SomeAudioGuy Top 5 for the week starting Oct. 28th – Apple & Nokia reign supreme!

auto awesome google plus photo editing 3Yup. Apple and Nokia took our top spots last week in terms of tech coverage, with Google sneaking in at the last spot. What was most important to the readers of SomeGadgetGuy last week? Here’s our run down of the most read and most shared.

5. Google announces TONS of new features for Hangouts, Google Plus, Photo & Video sharing 

People still make jokes about G+ being a ghost town, but the insane number of new features and add ons for Google’s social backbone service caught a lot of attention this last week. Whether it was improvements to broadcasting video, or improving the look of your photos online, there was something for everyone during this morning keynote. And of course you can get in on the fun by adding me to a circle…

4. The iPhone 5S in Action! Testing the Speakers and Camera of Apple’s Newest Phone

apple iphone 5s gold speakers headphone jack audio quality review somegadgetguyIn covering smartphones, each review is now so large that we can’t do just one post or one video to fully explain a new device. These two videos are part of our standalone coverage of phone and tablet cameras and speakers. We here at SomeGadgetGuy have the most comprehensive collection of speaker and video tests on the web, testing performance in a variety of scenarios. The iPhone 5S is going to be a hot seller this year, so it’s only fitting you should be able to see how it performs against the competition!

3. Hands on with Nokia’s Lumia 2520 Tablet, 1520 & 1320 Phablets

nokia lumia 1520 hands on video youtubeNokia might be getting swallowed up by Microsoft, but they’re definitely going out with a bang. Introducing the first Windows Phone phablets and a new Windows RT Tablet (which looks like it’ll give the Surface 2 and iPad Air a run for their money), Nokia cemented their position as the premier Mobile Microsoft Manufacturer.

2. A MONSTER Video Review of the iPhone 5S from a Windows Phone/Android User

apple iphone 5s gold camera lens sensor dual LED flash review somegadgetguyBut camera and speaker tests aren’t enough for you folks! You want the FULL run down, and our number 2 story isn’t a surprise. A proper review takes time, and since we’ve had a little time to get to know the iPhone 5S, it’s time to share our experiences using Apple’s new premier handset. How does it stack up when reviewed by an Android user? Watch on friends!

1. Real Person Review: Tony Talks About His Nokia Lumia 925

nokia lumia 925 review (3) charging fatboy wireless somegadgetguyThese reviews are my favorite to write up. While it’s nice knowing what the techie folks think about new gadgets, it’s also nice to check in with “real people”, and see how these devices are working out for them out in the real world. My pal Tony writes up a great post on his experiences making the switch from an iPhone to a Windows Phone. It looks like you readers responded as it was our number one most shared story of the week!

We’re nothing without you readers, and we certainly can’t compete against the big blogs by ourselves. We always greatly appreciate not only the likes, but the sharing on social sites like Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. The more we get to talk with other tech fans, the better we get, and soon we’ll be able to reward that participation with some fun contests coming up soon! 

Thanks for reading, and if you feel we missed a big story this week, or you have a hot tip, please drop us a line on our Contact Page!

My Fave Halloween Freebie: A Legal Blu-Ray Quality download of ‘Night of the Living Dead’!

Night_of_the_Living_DeadI’ve been peddling this one for years now folks, and I’m always amazed by people who don’t know about it.

George Romero redefined the zombie genre with his 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, but it wasn’t originally titled that. It was originally called Night of the Flesh Eaters, but when the distribution company changed the name, they accidentally deleted the copyright from the titles. Romero’s greatest work fell instantly into the public domain.

You can own, share, and edit the film any way you want. All totally legally.

The movie is still remarkably effective. It’s claustrophobic and paranoid. Plus there’s just something fun about old black and white horror flicks. There are several ways to watch the movie today. Several versions have been uploaded to Youtube, there’s a version on Netflix, but by far my favorite is the one hosted on Archive.org.

On the site is a high definition rip of the film which clocks in at over 16GB. It’s one of the best looking copies of the film I’ve ever seen, and looks incredible on HD TV’s and monitors. Give yourself plenty of time for the download though. That’s a pretty big file for Archive’s servers to dole out.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Night of the Living Dead in HD on Archive.org (FREE!)

Continue reading “My Fave Halloween Freebie: A Legal Blu-Ray Quality download of ‘Night of the Living Dead’!”

Quick Tip: Your HTC One Alarms Still Work Even With the Phone Powered Completely Off!

WP_20130503_003GOOD NEWS EVERYBODY!

This is a great little piece of mind addition to the HTC One! Following the update to 4.3, alarms set on your HTC One will still work even if you power the phone completely down.

