Saturday, April 26, 2014

Samsung Pro Line

Samsung has some of the best tablets on the market hands-down with their regular Tab and Note lines, but a while ago they released an even more powerful line. Their Tab Pro and Note Pro lines ware both hitting the next level in tablet technology that no one has ventured in before. These are great tablets that are the best of anything anyone has tried to release before because they are powerful and mobile enough to capture the niche market.

The Pro line has amazing hardware inside as well as an amazing aesthetic on the outside. The Pro line features multiple cores at a minimum of 1.9 GHz and a minimum of 2 GB RAM. They also include Samsung's signature high resolution "Crystal Clear HD" screens. All of these make for probably the most impressive tablets out there, especially comparing them to PC convertibles. Some of these convertibles that previously were the only players in the market had a dual-core processor in it and cost over $900, whereas you can start the Pro line for under $400. On the outside is where they are even more attractive for a laptop alternative. They are incredibly thin first of all as Android Central claims, which is a problem with most laptops which include keyboards. Many people do not liek the added hassle of having t carry around extra weight, especially if they are using their device to work while traveling.  They also have faux leather, which gives them a nice look, in addition to a surprisingly durable design, which is similar to the plastic on their regular tablets in that sense. These tablets also come with accessories such as pens and keyboards which really add to the total user experience. 

On the whole, the Galaxy Pro tablets are the best of the best for mainstream consumer tablets. It's the only tablet tablet line with the hardware and the mobility to constitute a hard-working, extremely mobile device, especially when compared to laptops. If you are looking for a tablet that do the work of a full-size PC, Samsung has provided exactly what you need to get the job done in every situation. Whether it is for work or whether you want to play with a higher level toy, the Pro line is exactly what the tablet market needed as computing becomes more and more mobile.

Mobile Cases

A lot of times when I am working I get people who ask me what the best kind of mobile case is if you want to protect your phone or tablet. I will be comparing the three powerhouses in the heavy duty case realm, LifeProof, OtterBox, and Survivor. I personally have an OtterBox for my phone, but I would say that for overall protection, LifeProof is going to be the best option because of their extra features.

First I'll do a double review of OtterBox and Survivor. Both of these cases are rated at about 6' for both their tablet and phone cases, although as the video below will attest to, it can usually survive higher than that. Survivor, as expertreviews says, is about the same level of durabiltiy. These cases come with dual layers of plastic and rubber, which helps increase the force of the impact it can take on it. These cases are what I usually recommend to those who have young children who know how to control liquids and can avoid spilling on their device or if you are not planning on taking your phone out into potentially watery or sandy situations. I do this because for impact protection, I have not seen another company who does it better. If you just want to protect against banging up your phone or cracking the screen, these are the cases for you.
If you want all-around protection though, you want to go with LifeProof. LifeProof has a little less drop protection, usually about 4' for their device cases, but have the added ability of being completely dust and water resistant. Because people sometime give me incredulous and skeptical looks after I tell them that it is waterproof, I have included a short video below. Now LifeProof, like I said, is rated lower for shock resistance, and whereas Otterbox and Survivor low-ball their 6', I think that 4' for LifeProof is just about it though the different connections are the only real nuisance, as PC Mag says. I generally recommend it for the majority of people unless they are one of the two types of people I named above.
For durable cases, there are two realms you can choose from, OtterBox and Survivor for highly durable cases, or LifeProof for giving up durability while gaining the waterproof and dustproof capability. In my opinion, for all-around protection of your device, LifeProof is your best bet, and will keep your beloved piece of technology completely safe.

The Best Android Launcher

A few months ago I did an introduction to launchers on Android, and I said I would continue to experiment and see which one I liked the best. A quick synopsis of the post if you haven't seen it or don't care to read it: Launchers are basically changing the user interface, or the look of the home screen and apps, for your phone. Many people like to stick out and have a more functional set-up at the same time. My friend showed me Themer two weeks ago, and it is the best launcher I have ever tested because of its customizing abilities for the home screen and the app tray.

