The OnePlus One - The One that will Never Settle

Over the years whenever we hear the word One in the same sentence as a phone, we often just assume it’s an HTC phone. But over the past few months there has been a new One in the market, with some killer specs and an all around great experience. Yes I’m talking about the OnePlus One and we’ve been putting it to the test over the past few weeks. We give you the full OnePlus One review.

Let’s just give some background too start off.  OnePlus is a newer company out of Asia and this is their first major smartphone. Some have even said that Oppo has a stake in OnePlus, but I can’t confirm that.

So let’s dive in. The OnePlus One packs some great internals. It starts with the processor, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor paired with a Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU, geek talk for fast, and to tell the truth it performs like a beast.

The One is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat on top of CyanogenMod named 11S. This skin is like none other because it gives the user an extra level of customization that other phones just don’t have. I found many of the features very useful and helpful; I had an all around good experience with the OS.  

Now what about the outside. Well at 162g (5.71 oz) it feels really good in the hand. The dimensions are: 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm and again, it feels great in the hand. It doesn’t have the metal build like the HTC One M8, but the materials used gets the job done.

The screen looks great too. The IPS LCD display with a 401ppi has great color contrast and viewing angles. I was very happy with the display. The fact that it’s 1080p and 5.5 inches means that you can consume all the media in the world and it works fantastic.

Cameras fantastic too. The 13MP shooter with autofocus and a Dual LED flash captures great pictures and also video, as it has 1080p video capture. The front facer works great as well. With 5MP rest assured, your selfies will look great and again it has 1080p video capture.

However the company has all theses contests to get the phone, such as the “smash the past campaign” and a whole host of others like it. At first it was a great idea, but now can you please just get the phone on store shelves?!

But overall the phone works fantastic, call quality is good and everything else you would expect from a phone. I would definitely recommend this phone and will give it an 8.6/10.  The major setback is that it isn’t even on store shelves yet. But if you can get your hands on it, then I’m sure you will love it

So there you have it folks, be sure to leave a comment and tell us what you think. Stay tuned to the YouTube channel and website and follow us on social media. 

Author: Ben Smith - Twitter

The HTC One M8 – Did the best just get better?

Last year HTC made a statement with the HTC One M7. That phone was spectacular, with its lighting fast internals, to its new more stylish approach to Android. We can’t forget about the thing that set it apart, that gorgeous build quality which gave Apple a run for its money. So this past week when HTC gave us their all new HTC M8. We couldn’t help but wondering, did the best just get better?

With the success of last year, the HTC One M8 is vying to repeat it all over again. Right off the bat HTC gives us even better internals than last year (if that’s possible). The 2600 mAh battery will just get you through the day.  We get arguably one of the fastest processors around, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, which runs at 2.3GHz. Along with 2GB of Ram, geek talk for insanely fast. You won’t go without storage with HTC’s new offering of 50GB extra storage on Google Drive, free for the first two years on either the 16\32GB models. But in the unlikely event that you do, the M8 comes with something its predecessor didn’t have: a microSD slot. With up to support for an extra 128GB in additional storage, is something sure to gain HTC some popularity.

With all the amazing specs you are sure to wonder: how does it perform in day to day use? Well a beast is an understatement. It is a serious contender for the best phone of 2014, and we’re not even half way through the year yet. It brings the user fast performance on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat and HTC’s new Sense 6.0. If you were wondering if Sense could get any better, the answer is yes. 6.0 brings us modern fonts and icons and a new color pallet. Orange, green and purple are the new funky offerings. But if the colors are too “in your face”, there’s also the low key but stylish colors and fonts from last year, it’s on screen buttons make so much more sense from last year’s M7 and 6.0 also welcomes back BlinkFeed. HTC’s social media and news presenter. It is no longer a FlipBoard wanna be, but it’s now an established first choice offering onboard HTC devices. BlinkFeed not only brings back the traditional “customize yourself” news categories, but also brings the user new integration for their social media accounts. That’s right CNN, Instagram, Facebook and of course Geekanoids all in the same place.

But what’s on the outside? Well HTC brings us perhaps its defining feature: Build Quality. HTC brings back its aluminum casing that is literally sex on a phone. Its beautiful design is reported to be 90% aluminum compared to last year’s 70% on the M7. But reading this doesn’t give it just, you have to feel it. With its thin edges, and wide-radius corners its fit for a king and its 160g mass it feels just right in the pocket. The 5 inch LCD display is eye opening, with a resolution of 1080p and a pixel density of 441ppi is above and beyond most other Smartphone’s. BoomSound is better than ever, it is the best speakers on a phone even without Beats audio. HTC also brings more gesture based commands, that don’t always work, but are nice to have just the same.

