Issues with Freezer Temperature? Calling Appliance Repair Service in Manhattan

Freezer and Appliance Repair in Manhattan

While perhaps not as essential as other appliance units in the house, the freezer still plays an important role in the kitchen throughout the world. Be it for a little ice cream after dinner or a quick frozen snack, the freezer is an integral part of the cooking experience. For that reason, having a freezer break down can be a massive pain. For starters, the mess that it can create when everything begins to melt and food goes bad can be enough to make anyone not want to deal with the problem. When dealing with appliance repair in Manhattan and just freezers and refrigerators in general, there are a few things to keep in mind that should help out in many instances.

Freezer Too Warm

One of the most glaring issues people will experience with freezers and one of the most important issues when it comes to freezer repair is that the freezer is too warm. If this is the case, the freezer of obviously not functioning properly as it is not performing its sole task of keeping food frozen. If this has happened, there are four possible fixes that you can look into.

The first fix is an easy one and it involves the light inside the freezer. The door of the freezer has a switch so that the light will turn off when the door is shut. Yes, the light does really turn off when you shut the door. To test if this switch is working, locate it when the door is open. It is usually somewhere along the frame of the door. Simply push in the switch to see if the light is turning on and off.

If it has no effect, the switch will need to be replaced. It is always best to consult the owner’s manual for unit specific directions on replacing parts of the unit; however it is very important to remember to disconnect the freezer from any electrical source prior to doing any freezer repairs.

Issues with the Defrost Thermostat

The second common issue is the defrost thermostat. Once again, ensure that the unit is unplugged from the wall before doing any work and consult the owner’s manual to find information regarding where the thermostat is located. Once you have located it, use pliers to remove the connecters from the terminals and then proceed to remove the thermostat from the unit. Use a multitester to test the thermostat. It should give a reading of zero when cold, however if it has removed and sitting outside for some time it will have warmed up. If this is the case, the reading will show as infinity. If the readings differ from that, the thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.

Next, there may be a problem with the defrost timer. As with before, use the owner’s manual to find the defrost timer and after removing it from the device you will need to test it. Test each connection using your multitester as with the thermostat. The reading on the 1st and 2nd connection should read zero, while the reading on the third connection will read as infinity. If you do not receive these readings, then the defrost timer is not functioning properly and will need to be replaced.

Issues with the Defrost Heater

The final part of this particular area in freezer repair involves the defrost heater. The defrost heater will need to be removed from the freezer before it can be tested. Using pliers remove the device from the unit; however do not pull on the wires to remove it. Once again, use a multitester to test the connections. Unlike before however, the connections should read more than zero, but less than infinity. If you receive any other readings the defrost heater is malfunctioning and will need to be replaced.

All of these items can be replaced on your own if you are comfortable working on the unit, however if not it is best to call a professional who specializes in freezer repair. These four devices are the core of controlling the temperature in the freezer, so if you are having any issues it is always best to check them before jumping to any other conclusions. For instance, even if the opposite of before is true and now the freezer is far too cold and the fridge too warm, check for faults in those four parts.

Calling a Freezer Repair Service in New York

If you cannot locate the problem or if you do not feel comfortable working on the machine, it is always best to call for help. Luckily, appliance repair shops are common throughout the country and there is always someone close by who will be able to assist you. If you have not used a company in the past, doing a quick online search will yield results. You can also read online reviews and find a company or individual who seems trustworthy and that you would be willing to call to take a look at the unit. An online search may also be able to answer any questions you have in regards to what might be wrong with the unit before the repairmen comes over to take a look at it. If the machine is newer, it is also important to remember that it might still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if it is older it is not likely to be covered and you will likely to need to contact local freezer repair in Manhattan.

If and when the freezer stops working, don’t panic as it does not have to be too much of a headache to deal with. Keep in mind that it happens to everyone and there are plenty of people there to help you. Most people will not hesitate to pick up the phone and call a repair shop, however if you are willing and have the tools, you can always play around with it yourself and try and fix the problem. Just remember that safety is very important when dealing with appliances and you should always take the proper precautions to ensure your own safety.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair for your appliance repair in Brooklyn

Bear Appliance Repair has been in the appliance repair business for years with technicians that are courteous and knowledgeable. Our prices are affordable, and our first priority is always our customers. With no work too small or too big for us, we will always be prepared to work in favor of you. All our work of appliance repair in Brooklyn is always 100% fulfillment guaranteed.

At Bear Appliance Repair, our goal is to provide our customer with the best value and better service. We will offer you the best quote for our appliance repair in Brooklyn and we are also accessible on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends.

You can rely on our affordable and dedicated appliance repair service because our technicians are suitable trained to carry out the repair work of any appliance, irrespective of their model and make. Our appliance repair company is crammed with incredibly experienced, expert technicians and well-informed, gracious office staff, who provide our patrons with the finest quality work.

Who we are?

At Bear Appliance Repair, we continuously endeavor to stay well informed on any modifications in our industry, so that we will be capable of offering our customers the latest and most up to date information and services at all times.

Our well-trained technicians will always offer you a precise estimate for your appliance repair in Brooklyn and will get your approval earlier than starting any repair work. We have 95% of the most common components in our stock that are required for washers, refrigerators, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, stoves, ranges etc, regardless of their model and make..

We offer our dedicated services throughout Brooklyn and the adjoining areas, including Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. If you come across any challenging issues with your appliances, you can get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair over your phone on any day at any time and let us address those issues so as to bring your appliance to usual working condition.

What appliances we service in Brooklyn?

As an approved, licensed and bonded appliance repair company in Brooklyn, New York, we are specialized in repairing:

  • v Freezers.
  • v Refrigerators.
  • v Washers.
  • v Ovens.
  • v Dryers.
  • v Stoves.
  • v Ranges.
  • v Dishwashers.
  • v Microwaves.
  • v Air conditioners.

We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair in Brooklyn NY?

Although there are several reasons that Bear Appliance Repair happens to be the primary option for homeowners in and around Brooklyn for their entire appliance repair needs, some of the notable reasons include:

  • As a reliable appliance repair company in Brooklyn, we offer punctual, guaranteed and professional repairs on all leading brands.
  • We are the only business in the neighborhood to offer the lowest prices for repairing your appliances.
  • We do not charge you extra for evenings, holidays and weekends.
  • We offer our appliance repair service in Brooklyn on the same day of receiving your service call.

If any of your appliances have a problem, irrespective of its nature, we can assist. We even offer emergency appliance service in the neighborhood whenever an emergency exists.

Our service in the neighborhood is swift, gracious, and reliable from the time your service call is received by us. Our dedicated and knowledgeable repair technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and respond to your service requirements quickly.

Our technicians and we are Insured and licensed for your protection. We would like to make sure that you know who you have in your house and that you are entirely protected.

Bear Appliance Repair technicians are highly experienced and they have several years of field occupation behind them. We tender same day service on the majority of orders placed.

We are easily accessible in Brooklyn at all times, as we are situated at the heart of the neighborhood. Our appliance repair technicians will carry 95% of factory components in the trucks, so the majority of the jobs are completed during the first visit itself.

Above all, we offer a written guarantee for all the appliance repair work we undertake.

Whenever you are in necessity of an appliance repair in Brooklyn on emergency basis, give us a phone call. We would be glad to service your appliance requirements in a professional and in an affordable way. Get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair today to get an affordable quote for all of your appliance repairs in Brooklyn.

How to Find Reputable Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn NY

RefrigeratorWe have been carrying out the service of finding refrigerator repair in Brooklyn for many years with technicians that are well-informed and polite. Our first priority is our customers and we offer our dedicated and professional services at affordable prices. For us, no job is too small or too big. Our technicians are appropriately trained to carry out the refrigerator repair in Brooklyn with great professionalism, irrespective of their model and make. We are 100 % dedicated to our services, so we are always prepared to work for you and our work is always 100% guaranteed.

Find Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn, NY on all Leading Brands

At our Brooklyn-based business, our aim is to offer our clients the best value and best service. We will provide you with the best estimate for performing your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn and we are available on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends, as well.

When you hire our service to fix your refrigerator, you can rest guaranteed that the job is in the hands of an approved, bonded and insured business, so you can relax or concentrate on your other usual errands. We are capable of fixing all leading brands of refrigerators, as our business is crammed with very experienced, expert, knowledgeable, gracious technicians, who supply our customers with the highest quality work. We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

A refrigerator is one of the vital and most required domestic appliances in any Brooklyn, NY family. If it breaks down, all food items you preserve into it would get spoiled, so you have to fix it as quickly as possible by hiring a professional business, like us. We are the leading professional business in the neighborhood who can carry out your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn in a more professional way. When you hire our services, you will get a lot of benefits. Some of them include:

  • You will get the same day repair service.
  • There are no hidden charges involved in our services.
  • Our services are more professional.
  • We offer our work guarantee in writing.
  • You will get your refrigerator fixed at more affordable rates.
  • When you call us, you will get a quick response from our technicians.
  • Above all, we are insured and licensed providers, so you can rest assured that you will get your work done in a professional way.

Though there are several reasons that our business happens to be the primary option for refrigerator repair in Brooklyn, NY some notable reasons include:

  • We offer punctual, expert, guaranteed repairs on all foremost brands.
  • We are providing our services with the lowest prices for your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn.
  • We do not charge you extra for our services in evenings,holidays and weekends.

As we service all models and makes of refrigerators, if your refrigerator has a problem, we can assist on any day at any time, according to your convenience.

Our refrigerator repair service in Brooklyn is friendly, fast and reliable from the time your call is acknowledged by us. Our technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and react to your service requirements quickly. Our whole staff is insured and licensed. We would like to ensure that you know who you have in your Brooklyn home and that you are entirely protected.