Themer, though still in its Beta stages, is the most easily customizable launcher I have ever seen before. You can go into their them store, find one you like, and hit apply. On other launchers, you often have to go and download separate files in order to apply a new them. Themer, as backs up, is the easiest launcher to change. This ease is nice, especially for those who get bored when things stay the same. I have changed my launcher probably 7 times since I downloaded it, and it makes my phone seem almost brand new. I get a whole new user interface that I get to learn how to navigate, which keeps my mind sharp as I can't mindlessly flip through my phone like I have the bad tendency of doing. Even if you often stay with the same thing for months on end, it is still nice to have so many options as opposed to being locked into one user interface for the life of your phone. Also with Themer, not only can you change the general design, you can change the size and placement of the icons as well. You can make them smaller or larger unlike what you can usually do on stock launchers. This is nice because if you're someone with a lot of apps that they use on a daily basis, you can access all of your apps really easily without having to flip through several pages to get there by decreasing the icon size and fitting a lot of them on a single page.

The second reason Themer is my favorite launcher of all time is because the app tray is very customizable. Most people wouldn't think much of this feature, because its not a big focal point of design, an app tray's and app tray right? That's what I used to think, then I decreased the size of my apps in the tray. Like many phone users, I had a lot of apps, and to decrease the size made it infinitely easier to scroll to whatever app I needed without having to deal with folders cluttering up my home screens. I can also change the transparency of the background and the color of the text, which again is not something you would say you really want all that much until you get to experience it. Life of Android calls Themer a "hands-down winner", plus, you get the benefit of a lot of people asking you how you managed to do that!

I have tested out a lot of launchers for Android in the last 6 months, and I have had things I have liked and disliked about each. With Themer, I honestly cannot say that I do not like anything, because everything I have on it can be customized just how I want it, and I love it that way. The ability to make your phone truly how you want it is a privilege that the user hasn't been able to fully experience, and I thank Themer with all the heart of my nerdy side.

To download Themer Beta:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 Impressions

A couple weeks ago I wrote my initial review on the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G3 (based on rumors), and the HTC One M8. Now the LG G3 isn't out yet, but I have gotten a chance to look at and play around with the S5 and M8 a little. And despite the outperforming by the S5, the M8 is by far my favorite because of its feel and its software version.

The back of the S5 and the little divots on the back is much better than I expected it to be. When handling one last night it was actually a nice feeling on the back of my hand. The screen was very well done like all Samsung phones, and the buttons are easy-to-use in the traditional layout. The software is where I have problems, and where I always have. Going off of the stock version of the S5 without keyboard apps or messaging clients, I am not a fan of their latest Android tweak. Like the previous S products, it feels like a software that is just too simple for such a powerful phone. The layout is wide, the page-turning speed is slow, and the keyboard has an incredibly basic look to it.

Comparing this to the M8 wins for me hands down. While I'm told hardware-wise this phone doesn't quite stack up to the S5, I would buy the M8 in an instant over the S5. The appearance materials of the M8 are much better. I am a huge fan of the aluminum because it aes it feel like it is a solid phone. The plastic on the S5 feels cheap and belittles the strength of the phone. I love the layout of the software on the M8, because HTC didn't relly butcher their software tweak like Samsung did, it still feels very crisp and fast looking at only the stock software you get on the phone.

Overall from my first impressions, I love the M8, definitely much more than the S5, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. The M8 is a solid device that I feel has the most functional operating system of the newest phones right now. Without a doubt in my mind the HTC One M8 is a much better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S5 because of its feel and its stock software.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Glass Revisited

After being sold to select test groups for over a year, 3 days ago Google Glass is being sold to the general public for the low low price of $1,500. I wrote a blog about this a few months ago and my general idea was that this could be an amazing piece of technology if they got a little more useful apps. Unfortunately, while some cool apps have been developed, nothing really uses Glass' full potential. I don't think that Glass will sell well at all because of its lack of development for its incredibly high price.

So maybe you're thinking about shelling out the $1,500 in order to be on the forefront of the "next big thing" in technology. To start off on dampening your spirit, you're not, there were people who had it over a year ago, so you would really just be the person who was willing to pay a lot for new technology. The second reason I would discourage you is because for the same price Google promised, they do not have the functionality that they promised. They do have the whole navigation, messaging, and sports help, but it's really not anything special, basically the same stuff you can get on your phone. The obvious advantage is that you can see it right in front of your eyes, but once again I wonder if it's really worth the $1,500. Then you've got the wider app market, and this includes really interesting apps. There's one that keeps track of your homework for you, you can play some games by tilting your head, or blinking your eyes, etc. Some apps are likely to spring up soon, especially as developers are getting exposed to a wider customer base, albeit not all that much of an increase considering the price of the device. Nobody's really going to get rich off of Glass apps so there's not going to be a whole lot of competition and innovation in the market.

