How to Protect Your Online Identity

Last updated: April 13, 2014

Snapchat just joined the long list of hacked sites

Snapchat just joined the long list of hacked sites [Image courtesy of TechCrunch]

UPDATE: The Heartbleed security bug makes all previous security exploits look all small. It has the potential to affect everyone, so it is important you protect yourself soon. See the Heartbleed section below, for a quick summary of the actions you need to take now.

Ever wonder why some people get their Facebook accounts hacked and others don’t? It’s because they use easy-to-guess passwords on multiple sites. Start the year out right by protecting your online data. It’s free and easy to do.

Gone in 60 Minutes

As our lives move to the cloud it’s important that we protect our online identities. If you’re like most people, you use the same password on multiple websites. This is a problem, because once a hacker gains access to one of your passwords, they can use it to access your other accounts. Imagine having a big part of your digital life erased by a hacker in less than an hour. This happened to a reporter last year. His first sign there was a problem was when his iPhone powered down and his iCloud restore didn’t work. Next, he found his Google account had been deleted and hackers used his Twitter account to send offensive messages. His problems weren’t just limited to his iPhone, the hacker gained access to his Apple account and remotely erased all of the data on his iPhone, iPad and MacBook. As bad as this was, it could have been worse. Since the hacker had access to his Amazon account, he could have bought thousands of dollars worth of merchandise or gained access to his online banking and financial accounts.

A Wired reporter had his entire digital life erased in less than an hour

A Wired reporter had his entire digital life erased in less than an hour

According to the victim, “one wouldn’t have to call Amazon to pull this off. Your pizza guy could do the same thing, for example. If you have an Apple ID, every time you call Pizza Hut, you’re giving the 16-year-old on the other end of the line all he needs to take over your entire digital life.” The reporter added that the Apple ID “has evolved into a single point of entry that controls my phones, tablets, computers and data-driven life. With this Apple ID, someone can make thousands of dollars of purchases in an instant, or do damage at a cost that you can’t put a price on.” He continued, “It’s shameful that Apple has asked its users to put so much trust in its cloud services, and not put better security mechanisms in place to protect them. Apple IDs are too easily reset, which effectively makes iCloud a data security nightmare.” This isn’t just an Apple and Amazon problem. The list of high-profile online security breaches includes Adobe, Evernote, Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox 360, Snapchat, Sony PlayStation, Twitter, UltraViolet and many more. Chances are you’ve used one of more of these hacked sites. Read more about the nine biggest security breaches of 2013.

73% of people use the same password for multiple sites

73% of people use the same password for multiple sites

Heartbleed: The King of All Exploits

    Although it’s not really new, a newly exposed bug called Heartbleed can reveal the username and passwords of many popular websites. As a result, it is recommended you change your password on all affected services after you confirm they have fixed their systems. This chart shows which sites have been affected. Also keep in mind that this vulnerability could have revealed more than just passwords, it could have allowed attackers to obtain information including credit card numbers, medical information, private emails and more.

    A 3-Step Solution

    1. Never use the same password for two sites – It’s essential you use unique passwords for every website. This isn’t as hard as it sounds because there is special software that keeps track of every password for you. This software automatically fills-in the correct username and password every time you visit a website. Although your browser can do this, your password data isn’t encrypted and can be easily viewed by anyone with access to your computer. A better solution is to use a cloud-based password locker like LastPass or 1Password. See the next section for tips how to setup a password locker.
    2. The 5 most common passwords

      The 5 most common passwords

    3. Use strong passwords – It’s hard to believe the most common password of 2013 was 123456. That’s not exactly hard to guess. Even if you create a password that has numbers, letters and special characters, it may not be strong enough that no one could guess it. Here is a website that will check your passwords to see how secure they are. If you need help creating strong passwords that avoid common mistakes check this out. Fortunately you won’t need to create your own secure passwords, your password locker software will do this for you.
    4. Backup your important data – It’s a good idea you backup all the important data on your computers and mobile devices. The easiest way to do this is to make sure all of your important documents, photos and other files are stored in folders that are synced with a cloud storage locker like Dropbox, SkyDrive or Google Drive. This backs up your data, and provides access your files from any smartphone, tablet or computer.
    LastPass detected that I had three different Adobe accounts that were compromised

    LastPass detected that I had three different Adobe accounts that were compromised

    Tips for a Smoother Transition

    Here are some tips that will make your transition into a more secure online world smoother.

    1. Start by installing free password locker software on all of your computers and mobile devices. Based on my research, LastPass is the best solution for Windows PC, Chromebook and Android users, while 1Password is the best solution for Mac and iOS users. If you decide to use LastPass, I recommend you use it with the Chrome browser.

      You’ll be asked to create a new password for your locker. I strongly recommend you use a long password you can easily remember — but have never used before. Here are some good tips how to do so. For example, you can easily convert the first part of the Gettysburg Address into a secure password that is easy to remember. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth” becomes “4Sa7yAoFbF.” Notice how I alternate capitalized letters and replace the numbers to make it more secure.

    2. After installing your new password locker software, I recommend you disable your browser’s built-in password manager. If you’re a Chrome user, click on the Chrome menu in the upper right-hand corner and select ‘Settings.’ Then scroll down and select ‘Show advanced settings/Passwords and Forms’ and make sure the two options below are not checked. I also recommend that you click on the ‘Manage saved passwords’ link and delete all of your saved passwords several weeks after you are confident your new password locker is working fine.
    3. Make sure to disable your broswer's built-in password manager

      Make sure to disable your browser’s built-in password manager

    4. Your password locker software will import all of your existing passwords, but you need to manually change them to secure passwords. I suggest you start by only changing a single password using your computer and the auto-generate password option on your password locker (e.g. LastPass). Since you’ll never need to remember or type your new secure passwords, I suggest you create passwords that are 12 characters long. Then, go to the site and make sure your password manager logs you in correctly. This is important because once you convert your passwords to secure passwords, you won’t be able to remember them.
    5. Here is the LastPass password generator

      Here is the LastPass password generator

    6. Next, you should try accessing the same site on your smartphone and tablet and make sure it logs you in as well. I’ve had some problems in this area. Here is how I handle this with LastPass:

      – For websites, I access the site using the LastPass app. After you log-in, you’ll be shown a list of websites. Select the site you want and touch ‘Launch.’ This should take you to the site and automatically log you in using your new secure password.

      – For mobile apps that require passwords like Evernote, I suggest you go to the your password locker app and copy the password first. Then open the mobile app and paste the password in the log-in screen. In most cases you’ll only have to do this once. The next time you open the app, it should remember the password for you.

    7. Once you are sure your password locker is working reliably on all of your devices, you should create new secure passwords for any of the sites listed above which have been hacked. Next, create passwords for the rest of your high-risk sites. This includes your online banking and other financial accounts, e-mail accounts, e-commerce sites (Amazon, eBay, Ticketmaster, etc.) and social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). This is easier to do on your computer than your mobile devices. Once this is done, you can do this for lower-risk sites.

      Important: I can’t stress enough that you should copy and paste each new password you create to a temporary document that you keep around until you verify your password locker has correctly captured the new password and logs you in correctly. Although it doesn’t happen often, a few times I’ve had to manually copy and paste the new secure password into the password locker because it wasn’t automatically saved.

    8. When you’ve finished creating secure passwords for all your websites, use your password locker to run a security scan to identify remaining problems. You’re not done until you make sure that no two sites are using the same password and all passwords are secure.

    Congratulations! You’re Now Safe and Sound

    Your online data is now much better protected than before. It is now extremely unlikely that a hacker could log-in to your accounts as long as you keep the password to your password locker safe. If you want even more security, here are a few more extra tips. Back up your data to a NAS (or a large thumb drive) and store these backups outside of your home. Don’t store your credit cards with online merchants and lastly, consider using two-factor authentication for data that is really important to you. I’ll leave you with a few extra tips for mobile security. Have a safe new year!

    Extra tips to keep your smartphone secure

    Extra tips to keep your smartphone secure

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

Debunking the Retina Display Myth

Last updated: November 11, 2013

Although Steve Jobs’ claims the human eye can’t perceive detail beyond 300 pixels per inch were immediately debunked, to this day almost everyone believes that what he said is still true. I became interested in this topic after seeing what I considered to be obvious differences between the highest-resolution smartphone displays. If Jobs’ claims were true, this shouldn’t have been possible. I wanted find out why I could see a difference, and whether it was possible to scientifically prove that Jobs’ retina claims were false. More importantly, I wanted to learn what specs would be needed in a real retina display. But before we can answer these questions, we need to go back to the beginning of this myth.

WWDC 2010 was where the Retina myth began

WWDC 2010 was where the Retina myth began

Looking Back

Back in June of 2010, Apple introduced the iPhone 4. Although no one knew it at the time, this would be Jobs’ last iPhone launch. The iPhone 4 was a landmark product because it was the first phone with a “Retina” display. Since few people correctly quote Jobs on this topic, let’s revisit what he said. Steve Jobs’ exact quote was “It turns out there’s a magic number right around 300 pixels per inch, that when you hold something around to 10 to 12 inches away from your eyes, is the limit of the human retina to differentiate the pixels.” This seemed plausible at the time because the display on the iPhone 4 was a big step forward. It had with four times the pixels of the previous model and a resolution of 326 pixels per inch (PPI).

Experts immediately questioned Jobs' retina claims

Experts immediately questioned Jobs’ Retina display claims

Experts Cry Foul

Almost immediately experts questioned Jobs’ claims. “Wired” ran an article saying the iPhone 4′s Retina display claims were “false marketing.” This article quoted Raymond Soneira from DisplayMate Technologies, who is one the most respected names in display analysis. Soneira said, “The math just doesn’t add up,” and suggested the term Retina display was misleading. Soneira went on to say “it was inaccurate to measure the resolution of the eye in terms of pixels.” He added “…a more accurate Retina definition would have a pixel resolution of 477 pixels per inch at 12 inches.”

Soneria was the first to attempt to prove Jobs was right

This science blogger was the first to attempt to prove Jobs was right

Bad Math?

A blogger named Phil Plait then redid Soneira’s equations based normal vision, instead of perfect vision. Based on these calculations, Plait suggested Jobs’ claims were vindicated, but when you refer back to Jobs’ original quote, he refers to a distance of 10 to 12 inches. Plait conveniently used twelve inches, because that created the response he was looking for. Using a distance of ten inches, Plait confirmed that someone with normal vision could see visible pixels on a Retina display and the Retina display myth was busted. But that wasn’t the only problem with Plait’s and Soneira’s logic. There were several other problems we’ll discuss next.

A Flawed Definition of Perfect Vision

If you carefully read Plait’s article, you’ll see that he admits someone with perfect eyesight would be able to see a pixilated image when holding a Retina display one foot from their eyes. This backs up Soneira’s claim that 300 pixels aren’t enough for a true retina display, but there several problems with the definition of perfect vision. First, it is inaccurate to refer to 20/20 vision as “perfect” vision. 20/20 vision does not correspond to the best possible vision found in humans. Second, the word perfect doesn’t really make sense when applied to eyesight. The maximum acuity of a healthy human eye is 20/16 to 20/12. Even those with “bad” eyes can have 20/15 (or better) vision with glasses. This in itself doesn’t mean too much because the percentage of humans with better than 20/20 vision is relatively small (around 10-15% not including corrective glasses).

Most teens hold their phones close to their face

Most teens hold their phones closer to their face than adults

Screen Size Matters, Distances Vary

Contrary to the suggestions above, not everyone holds their mobile device 10 to 12 inches from their face. I’ve noticed that some teens hold their phones only 7 to 8 inches from their eyes. This is an important because the closer a person holds their screen, the higher the resolution required so the pixels effectively disappear. Jobs suggested that 300 pixels per inch was the magic number which determined whether a screen was a retina display, but the truth is there is no one single magic number for both smartphones and tablets. This is because the distance consumers hold tablets to their face is further away than they hold their smartphones. Some experts use a distance of 15 inches for tablets, but I often hold my tablet further away than that. What is the impact of this? It’s simple. The further you hold your device from your face, the lower the resolution needed for the pixels to disappear. This debunks the above assumptions that a single number can be used to determine whether a mobile device has a retina display or not.