The cost involved in repairing your refrigerator in Brooklyn, NY relies on:

  • Direct labor costs that include planning, material purchase and job equipment, area research, set up and onslaught.
  • Cost of materials that may be essential to repair a refrigerator, including fittings and connectors.

Furthermore, the cost of fixing a refrigerator will count on the nature of the fault, irrespective of the model and make.

Bear Appliance Repair is your fast and effective Brooklyn, NY refrigerator repair service with over 22 years of experience! At Bear Appliance Repair, we’ll do what it takes to get your fridge running at a high level once again, and our office is conveniently located in Brooklyn, NY. When you contact us for a refrigerator repair, we’ll quickly address your concerns and schedule your appointment with one of our trained and knowledgeable technicians.

How to Find a Reliable Service Provider for Stove Repair in Queens, NY

GE_Profile_stoveSometimes you wake up one morning on your way to work and you discover that there is a barrier between you and your favorite breakfast. The stove burner won’t spark or it is faulty and thus you can’t prepare your quick fix, or special morning heavy; a situation that prompts you to look for a reliable service provider for stove repair in Queens. You are left with no option other than reaching out to the corn or cereals with your ice cold milk or quick coffee. Especially due to the fact that it is a place quite busy and sometime tricky to navigate, getting a firm you can trust with your kitchenware may not as it may seem, come in as bread and butter in Queens, but can rather be daunting task that demands a few considerations. The process can however be less stressful if you utilize the below pointers and guide tips.

Importance of Seeking Stove Repair in Queens, NY

When problems arise with your stove, you can either choose to fix it yourself or hire a professional technician to do the job. Doing it yourself might be effective in the short run, but you may not have the repair time, expertise, equipment, and the parts required in case replacements are necessary. If unprofessionally done, there is a possibility of faults reoccurring and leading to extra damages, not to mention your kitchen catching fire, or the appliance loosing functionality altogether. The beauty with a reliable firm for stove repair in Queens, NY is that they can fix your stove efficiently and professionally, which will save you from the possible risks, save you time and money.

  1. Start by Conducting a Research and Getting Referrals

Your friends and neighbors can come in handy as the first places to seek credible information. You never know, they too might have encountered the same thing in their kitchens. As you get a few referrals, also rely on your other friend, the internet for more research. Start by typing on the search bars, term such as “a list of best stove repair in Queens Companies.” If you know of a few real estate firms or hoteliers, you can as well liaise with them for credible referrals. From here you can come up with a list of some prospective companies ton vet based on the following considerations.

  1. Their Service Experience

How long a repair service provider has been in business will matter a lot, as more often than not, experience may be a direct translation of the level of expertise and as such their reliability for effective service and long-lasting solutions. Take precaution and only go for fully certified and registered appliance service companies in Queens. You do not want to have a newbie in the field experiment with your kitchenware. They might leave a potential hazard with you. If you manage to meet a representative from a prospective firm in person, you can ask them about training of their technicians and their experience levels as well.

  1. Their Customer Support Levels and Reputation

Just from the way a representative from a prospective firm answers your call, you can be able to summarize their service levels. Look for supportive customer service in your reliable service provider; by the way they handle your queries and concerns. How long they take to respond and how helpful they sound is highly important. A good firm will even give you directions and help you understand the various electrical requirements that will be involved. However, looking at their service history is also crucial. You don’t want to deal with a firm for Stove Repair in Queens; that has a track record of bad reputation. You can always get credible information from reviews and testimonials online. How previous customers and corporate references rate them determines how reliable they are.

  1. Consider the Cost Factor and Warranties

It would be unrealistic to say that price is not an important factor when choosing an appliance repair company. It is important to call a few service providers for stove repair in Queens and ask for their quotes to do comparisons. A good way to go about it as you make the call would be to go to the main problem direct, like “how much will you charge me to fix my stove burner that has a sparking problem.” However, it is crucial that you be on the lookout for extremely know service prices that may look unrealistic. This may suggest an inexperienced technician or pretender out to make some quick money from people like you.

Make comparisons carefully, and remember to consider quality more than price. Seek to know the rates (whether hourly, or per piece of work) and remember to ask whether there are other charges apart from the service fees as some notorious firms like hiding fees. The mode of payment is also important, s most people prefer credit cards for you can reverse a transaction if you were not satisfied by their services. You might also want to determine their warranty policies and whether they offer workmanship guarantees for their services. This is of crucial importance, just in case the appliance malfunctions after being serviced or ends up causing damages to your home, you need and insured service provider.

 

 

Honda Civic Si 2017 Review: Adaptive Suspension at $23,900

Honda Civic Si 2017 Review: Adaptive Suspension at $23,900 Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Full Disclosure: I’m far from a race car driver, have limited track experience and never drove the original Civic Si. So with that in mind, you’re getting a raw, unadulterated review of the all new 2017 Civic Si. Can you dig it? Also, Honda put me up for 2 nights at a hotel and flew us out to their proving grounds on this jet.

Honda Civic Si 2017 Review

Bow Wow was not on board. Go figure.

First and foremost, the all new Civic Si costs a mere $23,900 (plus $200 for summer tires). While it’s no drop in the bucket, compared to some of the other cars in its class it might be considered a steal. Take for instance a fully loaded GTI. It pushes close to the $40,000 mark. Sure, it offers some features not found on the Civic Si – such as adaptive cruise control – but it’s a vast gap.

Civic-Si-Competitors

Civic Si’s Competitors at a glance.

Driving Dynamics

This is the first Civic Si to offer an adaptive suspension. Which is to say a tap of the SPORT button and the car’s suspension tightens to offer a more compliant, responsive ride. Which mind you is discernible on both surface streets and highways. In fact, it’s almost instantly apparent – you can feel the road’s imperfections – when SPORT mode is engaged. In other words, it’s not just all marketing speak, or a simple remapping of  the throttle or steering. Though it does sharpen both of those aforementioned things. So what’s the net result of SPORT mode? A car with greater versatility perhaps more so than previous generations, since less of a comfort compromise has to incur for day-to-day commuting. My only gripe: I wish the suspension was stiffer.

I should also note the presence of a limited slip diff. Keep in mind the Civic Si is a front wheel drive car. And front wheel drive often is associated with understeer. The Civic Si’s limited slip, however, does a great job of putting the traction down and pulling it through the corners. I had the luxury of driving it on Honda’s proving grounds in the Mojave Desert. It’s a fairly technical course, and while a car with a rear wheel drive system could arguably lap it with a faster time (driver and car dependent), the Si does an admirable job of keep things planted.

The Gear Box

Civic Si Interior

CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the Si.

If you’re considering the Civic Si over the regular Civic, it’s likely you’re an “enthusiast”. In other words, you probably know how to drive a manual. And if you don’t, well, you’re screwed. Or you better learn, because the Si ships in manual only. 6 gears to be exact. And while I can’t attest to what Honda says is the best manual gear box in the business – largely because I haven’t driven enough manual gear box cars in recent – I can say it’s excellent, offering short throws, gears that easily slip into place and a notchy feel that further elevates the Si’s prowess to an enthusiast level. To lend credence to that, I long drove a 20th Anniversary 2003 VW GTI, and I thoroughly enjoyed that 6 speed. However, it was far from smooth, with 3rd gear always proving troublesome. Nevertheless, it’s a reasonable benchmark.

Engine

Under the hood you’ll find a 1.5l turbo. Sadly, this Si’s (horse) power is on par with the last; 205 horses to be exact. However, torque is up, albeit slightly – 20 lb/ft – to 195. But Honda says it comes in earlier – 2,100 RPM –  than the previous generation thanks to the turbo charger.

Civic Si’s single exhaust port.

In case you’re looking at the regular Civic, you might want to know its peak horsepower is 174. So there is some extra “go” to enjoy if you opt for this model. Sound wise, it’s what you’d expect from a 1.5l engine. It’s not bad, it’s not great. That said, Honda has added a nice touch by making the dual exhaust exit as a single port.

Looks

It’s a Civic. And yes, you can get the Si in Coupe and Sedan. There are some differences and ones that are very needed and appreciable in my eye.

2017 Civic Si Spoiler

The 2017 Civic Si’s wing

First is the all black grill. It’s all blacked out and looks slick. Next, is the spoiler. It’s not over the top, though it will likely still egg-on some car’s in its class. Maybe even a Porsche Boxster. I already mentioned the single port exhaust. And lastly are the 18″ wheels (235/40) that give it a sporty more aggressive look. Because these tires are thinner (if you opt for the summer ones), so to speak, it does reduce the Si’s roof height, making it 5mm lower than the normal Civic.

Other Features

Inside you’ll find seats with additional bolster. They’re Honda’s own seat, not a licensed or aftermarket type. The stereo is a no name 450 watt system. It sounds decent, but nor did it test its limits. Android Auto and CarPlay are standard – thank God.

2017 Civic Si Seats

2017 Civic Si Seats with lateral support.

And some other goodies: The brakes are bigger than the regular Civic (i.e. more stopping power). 12.3″ in the rear (1.2″ larger) and 11″ in the front ( .9 bigger). Our Civic Si’s had Honda’s HPD pads, or Honda Development Parts, which add additional stopping power.

Wrap Up

If you’re reading this review, it’s likely that you’ve owned a previous generation Si, or you’re looking to step it up to an enthusiast level car. Personally, I prefer these “skunk works” vehicles over the regular ones, partially because they look different and help separate them from the million other Civics already on the road. The other part? They drive with more prejudice, which is my way of saying they’re not for everyone. The ride comfort suffers from their sporty nature, but that’s what makes them so lovable, attractive and some what niche. Plus, you can throw in some other aftermarket parts for a few more bucks and your Civic Si will be your Civic Si.

