Category: Tech

[Review] Hands on with the Pixel 4

I’ve been a proud card carrying member of Team Android for several years now. I’ve always wanted to try out a Google Pixel because of the amazing camera. I finally got my hands on a Pixel 4, and I’ve been using it as my daily phone for a month. Here’s what I think! Please note that while this phone was provided to me from Google, my thoughts and opinions remain my own.

What’s inside?

  • 128 GB of storage
  • 2800 mAh batterry
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Snapdragon 855 processor
  • Dual cameras
  • 5.7″ inch screen
  • AMOLED QHD+ 90 Hz display
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • Smooth Display (up to 90 Hz)
  • See the full specs here
  • $1,129 ($999 for 64 GB)

Look and feel

The new Pixel 4 comes in Just Black, Clearly White and Oh So Orange. I have the orange version, a matte tangerine colour with black matte edges. The phone itself feels good in the hand, and has a nice weight to it. At 5.7, the screen is a little on the smaller size.

New features

Motion Sense is a new feature and uses radar to sense motion. You can do a few actions while your hands are busy (exercising or eating) without touching your phone. You can using a swiping motion to skip music, or you can use it to snooze your alarm or silence your phone. I love using it to snooze my alarm.

Another less practical (but fun!) use is the Pixel only Pokemon Sidekick Wallpaper. Using the same Motion Sense technology, you can get a live background featuring Pikachu, Evee and a few other Pokemon. You can wave to them and pet them, all using hand motions. It’s very cute. At night they curl up and fall asleep!

Face Unlock

The Pixel 4 doesn’t have a fingerprint reader. Instead, it opts for a secure Face unlock using a custom Titan M5 security chip. The Face unlock is blazing fast, and can even be opened if your eyes are closed, or if you aren’t paying attention. I like this feature, but this could open up some security risks. Google is working on an option where you would have to be paying attention to unlock you phone. Face unlock date is encrypted end-to-end. Right now, uses are limited, but eventually you will be able to use this in place of a fingerprint reader for payments.

Recorder

I love, love, love the new Recorder feature. It’s hands down my favourite feature, and the most useful as a writer. You can record live audio, and the app transcribes everything into searchable text. It’s quite accurate, very fast and is impressive. This is rolling out to other Android devices, and I’m so glad that it is!


Camera

The Pixel 4 is the first Pixel to feature a dual camera. On the front, you’ll find a 8 MP camera. On the rear, dual lenses include a 12MP 2x telephoto lens and a 16MP lens. I’ve been using the camera for all sorts of things, and overall I’m impressed!

Here are some examples of portrait mode:

Here are some photos using Night Sight.

Looks pretty good, right? I’m excited to take this phone on vacation. There’s an amazing Astrophotography mode that I haven’t had the chance to try yet. When used correctly, you can capture the stars. I want to use that next time I go camping.

Battery life

The Pixel 4 has a 2800 mAh battery, and charges up using a USB C. The battery life is average. I can usually get through a full day from 8am to 10pm off one charge. It has died on me a couple of times in the evening on heavy use. The phone has fast charging which is helpful for topping up.

Accessories

The Pixel 4 has a custom Google case ($50), available in 4 shades. It has a unique soft knit weaved fabric texture that’s lined inside with microfibre. In the case, you can squeeze the phone to activate Active Edge and turn on Google Assistant. You can also wash the case if it’s dirty, and it fits with Pixel 4 like a glove.

Pros

  • Pure Android without any bloatware
  • Excellent camera
  • Guaranteed Google software updates for 3 years

Cons

  • No headphone jack.
  • Doesn’t have expandable memory
  • No fingerprint reader

Overall, this is a solid phone with a fantastic camera, good software and some unique features. I think it’ll only get better with the updates that Google will be pushing quarterly. I’m excited to see what’s in store!

[ Review ] Cleaning Up with the Shark ION™ Robot Vacuum

I’m not lazy, exactly, but if someone happened to gift me a free cleaning service for life I would gladly take them up on their offer. It’s not quite a cleaning service, but this just may be the next best thing.

I was super excited to find out that Shark had entered the world of robotic vacuums. Thanks to Shark, I got my hands on a Shark ION™ Robot Vacuum Cleaning System. This vacuum is awesome! It packs a double punch, because it also comes with an ultra slim hand vacuum. (more…)

Best Buy Life and Tech Expo at Dundas Square

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They say that the two things that you can count on is death and taxes. I’d like to add a third one…technology! Technology is always updating and becoming better, smarter and faster. This week, the Best Buy Life and Tech Expo is back for a third year. The three-day long expo from September 12th to 14th boasts one of Canada’s largest consumer technology showcases featuring more than 60 top exhibitors from around the globe at Dundas Square.

