A PhabletGuru First Impressions : Galaxy Note 8 Baby Yeah!

-Samsung, otherwise known as the iPhone of Android, has struck a blow at Apple once again. At this point it’s just ridiculous how much more advanced Galaxy phones are than iPhones. This isn’t a comparison review however, this is a first impressions. I will start by saying it’s a powerful huge device, and for the most part has left a good impression on this Guru.

-Some argue, understandably so, that the Note 8 is an S8 with a waterproof stylus. This is misleading kind of. Yes the design is nearly identical save for the squared corners and slightly taller display. The curved edges aren’t as pronounced, however this isn’t noticeable. The dual camera on the back is noticeable though only to phone nerds such as myself. To the layman it probably does look like a Galaxy S8. More on Samsung’s entry into dual camera setup with the actual review.

-The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wouldn’t be a note without the Spen (built in pressure sensitive stylus). Samsung has now made the pen IP 68 water and dust resistant alongside the phone. More on that with the full review. The new live message feature is exciting. Again, more on Spen features with the actual review. 

-The fact that Samsung gave the Note 8 6gigs of ram is amazing. Use the Samsung Dex and you’ve got yourself near to PC level experience. This means Samsung is leading the way towards something like a gaming phone of sorts. I’m thinking PlayStation 3 emulators actually working. The possibilities are literally endless. I’m anxious to see how it stacks up. With the Snapdragon 835 chipset and the aforementioned 6gb’s of ram we should have a beast of a phone.

-Speaking of beast of a phone, the new Galaxy Note 8 is huge coming in at 6.3″. With a body ratio of 2 to 1, what you have is an extremely tall device.  It’s very slippery and hard to manage, good luck one hand’ing’ the notification pulldown. Though compared to the Galaxy S8 plus….. It’s only a .1% difference. The curved display makes it ackward to handle. Personally I wish the display wasn’t curved but the infinity screen is a sight to behold. 

-The UI was smooth during my brief time with the phone a few days back. Being within the industry has its perks. Getting to play with a phone before announcement is always awesome. TouchWiz is still TouchWiz, with features galore. I really liked the preset dual app customizations. And the Spen is still a novel little thing that completely adds to the whole Note experience which always delivers. 
-All in all Samsung Fanboys, and Note lovers will get this phone and for good reason, it will be the most feature packed decked out hardware cutting edge design powerhouse of a phone on the market when it launches. This phabletguru will definitely be obtaining this phone. 
-This has been a brief first impressions bright to you in the still of the night where I will hold you so tight.-


Say Hello To Moto…”Hello Moto” Z2 Force Review. 

-For the love of uniqueness and innovation I take great honor in stating that I love Motorola devices. I owned the Razr way back in the days as well as the Nexus 6 and both Droid Turbos. Moto currently makes some of the best midrange and budget smart-phones on the market with the Moto G, E, and the Moto X line. The Moto X line has been favored and praised amongst professional Tech reviewers. I personally sold a ton of the unlocked Moto X Pure editions whilst I was a mobile expert at Best Buy. 

-The Moto Z2 Force is no exception in this long list of heavy hitters. This is a sleek beautiful device. Here at PhabletGuru We have been quite impressed with this device. A device that has some rather interesting functions and features, some good some not so good. Ceasing any and all delays let’s jump right into it. 

-I’m going to begin a little differently this go around. Let’s begin with some concerns, or the negative qualities and or problems I’ve had with this phone. First off, I’m not sure if it’s my particular unit or not, but there have been some glitches or bugs or what have you. 

-Examples of these glitches include taking pictures that then seem to save nowhere or don’t exist. I literally took about five pictures sequentially, of my sister and brother-in-law, within a span of about one minute. To my surprise when I went into my photos to view and share said pictures they did not save. I distinctly heard and saw the photos being taken. The built in shutter noise was heard yet the pictures went into some abyss. This was, thus far, an isolated event however, and has not happened again. 

-There is no headphone jack! Why are OEM’S taking this from us. This is fringe but I enjoy the better audio quality of analog. They are nice enough to include an adapter but this saddens me. It’s not a deal breaker but there is plenty of room to include the headphone jack. I find it trendy and unnecessary. 

