Technology

My First Impressions of the GoPro HERO Session

Just this week, I had the opportunity to purchase my first ever GoPro HERO Session. As someone who has been a big fan of the GoPro brand since owning the GoPro HERO3, I've always been curious about the small cube-like camera. And did I mention it sells for just $149? Considering this is a GoPro product we're talking about, that's a great price.

Throw in an Amazon Prime Day deal and you've got me convinced. I ordered the bundle and eagerly awaited its arrival on Thursday. You can check out my unboxing video right below.

I have only had the GoPro HERO Session in my possession for about 24 hours, but I've noticed a few things that I think are worth sharing — especially if you're in the market for a more affordable action camera. Believe me, you'll want to go the GoPro route. Having recently used two GoPro knockoffs, the difference in quality is like night and day.

Build quality is exceptional

Like any GoPro camera, the build quality of the Session is simply incredible. Despite its small form factor, the camera feels solid in the hand and the onscreen menu is easy to navigate. The sides of the Session have a rubber texture, making the camera easy to grip. It's also quite light, weighing just 0.16 pounds.

If you are looking for a camera that is both compact and well built, the Session will not disappoint.

For a $149 GoPro, video looks great

Whenever you're buying a less expensive version of something better, you can typically expect to find a few shortcomings along the way. While this certainly applies to the Session, I think you'd be surprised by the results.

My first impressions of the recording quality were very positive. I'm actually amazed at how good the video looks for a camera that costs $149. The wide-angle lens captures plenty of information within frame, colors appear bright and vibrant, and white balance performance seems adequate.

It is worth noting, however, that the Session does not feature video stabilization of any kind. This means that your footage is prone to shakiness, so you might want to invest in an accessory or two that can help stabilize the motion. Either that, or consume less caffeine. But I prefer to not think about the latter.

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For a $149 GoPro, audio sounds good

Continuing to focus on the low price tag, I'm not going to knock the audio too much. However, I will say it's better than expected — at least when compared to my $299 GoPro HERO4. The audio may not sound as defined as to what I'm used to, but it actually sounds pretty damn good.

For an example of how the microphone performs, check out the video above. I plan on doing a more in-depth comparison at some point in the future.

Waterproof made easy

Using a camera with waterproof capabilities is nothing new. The idea has been around for years now. However, doing so usually requires some kind of waterproof housing — much like what's included with most GoPro cameras. But who wants to worry about carrying around another accessory? That has always been a huge turn-off to me. I simply want a product to work as advertised.

The Session is the first camera from GoPro that is completely waterproof right out of the box. Yes, you read that right. If you want to take the Session underwater, you won't have to worry about bringing along any accessories.

Of course, this kind of convenience has its limitations. Without an external housing, the Session is waterproof up to 33 feet below. If you ask me, that's plenty. I don't see myself going any deeper than 8 feet any time soon.

Seriously, just buy it

You'll be glad you did. I recommend going with the Deluxe Bundle, which includes the following:

  • GoPro HERO Session
  • GoPro Headstrap Mount + QuickClip
  • AmazonBasics Carrying Case
  • Samsung 32GB MicroSD Card

Do you have any videos that were recorded using a GoPro camera? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

7 Things I Like About the iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2017)

Apple recently refreshed the iPad Pro line, which brought all kinds of new features and enhancements — including an all-new 10.5-inch model. While at first glance things may seem similar to what you've been used to for the last year or so, I can assure you that a lot has changed. Some enhancements are more noticeable than others.

The following are seven things that I like most about the iPad Pro 10.5-inch. Of course, it's worth noting that this list also applies to the 12.9-inch model. The only obvious difference between the two is the screen size.

1. ProMotion is a game changer

Immediately disregard everything you enjoy about the displays on your existing iOS devices — unless you happen to own one of the new iPad Pro models, of course. ProMotion, Apple's marketing term for a 120Hz display, is truly a huge leap forward in display technology for tablets. Capable of displaying up to 120 frames per second, the iPad Pro displays everything at twice the normal rate.

Similar to making the transition from a non-Retina display to Retina, witnessing ProMotion for the first time is feeling that I will soon not forget. I just hope Apple continues to implement this technology in all future iOS devices, including the iPhone's upcoming 10th anniversary.

2. Apple knows premium design

Okay, so they're not perfect. You'll quickly realize this when you go to charge the Magic Mouse 2 for the first time. But regardless, Apple is typically very good at designing their products to give off a premium vibe. Thankfully, with the new iPad Pro, things continue in that direction.

From an aluminum body to a glass display, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro simply looks and feels incredible. And thanks to the 50% thinner side bezels, the form factor of the iPad Pro doesn't feel that different than the previous 9.7-inch model.

3. Audio continues to impress

This is one area where not much has changed, but is that such a bad thing? Ever since the original iPad Pro was released, audio has always been phenomenal — at least for a tablet. Thanks to the four onboard speakers, listening to music or watching movies on the iPad Pro far exceeds the experience you get on any traditional tablet.

