The slick wrapper may throw you off, but this cigar has some kick. It has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper which seems to be the popular choice right now for cigar manufacturers. Mainly because it’s a Cuban-seed wrapper. The cigar comes out of Nicaragua and contains the Esteli leaf which is known to be the strongest Nicaraguan tobacco. The result is a smoke that has plenty of body, flavor and aroma.
For me, it was clean smoke. It did get pretty “spicyyyyyy” towards the middle. At the end is where the nicotine can hit you surprisingly hard and stun you. Make sure to eat something first before smoking this bad boy. Would I smoke it again? If I could afford it. In reality, I’ll put this in the “It’s good, but I’ll smoke it if I can get it on the cheap or for free” section.
When you first see the Xperia Z3 Compact the first thing it reminds you of is an iPhone. The color and size are the most obvious. But the reason why it reminds me of an iPhone is because of how gorgeous it looks. It definitely has an iPhone vibe.
I honestly think that Sony’s Xperia’s devices look better than the iPhone and most Android’s available. The main reason would be the display. It’s all display. Bezel to bezel. Plus, there’s no physical button on the front screen to distract you from the beauty it has. The Nexus 6, LG G3, HTC M9, Oppo OnePlus are similar smartphones that follow the same design philosophy. No physical home button. I love this detail. Going all the way back to the Nokia N9 (I loved that device). Shout out to all my Nokia N9 fans out there! That’s what a touch smartphone should look like. F*** a physical home button!
Despite the plastic frame on the Xperia Z3 Compact, it still looks great. But I just wish it had the Galaxy Alpha’s aluminum frame.
Don’t get me wrong though, it definitely has a super clean look. Especially from the back. It looks flawless. I don’t know if I ever loved the back of a smartphone this much until now. The machine metal buttons are still present on the side. Which to this day, still impresses me. However, since this is such a smaller phone than I’m used to, the shutter and volume buttons are a tad bit too small for me.
A cool design detail carried over from it’s big brother the Xperia Z3, are the two charging prongs on the left side of the device. It’s awesome because you won’t need to open the waterproof flap to charge the device. However, you’ll need to buy Sony’s magnetic charging dock to take advantage of this feature.
Oddly enough, it doesn’t feel as good as the Galaxy Alpha. The Galaxy Alpha is slimmer and lighter (114grams vs 129 grams for the Z3 Compact). But you’ll appreciate the extra weight and girth once you understand where the extra weight is coming from. Sony is all about function behind their design. And that means a bigger battery. Compare the 2600mAh battery on the Z3 Compact to the Galaxy Alpha’s 1860mAh battery and you’ll understand why Sony wasn’t able to keep the weight and thickness down. It was a “pimp decision” by Sony and I think it’s worth it. Don’t get me wrong, the Xperia Z3 Compact still feels really good. It feels more phone than smartphone and I kind of like that. Managing the behemoths that are out now can be tiring for sure. Just ask anyone who owns a phablet. In reality, it’s all about what you do. If you do most of your Internet work on a smartphone then a larger smartphone makes sense. If you use your phone for what it really is like phone calls and text then a more compact device makes more sense.
The display is actually really good for a 720p display. No complaints from me. Because in reality you won’t be watching full length movies on a device of this size. Unless you’re a child. It does the job. It’s sharp, colors feel more natural and using it in direct sunlight is actually better than most smartphones out there. When it comes to actual performance, it’s buttery smooth. I didn’t experience any performance hiccups with the device over the two weeks I had it.
Did I mention how smooth it is? The minimalistic Xperia launcher makes a difference when it comes to using an Android device. Simply put, Samsung , LG and HTC haven’t figured it out yet. They all suck when you compare it to Sony’s iteration of Android. Sony has gimmicky features like floating web browser, calculator, timer and gallery. But it’s functional and out of the way rather than being a main feature. One notable feature for me however, is the “double tap” to wake. And that equals awesome! That always takes me back to my Nokia N9 days! I still love the on screen buttons on the Xperia launcher too. Back on the left, home in the middle and recent on the right. A layout I always preferred.
One of the negatives with Xperia and this devices is the massive bloatware that comes pre-installed. It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about what Sony includes so here we go. Let’s get through them to see if you should keep them or dump them.
Walkman – Sony’s built in music player – Actually really good compared to other built in music apps by Samsung/LG/HTC.
Lifelog – A diary of your digital life – could be useful if you’re into logging your life. It’s also kind of creepy of how much it logs though.
Album – Simple gallery of your photos and videos. The implementation of GPS tags and maps to see where a photo was taken works beautifully.
PSN – A portal for everything Playstation related. Kind of weak because it just routes you to the website more often than not.
Movie Creator -Automatically makes movies out of your camera roll. Kind of ehhh…
Movies -Sony’s video player with integration of Video Unlimited.
News and Weather – Why bundle news with it?
