Saturday, 28 November 2015

[Review] Minimal design , maximized storage.

Amongst things essential in our increasingly digitalized existence besides good wifi and killer apps comes storage.
We need storage.
Be it cloud storage via Google, Microsoft or Dropbox and the likes or your personal home NAS device or portable flash drives, there is always a need for just that, storage.
We need to store our photos, documents , excel sheets and presentations somewhere.
There is a need for storing our binary zeroes and ones somewhere safe.
Accessible, secure and unlimited in amounts .

One solution to this comes from Monster Digital.
Were talking good olde flash storage ,
Not your average flash storage, but versatile flash storage.
- What is this versatile storage you are talking about ?
We have USB storage , and micro USB storage in the same device here .
This is a convenient idea, since we are living in a standard USB and micro USB borderland with our
For this review , the ´USB 3.0 SUPER SPEED MOBILE OTG DRIVE´ was used.
We are looking at 80MB/s transfer speeds over the USB 3.0 interface.
The device itself is very compact in size, which is the trend we see with components such as digital storage.
Everything shrinks with time , except capacity. Capacity grows.
This little baby packs 64GB of storage , which is bordering to insane looking at the shere size of the device.
Insane in a good way.
There was no trouble connecting this monster to several various devices.
Tested on Nexus 6, Nexus 7(2012), Remix Ultratablet and Lenovo W540 laptop running Windows OS.
Overall the Mobile OTG Drive is a solid device for an excellent price.
It's one of the smallest USB Flash drives i have ever seen, and that is generally a good thing , which i believe the majority of people will agree on.
Androidistica puts thumbs up for this one!

The nice thing is the possibility of having both types of interfaces on the same device.
Micro USB for the USBT OTG function on smartphones and tablets, and the standard USB for laptops, smart TV:s or such.

It's a good priced powerhouse of storage , with a size smaller than candy.

Now, Monster Digital are not only into flash drives of this kind.
Hailing from California, Monster digital are rocking a product range of SSD drives, action cameras and even data recovery if needed.

Make sure to pop by their homepage for more info on their items .

Sunday, 18 October 2015

[Review] The Shoe That Grows

This time we are having a look at something different.
We are not talking screen size, android versions or cpu cycles.
Have a look at the shoe that grows.

Founded in 2007 by Kenton Lee, the founder and Executive Director of The Shoe That Grows, while visiting Nairobi and watching a girl walking her way to church wearing too small shoes.
"Wouldn't it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand - so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit ?"

The concept is to have a shoe that lasts five years and grows with sizes.
Developed by "Proof of concept", the shoe that grows is made out of real leather , compressed rubber and snaps.

The team were kind enough to ship a pair over to make a review of a pair.
These guys deserver more than a review.

Looking at the state of the world currently, a lot of suffering is happening worldwide.
Refugee numbers worldwide breaking the total amount of refugees during world war two gives a bit of perspective to the situation at hand.

This review started with an idea of reviewing a pair of shoes with a cool design concept.
And that is all part of the deal here , the desing is really good.
When looking at good-intentioned suppport initiatives, there is always a risk of money-making taking priority of the quality on the support coming out of the fundraising.
Androidistica will not throw itself into any deep political analytics over the state of world affairs, this is done much better by other channels.
A scepticism that there's someone hogging that piece of cake before the receiver gets it to an extent that there are only crumbs left when all middle-men have taken their part .

I am pleased to realize that The Shoe That Fits is not one of them .

So what is the shoe all about then ?
I let our five year old try the shoe on, what better judge than a person who can wear them right ?
After doing a few adjustments, which were really easy to do thanks to the snaps on the shoes we had a good fit .
She walked around with the shoes a few minutes before uttering the words:
- I want to wear them at daycare as my indoor shoes !
What better verdict than from a five-year old claiming the shoes for herself ?

(Now remember were in Scandinavia, our mornings start with 28 degrees fahrenheit, so we will have to wait another seven months before temperatures start rising to more spring-like conditions).

