Review – The Noreve Laptop Sleeve is The Perfect Luxury Pixelbook Sleeve

Google Pixelbook in The Noreve Laptop Sleeve

Let me be perfectly clear to start:  I love my Google Pixelbook.  It is without question the best Chromebook I’ve ever used.  It is fast, sleek and beautiful.  So after getting one, one of the first things I started investigating was a sleeve to protect it while I’m in the office or out about town.

The reality was, I found plenty of sub-$30 fabric sleeves but none of them I felt had the style I was looking for in a sleeve.  Then there is the other end of the spectrum in the Google branded sleeve for the Pixelbook.  But I quickly ruled it out.  If I’m going to spend $100 on a sleeve, it is going to look stellar.

Enter Noreve.  I’ve reviewed plenty of Noreve products here on the site over the years and I’ve never been disappointed in any of them.  Add to that the 13″ Noreve Laptop Sleeve.  It looks the part of being a luxury sleeve for your Pixelbook, bringing a sleek, simple design that protects and is stylish while doing it.  Yes, it is a little more than the Google branded sleeve for the Pixelbook but if you are committed to spending $100+ on a sleeve for it, why not do it with panache?

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Review – The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is A Solid Evolution of a Great Flagship

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

When it comes to flagship devices in 2018, there are certain expectations you have in that device.  It is going to have a solid display, likely 18:9.  It is going to have solid performance, excellent battery life and cameras that give you those great shots every day no matter the conditions.  That is a significant list of demands and few phones fully meet all the criteria.  But the latest flagship from Huawei, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, does so brilliantly.

Building on the solid foundation of the Mate 8 of 2016 and the Mate 9 of 2017, the Mate 10 Pro is an evolution of all the things Huawei has learned on their phones.  While this is evident under-the-hood with their updated, AI-driven Kirin SoC, it is also in the more visible parts too.  EMUI 8, the company’s take on Android Oreo, is everything that the previous version where not.  In other words, it is intutitive and solid.  I actually like EMUI now.  Add to that an impressive dual camera configuration with Leica optics and you will get stunning photos from the phone too.  It is a pretty complete package that is fun to use.

Recently I was sent a Huawei Mate 10 Pro by Huawei USA to review and after using it, I can easily recommend it for those of you who are looking for a flagship phone.  At a price of $799, it is certainly in the flagship price range but you’ll find very few compromises with this phone.

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Review – Google Clips is a Fun AI-Driven Camera to Capture Candid Moments

Google Clips

Google has officially pulled the covers off the Google Clips, the AI-Driven camera that is aimed to take candid photos and motion pictures all in a self contained package.

With a 130° viewing angle, and 16GB of storage, the idea behind the camera was to set it up and let it capture random events with children, pets and in home events.  The device has Google’s AI built into it so it can recognize faces and and does all of the thinking for you on when to capture and what.

Clips is very centric on protection of your data and privacy.  Everything is on the device, including the AI, so nothing goes out until you share it.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a loaner Google Clips thanks to Google and it is a mighty impressive little device.

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Google Pixelbook – The Ultimate Chromebook Experience

The Google Pixelbook

There is no debate that the Google Pixelbook is a premium device.  Not only does the $999 starting price tag give that away, but the overall design of the machine itself screams premium.  It could well be the most attractive – dare I say sexy? – laptop on the market today, regardless of platform.

Google launched the Pixelbook, and the accompanying Pixelbook Pen in October 2017 with the launch of the Pixel 2 phone lineup.  At the time, and still today, many scoffed at the idea of a $1000 Chromebook, citing previous web-only experiences with Chrome OS.  But the world, and Chrome OS, has changed.  No longer does the platform require a constant connection to be functional and add to that the native Android app support of the Pixelbook, you have a device that can serve many purposes in your day-to-day life at work and at home.

The question for the Pixelbook, and really any Chromebook, is can it meet your needs?  I suspect that for the vast majority of readers, it will hit the 90-95% of what you need.  The question is can you live without the other 5-10% or compromise to make it work on this device?  That’s something I can’t answer for you as everyone’s 5-10% is different.

Recently I received a Google Pixelbook to review.  After spending a couple of weeks with it as my primary laptop device (as well as my Android tablet), I’m nothing short of impressed.  No the Pixelbook is not perfect but it is close.  Really close.

Actually, I should clarify that statement.  The Pixelbook, from a hardware perspective, is second-to-none.  The only limitations are with Chrome OS itself.  And with the additional features that are coming in future Chrome OS builds, that will change.

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Huawei Mate 9 – One Year Later It’s Still A Stunner

Huawei Mate 9

In the fast paced world of Android phones (and iPhones for that matter), some devices age well while others seemingly die without much of a thought to them.  A lot of it depends on the manufacture and their willingness to continue to develop updates for the device but also it depends on the niche in which the device attempts to be the answer.

