Couple weeks ago, my GTX 780ti died on me all of a sudden. I was getting tons of white boxes and lines all over both of my monitors. After doing every textbook diagnostics, it was time for my to contact EVGA to check on my warranty. Thankfully, I had about 50 days left before the expiration date. So I sent mine in through UPS with their pricey shipping label ($28) and waited a few days. Afterwards, I got an email response from EVGA about sending me a replacement card. Curiously, I googled up the serial/product number that was in the email, and surprisingly, they sent me the GTX 980ti. What an upgrade! I couldn’t be happier. That saved me $500 right there. It’s too bad they didn’t include a backplate on that card but whatever. Back to intense gaming! 😀
Long story short, I’m pretty much set on using this as my daily driver. It was a little intimidating at first coming from the first gen Moto G. My immediate impressions when opening the box were, “man this thing is huge” even though I did expect it to be big. I’m expecting to keep this for at least 3 years unless if something better comes out from google (or motorola).
- Stock android
- Dual front facing stereo speakers (they sound great!)
- Upgraded camera
- Good call quality
- Fingerprint scanner on the back makes a lot of sense and it’s quite responsive for the most part
- Durable feel thanks to aluminum build
- USB type C fast charging
- Beautiful amoled display
- First in line for android updates
- Stellar performance
- Decent battery life thanks to amoled display and doze feature
- 32gig for entry model
- Affordable flagship
- Free $50 google play credit
- Project Fi
- Too thin for its own good. The thinness war is ridiculous.
- Slippery back and not grippy enough
- USB type C required me to buy new sets of cables. I understand this will be the new standard but it’s a little too early…
- Still no way to clear all recent apps stack on android marshmellow
- Quad HD resolution is still unnecessary, I don’t see a difference between 1080p and QHD. I’ll take 1080p over anything higher to get extra battery life.
- Volume rocker. It’s too small for a phone size like this and it needs to be placed on the other side, let it be either power or volume. This is the one thing iPhones get right – separate volume buttons. It’s rigid and easy to identify. Take that into consideration google.
- No OIS (optical image stabilization). Come on google! Or rather Huawei. With that little camera bump, there’s no excuse! Having larger sensors is nice but OIS is needed for video recording.
- Lack of micro SD card. This was the biggest sacrifice I had to make to decide on my purchase. While 32 gigs is more than enough size for me to accommodate, I still would’ve liked a separate storage for my personal stuff like music, videos, and pics.
This is my first experience with a phablet and flagship phone. I have the Project Fi sim card however, I haven’t activated yet due to waiting on a better value for its data plan. Maybe once I head overseas for something, I’ll switch to Fi.
If you’re in the android phone market to upgrade, look no further than Nexus 6P. Otherwise, Motorola phones are also a good choice since they use stock android. Buy it from the manufacturer’s site, never the carrier stores!
Since my first gen Moto G LTE was slowly dying with noticeable faster battery drainage and will no longer have android updates, it was time for me to upgrade.
I thought about going with the HTC One m8 because it had good enough battery life, snappy performance, and the excellent boomsound dual front facing speakers, however HTC’s sense skin along with random bloatware was a big turn off for me. After spending a lot of time researching what I needed in a smartphone, I came across the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. I’ve never heard of the company before so I watched and read reviews of the phone. Most of them were very favorable as one of the best ranked budget phone. This thing carried an octa-core snapdragon 615 processor, 5.5 inch display with enhanced colors on an IPS LCD screen, 2910 mah battery (YES!!!), dual front facing speakers with JBL amps (HELL YA), expandable storage (THANK YOU), 2 gigs of RAM, 1080p res (GOOD CHOICE!), and only $250. This sounds damn good on paper.
When I got the device, I was amazed how light it was for an entry level phablet. The plastic build was decent enough durability where it didn’t feel cheap. The brushed feel on the back helped with the grip. As others have stated, the power and volume rocker placements are way too high up making it awkward for the single hand to reach it. I would prefer separate volume buttons like the recent iphones rather than a rocker due to the size of the phone. At times, I couldn’t tell if I was pressing volume down or up.
