Daniel’s Favourite Things of 2015

Daniel Bader

January 2, 2016 11:30am

2015 was a great year. For tech, for MobileSyrup, and for me. I can’t say that it all went well, because, as life goes, it didn’t. But here are a few of my favourite things from the past twelve months, give or take a few.

Growth, and Growing Pains

This was a particularly fractious year for independent tech journalism. As Buzzfeed, Fusion, Business Insider, Vox and Vice sucked up millions of dollars from established media giants like Disney, Comcast, Axel Springer and others, the cracks began to show in our perfect world of blogging.

People demanded more from us: better content, with beautifully-produced video and in-depth, informative narration; weekly podcasts, both bite-sized and Tarantino-epic; and a particular keen Canadian focus, one that they can’t get anywhere else.

To bring you these things, we expanded our team. We added the excellent Igor Bonifacic, who came from the world of traditional news reporting, approaching every tech story with boundless curiosity. He’s also a pretty great writer.

We added Patrick O’Rourke, previously of Canada.com and The Financial Post, who comes with years of tech reporting experience and gadget reviewing chops. After only four months, he has reviewed almost a dozen products, including the new Apple TV and Pebble Time Round, in the thorough and conversational ways people look for on MobileSyrup.

We also began an ongoing collaboration with Matthew Moniz, a talented up-and-coming YouTube videographer, who has contributed so much to our video presence. With his help, we reached over two million people on YouTube this year, with well-produced videos on some of our favourite products, including the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6s, Nexus 6P and iPad Pro.

Throughout, we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to mix our unique Canadian content with great reviews, gratifying features and new formats, like the popular (but on-hiatus) ‘Tête-à-tête’ series. Personally, I’ve found podcasting to be incredibly rewarding, but haven’t been successful in setting a regular schedule, nor a regular panel of guests.

While Douglas and I are committed to bringing SyrupCast into 2016 with renewed fervour, the reality is that he spends his days running the best startup portal on the internet, BetaKit, and I oversee things here at MobileSyrup. So SyrupCast has taken a backseat until we cumulatively figure out what to do with it.

In the meantime, I’ve really enjoyed the four or so episodes of The Review, a one-man ramble podcast about technology and the way they change our lives. I think audio has the potential to really connect with people in ways neither video nor text can, and no one is doing anything like The Review, as far as I can tell. I will continue experimenting with the format in 2016, and intend to break it out into its own feed, so people can look for it independently of SyrupCast.

On a personal level, I spent a lot of this year planning a wedding that, in September, went off beautifully. Many of the friends I’ve made in this community were in attendance, and as trite as it may sound, it was one of the best days of my life. My wife has been a constant source of support as I’ve worked with my team to build MobileSyrup into a publishing powerhouse, and, if you’re in a similarly busy job, I highly recommend taking time every day to give thanks to those who stand by you.

And now, this…

iPhone 6s

Best smartphone: iPhone 6s Plus

No device has changed my life in as profound a way as the iPhone 6s Plus. Since picking it up on September 25th, the smartphone has reinforced my belief that, as uncomfortably prolific as Apple’s product lineup has become, the iPhone will continue to be at its centre for years to come.

Many people have accused me over the past year of being biased towards Apple, of being an iPhone fanboy, with unwavering loyalty towards the Cupertino-based company. I’ve mostly kept quiet about this, because, well, these are angry people on the internet and there’s no winning that argument.

But I will say this: the iPhone is my favourite smartphone in a sea of great smartphones because it does most of the things I need a communications device to do better than any Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone can. There are substantive reasons for this, but there is also a gut feeling associated with how I live my life, and the iPhone 6s Plus satisfies all of those requirements.

Let’s start with one of the most obvious: support. I buy my phones outright to avoid having to alter my plan, and Apple is one of the only companies that allows you to walk into a retail store with a complaint and walk out with a repaired or refurbished phone. AppleCare+, despite its high price, is an insurance policy I’m happy to pay, for the peace of mind of knowing that this extremely object I have beside me almost every moment of every day will not merely pack up and disappear should I drop it (again) on the corner of a metal lawn chair.

Second, it just works. Despite the increasing complexity of iOS as an operating system, Apple has managed better than Google and Microsoft to maintain the innately-understandable elements of what could be an immensely frustrating experience. By necessity, I rely on my smartphone to manage my work and personal life, and I’ve yet to find a device better at accomplishing that task than the iPhone 6s Plus.

