Tech Review
  • Why Do I Carry So Many Phones? Because I have a Dream Phone that Does Not Exist...Yet.

    I carry up to 5 cell phones at the same time on a regular basis! The exact number can vary based on what I am doing that day. If I am going to a puppy park, then I am bringing all my devices - I do what makes sense. I even have designated pocket locations to efficiently and consistently carry all my phones around. Sometimes I use a fanny pack! I do not use the fanny pack often, but the point is that I am that cool. I confuse people in general for non-phone reasons, like wearing a bear suit and tackling a guy holding a banana, so having multiple phones doesn't help give the impression of normalcy. Different people on a daily basis ask me “Why do you have so many phones?”


    The simple answer is that no single phone satisfies me. I do not want to carry around multiple phones. I want only one phone that does everything that I desire. This article will help my life because I will use it as a reference to answer this question.

    After using a lot of phones, I know exactly what features would make my perfect phone.  

    Introduction into my dream phone:

    This is my dream phone for Fall 2015. I have put together attributes that are important to me in how I use a phone. I focused mainly on hardware and device features. I did not want to focus on software too much because Android vs iOS is a whole different article I need to write in the future. Instead, the software aspects I will talk about will be mostly specific features and capabilities - not necessarily specific to a particular mobile OS. Many of my desired features already exist on some current flagship phones, but no one phone has everything that I want.

    Disclaimer for Phone References:

    These are phones that are fairly new devices and they have attributes that I want in my dream phone. I have owned and used all of these phones extensively with the exception of the LG G4. I have however still have had some experience  playing with the Lg G4. Certain features may exist on multiple phones, but I will only reference the phone feature that I think is good quality.

    Example: The LG G4 has an IPS display. The iphone 6 Plus has an IPS display. I think that the IPS display on the iPhone 6 Plus is  superior, so I will not reference the G4.

    Example: The fingerprint reader on the iPhone 6 Plus vs the Samsung Galaxy S6. The fingerprint reader is way better on the iPhone 6 Plus, so I will not reference the S6.

    I will essentially mention the phone(s) that I think represent the feature best. I will also not list any phone name if I do not feel any phone satisfies the desired feature. I will reference phones by putting the name in parenthesis after mentioning the feature.


    Some Features Inspired from:

    (Nexus 6)

    (iPhone 6 Plus)

    (LG G4)

    (iPhone 6 Plus)

    (Moto X)

    (Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    (HTC One M9)

    (Sony Z Ultra)

    and my heart…

    Dream Phone Features



    5.5 inch screen (iPhone 6 Plus and Lg G4)

    LCD IPS (iPhone 6 Plus)

    490 PPI or higher (Nexus 6)


    I have had phones with many different screen sizes over the years. There are many pros and cons to larger vs smaller, but right now I like 5.5 inches the best. However, it must have a small bezel so the overall phone does not feel too big. Also, I do not necessarily care about resolution on phone screens because resolution can be good or bad depending on the screen size. The colors on the iPhone 6 plus screen are awesome and the resolution of the Nexus 6 is awesome. So I would love an LCD IPS display with approximately 490 ppi. Feel free to calculate what that resolution is on a 5.5 inch screen.  


    Power and volume buttons on the right. Power button higher than volume buttons. (Moto X)

    Customizable On screen navigation buttons - no capacitive physical navigation buttons.( HTC One M9)

    I hate the capacitive buttons on the Samsung Galaxy S6. I hate how they look, I hate how they light up all the time, and I hate that people accidently touch them whenever I would hand the phone to them. The iPhone home button is much better, but it creates a lot of bezel space. I want on screen nav buttons!

    I am still open to trying out new volume/power button configurations, but the Moto X has had the most comfortable setup in my experience.  


    IR Sensor:

    Large IR blaster on the top (HTC One M9)

    I wish all tv manufacturers would just use bluetooth remotes, but I need a large IR sensor on my phone until that day comes.



    Front facing, dual speakers (HTC One M9)

    Loud Speakers (Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    I use my phone speakers a lot. I need them to be loud more than anything. The S6 speakers are small, but they get nice and loud. The HTC One M9 front facing speakers are nice because they are great quality and I never have problems with accidentally covering a speaker with my hand when holding it. My dream phone would be a combination of these qualities.


    Charging and Battery:

    Wireless Qi charging (Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    Turbo/Fast charging (Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    20+ hour battery life from a single charge

    3000 mA or higher (Sony Z Ultra)

    Removable/Replaceable Battery (LG G4)

    I did say dream phone, right? I know this might be asking for a lot, but I want all these things for my phone battery/charging ability. I love wireless charging and think that every phone needs to have this in the future. I have loved it since buying the Nexus 4 in 2012. I m glad to see that wireless QI charging is starting to get some traction with mainstream phones.



    20 MP or higher (HTC One M9)

    Simple and Fast Camera UI (Moto X)

    Speed and quality without manual setting config (iPhone 6 Plus)

    Camera Launch Gesture(Moto X) and/or physical button to launch camera

    Physical button to take pictures (HTC One M9)

    Same 20 MP camera on front and back of phone

    Camera does not protrude out the back (No camera bulge)

    I think the camera features speak for themselves. The iPhone 6 Plus still seems to give me the best pictures, but I want the awesome Moto X interface and camera gesture, a higher resolution like the HTC One m9, and then I can be happy.



    Bright flash (Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    Gesture for flashlight on/off (Moto X) or Dedicated Physical Button for Flashlight

    I try to never use my flash for taking pictures, but I love using it as a flashlight. Make it bright, look cool, and give me a really easy way to turn it off/on.


    Durability and Material:

    Military grade durability rating (Sony Z Ultra)

    WaterProof/Water Resistant  (Sony Z Ultra)

    Scratch Resistant

    Material similar to tempered glass (Sony Z Ultra) or (S6)

    I want to feel safe putting my phone on a table without a case. I want to not think that one drop will destroy the phone. I do not want my phone to never turn on again if some water gets on it. I also hate scratches. Please make the phone out of material that does not scratch from normal wear and tear.