So for the overall functionality in your life over the phone you probably already have, there is absolutely no justification for spending the outrageous $1,500. I would recommend buying a tablet, a computer, and a TV for the price you were planning to spend. Maybe in the next couple years as the price of the Glass is inevitably lowered and the amount of useful apps is inevitably increased, that is when I would recommend buying one. At this point, if you decide to buy one you won't get a whole lot of use out of it unless you enjoy getting curious looks from people on the street.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Remote Desktop Technology (Teamviewer)

Remote desktop is a big deal among a lot of people who play around with technology a lot, much more than me. I am just trying it out for the first time on my desktop today, and I'm curious to see how it's going to work. In the most basic sense, remote desktop just allows you to control one device from another, sort of a remote control, hence the name. I believe it is useful mostly for business purposes as opposed to personal use because it allows greater mobility while working and allows you to use strong hardware on a mobile device.

Being able to control your computer from anywhere is a good business tool because it increases your mobility while working. Although this is not a favorite activity for many working people, it allows you to work more easily while at home or on vacation when you can only bring your phone or you can't bring a laptop, and as Business News Daily reports, can help exponentially with IT support. As it is known by probably everyone, phones just can't do what a computer can, it doesn't have enough development yet to do that. Being able to control your computer from your phone gives it at least some of the advantages you get on a computer, mainly access to programs. Many more specialized softwares are not available on mobile devices yet, softwares that are on company computers. Remote desktops allow you to use those programs. It also lets you share files with your computer so that if you have the support for a program on your mobile device. And while its fun to do on a personal computer, it really isn't essential to any part of your life. As I wrote the beginning of this post I downloaded a remote desktop software called Teamviewer, and tried it out. It's really fun, but at the moment I really can't think of anything I really need it for on a weekly basis, much less a daily basis. In business, it is much more easily utilized because it gives you greater mobility while working, and it also allows you to utilize stronger hardware.

Remote desktop software allows you to take a smartphone and use it like a full computer, even though the hardware in a smartphone is generally less powerful because of its small size. Where this would be especially useful in business is in 3D graphics. Most phones cannot handle the graphics that you can get with just about any desktop graphics card. If you're out and about and want to show somebody a design you made, you can pull up a remote desktop and can access it for them that way, and it will be a fully functional computer screen that you can interact with just as if you were actually in your office. Once again, for personal use, this feature isn't really a big deal. You can't game on your phone if you have a remote desktop, and most programs that a personal user would want to run for any reason while they were out are usually available on the mobile device. Software for remote desktops is really only viable for business because lets you take control of stronger hardware in a mobile situation.

Having played around with Teamviewer a little bit, I am starting to realize that its kind of a pain to do anything functional on it, like write a paper. Business is the only thing I see it actually being viable for because there are moments in your job where you need something, no matter how hard it is, or you need to show someone something when you aren't near your computer. For personal use, it really is just not worth the hassle, especially since you aren't getting paid for living.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Modular Devices

Some of the newest news in tech is about Google's Project Ara, the quest to create the first modular phone in the world that is actually a viable product as well. Modular design is using bits and pieces of a product to customize it for the user, like putting together your own phone from a list of part options. It is nothing new though, with computers being essentially modular by design, especially with Razer's model where instead of connecting cords and such within the casing, all you have to do is add their specially designed boxes into the base. The thing that is new about Ara is that it is the first time this is really being tried in mobile devices, an area heretofore dominated by devices that were pre-built, and that users had no input on in respect to their hardware. Here I will explain why modular devices would be good and where I think Google and other companies could take this technology.

Modular mobile devices will be very nice because it will be able to create a phone that is perfectly suited to the individual, including only the parts of a phone that you want, and deciding the quality of those individual parts. Imagine first a teen who is tech-saavy. Maybe they want the faster processor and the high amounts of RAM, but could care less about a camera and a sensor on their phone. They could opt for a high end processor and a piece with a lot of built in RAM, without having to pay the cost of the included camera. Then you could look at an older person who is in the less tech-saavy category. Maybe they only really want a good camera to document family events and higher storage for that, but they aren't going to be running anything that needs high speeds. They would simply put in a part that has a good camera and another part with high storage, and opt for lower end parts to complete the phone. As you can see, modular phones are the ultimate solution to appealing to a wide-ranging market. This is also rumored to be incumbent in tablets, where the same principle applies.