20/20 has little to do with pixel recognition

Visual acuity alone is not the best predictor of pixel recognition

Primitive Measurements Don’t Cut It

The chart many eye doctors still use to determine whether you have 20/20 vision is a crude method that dates back to 1862. Eye charts were created to test vision, but we’re talking about something that goes beyond just text. We’re trying to determine whether a human can see the pixels on a display — and more importantly whether there is a benefit of using displays with resolutions higher than 300 PPI.

When trying to scientifically determine whether our eyes can tell the difference between two things, our eyes do a much better job telling the difference between two lines than they do interpreting characters of the alphabet. How much better? It turns out the ability of humans to distinguish between two different lines is actually ten times greater than 20/20 visual acuity. This is referred to as Vernier acuity and is the reason a Vernier scale like the one shown below allows users to measure things more precisely than using a uniformly-divided straight scale. You can prove this to yourself by taking this simple yet ingenious online test. This test proves that differences between Vernier lines can still be judged when the gap of a so-called “Landolt C” can no longer be recognized. In most cases the difference between these two is very large. That means while someone with excellent vision cannot recognize the orientation of the small “c” on the right (which has a 0.5 pixel gap size at normal reading distance), they can distinguish the gap between two lines that are only 0.05 pixels apart – that’s a 10x improvement.

The Vernier caliper uses Vernier acuity for more precise measurement

The Vernier caliper uses Vernier acuity for more precise readings

Science Still Matters

None of the experts quoted above attempted to scientifically test their assumptions. Plait claims his work calibrating for the Hubble telescope made him an expert in ophthalmology, but his real claim to fame was debunking the Moon landing hoax. I wondered what a real expert would say about this topic, so I did some research and found a study by Michael Bach. Mr. Bach is a professor at a German university known for their Ophthalmology-related studies and the former president of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision. Bach set out to test the limits of human vision and the ability to discern differences in extremely high-resolution displays. What he found and published in a scientific journal earlier this year clearly debunks Jobs’ retina display claims. His study had 49 subjects evaluate displays with resolutions between 254 and 1016 pixels per inch. The results of this study proves people can see the difference between a 339 PPI display and a 508 PPI display. More surprisingly, his study also suggests that some people can also discriminate between 508 PPI and 1016 PPI displays. So it’s clear the human eye is capable of benefiting from displays with more than 300 pixels per inch, but what is the minimum size for a true retina display and when will we be able to buy one?

The Real Retina Numbers?

Using the same equations Soneira and Plait used, a leading display manufacturer suggests a true retina smartphone display would need to have a resolution of at least 573 pixels per inch. However, this is for someone with perfect vision. The number is lower for someone with average vision. For a tablet held fifteen inches away from your eyes, and using the same equations, a true retina display would need a resolution that is higher than 382 PPI. Sadly, that means for people with perfect vision there are no true retina display smartphones or tablets available today. Even the new iPad Air only has a 264 PPI display. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a great looking display, but it doesn’t meet the definition of true retina display for a person with average vision.

Notice how the pixels of these four flagship phones vary

Notice how the pixels on four flagship phones vary. Source: AnandTech

All Pixels Are Not The Same

Now that we’ve established numbers for a true retina display, I want to point out one potential problem. When a mobile display goes under a microscope, it’s easy to see major differences between the types pixels used. The size varies, the shape varies, the placement varies. Even the color varies because some displays are now including white pixels (in addition to RGB). Some have pen-tile displays, others don’t. Even the type of displays used on popular smartphones vary. Companies like Samsung use OLED displays, while Apple uses LCD displays. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. You can even see differences in the pixels on Samsung phones that have Super AMOLED displays. Unfortunately this topic is outside of the scope of this article. Just understand that all pixels are not the same and this makes it harder to come up with a single retina number that applies to all smartphones (or tablets). Other factors come into play as well, like the quality of your display. The better the quality panel, the more likely you are going to be able to see the differences we are discussing here.

Samsung recently shared their screen roadmap with analysts

Samsung recently shared their screen roadmap with analysts

Can You Really See A Difference?

Whether you can see a difference between your current smartphone and a smartphone with a true retina display depends on what you are viewing. Low-quality videos like the ones we watch on YouTube, will continue to look bad. In fact, they will even look worse, because you’ll see the compression artifacts more clearly. Small text is one area where you are likely to notice a difference. Text will be razor sharp. You can really see the difference between a 300 PPI display and 550 PPI display when things like pen-drawn Kanji characters are displayed. True retina tablets with screens that are 12 inches or larger will make it possible to get a newspaper-style experience, without reformatting articles. You will also be able to always use the full desktop versions of all websites and view high-resolution photos and 4K video with no loss of resolution. That’s not important today, but it will be in the coming years.

Much higher quality displays are coming in 2014

Much higher quality displays are coming in 2014

So When Can I Buy One?

Several companies have announced they will releasing much higher resolution mobile displays next year. A company called Japan Display Incorporated (JDI) recently announced a 5.4″ 2560 x 1440 pixel smartphone display with a pixel density of 543 pixels per inch. JDI also announced the first 12″ 4K tablet screen with 3840 x 2160 pixels and a PPI of 365.

Samsung recently announced even higher resolution displays. According to Digitimes, Samsung will begin volume production of 2560×1440 pixel displays soon that will appear in high-end smartphones sometime in 2014. Samsung’s Analyst Day slide (shown above) backs up this claim. That works out to be an image density 560 pixels-per-inch, which is just under the 573 definition for a true retina smartphone display. You’ll notice that Samsung is also planning a 4K screen for smartphones. Assuming a screen size of around 5 inches, that works out to be about 880 pixels per inch. 4K tablet screens are coming in 2014 as well. These screens should resolutions over 400 pixels per inch, which exceeds the 382 PPI number required for a true retina display.

The Bottom Line

It’s been proven that humans can tell the difference between displays with resolutions higher 300 PPI. It’s impossible to create a single number definition for a retina display because that number changes depending on the distance, your vision and other factors. Smartphones and tablets with much higher resolution displays will be available in 2014. Apple will be forced to increase the resolution of their displays if they want to use the best display technology available. Whether you can tell the difference between these new displays and today’s best displays will depend on the panel quality, distance and type of media you are viewing, but you won’t need a scientist to tell you they look incredible.

– Rick

Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged. This article includes my personal opinions and does not reflect the views of my employer.


Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

Chromebook Tips – Part One

Last updated: October 30, 2013

This article is obviously not yet finished. Please stop by later to see the final version.

Must-have Accessories for Every Chromebook

Earlier this year I was given a Chromebook Pixel and fell in love with it. It’s not perfect, but is really good at some things. To find out what, please checkout my first article. The is the first in a series of articles containing tips and tricks for the Chromebook. We’ll be starting with accessories that every Chromebook owner should consider.

A case protects your Chromebook from damage

A case is the first thing you should buy for your Chromebook

  1. Protect your investment – Make sure to buy a case for your Chromebook before you scratch it. Keep in mind that most laptop sleeves will work just fine with your Chromebook as long as the screensize is the same. Another advantage of getting a case is the fact that it lessens the chances your Chromebook will slip out of your hands when you’re carrying it. Although there literally hundreds of sleeves that will hold your Chromebook on sites like Amazon. I recommend you spend a little more and get a nice case. You won’t regret it. It bought a high-quality sleeve from Timbuk2 that is padded and has venting which cools your Chromebook quickly. It was worth the extra money. Google also sells a nice hard case, but it’s not cheap. Make sure to confirm your Chromebook with fit in the case your considering before buying.
  2. Get ready to project – If you plan to use your Chromebook at work, you’ll want to make sure to get an adapter so you can connect it up to any projector. I purchased this low-cost Mini DisplayPort to VGA cable and it works fine.
  3. Go big (screen) – Although the Chromebook has a good quality display, it can’t compete with the 46″ LCD TV on your wall. It’s easy to connect your Chromebook to your TV to watch sports, YouTube videos or movies from Netflix or other online sources. To do this, you need to first determine whether your Chromebook as a Mini DisplayPort jack or a standard sized HDMI jack. If it doesn’t have an HDMI jack, you’ll want to get a long Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable. Although I’ve never had a problem, to be safe, you may want to turn off your TV before you connect or disconnect the HDMI cable.
  4. Stream without buffering – Steaming HD video over standard Wi-Fi often buffers. To eliminate the chance of buffering connect a Gigabit Ethernet network adapter to the USB port on your Chromebook. Once you plug-it in it will switch off Wi-Fi and connect you via Ethernet.
  5. Prevent slippage – Most chromebooks have a slippery metal bottom and can slide if you prop them up with your legs. If you have a problem with your Chromebook slipping you might want to try adding some Dycem feet to its bottom. Dycem grips better than anything else I can find. They make sheets of it, but that’s much more expensive than the feet that I use. I recommend you place six to eight of these on the bottom. These feet has eliminated my slippage problems.
  6. Clean your screen – Although you can keep your screen clean with any lint free cloth, for best results spend five bucks on a microfiber cleaning cloth.
  7. Buy an extra adapter – If you carry your Chromebook between home and work, or travel a lot, I recommend that you invest in a second AC adapter. It lightens the load of your backpack. Here is the adapter for the Chromebook Pixel. Here is a charger for Samsung Chromebooks.
  8. – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

First Impressions – Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Last updated: October 13, 2013

I picked up a new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 the first day they were available and thought I would share my first impressions here. I was surprised I had to wait an hour before I could get help in my neighborhood Verizon store. The store was very full for a weeknight. There were at least four others picked up the same phone while I was there and one of them said he had been waiting all year for this phone.

Transferring everything, from my old Samsung Galaxy S4 was relatively easy, once I removed the factory-installed SIM, which was buried under the MicroSD card slot. The person in the store had to use a razor knife to slide it out. After that, inserted my old SIM (containing all of my music and other stuff) and logged into my Google account. Now I was ready to give the new phone a test drive.

The Galaxy Note 3 is a monster

The Galaxy Note 3 is a monster



Is This Phone Too Big?

Most reviewers can’t get past the size of the Galaxy Note 3, but for anyone stepping up from a Galaxy S4, the transition isn’t a big deal. The phone is big, but still was easy to insert and remove from my front pocket. However, someone who wears very tight jeans might have a problem. The phone feels good when held with your hand. It’s thinner than the HTC One and Nexus 5. Although it’s 38 grams heavier than the Galaxy S4, the weight isn’t a problem. The advantages of the 5.7” screen are significant. Everything is better on a large screen (games, email, movies, Facebook, etc). Samsung’s split screen feature, which lets you run two different apps at once, is even more useful on this device. The one downside of the large screen is the fact that it’s hard to do everything with your thumb when holding the phone in one hand. Samsung has added some special one-hand commands, but I haven’t tried those yet.


The Display

The next thing you notice after the size of the phone is it’s display. The Galaxy Note 3 has the best looking mobile display I’ve ever seen. Although Galaxy S4 has a much higher pixel density (441 vs. 386). To my eyes, and those of some reviewers, the display on the Galaxy Note 3 looks noticeably better. Maybe that’s because it has the newest gen OLED display. I’m not sure, but in the store, it looked better than everything else — even the 469ppi display on the HTC One. The display on the Galaxy Note 3 incredibly sharp, and both black levels and contrast are outstanding. Although colors on the Galaxy Note 3 appear to be over-saturated DisplayMate says color accuracy is still good. If you want even better color calibration and accuracy, you can change the screen to “Movie Mode” under Settings. The screen on the Galaxy Note 3 is also extremely bright. In fact, DisplayMate says it’s the brightest mobile display they have ever tested.

The screen on the Note 3 performs well in display tests

The screen on the Note 3 performs well in display tests


The Hardware

Of course the Galaxy Note 3 is very fast. Its Snapdragon 800 processor seems to eliminate the Android lag I’ve experienced on other Android devices.

Build-quality on the Galaxy Note 3 is better than the Galaxy Note II. I like the faux leather back, but am not a fan of the ridged chrome sides. Although its build quality pales in comparison to an HTC One or iPhone 5, I’d rate it good overall. The speaker on the Galaxy Note has been moved from the back to the bottom on the phone. That was a smart decision. Although Samsung isn’t known for their speaker quality, I was surprised to find its one speaker sounds good and has some bottom as well. It also gets surprisingly loud.

I like the new wider USB 3.0 cable, it is easier to insert and feels more solid. I was surprised to find that Samsung ships the same AC adapter with the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4. Both are rated for 2A. I expected a higher current charger, because USB 3.0 supports that.