    Other Physical Attributes:

    No movement when using on a flat surface. No rocking from curved back - stable. No Camera bulge. (Sony Z Ultra)

    Extremely small bezels (Moto X, LG G4)

    No branding on front or back with logos or names




    Customizable colors for front,  back, accents, engraving (Moto X)

    Custom Logos on back

    Replaceable back (LG G4)


    Thickness (Sony Z Ultra):

    I love how thin and sturdy my Sony Z Ultra feels. I would love to have a my dream phone feel that way. However, I would be willing to sacrifice some thinness to allow other features like long lasting battery and a built in kickstand. I would like the phone thickness to be somewhere in between the Sony Z Ultra and the Nexus 6.

    The Nexus 6 was just a little too thick for a 6 inch device. The same shape was awesome on the 5.2 inch Moto X, but it did not translate well to the larger Nexus 6 in my opinion.



    64 GB ROM or Higher (iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6):

    I still have not seen external sd card implemented in a useful way on mobile devices. I will not refuse external storage, but only if the ROM is high enough. I really do not need 64 GB or even 128 GB, but I like having the peace of mind for long term use. Plus, having a few movies downloaded for offline use never hurt anyone. Is it wrong that I enjoy watching the child’s cartoon Adventure Time?



    Active notifications with front IR sensors that turn on screen (Moto X)

    This is awesome. Check out the video if you do not know what these notifications are like:

    Unlocking Mechanism and Security Options:

    Double tap to wake (HTC One M9)

    Double tap to sleep (HTC One M9)

    Slide to unlock (HTC One M9)

    Active Display (Moto X)

    Fingerprint Reader (iPhone)

    Trusted Bluetooth

    Trusted locations

    Trusted Wifi


    Mobile Payments:

    Magnetic field/Samsung pay capability that will mimic a credit card and work with 95% of vendors (Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge)

    Mobile Payment does not require a balance and can pull directly from account/card (iPhone 6 Plus)

    Mobile payment app launches instantly with payment NFC (iPhone 6 Plus)



    Animations, but super smooth and stable; Especially smooth for home screen, notifications, multitasking windows, opening and closing apps

    Additional software preinstalled can be removed (Nexus 6)

    All app information saved in cloud with a user account

    Customizable keyboard (LG G4)



    Offline Maps Support with ability to lookup addresses and establishments.


    Built in kickstand:

    I sometimes carry around phone stands. Having one built into the phone would be ideal.


    Multi tasking:

    Another reason I carry around multiple phones is multitasking. Even multi-window software features on phones have not met my expectation. There are certain things that having multiple devices will be hard to match in one single device. Watching videos, sending messages, voice searches, music, podcasts, playing games, managing multiple audio levels, and web browsing are all things that need to be improved on in single device multi tasking.  


    Home Screen Auto Rotate Landscape Orientation Support:

    Home Screen landscape orientation options to auto rotate is a must for me (iPhone 6 Plus, Sony Z Ultra). I love it on the iPhone 6 Plus and get disappointed every time I realize it is missing from the Nexus 6.


    Headphone jack location:

    Top Center (Moto X)

    I hate having the headphones at the bottom of a phone. It is not good when I am sitting the phone on its bottom side. It does not work well when I have the phone on a stand, when I am holding it on a table, or when I am using a machine at the gym to hold it in portrait mode. That darn headphone jack at the bottom prevents me from properly standing up my phone in portrait mode and it drives me crazy! Actually, it is just annoying, but you get the idea.


    Broken Screen Replacement (HTC One M9)

    HTC will replace your HTC One M9 for free if you break the screen within the first year. They will also reward you with a discount if you never use the replacement.  


    Unlocked and multiple band support (Nexus 6)

    The same Nexus 6 can be used on Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. It is awesome to have that flexibility.


    Touchless Control (Moto X):

    Being able to do voice commands without touching the phone is awesome - when it works. The Moto X has done it best in the past, but there is definitely room for improvement.


    Built in bluetooth headphones:

    I hate having excess things in my pocket. I am a hypocrite since I carry so many devices. Headphones are something I wish I had on me at all times, but just can’t depending on pocket availability. I want a phone to have small bluetooth headphones that were physically attached and flush with the phone at all times. This would allow them to always be charged, and paired. Imagine bluetooth headphones that you always have, not taking up room in your pocket, not needing to be charged separately, and never needed to be paired. That would be amazing. No phone that I know of has this feature.



    I want to reiterate that I do not want to focus on software, but notes is an essential feature that I have come to rely upon for mobile phones. I have tried most of the most popular notes applications and I do use multiple ones. I love Evernote for writing down song lyrics and recording accompanying audio. Notes on iOS has nice quick simplicity to it. However I have found that I enjoy google keep the most. It is simple, fast, instantly syncs, and has just enough features to keep me coming back.



    I love garageband. As a musician, it is extremely powerful being able to have this ability in my pocket at all times. I know this is not a factor for most people, but my dream phone would have this app.


    Concluding thoughts:

    I know it’s near impossible that any phone this year will have these attributes. There is a good chance that this phone will never exist, but I will continue to hope. 

    Hopefully now people will have a  better understanding when I whip out my iPhone 6 plus, Sony Z Ultra, and HTC One M9 from my pants. My iPhone 6 Plus has 128 GB of storage, is super stable, has garageband, and takes the best photos. My Sony Z Ultra has a huge beautiful 6.44 inch screen that is awesome for video and games, it is rugged, thin, and has great battery. My HTC One M9 is super fast, has a customizable OS, great speakers, and a comfortable size for one handed use.  I will carry these simultaneously and probably future phones until the day that my one dream phone exists. I am going to use this article as reference for future phone purchases. I will kind of make a scoring system based on my wants out of a phone.  I will also use this article as a reference for people to understand that I am not carrying around multiple phones for attention; I just want all the features that currently do not exist in a single phone.  

    I am curious to hear your opinion. Are there any big features that I left out? Do you think any phone in the near future will have most of these desired features? Is there a phone that already meets all your desires? Please let me know your thoughts and feeling towards phones and bear/banana tackles.

     By J.S. Marler


    PS: Here is an awesome video about fanny packs! 


  • Moto 360 Review

    Editors Note - Is the Moto 360 the best smartwatch ever? It is worth buying? The short answer is that we think it is the best smartwatch currently available. If you want a smartwatch and have an Android phone, then this is for you.

    This review of the Moto 360 is done differently than our other reviews. It is written mostly by J.W. Morse, but has some crap added by J.S. Marler. We have labeled the sections to indicate who wrote what. Let us know if you like this format, think it is stupid, or would just like pictures of bears instead relevant of words.

