Verizon Fan Voices: Technology For Football Fans


ArmchairAddict1
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If you’re like me, you reach a point where you can only rehash the same free agency news so many times before you start to drive yourself crazy. That’s why I thought it might be a good time for my final post as part of the Verizon Fan Voices program. For the past six months Verizon has hooked me up with a few items and asked for my honest feedback from a sports fan’s perspective. This week I’ll provide my final thoughts on these items and wether I recommend them to you, my fellow sports fans. The three items I’ve spent time with are the Droid Maxx phone, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet, and the Fitbit Force activity band.

I’ll start with the one that I’ve used the most, the Droid Maxx. If I’m being completely honest, I walked into this as an iPhone snob. I loved my iPhone 4 and planned on simply trading the Droid Maxx in at the end of this program to get myself a newer iPhone. My school district uses Apple and my MacBook Pro is by far the best computer of any kind that I’ve ever used. So I thought I’d play around a little with the Droid and then go right back to my happy Mac existence.

Now, I’ll admit that there were a few things I liked about the Droid right off the bat. The two biggest ones are the bigger screen and the superior battery life. As far as the size goes, you can see from the picture below how much more screen space the Droid has than my iPhone 4.
Phones
It just is so much easier to read off of and watch videos on, it’s not even close. Then you add to that the fact that this bigger phone actually has a significantly longer battery life and you’ve got something going. How good is the battery life? In my six months with the phone I’ve never had to charge it mid-day. It ALWAYS makes it through the day for me. I think the lowest I’ve ever run it in a single day is about 8% and that was when I watched a lot of NFL Redzone on it (more on that in a minute) and even then it still made it to the end of the day despite my usual use of email, texts, calls, and constantly checking twitter.

The other thing that I found I loved is NFL Mobile. If you don’t listen to a single other thing in this post, heed this advice: If you love the NFL it is 100% worth switching to Verizon simply to be able to have the full version of NFL Mobile. I can’t imagine ever going without it now that I have it. You can watch NFL Network on it 24/7/365 and during the NFL season you can also watch all the prime time games (Monday, Thursday, and Sunday nights) plus the NFL Redzone channel. Let me tell you, having the NFL Redzone on your phone is the best thing that modern technology has ever created. If you are unfortunate enough to have never experienced NFL Redzone, it’s basically where they take you live to whatever the most entertaining thing going on in the current games is. Obviously you would never watch it while your favorite team is playing, but when they aren’t and you just want to casually watch what’s going on in the other games, it’s the best. The fact that I can now do that at the grocery store, is heaven. So regardless of what phone you use, get the NFL Mobile App, it’s worth every penny.

Now back to the Droid Maxx.

Despite my love of the screen size, battery life, and NFL Mobile (which I could put on my iPhone) I still believed that the actual operating system of the Maxx would eventually annoy me compared to my iPhone and I’d be ready to go back to being an all Mac guy. Then a funny thing happened, my wife managed to destroy her iPhone. With 2 months left on our contract, it wasn’t financially smart to buy a new phone for her so I just gave her my iPhone to use and I went to exclusively using the Droid.

(Takes a deep breath)

I love it.

It’s still hard for me to admit. There are a couple of little things that I still like better on the iPhone, like texting and iTunes but as far as being a sports fan goes, the Droid is the winner. I spend most of my time following the Chiefs on Twitter and the Fansided App and both are so much better on the larger screen of the Maxx. Plus the battery life just seals the deal. Plus watching NFL Mobile is not only better on the bigger screen but the speaker on the Maxx is far superior to the iPhone as well. If the iPhone comes out with a larger screen like the Maxx (as is the rumor) I might consider going back, but until then I fully endorse the Droid Maxx to any football fan.

Next up, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. This one was a little bit of a let down for me. I have an iPad 2 through my work and overall really like it. I thought the Galaxy Tab 2 would be perfect for me because unlike my iPad that is old enough that it only uses WiFi instead of 4G technology, the Galaxy Tab 2 would give me the ability to go online on my tablet anywhere. Plus, the fact that it’s smaller and more portable makes it that much easier to tote around.

The bottom line is, it just feels like a cheaper tablet to me after using my iPad. I never got that feeling using the Droid Maxx so it isn’t a Apple/Android thing. The fact is that the Galaxy Tab does go for about $130 less than the iPad mini (w/2 year plan), and if I was going to spend my money on a new tablet the extra money would be worth it for me to get the iPad. As far as using them to follow your favorite team you can use them both to check Twitter, read the latest news with the Fansided App, and my favorite, watching game film using NFL Rewind’s All 22 Coaches Tape. However, while it was nice to have the option to watch film anywhere with Verizon’s 4GE, the iPad version of NFL Rewind has a cool telestrator option that makes it easy to create screen shots to tweet out or put in a blog post. Plus, if you get a newer iPad they all have the same 4GE technology that my old iPad 2 is lacking. As a side note on the 4GE, I’ve had great success with it and almost always have full signal and good speeds.

