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My impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2 and more
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It's been several weeks since I last blogged and I wanted to share my impressions of several new devices I purchased:


Apple iPhone 7 Plus (black, 128GB, Verizon)
I had been using a 2 year old iPhone 6 that was due for an upgrade. While it took almost 2 months for my iPhone 7 Plus to arrive, it was worth the wait. I like the size, form factor, performance (3GB RAM), battery life, screen, haptic TouchID sensor, dual camera and new portrait mode with iOS 10.1. I'm not missing the headphone jack.

I splurged for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus black silicone case ($39) and I'm really glad I did. It looks, fits and feels amazing.

I also signed up for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple rewards to earn 3x points for purchases at Apple as well as special financing. I already earned my first $25 iTunes gift card.  Even the employee at the Apple store was impressed when I cashed out via ApplePay on my Apple Watch with the Apple credit card.


Apple Watch Series 2 (42mm with Silver Aluminum Case with Pearl Woven Nylon)
I had been using the original Apple Watch since it was first released last year and liked it. Earlier this year, IBM began offering a free Series 1 38mm Apple Watch to all US employees with a high deductible/HSA insurance plan to encourage fitness. The "Vitality Today" app even tracks your steps which you can redeem for prizes (e.g. iTunes gift cards). The only charge to IBMers is a $80 tax withholding. I decided to take advantage of the offer and purchase the Series 2 42mm for $135 additional. A little more than a month later, the watch arrived.

The Series 2 watch is slightly thicker than the original but offers much faster performance opening apps and is waterproof. Thankfully, the bands are interchangeable with the original. My favorite band remains the Penom Milenese Loop - a steal at only $10.99 on Amazon with free Prime shipping.


Amazon Echo Dot (second generation)
Another Amazon purchase and a steal at $49.99 with free Prime shipping. The Echo has found a home in my kitchen and is perfect when I'm cooking and have my hands full. The voice recognition is amazing.


Redesigned Apple MacBook Pro
Apple released new thinner, more powerful Apple MacBook Pro laptops with a new Touch Bar at an event last week. My current MacBook Pro, purchased last year, works just fine and I don't plan to upgrade. My all time favorite laptop, a 5 year old MacBook Air 11.6 inch remains my trusty backup laptop.


New TV app for Apple TV
At the same Apple MacBook Pro event last week, Apple announced an upgrade for the Apple TV due out in December. The upcoming TV app provides a portal through which you can browse movies and TV shows across content providers. Apple didn't specify which providers would be included but Netflix announced that they would opt out of the new TV app. Perhaps Netflix doesn't want to share their usage data with Apple. The standalone Netflix app will still be available. I always carry an AppleTV in my work backpack as it remains the best device to view Apple content or deliver a client presentation wirelessly.


Google Pixel
I'm a big fan of my Nexus 5X but I was a bit disappointed with the price of the new Pixel smartphones. While the Pixel is clearly a big step up from the Nexus, they lack key features like waterproofing and a removable SD card. I was also bummed that Nexus users won't be getting the new Pixel launcher and Google Assistant with Android 7.1. I wish Google had continued to make a lower cost Nexus/Pixel phone. I'm in no rush to upgrade the Nexus 5X I purchased earlier this year.

