Posts Tagged ‘samsung’


Sony’s New Xperia Z Ultra ‘Phablet’ Now for Something Completely Different

Loren W
Melbourne Oz
Update 15 August 2013

Question: What do you get when you cross technology from a mobile phone, tablet, and a classy TV ?
Answer : A real big phone, an average size tablet (based on the new 7" form factors) , and a real small TV, a GREAT picture, with a sophisticated elegance

Ladies & Gents, Geeks & Geekettes the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Mobile Phone / Phablet (or c6802)

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Actually launched in June 2013 (shhh don’t tell anyone), Note: that quiet launch unless repeated for the west, might be the only downfall of this otherwise spectacular device.

As when I got the Samsung Note 1, the first thing I thought was, Oh Crap, this thing is too big.  But I knew as with the Samsung Note 1, I would get used to it fast. Now, as a long time Samsung fan in everything they offer, from TVs, and Appliances to testing their first phablets (large mobile phones) via the Galaxy Note 1, since its launch in 2011 so this was an easy decision.

Unfortunately being a new tech junkie wanting everything new, the Samsung Note 2 did not float my boat beyond, the boat floating I was still feeling from the Note 1. I loved it, and am now hooked on the form factor of the Phablets. I am not so sure that the Samsung Note 3 will be so radical to make me want it as bad, as I thought I wanted the Note 2.

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Magpie Effect- However, on looking to see what my next phone was going to be, I made a discovery I am sure many already had made. The Samsung Note 2, has a larger bezel on it than many of the new phones. This means I could buy a smaller phone yet still get the same or similar screen size depending on the phone of course of what many refer to as the first real Phablet (tablet sized mobile phone).
This has been badly reported on in the media.

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Nokia- Personally I almost bought a Nokia 1020, I love the idea, of the amazing camera. But I did not for the same reason I dumped my 1st Windows 8 Phone Mobile, the eco-system for Microsoft does not do it for me app wise. There are some great apps, but how Microsoft goes from being the world leader in dumb phones / PDAs, with Windows CE to last place in smart phones war still amazes me as an old school Microsoft fan boy. I want to play as well as work, and the balance is skewed against Windows Phone 8 for me. Windows has a big advantage, the last to market, but I have not seen anything to make me think they are going to pull out an Internet Explorer vs.. Netscape Play.

The result of all of that and as I will soon be going on a holiday to an exotic South Pacific destination, a bit of snorkeling and a bit of diving, so am getting a GoPro pro, but I was looking strongly at the benefits of the Sony Xperia Z, then I discovered something amazing to me, Sony has gone and launched their new Phablet version of the Xperia Z (called the Ultra) globally (outside the USA). It then turned out it is for sale in many countries already. Again to well reported and not reported at all in most of the usual USA press.

One phone call later and I have a review unit due in 2 days herein Australia. As I scratch below the surface (no MS pun attended), I have discovered a few interesting facts on this device that is raising as many questions as it answers, before I even receive the device.

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Convergence – Before I get into the device, (a more detailed review is forthcoming when I receive it), I have to raise what might the elephant in the room that has not been discussed in the present sense yet.
We have long known that the day would come when a Phablet would be the same size as a tablet. But with the rise in demand and increased interest in 7”tablets, and now 6+” Phablets, emerging, more so with the Samsung Note 3, at least a 5’7” phone, that day is nigh and I expect a big story in the weeks ahead. Obvious questions is when the next iPhone will be a Phablet, or the iPad a phone. Will the Nexus 7 (2014) be a phone, and an alternative to a Nexus 4. Or the Motorola Nexus Phone 2 (announced) be a Phablet?

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Phablets = Tablets – An interesting element of this is reading reviews comparing the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, not to any present or forthcoming phone/phablets, but to the new Nexus 7 (2013) and iPad mini. A silly comparison if you ask me, unless the Nexus 7 (2013) and iPads are a phone, but sets I believe the ground game for what happens next.

