reviews: Fitbit One, Nokia Lumia 920, Lenovo Thinkpad T430
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2012-12-17 16:21:00
Tags: reviews windowsphone
Words: 873

I got a few new things recently - here are my thoughts on them:

Fitbit One - I lost my Fitbit back in September, and my FitCalendar has been awfully sad since them. I ordered a Fitbit One and it just arrived a few weeks ago. Here are the main differences from my thoughts on the original Fitbit:

- It automatically syncs with iPhones and iPads (and soon some Androids), but sadly not Windows Phone. (yet? please?) And now, instead of working with the old dongle, it comes with two - one tiny one for syncing, and one for charging. Why are there two of these?? It's bizarre. At least you can now order extras of either of them separately, but now I have to keep track of two tiny dongles...

- They redid the design of the clip, and while it's a little harder to get out, it's more than made up for the fact that the clip now feels very very secure. Given that almost everyone I know who had a Fitbit lost it, this is encouraging.

I can definitely tell that my steps had dropped off when I lost my Fitbit...I'm working my way back up to 70K steps a week (almost made it last week!), so I really feel like having the device and paying attention to the numbers makes me healthier.


Nokia Lumia 920:

As the Nokia Developer Ambassador for Windows Phone, I was excited to get one of these. After having used it for a few weeks, I'm even more excited - here are my top reasons:
- The phone just feels very high-quality - the curved glass front almost melts into the sides.
- The battery life has been very good - after a normal day (for me) I usually have 60-70% left.
- Wireless charging - woo! That plus NFC enables some cool things like the JBL PowerUp Wireless Charging Speaker, which is exactly what it sounds like.
- Resizing live tiles is surprisingly fun, and really makes the whole Start screen more powerful since I can leave the truly live tiles big, and make the ones that are just links to apps small.
- Internet Explorer lets you choose what button to put by the URL bar (instead of refresh/stop), and I'm using the button that brings up open tabs, which I hit ALL THE TIME and it's so convenient!
- The camera is quite good - looking forward to really putting to the test when I travel next month.
- The feature I'm way more impressed with than I thought is the ability for apps to set the lock screen background, and Weather Flow lets you show the Bing picture of the day and the upcoming weather forecast. Very handy!


Lenovo Thinkpad T430

A few years ago I bought an HP laptop, as a gaming laptop that ran Windows. Now that I'm using my laptop for Windows Phone development, it really got to be painful, because:
- It was 17" and heavy. That was fine when I never took it anywhere, but now that I'm going to more Windows Phone events, it got irritating.
- The battery life was somewhere between unacceptable and pathetic. Admittedly, this might be partially my fault because I left it plugged in most of the time (that's bad for batteries, right?), but if I was doing any sort of development it lasted around 2 hours. Although one of the reasons was...
- It was really really slow most of the time (so I couldn't use the battery-saver mode, as that made it laggy enough that I wanted to throw it out the window). Sometimes Visual Studio would take a minute to response as the hard drive spun up.

So! I wanted something that was smaller, faster, with better battery life (and one that came with Windows 8). I looked at a bunch of options (including the Samsung Series 9 that David has and loves), but ended up with a tricked-out Lenovo Thinkpad T430, as recommended by The Wirecutter. Here's what's awesome about it:

- I was able to get an 180 GB SSD (most ultrabooks only came with 128 GB, which might not be enough after installing Visual Studio, etc., etc.) It even comes with a DVD drive (which is powered down unless it's in use), and you can swap that out for an extra hard drive if you need to, so I have some room to grow.
- It's not as light as an ultrabook, but it is pretty light. It has a 14" screen with 1600x900, which seems to be a good balance between portability and having enough real estate.
- I got a "real" graphics card in it (instead of just the onboard video), which means I can hopefully play games on it. Like SimCity which I am extremely excited about! But it has NVIDIA Optimus so it uses onboard video for better battery life unless you're playing a game or something.

The battery life is very impressive - I can use it all day with ease, and even into two days depending on what I'm doing.

The one thing I'm a little sad about is that it doesn't have a touchscreen, but I'm very happy with literally everything else about the laptop. (plenty of USB ports! fingerprint reader! charges quickly! has separate buttons for mute and volume controls!)


Comment from kernelm:

Thinkpads really are the best. I'm still a little wary of the new keyboard design (why fuck with something established and that just works, Lenovo?) but I won't have much of a choice when I eventually have to update my X201, I guess.

Comment from gregstoll:

Maybe it's a good thing this is my first one, because the keyboard seems just fine to me. I don't know what I'm missing! :-)

Comment from kernelm:

Heh, the old one was a more traditional design (I'm not really fond of this "chiclet"/island thing) but also had more spacing and rows, I believe. Aha, found a good comparison here. Main thing I like about the old layout is the little gaps between sets of Fn keys and also Home/End/PgUp/PgDown where I'm used to them.

I'm sure when the time comes I'll get used to the new keyboard though.

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