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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/chrispepin/rss/~3/H7-kTDQgn7w/my-impressions-of-iphone-7-apple-watch.html
Nov 02, 2016
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Recent Blog Posts
5
Shure MV51 microphone - thumbs up!
Fri, Nov 3rd 2017 7:21p   Christopher Pepin
In November, 2017 I purchased the Shure MV51 microphone for $150 and I'm a fan. Listen to my audio review below, recorded using the microphone connected to my iPhone 7 Plus and using the MOTIV mobile app available from the Apple App Store.
7
Ommegang 20th Anniversary Ale 2017 Review - Thumbs Up!
Mon, Oct 23rd 2017 7:30p   Christopher Pepin
I'm a big fan of Ommegang Belgian-style beers brewed in Cooperstown, NY and I've made two brewery visits over the last three years. 2017 is Ommegang's 20th anniversary and to celebrate, they brewed a special anniversary beer aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. I'm a fan of barrel aged beers and this one doesn't disappoint. It pours a dark, chocolate brown with aromas of dried fruits and tastes of bourbon with nice mouthfeel and a smooth finish. From the Ommegang blog: "For 20th Anniver
5
Apple TV 4K review - thumbs up!
Tue, Oct 3rd 2017 2:31p   Christopher Pepin
I've owned each model of Apple TV since the first release ten years ago in 2007. I upgraded to the latest 4K 64GB model and recommend it. Pros 4K supportFree 4K movie upgrades for selected movies if you've paid for the HD version. New 4K movies cost the same as HD versionsSupports both HRD10 and Dolby Vision HDRUser interface and integration with other Apple products (e.g. AirPlay)App and games support Cons The only 4K content the Apple TV 4K plays is iTunesExpensive ($179/$199 for 32GB and
4
Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite Smoker Review - Thumbs Up!
Wed, Sep 27th 2017 6:16p   Christopher Pepin
Watch my video review of the Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30" propane two door smoker below. This is my first smoker and I recommend it. I ordered it on sale for $99 online from Blain's Farm & Fleet
4
Dashlane password wallet - thumbs up!
Wed, Sep 20th 2017 5:36p   Christopher Pepin
I've been a longtime Dashlane password wallet user and couldn't live without it. I use Dashlane on all my devices for work and personal use including Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android devices and store my passwords, credit cards, secure notes and ids. Pros All of my passwords synchronized securely across all my devices with easy accessDigital wallet for all my payments and id cardsPassword generatorChange multiple passwords automatically with a single clickAlerts when one or more of my
4
Apple iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad - thumbs up!
Tue, Sep 19th 2017 5:05p   Christopher Pepin
As expected, Apple released iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad earlier today and I highly recommend the upgrade. Pros New App StoreNew Files appMore human sounding (less robotic) Siri voiceNew Lockscreen, Notification Center, and Control centerAutofill app passwordsDo not disturb while driving with auto replyCreate a video of what displays on the screen (great for creating demos)Swipe down on the keyboard instead of hitting "shift"iPad: add as many apps as you want to the dock, drag and drop Cons On
6
Apple's iPhone X event - thumbs up!
Tue, Sep 12th 2017 9:22p   Christopher Pepin
Earlier today, Tim Cook kicked off the Apple iPhone X event at the new Steve Job's theater at Apple Park. You can watch the full replay on Apple.com. The following are my impressions: Apple Watch Series 3. Apple added a new dual-core processor to the Apple Watch Series 3 that is 70% faster than last year and a new LTE option which means you no longer need to have your iPhone with you. The Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $329 without cellular and $399 with integrated LTE, and it will be released
5
Novaform Comfort Grande (Costco) mattress review - thumbs up!
Mon, Sep 11th 2017 10:39p   Christopher Pepin
In December, 2016 replaced my 14 year old Sera Posturepedic king size mattress with the Novaform Comfort Grande (Costco) memory foam mattress and I recommend it. I'm sleeping better with less discomfort than my old mattress. After almost a year of use, I'm still a fan. Pros Comfortable (medium firm)14 inches thickResists bounciness and eases movementNo hassle return policy from CostcoVacuum sealed in a small box for shipping. Easy expands. Watch my videoInexpensive ($700 for king)Excellent r
5
My visit to the US Open Tennis 2017
Wed, Aug 30th 2017 1:35a   Christopher Pepin
Last night I attended opening night at US Open tennis tournament in Queens, NY with my sons. IBM is a sponsor of the event, creator of the US Open mobile app, championship website and sponsor of IBM Cognitive Court, an interactive event showcasing Watson technology. Shania Twain performed several of her hits including "I Feel Like a Woman" to a capacity crowd filled with celebrities After a 19-month absence, Maria Sharapova returned to Grand Slam play with a thrilling victory over #2 seed Simo
5
Amazon Prime Store Credit Card - thumbs up!
Thu, Aug 3rd 2017 4:41a   Christopher Pepin
If you're an Amazon Prime member, the store credit card is a no brainer as it offers 5% off on all purchases, everyday as a statement credit. There is no annual fee. Alternately, you can choose special financing for purchases of $149 or more. On Amazon Prime Day earlier this year Amazon offered and additional 20% selected items when paying with the Amazon store credit card. Note that Amazon offers two store credit cards - one for Prime customers and one for non-Prime customers. Only the Prime




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