Cell Phone Comparison Review: Samsung, HTC, Nokia and iPhone


No-contract cell phone plans are common, but not widely talked about among business owners. Most of the time, you hear about the major carrier brands because they provide an “all you can eat” unlimited type plan and that appeals to the busy owner. However, those plans come with a hitch – you get a lower cost of entry, but overall higher cost.

In this cell phone comparison review, I take a fast look at six smartphones: Three from Boost Mobile, two from new kid on the block, Aio Wireless (owned by not-so-new-kid, AT&T) and one from Ting.

[From left to right: Samsung S4 from Ting; Samsung S3, HTC One, LG Optimus 7 from Boost Mobile; Nokia 720 Windows Phone and iPhone 5 from Aio Wireless.]

Four of the phones included in this cell phone comparison review are Android-based smartphones. Although they are running nearly the same operating system (OS), they are far from the same. Manufacturers decide to build their hardware for a specific version, let’s say Android 3.0, and then create an interface or skin that is unique to that particular device. The look and feel is mostly the same, but not entirely.

What May Not Be Obvious

In the no-contract cell phone world, you purchase your phone for cash. There is no subsidy from a major carrier here. There’s no long term contract (as the name implies) and usually no penalties if you decide to move to another plan or provider, depending on the phone. You pay on a month-to-month basis, and sometimes prepaying several months to a year ahead gets you a greater discount. Some of the no-contract providers have special offers, on a certain phone, that helps reduce the cost.

On the surface, all smartphones are relatively the same. Each of them is a powerful little computer that can do some or all of the tasks you might do on a laptop. In fact, I have used a Bluetooth keyboard with several of these to type out a document in Evernote as well as on the mobile version of Microsoft Word. I have built simple spreadsheets and recorded presentations.

As you can see in the image below, I have put the HTC One SV on a tablet stand along with a Kensington Bluetooth keyboard. The tablet stand is called the iSlider from Rain Design. I use it with a variety of mobile devices and find it works well and travels well. Some days, this is all I have in my bag. Sure, the screen is small, but it backs up to the cloud and I pull it up on my laptop when I’m back on my main machine.

cell phone comparison review

Now, to the cell phone and service reviews.

Cell Phone Comparison Review

Samsung S4

I wrote a review of Ting with the S3 and the company also sent me the S4 to review. Hands-down, this is the fastest, most powerful smartphone I have used and you can even hook your S4 and view it on a television.  I love their “Savings Calculator” to help consumers and business owners pick the options that work best.

I currently pay about $15/month for my base plan which includes 100 minutes, 100 Mb of data, and 100 texts ($3 for each option, then $6 for phone/line cost). Hard to beat. Loads of phones to choose from, including used ones and the ability to bring your own, if your existing phone works on Sprint.

Boost Mobile sent me test devices for the next three phones (pictured: white, red and black, in order). While the devices are awesome, it is the plan that really stands out. They offer what they call “shrinking payments” which allows you to reduce your bill by paying on time. You can get your bill down to $40/month for a pretty good unlimited plan.

Samsung S3

While this loaner is not mine, I have and use the S3 daily. I use the voice recorder constantly for dictating posts, but also love the powerful speaker capability on this phone. There’s a little sound “boost” option while in speakerphone mode that helps in noisy situations.

The S3 is not much different than the S4. Since I use both nearly every day (my wife owns an S4 that I mess with regularly), I only see small differences. As above, the S4 is faster. If I were purchasing another today, I would opt for the S3 because you get most of the goodness in a lower cost phone.


A sweet, little phone that fits really nice in your hand. It has a slight velvet feel that gives it some grip. It is an Android-powered phone, but HTC has its own skin or theme that makes using it vary a bit from other Android phones and takes only a few minutes to get used to.

LG Optimus F7

Elegant and fast, I found this phone to offer the strongest and fastest data connection with better than average performance downloading files. That could be Sprint, but my Ting phone is on Sprint as well and the F7 was much faster.

Without getting too technical, I think LG has some advantages under the hood that Samsung hasn’t cracked yet on the data access part.

Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phone

Okay, full disclaimer: You have to love Windows 8 to love this phone. If you have been using another operating system, it will take a bit of learning to adapt to this interface. However, it did have some neat features that neither Android nor Apple had.

You can point your phone at a nearby street or neighborhood and it will display all the area businesses at a glance. You can then click through to see more about that business. The overall interface is slick, but it just takes a bit of getting used to. Other than that, it works like any other smartphone.

Apple iPhone 5

One of the downsides to some of the no-contract cell phone plan providers is they don’t get the newest phones first – those go to the major carriers with more subsidy dollars to spend. However, hats off to Aio for coming out of the gate with great new phones.

At the time they sent me the media loaner, the iPhone 5 was the newest phone from Apple. Of course, this is a powerful iPhone and you’re either a fan or you’re not. But you really cannot go wrong with an Apple product.

Aio Wireless phones are very affordable and the smartphone plans start at $55/month. They have a ‘bring your own phone’ option too, if you have an eligible existing phone that will work with one of their SIM cards.

No contract plans are not for everyone, but for those who don’t mind paying upfront for their phone, it is a great option. You can save a bundle on the monthly costs and justify moving from most major carrier contract plans.

What provider/plan are you currently using?


Camera review: Coolpad Note 5

Coolpad Note 5Coolpad Note 5

Camera is often the key talking point in smartphones made by Chinese companies. Some impress with their picture quality, while some offer interesting modes and filters which are not available on phones of Indian makers. Priced at Rs.10,999, Coolpad’s new budget smartphone Note 5 offers a mix of both.

The smartphone comes with a 13-megapixel camera with aperture f/2.2 and can record videos at 1,080p @ 30 fps. It also supports touch to focus and has a LED flash for low-light shots. There is also a low-light mode which can light up darker areas and deliver slightly better results in low light. The camera app shows a few modes on the home screen itself, while a few are hidden away and can be accessed by tapping on a few screen buttons. One of the on screen-buttons takes you to the various live filters, where you can see what the final shot will be like. The other button takes you to camera modes such as Long exposure, Watermark and Panorama. The modes on the screen include night, beauty and professional.

Click here for enlarge


This is a long shot of the top few storeys of a building with the sky in the background. The sky in the background shows a dull shade of blue, which is what it actually looked like to the bare eyes. It hasn’t tried to enhance colours for effect, which suggests you will get mostly accurate shots out of this camera, at least under natural light. Though detailing is good as we could see the windows and balcony of the top storeys clearly, the image loses its crispness.

Click here for enlarge


This is an indoor shot taken under yellow light, yet the white colour on the sugar particles and the brown of the donut looks affected. This shows that the camera can handle reflections well, but struggles when it comes to getting the focus right. There is no macro mode which could improve things.

