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The Firefox Flame by Alcatel is the latest generation Firefox OS developers smartphone. This device blows most of the other phones out of the water in terms of hardware specs and screen size. Firefox OS is really aimed at emerging markets, but the pricetag on this version is $170. Today, we take a first look at the Flame.

The Flame developer reference phone is a milestone in Firefox OS device releases. The Flame hardware offers a representative set of specs — including FWVGA display and dual-core processor — to help developers build great content and experiences. A single hardware platform is also good for testers, making it easier to test and address specific software issues without having to worry about device model-specific bugs, etc.

The Flame has a 4.3 inch display with an exact resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. The Firefox 1.3 OS looks bright and vibrant, but the lack of resolution hinders HD videos and clarity.

Underneath the hood lurks a 1.2 Dual Core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal memory and support for MicroSD and two sim cards. It also has NFC, GPS, a 5 MP rear facing camera and 2 MP front facing camera.

This phone is not designed to be your primary phone, mainly because it only has support for 2G and 3G. The frequencies are GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz UMTS 850/900/1900/2100MHz.

The Firefox OS is hindered by the lack of quality apps. There are 2 e-reader apps total on the marketplace, and both require an SD card to read books. There is a LinkedIN Pulse app, but it actually doesn’t even work, it prompts you to install it for either Android or iOS. This is not a phone to read news, comics, newspapers or eBooks on, it simply doesn’t have any apps for it.

Earlier in the year when we reviewed the ZTE Open, there were only 3 Firefox OS phones currently available. Fast forward five months later and there are seven. Most of them have 3.5 inch screens, which is a bit on the small size. The Flame has the largest screen currently, which makes it viable to test apps and use it as a secondary device.

Today, we unbox the Flame for the first time and show you everything that comes inside. As an added bonus, we take a five minute first look, and show you the core functionality, the preinstalled apps and what you can expect in the first few days of owning one.


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The Amazon Fire TV has been out for a few months and there are not very many solid Zombie style games. Into the Dead is likely the best of the bunch and today Peter of Good e-Reader takes a look on how the experience plays out and using the Amazon Gamepad.

Into the Dead throws you into the gruesome world of the zombie apocalypse where there are no second chances. Do what you have to in order to stay alive, keep moving as fast as you can, and protect yourself by any means necessary. When the Dead are rising, run!

The whole point of this game is to run into an ever increasing horde of zombies. You can either dodge them or kill them to get by, but you never stop running and never run away from them.

You can find weapons in supply crates. Or you can start with a gun, but it’s gonna cost you. You can buy a head start that starts you at 1500 meters. You can have a dog with you, he will kill zombies for you, and cries when you die. You can buy extra ammunition, and more supply crates. There are 3 modes,, Classic, Hardcore, massacre. In classic you run for your life, in hardcore it’s hardcore. In massacre you kill as many zombies as you can. You can compare your score with friends, overall a great game, with temple run aspects, and you change your weapons and zombie looks!


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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we compare reading PDF files and ePub books with the Tolino Vision and Onyx Lynx T68. As an added bonus we also will check out how the front-lit displays do in a side by side nighttime reading test.

The Tolino vision has e-Ink Carta going for it, which is brand new e-paper technology give you higher resolution text and less page refreshing on the page turns. Side by side with the Onyx e-reader the Tolino reigned supreme when reading ePub files.

The Onyx reader has a bit larger of a screen with 6.8 inches and has the benefit of being very much akin to a tablet. It has access to Google Play and allows users to install any app they want.

When it comes to e-reading, the Tolino was more responsive in opening menus and books. Even large PDF files opened way quicker, although they both struggled with the overall experience. The Vision has a weird rendering engine which makes text ultra blurry and discombobulating. The Onyx T68 had a bit better of a time, but the steps to optimize the file involves many steps.

Modern day e-readers tend to have a front-lit display that allows you to control the brightness level to read in the dark. The main benefit about this technology is the light is on the bottom of the bezel and evenly distributes the light access the screen. Tablets and smartphones have lights shining in your eyes from behind the screen, which is why people struggle to read for long sessions. The Onyx has a superior front-lit display, which really gives the Kindle Paperwhite 2 a run for its money. The Vision had light spillage on the bottom of the screen and was not as bright and clearly defined.


