The pros and cons of: Adding a roaming plan to your phone

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(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

With just over a week until Christmas, work is winding down and minds are shifting to vacation mode. However, there are still a few minor details to think about before we shut down for another year: one being deciding the “how fast can we exile snow-laden Canada” last-minute vacation spot, the other – and this is the kicker – is the ever-daunting conundrum of “to get, or not get a roaming plan” for said vacation.

A recent study conducted by Rogers Wireless shows that 60 per cent of Canadians consider access to maps important when travelling – ranking it above checking email, the weather and social media. From a crowd-sourced perspective (I asked 10 people as I walked around the city), the clear, convenient choice is adding a roaming package; some of which start as low as $7.99 per day for 50mb of data access. For others, who are more techno-literate, unlocking their device seemed to be the clear choice. That decision allows for use of a prepaid SIM card anywhere, at any time. Despite these options, many are unable to confidently say that they knew what to do when it came to the topic of travel and connectivity.

Being the generous technophile that I am, I figured as my holiday gift to my loyal readers, I would explain a few pros and cons of investing in a carrier-specific roaming plan. Hopefully it clears the air a bit!

Pros:

  • One number to be reached on
  • Extensive and consistent coverage – chances are your carrier has roaming agreements with carriers around the world, benefiting you with the fastest speeds possible
  • Keep tabs on spending with one bill that includes roaming charges
  • Use your own device

Cons:

  • Remembering to ensure package is removed when not in use otherwise you’ll get billed the following month
  • Often not available ‘a-la-carte’, meaning you must pay for a month for only a week’s worth of usage

The purchase of prepaid roaming SIM cards is a cost-effective solution for those comfortable with the process of unlocking their device and changing the SIM when need arises. It also means you will have to memorize a second phone number and track your spending on both the card and your monthly bill. If you’re cringing at the thought of what I just wrote, a roaming package is probably your best option.

Which category do you fall in? Are you a frequent-travelling SIM changer? Or do you appreciate the benefits of roaming plans? Sound off below!

The pros and cons of: Getting an iPhone or Android-based smartphone this holiday season

Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is seen during its unveiling in this March 14, 2013 file photo at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

Our recent piece on tablets had a lot of readers asking about what smart phone they should buy as presents this holiday season. This is why, after  last week’s discussion about connected watches, we’ve decided to revisit ye ol’ battle of the operating system and help you, our loyal reader, narrow down which is most worthy of your time.

After speaking with several authorized phone dealers around the city, I discovered that the unanimous decision from the consumer perspective this holiday season is between Apple’s iPhone 5s and Samsung’s Galaxy S4. So, for this week’s pros and cons, let’s look at both devices and help you figure out which is best suited to your needs.

Apple’s iPhone 5s

Not only was the late great Steve Jobs a visionary, but he also single-handedly changed the way we look at our smartphones with the introduction of the iPhone. Now on their seventh iteration iPhone, the 5s, Apple shows that despite nay-sayers, they still have what it takes to not only move product, but also own almost every mobile tech segment. Being said, it can’t be all peaches and cream owning an iPhone, can it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of joining the iClan:

Pros:

  • The most popular mobile camera on the market and for good reason
  • Works seamlessly with all of your Apple products
  • There is quite literally an app for everything
  • New A7 chip means zero lag multi-tasking between apps
  • Convenient new finger print censor allows for easy ownership access and purchasing of apps

Cons:

  • Battery life has only been marginally improved, iPhone to iPhone
  • Still one of the highest price points for a phone off contract
  • Must upgrade device for more memory (pictures, video, music)

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 

A company once known for its cameras, TVs, and other home appliances, is now more commonly known for its Android-powered devices. In fact, the Android platform dominates the Canadian market and Samsung is almost synonymously used as a term for comparing iOS and Android (think about the question “should I get an iPhone or Samsung”). Once a year, akin to Apple, Samsung releases a new flagship phone bearing the “Galaxy S” name. So why all the popularity? Does the phone produce gold for its owner? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of owning the Samsung Galaxy S4:

Pros

  • Powered by Samsung’s version of Android entitled “TouchWiz”, considered a fan favourite for its forward-thinking features
  • Removable battery
  • Multi-window: my favourite feature of TouchWiz allows the user to view two apps at once
  • Capability for wireless charging (with applicable battery cover)
  • Expandable memory up to 64 GB

Cons:

  • Carries the highest price tag of any Android device, which is off-putting considering the plastic-y build and feel
  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing Android device on the market

Overall, the answer is a lot simpler than one would think, so you can look at it like this: if you’re someone who doesn’t care about customization, wants a device that will work seamlessly with little learning curve and is ready to go out of box, go iOS with the iPhone. However, if you’re someone who likes to make a device their own and doesn’t mind getting a bit dirty with the freedom of customization and “openness” (can change everything about the look and feel of the device), go Android.

Are you an Android or iPhone user? Sound off below letting me know what the catalyst was in making your decision!

The pros and cons of: Buying a connected smart watch this holiday season

Casio's GB-6900 Bluetooth-enabled G Shock watch

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

Many of you have no idea who Chester Gould is. If you’re wondering why I am mentioning his name in this post, it’s because I have a very good reason. On a seemingly unassuming day back in October of 1931, Mr. Gould created the comic strip, Dick Tracy, and subsequently changed the way we looked at our wrists. Rather than just looking at watches as a mere tool to tell the time, he pioneered the idea that they could become a productive extension of our daily lives. Back then, the idea was that hard-hitting Detective Dick Tracy could use his wrist-laden tool as a two-way walkie talkie to communicate back with the station, a technology / idea way ahead of its time for early October 1931. This notion, however, didn’t stop eager young boys from mimicking the fad and role-playing as Mr. Tracy just so that they could see themselves talking directly to their wrists.

Eighty years later, those young day-dreaming boys turned into forward-thinking men, and those men had children of their own. The idea of communicating with your wrist has evolved into an all-out fever pitch and it seems like every brand is throwing their hat into the ring, wanting to release what they believe is the best and most deserving of your hard-earned buck. So how do you, my hard-working technophile, discern between them all? Well, that’s why I’m here.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular smart watches on the market and decide which one is potentially the right one for you.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch: Roughly $329.99 

Samsung’s play in the smart watch industry has been met with mixed reviews; most notably the fact that at launch it only worked with the Galaxy Note 3. Since then, updates have rolled-out and the device is supported by most of Samsung’s current devices. The Gear is the first watch to mimic most of the features seen in Dick Tracey’s iconic watch such as placing/receiving calls on its built-in speakerphone, camera functionality, and a gorgeous 1.63-inch touch-friendly display. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of buying it:

Pros:

– Works beautifully with your Samsung smartphone

– Built-in 1.9-MP camera actually takes great pictures, records video in HD

– Speakerphone is loud and clear

– Charging case uses the same charger as your phone, so no need to carry around more cables

Cons:

– Only works with Samsung devices, thus the device is useless to anyone with an iPhone or other Android-based smartphone

– Battery life barely lasts a full day

– Not many Gear-specific apps available for download

– High price-point for average consumers, only early-adopters will be inclined to buy.

Casio G-Shock Bluetooth Watch: $200 from Watchit.ca

Pros:

–  Casio has a great reputation making watches that are tough, long-lasting, and cost-effective

– It’s a watch first. Fully water-resistant up to 200 meters, no need to take off for workouts, showers or swimming.

– No need to remember a charging cable. Casio has one year of battery life with regular Bluetooth usage

– Get notified of calls, texts, and emails; also if the watch loses connection to your phone

Cons:

– Currently only works with iOS 5, 6 & 7 via free downloadable app – no Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone 8 support

– Replacing battery more often because of Bluetooth usage

– Made for casual wear only, plastic build restricts formal use

Pebble smart watch: $149.99 from Best Buy

Pros:

– Works with Android and iOS devices via free downloadable app

– Notifies of calls (ignore or accept), text, emails, etc. and allows user to control music and other features

– E-paper display allows for easy viewing

– Great price-point for a smart watch

– Waterproof design allows for use while showering, swimming, or washing dishes

Cons:

– No support for BlackBerry or Windows Phone devices

– On-screen text is small, so users may not find it useful for reading messages and/or notifcations

– Battery life isn’t very impressive, one to three days tops

Overall:

The big question that anyone interested really wants answered is why? Why does someone ‘need’ a smart watch? And the answer is simple: for convenience, that’s it. While regularly using a connected watch does optimize the experience of using a phone, owning a smart watch enables its device-addicted owner to actually put their smartphone down and focus on what’s going on around them, without the fear of missing out on what’s happening online. They’re also a really cool, fairly cost-effective gift idea for the early-adopting techy at home.  As for my preferences, I’ve used all three watches, and find myself leaning towards the Casio G-Shock Bluetooth watch, solely because you’re getting a great, cost-effective watch that has the optional Bluetooth connectivity built-in, rather than a mini phone-dependant computer that can also tell time. Despite its the lack of Android support, which is said to be coming soon, Casio has a great reputation for making watches, and the added Bluetooth feature works great when paired to your iPhone.

Have you hopped the Smart Watch bandwagon? Do you plan to this season? Sound off below and let me know what you’re looking at getting and why!

 

WATCH: Corey talks about tech gifts for Christmas on The Morning Show

The pros and cons of: Getting an iPad or Android-based tablet

The S Pen takes centre stage on the Note 10.1 with well thought out features

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

We knew the holiday season was upon us when, in an over-zealous act of eagerness, the Hallowe’en signage was taken down at your local drug store and Michael Buble’s “Christmas with Friends” was put on on repeat.  So what does this really mean? Aside from eating that extra sweet, driving that extra kilometre to the cousin’s house that you don’t talk to all year, or finding that ‘perfect’ ugly sweater for holiday party number umpteen, it also means gift buying. Lots and lots of gift buying.

Speaking of gift buying, you’d be lying if you were reading this and trying to tell me that you don’t have at least one tablet request on your list. You’d also be misleading me (and yourself) if you claimed that, during research, not a single question popped up and you weren’t having any issues deciphering between the options. Don’t worry, I get it, and am here to help. That’s why for this week’s pros and cons we are going to take a look at the two most popular tablet options (Apple and Android) available and give a few reasons why each may or may not be the right choice for you.

Apple’s iPad Air:

Arguably one of the hottest gift ideas for 2013 is Apple’s fifth-generation tablet, the iPad Air. The sleek, brushed aluminum, light-as-a-feather tablet, with a gorgeous 9.7-inch retina display launched about a month ago starting at $519 (16GB).

Pros:

  • 20 per cent thinner than the iPad 4
  • Extra long battery life (up to 10 hours)
  • The great Apple customer experience
  • Speaks naturally with all your other Apple products (iPhone, MacBook, Apple TV, etc.)
  • Improved FaceTime video calling
  • Available in WiFi and LTE-ready models

Cons:

  • Apple products are notoriously expensive
  • Memory is not expandable
  • Doesn’t support more than one user at a time
  • Chances are you’re going to need to replace all your cables & chargers

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition):

One of the best assets of Android is also its downfall: its openness. Essentially, anyone with big pockets can license the Android platform from Google and install it on their hardware. So why is this a downfall? The more Android tablets there are available to buy (and trust me, there are a lot), the harder it becomes to decipher which is the best. That being said, I chose to highlight the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for two very specific reasons: Samsung is a household name in terms of popularity and the Galaxy Note 10.1 is currently the best Android tablet on the market starting at $549.99 (16GB).

Pros:

  • Gorgeous 10-inch screen
  • Great for multi-tasking (ability for split screen mode and picture in picture)
  • Handy stylus for note taking
  • Supports multiple users
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • Plastic integration cheapens feel
  • High price tag: even higher than the iPad Air
  • Limited tablet-ready app selection
  • Low-resolution video calling
  • Can only connect online over WiFi, no Canadian carrier support

After using both tablets, I lean more towards the Galaxy Note 10.1 solely because of the ability to customize everything about it to fit my preferences. This kind of customization is so important to me, I can accept not having access to every single app like my iPad-using friends.

What tablet do you use and why? Sound off below!