In the case of the Huawei Mate 9, the Chinese company has continued to support the 5.9″ phablet by recently releasing their Android Oreo based EMUI 8 experience.  That, along with filling the need of a large screen device for some, has let this phone age well.  It’s still a powerhouse of a device that, even though it has now been superseded by the Mate 10, I don’t have a problem recommending.

I reviewed the Huawei Mate 9 back in March 2017 and at the time, I felt it was one of the fastest devices I had reviewed to that point.  I felt the same way about the smaller Huawei P10 which has the same SoC (System on Chip) setup as the Mate 9.  Now nearly a year later, I still feel the same way.  This is a solid phone with a lot to offer despite its age.  Yes, Android Oreo will likely be the last major update for the Mate 9 but that shouldn’t completely turn you away from it.  It has a lot to offer and remains one of the best overall flagship phone options out there, especially now that it is under $500.

I’m not necessarily going to be re-reviewing the Mate 9 in this post but rather will highlight how the phone has performed over time.  I’ll cover how the chassis has held up, how battery life has performed over time and the new EMUI 8 update for the phone to name a few things.

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Review – Mobvoi Ticwatch E – Seriously Good at an Amazing Price

The Mobvoi Ticwatch E

Let’s be honest:  It is difficult to justify a smartwatch.  Yes they are helpful and handy and with things like Android Wear 2.0, these devices on your wrist have certainly become even more user friendly.  Perhaps the biggest justification on an Android Wear watch is the cost.  There are a lot of watches that are at or near the $300 mark and that, for something people just aren’t sure they will use, is hard to stomach.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum.  There are smartwatches out there that are less than $200 but, as is often the case with technology, you get what you pay for.  Many of these watches haven’t and won’t be upgraded to Wear 2.0 and their overall design and build quality is less than ideal.

That, to me, is what makes the Mobvoi Ticwatch E so fascinating.  It is a watch that runs Android Wear 2.0, has an upgrade in the works for Android Oreo, is fast, has GPS built-in, a heart rate monitor, and has a great 44mm display.  Add to that it is comfortable to wear thanks to the soft silicone wrist band – which you can interchange – and extremely impressive battery life.  It’s the complete package and the best part?  It is under $130.

A few weeks ago I was sent the Mobvoi Tichwatch E to review and I have to say, it has rekindled my interest in Android Wear in general.  This is a great smartwatch and it is hard to beat for the price.  Here’s my review.

A couple of assumptions before reading the review after the break.  I’m assuming in this review that you are familiar with Android Wear as a product (it is Android running on smartwatches) and the Android Wear app for your phone.  I won’t be cover those elements in the review but if you have questions about them, feel free to drop a comment at the end of the review or contact me via the Contact page.

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Poweradd Soundfly – A Powerful Bluetooth Speaker That’s All About That Bass

Poweradd Soundfly 40W

The market for Bluetooth speakers is, in a word, crowded.  There are a huge number of options out there in a wide range of price ranges to match the selection.  The challenge is finding the right balance between price and performance.

I may have found one such well balanced speaker in the Poweradd Soundfly.  This Bluetooth speaker has an elegant design with touch controls and produces fantastic audio quality, especially when it comes to bass.  That’s thanks to the four speaker and bass radiator design and the built-in DSP processor.  It also has a built-in battery so you can take it with you outside or to that family gathering in the park.  All of this for $79.99 makes the Soundfly an option to consider.

Recently the team at Poweradd sent me a 40W Soundfly to review and without giving away the story, I have no problem in recommending it.

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PDF Converter by Cometdocs – A Powerful Mobile PDF Tool

List of Conversions Available in PDF Converter

It is inevitable that at some point you are going to need to convert a document from one format to another.  Generally, doing so on a Windows PC or a MacBook is pretty straightforward.  But what if you are on the go?  Then the challenge gets a bit tougher as there are dozens of apps out there that convert to one type of file or another but not necessarily universally.  That’s especially true if you are using cloud-based storage for documents like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Enter PDF Converter by Cometdocs.  This single app is able to convert virtually any type of document to a PDF or a PDF to any type of document.  It is impressive and while the conversions can take some time based on the horsepower of your phone and the size of the document in question, it is one of the best in its class for what it does.

Recently the Cometdocs team sent me an unlocked version of the app to install and review.  I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it is an impressive app.  The question many readers will ask is if the $19.99 price tag for the fully unlocked version of PDF Converter is worth it?  It is a fair question, especially in the less-than-a-dollar app economy.  The short answer is yes if you meet the use case scenario:  Lots of documents to manage and on the go.

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