    Your existential internal voice of guidance,

     J.S. Marler


    By: J.W.Morse

    Additional Reporting by J.S.Marler

    Unboxing/First Impressions


    The moment I saw a picture of the Moto 360 I knew, finally, what a smartwatch should look like. Until that point, I knew that everything that had come out so far didn’t meet my expectations, but I hadn’t really figured out what those expectations were. The Moto 360 has, from the very first press images, set my standard for what a smartwatch should look like. Above all, something you wear on your wrist should be a beautiful.

    I have spent about a month with the Moto 360 and I can say that it is a gorgeous watch that feels as good on my wrist as it is to look at. I am struck by the watches ability to play the middle ground between so many things; it has a solid build, yet is light. Constantly useful, but never ‘in the way’. Utilitarian, and a fashion statement.


    Perfect for bears, dogs, and lions. Not fish; I’m allergic.


    The initial unboxing experience was a bit of awesome, followed by a bit of a letdown.. The box, is very nice looking, and the watch looks amazing in it. Getting the 360 out of the packaging was very enjoyable, and I loved watching the animations as the device booted up for the first time. The let down came when I went to pair the device with my phone. I received an error message telling me the device needed to be fully charged to pair. This was a huge let down because I really wanted to play around with the watch but I had to wait while charging it.

    I know it might seem that I am nit picking, but the unboxing experience is huge to me. It sets the tone in a lot of ways, and, at least until the newest software update, the tone it set was accurate: battery problems.

    The good news is it took less than an hour for the 360 to get a full charge.



    The real story about the display is the fact that it is round. This is the first round smartwatch for Google’s Android Wear platform. Motorola has done a round display before, but never with all the processing and battery power directly behind the display. Plus, that display was for an old unsuccessful phone. Nevertheless, I appreciate that Motorola made the effort. I may never understand how much of a technological marvel this is, but I think it says a lot that apple decided to go with a square screen instead of a circular one. I think it says apple was not able to create a circular display, or at least make one as good as Motorola did.

     At 205 ppi the 1.56 in screen is not a very high resolution, especially when compared to most smartphones which are above a 400 ppi. The resolution is a little bit less than the Galaxy Gear at 277 ppi, but truth be told I didn’t notice the lower resolution after my first day of use because I’m not holding it up to my face. Looking down at my wrist showed no resolution problems and at the end of the day; that is all I really care about.


    I feel like I am a little more critical of the screen compared to Josh. Certain stock watch faces were not as optimized for the resolution and noticeable pixels showed when compared to other faces. Even the loading screen fell short of my expectations showing noticeable pixilation.. If you choose the right watch face design, then this is a non issue. I am sure it’s something that will improve in the next generation, but right now I am happy to take a lower resolution if it means double my battery life.


    At the bottom of the display is an ambient light sensor that in my use was pretty accurate. I never felt the need to turn the brightness up or down, and honestly didn’t know that there was a way to change the brightness; even after several days.


    I tested the screen on the lowest manual brightness and was still able to easily see the display while outside in the New Mexico sun. I would like to thank my friend Louie for suggesting this to me. Your gentle touch will always be remembered.


    The 360 Gorilla Glass 3 for the screen. I love the idea that my watch face is made up of Gorilla skin lovingly heated to 2500 degrees celsius.


    I was able to test the durability by clumsily bashing his watch into walls and doors during my roid rages. Thankfully there were no scratches, cracks, or dents. Thank you Jesus.


    the interesting part is that the glass sticks up just slightly above the bezel of the watch. I was worried at first that it would detract from my enjoyment, but ultimately I forgot it even existed.


    I felt that the display is a fingerprint magnet. I had the urge to clean the display multiple times a day.


    I had fewer problems with my display compared to Josh. I did not need to do more than a quick microfiber towel wipe more than once a day at most. I probably ended up wiping the screen once every 2-4 days on average. Josh probably had more issues because he would get really close to the screen, breathing heavily, and his saliva would mist the display with his odd affection.   


    I do like the taste of gorilla skin glass.



    The battery is one of the biggest controversies of the Moto 360. There is an expectation for a watch battery to last multiple days. When it was announced that the 360 had a 320 milliamp battery there were a lot of people who freaked out. Even more so when Motorola said the device "would last a full day."

    The first few weeks of use the battery would last about 12 hours and on a really good day last 15. However, this was before the most recent software update. The update is really quite ingenious, it basically involves attaching a rat on a wheel to your wrist. A little cumbersome, but I think it is worth it. The update significantly improved the battery life. After the update it became normal to have the device sitting at 60% or more with over 8 hours of use. This huge improvement really added to my enjoyment of the device. I stopped worry about the battery life and just started using the device without thought. I don’t think the device will go two days but you can expect to get a day and some change.


    We have also noticed that battery life can be drastically affected by the watch related apps on your phone. There are third party watch faces you can get from the Play Store and other dark, dark places on the internet. (long pause) (Audio: Play scary music) Google says that android wear was not designed to have phone apps be used as watch specific apps for watch faces; even though it is possible. Some third party watch apps did not negatively affect the battery life (Insert Matrix Face) and others destroyed hours off the battery life (insert bad watch face here). So, be cautious, or at least aware, if you plan to use third party watch face apps.


    I'll be watching to see which watch faces are worth watching out for... 


    Finally, notifications can have a great impact on battery life as well. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other social networks can have a major impact on battery life. If you get a lot of social network notifications, it’s possible that your battery will suck compared to your less popular friend like Josh. Luckily, the android wear app allows you to block notifications for any app you choose. I tested this and was able to extend battery life by blocking facebook notifications. With all that said, the newest update made battery life awesome, even with all notifications on.  

    Basically, the battery is not as bad as you feared, and is now nothing to worry about with the latest update lasting over 15 hours.



    The 360 is running Android Wear, which is built of the idea that interactions with your watch should be clean, swipe based, and simple. There is never any typing or zooming of any kind unless you download a 3rd party app. Android Wear has the mentality that if you need to do anything beyond looking at and taking simple actions on notifications, then you should use your phone instead. This is actually the perfect approach, because the screen is too small to make huge actions. It’s better suited for seeing notifications, and replying to text messages with voice commands.

