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rorie

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Edited By rorie  Staff
look at this pup
look at this pup

My last couple of jobs were not exactly stable: Screened was part of a startup, and I could tell that GameSpy was on thin ice as soon as I was hired and learned that IGN was trying to sell itself off from Fox. Between those, and a year's worth of unemployment, I haven't exactly been making a lot of major purchases in the last few years aside from a $600 bike that was more of a necessity than a splurge, considering I don't own a car. That's mostly fine; I've generally been a pretty frugal person, and as I'm pretty happy gaming at 1920x1080, even my three-year-old PC (with a more recent video card) is perfectly adept at playing almost everything that comes along. So I haven't felt much need to upgrade my PC, but there are a few more things that I've been planning to buy, and now that I'm (hopefully) going to be employed for a while, it's about time to start making some upgrades around the house.

Here are a few things I'm looking at:

Clothes: I'm pretty good at wearing out clothes, and although I have enough t-shirts to last a while, a lot of the other things that I own are basically falling apart. Many of my socks have holes in them, and I've actually managed to wear a pair of five-year-old Merrells so often that I wore straight through the rubber on their soles to the mesh underneath; I can actually get water into my shoes from underneath. So, new shoes, new socks, and I splurged a bit on a nice navy blazer and a fancy watch for dress-up occasions. Think that'll do me fine for a while.

Television: I'm still working with a Samsung 27-inch 720p that's something like eight years old. It's a decent size for my apartment, but it's on the small side, and it's time to start looking into something maybe in the 40-inch range as we're ramping up to the release of a couple new consoles. I generally hate television shopping, though: there are a billion different models with a billion different silly features and a billion different user reviews claiming that a given television is either a complete waste of money or the best piece of technology ever created. Luckily there are a few people in the office who might have some slight experience with buying video-related. If anyone has any recommendations for something in a 42-inch non-3D television that's not like a million dollars, feel free to comment.

Tablet: I've also been thinking of splurging on a tablet for some bedside web browsing. I was given a first-gen Kindle Fire a while back as a gift, but that thing is really slow and unresponsive to touch, plus pretty heavy for a mini-sized tablet. Plus I already have a regular Kindle, so I don't really need to use it for reading. I've been pretty impressed with the Nexus 7 when I've played around with it at Office Max, and with another model of those apparently coming in a couple months, I think that'd be a pretty easy buy. Especially if they wind up going down to $150, which would be pretty crazy.

look at this pup too
look at this pup too

Phone: Goddamn is it ever time for me to get off of AT&T. I realize that there aren't any saints in the world of telecom, but it's worth noting that they were one of the first telecoms to roll over for warrantless wiretapping. Lately I've been paying something like $95/month for services that I don't really need. I only send 150 texts a month or so, don't use much more than a few hundred megs of data, and rarely ever call anyone. Of course with the way that AT&T sets up their services, I wind up paying for a lot more than what I need since their minimum services are pretty stupid. Do I really need 450 nationwide minutes when I pretty much never call anyone? (With the monthly rollover minutes, I now have 4556 minutes of voice that I'm never going to use.) Do I need unlimited texts? Do I need 2 gigs of data a month? Nope!

The recent administrative fee for wireless billing is probably the last straw. I've been taking a long, hard look at T-Mobile's plans, which are pretty sensible, and they have both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, either of which look like something I'd be happy to use. I like their no-contract maneuver, as well, and I especially like how they allow you to pay off a phone over a couple of years without actually charging you any interest or extra fees for that, as far as I can tell. You have to pay for the phone in its entirety if you cancel service with them, but that's not so unexpected.

I probably wouldn't wind up saving more than 20 bucks a month (or around 40 if I'm willing to pay for a phone outright rather than pay for it monthly), but I'm pretty tired of AT&T in general, so it'd be nice to bounce over to a competitor (and I'm out of contract on AT&T, so I don't have to worry about any fees in that sense). I doubt that T-Mobile is all puppies and sunshine, but they seem to be pretty consumer-friendly, at least in terms of their no-contract situation and pricing. We'll see!

Other: I'm trying to think of anything else I might need, but nothing's really popping out at me. If the price is right, I might think about a computer overhaul sometime soon, and I probably need to start throwing something in the bank for the new consoles. I did also just buy a wireless headset for my PC, so I might get in some streaming sometime soon - we'll see!

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selfconfessedcynic

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I'm on the other side of the world, and even I know that you should get off AT&T.

Also, <3 rorie blogs.

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roborobb

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#2  Edited By roborobb

ELMO PUP OH GOD SO CUTE

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Thomper

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#3  Edited By Thomper

Is there any particular reason you don't like the HTC One? I've been trying out the 'flagship' phones recently and while I agree that the Galaxy S4 is... maybe not that great, the HTC One is actually pretty wonderful. Otherwise, you could always just consider the Nexus 4. It's supercheap even off-contract and you'll always have the latest version of Android. Only problem kinda is the glass on the back, which makes it slightly more fragile, but it's still pretty decent.

