Archive for the Products Category

The IT Nerd Award For The Best SUV Goes To: Jeep Cherokee Limited

Posted in Products with tags , on December 14, 2014 by itnerd

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This is the last award that I’ll be handing out and like the other car categories, this decision was a toss up. On one hand there’s the Mazda CX-5 GT which brought insanely great handling, a extensive suite of technology, and good fuel economy to the table. On the other hand there’s The Jeep Cherokee Limited which lives up to the Jeep heritage and brought its own array of technology to the table along with good fuel economy. In the end, I gave the nod to the Jeep Cherokee Limited. Granted, most SUVs never touch dirt in any significant way. But the Jeep Cherokee Limited will handle off road conditions with ease thanks to one of the more advanced four wheel drive systems on the market. That’s something that you’ll appreciate in other conditions such as a winter storm. Not only that, it has a ton of technology in it including ParkSense which gives the Jeep Cherokee Limited the ability to parallel and perpendicular park itself. That makes it ideal for your urban adventures in addition to your off road adventures. To top it off, it has a 9 speed transmission mated to the V6 engine to keep your fuel costs down. Something that I appreciated when I was testing it for my review last summer. To be fair the CX-5 almost pulled this one out because it quite frankly is a very good SUV that deserves a very good look if you are in the market for one. But what tipped the scales in favor of the Jeep was ParkSense and its off road capabilities. Those points made it my choice for the best SUV of 2014.

This was fun to do as it really made me think about what truly are the best products that I review. Congratulations to the winners and I look forward to doing this again next year.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Car Over $40K Goes To: Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate

Posted in Products with tags , on December 13, 2014 by itnerd

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I have to admit that I had a tough time choosing between the Volvo V60 R-Design and the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 Ultimate as they were both cars that impressed me. The reason why the Hyundai Genesis got the award is that you get yourself a luxury car that has excellent performance, fit and finish that is at worst equal to the cars it competes with, and a broad suite of technologies on board including a really cool way to open the trunk for a price that is thousands less than their German or Japanese competition. Now I almost gave this award to the Volvo V60 because it is an excellent alternative to an SUV that is really, really quick and handles well. Not to mention that it has a great feature set from a safety perspective. But Hyundai has managed to flip the script by coming up with a car that shows the world that luxury doesn’t have to be expensive seeing as it is exactly $62K CDN fully loaded. Quite simply, the Hyundai Genesis is a car that should make everyone else in this market rethink what a luxury car should be. As a result, it’s my pick for the best car over $40K.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Car Under $40K Goes To: Mazda6 GT

Posted in Products with tags , on December 12, 2014 by itnerd

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I really had to think about this one as I had two cars that were under $40K that really impressed me this year. The first was the Chrysler 200s which really shows how the Detroit company has evolved since their alliance with Fiat. The second is the Mazda6 GT which surprised me in a number of areas from performance to fuel economy. I could have gone either way on this one, but in the end the Mazda6 GT gets the win because Mazda managed to do what I thought was impossible. Which is to create a mid-sized car that has surprising amounts of power from its four cylinder engine, exceptional handling equal to a car several classes above it, beyond excellent fuel economy thanks to its SkyActiv technology along with i-Eloop being tossed into the mix on the GT trim level, a full suite of technology including Smart City Brake Support and Adaptive Front Lighting System and High Beam Control, while keeping the price within the reach of most of the car buying public. Now to be fair, the Chrysler 200s almost pulled this one out by having all wheel drive and a V6 that put out almost 300 horsepower which is sets it apart in this class. But the exceptional handling of the Mazda6 along with the fact that it was around $35K CDN fully loaded got it over the line first. Either car deserves a place on your shopping list, but the Mazda6 GT gets my award for best car under $40K.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Tablet Goes To: Asus Memo Pad 8 (ME181C)