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a generous 32GB, which can be inexpensively expanded to 64GB (or more)

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with 32GB, but can be inexpensively expanded to 64GB (or more)



Battery Life

Battery life is good — considering Verizon is shipping this phone with the screen brightness turned up almost all of the way. Even with the screen brightness at 95%, I was still able to go 7.5 hours under moderate use and had about 30% of battery remaining.

The decision to ship this phone with at least 32GB of storage was a smart. Samsung was dinged for using up so much of the storage on the 16GB Galaxy S4 (only 9.5GB of space was left for users). Android uses up 6.73GB of the available 32GB on the Galaxy Note 3. Even after installing 100+ apps and photos, I still have over 23GB of internal storage available. When you first launch the camera, it asks if you want to store your photos on the MicroSD card (like the Galaxy S4), however I’ve stopped doing that because I’ve found some apps have problems with this.


The Software

As far as software goes, there are several new pen apps. So far I haven’t found any killer application for the pen, but it’s too soon to say it isn’t useful. There are now folders in the App Locker for Verizon, Google and other categories, which makes it look like there isn’t so much bloatware on this device. Although you can no longer hide apps in the App Locker, you can now disable apps by dragging them from the locker to the trash can. The default keyboard is much improved over the one in the Galaxy S4. It’s even better than SwiftKey in some ways (has a .com key and wider key spacing). On the downside, Samsung has completely changed the Settings screen again, which makes it harder to find things.

The camera on the Note 3 is good, but not the best

The camera on the Note 3 is good



The Camera

The camera on the Galaxy Note 3 seems good so far in my limited testing. I tried recording some Ultra HD video and that looks really good as well. I was pleased you can watch those videos on the Galaxy Note 3’s 1920×1080 screen — even though they are 3840×2160. The video stabilization features seems to work pretty well, although it’s not available on Ultra HD video. It’s worth mentioning that I was able to crash the Camera app once or twice.


The Bottom Line

So the bottom line is, I really like the Galaxy Note 3 so far, the screen size hasn't been a problem for me and the display is wonderful. I wish it didn't have so many carrier-installed apps and almost went with he Nexus 5 for that reason, but it has enough storage that it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. There are enough differences between the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4 that I would recommend this phone to Galaxy S4 users. Make sure you play with this phone before you buy it to make sure it's size isn't a problem for you. I think the large screen is nice, but it's not for everyone.

– Rick

Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

What is the Best Smartphone of 2013?

Last updated: January 20, 2014

Having a great smartphone is essential. That’s why I spend months trying to pick the best one every year. Of course “best” is a subjective term, so I create a chart of non-subjective things to help me see which phones stand out from the pack. I start with a chart that contains over fifty smartphones, and then narrow it down to the ten best ones. To save time, we’ll start with those phones. I present to you the top ten smartphones of 2013.

Top Ten Phones of 2013 - Group One

The Best Smartphones of 2013 – Group One

Top Ten Phones of 2013 - Group Two

The Best Smartphones of 2013 – Group Two

Narrowing the Field

Of course, one chart can’t tell you everything, that’s why this is only the first of several steps, but it is a great tool to help you narrow down your list to only one or two finalists. You’ll notice the winner in each category shown in bold-faced blue text, while phones that under perform are shown in red. Let’s jump right in and review the winners in each area starting with the mobile processor.

The best ten smartphones of 2013

This chart shows category winners in blue and underperformers in red (click here to view an easier to read chart)


This year most of the best phones have Snapdragon 800 processors

9 out of 10 of the best smartphones run Snapdragon quad-core processors

Best Processor

When it comes to processor speed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 wins by a nose. It has a third-generation quad-core processor running at an incredible 2.3GHz. However, processor speed isn’t the only indicator of performance. The type of processor, number of cores and architecture type matters as well. The Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1/Z Ultra, LG G2 and Acer Liquid S2 all have a Snapdragon 800 processor which has four Krait 400 cores, an Adreno 330 GPU, a Hexagon DSP, 802.11ac Gigibit Wi-Fi, HSPA+, CDMA, LTE radios and more. The Asus Padfone, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 all have a Snapdragon 600 processor which has four Krait 300 cores running at a slower clock speed with a Adreno 320 GPU. Although this is still a great processor, it can’t keep up with the Snapdragon 800. Although the iPhone 5s has a dual-core processor that runs at a much slower clock-speed, it’s no slouch and even outperforms the Snapdragon 800 on a few graphic benchmarks. However, this has more to do with the fact that the best Android phones have almost three times more pixels to push around than the iPhone 5s. Also, dual-core processors often get better benchmark scores because most benchmarks are not highly multithreaded. Even when you’re not running a single app, your phone is still doing a lot of things in the background. Because of this, a quad-core processor has advantages over a dual-core processor.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

Most Storage

When it comes to storage, three things matter. The amount of of RAM, the amount of internal storage and the memory expansion capabilities. The Galaxy Note 3 is the only phone with 3GB of high-speed RAM today. This makes it boot faster, launch apps faster and multitask better. How much faster? The game “Asphalt 7″ loads more than twice as fast on Galaxy Note 3 with 3GB of memory than it loads on the same phone with only 2GB of memory (18.5 seconds vs. 45.0 seconds). The Galaxy Note 3 also runs its memory at a higher speed than all other phones. The iPhone 5s only has 1GB of memory, which is surprising because it has a 64-bit OS that would benefit greatly if it had more memory.

When it comes to internal storage the Asus Padfone Infinity and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 win in because both have either 32GB or 64GB of storage. Other phones like the iPhone 5s start at only 16GB of storage. Having double the amount of internal storage allows you to store more than twice as many photos, movies and apps.

A memory expansion slot is important because it allows you to convert your 32GB phone to 64GB phone for less than $25. For comparison purposes, Apple forces you to buy a new phone that costs $100 more to expand your storage from 16GB to 32GB. 64GB Android users with a memory slot can expand their storage to 128GB for less than $50. This is something that is simply not possible with the iPhone 5s. All of the phones in the above chart except the iPhone 5s, Padfone Infinity, HTC One and Droid MAXX have a memory expansion slot.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

When it comes to size, no one comes close to the 6.4" Sony Experia Z Ultra

When it comes to size, no one comes close to the 6.4″ Sony Experia Z Ultra

Best Display

Four things matter when it comes to the display: Screen size, number of pixels, pixel density and screen accuracy. Three of our finalists have very large displays. The Galaxy Note 3 is 5.7″, the Acer Liquid S2 is 6.0″ and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra towers above the rest at 6.4″ I’ve used the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and was surprised how good it felt my hand. Although it fit into the front jean pocket, I’m not sure I’d want to carry a phone that big all of the time. Whether these three phones are too big for you is subjective, what isn’t debatable is the fact that large screens are better for ever application. It doesn’t matter whether you’re surfing the web, playing a game, watching a video, or using Facebook. You’ll have a much better experience on a phone with a larger screen. Once you have a smartphone with a large screen, I believe it’s unlikely you’ll even go back to a phone with a smaller display.

The best Android smartphones have far more pixels than the iPhone 5s

The best Android smartphones have far more pixels than the iPhone 5s

In addition to size, the number and type of pixels is also important. All of the best Android phones have screens with at least a 1280×720 pixels. The best Android phones have screens with 1920×1080 pixels. This makes sense since most movies and TV shows are either 720p or 1080p. For some strange reason, Apple has yet to release a phone with a true high-definition display. All of the 1080p Android phones here have almost 3 times more pixels than the iPhone 5s (2,073,600 pixels vs. 727,040 pixels).

Of course quality is more important than quantity. Screen resolution (or the number of pixels per inch) used to be an area that Apple excelled in. But now, the iPhone 5s comes in next to last place in screen resolution. That’s surprising. The winner in screen resolution is the HTC One, with an incredible 469 pixels-per-inch.

It’s worth mentioning there is a debate whether pixel resolutions above 300 pixels-per-inch are needed however, experts say can see tell the difference between a 300 ppi display and a 500 ppi display. There is a downside too, the more pixels you have to push around the more power is consumed and the harder it is to get the highest frame rates on games.

The HTC One has the highest contrast ratio and blackest blacks

The HTC One and other phones beat the iPhone 5s when it comes to contrast ratio and black levels

Screen quality isn’t just about the number of pixels, screen type and accuracy is important as well. The is one area Apple has dominated in the past, but Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are now matching the iPhone 5s’ “A” overall display rating and badly beat the iPhone 5s when it comes to black level, contrast ratio, color saturation and more. In fact, BGR says the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has the best display of any other phone in 2013. The HTC One and LG G2 also beat the iPhone 5s when it comes to both contrast ratio and black levels. When it comes to color accuracy, the iPhone 5s continues to do well, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 outperforms the iPhone 5s on the important GMB color checker. The Moto X and LG G2 also beat the iPhone 5s on white and gray-scale accuracy. The HTC One X even beats the iPhone 5s on brightness (although only by a small amount).

Apple continues to do well in most color accuracy tests

Apple continues to do well in most color accuracy tests

Screen Size Winner: Sony Experia Z Ultra
Screen Resolution Winner: HTC One
Screen Accuracy Winner: iPhone 5s
Best Overall Display: Samsung Galaxy S4/Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Best Camera

Deciding which of these phones has the best camera isn’t easy. When it comes to overall quality, most experts say the Nokia Lumia 1020 has the best camera (even though it wasn’t good enough to occupy a slot in the above chart). It has a 41MP PureView camera; Carl Zeiss Tessar lens; f/2.2 aperture and is the only camera with a Xenon flash. Although the iPhone 5s and HTC One cameras can’t compete when it comes to megapixels, both have sensors with larger pixels that works better than other Android phones in low-light. Although the 20.7MP Sony Xperia Z1 and 13MP Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 also have cameras that are very good, most experts rank the camera in the iPhone 5s second after the Nokia Lumia 1020. When it comes to the front camera, every phone here beats the iPhone’s 1.2MP camera.

When it comes to taking video, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Acer Liquid S2 can both record and playback Ultra HD 4k video with four times the resolution of HD video. This may not seem like an essential feature today, but it is useful because I was surprised to see you can easily tell a difference between a standard 1080p HD video and an Ultra HD video — even when they are both played on a 1080p display. The differences will be even more apparent as consumers get 4k TVs in their homes.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020

Apple raves about 802.11ac in their MacBook and router ads, yet chose to left it out of the iPhone 5s

Apple raves about 802.11ac in their MacBook and router ads, yet chose to left it out of the iPhone 5s

Best Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity every phone here has comparable 2G/3G and 4G LTE capabilities. Every phone here also has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi support. But that’s no longer cutting edge. All of the phones here — except for the iPhone 5s have support for Gigibit Wi-Fi (also know as 802.11ac). Apple raves about 802.11ac in their MacBook and router ads because it’s 3-10x faster than regular 802.11n Wi-Fi technology. This is important because your phone is connected to Wi-Fi most of the time at home and in the office. When used with a router with 802.11ac support, you’ll experience faster downloads, faster page loads and less video buffering. How much faster? The best Android phones have Wi-Fi that is 3 to 10 times faster than the iPhone 5s.

Winner: Everyone but the iPhone 5s

Best I/O

When it comes to I/O two main things matter: transfer speeds and cable costs. Both SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are much faster than USB 2.0 support that is offered by all non-Apple smartphones. The problem with Thunderbolt is that there are very few non-Apple products that support it and the few that do tend to be very expensive. USB 3.0 is backwardly-compatible with standard mini-USB cables that can be purchased for up to 20 time less than what Apple charges. Even high-quality USB 3.0 cables cost one third as much as Apple’s cheapest Thunderbolt cable. Since 99% of iPhone users only use their $29 to $39 Thunderbolt cables for charging, that’s a big premium to pay — especially considering the fact you can get an Android charging cable for only $2-$3. Only one mobile device here has support for USB 3.0. That makes it easy to pick a winner for this category.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Best Case

When it comes to the exterior of your phone, the build-quality, thinness and weight matter. Customization is also important. The build-quality leaders today are the iPhone 5s and HTC One. When it comes to thinness, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra comes in first. It’s only 6.5mm thick, compared to the iPhone 5s at 7.6mm. The tables turn when it comes to weight however, the iPhone 5s is the lightest smartphone available in the U.S. weighing in at only 112g, while the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is the heaviest (212g). When it comes to phone customization, the Moto X (not shown in the chart) is an easy winner with over 2000 customization options.