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The Kobo Aura has been around for around six months and continues to be one of the top sellers for the Canadian based company. The Onyx Boox Lynx is .8 inches larger, but uses a little more dated e-paper. Today, we compare the two side by side to see if there is a clear cut winner.

The Lynx e-reader is very much akin to the Kobo Aura HD, in terms of specs. It features a 6.8 e-Ink capacitive Ultra HD EPD display screen and a resolution of 1440×1080 pixels. Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX Cortex A9 1.0GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Books are stored on the device and has 4GB of internal storage with the option to increase it via the Microsd Card up to 64GB.

The Kobo Aura maintains the standard six-inch approach that the company made famous with their entire product line. It currently has a super high resolution e-Ink “Clarity Screen” with 212 DPI and sixteen levels of grey. Really, the resolution is the exact same on the Glo, and has not broken any barriers on using a next generation e-Ink display. This e-Reader has the exact same front-lite technology that was found on the original Kobo Aura HD. This will allow readers to adjust the brightness settings to suit their environment. Currently, Kobo has the best front-lit screen in the business and has surpassed Amazon in terms of quality. To turn the screen light on, there is a button at the very top and then a virtual slider bar to control the brightness.

It is powered by the quintessential Freescale i.MX507 1 GHZ processor and has 1GB of RAM. There are 4GB of internal memory, which can be enhanced via the Micro SD Card. It seems that Kobo e-Readers still have expandable memory, which makes adding books to your collection fairly easy and painless. It also has over two months of battery life, which is ideal.

In the video below, we document the core e-reading experience on EPUB and PDF files on both devices. You will get a sense on how they perform with page-turns, form and function.


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The Amazon Fire TV was developed to compete with Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and a myriad of other media services. The Seattle based company is trying to leverage their movie, television and apps services to appeal to customers that might not have a Fire Tablet or Amazon phone. Today, we give you a hands on review of Fire TV and if its worth it to purchase if you live outside of the USA.

Hardware

The Fire TV box is running on a heavily customized version of Google Android OS and features a very solid 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU with 2GB RAM, Bluetooth, 8GB internal storage. It has the same dual-antenna wireless internet that the latest generation Kindle Fire tablets have. It connects to your television via HDMI to give you full 1080p video and Dolby digital surround sound.

I have the Apple TV as my goto streaming video device and the Fire TV blows it out of the water in terms of speed and overall robustness. Navigation, menus and loading up content takes only a few seconds.

The remove control of the Fire TV is fairly standard. The only really unique aspect of it is the voice control system. You can mention an actor or directors name and it will open up all of the movies Amazon sells or rents that they have produced or performed in. This is useful to find out movies you might not have seen.

Gaming is one aspect of the Fire TV that works internationally. If you purchase the $59 game controller you can use it to play all of the games that have been optimized for the Fire TV. It is important to note that not all apps listed in the Amazon app store have Fire TV certification and there is barely a few hundred titles available to download or install. If you have Amazon Coins in your account, you can use them to pay for apps.

In the end, on a hardware level the remote, box and game controller are very elegant and solid. Amazon preety well as the best media box in terms of performance.

Software

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If you live outside of the US, you won’t have access to 80% of all the content available on the Fire TV. You would figure that Netflix would work, because in Canada we can signup, pay and view the service on our computers, or alternative streaming boxes such as Apple TV. The Fire TV runs the US version of Netflix, so you can login, but can’t actually watch anything.

Most of the apps listed in the Amazon Store for Fire TV simply won’t work. WWE Network, iHeartradio, HULU+ and many other free apps are incompatible outside the US. Normally people would say, you can simply install a VPN or DNS Service, but there is no way to sideload in your own apps or configure it to read a different DNS.