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Honda Odyssey Review (2018): The Most Tech Advanced Minivan?

Honda Odyssey Review (2018): The Most Tech Advanced Minivan? Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

I gotta be straight up: I’m not a minivan guy. I have no kids, rarely do I drive around more than 1 other person at any given time, and long have I loathed the general aesthetic that comes with this type of car. And because of that, I believe I might be the harshest critic of the all too cliche family vehicle.

However, much to my surprise Honda’s all new Odyssey – the 2018 model year to be more specific – is an all around great car. In fact, I might be understating it a bit by, well, stating that. It’s packed with tech, relatively speaking, drives well and fits everyone, adults included, with comfort, as attested by my cohorts who reluctantly, said no one, joined me on a trip to the Big Island. Yes, full disclosure: Honda flew all of us out there and put us up for 3 nights.

Drive Quality

So what’s first? The drive quality. The 2018 Odyssey is a solid driver head to toe. It’s long and big, but doesn’t feel it in any scenario. Even my girlfriend, who was reluctant to park it, had no problem parking it at the end of a beach road and slotting it between two tightly packed cars. On the highway it’s effortless to drive. And while many of you might expect it to be as such, take heed, because not all cars, even the luxury ones are built equally. Of course, with this, there is a slight take; the ride isn’t as supple as a BWM 7-series or a Range Rover, but nor should one expect it to be.

As for off the line power (and sound) it’s everything any family would ever need. I had the benefit of comparing it against Chrysler’s latest minivan, and while that was fine, the Odyssey sounds and drives better, albeit marginally in the latter of the two. That in mind, the Odyssey’s tech package is tighter, better executed as is the interior and stylings of the car.

Interior

Honda Odyssey 2018 Interior

Electric slide doors make loading kids and passengers a breeze.

It’s well appointed, for a minivan. The leather, while not anything to write home about, will make cleaning up spills and so forth easy. There is of course a non-leather option. And with that in mind, we were in the top end of the class, so we had all the accoutrements. Aesthetically, though, I didn’t mind spending time in the cabin of the Odyssey.

The traditional gear selector is gone and has been replaced by buttons located on the center console below the 10.5″ system. It looks some acclimation and elicited some hoos and haws from my co-pilots, but nothing they couldn’t live with. Everything is in reach, though the volume knob is to the far left, making it difficult for those sitting in shotgun to control the volume.

Honda Odyssey Moveable Chairs

If you so choose, you can remove seats from the Odyssey.

The center seat in the second row can be removed allowing for two captain’s chairs that can be placed together or set apart.

The second and third rows are both comfortable, even for long drives. If you’re considering an SUV over the Odyssey, take note of the SUV’s back seats. Usually the third row is a joke, at best, affords no leg room, headroom, or accessibility. It’s because of this I can now see why one would opt for a minivan over an SUV.

Tech Features

Honda Odyssey App

The Honda app lets you control climate, rear entertainment media, send a destination to the car and more.

Those who are sporting a compatible device, will enjoy wireless charging for a single phone in the center stack. It’s compatible with two different types: Qi and PMA.  Again, our Odyssey was of the Elite class, so if you’re looking for these types of features, make sure you double check with your dealer.

Honda Odyssey 2018 Tech

The Odyssey’s infotainment is Android based.

The infotainment system. This is a biggy. If notes and memory serve correct, the Android based infotainment system, skinned with a Honda GUI, is not available on all classes. However, most Odysseys will sell with this, which also includes CarPlay. And no, I didn’t get to test the step down. Nevertheless, it was quick, functional and fairly easy to navigate. All the usual features and app you’d expect are there, even a nav app, though with question I was able to determine that it won’t receive OTA (over the air updates) so you’re still better off using your phone if you’re looking for the utmost in accuracy. I did find out that Honda will update this info, in service, 4 times during the life of the vehicle. But don’t get me wrong: we used the nav to return to our hotel and had zero problems.

Honda Cabin Watch

Cabin Watch let’s you view the kids in the back via the car’s 10.5″ infotainment screen.

What’s really cool, is that Honda has created their own smartphone app that connects to the car’s stereo and HVAC system. So occupants, with access granted – only one at a time – can control the HVAC system and what’s playing on the rear entertainment. They can only send directions to the navigation, which is good, because the car’s main screen locks you out when the vehicle is in motion. I was frustrated by this, but after talking to Honda they do this to be in full compliance with set standards, though it’s not a legal stipulation. On that note, there is a WiFi in the car, and if you have a compatible plan with AT&T you can share data with the car’s occupants – it’s easy to setup and get going.

Honda Odyssey 2018 Vacuum

Hidden in the rear is a built-in vacuum cleaner.

Another notable feature, beyond the aforementioned, is Cabin Watch, which let’s you view, via a camera in the Odyssey’s ceiling, what is happening in the second row. It’s complemented by a PA system (Cabin Talk) that let’s the driver or co-pilot speak to the occupants in the back seat. Provided they’re misbehaving while watching the 10″ rear entertainment screen that flips down from the ceiling, plays via a Blu-ray player in the front and works with the included wireless headphones.

Lastly, and not new for this year, is a built-in vacuum system in the trunk. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to suck up crumbs, debris or anything in between. But I think it’s a brilliant addition and could sway any parent with little, messy, kids. It’s just too bad it doesn’t include a shampoo function as well.

Odyssey Vacuum

A built-in vacuum makes clean up much much easier.

Wrap Up

If there are any draw backs to the Honda Odyssey it’s possibly two things. One is a given in any case, and if you haven’t figured it out that’s price. The Honda Odyssey, at the top end draws in close to $47,000. Course it starts at $30,000 so there are options. The other draw back you ask? The HVAC system is excruciatingly loud no matter what intensity the fan is set to.

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How to Use a Point and Shoot Camera

How to Use a Point and Shoot Camera Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

What Is a Point-and-Shoot Camera?

A point-and-shoot camera is any camera that lets you take pictures fast, without worrying about focusing the lens. Most have built-in flashes and a variety of automatic settings. The lens may zoom in and out, depending on the model, but generally can’t be removed from the camera body. While these cameras aren’t as complicated to use as a DSLR, with some practice you can get some really breathtaking photos from a good point-and-shoot camera. Here are some tips to get you started towards some amazing point-and-shoot photography.

Before Taking Your First Shots

1. Learn Your Modes

Before going out for your first photo shoot with your point-and-shoot camera, take several minutes to read the manual and to examine the settings that your camera comes with. Most point and shoot cameras have a variety of shooting modes for different situations. Knowing which are available to you beforehand can save you a lot of time and frustration, as well as ensuring that you get the perfect picture when the opportunity arises. Here are a few examples:

  • Portrait Mode: Best used whenever you’re taking a picture of someone’s face, or several people in a close group. Creates a soft lighting effect and can add a soft blur to the background. Use this setting on other subjects to make them pop from from their surroundings, in what is called a bokeh effect.
  • Hand-Held Night Mode: While not available on all cameras, this mode allows you to take night shots without needing a tripod. The camera takes a series of photos using a fast shutter and then assembles them into one shot, resulting in a crisp image with enough light that would otherwise be available only with a longer shutter speed and a tripod.
  • Snow or Beach Mode: This mode compensates for white backgrounds, like snow-filled streets or bright sunlight on the sand, without other details being too dark.
  • Miniature or Diarama Mode: Also known as tilt-shift, this mode makes the subject appear to be a miniature model. It’s done by keeping the subject in focus while adding a soft blur to everything in the background and the foreground.

2. Get a Memory Card or Two

Check your camera for a small slot that will accept a memory card, or check your owner’s manual. Most cameras today use micro SD cards for extra storage. This is an inexpensive way to ensure that you always have room for a few extra thousand photos. We recommend SanDisk, a U.S. company that has been recognized for producing quality digital storage for years. The 32GB to 64GB cards are extremely inexpensive and for less than $100 you can get a SanDisk 200GB Ultra 200GB Micro SD memory card. For a few dollars more you can get an even faster 200GB MicroSDXC Class 10 Ultra memory card. You may not notice the speed when taking photos, but you should see a difference when uploading photos to your computer.  If your camera has a larger SD slot, remember that most micro SD cards come with an adapter so you can use them too.

3. Check the Image Quality

camera image quality menu

Increase the image size to get better details.

At their default settings, many point-and-shoot cameras take low-quality photos with small file sizes. This is a good setting if you haven’t added an SD card yet, or if you are just posting photos to Facebook, which reduces large photos anyway. However, if you want to print copies of your pictures, or show them on your new HDTV, you will want to use larger image files with a higher quality. Besides the standard JPG file format, many good point-and-shoot cameras can shoot in RAW mode, just like a DSLR. While RAW files take up a lot of storage space, they give you the highest quality images. In fact, RAW files aren’t even photo files at all, but contain the raw image data that JPGs and GIFs use to assemble an image. Note that you will need a RAW image editor to process these files, like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

Taking Great Photos

1. Stabilize Your Camera

Even under normal lighting situations, the slightest tremble of your hand can make the details in your photos less clear than they would otherwise be. When you take a photo, hold your camera firmly with both hands and keep as still as possible before taking a picture. Keeping your elbows against your chest does a lot to reduce camera shake. If the camera has a viewfinder, rest the top of the camera against your brow to make the camera even more stable. If there is a steady object close by, like a wall or a pillar, lean your arm against it when taking a shot.

night photo taken with tripod

Use a tripod for long-exposure shots.

