gadgets I have used recently #1

gadgetsI’m not a gadget-oriented person so I don’t buy too many complicated things but lately I’ve bought/used a few and I just know you are dying to hear all about them…

Nook Color:  I’ve had my Nook Color about a year now.  I did a lot of comparison shopping between the Nook and the Kindle and plumped for the Nook because they had a color version which could double as a way to check email and the web and such as well as a book reader.    I use it quite a bit but I’m not really enthusiastic about it.    Here’s why:

The Good:  First off, I really like having an e-reader.  It’s a perfect size to carry around to restaurants and on planes and trains and such.  Free Fridays has introduced me to a few books I’d not have read otherwise.  The screen is easy to read and to manipulate.  I don’t use it outside much but I haven’t had much trouble with screen glare or with eye strain.  It handles things with lots of color graphics (magazines, travel books) really well.  Basically the experience of reading books this way is totally acceptable.

The Bad:  All those vaunted extras (web access, email, apps, free books, etc) haven’t proved to be awesome.  The web interface is horrid; it’s about usable for checking gmail and that’s  it.  It’s even hard to browse B&N’s own website via the Nook.  The app store is a joke, or it was the last time I checked it out.   Every free book I have looked into, and they advertise millions of them, is a poorly scanned unreadable mess.

The Ugly:  The battery life on the Nook Color is atrocious.  I’m serious.  I can barely make it across the country on an airplane (with wireless turned off) before the battery dies.  This means I pretty much have to carry the cord with me whenever I travel and be able to plug in for a couple of hours to recharge it.  My friends with Kindles tell me they can go a month without needing a recharge.  Admittedly this is sort of comparing apples to oranges (they have e-ink Kindles) but still…5  hours?  If I’m lucky?  That’s it?  It’s really a pain.

Bottom line, though, the biggest reason I’m disappointed in the Nook is…I find myself still buying books on paper.  This isn’t always the Nook’s fault; some books I just want to have sitting on my bookshelf (or coffee table) and some just aren’t available electronically at all.   But a lot of the time it’s because there isn’t a version available for the Nook.  And most of the time when there isn’t one available for the Nook there is one available for the Kindle.  And that right there is why, if  I had it to do over again, I’d go with the Kindle.

Score:  Meh.

iPhone 4s:  My old phone broke and this is what I ended up getting to replace it.  It wouldn’t mean much if I said this is the best phone I’ve ever owned because basically I’ve had only two other cell phones and both were pretty basic.  However, it is pretty sweet.  I’ve been in love with it since I got it and since I hate all phones on principle that is saying a lot.  I haven’t had any problems with it dropping calls (not that I ever get any) and everything I do with it (texting, phone calls, apps, calculator, whatever) works perfectly.  The camera is pretty good, not awesome, but certainly serviceable (same for the video), and it’s become my default, always-in-the-pocket camera.   Siri is kind of pointless but she’s fun to mess with now and then.   I’ve had it a couple of months now and I’ve had no problems with it at all.  The service is pretty pricy but there doesn’t seem to be any way around that right now, other than cracking it, which I’m not interested in doing.   The few apps I’ve downloaded are great (scrabble, solitaire, facebook, yelp), easy to use, and easy to update  (jeez, though yelp updates a lot…).  Even using it to read books is pretty good if a little tedious.  I see it being great when I travel though, since I can use the e-reader to store travel books.  Also, the GPS thing on it is FABULOUS.  I used it constantly while roaming around San Francisco and it was amazing.  It is less cool when driving since it doesn’t talk to you and you have to look at it.  But using it while walking was just brilliant.  Also, I have become quite fond of “checking in”  places.

I guess basically if you like iPhones you’ll love this one.  If you don’t like iPhones, or Apple, or whatever, then you won’t like this either.  But I am happy with it beyond all reason and that’s not really something I’m used to.  For the first time in my life I don’t really want to be without my phone.

Score:  W00t!

Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain:  One of my cats has a recurring issue with interstitial cystitis.  The vet recommended that I get her a waterfall style drinking fountain because sometimes that encourages cats to drink more water and that would be good for  her.  So I did.  The experience has been distinctly underwhelming.  Aside from the fact that one of my dogs is terrified of it and both the cats ignore it, it’s pretty much a cheap piece of plastic that cost $75.  It works OK; it does make a little waterfall, which I guess is all it’s supposed to do.  The waterfall itself is nearly silent but the fountain makes loud gurgling noises whenever it is used (this is what scares my dog) and that gets old fast.  Instead of having an opening in the top of the reservoir so that you can easily fill it, you have to take the reservoir off the fountain, fill it, and then turn it upside down to put it back on the fountain.  If you are not careful water goes everywhere.   The need to take the reservoir off it to refill it precluded putting it up in the cats’ room, which was my original intention, since there isn’t a sink upstairs large enough to fill the reservoir in.   The fountain is also a bitch to clean.  Cleaning it requires taking the whole thing apart, including disassembling the pump.  The instructions recommend cleaning it once a week lest performance be hindered.  ( Like that’s going to happen… ) Finally, it has a surprisingly small capacity for something physically so large and so expensive.  I wasn’t expecting it to hold enough water for two dogs and two cats but as it turns out the one dog that would drink out of it nearly emptied it every day.   After a couple of weeks I gave up and put it back in the box.

Score:  Fail.

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~ by gun street girl on January 3, 2012.

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