Picture This – The physical size as mentioned is 6.4” on the Sony, and 7” on the Nexus 7 – ( 2013) 1080×1920 and 1280 x 800 respectively. However, the Nexus 7 has an impressive ~323ppi whilst the Sony has an equally amazing ~344ppi. The Sony takes a micro SSD to 64gb whilst tablets do not. Wi-Fi is also offers a/b/g/n/ac, and a 2.2 ghz cpu vs the 1.5GHz on the Nexus

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Waterproof – Oh, did I mention HD Video underwater- to 5 feet ? Though the phone has an average camera by today’s standard, (same as the Note 2). However the Sony has no flash, possibly a big deal. In all the tests I have seen thus far, the Sony, Ultra Z appears to triumph pretty easily over the Samsung Note 2, how it will compare against the Note 3 remains to be seen. Sony have competed against the stylus pen of Samsung by suggesting users can use anything they want from their finger to a real pencil instead of the OMG I going to lose Samsung Note stylus. Possible improvements by Samsung in the Note 3 might include a flexible display, 3GB vs. 2GB of RAM, whilst the Note 3 will likely have the respectable 13MP camera vs. the Note 2 camera in the Sony. Samsung Note 3 body construction is still a bit of a mystery.

A Little TV – Tech

Sony Bravia range

With the Z Ultra, Sony uses 2 bits of Tv tech to Improve the picture from the Bravia TV side of things partly.

These are Triluminos and X-Reality Engine technologies. With the ~342 pixel density, this gives the Z Ultra one of the best displays period and the best by far on a Phablet. Sony had been given a bad rap previously (perhaps deserved) for not having the crispest of colors. Triluminos effectively uses quantum dots, to give a 50% crisper color by allowing better color separation thus less wash out. This is further done by something called quantum dots, that effectively means to the human eye colors are crisper. The X reality engine does the same thing in reverse sort of by analyzing the image received then separating the colors. Effectively it improves image quality in dark or over bright areas to get the tones right.

Not for everyone perhaps this hybrid device really is one to be considered.


Galaxy Note 2 Hits Australia – Unwrapped
5-Oct 2012
Melbourne Australia
by LorenW

First Impressions of the new Galaxy Note are quite good with a big increase in performance due to the Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU. Interestingly it is . Many might say the upgrade is only for enthusiasts or for new buyers only. But boy what an upgrade.


Loren | aka @mr_internet | Melbourne Australia
30 November 2011

I originally posted this months ago, when the Samsung 10.1 tab and Motorola Xoom had gone on sale in the USA but had not in Australia.
The Samsung Tab 10.1 has still not gone on sale yet in Australia, accept via the grey market (some ok some more risky).

With the buying season upon us, and more pertinent now than ever, so hope you enjoy.

Is An Android 10.1” Tablet on Your List ...

I had a friend ask me recently, a simple question in theory.

What type of  Tablet PC to get?

I use the word ‘PC’ loosely as these currently aren’t quite replacements for the
Personal Computer for most people at least not yet. I have to admit I
have multiple Android devices as well as Apple and a Windows Home
Server / PC, so offer no bias to a brand.

Well having an iPad2 already, my thoughts were there initially with Apple, but
having just bought my first Android phone (the Atrix 4G by Motorola) to try it
out before the launch in Australia, my thought then turned to considering
that perhaps the OS of the phone might make the OS transition (if
there was one) initially easier. In my friends’ case, husband has an
Android and wife and iPhone. I quickly ruled out a Windows Tablet (don’t get me
started there).

With Apple having a single design of iPad2 (barring colour and capacity of course),
it was hard not to make a case for the iPad2 (e.g. I have one and there are
some things it does very well). Unfortunately for me
the realization that the iPad2 is really running a 5 year old
Operating System

But knowing what is out within the last 4 weeks or will be soon, in the Android
Tablet space I would be remiss had I not mentioned the Android Tablets. I go on
about this as the Android Tablet Space of 10.1″ tablets, is perhaps more
fast pace than Sebastian Vettel is around an F1 Grand Prix race track, with so
many models coming out a review is a bit confusing.