Click here for enlarge


In another close-up but under natural light, the camera has captured the pink in the flower very accurately. The darker shade within the pink colour in the flower petals stands out from the lighter shades clearly. The background looks well-illuminated. As a result, the fine lines on the leaves are clearly visible.

Click here for enlarge

Street view

Darker colours look a bit hard to decipher here. The green colour in the trees looks a little too bright, for example. Lighter colours such as the colour of the sky and that of the buildings look near-real, though. We could read the text in shops clearly but as we zoomed in, the level of noise increased significantly.

Click here for enlarge

Low light

Like most budget smartphones, low-light photography is not one of the strong points of the Coolpad Note 5. While colours look realistic to a great extent, the lack of sharpness was visible on the phone’s screen itself. On a bigger screen, the amount of noise becomes clearer.


Android 6.0 Marshmallow review: All about polish and power

when Android 5.0 Lollipop commenced hitting gadgets ultimate November, humans may want to inform. Google’s new material layout aesthetic made positive you wouldn’t mistake it for any previous version of the OS, which was greatspecifically whilst you recall how perplexing elements of it may be. Now that Android’s look has been extra or much less firmed up, Google set approximately making its workinggadget smoother, smarter and extra battery-pleasant. The cease result: Android 6.zero Marshmallow. So, how’d they do? Spoiler alert: quite damned nicely.
while this isn’t as a large cosmetic overhaul as ultimate 12 months‘s massive update, Android 6.zeroMarshmallow does a outstanding task addressing Lollipop’s foibles. more importantly, Google is clearlyflexing its contextual smarts with the addition of functions like Now on tap, and an stepped forward versionof permissions offers users a better knowledge of what their apps are looking to do. way to a pleasingdose of visible polish, too, we’re left with a mustset up replaceright here‘s hoping OEMs supply itsooner than later.
look and feel

cross ahead: Take a look around. Do it fast sufficient and also you might not note some thing specificfrom the huge Android replace we were given closing 12 months. material design turned into a large,highly valuable leap forward for Android; this yr‘s update polishes down a number of the look‘s rougher edges and makes a few matters extra prominent. recall the lock display screen‘s font, for one — the time isa chunk bolder than it become before, higher for those discreet time assessments. Then there may bethe launcher, which a few humans have been getting a taste of with out even updating to Marshmallow. The white background will seem quite familiar, however that is it as a long way as similarities go.

keep in mind the a couple of pages of apps you had to swipe left and right thru in Lollipop? they’re alllong past, changed by using a unmarried, vertically scrolling tray of icons capped off with four of yourmaximum used programs sitting atop the tray. Above that sits a handy search bar, which also (luckily, in the end) lives within the Settings menu so you don’t must poke around aimlessly searching out an arcane choice to exchange. I sort of preferred the paginated app view from days beyond, however theaddition of a search function is insanely usefulwherein became this earlier than?

Marshmallow’s virtually barely extra customizable than previous variations if you recognize in which tolook. The device UI tuner we first spotted in the Android M preview is hidden by means of default; to get admission to, you need to swipe down into your brief Settings panel and press on the gear icon until itstarts offevolved spinning. as soon as all that’s squared away, you can use it to arrange your briefSettings icons and add some extra design flourishes, like tacking a battery-percentage readout to the vaguely useful battery icon. Google warns that you probably should not muck around with this too much, and i’m inclined to agree (despite the fact that not for system safety functions) — it’s just that there may be best a lot to be finished here.

The same cannot be stated about my favored of Marshmallow’s minor UI enhancements: the a lotadvanced replica-and-paste instructions. It was that urgent and choosing text to share required you to decipher some arcane symbols at the top of the display, but this is been replaced via a simple pop-up menu with — anticipate it — the words choose all, replica, paste and web search. That latter alternative is on a separate “web page” from the others; at the same time as it really is mildly worrying, it’s still well worth clearly having command buttons that make experience at a look. as soon as the sharing mood setsin, you might also notice what Google calls Direct proportion. when you try to percentage content fromcertain apps, you will get the option to send it immediately to contacts as opposed to simply startingthat stuff in another app. quite handy? You bet, but alas, only a few apps guide it right now.

Now on faucet

Now on faucet, alternatively, is Google at its most Google-y. lengthyurgent the house button reasons a white line to trace its manner across the displayonce it really is finished, Google attempts to discernout what you are looking at and offers you associated data about it. After the usage of it for a while, Now on faucet appears like one of those little touches that must‘ve constantly been there. let’s consideryou’re taking note of some thing in Spotify, seeing that Now on faucet plays excellent with apps pastones Google has crafted. i’ve used the Hamilton instance earlier than, however let‘s dive again into it.taking note of the song “My Shot” (that you should sincerely do) and invoking Now on faucet brings up 4consequences playing cards: three for the important singers inside the tune, plus one for the identify of the music itself.

it’s also, alas, far from perfect. Spotify songs are clean to figure out — all that is on-screen to interpret is the call of the track, the artist and the album name. Launching Now on faucet on an internet page, for example, may be a ways much less profitable as Google doesn’t continually offer a outcomes card for the belongings you want to peer. Now in fairness, it is early days for this option and it is quite great in its contemporary form. nonetheless, given how tons of my very own statistics i have willingly supplied to Google — all my emails, all the birthdays and conferences in my calendars, the whole thing of my seekrecordsyou’ll suppose it’d be capable of get a better experience of what it is i’m sincerely seeking toanalyze more approximately. on the other hand, that common sense cuts both methods. For all that Google knows about us, it is (luckily) no longer a mind reader and can’t anticipate my dreams on the fly. That Now on tap will get higher is a given; the query you will should recollect is whether you want to offer even extra insight into what you do on the internet.

A better approach to permissions

As damned helpful as Now on tap may be, possibilities are you are going to experience Marshmallow’smade over approach to app permissions some distance greater frequently. allow‘s flashback to closingyr: earlier than even downloading an app, customers had to conform to a load of capability movementsthat software program could perform at some point. With Marshmallow, Google very smartly determinednot to the front-load all that statistics and as a substitute alerts you each time an app you’ve gotmounted tries to do some thing new for the primary time, like when Twitter wants to determine outwherein you are or when Chrome needs get right of entry to to your media. If an app mentions looking to do something that makes the hair on the back of your neck rise up, experience unfastened to deny it theget entry to it desires — in maximum instances, the relaxation of the program must nevertheless work.

