The Google Chromecast has been in my hands for only three days, but I already see the full value. Still, with only four apps currently, many may ask, what exactly can the chromecast do? Well here are 12 functions that you can perform using the chromecast right out of the box. This is the first part in a multipart series on Chromecast uses, which will be built up as more and more Chromecast apps make their way to market.
- Watch Videos: From cat videos, to your best friend’s baby crawling, if it’s on Youtube, you can watch it in beautiful HD on your TV screen.
- Make Presentations: Using web based solutions (like Google Drive, Prezi, iCloud, and Dropbox), you can make full presentations using the Chromecast. Simply share a tab with a presentation, and you have a perfectly capable solution for wirelessly connecting to that big screen TV in your office. Bosses Rejoice!
- Monitor Your Website: If you visit a high budget startup, you may notice that they have displays showing their user statistics live. For example, Google has a constantly updated wall of new search terms. You can do this for your own website, by pulling up your live statistic program in Chrome, and then casting the tab. At the time of this writing, five people were currently browsing The App Store Chronicle.
- Movie Night: The Chromecast is also highly capable for entire films. Using Google Play, Netflix, or Youtube, you can watch just about every film known to man, and in full HD quality too!
- Family photo slideshows: Having relatives over soon? Services like Flickr, iCloud, and Shutterfly allow you to flip through a slideshow of your latest photos, and specific albums, right from Chrome. You can even let it play automatically, allowing friends and family to look whenever they please.
- Browse the web: This one is obvious, but it’s incredibly useful. This is the differentiating feature between the Chromecast and all other streaming devices.
- Multitasking: Browse the web while you watch a video. Send an email while watching your twitter feed. Sending a tab over to your TV allows you to do multiple things at once, and the added screen real estate frees up room to do three things at once (if you’ve got the skills).
- Videochatting: Via web-based videochatting services like Google’s hangouts, you can display your loved ones/coworkers/anyone on a larger screen, making it even more personal. Learn more about how to do this properly using the droid lawyer’s instructions.
- Teaching: The Chromecast is going to be huge in education. It makes the once-expensive technology of mirroring far more accesible. The Chromecast will be big for classroom demos, tutorials, and other educational experiences.
- Watching the News: Several websites have live streams of the latest news (as in a stream of headlines). You can also watch live feeds of CNN, and a few other news sources via their websites.
- Watching the Markets: Several websites and chrome extensions also offer live tickers (of stocks) allowing you to watch your favorite stocks, without having to switch to another website, or interrupting your day.
- Broadcasting Live: The lag when browsing is a problem for most video, but for those who live stream events, it has no effect. Since broadcast monitors don’t need audio anyway, and there’s already a delay, the Chromecast may function as a decent broadcast monitor (especially for the price).
Stay tuned as this list expands, and for my full review of the Chromecast, coming soon.
So I was finally able to get my hands on the LG-made, Google Nexus 4 and I have been using it for about a month, now. It’s been a long time coming, but LG has done an absolutely horrid job of keeping it in stock. The only nice thing that came out of the ordering procedure was when it finally shipped (after about a week), Google was nice enough to upgrade my shipping to same day, which was good. Once I got the device though, I was stunned. As I took it out of the box, I was shocked at how gorgeous the device was. With absolutely nothing on the front besides the screen, it’s obvious that Google is going for a really simple understated design. Check out my review below.
Design: With glass on the front and back, it’s easy to see the design cues that the Nexus 4 took from the iPhone 4 and 4S. The problem with the iPhone though, was that it was very fragile. The nexus has Gorilla Glass 2 on both the front and the back, so this should help keep it relatively durable, although, I would still highly recommend picking up a case. The sides are made of a grippy, rubber feeling material that helped make it easier to hold. There is a chrome frame around the front of the device which really adds to the style that Google is going for. On the front, there are absolutely no buttons, no logos and no carrier branding (thank god). It is one of the cleanest designed phones I have ever used. The biggest design feature is definitely the holographic sparkle pattern that shows up on the back of the device. It’s behind the glass so it doesn’t take away from the experience, but it looks very stylish.
