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Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review

Following on from the Blackberry Motion and Blackberry Key One, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note8, along with a Dex Station, which I’ll get to in a minute.

The new Note interested me because I work alongside a lot of Lift Engineers and Technicians, who need both big screens, ideally a pen (not least so that they can get the customer to sign once they have serviced their lift) but it also has to be tough, because engineer’s phones are known to fall down a lift shaft or two once in a while. Often the latter is achieved by buying expensive protective cases.

The Note8 which comes in Midnight Black or Maple Gold boasts an impressive 6.3” dual edge Super AMOLED screen which curves round the display. The curved edges phone screen design is still growing on me but I can see why it appeals to many. It has an Octa-Core 2.3GHz CPU and with 6GB of RAM and the model I had came with 64GB available memory, although 51GB is left after the OS and pre-installed apps are taken in to consideration. The back camera is 12 Megapixel whereas it is 8 Megapixel at the front.

This was my first play with a phone with Face Recognition, which seemed to work well, was easy to set up and opened the phone quickly. Whether there are security issues as seen recently with the Apple iPhone X remains to be seen, but rumour is Samsung’s offering is more advanced and secure, yet there are still videos online of it being tricked by using a photograph. If security and piece of mind are important it might be worthwhile sticking to PIN, fingerprint or pattern. The Note8 allows you to lock it with Iris scanning too, however I didn’t delve in to that.

The phone itself is a nice weight and feels like quality. I like for a phone to weigh something, not as heavy as a brick, but a bit of weight to me means a bit of quality, at least with the build. It’s certainly quick and I enjoyed using the Pen to move around the screen and fill out the forms we use here in our office. The Android OS comes with Samsung’s Apps Edge, similar to that of the Blackberry Motion, where you swipe in from the right to reveal apps that you use the most.

Dex Station

Finally I come to the Dex Station that also came shipped with my trial Note8. The Dex lets you connect your S8/S8+ and Note8 to a monitor, mouse and keyboard providing you with a desktop experience powered by your phone. And all-in-all it worked well and I can see this way of working taking off in the future. Sure, the phone and the Dex together will set you back as much as, if not more than, a top of the range laptop. But who doesn’t own a high-powered laptop and then also own a mobile phone anyway.

After first realising that the Dex would not work with my own USB-C lead I soon had it up and running after first powering the Dex station with the Note8’s fast-charging USB-C cable and adaptor, an HDMI cable to my Dell monitor and then wireless mouse and keyboard using my Mircosoft Bluetooth dongle plugged in to the Dex’s USB slot, that took no configuring whatsoever. I finally plugged the phone in, which was slightly fiddlier than it needed to be. After a few seconds, after the Dex splashscreen, a 42” desktop popped up on my screen allowing me to access any of the apps on my Note8 phone on my monitor. I could easily browse the internet, set up my emails and even work on Word and Excel documents. Although I only tested Microsoft’s Remote Desktop software to connect to my work laptop, that only opened in a small mobile screen sized window, upon further investigation, there are alternatives to use such as Amazon’s AWS, who are one of the partners offering desktop virtualization services. It’s certainly an alternative to carrying around a laptop, or even a tablet, especially if you move from office to office. This way of working can only improve in the future.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the Samsung Galaxy Note8, and when it comes down in price over the coming months, I will certainly consider it for our engineers. But currently, it is far too expensive and much more than what they need. It’s certainly a clever phone and Samsung continue to lead the way with many of its features.

Introducing Codester

For a long time Envato’s CodeCanyon website has long been the marketplace of choice to sell your PHP scripts and make yourself some well-earned hard-earned commission on sales. It now has 2.5 million plus items for sale across its many marketplaces, which also include videohive and graphicriver. CodeCanyon alone has sold a staggering 43,244,620 items and counting and raked in $553,273,506 in community earnings. But it’s not all sunshine and roses there, with some unhappy at the commission rates, among other things and themes, scripts and videos can easily get lost among the many hundreds in your category alone, listed for sale.