When taking photos without a flash in low-light situation means a longer shutter speed, so keeping your camera stable is essential. Brace yourself as well as possible and breath steadily. Begin exhaling just before pressing the shutter button and keep exhaling until the shot is complete. With some practice you can actually get shots just as sharp as someone using a tripod. Of course, if you do have a great tripod like the Slik Sprint Pro II, the screw hole on the bottom of many point-and-shoots will probably fit on it. There are also miniature tripods designed just for point-and-shoot cameras, like the JOBY GorillaPod that are portable and extremely flexible.

2. Pre-focus Before You Focus

Focusing a camera can steal precious seconds from the perfect shot. The camera can take even longer to focus if it has been turned off or gone into sleep mode. You can eliminate most of the waiting time by pre-focusing your camera before taking the shot. To do this, point the camera at your subject and press the shutter button half-way down. The camera will make some noise as it focuses and when it stops, release the button.

For action shots, like when you’re waiting for someone to cross the finish line, pre-focus on any object close to where the person will be – including a spot on the ground — before they arrive. Even if the person isn’t exactly where you expected them to be, the camera will take much less time to adjust the focus a short distance than it would a longer distance.

3. Use the Flash Sparingly

Few good pictures ever come from a built-in camera flash. Not only does a flash tend to wash out details and cast dark shadows behind your subject, it can wear down your battery and cause frustrating delays as the camera waits for the flash to charge before engaging the shutter.

When you can’t avoid using a flash, try diffusing its light by taping a small piece of tissue paper over it. In some cases this may make the photo slightly less bright than what you intended, however it’s much easier to brighten a photo than it is to darken an overexposed shot, either with an image editing program or by using the camera’s own image editing options.

4. Avoid the Digital Zoom

When you need to get close and personal to your subject, step in as close as you can first and use the optical zoom second. Using the digital zoom on a point-and-shoot camera will always give you an inferior photo. This is because the digital zoom basically crops and expands your photo as you take the image, which most cameras allow you to do after you take the shot anyway. So using a 2x digital zoom uses half the pixels as a normal shot, while a 4x digital zoom reduces the pixels by four times.

5. Adjust the White Balance

poor white balance

White balance is often distorted when shooting indoors.

If you have ever taken a shot indoors and found everything looks yellow or blue, you’ve experienced an issue with white balance. Most good point-and-shoot cameras give you an option to adjust the white balance for your shot. For a custom white balance, just adjust the setting under the same light that will illuminate your shot until the image on the screen looks good to your eyes. There should also be several pre-settings that change the white balance for you. Settings like day light, cloudy and fluorescent change the white balance for the situations they name. Tungsten is one you may not be familiar with — use it when you are indoors with a lot of incandescent lights to remove the yellow hues. Again, look at the screen, that should be a tell-tale sign.

6. Be Creative and Have Fun

The more photos you take with your point-and-shoot camera, the better you will understand what works and what doesn’t in different situations. When you get a new camera, it’s a good idea to take it out for an afternoon and use different settings for the same photo so you can see how they effect each shot. Explore different compositions by taking photos from different angles and distances. Rather than having your subject centered in every shot, for example, place them near the side of the shot to give them context within their surroundings.

Whether you’re using a cellphone, a point-and-shoot camera, or a DSLR, using different angles almost always creates more interesting pictures. If you simply stand in front of the subject and take the photo at eye-level, the shot is usually uninteresting because that’s the same perspective everyone has of everything they see. Squatting down to a low angle, or finding a safe way to get above your subject will create a photo that is more interesting because it comes from a perspective only toddlers and giraffes normally see.

Whatever your style is for taking photos, your point and shoot camera is a great, light-weight accessory you can bring anywhere. The quality and the range of features will almost always give you better, more memorable photos than what you could ever get with the camera on a smartphone.

The post How to Use a Point and Shoot Camera appeared first on Gadget Review.

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All the IoT Hardware At Collision Conference 2017

All the IoT Hardware At Collision Conference 2017 Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Billed as “America’s fastest growing tech conference,” the Collision Conference has grown into an influential industry event that some have compared to South by Southwest, Austin’s huge music-and-tech gathering. The confab in New Orleans attracted nearly 19,000 attendees this past week (compared to the more than 37,000 that descended on SXSW Interactive in 2017).

As its name suggests, Collision is designed to foster the intermingling of ideas and people across various interests, including technology, transportation, music, the environment, education, sports, politics, and more. Much of the convention floor was taken up by rows and rows of digital startups trying to entice investors and customers to check out their offerings. We’ve rounded up some of the more notable products and services here, focusing on connected devices.

Ecobee4

The Ecobee4 works with Alexa.

Ecobee unveiled the latest version of its smart-home thermostat. Thanks to a built-in microphone, it’s the first Ecobee that comes with the full functionality of Amazon’s Alexa voice-recognition service. It’s like having a wall-mounted Echo Dot that can also control your home’s climate. Available on Amazon starting May 15.

A startup called Matrix showed off its smart mattress that promises to measure the quality of your sleep based on monitors built into its memory foam construction. Because it can sense whether you’re in light or deep sleep, Matrix can wake you up at the most optimal time, according to its designers. The companion app will also give you recommendations for getting better rest based on your specific sleep habits.

Matrix also says its product is more comfortable to sleep on than similar smart mattresses on the market, such as Eight Sleep. Manufactured in the U.S., Matrix will sell for $1,500 for a queen-size bed.

Seed Speaker

Seed speaker at Collision Con.

Aiming for the high-end “audiophile” market, Recreation Sound Systems came to Collision toting its intricately designed, wooden “Seed” speaker. The custom-made, 600-watt speaker is meant to be a “portable party on wheels,” and features a large metal handle that makes for easier hauling. The Seed sells for a hefty $2,000.

Recreation will also sell the “Harmony Block,” touted as the “world’s first yoga block speaker.” The $400 speaker is expected to appear as an Indiegogo project sometime in July.

“Our mission is to make the world a better sounding place,” said Emily Kussman, Recreation’s marketing manager. “We weren’t satisfied with all of the Bluetooth speakers out on the market so we decided to create our own high audio fidelity portable speakers. We use wood, which resonates sound better, and the components that we put inside the products create richer, cleaner, better sounding speakers.”

In another apparent “first,” the world’s first robotic tennis ball collector made a showing at Collision. While there have been one-off attempts to build an autonomous ball collector, the Tennibot is the first serious product of its kind for the consumer market.

Designed by recent Auburn University graduate Haitham Eletrabi, the device runs on rechargeable batteries and can pick up 70 balls per load within minutes. Think of it as a Roomba for your tennis court. Eletrabi says production on the Tennibot will begin by the end of the year and will be priced at $1,000 each.

Tennibot wasn’t the only robot at Collision. Pepper, the humanoid robot from Japan’s SoftBank Robotics, made a splash with its cute gestures and apparent ability to understand some human emotions. SoftBank says Pepper can read signals like a smile, a frown, the way your move your head, or the tone of your voice. More than 10,000 Pepper robots have been sold in Japan, mostly to businesses that use them to greet and entertain customers.

Pepper Robot

You can now buy Pepper in the U.S. — for a mere $25,000. With the goal of having a “robot in every home,” Softbank plans to roll out more consumer-level robots in the coming years.

Cujo Smart Firewall for the Home

Protects Your Network from Viruses and Hacking

Continuing the unstoppable Internet of Things trend, Cujo showed off its smart firewall for the connected home. The adorable little gadget aims to protect all of the networked devices in your home from hacks, malware, and other cyber threats. It also boasts parental controls to keep your content kid-friendly.

Shipping for $99, Cujo touts “enterprise-level” protection for the consumer who’s worried about privacy and data leakage.

“These days, you never know what’s happening to your devices or your data,” says Indre Deksnyte, Cujo’s vice president of e-commerce. “We hear a lot of user stories. We heard from a customer in Canada who was getting a lot of notifications from Cujo. The security cameras in his house were being hacked. You may get hacked and never know it.”

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Ecobee CEO on the Future of the Connected Home

Ecobee CEO on the Future of the Connected Home Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

ecobee unveiled its latest generation smart-home thermostat this week at the Collision Conference in New Orleans. This version is the first to arrive with Amazon’s Alexa functionality integrated directly into the device. A built-in microphone allows ecobee4 to offer all 12,000 of Alexa’s voice-enabled skills. Is it the best smart thermostat on the market today?

Essentially, the new ecobee – the ecobee4 –  gives you an Echo Dot and a smart thermostat in a single, wall-mounted device. You’ll not only be able to control your home’s climate via voice, but you can also fetch a recipe, hear the news, or check sports scores. ecobee is also introducing later this year smart light switches that work with its thermostat and Alexa.

Priced at $249 and arriving in stores this past May 15th, the ecobee offers a compelling alternative to the similarly priced Nest thermostat. It’s also a signal that the trend of third-party device makers integrating Alexa’s functionality into their offerings will only grow from here.

To hear more about where the voice-enabled smart home is headed, we caught up with ecobee founder and CEO Stuart Lombard on the convention floor at Collision. What follows is an edited interview:

ecobee Founder

ecobee founder and CEO Stuart Lombard

Gadget Review: So, going back to the beginning of when you started the company, what was the spark that made you think, “I really need to do this.” Because you were not involved in tech hardware before, right?

Lombard: Our mission was: How can we help people conserve energy, save money, and reduce their environmental footprint using technology? And the insight that we had was heating and cooling is such a big part of your energy use, but it is also the easiest thing to control. And so, why not make thermostats easier to use and smarter, and connect them to your smartphone like everything else in your life?

That was really the impetus for starting the company. But we’re morphing a little bit; we’re also thinking about how to make your life simpler and better. We want to remove some of the frictions in your life, so you can focus on your family, your friends, and the moments you share in your home. And just make your home this peaceful environment — because life is chaotic, right?