But not all is as it seems, it’s still annoying to have the power button on the top next to the 3.5mm headphone jack, the outside casing as elaborate as is, isn’t totally invincible to scratching ( but there’s some beautiful cases out there) and perhaps the biggest thing holding it back: the camera. The M8 has a 4mp camera on the back that’s less than that of the 5mp front facing camera. HTC will claim that their Ultra Pixel design takes better low light pictures, but that just doesn’t cut it. Plus HTC took out possibly one of the only thing that made the M7’s camera good. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The company claimed it had to remove OIS in favour of its stereoscopic capture technology. But in good news the company also added its new duo camera design. This may not be the most visually pleasing on the physical design of the phone. But long story short it gives the M8 the ability  to refocus the picture after it is taken, which gives the user the choice to take more, what do the kids call it? Oh that’s right more “Artsy” pictures.

But where the HTC One M8 lacks, it makes up for it in performance, speed, and overall its workhorse approach. If you have a M7 I would say don’t upgrade, there’s nothing that’s a huge difference from last year’s model.  I’d recommend this phone to anyone coming from an iPhone to Android for the first time, if only for its build quality, as well for anyone who likes Android. BoomSound, BlinkFeed and all the extra goodies are sure to amaze you, and that build is to die for. I give this phone a solid 9/10, the only major thing holding it back is the camera. This phone is an absolute salute to amazing engineering and carefully executed planning. This phone will be an extremely welcomed companion for your pocket over the next two years. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get one, you’ll be glad you did.

Author: Ben SmithTwitter

Nokia Lumia Icon - Is this the Windows phone we’ve been wanting?

Nokia, a company known for great build quality, awesome cameras and just an all around great experience.  Back in February they announced the Nokia Lumia Icon, I thought very highly of this device ever since launch and still think it’s a great phone. But is it the best? And has Nokia made a winner? Well read our full review to find out.

In order to have a great phone it must be able to keep up with your everyday activities, so let’s start with what’s under the hood. Running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 paired with a Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU it can keep up with everything you need it to with flying colors. I had no issues with lag and everything ran very smoothly. In fact I haven’t ever heard of a Windows phone slowing down or showing lag, that brings me to my next point, OS.

Running Windows Phone 8 Black it has everything you would expect from a Windows phone. As always the live tiles are back in full glory. The regular keyboard and apps from Windows are back and that’s a good thing. Plus since it is a Nokia device, you can take advantage of the whole host of Nokia apps. I’m not the biggest fan of the fact that Windows still doesn’t have a dedicated notification center, nor is there a voice assistant, but rest assured that all theses will be included in the release of Windows 8.1, which is rumored to be released to all devices June 24th  (also take a look at that article on the Geekanoids website.)  Windows just has a way of creating a great experience and that is no different here.

So that’s what’s under the hood but what about build quality? Well this is really the odd duckling of the Lumia family; not in a bad way though. We are all used to the elaborate colorful outer skin of most Lumia’s. But Nokia has dialed it back, with a much understated design and I personally am a fan.  It’s only found in either black or white and has a nice matte finish that feels very industrialized in the hand. With its hard edges and sharp corners, it feels very solid. At 167g (5.89 oz) it feels superb in the hand.

The screen is just amazing; the 5 inch 1080p screen is eye- opening. With a pixel density of 441ppi colors look great and the contrast is good too. Viewing angles are literally amazing, literally the best viewing angles from a phone I’ve used in a while. AMOLED is perfect for Windows Phone and yes it does come with Gorilla Glass 3 and a ClearBlack display. Boy oh boy I sure loved the wireless charging as well.

Camera quality is great too. The 20MP PureView primary camera takes great shots and with its Carl Zeiss optics, and Optical image stabilization (OIS) low light performance is good too. The front facing camera is 1.2MP and should provide a great “selfie” taking experience. Not to mention how the front facing camera takes 720p video and the back is 1080p HD video, sound is also very pleasing. 

It’s a shame that the Icon is only available for Verizon Wireless in the U.S, but hopefully there is a worldwide device soon.

So is this the phone for you? Well if you’re looking for a great Windows phone, with a nice build, awesome camera and a great experience on Verizon, then yes this is a great phone. I will give this phone an 8/10; the only downside is the lack of availability. Other than that it is a great phone and one that will make a great companion for your pocket. So what do you think of this device? As always leave a comment and follow Geekanoids on social media, subscribe to us on YouTube and check the website frequently. Thanks for reading!