Edit: Also, yes on the Nexus 7. That thing is wonderful, especially considering that low price. Holding off until a possible upgrade in two weeks seems like the smart thing to do, though. Also, if you're in the market for a 10 inch tablet, get the Nexus 10. Still way cheaper than that Apple stuff, but pretty damn good.

Basically what I'm saying is just buy the entire Nexus-range of stuff and never look back. Android is legitimately awesome these days.

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wumbo3000

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#4  Edited By wumbo3000

On the subject of tablets, I hear an iPad is pretty good...

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TheSouthernDandy

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#5  Edited By TheSouthernDandy

@rorie I would highly recommend the Nexus tablet. I picked a Nexus 7 late last year and it's been pretty fantastic. Not quite as powerful as an ipad but not nearly as expensive. I've gotten a ton of use out of it with games, the Kindle app, Comixology and I've even watched a bunch of TV on it, with headphones it's not bad at all. It's even got me considering switching from iOS for my next phone and I've had zero complaints about my iphone.

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rorie

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#6 rorie  Staff

@thomper: I think I said I liked the HTC One? Looks like a slick phone. Not getting nearly the advertising push as the Galaxy S4 is here, though, for some reason. Guess Samsung's got some money to burn.

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cloudymusic

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I like my Nexus 7 a lot. For the price, it's hard to beat it.

If/when you ever stream, you should inset your gameplay feed a bit so there's room on the side for an image rotator that just shuffles through various pup pictures.

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eloj

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#8  Edited By eloj

The Nexus 7 was the best investment I did last year, by a mile. Price/performance off the charts. 95% of its use is youtube and twitter from bed before going to sleep, and the rest is playing podcasts. I've found that I leave my computer earlier in the evening because I know I can do that 'last internet round' from bed.

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#9  Edited By Kidavenger

I just went from a Nexus s to a S4 last week, really the only thing I do with my phone is listen to podcasts so I probably could have gone for something cheaper but it's a great phone so far, very nice not having to worry about charging my phone everyday.

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CodeHero

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#10  Edited By CodeHero

Have you looked into Ting for your wireless plan? It runs on sprint, so the service is pretty good depending on where you use it. I got my parents into it and they seem to like it.

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Thomper

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#11  Edited By Thomper

@rorie said:

@thomper: I think I said I liked the HTC One? Looks like a slick phone. Not getting nearly the advertising push as the Galaxy S4 is here, though, for some reason. Guess Samsung's got some money to burn.

Oh! Sorry, I misread you, stupid. Apologies! Don't know how that happened.

Yeah, Samsung's marketing budget is insane. They spent like several billion on their mobile division alone last year. It's ridiculous. The Galaxy S4 is fine, but the HTC One is basically just as powerful, has a better screen, and has a far more gorgeous design. Really, really recommend it.

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ChaosDent

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#12  Edited By ChaosDent

I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, and I'm also looking into T-Mobile. The $50/month bring your own device plan with no contract or early termination would save me about $40 per month. At that price, I would make up the usual $400 subsidy in 10 months, and could upgrade to a new top tier $650 device for "free" every 16 months if I wanted to.

I'm looking to switch in the fall or winter when my contract has expired and the next generation of phones are released. If I were to buy this summer, I'd get the "Nexus Experience" HTC One that was just announced.

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bradgrenz

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#13  Edited By bradgrenz

T-Mobile still has a $30/month prepaid plan that gets you 100 minutes of voice plus unlimited texts and 5GB of data. Pair that with a $300 Nexus 4 for basically the best deal in cellular. If you talk more than that you can use a Google Voice number and one of the VoIP apps to take those calls against your data instead of your minutes.

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villainy

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I've heard good things about all the Nexus devices. I'm really just here to say oh god why is Elmo swallowing that puppy tail end first?!?

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selfconfessedcynic

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T-Mobile still has a $30/month prepaid plan that gets you 100 minutes of voice plus unlimited texts and 5GB of data. Pair that with a $300 Nexus 4 for basically the best deal in cellular. If you talk more than that you can use a Google Voice number and one of the VoIP apps to take those calls against your data instead of your minutes.

@rorie - from coverage at various places (tested, verge, etc), I'd concur with this. The Nexus 4 is a huge steal atm, and isn't too far behind the HTC One. Main thing you're missing is LTE, but I make that trade every day with my stock android Galaxy Nexus. Stock is the best way to use Android.

It does depend on your coverage though, Americans make it sound like y'all have really spotty coverage.

Oh, and if you go prepaid, you can swap over to the next Nexus device come october/november when they usually get released. Of course, that'd have you essentially buying a throw-away phone for $300, so you may not be comfortable with that.

