Archive for the Products Category

ASUS ZenFone 2 Launches In US And Canada

Posted in Products with tags on May 19, 2015 by itnerd

The ASUS ZenFone 2 officialy launched in North America at a press event in New York City on Tuesday.

ZenFone 2 features a 13 MP camera with ASUS-exclusive PixelMaster camera technology, the brand-new ZenUI user interface, Dual-SIM, Dual-Active (DSDA) capability, and incredible performance that delivers a premium smartphone experience to users.

The ZenFone 2 has a gorgeous, all-new design that employs iconic Zen design elements, such as a sleek, brushed-metal finish and concentric-circle detailing, and introduces new refinements, including a graceful curved case that tapers to an incredibly-thin 0.15 inch at the edges.

ZenFone 2 is coming to market in the United States and Canada and will be unlocked and contract-free, giving users freedom to enjoy the smartphone on the service provider of their choice. Word on the street is that in Canada they are very hard to come by. But I will be getting my hands on one soon to review. Watch for it!

In Depth: Keeper DNA

Posted in Products with tags on May 16, 2015 by itnerd

Let’s face it. Having secure passwords for all your online accounts and keeping track of them is hard. So users take shortcuts by doing things like using simplistic passwords an reusing one password in all their accounts. That opens you up to getting pwned by some hacker. That’s bad for both individuals and business alike. Keeper Security aims to change the game on this front by introducing Keeper DNA Authentication.

Here’s how it works.

With Keeper DNA Authentication, access to a user’s private information is determined by physical elements of the user’s body, such as a fingerprint or retina, or proximity to wireless devices, such as a smart thermostat, smartwatch or wifi network. The combination of these biometric factors, connected objects and IoT devices create a unique profile for the user that is automatically used by Keeper DNA to automatically verify the users identity. Think of it like the DNA in your body where DNA is unique. So are all the devices in your life. The advantage of the way Keeper DNA does things is that it’s far easier and more secure than cumbersome traditional multi-factor authentication methods which usually require manual entry of a code received via a hard token (for example a key fob) or to a smartphone via SMS or voice. Another advantage is that this is multi-factor authentication which makes your private information way more secure.

Keeper is available on all major Smartphones, Tablets and Computers platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, Kindle, and Windows Phone. Keeper is free for local password management on your device. Premium subscription provides cloud­ based features and premium device­ specific features including Sync, Backup & Restore, Secure Sharing, File Storage and multi­ device usage. Take a look at it to make your digital life secure.

Review: 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on May 15, 2015 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of the review of the Chrysler 300C Platinum which means that I need to tie up some loose ends. My final fuel economy was 14.1 L/100 KM’s in mixed city and highway driving. Most of which was in rush hour traffic save for one highway trip. I’m okay with this as this was a V8 and there were times where I did take advantage of all 8 cylinders. One thing to note is that the 300C Platinum prefers upscale fuel.

The 300C Platinum goes for $51,125 as tested, and that includes freight. But you can get a 300 for as little as $38,195 with a V6 and rear wheel drive. You also get an option for all wheel drive mated to the V6 (all wheel drive is not available with a V8) and the ability to build it with as little or as much kit as you want. Plus there’s a few options that were available on the 300C that I didn’t get on my test vehicle. Thus you can get exactly the 300 that you want. If you’re looking to cross shop it, good competitors are the Acura TLX, Buick La Crosse, and Cadillac CTS, which all lack the option of a V8 engine of any sort, never mind a HEMI V8.

If you want a powerful car that has a lot of room, luxurious, and is a great highway cruiser, you should have the 300C on your list. It ticks all those boxes and you’ll enjoy every minute of your time in it.

Review: 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on May 14, 2015 by itnerd

The technology in the Chrysler 300C Platinum covers a number of areas from safety to infotainment. Let’s start with the safety technology. Here’s the list of things that will keep you safe:

  • Front air bags
  • Side curtain front and rear air bags
  • Driver side knee air bag
  • Electronic roll mitigation (it will keep you from rolling over if things get too far out of hand)
  • Traction control, stability control,
  • Backup camera with cross path detection
  • Blind stop monitoring
  • Ready alert braking: This is a system that senses when the driver lifts his or her foot off of the accelerator pedal in an abrupt manner. When that happens, the system assumes an impending emergency stop may be required. the system commands the braking system to apply a slight amount of brake pressure to just touch the brake pads against the rotors to help apply the brakes much quicker if needed. This can help reduce stopping distance in an emergency situation.
  • Rain brake support: This is a system that will periodically apply a small amount of brake pressure to remove any water buildup on the front brake rotors so that your braking is no different than when it is dry. It only functions when the windshield wipers are in the LO or HI mode, it does not function in the intermittent mode. When Rain Brake Support is active, there is no notification to the driver and no driver interaction is required.
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Park Sense Front / Rear Park Assist: This system uses sound waves to detect nearby obstacles while in reverse. Audio and visual indicators alert you to the proximity of the object so that you don’t hit it. 