Why the 6s Plus over the smaller 6s? Over the past year or so, after switching between the iPhone 6 and larger Android devices, I always missed the one hand-friendly nature of smaller devices. I even wrote a paean to the diminutive Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, for which I still have a fondness. But the one-stop-shop nature of the phablet won me over sometime after the release of the 6s Plus, which has none of the performance pitfalls of its predecessor. The A9 chip never tires, nor does the phone’s battery, which lasts without fail from bed rise to bedtime, which is exactly as long as I need.

There are other considerations, too: iOS 9 improved many elements that left me wanting in previous versions, including the inferior way Apple approached notifications compared to Android; and I found myself relying on features like 3D Touch, Wi-Fi Calling, VoLTE and, to a lesser extent, 4K video, that debuted on the newest version.

And while Android devices caught up to the iPhone’s excellent camera in many respects this year, the 6s Plus takes consistently great photos in almost any situation, with a bevy of third-party apps that fulfil the promises of a robust and powerful camera API, an area where Android is still weak. And I adore Live Photos: gimmicky as they are, the results make me giddy whenever I use it.

I’m certainly not positing that the iPhone is perfect, or that Apple didn’t have a messy year filled with what can only be described as half-baked products (see: Apple TV, Apple Pay in Canada), but the iPhone 6s Plus was my favourite product of 2015.

nexus6preview-01554

Best Android smartphone: Nexus 6P

The best Android product of the year was the Huawei-built Nexus 6P. As far as smartphones go, it’s well-designed and solidly-built, and, most importantly, it is the best Android phone ever made.

Three things converged like a perfect storm to ensure the Nexus 6P’s ascendence to greatness: Huawei’s hardware chops improved tremendously over the past two years; Android cameras became good enough to compete with the iPhone’s; and Google released a mature, stable operating system in Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

And despite the weak Canadian dollar, the Nexus 6P, at $699 CAD, is still considerably cheaper to purchase outright than the majority of high-end Android devices.

There are a lot of things that make the Nexus 6P great, but like the iPhone what I enjoy most about it is that is just works. Battery life is outstanding, as is the camera, and it offers great performance across the board.

A few things Android still does better, in no particular order: notifications; app updates and refunds (but definitely not apps themselves); memory management.

samsunggalaxynote5s6edgehandson-00921

Pleasantest surprise of the year: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+

Terrible name, but I really like this phone. It came out around the time my love of big phones blossomed, and I have no problem saying it is the most attractive device released this year.

Samsung has wrestled with the problem of form over function in 2015. While it dabbled with metal back in 2014, with the Galaxy Alpha, that release foreshadowed an investment in design that was supposed to pay dividends with the release of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, two devices that have aged very well since their release in March.

But they didn’t sell any better than the Galaxy S5 before it, which sold fewer units than the Galaxy S4, exposing Samsung’s tentative seat at the throne of the Android market. With companies like Xiaomi, ZTE, Oppo, Huawei and others nipping at its heels, Samsung dug in and produced flagship handsets only it, with its vertically-integrated arrangement of subsidiaries, can produce.

The larger S6 edge retained the arresting visuals of the original while overcoming its two major faults: battery performance, and (though this is reportedly coming to the regular S6 edge with Android 6.0) granular manual camera controls, both of which are important.

But more subjectively, it was just a pleasure to use, and the larger screen made watching YouTube videos and NBA highlight reels all the more enjoyable.

Pilot-Coffee-Roasters-1024x554

Coffee: Pilot Coffee Roasters

I drink coffee. I drink bad coffee (sorry, Ian) and decent coffee, but I mainly drink great coffee, at home, with the attention such beans deserve.

This year, I discovered that some of those superlative beans are roasted here in Toronto, by Pilot Coffee Roasters, a growing outfit that has won a number of awards for their single-origin and blends.

I can’t explain exactly what separates Pilot and its ilk (Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Transcend come to mind) from the whole beans you buy at Starbucks, but I think it’s akin to buying natural peanut butter over the processed alternative. There are no harsh flavours or burned aftertaste, and a complete lack of excess; a cup of any Pilot bean, be it from Kenya or Colombia, is clean, light and perfect.

