IRL: Securifi Almond, Samsung Galaxy Word II and the LG Optimus G
That is the one place the place it is okay for us Engadget editors to be barely behind the occasions. Again at CES a pair weeks in the past, for example, we acquired palms-on with the Securifi Almond+, a touchscreen router with a flowery all-white design and even fancier help for Zigbee / W-Wave residence automation. Right here in “IRL,” although, we’re simply high-quality to speak concerning the OG Almond, which does not supply fairly so many add-ons. Rounding issues out, we have additionally acquired some anecdotes concerning the Galaxy Notice II and Optimus G, neither of which want an introduction at this level.Securifi Almond
Look, I moonlight because the IT man on the White Home, okay? Now that we’re having such an trustworthy dialog, I’ll say that I have been on the hunt for a super WiFi vary extender for a while now. Western Digital’s My Internet Wi-Fi Vary Extender does a high-quality job, however a) it is fairly giant and b) it lacks bells and whistles. In the event you’re on the lookout for an alternate that addresses each of these points, let me introduce you to the different product I might belief to stretch WiFi waves from the State of affairs Room to the Rose Backyard: the Securifi Almond.
Whereas this can be a bona fide WLAN entry level / router at coronary heart, I used to be targeted totally on testing its vary extension talents. I plugged the unit in some ninety ft away from a Netgear N900, watched the colourful touchscreen dance to life, after which tapped on a couple of screens within the Wizard Information to set all of it up. We have all heard it earlier than — “straightforward to arrange!” — however this one’s really able to doing as marketed. Inside 4 minutes, the unit had discovered my native 2.4GHz community, accepted my password and created a brand new community utilizing that very same password for areas that have been beforehand out of attain.
In follow, it provides one other one hundred fifty-odd ft of vary to my N900, and I noticed no degradation in efficiency whereas streaming video. The touchscreen additionally continues to be helpful after you’ve got pecked in your info. You possibly can have it show the native climate or the time, making it a reasonably superior glanceable piece of know-how whereas it is broadcasting within the background. Two quirks, although: one, the climate forecast (apparently) does not replace by itself, and two, the clock reversed AM and PM in my testing. Granted, each of those are in “Beta,” and I am hoping the corporate provides much more performance by means of OTA software program updates — which the unit is absolutely able to receiving.
The opposite bits you need to find out about: it will not rebroadcast 5GHz alerts (boo!), and it truly creates a new SSID (community identify) as an alternative of simply amplifying your present one. Because of this when you stroll out of vary of your present router, you must disconnect and reconnect to a brand new community identify, which is a slight problem. These issues apart, it is a strong performer at $eighty, and hopefully it’s going to get even higher as soon as the updates start to roll in.
– Darren MurphSamsung Galaxy Word II
I used to be among the many naysayers when Samsung launched the Galaxy Word. Perhaps it was my reminiscences of the Streak 5 or maybe it was simply dread on the concept of carrying round a gargantuan handset. The Observe’s large success did little to vary my notion, nevertheless it did make me take a look at its successor with respect. Spec bump apart, the Galaxy Word II is definitely a extra mature product in comparison with the OG Observe, what with its bag of software program tips and that improved S Pen. I can see the S Pen‘s usefulness for not solely the artistic varieties, but in addition obsessive notice takers and for basic tomfoolery. Add clean efficiency and spectacular battery life, and it makes the Word II fairly a compelling proposition certainly.
Trying to occupy that center floor between smartphone and pill, the Word II’s measurement is its chief power in addition to its weak spot, relying on the way you take a look at it. Regardless of the brand new one-handed mode that shrinks the keyboard and dialing pad and docks them to the aspect, I nonetheless assume the massive measurement is hard to deal with with a single hand. Heck, even utilizing the lockscreen slider to simply accept or reject calls is perhaps a problem should you attempt doing it one-handed, making the pebble-clean handset vulnerable to slipping. Ditto once you stretch your thumb throughout the glass to tug down the notification bar or to succeed in any app controls positioned on the highest.
On the flip aspect, watching films is a lot of enjoyable because of that massive show, as is enjoying video games. Apps like Flipboard additionally shine with some additional display actual property. Options resembling multi-window and pop-up video make nice use of the additional display actual property and add to the system’s pull issue, far more than having the similar performance on its smaller sibling, the Galaxy S III.
Principally, on the subject of smartphones, measurement does matter. It is actually as much as you what you favor — a big slab that may probably assist keep away from the effort of lugging each a telephone and a pill, or a standard-sized blower that is extra pocket-pleasant however leaves one thing to be desired on the subject of the media and app expertise. Personally, I consider these excessive-finish phablets as SUVs of the smartphone world — hardly straightforward to parallel park or squeeze into tight areas — however huge, highly effective and spacious. Love ‘em or depart ‘em, they’re right here to keep.
– Deepak DhingraLG Optimus G on Rogers
The Optimus G feels just like the Nexus four’s uncared for cousin. Each LG telephones are succesful, however the Nexus four’s standing because the official Google telephone — and the accompanying $350 unlocked worth — are likely to overshadow the Optimus G’s extra conventional strategy. I felt compelled to attempt the Optimus G on Rogers for a number of weeks for simply that cause. Is it value it to surrender inventory Android and pay extra, all as a way to rating a couple of hardware benefits?
The Cliff’s Notes reply: sure. In some instances, anyway. The battery life might definitely clinch a couple of gross sales. The place the Nexus four’s runtime is pretty common, the Optimus G has no drawback lasting by way of a photograph- and Twitter-heavy day. The 32GB of space for storing is of course helpful for a hefty music assortment like mine, too. LTE is certainly appreciated versus the Nexus four’s twin-service HSPA+ 3G, though I am going to readily acknowledge that the 3G in my space is usually quick sufficient. I am even sanguine concerning the interface, regardless of my choice for pure Android. LG’s customized interface feels comparatively unintrusive and lightweight, a minimum of subsequent to Samsung’s TouchWiz. It principally stays out of the best way, and it does not lean on gestures which may solely be helpful as soon as in a blue moon (see: Samsung’s tilt-to-zoom).
If an unfettered Google expertise is not an element, about the one potential dealbreaker is that oh-so-irritating digital camera focus system. The Optimus G’s digital camera (eight megapixels on the Rogers mannequin) is ok in a lot of the time, however it’s robust to compose some macro or shut-up portrait photographs when the continual autofocusing gives only a cut up second of sharpness earlier than it readjusts; I’ve taken a couple of pictures that seemed effective within the preview however have been blurred by the point I hit the seize button. If LG ever embraces conventional autofocus for the Optimus G’s digital camera, although, it’s going to be simpler to advocate it, no matter whether or not the Nexus four is on the buying listing.
– Jon Fingas
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