Performance: The Nexus 4 ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU. This is a 1.5ghz quad core cpu. In other words it’s REALLY good. This is BY FAR the fastest phone I have ever used. Apps open almost instantaneously. It’s almost as if there is no loading. Because of its’ 2 Gigabytes of ram, you can open up as many apps as you’d like and multitask without slowing down the phone in the slightest. Gaming is also really good because of its Adreno 320 GPU which is as good, if not better than the GPU in the iPhone 5, so gaming looks beautiful and performs great.
Screen: Rivaling the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nexus 4 has a 4.7″ Super LCD 2 IPS display. This is the exact same display technology that Apple uses with their iPhones and HTC with their One X flagship phone. This display means incredibly wide viewing angles and extremely true to life colors. With a resolution of 1280 x 768, the Nexus 4 clocks in with a pixel density of 320 PPI (the iPhone’s is 326 PPI), so when you use the Nexus 4 you’re going to see super sharp images, really crisp text and incredibly clear videos.
Software: The Nexus 4 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. This version brings quick settings in the notification bar, lock screen widgets, gesture typing and a totally redesigned camera app with 360 degree panoramas. Because this is a Nexus device (made by Google), it will always run the latest version of android for 3 or 4 years to come, which is an extra perk for your investment. The Nexus 4 is completely supported by Google and is the most optimized, fast experience you will get from an android phone.
Battery Life: This is something that many, many companies overlook these days. In my opinion, this year should be the year of the battery, where all the tech companies put their effort into attaining much better battery life instead of squeezing out the slightest bit of performance. The Nexus 4′s battery is pretty good. It gets me through the day with heavy usage and 45 – 50% remaining when I put it on the charger at 11:30. Although it is not any better (or any worse) than the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3, it certainly isn’t bad.
Camera Nexus devices have always had a history of having really average cameras. Although LG did attempt to change this, they didn’t do as good a job as they could’ve. Don’t get me wrong; the camera isn’t bad! I was actually very impressed with the 8 megapixel photos and the 1080p HD videos it produced. The low light performance was pretty decent, rivaling the iPhone, but don’t expect it to compete against the new HTC one’s incredible camera.
The Final Verdict – Although this phone isn’t available through a carrier (other than T-Mobile), it is available for a really good price. At only $300 for the unlocked version from Google Play, it is one of the cheapest unlocked smartphones that you can buy brand new. From there, you can then pop in any GSM sim card and you’re good to go. What you get for the price is incredible. I highly recommend this device for anyone who wants a well designed, fast, beautiful android phone.
At first glance, Google’s new Chromebook Pixel looks like a horrible deal. Weak Operating system, middle of the road hardware, and a $1300+ pricetag. I even ranted about the price here. But then I reevaluated all of the extras Google was throwing in, and although it’s expensive, it’s actually a good deal. Look at the breakdown below for yourself.
Value Breakdown: Looking at the $1500 model.
- 1 TB of storage on Google Drive, free for three years. Total value: $50 per month, or $1,800. That pays for the computer in itself.
- 12 Free Sesions of Gogo Inflight (review here) at $14 each, or $168.
- 100 mb of free data per month on Verizon for two years (about $3 a month), $72
- And of course, the computer itself. With an extremely high resolution touch screen, we’ll value that at $700.
Total Cost: $1500
Total Value: $2740
Actual Cost -$1240 if you use everything included.
The fact is, for this computer’s target market, it’s actually a steal. For the business traveller who likes the Pixel’s portability, they’ll use those free Gogo sessions, and the cloud storage, and of course the data while they’re on the go, so they’re actually SAVING money by buying this computer. That Cloud storage is so valuable that you’re actually better off buying a Pixel, than buying the storage on its’ own. The Pixel is so expensive that it’s not quite viable in price for most people, but to anyone that says Google isn’t providing good value, look at the facts and see that you’re incorrect. Anybody plan on buying the pixel?