(Joplin Globe (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 13--JOPLIN, Mo. -- Those who watch any version of "Star Trek" know about the tricorder: A device that can analyze a wide range of scientific data at the touch of a few buttons. Whether it was the bulky ones strapped over the shoulder in the original series or the handheld versions in "The Next Generation" and beyond, it was a must-have device providing life-saving information.
And they practically already exist -- as today's smartphone.
But in "Star Trek," there are no brand debates. No operating system battles. No struggle for dominance in device manufacture.
The smartphones available today are the definition of diversity. From all-in-one powerhouses to specifically customized tools with a clear specialty, the devices fit into our lives in so many ways -- or sometimes not at all.
Joplin now gets urban-quality, high-powered LTE networks from several major cellphone companies. And the amount of devices that can access all that data change with the seasons. There are so many incredible new devices available that it can be tough to figure out which is the best for you. I'm here to help.
As a lifelong geek, I've always had a love of diving into new tech. Those of you who have followed my column know I write about tech often, from the hunt for my new BlackBerry smartphone to all the video games my family plays.
I'm thrilled to be able to start reviewing new devices for you in a new feature called Globe Phone Test.
I'll do the dirty work for you when looking at new gear: I'll test how it works and how well it can be incorporated into every aspect of daily lives, from work to play. I'll dive into functionality, from tweeting a plethora of personal details to hiding in a VPN; from watching a movie on YouTube to making one with the device's camera and software.
That's ultimately what fascinates me more about this new era of smartphones: Though I geek out about the tech-specs, I love seeing how they are used.
Once a symbol of an uber-nerd, now almost everyone has a device with a multitude of capabilities, from taking pictures to writing poetry; from developing a personal artistic statement to sharing something with the world.
I'm sure there are those of you who care about the memory, operating system, processor, etc, and you know exactly all about the latest Snapdragon 802.11 13 megapixel Bluetooth version 4.0 AMOLED Android Jelly Kat Kernel 3,500 mAh lithium ion details in the latest smartphones.
But most readers just want these devices to work easily, intuitively and well. So that's what we'll cover.
When I have a device to review, I'll feature a summary in my column, which is published every Friday in Enjoy!, The Joplin Globe's weekend entertainment section. That summary will feature highlights, pros and cons about the device.
Then on joplinglobe.com, we'll dive deeper with photos, video tests and more specific critiques.
You can even follow along with the testing in progress on my Twitter page: Follow @JoeHadsall and search for the hashtag #GlobePhoneTest. I'll post pictures and videos as I test. And that's where you can ask me questions as I test, or if you're curious about another device, you can let me know.
First up is an LG G Flex, provided by AT&T. The device is available in Joplin retail AT&T stores. But is it worth it? You'll find out soon enough.
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