    The software is build off a tear structure where your notifications are stacked; swiping down will let you scroll through them. A left-hand swipe removed the notification and a right-hand swipe will reveal additional actions. Simple and clean.

    The other huge advantage of Android Wear on the 360 is that it has not been altered in any way. Google actually built the OS in a way where it could not be altered by the OEM. Exactly what I think it should be.


    I had some problems with the software. The problems are not huge for the most part, but I will greatly appreciate it when they are fixed. I will go over my gripes quickly. By quickly I mean go into a lot of detail. 

    3rd party Software 


    There are few 3rd party apps that I actually want to use. IFTTT has some useful recipes for Android Wear but I only use have one. There are a few instances where I installed an app and noticed quickly that the battery life of my watch was severely hurt. In a few other cases, it was obvious the developer had made their app specifically for a square screen. 3rd party watch faces are OK, but I have not found any that I actually want to keep using. That should change with the new update for android wear when the APK is released to developers.


    I found a 3rd party Matrix face that I really like and does not kill my battery.

    -Calling or texting people with voice commands is cut off if the user has multiple numbers.

    • You can do voice commands for calling or texting people, but if the contact you are trying to communicate with has multiple numbers, then you will be prompted to select the number you wish to use. I do not have a different android wear device to test, but I experienced both numbers being cut off. I was only aware of what was going on because I was familiar with using this feature on phones with Google Now and Moto Voice.

    -“OK Google” trigger Sometimes requires multiple attempts.

    • Too often i find myself in the same place I been before, where I am repeating “Ok google” multiple times before the watch is triggered. I still get much better results than what I experienced with the first gen Moto X, or really any other voice detection software, but we are still not at the casual level yet. I have found myself tapping on the screen to activate the voice recognition more than using “OK google”. 

    -Sometimes watch loses it’s connection to your smartphone.

    • It does not happen everyday, but too often I would see the sad cloud icon on the screen indicating that there is no data connection. This was interesting to me because it still has a bluetooth connection to the phone, but is not getting the data from it. It usually fixes itself, but sometimes needs a turning off and on for bluetooth on your phone.   

    -Some inaccuracy with recognizing speech to text.

    • This is usually more accurate than then using my phone because of the close proximity.

    -”Listen to” and “Play” commands are inconsistent when trying to play music on phone.

    • This has been a pain for me. I love being able to just use a voice command to get music to play. This is especially helpful in the car and the experience is better than using a phone by itself, but there are many inconsistencies. The voice actions have different results on the watch vs Google Now on a phone. This is most notable for me is the “Listen to” and “Play” commands. My phone usually will open the music app correctly, whereas the watch will sometimes do a web search for one artist name, but then open the app for another. This is just software,so hopefully it will be fixed soon. 

    -You have to slide and tap to change music tracks.

    • I wish all music controls could be done in one tap, but changing a music track requires a slide, then tap. Not a huge deal, but there is enough space on the screen to have that easily accessible.

    -Touch screen only interaction vs tactile buttons.

    •  This is not a criticism, but there is something to a physical button. I could not help but think of my pebble smartwatch and how easily knowing and using those physical buttons on the side are. The Moto 360 has one physical button, but you rarely use it. To be honest the physical button do-es not consistently work and sometimes requires multiple presses.

    Josh: If only there was some kind of “Electronic Crown” or something... 

    • Scrolling through voice actionable items to get into settings is a pain.
    • You have to tap the screen, or say “OK Google” and then scroll to get to settings. This is a little different, but not a big deal. What is a pain is that you have to scroll through  12 options before you get to settings. I use settings all the time and never use those other options. This is a pain everytime I use it.  

    -Settings and features structure is confusing between multiple locations.  

    • Watch device settings, phone bluetooth settings, Android Wear settings, and Moto Connect app settings.There are four places you will have to go through to check settings for your watch; way too many. One would be best, but I understand possibly needing two. What makes it even more confusing is that certain settings are only accessible from certain places. For the sake of brevity I won’t go into detail, but it is a very frustrating experience.  

    -Moto Connect software:

    •  I will talk about the Moto Connect software only because it is unique to the Moto 360 and not available for other android wear devices. It is an awesome addition that allows to to customize existing watch faces with different colors. I am excited for this to grow, but it is already the best experience with watch faces you can get on stock android wear.

    Leather Strap


    I was hesitant about the leather strap. I was accustomed to always wearing a metal watch and then my rubber/plastic pebble. I was worried that the leather would stretch, crack, and look bad like an old belt. However, I have thankfully not had those issues. The leather does stretch a little, but it does not look bad when on your wrist. Other then that I have been very happy with it. It’s comfortable, does not leave your wrist super moist, and I did not have any noticeable wear from excess water after a few rainshowers. I have worn it for hour long workouts and the excess sweat did not negatively affect its durability. 



    The 360 uses a really nice Qi charging dock. Qi charging is awesome I have a few Qi chargers already and it is so nice to use them. I really hope that this becomes the standard. It is something I have appreciated with nexus devices and now with this watch. The charger uses Micro USB which is a breath of fresh air. None of this proprietary cable crap. The dock displays the watch well on your nightstand. It sometimes takes a little bit of maneuvering if the straps angel in a way that lifts the watch up. This could have been avoided by making the dock elevate the watch a little higher up off of the surface it sits on.

    Built In Health Apps 


    There are few health apps so there is not much to say. I found that the step counter and heart rate sensor were usually inaccurate. Not terrible, but enough that I really stopped paying attention to how many steps the watch said I had taken or what my heart rate was. I am sure that this is something that can and will be updated with software, not to mention the possibility of third party app support. 



    The biggest thing that happened because of the 360 is I pulled my phone out less. I used to pull my phone out constantly just in case I missed a text message or call. That worry has been completely mitigated because the notifications I received are nearly always welcome, needed, and delightful. That is, to me, the biggest reason to wear a smartwatch over a normal watch. It creates a situation where you use your phone less.


    I particularly enjoyed being able to leave my phone charging in the bedroom while wearing my watch in the living room. I was able to not have my phone, let the phone charge, but still get notifications on his watch. It is even handy when you cannot get to your phone fast enough to answer a call; but instead answer with your watch first.



