacturers in China have only a small presence stateside. Most of their phones are ...

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    Back in the early 2000s, it was customary to cram every last possible hardware button on a phone. These days, it's all about being as streamlined and as beautiful as possible. Goodbye, hardware keys! While most everything can be replicated by on-screen controls, eliminating all the hardware buttons doesn't exactly help the user experience at all. In fact, it often makes it worse, turning a one-step process into a five- or six-step process – sometimes even more than that. That's where Pressy comes into play – well, for Android users at least. Pressy started last year as a Kickstarter ...

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    The affordable, high-end smartphone is no longer a pipe dream. In fact, it hasn't been for a while. Some may not consider the Moto X a high-end phone, especially not by today's standards, but it's certainly a capable smartphone that performs exceptionally and doesn't break the bank – at least not anymore. The Moto X didn't exactly start out budget-friendly. It began as a full-priced, high-end smartphone, and its pricing quickly worked its way down as Motorola ran various promotions. Now, albeit nearly one-year-old, the base Moto X can be had for just $350 without a contract, and it's a ...

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    An unadulterated, high-end, rugged, flagship smartphone. That's the sort of thing that makes some tech enthusiasts weak in the knees, including our own Michael Fisher. Inherently, smartphones have become more fragile over the years as priorities have changed – both within the walls of the manufacturers and the personal preferences of the average consumer. We want bigger screens, thinner chassis, better cameras, faster CPUs, more memory and storage, larger speakers, longer battery life, and more connectivity options, like LTE-A, NFC, Qi, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi ac, etc. We want all these ...

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    HTC has certainly seen better days. Despite its valiant efforts last year with the One M7, it couldn't seem to reclaim the high status it once held in the smartphone realm. It's fought through serious competition, dwindling revenues, and shrinking market and mind share. It's tried to be bold, to be different, and to continue to maintain the utmost quality possible. Finally, it seems to have started to pay off for the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, HTC posted the first profits in some time. It also hit its quarterly earnings estimate. All ...

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    Each year, dozens of new phones are introduced to the market. One has a marginally faster processor than last year's model; another has a larger display with nearly double the resolution; some other phone gets twice the RAM while this one gets more storage space; and all of them get the latest upgrade to expandable storage support. Most would agree that, on a yearly basis, upgrading your phone is a waste of money – that the gains of spending several hundred dollars to get a slight improvement over the phone you currently have isn't worth it. Frankly, the majority would be right. If I ...

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    Last week, I speculated that, by some fairly reasonable logic, a high-end, Nokia-built Android smartphone could still one day exist, that the Nokia Devices & Services unit being swept up by Microsoft didn't completely kill the dream phone many have begged for since Nokia dove headfirst into the smartphone market. How is that possible? Why wouldn't Microsoft quickly put an end to anything Nokia-made that wasn't Windows-powered? The thing is, we figured Microsoft would completely kill the Nokia X phones once the acquisition was completed. However, that was not the case and instead, ...

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    It's easy to get caught up in all the details when you're reviewing a device – to focus on what the device's target audience is, the flashy stuff, or the minor changes in the hardware. In other words, it's easy to overlook some things, especially when you're dealing with a phone like the Galaxy S5, which comes packed to the brim with dozens of useful (and sometimes not so useful) features. We've now reviewed the Galaxy S5 twice, as well as two variants – the Galaxy S5 Active and the Galaxy S5 Prime. We've had more than enough hands-on time with the hardware and software, and we've had ...

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    HTC appears to finally be getting the love it deserves in the mobile space. Its two most high-end handsets from the last two years received nothing but praise from the press and consumers. The One M7 won handfuls of awards and the One M8 is slated to do just the same. And, finally, after a long stint of hemorrhaging money, the company has turned a profit. Just last month, we had cause for concern. HTC's financials weren't looking so great. Revenue was down and the company was still losing money. However, we learned earlier today that HTC has finally started to turn things around. In its Q2 ...

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    We here at Pocketnow, especially yours truly, have voiced our opinions on so-called "mini" smartphones several times now. For the last few years now, Android manufacturers have been creating and releasing smaller versions of their annual flagships. Last year, HTC introduced the HTC One mini following its game-changing One M7. This year, the Taiwanese manufacturer followed-up its One M8 with the One mini 2. LG released the G2 mini last year and is expected to announce the G3 mini later this year. And, of course, Samsung has produced miniature Galaxy S smartphones for the last few years – ...

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