Using the built-in accelerometer on the iPad Pro, iOS can intelligently route audio through the appropriate channels, depending on which orientation the device is positioned in. Much like ProMotion, experiencing the audio is something you should really do in person.

4. The cameras are better than ever

I think we've reached the point in society where it's okay to take photos (and shoot videos) with our tablets. Right? Well, at least I think so, anyway. I'm not typically the close-minded type. If somebody wants to use their devices in a creative way, who am I to stop them? You just need to be responsible when doing so.

If you are someone who enjoys taking photos with their iPad Pro, then I have good news for you. The latest iPad Pro models both feature everything we love about the iPhone 7 cameras — aside from the Portrait mode, which requires dual lenses. The rear-facing camera shoots in 12-megapixel resolution and 4K video, while the FaceTime HD camera uses a 7-megapixel sensor. Not bad for a tablet!

5. Apple Pencil just got a lot better

That's not to say there was anything wrong with the Apple Pencil to begin with. It's actually incredible. But you know what? It's now even better, and that's thanks primarily to the introduction of the ProMotion display.

Now that the iPad Pro is capable of displaying information 120 times per second, this means it can register inputs from the Apple Pencil twice as fast. The latency has dropped from 40 milliseconds to an impressive 20 milliseconds. And before you ask, yes — you can notice the difference.

6. Creatives should feel at home

When comparing the iPad Pro to other tablets, it's like night and day. Sure, there are some creative apps available no matter which platform you decide to use, but nothing even comes close to the app selection for iOS. From digital art apps to fully fledged photo editors, creatives are going to feel very comfortable when using the iPad Pro.

Between support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, the iPad Pro continues to dominate in the creative space. Now, I'm not saying this is set to replace your actual computer any time soon, but it's certainly moving in that direction. And besides, there's something very satisfying about 'touching' your work and seeing it come to life.

7. iOS 11 is right around the corner

iOS 11 may not be available to the public yet, but I feel like it deserves a place on this list. As of this fall (or earlier if you give the public beta a try), iOS 11 will be giving the iPad Pro experience a major facelift — from not only a creativity perspective, but especially productivity.

Users will soon have access to an actual file browser, multitasking will be reimagined, and drag-and-drop functionality between apps is going to be fully supported. Needless to say, iOS 11 is a massive upgrade for iPad Pro users. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.

Unboxing the All-New 10.5-inch iPad Pro (2017)

It's not very often I get to unbox a shiny new Apple product — at least one on the expensive side of the spending spectrum. Much like the iPhone, opening an all-new iPad can be a little costly. Throw in the iPad Pro, and things get even more expensive. Being an Apple fan isn't cheap. And besides, who needs to eat for the next few weeks?

So, what's the unboxing experience like for this year's iPad Pro refresh? To put simply, it feels new. Despite recently unboxing the 9.7-inch iPad Pro last March, a lot has changed with the all-new 10.5-inch model. The overall form factor is obviously a little larger, but the weight surprisingly feels the same. And the bezel is now 50% thinner, making the design feel more premium than ever.

Where the 10.5-inch iPad Pro really shines is the addition of a 120Hz display, which displays frames twice as fast as last year's iPad Pro models. Apple calls this technology ProMotion, and rightfully so. The moment you witness the new display in person, you'll wonder how you ever got by with anything less.

Seriously, ProMotion is that good. It's the one feature that will continue to have me drool over how smooth everything plays out. Swipe between home screen pages and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and the best part? Both the 10.5- and 12.9-inch models feature ProMotion. So, whether you go big or small, there's no need to worry about missing out.

It's also worth noting that the ProMotion display has cut the response time of the Apple Pencil in half. Rather than a 40ms delay, the Apple Pencil now inputs at just 20ms. If numbers mean anything to you, that is one millisecond faster than the Surface Pen performs on the Surface Pro.

Source: Apple.com

While I haven't had the chance to put too much time into the new iPad Pro, I can say with confidence that upgrading from the 9.7-inch model is worth it. The screen size may be only about 20% larger, but the increase is noticeable to the point where you'll feel the difference. And similar to previous iPad Pro models, the audio is just as impressive. The four onboard speakers really amplify your listening experience, making the use of headphones less relevant.

Of course, I cannot forget to talk about performance. This is the fastest iPad that Apple has ever created, but that should go without saying. The A10X Fusion chip really excels, allowing the iPad Pro to shine when dealing with professional tasks — such as editing 4K video and rendering 3D models. Oh, and 4 GB of RAM doesn't hurt, either.

Needless to say, I am loving the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It's the most impressive tablet I have used to date, and it's only going to get better with iOS 11. I plan on installing the public beta when it becomes available, so you can expect more coverage in the coming weeks.

Are you an iPad Pro user? If so, let me know how you're using yours.

Why I Believe the iPad is Still Relevant

Yesterday I published a video about one of my favorite devices to ever exist — the iPad. Forever revolutionizing the tablet market, the iPad unarguably changed the game. While it hasn't made quite the impact like the iPhone has been doing for nearly the past ten years, it's difficult to ignore the iPad and how far its come since launch in 2010.

