Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
|Product Dimensions (inches)||5.949” x 3.17” x 0.37”|
|Weight (ounces)||6.34 oz.|
|Battery, Standby||3G: Up to 250 Hours, 4G: Up to 300 Hours*|
|Battery, Talk Time||Up to 15 Hours*|
|Battery Type and Size||3.8 Volt, Lithium Ion, 3100mAh|
|Music Play Time||Up to 40 Hours*|
|Video Play Time||Up to 7.5 Hours*|
|Internet Use Time||Up to 9.5 Hours*|
|Frequencies and Data Type||GSM/Edge/GPRS: 850, 900, 1800, 1900|
|Data Speed||2G: CDMA, GSM/EDGE, 3G: CDMA EV_DOrA, 4G LTE: 100Mbps/ 50Mbps|
|Platform||Android™ 4.1, Jelly Bean|
|CPU / Processor|
|Processor Speed, Type||Exynos™ 1.6GHz Quad-core|
|Main Display Resolution||1280 x 720|
|Main Display Size||5.5"|
|Main Display Technology||HD Super AMOLED™|
|Features||Widgets; TouchWiz; Smart Unlock; Accelerometer|
|Camera Resolution||8.0 Megapixel|
|Front-facing Camera Resolution||1.9 Megapixel|
|Digital Optical Zoom||4x Digital|
|Features||Auto Focus; Shot Modes, Best Face, Best Photo, Beauty, Buddy Photo Share, Burst Shot, Face Detection, HDR, Low Light, Panorama, Share Shot, Single Shot, Smile Shot; Geo-tagging; Editing Modes; Camcorder; DivX®; HD Recording; HD Playback; Video Share; TV-Out; Online Image Uploading|
|Features||Music Player; Compatible Music Files, 3GP, AAC, AAC+, M4A, MIDI, MMF, MP3, PMD, QCP, WAV, WMA; Audio, Streaming; Ringtones, Polyphonic 72-note; MP3/Music Tones|
|Features||Video Player; Compatible Video Files, H.263, H.264, MPEG4, VC-1, VP8, Dvx; Video, Streaming|
|Fun and Entertainment|
|Features||Downloadable Content; Wallpapers, Animated; Samsung Widget Gallery; Samsung Media Hub|
|Business & Office|
|Features||Microsoft® Office-compatible; ThinkFree Office/Polaris® Office; Voice Memo|
|Features||Email; Corporate Email; Picture Messaging; Text Messaging; Instant Messaging; Threaded / Chat-style Messages; Video Messaging; Swype™ / T9 Trace; Predictive Text (T9®/XT9®)|
|Features||Bluetooth® Profiles, (Apt-X Codec support) LE; Wi-Fi®; Wi-Fi® Hotspot; HTML Browser; Java™; GPS|
|External Memory/microSD™ Capacity||Up to 64GB|
|Features||Speakerphone; Voice Recognition;Voicemail; Visual Voicemail; Speech-to-text; Text-to-speech; Etiquette/Gesture Mode; Picture Caller ID; Multitasking; Call Restrictions; Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC); TTY; Airline Mode|
My only complaint with the S Pen is that it only works on the screen. You still have to use your fingers for the menu and back buttons to the left and right of the physical home button on the bottom of the phone. It would have been nice to be able to use the S Pen for those as well to keep my greasy fingers off the entire beautiful front face of the phone.
The built in video player provides a Pop up Play feature which lets you continue watching a video while performing other tasks like browsing the web. I don't think this is something you will do all the time, but it's nice to see this level of innovation coming from Samsung.
The Gallery application has features to enhance photo organization. It also adds in a bit of eye candy with different options for scrolling through your photos with the gallery views. You can use the S Pen to write on the back of images.
Easy Mode provides a set of widgets and larger buttons making phone use even easier. If you've ever been frustrated with small buttons in Android this is probably a feature you will want to try.
The Phone application is enhanced with several new features. You can boost the call volume above and beyond the normal volume levels. There is a setting to increase the ringer volume while the phone is in your pocket. Custom sound profiles can be created and there is even an option to easily build custom vibration patterns.
Smart stay is a cool feature that keeps the screen on as long as the phone detects that you are looking at it. I've never been one to set a short timeout on my phones. I almost always set it to 10 minutes as one of the very first things when I get a new phone. I turned on Smart stay and set my screen timeout to 15 seconds. After using this feature I realized that I was able to squeeze out more battery life from the times I would set the phone down and not use it. The best part about it was that I did not have to keep touching the screen every 15 seconds while I was looking at the phone.