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Winternet

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#16  Edited By Winternet

I looked at those pups.

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MisterMouse

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On the subject of tablets, I hear an iPad is pretty good...

Huh I have heard the same thing, crazy. Maybe Rorie should check one of those out... not like he would be against that or anything :)

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mustachioeugene

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#18  Edited By mustachioeugene

@rorie I just picked up a LG Nexus 4 and I'm really liking it thus far. Highly recommend it if you're good with the Android/Google environment.

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Andorski

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Buy all Apple products.

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rorie

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#20 rorie  Staff
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#21 rorie  Staff

@keres: Yeah, I really need to fool around with XSplit a bit. Seems like a neat program.

@bradgrenz: Interesting. I really don't need much out of a phone nowadays. I think I'm just a bit too old to be data-heavy like these teenagers today.

@mustachioeugene: I'll look into it!

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rorie

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#22 rorie  Staff

@codehero: Hmm, that looks like some crazy savings. I'll look into it!

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zoozilla

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@rorieThe Wirecutter says that the latest Panasonic plasmas are good buys, if you're looking for a bigger TV. They're a little spendy, but you'll see a big difference from your current TV.

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Hyuzen

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#24  Edited By Hyuzen

@rorie: For the most part my Nexus 7 has been a great piece of hardware. The problems you have on your Kindle Fire may not disappear entirely on the Nexus 7 though. Ever since I got Android 4.2 on it the responsiveness just hasn't been the same, and things hang much more than they did before the update. But I get the feeling not every owner has experienced that issue.

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#25  Edited By matthew

@rorie I bought a 16gb Nexus 7 in October. I can't recommend enough its utility as a book reader. Perfect size, the Play store allows for multiple readers for any format you want. I'm using Cool Reader, and it handles whatever I throw at it, with boatloads of options. And browsing is a breeze and a dream. Hey, did you know Nexus 7 supports flash, unlike some other monochromatic fruit-based tablet manufacturer?

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rorie

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#26 rorie  Staff

@matthew: I just don't think I'll ever move away from my e-ink kindle for reading books in bed. I like the model I have that uses a cover with a little LED light on it. Easier on the eyes than a screen, imo.

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subliminal_kid

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#27  Edited By subliminal_kid

If your clothes are worn out, mine are downright hobo-like.

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CaptRocketblaze

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For phones I'd go with the HTC One or Nexus 4 on Tmobile if coverage is good in your area. In the tablet world the Hisense Sero 7 Pro just jumped on the scene, available only at Walmart for $150. Word of mouth on it is mostly good so far & it rivals the Nexus 7 in specs for $50 less, but I'd still recommend waiting for a Nexus 7 refresh (I am). I have a 42" Panasonic Viera plasma & can't praise it enough. They produce a great picture that you can calibrate well on your own with minimal work. Brad & Ryan can tell you more in that area.

Let's shake it up a bit & talk about clothing. I don't like to overspend on clothing, so understand that I'm going to suggest dropping some bills for Gold Toe socks like it's an investment. While $20 for six pairs (Amazon, Prime eligible) may seem like a lot, I find them to be very comfortable & durable. I made the mistake of going back to cheap socks... New Gold Toes arrived yesterday. As for shoes, I'd like to point out that there may be some health benefits to wearing something with "zero drop" from heel to toe & minimal tread height. The foot is able to strike the ground more naturally, allowing evolution to do what it did for thousands of years before we started covering our feet: build a stronger arch & minimize pressure on the knees & hips. It may be the next round of pseudoscience, but I've got my eye on the "minimalist" trend in footwear.

Congratulations on stable work & I wish you the best with whatever you decide to buy.

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The_Laughing_Man

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#29  Edited By The_Laughing_Man

@rorie Are you hinting at a CBS puppy day video?

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Aegon

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Rorie game streams? I'd watch that.

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myke_tuna

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What headset did you get, @rorie, if you don't mind me asking out of curiosity? I just bought a Logitech headset on a whim because I needed something that wouldn't bother the neighbors in my new, smaller place. It's working out all right.

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rorie

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#32 rorie  Staff

I went ahead and bought some Logitechs, too. Someone was trying to talk me into the newer Skullcandy models, but the reviews for the Logitechs were good enough to tip me over to them. We'll see how it goes.

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Mento

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#33  Edited By Mento  Moderator

I was going to suggest that you not abandon the frugality you've acquired from this recent period of unemployment and wait to buy the non-essentials (a new TV for one) until a Black Friday or some equally transitory sale rolls around, but I'll be darned if I don't throw in my vote for some decent streaming gear. They won't let you do editorial stuff in the office but there's no reason you can't whip something up at home. What are they going to do? Curtail your puppy privileges?