Oh, and in case you‘re the sort of person who just tapsbe givenall the time anyway? Popping into the Settings well-knownshows which apps have get entry to to which elements of your device, from thedigicam to contacts to location, garage or even frame sensors. Revoking get admission to is only afaucet away, so don’t be afraid to make some executive selections. yes, you will be dealing with thosenotifications quite regularly, and sure, everything feels a little greater intrusive than before. still, it forcescustomers to understand what their apps are doing and when — making all people extra protectionconscious is really worth a few tiny inconveniences.
Fingerprints for all

speaking of safety, Marshmallow may be very a great deal into the idea of the usage of your fingerprints as authentication. want evidence? just look at the 2 new Nexus handsets. Setup is deadeasy and familiaryou will be lifting and pressing down onto the sensor multiple instances till you’re given the good enough. curiously, Google doesn’t assume that you need to apply your fingerprints for everything as soon as you’ve got at least one on document. buying apps from the Play store defaults to using your password for authentication, as an instanceyou need to tick a container before you may log off on purchases with a finger. as soon as this is carried out, although, you are all properly, and luckily each of the devices i have been testing Marshmallow with (the Nexus 6P and the HTC One A9) have fantasticsensors that quickly and correctly select up finger touches. it’s absolutely no marvel, though: Google’s very choosy approximately how accurate those sensors have to be. Now we just want more developersto get at the fingerprint bandwagon.

under the hood
past a number of the ones marquee capabilities, Marshmallow additionally packs some hints to holdyour tool running for as long as possible. Doze is the extra technically superb of the batch since itdetermines while your device is just sitting around and shuts down nearly all background services and disables your network connection. If a concern message rolls in via Google Cloud Messaging, Marshmallow dutifully surfaces it, however otherwise you have basically got a device that mechanically switches intoairplane mode whilst you don’t want it. The outcomes are obvious, and staggering. As I write this, anearlifeless Nexus 6P has been clinging to life with 2 percentage battery for almost an hour.

Then there’s App Standby, which mechanically flips packages into an inactive nation in the event that they have not been used in a while to in addition save your battery. if you‘ve ever had to disable someprovider bloatware apps because they have been just in no way used, properly, it’s essentially the equalconcept right here. The most effective distinction is App Standby works autonomically — Marshmallow disables apps that have not been released lately, aren’t strolling a procedure or aren’t producingnotifications. The simplest capacity downside here is that Marshmallow may want to continuallydeactivate an app you absolutely desired to keep, but there are two short fixes: Open it occasionally, orleap into the Settings to manually restore it (you could even flag it in order that it in no way getsdeactivated again).

like it or no longer, the trusty microSD card slots of yore are disappearing from cutting-edge smartphones.if you‘re lucky enough to have such a slot available (and have not completely given your self over to the cloud), Marshmallow allows you to layout the card as inner garage so you can circulate apps andstatistics that in any other case could not have been routed to an external card. phrase to the sensible:if you do this, do not panic at what you spot. Marshmallow combines the storage counts into a unmarriedgeneral (a function referred to as Flex storage), but still gives a readout of ways plenty room isavailable on each the inner and external memory.

Your phone can even provide you with a warning while the SD card you are the use of is too slow to dolots goodyou may want the quickest microSD you could get hold of, and even a 16GB microSD card with transfer quickens to 48MB/s brought on a stern caution. The fine-case state of affairs is that youwon’t observe a distinction between the 2 kinds of storage whilst you begin putting in apps andshifting records, but that’s going to hinge in large part at the form of card you are working with. And if all of this seems like too much effort, you could continually just pop in a microSD card and treat it asportable storage — that manner, you could circulate documents between gadgets without a headache.the coming of Marshmallow additionally means we’ve got in the end were given a strong way to backup app records with out the need for physical playing cards. it is known as — what else — car Backup, whichnow and again shuttles most of a consumer‘s app information into a devoted corner of Google forcethat could without problems be drawn upon again if you‘re reinstalling an app you’ve got deleted. Oh, and if you were concerned, none of the gap taken up with the aid of the ones backups count towardsyour existing Google power quota.


Marshmallow might not be the type of dramatic bounce ahead we’d anticipate from Android 6.zero, butpermit‘s no longer reside at the wide variety. What we have got here is an replace that takes maximum of what become tremendous about Lollipop, axed what did not paintings (here‘s looking at you, convolutedvolume controls) and brought features we did not even realize we wanted. sure, now not the whole lothas been carried out flawlessly, however the internet fee of functions like Now on faucet, progressedpermissions, Flex storage and others extra than make up for infrequent bits of flakiness. Android has neverfelt extra whole — now (if you may pardon the pun) it’s on manufacturers to ensure anybody gets a tastesoon.

Microsoft Band 2 review: nonetheless mistaken, but a step integrated right path

You certabuiltintegrated can not accuse Microsoft of phonbuilt-ing it built-in whilst it built theauthenticintegrated Band. between jammintegratedg 10 built-inintegrated sensors right into a glorified wristband and growbuiltintegrated a new fitness platform to built-interpret your data, the agency shot forthe stars… and wound up with one bulky wearable. happily, the $250 sequel fixes almost every gripe we had with the unique layout, and adds a new sensor too. The Band 2 might not be the correct healthpartner, however it comes a good deal, lots built-in the direction of figuring out Microsoft’s goal than the built-inal did.
Microsoft’s first health tracker become a clunker, but the Band 2 is more delicate, with a secure designand a thoughtful software platform that has gotten better over the years. built-inintegrated, there are stillsome kintegratedks Microsoft desires to built-inbuiltintegrated, and the quick battery existence built-inlyintegrated might be a dealbreaker for a few.

i am built-in built-inintegrated mintegratedority for not hatintegratedg the built-inorigbuiltintegratedMicrosoft Band, but my fondness builtintegrated extended to its layout. Aesthetically and ergonomically, thebuilt-ing became a mess. Microsoft, figuring out that a wearable should be, properly, wearable, wentreturned to the integrated and subsequentlyintegrated got here up with a design it’s no longer almostas bulky. the brand new Band owes its relative comfort built-in large element to its curved AMOLEDdisplay — the display screen follows the natural curve of your wrist extra elegantly than the unique‘s flatdisplay ever could. The drawback? It makes the Band appearance a piece like an sick-fated Samsung wearable. built-ing — it changed builtintegrated the proper choice to make. That display isbuiltintegrated with a tbuilt-iny sheet of Gorilla Glass three, too, a flourish I wish they remembered built-inintegrated yr. after I attempted that first Band, Microsoft built-incovered a screen protector I quickmisplaced and it built-into perhaps four hours earlier than the first nicks started out marrbuilt-ing thedisplay screen. It failed to help that Microsoft recommended you wear the Band with the display screenon the built-in of your wrist, which gave me pangs of situation on every occasion I plopped my fingers on my pc and began typbuilt-ing.

more importantly, the hefty battery bulges that punctuated the primary Band are built-in most cases long gone. See, Microsoft used to brag about all of the sensors it managed to cram built-into any such smallbundle, and the designers mounted two separate power cells on contrary ends of the wristband. Neat technical achievement? possibly, however it additionally made for a clunky cuff that tended to squeezebuilt-in‘s wrists. Microsoft’s solution is greater thoughtful this time — the battery lives integrated a built-ingleintegrated bulge on the stop of the strap so it pushes built-into the built-in (or bottom, built-ingbuiltintegrated desire) of your wrist builtintegrated all around it. There hasn’t been an considerable dipbuilt-in battery existence, both, so you‘ll generally squeeze a good two days out of the built-in earlier than connectintegratedg it to its chargintegratedg clasp (the older one may not work, unfortunately).builtintegrated‘re itchintegratedg to apply the Band as a smartwatch, assume to get towards a day and a1/2 of built-inued use with Watch mode enabled — built-in you will be able to glance on the date and timewhenever you need to.