Participating exhibitors include:

  • Zeeq Smart Pillow
  • Noon VR
  • Parrot
  • Google Home
  • Retrak
  • Yuneec
  • Meural
  • Oculus
  • Xiro
  • Ring
  • HP
  • Sphero
  • Logitech
  • Microsoft
  • Propel
  • August
  • iHealth
  • Tangible Play
  • Nest
  • Nokia
  • Wonder Workshop
  • Philips Hue
  • Muse
  • Spin Master
  • Nanoleaf
  • Zepp
  • Anki
  • Sony
  • FitBit
  • Little Bits
  • Linksys
  • Fossil (Fossil, MK, Diesel, Armani)
  • UB Tech
  • Smart Companion
  • Movado (Movado, Hugo Boss, Tommy H)
  • Samsung
  • Nonda
  • Nixon
  • Click and Grow
  • Thinkware
  • Guess
  • LIFX
  • Fensens
  • DJI
  • Samsung
  • BBY Mobile
  • UE/Jaybird
  • Ricoh (Pentax)
  • Altec Lansing
  • Sonos
  • ESET

Some of my favourite things are below!

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Nanoleaf Aurora Smart LED Light Panel These smart LED triangles can brighten up your living room. The lights can be voice controlled and syncs with Android and Apple products. (more…)

Homido VR Headset

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Probably the coolest gift of the Christmas season this year, the Homido VR headset is one not just for the tech geeks in your life, but for anyone who enjoys a 3-D experience, and all you need to start is your smartphone! Just strap in your phone, put on the comfortable headset and be taken on any adventure you like. An array of games, and learning videos can be experienced with the headset. Watch 3-D movies, and walk around in 3-D virtual environments.

With 1000+ apps available for your smartphone you’ll never run out of things to try!

Retails for $79.99 at Best Buy

[Fun Facts] Instagram & Millennials

At FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week, hosted by the ICA, I attended some interesting lectures. My favourite talk was from Facebook Canada, owners of Instagram. They shared some cool stats about Instagram that I’d love to share with you!

Instagram is my favourite social media platform. It’s so visual and beautiful. I love to use it to find new things to eat and places to go. And I’m not alone!

Millennials are the top users of Instagram (that’s me!), making up 70% of all users. On average, we use Instagram for 21 minutes per day. Instagram is great for capturing and sharing world moments. There are 80 million photos shared per day, and 3.5 billion likes per day. Women tailor content around human elements, while men share travel and city pride.

So why do millennials use Instagram?

74% take actions based on posts.
46% say Instagram brings out creativity
48% follow brands on Instagram
39% use Instagram so they don’t miss out. (FOMO is real!)
45% follow brands that inspire them.

36% of Canadian posts use hashtags.

#smile #positivity #iloveyou are the most popular.
Trending: #strideby #fromwhereistand #emojisinthewild #theworldneedsmorespiralstaircases #makeportraits

So what should you do to create better content and attract new followers? Think of how to inspire, think how it will look visually.

Build your digital skills with Camp Tech

camptech

Camp Tech offers workshops and classes for adults to learn web and digital skills in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Waterloo. They host over 200 hands-on, interactive workshops a year about CSS, HTML, SEO, WordPress, Photoshop and much more.

I was really excited when I first stumbled upon Camp Tech, because it offers courses that I found were relevant to skills I wanted to learn now. The Business of Blogging is for newbie bloggers and professional  bloggers. The class is taught by Wendy Kam from Hip Urban Girl, and it teaches you how to optimize your blog for opportunities and relevant content.

If you’re looking to brush up on your skills or learn some new ones, you should check out Camp Tech! Workshops sell out fast, so be sure to register early! Click here to see the classes.

www.CampTech.com

 

RITUAL lets you fuel up fast at your favourite restaurants

Have you ever wanted to pick up lunch to go, but didn’t want to spend forever waiting in line? There’s an app for that. Ritual is expanding in Toronto, and currently has over 100 restaurants on the go. With Ritual,  you can order and pay for food at your favourite restaurants without waiting in line.

Simply connect your credit card, find your favourite restaurant or cafe on the list, select what you want to eat, and then put it in your cart. (more…)

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