Now, the parental side in me started looking at the actual seams and build quality of the shoes.
Take a look at the pictures and you will see what i'm talking about.

There is no loose threads, and everything is made very tight and professionaly.

If you're looking for a nice shoe to donate to daycare, a refugee camp or even buying a pair for your own kids , make sure to check these out.

There is a lot of ways to help children in need, either buy buying the shoes or chipping in with the team behind the shoe what grows with various tasks.

Head over to their webpage and check out the extensive information they provide of the efforts they put into this .
Androidistica sends humble thank you's to the team behind The Shoe That Grows and a bow for making a diffrence in the world.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

[Review] Misfit Flash

We met Misfit earlier here on Androidistica ,that time we made aquaintance with the Misfit Shine activity/sleep tracker.
Misfit keeps design in focus in their products and for anyone looking for stylish wearables the Misfit product range is a must-see.

This time we are having a closer look at one of their newer products called 'Misfit Flash'.

Nicely tucked in a small box we have the misfit flash ,a clip and a wristband .

So you have two options for wearing the Misfit Flash, and besides the wristband in the box, there is a plethora of other colours you can purchase for it as well.
The misfit Flash does not need any charging, powered by a standard cr2032 battery it is said to last for a loooong time. 6 months or more.

Once unpacked and on your wrist all you need to do is to download the misfit app. Available for both iOS and Android.
Once in the app, you set the device up for bluetooth syncing with your goals, activity and sleep data.
Some social options are also built in the app , allowing you to share and compare your activity with other misfit users out there.

What does the Misfit Flash track then ?
Well, the usual walking,running and sleeping to begin with.
Tracking your goals can be made via pushing the built in button of the actual device, and the LEDs light up in a circulare shape around the edges showing your daily progress.
You also get a customized watch, which highlights the hours and minutes via the built in LED:s once you double press the Misfit Flash.

Activity tracking is fairly accurate , this is while comparing the activity tracking of the Polar A300.
No big mismatches were found in the steps taken per day.

Unfortunately i was not able to get any readings for the sleep tracking on the Misfit Flash.
There seems to be no user interaction needed for the sleep tracking to get activated but on the review unit none was registered over the week i tested the device.

The Misfit Flash is a low-weight unit even with the wristband and does not interfere in the everyday life.
Waterproofed down to 30 meters it is also suitable for swimmers and showers.
This is always a plus with wearables.

Misfit has put in some nice features in their app as well.
You have the option to set an app to start on your smartphone or tablet once double clicking your flash device, or single clicking.
This feature is quite unique , adding customisation to your Misfit Flash experience.

Misfit Flash can be used in combination with other devices from Misfit.
There are plenty of options for tracking our days and nights from Misfit.

Who is the Misfit flash for then ?
I don't think the hardcore mountainbikers, marathon-runners or elite athletics will use the Misfit Flash as their primary device for activity tracking.
With focus on appearance, the Misfit Flash represents a low-budget-stylished version of a activity tracker.
Without the charging need and colourful options for wristbands this device has strenghts compared to other ones.
Without GPS, LED or other type of display we are looking at a minimalistic approach of a tracker .
There is no device to rule them all, we are all individuals with different needs and desires.
Misfit Flash will attract those looking for style, low-price ,simplicity and bare-bones tracking.
The option to wear it on a wristband or on a clip at your waist for example makes the Misfit Flash versatile.
On the other hand we have the app with customization options for starting apps and the social plugin.
The app feedback is of the non-intrusive kind.
If you move less than your set goals, no military-styled motivational quotes are presented urging you to move more.
Some people like it like that i am sure.
It all comes down to personal preferences and the Misfit Flash is sure to attract it's own audience.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

[Review] A Cover-up for showing up

I have always enjoyed the forest.
Being in it, spending time fishing,picking berries, walking or excercising .
Interestingly there have been studies on peoples blood pressure dropping whilst being in the woods for 30 minutes a day.
Some claim hugging a tree will calm one down, get people grounded.