-There has also been a few stutters or hiccups in the day to day happenings within the software. For instance not recognizing screen swipes a few times. The “Google” app of all apps has force closed a couple of times. Although I completely love the Moto suite of software tweaks like Moto actions, voice, and display, the double twist gesture to launch the camera would not recognize the second gesture to switch to the front facing camera. It required me to restart the phone to fix the problem. However, this was also an isolated event that has not happened again. 

-Speaking of Moto software I am very disappointed that they decided to do away with the custom A.I. launch phrase. Since it is an Android phone “ok Google” still works but, call me nerdy I enjoyed the ability to launch Moto’s assistant (which was linked to Google Now) with a custom phrase on Moto’s of past. 

-I keep hearing talk about how it’s pretty stock Android. Experiencing it since launch day I can say there is enough Moto software to consider it skinned in my opinion. The dock or navigation tray is utterly and monstrously huge. The app drawer scrolls vertically, and the very useful suite of Moto tweaks add to the stuttering of the U.I. We will go into later. 

-The battery life is an issue, one I believe was purposefully designed to require a battery pack mod. This modern high end phone only incorporated a measly little 2730 mAh battery. I’ve had to charge my phone every day partway through my day. You’d be lucky to get 3 hours of screen on time. I’ve resorted to half brightness on my screen and using the Greenify app to help prolong the battery. This seems to get me almost through the day. 

-Lastly the screen scratches easier than other flagship devices. I’ve put Moto’s shattershield technology to the test but before I did I noticed some scratches on my screen. My assumption is that it came from being in my pocket and rubbing against other phones, or my lighter. 

-Mentioning screens let’s move on to what I love about this unique phone. Ladies and Gents I present to you a third generation shatter “PROOF” 2K ultra high-def P-OLED panel. The first shatterproof phone Motorola debuted was the Motorola Droid Turbo 2, a Verizon exclusive. Then not long after the Turbo 2, Motorola unveiled the “Z” line of phones with the Motorola Moto z Droid and Motorola Moto Z Droid Force edition, a bit long winded yes. These were also Verizon exclusives. The latter having a second generation shatterproof display. 

-This screen has a 5 layer screen technology invented by Motorola and it is legit shatterproof. I have thoroughly tested that claim. A claim this screen lives up to. The display has absolutely no glass in it. It has five layers of various materials one of which is a plastic screen protector pre-installed on top. If your phone gets scratches and it will, you can peel off the top layer and get a replacement from Motorola. I’ve purposefully dropped this phone several times from around 7’6″ straight on concrete. Nothing but scratches, any other phone would be shattered. 

-As with previous Moto Z  phones it’s all about the mods baby yeah. Lenovo was forward thinking enough as per their promise to make the phones backwards compatible with the Moto mods of last year. I’m going to use a word momentarily that I frequently use. A word harnessed by one of my idols, Terence McKenna. The Moto mods are nothing but pure novelty (in a good way). 

-With last year’s mods including the projector, the various battery packs, the JBL speaker and true zoom camera mod, and this year’s new comers the 360 camera and gaming controller, Lenovo has brought something different to mobility that is truly unique. Talk about thinking outside of the box. 

-I’m sure most of you have either seen the commercials or heard of these Moto mods. If not you are in for a “wow” moment. On the back of this extremely thin phone there are some metal connectors flush with the magnetic back. They are POGO connectors that allow the mods to communicate with the phone.

-As mentioned above you have a projector mod that allows you to project your screen up to 70 inches. YouTube, Netflix, and videos shot with the phone can be shared and enjoyed on a massive display of your choosing. Whether that be a wall, ceiling, or an actual projector screen you are sure to be amazed with this expensive mod. 

-Next we have the JBL speaker with built in kickstand. For its size it produces clean, great sounding loud tones. I was actually surprised at how loud it was. I would like to take this opportunity to say how amazingly designed these mods are. They literally just snap on the magnetic back in the blink of an eye. There is no need to remove anything or turn anything on or off. 

-There also exists an optical zoom camera mod available for purchase. The actual resolution isn’t much better if at all from the actual phones camera. However it can optically zoom up to ten times. This mod developed by Hassleblad also has a Xenon flash. 

