We Begin Our Best Android Smartphone Challenge!

We do a lot of product reviews here on TheGeekChurch.com, and one thing that we like to review are smartphones. Considering that they are going to be selling big this holiday season, we want to review the best on the market.

You will note that we will only be reviewing Android phones. Yes, we hope that makers of smartphones will give us some smartphones for our review, and we want to review them and figure out which is the best for consumers.

What we are hoping to do is review each phone, and announce the winner of the best phone by December 14, still enough time to purchase before Christmas.

These are the Android phones the we want to review:

Samsung Galaxy S9

Of course, I’m going to put Samsung’s flagship here. I used to get upgrades every year, but it has been a while.

Samsung Galaxy Note9

Oh, we might as well review the phablet form of Samsung’s flagship. You gotta love that stylus.

OnePlus 6

I believe that this phone has been making the news, and man, it would be great to get our hands on one.

LG V40 ThinQ

I currently use an LG, and I believe this is the big one this year. I thought I saw it at CES, and it would be great to see what else they are up to.

Motorola Moto G6

It’s also been a while since I reviewed a Motorola smartphone, and while they are not as big a player during the flip-phone era, they have a say in the smartphone age.


Man, it’s been a year since I had an HTC phone, and I’m looking forward to reviewing another.

Sony Xperia XZ3

I have to admit that I am a stranger to Sony’s phones. However, it’s time for a change.

Okay, I’m sure that I left out at least one Android phone, so if you want to leave a suggestion in the comment box, feel free.

Under Armor Gear Review: PLYO and Monarch Series for the Galaxy Note 9

All right, it’s a great time to be reviewing Under Armor Gear (UAG) products again, and I am pleased to finally get my hands on two products for the new Galaxy Note 9 with the PYLO and the Monarch Series.

UAG PYLO for the Galaxy Note 9

So, when it comes to the PYLO, it is one of those really stiff and clear cases. When it comes to the corners, they are soft, clearly made for some serious corner impacts. Somehow, this case is pretty light and has some over-sized tactile buttons.

What I like about the PYLO is how it doesn’t have that kind of “buckle” look that is common for most UAG cases (I’ll get to that when I talk about the Monarch). The PYLO has at best a rainbow clear look, which means it is minimalist on the back, but very “busy” on the sides (again, something I will get to with the Monarch).

You should be able to purchase the PYLO for the Galaxy Note 9 for about $39.95 on the UAG site.

UAG Monarch for the Galaxy Note 9

Now, here’s a review of the Monarch case, and, as you can see, it has a distinct look that I have seen on UAG products before. That is the “buckle” look that I don’t know how to describe any other way. I mean, look at the pattern on it, it looks like a buckle, right?

Apparently, the design is all engineered that way. It meets a military standard for drop and shock protection, and it has 5 layers of protection with leather and alloy. It also has a honeycomb traction grip, as well as those places for screws. Like the PYLO, it is hard to believe that it is as light as it is.

If you would like to purchase the Monarch for the Galaxy Note 9, it is available on the UAG site for $59.95 in black or crimson.

Our Review of the LG Stylo 3, Now Available for a Special Price on Cricket Wireless!

LG Stylo 3I rarely get chances to review smartphones, and I always want to make certain that I max them out. In this case, I wanted to make certain that I had a chance to try out the LG Stylo 3, so I loaned it to my teenage daughter. I figured that if anyone could use up a smartphone, it would be that crowd.

For those that are unaware of the LG Stylo series, it is quite something as it comes with its own Stylus. It is not necessary to use the Stylus to use the Stylo 3, but I have to admit that it is really handy.

In fact, when you pluck out the stylus from the side of this particular smartphone, you will discover a world of stylus activities like Pop Memo, Capture +, Pop Scanner, QuickMemo+, and Tasks. I was pretty amazed that when I went to write a memo with this, I was able to print with good calligraphy. Most of the time, when I use a stylus to write on my touchscreen, I get what you get when you sign your signature after you slide your credit card.

I have to admit, I really like that for a phone. There is also this bonus of having a fingerprint sensor on the other side that also functions as a power button. I don’t know how unique that this is to most new smartphones, but usually everything comes with a fingerprint reader.

All that, and the camera is quite something. If you want to get in on this, it is available in rose gold on Cricket wireless for $169.99. It has no annual contracts and available on the nationwide 4G LTE network.