I generally brew my coffee in a Chemex after grinding it in a Baratza Virtuoso grinder, but I also love Espro’s incredible double-filtered press. Either way, if the beans are from Pilot, the coffee will come out great.

61jQF+JudFL._SL1500_

Coffee: Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug, 16-Ounce

I discovered the very best coffee thermos on the planet this year, and I couldn’t be happier. A recommendation from The Verge’s Dan Seifert, who learned about it through the incredible Wirecutter website, Zojirushi’s travel mug keeps liquids hot — like blazing, burned-tongue hot — for around eight to 10 hours, but I’ve sampled leftover coffee a full 24 hours later (don’t judge, it was delicious) and it was still warm enough to enjoy.

Not only does Zojirushi make great products, but the $45 Stainless Steel Travel Mug is easy to clean, and has smartly-designed mouthpiece that prevents spilling. Moreover, its lid lock ensures that I can throw a full container in my bag along with my electronics and not worry that it is going to spring open and ruin my stuff.

grimes-art-angels-album-stream-listen

Music: Grimes – Art Angels

Albums often linger like an aftertaste, but over time they lose their potency. Grimes’ Art Angels has only solidified in my mind as the best album of the year. Danceable, intelligent, and devastating, Grimes give no fucks about the type of music people want her to make, and her listeners benefit immensely from that freedom.

Songs like ‘California’ and single of the year ‘Flesh Without Blood’ are just two of what amounts to a near-perfect 49 minutes of smart dance pop.

713WaG+JUDL._SL1500_

Music: Jamie xx – In Colour

I can’t say anything better about this album than Pitchfork’s Mark Richardson: “It’s the album as raucous party where the thrill of the moment never quite obliterates the wistful sadness that comes from knowing it will all end too soon.”

There was more than a few times I began the album immediately after finishing it, if only to avoid the persistent threat of melancholy that comes from being overwhelmed at another person’s talent. Jamie xx is a treasure.

sonos play5

Music: Sonos Play:5

The new Play:5 is Sonos’s best product to date, and quite possibly my most gratifying music purchase of the year. Paired with a Spotify account (or, before this month, an Rdio account), the connected speaker brings high-quality sound to any part of my home (it travels, depending on what’s happening, and will continue to do so until I buy another one to pair it to), with both smartphone and tactile controls.

The Play:5 has enough bass to fill a small room, and looks good enough to either blend in or stand out, depending on its surroundings. But what Sonos has figured out is that it takes more than creating a connected speaker to appeal to music buffs; it is the platform, robust and comprehensive, that separates it from its competitors.

RX100Mk-4-collage

Photography: Sony DSC-RX100 M4

I’m no photographer, but I sure do love taking photos. After spending some time with the RX100 M2 last year, I figured it was time to upgrade my shooting gear, and though the RX100 M4 was some $400 more than its predecessor, its combination of tack-sharp optics, improved 1″ sensor and 4K video capabilities was too much to pass up for a job that requires me to take a ton of both.

While the lack of a microphone port is still annoying, everything else here, from autofocus speed to video stabilization, is top-notch. Sony makes great sensors and even better cameras, and I am still dumbfounded by some of the photos I can take with this thing.

Hope you had a safe and happy New Year, and I look forward to sharing more of my favourite things with you throughout 2016.

Peace.

  • TomsDisqusted

    I take you at your word on your preference for your iPhone – I know you get a lot of heat for that (and I personally disagree) but the idea that you being paid off, or whatever they are implying, just doesn’t make sense.

    On the other hand, readers should always be wary of such influences.

    For example, we should always insist that affiliate links are properly disclosed.

    And consider the difficulty (if not impossibility) of running a site like this without good relations with Robellus.

    And wonder about strange little things – like the fact that this site has started labelling bloatware as a positive on reviews (I’m talking about the zero value, non-removable type). What is going on there?

    But I keep coming back because I believe you do your best to navigate these influences, even if your taste in phones is bewildering ;).

    • Wilhelm

      It could be said that the taste of the majority of Canadians using smartphones is ‘bewildering’ based on his taste. Nothing ‘bewildering’ at all about it. It’s a solid device that retains strong customer loyalty and satisfaction and for good reason.

