Sunday, 21 June 2020

The Best and Smartest way to Buy a Used Phone Online in U.S

The time has come. I'm coming clean. I've had the S7 for two years now. And being someone that films the latest and greatest tech every day, it's gotten me wanting a new phone. The thing is, I don't want to spend $1,000 and I don't necessarily need something that came out yesterday. 

So I'm going to show you how to buy a good, used phone.

Okay, I'm buying an S9+. Now, I am not here to tell you what phone to buy and I'm sure you'll sound off in the comments about your favorite devices and what you would buy, but what I am here to do is to tell you the best buying practices for a used device. The safest and most reliable ways.
Before we get to any of that, though. You have to remember that phones come out in cycles and there are better and worst times to buy certain devices. So there are pretty clear timelines for when it's a good idea or bad idea to buy a phone. 
New iPhones come out every September so you really shouldn't buy one if it's July or August. Samsung puts out the Galaxy S at the start of each year, March or April. Then the Note follows that up in the summer. Google does Pixel updates in October. In general, Apple and Samsung both change their designs every two years. Then in between, there's a more powerful version of the same phone with better specs, nicer camera, stuff like that. That's what we call the S year. 

So the question comes down to: do you want the new flashy design right away? Or can you wait for one year for the more powerful, more refined version of that same phone? 
Now Google is a bit different because the Pixel generally hasn't used the same design more than once. But maybe you'd be totally happy with last year's phone. You don't need a neural engine to browse Instagram, or a Snapdragon 845 to play Spotify. So in your case, you'd be totally safe to buy the S9+ right now. And since it's less than a year old, buying it used will save you at least $100 and still get you a great phone.  Okay, so we are in luck. 

It is a good time to buy a used S9+. But, where do you start? 

I mean there are a million different options. Personally, I always look at eBay and Craigslist first. Craigslist can be a little bit of a slippery slope. If a phone is stolen and then you go to turn it on and the serial number's flagged as stolen, you'll be out the phone and the cash. And you'll have no connection to the seller.

Tips and Tricks for choosing a used Phone

But let's have a look at eBay. eBay has a ton of listings and I went onto Samsung's website to see what a brand new S9+ would be, it was around $840. So I'm going to try to beat that. Now, for my sake, I'm going to search by Verizon because that's my carrier. There are unlocked devices, but you'll have to do research on your own to figure out if they'll work on your network. I've looked through a bunch of listings and I found this one. This is the most promising. It's a Samsung GalaxyS9+, 64 gigs, for $549. For me this looks nice because the photos are very clear, I can tell that there are no scratches on the device. Wow, they have a lot of five-star reviews. 760 positive reviews and only six negatives. 

When a seller has a lot of positive feedback like this, it's usually a pretty good sign that they're safe to buy from. Also when searching I've noticed a lot of stock photos used for the photo of the phones, this is something you want to stay away from. It's really important to see your device in the photos and maybe that means reaching out to the seller and asking for a photo of a specific thing. Just to be sure that's the device and that he has it. So $549 on eBay. That's pretty good but if you know anything about me, you know I'm all about the deal. So I'm going to keep shopping. There's this website calledswappa.com that I really like. You're still buying person-to-person so there is a level of risk, but there are a lot more safeguards in place to ensure that you're getting the device that you're actually looking at. There are a few listings for the S9+ on here. They range from about 500 to $800. That mostly has to do with the storage but I'm looking for the 64-gigabyte model so it's not a huge problem for me. I'll be at the lower end. Okay so this one looks pretty good, it's $514. 

If you look at the photos you'll notice that there's a code in there. That's one of the safeguards that Swappa has. It basically is the code for the sale. So the phone that you'reseeing in the photo, is the phone for that listing. I'm gonna scroll down, I'm gonna read some of the comments next. Maybe I'll go in and I'll see who the seller is if he sold things here before. Kind of all the same steps as eBay. Okay so this looks pretty good and another safeguard is that Swappa doesn't allow the sale of broken or unusable devices. Now since you are buying used, it doesn't come with a warranty. So say down the line something happens to your phone or it glitches out. You're on your own to get it repaired. If you want a little bit more reassurance when buying a used phone, you might want to look at refurbished models. They come with a guarantee. So if there's a defect down the road, they'll replace the device for you. You can buy refurbs from a few different places, including the manufacturer and of your carrier. But there are also sites like Gazelle or Best Buy. They often have cheaper prices on these. All right, Best Buy's website is a little confusing in trying to find refurbs, but if you scroll all the way down to the bottom where it says buying options, that's where you'll see them. Now you can open-box online, it's a little more expensive, or if you got into the store, they have cheaper options. But it's probably because they want you to actually look at it and know what you're getting before you leave the store. So gazelle.com has certified pre-owns as well here's an S9+, 64 gigs, through Verizon for $639. That's cheaper than Best Buy, but it's still not as cheap as Swappa or eBay was. So buying a refurbished device is definitely the safest way to buy a used device. 