Author: Ben Smith - Twitter

The Sony Xperia Z2- The twin that just wants to be better

Well Sony keeps growing and growing the Z lineup. It started with the original Sony Xperia Z announced back at the start of 2013, that phone really put Sony on our radars. With a 5 inch 1080p screen and Sony's very stylish take on Android, not to mention how it was water resistant. That only continued with the Z1, released in September 2013, it brought some bumped up specs and was a pretty good phone as well. But upgrade and most of all: if it deserves a place in your pocket.we thought it was released too soon, it was almost Sony saying that it didn't trust the Z as their flagship for the year the way most companies do. So now we find ourselves in April, we know the Z2 will be released sometime this month. So let’s dig in and see if this phone is worth the

At MWC in February Sony revealed the Xperia Z2. We were impressed and we know that this phone will be released sometime in April. But let’s start with the thing you look at and feel every single day: build quality. The Z2 brings a stylish glass design. It looks very “presidential” and at 163g it feels great in the hand but as much as it does feel good, we didn't want to drop it for fear of it breaking, so you might want to consider a case. The Z2 is definitely the biggest Android competitor to the HTC One M8 in the build department. It brings a nice 5.2inch IPS display with a 1080p resolution and a pixel density of 424ppi. Colors look great and very eye opening. Sony included a 20.7 mega pixel camera on the back. There are all the picture taking features in the world on it including 4K video, weather you use them or not, pictures will look great and clear, white balances are good and its low light performances worked great with all the mega pixels in its favour. Sony is very proud about the fact that the Z2 is water resistant and it is very reassuring to know that some rain or water won't hurt your phone. But be warned, water resistant and waterproof are two entirely different things so we don't recommend going deep sea diving with this phone.

Sony put the best of the best in its guts. Right off the bat we get an Adreno 330 GPU, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked in at 2.3GHZ and 3GB of Ram, geek talk for fast and snappy.  Also we get a MicroSD card slot for memory expansion which is great. Sony brings onboard the phone Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sony’s flavour of interface. Honestly Sony’s UI is fast and snappy, it’s not too toy like but at the same time not too boring. It’s a good mixture of colors and fonts, just like the build quality it’s fit for a king. The most important thing though: it doesn’t slow down the phone.

So how does it perform? Like a boss! It honestly is a contender for the top 5 phones of 2014 and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Boot-up times are great; it’s fast between launching and closing apps and it’s nice to see useful features like Smallapps and Sony’s media apps returning. This phone is as fast as any flagship of 2014 but there were a few studders here and there, nothing major but for such a fast processor it shouldn’t be happening.  The non removable 3200mAh battery will get you through the day no worries what so ever and in the unlikely event it does, well Sony has built in a bunch of battery saving features.

But unfortunately it’s not perfect.  Like we mentioned in the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review; the flaps are annoying. Like seriously in 2014 we should not have to open flap just to charge a phone and it just looks plain ugly when all of the flaps are open. The speakers aren’t great there okay, definitely not the best on a phone. But that’s just little things there aren’t many things to complain about which is always a promising thing.

So should you buy this phone? Well if you’re in the market for a Sony phone then yes, this is Sony’s best. If you have a Z1 you don’t need to upgrade, the Z1 is basically the same phone. This phone is a great phone and we have no complaints, but something just makes it feel “same old same old”. It’s not a breakthrough phone, but Sony’s okay with that. They like taking things in small steps and releasing flagships in a very short period of time and that’s not always a bad thing. I give this phone an 8.4/10. Because at the end of the day it is a great phone and definitely a welcomed companion for your pocket for the next two years.

By: Ben Smith

Synology DS214+ NAS Review

Today I want to talk to you about the Synology DiskStation 214+. This is a NAS device also referred to as network attached storage. The reason you might invest in something like this is so that you can store all of your data and files in one central location, which can then be accessed via multiple computers. For example you may have a desktop and laptop, or members of your family may each have a laptop and access the files stored on your NAS. 

This Synology range differ from others with regard to the specifications and features offered up by their excellent suite of software. Looking at the hardware first, the DS214+ has a Dual Core CPU and is capable of transferring your data at superb speeds (up to 208 MB/s Reading, 153 MB/s Writing). It also has dual LAN (ethernet) connections and USB 3.0 for adding external devices. Two hard drive bays accommodate 3.5 inch SATA hard drives and these can be set up in various configurations either for enhanced performance or data redundancy. Data redundancy means that if one hard drive fails you have a mirror image of all your files on the second hard drive and you don't lose precious information. Synology update their hardware on a regular basis, adding new features to keep up with the latest technologies.

They also update their DiskStation Manager software regularly and this adds a whole host of new features to your device. So apart from simple file sharing, you can also set up automated backups, share various media files and access your data via mobile devices. You can also connect a printer to one of the USB ports and share this printer over your network, this is a great feature for family and small business use. With all these features you may already be thinking that this offers great value, but there is more. You can add antivirus, a DHCP server, or even audio station which enables you to share music tracks over your network via a user friendly interface. One of the features I like, being a small business owner, is Surveillance Station. This allows you to connect compatible IP cameras and have them record video footage direct to your NAS. So your DiskStation does not stand still, as the company regularly add new cut new packages to the mix, which extends its value and certainly future proofs your device to a certain extent. 