Instead of taking away from the great detail other have offered, I am looking more at a
top level view comparing more the aesthetic pros and cons of various models
compared to each other PHEW

Here are the 4 Android Tablets

Acer
A500 32GB with MicroSD Card, WiFi Only 5x2MP Camera
(10.1″)
Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1G (or GT or GTp7510) 32GB with No MicroSD Card , WiFi Only ,
3x2MP Camera-
Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1V 3G/4G / WiFi Only 16GB no MicroSD Card 8x2MP Camera
Motorola
Xoom WiFi Only with WiFi Card , 5x2MP Camera 10.1″
Apple
iPad For Size Comparison – & it is getting jealous and
nervous
Part One – Does Size Matter?

Part Two – Tell Me more Pros and Cons

Part Three – Summary


Pre-orders likely by 1 June 2011

Updated: 3 June 2011

Harvey Norman is about to start taking pre-orders for the new Samsung 10.1 Tablet 2 (version 1 in the USA).
No further information is available but the Samsung Australia Website has updated its support  section to include a P7500 16mb  only old non 10.1  information is there currently , but that is good or bad if you are holding out hope if a MicroSD Card, as 16GB unit might hint at an upgradeable memory.

Reviews on thai sites, rusisan sites and some retailers suggest a microsd card is on board also, but other sites suggest it is not.

20 May 2011

by Loren aka @mr_internet

With out much fanfare retail computer shops are discussing exact pre-order dates for the next big thing to hit in computer tablets.

Though there are some unanswered questions, and though it has not been formally announced, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet PC  10.1 version 2,  is about to land in Australia and be sold around a week after it is launched in the USA. The USA has announced a 8 June launch date with Australia launching around the 15th of June. Retailers that will be stocking the device are already considering  pre-orders dates such as June 1.

The new thinner 10.1 is viewed by many as biggest competition yet for the Apple iPad2, and is  one of many new tablets, showing up in all places that sell laptops now. Many of these will be running the more open and very new  Google  Android  Honeycomb Operating System 3.0 that is already getting an update to 3.1.

The Apple iPads run on the Apple iOS operating system that has not changed much in over 4  years, a long time in the marketplace.

The new s10.1 not only resembles the Apple iPad2, it is slightly wider, and lighter as well as being thinner. It is of course also  lighter and thinner  than  it’s only 4 week old predecessor 10.1V that launched in May,  a limited edition model that is being sold exclusively by Vodafone.

The 10.1V also has a better quality camera than the newer, thinner 10.1  (8MP vs 3MP).

The older version 10.1V is being sold to other markets across the globe but  outside the USA only.

Another popular tablet the Motorola Xoom is landing in Australia (exclusive to Telstra initially) the end of May, with the other shops selling the Samsung Galaxy 10.1  just 2 weeks later.

One of the advantage of the new more open Android tablets is that when connected to a PC or a Mac computer it appears like any other external hard drive allowing folders to be set up and files transferred to the devices much easier than the iPad that requires the iTunes interface only. Also new applications purchased for the Android device on a computer  can be downloaded  wirelessly on local networks to multiple Android devices.

The fast pace dynamics of the tablet market is different around the world with Europe and Australia getting the 10.1V but not the US, and the US getting the Motorola Xoom months before the release in Europe or Australia.

This makes the launch of the Samsung 10.1  a global launch only a week earlier in the USA vs Australia (and likely Europe)

The online community was buzzing when 5-6000 Galaxy 10.1 were given out to mostly rave reviews to attendees at the recent Google i/o 2011.

With the USA not seeing or hearing much about the 10.1V many were confused on discovering the 10.1 is viewed as the second generation model but hardware wise is lower quality than the second generation 10.1, but is thinner, bigger and lighter.

Many believe the 10.1V that was not launched in the USA, because when Apple launched the iPad2, Samsung decided to stop production and introduce the thinner version.

Price is believed to be the same as the Motorola Xoom @$840, but it is not clear the exact detail of the 10.1 Model only it is being referred to as Galaxy Tab 10.1 Version 2 in Australia.

Edit:
There was a lot of confusion in the marketplace when Australian buyers of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1V were told tablets were being shipped when they had actually been over sold and back-ordered.