    • TomsDisqusted

      The ‘majority of Canadians using smartphones’ don’t have nearly the money to buy a 6s plus outright + apple care (from the article). That’s a huge amount to spend on a smartphone.

    • Wilhelm

      Sure it is but yet you still see a large number of iPhone 6 users out there. Can’t speak for the 6S model as you can’t tell the difference really but it’s a fairly safe bet to assume most people don’t buy these phones outright anyways.
      In the day and age of being able to pay $50 to a provider to unlock and roaming abroad for a reasonable amount of money, unlocked devices just don’t mean that much anymore to pay the full cost up front.

    • Brett Arnold Allard

      Except again most people will go for what’s affordable.. And now I’m seeing more S6 and IP6 users seeing how at most places they are under $100 on contract which is affordable.

      I see about as much IP6S users as I do S6edge + and Blackberry Priv.

    • Wilhelm

      I’ve never seen a Priv user out there. lol Yes, affordable is what matters and people will gravitate to that which means Apple may need to rethink their strategy on pricing. I hear talk of a 6C model coming this spring which would be their attempt to carve out a market in that end. I guess we will see but $1,000 plus for any handheld is crazy.

  • Brad Fortin

    “AppleCare+, despite its high price, is an insurance policy I’m happy to pay, for the peace of mind of knowing that this extremely object I have […]”

    This extremely object?

    The bit about Android being better at memory management: I’ve heard conflicting things about it on and from multiple sides. Care to elaborate?

  • Wilhelm

    Takes a lot of gonads to admit you like anything Apple on this website and it remains a mystery to me why so many ‘haters’ exist here for the company.
    It’s understandable that many may not like Apple and although I own several products myself, I’m not above criticizing the company and its shortcomings when I feel its deserved and lately it has more often than not.

    That said, you have a lot of basement dwellers on here that are major Fandroids and Blackberry lovers and yet in the case of the former they are beholden to the same corporate arrogance and culture that they often bash Apple for. In the case of the latter…let’s get serious, Blackberry is finished and going nowhere. Makes you wonder how anyone can be a fan of that stuff today and not be majorly embarrassed at the same time.

    What remains a fact is that iPhone dominates nearly half the market share in Canada and has a significant presence in the enterprise realm so anyone like a ‘J.S. Bach’ that comes around and calls names to insult users truly demonstrates their complete lack of knowledge and indeed outright ignorance of most the topics they attempt to comment on.

    Otherwise good article. I also like the Sonos Play speaker offerings although I don’t currently own a pair.

    • hoo dat

      It takes an even bigger pair to admit you use a BlackBerry here.

    • To answer your question as to why their are ‘haters’ out there, I would offer my own opinion up. I’ll start with this: I think Apple is a good company that definitely pushed the smartphone market into the common person’s hands and also finally kicked off the tablet market that had previously stalled. They have some pretty nice designs and are/were known for making easy to navigate UIs for everyone. They consistently have a pretty sweet camera in their phones and have completely nailed/capitalized on the whole brand loyalty/conversion thing.

      The reason why I dislike them (note, not hate) is that they create proprietary technology that limits what people can do with their equipment. That is the basic deal breaker for me because I like to tinker/play and connect different products together and I don’t like limiting myself to a specific product because of some other company. I would have no problem paying/buying their products if they opened up their systems so others could tie into it a bit easier.

      The second reason is that while their stuff is pretty darn good, they are no longer top of the heap from a technology perspective. I love technology and have always enjoyed the bleeding edge. Headaches and long nights are just part of having the latest/greatest tech gadget. When Jobs was at the helm of the company, they were in a great position and they were doing some great things. He then went a bit nuts over his war with Android and they have lost sight of what made them so great. I’m amazed at how many fronts they are working on to counter Google. I wish they would drop that holy war idea and just go back to making great tech. As it is, they simply refine (extremely well I might add) what others have done. For me, if you are looking for the latest in tech, Apple is rarely the place to go for first to market products.

      These 2 reasons are why I don’t buy their stuff anymore. I would have no problem going back to them and paying the ‘Apple Tax’ if those two things were addressed.

    • Roy Trenneman

      I could not have said that any better, that covered most if not all the reasons I have for disliking Apple.