Winner – Build-quality: Tie: Apple iPhone 5s and HTC One
Winner – Thinness: Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Winner – Weight: Tie: Apple iPhone 5s
Winner – Customization: Motorola Moto X (not listed in the chart above)

The Galaxy S4 kills the iPhone 5s when it comes to talk time (17.5 hours vs. 10.8 hours)

The Galaxy S4 kills the iPhone 5s when it comes to talk time (17.5 hours vs. 10.8 hours)

Best Battery

The iPhone 5s only has 1560 mAh battery. Phones like the Acer Liquid S2, LG Optimus G Pro, Motorola DROID MAXX and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have batteries that are at least twice as powerful as the battery in the iPhone 5s. The Samsung Galaxy S4 retained its title as winner of the highly-regarded UK consumer association battery tests, but even it can’t compete with the Motorola DROID MAXX and LG G2. According to Engadget, “the Maxx died after 18 hours and 54 minutes” of real-world use. Engadget said the talk time on the Droid Maxx lasted for 24 hours and 15 minutes. Engadget added, “these numbers are great, but does it hold the title for longest battery life in the market? We would have said yes until this past week, when we discovered that the LG G2 — with its smaller, 3,000mAh battery — actually lasts longer in real-world use and our standard video rundown test.” For more about battery life checkout this list of the six phones with the best battery life.

Winner – Battery life: LG G2

And the Winner is…

Best is a subjective term. What I’m really talking about here is the smartphone with the best overall hardware specs. Based on that definition, neither the iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy S4 can be considered “phone of the year.” Both are good phones, and both are very popular, but they are not the most advanced smartphones that are available today. In fact the iPhone 5s is missing more than fifty features that you’ll find in other smartphones. So who is the gold medal winner? Right now it’s the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. But phones this large aren’t for everyone. If you own a Mac, and an iPad and many apps, an iPhone 5s still might make sense for you — even though it comes in last place in most of the categories reviewed here. If you’re looking for great performance and value, I’d consider the Nexus 5, Moto X or HTC One which is a bargain these days. The bottom line is you can’t go wrong with any of the phones here.

– Rick

Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

58 Things You Won’t Find On The iPhone 5s

Last updated: March 6, 2014

The iPhone 5s is popular, but it’s not the most advanced smartphone. It is missing over fifty important features that are found in other smartphones.

Size matters: Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 dwarf the iPhone 5s

Size matters: Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 dwarf the iPhone 5s

  1. A Large Screen Experience – The screen on the iPhone 5s is only 4 inches, while the best Android smartphones have screens that are 5.0 to 6.4 inches. Not only are they much bigger, they are also better. They have almost twice as many pixels and up to 44% higher screen resolutions. Large screens are better for everything. It doesn’t matter whether you’re surfing the web, playing a game, watching a video, or using Facebook. Another activity where large screens excel is reading a book, even though the Moto X only has a 4.7″ screen, it can display 27% more words than the iPhone 5s. That means less scrolling and less page turning. As long as you can easily fit these phones in your pocket, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a larger display. The same people who say 5” or 6” screens are too large, have no problem using the 7.9” iPad mini. The iPhone 6 is sure to have a larger screen, so you better get ready for one.

    Even though the Moto X only has a 4.7" screen, it can display 27% more text.

    Even though the Moto X only has a 4.7″ screen, it can display 27% more text [Photo courtesy of GottaBeMobile]

  2. A Quad-core Processor – The best Android phone have third-generation quad-core processors that allow your smartphone to multitask better. Quad-core chips have been available on Android devices since 2011. Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 sold in some countries now have eight-core processors, yet the iPhone 5s still only has a dual-core CPU.

    Apple raves about 802.11ac in their MacBook and router ads, yet chose to left it out of the iPhone 5s

    Apple raves about 802.11ac in their AirPort and MacBook ads, yet chose to leave support for it out of the iPhone 5s

  3. 802.11ac Wi-Fi Support – Not all Wi-Fi speeds are the same. The best Android phones support 802.11ac, which is 3 to 10 times faster than the Wi-Fi technology the iPhone 5s uses. This is important because your phone is connected to Wi-Fi most of the time at home and in the office. 802.11ac results in much faster downloads, faster page loads and less buffering when you’re streaming video.

  4. Wireless Charging – Many Android users don’t have to plug in their phones to charge them. The Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, HTC Droid DNA, LG Nexus 4, LG Nexus 5, LG Spectrum 2 and many others include wireless charging support.

    Wireless charging and faster wired charging are two more features that are missing from the new iPhone 5s

  5. An Affordable Unlocked Price Option – The official unsubsidized price for the “low-cost” iPhone 5c is $549 to $649. You can buy an unlocked Nexus 4 for less than half that price, and it has better specs than the iPhone 5c. Even the unlocked state-of-the-art Nexus 5 sells for only $349. Unlocked Android phones with similar specs to the iPhone 5c sell for around $180 in China without a carrier subsidy.

  6. An Overall Better Display – Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 now match the iPhone 5s’ “A” overall display rating, and badly beat the iPhone 5s when it comes to black level, contrast ratio, color saturation and more. In fact, BGR says the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has the best display of any other phone in 2013. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also outperforms the iPhone 5s on the important GMB color checker. The Moto X and LG G2 also beat the iPhone 5s on white and gray-scale accuracy.

  7. Accident-Resistant – We all drop our phones, so it’s important they can survive drops and exposure to moisture. When it comes to ruggedness, SquareTrade says Android phones like the Moto X beat the iPhone 5s in drop tests. “When it comes to breakability, Apple takes a step back with its latest offerings,” SquareTrade said. “The iPhone 5S fared worse than its predecessor, the iPhone 5, in our slide test and the iPhone 5C suffered from increased smash-ability in our drop test as well as reduced grip-ability.”

  8. Fast Charging – Many of the best smartphones now include a fast-charging technology from Qualcomm that helps them charge up to 40% faster than regular phones. Phones with fast-charging support include the HTC Droid DNA, HTC One S, HTC One SV, HTC 8X, Google Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD/RAZR HD, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820 and the Samsung Galaxy S III. Future Android phones will include support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 feature that charges up to 75% faster than conventional USB charging technology. You can learn more about Quick Charge here.

  9. Up to 3 Times More High-Speed Memory – Experts say the iPhone 5s still only has 1GB of memory, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes standard with 3GB of DDR3 memory running at a higher clock speed. This makes a phone boot faster, launch apps faster and multitask better. How much faster? The game “Asphalt 7″ loads in only 18.5 seconds on a phone with 3GB of memory. The same game loads in 45.0 seconds on the same phone with 2GB of the same type of memory.

    Samsung makes it easy for you to swap or replace the battery in your phone.

    Samsung makes it easy for anyone to swap batteries in their phone or add more memory

  10. An Easily Removable Battery – Has there ever been a time when your battery was running low and you wished you could just pop-in a fully charged spare? Most Android phones make this possible because they have batteries that can be easily swapped in seconds. This is important because all rechargeable batteries have a limited life span and need to be replaced after 2-3 years. Apple goes to great lengths to prevent you from opening the iPhone 5s. This includes the use of special glue, and screws that require special tools to remove. Even if you have these tools, you still need a heat gun, suction cup and a special prying tool to open your iPhone 5s and remove its battery.

  11. Multi Window Support – Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Note 3 make good use of their large screens by letting you split the screen so you can use two apps at the same time. Not only can you view any two windows at once, you can also drag things from one window to the other. This is a really useful feature the iPhone 5s doesn’t have.

  12. Gesture Support – Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Note 3 support a wide range of different hand gestures. For example, you can wave your hand over your phone to accept a phone call, move calendar events, or move between pictures, pages or music tracks.

  13. NFC-based Digital Payments – The new iPhone comes with a ‘Passport’that can hold digital boarding passes and coupons, but it doesn’t allow you to buy things. NFC wallet support like you’ll find in most Android phones lets you to purchase things at one of 300,000+ PayPass cash registers. Once you try this feature you’ll be hooked.

  14. True High Definition Video Support – Most high-definition videos are either 720p or 1080p, yet the iPhone 5s only has a 640p screen. This makes no sense whatsoever. All flagship Android devices now have 1080p support.

    Android phones like the Sony Experia Z can be used underwater without a special case.

    Android phones like the Sony Experia Z can be used underwater without a special case.

  15. A Fully Water-Resistant Case – I have several friends that have ruined their iPhones by dropping them in water. That wouldn’t be a problem with a water-resistant Android phone. Phones like the Cat B15 go further by surviving 6 foot drops, submersion over 3 feet in water, and the ability to run in temperatures as low as -4F to as high as 122F. The enclosure on the new Sony Experia Z1 has an IP code rating of 58, which is even better.

  16. Simultaneous Voice and Data on All U.S. Carriers – Android phones like the Verizon Galaxy S III or Galaxy S4 allow you to check Google Maps while you talk to someone on your phone.This isn’t possible with the iPhone 5s because it doesn’t support simultaneous voice and high-speed data on Verizon or Sprint. Apple could have easily supported this, but decided not to add the extra antenna required to do so. More info.

  17. Interapp Data Exchange – Google realizes Android can’t be best at everything, and allows you to choose which apps you want to interact with. That means you can share data via Bluetooth, Google Drive, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Gmail, Google+, Read It Later, SkyDrive, Text Message, Twitter, Wi-Fi Direct, WordPress Blog and countless other apps. This isn’t possible with most third-party iOS apps.

    The Lumia 1020 has clear advantages over the iPhone 5s in this daytime shot. Better colors, more definition and detail.

    The Lumia 1020 has clear advantages over the iPhone 5s in this daytime shot with better colors and more detail

  18. A Very High Megapixel Sensor – The best Android smartphones come with 13MP to 20.8MP sensors, while Nokia’s PureView cameras have a 41MP sensor. The iPhone 5s uses an 8MP sensor. Although it’s true that megapixels aren’t the only thing that matters, when you compare your 8MP iPhone photos with a good Canon D-SLR or a Nokia PureView photo, in most cases you’ll see a difference. In photo shoot-outs like this one you can see the Nokia’s 41MP sensor outperforms the iPhone 5s in almost every example. The author of the shoot-out above says “the Lumia 1020 is still the undisputed champion for a smartphone camera in terms of raw image quality. Colors were punchier, white balance was decent, images were sharp and there was plenty of detail. Toss in the ability to “crop to zoom” unlike any other device and the Lumia 1020 has a lot going for it.”

    The Nokia 1020 still easier beats the iPhone 5s in low-light conditions (more detail, more accurate colors, less noise)

    The Nokia 1020 also beats the iPhone 5s in low-light with crisper text, more accurate colors and less noise

  19. The Best Cloud-based Services – Third-party cloud services are more reliable, provide more storage, and are much more flexible than iCloud — because they don’t lock you into an Apple-only world. If you shop around, you’ll find up to 50GB of free cloud-based storage, much better photo sharing services that automatically upload every photo and improve their quality, and store an unlimited number of photos at full-resolution (e.g. Google+). Android office apps like Google Drive are also much better than Apple’s offerings. They support more formats, allow you to share more easily and collaborate with others at the same time. They also automatically save every change you make to the cloud, so you can access everything from any mobile device or computer — not just Apple products. Android calendar and contact apps also have advantages and are much more open. Sure, some of these products are available to iPad users as well, but most iPad users stick with Apple’s inferior pre-installed cloud services.

    Samsung's Easy Mode

    Samsung’s Easy Mode

  20. Simple mode of operation – All Samsung mobile devices have an “Easy Mode” that provides a much easy experience for first-time smartphone users. The icons are bigger and the layout is much simpler.

  21. USB 3.0 support – The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 includes USB 3.0 support. This allows you to transfer files between your phone and computer up to 10 times faster than a traditional USB port. But that’s not all, USB 3.0 also includes a higher power mode that allows your device to charge in almost half the time of a USB 2.0 device when connected to a high current charger.

  22. Reliable data cables – Apple’s Lightning cables get a 1.5 star rating in the Apple Store due to breakage, fraying and corrosion.

  23. Touch-to-Share – Most newer Android phones can share media by touching one phone to another. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts and Web pages, as well as information between apps.