    The Moto 360 is the best looking smartwatch on the market right now. The screen could be a higher resolution, the heart rate and pedometer could be better and it could have a better battery life. These are all small things and will get ironed out. If you want the perfect smartwatch, don’t get the 360, or really any smartwatch at this point. Wait for the 2nd iterations to come out in 2015. I expect most of these issues to be resolved next year. If you want a really good smartwatch that looks amazing, the 360 is the best option you have right now.


    I listed a lot of things that I think could be changed to make the Moto 360 a better device. Despite my criticism; I agree with Josh in that this is the best that currently exists. I have confidence in this device because the hardware is great and  Motorola has already proved that the device can only get better with future  software updates.


    Josh: 8 out of 10

    John: 7 out of 10

  • 5 Reasons Moto X is Better than iPhone 5S (or any other phone)


    5 Reasons Moto X is Better than iPhone 5S (or any other phone)

    Touchless Control

    Active  Notifications

    Moto Assist

    Camera gesture & UI

    Screen Size vs bezel & aesthetics 

  • Spotify Review (is it worth the money?) - 031

    What The Hell Is Spotify?

    Spotify is a all you can eat music service that you can use for free or get pay a monthly subscription to get added listening abilities. There is one free option and 2 monthly subscription options:


    $Free - Listen to music on a computer with ads

    $4.99/Month  - Listen to music on a computer with no ads

    $9.99/Month - Listen to music on any smartphone(android, iphone, or windows phone), computer, or tablet with offline capability and no ads

    Is Either Paid Plan Worth It?

    Yes the paid plan is worth it. While it is good to have the ability to use spotify on computer, it is not practical for my normal use. I mainly listen to music in the car or when laying in bed. So, only being to listen to spotify when using a computer is limiting for me and not really worth it. This makes the free account and $4.99/month subscription only partially beneficial because of the lack of portability. I am sure that this is no accident. Spotify is more than aware of this and it heavily influences you to get the most expensive premium subscription for $9.99/month. Spotify helps make this decision even easier by letting you download the app and use it completely free for 72 hours with no credit card required. Then they tempt you with offering the 30 days free if you put a credit card on file. Then you get used to having the service and never cancel the service. That is what happened to me. I have to give props to Spotify for reeling me in with a free service, then turning me into a paid user. I was tricked by the classic bait and switch.

    Can I Share Spotify?

    No, not in any real practical way. I suppose you could use some songs offline on a ipod touch or ipad, but that notion will fail the second it connects to the internet. Spotify automatically stops playback on a device if it is being used by another device.

    What the Hell can I use Spotify on?

    I use spotify on multiple devices from my Phone (Nexus 4) to iPad(tablet because you did not know what an iPad is), Nexus 7 (Android tablet),

    Does Spotify Have Every Artist and Album?

    No, Spotify does not have every song or album you are looking for. There have been a handful of artists and cds that are completely missing from Spotify; at least in my experience. Some cds are not there on the day that they launch, but eventually show up weeks or even months later. Some cds never make it to spotify because of the artist or label. Granted the music missing on Spotify is not huge chart toppers like Justin Timberlake, but they are significant bands that I would be able to find at Best Buy back in the day. Bands like As I Lay Dying, Project 86, and Periphery had cds come out in recent months and were not available on spotify at release or ever. With that said the majority of people are going to find most if not everything they are looking for.

    Impact on Artists:

    I am in the band Life Never Lost and we are on Spotify, so I can tell you first hand how beneficial Spotify is to the artist. Who knows what real value Spotify can bring to artists, but I can tell you that the value is not financial. We literally get less than $1.00 for every couple thousand plays on spotify. What I do not know is how many people were able to hear our music because of Spotify and would not have been able to hear us otherwise.  

    Experience and Interface:

    I have very mixed feelings about the interface for Spotify. On one hand it is modern and refreshing. On the other hand, it does not work a lot of the time and the playlists can get overwhelming. I will breakdown different aspects in the following sections:


    I have lost track of how many times I will search something and a blank page comes up. It does not freeze or act like something is not working; just white background stand there staring at me. Sometimes there are no search results, but most of the time you just have to retype the search and try a few times until you get a result. it is a random pain that happens regularly.


    The playlists are the strength and weakness of Spotify in my opinion. They seem kind of odd and confusing at first because you are used to having a library of artists, songs, genres, or albums. However, Spotify does not have any of that. Instead they have playlists that you create. You have complete freedom to make a list of songs you want to group together, but that is about the extent of the organization. I am not sure if the intent was for me to still want a traditional organization so much that I consider buying songs instead of using Spotify, but that is what I felt at times. It is not very practical to keep playlists of all the music you want because it is just too many lists to scroll through on a regular basis. Then the alternative of looking for something you did not save requires you to remember the song name. Sometimes that can be difficult when consuming this much music. Spotify would be much easier to use if I could organize music saved by artist and albums. It would be even more amazing if I could shuffle all my lists. Right now there is no way to shuffle music that is not on the same playlist. Playlists have a simplicity that is attractive at first, but just takes too long to use when several are created.

    Downloading Offline Music:

    Downloading songs on Spotify sucks super bad. There have been too many times that I selected a playlist to download and it does not download. I of course do not realize this until I am in an area that does not have internet connection. This is the worst and makes me really angry when I look the playlist and even Spotify acknowledges that the playlist is set to be a offline downloaded playlist, yet it is 0% downloaded.

    Please fix this Spotify; it is the worst.

    Not to mention that the offline playlists do not actually download the files themselves, so you cannot use the music as your ringtone on your phone or any other purpose than listening on Spotify. Offline playlists are an absolute must have and I am glad that Spotify has it, but I really wish it would be implemented better.

    Related Artists and Biographies:

    There is some good to be talked about with the Spotify Interface. It is fairly consistent across different devices and does offer a similar artists section. I have been reminded or forgotten artists and discovered new ones because of this feature. It is also nice to read up on the artist with the Biography right next to the music you are listing to. These are great aspects of spotify

    Social Integration:

    You can log into Spotify with facebook and be able to share music with friends. This becomes more useful with the more friends you ahve on Spotify; as is the case with most social integration. Also it has not bothered me with random notifications, so that is a huge plus.

    What’s New/Recommended Music:

    This feature is awesome in theory, but horrible executed. I feel like Spotify does not have the slightest idea of what I listen to despite me listening to countless hours of music on Spotify and being linked with my facebook. At the time of writing this, Spotify suggested: “French Montana Freaks Featuring Nicki Minaj” and it made me punch myself in the face.