Gadget Review: Right. So, the ecobee sells for $249?

Lombard: That’s right.

Gadget Review: And how fast do you make back your money?

Lombard: We estimate the average customer saves about 23% on their heating and cooling costs. You’re saving somewhere between $150 and $180 a year. So it pays for itself in about a year, or a year and a half, depending on how you use it.

Gadget Review: That’s a great value proposition for the consumer. So, why don’t more people have these things in their homes?

Lombard: About 40% of the market for thermostats will be WiFi-connected this year. That’s up from around zero about five years ago. People are buying them now because they’re thinking, “Why wouldn’t I? Everything else is on my smartphone.”

When we started, people thought, “I don’t know if I need that.” But now, these smart thermostats are selling much better than the cheap $59 thermostat that’s not Internet-connected, that’s as dumb as a doorknob.

Gadget Review: What does the future look like for smart homes?

Lombard: I think we’re creating a new platform in the home. And if you look at the way people interact with those Internet services that they love, they went from the desktop to phones. And I think in your home, more and more is going to voice. Because voice works incredibly well. It’s super fast; you can talk three times faster than you can type. It is very convenient; you don’t have to pull out your phone.

So if you’re sitting on your couch, instead of pulling your Samsung S8 out of your pocket, finding the music app, playing the music, and getting distracted by a text message, you can just say, “Alexa, play Bon Jovi,” or whatever your favorite band is. It’s frictionless. It’s way faster.

Gadget Review: This is ecobee’s first device with Alexa. What else are you excited to bring into your product? How do you think about integrating with the ecosystem of smart devices out there?

Lombard: The first answer is light switches. When you pare our light switches with our thermostats, it will work better than either product alone. We’re putting more and more sensors into our devices. Because at the end of the day, once you have a CPU on your wall and it’s connected to the Internet, the incremental cost of adding a sensor is very low.

So these devices will make life simpler and better. We think about our ecosystem strategies very different than what we perceive Nest to be. Nest is creating this proprietary platform. We’re doing the opposite. We know that consumers have platforms that are important in their lives today. So we’re trying to plug into those ecosystems that matter to consumers, whether they’re made by Amazon, Apple, Samsung or Google. If we can plug into those ecosystems, we believe you’re just going to have a way better experience.

Gadget Review: Do you think that there’s going to be a need for a universal Internet of Things platform that helps you control different devices across your home?

Lombard: I don’t think there will be an unlimited number of platforms. I think there will be a small number of platforms, and they probably will be driven by those large Internet companies: Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google. I don’t see a case where we’ll have 57 platforms.

Gadget Review: So, you see yourself as agnostic in this race?

Lombard: Yeah, totally. We put ourselves in the position of thinking, “What would a consumer want?” I think consumers want choice. In a lot of cases, having more options creates more excitement around the category, which gets more people to adopt it.

The post Ecobee CEO on the Future of the Connected Home appeared first on Gadget Review.

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This iPhone Cord Claims to be 40% Stronger Than Kevlar

This iPhone Cord Claims to be 40% Stronger Than Kevlar Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

It’s not often I post about iPhone cables and those alike, but alas, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Why so? A few reasons. First, the company behind these cords, called Syncwire, says that their new line of cables, Unbreakcable (see the “c” in there), are 40% stronger than Kevlar and the “toughest on the market today”. It’s because of that, they’re positioning them as the “last cable” you’ll ever need.

Presumably with that kind of “rating” they’ll never break. But just in case it does – which you know happens overtime to most cables, especially the cheap ones – Syncwire offers a lifetime warranty (that’s the second reason, btw). To be candid, I’m not sure what the Lifetime Warranty really means as there are no details on their site, but the back of the packaging has some playful verbiage that might connect with millennials better than older folks. I can only assume that if the cable does break they’ll send you a new one. How fast and with what stipulations remains to be seen.

That all being said, the cables – they sent me three in total (USB C, iPhone and microUSB) feel like they’re decently made, though they don’t exude the high end feel I’ve come to enjoy with some braided cables. The packaging offers a decent presentation, though the would be cable organizer is something I’m throwing away. Truth be told I’m not sure if they intend one to keep it, but if you do, I’m sure you could wrap other cables around it, such as a pair of earbuds. Lastly, there is no mention of a MFI certification, which is odd, because on Amazon and they’re own site, they claim that their other, previous products are.

Price and where you can buy them you ask? Unknown.

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LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet?

LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet? Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

It’s a new year, and with it comes a new LG G-series Android flagship smartphone. While the G5 last year was swell enough to hold its own against the top-end competition, it was clearly not at the top of the bunch. Sure, we gave LG kudos for taking a risk and trying a bold, new modular concept, but without on-going support of neat add-on modules, the idea nose-dived to a flat note.

LG was quick to recognize its shortcomings, and in 2017 the Korean giant’s efforts are renewed with a more concise approach – to simply make most attractive, refined, and solidly functioning smartphone that it can. Continue on to find out if this is what we’ve been waiting for from LG or if it’s just another nice try in our LG G6 Android Smartphone Review!

Overview

Price: $672 or $28/month on Verizon
Available: Apr. 2017
Model: G6

Summary: The G6 is LG’s newest and strongest flagship Android smartphone release. Its design/construction is as premium as it gets, and fully packed with top-end features like wireless charging, wide-angle camera, and HDR-supported, nearly bezel-less display. The G6 is certainly not perfect (particularly, the display and camera quality could still be improved), but it will no doubt be one of the top phone picks of 2017.

What We Liked

  • The first beautiful LG phone
  • Nearly bezel-less display
  • Solid battery life
  • Wide-Angle camera is special

What We Didn’t

  • Only 32 GB base storage
  • LCD screen still inferior to AMOLED
  • Camera quality still a step behind the best

LG G6 Specs

LG G6
Display 5.7″ QHD IPS LCD (18:9 aspect ratio)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (quad-core, 2.35 GHz)
Memory 4GB of RAM
Storage 32GB internal with microSD card support (up to 256 GB)
Rear Camera 13 MP standard angle (f/1.8, OIS) and 13 MP wide-angle (f/2.4, no OIS)
Front Camera 5MP Wide-Angle (switchable to standard angle), f/2.2
Battery 3,300 mAh (non-removeable)
Software Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Colors Black or Silver
Price $672 or $28/month on Verizon
Buy Now

Design

Suffice it to say, LG has been having trouble finding its place design-wise as of late. Last year’s G5 flagship smartphone was the overhaul we’ve been waiting for, just not in the right direction, as that plastic-like metal chassis and modular design ended up being completely trashed. This is all while the company’s biggest competitor – Samsung – was well under way to perfecting its successful premium, glass-dominated formula with the Galaxy S7 series. Fortunately in 2017, LG is done lollygagging around.

LG G6 Smartphone

The build of the G6 is a job well done; lack of refinement is now a thing of the past. The curved glass around the rear is a pleasure to see and feel, and the phone’s thick sides provide ample grip.

We are super impressed how quickly LG could turnaround a completely new, solidly built smartphone. Not only is every piece of the G6 high-grade, but it’s impeccably constructed. There are no cut corners to speak of, so much so that the face is a source of its beauty. For instance, the perimeter of the glass back curves down into the metal frame, seemingly fusing into it (there is also no more camera hump). Furthermore, the front glass simply sits flush with the frame, providing all the attention to the phone’s display-dominated face.

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

Manufacturers are finally realizing that minimizing bezel and maximizing screen size is important, and LG is among the first out the gate to deliver. Its approach was to cut the top and bottom bezels, while maintaining roughly the same width as the 5.3″ G5. This interestingly gives us a phone with an aspect ratio of 18:9, instead of the 16:9 that has always been used, and now a 5.7″ device that can be comfortably handled with one hand.

LG G6 Smartphone

Size comparison between LG G6 (left) and LG V20 (right). Despite both having a 5.7″ display, the G6 is much more slender and manageable.

Consumers may think that the new, taller aspect ratio would come with ergonomic concerns, but it has phased us very little. The only thing that takes getting used to is reaching to drop down the notification panel at the extended top. The fingerprint scanner on the back, which in LG fashion doubles at the power button, is ideally placed and comfortable to use.

Performance

Typically, Spring flagships in the U.S. share a new top-end chipset from Qualcomm. For this year that is the 10nm, octa-core Snapdragon 835. However, because of a shortage of supply, LG had to settle with the previous quad-core Snapdragon 821 or delay the G6’s release. We would assure buyers with the concern to not put too much weight on this spec. The Snapdragon 821 has a beast of a processor, and in our use with the G6, we never wished that we had more horsepower. Despite having a substantial user interface, the snappy and smooth software experience is a pleasure that never let up.

LG G6 Smartphone

Battery drainage was as expected – roughly 10% an hour with usage on network and 75% brightness, and excellent idle time.

The only woe we see on the spec sheet, and an inexcusable oversight, is the mere 32 GB of internal storage. This is the only memory option you can get in the U.S. LG tries to overlook the fact by touting expandability via microSD card, which is of course great, but it just shouldn’t be that a flagship in this day and age to come with less than 64 GB standard. LG also had to make a compromise on a couple extra features. There wasn’t space to fit both wireless charging and the HiFi 32-bit Quad DAC that we loved in the V20, so the company made the decision on which to include based on regional demographic. It deemed Asian markets caring more about quality audio and the U.S. market preferring wireless charging. Pity.

An area that LG didn’t hold back on was battery life. It held on to the removable battery feature as long as possible, but since it’s now gone, there’s at least a sizable 3,300 mAh battery capacity sealed in (at least for the size of the device). And it does translates to some respectable results in our real-world use with the phone. Unless you’re doing heavy-lifting like gaming, the G6 should reliably get through the day without a pit stop and sometimes well into the next morning.