  24. Auto-save all photos to an SD card – When you first insert an SD memory card on popular Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 it asks if you want to automatically store all of your photos on the SD card. This allows you to take thousands of photos and keep them all without taking up any of your internal memory. This is not possible on any iPhone.

  25. Data Security – There is a myth that the iPhone is more secure than Android devices, but it’s simply not true since 2008 the NSA has been able to access almost everything on an iPhone. They can even turn on your iPhone’s camera and mic without you knowing they are watching and listening. The NSA can also access all of your data, photos, texts, contacts, location data, voice-mails and more. If the NSA has access to all of this today, it’s just a matter of time before sophisticated hackers gain access to some of this. None of this is possible on an Android phone running Android 4.x software. That’s why all of the three new military-grade encrypted phones being sold to address NSA snooping concerns all run Android.

    Easily add more storage

    Easily add more storage

  26. Storage Up to 128GB – There is no way to expand the memory on the iPhone 5s, yet most Android phones can easily be expanded (up to 128GB) by adding a microSD card. That’s double the amount of storage available in an iPhone 5s. This allows you to store every photo you’ve ever taken and every song you’ve ever purchased on your mobile device.

  27. Better Multitasking – Apple places restrictions on third-party apps which run in the background. In most cases, they are suspended and not allowed to communicate with other apps. Android supports true-multitasking without any of the above restrictions. This makes it possible to do things which cannot be done on iOS.

    Now you can have a phone that is unlike any other

    Now you can have a phone that is as original as you are

  28. More Customization Options – Android phones like the Moto X provide far more customization options than the three metal cases available on the iPhone 5s. Their MotoMaker website lets you choose from 18 separate front and back colors, pick an accent color, screen wallpapers and color-coordinated cases. You can even have a bamboo back. When you’re done customizing your Moto X, they assemble the customized device here in the USA and ship it for free in 4 days or less. Over 2000 customization options are available.

  29. Powerful Front-facing Speakers – Android phones like the new HTC One have two front-facing speakers that get much louder than the single speaker in the iPhone 5s. How much louder? The speakers on the HTC One put out 93 decibels, while iPhone 5s’ sound output is only 66dB. That’s a dramatic difference. This isn’t just important for music, it’s also important when you have a conversation on your speaker.

  30. Ability to Set Default Software – One of the most powerful Android features is the ability to change the default software the OS uses for different tasks. For example, if you want to the Dolphin browser to open any URL (instead of the stock Android browser), just pick the app you want to use. Want to use a different app for turn-by-turn directions or media playback? Pick one, and it will use that app every time. This is an incredibly powerful feature. You can even replace the stock keyboard on your phone with a better third-party keyboard like SwiftKey3. Apple doesn’t allow this.

    You can talk to Android phones like the Moto X from across the room and they respond

    You can talk to Android phones like the Moto X from across the room and they respond

  31. Hands-free voice control that is always ready – Android phones like the Moto X (and all devices with Android 4.4 and Google Now running) allow you to perform voice actions from across the room. Demo video. This is possible because they use a low-power core which is always listening for a key phrase. Of course you can disable this feature if you like. Siri only works after you press the home button and in most cases you are limited to voice control of the built-in iOS apps only. Android phones allow you to make a call to a contact or a business, get directions or travel time, send messages, set a reminder, schedule an event, ask questions, play music or movies, set alarms, see when the next meeting is, ask Google what music is playing, open an app on your phone and more.

  32. LTE Advanced Support – Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have Category 4 LTE support, which allows your device to transfer data at faster speeds. The iPhone 5s only supports Cat 3, which is slower. Some Android phones also support advanced LTE features like Carrier Aggregation and LTE Multicast, which Verizon recently demonstrated at the Super Bowl with a Galaxy Note 3.

  33. HDR Video Capture – Phones like the new HTC One have video cameras that have the same real-time HDR processing that is found in most phones today. This makes it possible to have images with bright light sources and dim backgrounds.

  34. Flash Video Support – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around and iOS can’t play any of them. This includes almost every TV show and most popular movies. All Android devices running 4.0 (and earlier) can play Flash videos out of the box. If you have an Android device running Android 4.1 (or later) you can enable Flash support by following these easy instructions.

    Gorilla Glass 3 screens are impossible to scratch

    Gorilla Glass 3 screens are impossible to scratch

  35. The Most Scratch-resistant Screen – The Samsung Galaxy S4 was the first smartphone with a Gorilla Glass 3 screen. Other phones like the LG Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 3 have it as well. This screen is much more durable than the older Corning Glass used on the iPhone 5s and impossible to scratch with car keys — or even a knife. Watch this video to see just how durable it is.

  36. Standard Cable Support – All Android smartphones have standard micro-USB jacks, so you can connect to any Android charger, USB keyboard or a television without purchasing an expensive cable. Apple uses proprietary connectors — so they can sell you cables for $20 to $50. If you want an extra charging cable for your iPhone 5s, it will cost you $19 and is hard to find. You can buy an Android power cord almost anywhere for as little as $2.

    The iPhone can't measure temperature or pressure

    The iPhone can’t measure temperature, humidity or barometric pressure

  37. Important Sensors (Temperature, Humidity, Pressure) – Like all Android phones, the iPhone 5S has a gyroscope, accelerometer and a compass/magnetometer. However the iPhone 5S is missing important sensors found in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 which measure temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The later is important, because it can improve GPS accuracy and tell your phone whether you are inside or outside. The Nexus 5 also has a “Hall Effect” sensor that you won’t find in the iPhone 5s.

  38. Screen Sharing – Most Android devices are capable of sharing the information on their screens wirelessly. This is done several different ways. Some devices support Miracast which is a peer-to-peer standard that uses Wi-Fi Direct to transmit video and surround sound audio. In addition, many Samsung Galaxy devices support Group Play which lets you share your screen with a group of friends on the same Wi-Fi network at the same time. You can also use Group Play to listen to the same music.

  39. The most usable screen space – Not only is the iPhone 5s screen a fraction of the size of many Android phones, it has much less usable screen real estate in relation to the overall size the device. For example, the LG G2 and Galaxy Note 3 both have over 74% usable screen space, while only 60% of the iPhone 5’s screen area is usable.

  40. Damage Resistance – Apple mobiles devices are more breakable than than other mobile devices according to SquareTrade. Android phones like the Moto X are more damage resistant.

  41. High-resolution Audio Support – High-resolution audio is going to be pushed heavily at the 2014 CES show. CEA research suggests nearly 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for high-quality CE devices. That’s why Android phones like the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 support high-definition 24-bit/192kHz audio.

  42. An AV Adapter with 1080p Support – Another big downside to the iPhone 5s’ use of a proprietary “Lightning” cable is that its Digital AV adapter (which connects to the HDMI jack on your TV) doesn’t support 1080p today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back support for this feature.

    Android devices like the Galaxy Note 3 can record and playback Ultra HD video

    Android devices like the Galaxy Note 3 can record and playback Ultra HD video

  43. Ultra HD 4K Encode/Decode – The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Acer Liquid S2 can both record and playback Ultra HD video with four times the resolution of standard 1080p HD video. This may not seem like an essential feature today, but it is useful because you can easily tell a difference between a standard 1808p HD video and an Ultra HD 4k video — even when both are played on a 1080p display. The differences will be even more apparent as consumers get 4k TVs in their homes. Phones with a Snapdragon 800 processor like the Galaxy Note 3 can also decode DTS or Dolby Digital 7.1 channel audio.

  44. A 16:9 Display – Apple said the iPhone 5 was closer to 16:9, but the movies still need to be letterboxed.

  45. Voice-over-LTE Support – Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III support VoLTE today. Once the carriers roll-this out next year voice will be sent over the fast 4G network and voice-quality will dramatically improve. VoLTE has twice the frequency-range of 3G and HD-level audio. More info.

    The Galaxy S4 kills the iPhone 5s when it comes to talk time (17.5 hours vs. 10.8 hours)

    The Galaxy S4 kills the iPhone 5s when it comes to talk time (17.5 hours vs. 10.8 hours)

  46. A Powerful Battery – The iPhone 5s only has 1560 mAh battery. Phones like the Acer Liquid S2, LG Optimus G Pro, Motorola DROID MAXX and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have batteries that are at least twice as powerful as the battery in the iPhone 5s. The Samsung Galaxy S4 retained its title as winner of highly-regarded UK consumer association battery tests. These tests didn’t include the Droid MAXX which has even better battery life. The battery in the Droid MAXX lasts two full days, while the battery in the iPhone 5s only lasts one day at best. This is one of several reasons Consumer Reports recommends the Droid series over the iPhone 5s.

  47. A True Full-screen Mode – Android 4.4 supports a new ‘Immersive mode’ that allows apps to take over the entire screen if needed. That means you won’t see any controls on the top of the bottom of the screen. On the iPhone, this isn’t possible.

  48. Eye control – Phones like the Samsung Galaxy 4, Galaxy Note 3 and LG Optimus G Pro let users control video playback (and others things) with their eyes. This feature uses the front facing camera to recognize when the device owner is looking at the phone’s display during video playback.

    Samsung phones like the Galaxy S4 double as smart TV remote, with built-in IR blaster and 'WatchOn' software

    Samsung phones like the GS4 double as smart TV remote, with built-in IR blaster and ‘WatchOn’ software

  49. An Infrared Transmitter – Phones like new HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Experia product line and LG Optimus VU II have built-in IR-transmitters so you can use your tablet to control devices in your home like your TV without using Wi-Fi and special apps. This is a very useful feature.

  50. DLNA Support – Most Android phones include DLNA support. That means they can stream media to over 10,000 devices. Chance are you have several DLNA-certified devices in your home and you don’t even know it. Most TVs, game consoles, media streamers and Blu-ray players are DLNA-certified.

  51. Dual-SIM Support – Most popular Android phones are available in dual-SIM configurations. This includes the Samsung Galaxy phones including the Note 3, HTC phones like the HTC One and Sony Expedia phones. This is essential in many parts of the world and not something that the iPhone 5s supports today.

    A pressure sensitive stylus is a valuable addition to phones like the Galaxy Note 3

    A pressure sensitive stylus is a valuable addition to phones like the Galaxy Note 3

  52. Full Stylus Support – Although you can use a stylus on an iPhone, you don’t get the same level of expression you get on a Samsung Galaxy Note II or Galaxy Note 3. Both of those phones have 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and comes with useful apps that work with the bundled stylus.

  53. No high-speed wireless data transfer between mobile devices and computers – AirDrop does not support data transfers between iOS 7 devices and Macs. You can share data between Macs, or devices, but not between the two. There are many different ways to transfer data wirelessly between Android devices and computers.

  54. Easy repairs – The iPhone 5s is harder to repair than most other Android smartphones. For example, the iPhone 5s gets a repairibility score of 6, while the Nexus 4, Nexus S, Moto X, Galaxy Note, Note II, Note 3, Galaxy SII, S3, S4 all get higher scores — meaning they are easier to repair. More info.

  55. A 2MP Front Camera – All of the best Android smartphones have 2MP or higher front-facing cameras. Apple still uses a 1.2MP front-facing camera for “selfies.”

  56. 1080p Video Conferencing – Apple’s front-facing “FaceTime” camera is only capable of 720p video recording. Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 (and others) shoot 1080p HD Video @ 30fps.

  57. The Thinnest Case – Apple makes a big deal about the thinness of their mobile products, but the iPhone 5s is not the thinnest smartphone. The Motorola Droid Ultra and others phones are thinner.

  58. Dual Wi-Fi Antennas – Smartphones like the Moto X have two antennas dedicated to LTE, which is supposed to deliver faster data speeds and better reception. The Droid MAXX and other Android phones also have MIMO Wi-Fi antennas. The iPhone 5 only has a 1×1 MIMO antenna.

It's Clear Some of the Most Popular Features in iOS 7 were Copied from Android

It’s Clear Some of the Most Popular Features in iOS 7 were Copied from Android



Ten iPhone 5s Features Apple Borrowed from Android

Apple also has a long history of borrowing technology from others and claiming it as their own. Many of the new features in the iPhone 5s are already available in Android phones. Some of these feature have been around for a long time. Here are a few examples:

  1. Control Center – The most popular feature in iOS 7 is the Control Center which experts say was clearly copied from Android.