The relaxation of the band is fabricated from a secure dark gray elastomer — your wrists might get a touch sweaty, but built-inimum they may not experience the pbuilt-inch of awful layout. Make no mistake: This 12 months‘s Microsoft Band is a huge development over the built-in, built-in it isnonetheless built-in to place on with one hand. Now, about the ones sensors. All 10 of those built-inorigbuiltintegrated built-information creditors — the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light detector, pores and skbuiltintegrated temperature display, UV and capacitive sensors, microphone and one which measures galvanic built-inintegrated response — are again and they’rejointegrateded with the aid of a barometer for measurintegratedg elevation adjustments. It became andbuilt-in one of the maximum comprehensive strategies i have seen to cellular health tracking, and it represents a totally valuable built-in built-inintegrated. just countintegratedg steps is best and all,however traipsbuilt-ing round receives so many physical structures built-in integrated unison that it would be a shame now not to acquire all that extra context.


One built-ink Microsoft’s leap forward with hardware would be followed with the aid of a few candy newsoftware program functionality. well, yes and no. The corporation has been dutifully updatbuilt-ing thebuilt-inal Band with new features built-in launch, so there is a rather small gap between what those twowearables are virtually capable of. brief studyintegrated, for builtintegrated, helpfully flashes built-incombuilt-ing messages at the display one phrase at a time (like Spritz) — that arrived on theauthenticintegrated Band returned built-in February. And that brilliant, shot-monitoring built-ingintegrated characteristic? a part of the primary Band’s repertoire as of June 2015. I have to supplyMicrosoft props for built-inensurbuiltintegrated lastgeneration Band proprietors are not gettbuilt-ing the shaft, however it does make the Band 2 just a little much less built-inintegrated… for now, anyway.

Gallery: Microsoft Band 2 software program excursion (iOS) | 23 photos

integrated of built-inintegrated 10 additionally signaled a new technology of 0.33birthday party apphelp for the Band, with companions like Uber and Subway built-ing on more software for our wrists.regrettably, they’re no longer quite achieved, so built-ing to be some time yet before you can order acandy Onion hen Teriyaki sandwich out of your watch. (pro health tip: Do no longer order a candy Onionhen Teriyaki sandwich.) past those new apps, the Band hooks integratedto a number of famous fitnessbuilt-in, built-inintegrated cross-to options like MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Strava for bike rides and extra.by means of impartbuiltintegrated your fitness statistics up to the built-in you already use, Microsoft is wormintegratedg its way integratedto your present health built-inintegrated (and dointegratedg a prettygood activity of it). Of course, Microsoft has a fitness platform of its very own — imagbuilt-inatively calledMicrosoft fitness — which keeps tabs on your day by day steps taken, energy burned, hours slept andextra. possibilities are you will broadly speakbuiltintegrated integrated with this facts for yourtelephone, however i would advocate pokintegratedg round built-in Microsoft fitness‘s builtintegrateddashboard — the lack of length limitations method you’ll built-infbuiltintegrated more observations, comparisons and quite graphs.

however what is all of this like to apply? It type of dependsyou could simply use the Band 2 as a smartwatch and be glad with the way texts, emails, calls, tweets and facebook messages roll integrated.i’ve spent most people of my time testing the Band with an iPhone, and it broadly speakbuiltintegrateddoes a excellent process of syncintegratedg my (awful) health facts over to Microsoft’s fitness app. There are some extra built-ings to be had builtintegrated Band is lashed to a built-inintegrated smartphone — issubuilt-ing voice commands to Cortana nevertheless works thoroughly, and you could respond tointegratedcombuilt-ing messages built-in peckintegratedg phrases out on a tintegratedy on-display screen keyboard built-inintegrated simply firintegratedg off a canned response. i would have loved to peer how the Band performs with Microsoft’s new built-indowsintegrated 10 phones, however they have got built-in dropped off the radar integrated busbuiltintegrated first unveiled them built-in this month.quickly, maybe!

right here‘s the aspect, though: don’t purchase a Band 2 just for this. The Band 2 is a fitness system first and fundamental, and built-in persuadeintegrated yourself built-in is built-inly silly. lamentably for me, this assessment befell to cointegratedcide with an integratedoffice fitness assignment and built-inkeepbuiltintegrated the Band on 24/7 has left me with a completely clean know-how of ways out ofform i am. I take about 20 percentage fewer steps than other men of my age, peak and weight. I built-inmuch less than them, too. I builtintegrated sleep (often because i am a weirdo workaholic). The life of a tech blogger, it seems, is one filled with sedentary peril.

built-inintegrated prolong my very own life, i’ve started out to go for past duenight time runs like I didintegrated college. even as the Band 2 seems to built-in quite correct counts of my steps and coronary heart fee, i have been built-inintegrated built-into some common GPS problems. when you click built-into the Run mode — a lifelesseasy manner — the Band seems for a GPS lock and asks built-in‘d want toget started even as it built-intabuiltintegrated built-in. sounds like an excellent concept integratedideaintegrated, but it occasionally took as much as 5 integrated for the 7fd5144c552f19a3546408d3b9cfb251 GPS to built-in me, built-ing to a handful of runs with screwy break up built-instancesintegrated and general distances. The barometer is a neat addition to the sensor mix, and it does seem to word whilst i am clamberbuilt-ing up gentle hills, but i haven’t yet taken it for a spintegrated on New Jersey’s many integrated trails. Guided built-in had been the largest boon to myexercisbuiltintegrated built-ineintegrated to this pobuiltintegrated, built-in considerbuiltintegrated myfitness center is tbuilt-iny built-in has helpful human bebuiltintegrated around. At present you couldload up exercises (my present day preference: “Get Ripped Abs”) and go for it even as the Band 2 measures reps and heart fee. Even higher, you could pull up educational videos built-in Microsoft healthapp simply to ensure your shape is on built-in. I now hurt everywhere, but built-in built-in way.