  • J.S.Bach

    “tech journalism”
    – ha ha, good one

    • Wilhelm

      Yeah. Just like none of your comments have any bearing nor do they exemplify ANY knowledge about technology period. You’re just here to bash Apple, steal aliases and generally act like the douche you are. Typical basement dweller trash.

  • marshallpower

    No “hate” here or anger as you call it…how about we are challenging this website because of all that disrespect towards our intelligence in the first place? When the only way to make money is to provoke to get more clicks, in what kind of world are we living again?

    But I stopped reading because……we feel more love for your iPhone than for your wife in this article! that’s how stupid tech has become on this website! It’s like the Montreal Canadiens, they’re so popular but so hated because of all the media around it to make them better than they really are..just to make more money….Oh well, for some people, tech is more important than their own life. Happy new year…let’s make a better world for our children where their brains are owned by Apple, ,because Apple is so GOOD!

    • Wilhelm

      That’s a valid point. Technology should never displace real relationships and to experience life to the fullest, which did exist in all its glory long before the advent of smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. It may be even fair to say that a lot of that stuff has helped to worsen our lives in many ways, at least for the stuff that matters.

      Otherwise excellent post.

    • J.S.Bach

      You have to understand how tech writers work, they’re not “journalists” and there’s no editorial oversight so what motivates them. The truth is money does, so if apple gives them invites to launches, free products to review etc. they obviously aren’t going to poop where they eat so they write glowing reviews for them. Other reviewers have written critical reviews of apple products and the first thing that happens is the pipeline of goodies gets cut off. The key is never to confuse tech writers with Journalists/Reporters, it’s a totally different game.

    • marshallpower

      yeah I heard about all that…I had to help an older friend last week with her iPad 2….what a bad device…to be polite…I wouldn’t even want one even if you gave it to me for free.

    • J.S.Bach

      My wife switched from her iPad, which was so slow she had to stop typing to let it catch up, to a Nexus. It was a hard sell because she, like many who only hear the hype, thought android was inferior somehow but she loves it. Now she wants the Nexus 6P. People who don’t know much about tech default to apple but those who are informed always go for android.

    • Wilhelm

      ROTLF! You? Married? It must be quite interesting to live inside your head given all your fantasies and general douchebaggery. That you feel the need to make up the existence of a ‘wife’ when few could stand your persona online for more than 60 seconds is just hilarious.

    • DeadPool

      … You just called him a douche but I read all the comments out here and the only ahole is you. What a way to answer people. Why? Because he doesn’t share your opinion? And then you wonder why people say apple fans are i****s? Really?

    • Wilhelm

      No. Because he steals aliases and acts like a douche by insulting Apple users every chance he gets. You don’t see it because he hides his history and yet I get called out for the same by people like you. Truly hilarious

    • DeadPool

      You mean he’s the dude who used to say: “WHERE ARE THE ANDROID FANBOIS NOW?” ?

    • Wilhelm

      That’s bullshjt and you full well know it. There are plenty of tech sites out there that write objectively about technology. You’re just too ‘stupid’ to find them.

    • DeadPool

      Again. You are a douche. Really.

    • Wilhelm

      So are you

    • DeadPool

      I love you

    • Wilhelm

      Haha… Love you too pal.

    • Mo Dabbas

      I love the Habs. I’m mad at them now though coz their poor performance in December.

  • jellmoo

    Honestly, the level of toxicity that floats around tech reporting is kind of terrible. There is this weird subset of Android lovers that froth at the mouth and starts screaming the second somebody shows any sort of appreciation towards an Apple product. The sheer desire to prove that “Apple sucks” is too much to withstand, and they must scream about perceived bias all the time. Every single aspect of the iPhone must be seen as terrible, and to state anything remotely to the contrary makes you an “Apple fanboy”.

    • DeadPool

      While I agree that some are very android oriented, the same can be said for Apple fans. Extremists exist in both camp.

      The issue, on this particular website with this particular author, is when even facts don’t stop him from saying apple is the best. For example (and I’m not saying he said it, just giving an example) he would be the type to agree that “retina” is better than 1080p even if the resolution is clearly lower. He would ignore facts to push his preference. Which is fine because, like others said, he’s not a journalist. Facts don’t really matter.