-There were also various brands of battery mod packs last year. These do exactly what one might think they do, charge your phone battery. They work similar to the way the Mophie cases for iPhone and Galaxy work. Snap them on and poof battery is charging. This is of particular use for you weekend warriors. You know who you are. 

-As stated, in addition to last year’s mods we have two new mods to ogle over. A 360 degree camera & the Moto gamepad mod. Both are superb ideas. These are executed very nicely, unlike some other failed attempts at modularity. Excuse me while I look awkwardly in LG’s direction. 

Photo courtesy of Android Central

-Film 360 video to use with VR. Or for other content creation. With the power of Android and emulators, imagine playing Mario 64 or Mario Kart 64 on your phone using an actual tactile controller attached to either side of your phone. You get the idea from the pictures. I think I’m most excited for the Moto Gamepad mod. 

-When mods aren’t in use you can snap on what Motorola calls “style shells” (sold separately of coarse). These are not only stylish but serve a couple different practical uses as well. They allow the camera hump to disappear and cover up the POGO connectors. 

-You can choose from real leather backs, ballistic nylon, bamboo and other wood grain backs, various synthetics in different colors and patterns. Unfortunately it did not come with a style shell in the box like it did with last year’s Z phones. 

-The camera is….well….interesting to say the least. If you are looking for the best all around shooter on a phone you’ve come to the wrong place. It’s not bad it’s definitely a contender with a couple cool features. It has a 12MP dual lense setup. The secondary camera does two things. First it is a true black and white camera. A native black and white lense gives a more professional look than a simple filter does. Secondly, it allows the two cameras to work in conjunction with eachother to give depth while in depth mode. This is akin to the iPhone portrait mode however the Moto does it better in my opinion. See for yourself…

No editing done, point and click

-For my faithful Guru’ites’ all 4 of you, I will give a quick rundown of specs.  

  1. 5.5″ quadHD (2k) P-OLED shatterproof display
  2. Dual rear facing 12MP cameras 
  3. 64GB on board storage with SD card slot 
  4. 4GB Ram
  5. 2730 mAh non removable battery 
  6. Android 7.1.1 Nougat 
  7. Snapdragon 835 Octa-core processor
  8. Adreno 540 GPU

-It has all the things needed for a competitive device in the current market. Oh and it feels nice and light almost too light. Very smooth feeling it is. Apologies sometimes my inner Yoda comes out. It is very skinny as well. 

-I really love the Moto Actions, Moto Voice and Moto Display software suite. Perform a double karate chop action to turn on and off the flashlight. Double twist to launch the camera and again to switch to the front facing camera. These have become staples of Motorola phones for the past few years. I’ve come to love them however the voice aspect has been somewhat downgraded. 

-You might now be wondering if you should buy this device? My response would be open ended. I would ask do you like Motorola or really like the shatterproof aspect of the device. Maybe you are tired of the same ol same ol from the other guys. If so then yes buy this device. Personally I can look past all the faults mentioned herein because it really has so much going for it. 

-If however you are immersed in the Apple ecosystem and are what is known as a fanboy then no… do not buy this unique novel phone. If your looking for the best well rounded cutting edge high end flagship top of the line display quality phone, then you’ll want a Galaxy device. 

Thanks for reading drop a line or two if you have any questions or shared ideas wishing to impart. 

-If you are reading this sentence congratulations you get 5 stars you are top of the class and will be commended.- 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 

Blackberry Keyone Review: Retro is “in”

-The mobile market in all actuality is comprised of two giants, two companies that tower over all others. You know of who I am referring to. Samsung and Apple dominate the American market. Once giants in thier time, BlackBerry has become synonomys with “retro” due in part to the physical QWERTY keyboard adorning their well built hardware. Hardware that never seems to die. Luckily for them retro seems to be in, I came to win battle me that’s a sin. <—– music reference. 

-Moving right along, I would like to start by getting this out first… do not get this phone if you love watching YouTube or Netflix on your phone. This is not a media consumption device really. More on why you should get this phone a little later.

Disclaimer, this entire review was typed on the BlackBerry Keyone & no keyboards were hurt in the making of this blog. 

