Upcoming Moto G Power

Hello Moto

At long last! Motorola’s newest mid-range and budget-friendly phones are being released in the US soon – April 16th to be exact.

The Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus went on pre-sale today! (It’s not an April Fool’s joke.)

First announced on February 7th with a great price of only $250, and no release date mentioned other than “Spring,” I’ve been eagerly anticipating the Moto G Power hitting store shelves. Of course, this was before COVID-19 became a real problem in the US and practically closed almost all stores.

Nevertheless, today I pre-ordered the Moto G Power from Best Buy for delivery to my house. This way, I can avoid public exposure to any viruses threatening mankind at the moment, further strengthen my introversion, and finally quit waiting for this phone, and my switch to Android.

But this is just a mid-range Android phone; what’s the big deal?

Yeah, no biggy, right? Well, it’s one more purchase to keep the economy stimulated. It’s also a way to keep feeling normal amidst sheltering-in-place. It’s not like time itself has stopped, and technological progress is still mostly underway. While feeling hindered at home, the world still progresses in some way.

For me, I’ve got a nearly 4 year old iPhone 7. Although it works great to this day, I’m a tech geek ready for an upgrade.

Software wise, I’ll be switching from iOS to Android, which is not too big of a leap. I’m already fully on-board in the Google App-o-sphere. And I also rely on third-party apps that work on both Apple and Google phones. In any case, it’s nice to have new options.

Hardware wise, the Moto G Power offers several big advances over my trusty iPhone 7. Besides a much larger display, a longer lasting battery, a headphone jack, and no unsightly notch, the main improvements I’m focused on are the cameras.

The iPhone 7 has one lens. It’s a very good one too. But the Moto G Power has 3 lenses: wide, ultra-wide, and macro! With that combo, you get 4 new capabilities: equal or greater photos, portrait photos with bokeh (background blur), super close-up pictures of life’s little details, and super-wide images catching the whole scene. For a shutter-bug like me, this is some awesome stuff.

I mean, come on, a MACRO LENS on a phone! Yeah, it’s got a low resolution, but it still opens up a new level of creativity with close-ups. It’s like when Instagram first came out and only allowed square photos. Sure, that was a limitation, but the app itself opened up new possibilities, and the limitation actually pushed creativity in new ways.

Overall, I’ll close this by kind of reiterating some basic Android phone benefits: affordability, flexibility, and variety when it comes to phone choices. And now, with the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus appearing in two weeks, you’ll have at least two more very good options.

Have you used a Moto phone? Care to chime in about Android? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

7 Months Of Wireless Goodness

Good Deals

Who doesn’t like a good deal? Finding a bargain when shopping feels great! And while it makes sense to pay extra for better quality stuff, what I love even more is being frugal to discover products that are better than good-enough yet don’t break the bank. Seven months ago, I finally bought my first pair of wireless headphones…for $30! So how does a pair of these hold up over time? Are they worth the money?

Good Headphones

In Unchained Audio, I shared how happy I was to finally enjoy wire-free headphones. I had been tempted for months by Apple’s popular and prestigious AirPods. But there are things I dislike about them, most of all is the sky-high price tag. So when I pulled the trigger on my $30 pair of Bluetooth headphones, I was glad to dispel the expensive temptation.

Seven months later, I still don’t feel any tug towards Apple’s AirPods. And my $30 MPOW H1 headphones are as good as new! They still sound terrific – I swear I can hear more sounds in music with more clarity and not too much bass. They are comfortable – I wear them for hours almost everyday for songs and podcasts.

What about their durability? They have not degraded in any way. The cushioned padding, the stitching, the plastic housing, and the side buttons all look and feel like new. No fraying, no tearing, no loosening. For $30, you would think that something by now would be wrong. But even the battery still holds a super long charge.

Good Review

I had thought about doing this blog post because I am still enjoying the wireless headphone life thanks to these super affordable MPOW H1 headphones I got on Amazon. I wanted to share how good they still are and that you can save money while also enjoying fancy wireless tech.

Then I stumbled upon a YouTube video by none other than popular tech reviewer MKBHD. In an Amazon Prime series, he reviewed the first generation of the MPOW bluetooth headphone I have; mine are gen 2. And his verdict was good. Basically, MKBHD recommended them. So that’s a good endorsement. You can save yourself some cash and feel good about finding a bargain!

Do you like a good deal? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Expensive Halo Effect

Living in Apple land was nice and comfy. My sweet set-up consisted of just two things: iPhone and iPad. Well, I guess I should also include the cheap bluetooth keyboard I cobbled together with my Apple tablet. But it’s good that I escaped the soft glow of The Apple logo because the Halo Effect is real.

Halo Effect

I sometimes feel strongly attracted to Minimalism, which happens to be a trait of Apple’s hardware. The iPhone is a featureless glass rectangle. Even its software is simple, just a grid of rounded squares.

The best halo over Apple products is that they simply “just work.” And in keeping with simplicity, I was content with using only an iPad and an iPhone for all my computing needs, nothing more.

But Apple’s Halo Effect slowly pulled me into a shiny vortex, like a black hole swallowing light. Over time, I gravitated to more Apple products. And being the opposite of less, “more” is antithetical to Minimalism.

First it was the AirPods. I saw their new features in Apple’s marketing and had to have them. They became popular; most owners of AirPods loved them. So I wanted them more and more. And I almost bought them, despite their high cost.

Then another desire snuck into my psyche. The Apple Watch, which I had long dismissed as redundant, became attractive to me. It gained more features over time, making it better. It grew in user adoption; people like their Apple Watch a lot. I may not have needed one, but I started to want one.