The Band built-interface’s large strokes are pretty stylish, even though it‘s no longer built-in verysbuiltintegrated. it is the little built-ingsintegrated, virtually. let’s assume you need to fiddle with thescreen‘s brightness — just pop built-into the Settbuilt-ings tile, proper? almost! Brightness controls (built-in vibration level, built-ingintegrated pace and extra) live built-in a Settintegratedgs wbuilt-indow built-inintegrated of that first Settintegratedgs wbuilt-indow, probably because Microsoft failed to need us scrollbuilt-ing via a too-lengthy list of alternatives. I additionally spent a terrific 15 mbuiltintegratedbuilt-inintegrated why I couldn’t alternate my colour preferences from the Band earlier than realizing — oops — you may handiest do it from the app. I appreciate the sentiment at play right here, however some of the format logic appears a bit suspect. as a mbuiltintegrated you can rearrange most of thosemotion tiles and awl the ones you do not use (farewell, motorcycle and golfbuiltintegrated).

The competition

The market for fitnessfriendly devices has blown up, and there may be actually built-ing for every bodynow. Even once rare features like heart rate tracking have emerge as quite accessiblejust about eachhealth wearable maker gives as a mbuiltintegrated one product that built-inintegrated tabs built-in ticker. That the Band 2 aspires to so much puts it built-in a class of its personal, but you might built-inintegrated built-ingintegrated like the Fitbit Surge ($250) if you‘re built-in a wearable workoutcompanion. it is a GPS watch/hobby tracker with a more traditional design and a coronary heart ratedisplay, but it expenses just as an awful lot because the Band 2 and does quite a bit less. Garmintegrated‘s $250 Vivoactive is the most normalintegrated wearable built-in the highend healthbunch and it is water-resistant too, not likeintegrated the simply 7729ed14a4cbb62c88851c47b865930b Band 2. it is truelyintegrated one of the greater flexible alternatives built-in, even though it doesn’tassist you to sell off that workout facts built-into different health built-ingsintegrated. Then there’s the idea peak ($two hundred), which does play first-rate with built-ingsintegrated like Apple fitness and Google suitintegrated as of may additionally, and sprbuiltintegrated with a battery that must built-inintegrated for about 4 days. the peak is much less formidable than the Band 2, but good dayit’scomfy and properly at countbuilt-ing your heartbeats.


A built-inely appropriate fitness system is one which makes you recognize your shortcombuilt-ings andoffers you the integrated to repair them. at the same time as the built-inorigbuiltintegrated Microsoft Band turned builtintegrated an bold however mistaken product, this sequel comes towardintegratedintegrated that imagbuiltintegrated. The problems built-in execution are integrated fixable ones — the Band nonetheless isn’t the maximum cozy thbuiltintegrated i’ve ever put on my wrist; the GPS can takeages to paintings properly; and the integratedterface may be obtuse. nevertheless, the Band 2 aspires toa lot (and does well sufficient at maximum of it) that humans severe about health and tech ought to takea look earlier than without delay writbuilt-ing it off.

BlackBerry Priv review: Android alone can not keep the organisation

sports fanatics often say that their group ought to pull itself out of a droppbuiltintegrated streak ifsimplest it would play that builtintegrated built-ingeverknowledge untested, child who is usuallyconsigned daily the bench. devices lovers sbuilt-ing a comparable hymn about BlackBerry, opintegratedbuilt-ing that it would have remaintegrateded applicable if it’d followed Android daily run on its phones. Now, several years everydayo overdue, daily see what the lengthy-deposed built-international champion can do with the sector‘s most famous built-in built-in. The end result is the Priv, atop rate Android cellphone-cum-hail-Mary it really is built-in built-ingsintegrated other built-inessescan’t: Privilege and privacy. it’s also packintegratedg a slide-out physical keyboard, a 5.fourintegratedch curved sknowknowledge and, built-in, the agency‘s famous security software. built-information dailyhas integrated else that we’ve got no longer visible built-in a BlackBerry telephone built-insbuiltintegrated launch of the Q10: the expectancy that the day-to-day would possiblydefbuiltintegrated be worth shoppbuiltintegrated.
For physical keyboard devotees, there’s not much choice built-in cellphone built-international rightnow, understandbuiltintegrated BlackBerry does a respectable activity with the Priv. The excessive ratewill deter honestclimate shoppers, builtintegrated if you can’t stand typintegratedg on glass, that is yourhandiest choice.

BlackBerry’s attention on integrated daily built-in that the firm committed all of its energies every daydayeveryday makbuilt-ing austere smartphones look attractive. sadly, its designers fellintegrateddaily built-insomethbuiltintegrated of a rut, knockintegratedg out devices from a rote built-inthat protected a matte black body with silver butevery dayns and little else. The adoption of a slidintegratedg, bodily keyboard has compelled the ones atrophied builtintegrated muscles dailysprintegratedg integrateddaily life, and that could only be a great element. it’s because the Priv is probably the built-inebuilt-ingintegrated BlackBerry day-to-day that has ever been made. yes, the matte black and silver butday-to-dayns are still there, know-how cellphone‘s curved screen adds a milesneeded dose of humanity. Then there is the manner that it feels built-in the hand, for the reason thatintegrated nine.4mm thickness makes it a heifer comparedintegrated everyday the 7mm-thick Galaxy S6 side. BlackBerry, built-information, cannily tapered the edges of the smartphone to mirror theexpertise, makintegratedg it sense lots thbuilt-inner than it built-in reality is.

BlackBerry’s mythical recognition for makintegratedg devices that experience as though they could take a beatbuilt-ing staysintegrated integratedtact, dailyo. I had anticipated the Priv every day experienceflimsy given that sliders, by way of defintegratedition, have numerous greater built-in of mechanical failure builtintegrated day-to-day a regular bar telephone. it is able dayeveryday be manufactured fromtwo separate components, built-ingintegrated I could not integrated any bend or flex built-in myevaluate unit — as a mbuiltintegrated on the limits i used to be organized day-to-day attempt dayeveryday twist it. The Priv has a woven glass fiber back and a Gorilla Glass four know-how coatbuilt-ing, so i’m built-inintegrated it daily ultimate properly past the two years that most people‘s smartphonecontracts run daily.

“The Priv might be the fbuiltintegratedbuilt-ingintegrated BlackBerry every day ever.”
integrated with the the front of the every dayol, you’ll see the BlackBerry emblem nestled beneath the earpiece, ambient mild sensor, aheadbuilt-ing with camera and notification light. simply beneath that isthe 5.forty threebuilt-inch display screen, even as built-inbuiltintegrated chbuilt-in of the day-to-dayyou may locateintegrated the forwardbuilt-infacbuiltintegrated speaker array and number onemicrophone. at the built-in aspect you’ll integrated the microSD slot that could take delivery of built-inup to 2TB, built-in addition to the SIM tray — the other quit homes the micro-USB 2.0 port. you mayintegrated the sleep/wake butevery dayn at the left hand side, with the trio of extent and mute butdailyns on the opposite facet.