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tread311

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#34  Edited By tread311

Not too many people talk about them, but now that they have full Google Play support both the Nook HD and HD+ are decent tablets at less than $200. On eBay they are even cheaper. I actually have both and a Nexus 7(which I turned into a car stereo/nav) and I actually like holding the Nook tablets a bit better. Can't go wrong either way really.

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cooljammer00

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My Fair Rorie.

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probablytuna

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#36  Edited By probablytuna

The first pup looks like it's being devoured by Elmo.... Super creepy.

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SharkEthic

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#37  Edited By SharkEthic

@rorie: If you can hold off on buying a new phone till after June 26th, you should get the HTC One with stock android! HTC Sense is not the best, but the HTC One is a great phone, and it doesn't get better (mobile OS wise) than stock android.

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supamon

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#38  Edited By supamon

Yep, I basically have the same list as Rorie except I already bought a 23" LED for my desktop. Plan to upgrade to the new iphone, my internet to fibre and PC HDD/GPU. I'm long overdue for clothes/shoes although they all still look good too.

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Rowr

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OH GOD WHY IS ELMO EATING THAT PUPPY OHhhhh....never mind.

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Geralt

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#40  Edited By Geralt

What is the story/reason behind your resentment towards Apple products? I knew this for a while but never quite remember you mentioning it anywhere.

I don't like Apple products too, just out of spite. I know iPhone & iPad are the best of their kind but I can't just use them.

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rorie

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#41 rorie  Staff

@geralt said:

What is the story/reason behind your resentment towards Apple products? I knew this for a while but never quite remember you mentioning it anywhere.

I don't like Apple products too, just out of spite. I know iPhone & iPad are the best of their kind but I can't just use them.

I'm not sure I can describe it without sounding hypocritical, since most of the issues I have with them are probably the same issues people have with Google. All I know is that I used an iMac for six months at Whiskey, and it never stopped feeling just kind of off to me. Things didn't work the way I wanted them to, and I could never find out precisely how to fix those issues. The OS seems to have a bias against full-screening applications that I found bizarre. I don't need to have a menu at the bottom of my screen at all times, nor do I want to. I'd rather hide it and have it pop up when I need it.

Also, the relative expense of the hardware versus the cost of components is also bizarre to me. I'm no foe of the market, and I get that Apple will charge what they think people will pay (and they certainly seem to be good at that), but at the same time, you can get so much more hardware for your money if you explore your options that it's tough for me to justify anyone buying an Apple if you leave the OS out of the consideration.

Plus I guess that the whole religious/cult-like fanaticism behind people's desire for Apple products puts me off a bit. There's a difference between the things that enrich my life and the devices that deliver them to me. Art, video games, film, television, books, etc. are in the first camp; my PC or my Kindle or my phone are in the second. I think that people who obsess about Apple blur that line a bit in ways that I feel to be kinda creepy.

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falconer

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First Monday of the month, so Tested's got you covered on what phone you should get.

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NoobSauceG7

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Back in the holidays of 2011, I went and bought a 40-in Samsung Smart TV (I think it is LED). It was for a pretty good price at the time so I would imagine those types are even cheaper now (was $600). It can connect to the internet so you can have netflix and other apps on it. It also has a game mode which decreases the input lag which is really helpful. I like it and have not a single problem with it.

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Elwoodan

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netflix in bed is awesome, and also the reason I have conditioned myself to be unable to sleep without first watching a show. so be wary of that.

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Franstone

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#46  Edited By Franstone

@rorie I'd say go for a 40" Samsung, they make some damn good TVs. (for a hundo more I'd get the $750 model, w/ wireless and more inputs.)
As far a tablets go I know the Nexus 7 is well liked but I like what Asus does with their tablets. I got an Asus Transformer last year and I really like that you can purchase a keyboard/dock/battery that pretty much turns it into a laptop as well as doubles the battery life. I'd like to go for a Windows 8 version but probably not till their next generation of Win8 tablets. I'd guess the newer Transformers with more recent Tegra chips are much better (if ya wanna stay Android) but I haven't tried them yet.
I don't even have a smartphone... : ( Sounds like you may not need one either though.
That poor puppy with Elmo head has some major eye-boogers going on and I just want to fix it...
Good luck with your purchasing woes Rorie!


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rorie

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#47 rorie  Staff
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#48  Edited By Toxeia

@rorie: Have you considered flashing a custom rom onto your Kindle Fire? It won't replace a Nexus 7, but you'd be a lot happier with the performance. I'd walk you through it if you'd like, there are lots of tools made for stream lining the process now.

Also, a warning with T-Mobile. I purchased an LG Nexus 4 and I've been a long-time T-Mobile customer. They were trying to charge me $500 for the phone. When I did the math for the monthly rate ($20 a month, plus the $150 upfront) it came out to $480 in the end. Oh, and if you didn't know Google sells it for $349.99 on the Play Store. That no-contract thing was a move in the right direction, but check their prices.