Social Life – News Aggregator
Sketch – Drawing app. Useful if you’re into doodling.
Live on YouTube – Stream live video on YouTube with friends or a selected audience. Kind of cool.
Sony Select – Gathers apps, games, music, movies and only selects items that are 100% guaranteed to work on your Sony device. Kind of redundant considering the amount of ways you can get those things . Like Google’s Play Store.
Track ID and TV– Redundant if you use Google’s services which are more robust.
Update Center – Useful. Keeps your device and Sony apps up to date.
Video Unlimited – Sony’s video subscription service buy/rent movies/ view trailers/download movies.
What’s New – Cool but redundant since it just gathers what’s new from the PlayStation store, Videos Unlimited and music store.
Xperia Lounge – Gathers content such as trailers and interviews and behind the scenes. Plus it provides different Xperia promotions. I don’t know if anyone would really use this consistently.
Avg Anti Virus – I don’t believe in anti virus that much so kind of useless for me on a smartphone.
Apps With Trials – Garmin/File Commander. I don’t like how it comes pre-installed.
A lot of the installed software is redundant and I wish Sony would keep all of their apps in a certain section. I would prefer if Sony would allow you to decide which ones you want at first boot instead of loading your device with it.
As far as Androids go, it’s a decent camera. From what I experienced and saw, the camera is as advertised. The 20mp camera is available only in manual mode. But that’s okay since that should only be used for professionals who know what they’ re doing anyway. The 8MP photos on auto are just fine. Grainy as you zoom in. But this can be expected on an Android device. Low light photos are okay. Just don’t expect the photos to blow your mind.
The camera get’s the job done and that’s what most people really need anyway. It’s not a Nokia Lumia camera but it’s a better shot taker than most Androids. Even better than Samsung’s SG5 and Alpha. You can see some shots I took with it here. Yeah, I edited the photos but only basic filters. No lighting/contrast editing. I also paired it with a Camkix lens kit to take the macro shots.
As far as Androids go, battery life is superb. First day of using the bad boy and it lasted from 5:30 in the morning to midnight. Power management technology is still the best I’ve seen on any Android device. I’ve been raving about this since the Xperia Z1 and it still remains true. Additionally, I like how it will report to you if an app is hogging your battery! 3rd party apps not needed. All built in, you got to love that.
The stereo speakers on the front display are decent. Although the speakers aren’t large, on a device this small it’s doable. It will more than fill a quiet room. And it’s perfect for working in a confined space.
Sony has incorporated ClearAudio+ technology and it works really well actually. Especially with rap music. It can make it sound more clearer at a high volume. What Sony did with power management they did with audio settings. One touch fix. It’s pretty cool.
I think Sony has finally found their vision of a great smartphone. The Xperia Z3 Compact loses some points for bloatware but for the most part it is a great smartphone. The Xperia Z3 Compact is the best compact Android smartphone available. It’s legit.
If I was going to get an Android it would probably be a Sony. I’d probably get a compact one too like this one. It has superb design and feel for a smaller device. Battery life and camera performance are stupendous for an Android. And oh yeah, it’s element proof. Get it now unlocked @ sony.com
If you prefer a full HD display that’s larger then take a look at it’s big brother, the Xperia Z3.
Another great cigar lounge I frequent throughout my work week. Selection is top notch. The humidor is a decent size and they hold a variety of cigars like Don Pepin to Private Stock. Prices are reasonable for what you’ll find in Phoenix. The owner Mike and his team are very helpful. Mike is actually the one that got me into pipe smoking by teaching me all about it. He has a decent pipe selection and a shit-load of Meerschaum Pipes. He’s always got the T.V. going so there’s always something to talk about! If you check it out,tell him Aaron sent ya!
Even though the Samsung Galaxy Alpha has been out for awhile, it’s still one of the better smartphones out there. It’s not a flagship smartphone, but it could’ve been one if Samsung didn’t take out some of the features the Galaxy S5 has. Smartphone wise, it really can do everything you need it to do.
Samsung didn’t go cheap when it comes performance. Hardware wise, the Galaxy Alpha can compete with most flagship Android devices from Sony, HTC and LG in the speed department. With 2GB of RAM, the Galaxy Alpha is smooth and fast.
However, Samsung did go cheap on the display. The display isn’t full HD but most people won’t be able to tell the difference. Only spec-whores would worry about crap like that. Another feature missing is microSD expansion. But that shouldn’t matter since it comes with 32GB of on board storage, which is plenty in reality. Another big feature missing are the waterproof and dustproof capabilities that the Galaxy S5 has. Most people can deal with that and I still don’t know too many people that worry about taking their smartphone in to the water.
Design wise, the Galaxy Alpha is actually one good looking smartphone. This isn’t usually the case with Samsung phones, so it’s nice to see Samsung step up their design game. It looks really good mainly due to the metal frame. I even like the feel of the rubberized backing. It has a better feel than its big brother (Galaxy S5). It’s very light and it’s easy to hold. It feels really good. It feels so good that you want to hold it all day long.
