Review: OnePlus 3T

It’s been just five months since OnePlus launched the OnePlus 3. In fact, until a few days ago, the review of that phone was still on the first page of this site. Why, then, is the company releasing an update so soon after the launch of the OnePlus 3? Well, because that’s what it is; an update. I’m sure there will be a proper successor next year but if they had to release a slightly updated version, now is the best time to do it.

Calling the OnePlus 3T a “slightly updated version” is not really doing it any disservice. The original OnePlus 3 was already a superb device so you can imagine how much better an updated version would be, even if the changes are minor.

So what has changed, really? Six things, to be precise: a new color, a faster processor, a larger storage option, a larger battery, a higher resolution front facing camera, and because I’m pedantic, a sapphire glass lens cover for the rear camera.

Now, because I already reviewed the OnePlus 3 in detail in the past, I won’t be diving too deep into it with the 3T, as for the most parts, the two phones are identical. This review will be a quick run-through of everything that’s common while mostly focusing on the things that are new.


Understanding two-step authentication and internet security

The proliferation of the internet is one of the best things to have happened during our time. But while it has proven to be a brilliantly useful tool, in the wrong hands it has also proven to be quite dangerous. With the increase in online accounts, we have also seen an increase in the number of black hat hacks, where nefarious members of the online community have taken hold of someone’s account for committing internet theft or just to write “haha gay1!!1 l0lz” on their Twitter.

All the online accounts come with a basic form of security, a password. A series of letters, numbers, and special characters that form the first line of defence against people who are not you trying to gain access to your account. This may have been enough a few years ago but with the advent of brute force cracking and social engineering, a password, no matter how complicated, can no longer be trusted to be your only security measure.

Unfortunately, a lot of websites still offer a password as the only security measure for your online account. However, a growing number of websites these days also provide a second, more robust line of defense against hackers, the two-step authentication. This is where you will learn what it is, and why you should have had it enabled even before you read this. 


The future of tablets

I was reading this piece on Android Police about the slow demise of the Android tablet. While reading I realized that my own iPad Air has ben doing little more than sitting on my desk and gathering dust for the past year.

Back when the iPad first came out it made sense. It provided a larger canvas for things that the relatively small screens of smartphones back then weren’t suitable for and at the same time it was more portable and easier to use than a computer. This was pretty much Apple’s marketing pitch for the iPad, a device that sits in the gap between the iPhone and the MacBook.

With the passage of time, the displays on the smartphones kept getting bigger and laptops have gotten increasing smaller and lighter. Due to this, the gap that tablets once inhabited has turned into a slit. 


Review: Pixel XL

Google may have started its Android journey with the T-Mobile G1, but it wasn’t until the Nexus One that it started selling the phones itself. The Nexus One was a major departure from how Android phones were being sold until then. In the US, you would get your phone directly from the carrier, as you had been doing for many years, and elsewhere you’d buy it from the OEM making it, whether it was Samsung, HTC, or Motorola. But even though the phones were running Google’s operating system, they weren’t exactly Google phones.

This was what was so different about the Nexus One. Although the hardware was made by HTC (it was nothing more than a slightly retooled HTC Desire) this was the first phone directly sold by Google from its website. And that was the beginning of the Nexus brand, a series of phones from Google running a pure version of Android, with the promise of quick updates and support directly from Google.

The Nexus One was followed by the Nexus S, which was made by Samsung (again, just a redesigned Galaxy S), which was then followed by the Galaxy Nexus, then the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and last year’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Over the years the designs changed, the manufacturers changed, but the basic principle remained the same.

Unfortunately, 2015 will be the year that we got the last Nexus device as Google has since shuttered down the brand. In its place comes the Pixel.

Now, to be fair, Pixel has been around for some time. The first device was the Chromebook Pixel, which also got a second generation update. Then there was the Pixel C tablet from last year. Each of these devices maintained some of the principles of the Nexus series: devices sold by Google with the latest version of the software. The Pixel devices also went a couple of steps ahead, and aimed to be the best possible in their respective product category without worrying about the price, which was often a criteria for Nexus devices. Also, Pixel devices were actually being manufactured by Google itself.

This year we get the first two phones in the Pixel lineup, the simply named Pixel, and the larger Pixel XL. Like the other Pixel devices, these will be made and sold by Google itself, come with the promise of quick software updates, and will also be supported by Google. These are also flagship devices in their category, and are priced as such. If you came looking for yet another Nexus phone, then these are not the droids you are looking for. If you want the best possible Android smartphone out there, then you might be at the right place. 


Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, featuring the character of Doctor Steven Strange, a neurosurgeon that gets into an accident, loses the ability to operate with his hands, and then seeks out a group of people in the East to heal himself.  During this he also gets tangled into their world of magic, eventually finding himself in a position where the fate of the world kinda rests in his hands.

Being an origin story, ‘Doctor Strange’ spends a lot of time building the main character. There are also some training montages where you see him learn magic and develop his skills, and then eventually use that to take down the main bad guy. In that it is not too different from other origin stories, like ‘Iron Man’ or ‘Batman Begins’.