The only way you will be able to stream content or use apps, such as Netflix on the Fire TV is if you use the Second Screen feature on your Amazon Kindle HDX. The current generation of Kindle tablets allow you to load in your own apps and this would allow you to sideload in VPN or DNS services from websites other than Amazon. This would allow you to use Netflix or WWE network, but still won’t allow you to buy or rent movies from Amazon. In the past, we have tried to get this to work, but B&N and Amazon both use geolocation in their products for their core-services.

The Fire TV has a fairly intuitive menu system to find your apps, games, videos, movies and pictures. They are really putting a priority on app discovery with bright and bubbly icons and featured images. This is one of the few media boxes that allow you to install apps, something their competitors don’t.

Wrap Up

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The Average user will simply find the Fire TV totally unviable outside the US. Even if you purchased content from Amazon in the past, they won’t even allow you to stream stuff you own. It is a shame that even Netflix, which works with everything, won’t work.

A streaming box with only Watch ESPN, Flixor and TuneIN radio working is a kick in the pants. I would avoid this at all costs, unless you simply want an Android gaming console with a great controller.

One of the saddest things about Fire TV is the inability to tap into any of the reading content that has made Kindle so popular. There are no newspaper, magazine or eBook apps available for you to read to entertain your kids with.

To be honest, we normally write super comprehensive reviews on any e-reader, phone or tablet we do. What can I possibly say about the Fire TV from a Canadian point of view? The UI looks really nice, its responsive as hell but the only thing you can do is play games. DUDD.


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The Onyx Boox Lynx is the latest generation e-reader and was just released in the last few weeks. This device pioneers the concept of open Android and has Google Play preloaded on it. Today, we compare the core reading experience between the T68 and the Kindle Paperwhite 2.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 features a six inch e-Ink display screen with a resolution of 1024×768. The front-lit display has received a small upgrade and gives a better illumination experience then the previous model. One of the neat little features is a software enhancement called “Max” which instantly brings the brightness level to the maximum. Underneath the hood is a 1GHZ processor and 256 MB of RAM. There is 2 GB of internal storage and the majority of your content will be held in the cloud

The Lynx e-reader is very much akin to the Kobo Aura HD, in terms of specs. It features a 6.8 e-Ink capacitive Ultra HD EPD display screen and a resolution of 1440×1080 pixels. Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX Cortex A9 1.0GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Books are stored on the device and has 4GB of internal storage with the option to increase it via the Micro SD Card up to 64GB.

In the following video review we look at the e-reading experience, main menu and everything that makes these devices unique. If you are in the market for the latest generation eBook Reader, you don’t want to miss this.


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The Onyx Boox T68 Lynx is the very latest e-reader to hit the market and is fairly compelling with its open Android concept. One of the primary benefits of this ultramodern reader is the ability to read in the dark and have control over the illumination settings. Unlike smartphones and tablets, the light does not shine in your eyes, instead its evenly distributed across the screen via LED lights on the bottom of the bezel. Today, we give you a very accurate nighttime reading test to gauge whether or not this competes against the Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Aura.

The front-lit display on the T68 was surprisingly excellent. It had very even light distribution, which makes it way more viable than the Nook Glowlight or 1st generation Kindle Paperwhite. It really gives Kobo and Amazon a run for their money with the clarity of the screen and pure whites. Most e-readers have a pale blue hue to their front-lit technology, Onyx seems to have solved it.

One of the drawbacks of the illumination system is that you cannot control the various brightness levels within apps. You can only customize the settings on the main home screen or within the stock e-reading app. You can only turn it off and on by pressing down on the center button for two seconds.


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The Onyx Boox T68 Lynx is one of the first commercially viable e-readers that has an open version of Google Android. This means, you can load in your own apps or install your favorites via Google Play. Today, we look at various e-reading apps, such as Kindle, Wattpad, Aldiko, Marvel Comics and a number of others.

This device runs Android 4.0.4, which means almost all of the current generation e-reader apps will be able to run. The Lynx does have performance issues with any app that involves page turn animations. Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Marvel and Wattpad all have their apps designed to take advantage of tablets and smartphones. They dress them up with in-app animations, such as page turns and peaking. It is almost impossible to disable these features, which makes the Onyx a real challenge to use your favorites.