Display

LG G6 Smartphone

LG’s Full Vision display takes up about 80% of the front of the device. The corners are rounded for not only a more aesthetically pleasing look but also less stress concentration (which can lead to cracks) if a drop occurs.

The star of the G6’s show is undoubtedly that dominating Full Vision display. Because LG almost eliminated the bezel space that we’re so used to on the front of our mobile devices, it was able to stuff practically a phablet-sized screen in a regularly-sized smartphone. That is, much of the top and bottom bezel were replaced by screen, resulting in the first smartphone with an 18:9 (or twice as high as it is wide) aspect ratio. So buyers must not be mislead by the seemingly large 5.7″ screen spec. Since the screen is taller than we’re used to with a 16:9 phone, this diagonal measurement doesn’t follow the same indication of size as we’re used to.

LG G6 Smartphone

16:9 video is the standard across the internet (especially YouTube), so you’ll have to get used to black bars on the sides of your media.

To our eyes, the quality of the IPS LCD screen is on par with what we saw last year on the G5 and V20, which gives us some mixed feelings. It’s a totally adequate screen and undoubtedly passes for a flagship smartphone, but we don’t think LG should be stopping there. This LCD is missing some brilliance, color, and brightness of the current AMOLED panels that much of the top-end have adopted (with Samsung clearly leading the pack). LG’s LCD looks dull in comparison, and that noticeable brightness shift when tilting the phone away from a direct view is still present. But at least HDR support is there to boost colors and contrast in compatible content (which Netflix and Amazon are beginning to roll out).

Camera

LG G6 Smartphone

The G6’s camera interface is jam-packed with features that include a mode selector (Panorama, Food capture, Slo-mo, Time-lapse), numerous filters, and multiple collage tricks that take advantage of the extra screen space (such as scroll-able thumbnail previews on the left). You switch between the main and wide-angle cameras with either the selector on top or by zooming in and out.

LG made minimal improvements on its camera setup as well. From a rear view, you’ll see that the secondary, wide-angle sensor which started with the G5 isn’t a feature that was thrown into the forgotten land of gimmicks. It was a good idea and a real nice-to-have in our experience, especially for landscape or group shots. Unfortunately, the capability came with compromise. The standard-angle 16 MP, f/1.8, OIS sensor was clearly superior in performance to the wide-angle one with 8 MP, f/2.4, and no OIS. Things are more balanced out this time around. Both cameras now have the same 13 MP capture resolution, but photography in less ideal situations is still a concern for the wide-angle shooter since the aperture is still at a significantly smaller f/2.4 and there still being no OIS to counter potential blur from shaky handling.

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

In practical use, we found that to be less of a concern than it sounds like. The wide-angle camera can pull off some stunning shots if you’re patient with it. Sure, some grainy-ness and blur can creep in at lower lighting, but having the ability to capture a expansive view in one shot somewhat outweighs any complaint about the quality. Speaking of the standard sensor, the megapixel hit didn’t phase it much to our eyes. We actually don’t notice much of a difference from before, which like in our discussion about the phone’s display, is a little disappointing. There’s still improvements to be had that the top-end competition has addressed. Detail, sharpness, and colors (albeit leaning a tad much on the cold side) are generally a pleasure, but the sensors continue to struggle with higher lightning dynamics, too often resulting in over-highlighted or darkened areas.

Check out some of our sample shots below:

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

Software

We’re hard-pressed to call this latest user interface (UI) from LG an update from the V20 in late 2016, which also packed the latest Android version, 7.0 (aka Nougat) out of the box. It looks and functions virtually the same to us (down to the user having to choose to have an app drawer or not).

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

In other words, you’ll get a UI that focuses on function rather than appeal, as dressings around icons, folders, and menus strike as bland and somewhat dated. At least Theming is still around to let the user add some much needed style. Some of our favorite LG software features also make a return, such as the Always-On Display, double-tap to wake gesture, ability to alter the navigation keys (change orientation or add a couple new ones), Smart Cleaning (flushes out system to free up resources), and Smart Settings (automatic functions based on selected actions).

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

Digging in does reveal some changes, for better or worse. The taller aspect ratio causes some disruption in the ways things have been done. Basically, Android isn’t quite prepared for new layout. Letter-boxing (black bars at the left and right of a picture) is inevitable for mobile media – which essentially forces the content back to 16:9. This means that you won’t see the benefit from that large display from videos and games. LG has built in a scaling option, but it zooms into the picture to fill the screen and cuts off some of the top and bottom. Another drawback is that the feature to hide the navigation keys within selected apps has disappeared itself. LG may have done this to avoid scaling complications on apps. Where the extra screen real estate comes in handy is in the browser, social media, and other apps you use for reading. The extra vertical screen displays more content and results in a little less scrolling.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, the G6 is the best phone that LG has made, and a breathe of fresh air for the manufacturer that has been struggling to find its place. This is the kind of refinement that the company has needed to be able to compete with its colossal Korean neighbor. We can no longer say that the quality of LG’s flagship smartphone is trumped but Samsung’s robust Galaxy S series.

They are now toe-to-toe, and consumers will have to think hard about which particular features matter more. Do you want the G6’s grippy, flat screen, hefty battery, wide-angle camera, and appropriately-placed fingerprint scanner, or do you want a gorgeous S-AMOLED, curved display, highest-end Snapdragon chipset, and lightning-quick Dual Pixel camera that will come on the Galaxy S8? Either way, you’ll be getting a beautifully constructed and fully-featured flagship smartphone.

The post LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet? appeared first on Gadget Review.

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How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device

How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Did you just get a new device like a TV or Blu-Ray player? What about a new Dish Network remote control or receiver? If you did, then you’ll need to program your Dish Network remote so that it can control that device before you start channel surfing. The process is a bit more involved than you might expect, so let’s go over how to program a few Dish Network remote models!

One reason people have trouble trying to program Dish Network remotes is because there are a lot of different models out there, for a collection of different devices. We’re going to try to cover the most popular remotes, but if we don’t get to yours, we have a suggestion: find the remote that looks the most similar to yours, and see if the instructions are close enough to apply. If you just can’t figure it out, call up customer service and ask them to walk you through it. Sometimes a step-by-step lesson is just what you need to figure out how the remote works.

Table of Contents

Connecting to TVs or Other Devices (Not Receivers)

50.0 and 52.0 Models

Dish Network - 52.0 Remote

Dish 52.0 model

These models are some of the more advanced versions of Disk Network remotes, and tend to work with modern, more modular menus. Because the two processes are so similar, we’re grouping them under the same set of instructions. However, since the remotes are a little different, stay patient and make sure that you are picking the right buttons and on-screen options.

Dish Network - 50.0 Remote

Dish 50.0 Remote model

Step 1: Turn your TV/Device on, and press the Home button on the remote twice – it’s the house icon in the upper left corner. This should pop open the Dish menu, with rows of colorful icons to choose from. If your TV stays blank, make sure that your Dish receiver is properly connected to the TV using the right ports (this is a common early problem, and should always be the first thing that you check if something goes wrong).

Step 2: In the Dish menu, look for a turning gears icon (see below)  to find Settings. Select Settings, which will bring up another menu that deals with all your accessories and controls. Toward the top you should find an icon for your Remote Control. Head over there and select it next.

Dish Network - Settings

Settings is easy to spot in the menu section.

Step 3: This brings to a screen that lists TV and additional device sections, and if any models are already known to the unit (none probably are, or you wouldn’t be doing this). Select the type of device that you are trying to create a permanent connection to.

Step 4: This will bring up a screen with a few different options for interaction with the device. Keep this screen in mind because it’s handy for programming additional features on smart TVs, but for now you want to choose the TV Pairing Wizard at the top to make this easy.

Step 5: The next screen will bring up a list of brands. Choose your device brand, then choose Next. This will lead you to a testing screen that will ask you to push the Volume and Mute buttons on your remote. The system has automatically chosen a pairing code that it thinks will work, but it needs you to make sure. The Volume and Mute buttons are easy ways to see if the remote is interacting with the TV: push them, and you should immediately seen volume change/mute effects on the screen.

Dish Network - Brand Setup

TV brand selection

Step 6: If you see the Volume effects on the screen, congratulations! Your remote is paired. You can select Finished and get out of here. If you don’t see any Volume effects and nothing seems to work, then choose Try Next Code instead. This will move to a different code that the system thinks will work with the remote and brand. Try again, and keep cycling through codes until you find one that works.

40.0 Model

Dish Network - 40.0 Remote

Dish 40.0 model remote

The 40.0 remote is a little weird, because it’s used with two different Dish Network remote programming menus. Here’s the deal: if your typical Dish channel lineup menu (where you browse what’s on TV) has the preview and summary to the right side of the screen, then go up to our instructions for the 50.0 and 52.0, because they are exactly the same. However, if your menu screen has the preview and info at the top of the screen, the process is similar but a new walkthrough is helpful. Start here.

Step 1: Press the Menu button on your control – it’s toward the top, and says “Menu” right above it, so it’s kind of hard to miss.

Step 2: This should bring up a series of icons that you can access for more information and apps. Again, if this menu doesn’t come up then you need to check your cable connections and make sure that everything is working correctly. Look for the icon that says Settings and select it.

Step 3: Another series of icons will pop up. Select the one that says Remote Manager. This will bring you to a screen that says “TV Code,” “DVD Code” and “AUX Code.” Pick the one that matches the device you are setting up, and proceed.

Dish Network - Dish Code Screen

Make sure to choose the right device!