I create and store a lot of video footage for the Geekanoids Channel and over the years I have used many storage devices, but none really come near to the overall package that is available by investing in a Synology product. The performance of the DS214+ has certainly exceeded my expectations, with the build quality being very robust and well finished. Noise levels are always kept to a minimum, but if you are working in a controlled environment (perhaps a recording studio), then you may want to locate your DS214+ in a different room. That said, I can certainly recommend this for storing a whole host of different files or indeed if you are looking at setting up something a bit more complicated like a server.

If you want to purchase a Synology DS214+ you can pick one up here; 
To purchase in the UK click here
To purchase in the USA click here.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Mini Review

Sad news Geek people of the Geekanoids Community … there will be no full review of the Galaxy Note 3. In this mini-review I would like to explain why. 

With great excitement, I unboxed this gorgeous looking smartphone, errrr, tablet, oh go on then "phablet" and was immediately impressed. Admittedly the materials had not changed much from the previous generation, but things had improved with a leather type back cover, making everything more tactile. In addition, the Note 3 was faster and the screen pin-sharp with its 1920x1080 resolution.

A day into testing and the camera really did impress too. Of course 1080P video was expected, but full 4K resolution was a bonus with the colours & detail being very pleasing to the eye. It was a shame that image stabilisation was only available in 1080P, resulting in pretty shakey 4K videos. On the photo front, there is also plenty of detail, again colours looking nice and a pretty responsive experience.

Battery life was also good, even though I had the Note 3 a short time, you should expect to get through a whole day between charges. So why did I have the Note 3 for just a few days? Well, there were issues. The first was what must be a 3G/4G/WiFi authentication issue. I am only guessing here, but when using the YouTube app and other apps it would not sign in. The sign in would continue to fail unless I turned off WiFi. This is not an issue with the Geekanoids HQ setup, as I tried on two completely different locations with the same result. 
The second issue was the Note 3 freezing, completely locked, where only pulling the battery would sort the problem. Alas, the device has been returned and I will not get another. I should add that it has tested fine upon return, so I am confused as to why I experienced such issues.

Although my overall rating of the Note 3 is tarnished a bit, I am experienced enough to know that faulty products to make their way out of the production line. I am pretty sure that this was an isolated fault and that on the whole, your experience of this large screened beauty will be very good. The speed, screen, camera and not forgetting the S-Pen all add up to a compelling proposition. If you need the size & speed the Note 3 is well worth a look.

Mega Gadget Collection #4 - Woxom !!! Charging & Security

Mega Gadget Collection #4 - Woxom !!! Charging & Security ... the latest tech keeps on landing in Geekanoids HQ. Check out some superb gadgets for steadying your smartphone, protecting your home or office, charging your devices & so much more.

Jison Premium iPad Case Supplied by http://www.jisoncase.com/
Innergie PocketCell Duo Supplied by http://www.myinnergie.com/
Oso 360 Grip Mount Supplied by http://www.osomount.com/
Woxom Sling Shot Supplied by http://www.woxom.com/
KitSound iPhone 5 Dock Supplied by http://www.kitsound.co.uk/
KitSound Triathlon Supplied by http://www.kitsound.co.uk/
Y-Cam HomeMonitor Supplied by http://www.y-cam.com/
Quirky Converge Supplied by http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/

Deadpool - Gaming is Back - WTF Ep1

Deadpool - Gaming is Back - WTF Ep1 ... are Activision having one over all of us with this one? Is it a string of bad jokes? or a button bashing mindless excuse to take our money? Check out this first look gameplay to find out.

Mega Gadget Collection #3 - Editing Wireless Backups & More

Mega Gadget Collection #3 - Editing Wireless Backups & More ... grab a beverage, sit back & enjoy the latest gadgets & tech that have arrived at Geekanoids HQ.

Uniea Colorama Folio Supplied by http://www.uniea.com/
Breffo Adventure Camera Kit Supplied by http://www.breffo.com/
Mediadevil Magic Wand Stylus Supplied byhttp://www.mediadevil.com/
Kensington Proximo Supplied by http://www.kensington.com/
Masterplug USB Charger Supplied by http://www.nexusinds.com/
TP-Link TL-WA850RE Supplied by http://uk.tp-link.com
Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Speaker Supplied byhttp://www.verbatim-europe.co.uk/
Xtorm Power Bank 7300 Supplied by http://www.a-solar.eu/
Speedlink Aux Stereo Headset Supplied byhttp://www.speedlink.com/
Contour Design ShuttlePro V2 Supplied byhttp://www.editorskeys.com/
Toshiba Stor.E Slim Supplied by http://www.toshiba.co.uk/