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Review- Tech- Samsung Galaxy Discover ***Rating 3/5***

Considering I do not have a huge following thus far, I am unable to review the top of the line tech unlike other reviewers. So I thought I might go with looking at affordable tech that doesn’t skimp on specs.

I had heard of this handset about a month ago, at the time being available for prepaid plans from Telus for only 99$. since then it saw a holiday price reduction to only 69$ so I jumped at the opportunity to review this device.

I have only had it for 3 days but I have to say that Samsung sure did manage to get a buttload into this tiny and cheap form factor. The screen is a puny 3.5″, just like the old iPhone. I only call it puny becuase in the world of Samsung’s super amoled screens, this is pretty tiny.

The look of the phone has a hybrid design, melding the looks of the galaxy nexus and the iPhone 3G into one device. The back is a thin plastic plate, that is fairly flexible but can easily break if stressed to the limit. The screen is pretty responsive but can feel a little laggy at moments. I do have to say that the native resolution is somewhere in standard definition being only at 480x 320, but its still quite viewable. At the cost, something had to give.

Another thing that got me was the battery life. while it did not bother me that much, I did find many people mentioning that the battery was pretty weak, but in my 3 days of use, I only charged it 3 times, of course though I did notice the battery dropped from 99% to only 72% after 1 1/2 hours of YouTube streaming.

I will avoid aspects considering the service provider, but I will mention this, you can download the textplus app from the google play store and get something like 87 minutes talk time for only 1.99$, so thats pretty good if you want to have it as a cheap home phone option.

I will mention that Telus, the provider it’s available with in Canada, did have a few other smartphones available (the Nokia Lumia 610 and the Samsung Galaxy Ace Q) but both cost more and featured Android 2.3 and Windows phone 7. Although these two phones had slightly better resolution and larger capacities, and the Ace Q even had a slide out qwerty keyboard, they were lesser choices still compared to the Galaxy Discover.

The reason why I rate it a 3/5 comes down to this:

-the cheap cost is a plus, considering it can easily be unlocked and used with another provider

-the expandable memory is also great considering its internal storage of only 2.75 real GB

-IT COMES WITH 4.0 OUT OF THE BOX! for 69$ getting the second newest android OS is pretty decent

-the screen size isn’t too bad, but the resolution is just not there either

-the battery is not the best, but still does the job if all your doing is some facebooking and medium to light usage, other than calls and text

-overall it does have a cheap feel to it, although we do get pampered with all these premium smartphones and phablets coming out now

In the end the Samsung Galaxy Discover does deserve a middle of the road rating, because it is a lesser device, but with the pricing and the software, the device does get a slight bump.

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Review- Movie- Les Miserables (Thumbs UP!)

On Christmas morning the first thing that popped into my mind was not to go unwrap presents (because I had done that the night before) but instead to go see Les Miserables. I had sadly not taken the musical seriously when I had gone to see it 7 years ago, but since I had gained appreciation for the story and its characters.

Although it was the first thing I thought of Christmas morning, the day the movie hit theatres, I did not see it until the 27th of December. I still greatly enjoyed the movie. I list off all the actors in my video so I will not bother to state them again.

I give my reasons why I enjoyed the movie, but here are also some faults I had with it. First was the length! At first it was not that bad, but when they made it to 1832, I felt like it was kinda pushing it, but it sure is one long story! Do I have any other complaints? No, not really… except maybe the actress playing the Adult Eponine looked far too skinny!! I understand she is supposed to be a spoiled child whose family fell on hard times, so she is probably starved, but still!

In the end, the movie made me fall in love with the classic characters of Victor Hugo, and I highly recommend the film to everyone. Even the action scenes later on in Paris in 1832 were amazingly done! 100% recommendation!

MacBook Pro 13″ 500GB (Mid 2012) ***Rating 5/5***

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It’s been several months since I bought my new MacBook Pro, non-retina display, but it has taken me this long to put together a full review of this still fairly new laptop. Because I was in the market for a new MacBook this past summer, I decided to buy this model, mainly because they offered 500GB of storage for only 1249$ at the best buy where I got it here in downtown Toronto. Since then this has become the baseline for this model of MacBook Pro. If you are looking for the exact specs, they are all posted on the apple website. This MacBook Pro was to be my main computer for daily use, for school and leisure, so it’s taken me a while to run through everything.

When I purchased this MacBook Pro in August, apple had been offering a free update to the newest OS, so I found that as an automatic plus. As for any other perks, there were none. And even the student edition of Microsoft office cost 129$! (What a rip right?). But it’s great to just get this brand new shiny device!

Right out of the box I easily booted it from the back up on my external hard drive and I had absolutely no problem getting through it, except that it took about an hour to get through 158GB of files. Once the worst was over, I really didn’t have any problems, other than the fact that my Microsoft software on my old MacBook was now not authorized on my new MacBook Pro without a new key code, so keep in mind that a new copy of the program will be necessary, and if the retailer has any special offers at the moment of purchase, I suggest snapping it up, or if you are a university student, buying from your school bookstore is the next best choice.