And now, for where I think companies could take this promising technology in the future. To start off, I am thrilled that Google is working on this. They have the money and the minds to actually make something that will work. Plus, when Google enters a project, they are not always the first, and definitely not the last company to try and do that product, meaning more money, more thought, and more competition to build a viable modular mobile device. The one thing I haven't figured out, and what I'm actually looking most forward to is how they will make modular devices pretty. They can't work with the giant cases as you can with computers, and lets be honest, we all want a nice-looking phone, that's just half the status of owning one. Whatever way it unfolds, I don't see it in the near future, though it will be fascinating to watch the different projects unfold to delve into unexplored territory.

Gaming Computers

                                                        (Above) Alienware Desktop
A few days ago I completed my computer build, coming in at a total of around $900 that I am using for schoolwork and gaming. Many people do not decide to build their own gaming computers though, and instead go with something already built by a gaming company. This solution saves a lot of possible stress of having a whole project in your hands, as does buying a console, but is it really worth it to do it this way and not satisfy your game craving a different way? Buying a pre-built gaming computer is not worth it because it is considerably more expensive than building your own and it is much harder to upgrade with many models.

Buying a pre-built gaming computer in lieu of a console or building your own racks up considerable costs that aren't necessary. Many companies that sell gaming computers sell at a huge overhead, especially the very popular Dell brand Alienware. Building your own computer or giving up the flexibility of a full-fledged computer for a console will save you a lot of money, as the starting price for an Alienware is about $600 for something that you could build for around $500 or you could get an Xbox One with a game for $500. This is about the same for every gaming company selling desktops, especially Razer's new modular one (although it is an amazing-looking model). If you're looking at gaming laptops though, in many cases it is a better choice than building your own computer or buying a console. A console is out of the running from the onset, because if you're buying a gaming laptop, you're buying it for the mobility every time. Then if you compare building your own laptop to something pre-built, it is usually a more viable option. The main reason is that it is really hard to build a laptop, and if you do they usually come with large cases because your hands don't have the accuracy of a factory machine. Many gaming laptops are very thin, because companies have the resources to make it that way. The thing you'll run into with a gaming laptop though is that they are incredibly expensive. You're going to be paying well over $1000 for something worth owning, with MSI and Razer laptops running at over $2000, and just think of the amazing gaming desktop you could build for that price!
                                                             (Below) Razer's Modular Computer

The second reason that pre-built gaming computers are not the way to go is because they are harder to upgrade. Gaming desktops usually are built in smaller cases than a mid or full ATX size which GeoData reports to be around 18 inches so its really hard to get around everything to upgrade it, though some, like iBuyPower, are actually full size and more easily upgraded. This is also the case with consoles, you are stuck with that hardware until the manufacturer comes out with a completely new model, and if something breaks, you can try to fix it, but you can't just replace a part as you can by building your own computer. Upgrading gaming laptops, forget about it completely. Now that they are usually coming less than an inch thick with very few case openings, I don't know any normal person on the planet who would have the expertise to do that.

Many people go and buy a pre-built gaming computer instead of buying the components and doing it themselves. There are companies out there that specialize in providing for these consumers, but it is not worth it. Buying a pre-built gaming computer is much more expensive and much harder to upgrade as opposed to building your own computer or playing on a console.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Phones

The last year has presented a lot of great phones that have captured the attention of technology buyers. The Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One M7, and the LG G2 being some of the most popular. Now its about the time for the successors to be coming out, two of them already have been unveiled, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, with some partially solidified rumors about the LG G3. My guess based on the LG G3 rumors is that it will be the best out of the three due to its special hardware and its version of Android.

One thing that makes the LG G3 more attractive to me is its great line up of harware that its operating on, that I believe easily beats the other two phones in the running if the current rumors are true. To start off, their processors are all the same. What distinguishes the G3 at the offset is that it has 3GB RAM, which is one more GB than the other two contenders. It also has the best battery, 3300 mAH compared to 2600 and 2800 in the other two, meaning a significantly longer battery life, projected to be the longest-lasting battery on the market if the software isn't a big drainer.The other big thing that is going to most likely put the G3 ahead of its main competition is the actual design that you see on the outside. The screens in all three will look almost the same functionally, but the G3 is going to be much easier to deal with. By that I mean that it will be more attractive and more functional than the S5 or the One M8. The S5 has the obvious cosmetic flaw with the dimples all over its back, which gives it, in my opinion, and ugly look and the potential to gather dust. And while I have always been a fan of One's brushed metal design, I was watching a YouTube review today that said it is hard to hold onto and is a little awkward sometimes. I will be a little discouraged if the G3 also has its poer buttons on the back like the G2, although I haven't functionally used this feature so I'm not sure I'm qualified to give any opinion on it.