    • jellmoo

      I completely agree that extremists exist in both camps, but for last while, it seems that on the tech blogs I follow to be Android enthusiasts that are the more toxic in their vitriol. And I say this as an Android user.

      I’m all for honest discussions on these things. If Daniel had said something along the lines of “The iPhone 6S Plus is hands down the best smartphone of 2015”, it would raise some pretty big red flags. But when he lists it as his preferred handset of 2015, I think that’s fine.

      I don’t know why journalistic integrity is being raised though. I don’t see any reason to question the journalistic integrity of anyone that contributes here. It really is no different than the journalists at other online publications. This is what it is these days, for better or worse.

    • DeadPool

      I think that’s fair. This is an article about his preferences. I feel like he’s been so bias in reviews and other articles that every time he says anything about an apple product, people freak out.

      Also, I think the tables have turned a bit when it comes to android fans. I feel like Apple products were the leading products in terms of innovation which created a bunch of annoying fan boys in comments sections. Maybe android now being the revolution leader create the same in the other camp?

    • jellmoo

      I think the approach is also important. IF there’s a perceived bias, and approach like “Damn Daniel, that doesn’t seem very objective. What about these facts?” works better than “APPLE FANBOY! iSHEEP! BAHHHH!”

      And you’re absolutely right. Back in the day it was the Apple fanatics pulling it en masse. Everything that wasn’t an iPhone was crap. I think the tables have turned to a degree, with tech enthusiasts gravitating more towards Android. And since tech enthusiasts are the ones reading blogs like this, well…

    • DeadPool

      You and I are about to break the internet because I agree with you.

    • A quite reasonable post. Huzzah!

      While I may not agree with Daniel’s view, he is free to have it and he expresses it as his opinion (like you stated).

      As for communities, If you want an example of a one sided Apple community, you have to read the comments at Apple Insider. Pretty humorous. I haven’t been in some time but it’s as bad as the extreme Android sites.

      Personally, I think the phone wars are pretty much done. Nothing big has come from either camps in recent times and both OSes simply swap features with each release. Pretty standard as the marketplace stabilizes. The wearable market is meh for me and the next big thing is VR. I just need to train myself not get motion sickness (hoping the consumer OccRift is butter smooth and will help with that).

    • thereasoner

      I see the same about Apple lovers on sites like this one and especially BGR , talk about a toxic comment section, that has to be the worst of them all and I frequent a lot of sites regularly. It’s mostly the same people constantly going at each other day after day as well but in my view most of the Android users only get that way when faced with manipulative and dishonest statements about Android.

      That said, there are those on both sides that do their worst just for shlts and giggles it appears.

  • Patrick Williams

    Having watched most of tech bloggers end of year reviews on YouTube, it seems you are the only one who thinks the iPhone 6 Plus is better than the Galaxy Note 5. They seem to all concur that the Note 5 had a bigger better screen (but yet a more compact phone), better camera, wireless and fast charging, stylus and software to make use of big screen and at least as good build quality. So if their assessment is anywhere close then I will have to take your future reviews with a grain of salt.

    • jellmoo

      To be fair, this is a list of his favourite devices, not a list of what is “best”. It’s entirely possible to like one device because it better suits your needs despite another device being technically “better”.

    • Raidan Michaels

      I sometimes feel (I used to be like this) that people associate airheads/ditsy/”sheeple” with iPhones or Apple products in general. It really is a bad stigma. Everyone purchases what they want/need, reasons vary. I personally would not own an iPhone, and I have my reasons for it. But hey, we are all entitled to our opinions, and for some people, they should not wake up in the morning. 😛

    • jellmoo

      Honestly, whatever people like should be their own business. My wife has an iPhone 6. She likes it. She tried an Android device before (HTC One M7) and while there were things she enjoyed, the iPhone suits her needs better. More power to her.

      The iPhone isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I can appreciate that it’s a well made device, and what it does it tends to do really well. My biggest gripe against it remains the facts that they still insist on having 16GB be their entry level model, and the overall cost of the device. No matter how good it is, it just doesn’t warrant a two to three hundred dollar premium over competing Android devices.

    • Raidan Michaels

      I agree with you. SD cards for me is a big one. I was given an iPad 2 for free, I thought to myself this should be cool. It mostly sits and collects dust. Knowing that now after having it for 2 months, I realize 100% I would not spend too much money on a tablet or even a phone. I acquired a Lumia 1520 and it’s running Win10. Works great, few hiccups here and there, but overall it does what I need it to. And it cost practically nothing.

