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Profile for Rick W > Reviews


Rick W's Profile

Customer Reviews: 5
Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,933,925
Helpful Votes: 24

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Samsung Galaxy S7 Factory Unlocked Phone 32 GB - Internationally sourced (EU/LATAM) version  G930F - Black Oynx
Samsung Galaxy S7 Factory Unlocked Phone 32 GB - Internationally sourced (EU/LATAM) version G930F - Black Oynx
Offered by TheCoos
Price: $609.83
29 used & new from $579.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To my great surprise, Samsung made my dream phone, May 9, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This being my upgrade from a Sony Xperia Advance (a mid-range smartphone from a few years ago, which was also waterproof), it's perhaps not surprising that I am thoroughly impressed by this device. I had looked at the S6 last year, but it wasn't enough to make me want to buy, in particular given the lack of waterproofing, the lack of expandable storage, and the good but not mind-blowing camera. Samsung has made the S7 everything I had been dreaming of but didn't see in the S6, and I just couldn't say no. On paper, the S7 is my perfect phone.

And it turns out it's my perfect phone in practice too.

The camera, which was the main selling point for me, lives up to the claims. I have been getting great indoor (and outdoor) shots of my 5-year old in action. With my old phone, that was completely impossible since it would take at least 10 seconds to open the camera app and focus. With the S7, I can go from picking up the locked phone to capturing a perfectly focused image in 3 seconds (I caught my son in mid-air as he jumped off a ramp on his scooter). And the colors are almost always very close to what I perceive with my eye, even in some unusual lighting (like midnight in the arctic in spring, or mixed fluorescent light/sunlight in my living room).

The screen is gorgeous as everyone knows. Its resolution is riDONKulous.

The phone is a good size for me (good balance between being comfortable in the hand, fitting in the pocket, and having a usefully sized screen). I got a slim Spigen Rugged Armor case for it, which makes me feel much more confident in gripping it (in a way, the phone itself is too thin and smooth and glass), and gives the phone a slightly different but still cool look.

Of course, it's expensive. But you're really getting a phone, a palm-top computer (which is as fast as any smartphone out there and therefore fast enough to make any Android 3D game or other app run smoothly), an e-reader, and a better-than-point-and-shoot camera all in one.

I definitely recommend this device.

Imaginarium Dragon Tower Castle
Imaginarium Dragon Tower Castle
Offered by My Things Your Treasures
Price: $49.10
4 used & new from $33.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun for a low price, August 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lots of fun for a low price. Our son (4.5yrs old) has been playing with it every chance he gets for the last two days. If you don't already have something suitable, investing in some extra knights and/or dragons helps a lot, since the two knights included aren't enough for much drama. It's made of something like high-density fiberboard that can break (this happened to a friend) but is quite sturdy as long as they don't step/fall on it with their full weight. Cleverly designed and fun to put together too.

MeshWe Bluefin | Connects Magic Trackpad to Apple Wireless Keyboard (white) - **Apple Keyboard and Trackpad NOT Included**
MeshWe Bluefin | Connects Magic Trackpad to Apple Wireless Keyboard (white) - **Apple Keyboard and Trackpad NOT Included**
Offered by ExcellentBuyJames!
Price: $29.99
5 used & new from $24.56

4.0 out of 5 stars As good a solution to Apple's design shortcoming as I can imagine, March 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The MeshWe Bluefin works exactly as advertised to link the Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad. The design is very well done, allowing full functionality of both devices. It's sturdy and rigid, so you can type and click the trackpad without any problem.

Apple was a bit silly in not thinking through how these devices could be linked and doing it itself. Thus the power buttons ended up on the same side of each device so that linking them necessarily blocks one. The Bluefin works around this by allowing you to turn the keyboard on/off by squeezing the two devices together, which works fine unless you want to throw the whole thing in a backpack and carry it to work, which I do, because the weight of the trackpad squeezes it against the keyboard and turns the keyboard on. My workaround for that is simple though, if not classy: a piece of thin cardboard slipped between the two devices (still in the Bluefin) during transport.

WD My Passport 500GB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 Black (WDBKXH5000ABK-NESN)
WD My Passport 500GB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 Black (WDBKXH5000ABK-NESN)
11 used & new from $45.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was hoping for, July 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Light, slim, silent. Formatted it for Mac and it worked. No complaints. I didn't try any of the special software included as I have no need for it.

Sony Xperia Advance ST27A Unlocked Android PhonePhone--U.S. Warranty (White)
Sony Xperia Advance ST27A Unlocked Android PhonePhone--U.S. Warranty (White)
2 used & new from $119.95

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A niche phone? Only if small with good specs has become a niche., December 21, 2012

I've had the black Xperia Advance for a week and am quite happy with it (it's called the Xperia Go outside the US if you're looking for more reviews). It looks stylish, is light and truly pocket-sized, feels solid and satisfying in the hand, has a great-looking display (despite the relatively low resolution, see below), and sounds good for calls and media. I also like the Sony interface for Android (it's running Ice Cream Sandwich), which I find elegant in a technological way, and smooth. The phone froze once when using the camera, on the first day, but went back to normal after a quick restart and has been fine since. The battery life is great for my (pretty low) intensity of use: it looks like it would last a couple of weeks in standby and about a day with constant use, just like the specs say.