The Galaxy Tab 2 works fine. It’s a solid economic tablet, but frankly I like my Droid Maxx and MacBook so much more that I’ve found myself often bypassing the tablet all together. If I want to do something on the go I use my Droid, if I need to do more than it can handle I go to my MacBook. The only things I’ve really settled into doing on the tablets anymore is watching game film and shows or movies on Netflix.

Finally, the last piece of technology that I received was the Fitbit Force wireless activity band.

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Now, the first thing you should know is that sense I received the Fitbit Force it has been recalled and is no longer being sold. The reason for this is a small percentage of people had a skin reaction to the materials it is made out of. Fortunately, I had no such experience and am actually a big fan of the product. For those that have never seen or used one it is a small lightweight band that you wear like a watch and it keeps track of the steps you take, estimated calories burned, the number of “very active” minutes you have each day, and even your quality of sleep.

I was skeptical of this at first because I had given up wearing a watch a couple of years ago and when I wear one now if feels “clunky” on my wrist and I end up fidgeting with it all the time. However, the Fitbit band is so light weight in never bothered me at all. The digital display only comes on when you push the button on the side and not only did I like knowing how I was doing throughout the day, but I’ve become so used to it that I now find it faster to check the time on it instead of pulling out my cell phone. The best part is that it wirelessly syncs with your computer/tablet/cell phone so that you can get read outs of how you’re doing. Here’s a screen shot from my Droid of one of my better days.

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You can see at the bottom that you can even set weight loss goals. I just happen to have finally hit mine today. I’m going on about 2 months of using the band every day and I still really like it. The sleep feature is great too. You just put it into sleep mode when you go to bed and then in the morning stop it and when it syncs again it will tell you how many hours of sleep you got, how long you were restless, and how many times you were awake throughout the night.

Now, this product doesn’t help you follow sports at all, but it does encourage you to be more active and most of us could use that (I know I can). Being an “Armchair Quarterback” doesn’t exactly help keep one in shape. The encouragement of seeing how much (or little) you’ve done in a day is sometimes the little push you need to go for a run or hit the gym. As far as this specific model being recalled, Fitbit still offers the Fitbit Flex which is a very similar product that hasn’t had any recall issues. I also believe that Nike offers a similar band, but I’ve never actually seen or used one. Bottom line, if you’re looking to get in better shape and could use a little daily motivation and accountability in terms of how active you are, I highly recommend the Fitbit.

So of the three products I got to try out I was won over by the Droid Maxx and Fitbit Force, but wasn’t blown away by the Galaxy Tab 2. However, even though I wouldn’t spend my money on a Galaxy Tab 2, I’m still very happy with the Verizon 4GE connect-ability of the tablet and hope to upgrade to an iPad that can utilize it in the near future. Also, I can’ recommend NFL Mobile enough. You can only get the full version if you’re a Verizon customer and it really is a football fan’s dream. I also love using NFL Rewind on my tablets. If you’re into watching game film the “All 22″ coaches film is the best. Overall, it’s been a great experience and I’m thankful to the people at Verizon and CommBlue for allowing me to participate. Hopefully, some of you got something out of these reviews. If you have any questions about any of these items I’d be happy to answer them in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!

Follow me on Twitter: @LyleGraversen


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  • berttheclock

    Thanks, Lyle. As I have forced myself to stop watching NFL Network and even NFL Live from ESPN due to the extreme bias against the Chiefs by both networks, the only real usage for me for the Droid Maxx would be quality thoroughbred racing. Do you know whether they have such an app for that field, possibly, connected through Blood Horse? As long as they are not from the tout network named TVG. You can’t even watch a decent post parade without them putting their various Pick Threes, Four and Sixes on screen to the point you can not even see the horses and as a devoted Bonnie Ledbetter looks player, those looks are essential to finding the “Now” horse instead of the touted horses who really just want to stay back in their stalls.

    The Flex Bit sounds as though it could be very useful. I have bought Pedometers from REI to check walking distances, as I have been under orders from my Primary Care doctor at the VA to lose more weight. I just try to lay out 2 mile walking distances around our home area. Geez, I still remember reading “Dick Tracy” from the old Kansas City Times when I was a kid and his wrist radio seemed as though it was something from outer space. How times have changed, in some ways.

    • berttheclock

      Llyle, answered my own question as they do have “Horse Racing Now”.