The next thing is the key. It’s a proximity key that allows you to walk up, open the door, press the start button, and drive away. You can also remote start the 300C, open the trunk, and unlock the doors. Like other Chrysler vehicles I’ve reviewed, there’s also a real key on the inside. When you want to lock the car, simply press a button on the door handle when you get out of the car. Net result: You never have to take the proximity key out of your pocket. One other trick: It’s smart enough to fire up the HVAC system to either cool the car down in the summer or warm it up in winter.

Now on to the UConnect infotainment system. It took me seconds to pair my iPhone via Bluetooth and make everything work the way I expected. Plugging in my iPhone via USB allowed me access to all the music and playlists on it. The voice recognition was good, though I had trouble with street names. The system is still powered by a huge 8.4″ touchscreen which is clear and easy to read in most lighting conditions. There are redundant controls that are well designed and easy to reach. When it comes to the design part, I’ll use the controls on the steering wheel as an example. Individual buttons have their own feel so that once you know what the functions are, you can use them purely based on feel. The navigation system does a great job of getting you from point A to B. You won’t have any complaints on this front.

No matter where I was sitting, the audio was fantastic. Supplied by Harmon Kardon and putting out over 900 watts of audio to 18 speakers, it has crisp highs and well defined bass with zero distortion. Kudos to Chrysler for providing a top notch stereo.

In the last part of my review, I’ll wrap up some loose ends and I will give you my final verdict.

Review: 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on May 13, 2015 by itnerd

The interior of the Chrysler 300C Platinum is one that Chrysler got right in every way except one. Let me show you what the 300C brings to the table:

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Let’s start with the driver’s seat which was pretty comfortable. It is power adjustable, heated and vented (and so is the front passenger seat). I found it to be on the wide side as I slid around in it. Thus some might feel it needs some extra bolstering.

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On the driver’s seat is this switch that allows you to adjust the power adjustable pedals to suit you.

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All the door and window controls are on the driver’s door. Note the high quality stitching on the door.

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You get memory settings for the drivers seat on the door as well.

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Plus the button to allow you to open the flap that covers the gas cap is on the drivers door.

IMG_1326Here are the controls of the lighting system plus the button to release the trunk. Below that are the power adjustable pedals and the mechanical parking brake to the left. The latter I found odd for reasons that I will get to in a moment.

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The steering wheel is leather wrapped and has controls for cruise control, the phone, audio, and the infotainment system. It also has paddle shifters. It is power adjustable and is on the chunky side from a feel perspective.

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The speedometer is impressive. The left and right sides are mechanical, but the center is a display that can be heavily customized. It is one of the sharpest and clearest displays that I have ever seen.

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The center console is impressive. Besides the 8.4″ touchscreen, HVAC controls, classy looking analog clock, and stop/start button on the left, it has this feature:

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It has a flip up panel with a 12v outlet and a small storage area. you can also see the rotary dial that controls the transmission along with a storage area to the right. That brings me to the one complaint that I have with the interior. The 300C has a cool way to control the transmission in the form of the rotary dial, power adjustable steering wheel and pedals, but it has a mechanical parking brake. Seeing as the Chrysler 200s that I reviewed last year comes with a electronic parking brake and the rotary dial, one wonders why Chrysler didn’t put an electronic parking brake in the 300C.

IMG_1335You get a pair of cup holders that can be covered and they have a switches that allow you to keep drinks hot or cold.

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It holds my Venti sized Starbucks coffee easily. But I can tell that travel mugs are a non-starter.

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There is a storage area in the arm rest that has a slidable coin holder. There’s also USB ports, AUX audio jack, and a SD card slot.

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The 300C is full of open pore wood and high quality stitching as evidenced here in this picture. It not only gives the 300C a very upscale look, but it easily competes with the BMW’s, Audi’s, and Benzes of the world.

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The glove box is lit and has two levels.

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There’s a massive dual pane sunroof in the 300C.

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Back seat passengers get a ton of room as it will seat three adults easily.

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If you don’t need to seat three adults, you can use this as an armrest, to hold your drinks, or for storage.

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Back seat passengers also get seat warmers and their own USB ports for their phones.

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One cool feature is this hook in the rear which my wife used to hang her dry cleaning on. The light is a nice touch as well.

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The trunk is HUGE. Note that the hinges are shrouded to make sure that they don’t crush anything beneath them. Also note that the trunk is lit.

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Here you can see what our weekly trip to get groceries and beer looks like in the trunk. There’s a whole lot of space left over.

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There’s a handle on the trunk lid that allows you to close the trunk without getting your hand dirty.