The niche market for the Advance isn't just people who get wet or dusty a lot, as most reviewers seem to suggest. Sure, the phone's most distinctive feature is its IP67 rating (which means it's sealed against dust and against water up to 3 feet deep for 30 min), but that isn't what drew me to the phone.

If you want a small and light smartphone (i.e. 3.5" screen) with a passable camera, up-to-date smarts, and no phone service contract (i.e. it's unlocked), then there are literally only 3 options (a search by specification on a phone review website will confirm this): the iPhone 4S ($550), the Sony Xperia U ($225), and the Sony Xperia Advance ($250). The iPhone is of course the best but costs twice as much. The latter two are nearly identical phones. The only drawbacks of the Advance are its lower screen resolution (see below) and lack of a front-facing camera (so no video calls). On the other hand, the Advance has a memory card slot, is IP67 rated, and records high quality video--unlike the U (see below).


According to the various websites that do direct comparisons, the 5 megapixel camera on the Advance compares favorably against other midrange smartphones. Here's my experience. 5MP is more than enough for everything but printing enlargements, so the resolution is fine. Sony has opted for minimal noise reduction, so the Advance photos retain fine detail at the expense of some graininess (or a heck of a lot of graininess in low light). I like that choice, because I can always smooth the images afterward in an editor to make them look like what comes out of an HTC One V, for example. Color reproduction is good when the phone gets the white balance right, but that's a mixed bag indoors, as with most digital cameras. Manually selecting an appropriate white balance rather than using the auto setting can often help but limits spontaneity. (And strangely, the camera doesn't understand the effect of its own LED flash on the white balance: my shots with the flash tend to come out yellowy.) The biggest problem with all phone cameras, however (and especially indoors) is their slow focussing: it is literally impossible to snap a picture of my toddler in action in the living room, so don't be fooled by the Sony promo showing a girl snapping a shot of her dog jumping behind the counter. Unless you have blazing studio lighting in your kitchen, that won't happen. Even then you'd have to focus on the counter rather than the dog.

So just beware that the Advance, like pretty much all smartphones, isn't quite as good as a middle-of-the-road point-and-shoot camera. On the other hand, when there's good light and predictable white balance, it does take nice photos that will look good on your computer or HD TV.


The 720p, 29fps video on the Advance is great, and according to samples and reviews all over the web, it's as good as it gets in smartphones (for 720p). Like the still shots, it's a bit on the grainy side if you're pixel-peeping, because Sony opted for minimal noise reduction, but there's great detail and it's smooth without stutters or much in the way of compression artifacts. The video bitrate is 12 Mbit/s, which I understand to be very high (good) for 720p video. Interestingly, despite having the same camera, the Xperia U produces terrible 720p video owing simply to excessive video compression (maybe intended to compensate for its 4GB storage cap with no memory card slot). The video quality is actually the reason I chose the Advance over the U -- not the IP67. If I'm trying to capture a surprise toddler moment with my Advance, video is the way to go.

Interestingly, the video capture on the Advance is better than on my middle-of-the-road point-and-shoot camera (which is a few years old though).


The Advance touchscreen has 165 pixels per inch, which is low by today's smartphone standards (it's the same as the iPhone 3). The U has 280 ppi and the iPhone 4S has over 300 ppi. The low pixel density is probably the major reason a potential customer might choose not to buy it, and it nearly turned me off. However, when viewed at 1.5 to 2 feet from your face, you literally can't tell the difference; your eyes just don't have the retinal resolution. The extra pixels on the U or iPhone come into play only when you hold the phone around 1 foot from your face. If you want to watch movies (other than YouTube) or browse the web with your phone 1 foot from your face (as many people do), then the extra pixels really will make a big difference. If you aren't going to browse or watch movies, then they're wasted. (Laptops are typically viewed from farther away than phones, so the fancy new MacBook Pro with Retina Display has just 220 ppi.) More important is the contrast ratio and color, and in these regards the Advance screen is great. It's really a pleasure to look at. The bright red, crisp hang-up button in the dialer made me fall in love with my Advance as much as anything else.


I mention this because before buying my Advance, I saw a couple of reviews that said the unusual plastic material used for the back cover (and sides and 'chin') felt cheap and took a week to get used to, and then I saw another review that said it felt very high-quality and gave good grip even when wet. Well, it's all about expectations and personal taste, and I guess phone reviewers handle dozens of phones that all feel the same. The plastic on the Advance has been described as like very fine grade sandpaper. I think it feels almost exactly like the coarse paper commonly used for printing novels, and I like it a lot. I almost wonder whether the eReader people should get this material from Sony to appeal to nostalgic bibliophiles.

I do have to say that the back cover (which simply snaps onto the main body) creaks a bit when I squeeze the sides: it's just the sound of the edges of the back cover moving ever so slightly against the main body. I checked for creaking when I first got the phone because I'd read about it in another review, but it didn't start until day 3 (no idea why -- maybe I just started squeezing it more). The phone feels very solid nonetheless, and the motion causing the creaking is almost microscopic.

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