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3M has released a few different generations of their self-checkout systems for libraries and their latest iteration certainly will impress. It allows for many different display languages and the ability to pay fines directly on the machine. This anonymizes the entire fine process, which is done in a safe and secure environment.

The Smart Checkout system not only is able to process the payment of fines via PCI-compliant payments but also provides book discovery and customization. Libraries can employ their own branding with backgrounds, animations, logos and color scheme.

I really liked the book discovery engine that showcases similar titles to the ones you just checked out. Not only does it display books currently in the library but also ones that will be available soon. If the book you want is checked out already, you can place a hold in one click.

The cost of the smart terminals vary depending on the library, but generally costs around $15,000 to $25,000. Larger libraries will obviously need more powerful machines, while smaller ones can get away with getting a discount.


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The Lynx e-reader is very much akin to the Kobo Aura HD, in terms of specs. It features a 6.8 e-Ink capacitive Ultra HD EPD display screen and a resolution of 1440×1080 pixels. Underneath the hood is a Freescale i.MX Cortex A9 1.0GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Books are stored on the device and has 4GB of internal storage with the option to increase it via the Micro SD Card up to 64GB.

This e-reader has a front-lit display that gives the Kobo Aura and Kindle Paperwhite 2 a run for their money. Most e-readers that allow you to read in the dark end up having a blue hue that detracts away from reading. Instead, this is a brilliant white, even at full brightness.

The most compelling aspect of this e-reader is the fact it runs an open Android version of Android. It currently has 4.04 and is bundled with Google Play to install hundreds of thousands of apps.


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A few weeks ago Barnes and Noble announced that they were initiating a collaboration with Samsung for the next generation Nook tablets. Samsung will be selling one million Samsung Galaxy Tab 4th generation 7 and 10 inch tablets to Barnes and Noble and will also be helping in promotion. Today, Michael and Peter give you the full specs on the new tablets and if its a step in the right direction from the Nook HD and Nook HD+

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is currently being sold for $199 for the 7 inch and $349 for the 10 inch versions. This is the model that Barnes and Noble has agreed to purchase, because Samsung is giving the Nations largest bookseller a large discount. The tablets have lower resolution than the Nook HD and HD+, which may make magazines, kids books and graphic novels quite lackluster. The processors have been upgraded to a quadcore 1.2 GHZ processor from the dual core found on the prior models.

One thing we are really excited about is the front facing and rear facing cameras. Nook has never included a camera in any of their tablets, and this has prevented popular apps such as Vine, Snapchat and Camera360 from running. Now, Nook owners will be able to shoot videos, take selfies and snap a pic for their profiles.

Lets take a look at the final hardware for the Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook.  The seven inch model will have a resolution of 1280 x 800, 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processor and 1.5 GB of RAM. It has 8GB of memory and can be expanded further via the SD Card.  The front facing camera will have 1.3 MP and the rear facing one will be 3.0 MP.  The prior Nook tablets had Android 4.0 and these models will ship with 4.4 Kitkat.  Google Play will also be available on launch day, so customer scan download a ton of content.  The 10 inch model has similar specs to the 7 inch, except it has 16GB of internal storage

In the Good e-Reader Roundtable Discussion, Michael and Peter talk about the full specs and how Barnes and Noble can get the most value from this collaboration. Also, can Barnes and Noble possibly market these devices to other markets?

 


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Amazon, Kobo and Tolino all compete in the lucrative German eBook market and these three companies also make hardware. The Tolino was made as a homegrown alternative to North American entities trying to take over the market. The Tolino Vision is currently the best e-reader the alliance has produced and employs bleeding edge hardware and screen technology. Today, we check out the front-lit displays both of these models use to see if there is a clear cut winner for reading in the dark.


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Welcome to another installment of our Nighttime Reading Test series. Today we are looking at the brand new Tolino Vision and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2. Both of these e-readers are doing battle in the critical German market and are easily accessible. The premise of this video is to show you how both perform in the dark with the front-lit displays they employ. You will get a sense on light distribution on the screen and if there is a clear winner.