But, for me, I'd rather have a cheaper price and take the risk. So Swappa is the most appealing to me. The price was the lowest and although it doesn't come with a guarantee, the seller seems like he's sold things on here before and he has really good reviews. And I feel good about it. So I'm gonna go with Swappa for this one. And I'm gonna wave that whole guarantee so if something goes wrong, I guess it's on me. But what I will use Gazellefor is selling my old phone. It's not in great condition, but I definitely want it recycled properly and I no longer need it. So you can go on their website, enter some info, if it has scratches if it turns on at all, and then they'll offer you a price. They're going to give me10 bucks for this thing and free shipping, so I guess that means lunch on Gazelle? 

All right, so sound off in the comments of your favorite way to buy and sell devices. And who's got the oldest phone out there? Anyone got me beat? Also, like and subscribe. We'll see you next time. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Samsung Galaxy A51 2020 Review :The big screen, big battery from Samsung at 25K

Hello Everyone, When you think about Samsung phones, you probably think about this one right here. This is the Galaxy S20 or maybe you think of the Note line if you like styluses. Those are Samsung's Halo phones, but they're not actually the Samsung phones that most people buy. 

samsung galaxy A51

You see the top two selling android phones worldwide last year, were not Samsung's S phones or Notes or Huawei or anything else. They were Galaxy A series of phones. That is what people buy, and now Samsung's making a big push to get Americans in on buying those kinds of phones with this thing right here, the Galaxy A51. 

In India., it's available on Amazon.com and Samsung.com, but the big deal here is that it costs Rs.25,250 for the 6Gb variant.

You have to pick what you care about, so just for an example of those trade-offs, here is the iPhone SE from Apple, and Apple picked caring about the processor and the camera, instead of caring about having a big screen and getting rid of these big dopey bezels. 

So, What are Samsung's priorities for the Galaxy A51? 

Well, Samsung will tell you that there are three things, their, Awesome screen, awesome camera, long-lasting battery life. Okay sure, yes, that commercial's a banger. Awesome screen, awesome camera, long-lasting battery life.
It's, it's an awesome screen, awesome camera, long-lasting battery life - Okay, stop, hang on, oh my God. Screen, camera, battery life are the priorities for the A51, and all three are good for a 25k phone, but none of them are awesome. 

Display and Screen

It is 6.5 inches at 1080p and it's OLED, and it's good. It is a big screen, it gets pretty bright. I just like it. I think having a big screen is awesome, and I do not think there are going to be a lot of other 25k phones this year, with screens that are this good.
Except, there's a hole-punch selfie camera, and that's fine. I have no problem with hole-punch selfie cameras, but Samsung puts a shiny chrome ring around the selfie camera right in the middle of the screen, and you see it all the time, and it is super distracting. 

Under Display Fingerprint

The other thing about the screen is that there's a fingerprint sensor underneath it which also should be fine, but it's super slow. It's an optical sensor which whatever, but you stare at it, and there's this little green circle thing, and you kind of just hope it unlocks in under a second, and it never does. So, screen, good. Parts underneath the screen, not so much. 

Cameras

Second thing, let's talk about the camera, well cameras.

Rear Cameras
  • There is a 48-megapixel main sensor that kicks out 12-megapixel images by default. 
  • There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, and a depth camera, and then the selfie camera inside that stupid chrome ring is 32 megapixels. And the photos are, well, you can tell it is a 400 dollar Samsung phone. 
  • White balances okay, but Samsung really, really, hates shadows, so in light photos, it tries to brightens them up too much, and in the dark, it just freaks out and takes kind of terrible pictures. 
  • The details when zooming in on anything are just kinda messy. 
  • The ultra-wide and the macro lenses, they're super fun. I actually love using them, but this like full-resolution 48-megapixel mode that you can do, it really doesn't add much. 
Front Camera
And the selfies they're hit and miss, and portrait mode is, well it's almost all this. 
I think that Samsung software for imaging processing is really starting to fall behind in 2020, so when it doesn't have great camera hardware to fall back on like it does with the Galaxy S20, you can really tell. 

Comparison with iPhone SE and Pixel 3a

Look, the Pixel 3a and the iPhone SE, they have cameras that are like whoa, I didn't think an inexpensive camera could do that. This camera system is like yep that's a cheap phone all right. 

Battery Life

Alright, the third thing is battery life, and I have to be honest and say that testing battery life when you're stuck at home all day isn't the easiest thing, but, I've been using it for a little bit less than a week, and my takeaway is that you'll probably get more than a day, but you're not going to get, so battery life is good, but I expected awesome because it has a 4000 mah battery, so I'm trying to figure out what the disconnect is there, and I think it might be the processor. 

Processor

The Samsung A51 has Samsung's Exynos 9611 which is an overclocked version of the last one, and so it should be fast, but it's not. You can definitely tell when it's trying hard, and this only has four gigs of RAM on it, and you can definitely tell that, too. It's just kind of slow. 
When you're inside an app, it's okay, but sometimes it just makes you wait. 

Software

Alright, what else? Well, I still like Samsung's One UI software. I think it's really good for big-screened phones, but I don't like that I can't trust Samsung to give me software updates for this thing after two or three years. 