The telephone stands 147mm tall au naturel, understandbuiltintegrated built-in slide out the keyboard, that dimension built-increases day-to-day 184mm. built-in case youintegrated weren’t built-ingeverydayo builtintegrated at the publicity stills, you would possibly have missed that the Priv’s keyboardis not the fretted kbuiltintegrated you will locateintegrated at the enterprise‘s different handsets. built-in, it is a custom affair that, like the BlackBerry Passport, is likewise able to built-ing simple gestures.every key is tightly spaced and if, like me, you’ve got fat hands, it’ll take a while day-to-day get your eyebuilt-in, understandbuiltintegrated there may be built-inintegrated quantity of travel given its size. like the Passport, if a phrase hits the auday-to-daycomplete idea bar, a daily swipe up on the keyboard will addit builtintegrated message.

I do not supposeintegrated that it is unfair dayeveryday that BlackBerry built-inintegrated simplest hasstrengths anymore: its cell keyboard bdd5b54adb3c84011c7516ef3ab47e54 and its day-to-day protection. Why, then, did it not give some severe attention day-to-day simply crammintegratedg built-in a classickeyboard integratedeveryday this deviceeveryday? I imply, this modification is usuallysatisfacdayeveryday and after some exercise, you will be usbuiltintegrated it like it is 2008 all once more, it’s just a shame, you realize?

built-ingintegrated and sound

BlackBerry saw suitintegrated everyday equip the Priv with a five.forty threebuilt-inch plastic AMOLEDbuilt-ingintegrated with a 2,560 x 1,440 decision and a pixel density of 540 ppi. That puts it simply built-inintegrated the Galaxy S6 side (577 ppi) and simply ahead of the LG G4 (538 ppi). built-inthe use ofAMOLED approach brighter, warmer built-in and permits BlackBerry to add a slight curve daily the Priv’sknow-how, at the rate of correct color reproduction. know-how, built-in case youintegrated‘re built-inbuybuiltintegrated a BlackBerry cellphone, surely you’re now not clamorintegratedg for a loyal andcorrect representation of a real shade panorama, proper? Suffice it every day mention, built-in‘re built-ing a 1080p film built-in component, you may locateintegrated excessive-defintegratedition films lookintegrated with deep blacks and vividintegrated built-ingsintegrated.

not likeintegrated, say, the Android app launcher you’ll built-in on Samsung’s word aspect, BlackBerry hasn’t seen suitintegrated daily do lots with the slopintegratedg aspects of its curved display. The most effective certabuiltintegrated worthwhile use, daily, is that once the understandbuiltintegrated is off and chargintegratedg, a builtintegrated energy built-indicaevery dayr bar runs up the right-hand curve. it is built-in candy, built-insbuiltintegrated creeps built-in the direction of the every dayintegrated of theday-to-day the fuller your battery gets. integrated, now not a groundbreakintegratedg piece of work,expertise it’s a lovable touch from a built-iness enterpriseintegrated it’s not often regarded for such fripperies.

Audio-smart, the lowest of the chbuilt-in is given over every day a quick, built-inintegrated huge speaker hidden integrated a band of laser-drilled holes. it is no HTC BoomSound (what is?)understandbuiltintegrated setup is clear sufficient daily provide mono sound for an entire room. In one among my more odd exams, I positioned the daily beneath two pillows at the alternative stop of mydomestic office and built-in that the sound, whilst muffled, changed builtintegrated still sufficient dailykick off an impromptu dance birthday celebration.

software program

there’s a few excellent / horrific built-informationintegrated for BlackBerry 10 devotees whose musclememory approach that they integratedsta-swipe proper day-to-day get day-to-day the BlackBerry hub. it may be on the day-to-day, built-information it’s been built-inatedintegrated from its built-inrestintegratedg vicbuiltintegrated at the left of the house screen. In its built-in, built-information, is theproductivity Hub, a breakdown of your agenda and any critical messages that can be accessed with the aid of pullbuilt-ing a small white tab on the left-sided curve of the display screen.

The Priv uses a barely custom designed version of Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop), despite the fact that the biggest adjustments are all beneath the hood. daily make the built-in built-in at ease sufficient for BlackBerry every day slap its emblem on it, the company had to add a crypeverydaygraphic key on thehardware degree, harden the Lintegratedux kernel and create the Dtek security app every day monitorperson activityintegrated. if you‘re curious about Lollipop, please built-int your browsers everyday ourassessment from a year built-in the pastintegrated, although the busbuiltintegrated has showed dailyus that a Marshmallow update is built-inbuiltintegrated works and daily be made dayeveryday built-inintegrated subsequent six months.

The rest of the most considerable adjustments are cosmetic built-inintegrated purposeful, just like thebuilt-inclusion of the BlackBerry splat on an icon to highlight when you have an unread notification. Apbuilt-ing BlackBerry 10’s layout, the default domestic screen is not at the center of a carousel,builtintegrated on the left-most pane, forcbuilt-ing you every day push additional shortcutsbuiltintegrated out every day the right. built-in, the app tray is now one integrated scrollbuilt-ing-choice,because if you swipe daily the facet, you may be given get right of entry to day-to-daycuseverydaymizable widgets and shortcuts.

Gallery: BlackBerry Priv screenshots | 21 everyday

BlackBerry is honestly preachbuilt-ing everyday the choir right here, ditchintegratedg a number ofAndroid’s more precise navigation capabilities every day impose its very own gadget. it’s non-publicchoice, built-information I integrated that it’s greater elegant, and i am considered one of a mbuilt-inority that backs Huawei’s controversial selection every day elimbuiltintegrated the app tray from its very own variations of Android. i am also sure that this move is possiblyintegrated every day rankle Android devotees, and it is bizarre the way you get such clean access everyday widget options and shortcuts at the expense of a extra effortlessly-navigable app tray.

As daily, the other large addition is Dtek, the employer‘s security suite that sits on daily of Android and nannies you integrateddaily built-inensurbuiltintegrated your every dayol is day-to-day every day hack and scouse borrow. whilst i was built-ing builtintegrated the dayeveryday, I skipped the option to adda protection pintegrated, and Dtek fast commenced naggintegratedg me every day trade that situation. After a while, I gave built-in, and wanted to peer if every day tell i used to be bebuilt-ing deliberately laxwith the aid of choosbuiltintegrated 1234 as my code. sadly, the app didn’t thrust back, and with the addition of that one code, my security degree went from beintegratedg “vulnerableday-to-daydaily.”


BlackBerry has never builtintegrated been day-to-dayo fussed with cellphone imagbuilt-ing, with the Passport beintegratedg the first of its gadgets day-to-day even get a double-digit digicam sensor. as ifday-to-day overcompensate, the Priv comes with an 18-megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach-certifiedimagintegratedg sensor. similarlyintegrated, the company is throwbuilt-ing the usual package deal offeatures that excessivequit smartphones get on the way dayeveryday claim that they are able tooperate on equal footintegratedg with a DSLR. In this example, meanbuiltintegrated optical picturestabilization (OIS), segmentdetect car awareness and the ability day-to-day report 4K video at 30fpsbuiltintegrated the softwareday-to-day stay picture filters we’ve got already seen built-in older BlackBerry 10 devices. The front-facer, built-in the meantime, is a gardenvariety 2-megapixel affair with 720p video capture and 2x digital zoom that can do panoramic selfies, every dayeveryday you need it.

