The Joe Rogan Experience – Marques Brownlee on the Best Cell Phones, Laptops, Smartwatches, and More

Key Takeaways
  • The Google Pixel 3 has the best cell phone camera
    • “It is my favorite phone, period, and it also has the best camera”
  • It’s actually a fact that when new Apple phones come out, older phones start running slower
    • They voltage down the CPU to save the battery
    • They can do either or – preserve the CPU or the battery
  • The iPhone XR will be a great seller for Apple
  • For everyday carry…
  • Joe uses a  Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon laptop
  • Marques is currently using the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
  • “I think smartphones are at their final form”
    • We’ll keep evolving the insides of smart phones to be better – they’ll get faster etc.
    • But Marques thinks they’ll always be something you pick up, use, and put back down
Cell Phones
Red Hydrogen One
  • Marques is using a prototype (his official one just shipped)
  • Red is a camera company – Marques uses their cameras to shoot his videos
  • Next year, the phone will support modules that will connect to the phone (whatever modules Red decides to make – potentially a better camera, bigger battery, maybe VR??)
  • Marques says it’s surprisingly a good phone
    • “They went minimal with the software, I like that about it”
    • “The camera isn’t amazing yet” – which is surprising from a camera company
    • “I think the modules will make this what it is. I think the phone by itself is not worth $1300, but its support for upcoming things, will make it good.”
  • The Red Hydrogen One has a cool new feature called 3D four-view (almost like a holographic/3D screen)
    • In this mode, the media you view almost “pops out”, but it’s impossible to see without actually using the phone – you’d never be able to show someone this in a video
    • Essentially it adds “depth” to photos and videos
  • It has a headphone jack
Google Pixel 3
  • Marques says the Google Pixel 3 has the best cell phone camera
  • “I’m a fan of the camera, which has turned me into a fan of the rest of the phone”
    • Specifically the camera software (image processing)
    • “It is my favorite phone, period, and it also has the best camera”
  • He uses the Google Pixel 3 “XL”
  • It only has 4GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage
    • A gaming phone just came out that has 10 GB of RAM
    • Most phones coming out now have 6 or 8 GB of RAM
  • Marques uses the 64 GB Google Pixel (although there is a 128 GB model)
    • He says you really don’t need that much storage on the phone, since most everything gets stored on a cloud
    • The only things he keeps offline is his Spotify library, and the podcasts he downloads
    • All the photos he takes, gets uploaded to Google Photos in full resolution, so he never has to keep all of them locally
  • The Google Pixel 3 is one of the only advanced smart phones that has one camera lens (compared to something like the iPhone X)
  • The notch doesn’t really bother Marques
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • It has a 4,000 mAh battery (this beats out the iPhone XS Max battery)
  • Joe never uses the bluetooth pen on his Note 9
    • You can write notes on the lock screen with the pen
    • You can use the pen as a remote control to take photographs/video, and for music
  • Remember when the Note 7s started exploding
  • New Galaxy Note models are released every September
  • Joe – “I’m a big fan of how the Note 9 looks when I’m using it. It’s a beautiful device, it feels premium in the hand.”
  • Marques’ issues with the Note 9 (only because Joe asked) – the front facing camera and the software
    • The software has gotten slow for him over time – he also doesn’t think it’s the “prettiest” software
  • It’s actually a fact that when new Apple phones come out, older phones start running slower
    • They voltage down the CPU to save the battery – they can do either or – preserve the CPU or the battery
      • They do this so you can you longer without having to replace your battery
  • Marques says the iPhone XS and XS Max batteries are about the same
    • The iPhone XR has a better battery than both of them
    • It costs $750, and has a 6.1 inch screen – Marques thinks it will be a great seller for Apple
    • The image quality is slightly less than the iPhone X, but all the internals are the same
      • Marques didn’t notice anything different though – it’s hard for the average user to see
      • The XR has the same pixel density as the iPhone 8
    • It does have 1GB less RAM compared to the iPhone X (3GB compared to 4GB)
    • It also has one camera lens (like the Google Pixel 3) instead of two (The iPhone X and XS have two lenses)
  • The iPhone XS Max has a 6.5 inch screen
Samsung OnePlus 6
  • This used to be Marques’ favorite phone before the Google Pixel 3, mainly due to the camera
  • The OnePlus 6T is coming out this month (October 2018)
Razer Phone 2