The second reason I think that the G3 will be the best phone out of the three competitors is its software, which historically has been better, in my opinion, than that of the other two companies. The biggest reason I've liked it is because its just normal. Samsung goes out of its way to make things seem really simple, which makes it seem to me like their phones are a lot lower end than they really are because of that special software. And with HTC, I am not a fan of their pages that show you all the social information and what not. I had a similar service with my first smartphone, the Motorola Devour, and I disabled it after about a week of having the phone because it was annoying. LG has done a nice job in the past of modifying Android like other manufacturers, but not totally butchering the flashiness of Android, like Samsung's slower page turns. LG has some cool stuff, like their lock  screen that shows the weather creatively, like if its snowing snow flies down the screen, changing for each different weather condition. They add cool parts like this while still having a fast user interface.

The LG G3 will outperform the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 because its hardware and its software are much better thought out. In a short disclaimer, I obviously have not used any of these phones, so this is based completely on what I've watched and read, but from what I have gathered over the last two months, this is my opinion. The LG G2 was one of my favorite phones that I did actually experience along with the One M7 and the S4, and so I predict that the unknown features of all will be similar and the G3 will again be the best phone of the year.

*No photos have been leaked of the G3 yet, so they are not included

Saturday, April 5, 2014


When was the last time you saw anybody with a Blackberry? I haven't seen one since my Dad dumped his a couple years ago for an iPhone. The reason being, obviously, is that Blackberry is a struggling company right now, who changed ownership in a desperate ploy for more market share. The main reasons that Blackberry failed is they didn't innovate and once it did, it presented them wrong.
First Blackberry Model (1999)

Blackberry used to be the giant of the smartphone business, particularly capturing the business world who always needed a convenient keyboard. And Blackberry provided that keyboard and e-mailing part that many companies could not give at that point in time. And therein lies Blackberry's number 1 mistake. They kept on putting the keyboard in their models, since 1999 up until the late 2000s when people wanted touchscreens. So Blackberry did what anybody would do, introduced a touchscreen about a year after the first iPhone came out. Even then, they hid their ever-present keyboard under the touchscreen, and as Time says, they couldn't keep up with the innovation of Apple and Google. Okay, so step one to get to where every other company was, but they just continued to use this design of putting a touchscreen somewhere on their phone that included the keyboard! When everyone else was producing thinner and faster touchscreen phones, Blackberry continued to put on Keyboards. Then, about a year or two ago, they introduced the Z10, their first smartphone without a keyboard, they fell behind to competition, as The Globe and Mail testifies. This was after Apple, Android, and Windows phones were already embracing and refining this technology! Not only were they late, it was a bad product. It was thick, it was square, the software was repulsive, Blackberry had one chance to save themselves, and they blew it. Now, under new ownership they are desperately trying to get a hold in the new car entertainment business, and sued another company for making a keyboard that looked like theirs.

Later Blackberry Models (2014, notice any similarities?)

In conclusion, I will say that I think Blackberry should really just stop trying. Spend the little money in the corporate account on some kind of pension plans for your employees to get new jobs, and go down in history as one of the most innovative companies in early smartphone business, who ended by trying to hold on to some remnant of their past, unsuccessfully, while the rest of the world looked on in sadness. A depressing story, but I don't see it coming out any other better way.

Why Everyone Should Build a Computer

In the past week, my parts have finally come in and I am now in the process of assembling my first build. Ever since I was little, I have loved computers, and that is the profession I want to go into after college, so building my own computer sounded logical to me. As I went through it though, I realized that building a computer isn't only good for people who are really into it, but it is a valuable experience for everyone in a time when computers are becoming increasingly integrated into our lives. First, it is good because it gives you a greater understanding of technology, and it is much more cost effective.