I noticed that there was very little lag compared to my old 2008 fully loaded white MacBook. I mean to say that with a hard drive running at only 1/2 to 2/3 capacity, it is still working great! Now with integration with other tech, I was really surprised. With USB 3.0 and the lightning connector on my iPod touch, I was able to side load all my music, 1800 songs, in less than 30 minutes. For me that was a big surprised, but I don’t know if that was because of the iPod or the MacBook.

While money was a big factor in my purchase of this model, instead of buying the newly released 15″ retina display model at the time, I also chose this one because of the optical drive, or as apple calls it the super drive. Unlike countless others that are looking for a sleeker form factor, I wanted a true apple laptop experience, and that included something as integral as a built in optical drive as I still buy CDs and still continue to burn blank discs.

It’s becoming to look like I am one of the last few people on the planet that are comfortable with slightly larger devices, as long as they include more components. Just a little problem I had was watching countless videos about removing the optical drive to add in an extra SSD made me think, what’s the point of having a slightly faster device, with a little extra storage, if you are not able to watch DVDs anymore?

As for looks, to put it simply, it is an absolutely gorgeous laptop, they really hit the mark with the aluminum unibody design! Yes I know it’s a nightmare to upgrade and repair, but I am one of those simple folks that don’t expect all that much from their computers, except what they were designed to do. So I need a repair? Apple care will cover it, so I just don’t have to bother.

What I suggest for any computer, but especially these higher capacity laptops is a complete backup stored safely on an external drive. Forget about cloud storage, your best bet is a back up, along with a back up of the back up for added measure. These days too you can even get 2TB drives for relatively little, that are then compatible with both Mac and PC.

One thing I both enjoyed and found annoying to do on this MacBook was playing certain games. I had downloaded Call of Duty, and while gameplay was fine and dandy, I did not like that I had to plug in a USB mouse to unlock the full content of the game, the game just wasn’t designed for the built in trackpad.

In comparison to what I switched from, an old 2008 white MacBook, to this, based on specs and performance, as well as my affinity towards its stylish and simple design, I give it a 5/5. With this being the baseline model too, the more expensive models can only get better. Retina display will be a question for another time.

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Review- Movie- Skyfall

So today, well technically speaking yesterday, I went to see the new James Bond movie Skyfall featuring Daniel Craig in the leading role and Judi Dench as M. In my above posted video I talked about the action sequences in the film, here I will talk about major differences between this film and others in its series. Although, when I say major differences, I mean that they were major enough to bother me, but did not necessarily make the film worse.

First comes the classic idea of the Bond Girl. Although Eve Moneypenny can be considered a Bond Girl in some aspects, she never “seals the deal” with James. The only girl, other than the girl who nurses James back to good health that he slept with throughout the course of the entire film was Mr. Silva’s “wife” Severine. What I disliked about this character was that shortly after her introduction she is killed off by Javier Bardem’s character, and she does not manage to create a strong enough presence on screen that would make us invest in the character and feel bad when she dies.

And even though I spoke about the action sequences in my video, I wanted to mention the final action scene. It was very reminiscent of Home Alone, where Bond, along with M, retreats back to his childhood home and lays boobytraps for the ensuing forces of Mr. Silva. By the way, a fuckin black hawk helicopter or whatever that was was overkill for taking out elderly Kincade, poor shot M, and disabled Bond.

My next huge problem was with how M dies. she got shrapnel shot into her thigh, she could have lived!!!! like seriously, although she was walking a lot on it, she should not have died that quickly.

I still recommend that the bond fan see it, to have a gauge of where the series is going, but also choose to list this movie as a pass for fans of action flicks that are just looking for big bangs and lots of blood, they are probably saving all that for the next film in the series, or for a whole other reboot. So in summation I give this film a conditional watch, just because I think action fans should be wary and not disappointed when they see the reduced amount of action in this sequel.

iPod touch 5th Generation (32GB) **Rating 4/5**

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So as you can already see, today’s real world review is going to be for the new iPod touch in black and slate with 32GB of storage. I have been using it for just under two months now and I find that this little device definitely has its place between the iPhone and iPads. Even though since it’s release the new iPad mini was added to the line up of apple hand held devices, the new iPod touch is still a great alternative for those that can’t afford the equivalent in the iPad mini or iPad. With a base model of 32GB, this is the best bang for your buck in the apple world of hand held devices. The screen real estate and quality is unmatched in other multimedia devices of its size, quite entirely unmatched. The upgraded camera system too is a surprising little extra, comparing the device from where it started in 2007 to what it has become today. The iTunes app stores are yet again a major selling feature as well as the additions to the preinstalled  apps that come with the device. Finally some figures to look at for this device that  might be of some interest is that I managed to fit my entire music library of over 1800 songs, that only took 12 minutes to load to the iPod, 5 HD movies, 15 episodes of tv shows, and about a dozen music videos, along with an extra 30 apps, and i still have another 5.5GB of storage available!!

