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ZTE AXON Unlocked Smartphone, 32GB Storage 2GB RAM, 5.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Near premium phone, below premium pricing 05/24/2016

This review is from: ZTE AXON Unlocked Smartphone, 32GB Storage 2GB RAM, 5.5" Blue Color (North America Warranty)

Pros: This devices comes preinstalled with very little bloatware. Almost none. There's some pre-installed apps: RockMyRun, Yahoo Sports, Argus step counter/fitness app, etc. All of which can be uninstalled. Then there's the "Z-screen". Swipe up from the bottom center to see currently/last played music, your favorite contacts, Argus's steps taken, and recent news provided by Yahoo sports. You can configure this to be available from the main screen, from all screens, or from no screens. I disabled this after a week or two and haven't missed it.

The phone comes with a nice pair of JBL earbuds. Which is good, because you will need them in order to use the phone for talking. See my negative below.

The rear camera is very nice. I'm not going to compare it to any professional cameras, but it takes very good pictures in adequate light or daylight. It is average in low light. One much touted feature of this phone is the dual camera sensors in the back. One prime capability of the second sensor is to take pictures with bokeh, you change the focal point and different parts of the picture blur. It's ok, but not something I found myself using after I finished testing it.

The processor in this device is up to the task, performing well in all but the biggest (and probably least efficiently written) apps. This is likely because of the 2GB RAM. Again, not a problem in the vast majority of my usage. And I only have had the device hang two or three times and crash just once.

Cons: My biggest complaint is when using this device as a phone. I know, something fewer and fewer people seem to do. ZTE has decided to make triangles the theme of this device. The bottom of the phone has a grill of triangles, behind which is the phone's voice receiver. The top has a matching grill of triangles. Somewhere behind it is the phone's earpiece. When I talk on the phone I have a really hard time lining up the earpiece with my ear. Often I start out fine, but then if I shift even the slightest the sound gets muffled. Getting it lined back up and holding it there has proven to be a challenge. Maybe it's just me. But if I'm making a call I will always grab those JBL headphones mentioned above and use them. If I receive a call I cross my fingers and hope it's short, or grin and bear it, and often eventually ask the caller to hold so I can grab my headphones.

There's no storage memory expansion on this device. Many in a similar range have the capability, but not all do. Still, if it's important to you you'll want to look elsewhere.

The notification on the lock screen is a little annoying. It only shows the most recent notification. Under that it shows how many other notifications you have, but you have to double tap that notification to see all notifications. Why???

The back & apps "buttons" are pretty small. I often miss the back button.

And a minor complaint: the charging port is on the bottom. It's a personal preference, but I prefer it on the top.

It comes with Android Lollipop, and although there are old promises on the web that it will be upgraded we're approaching June 2016 with no sign of progress on that front.

Other Thoughts: This device is the version with 2GB RAM. The "Pro" model has 4GB. I found 2GB to be plenty adequate but when comparing to other devices it's important to note the distinction.

I would definitely recommend this phone to someone looking for an Android device in this price range. So don’t misinterpret the rest of my comments. With that out of the way:

Honestly, I have had a mixed relationship with this device. It's almost all been good - and the bad I cannot really hold against the phone. I blame Google for 95% of my frustrations. I placed this discussion here in my concluding comments under Other Thoughts on purpose. I'm not listing this as a negative and not holding these against the device because I don't believe they're the fault of the manufacturer - although I'm not always 100% certain. In some cases when I've raised these concerns to Android friends, they've said I was using it wrong. However, when I gave them the device they had to agree they couldn't find a way to get over whatever hurdle I was currently facing. Many of them use premium Android phones where the manufacturer has sunk a lot of money into making their own apps.