  2. OpenGL 3.0 ES Support – Android was the first platform to support OpenGL ES 3.0, which makes possible a new level of photo-realistic 3D graphics. It uses new texture compression techniques that makes possible amorphic-style lens flares and more realistic looking faces. Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (and Nexus 7 tablet) include support for OpenGL 3.0 ES.

  3. 60fps Video Recording – Phones like the HTC One, Motorola X, Galaxy S4, and Asus Padfone 2 have video cameras all been capable of 60fps recording and slo-mo video. It’s nice to see Apple finally add this important feature.

  4. A Sensor Core – Every Android phone with the Snapdragon 800 processor has a sensor core that does everything that Apple’s M7 processor does.

  5. Color Choices – Phones from Samsung and Nokia have been available in a wide range of eye-popping color for years.

  6. A Fingerprint Reader – Fingerprint readers have been available on Android devices starting with the Motorola Atrix 4G, which was released back in February of 2011. Pantech and LG have phones with them as well.

  7. Better Carrier Interoperability – The iPhone 5 did away with the dual-mode GSM/CDMA support that the iPhone 4S had. As a result, Apple had to sell three different types of iPhone 5s to support all regions. The new iPhone 5s is supposed to address this issue.

  8. A Larger Sensor with Bigger Pixels – Like HTC, Sony and Nokia, Apple increased the size of their sensor. The new larger sensor has been proven to improve the quality of photos in low-light conditions.

  9. Quick Settings – Quick Settings is another feature Apple copied from Android.

  10. A Gold Color Option – The new gold Samsung Galaxy S4, was in stores a week before the iPhone 5s even went on sale and Samsung has been making gold phones since 2004.

You Can’t Compare the iPhone 5s to All Android Phones!

Several people have contacted me to say it’s not fair to compare the iPhone 5s to the entire Android platform. My point is each and every one of these technologies could have been included in the iPhone 5s. Apple chose to ignore all 50+ of these technologies — even though some of these wouldn’t have added any cost to the iPhone.

But let me get back to their complaint. How does the iPhone 5s stack up to a single Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3? It doesn’t come close. Most of the advantages shown here are found in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S4 and other flagship Android devices.

Most iPhone Owners Want Better Battery Life, NFC and a Bigger Screen as well

Most iPhone Owners Want Better Battery Life, NFC and a Bigger Screen as well

The Bottom Line

Apple has a long history of holding back technology from their customers. They do this to ensure you will buy a new iPhone every year (or two) and this strategy has worked like a charm. This year is no different. Could Apple has easily have added some of these things to the iPhone 5s without increasing it’s price? Absolutely. Would these things have made the iPhone 5s a dramatically better phone? Of course. Who wouldn’t want a faster phone, with a better display, better media streaming, more customization choices and so on. Apple choose to maintain their already industry-leading profit margins. That’s why Apple has almost $150 billion dollars in the bank.

The Android landscape is very different with Asus, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and others all fighting to increase their sales. Competition is good because it ensures consumers get more for their money. Android is a great example of this. Android device makers release more mobile devices in a single month, than Apple does in an entire year. This has allowed Android phones to jump ahead of the iPhone in many areas.

I’m not the only person who thinks things like a bigger screen is important. There is strong data that many iPhone users feel the same way. For example, CNET does a poll before every iPhone release where they ask what iPhone users want to see. Here are the results from this year’s poll: iPhone users want more powerful batteries, NFC and a bigger screen.

I’m not saying the iPhone 5s is a bad phone. It clearly is not. Its camera is better, its build-quality remains great and iOS 7 and the new cases give it a fresh new look. The purpose of this article is to make you think. I know most of you aren’t going to change your minds after reading this, but you should be aware of the things you’ll be missing when you choose an iPhone 5s over a flagship Android phone. Many of you will convince yourself that none of these things matter to you and will still buy an iPhone 5s — but don’t say you weren’t warned when some of these features appear in the iPhone 6 a year from now.

What People Are Saying About the New iPhone 5s

  • Four analysts downgraded Apple stock the morning after the launch event sending it down more than $28. The last time Apple launched a phone the stock was trading at $710. That’s $244 higher than it is today. Why they are calling this launch a dud?(1) lack of a “lower-end” iPhone and price points that will be too high to increase penetration in emerging markets (2) no China Mobile agreement, (3) a likely less than expected impact from China Mobile, when/if a partnership is announced — higher than expected pricing, no lower-end iPhone, (4) another “evolutionary but not revolutionary” iPhone product launch, and (5) risk to near term gross margin estimates, given typical lower gross margin on new iPhones (in this case both 5c and 5s, as opposed to only one new launch. Source 1, Source 2
  • Poor AAPL stock performance continued during the first week of iPhone 5s sales, with Apple stock only gaining 0.5% for the entire week. Even Nokia had a much better week than Apple gaining 2.7%. That leaves Apple stock down over $243 from its price when the last iPhone launched.
  • One thing everyone agrees on is the price of the iPhone 5c is too high. BGR wrote an article titled: “Wall Street hammers ‘clueless’ Apple over high iPhone 5c price
  • Reaction from China about iPhone 5c pricing: ‘I can’t sell my kidney for this much.’ The actual price of the lowest-model iPhone 5c in China is $733 in U.S. dollars.
    Source
  • People also seem to be enjoying the new iPhone 5s parody ad which came out days before the official announcement and nailed Apple lack of new features with statements like “We have found a way to sell the same iPhone a year later changing nothing but the name.” Of course that applies more to the iPhone 4S launch but many of the other comments are completely accurate.
  • UK CNET readers blasted Apple after the launch for being “lazy and greedy.” “Nothing spectacular in terms of hardware,” says Andrew Dart. “Wrong screen size for 2013,” says Benjamin Bradshaw. “My 7-year-old laptop has a fingerprint reader,” points out Eamonn Gibson. “The new iPhones are a step backwards for Apple, still can’t match the Galaxy S4 or HTC One and with the Google Nexus 5 due out soon they’ll be pushed further down the pecking order,” says Crispin Norman. Source
  • BGR wrote an article about “How Apple mismanaged the iPhone 5c launch.”Source
  • There were lots of articles like this one titled “Why Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor matters” which go on to prove that 64-bit support is completely useless in a smartphone today. A 64-bit processor is designed to memory addresses larger than 4GB — yet the iPhone 5s only has 1GB of memory. CNET made some more intelligent comments including: “64-bit designs don’t automatically improve performance for most tasks. In fact, there can be drawbacks: it’s likely that 64-bit versions of programs will be bulkier than their 32-bit equivalents.”
  • Reactions to iOS 7 have been mixed as well. Some are shocked by the change and don’t like it. Others can’t find things. Most are just surprised by the bright color scheme.
  • It’s never a good sign when one of the common questions on your forum is “How do I uninstall iOS 7?”
  • The iOS 7 launch have been far from trouble-free. Articles like this one talk about iOS 7 Problems Plaguing iPhone & iPad Users. Some iPhone users are reporting severe motion sickness while using iOS 7 and others just says it obnoxious or ugly. Most people agree that iOS 7 is taking a toll on battery life as well.
  • The Onion’s article about Tim Cook was pretty funny: Apple Unveils Panicked Man With No Ideas Speaking of parodies, Conan’s gold iPhone video is pretty funny as well.
  • Apple reinvents cases to make them look stupider. Source “Which kind of idiot would buy a plastic case for a plastic iPhone?” “Apple’s iPhone 5c Case Looks Like a Cheese Grater Made for a Toddler.” “The iPhone 5c’s case looks a lot like Crocs shoes” and last but not least: “C is Not for Courage: What’s Wrong With the New iPhone’s Colors.”
  • Other comments focused on the fact that Apple’s new Touch ID fingerprint sensor is far from flawless. For example, “Apple cautions that the Touch ID sensor is not perfect and will give inaccurate readings in some cases, especially when a finger is moist. This is due to the capacitive “image” the sensor array captures. Moisture or other conductive debris on a finger could give false readings.” Source
  • Just one day after the iPhone 5s became available, Apple’s TouchID defeated with fabricated fingerprints and Apple’s claims that a live finger was needed to unlock an iPhone were proven to be false. One of the experts who defeated the fingerprint reader said “We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics. It is plain stupid to use something that you can´t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token“, said Frank Rieger, spokesperson of the CCC. ”

  • Another claims “Apple Missed the Best Use for a Fingerprint Scanner.” This article goes on to say “The truth is, Apple didn’t give the iPhone 5s the one feature that could actually help get a stolen phone back—one that goes perfectly with a fingerprint scanner. What is it? Requiring a fingerprint scan—or even a passcode scan—to turn the iPhone off.”
  • A Time magazine article pointed out that “Secure fingerprint scanners aren’t necessarily secure.” When the author was with a Fortune 500 company he “worked with a security team looking into biometric authentication tools (consumer-grade fingerprint-scanning technology has been around for over a decade in consumer tech — it’s hardly as “innovative” as Apple’s Phil Schiller suggests). When I left in 2004, the company was still looking for something secure enough. As security analyst Bruce Schneier aptly puts it in an op-ed for Wired, “Your fingerprint isn’t a secret; you leave it everywhere you touch.”
  • Apple’s fingerprint scanner could have unintended consequences, and may even limit the constitutional protection of the Fifth Amendment. Source
  • And of course there were many headlines like this one about the 5-6% drop in Apple’s stock price: Apple Stock (AAPL) Dives After Analysts Downgrade iPhone Maker – ABC News
  • A common theme seen in many posts is “Apple is boring and I miss Steve Jobs.” Here an excerpt: “As I watched the live stream, I kept telling myself maybe Apple will surprise me again. Maybe there will be “one more thing” to wow me. Maybe… But there wasn’t and it made me sad. Today I visited Apple’s site and decided to watch the video for the 5c. The first sentence out of Jony Ive’s mouth was: “The iPhone 5c is in many ways the distillation of what people love about the iPhone 5.” Distillation… really? Come on. It made me wonder if I used to sound like a pompous know it all when I was at the height of my Apple fan-girl period.”
  • Of course not all of the news about the iPhone 5s is bad. Most of the stories are very positive. For over ten years I was a die hard Apple fan, I bought two iPhones and two different iPads. Back then, they were the clear choice for someone who wanted the best mobile devices. That was then, this is now. I’ve had a hard time seeing much innovation over the past two years. That could change in the future, but I will not be buying an iPhone 5s.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Can a Chromebook Pixel Compete with a MacBook Pro?

    Last updated on December 4, 2013

    Before the Chromebook Pixel, Chromebooks were all about value

    Chromebooks offer the best value in a laptop today

    Beyond Budget

    Until recently, Chromebooks were budget laptops that sold for as little as $199. Although they were great values, their hardware didn’t compare with high-end laptops from Apple and others. Google changed that when they released the Chromebook Pixel. It’s specs aren’t just comparable to a MacBook Pro, they exceed it in several areas. But hardware isn’t everything, we’ll see how it stacks up in the software department as well. We’ll also compare it with Windows, iOS and Android devices.

     Apple's claims that the MacBook Pro is the highest resolution notebook is simply not true

    The MacBook Pro is no longer the resolution king

    Why You’ll Love It

      An exceptional display – The display on the Chromebook Pixel is superb. It has more pixels than a Retina 13″ MacBook Pro and its pixel-per-inch resolution exceeds every MacBook — including the new 2880-by-1800 Retina MacBook Pro 15″ (220 PPI). Whether you can actually see a difference is debatable because the numbers are close, but you’ll love what you see. It’s noticeably better than any PC laptop I’ve ever seen. Text on the Chromebook Pixel is razor sharp — not blurry and distorted like you get on PCs running Microsoft’s ClearType.

      The Chromebook screen looks noticeably better than other PC displays

      The Chromebook Pixel’s screen looks noticeably better than most PC displays

      No waiting - The days of waiting for your laptop to boot are almost over. This is an instant-on device. When you lift the screen the Pixel is usable in less than a second. That’s impressive, but where it really kills PC laptops is the time it takes to fully boot from a cold start. The Chromebook only takes 8 seconds to get to the sign-on screen and 8 to 10 additional seconds to fully load the browser home page. This may not sound fast, but it’s literally 10 times faster than the boot time of my new SSD-powered Lenovo laptop.