It is still not clear if customers will receive the back-ordered stock before the new 10.1 goes on sale. At the same time customers were unknowinly having their tablets back ordered other stores were getting in stock to sell in the shops,  making matters worse for Vodafone. Customer service were only told the 10.1V  stock was on back order 48 hours later, so only some early orders were assured delivery.

Speaking to a retail buyer for one of the future stockists of the new thinner Samsung Galaxy 10.1 and seeing the orders, it is unclear if stock levels will be adequate.  There appears to be no gag order on this information.


Vodafone Customers Still in the Dark Over Missing Vodafone orders

Ahead of the USA and UK, launch, Australia Phone carrier Vodafone exclusively launched with Samsung their latest Google Android tablet computer , the Galaxy Tab version 2 / 10.1v Tablet  (or P7100 for short).  Besides the new Hardware it offers one of the first looks at the new Android Honeycomb 3.0 Operating System.

Competitor to Apple that sells the market leading iPad2, Google has multiple partners making many tablets of various sizes. This is the first of many companies that are making new tablets over the next few months. Due to market size, quite often Australia will get these devices after the USA.

The new Samsung Tablet runs the much anticipated 3.0 Android Honeycomb Operating System, viewed by google as the only Tablet Operating system.

With bit of razzmatazz the initial sale of the tablet from Vodafone, with  limited to sales only by telephone  limited amounts of inventory were also delegated to a small list of Vodafone retail shops,

For 2 days the initial phone orders, Vodafone promised that customers’ orders would not be backordered and they had plenty of stock, 48 hours later,   staff even verified stock levels  if asked when you ordered, mine was for example  in stock and immediately allocated coming from the warehouse in NSW and confirmed for delivery for today.

  • The problem came , when it came to fulfil orders,  the amount of stock drastically differed from those available, (stolen or misallocated who knows)
  • So instead of shipping the orders in the order they were taken even when confirmed as in stock and allocated, some customers that had units confirmed as shipping and in stock at order will not get them for weeks, and have not been notified as they do not know which customers to notify. They claim my query showed the problem for the first time (maybe)
  • Unless they call in or manually check on all orders ??
  • I asked if I was going to be notified or customers like me, and was told they did not think it was a mess.
  • Vodafone said loads of folks will be impacted but sure how many, I spoke to a level 2 sales person, after being hung up on a few times trying to check my order, (they said just give it another day or so and I said can you just verify it shipped, click hung up 3 times.
  • When I called to check order levels initially on this when this happened I was told there was stock, 20 minutes later I was told there are now back orders.
  • In Summary, customers expecting orders should phone and confirm if they shipped, I would have been waiting for weeks (luckily I have another one coming from a less official source)

 @mr_internet
@DroidUnlimited 


Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie
For Jenny (no comment)
By Loren (aka @mr_internet)

Apple iPad2 vs. Samsung Galaxy 10.1 vs Motorola Xoom vs RIM Blackberry Playbook vs HP TouchPad

I have had a few folks asking me about a Tablet preferences of iPad vs this or that. But it is not that easy. For now as of 12 April 2011, there are 4 tablets worth really considering, and a few more soon.

I made a conscious descion a while ago to avoid the Android Google world. But with new versions out I am being tempted more than ever.

I ditched my iPhone some months ago and I must admit I do miss it often as I have an iPad.

This is relevant as I have not seen a good phone, that plays well with another manufacturer tablet operating system, and having 2 inventories of apps to keep up with is a pain. In this day and age where our pc, mobile phone, and tablet are all part of our lives having them not play well togethermakes life hard.

I realised this when my windows phone 7 phone, did not do much, an idea I kind of liked, but now feel very inhibited.
But the apple iPhones are feeling rather dated as well.

So I have a new Google Motorola ATRIX, arriving soon, the latest mobile not out in Australia yet and an android.
This might mean I also cosider ditching my iPad in favour of an android tablet, we will see.

I hear the Andoid store is a mess as there are so many versions of android, that you cannot tell when you purchase an app if it will work with your device or not. That is silly, I will see in my next review how good or bad the andoid app library is.