We live in an age of connectedness , always online never offline.
Our smartphones become extensions of our own personas.
Vital things.
Thats just the way it has turned out for some of us.

Some dress up their devices with accessories to make them more personal.
Cover-up is one of the companies providing personalisation in that field.
Their covers stand out in a way noone elses does.
This review is on one of their woodback series cases.

Nature is being brought into the game of devices.
At first it seems as merely a different material being added to the plastics, faux leather and rubberized phone case genre.
And indeed it is different.

Wood being added to your device , style points increased .
The magic happens once the case is fitted and you start using the device.
(This review was made with the Nexus 6 case)
New life is brought to the Nexus 6 with Cover-up.
New experience.
It feels different.
A different way of different.
A really nice way of different.
The structure , texture of wood added to the back of Nexus 6 works really nice.

The outer case is made of non-glossy sturdy plastic/rubber material.
Bends slightly but does not break.
Only flexes enough to fit the Nexus 6.
Solid fit.
Inside the case we have a little greeting written in white text
"Thanks!" and a smiley.
Makes one smile .

Cut-outs are made for the power button and volume button.
And they are really distinct.
No mistake made searching at the edge of the for the right buttons.
Power button cutout and volume rocker one are differently sized , exposing the hardware buttons for pushing .
This detail is appreciated , comparing to others where the buttons have been covered by more or less distinctive edge cut-outs covering the actual buttons.
This detail keeps the right buttons accurately within reach.
No more pushing the power button mistakenly while trying to increase the volume for instance.

Top and bottom edges are curved cut, exposing the headphone and micro-usb jack. Also a good choice that works well.
Now back to the forest-part.
The back of the case has wood.
Surrounded by the matte rubbery-feel plastic curved edge we have a wood veneer of no more than 0,7 mm thick which is hand-finished,taking days for each coat of finish to dry in manufacturing.

The result is amazing, nothing i have seen or felt before on a cover.
I like the feel of wood on my nexus 6.
It really makes the Nexus 6 more beautiful to own.
The combination of wood and high class feeling surrounding plastic hits the ball out of the park in a way.
Over time the wood will change, and it is intriguing to see how it will turn out over time.
Patina ahead.
This case needs no maintenance , you dont have to apply any coating or other tricky manouvers.
And each time i pick up the phone i get reminded of that nice unexpected contrast of tech and wood.
Remember where we came from.

Cover-up has more products too, for a range of devices.
Macbooks, Lenovo Tablets and other phonebrands.
They are made out of wood, different sorts.
I like this concept and i am sure others do too.
As i love the forrest.
Make sure to check out what Cover-up has to offer, because they excel and differ in a way you couldnt imagine.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

[ Trifecta ] Three devices that made my vacation enjoyable

In the northern hemisphere we have the industrial holidays underway .
Personally i have had four weeks of vacation and that streak is now coming to an end.
Reflecting of the things done during my vacation it's really easy to see the benefit of the Androidistic things that were used during this time.
To summarize it all i've tailored a list for you to glance on:

Yes, still my primary device with enough performance under the hood .
Of course i've seen the benchmarks, glanced over the comparison reviews
that are putting the current flagships on display. My flagship is still the Nexus 6.
Fishing trips with the kids , my dear brother and friends have been eternilized
with the help of the camera on the Nexus 6. Google Photos with unlimited storage is taking care of backing it all up.
Google photos is worth a mention with it's new features weaving it together with google Maps timeline.
As we took a family trip up north , google photos made a nice story of our journey and also added a time line with the exact times and dates to google maps location history.
Paranoia? Tin foil hat ? Because is allowed google to store my locations ?
Nah. I'm not that important of a person and my secrets are few so i'm ok with this feature.
We got sidetracked a bit from the Google
Nexus 6 headline but Android is all about usability and this comes in form of the apps quite often.