Smart rotation looks at the position of your eyes before it rotates the screen. If you're like me you've used your smartphone in bed countless times. I almost always have to turn off rotation before using my phone in bed because it will inevitably want to rotate on me at the most inconvenient times. Smart rotation does a pretty good job of eliminating that annoyance. I can't say that it's perfect, but it is definitely better than the alternative.
We wanted to try out the gaming experience on a 5.5” screen. You might have noticed a few games in the iPhone 4s vs Note II screenshot up above. I played DeadZone for a few hours. I didn't experience any stutter while playing and the additional size made it easier to keep my finger out of the way while using the on screen controls. Samurai vs Zombies looks absolutely amazing on the Note II’s screen. I first started playing SvZ on my 10” tablet and the first time I saw SvZ on a phone I was turned off. Everything was so small and it just didn't feel as nice. The 5.5” screen solves that problem and the game play is amazing. The Mali GPU is more than capable of delivering an enjoyable gaming experience. The screen size and vibrancy of colors are the icing on the cake.
I know some of you will want to see benchmark results, so here is a result from the latest version of AnTuTu v3.0.1.
Our results were right on par with what other users have seen in the AnTuTu benchmark. The dark green is the 3D result and the light green is the 2D result. I won't spend more time posting benchmarks. I think it is sufficient to note that the phone lists as one of the top devices here and in our real world experience it was nothing but buttery smooth in all aspects including gaming.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is one of the best phones on the market today. The combination of extraordinary hardware and software features all wrapped up into one device is an experience we wish everyone could have. If you are on the fence about the screen size, consider everything else the phone has to offer and go get some hands on time with it at a local retail store. The quality of hardware, software and overall design make this phone a clear winner of our Editors Choice Award. For more info, check out Samsungs website at www.samsung.com.
When I think of pool, I think of pool party. But to help bring the party and pool together, music is a necessity. And whether it's a pool party or just an individual lounging at the pool alone, music makes it more enjoyable. However, water and electronic devices tend not to mix well. Thanks to Ion Water Rocker, you can safely add music to your pool, or other recreational activities that include water, such as the beach or lake.
The Ion Water Rocker is a unique little MP3 player device. It consists of two pieces, the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter is a small device that your MP3 player, cell phone, or other portable music device plugs into. You can keep this device in a safer location such as on the patio and plug it into the wall. It's not waterproof, but it does have a clear plastic cover that goes over it to protect it from splashes.
The next part of the device is the receiver. This is a round ballish looking device that receives the signal wirelessly form the receiver. It has two stereo speakers built-in to play your music. Being waterproof, it can simply just float in the pool and play your music while you're lounging or playing in the pool. And if you want to simply listen to the radio, the receiver has a built in FM tuner.
It's features and specks include:
The Ion Water Rocker came well protected in a nice looking color printed box that includes pictures of the transmitter and receiver along with some of it's features. Opening up the box showed that both pieces were well protected and sectioned out with cardboard deviders. The transmitter looked to be made of fairly cheap plastic, but appeared put together sufficiently well. There is a 3.5 mm cord that plugs into your MP3 player/iPod/cell phone. The receiver was more impressive. It is a round looking ball of a device, again with plastic construction. But needing to be waterproof, the build quality, and fit and finish, seemed to be better and more tight. I also liked the rubber controls on the top of the device for controlling power, volume, radio controls, ect.
Testing the Ion Water Rocker, it performed as expected. The transmitter successfully sent the signal to the floating receiver. The receiver floated effortlessly in the pool. Spashes had no negative effect on it. Even "accidently" falling onto it and submerging it temporarily seemed to have no negative effect. It's tuner did a good job of receiving local stations. The speakers also performed well enough. Volume was able to get decently loud. While not considered an audiophile piece of gear, and bass output was limited, I would not expect those features at this price point and in this type of device. It did play sufficiently loud, highs and mids were sufficently clean and detailed. And as the name implies, it rocked the pool.
The Ion Water Rocker definitely added a fun factor to the pool. And it can add that same factor to any outdoor water area, such as beach, lake, ect. The Ion Water Rocker performed as expected. It's design features, quality and performance did come out in a synergy that was fun to listen to. At an MSRP of $99.99, it would make a great addition to any pool side location. Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the Ion Water Rocker has earned our Recommended Award. Congratulations on a well thought out product that is destined to fill a niche. For more info and complete specks, check out their website at www.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Coleman has been a provider of quality products for over 100 years. I'm glad to see that things haven't changed. If you are looking for a quality product at a good price, it's easy to look to Coleman. Up for review today is one of their mummy style sleeping bags, the Big Basin Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag.