The pros and cons of Nike’s Fuelband or FitBit’s Force fitness watch

Stay on track of your fitness with the Nike Fuelband. $149.00 at Nike stores across Canada.

(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

Connected watches are the latest in must-have electronics and everyone (phone makers) wants their own piece of the action. What most consumers don’t realize, however, is that the idea of ‘connected watches’ evolved from an idea more scaled back and focused: fitness watches. Pioneered by athletic brand Nike and their popular Nike Fuel Band, the original idea stemmed from the notion that every move the body makes should be tracked and monitored so that its users can set health-oriented goals. Of course, this concept then opened the flood gates to other brands coming to market with their own unique take on fitness tracking watches, one of the more notable being FitBit’s Force watch.

So what’s a consumer to do? How can a potential buyer narrow down and decide, easily, on the right fitness watch for their needs? Let’s break it down and look at a few pros and cons of buying each fitness watch.

Nike’s Fuel bandSE

Pros:

  • Light and easy to wear
  • Water resistant for showering and running in the rain, not prolonged periods of submersion (swimming).
  • Synchronizes effortlessly with your iPhone or computer (via free downloadable application)
  • Tracks steps, body movement, and other ‘in-place’ physical activities (think yoga)

Cons:

  • No Android, Windows or other mobile platform support. App is only available on iOS
  • Matte plastic finish shows all dirt and oil picked up along the way
  • Price point at $149 is higher than others in its class
  • Does not track floors climbed or cycling

FitBit Force

Pros:

  • Cross-platform support, works on Android and iOS
  • Lower price-point of $129 than Nike’s FuelBand SE
  • Tracks steps, calories,  your sleep cycle and floors climbed

Cons:

  • Wristband design not as secure as FuelBand
  • Syncs to computer via separate USB dongle
  • Too many parts: requires specific charging plug

Overall, I am leaning towards the Nike Fuelband as my fitness watch of choice for its convenience and usability. I can ignore its lack of Android support because I can plug it directly into my computer for charging and  synchronization.

Have you decided on the right fitness watch for your needs? Let me know which one and why below!

Notable Review: Sharp Aquos 80 inch Smart TV

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

I’ve written umpteen reviews on a very wide array of products, from phones, to tablets, to gadgets of all kinds and more. However, never before this had I ventured into the world of smart TVs. While many of you may look at me and say, ‘c’mon, man, what’s the big deal’, I look back at you with a scolding glare and respond ‘a lot’. TVs have come a long way from the days of the standard tube and since CES 2013 – with the Sharp Aquos 3D TV catching all the eyes – have evolved from the battle of the highest resolution LCD/Plasma screen to being about who can put out the most cost-effective 4K TV. But that’s another write-up entirely.

For now, we are going to talk about the gorgeous, ostentatious monster that is the 80” Sharp Aquos Smart TV and why it’s intended for a certain buyer only and not worth the cost for anyone else.

So let’s get right into it and talk specs:

– 80” (measured diagonally) LED Flat-Panel
– Width: 71-55/64″
– Weight: 152.1 lbs
– 1920x1080p (vertical pixel resolution)
– Smart Capable (instant access to NetFlix, Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)

Is an 80” TV really necessary for a young professional?
Unless the setting is perfect, absolutely not; when we talk 80”, our minds don’t grasp just how large it actually is in person… at least mine didn’t. Eighty inches is over 6.5 feet wide against the wall. To put that in perspective, imagine (roughly) if Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade (6’4” and change) laid down horizontally against the largest wall in your condo – it would look ridiculous and you would likely trip on him a few times trying to enter the room.  That’s exactly what happened to me sans Dwyane Wade.

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You can see from the above image (side note: you haven’t watched Breaking Bad until you’ve watched it in 80” HD) that the TV literally overlapped the doorframe by about 3.5 inches.Not to mention, the glare from natural light, blinds up or down, was unavoidable. The only time I could watch TV and enjoy it was at night. As for resolution, I was sitting about 10’ from the TV and had no issues with clarity due to the unbelievable pixel density. But that’s the only reason why.