      One terabyte cloud-based storage – Although my Chromebook Pixel only came with 64GB of local storage. You can easily expand the storage to match a MacBook Pro by adding a 64GB SD card. These cards cost as little as $29. However, with the Chrome operating system, local storage isn’t that important. Where the Chromebook Pixel really shines is in the area of cloud-based storage. Google gives every Pixel user one terabyte of storage for three years. That’s 1029 GB or more than 200 times more storage than Apple users get. I’m trying to fill up my 1TB Google Drive, but it’s not easy.

      A Chromebook is much more secure than a PC (Image courtesy of Nilesh Patni)

      A Chromebook is more secure than a Mac or Windows laptop (Image courtesy of Nilesh Patni)

      Almost immune to viruses and malware – When a Chromebook boots, it checks to make sure the operating system and firmware haven’t been tampered with. As a result, it’s not possible for keyloggers or other malware to run in the background. All data is encrypted, so no one can read your files. Each webpage you visit runs in a restricted environment, so visiting a site that’s been infected can’t affect anything else on your Chromebook. Apps you install run in Chrome’s sandbox as well, where they are isolated from the rest of the OS. Although browser extensions are allowed, you can’t install Java plug-ins or other software that opens up security holes.

      The touchscreen on the Pixel is very useful for some things

      The touchscreen on the Pixel is useful for some things

      A responsive touchscreen and trackpad – The Chromebook Pixel comes with a touchscreen that is responsive and doesn’t affect picture quality. Although not all software supports touch, there are times like using Google Maps when it is extremely useful. However, most of the time you’ll be using the glass trackpad on the Pixel. It’s the best trackpad I’ve ever used and supports multi-touch gestures, such as two-fingered scrolling.
      LTE3
      4G LTE support – Like a MacBook Pro, the Chromebook Pixel has dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi support. But Google goes much farther by including a 4G LTE modem, which is capable of download speeds up to 100Mbps. This is really useful when you’re not in-range of an open Wi-Fi network. For now I’m using the free 100 MB/month plan, but I’m considering upgrading to Verizon’s 1GB data plan, because it only costs $9.95 a month.

      thin

      It’s lighter and thinner than a MacBook Pro – Although no one is going to confuse a Chromebook Pixel with a MacBook Air. It’s thinner (16.2mm vs. 19mm) and lighter (3.35lbs vs. 3.57lbs) than a 13″ MacBook Pro. This is surprising because Apple is very good at making very thin and light products.

      A better auto-update system – The Chrome operating system (OS) handles software updates much better than any other OS I’ve used. Whenever a new security patch (or OS update) is available, the Chromebook Pixel automatically downloads and installs it in the background. No user-intervention is required. On major updates, the entire OS and browser are updated together, but they won’t be active until after you restart. Chrome keeps two copies of the OS around, so it can revert to an earlier version if something goes wrong. The best part is you won’t be constantly bothered with update requests like you are on Windows, iOS and Android.

      Google's office apps are better than anything you'll find on iOS or Android

      Google’s office apps are better than anything you’ll find on iOS or Android

      Better office apps – Google office apps have improved and are now better than most of the office apps you’ll find on iOS or Android. Some people even prefer Google Docs and Google Sheets to Microsoft Word and Excel, because of their value and real-time collaboration abilities.

      Great sounding stereo speakers – Even though the speakers on the Chromebook Pixel are hidden under the keyboard, they sound better than most other laptop speakers. I’ve got one small beef however, when you hold your fingers above the keyboard it acts as a filter and changes the sound slightly.

      Extra features – The Chromebook Pixel has a lot of nice extras like an integrated HD camera and noise cancelling mics, an anodized aluminum case, and a backlit keyboard that responds to ambient lighting and type of usage. I also can’t say enough about its keyboard, which feels wonderful and isn’t noisy as most laptop keyboards. Another nice extra is the twelve free GoGo Inflight Internet sessions Google gives you.

      Trouble in Paradise

      Although the Chromebook Pixel’s hardware stands out in many areas, the Chrome operating system and app ecosystem seems a little rough around the edges when compared to Windows, iOS or Android. Here are some of the limitations in software and hardware which I’ve experienced so far.

      Only a limited number of Chrome apps work offline

      Only a limited number of Chrome apps work offline

      Over-dependence on the Internet – Although a few Chrome apps work offline, you need Internet access to take full advantage of this product. LTE support helps in places without Wi-Fi, but there are many places that don’t have access to any Internet. Apps like Google Music are useless when you are offline. Chrome could cache media files you’ve played recently but it doesn’t. Although you can download songs for offline use, you can only do this twice (see the screen capture below) — even though Google’s PC-based Music Manager has no such restrictions. Google desperately needs to adopt a strategy like Dropbox, which keeps track of the changes locally, and syncs them after you get a data connection.

      Chrome has download restrictions that PC-based apps don't have

      Some Chrome apps have download restrictions PC-based apps don’t have

      Intel inside is no longer always a good thing

      Intel inside is no longer always a good thing

      Disappointing battery life – You can thank Intel for the relatively poor battery life of the Chromebook Pixel. You barely get 4 hours on LTE and although some claim 5-6 hours on Wi-Fi, I’m not seeing anything close to that. To add insult to injury, the i5 processor doesn’t feel as fast as the processors in the newest tablets. Heat is another serious issue. The metal case on i5-powered Chromebooks gets warm quickly, and the fan kicks after only a few minutes of video playback. Just how warm? I measured 120-128 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom on the Pixel’s aluminum case. I’m confident all these issues would go away if this product had a Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor instead.

      Few great apps – Chrome’s dirty little secret is the fact that most of the so-called Chrome apps are not really apps at all, they’re shortcuts to existing web pages or browser plug-ins. This is my single biggest disappointment with Chrome OS. The few popular apps that are available in the Chrome Store are often missing important functionality found on other platforms. For example, Google Music on Chrome is missing EQ and advanced settings found on Android. Spotify for Chrome is missing many features found in their iOS mobile app. Google needs to encourage developers to create real apps, which don’t feel like they are running in a browser. There is some hope in this area. Last summer Google announced Chrome browser-based “Packaged apps” that look and behave like native apps. Packaged apps are closer to apps that are native, since they can run offline, display in a borderless browser that resembles an app window and can use APIs to gain access to a device’s hardware and other functionality. However, the creation of packaged apps isn’t happening nearly as fast as it needs to. Here are some of the best packaged apps that are available today.

      Notice how many more settings Google Music has on Android

      Notice how many more settings Google Music has on Android

      Microsoft Office compatibility issues – Although Google Drive is supposed to open documents created with Microsoft Office, it doesn’t always work. I tried to open a presentation created with PowerPoint 2010 and could not. Even after I manually imported the slides, there were issues with font sizes and the screen background didn’t look the same.

      Limited internal storage – Although it’s great that Google gives you one terabyte of cloud storage, the entry-level Chromebook Pixel only ships with 32GB of internal storage. This makes it hard to store a large collection of photos, music and movies locally so you can access them offline. Maybe this isn’t a problem yet, because I’m told you still can’t download movies to a Chromebook for offline viewing.

      Chrome was not designed with touch in mind like Windows 8 was

      Chrome was not designed with touch in mind like Windows 8 was

      Designed with touch as an afterthought – The touchscreen on the Pixel is nice, but touch seems like an afterthought on Chrome. Some apps don’t work well when you try to only use the touchscreen. Chrome doesn’t have a touch-friendly user interface like Windows 8, with its large tiles. Due to the high resolution screen, buttons on some web pages are hard to accurately click with your finger. Android has special logic to detect this, and zooms in so you can easily select the right thing.

      Not entirely intuitive – Chrome has some Windows-like user-interface concepts and some Android-style interface concepts, but is not near as intuitive as it should be. It also wasn’t obvious how to access app settings, update the OS, or do other basic things like right-click.

      The trackpad is nice, but missing dedicated buttons

      The trackpad is nice, but missing dedicated buttons

      Trackpad issues – One of the things I miss on this product is a right-click button. To get right-click commands to appear, you have to press with two fingers on the trackpad — which is louder than a dedicated button would be. You probably won’t notice this in a normal office environment, but it’s annoying in a quiet room. There is a good workaround however: You can touch the trackpad lightly and it still works.

      Limited I/O – I was surprised the Chromebook Pixel doesn’t have an HDMI out or a USB 3.0 port like Samsung’s Chromebooks have. It’s also crazy that you cannot plug-in a fast Ethernet cable when you are in environments with poor wireless connectivity. I purchased a USB-to-gigabit LAN adapter and DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter to address these limitations.

      The Chromebook Pixel bests the MacBook Pro is many areas

      The Chromebook Pixel bests the MacBook Pro is many areas

      Can It Compete with a MacBook Pro?

      In terms of hardware the answer is yes. The Chromebook Pixel’s screen is better than the display on the Retina MacBook Pro. Both laptops use Intel i5 processors and the Pixel goes way beyond any Apple laptop with 4G LTE support, a terabyte of cloud storage, great sounding speakers and faster boot times. It’s also thinner and lighter than a 13″ MacBook Pro. Were this product falls short is mostly related to its operating system and applications, which can’t compete with Mac, Android or iOS devices today.

      Is It Worth the Money?

      Based on the issues listed above I wouldn’t recommended you pay $1299 to $1449 for a Chromebook Pixel. As good as the Retina-quality touchscreen is, it simply costs too much for what it does. For less money you could buy a Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro and do much more on it. You’ll have a much better selection apps, fewer hardware-related issues and better battery life. Chrome OS is good for some things, but it’s not ready for prime time in some areas.

      Hope for the Future

      Although I’ve made it clear Chrome hardware and software needs work, I’m not giving up yet. I’m planning to keep my Pixel, because I’m enjoying learning the Chrome OS and I hope the software will improve in the future. By giving thousands of Chromebook Pixels to top developers, Google wants to encourage programmers to create new and improved Chrome apps. I hope a year from now we’ll see better Chrome apps available. I would also recommend a Chromebook to anyone who is looking for a computer for web browsing, email and writing. The next computers I buy my children and parents are likely to be Chromebooks.

      Google wanted to make a statement with this product that a Chromebook can be every bit as good as the best laptops. Influential tech writer Kevin C. Tofel of GigaOm affirmed this by saying “The hardware is on par with, if not better than, the MacBook Air I owned prior.” On this metric, I consider the Chromebook Pixel to be a success.

      – Rick

      Copyright 2013 Rick E. Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged

      Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    10 Amazing Technologies That Are Coming Soon

    Last updated: January 5, 2014

    You won’t believe how much technology is going to change in the next few years. I’m not talking about incremental changes like faster processors or better screens. I’m talking about major new changes in the way you interact with your computer and mobile devices.

    1. Perceptual Computing

    Right now the only way to interact with most personal computers is using a keyboard and mouse. In the future, your computer will respond to sight, sound, smell, touch, temperature and more.

    Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

    Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

    Sight – Your next computer or mobile device will automatically unlock its screen after recognizing your face. But that’s just the beginning, it will have a front-facing 3D camera that can recognize gestures and track all ten of your fingers. This will allow you to interact with things on the screen without needing a mouse. Imagine using your fingers to open a virtual door in a video game. This, and much more will be possible. These cameras can detect whether you like what you’re smiling, and use that to insert emoticons automatically. It’s even possible to track eye movement and use that to move an onscreen cursor. Eventually these cameras may even be able to tell whether you like what you’re seeing, and change what you are viewing when you don’t. Pretty cool. This technology will first be available as low-cost add-on for your personal computers, but eventually will be incorporated into tablets and smartphones.

    Status: Some Android phones and Dell computers support face screen unlock today. Creative sells a 3D camera that does many of the things described here when used with a new Intel SDK. Samsung’s Galaxy S IV will be the first smartphone to use eye movement to scroll.

    Soon you'll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

    Soon you’ll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

    Sound – Your next laptop could have voice-recognition capabilities that reduce the need for a keyboard and mouse. You’ll be able to use your voice to log-in and do many other things. Of course your computer will talk to you as well. Later this year, some Android smartphones will start listening all of time — even when your phone is in standby. That means you will be able to interact and control your phone from across the room without pressing a single button. Worried about privacy and battery life? Don’t. This feature will use very little power and you can disable it at any time.

    Status: Dell already sells computers with voice-recognition support. They let you interact with Google, Facebook and Twitter using your voice. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III automatically take a photo when you say the word “smile.”

