The LG Tone+ Bluetooth Headset

medium01

I didn’t purchase much on Black Friday 2014 but one of the few things I purchased was the LG Tone+ Bluetooth Headset. I had been eyeing them for several months and Best Buy was selling them for $39.99, which is considerably less than the MSRP of $69.99, so I picked them up. I have been using them heavily for the past several months and wanted to give my thoughts on them.

The LG Tone+ have a fairly unique design in that you wear them around your neck and the earbuds pull out and go into your ears. The neckband always rests on your neck and houses all of your controls. I really do like this design as your ears aren’t having to support hardly any weight. The neckband is comfortable, doesn’t bounce around much, and the earbuds magnetically attach to the ends of the neckband when they are out of your ears, which is a nice touch. I think the best way for me to do this review is simply list the pros and cons of this headset below.

Pros

  • They can be connected to two devices at once. So if you want to be listening to music from your iPad and still have them connected to your iPhone for if a call comes in, you can. I really appreciate this feature.
  • Call sound quality through this headset seems to be good. I use this headset heavily at work and answer and make 30 plus calls a day and I haven’t heard any complaints.
  • The controls are well thought out and easy to reach. It took me just a couple of hours to memorize where everything is.
  • The headset will vibrate when you are receiving a call which is nice if you are away from your phone and don’t have the earbuds in. I have been notified of several calls I would have missed because of this feature.
  • They are very comfortable in my ears. They come with 3 sizes of tips for various ear sizes and I find them to be very pleasant to wear.
  • Each time you turn them on they will tell you the battery level they are at. They also will show the battery level in the status bar on your iPhone. They will reconnect automatically if you go out of range as soon as you get back in range.
  • You can activate Siri from the headset by tapping the call button. This is really handy.

Cons

  • Battery life is good but not great. I can typically get a full 9 hour work day out of them but thats about it. Thats with me using them for several phone calls as well as several hours of podcast or music playback. It’s not bad but I do wish I could go two days on the battery instead of having to charge them every day. They do charge fairly quickly at least. (about 2 hours)
  • Sound quality is just average on this headset. Sure you can’t really expect incredible sound quality on a sub $100 bluetooth headset but I still wish it was a little better. This is not a deal breaker at all, especially as the majority of the time I am listening to podcasts instead of music, but don’t buy these expecting to have stellar sound.
  • This headset looks a little dorky. I definitely have gotten some questions while wearing it. It’s not a big deal to me at all but if you are really fashion conscious you may want to look for something a little more casual looking.

That about sums up my thoughts on the LG Tone+ bluetooth headset. Hopefully this will help you decide if you have been on the fence about them. For the price I got them at I highly recommend them. They are incredibly nice for my work and I don’t see myself going back to my EarPods anytime soon. You can find them on Amazon here.

The iPhone 6 Plus

IMG_0106

As many of you know I got an iPhone 6 Plus about a month and a half ago. I have used it as my only phone every day since and think that I have had enough time with it to do a full review. The model I got is the AT&T 64gb Silver version. Let’s get right to it.

Design

The iPhone 6 Plus (as well as the 6) are quite a bit different design wise than the previous 2 models of iPhone. While the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, & 5S all had flat edges and a chamfered cut, the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus have curved edges with an all aluminum back. It’s quite a different feel in the hand and has it’s plusses and minuses in my opinion. While it feels better in the hand to me and is very pleasing when swiping from the edge of the screen to the sides it is quite a bit more slippery in the hand than the older models. Also, while I still think it is a beautiful phone, it just doesn’t have that classic Leica look of the iPhone 4 & 5. To me, those phones just felt and looked so solid. This is all just a matter of taste of course but I would have loved to have seen a bigger iPhone done in the style of the iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 6 Plus is really thin. At just 7.1 mm thin it is the second thinnest iPhone ever. Only the iPhone 6 at 6.9mm is thinner. So while it is a lot bigger phone than any of my previous phones, it is by far the thinnest phone I have had. I really appreciate the thinness & at just 6.1 ounces it is really light for it’s size as well.