    I know some people like the Radio, but I have not had good experience with it. Maybe it is semantics, but the genre radio stations are useless to me. I was listening to the “hardcore” station and I skipped 20 songs not liking a single one. I think this feature is very under developed. I would take Pandora Radio over Spotify radio any day.

    Experience and Interface Conclusion

    So Spotify works for the most part. It has its glitches that are frustrating and can make some people not be able to use it as their primary music service because of it. It gets better once you get a feel and understanding for it, but the interface alone it not a great first impression. You tend to overlook that when you have access to all your old a new favorite songs.

    Who the Hell Should Use Spotify:

    If you just pirate music, then I would suggest getting Spotify. Iot takes a lot less time, is not illegal, it is convenient, and usable with all your devices. It also benefits artists; a little more than pirating.

    I have been using spotify consistently for about ten months at the time of this review. I cannot fight the fact that I have used Spotify consistently for the entire ten months I have had it. I have discovered more music than I ever would have otherwise. I have listened to music that I would never would have otherwise.  Now there is no reason to not listen to a song because of time, money, genre, or just convenience. You are free to explore at no expense to you.

    I guess I like it so much that I find myself using spotify no matter how much I may not want to. I miss getting excited and going to Best Buy to buy a CD on release day. I miss holding and having artwork with lyrics and reading them while listening. I wish cds were faster at changing with the times and included digital downloads with physical copies like blurays currently do. I hate that I have not bought or listened to multiple cds because of spotify. Now I am paying ten bucks a month for a music that I do not own. Spotify is only useful if I pay for it every month. I will be left with nothing if I ever cancel the subscription. With all that said I am still using Spotify even as I write this. I will conclude with this realization:

    Technological convenience will always conquer over quality and nostalgia.

    By J.S. Marler

  • 8 Reasons the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a Huge Disappointment - 024

    By J.S.Marler /////

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    Once upon a time I had a lot to drink. Late that night I had to pee, really bad. I did the obvious thing, I peed into a half empty sonic cub beside my bed and resolved to throw it away when I woke up. When I woke up I did not throw it away and being a bachelor I left it there for about two weeks. 

    On that second week my girlfriend came over to help me clean and pack my stuff because my lease was over. As she was cleaning she picked up the sonic cup and the lid popped off and she jerked spilling the cola/urin on herself. I froze and she started laughing. "this sucks," she said "At least it isn't pee." which is of course when I froze for a second before saying "well you say that but..." This was the moment, I had no idea how she would react, anger was logical and obviously I couldn't be mad at her if she did get mad. After a few tense seconds she started laughing again and called me an idiot as she forced me to hug her. There are very few individuals as instantly forgiving as she is and in that moment I knew I never wanted to kiss anyone else.

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  • 5 Reasons the Nexus 4 is Already Better than the Samsung Galexy S 4 - 022

    By J.S.Marler

    Just go by a Nexus 4, if you like Samsung your stupid and wrong. I dare you to prove me wrong. 

    Nexus 4 Review

    The Nexus 4 is the best phone on the market right now. Break your Samsung Galaxy S III in half and use it to fuel the fire to burn your iPhone 5. Read if you need more explanation.


    I just have to get this out of the way. This is the highest quality device on the market and is half the price of its competitors. Off contract it is sold directly through Google for $299 - 8GB model or $349 -16GB model. This means no contract extension and the phone is unlocked, so you can use it without any compromises on sim card carriers like AT&T, T-mobile, prepaid cards, ect. You are looking at paying twice the amount for a similar phone off of contract and paying more means you will compromise more.


    The biggest reason this phone is awesome is that it’s the only phone with 100% clean, pure, stock android. What that means is that it does not have any extra crap on it. You are not stuck with carrier pre installed apps, no 411 apps, no unneeded software taking up resources. This is the first phone to ship with android 4.2 which makes the phone fast, consistent, reliable, and pleasant to use. You have more control over this phone, than any other and it feels good. Really really good. You can chose to keep and not keep whatever app you want; You can even disable the phone app if you want to.

    This is a Nexus device and that means you will get the latest greatest android before anyone else, because google loves you. The software will be developed with the exact same phone, so you will not have to worry about compatibility issues like every other android phone. You will not be stuck waiting for months to get updates; or worse, never getting the updates. Every single nexus device has gotten more updates than any other phone on the market keeping them up to date, relatively bug free and constantly evolving to become a better more useful device. It is really simple; if you get any other phone besides the Nexus 4, then you will be constantly playing catch up in the software game with subpar carrier add-ons and way too much bloatware.


    This is highest quality android phone I have seen yet to date. You no longer need to feel jealous over the iphone’s high quality feel (in Josh’s opinion the Nexus 4 makes the Iphone feel absurdly small). I used to always think that my plastic android phone felt inferior to the iphone’s glass front and back and that really bothered me. No more the Nexus 4 has Gorilla glass on the front and back and is the smoothest feeling electronic device I have ever felt. Seriously, you need to rub a Nexus 4 up against your face to truly appreciate it.


    This is something that I have to mention. This phone has the best buttons. It might seem like a little thing that should not make a big difference, but it makes all the difference in the world. The Nexus 4 has three touch screen buttons on the bottom: back, home, and multi tasking from left to right; no physical home button like a samsung Galaxy S III or a iPhone. I went crazy when I tried using a Samsung Galaxy S III and it’s button layout; so much so that I had to hack that crap and load a stock android rom that allowed me to put the Nexus buttons on it. Right now, I feel like I never want to ever use another button configuration. Long pressing for multitasking is a thing of the past. I was infuriated with Samsung when they put it on their phones last year. Once you go on screen touch buttons, you never go touchwhiz, which by the way is an absolutely stupid name.

    Processor and Ram

    There really is not a better processor that currently exists as of 2/9/13 than the quad core Qualcomm Snap Dragon S4 Pro processor. The Nexus 4 also has the most ram of any phone on the market with 2 GB. The phone uses takes advantage of it’s resources and you can feel how smooth everything on the phone is.