There were no rattles, squeaks, or any evidence that the build quality was anything other than top notch. With the exception of a mechanical parking brake, Chrysler has really got this interior dialed in. You’ll love in spending time inside the 300C Platinum.

Next up is the technology in the vehicle. Stay tuned for that!

Review: 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on May 12, 2015 by itnerd

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The Chrysler 300C Platinum powers the rear wheels via this 5.7L HEMI V8 engine that puts out 363 horsepower and 392 lb-ft of torque. Let’s stop there for a second and speak about what a HEMI V8 engine is. A Hemi engine (derived from the word hemisphere) is an internal combustion engine in which the roof of each cylinder’s combustion chamber is of hemispherical form rather than being flat. This creates efficient combustion with minimal heat loss. That’s important because fuel that is near the head walls in a flat head engine may be so cool that it does not burn efficiently. In a HEMI engine, the surface area is much smaller than in a flat head, so less heat escapes and peak pressure can be higher. That means more power and more fun for you. Now if you really want to go into greater detail, this Wikipedia article talks about this design in greater detail. But the bottom line is that if you want a V8 in your car, the HEMI has to be on your list.

Now you’re thinking “Man, it must just drink gas.” My response would be that it has two tricks up its sleeve to solve that. One is that the 300C Platinum has a class exclusive 8 speed automatic transmission. Shifts were essentially transparent which means that there’s nothing for me to complain about on that front. To help save you more gas, this HEMI V8 can also disable 4 cylinders via sensors that are used to detect when full power isn’t necessary (typically during highway cruising, but I saw this happen in the city as well) for improved efficiency. The cool thing is that you never, ever notice that this happens. In fact, I had to configure the instrument cluster to tell me when it was in 4 cylinder mode because I was unable to tell. That is impressive. So was the fact that it was easy to blow by anything you wanted to with the slightest touch of the go pedal.

Now this is a full sized vehicle, but it doesn’t drive like one for the most part. While the 300C Platinum is not a canyon carver, and understeer and body roll will appear if you take an on-ramp a bit too fast for example, it does handle surprisingly well. Darting in and out of traffic on the highway requires minimal input and generates minimal complaints from this Chrysler. Though I will note that the steering lacks any sort of road feel. The suspension is on the firm side, but it is tuned to be more comfortable than sporty. Though I will note that you will feel more severe bumps as you drive. On the highway, this is a great vehicle to drive. This is the sort of vehicle that you want if you go on a road trip because its highway manners are so good.

Speaking of sporty, you get a sport mode button that when you press it, it does the following:

• Accelerator pedal response sharpens
• The transmission raises shift points and provides firm/fast shift engagement
• Paddle shifters are readied for use (though I will note that you can use them at any time which is nice)
• The steering activates its sport performance settings

It can make the 300C really fun to drive. But again, this is not a canyon carver. So there is a limit on how much fun you can have.

From a noise, vibration, and harshness standpoint, there’s only tire noise. I never noticed wind noise at all and the cabin is very quiet. Sight lines in all directions are very good as well which was a huge problem on the previous generation 300C.

Downsides? Only one. I’m currently averaging 16.4 L/100 KM’s in rush hour and stop and go highway traffic. I’m not shocked by this in the slightest, but I do hope it improves over this week.

Speaking of the cabin, I’ll be looking at that tomorrow. And it’s one area where Chrysler has made every effort to impress you.

Review: 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on May 11, 2015 by itnerd

When the Chrysler 300C first showed up on the scene in 2004 as a 2005 model year car, it created quite the sensation. Born out of the Daimler Benz/Chrysler tie up, it was tasked with bringing luxury to the automotive marketplace at an affordable price point. It sold like crazy and I even thought of it as being “gangster cool.” It grabbed enough mindshare that even young people wanted to be seen in them. In short, it put Chrysler on the map. It also made them cool and hip.

Fast forward to today. The 300C is now in its second generation and it has had a refresh for 2015. It’s grown up and become less hip and trendy. Instead it is more elegant and sophisticated. That starts with the exterior: IMG_1312

From the front it does look like the previous 300C. The blacked out grill is very cool looking. I should note it has LED daytime running lamps and fog lamps.

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The 20″ chrome wheels really give the 300C quite an imposing look.

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Integrated tailpipes along with LED tail lights complete this sophisticated look that reminds you of the previous generation 300C. Though, seeing as this has a HEMI V8 under the hood, I would have put a HEMI badge somewhere on the vehicle so that others know what you have at the command of your right foot.

I’ll be posting a multi-part review that will cover the following sections:

  • Engine, transmission, handling, fuel economy, and driving comfort
  • Interior
  • Technology in the vehicle
  • Wrap up

Tomorrow, I’ll start talking about the HEMI V8, the 8 speed transmission (no that’s not a misprint) and how well it drives. Without giving two much away, I’ll say that the drive is very interesting. Stay tuned!

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