I was so glad this phone wasn’t in the band wagon of quad HD displays because let’s face it, why the hell would you want such a high res on a small ass screen? It sucks up more processing power and battery. I honestly can’t tell the different between quad HD and 1080p. Idol 3’s screen looks fantastic! Colors look really good for an IPS LCD and it can VERY bright.
The sound coming out of the dual front facing speakers is absolutely incredible! This can give HTC One’s boomsound speakers a run for its money. It’s even better than most laptop speakers out there. This is the one gimmick I want to see implemented on all phones. It makes so much sense to have front facing speakers rather than bottom or back placed ones. This is a way to go instead of buying a bluetooth speaker. Call quality seemed decent enough, however it seems that my peers had a small issue of hearing me. It might be due to the bottom facing mic and the phone size.
Battery life was amazing. From my typical work day with moderate usage, I went from full charge to 80% remaining by the time I got back home in the evening.
Software wise, this is where things became questionable. Although this is mostly a stock android lollipop, it’s still skinned. While it does have some bloatware, thankfully they can be uninstalled no problem. The most offensive being the AVG anti-virus. Performance was snappy enough for casual usage. I didn’t mind a one second lag to opening up apps or switching between them, but it became noticeable. Having an 8-core processor is a perfect example of having more cores doesn’t mean more speed. The best thing about this skinned version is the clear all option on the stack overflow (square button on the right). It boggles my mind why stock android doesn’t have that feature, oh well. Here’s the biggest issue with the phone that led me to return it. During audio playback, sound sometimes skips or glitches every couple minutes whether if it was on speakers or headphones. This was seriously annoying when listening to music. When I googled the problem, other users were having the same issue. I reseted my phone to factory settings, but that didn’t fix it. The problem wasn’t the hardware, it was software as I tested it after rebooting the phone, which came out fine but it later bugs out. Customer service lacked care when addressed the problem to them. Also, it seems the phone won’t let me permanently stick with the settings I choose in the developer’s options. I really dislike animations whenever I open or close apps because I want the instantaneous, no bullshit midway from point A to B. Every time I choose “no animation”, it goes back to default settings after a few seconds of exiting the settings. The phone runs android lollipop version 5.0 which has memory leak issues. When I heard the company was gonna skip 5.1 update and head straight to android M within the next year, that forced my decision to return it.
The biggest problem with android phones still stands today. Too many manufacturers, too many different phones, and lack of updates. Unless if your motorola or google, pure stock android is a far cry. Alcatel is one of those unknown companies that won’t rollout those updates on a consistent basis. I appreciate what the company is doing by choosing good enough specs that’s consumer focused, however software optimization really matters.
Now all these issues I addressed here shouldn’t be a concern to many of the mainstream consumer, I’m just a very demanding person. If you’re looking for a reasonable budget priced phone with midrange specs, I would recommend it. Just beware, it uses dragontrail glass on the display which is apparently less scratch resistant than gorilla glass. So definitely find a tempered screen protector matching the phone.
If I were given a choice to completely customize my smartphone, here’s what I would choose.
Starting off with the body, I’ll stick with the Moto G’s since I have no issues with it and the dimple on the back middle feels great. A few things I would change are the volume rockers be two buttons instead of one small rocker and the power button positioned at the top rather than the side. The finish of the body stays the same and the curve helps to not slip out of the hand. One thing I would get rid of is the back speaker in order to have dual front facing speakers instead. It’s unintuitive to see phone manufactures still place the speakers on the back of the phone.
As for the screen, I’m still sticking with the Moto G’s display. The colors are vibrant, natural, and the contrasts looks great! I’ve had no issues with the viewing angle. Even in outside viewing, there’s been no instances where I needed to cover a part of the screen to see it better. 720p display is plenty enough for me. Who the hell needs 1080p or quad HD on such a small screen? Not only it’s a stupid gimmick but a battery hog.
Spec wise, whatever snapdragon with a 1.5+ghz quad core processor is good enough for me. 2 gigs of ram would be perfect for the sizable multitasking that needs to be done. For internal storage, I’m fine with 8 gigs as long as it has a micro SD expansion slot.