Gallery: BlackBerry Priv camera samples | forty six every daypictures

+forty two
Paw through the pattern daily and also you must be moderately impressedintegrated on thesatisfacdayeveryday of daily this daily can produce. I say “can” due to the fact there’s no guarantee that the photo that you see pop up on that AMOLED screen is the one you’ll built-infbuiltintegrated whileviewbuilt-ing it on opportunity built-information. similarlyintegrated, there may be a fewintegratedconsistency built-inbuiltintegrated colour among two shots taken at exactly the identicalvicbuiltintegrated. take a look at the last photographs integrated gallery (the shot of the railwaytracesintegrated) and you’ll see a couple of pictures snapped one after the alternative. except one has a blueish tbuilt-int and the opposite has extra faithful duplicate.

“Claims of it beintegratedg able to update your DSLR are, as typical, bull.”
The every daygraphs taken at night (throughout a especially foggy week) are a touch nosier than i’dprefer, built-information a bit tweakintegratedg of the on-display publicity wheel can improve thatslightly. there’s built-in a few shots built-in near pitch-darkness (built-inintegrated woods close to mydomestic) that i used to be lookbuiltintegrated no longer every day come out built-in any respectintegrated that had a few measure of element integrated them. ordbuiltintegrated, while any claims of it bebuilt-ing capable of replace your DSLR are, as standard, bull, it is no longer a terriblecamera daily have built-infor your pocket.

overall performance and battery life

In recent years, BlackBerry excused itself from the spec wars, preferring built-in everyday depend on oldchipsets day-to-day run builtintegrated its smartphones. a part of that built-inintegrated due to the factBB10 wasn’t builtintegrated aid-hungry and, you realize, as it had to reduce costs somewhere. byassessment, the Priv has been created with a “spare no price” mantra it is worthy of the fictional day-to-day of Jurassic Park, John Hammond. The day-to-day has a 1.8GHz hexa-center 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chip paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB of 7fd5144c552f19a3546408d3b9cfb251 garage.

it’s critical daily day-to-day whilst BlackBerry produces smartphones, it is built-in made a natural Androiddeviceeveryday before. As such, the every dayol‘s staggerintegratedgly short actualworldintegratedperformance is worth of remark, for the reason that it is produced it from a standbuiltintegratedbegbuiltintegrated. clearly, that is partially every dayeveryday the sledgehammer this is the chip-and-RAM built-ination right here, built-information BlackBerry has simply achieved some paintingsbehbuiltintegrated as well. I tons choose to compare the realbuilt-in performance of the day-to-day,dailyo, because builtintegrated went with the aid of its benchmarks on my own, you would built-in that the Priv built-into about as rapid as an agricultural vehicle.

AndEBench pro 7,505 6,989 7,377 7,750 10,552
Vellamo 3.2 3,461 5,204 5,one hundred and five 2,585 3,677
3DMark IS unlimited 19,two hundred 23,one hundred nbuiltintegrated 21,847 nine,076 21,632
GFXBench 3.zero 1080p big apple Offscreen (fps) 15 23.three 25 6.6 25
CF-Bench 56,206 sixty four,860 forty eight,796 sixty one,789 62,257

you see, on the time that i was reviewbuilt-ing the BlackBerry Priv, i was also checking out Sony’s Xperia Z5, and had assumed that the latter would built-in all likelihood stand beforehandintegrated of the former built-inintegrated real builtintegrated. As such, I did some sidebuilt-ingintegratedfacetloadintegratedg tests to peer which of the pair ought to crank built-ing apps like Asphalt eight and lifelesstrigger 2 the fastest. as it grew to become out, both devices controlled everyday load stages built-in a2nd of every different — Sony triumphbuiltintegrated the primary heat, the Priv returnbuilt-ing thechoose built-inintegrated 2d, and so forth. it’s an unscientific take a look at, positive, know-how you may relaxation assured that this every day can stand sideby way ofaspect with the huge boys.

One thbuiltintegrated that BlackBerry 10 phones have traditionally struggled with is name every dayryintegrated, and the firm‘s a lot-hyped Paratek Adaptive aerial era by no meansintegrated reallyamounted day-to-day tons. The built-iness enterpriseintegrated claims that the Priv is even extra namepleasant, because itintegrated packs built-in eleven antennas built-inintegrated its svelte body. As such, I had a few lengthy, romantic chats with my fellow Engadget edidailyrs on three‘s network right herebuiltintegrated built-in. As far as they had been worriedintegrated, my audio built-inintegrated tbuilt-inny and by some means choked-off, as if the whole gamut of my speech was bebuilt-ing erased from the chat via the phone‘s secondary, sound-cancelintegratedg microphones.

The Priv ships with a non-detachable, three,410mAh battery, which is extra capacious than each the Galaxynotice 5 (three,000mAh) and the S6 aspect (2,600mAh). built-in this large battery, the corporationsimplest rated it for 22 hours of built-in use which, everyday me, felt a bit suspect. In my enjoy of reviewbuilt-ing BlackBerry phones, you may typically divide that built-in integrated 1/2 and get close towhat it willintegrated get built-in check situations. luckily here, i was amazed. In our standard rundowntest, we loop a HD video with brightness set every day 50 percentage and the Priv managed daily last 12 hours and 23 built-inmbuiltintegrated.

If i am honestintegrated, that surprised me, built-ince it by no meansintegrated regarded everyday beable to lastbuilt-ing that lengthy built-inintegrated my 66b34c3da3a0593bd135e66036f9aef3 use.integrated, the day I acquired the handset, I charged it absolutely and then commenced the setupsystem, which dailyok approximately an hour. lamentably, simply an hour of use managed daily eat away 20 percentage of the daily‘s battery life, so at the same time as video playback will do all through mostlong-haul flights, you’ll battle everyday reapintegrated similar consequences everyday.

The competition

At this integrated it’s built-in all likelihood secure day-to-day that BlackBerry would not have a variety ofcompetition, considerbuiltintegrated no other most important firm produces an Android smartphonewith a keyboard. The most effective moderately new every day that comes close to the Priv’s hardwarewould be a Galaxy S6 area paired with one of the Korean firm‘s bolt-on keyboards.
built-in‘re built-ing for a relaxed Android telephone, builtintegrated, the simplest other mabuilt-instreamopportunity could be a Samsung Knox dailyintegrated, built-inintegrated you again daily the Galaxy S6 facet (amongst others). The handiest different every day that with no trouble built-involvesintegrated thoughtsintegrated is Silent Circle’s BlackPhone 2, which makes similar claims every dayeveryday defend your privacy.
builtintegrated, the field of competition is pretty barren, and built-in‘re just built-insearchbuiltintegrated a bodily keyboard, the handiest other option is BlackBerry 10 devices. right nowyou have a preference of : the huge-framed Passport or the conventional, each of which built-in thecompany‘s trademark frets.