Besides the AirPods and Watch, Apple’s Halo Effect also moved me with my typing needs to the Smart Keyboard. But it works only with the more expensive iPads, so I would need to upgrade. Nice, but it was a lot more money.

There was one more thing. For a brief time, and to my surprise, I wanted to buy a MacBook just to have the Photos app and its extra editing features that were missing from my iPad. But again, the price tag was too steep. My wallet can tolerate having less cash in it but not zero cash.

Horns Expense

The thing about Apple products, great as they are, is that they also have horns hiding in the blinding glow of the halo. Apple devices are often far more expensive than their competitors.

The only way I could afford an iPhone and an iPad was to buy older pre-owned devices. When I shopped online for Apple’s shiny merchandise, I only considered used or refurbished. Yet even those products cost a lot.

I’m no longer sold-out to an Apple-only ecosystem. For technical reasons, I’ve switched from iPad to Chromebook. And for financial reasons, I sure am glad I switched.

Apple’s stuff is not cheap. Many people often depend on a payment program to afford living in Apple land. And now people can rely on a shiny new Apple credit card to get cash back on Apple’s high-margin wares. But outside of the aura of Apple, you can find great savings and huge values in tech gadgets.

Android smartphones compared to iPhone are so much more affordable! And there are great Android phones with fewer compromises than the $1,000 phone marketing would have you believe. Consider the Pixel 3a phone by Google. And good Chromebooks cost less than the cheapest iPad.

Less Is More

Going all-in with Apple products is swank, but the buy-in price is too high. The halo effect is alluring, but what I find more attractive is spending less money. There’s great value in being frugal. Looking outside of Apple, I see more bank-friendly options with fewer compromises than you might imagine.

A striking example, the one that dispelled me from from the halo effect, was Apple’s AirPods. As mentioned, I had wanted them for a long time. But their asking price of $159 is too exorbitant. So I finally tried a pair of wireless headphones from Amazon; they cost only $29 and they’re really great! Talk about more value!

This one purchase helped me to see, no longer blinded by Apple’s radiant halo, that there’s awesome tech products from other good companies, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg to buy.

Thrift is undervalued; simplicity is priceless.

Is your budget the bottom line? How much is quality worth to you? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Computers Are Like Cars

Unlike my previous post, which specifically talked about how iPhones and iPads last a long time these days, this one is about the longevity of computers in general. I was realizing just how long both my own and my wife’s PCs are still running after many years. And I think it’s like owning a car.

I upgraded my wife’s desktop PC core in 2011; that’s over 7 years ago now! Her 2nd-gen Intel core i5 and 12GB of RAM are still more than enough for her needs. The only boost I gave it was last year when I switched her from Win 7 on a hard drive to Win 10 on an SSD.

My own desktop PC is, get this, only using a Pentium processor and is now 5 years old! The only upgrade it ever saw was the day I brought it home; I added memory, making it go from 4 to 8GB of RAM. And it runs like a champ for my needs.

forced perspective photography of cars running on road below smartphone
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

I expect these PC’s to keep going for a few more years. The only parts that have died were one power supply. Even the hard drives were fine, although one was showing signs of impending failure. Normal enough.

Our computers, even our smartphones, are like cars these days. They all last longer than they used to, so replacing them occurs less often. You just keep using them for as long as they just work. (Also, like appliances.)

On top of that, while buying a new phone/computer (or car) is nice, it is also expensive and not really necessary. Most used computers and cars that are a few years old still work great. So you can buy a certified ‘pre-owned’ car or ‘refurbished’ iPad, get great value, and save a ton of money. Frugal!

Are you looking at replacing or upgrading an aging computer this year? Will you finance a new MacBook like a new Toyota or save up for a used one?

Thanks for reading,


The Longevity Of Apple Tech

Thanks to Apple’s recent news about slowing iPhone sales, it’s apparent that people don’t upgrade their phones as often as they used to. Until last week, the device I used was over four years old. I upgraded from an iPhone 6 to a brand new…iPhone 7! Wait, but that phone is like two years old.

That’s right. And it’s a great upgrade! I would say that Apple’s phones are so good and bleeding edge that a 2-year old iPhone is still a fantastic device. And that’s why it seems so many people are keeping them instead of breaking the bank to buy a fancy new iPhone XS or XR. They’re just too expensive.

I like to buy used Apple stuff. You get great value and save a lot of cash. Last year, I bought a used iPad Air 2, a three-year old tablet at the time. And I’m still enjoying it today; I typed this blog post on it. It still works great! And I look at the shiny new iPad Pros and think they’re way too costly and they don’t really do anything that my iPad Air 2 doesn’t do. So why bother to upgrade?

As for my iPhone 6, I had planned to use it for one more year before upgrading, which would have made it five years old! But it recently began performing much slower than usual. I tried deleting apps, but that didn’t help.

While visiting friends over the Christmas holiday, it turned out that they had an “old” iPhone 7 not being used anymore, and they simply said they would let me have it! Wow! I gladly accepted the unplanned upgrade from a 6 to a “new” 7. And as a thank you, I gladly gave them a chunk of money for it.

Here’s something to note: I plan to use this iPhone 7 for at least two more years, which would make it four years old before I once again upgrade. Maybe by then the iPhone XR will sell at a low used price of around $250!

You can have great tech gadgets and not have to spend a fortune! iPhones and iPads, at least in the US where I live, are ubiquitous. There’s always someone somewhere upgrading and selling their current device.

If you stay 2 years behind the bleeding edge of Apple tech, I’d say you’re not really “behind.” You are just not “ahead” of the rest. You’re pretty much right in line with mainstream tech. It’s a very good and reasonably affordable place to be.

How old is your current smartphone? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,