Another change that the 6 & 6 Plus have is the sleep/wake button has moved from the top of the phone to the right side. This is necessary due to the larger size of the phone which would make reaching the top of the phone much more difficult compared to the previous models. The volume buttons and mute toggle switch all feel fine to me.

The screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is a 5.5″ 1080p display (1920 x 1080) which is good for 401 ppi. I have no complaints about this screen at all. It has excellent color reproduction, great contrast, gets plenty bright enough, and is a great size in my opinion. It is quite a change going from the 4″ display of the iPhone 5S to this. You can see so much more information on this screen than you could on previous iPhones and it is just a pleasure to read on. I’ve found that I am much more likely to read on my phone now than I did in the past. It has definitely cut into the time I previously would have used my iPad mini.

The iPhone 6 & 6 Plus have a new “reachability” mode which you access by tapping the home button twice. Doing this brings the top half of the screen down to the bottom half so that you can reach the icons at the top while using the phone one handed. While this is a cool trick I don’t really find myself using it much at all. Instead I have just started holding my phone higher up than I used to and I can pretty much reach everywhere without doing this. If you have small hands, this would probably be more useful. Here’s a gif of how it works:

giffffr-1

A few nitpicks about the design: One, the antenna lines on the back are kind of ugly. I appreciate the effort to go all aluminum on the back but to me, the glass on the top and bottom of the previous iPhone models looked better. Two, the back camera on both the 6 and 6 Plus sticks out just a little from the casing, causing the phone to wobble slightly if laid on a flat surface. I know most people (myself included) will use a case which will negate this but it still kind of sucks if you are one that likes to go without a case.

All that being said I do really love the design of the 6 Plus. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the size coming from an iPhone 5S but I have fully adjusted and have no desire to go back. I have picked up my wife’s iPhone 5 several times since getting the 6 Plus and I cannot get over how small it now feels to me. I know all of the Android fans are like “We’ve had giant phones for years” but it’s nice to have the bigger size in the iPhone. Better late than never in my opinion.

Camera

If there’s one thing about iPhones most people can agree on, it’s that the cameras they use are excellent. While both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still sporting 8 megapixel cameras, I believe that they are the best smartphone cameras yet. I can’t go into near the detail that these guys go into but I can tell you that for everyday shooting the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus is great. It has incredibly fast autofocus and the built in optical image stabilization helps a lot in low light situations as well as when shooting video.

I still wouldn’t use it for taking vacation pictures or for something like my child growing up if I had one, that’s what my Sony NEX 6 is for, but for everyday photo taking for Facebook & Instagram it is more than sufficient.

It also takes some really nice panoramas, up to 43 megapixels. Here is one I shot downtown the other day:

IMG_0119

 

As far as video is concerned it seems to do a really good job. I have had a lot of fun playing with the new 240fps Slo-Mo mode. There is an excellent video of some skateboarders shot with this feature that I will put below. This was shot handheld with an unsteady hand and it still came out really smooth.

Performance

The 6 Plus comes with a 1.4 GHz 64 bit A8 processor. Performance on the 6 Plus is very good. I haven’t noticed any slowdown when using it. If I could change one thing it would be for Apple to give us 2gb of ram as opposed to the 1gb it has. This would seriously cut down on your safari tabs and apps in the background having to reload so often. Apple did give the new iPad Air 2gb of ram so I am hopeful that future iPhone models will as well. I have attached a screenshot of my Geekbench score below:

IMG_0142

Battery

This right here is probably the strongest part of the iPhone 6 Plus to me. This phone is an absolute beast in regards to battery life. I cannot kill it in a single day no matter how hard I try.