I managed to get onboard the kickstarter campaign for the Jide Remix Ultratablet. This device too has been used during my vacation, almost daily i'd say.
As a breakfast companion, checking the latest news via Feedly. As a travel planning device together with Google Now cards storing hotel reservations, google maps for planning driving routes and at the hotels were we stayed at .
Really nice to check the photos taken during the daily trips at night on a 11,6 inch screen in the app, google photos.
The plan was to use the Jide Remix with Netflix and HBO in case we'd rain in some day but luckily we did have ok weather on the trip.
Riding the Remix OS, we have some serious development going on by the Jide Team, working closely with the user community.
Remix OS has been released for Nexus  10 and the development continues.
Jide Team is listening closely to their users while polishing up the Jide OS.
Hat's off for the folks at Jide.
And as if that wasn't enough, a new kickstarter was launched by the same team. Called 'Jide Mini'.
 Make sure you check that out!

This device was reviewed earlier here and to be honest , it has excelled even more after the positive review.
On at all times, the Polar A300 keeps track on my activity, sleep and the time!
This feature is more handy than i realized.
You see, i am one of those who ditched the wristwatch once i started using cellphones (Yes, i AM that old. Cellphones....).
Anyway, i've always relied on the chosen phone to keep track of my time.
Now, with the screen estate going for larger and larger displays, the smartphones take more and more room in pockets, tables , bags and in hands.
As a countermotion, the A300 stays on my wrist, keeping track of time for me while i lay those chicken filees on the grill.
I have also felt when i have been inactive for an hour since the A300 vibrates notably when i have been sitting for that time.
I want to be around for my kids growing up, without being a crossfit freak.
The polar A300 makes that possible for me. And as an extra plus, the Polar flow App nowadays even has google fit support.
Batterylife is also over the expected one week, i charged the A300 a week and 6 days ago. Battery is down about 45%. Top notch !!!!

So there you  have it , my three fav's of this summer when looking at vacation companions that work on ones and zeroes.

Now ,stay tuned and Androidistica will bring you reviews and news as always.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

[Review] Yotaphone 2

A little look at and a review of YotaPhone 2

I noticed and read some about a new idea of a phone already in 2012 and also saw pictures of the prototype in 2013. I followed the concept since it was a new approach on smartphones.

In 2013 it was a phone like many others with not so impressive hardware but interestingly it had a 4.3 inch HD display and also a low-res E-Ink display. But the concept and idea was getting a lot of attention, and therefore my attention, and since then I have followed the development.

I have used Samsung for several years and have had a Galaxy, Note and Note III and lately my Note III did not work very well. I have had stock ROMs on them all the time but both hardware and software had glitches and problems that annoyed me, so I started to wonder what I wanted and if I actually needed a smartphone.

One of the things that got me to wonder if I needed a smartphone or not is my Nexus 7 2013 with LTE. I have it with me almost all wake time, and since I usually use that more and more since it works so well i use it a lot and the need for a new smartphone is less and less. But when the phone function don't work as intended all the time the annoying need for a new phone came up.

I followed Yotaphone in the media and the new phone Yotaphone 2 was released in December 2014. It was available for ordering in 2015 and as I followed the Yotaphone on Facebook I got a FB offering of 20% discount that lasted for a week, so started to look at it with a new kind of eyes.

It is basically two phones in the same box. An E-Ink screen with instant on or actually always on screen with functions like phone and some widgets and with promises of even more functions in the future i thought, “What the heck, I’ll go for a smartphone again!”.

I checked Yotaphone’s website and I was impressed by the fact that the page was available in so many languages and also the shop and support was in my own language (Swedish). The shop itself was in Swedish and so i ordered the phone and the bumpers to protect the phone.

Fast delivery is always a good thing when ordering online and I was impressed since it was shipped within EU from Austria with tracking info available and shipped fast.