Battery has been one of my biggest pet peeves in the smartphone craze due to it constantly being drained in a day. With the size of the Moto G’s body on the thicker side, use that space to place a much bigger battery inside. Anything from 3000mAh or above that can power up this thing for 3 days at least. Of course, don’t forget to make it removable.
The one thing I wish manufactures focus a bit more on is the call quality. Although it’s tolerable for the most part, it can be improved. Add something that can give the device a much stronger signal. Otherwise, might as well ditch the phone part and use the data plan to call by having 4GLTE.
The camera on the Moto G is absolutely awful. I’d take that out and replace it with either iphone 6 or the galaxy s6 camera that has optical image stabilization. It’s snappy and gives satisfying results in both pictures and video.
And lastly, the operating system. If it weren’t for the uber terrible itunes, I would go for the iOS but that’s obviously not gonna happen. Because Apple being Apple, taking the drag & drop feature away single handily destroyed my desire to give any new Apple products a chance. So therefor, the only choice for me is stock Android. The only bloatware software I’ll allow is Migrate which is a great app for transferring personal information from your previous phone to your new one.
In no particular order…
1. Moto G LTE
My Samsung Galaxy SII was getting dated trying to run some of the current apps and touchwiz was slowly degrading my feelings towards the phone. Looking at other phones, the HTC One m8 was my top pick but it was too pricey for the unlocked version. Moto X seemed like something I was looking for but still a bit beyond my budget range. The iPhone (5 & beyond) was out of the question because I hate itunes to death and the lack of SDcard expansion slot makes not ever want to buy into apple’s phones ever. Enter the Moto G LTE. This device has everything I ever needed in a phone. No useless fancy feature like double tapping screen activation or voice command etc etc. Bought this baby for $220 unlocked meaning near stock android experience. I still love this phone to this very day. My only complaints are no front facing speakers and small volume rockers. Aside from that, I love the shape and overall size. The battery life is decent enough to last you an entire day on moderate usage (call, text, music, email, camera, web browsing).
2. EVGA Nvidia GTX 780Ti Superclocked w/ACX Cooler
This thing’s an absolute beast! Any game I throw at it with max settings, the card hardly breaks a sweat. In fact, the highest automatic fan speed has reached 40% and temperature wise came out to 55 degrees C. Consoles got nothing on this. The power consumption’s much lower than my previous video card which was Radeon HD 6850, and 3 gigs of vram as opposed to 1 gig. At the time of purchase, the MSRP price was $729, however with a coupon code sent from newegg, the price I paid for was $640. Still expensive as hell but considering how long it’ll last me, it’s worth it. Once 4k becomes mainstream, then I’ll have to upgrade once again.
3. Sennheiser Red MX 365 Earbuds
It was time for me to upgrade my earbuds as my old ones were at its end. These earbuds are the best bang for the buck for the amazing sound clarity you get. I could’ve used the earbuds I won from a giveaway contest but those are in-ear buds which are the kinds I dislike. Very satisfying purchase overall.
4. Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 PLUS PLATINUM Full Modular
A fully modular PSU with 80 plus platinum power efficiency. Thanks to this, my PC is silent and clean inside the case. I don’t need anything more than 660w with the amount of parts I’m using. A $140 well spent.
During my stay at Japan, I bought 3 nendoroid figures; Squid Girl, Marika from Bodacious Space Pirates, and Ichika from Ano Natsu. These things are so adorable to look at that it makes my day. I was able to get a really good price on the Ichika nendo for less than $20. There’s so many creative things you can do with these things, however I’m missing a good camera.
ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB)
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked ACX Cooler
Samsung SSD 830 256gig
WD Black 1tb
Seasonic SS-660XP2 80 PLUS PLATINUM
Fractal Design Define R4 Case
External HDDs x3 (WD 1tb) (WD 1tb portable) (WD 500gig portable)
I’m future proof for at least 10 years.
By the way, please shut the hell up about the stock heatsink, tech elitists. I have no plans to overclock. I like to keep things efficient by saving power and care less about aesthetics. So just deal with it and move on.