-I want to kick this thing off by saying I love this phone and it’s novel little keyboard. If you consider yourself a phone nerd or geek or even connoisseur, as the case may be, then I can honestly recommend you buy this phone. Even with its annoyances and compromises it is a PhabletGuru “two thumbs up”. 

Retail packaging shown above and all other pictures taken with the LG V20

-There is an ironic aspect of my like for this phone because it’s not a phablet. Quite the opposite in fact the screen is rather small by today’s standards. This is why I say the Keyone is not for YouTube or Netflix. This latest BlackBerry phone has a 4.5 inch full 1080p HD display. 2011 called and wants its screen size back. BlackBerry opted to cut cost by going HD instead of quad HD (2k). This however translates into higher battery efficiency and lifespan. 

-Speaking of battery life this thing is a straight up champ. In real life situations it lasted me a couple of days with moderate use. This phone is definitely for weekend warriors. It has a 3505 mAH battery. 

-The life of the battery is amazing. This is due, not only to the screen resolution, but to the midrange processor as well. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octacore processor clocked at 2 GHz within the Keyone which keeps going and going and going. The speaker is quite loud and sounds clear. 

-There are a few things you won’t be getting this phone for. You will not get this phone for the screen size or quality however it is sufficient. You won’t get this phone for the camera although it will get the job done, it’s an average camera. Nor will you buy this phone for multimedia consumption, including gaming. Because of this I will not go into details in these categories. 

-If you’re getting this phone more than likely it’s because of one of two things perhaps even both. You either like the asthetics of the BlackBerry or you really want that keyboard. Either way it will be satisfying. 

-What can I say other than “dat keyboard tho?” Not only is it beautifully crafted and designed but it has innovation oozing from its crevices. Yes you can mash away at the tactile clicky keys…. a bit archaic considering what it can do, you can actually swype text as well! Yes you read that right you can swype on the physical keyboard. If you aren’t familiar with what swype texting is, basically you can guide your finger over the keypad from one letter to the next spelling out words without lifting between letters. 

-In addition to being able to swype text, you can transition up or down, left or right, as the case may be. In essence the entirety of the keyboard is a trackpad. Scroll up and down websites or over to the next photo in your Google photos without having to swype on your screen and leave unsightly blemishes and smudges. Ladies and gentlemen I give you novelty. 

-Experiencing this first hand is amazing. The novelty wears off however and what you’re left with is a very useful function. Might I say this as well, the back feels utterly astounding. This phone feels simply amazing in the hand. It even has multi colored notification lights blinking away. Little things like that, little details add to the retro experience garnered from the Keyone. 

-Conveniently there is a programmable convenience button located on the right underneath the volume rocker. I decided that it should open Google Assistant. It is very easy to accidentally press the button unfortunately. I found myself pressing it several times a day. 

-No phone is perfect however, there’s no wireless charging, it isn’t waterproof, it has a midrange processor and average camera. It does have USB type C though so that’s a plus. It’s industrial design will either invite you in or appall you. I tend to lean towards the former. 

-There is an occasional glitch or hiccup if you will in the software processing the various swipes you perform on the keyboard. What can I say It’s just something about the way it looks and feels and it’s nostalgic aura that makes the experience enjoyable. 

-Here’s the context in which I am currently using it, I am using it as a work phone. I added a line to my account and bought the phone. This will be for groupme used for work, checking my schedule, checking my metrics and hopefully my work email as well as Customer communications and advertising. For this it seems to be the perfect phone.  

-I waive my BlackBerry flag high and proud. It’s holy banner draped along my halls. Joking aside I haven’t even mentioned security or the fact that it’s running Android. Yes Android has met BlackBerry and yes the creation is glorious. 

-In conclusion this phone, the phone I’m typing this on, makes a perfect work phone or busssiness phone.  I remember government officials carying Blackberry’s due to the advanced mobile security it offered. Anyways I digres  If you’re feeling nostalgic and want that retro look then this is the phone for you. If you want to try something other than iPhone or Galaxy, and aren’t around water or need to watch Netflix for extended periods of time, then I can recommend this. 

-If you want something with FaceTime or Bixby I recommend looking elsewhere. 

-Until next time this has been an official PhabletGuru Review all others are only imitations and will be prosecuted under the full tenants of the law.-