Posted in Products with tags , on December 11, 2014 by itnerd

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Choosing a winner in this category was hard. Asus has a full suite of tablets that run Windows 8.1 and Android. Examples of this are the Asus Memo Pad 8 (ME181C) and the Asus VivoTab Note 8. Plus they have convertible tablet/ultraportable notebooks such as the Asus Transformer Pad TF103C (Model K010)Asus Transformer Book T100, and the Asus Transformer Book TX300. But one interesting non-Asus choice that crossed my desk was the Alcatel Onetouch Pop 8 which unlike the Asus products, serves up HSPA connectivity to go alongside WiFi connectivity. That’s a very extensive list of tablets to choose from. But at the end of the day, one tablet stood out to me. That one was the Asus Memo Pad 8 (ME181C) for the following reasons:

  • Of all the tablets that I reviewed this year, it had the best camera by far.
  • It had the best screen as it was bright and had a great viewing angles. Not to mention that at 8″, you get a bit more screen real estate to work with.
  • It has 10 hours of battery life which is outstanding.
  • It’s priced at $299 CDN which makes it more than affordable.

If you’re in the market for a tablet that doesn’t come from Apple, I’d give the Asus Memo Pad 8 (ME181C) a very good look. It’s a very deserving winner of the best tablet award.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Accessory Goes To: NomadKey

Posted in Products with tags , on December 10, 2014 by itnerd

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What made the NomadKey (AKA: The Nomad ChargeKey) the winner of the accessories category is the fact that this is a cable that you can carry anywhere because it is on your key chain. That makes it indispensable in my mind and you have no reason not to be able to keep your smartphone’s battery topped up. Clearly others thought the same as you could not get your hands on the NomadKey for a very long time when it first became available. Thus it made this decision a no brainer. As an aside, I also reviewed a product called the ChargeCard which is a credit card formatted version of the NomadKey. However it is no longer available which is a shame because it was just as useful. Regardless, whether you have an iPhone (in which case you can use the Lightning version), Android phone or Blackberry (in which case the Micro USB version is for you), consider adding this award winner for best accessory onto your keychain.

 

 

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Entry Level Smartphone Goes To: Motorola Moto G LTE

Posted in Products with tags , on December 9, 2014 by itnerd

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Not everyone needs a iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S5. Some of us simply need a basic smartphone that does everything we need it to do at a low price point. Now, it used to be if you were looking for something at the low end of the market, you’d have to live without a feature or two. However that isn’t the case Motorola Moto G LTE. Just look at this feature set:

  • Android OS 4.4 KitKat
  • 1.2Ghz quad-core processor which makes this phone feel quick.
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4.5-inch display (1280 x 720 resolution) which is very impressive.
  • 5MP camera with a 1.3MP front-facing camera which does a great job of taking stills and 720p video.
  • 8GB of internal storage
  • Micro SD Slot for more storage
  • LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth

None of that sounds entry level does it? It also for the most part did not perform like an entry level smartphone. For example, it was insanely fast on Rogers LTE network which is the last thing that I expected from an entry level smartphone. However the price both on contract ($0 at Rogers) or outright ($224.99 at Rogers) sure says entry level smartphone. That makes the Moto G LTE the perfect smartphone for someone who wants to get their child their first smartphone, or someone who needs a low cost smartphone. It’s also a deserving winner of the award for the best entry level smartphone.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Smartphone Goes To: BlackBerry Passport

Posted in Products with tags , on December 8, 2014 by itnerd

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The first award of the seven that I am handing out this week was very easy to come up with. The BlackBerry Passport is a unique phone that has a lot going for it. It has a wide screen that allows you to see more and do more. It’s fast as well as having phenomenal battery life. Plus it has a keyboard that doubles as a trackpad. If that’s not enough, BlackBerry Blend allows you to send and receive e-mails, text messages and BBMs on ANY platform unlike competing products from Apple. All of this conspires to make this phone the most unique phone on the market. Thus its no shock that it is getting a lot of positive attention. I have given this company its last rites on more than one occasion over the years, but no longer. Clearly BlackBerry has their mojo back and the Passport is proof of that. They’re a deserving winner of the best smartphone award.

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