  • The speakers were amazing in the first version
    • Marques says they’re even better in the second
Oppo Find X
  • It has a selfie camera that slides up out of the back
  • The Vivo NEX S also has a selfie camera pop up out of the top of the phone
Cell Phone RAM
  • More RAM allows you to keep apps open and running in the background for longer periods of time
  • The less RAM you have, the more often you’ll run into a situation where you’re switching between apps (camera, Twiter, podcasts), and the phone will, say, “shut down”/ have to reload apps running in the background to conserve memory
    • In a sense, what this means is that your Twitter app would have to reload completely, if you’re using the camera and have both apps open
    • Marques notes that while using a OnePlus 6, with 8 GB of RAM, this never happened
Comparing Camera Quality
  • Most people won’t notice a different, until you put photos taken with two different phones next to each other
    • iPhones like to boost the shadows a lot more, so the photos are much more evenly lit
    • iPhones have a tighter angle selfie camera – this creates less distortion
      • Androids have a wider angle selfie camera – you can fit more people in a shot
  • Check out Marques’ 5 smartphone camera comparison
Everyday Carry
  • Marques carries an iPhone of choice (to pair with his Apple Watch Series 4) and an Android phone of choice (usually the Google Pixel 3)
    • “There’s still things that iPhone’s do better”
      • Apps with camera usage (like Snapchat and Instagram) are better optimized on iPhones than they are on any Android phones – these apps were built for the iPhone
    • He only receives texts on the Android phone
Siri vs. Google Assistant
  • “Siri’s terrible” – Marques
    • Both Marques and Joe agree – Google Assistant is better
  • Marques uses Google Assistant all the time
    • You can say “Hey Google” to activate it
    • On the Google Pixel 3, you can just squeeze the phone to activate it
  • Bixby is even worse, Marques says
    • “It shows how good it can be, and then it isn’t good. It has a couple of things it can definitely do better than any other assistant.”
      • It can dig in locally on Samsung phones, and perform a string of commands
        • You can tell it to open settings, turn the brightness halfway down, and turn the Wifi off, and it will do all this
        • Siri or Google Assistant wouldn’t be able to
The Palm Phone
  • It’s a super small phone accessory, for your normal phone – “It’s a phone accessory, to your phone”
  • It uses your same phone number
  • Joe – “I’d like to be in the meeting with whatever coke head came up with that idea”
Phone Pricing
  • “We have all these phones that are $1,000 now, that it’s made it so easy for companies to bump up the price of their phone, and not have anyone blink an eye”
  • The iPhone X starts at $1,000, the iPhone XR starts at $750
  • The Google Pixel 3 starts at $799 – which is $150 more expensive than the Google Pixel 2 – but why? It’s not that much better.
  • So …something to think about
    • Companies competing in the smartphone market, know that in order to represent quality, they have to price in the $1,000-$1200 range
    • The OnePlus tends to go in the opposite direction – they aim to make the same phone, for way less money, and it certainly helps their sales
IP67 vs. IP68
  • It’s a measure of water resistance
    • With IP67 – the phone is certified water resistant for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter
    • With IP68 – it’s 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters
  • IP68 – Razer Phone 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3
  • IP67 – iPhone Xr
And Wrapping Up Cell Phones…
  • Marques doesn’t use phone cases
  • Apparently it’s very hard to switch from an Apple, to an Android phone
    • Specifically with text messages – many people frequently report that after switching, they stopped receiving messages, since your phone number is somehow tied to iMessage
      • This happened to Joe when he switched from an iPhone to a Google Pixel 2 a while back – he says “you have to literally start with a new number”
        • He explains how he had to call up Apple, to get them to remove his number completely from iMessage
      • This is why Marques doesn’t have his main phone number tied to an iPhone – he would hate for something like this to happen
  • Facetime and iMessage are two of the biggest reasons people refuse to try an Android phone
    • “Google’s mission should be to get iMessage on Android. But Apple will never let that happen.”
  • Apple Laptops
    • Joe really loves the Apple OS, but..“their keyboard sucks so bad”
      • “Apple is the only company I know, who makes keyboards, who had it better in 2012, than 2018” – Joe
      • Marques agrees  – Apple is often a victim to their own desire to make great deign. “Apple often makes compromises, sometimes to the detriment of how good a product could be, to make it look better.”
