reviews

Samsung teases BlackBerry fans with Galaxy S8 Keyboard Cover

I just recently got my hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ and I’ve gotta tell you guys, it’s fantastic. Worth every penny! I will likely blog some more, and probably make a short review video about the device soon. But right now, I wanted to write a post about an awesome accessory that Samsung has made for the S8 and S8+ devices: a detachable Keyboard Cover!

The keyboard cover heralds back to the days of Blackberry devices where hardware keyboards were a fixture of their brand. Samsung did a very nice job with this accessory! The cover itself attaches easily to the phone, allowing a screen protector to also exist on the front. It also recesses the camera a bit, which I like because it should reduce accidental scratching and fingerprints of the camera. The fingerprint and biometric sensors are also recessed though… not sure how that will affect usage yet.

Text input is so much easier and faster with the keyboard! It feels pretty good, too. Covered in a soft feeling plastic, with keys that give solid tactile feedback. They do make a popping noise as you type. This might be annoying to people around you in quiet environments.

Perhaps the best part is the excellent software integration that Samsung has done. You literally snap the keyboard on the front and the phone instantly adapts to the fact that it is there. The screen shrinks, and the on-screen keyboard is disabled all automatically. And there’s no battery or wireless connections to worry about! The keyboard just works. Samsung’s included manual is fairly spartan by way of any instructions, but after you try the keyboard out for a minute, you’ll understand why!

If you’re ready to pick up this awesome accessory for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, head on over to Amazon where you can grab one for $60. (It’s worth it guys, seriously!) Just make sure you buy the right model or else you’ll be disappointed when it doesn’t fit…


For the S8:

For the S8+ (S8 Plus):

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Roku Ultra after one week (review)

Roku Ultra device

I’m throwing in the towel and giving up on the Amazon Fire Stick. Between the 5.1 audio problems, laggy performance, and crashes, I decided to look at the current state of home media streamers. I couldn’t have picked a better moment, because literally the same day I made the decision I was walking around Best Buy and noticed the new Roku Ultra. I didn’t buy it on the spot since I wanted to do some more research. After going home and convincing myself that it was worth the $129 price tag, I placed my order on Amazon.

The new Roku Ultra arrived in a snap thanks to 2-day Prime Shipping, and I had it plugged into my TV faster than you could say “Smart TV”. From the very get go, setup was a breeze. A simple, guided wizard takes you through the process, and orients you to the new device. “Channels” are what Roku calls apps, and you pick out your favorite in order to get it to do exactly what you want. For me, that’s mostly Plex, Netflix, and YouTube. But I also browsed the catalog a bit and found several other interesting ones to add, such as NatGeo, HGTV, a few news channels, etc.

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Using Roku Ultra’s search is also pretty impressive. Press and hold the magnifying glass on the remote and speak into the top of the remote. Release when finished speaking. Roku will then search the channels you’ve added for content, and return the results for your selection. It’s pretty cool that it will search multiple channels! Definitely makes finding content much easier. I was also impressed because I asked it for a live stream of the Presidential Debate. The Roku Ultra pulled it right up on the Fox News channel/app. I’m a guy that doesn’t have regular cable television, so it’s really cool to be able to do this.

The point-anywhere remote is also a good touch. Most users might under appreciate this, but that’s kind of the point. The remote just works. I have other traditional IR remotes that get fussy when they aren’t lined up just right with the receiving equipment.

My only complaint so far is that sometimes buffering audio is about 1-2 seconds off. I’ve noticed this in both Plex and Netflix, so I’m wondering if it’s a systematic problem. Basically what happens is that when I select a video to watch, the video will start playing, but I won’t be able to hear any audio for the first 1-2 seconds. It’s a small thing, and something I can definitely live with, but if Roku is looking to polish the edges here, this would be one thing to buff(-er) out! (Pun intended for my nerd friends!)