Is it really that smart?
Listen, I am not knocking what a smart TV can actually do, because it’s actually cool for what it is, I am just going to say ‘smart’ isn’t as smart as one would expect, or think, for that matter. Smart often insinuates intuitive, something that the Sharp Aquos isn’t; the menu is clunky and takes time to get used to (especially connecting to a wireless network); unlike a smartphone, the TV doesn’t learn from frequent commands/gestures and thus act in accordance to make life easier; and, regardless of an internet connection, I had to manually check for available updates. The TV didn’t notify me regularly.

For what it’s worth on a positive note, Sharp’s built-in “Smart Central” hub was very easy to navigate and use for all my favourite social channels.

So, who is the 80” Sharp Aquos Smart TV made for?
Without a doubt, a TV of this size is made for two very specific environments: an office (boardroom for presentations to a large group of people or waiting room for news-watching use) or a house/condominium with a media room that has a wall to support this kind of TV and the space to comfortably watch it from.

Otherwise, although an amazing toy that we dream about owning as kids, it isn’t something practical for a 20-something to be dropping $5k on. Not only because $5k is a lot of dough, but because it isn’t 4K, and, obviously, that’s the way of the future.

Channeling My Inner Dick Tracy With the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

I’ve been dreaming of a truly intuitive, connected watch for a long, long time. Since the days of my youth, actually; slouched in front of the TV watching detective Dick Tracy catching bad guys, all while communicating with people back and forth on his forward-thinking walkie-talkie watch.  It was the coolest thing in the world and created an obsession among tech nerds and comic book geeks for two decades to come: create/find the perfect, coolest, do-everything-for me connected watch.

Well, friends, that day is finally here. However, don’t get too excited just yet… there are still a few caveats to overcome.

First and foremost, Samsung is not by any means the first to market with a ‘connected watch’. Pebble has their watch of the same name, there’s the MetaWatch, Sony has their smart watch, there’s the “I’m Watch,” and, of course, Apple’s long-rumoured iOS-powered connected watch. But, there is a common feature missing among all the aforementioned watches that is my biggest selling point on the Galaxy Gear, something that, to most, is a bit ridiculous/over-the-top when they first encounter it: the ability to take calls on the watch.

So, before I go more into the pros and cons of why a connected watch is right for you, let’s get into a few back-end things.

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Specs from a glance:

– 1.63-inch super AMOLED screen (320×320 pixels)
– 800MHz single-core processor
– 512MB RAM
– 11.1-mm thick
– 315mAh battery (25 hours of usage claimed)
– Its own version of Android
– 1.9-MP camera

Further, I want to make it abundantly clear that this watch, in its current state, is for early adopters only. Why? The apps are sparse (very little in the Samsung AppMarket), as of writing this post it’s only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the battery, though not horrible per se, leaves a bit to be desired (I got less than a full day’s usage and only used it for notifications most days). The average consumer would be annoyed by most of the above and probably end up returning the watch rather than giving it some time and waiting it out.

The Pros:
The features that it does have work beautifully and, as expected, are very much so complemented by the gorgeous super AMOLED display. The camera is impressive and offers little lag when taking quick snaps for demonstrations’ sake (haven’t found a need for the camera otherwise).  Although it sounds a bit distant and echo-y, using the Gear as a Bluetooth headset is not only refreshing and cool, but somewhat of a head turn for passersby who appreciate the forward-thinking nostalgic factor that it offers. I was able to leave my Galaxy Note 3 charging or in another room of my condo and take calls effortlessly. Something that Samsung impressed me with was ability to fit a lot into a tiny 1.63-inch screen, and it’s noticeable; colors are sharp, vivid and on-point. Not once was I forced to squint or angle my wrist to accommodate ever-changing lighting conditions.