On weekends when I’m not using it much I can easily go 2 days without a charge. A normal work day of me getting up at 7:00 AM, using it hard throughout the day and night and plugging in in around 10:30 or 11:00 PM will have it at 40-50%. My iPhone 5S  could barely make it through a work day at all. I would normally charge it in the afternoon so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it dying that night.

I cannot stress how nice it is to not have to worry about the battery on my phone at all anymore. It’s one less thing for me to worry about everyday and that’s a very good thing.

Touch ID

After a month and a half, Touch ID is still working great for me. Touch ID is so convenient and it would be very hard to go back to a phone that doesn’t have it. I wish I had it on my iPad and my MacBook. It just works.

Apple Pay

I unfortunately have not had the chance to try out Apple Pay yet as my bank still doesn’t support it. I have emailed their support and they have responded saying they will probably be offering it sometime this year. If they do, I will be sure to come back and update this section with my thoughts on how well it works. Reports of people who have used it have been generally positive. This video does a decent job of showing how it works:

Accessories

I have bought a couple of cases for my new iPhone. As much as I would like to go without a case the phone is just too slippery for me to trust it. I am very careful with my phone though so I wanted something very minimal. I ended up buying the official Apple leather case a well as the Griffin Reveal. Both cases are very thin while providing much improved grip as well as negating the back camera bulge. The Apple case specifically gives the phone a really solid grip. The Griffin case has decent grip with the rubber bumper on the sides while having a clear back so you can still see the design of the phone. I really love both cases and switch between them constantly.

Wrap-up

So there you have it. Is the iPhone 6 Plus a good phone? Absolutely! Is it the right phone for everyone? Absolutely not! For some it will be just too big. Luckily Apple makes the iPhone 6 as well. But if you have been waiting for a big phone that runs iOS I would wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone 6 Plus. I am very satisfied with it and can’t imagine going back. Thanks for reading.

Extra

I love reading and watching tech reviews (big surprise). I have read and watched probably over 100 reviews of the iPhone 6 Plus. My absolute favorite one is by my absolute favorite youtuber MKBHD. Do yourself a favor and check out his video review if you are interested in this phone.

 

 

Links To The Past

Links to the Past-1

Welcome to another edition of Links To The Past. Here are some links I have found interesting over the past few weeks.

  • I’m not a fan of hockey but this GoPro footage of NHL players is pretty cool.
  • I really enjoyed this article about why you should buy a nice camera as opposed to just using your phone for all of your pictures. I am really glad I bought my mirrorless camera as it is really nice to have for trips and special occasions.
  • Walt Mossberg wrote a terrific article about riding the tech treadmill. As a tech enthusiast, I find myself getting caught up in this all too often.
  • Klay Thompson scored 37 points the other night… in the 3rd quarter alone. You can watch all of his baskets here.
  • Lastly, this longtime Mac user bought a PC for his kid and wrote about it. There’s something to be said for Apple’s simplicity.

That’s it for this one. Thanks for reading!

Links To The Past

Links to the Past-1

Hello and welcome to another installment of Links to the Past.

  • App Santa has another great list of discounted apps. The sale lasts through December 26th. Standouts for me are Deliveries, Tweetbot, & Launch Center Pro.
  • Brad & Dallas Woodhouse are brothers and on opposite political sides. They are arguing on C-Span when they get an unexpected caller to the show. “Oh no it’s mom”
  • Lego Ideas is an awesome site where people can submit ideas for Lego sets and if they get enough votes, Lego will look into possibly making and selling the set. I really hope this Pokemon Center gets released!
  • Interesting article here on what kind of phone you can get for $30 in India.
  • I didn’t even know there was a competitive Amazon reviewing scene but it’s even crazier than you could imagine!

Hope everyones has a great weekend. Until next time!

Quick Thoughts on the iPhone 6 Plus

apple-iphone-6-plus-silver

I got an iPhone 6 Plus over the weekend and wanted to give my first impressions of it. I got the AT&T silver 64gb model. I will hopefully have a more in-depth review after I have had it for a month or two.