Extremely helpful if you do dopey things like I do. Say you’re out at a conference or on a business trip, maybe you meet up for drinks and run you phone battery all the way down. You get back to your hotel room and plug it in, but forget to power it back on. No worries, HTC has your back.

Let’s take a look!

The New Nokia Camera App for PureView Lumia Phones – Feature Walk Through on the Lumia 1020!

nokia camera app windows phone lumia 1020I’m super excited to see Nokia combine the features of the Pro Camera and Smart Camera apps for Lumia Windows Phones. While Lumia phones often feature impressive cameras with cool features, it was always frustrating having to remember which features were in one app and which were in a different app. Now we have one camera app to rule them all!

But seriously there are some incredibly photographic controls built into this new app, allowing users to control a myriad number of exposure settings. If the camera is the most important part of your smartphone experience, and you haven’t checked out a Lumia, you’re kind of missing out.

Let’s take a look through the new Nokia Camera app on the Nokia Lumia 1020!

Related:

Video samples from the Nokia Lumia 1020 – The best camera on a phone today.

Ask Juan: How useful are 41MP pics from the Lumia 1020 when uploading to Facebook, Instagram, etc?

Quick Tip: Boot Directly to the Traditional Desktop in Windows 8.1 – Super Easy!

Screenshot (91)I’ve been a fan of Windows 8 from the first release. I think it’s elegant, and it’s very interesting that Microsoft (of all companies) will be the first to offer up a unified UI across all of their various products.

However, I also totally get that for people on non-touch screen devices, the traditional desktop might be a better fit for getting work done. With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has now included an option to boot directly to the traditional desktop, so let’s walk you through setting that option up!

Sony Unleashes Details on A7 & A7R Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras – What that means, and why it’s cool!

A7Damn Sony.

So this could shake up the semi-pro and pro photo markets a little. Sony took the wraps off of their two newest mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, and they’re sporting some incredible image sensors. Specifically these are the first mirrorless cams to sport full frame image sensors. The A7 has a 24.3 megapixel sensor, and the A7R has a shocking 36 megapixel sensor which is likely a close cousin to the sensor found in Nikon’s D80o Digital SLR.

This is all neat and techie sounding, but why is this impressive? Normally bigger numbers like this are taken with a bit of skepticism. Like when your phone has a ton of megapickles in its camera, we make a squinty face and then explain why that might not mean better photos. Moving into this new breed of interchangeable lens cameras, Sony’s making a couple of exciting plays.

It’s not the megapickles, it’s the sensor size.

Sensor_sizes_overlaid_inside_-_updated.svgThis more than anything else is what gets us wannabe photogs lit up. The larger the sensor, the more surface area you have. This means the sensor has an easier time soaking up light, it’s just a bigger sponge. The A7 and A7R sensors are twice the size of most entry and mid-range SLR’s like my Canon 7D. It’s almost three times bigger than the sensor found in most mirrorless cameras like those made by Olympus and Panasonic.

This makes high resolution more attractive. Look at that chart to the right. That smallest box is what often comes on entry level point and shoot cameras, and it’s a little bigger than the sensor found on most nice phone cameras. Packing 16 MILLION dots on that square is a far more cramped experience than placing 36 million pixels on a full frame sensor. That same comparison holds true, though is less severe obviously, when comparing these new Sony’s to other interchangeable lens cameras which might use Micro 4/3rds or APS-C sensors. Each of those pixels can be larger, and each has an easier time soaking up more light, which results in better detail and less noise.

Larger sensor = Wider field of view

Sony-A7The other aspect of smaller sensor cameras to consider is crop. All lenses being equal, the smaller the sensor, the less of the lens is used. We call this crop. It’s not like digital crop where you remove pixels from the borders to “zoom” into the middle, with sensor crop the camera is only able to use the middle of the lens instead of all the glass. This starts to resemble zoom to a degree, and it really taxes the clarity found at the center of the lens.

Crop_FactorPhotography gear is all built around the original 35mm frames we shot on film, so if you have a crop camera, your frame will be different than it is on a full frame sensor. My Canon 7D sensor is half the size of a 35mm frame, so all of my adjustments are roughly 1.5X. This is good for reach as it gives my zoom a little bit of a bump, but it’s awful for wide angle photography. A 24mm lens on a full frame camera is decently wide, on a crop sensor it starts to resemble a 36mm lens which is a bit more “normal”. A 50mm lens very closely resembles the field of view we humans have on full frame cameras, on APS-C that 50mm starts to look a bit more like an 80mm zoom.