Everyone should at least try to build a computer once in their lives because the knowledge that you gain is huge. You start out just picking out all the parts you want to put in there (I would recommend using At that stage alone you learn about compatibility, brand integrity, software basics, etc. After you pick out everything you want and check the compatibility on all of it, you order the parts, which is a learning experience within itself. You aren't just picking up a computer ready to go after you;ve ordered it, you're getting the raw materials for it and putting it together yourself, which Lifehacker says incredibly rewarding in itself. Once you finally get all the parts, you start to assemble it from videos, which is the fun part. It's extremely nerve-wracking,my build for example, which is about $850, is probably the most fragile $850 I've ever handled, and I had a light sweat going just watching the video preparing myself for when I was going to do it. A lot of people are scared that its going to be really hard to put your PC together, but as I and PC World can say, its actually not that bad, and is incredibly rewarding to say that you are building/have built a computer by yourself!

The second reason I believe that everybody should build their own computer is that it is significantly cheaper for the parts you get as compared to what you could buy in the store, pre-built. For example, my $850 build would likely be significantly more if I were to buy it. Even spending the same amount of money, the computer that I would get would be much lower performance than the one I am building. As Digital Trends points out though, its really only a great argument for building it yourself if you're spending over $600. Even though you might only be looking at a $300 computer that would be comparable to what you could buy already built, I would still strongly recommend building instead because its much easier to upgrade, you get to choose your own parts, and you get the experience that I was talking about in the last paragraph.

IN the last 20 years, the trend that technology is being integrated into our lives at an astounding pace is uncontested. Many people just buy their electronics ready-to-go, but in computers, I would encourage everybody to build at least one in their lifetime. Building your own computer gives you an invaluable learning experience and is much more cost-effective.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon just came out with its brand new Fire TV. In the past, Amazon's hardware has been less than satisfactory with low-performing parts, awful software, and little support from developers. Amazon has somehow been kept afloat though due to their well-done commercials that entice consumers to their products as opposed to other items that don't have commercials, notably Samsung and Nexus in the tablet line. Fire TV is Amazon's attempt at getting Amazon into the running for entertainment in the living room, but it doesn't live up because of its bad software and its obvious paling in comparison with other devices of its kind.

Amazon would like to be firmly set in the growing area of home entertainment with Fire TV, and although the hardware specifications are impressive, the software ruins the initial allure. First of all is the continued use of their modified Android OS, using a category selection model that works horribly for tablets, and is not much improved for their Fire TV. It is closer in design to that of Apple TV, but continues to have nuances in selection. The second reason that the software is lackluster, is because their addition of an apps store has caused the box to be labeled as a partial gaming device, attempting to contend with the consoles, as the Wall Street Journal reports. This is a major problem for Amazon, because although it is good for an android gaming device, it is nowhere close to having the quality and the wide range of console gaming (not to mention the controller is an extra $40). Amazon seems to be leaning more toward trying to replace the Ouya, a similar Android gaming device that fell horribly short of its expectations from its Kickstarter days. The gaming is little more than what you can do on your phone at this point, therefore attracting very few people to that aspect. On the bright side, they may get more immersive games in the future, as reported by TechCrunch. The addition of gaming to the traditional watching entertainment put Amazon straddling several distinct markets at once, and their current software does not allow them to do that with success. The software is not well thought out, and the capabilities are too far-reaching for the software to perform well enough in any of the different forms of entertainment it attempted to incorporate.

Amazon's startegy for the family room is also flawed because compared to other products out there that resemble it, it just doesn't add up. The most obvious is the Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle that takes media straight from your device and puts it onto your TV.  Compared to the Fire TV coming in at a solid $99, for media like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, you just cannot beat Chromecast. If you are looking for gaming, you would definitely want to look into a dedicated console. The Xbox One and Playstation 4, although at least $300 more expensive, are a much more viable option for TV gaming, as you will get more developed titles and better game play, not to mention that you can also use media on these. If you want to go with a low end gaming console, I would recommend the Ouya, which even though disappointing in gaming as a whole, has a lot more dedicated and complex games that you won't get, at least right now, in Fire TV. The only reason I could really see anybody choosing Amazon Fire TV for their home entertainment is for a very light meshing of the two realms, knowing that they won't get much performance in either respect as they could in other products. Compared to like products out there, Fire TV just does not compare.

Amazon's brand new device is adding another market in their hardware section, in addition to the Kindle E-Reader and the Kindle Fire tablet. As with its previous hardware, it just does not work very well, and is not a sensible option for the market its trying to bring in.Fire TV is Amazon's attempt at getting itself into the the living room, but it doesn't live up because of its bad software and its obvious inferiority compared to other like products.