But is the iPad still relevant today? Considering how large the displays on our phones have become, that's a valid question. It also doesn't help that tablet sales have been on a decline lately. So, what's the deal?

To answer my own question, yes — I do believe the iPad is still relevant. And you know what? If the iPad Pro is anything to go by, the iPad brand as a whole is not going anywhere any time soon. Allow me to explain.

Tablets are not phones

Let's get the obvious out of the way... Tablets and phones? They're not the same thing. Sure, the iPad may seem like an oversized iPhone, but that one characteristic alone enables users to do things on a much grander scale. In other words, a larger display means more possibilities.

This especially applies to any app that encourages creativity or productivity. For example, try composing a Pages document on your iPhone. The convenience is certainly there, but when you attempt the same task on your iPad, you immediately notice the difference.

Tablets and phones have a nice way of complementing one another, but they each deserve to stand on their own.

Businesses love the iPad

This is something I regret not mentioning in my video, but I'm glad viewer Ryan Wells brought it up. He's absolutely right, by the way. Businesses do love the iPad, particularly in retail. It's a lot easier to present information to a customer on a tablet than it is on a notebook, primarily thanks to its lightweight and portable design.

Retail is just one example of how businesses can use tablets to their advantage. The iPad is widely used in medical facilities for inputting patient data, photographers have the opportunity to conveniently showcase their portfolio to potential clients, and restaurants are even using it to present what's on the menu.

For the average consumer, it just works

One of the best things about the iPad is that it works exactly as intended. Unlike traditional computers, using an iPad makes sense to just about everyone. You typically don't have to worry about software updates, security is pretty tight, and there's an app for almost every task at hand. I say 'almost' for a reason.

We are not at the point yet where tablets can completely replace the need for notebooks, but for the average user, the iPad does enough.

And finally, the iPad Pro could be huge

Apple's take on the professional side of the tablet market began with the iPad Pro in September 2015. While it wasn't anything radically different from what we were already used to, it did introduce two new devices that are worth paying attention to — the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Combine these accessories with multitasking in iOS, and you've got yourself a different kind of iPad.

Considering all the Facebook advertising that Apple has been doing lately for the iPad Pro, I'm thinking this is the beginning of something huge. It gives me confidence in saying that Apple has a plan in the works. What that plan is, we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps we'll see something new at WWDC 2017.

I can only imagine what the iPad Pro will turn into just a few years from now. Anyone have a time machine I can borrow?

Using the Fluance AB40 Soundbase with 3D Surround Sound

As my weekend vlog viewers know, I recently got my hands on the Fluance AB40 High Performance Soundbase. While I haven't had too much one-on-one time with it yet, I have experienced enough of what it has to offer to provide some early impressions. So far, I am quite pleased.

Upon opening the box, you're immediately presented with a nice catalog showcasing all of Fluance's latest products. From bookshelf speakers to full home theater kits, Fluance sells it all. But that's not it. Everything else inside the box was neatly packed. It's obvious that Fluance takes pride in their packaging, which I can definitely admire — being an unboxer on YouTube for 10+ years now. Just check out my original Wii unboxing uploaded back in January 2007.

The setup process of the Fluance AB40 is very simple. After connecting it to power, you have the choice of playing audio one of three ways — Bluetooth, aux-in, and even optical. Pairing my iPhone with the Fluance AB40 via Bluetooth was seamless. I was connected and playing music within seconds. So, how did the audio sound?

Audio quality, unsurprisingly, is excellent. Given its fairly large size, the Fluance AB40 is a soundbase and not a soundbar. This means that there is more room on the inside for higher quality components, thus resulting in bigger, deeper sound. And wow, does this thing sound awesome!

Thanks to its six premium drivers and dual 1-inch tweeters, the soundbase does an amazing job at producing sounds of all kinds. From highs to lows, the Fluance AB40 simply does not disappoint — especially if you're a music lover. Press the 'Bass Boost' button on the included remote and you'll really hear the difference. I have been known to obsess over bass, so this feature alone tends to stand out amongst the rest.

I haven't experimented with the 3D surround sound yet, but Fluance claims on their Amazon page that the soundbase can rival a traditional 5.1 speaker system. As much as I have been loving this soundbase, I refuse to believe that claim. Of course, I say that respectfully. Soundbars in general, while they can sound great, simply cannot replace a physical surround sound setup.

If the Fluance AB40 cannot rival an actual 5.1 setup, then who is this for? The answer is actually quite obvious. It's for those who prefer to keep things simple. This means more room to work with and less cables to manage. Oh, and the convenience of being able to place a TV on top of the soundbase is very nice. My 50-inch Sharp TV just fits on top, enabling me to free up room on the sides for other devices, such as my Xbox One.

The soundbase itself is fairly deep in size, so be sure to have adequate room when deciding where to position it. It's a lot bigger than your traditional soundbar, so keep that in mind.

To get an idea how of I am using the Fluance AB40, check out my weekend vlog right below. If you would like to buy it for yourself, it's available on Amazon for just $249.