Secure Protection for Your Phone With the Urban Armor Gear PATHFINDER Series

GLXS8_PATHFINDER_RST-MAIN.1006_grandeUrban Armor Gear has protection available for many devices- laptops, tablets, and phones, and we have reviewed many of them here at TheGeekChurch. The case we’re reviewing today comes from the PATHFINDER series.

The case we were sent to review is specifically for Samsung Galaxy S8, but you can also get them for iPhones. The PATHFINDER series cases come in black, white, and rust- which is the color we got. It looks more orange, and brighter than what you might think rust would look like, but still a very nice, sporty color.

This case has many of the same characteristics that other UAG series cases have- like being feather-light, impact resistant, anti-scratch, and having the same great access to charging ports, and the camera/flash. I currently have the Composite case on my phone(Galaxy S7), and it feels very similar. In fact, the descriptions on the UAG website here and here are pretty much the same- with the exception of things unique to the S8- like being “compatible with Samsung Pay and Samsung Fast Wireless Charging Convertible.”

As with all of their cases, the Pathfinder series is drop tested according to military standard of 810G-516.6, which is assuring to those who want to protect their phones in case they drop. If you can appreciate this quality of case for your phone, they sell for $34.95 on the UAG site, or you can buy them at other places like Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.



Our Review of the iKlip A/V

iKlip-AV_front34Well, we have talked about iKlip A/V before, upon its initial release. I mentioned in that article how easy it is for anyone to create some high-quality video now, and the iKlip A/V is made for those who want to have their own video channel and take it on the road.

As you can see from the picture here, this newscaster is being shot on video with a smartphone. It is one that allows the shooter to capture and monitor pro-quality audio with a high-quality mic preamp and it has a built-in wireless receiver.

ik_multimedia_iklip_avYou can see that the iKlip A/V has a place to mount your smartphone, thanks to the help of this clip thing that will hold it in place. You can then plug it in for an external microphone better than the smartphone’s mic. You can see that you can plug in the external microphone, and if you need power, it has 2 AA batteries ready for you. By the way, there is also a headphone jack so you can listen to what is being recorded.

By the way, just having this iKlip Xpand Mini allows for some stability while you are filming. Granted, it doesn’t have any kind of steadicam action, but it is much better than just holding your smartphone and filming. By the way, you can mount this on a tripod because it has that threaded hole at the bottom.

You should be able to purchase the iKlip A/V on the IK Multimedia site for about $179.99.

Yosh Waterproof Case

YoshOkay, it seems like all of our smartphones are going to be waterproof one day. This means that soon you will be able to take them swimming, and not worry about the phone getting ruined. Until then, use the Yosh.

The Yosh is this simple bag that keeps your smartphone safe. Perhaps it is better than a Ziploc bag that Officer Hopps used in Zootopia when she had to flush herself down a toilet to escape. Yeah, that happened.

Fortunately, you don’t need that type of protection. However, in case you just want to take some pictures of fish, you can do that. Which leads me to believe that whoever took that picture here had two smartphones and two Yosh things.

If you want this, you can get it for $6.99 on Amazon in black, green, magenta, orange, white, and yellow.


IK Multimedia Announces iKlip A/V

ik_multimedia_iklip_avThis next product reminds me of the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen, and IK Multimedia has a product known as the iKlip A/V which helps you do the same thing. In case you need a reminder, click on the link.

But if you are too lazy to click and read, here’s the thing. It is a way of taking a smartphone and turning it into a steadicam. Why? Because you need one for your video channel. You do have a video channel, don’t you? Yeah, I should probably get to work on that.

It has a high-quality XLR mic preamp with phantom power and built-in wireless receiver support. It uses 48 V phantom power with two AA batteries, and it holds any iPhone or Android device from 3.5 to 6 inches.

Now, you can find out more information about it here. However, this won’t be the last time we report on this, and you should look forward to a hands-on review of it.

Our Review of the HTC 10

HTC 10As someone who has used and enjoyed the HTC One M9, I was very pleased that I got an upgrade with the HTC 10. In case you are wondering, HTC’s newest flagship has a more simplified name, and the change is a complete redesign.

Let’s talk about a few changes that were made to the HTC 10. First of all, the charging port is not a micro USB, but the USB 3.1 Type-C. This is certainly an improvement to the speed of the charging, and it is welcome, even though all the micro USB cables that I have lying around are no longer compatible.

Speaking of charging, I am told that this is good for 2 days without a charge. Of course, I usually just charge mine whenever it goes below 50 percent. I am told that there is some new app known as HTC Boost+ that monitors app use and can dynamically allocate CPU and memory as required, and maximize the battery life. I’m also told that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor is the latest and greatest.