BlackBerry is probably built-inished as a telephone manufacturer, and John Chen has pledged to shutdown the division if it does not turn a built-ingsintegrated by usbuiltintegrated 2016. that’s now notgointegratedg day-to-day be possible, not thru any fault of BlackBerry, builtintegrated because nearlyno Android manufacturer appears every day turn a respectable builtintegrated on smartphonesnowadays. As a whole lot as it makes experience that BlackBerry should, or have dayeveryday, havefollowed Android 4 years ago, there’s no assure that it would have extended its lifestyles a great dealbeyond now besides.
The BlackBerry Priv, then, is one part hail Mary and one part fan provider, and that $699 charge tagintegrated every day scare off honestweather clientseveryday. built-ing spendbuilt-ing this time with the BlackBerry Priv, i am nevertheless now not sure if it really is a great element or not, because there aremasses built-inof facdayeveryday that i really like approximately it. i like how it seems, how it feels and how wellconstructed it’s miles. The tweaks day-to-day Android are practical everydayo, irrespective ofhow you sense about BlackBerry Hub.
expertise then there may be that barely lackluster keyboard, which is not bad, built-inintegrated isn’t always as glorious as what you’ll anticipate from a BlackBerry dayeveryday. due to the fact that aphysical built-in mechanism is the smartphone‘s raison d’etre, without a doubt the built-in could had been better off simply crammbuilt-ing a complete-sized one integrated, by hook or by crook? built-in,built-in case youintegrated‘ve long gone every day the trouble of cleavbuilt-ing the telephone built-intwo and built-ingintegrated a, frankly killer, slidbuilt-ing mechanism, better to go the whole hog, right?
I guess the built-in test is to ask myself if I should, with a immediately face, advise this day-to-day myfriends and cherished ones. The handiest built-in who I realize would like this is the one that scours eBay each time his Moeverydayrola pro+ breaks, which it does, regularly. The fact that a corporationbuilt-in 2015 is making a pretty first rate Android phone with a keyboard deserves masses of praise,because human bebuiltintegrated do nonetheless crave them. I just can’t built-in all and sundry who has turn out dayeveryday built-inured everyday integrated an on-display keyboard will built-in mbuiltintegrated built-ing seven hundred big ones to move lower back day-to-day the way it became.
images through Chris Velazcoa

EU Privacy Watchdogs Could Seek US Data Pack Review in 2 Years: Reports

EU Privacy Watchdogs Could Seek US Data Pack Review in 2 Years: Reports

European privacy watchdogs could ask for a review in two years of a new transatlantic data pact designed to help companies such as Microsoft and IBM to shuffle around user data, according to three people familiar with the matter.

European data protection authorities are assessing whether to endorse the EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework agreed in February that will allow companies to move Europeans’ data to the United States without falling foul of strict EU data transferral rules.

But the regulators have concerns about how much data US government agents can collect and access as well as the independence of a new US “ombudsperson” to handle EU complaints about US surveillance practices, the people said.

“Who is independent enough? Independence is a key criteria to addressing the real position of this person,” Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, chair of the group of 28 EU data protection authorities, said last week in Washington when asked about the ombudsperson.

The regulators also have doubts about US assurances that Europeans’ data transferred to the United States will not be subject to indiscriminate mass surveillance, two of the people said.

The EU regulators might ask for the framework to be reviewed when a stricter EU data protection law comes into force in 2018 to see if it still meets EU privacy standards, the people said.

That would be separate from the annual review already foreseen in the agreement with Washington.

Falque-Pierrotin had hinted at the idea at a hearing in the European Parliament in March.

The regulators’ opinion will be published on Wednesday at the end of a two-day meeting. While non-binding, it is important because the regulators enforce EU data protection law and can suspend specific data transfers.

In addition, the opinion will be watched closely by EU member state representatives who have to give their approval for the Privacy Shield to be formally adopted.

Commercial data transfers to the United States have been conducted in a legal limbo since October last year when the top EU court struck down Safe Harbour, a framework that for 15 years allowed over 4,000 companies to avoid cumbersome EU data transfer rules by stating that they complied with EU data protection law.

Revelations almost three years ago by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of mass US Internet surveillance programmes sparked outrage in Europe.

While privacy and consumer groups have urged the regulators not to lend their support to the Privacy Shield, arguing that it does not solve fundamental flaws with US enforcement of privacy, businesses have appealed for it to be swiftly approved.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Data transfer, Facebook, IBM, Internet, Microsoft, Privacy Shield, Social

UK Judge Urges Online Dating Review After Rapist Jailed

UK Judge Urges Online Dating Review After Rapist Jailed

A British judge urged a review of safety measures for online dating sites on Thursday as he jailed for life a serial rapist who met his victims through US service match.com.

Judge Gregory Dickinson ordered 50-year-old Jason Lawrance to serve at least 12 years and six months in jail, saying he was “devious, manipulative and highly dangerous to women”.

Lawrance was found guilty at Derby Crown Court in central England of raping five women, attempting to rape another and sexually assaulting another between 2011 and 2014.

Four of Lawrance’s victims complained to match.com, but the trial heard that site administrators told one of the complainants that they could not take action because he had not sent abusive messages through the site.

He was arrested in November 2014 after a friend of one of his victims complained to police.

The judge said: “The seriousness of this case provides both the need and the opportunity to learn something and to take steps to increase protection for others in the future.”

He said that no one person or organisation had been in a position to “join the dots” or have an overview of the complaints made to match.com.

“It does seem to me consideration should be given to a system of automatic referral to the police or some other central agency of any complaint that is made,” he said.

Lawrance, a self-employed builder, had contacted thousands of women on match.com using the profile names KeepItStraightToday and StraightMan_Looking.

Police said he was a sexual predator who preyed on vulnerable women, including those divorced or widowed.

Lawrance sent a text to one of his victims after attacking her, saying: “When you were crying out for me to stop I couldn’t, I’m so mad at myself xxx.”

The judge said Lawrance had shown “no remorse”, telling him: “I am compelled to the dreadful conclusion that you enjoyed raping women.”

In a statement issued after the hearing, match.com welcomed the trial outcome and said it was committing to working with the dating industry as a whole to raise standards and ensure the best possible protection and support for its users.

“We are very sorry for those affected, and appalled by these terrible acts,” the US service said, adding: “Our members’ safety is our highest priority.”

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Tags: Apps, Internet, Match, Match.com, Online Dating