Step 4: You can check your manual for a setup code if you want at this point, but the system can help you find one if you choose “Lookup Code.” This choice will take you to another screen where you can choose the brand of your device and select Next.

Step 5: You will now be asked to test your Volume controls. The Volume buttons are the plus and minus signs above the “wheel” on your remote. Try them out and make sure that the volume signals on the TV/device are responding.

Step 6: If the volume controls do nothing and there’s no sign on any readout, then try another code. While you can go through every code available on your model, we suggest instead that you choose “Enter Model” and enter the exact model of your device to pinpoint just what you need. When you find the right code, select Yes and Save. You’re done!

20.0, 20.1, 21.0, and 21.1 Models

Dish Network - Other Remote

Older Dish remote models

These are all earlier remote controls for Dish Network: they have a lot of buttons, but the programming process is thankfully a bit easier. Note, however, that these older products may not be as compatible with newer TVs and other devices. Like other tech, Dish Network devices can age out of the market, so if you haven’t updated your Dish receiver in a while, it may be time to look into an upgrade – especially if you run into problems trying to figure out how to program Dish Network remotes to TV models that are far newer.

Step 1: Look up your three-digit remote control code. These remotes don’t support an automatic search for remote control codes for whatever device you happen to be using. So your first step should be to break out the manual and check for the right Dish Network remote programming codes for your TV, DVD player, or whatever other device that you’re using. Check in the early pages of the manual, or if you can’t find it, then Google your model number and “remote control code” because others may have had the same question. If you have to, you can always call customer service or look up support on the Dish website.

Dish - Old Remote Close

Choose the right device button.

Step 2: Activate the right device setup. Look at the four buttons at the very top of your remote. You’ll see options for TV, DVD, and AUX. Choose the option that describes the device you are connecting the most accurately, and then hold down that button until all four of the buttons flash.

Step 3: You should now be able to enter the three-digit code using the number pad at the bottom of the remote. But wait! If you are using the AUX mode, there’s a special extra step: You have to identify which type of device is connected to the AUX port. This effectively turns the three number code into a four number code. If you are connecting a TV, start with a 0. If you’re connecting a DVD or similar device, start with 1. If it’s another device, start with 2. Note that this only applies to the AUX button. If you are setting up the other two buttons, stick with the three-digit code.

Step 4: Once you are done inputting numbers, press the pound/hashtag sign. This should cause the button you are programming to flash three times.

Step 5: Test out the connection by pressing the power button. The device you are trying to connect to should turn on or off! If the Dish remote is not working, make sure the connections are set up correctly.

Connecting to Receivers

Are you trying to connect a remote to an existing DISH Network receiver and having some trouble? There’s a separate setup procedure for connecting to receivers that you’ll need to follow. The good news is that it’s generally simpler than connecting to other devices. So, let’s again break it down by remote and what steps you need to take!

Note: These remotes are designed to be paired with the intended DISH Network receiver. They aren’t designed to be paired with DISH receivers that are too much older or too much newer. In other words, don’t try to pair a remote from one model with a receiver from different model.

52.0 Model

Dish Network - 52.0 Remote

Dish 52.0 model

Step 1: Take a look at your receiver. You should see a smaller, round button on the right side called Sys Info, right by the red reset button. Give it a press. This should cause the System Info screen to pop up on your TV, but you can ignore it for now.

Step 2: Look on the side of your remote – the first side button should be SAT. Give it a press, too.

Step 3. Now look at the front, top portion of your remote. Right under the home button, you should find a button that says Back. Press it too.

Step 4: Now look at your TV. The System Info screen should vanish. If it doesn’t, manually reset the remote and try again.

50.0 Model

Dish Network - 50.0 Remote

Dish 50.0 Remote model

Good news! This is just like the 52.0 model. The only difference is that, when you press the SAT button on the side of the remote, it should respond with three chimes to let you know that you’re doing the right thing (the 52.0 model doesn’t make any sound). Otherwise, repeat the steps just as they are for the 52.0.

40.0 Model

Step 1: Head over to your receiver and look for a button that says Sys Info. It’s usually on the right-hand side, although this can vary between receiver models. Once you find it, press it and wait for the System Info screen to pop up on your TV so you know that you’re in the right mode.

Dish Network - 40.0 Remote

Dish 40.0 model remote

Step 2: Now go to your remote. Along the top you should see four buttons. The first one should say SAT: press it down. You should hire three growing chimes to let you know that this step worked.

Step 3: Look down on the lower right part of your remote, next to the selection wheel. You should see a button labeled as “Cancel.” Press it. This should automatically make the System Info window vanish from your screen. If it stays, then the connection didn’t work. Try to reset your remote and try again.

Other (Older) Models

Dish Network - Other Remote

Older Dish remote models

This applies to any other, older receivers you may have – in other words, the silver remotes. This is unlikely to apply to your situation unless you broke your old remote and received a brand new version. Since it’s probably been a few years since you paired the remote, it’s time for a refresher on how to do it.

Step 1: Press the System Info button. For older receivers, this button is located behind the door on the receiver front – the panel that pops open. This should also bring up the System Info screen on your TV screen.

Step 2: On your remote, you should see four buttons at the very top. Press the SAT button on the very left.

Step 3: Now look down for the red Record button, which should be in the lower center of your remote. Press it next (don’t worry, it won’t start recording anything).

Step 4: On the System Info screen, the middle button should say “Done.” Select this, and you should be finished!

The post How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

This post was made possible through a sponsorship with CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service and Samsung, which we thank for the opportunity. Despite being a sponsored review, all content and opinions expressed here are our own.

The tablet craze seems to have dwindled down, but that’s not stopping mobile device manufacturers, particularly prime players like Samsung and Apple, from releasing new and improved ones. Such happens to be the case with Samsung’s kick off to 2017; not a Galaxy smartphone but an updated flagship tablet. Let’s find out if this is the new Android tablet king in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review!

Overview

Price: $599 (32GB WiFi model)
Available: Now
Model: Galaxy Tab S3

Summary: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the latest in the company’s flagship tablet line. The improvements it brings are incremental, especially on the exterior, but they are just the right refinements that may make this the Android tablet to beat. Namely, features like quad speakers tuned by AKG, HDR support, and an included S Pen stylus.

What We Liked

  • Quad external speakers
  • Bright and vibrant display
  • S Pen included in the box
  • Refined hardware and software

What We Didn’t

  • Tablet size may be unweidly for some, and glass back is slippery
  • 32 GB base storage
  • Hit or miss camera quality

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Specs

Display 9.7″, Super AMOLED,
1536 x 2048 resolution
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon
820 (quad-core), Adreno 530 GPU
Memory 4GB of RAM
Storage 32GB internal,
256GB microSD expansion
Cameras 13 MP (f/1.9) rear and
5 MP (f/2.2) front
Battery 6,000 mAh, non-removable
Software Android 7.0 (Nougat)
with Samsung UI
Colors Black, Silver
Price $599 (32GB, WiFi model)
Buy Now

Design

Samsung’s tablets could historically be summed up as blown up variants of the company’s Galaxy smartphones, albeit a generation behind the very latest design. The same can be said for the new Galaxy Tab S3 flagship Android tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The navigation button layout copies Samsung’s smartphone line: a Home button flanked by Recent Apps and Back capacitive buttons. The fingerprint scanner on the Home Button is as quick and reliable as we’d expect from Samsung.

Therefore, we’re very much talking about a refinement rather than an overhaul of its predecessor, the Tab S2, launched in the Fall of 2015. The square-like footprint and even the entire front layout appears unchanged. So users who consider bezel reduction a selling point will be disappointed. Also, interestingly, the thickness increased ever-so by 0.4″, but which should be of little consequence for a still super-thin 6mm profile. And while an extra 40g brings the total up to 429 grams, the tablet is still a nice weight considering the substantial housing for the 9.7″ display.

Speaking of which, Samsung decided to forgo the option of a smaller 8″ variant. It seems like tablet users prefer to go big. Just be mindful that the Tab S3 is handful (or two) for those of us with average-to-smaller hands. The thinness helps make the device not feel as unwieldy as it should, but handling will still take effort. Some of that fact has to do with the choice of material of the back panel.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Glass is premium, but there’s more chance of scratches/cracks on this sizable tablet.

Whereas the Tab S2 had a smooth, plastic backing, the Tab S3 predictably adopted the same design language of Samsung’s current flagships smartphones. That is, a metal frame sandwiched between full glass panels. It’s more premium and sure feels great, but our consensus remains that glass’ slippery and fragile nature makes it not the most practical choice.

The matte finished metal edging extends to the power and volume rocker pair on the right side of the device, interrupted at the top and bottom by white, antenna-allowing plastic inserts. When comparing the top and bottom, you’ll also find an external speaker at each corner. Yes, Samsung gave the Tab S3 quite the audio boost. The combined acoustic output makes for a more immersive experience than we’re used to, but we’d still pick front-facing speakers as the winning solution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The Tab S3 boasts a total of four external speakers (set of two equivalently placed on the top and bottom). They’re excellent when consuming media, but the corner placement means that your grip can cover them when holding the tablet in landscape.

Performance

Like with the build, the Tab S3’s internals also received incremental upgrades. No, the Snapdragon 820 chipset that debuted in smartphones at the beginning of 2016 isn’t the latest and greatest, but it’s a sufficient powerhouse nonetheless. Navigation through the Tab S3’s interface is consistently smooth and responsive, though stutters do rear around some corners. We’re not sure if that’s due to optimization on the end of the chipset or software interface. The similarly spec’d Galaxy S7 seemed a bit more steady to us.