The other thing to consider is iTunes. I hate iTunes as much as I love my iPad. But you need it really to manage the iPad.

So It Really is Google vs Apple

Again this is relevant because I think keeping to one platform  for phone and tablet might be the best way to go.

  • If you own an iPhone and plan to keep it, I would stay with iPad.
  • If you are considering seriously getting a tablet other than an iPad (as I am now), then you seriously might want to consider a phone form the same operation system, if you have or are considering an Android phone, you have more choice available on the tablet from but I think the Motorola XOOM is one to watch.

All the tablets have their own merits and flaws, here is a view of all 4.

The Reviews
Some Content Courtesy of Redmond Pie

Well, it’s finally here. Apple recently launched the anticipated 2nd-generation iPad. With Google’s Android, RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook, and HP’s webOS getting fancy new tablets either recently or in the future, buyers are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a new slate device.

We thought we’d take a closer look at the iPad 2′s four main competitors in the tablet space: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Zoom, HP/Palm’s TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Apple iPad 2

First up we’ve got the new kid on the block, Apple’s iPad 2. Announced by Steve Jobs to be powered by a dual-core CPU that’s supposedly twice as fast as the current iPad. The new graphics chips are ’9x faster’ too. Impressive, at least on paper. In typical Apple fashion, we don’t have actual figures other than the usual dimensions. Thickness? 8.8mm. That’s one third thinner than the current model.

Interestingly, the new iPad 2 features two cameras, one rear and one front facing and the most interesting specification of them all is the availability of the new white iPad. Apple couldn’t get a white iPhone 4 out the door but no such issues with the iPad 2.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung showed off its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the new tablet hoping to build on the success of its smaller sibling.

Sporting a new 10.1-inch 1280×800 display (hence the name), the new Tab boasts some impressive specifications. Powering that new screen is a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 CPU with both front and rear facing cameras providing the video input. The Tab’s rear camera is capable of HD video recording and has the now obligatory in-built flash.

Software-wise, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will run the latest and greatest from Google’s Android stable, namely 3.0 Honeycomb.

Motorola Xoom

Another Honeycomb-endowed offering is Motorola’s Xoom. Recently released in the United States, the Xoom has been very well received by the gadget press. Arguably a very similar machine to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – at least spec-wise – the Xoom’s party piece is its LTE capability. The downside here is the wait. Early-adopters will need to send their unit away for a hardware upgrade in order to take advantage of LTE speeds. Fortunately a quick turnaround is promised by Motorola, with 6 days the expected wait.

With the Xoom being powered by Google’s Android OS in its latest Honeycomb guise, there is little to differentiate it from the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when it comes to software. The main difference? The Xoom is in stores now!

HP TouchPad

Originally expected to go under the Palm name, the TouchPad will run on a new version of webOS. Now at version 3.0, webOS is promising to be a truly tablet-optimized experience. Even during the Pre’s death-throws, many believed the OS was the phone’s best attribute and a tablet was always the logical home for a future updated version.

HP isn’t scrimping on the hardware front either. A 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core CPU is the heart of the machine, with 1GB of RAM keeping the CPU busy. An iPad-like 9.7-inch 1024×768 screen is used, along with all the usual radios we’ve come to expect, including a 4G one. The TouchPad does sport a front-facing camera, though there’s nothing around the back.

BlackBerry PlayBook

With PlayBook, Research In Motion (RIM) is the fourth major platform (in no particular order) after Android, iOS and webOS to enter the Tablet Wars. PlayBook features 1Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 1080p HD video playback and HDMI output.

Powered by BlackBerry Tablet OS with UI designed by QNX, RIM’s PlayBook is expected to hit retail shelves in April this year.

Which device you ultimately stump up for very much depends what you want from a tablet device. Apple’s iPad 2 has the massive advantage of being tied into the largest App Store on the planet, though many would also consider that to be its biggest weakness. If you’re the tinkering type, and prefer the more gritty approach of Android then the Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be right up your street. The Android Market is constantly growing though the quality of apps perhaps isn’t quite there just yet, and Honeycomb promises a new raft of software specifically designed for tablets. HP’s offering is a real unknown at this point. A new OS, with new hardware from a company that hasn’t done well with mobile devices in the recent-past could prove disastrous though we doubt it. What we’ve already seen of the TouchPad looks mighty impressive, and the thought of webOS on a 9.7-inch screen excites us. Same goes for RIM’s BlackBerry powered PlayBook. Will there be enough apps for HP’s new tablet or RIM’s PlayBook? That’s the real question.