Two specific examples: First, putting this phone into complete silent mode is impossible, or just shy of impossible. Even getting it to stop vibrating is extremely frustrating. Some of it is the fault of individual apps. Some is Android. I turned down all 4 (yes 4!) volume rockers and the phone vibrates for just about everything. Even though I've turned off vibrate in settings and for each apps' notifications settings, there are some apps that still cause the device to vibrate. And the phone will go into vibrate mode when you turn the volume down all the way - again, even though I turned off vibrate in settings!?! If you turn the volume all the way down, and then turn it down one more time, the ringer will go silent and not vibrate, but not all apps honor this. There are people on the web who will tell you the phone has a silent mode, but it's many steps long and you need to schedule it in advance. Ok (I guess) for sleeping, but not great when, for example, you walk into a movie and want to quickly get it to silent without remembering all of the settings and steps. I end up turning off my phone, which I really prefer not to do.

Second example is with the stock texting/messaging app: If more than two people are in a text/MMS message - there is no way to see all of the people who are on the message. I asked multiple Android users to prove me wrong and they couldn't. In this case I'm not positive if this fault lays with Android or ZTE. All phones I've compared to do not have this problem, but they also had their own specially branded messaging app created by the phone manufacturer. I know there are plenty of options out there in the google play store (and yes I'm begrudgingly using one now). But I really feel for basic phone functionality I shouldn't have to dig through 100s of available apps and try to determine which actually work vs which are junk, and then decipher which have the least amount of intrusive ads and the least risk of stealing my personal info.

This is my first experience with Android Lollipop and it has not been good. There's a lot of Android apologists out there who gloss over the issues I've run into. Thankfully there's also plenty of people to help get through the pains. If you've used Android and like it then you can take all of this with a grain of salt and know that you'll be fine. Personally, I find both iOS and Windows Phone to be a more enjoyable experience.

iRULU Walknbook 10.1-Inch 32GB 2-in-1 Tablet PC - Microsoft Windows 10 OS, Quad Core, IPS Display, Metal Cover, 1280*800 Resolution, Detachable Keyboard With Stand - Dark Gray
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: This is a mid-sized tablet with detachable and tiltable keyboard. I find the tablet to be very comfortable to hold, although it does have a little heft to it. This is not the nicest keyboard you'll use (see cons), but at the current price point it's a good addition - one I wouldn't normally expect. The Intel Atom processor is powerful enough for day-to-day, light duty work.

This device comes with 32GB memory, but it is also expandable up to 128 GB more via the microSD card slot. The display is 1280 x 800 IPS, which provide very good viewing angles, and multi-touch enabled. For work around the house (i.e. inside) it gets the job done.

It has a full sized USB port, and a microUSB slot. And they threw in a mini HDMI port for connecting to another mointor/TV. A standard headphone jack, WiFi b/g/n (2.4GHz only) and Bluetooth 4.0 round out the package.

The keyboard also has a full sized USB port.

This is the first tablet I've used with Windows 10 installed, and I found that Windows 10 on a device of this size is a great combination. You can configure Windows to switch between tablet mode and desktop mode every time you dock / undock the tablet on the keyboard. Or you can set it to one mode and leave it, or let it ask you every time you dock / undock.

The tablet comes with a screen protector already on it. See 'other thoughts' below.

Cons: The display can't be used on a sunny day outside.

The device is powered via a standard 5V power adapter. This is not a bigg issue, but I would prefer to see devices like this charge via USB. We should be able to use the same cable to charge our phones and our tablets.

The cameras are pretty low quality. I wouldn't expect anything stellar in this price range.

Battery life is not very long, even on standby.

Sometimes when I bring it out of standby it's not connected to WiFi. Easy to fix - tap the Windows notifications bubble - tap the Wifi. Not a big deal, but annoying when I'm in a hurry.

That brings me to the keyboard. Oh the keyboard. It's nice to have a keyboard. And you can tilt the 'monitor' from closed to 145 degrees. Or so says their marketing information. I don't think it goes back quite that far, which is too bad. I always find myself trying to push it a little further than it will go. And the hinge has a little too much flex to it, I'm not confident it will take a lot of force, even that from trying to open it too far.