Storage and Headphone Jack

There's nowhere else charging, but there are 128 Gb of storage, and you can expand it with microSD, and there's a headphone jack. 

Design

The overall design and build quality of this phone are really nice. Samsung calls this material glasstic. And yeah, that's sort of like plasticky glass, but it's better than that sounds. It's actually alright. I really like the design of this phone. So, that is the Galaxy A51. 
Basically, it's not an overachiever. It performs exactly as well as you'd expect a 25k Samsung phone to perform in 2020 which is better than it would've been a couple of years ago, but it's still not awesome. 
You do get this really solid, really big 6.5-inch screen, and it is the best thing about this phone, and screens are really important on any phone, but look, there are going to be a bunch of sub 500 dollar phones with big screens this year, and I think at least one of them is going to be awesome. It's just that this Galaxy A51, it doesn't quite get there. 

Hey, thank you so much for watching, if you want to see another tech article, I have also reviewed the iPhone 11 which is way more interesting than you'd expect, so you should click on it to watch it. 

Monday, 15 June 2020

How to improve Video Calls easily in 5 Minutes

Hello internet friends. Welcome back. Today's lesson might seem simple, but I have a video called with enough friends this week, to realize that y'all could use some serious help. Looking just a little bit more professional, and definitely more presentable on video calls. 

video call interface

Like a lot of people, I use Zoom, and that's mostly because trying to figure out my Skype password that I made when I was 18 has been like. But with the uptick in Zoom users, has come an uptick in privacy concerns. User information has reportedly been leaked to third parties, and numbers are easy to guess, which is leading to Zoombombing, which is now a legitimate term. And privacy advocates even see some concerns with how Zoom evades Marcos administration controls to install itself on your computer. So even though I'm super comfortable with Zoom, I've also found some alternatives, like Houseparty, Webex, and even creating a new account for Skype.


Now before you can be on a call, you gotta set up a call. And there are great slack apps for Skype, Webex, and Zoom that allow you to quickly create videocall invites within chats, and if you use Google Calendar, and you want to install the zoom for GSuite extension, that'll allow you to select zoom as a video option when creating calendar invites. 

Video Call Setup

Now that you've set up the call, let's talk about looking presentable on camera. Now there are some of you that are probably like, "Hmm, Becca how are you qualified for this?" And to that, I raise exhibits A, B, and C.



First and foremost, my favorite thing in the whole world, Get that good light. 
Open your shades and let all that natural light pour in. But don't do it dirty by sitting with your back to it. I recommend having your largest light source either right in front of you, or no more than 45 degrees from directly in front of you. Also, be aware that your computer screen might be the largest source of light, so adjust that too. You don't wanna be blowing yourself out lookin' like a little ghostie up in here.
All right, now that you lighting, you gotta get your camera at the right angle. And there's only one option, eye level. I'm saying, use a book, use a stool, use literally whatever you have to use, but get the camera at your eye level. You can check yourself out, but do it before the call starts. Not at the beginning, the middle, and the end, or just, throughout the whole thing. 

You know, and I know, and we all know, that you look the best on this video call. But we also all know that you're staring at yourself. It's not only distracting to you, but it's distracting to everybody else, too. 

You want to show up at the meeting already looking good. For me, that means opening up a photo booth, before the call even starts, and making sure my background is like, clear of dirty clothes, the angle is good, and well, I look like thedamn champion that I am. There's also the option of using a background to completely block your surroundings. And y'all are getting, like, really creative with these, but here are my favorites. 

In the settings of most video conferencing apps, you also have the option to have your video and audio off by default when you join a call. Since I know I'm showing up with, incredible video if I do say so myself. I leave my video turned on, but I am sure to have my audio defaulted to be off when I join a meeting, and you should too, but, more on that later.

Also in the settings of Webex, Zoom, and Skype, you have the option to have a video preview of your video pop up before you join a meeting so that you can do one final check to make sure you look incredible. 
 

Now when I'm on a Zoom call, I've got into the habit of just, hiding my video entirely, so there's no temptation whatsoever. Give it a try guys, it's actually, Freeing. Now the flip side of that, is that it's very easy to forget you are on camera. Don't pick your nose. Or maybe do, I don't know. Up to you. 

Oh, and of course, let's talk audio quickly. Most of us don't have a ton of control over this, but, being in a quiet place typically makes for better audio. 
Also, keep in mind that your headphones might have a better mic than your computer. I have Bose 700 headphones, Galaxy Buds, the ones that came out in 2019, not the plus version, and of course, the mic that's already built into my MacBook Pro. So I use the audio testing tool within Zoom to test all of these mics.

All right friends, stay professional, even when you absolutely have not gotten out of your sweatpants for like, two weeks. Thank you so much for watching, I truly appreciate you, and since you made it this far, I have a bonus tip for you. If you're using Zoom, and you're muted, you can hold down the spacebar to temporarily unmute yourself, and it makes you feel like you're using a walkie-talkie, or an intercom system, and I friggin' love it. Anywho, be well, and hopefully, I'll see you in the next one.