I like quality and Lenovo computers have always had a very good quality of plastics. The box that the Yotaphone 2 came in had the same kind of plastic, almost greasy but with a good grip and good quality.

The box itself had pullout boxes with everything easy accessible and the normal type of things like headphones but with a twist it arrives with as many as 10 different rubber cones and accessories. An USB charger with an output of 1.5A, that's more than most usual 1.0A chargers that usually arrives with phones, and a cable that is flat so it doesn't tangle up and get the mystical knots that all round cables get.

But now to the phone, when it arrived it had Android™ 4.4, KitKat® on it out of the box. When closing it down it makes usage of the always on screen that states Yotaphone. It was kind of impressive already from box. The startup and first usage was as most Android phones, add or create a Google account and after that some info on the phone’s usage of the Yota Panels and Yota Widgets that is (or was) two different things in Kitkat.

First impression is the build quality when holding the phone, but it really needs the Bumpers to protect it from being dropped easy! On one side it has a full-HD 5.0 inch 1920x1080 flat display and curved sides. On the other side a curved 4.7 inch E-Ink display 960x540 with 16-level gray scale with full capacitive touch and a resolution of 235ppi that is protected by a Corning Gorilla glass 3.

With displays on both sides the phone really needs the grip from the bumper. It needs to get repeated several times to protect you from dropping it by mistake.

The phone has smart functions, like it "knows" what display is up and acts according to that. The phone is equipped with three physical buttons, the On button and volume rocker. They have in some ways several functions, the On button locks or unlocks the display that is facing up. That's really handy!

I contacted Yotaphone on Twitter and they replied fast that Android 5 is in testing and soon available. In the meantime a small update arrived. But compared to Samsungs delivery of, or I should say non-delivery of, updates I would say it was impressive since android 5 was delivered with new and better functionality.

I will focus on functions in Android 5 and not from my experiences of it from Kitkat. Well from the locked HD screen it has links to go directly to phone or camera or only unlock the phone. And when locked notifications in the middle is also a shortcut to going directly into whatever that is a notification of, a double tap on the notification and you are in, unless locked with a code or something.

The E-Ink experience I had was almost zero when combined to touch technology so I was very curious about the functions and how it would work.

When adding the E-Ink screen as done on this phone you actually get two phones in one, you get a phone that has full and perfect screen for using it in the sun since the screen gets better the more light it gets on it. The e-ink screen is not backlit but it mirrors the light and gives you a graphics screen with the old LCD possibilities to be seen in full sun. That is a superb idea and when having the possibility to modify it it's a great idea.

On the same screen you get notifications of for example Phone Calls, SMS and general notifications on the other screen weather and an analog big watch on half of the screen. And except all the notifications you get you get full applications for some stuff, for instance the good chat software that is free and encrypted Telegram ( is named Yotagram and have full functionality that's great. Instagram and mostly Twitter have a full function client for the e-ink screen.

What do you get or not?

If you don't use the E-ink screen you get an average android phone with battery life as most android phones ... Charge every day unless battery should go flat, if you have many social media apps.

But if you use the E-ink side and the apps you get a new world and battery for two full days or even more! A fully functional smartphone that works great in the sun and is easily readable. There is a growing number of full E-ink software and widgets that give you a lot of fun.

If you are tired of bad battery time it is time to experience a new kind of functionality. If the software isn't available yet, well mirror it from the normal HD screen and you can run most stuff, even video, on the E-ink screen.

The good

Growing number of Yota/Yeti apps

Easy reading outside and in the sun

Good battery life when used right

Very customizable for your own needs

Easy to take screenshots and easy to see them directly

Easy to use and customize for most users

The bad

Average camera

Memory expansion not possible

Doesn't work so good with FB Lite


Am I happy with it? Yeah I like it and grow more and more into using the phone as it is meant (E-Ink) usage as much as possible. And if they get more apps it would be super and I would love the phone even more.