Also, the headphone jack, which used to be located on the bottom of the phone with the charging port, has now been moved to the top. I’m not certain why that change was made, and the only inconvenience is when I want to watch videos while charging, as there are cords in both ends of the phone when I’m using headphones.

The HTC One M9 used to brag that their speakers were on the front of the phone, and there has been an adjustment for that. There is now one Boomsound speaker on the front, and another on the side. Considering that I don’t use my phone without headphones, I don’t see this as a step backward. I’m told that the HTC 10 has been catered for audiophiles, but not being an audiophile, I can’t really testify to that.

One thing that was really great is that the power button is textured, which makes it different from the volume control buttons. These buttons are very close to each other, which has led to confusion on my part. In the past with my HTC One M9, I would attempt to turn the volume up and hit the power button. The textured feeling allows my finger to know I hit the right button before I actually push it.

The screen is an enlargement at 5.2-inches as opposed to the 5.0 that the HTC One M9 had. The resolution also has been upgraded to 1440 x 2560 with QHD resolution. Video now looks better than ever.

So, then there is a fingerprint sensor made for some extra security, and this is kind of a standard for phones now. I suppose that we are really getting to the point where we need this type of security, and this is a standard feature on most new smartphones. This one works in 0.2 seconds.
There was only one problem that I kept having is that my finger would often hit the button that allows for Android multitasking. On my HTC One M9, that button would put all apps in use on tiles. On the HTC 10, it puts the apps in use on something like a file cabinet to sift through. It’s probably part of the Marshmallow upgrade with HTC’s own Sense.

IMAG0069The HTC 10 has a metal curved body, and it can get pretty hot when in use or charged up. Speaking of temperatures, I am told that this phone has been subjected to a lot of serious hot and cold weather as well as tests for bumps and scratches, along with corrosion.

One of the biggest things is that has been upgraded is that the SD card can hold up to 2 TB worth of excess storage. That is going to be a lot.

So, let’s talk about the camera, it has the world’s first-dual OIS, 12 Megapixel Ultra Pixel sensor, with a faster laser focus and much more. This OIS is on the front and back, and there is a larger UltraPixel sensor and a bright f/1.8 lens for up to 135 percent more light in every shot. I’ve tried out the camera, and you can see some of the results. By the way, taking photos is very easy with a lot of modes and one-button touch.

What I really like is the video, which combines with 4K video combined with the world’s first stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording. All in all, I am pretty pleased with my new HTC experience. I honestly hope that these HTC Android phones will sell as good the ones from Samsung, because they are just as good.

Bodyguardz Pure Glass for Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

bodyguardz-pure-tempered-glass-screen-protector-galaxy-s7-active-hero-webIt has been a while since I reviewed a Bodyguardz product, and the last time it was for the iPhone 5. Yeah, that is way too long, so I managed to review the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Bodyguardz Pure Premium Glass Screen Protector.

This is one of those products made to prevent the 30 percent of owners who break their phone within 12 months. By the way, the damage is 10 times more common than loss or theft, and Americans have this habit of spending $5.9 billion of repairing their phones.

One of the best parts about screen protectors, particularly ones from Bodyguardz, is that you don’t know that it is there. I’ve had screen protectors that I was pleased with, and not only does this provide protection, but some clarity. That means that you have an anti-glare screen.

If you want to have some of this protection on your Galaxy S7 Active, you can get it on the Bodyguardz site for $39.95.

Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now” Guy Comes to Sprint

Well, you can see the ad here, and you can see that Paul Marcarelli, the guy that used to do the “can you hear me now” repetitive ad for Verizon has gone to Sprint.

The reason why the switch has happened is drive test date from Nielsen covering the top 106 metropolitan markets in the United States shows that Sprint’s reliability now beats T-Mobile and performs within 1 percent AT&T and Verizon. It is apparently a dramatic improvement over the last two years and gives Sprint customers a better experience than before when connecting and using their favorite mobile devices.

“I’ve watched with interest as each of the wireless carriers claims to be the most reliable or the fastest,” said Marcarelli. “But what I’ve found is…the ‘better’ that some other national carriers claim about reliability is really less than a 1% difference. Does anyone even really notice a difference of less than 1%? But when it comes to saving money…. Sprint is by far the best choice for consumers. You get a highly reliable network and save 50% off most of the rates other national wireless carriers charge. Now that is noticeable.”

And in other news, Ronald McDonald is going to work for Burger King.