The Cons:
Of course, with all the positivity previously mentioned, there are bound to be some downsides to this sought-after watch. First and foremost, there are very little apps to choose from in its current state. Like, I mean less than 10 (if that) that are download-worthy. However, playing devil’s advocate, it did only just come out. Developers need time to develop, right? Further, Samsung omitted a feature that boggles my mind: a battery level meter – no, seriously. The only time you can easily tell what the battery life is at is when it’s plugged in and charged. As for the battery life, I expected a lot more from a device that really only needs battery to power the vibrant super AMOLED screen. I rarely took calls and wasn’t able to physically respond to texts from the watch itself, so I was shocked to find the watch dying very easily by dinner, which is about 6pm for me. (I took it off charge at around 6:30am, so the watch offered roughly 11.5 hours of battery life.) This is something that worries me. Should developers hop the connected bandwagon and start developing watch-ready apps, how will the watch ever make it through a few hours of heavy usage? It’s not like users can just plug the watch in on the go; it needs a specific carrying case to charge properly.

Overall:
After reading this review, it may seem like I harbour a bit of resentment towards the Galaxy Gear watch, but on the contrary, I adore it. It’s become the extension of my phone that I didn’t realize I needed until I became adjusted to having it on.

This led me to realize the following:

Connected watches to our mobile devices are becoming what shoelaces are to our shoes: a necessary addition to ensure the best experience possible. The difference is that the need for laces is apparent while the need for a connected watch is something that will be acquired through more consistent usage as popularity grows. 

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch can be purchased for $329.99 from BestBuy.ca.

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Kindle Fire HD Launches in Canada Tomorrow. Here’s Why You Should Care

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

With the dust having now settled post Apple iPad Air announcement, it couldn’t be a better time to talk about other tablet options that are more cost-effective to young professionals and, for the most part, offer similar or better specs.

One of those options begins shipping to Canada tomorrow, that being the upcoming Kindle Fire HD, running Android 4.2.

The 7-inch tablet, which sports a 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 800 processor, a 1920×1200 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, dual-band WiFi, a front-facing HD camera, and 11 hours of battery life, will start at $254 for the 16GB model, going up to $294 for the 32GB version and $334 for the 64GB model. It offers access, though not as expansive as our American counterparts, to all that Amazon has to offer including apps, books, games and movies.

But, it’s Android, not iOS; why should you care?

Because, pound for pound, you get more for your money with Android. Its direct competition, the iPad mini with retina, starts at $299 for 16GB of internal memory, has marginally higher screen resolution (2048×1536), sports roughly the same battery life (Apple claims up to 10 hours), has much less RAM (512MB), and otherwise does not have the flexibility that is offered by the Android ecosystem.

Not enough for your on-the-go lifestyle? Seven-inch and 8.9-inch versions of Kindle’s Fire HDX tablet will begin shipping to Canada on Nov. 26, which will start at $254, and $399 for 16-gigabyte models. HDX models are equipped with Qualcomm’s top of the line quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, which are three times faster than the older Kindle Fire line.

How’s that for a Christmas wishlist curveball?

Be the Tastemaker Among Your Friends with Vouchr

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

We all know that one person in our group of friends; the one who knows the right bottle of wine to order with dinner, thebest patio for a client meeting, or the poorly lit dive bar that makes the best Old Fashioned in town. They’re the ones who always know the next big hotspot, and they found it before it was cool. And, as Notable readers living the young professional lifestyle, that person is probably you.

Enter Vouchr, a new social gifting app for iPhone made by a local Toronto startup of the same name. Simply put, Vouchr lets you take the amazing things you’ve discovered around town and gift them to your friends to try, on you.

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Here’s how it works: found a new speakeasy that’s doing things with artisanal cocktails you never thought possible? Create a voucher for the drink by snapping a photo, adding a personalized message and selecting who and how much it’s for. Your friend will be notified of both your excellent taste and generosity, and can claim their voucher at the speakeasy with the app. They then try the cocktail while Vouchr puts some cash in their PayPal wallet, feeling like you just let them in on the best kept secret in town.

The PayPal thing seems weird at first, but it’s actually what separates the app from other me-too social gifting services. Because the money is exchanged between you and your friend, it means there’s no weirdness with QR codes or whatnot when your friend goes to pay – they just pay normally knowing you hooked them up. It also means that you can create vouchers for practically anything. Cocktails? Check. The best tacos in town? Check. The new hot yoga class you’ve been hitting twice a week? Check.

vouchr

Vouchr currently limits you to creating vouchers for your Facebook friends, but that still makes sense – why would you want to gift a drink to anyone other than your closest friends? (Well, maybe other than that cute someone across the room). Anyway, YPs know it’s not about the money – it’s about being the one in your group of friends that knows all the best things around town. With Vouchr, you can share them, and your great taste, with your friends.