    The phone on this phone will not disappoint. The average iphone user will hold it and initially think the screen is huge, but it is easy to hold and use in one hand and quickly becomes second nature to the point that is makes all smaller screens feel absurd. It is an IPS display, which means you can look at it at any angle and it is clear. The screen is a higher than 720 resolution and has a higher ppi (pixel per inch) than even the huge Samsung Galaxy Note II. It has just about the same ppi as the iphone, but the iphone has a much smaller screen, so you really cannot appreciate  the resolution on an Iphone 5 like you can on the Nexus 4. There are new devices that have 1080p displays and reported to look amazing. However these are first generation screens that lower performance and battery life. The next wave of 1080p will be much better in the future and I am not willing to sacrifice quality for something that looks good on paper.


    The speakers are average on the Nexus 4. The speakerphone and ringer are loud and that is what is most important to me. However, do not expect high quality bass when trying to listen to Lady Gaga or Demon Hunter.


    This phone has an 8 mp camera with an led flash. The picture qualtiy is good, nothing spectacular like the Lumia 920’s but the camera does its job. I felt the camera was just about as good as my Samsung Galaxy S III, but I do have to say that the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5’s cameras are noticeably better. Still I don’t think most people will notice the difference.

    The Nexus 4 brings a new feature that no other phone has; Photosphere- a feature that allows you to take 3D like images similar to google maps street view. it’s a cool feature, but honestly something I have not used on a regular basis.

    What is very useful the the camera interface. Accessing settings for the camera is easy and only takes one or two swipes, something that other android devices have trouble with. I can turn flash off, on, switch the front or back camera, or toggle between picture or video quickly. This is the best camera interface I have used, but I do think that Google can make it better and this is the first step in the right direction.

    The last thing i will mention about the camera is it’s built in photo editing. It is nothing groundbreaking, but it is simple, fast, and useful. I know that I can download a great photo editing app like snapseed, but I do not want to. I do not want to have to download 20 apps to make core features of my phone usable; I just want it to work.

    Choices, Complaints, Compromises, Conspiracy:

    Over these next few section I am going to talk about the potential downsides, upsides, and theories involving the Nexus 4 and what it means to the market. I will address my personal complaints, other complaints, Google’s choices and what it means in practical terms. Here we go!

    Wifi Calling

    My biggest problem with the nexus 4 is the lack of wifi calling. This is a feature that only exists on T-Mobile phones. Although this is phone is sold directly through T-Mobile(and Google of course); it does not have wifi calling. T-Mobile says that they need to modify the software in order for this phone to have wifi calling. Google refused to let anyone modify this phone is any way, so that means no wifi calling. The phone is completely unmodified by any carrier or any manufacturer; it is exactly the way google wanted it to be designed from the software to the hardware. No carrier apps, no carriers logos or names on the front or back, but just a “Nexus” and “LG” written on the back. This is something previously only apple has been able to accomplish in the past, so it is actually a good thing despite it losing wifi calling.

    LTE & Radio

    This device was advertised with pentaband hspa+ radio and no LTE, but upon investigating it turns out that it does have LTE band 4, which is what T-Mobile will be using and mainly what Canada companies use. So first off, a pentaband radio means that this phone can be used anywhere around the world with whatever sim card you put in it. Secondly, while it has a wrking LTE chip in it, T-Mobile is not launching LTE until sometime this year. That does not help the United States now. and some people really, really want and need LTE. Personally I am fortunate enough to be able to have wifi available in all the places that I constantly need fast internet. I also have hspa+ coverage with T-Mobile in the places the I visit and drive, so LTE is not a huge deal to me. Two other things I will throw out is that LTE uses your data a lot faster and kills your battery a lot faster. With that said, I would take amazing LTE coverage everywhere I go if it did not increase my monthly cost, cost of the device, or kill my battery life. Also all the major carriers use LTE at different frequencies. This means that Google making different models, with different chips, for different carriers, probably would have delayed this device coming out, and increased its price.

    Internal Memory/No SD Card

    The Nexus 4 comes in 8 GB and 16 GB models with no sd card slot. You have no other options. I hate to say this, but Google followed Apple and Apple was right. Not having a memory card slot makes android so much more user friendly and honestly less stressful. I have used several android and ios devices and the memory card makes things so much more messy. If you have an android phone will a memory card, then you are always wondering where files are being saved. Your photos could be on the internal memory, sd card, or both. You have the same problem with games, downloaded files, music, movies, and pretty much everything on your phone. Also, it is unfortunate, but true, that memory cards cannot access files as fast as the actual phone memory. Most people do not need or care about a removable sd card, but they want to have a larger amount of memory. No one would criticize the Nexus 4’s memory if it had a 150 GB’s of internal memory. Manufacturers have not found a way to make phones with that much memory affordable and a micro sd card is a cheap way to get more memory; not a better way to have memory.

    Non Removable Battery

    People are getting up in arms about the lack of a non removable battery. I have to say that this is something that I did not like at first. I am the guy who buys unnecessary battery accessories. I have bought huge extended batteries that triple the thickness of the phone just so I can have a bigger battery. I have bought cases that have extended batteries, multiple stock batteries, but I have faced the hard truth. Like the sd card is a cheap way to have larger memory, these methods are cheap ways to have longer battery life. I do not want to make my phone super thick with an extended battery. If I have multiple normal sized batteries then I am stuck with swapping them out everyday and carrying an extra battery around. Not to mention charging the extra battery. I either have to have a separate charger or have to charge one battery, then swap out the other battery and charge it in the phone. In theory it is cool to have this ability, but really it just creates much more work that I do not need. It is just easier to have a charger at my desk, at my home, and in my car so I do not have to worry about my phone dying. I realize some people do not have that ability to charge their device at work, but a lot of people do. Even if you do not have the ability at work, then you still do not need to worry about your phone dying in 8 hours... unless Justin Bieber tweeted something really cool and you need to tell your friends. Also, having a non removable battery means that it is a high quality battery that will have better performance than a removable battery.


    I will end this review the same way that I started it; this is is best phone currently out on the market. It has the best hardware and the best software the is out. In 2 years this will be the only device that is current and up to date.