The keyboard itself is nice to have when you need it, for short use. And I like that it folds up so the screen is tucked neatly away. But the keys are very small. It's not comfortable for extended use. My hands are cramped together when typing on it. The caps lock and left shift on the other hand are very large and I often hit them by mistake. I find the touchpad & mouse to be a little annoying. However, this is a touch enabled device & thankfully most of the apps/software I tested is easily used by reaching up and touching the screen. My hands accidentally brush the touchpad most of the time I'm typing. Fortunately, they thought enough to include a dedicated key on the keyboard that disables the touchpad. I always keep it disabled.

Other Thoughts: This devices reminds me of a netbook, except it's a convertible tablet with decent processing chops under the hood. I enjoyed using this more than I thought I would. No one's going to mistake it for a premium device - especially with all the stickers and logos and other information printed on the back. Still, it's got plenty of ports, a nice screen, decent weight, and a keyboard for when you really need one. All in all, a fairly decent package.

One things I want to call out - the tablet ships with a screen protector on it. As far as I can tell, this isn't noted anywhere. I almost took off another egg or two because I thought there was a defect in the manufacturing process. On the device I received, there was a spec under the screen protector that looked like something had gotten into the screen's film during manufacturing. There was a bubble and a tiny brown spec on the screen. It was very distracting and very obnoxious. I was pretty relieved when I discovered that it was a screen protector and was glad to remove it and the spec.

D-Link DCS-2332L Outdoor Wireless Cloud IP Camera, 720P HD, Night Vision, Video Storage with microSD slot
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Simple to use; Clear image; Maybe not for Fort Knox 01/30/2016

This review is from: D-Link DCS-2332L Outdoor Wireless Cloud IP Camera, 720P HD, Night Vision, Video Storage with microSD slot

Pros: Let's start with the superficial: it's a nice looking device. Not that it necessarily blends in, but it doesn't draw a lot of attention either.

This device is ready for the outdoors. With an IP65 rated casing it can handle anything but the extremes (and maybe even some of those) of dust, rain, hot and cold temperatures.

It was very easy to setup - you don't have to connect the Ethernet cord. I connected the wireless antennae, plugged in the device, pushed WPS on the camera, then pushed WPS on my router (for security reasons I turn WPS off when I don't need it), and everything just worked. I love it when the things that should be easy actually are easy. From there I download a program from dlink's website, as instructed in the materials that came with the camera. This program found my device and walked me through setting it up. Viewing the camera feed from dlink's website requires a browser plugin. I try not to overload my system with plugins but this seemed reasonable.

At this point new firmware was detected and I allowed the update to be applied bringing me to version 1.07.00. All of this without ever plugging in an ether net cable.

This camera is feature rich. It's got day and night time vision. The day vision is great, showing up to 720p. The night vision isn't stellar but it's acceptable especially up to about 20 feet.

You can setup motion detection and notification, schedule when it's active, choose whether to save notifications to a local SD card (not provided), email images, record video, store on a network drive.

You can setup privacy masks, for if you want to share the camera feed with others but don't want everything to be visible I suppose.

It supports Dynamic DNS, HTTPS, IP access lists, and SNMP.

And Dlink has apps you can use for iPhone, Android, and even Windows Phone. I really appreciate the addition of Windows Phone apps as I typically use one as my primary device. The app may not be as feature rich (I saw a complaint about an iPhone feature not working that is not in the WP app), but the fact that WP is supported and that I can open the app to see what the camera sees is a huge win in my book. I don't need admin features in the app, I can do that from a web site.

Cons: The day after I setup this camera I left town for 5 days. The second day, the connection was lost to the camera and it never came back. I haven't had that problem since, though I have had intermittent outages. So I can't really say if it's the camera's fault, or maybe something that happened at my router or even with my ISP.

I setup the motion notifications and it worked well during the day, but at night it sent me constant motion detection notifications. It has a sensitivity setting and you can select certain areas to be excluded from the monitoring, but I never quite got it to work the way I wanted it to.

Other Thoughts: Given the two cons I had, I might be hesitant to use this device as my primary security device in a remote area (or some place a don't visit on a semi-regular basis). Other than that it's a great little day/night IP camera with an IP65 outdoor raging. What's not to like.


Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 04/23/09

  • Reviews: 24
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  • First Review: 11/23/09
  • Last Review: 05/24/16
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