        • An example – The Mac Pro, only had one fan, for a $4k computer, and they constantly overheated
        • The latest Macbook Pros (the Core i9)… same thing – they made the laptop so thin, and kept the fan speed very low to keep it quiet, and they throttled down the CPU so it wouldn’t get too hot
          • The actual performance was not as good as the previous model
          • “Apple has been a victim to their own desire to make things so beautiful” – Marques
        • Joe noticed that he writes about 10 WPM slower when using a Mac keyboard – he writes a lot of his stand up material
        • Apple says the keyboard is the way is is, to make the laptop thinner, and they keys quieter
    • Marques thinks, to this day, Apple has the best laptop touch pad
  • Joe now uses a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon because of his frustration with the Apple laptop keyboards
    • It’s made of carbon fiber
    • The keys have a slight dip, so your fingers “sit” in them
  • Joe has heard really good thinks about the Razer Pro, which uses a mechanical keyboard (for the first time ever on a laptop)
    • It has a trackpad on the right hand side
    • It has a 3 hour 52 min. battery life, for just watching a movie, which Joe calls “hilariously low”
  • Marques is currently using the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
    • He says he likes the keyboard
    • The hand rests have an alcantara (fake suede, like you’d see in a car) fabric covering
      • Joe says it feels amazing, after trying out Marques’ laptop that he brought with him
    • It doesn’t have USB-C, a card reader, or HDMI
  • Google recently released a tablet – the Pixel Slate – with a $200 keyboard accessory (it’s a magnet, it goes from a tablet to a laptop with this keyboard doc), that has circular keys
    • They claim that the circular keys make it easier to type faster
    • “The Matebook Pro is really a better version of the Macbook” – Joe
      • The bezels are almost non existent
    • Joe says it has a better keyboard, longer battery life (both compared to a Macbook), it’s bezeless, touch screen….but you have to deal with Windows 10
  • Marques says most people could get by on a Google Chromebook – which doesn’t have much storage
    • It’s a solid pick – especially for parents and grandparents who just need a web browser
Desktop Computers
  • The most powerful Mac you can get is the iMac Pro
    • You can’t update anything – What you buy is what you get, so you can’t even update the RAM
Steve Jobs
  • Check out this video of Steve Jobs throwing a camera on stage, after getting frustrated at it not working
  • Check out this video of Steve telling everyone in the crowd to get off the WifF, since it wasn’t working during a demo of Safari
  • Marques is wearing the Apple Watch Series 4 (4G version)
    • He calls it “the best smart watch in the game, by a lot”
    • This is why he carries an iPhone
    • He uses it mostly as a fitness tracker
      • Marques has it set up so It notifies him when one of his friends finishes a workout, for motivation
    • He never really uses it to make calls
    • “I’d love to be able to use a smart watch this good, with an Android phone. I just haven’t found one.”
  • The “best Android compatible smartwatch” is the Galaxy Watch 
  • There is a smartwatch that operates off the heat of your body
  • Huawei made a smartwatch  with a digital screen, and a mechanical hand – so it looked like a normal watch, when the screen wasn’t on
    • The problem – the hands of the watch we’re in the way of the screen, and you had to hit a button to move them out of the way
Virtual Reality
  • Marques has an HTC VIVE
    • He’ll commonly play SUPERHOT (a shooting/strategy game) and Beat Saber (Guitar Hero with light sabers, things fly past you and you have to hit them)
  • Joe says there are several good VR boxing games for the HTC VIVE, which give you a good workout
Augmented Reality
  • Marques played around with Google Glasses when they first came out
    • “It was ahead of its time, but also not really”
    • They were too obvious – people knew you were wearing Google Glasses
  • “I think augmented reality has a more promising immediate future than VR”
    • For VR – you have to build the whole world you step into, which is hard to make
    • For AR – it’s just overlayed on your current world
  • AR Contact Lenses
    • “Tech, as I know it, is too far away to make that work”
    • “There’s a bunch of questions I have about it. I don’t know how realistic it is.”
    • “I don’t need the information that fast, that bad. I’m okay with the one second delay of picking up my phone and checking it.”
    • Emacula – it’s an AR contact lens you would wear with sunglasses
      • It’s not out yet – but you can invest in it
Smart Homes
  • Marques uses a Google Home
    • He has a Nest thermostat, and a Nest security camera
      • He can just ask Google Home to change the temperature, and it will
    • There is also a Google Home app
  • Marques has considered getting a Ring doorbell, but he doesn’t have a need for it all that much
  • Many people have concern that Alexa and Google Home are listening to their surroundings all the time
The Future
  • Joe – “I never would have imagined 20 years ago, that we’d all be addicted to our phones”
    • One of the new features in the iPhone shows you how much screen time you have
    • The Google Pixel has a “Digital Well Being” feature
    • Marques says he doesn’t think he’s not addicted to phones/technology
      • He unplugs every weekend to play ultimate frisbee
      • He doesn’t check his email over the weekend
  • “I think smartphones are at their final form”
    • We’ll keep evolving the insides of smart phones to be better – they’ll get faster etc.
    • But Marques thinks they’ll always be something you pick up, use, and put back down
Product Development
  • Most phones are finished about 6 months before they’re released
    • So right now, they’re working on whatever the next iPhone is