The A7 and A7R employing full frame sensors will mean you won’t have to do that mental mathematic trick of understanding how wide or how zoomed in you might be.

Slim and Sexy + Market Disrupting Price

Sony-A7-sideLastly, these cameras represent a “legitimizing” influence over the semi-pro and pro markets for smaller and compact interchangeable lens systems. SLR’s have their name because a mirror in the camera is responsible for feeding light from the lens into your eye piece. Hit the shutter button and that mirror flips up exposing the sensor, and light from the lens now generates an image on the digital guts of your camera. This has been the way photogs work since the film days, and it’s generally accepted as the “professional” way a camera should work.

Experimenting with slimmer camera bodies has meant doing away with the mirror box, and instead permanently operating the camera in a “live view” mode, where light from the lens hits the image sensor directly, and then an electronic screen shows you what the lens sees. With cameras which can swap lenses, this is often relegated as “entry-level” or “consumer” grade photography, especially as previous solution incorporated smaller crop sensors.

Now Sony is offering up their top of the line sensors in smaller and compact camera bodies. Not only that, but we’re seeing pricing aimed at shaking up the full frame market. The A7R will retail for $2300, a decent chunk of change for sure, but it uses a very similar sensor to the one found in the Nikon D800 which has a street price of $2800. Canon’s 5D mark III uses a 22MP sensor and has a street price of $3100 against Sony’s A7 which should perform similarly at the sensor level and only costs $1700 MSRP.

The rest is just gravy…

a7_4Hardware controls, highspeed 60fps video in full HD, WiFi, NFC. That’s all just great, and are often features you’d have to pay more for with SLR’s, or add via accessories. They’re creating a formidable package.

Of course there will be pros and cons still to using mirrorless cameras, and pros will probably still gravitate towards optical viewfinders over electronic screens for the near future, but Sony has fired a clear shot at this market. Just like Mac vs PC, the photography market is largely divided between Canon vs Nikon, so it’s really exciting when a third player does anything to shake that duopoly up.

Full details, press release, and camera specs after the jump.

Continue reading “Sony Unleashes Details on A7 & A7R Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras – What that means, and why it’s cool!”

Ask Juan: Yeti USB Microphone for Youtube Video VO?

Screenshot (88)A question from Timi on Twitter:

How good is the Yeti mic. $149. Looking for something to dub review videos.

I’m a big fan of the Yeti. I recently reviewed the Yeti Pro (black version) here on the site. It’s one of the more versatile USB mics you can pick up.

But do you need that versatility?

If your main use is to record yourself for the voice over behind video, the Yeti might be overkill. Having variable polar patterns which change the “shape” of what the mic will pick up probably wont be necessary if you’re recording videos with similar tone and if you’re in a consistent space while recording those voice overs. I’ve also produced a video explaining polar patterns if you need more info.

The Yeti also makes for a fine interview mic, so maybe it’s worth grabbing it if you think you might want to do that. If that’s not really on your radar however, you’ll be spending cash on features you wont be using.

Some alternatives? 

Taking a step down to Blue’s Snowball can save you some cash, and it now comes in fancy new colors.

You could also take a look at Audio-Technica’s lineup. The AT2020 USB is an entry level standard, and many have started their home recording careers with that mic. If you don’t mind the price tag bump, A-T recently updated the AT2020USB Plus to include on-mic volume and headphone controls. Compared to the Yeti these mics aren’t as versatile, but in my opinion they do their one job better than the Yeti does that one job.

Now all of these will be fine options for dubbing a review video, but in terms of maximizing your bang-for-buck, you just need to be honest with yourself regarding what capabilities you actually need.

Happy hunting!

PSA: Windows 8.1 available for pre-order, but should you buy Windows 8 now instead?

Screenshot (91)For those of you looking to install some live tiles on your desktop or laptop, Windows 8.1 is available for pre-order now. The standard version of Windows 8.1 will retail for $119, and Windows 8.1 Pro will cost $199.

As I mentioned in a previous editorial, Microsoft is finally offering full retail versions for sale with support, but they are getting rid of upgrade options. If you’re currently running a Windows 7 system, and are looking to upgrade, you’re FAR better off buying a Windows 8 upgrade now, and when Windows 8.1 is released you’ll be eligible for a free upgrade.

How much better off will you be? The Windows 8 Pro upgrade can be had for $83. Yup. Windows 8 Pro is cheaper than the Standard version of Windows 8.1.

Fair warning as right now Windows 8 is even cheaper than older licenses for Windows 7. Windows 8.1 retail versions ship October 18, but why not be ahead of the curve?