  1. The iPhone 6 Plus is really big, especially coming from the 4″ iPhone 5S. It is fairly hard to use one-handed even though I have fairly large hands. That kinda bums me out but I love how much easier it is to type on it and the screen is just gorgeous. For me the positives of it being big outweigh the negatives but this is definitely not a phone for everyone.
  2. The battery life is really great. I used it heavily today at work. I listened to several podcasts, made a ton of phone calls, browsed the internet during lunch, & used bluetooth all day. It hasn’t been charged at all since 7:00 am. It is now 9:00pm and it is at 38% battery. This is much better than my 5S which struggled to get through a full day of even light use without needing to be recharged.
  3. The built in speaker is really loud. Yes, it’s still on the bottom of the phone and yes it is still mono but it is much better than the speaker on the 5S. I still want something like HTC BoomSound on the iPhone though!
  4.  I thought I would have a hard time adjusting to the sleep/wake button being on the right side instead of on the top but I haven’t at all. It really does make more sense for it to be there than to have to reach all the way to the top.
  5. Touch ID seems to be even better. It was already working extremely well on my 5S but it has been perfect with the 6 Plus even right after washing my hands, which is when it usually fails for me. I don’t know if there is actually a better Touch ID sensor in this phone or if it is just because I had to retrain my fingerprints but it has been a pleasant surprise.
  6. The apps that I have that are not optimized for the new screen size do look pretty janky. Hopefully they will get updated soon.
  7. Overall I really like the iPhone 6 Plus. It is definitely different but I really think I made the right choice for me. I highly suggest that you spend some time with one in the store before buying though. The iPhone 6 may be the better choice for you.
  8. Things I haven’t got to try yet and hope to soon are how much better are the new cameras, the new 240fps slo-mo video, how well the M8 processor tracks stairs climbed, & lastly, Apple Pay. Sadly my local bank doesn’t support it yet so I will just have to dream of what it would be like to pay for McDonalds with my phone.

Happy 20th PlayStation!

PlayStation_1_Logo

The Sony PlayStation, released December 3rd 1994 in Japan, turns 20 years old today. I grew up with the PlayStation and thought I would reminisce about it for a little while.

I came late to the PlayStation party as I was pretty die hard into Nintendo at the time. I had grown up with a NES, SNES, Game Boy, Virtual Boy (yes, really), & N64. It got to the point with the N64 where the quality games being released for it were few and far between due to lack of good 3rd party games. The good games that did come out, mostly by Nintendo & Rare, were also really expensive, due to Nintendo’s undying support of expensive cartridges. Not having a job at this point in my life really made the PlayStation with it’s amazing library of 1st & 3rd party games as well as the much cheaper prices for it’s CD based games very attractive. I received my PlayStation from my parents for my birthday and still own it to this day.

I would love to take a minute now and comment on a few of my favorite games. I will not be able to list them all but will talk about the ones I absolutely loved the most.