Ultimately the decision as to which tablet is right for you is a personal one. Many will plump for the safety and security of iOS while others want the power of Android. A few will even want to take a chance on the TouchPad or PlayBook, and who could blame them? We’re not sure where our money will be going, but today’s iPad 2 announcement sure makes for an interesting few months ahead.

Is 2011 the year of the tablet? You betcha!


TV Deals – Bigger Sometimes is Better


  • Do the Research – On recently buying my 63” plasma I researched it to DEATH. Unfortunately retailers are not the fountain of knowledge we would like, so it is up to users to learn as much as they can before they buy.
  • 3D – The 3D TVs have had a bit of a problem in that the world has been asked to buy technology without content to use with it, being available. This is different than HD was when it was introduced in that regular content looked better with HD. Now that everything is HD, trying to get folks to move from HD to 3D has been both competitive and complicated. In the US there are loads of 3D movies out and they will slowly drift to Australia.
  • Convert 2D to 3D– Unknown by many that some of the 3D sets have a button that allows you to convert instantly 2D TV to 3D. This works better some things than others and in some cases (like the Samsung) you can even adjust the depth of the 3D layer for better viewing if that appeals to you.
  • Smart TV with 3D – At the same time 3D has launched, smart TV’s have also come to be. This is where the new TV’s have internet connectivity and also the ability to use built in applications. This can be YouTube, or other features, but more will be added in the near future. Some TV’s have built in hard drives and even can record direct to the TV.
  • Update your TV online- One of the great things about the Smart TV’s being able to connect to the internet is that your TV can update firmware, and software, getting you more apps for instance, or other features that manufacturers have not been able to do in the past.
  • Check Pricing – When doing the research it would be silly to ignore price. The idea of buying something and then discovering you paid 50% too much is not impossible, so you should avoid it if you can.
    • RRP– Check out what the RRP is from the manufacturers’ website online. NEVER pay RRP for a TV is my motto. RRP is the price all other TV’s should be compared to only. If 2 different manufactures have the same RRP on the same size and type of set, there is normally more competition there and even better deals can often be done, if you hunt.
  • Other Perks- The big manufacturers (Sony, LG, Samsung, Panasonic and in some cases Sharp) have offered giveaways for customers buying new sets and not just the largest sets either and these offers change occasionally. In the case of Panasonic it was a new 3D compatible complete home surrounds system with 7.2 surround sound, speakers, receiver the works. In the case of Samsung it was a 22” TV, 4 pairs of 3D glasses, and 4 x 3D movies. Both deals worth around $1500-2000 RRP. In my case I wanted neither but as I was buying a high end home theatre media receiver and speakers the Panasonic offer was a loser for me and to be fair harder to sell on eBay to dump it. The Samsung offer was good.
  • Specifics- I had a budget of around $3000 thinking that would buy me the best 50-58” TV (non-3D please) plasma. On the high street that was about right, then I did the research and though I found the RRP for the 58” was $3300 and the 63” was $4500 (from Panasonic and Samsung). But for the 63” I found online deals for $3300 all over the internet for both manufacturers WOW !I prefer to deal with a large local retailer so when I found many $3300 63” set at a mainly online retailer but with a showroom then the national retailer was obliged (as they offer to price match) to sell me the same set at the same price. This was a savings of $1100 off RRP and RRP had gone down $500 from the month before WOW $1600 off RRP from 2 months ago, amazing, and the set was of course a 3D Samsung 63” Smart TV.
  • Summary – Now a few weeks later I can feel good about not spending over my budget and a good fair price. I also suggest the extra warranty that can usually be negotiated before you settle on price. Updating your TV software the first time seemed a bit surreal, these really are interesting times.