Download Vouchr for iPhone.

Notable Review: Dyson DC51 Animal

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

When I began my new life as a blogger some four years ago, if you had told me I would one day write a review on a vacuum, I would call you a liar to your face and maniacally chuckle – it’s funny how things change. Since moving on from TheCellularGuru and beginning my reign as Managing Editor at CanadianReviewer, I have had my eyes opened by the pitches coming through, most of which have nothing to do with technology. To be honest, it’s unbelievably refreshing to not be pigeon-holed anymore to one topic of interest (technology). I can now focus on expanding my breadth of knowledge, making me appreciate technology even more, solely because it’s not the only thing on my mind anymore.

That being said, there is one name (and subsequent brand) that has always been on my mind to review and that is Dyson, known for their state-of-the art vacuum cleaners. So, without further adieu, let’s get right into why, as a young professional reading this, the Dyson DC51 “Animal” vacuum is the best cleaning apparatus since the broom was invented and a must-own for your brand spankin’ new condo (or house).

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As a hardworking twenty-something in the city (some of us with pets too), one of the most tedious chores known to us is maintaining a clean home. No, seriously. As a form of personal rebellion, harbouring the long-standing resentment towards my loving Jewish mother who would force me to clean, I have always done my best to ignore the chore. However, unlike living at home, ignoring the dust/dirt doesn’t make it go away; rather, it makes it worse, especiallywhen you have a shedding pet. So what’s a young professional like me supposed to do? Go out and buy a vacuum? Sounds well and good, but vacuums aren’t cheap, regardless if you’re buying a generic brand or a Dyson. They range significantly in price, and in the case of Dyson, can be upwards of a third of your month’s rent (or mortgage payment) depending on the situation. So, for many reading this, that idea alone sounds completely unfeasible. Which is exactly why I am writing this post. Aside from praising what it has done for my health and the cleanliness of my condo, I want to break down how affordable the Dyson actually is, and why it could be one of the best long-term investments you can make living in the city.

Let’s just say the average young professional goes out about three times per week for dinner/drinks, not including weekends out either. That’s half a month’s worth of going out. And of course, while you’re out, you’re spending money being social, so let’s put a number to that as well, about $50 per night on food and drink (we all know more is spent on weekends because you just got paid, but to keep things even and balanced, let’s maintain the number at 50). Now, let’s do some simple math: 15 (number of nights out) x 50 = $750. That’s $750 spent on social activity. Cool? We’re on the same page.

dyson

Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, and why my argument makes sense. To keep up with day-to-day activities – and life as a whole – you need your health; something that has no dollar amount AND is heavily influenced by cleanliness. So, while you could go out and spend 200-something dollars on a push vacuum, it’s not a Dyson. Here’s why:

1. Other vacuum cleaners are still designed to need replacement bags and filters – and the cost soon adds up. Dyson vacuum cleaners don’t need bags and have permanent washable filters, so there’s no extra cost.

2. A Dyson cyclone captures more dirt and microscopic dust than any other. No bag. No loss of suction.

3. 19 cyclones working in parallel across two tiers generate high centrifugal forces. More microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns are captured from the airflow.

4. Last but not least, the “Ball” technology, which allows for a much more fluid experience around tight corners.

The Dyson Animal DC51 runs for $549.99, $200 dollars less than what you spend on social activity in a month – and is a one-time purchase.

Getting that ‘a-ha’ moment, right? So did I.

Too often, people like me are blinded by price without realizing the long-term benefits spending a bit more money has on our lives. Owning a Dyson is a prime example of this and has become the catalyst for me to make time for a quick daily vacuum.

All it really takes to afford one is staying home an extra night or two per week. Chances are, once you do get one, if you host people, they’ll be so enamored by your Dyson that they’ll end up doing the vacuuming for you – it’s happened to me.