      So to reiterate, I agree, we all get what fits our budget/needs/desires. Some people don’t need certain things, but they get it anyway. To each their own 🙂

    • Vigilantee

      you should take any review with a grain of salt. A lot of it comes down to preference for attribute x, as opposed to another devices attribute y and your perceived value of said attribute given your connected-devices environment. Just because you slightly disagree with him based on what some other reviewer(s) tell you shouldn’t automatically discredit the author. But that’s your opinion I suppose.

      I agree though, the note 5 is a wicked device. I liked the 5 when I had it, and i very much miss the wireless charging. Working with a nexus 6p now. Looking forward to trying the 7/s7 when they release.

    • Mr Dog

      Tell you what, go over every single year end review on blogs, youtube and forums. Put together a final tally and then tell us which one is better. /s

      FFS there is no best smartphone, there is best smartphone for you.

  • Kyle Burton

    Apple and Android both have their weak and strong points, I would never use a Windows Machine as its unreliable sluggish and always needs update(Use Windows for Work) and Apple at home. Apple definitely missed the mark on the Iwatch and the Apple TV (Apple TV such a waste jsut get a PS4 or Xbox One). As for phone wise, I keep trying the Samsung, but since I’m not overly Techny I enjoy the simplicity of the Iphone 6. Switched from the S6 to the Iphone. The best part of Android is Iphone copies their best attributes and places them on their phone. Apple is great for taking an already existing idea and making it better.

    • Wilhelm

      I don’t know. Windows 10 has been great for me and regularly updates so unless you’re talking about mobile strictly I enjoy the SP4.

  • Techguru86

    It’s well known Bader is pro Apple, they were the top devices 2 years ago but Android has taken off from the G3, M8 days, Note 4/5 are just as good as any Iphone 6+ or 6s+ with much more options for the price, 6P, Moto X play and Priv for stock Android , performance and battery power/display, Live Photo’s is nowhere near as good as HTC Zoe and you’re paying much more.

    • Wilhelm

      It’s also known you’re a huge Blackberry shill. Since you realize no one cares about that company you’re now jumping on the Fandroid bandwagon.
      Android is disjointed, fragmented mess and just because you can use the phone like some jailbroken piece that it is doesn’t make it better.

      We all have our own preferences without a doubt but this guy is simply stating that he likes the iPhone for what it does for him and the same can be said for over 45% of the Canadian market who agree with him in their use of iPhone. You can holler all you want from the rooftops but a lot of the Android handsets out there are junk, outside of the Note or Nexus lineup I wouldn’t touch crap from HTC or Motorola if they were last smartphones left on the planet.

    • Brett Arnold Allard

      You seem to be prime instigator here which really isn’t helping some of the comments at all.

      You already bashed 3 or 4 manufacturers all which make excellent devices.

      Not sure what else you have to point out here!

      And yes I knew going into Daniels top Favs 2015 he was still going Apple all the way.. Im just surprised he never gave a wearable preference.

    • Wilhelm

      The instigators here are the ones who start in on bashing Apple, calling its users dumb or “fanboys” while touting Android and how great it is. They are the biggest trolls by a long shot but can’t see past their own BS

    • Brett Arnold Allard

      Some points are valid however It’s bound to happen, we all know this … But Nobody likes a hypocrite either!

    • Mr_Smoosh

      “just because you can use the phone like some jailbroken piece that it is doesn’t make it better.”

      Assuming you’re talking about rooting, that’s precisely why Android is better for many. Some prefer the ‘just works’ walled garden, some see the garden as a prison, removing choice, and the ability to tinker under the hood.

  • danny wood

    Pilot coffee..YES! Zojirushi coffee thermos..YES! (Mine is marine blue) Grimes…Yes! Sonos..cool but expensive IMO. .iPhone…no comment. Nexus 6p IS the best Nexus thus far, and for me the best phone this year ( I wish it had my G4 camera and it’s stock app tho) . Good list DB thanks, and thumbs up to you and the crew! Now…can you guys PLEASE send me newsletter updates? I’ve signed up half a dozen times over the years…never get it.
    Cheers!