    -stock android

    -latest android, always updated asap

    -beautiful design

    -4.7 inch True HD  IPS display

    -Quad core Qualcomm snapdragon s 4 pro processor

    -2 gb of ram


    -wifi calling

    Debatable Cons


    -removable battery

    -Removable memory card/16 gb of memory

    -breakable back

    -extremely smooth

    What would make it the perfect phone for me

    -Bigger Screen


    -Portrait slider keyboard


    - Software is the most important thing

    - Hardware is secondary

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  • Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb - 018

    A Review For the Nexus 4 Charging Orb

    by J.S.Marler

    Buy it here -

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  • Jawbone Up Review - 011

    By J.W.Morse


    The Jawbone Up is a wristband that is worn 24 hours a day that tracks your movement, sleep, calorie intake and calorie burn rate so you can find trends in your life and make meaningful purposeful changes to a healthier lifestyle.

    This is the second generation of the Jawbone Up, some of you may remember that the first generation Up was less than durable. Many people found that within a month (sometimes less) it would simply stop working. These reviews are the reason that I did not buy the first generation. What is the point in buying something this expensive that is going to break? For their part Jawbone took care of every single first generation Up user and replaced their Up if it was broken no matter what. So while the product lacked, the customer service helped to make up for some of its shortcomings

    After spending about a month with the device... it meets all of my durability expectations

    The second generation came out recently and I was interested especially since Jawbone said that they had completely redesigned the inside to be more rugged and durable on all levels. After spending about a month with the device I have to agree that it is much better than the first generation and meets all of my durability expectations.

    The up tracks your life in three major ways -

    steps, sleep, and calorie intake.

    --Step Tracker

    The Up band tracks your movement and based on  your age, sex (ha), weight, and height it can estimate how many calories you burned and how far you have walked. It is amazingly accurate and a huge motivator when I go for a run or workout in any way because immediately after I can get a really accurate readout of how effective my workout really was.

    "(the step tracker is) amazingly accurate and a huge motivator"

    There are some workouts that the Up cannot track very well, such as weight training or swimming as the Up is water resistant and not water proof. You can still log this workout but it is not as accurate. It does make an estimate based on MET values, but I when I googled what MET was I only found really cryptic convoluted answers.

    Additionally it also measures the amount of time that you have been inactive and will vibrate to remind you to stand up and stretch a little. You can set it to remind you in as little time as every fifteen minutes or as much time as two hours.


    The best thing about the Jawbone Up is that it has a built in alarm clock. Basically I will tell the Up to wake me up at 9:00 and it will find the best time between 8:30 and 9:00 to wake me up depending on how deep I am sleeping. It is quite honestly the best alarm clock I had ever had and the alarm clock by itself makes the Up worth every single penny. The only better way to get woken up is by some super sexy chick who kisses me and says it is time to wake up because I have a show in fifteen minutes (I put my dream job in, but I am sure she could wake you up for whatever your dream is). I emailed jawbone and they said that they could not add this feature for some technical reason. Between you and me I think they are holding out on us.

    "The best thing about the Jawbone Up is that it has a built in alarm clock... it is the best alarm clock I have ever had..."

    The Up also tracks your sleep and produces a graph of how much time you were awake, in light sleep, or in deep sleep. It is really cool to see how effective your sleep was over the night, and correlate how well you slept with how much you worked out, what you ate and countless other things.

    --Food Tracker

    One of the other main things that the Up does is track your food intake in sodium, calories, fat, sugar and so forth. It is a really powerful feature however it takes a lot of input from the user. In some cases you can scan the barcode of the product you are eating and it will collect all of its nutritional information, but that is not an option very often. Basically this means that you will have to sift through a very expansive menu to find the particular item you are eating. This is not necessarily a problem with the app, I don’t really see how they could have done it any better but I did find myself slacking after a few days and now a month later I don’t even bother to add food I am eating. Again this is not a problem with the app but a problem with me. I honestly lack the motivation, however someone who has the proper motivation will get quite a bit out of this feature of the Up and used correctly it might be the strongest motivator and ally when making meaningful changes in your lifestyle to become healthier.

    "you will have to sift through a very expansive menu to find the particular item you are eating"


    The Up collates all of its data on a very nice looking and well designed app on the IOS market. As of right now there is no Android app. I emailed Jawbone and asked when we would see an Android app, they said to expect it within the first six months of 2013.

    With this app you can look at past sleep, steps, food and every other thing that the up tracks. The app is relatively simple at first look, but it gets very detailed under the hood, which is a really good thing. I cannot think of any features that the app could have done better or would be better with and while all of the features can feel overwhelming at first they are all useful and serve the Up well.


    As I said before the second generation is supposed to be quite a bit more rugged than the first gen and I believe it is. I have not had any problem with the band breaking or not working. It is made from hypoallergenic silicone and feels solid in my hand though putting it on is a little difficult since I don’t want to stretch it in an odd manner. The design is nice looking, and fashionable (whatever that means) and it is comfortable enough that I don’t mind wearing it all the time.

    I did find that it would sometimes bump up against my computer while I was trying to use it, but that was a pretty simple fix and not a huge problem.

    --Overall experiance

    I highly recommend getting the up band. There are a few other bands similar to the Up like the Nike Fuel band for the Fitbit band but in my research it appeared to me that the Up had the most features and all of these features are executed really well. While adding food that I have eaten to the app was cumbersome this was mostly my fault as the app is just being thorough. If I was willing to put in the effort (I found out I am not) I would get back really meaningful and powerful results. Just as when you are working out the best and most meaningful results come from the most effort and the same can be said for the Up.

    The battery life is amazing lasting for about ten days of a full charge which is just great. The downside I would have to say is that the Up does not have bluetooth so anytime you want to sync your up with your phone you have to take it off, it is a small movement but it would be a nice feature. Additionally as I mentioned above there is no Android app which is actually cutting out 75% of the market (yes Android holds 75% of the market.) and while there is one on the way I do not feel that Jawbone is trying to get it out as quickly as they should be. Regardless if you have IOS this is a really good purchase, if you have Android get this when the app comes out, unless you have already gone with another fitness wristband by that time, which, honestly, I would have.

    " there is no Android app which is actually cutting out 75% of the market"


    Design 9/10
    Software 7/10 (as good as it is, without an Android app I can’t score it as well)
    Features 8/10 (bluetooth would make this a 10)
    Performance 10/10 (everything works perfectly

    Average score 8.5

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  • LG 55G2 Google TV Review - 007

    by J.S. Marler

    Show Notes


    LG 55G2 -

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