Features and specs:
The Coleman Big Basin Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag came in a nice looking color printed box with images of the product as well as it's features and specs. Opening the box revealed a sleeping bag, stuffed in it's stuff sack. Pulling out the sleeping bag revealed a large sized, mummy style sleeping bag. The Coleman Big Basin is designed for the big and tall person. At it's 39" wide and 92" long it will fit a larger or taller person. However, it can be used by anyone. While I am neither big or tall, I like room to move and the Coleman Big Basin provided that perfectly. I did not feel as confined as in a traditional mummy, yet at the same time I had some nicer features that are typically found in the mummy bags like the drawstring hood to keep the cold air out. Zippers were of good quality and sewn in well. The nylon construction appears highly durable and the fill showed no signs of clumping. The draw string worked well. Overall the fit and finish as well as the quality of construction and materials used were quite good. At this point I was anxious to see just how well it would perform.
The Coleman Big Basin Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag proved to be a high quality product that was very comfortable to sleep in with an accurate tempurature rating. The quality of materials and construction were also very high. I would have no problem recommending this product to anyone that does both a lot of camping and are hard on their gear, such as Boy Scouts. As a assistant scoutmaster, not only would it do well for a scout, it will do well for anyone. It is a bit on the bulky side as well as a bit on the heavy side, so it is not recommended for a backpacking bag. Based on it's design, features, qualtiy and performance, it has earned our Recomended Award. We will continue to update this review as to it's performance in colder weather as winter approaches. For more informantion and complete specs check out their website at
Sunday, November 18, 2012
As mentioned previously, the eXplorist is a more basic model in the eXplorist series line-up. With that being said, it does have the features that most will need. If you are a more avid outdoorsman and are looking for more features, there is no need to fret, Magellan has more models for your consideration, such as the eXplorist 310, 510, 610 and 710. But the eXplorist 110 reviewed today will let you see your current location, add way points, plot out routes, and see your tracks. It will even do geocaching.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Justin Timberlake - Sexyback: had nice low end extension and output. The snaps were dynamic and the vocals were smooth and natural sounding. It also provided a big soundstage with great imaging. Techmaster P.E.B.- Activate, and Time To Jam: the sound of the dual drivers were impressive, and to truly test the bass output of the dynamic bass driver, I turned to Techmaster. I was not dissapointed. Bass output and extension was superb. I tend to like a lot of bass, and its output was just the way I like it.....LOUD, yet also very clean. Since the Audiofly AF78 has the built-in call handling feature, I thought I would test it out. So I turned to my HTC EVO 3D cell phone. My cell recognized it once they were plugged in. I received a call, and with a simple press of a button, the call was answer. To the person on the other end of the call, I was easy to hear, not too tinny sounding, and didn't sound 1,000 miles away.
I love my music, as many of us do. And with smart phones, it is so easy to take it with us everywhere. Often times the included earbuds just don’t cut it. After all, if you like music, why not have it sound good. Up for review today is a premium IEM from Audiofly, their AF78.
Justin Timberlake - Sexyback: had nice low end extension and output. The snaps were dynamic and the vocals were smooth and natural sounding. It also provided a big soundstage with great imaging.
Techmaster P.E.B.- Activate, and Time To Jam: the sound of the dual drivers were impressive, and to truly test the bass output of the dynamic bass driver, I turned to Techmaster. I was not dissapointed. Bass output and extension was superb. I tend to like a lot of bass, and its output was just the way I like it.....LOUD, yet also very clean.
Since the Audiofly AF78 has the built-in call handling feature, I thought I would test it out. So I turned to my HTC EVO 3D cell phone. My cell recognized it once they were plugged in. I received a call, and with a simple press of a button, the call was answer. To the person on the other end of the call, I was easy to hear, not too tinny sounding, and didn't sound 1,000 miles away.
If you like to bike at night, you will need a bike light. But not all lights are created equal. Up for review is the Sigma Karma Evo Pro K-Set high power LED light. If you have seen the cheap lights found at your neighborhood Wal-Mart, then the difference in quality and performance will jump out at you!
-Extra long burn time with constant brightness (4 h/8 h power-, 6 h/12 h standard-, 12 h/24 h energy- saving mode with IION/IION XL)
-4 modes: energy saving, standard, power, and flashing mode
-Multi-stage battery capacity indicator
-Extremely durable aluminum housing
-Tool-free click-mounting (uni-fit 22-32 mm)
-Switch on protection (double click for ON)
-IION, IION XL compatible
-Low weight: 70 g
-Helmet bracket included