Sorry if I sounded like I was having an apple fangasm, but now it’s time for the negatives, well the few that I had throughout the last 2 months of use. To start with, the increase in screen size was not only a benefit, but at this moment in time it has been a little bothersome. so many app developers have yet to alter their apps to extend to cover the full screen, which then results in having to look at two annoying black bars on the sides. Now with time, these will go away as the new screen size will become the standard for the iPod touch and the iPhone and the app developers will all turn suit and update their apps. Another big issue I had was with that stupid little loop!! Fine, if you are dropping your stuff all the time it can be a good idea, but I’d much rather just get a case. This then reminds me of the fact that I haven’t been able to find a decent case for the 5th gen iPod touch. Although some good ones exist online, not many are available, and next to nothing is available in store. And when looking at the Apple Store itself I saw none for this specific one. Also from their website it looks like they will be relying on the stupid loop strap instead of a traditional case, to prevent drops instead of protecting it in the case that it does fall. Last detail that stopped me from giving it a perfect 5 was the fact that it was a little awkward to hold or put down on a flat surface. With the camera housing being bumped out as it is, the device is not able to be placed entirely flat. Also with its thin and super light design, I always felt as if i had lost it or that it might break if I was too rough with it.

In the end most of the pros and cons cancelled each other out but the pros just won it. This is why  I decided on a final score of 4/5.

My Review Rating Systems

For my videos and posts I will have several different rating systems in place as the standards for each type of review will be different.

Movie Reviews

For movie reviews from now on I will be giving them a Watch or a Pass, by this I mean that I will be suggesting to either watch the movie or completely pass on it.

Music Reviews

For music reviews I will be suggesting weather it is better to download singles, download full albums, or buying physical CDs. These suggestions will depend on the overall content of the albums, what extras come with the digital downloads, and if there are deluxe or extended editions available. most likely though I will be looking at artists within my own musical taste, and occasionally at already long released albums.

Tech Reviews

From now on my Tech reviews will be based on a score from 1-5. A perfect score of 5 will result only in the situation that the item being reviewed scores a full one point from the 5 categories. in each category the score can be either 0, 0.5, or 1. the five categories I will be looking at are:

Appearance, Technical Specs, Connectivity to other devices, cost relative to specs, and Ease of use and User Interface.

Hopefully this post can help out my readers when looking at my comments and final thoughts in the review process.  

Mac Mini 2012 (2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5) **Rating 4.5/5**

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So its been a little over a month and a half since the newest configuration of the Mac Mini was released (October 23). I thought I might as well wait a while and go through a trial period before I went ahead and a wrote a full review on this amazing little desktop computer.

The exact specifications for the model I reviewed is as follows:

2.5GHZ MAC MINI

  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 4GB memory
  • 500GB hard drive
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • OS X Mountain Lion

Now I could go over the basics that countless reviewers have looked at such as this device’s portability, connectivity, and as a true home theatre computer, as well as it’s user friendly upgradable ram access, but that’s not the kind of site I run.

What I’ll be looking at is real world function and use, as both a home theatre computer and as a regular desktop computer.

As a home theatre computer I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this powerful little device. Although it was lacking an optical drive, with the stock 599$ model, an extra 79$ for the apple superdrive wasn’t that big of an extra. I like that it offers so much storage in such a small form factor, so that i could easily store all my content without worrying that I would fill up the hard drive. It can be easily paired with the apple remote and it only made this device easier to control. If you didn’t want to spend the 70$ on the magic mouse or track pad, getting up to use your regular usb mouse to pause or fast forward through a video became a little bothersome without the apple remote. Throughout the last month and a half, the only issues I had was the mouse issue, difficulty in using the keyboard and mouse in the home theatre setting, and the issue with the 10.8.2 mac mini update. Otherwise these are minor problems that can be easily figured out with time and different accessory layouts.

As for the Mac Mini’s use as a desktop computer I quite liked it as well. While screen resolution matters wholly on what type of display you have available, I liked that it fit with pretty much any input devices you might have laying around. Because of its small size it also didn’t limit you to a classic computer desk, you could put it on just about any surface you have available, without the need for a tower cabinet. In all other capacities it still worked as good as ever.

In conclusion I found that this computer was an amazing space saver and powerhouse that was useful in supporting many different devices in many different layouts within your home. For an entry level device into the Apple ecosystem, it is perfect for the user that is new to Apple computers.

On the rating system that I will outline in a following post, I will explain my rating system, but as for now I give the Mac Mini 2012 (2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5) a score of 4.5/5 based on its easy setup, versatility, storage capacity in relation to cost, connectivity, and easy access to the user upgradable ram cards. The only thing holding it back from being a perfect 5/5 was the differing experience achieved depending on what types of input devices you had attached to the computer.