  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1,2, & 3 – This game was everything to me as a kid. I played it countless hours and with every character to unlock all the videos (especially the bails videos!). I bought a skateboard, skateboard shoes and clothes, skateboard magazines, & skateboard DVDs all because of these games. Later games in the series lost their way but the originals still hold up to this day. Also- Superman by Goldfinger is still a jam!
  • Spyro the Dragon 1, 2, & 3 – Before they were making Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, & Sunset Overdrive, Insomniac Games was making the best 3D platformers on the system starring a cute dragon names Spyro. I loved and completed all three of these games.
  • Parappa the Rapper & Umjammer Lammy – Two of the greatest music games ever released, these two games by Japanese developer NanaOn-Sha are absolutely fantastic. It had an unforgettable cast of characters, Instructor Mooselini & Chop Chop Master Onion being two of my favorites. I still find myself listening to the soundtracks from these games today.
  • NFL Blitz – There will never be another game like this one. NBA Jam but for football, this game was perfect. I played so many hours of this game as a kid. Learning all the secret codes, late hits, & throwing the ball to the running back who throws it back to you who jumps to avoid the sack and throws the ball while in the air to a receiver for a touchdown who then celebrates by pretending to ride a horse (complete with whinnying) was just a standard play in this game. Magical!
  • Sled Storm – I haven’t played this game in a while but I know 13 year old me sure loved it. Playing split screen with my buddy while Dragula played in the background was just pure nineties enjoyment.
  • Dance Dance Revolution & Dance Dance Revolution Konamix – I loved the two Dance Dance Revolution games released on the PlayStation. I traded in some games to my local game store to buy a dance pad, hooked up my boombox speakers to my TV, closed my bedroom door, and straight up learned this game. I’m sure I looked ridiculous but it all paid off when our local arcade got a Dance Dance Revolution machine and I could dance like a boss on it! …Or maybe not but that’s how I remember it!
  • Ape Escape – The first game to require the DualShock controller. Ape Escape was awesome! From the light-saber like stun sword, to being able to see all the crazy details about each individual monkey, and best of all unlocking the twin stick shooter minigame Galaxy Monkey, this game was a ton of fun.
  • Spider-Man – One of the few great superhero games and developed by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater developer Neversoft, Spider-Man on the PlayStation is an incredible game. Narrated by Stan Lee and with tons of great villains to fight & costumes to unlock, this game raised the bar for licensed superhero games.

So that’s a few of my favorite games for the original PlayStation. In celebration of this anniversary, Sony is releasing a special edition PlayStation 4 styled after the original PlayStation and it looks really nice. I would love to at least get one of the controllers. Here’s to you PlayStation, may you enjoy another 20 years of success!

15749995147_ef8cbbee80_k

15316110553_b9cf643a61_k

Links To The Past

Links to the Past-1

 

Welcome to another edition of Links to the Past! Enjoy!

  • We’ll start with this video a guy secretly filmed of his wife rapping in the car. Reminds me of my wife way too much!
  • Next we have an article about the excellent podcast Serial. If you haven’t started listening to Serial yet you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.
  • I would absolutely love to go on a shopping spree with Eddie Cue form Apple! This is an interesting video of what it’s like to use Apple Pay.
  • This man actually found the needle in the haystack! Pretty interesting what passes for art these days. Article here.
  • Finally, you know what’s not selling like hot cakes? Hot cakes

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Links to the Past

Links to the Past-1

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a weekly series here on ibmacin.com. I’m calling it Links to the Past (Wink,wink, nudge nudge). Links to the Past will be a list of a few articles, videos, etc. that I find interesting throughout the week and post here every Friday. I do a lot of reading throughout the week, mostly through reeder and pocket and I thought, why not share the highlights here on the blog? Goodness knows this site could use some more content! So without further ado here is the first edition of Links to the Past.

  • This is a pretty cool article on an autistic boy’s growing friendship with Siri.
  • Really funny article here about CNN commentators on election night using the sponsored Microsoft Surfaces as stands to prop up their iPads. Reminds me of this gem. You can lead a horse to water…
  • Alibaba is a huge online shopping site in China. That much I knew. What I didn’t know is how big they really are. Alibaba just sold 9.3 billion dollars worth of merchandise in one dayThat’s way more than the U.S.’s five day thanksgiving holiday shopping combined.
  • I’ll leave you with this fascinating article – 52 of the World’s Most Widespread Myths & Misconceptions, Debunked.

Losing Weight In the Nerdiest Way Possible

I’ve been wanting to lose some weight for several years now. I went from a fairly physical job to a desk job a few years ago and didn’t really change my eating habits. I also feel like my metabolism has slowed dramatically as I move into my upper twenties. I can no longer fill my body with garbage and be skinny as a rail. It was a good run though.