A smartphone of this size seems to be the sweet spot when it comes to smartphones. Big hands or small hands, it just feels right. You really need a “hands on” experience to appreciate how well the phone feels and looks.
One negative you do get is a smaller battery. Which means shorter battery life. Add in the fact that Android is power hungry to begin with, and what you get is less than stellar battery life. The Galaxy Alpha is best used for those “city type” individuals who have access to outlets and chargers everywhere. It’s not for people who tend to be far away from a power source. The “outdoorsy” type.
The Galaxy Alpha is basically a Galaxy S5 without the high resolution display, sd card expansion and water/proof features. If you’re looking for a solid Android that feels high end and can deal with not having the features I mentioned above, then the Galaxy Alpha might be for you. And for $320, the price isn’t all that bad for what you get. If you’re looking for something that has those features I mentioned above then check out the Xperia Z3 Compact. It has microSD card expansion, it’s water and dust proof, has a bigger battery and supposedly a better camera. And like the Galaxy Alpha, it looks really good! It will cost you around $500 though…
Cigar Warehouse: 1040 E Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85014
Cigar Warehouse is the first cigar lounge I’ve ever been to. They’ve got a good selection of cigars and some prices that are the lowest in the valley. Cigar Warehouse has a rare setup since the whole store is conditioned to be a humidor. What does that mean? The lounge is in the middle of the humidor! You don’t normally see that and it’s pretty cool. They also have a separate room if you want some more privacy however. If you decide to stay and smoke and you’re a cool patron then coffee will be served. But like all lounges, if you are a dick then it’s best you leave. Don’t worry though they’ll let you know! Look for Greg when you stop in, he’ll take care of you. Just tell him I sent you!
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the best Windows tablet available. No question about it. Hands down. Period. You might be saying to yourself, “Wait, the Lumia 1520 isn’t a tablet…” and you’re right, it isn’t. It’s actually a phablet (large smartphone). Even though it’s sold as a smartphone, here are my reasons why you should consider it as a Windows tablet. And why it’s a really good one too.
The 6″ Display – It’s big. Big enough to do everything you would want a 7″ or 10″ tablet to do. Browsing the internet? Yup. Music and Videos? Yup. Games? Yup. Photo editing, Microsoft Office and remote desktop? No problem. The 6″ display can do it all. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
The Hardware – The specs on this bad boy are good enough for you to do all of the activities I mentioned above. It’ll do it without any lag too. Windows Phone doesn’t take a whole lot of processing power to do it’s job. And it won’t suck your battery dry like it will on Android. Nokia’s hardware design is in a league by itself. It always has been. Not to mention it’s a beautiful piece of polycarbonate plastic. You’ll want to rock this bad boy without any protection (case) just to show it off. Add in cellular connectivity and what you have is the most portable connected tablet you can find on the market today.
The Camera – No tablet can compete with the camera hardware that’s built into the Lumia 1520. You get great low light shots, a purview experience and videos that are good enough to film your life. Add in the fact that the upcoming Denim update will bring Rich Capture (HDR), 4K video recording and faster shot to shot time makes it future proof for quite some time.
Microsoft Apps – Microsoft Office, One Note, One Drive and Remote Desktop. These apps are the staples in the Microsoft kingdom. If you’re buying a Windows tablet to begin with it’s because you either need or want Microsoft apps on the go. Microsoft Office does it’s job thanks to the great keyboard real estate you get with such a big display. One Note also benefits from the huge display by making it more productive to use on the go. One Drive is the biggie here. Microsoft is just giving away it’s storage. You can get up to 500gb of free storage if you know what you’re doing. One Drive is the best cloud service I’ve experienced. Better than Google Drive. Better than iCloud Drive. Better than Dropbox. If you don’t know about it, “you better ask somebody!” Another big plus is Remote Desktop which works surprisingly well. Even with no keyboard or mouse attached. Microsoft gets a thumbs up big time here!
Traditional Windows Tablets – The Surface Pro line are considered tablets. And there other Windows tablets from Dell, Lenovo and Sony. But if you’re rocking it with full fledged Windows on it, those devices should be considered as laptop replacements and not tablets. Those are personal computers in a tablet form. Microsoft definitely made a mistake with Windows RT. Which confused everybody. But at least they’re correcting it by killing that version off. Windows Phone is really Microsoft’s mobile/tablet operating system. This will all be cleared up for everyone with the release and implementation of Windows 10.
Simply put, my Lumia 1520 is my Windows tablet. It just so happens it can make phone calls when I need it to. I feel like the Lumia 1520 was ahead of it’s time when it was released last year. But after a year in, It’s legit.
Go here to learn more about the Nokia Lumia 1520 and what it can do for you.