Would I buy it with my experience of the phone? Yeah I would, and I sure like the both of the best of worlds! The fast and easy phone and SMS and E-mail possible apps and the "full" HD screen.

What would I change if I could?

Larger screens on both sides if possible. (6 inch or larger and high-res E-ink screen)

More accessories like the bumpers and rugged cases and so on

More Yota apps!!!

This review was made by the awesome and always excellent Ola Larsson
Androidistica sends barrels of thank-you's to him for this grand review.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

[Review] Polar A300, Activity awareness on a wrist,

Some time ago Androidistica did a review of the Polar Loop, a wristband activity tracker which still is available for those looking for a nice wearable featuring the basic functions in an elegant package.
Polar being one of the top companies for activity trackers are still going strong and serving us with new products.
An armada of new activity trackers have been shelled out by and this time we are having a closer look at the A300.

Categorised as a Activity & Fitness tracker , the A300 is packed with the needed functions to track those things.
With a weight of mere 48g and thickness of 12,7 mm there is no obstruction wearing the A300.

Right side of the A300.
We have five buttons on the A300
Two on the left edge and three on the right edge.
Top left is for lighting up the LED display, bottom left is for syncing the A300 with your phone or pulssensor.
It also acts as a 'back' or 'stop' button for other functions.
Top right we have an arrow that scrolls through the options , Fitness test, settings, history and current daily achieved activity.
Middle right we have a button for selecting different sporting profiles, where you also can define own ones if you please.
Bottom right does the same as top right , just in the opposite order.

Left side of the A300

Charge full, lets go!

Personally i haven't worn a watch in ages so the first few hours wearing the A300 felt different, not disturbing nor hindering my daily life.
I got used to the wristband very quickly.

Speaking of the wristband , made of a really silky smooth rubber and a proper 'pin in hole' latch it feels durable and solid.
If you'd like a different colour on the actual wristband  for say every 6 days a week then Polar has got you covered.
Wristbands come in six different colours, purchased separately.

The A300 is packed with functions , activity tracking for daily steps taken, calories burned, hours slept well and the all-encompassing progress bar showing how much of your pre-set daily goal is fulfilled .

There's naturally more inside once you start exploring .

Bluetooth is the communication protocol used by the A300 to sync with your smartphone of choice and the H7 Pulssensor if you wish.

So how does one get started once this little partner sits on your wrist ?
Well, beginning with creating an account on the Polar flow (beta) site and choosing your device and by downloading the Polar flow app of for your choice of platform. (Android and IOS supported).

Set up your age, lenght and daily activity goals and you are all set .

A note of privacy , Polar does let your cloud account be 'incognito' if you like.
This means no one can see your workouts if you don't want to.

I am not a running person, neither am i a fitness person.
I do enjoy physical activity such as playing soccer with my kids, weightlifting couple of times a week and just being outdoors is something i enjoy.

This said, i have tested the A300 based on my daily life, worn it at all times for a few weeks now.
Being a child of the 70s i enjoy the Polar A300.
It's kind of like having a friend who reminds you to take a coffee brake , but instead the A300 reminds me of when i spent a full hour sitting and it's time to move around a bit .
For my health sake.

I don't always  like it , because it might disturb me at what i am currently focused on but the strong buzz i get on my wrist via the A300 reminds me of whats good for my health.
And what's good for my health is something i appreciate!
The Polar A300 easily grabs a spot as a life companion for your sleep tracking, exercises and timekeeping.
There is tons of features to dig into,fitness test, history of your workouts and paired with the Polar Flow app there is a whole world of information available for you and your training if you like.
You can also choose what features you like, and be happy with them. 
Looking at the modest price and the quality you get with the Polar A300 there's no debate.
If you are interested in how you sleep, how your daily activity affects your health then I'd say the A300 definitely is a candidate worth checking out.

Some videos about the fitness tracking capabilities of the A300:
Activity tracking.
Pulsetraining with the A300