I feel like I need to lose about 30 pounds to get to where I want to be. A few things stand in my way though. First I am an extremely picky eater and most of the food I like is not exactly healthy. Second, I have trouble sticking with any kind of diet. It is real easy for me to stop trying after about a week. I think I have stumbled upon something that works for me though. Unsurprisingly, it involves a bunch of tech. Here’s what I’m using-

  •  #1 is definitely myfitnesspal. This service is what keeps me honest. They have a website as well as iPhone & iPad apps. You just enter in your height & current weight, tell it how much weight you want to lose, & it gives you a daily amount of calories to stay under. It has a great catalog of foods and makes it easy to save specific meals and foods so they are easy to enter into your food diary. You can also find friends that are also using myfitnesspal and encourage them and they can do the same to you. I have entered in all of the food I have eaten for the past 57 days. It just becomes part of your routine. Seeing how many calories are in some of my favorite foods has been extremely eye opening. I was putting a ridiculous amount of calories into my body.
  • Next important would by my Fitbit Flex. I received this for my birthday in April & have worn it every single day since. It keeps track of all my steps in a day and definitely encourages me to be more active. You can connect it to your myfitnesspal account and have the steps show up in the myfitnesspal app. Get a lot of steps & it will add more calories to your day’s limit. Pretty cool. It also acts as an alarm & sleep tracker, which is a nice bonus. Lastly the tracker itself is removable from the band and there are bands available in a bunch of colors, perfect for people like me who want it to match all of their outfits.
  • Also important is our Fitbit Aria scale. This scale connects to our home wifi and uploads all my weigh-ins to my fitbit account & from there to my myfitnesspal account.
  • Lastly I use the Runkeeper app to track my walks, jogs, & bike rides, which also are then sent to my myfitnesspal account. If that wasn’t enough I use my Pebble Smartwatch as a display that I can quickly glance at to see how I’m doing.

So that’s what I am using to help me lose weight. I have been using all of this faithfully for two months now and have lost about 13 pounds so far. I’m almost halfway to my goal! I really can’t recommend myfitnesspal enough. There is no way I would still be watching what I eat without this service. I will try to post an update when I reach my goal.

The Return

BuiKYBZCAAAo1aP

On August 8th 2014 something magical happened. I was browsing Twitter in the morning and saw people were tweeting about chicken fries. I couldn’t believe it. Could it be true? Did Burger King bring back the Chicken Fry? I did a quick Google search & sure enough I found an article saying that they were indeed back today. For those who are unaware, Burger King’s Chicken Fries are the holy grail of fast food chicken in my opinion. When Burger King introduced them on July 20th 2005 I was an instant fan. I ate them at least once a week all the way until they were discontinued in January 2012. Burger King replaced this delicacy with the chicken strips they still sale today, which pale in comparison. I stopped going to Burger King completely unless I was invited by a group. I felt betrayed.  I tried every grocery store type of chicken fry I could get my hands on. Nothing compared to Burger King’s version. I was not the only one who felt lost. There has been a big interest online to get Burger King to bring them back. A petition was created on change.org, a reddit page was started, groups were started on facebook & twitter. Today the internet was rewarded for it’s hard work. #ChickenFriesAreBack is trending throughout the U.S. on Twitter. I called my local Burger King this morning to confirm that they were indeed selling them and then my boss & I ate there for lunch. They are just as good as I remembered them being & I will be going back tonight for supper.

 

Chicken Fries

Now on to the one bad part. Burger King’s Chicken Fries are supposedly being offered for a limited time only. I can only hope that they see enough sales that they will reconsider and make them available permanently. I would hate for Burger King to McRib the Chicken Fries. I will for sure be doing my part to make them a success. Now if only McDonalds would bring back the Chicken Selects, Wendy’s would bring back the Homestyle Chicken Strips, & Jack In The Box would bring back the Spicy Chicken Bites. Then I really would be in fast food paradise.

Long Live The Chicken Fry!