    In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

    In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

    Smell – Small sensors are available today which are capable of detecting odors. Some are used for breathalyzers, others sniff out poisonous gases. They can even detect bad breath. Although you won’t find them in a mobile device, special sensors can even detect some types of cancer. In the future your devices may emit odors on command as well. This feature could be used for games, movies or e-commerce.

    Status: A odor emitter accessory is available for the iPhone today in Japan. Smell sensors are also available but no commercially-available smartphone has incorporated them yet.

    Touch – Intel says we’ll be able to purchase touch-enabled ultra thin notebooks this year for less than $599. I hope Apple eventually adds touch-screen support to their laptops as well. Touch technology also allows you to feel vibrations on your screen. This technology is found in most Android mobile devices today, but should migrate to Apple mobile devices and PC computers soon.

    Status: PC laptops and all-in-ones with touch-screens have been around for a long time however, many of them have been expensive.

    Temperature, Location and Human-like Faces – Future laptops will have the same technology we take for granted in our mobile devices today including GPS systems, temperature sensors, a compass, barometers and accelerometers. They will also have avatars that look like humans. Imagine actually seeing the person behind the Siri-like voice and hearing a much more realistic sounding voice. Here’s a preview of what I’m talking about [scroll ahead to about 8:40].

    2. Computational Photography

    The cameras in our mobile devices will continue to evolve beyond higher megapixels. Larger sensors will take photos with reduced noise, greater dynamic range and better low-light performance. Future cameras will also have more internal processing and manipulation capabilities. This advanced computational photography will include HDR video, strobe-motion photos, higher-dynamic range photos and 3D image reconstruction.

    Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

    Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

    Camera arrays are another exciting technology you’ll see soon in smartphones soon. Their use of multiple lenses will allow you to do amazing things which are not possible today like fixing an out of focus photo after you’ve taken it, or changing the focal point from one object to another like Lytro does today (dynamic aperture control). See this feature in action here.

    Status: The Nokia Lumia 920 and new HTC One have larger sensors than other mobile cameras. Examples of computational photography found in today’s cameras include HDR photos and panoramic photos. The Samsung Galaxy S III goes beyond face-tracking and can detect whether people are smiling or not. It can also recognize who is in a photo.

    3. Faster 4G LTE Data Speeds

    SD_logo
    There are some new buzzwords which are going to make 4G a lot more confusing. Next-generation mobile processors like the Snapdragon 800 have Category 4 modems with are capable of download speeds up to 150 Mbps. That’s 50% faster than the limits of today’s CAT3 4G devices, although some tests have shown it’s over 2x faster.
    LTE_adv
    Another term you’re going to hear about is LTE Advanced, where multiple radio channels and advanced antenna techniques are used to increase data speeds as high as 1 Gbps. Although this is a theoretical limit, expect real-world speeds up to 10 times faster than today’s LTE phones. The LTE Advanced standard is expected to be released later this year, but don’t expect see support for it right away.

    4. Ultra HD

    Blah

    Ultra HD displays have 4x the resolution of current 1080p


    If you think HD looks good, you’ll love Ultra HD even more because it has four times the resolution of current 1080p high-definition displays. Few people will be able to afford an Ultra HD TV by 2015, but there is a chance you will be able to afford a 4K Ultra HD tablet by then. In addition to a 3840×2160 pixel display, you need both hardware and software that supports the new HVEC (H.265) video compression standard if you want to play 4K video.

    Status: Panasonic demonstrated a 4K tablet at CES last month, but it won’t be available anytime soon. Nokia and Qualcomm demonstrated Ultra HD playback on mobile devices at CES as well. Those chips will start appearing in products in the second half of 2013.

    5. Gigabit Wireless

    One of the new technologies I’m most excited about is gigabit wireless (802.11ac). How much faster is it than current 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds? Gigabit wireless is capable of maximum speeds over twice as fast as the current 450 Mbps limit. Of course real-world speeds are lower (about 150 Mbps), but they are still twice as fast as 802.11n speeds.

    5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

    5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

    Why you need this: If you want to stream one (or more) 1080p videos at once over Wi-Fi without buffering, you need gigabit wireless. I sometimes turn off Wi-Fi on my phone when I’m areas with fast 4G because Wi-Fi is slower than 4G. That won’t be the case in the future.

    What you’ll need to buy: In order to experience gigabit Wi-Fi speeds you’ll need to replace your current Wi-Fi router with a new 802.11ac router like this one. Keep in mind the standard is not finalized, so you’ll want to update your firmware after that occurs. You’ll also need a laptop or mobile device which supports gigabit Wi-Fi. You’ll see phones with gigabit wireless support available in the second half of this year.

    802.11p

    Car-to-car Wi-Fi is coming – Another Wi-Fi standard to watch for is 802.11p which allows cars to form a mesh network and communicate using Wi-Fi technology. Cars with this technology will be communicate with other cars and warn each other of upcoming hazards. Don’t expect to see cars with 802.11p this year however.

    6. Eight-core Mobile Processors

    Samsung and Huawei have been announced 8-core processors for mobile devices. Although this sounds impressive because it’s twice as many as you’ll find in a mobile device today, the jury is out on whether these first generation 8-core processors are really faster, or just a marketing gimmick. There are two problems with first gen 8-core CPUs: First, all cores do not run at the same speed. The first 8-core CPUs have 4 fast cores and 4 slower cores. Second, initially only 4 cores can be running at any given time. As a result, it appears the main benefit with these will be improved battery life, but it’s unclear whether it will be better than current quad-core processors which can scale down both voltage and frequency.

    7. 64-bit Mobile Processors

    Although the world reacted with amazement when Apple announced the iPhone 5s had a 64-bit mobile processor, ARM announced 64-bit mobile processors were coming nine months before Apple’s announcement. ARM claimed 64-bit processors would provide up to 3 times more processing power than today’s chips and be able to address much larger amounts of memory. This could help mobile processors to enter new markets like servers and high-end PCs. Back in January of 2013 I predicted “Although there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to use these chips in smartphones today that doesn’t mean someone won’t try it as a marketing gimmick.”

    8. Smaller, Faster, More Power Efficient Chips

    – Before the iPhone 5s, Apple was still using a 45nm processor, while the best Android phones have been using 28nm processors for years. Intel already has 22nm chips for PCs and Intel, Early in 2014 Intel plans to release a 22nm mobile processor. Samsung, Qualcomm and others are working on 14nm and 20nm processors as well. It’s been said these new chips will be 60% more power efficient and 60% faster than today’s 28nm chips. 10nm processors might be available as soon as 2015.

    9. Smarter TVs

    – Samsung and others have announced smarter TVs that have face recognition, voice recognition, personalized home screens and more advanced remote controls. This is sometimes referred to as the “Your TV” concept. Expect more integration between social media. Also soon set top boxes may become optional as this technology either moves to the cloud or is embedded into your TV.

    10. Curved and Flexible Screens

    – Curved screens aren’t new to smartphones. At least four phones have had them — going all the way back to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Nexus S. Expect to see more curved screen smartphones to be released this year — along with curved screen TVs. Flexible screens have been demonstrated by Samsung and others for years and could be available before the end of 2014. They will be much more resistant to cracking than the screens we have today.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    The True Cost of Owning An iPhone 5

    The Huffington Post recently did a story on the true cost of purchasing a smartphone from your carrier. Although that article was based on the iPhone 5, other carrier-offered smartphones cost similar amounts.

    original

    You can save thousands a year, by purchasing an unlocked phone and using it with a prepaid phone plan. You will be surprised just how much these plans have changed. They now allow the best smartphones and use the major carrier networks. More info.

    – Rick

    How to Upload Photos Directly from Your Camera to Facebook or Instagram

    Last updated: January 5, 2013

    This article has had almost 9,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

    The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

    The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

    Most Instagram photos are poor quality because they were taken with a smartphone. You can now take great-looking photos from a Wi-Fi-enabled camera and upload them directly to the Internet without using a laptop. I’ll describe how this is done using a Canon EOS 6D, but the process is similar with other Wi-Fi cameras. The Canon EOS 6D is pricey, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a camera to do the things I’m describing. Wi-Fi enabled cameras like this Samsung model start around $150. Canon has affordable Wi-Fi cameras as well.

    Canon's EOS Remote running on a smartphone

    Canon’s EOS Remote running on a smartphone

    Getting the Right Software

    Start by downloading the free EOS Remote app from Google Play. After you’ve installed EOS Remote on your smartphone or tablet, you need to activate Wi-Fi on your camera and connect it to your mobile device. The next section describes how this is done.

    Making Your Camera a Wi-Fi Hotspot

    Wi-Fi Setup
    The first time you setup your Canon EOS 6D camera as a Wi-Fi hotspot you’ll need to follow these steps:

    1. Press the Menu button on the EOS 6D and use the main dial to select the wrench icon with three dots next to it.
    2. Set Wi-Fi to ‘Enable’ and then move down to ‘Wi-Fi function’ and set a nickname for your camera (e.g. Canon 6D). Press the ‘Q’ button to tab down to the letters and the main dial to select them.
    3. Enter the desired name and press the ‘Menu’ button when you are finished. Press ‘Set/OK’ to proceed.
    4. Wi-Fi Function

    5. Now move the main dial to the second position labeled ‘Connect to smartphone’ and press Set. Then press ‘Set’ again to make the camera an access point and press ‘Set’ for OK.
    6. Press ‘Set’ again for ‘Easy connection.’ Then press ‘Set’ for OK.
    7. Now go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the nickname you entered for your camera.
    8. You’ll need to enter the encryption key that appears on the camera display into your tablet and touch ‘Connect.’
    9. Now launch the EOS Remote software on your tablet and touch the name of your camera on the tablet display. Then press ‘Set’ on the camera twice to save your settings.

    This might seem like a lot of steps, but most of these only need to be performed once. After you’ve setup Wi-Fi, all you need to do is press the ‘Menu’ button and use the main dial to select ‘Wi-Fi function.’ Then you select ‘Connect to smartphone’ and ‘Connect.’ That’s it. If that choice isn’t available, first select ‘Exit’ and ‘OK’ and ‘Connect to smartphone’ will appear.

    Once your camera is connected to your mobile device, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control and viewfinder. You can also view all of the photos on your camera on your tablet at full resolution.

    You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using  your tablet

    You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using your tablet

    Viewing Photos from the Camera on Your Tablet and More

    Now that you are connected to your camera, there are many things you can do. Here are several examples:

  • Touch ‘Camera Image Viewing’ in the EOS Remote app to view all of the images on your camera.
  • Touch a photo to view it and swipe to the left to view the next image.

  • Touch the trash can icon to delete a bad photo.
  • Touch the icon on the far left to save your favorite photos to your smartphone or tablet. Keep in mind that these are reduced-quality images, so you should not delete the originals on your camera.
  • Now we're ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    We’re now ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    Uploading Your Photo to Instagram

    Instagram
    After you’ve completed the preceding steps, you are now ready to upload a photo to Instagram (or another social media site). You’ll probably only need to read this section if you haven’t used Instagram before.

    1. After you’ve saved the photo you wish to upload, you need to go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the wireless access point you use to access the Internet. Then touch ‘Connect.’ Note: This step is not required if you’re using a smartphone.
    2. Now touch the Home button and go to All Apps > Gallery
    3. Open the folder with the same name as your camera (e.g. Canon EOS 6D)
    4. Touch the photo you wish to upload. Then touch the share icon near the top of the screen.
    5. If you don’t see Instagram, touch ‘See all’ and select Instagram from the list.
    6. Now crop your photo, add a filter and touch the icon in the upper right to save your changes.
    7. Now enter a description and hashtags for your photo and touch the green checkmark to upload it to Instagram.

    Follow me on Instagram @rickschwar . You can see higher-resolution pictures taken by the Canon 6D on Google+ as well.

    More Fun With Wi-Fi

    This is just one of many things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera. You can use similar steps to upload a photo to Facebook or other sites. You can also do the following:

  • Transfer images between cameras
  • Remote control your camera
  • Send photos from your camera to a Wi-Fi printer
  • Upload photos to a Web service without using a mobile device (requires direct connection to a computer)
  • Send images directly to a DLNA-certified TV
  • Please refer to the documentation that came with your camera to learn how to do these things.

    Here are some other fun things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Here are some other cool things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Closing Thoughts

    If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, you should make sure your next camera has this feature. It’s nice to be able to upload great looking photos without using a computer.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

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