July 23, 2014

Fit Bit Flex ($99) VS. Xiaomi Mi Band ($13): Fitness Tracker Band Showdown

Studies show that 40% of all people who buy a fitness tracker stop wearing them within six months. Would you spend $100 for something that you will stop using within 6 months? Now that you put it this way, Xioami's $13 wearable tech is an even more attractive option. Let's hope Xiaomi brings this to the states and if not, perhaps Android Wear will follow suit with Mi Band's affordability and ease of use.

Fit Bit Flex™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband  $99.95

  • Colors: Black, Blue, Red, Navy, Tangerine, Teal, Pink, Lime, Violet, Slate
  • Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes.
  • LED lights show progress against your goal.
  • Monitors your sleep and wakes you with a silent alarm.
  • Wear all day and night, even in the shower.
  • Includes tracker, small and large wristbands, charging cable and wireless sync dongle.

Xiamo Mi Band™  $13

  • Track steps
  • Sleep pattern tracking
  • Alarm clock functionality
  • Identification band for smartphones Just wearing your Mi Band is enough to unlock your device without keying in a code (the caveat is that you need to own a Xiaomi smartphone)
  • Battery: 30 days on one full charge
Mi Band from Xiaomi will be available in a wide variety of bright and fun colors.

July 15, 2014

Google Inching Closer to a SkyNet Reality with Boston Dynamic's BigDog Robot (Video)


  • 400 lb. carrying capacity
  • 20 mile range
  • No dedicated driver required


  • Loud.
  • Slow.
  • No AI capabilities (yet)

Las Vegas native Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, India Co., operates the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) through an open field at Kahuku Training Area July 10-12, 2014.

The LS3 is experimental technology built by Boston Dynamics which is owned by Google. The robot is being tested by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab as part of the Advanced Warfighting Experiment during Rim of the Pacific 2014. The robot is funded by DARPA and the U.S. Marines (aka taxpayers).

Each LS3 carries up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours. LS3 automatically follows its leader using computer vision, so it does not need a dedicated driver.

There are multiple technologies being tested during RIMPAC, the largest maritime exercise in the Pacific region. This year's RIMPAC features 22 countries and around 25,000 people.


Video courtesy of U.S. Marines, filmed by Sgt. William Holdaway/Marine Forces Pacific Combat Camera
BigDog architecture graphic courtesy of Boston Dynamics

July 7, 2014

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Phablet Video Review


  • Large display: 6.1" 
  • Fantastic battery life: 3900mAh 
  • Sturdy build quality 
  • Great performance 
  • Price: $299.99


  • Mediocre camera: 5MP wide angle front camera and a 13MP rear camera. 
  • Difficult to use one-handed (i.e. Large display) 
First and foremost, this is not a flagship phone. The only spec this phone offers that is worth mentioning is it's 3900mah battery since it is the biggest of any phone available. That being said, if you want a BIG phone, this could be exactly what you want.

While you'd think the only difference between the white and black model is the color, you'd be wrong. While the black model has a textured back to reduce fingerprints and improve grip, the white model has a slick plastic back reminiscent of the Galaxy S 3. I went with the white model since I was going to put it in a case anyways but the difference is something to be aware of.

This phone is BIG, but if you are like me and use two hands on your phone no matter the size then the only part of you that will complain is your pocket. In regular sized (male) pockets the phone just fits inside, but you do get a slight impression that you are wearing shin-guards on your thighs. The phone is noticeably heavier than your average phone, but if you are used to using a tablet then it shouldn't be an issue.

The screen is very nice with good viewing angles, although the color was a bit warmer than I was used to. It works well for reading or watching videos, but you may notice the lower resolution (720p) when zoomed out when web-browsing. The screen itself is larger than my last phone (Nexus 4) and is definitely a key reason to get this phone.

The Camera is a step-up from my old phone, but slightly more average than I was hoping. Colors are generally accurate, but very fine detail doesn't come through very well, especially in low-light. The Front camera was more of the same, but it was nice that has a wide lens to capture a larger area. The cameras are the same ones as seen in the LG G3, OnePlus One, and other flagship phones so software may improve this. The stock camera app can't mute the shutter sound so may want to use something else regardless. Overall pretty good for a smartphone, but definitely won't replace your DSLR. The camera can also store data to the MicroSD, so make sure to get one if you want turn this into your main shooter.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 will be available in black and white.

The performance is more than adequate. When phones nowadays have more power than most people will ever use, this phone brings in just enough tech that you should be able to do anything the newest phones can do. All games and benchmarks play without a hitch, but some intense apps like high-end emulators (mainly PPSSPP) may not run as smoothly as the newest phones. Since this is such a specialized circumstance (and since even the highest-end phones can have issues on the same applications) I don't count it as a loss.

Calls sound average compared to modern phones and so does it's rear speaker. Very much equal to some of the best I've used in a phone, but that only means it's what you should expect. It does support HD Voice so if you are coming from an older device your may notice a nice quality improvement when calling someone who also has a newer device providing your carrier supports this. T-Mobile does.

The battery life is amazing. Even my first day with the phone and using the 63% charge the phone came with, I still got over 5 hours of on-screen time while running every benchmark in the book before I finally plugged in with 10% battery. That's longer than I've ever gotten on my other phones. It's safe to expect 9-10 hours of constant usage before needing to plugin, or 2-3 days of normal use. This was on the "Smart" power-saving mode, but there is also the "Endurance" mode if you want even more battery or "Normal" if you want a bit more performance. You can even charge other phones!

Overall this phone only does battery extremely well, but does everything else so adequately that it's really a steal for the price. The phone does run Android 4.3, but a 4.4 update is promised and hopefully more. Basically a Jumbo (if not slightly faster) Moto G LTE, it should keep everyone in need of a large phone satisfied.

Written review courtesy of David Munoz
Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Video review courtesy of Android Authority
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...