Storage space has unfortunately remained the same, at 32 GB internally. Samsung may figure that a microSD slot well makes for that, but there’s less excuse when the flagship smartphones now come with 64 GB standard. However, we are thrown a bone on the battery end, at now an even 6,000 mAh capacity.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

We felt that equated to ample juice for a 2017 flagship tablet. At 50% brightness and moderate use (internet browsing, email, social media apps, etc.), we’d see about 8-10% drain short of an hour. But cranking up the brightness and playing videos/games can take a drastic toll; cutting your time in half. That said, on and off usage consistently got us through two days. Superbly minimal idle drainage certainly helped with that.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The main 13 MP rear camera is capable, but don’t expect it to hold a candle to the quality of Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Thanks to a larger f/1.9 lens aperture, captures are well-lit and hold their ground in darker environments. Sharpness could use some work, as well as the hit or miss auto-focus. Check out some of our shots below.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Display

The star of the show is undoubtedly that massive 9.7″ display, and this is where you’ll be glad that this is a Samsung-made tablet. The company’s S-AMOLED panels are arguably the best in the mobile device industry. However, we’d be pressed to say it’s better than what we got in 2015, aside from the addition of HDR support with content that uses it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The Tab S3’s display is a reflection of Samsung’s brilliant S-AMOLED panels on the Galaxy flagship smartphones.

The resolution stays at the same 1536 x 2048 (264 ppi) pixel density and our eyes see a similarly vibrant and color-rich viewing experience. There’s little to complain about. Blacks are as deep as they can go and details are brilliantly vivid. The screen can also get stupendously bright. But we can see a case where color accuracy could be in question, as colors on some videos look over-saturated to our eyes.

Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The S Pen functions as flawlessly as we remember on the Note 7. The Air Command menu pops up with a touch on the floating pen icon, and the Samsung Notes app can robustly tailor your note/drawing desires.

Samsung largely focuses on usability in its tablets, which means that there’s a couple invaluable accessories that boost the experience. And one of these is generously included in the box – a stylus. This S Pen has more girth than the slim pop-out stylus you’d find in the Note smartphone line, making it more comfortable to hold and a joy to write/draw with (boasting a 0.7mm fine tip and over 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity). The drawback is that you cannot attach it to the tablet, not even magnetically like on the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Another nifty and well-made accessory is the Tab S3 Book Cover Keyboard – a flexible book-style case that clings to the tablet via magnets. We loved how seamlessly and effortlessly the cover interfaces with the tablet, and its smooth, quality feel all-around. A crease on the cover allows the tablet to tilt and magnetically merge with pin connectors above the keyboard, turning the Tab S3 into a productivity machine. Our biggest complaint is that there’s no way to adjust the tilt angle. The keyboard functions well aside from a few keys that have to get squished in to fit the tablet’s footprint.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The keyboard has no battery of its own, so you won’t be able to depend on it to keep you running longer. An option like that would’ve been great. This also means that the keys don’t have a back light.

Software

Android 7.0 (Nougat) is the talk of the town when it comes to Android, and the Tab S3 certainly packs it. On a Samsung device, that more means the company’s refined UI elements, like matured icons, fonts, and layouts. The drop-down notification shade, for instance, has a flatter and more classy aesthetic, of which also carries over the new Quick Settings customizations and notification interactions (i.e. replying to a message directly from the notification).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The user interface is still as heavy as ever, but as of late that’s been less of a concern. Samsung has trimmed the fat and refined the valued features, such as dual app windows and the Briefing news aggregator on the left-most panel. Digging in the Settings menu will reveal useful functions. We really appreciate how easy it is to flush the system of resource hogging processes – the software automatically looks for battery-hogging apps and let’s you put them to sleep. Other notable mentions are a Secure Folder option that grants only you access to files you place there, a Blue Light Filter that helps reduce eye strain, and an audio resolution upscaler.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Final Thoughts

The Samsung Tab S3 is no doubt one of the best and most refined tablets out there. We think that Samsung could have evolved the design further than just essentially throwing a glass panel on the back, but there are plenty of other improvements that makes the update worthwhile: quad speakers, HDR-capable display, USB Type-C port, and a superb stylus in the box. Not to mention a boost on the battery, camera, and horsepower. Unfortunately, that means that the Tab S3 has a top-tier price tag to match, at $599 to start. And if you fancy that snazzy keyboard cover case, that’ll set you back another $129.

The post Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size

Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

The Oster Versa is yet another in the sub-$200 blender market that attempts to use ingenuity and a few shortcuts to produce the same level of consistency and product that the $500+ Vitamix blender puts out on a daily basis. But does that effort pay off without making you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of a cold breakfast shake every morning?

Read on in my Oster Versa 1400 series blender review to find out!

Overview

Price: $174.98 on Amazon
Available: Now
Model:
BLSTVB-RV0

Summary: The Oster Versa is a budet-priced powerhouse which may look a little awkward on some counters, but should fit right in with the techy crowd no problem.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Priced right for its power and size.

What We Liked

  • Unique design
  • Simple operation
  • Decent power for the price

What We Didn’t

  • No locking mechanism for base/pitcher
  • Ice results were mediocre
Oster Versa Blender

Simple controls are the best to have when you’ve got messy hands

Oster Versa 1400 Series Blender Specs

 
Oster Versa 1400 Series Blender
Power 1400-Watt
Included Jar Size 1 x 64oz pitcher
Loudness Rating 83.4.3dB dry, 101.3dB smoothie, 109.8dB ice
Max Warranty Lifetime (upgradable for $)
Price $174.98
Buy Now


Design

When I first pulled the Versa out of the box, I have to admit I was a little taken aback by just how…well…shamelessly Oster ripped off Tesla with all its design accents. Everything from the base of the unit to the lettering on the side of the pitcher just scream “Elon Musk-approved”, and while I certainly can’t blame them for trying to emulate one of the best technology companies on the scene today, just a bit more subtlety here would have been appreciated. Overall I don’t mind the look, and think everything is a bit more refined than what we’ve seen on competitors like the Ninja. Less clutter, more focus on getting the job done; everything you could want in a kitchen appliance.

Oster Versa Blender

One of these things is almost exactly like the other…

At 9.3 x 10 x 17.5 inches around and just under 12lbs standing weight, the Oster Versa was just small enough to fit underneath our cabinets, and slid easily enough from where it was being stored to a place where we could actually use it on the counter. 

Between the similarly priced NutriNinja Duo and the Oster Versa, the Oster was definitely the more “sturdy” feeling of the two, with a rubberized grip on the 64oz pitcher and more of an industrial approach to how the controls are handled on the front of the unit. A lot of what’s happening here is reminiscent of the the Vitamix approach – simplicity over all else.

Performance

The Oster Versa 1400 series blender system uses – if you hadn’t already guessed from the name – a 1400-Watt motor to buzz and blend through any ingredients you send its way. A single, hefty dial handles all the manual controls, and works just as you would expect it to with a quick clockwise turn dictating the level of blending power between 1-10.

Other than that, there are just four circular buttons at the base of the dial, one for each preset: Smoothie, Soups, Dip/Spread, and Pulse. To get the blender running we only had to plop the container on top of the gear driver, which fit well enough but didn’t have any sort of locking mechanism to keep the pitcher locked to the base.

Oster Versa Blender

Ice vs. Smoothie

Personally I don’t mind this as it makes it easier to get the blender on and off quickly, but anyone with kids should steer clear of this blender if they don’t like cleaning up 64oz of spilled boiling hot soup. Seriously, even the slightest push is enough to send the entire top-half of the blender tumbling onto the floor. Again, this is fine for people like me who basically spent the first year of their cooking career living in front of a blender (15 gallons of carrot soup per night – just as fun as it sounds), but as a general rule you don’t want to buy a blender that might tip over completely if a breeze blows the wrong way.

As always when we test a new blender, we first ran it through the ice test to see what kind of consistency it could put out on a dry run. The result was about 90% fine-ground snow, however there was still about 10% left that was filled with larger chunks about the size of a pea.

When we turned on the smoothie setting, we got mixed results (pun fully intended). On the one hand when we ran the smoothie with ingredients only (kale, frozen fruit, banana and almond milk), we got a buttery smooth consistency that was reminiscent (though not quite as smooth) as what we got with the Vitamix. However once we added some ice to the mix to cool things down, we got the result you see above. Somehow many of the ingredients separated, and we were left with a chunky film of bubbles on top, and nearly empty almond milk settled at the bottom.

Loudness

Oster Versa Loudness

Of all the sub-$200 blenders we’ve tested thus far, the Oster Versa was definitely one of the quietest. Now that’s not to say it’s quiet, per se, just quieter.

We ran the Oster Versa through three separate tests to determine its loudness profile: once dry with the 64oz pitcher, one with ice, and once in the smoothie cup filled with various smoothie ingredients. Of those runs the smoothie tests was the quietest, thanks to the muffling effect of the ingredients weighing down on the blade assembly. At the peak RPM we read a dB rating of 74.6, a number which climbed to around 98.7dB during the dry run.

Unsurprisingly the ice test was the worst offender of the bunch, registering an ear-splitting 102.1dB from over 5ft away. If you make smoothies early in the morning before your family is up you might be able to get away with it without waking anyone, but it’ll probably be a good idea to hold off on that 6AM margarita until daylight hours at the very least.

Wrap Up

Overall the Oster Versa performed just as you expect a sub-$200 blender might, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Personally I was a fan of the brave design choices that the Versa goes with (no matter how much they resemble a Tesla logo), and although its smoothie performance could have a been a bit better, it was still well and above beyond what we’d expect out of a blender at this price.

If you’re stuck between the Nutri Ninja iQ and the Oster Versa, as long as you don’t need an additional food processor or smoothie cups added on top, this is definitely the model to get.

The post Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size appeared first on Gadget Review.

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