So maybe it is time for another contender. Let us introduce Codester, the marketplace where you can buy ready-to-use scripts, app source code, themes, templates, plugins and more. And where you can sell and receive a commission rate of 70%. No minimum number of sales required. No exclusivity required. And you can feel free to keep selling your products on your own website.

If you want to learn more, hop on over to their website and take a look!

Vist them here

Codester

Blackberry Motion Review

I was fortunate enough to get hold of a Blackberry Motion to trial. When I started out in IT, Blackerry devices were all the rage and the full qwerty keyboard was very much a neccesity. Having also had a look at the Blackberry Key One (which has the full QWERTY keyboard), it was odd to get a spanking new Blackerry out of a box and find a full screen, modern day smartphone, made by Blackberry, without the QWERTY keyboard. Having had a Blackberry myself around 9 years ago (the Blackbery Bold), which at the time only had GPRS, I have seen first hand how quickly things have moved on. Blackberry, in order to keep up with the competition, has had to do the same. So with the new Blackberry Motion, we have a new handset with the Android 7.1.2 OS (slightly bespoke with Blackberry features) built in.

The Design

The design is okay. It has a rounded bottom and a square top and is relatively light, weighing in at 167g. The phone is mostly plastic whilst the sides are aluminium. It feels like it could probably take a knock or two. It has the Blackberry logo on the back and the home button doubling up as a fingerprint reader at the bottom on the front. It has a USB-C charge point and an unusually large 4000mAh unit battery. Storage is 32GB and there is a microSD slot in the SIM tray. The BlackBerry Motion is also said to be water-resistant to IP67.

The Screen

The screen is a 5.5” scratch-resistant screen with a 8MP front camera with flash and a 12MP auto-focus rear camera. It’s a 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD screen which appears to be bright and responsive, but it’s no high-definition OLED screen. But it competes well with phones in the same price range.

The Battery

The 4000mAh unit battery is certainly one of the Motion’s big selling points. It easily lasted 2 days whilst I tested it, with average daily usage, answering a few quick calls, using Whatsapp and taking a few pictures. It is said to charge to 50% in 40 minutes which proved to be the case thereabouts. If a good battery is your thing, then the Motion certainly competes with the best in this category.

Plus

The Blackberry Motion has a Smart Convenience Key on the right hand side which you can customise to instantly bring up apps and functions you use most often based on your location or what you are up to. For example, at home you can program the key to launch your Whatsapp whilst at work you can press to compose a new email. The BlackBerry Motion’s home button doubles as a perfectly placed fingerprint sensor for device unlocking.

In Summary

There was a bit of nostalgia for me, just using a Blackberry after having used and supported so many different models over the years. The company I work at now had the infamous Blackberry Server software running as little as 5 years ago. I hope for Blackberry’s sake that this new model propels them back in to the limelight. The phone itself is good when pitted up against others in the same price range. As a work phone, the battery life might be the deciding factor when choosing a new phone for your employees and the Blackberry Hub is a nice addition, making accessing e-mails, calendars and contacts as easy as swiping in from the right. As a personal phone, I’m not sure there are any features which makes it stand out above the rest – but it certainly competes. With the Android OS it will not prove difficult to use and the few Blackberry-esque addons may prove helpful. Overall a 7 out of 10.

Firefox Quantum arrives – faster than ever!

Firefox Quantum arrives with faster browser engine, major visual overhaul, and Google as default search engine. Mozilla today launched Firefox 57, branded Firefox Quantum, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The new version, which Mozilla calls “by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004,” brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. Read more here @ venturebeat.com.

Review: iPhone X

The iPhone X is not the phone of the future. It could be, someday, if Apple’s right about augmented reality and the power of a great camera. But for now, the iPhone X represents Apple’s most ambitious attempt ever at making a phone absolutely seamless. A phone that never forces you to think about the object itself, but disappears quietly while you pay attention to whatever you’re doing. Read more at wired.com

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