Royole Moon Review: A movie theater in your bag

As a reviewer, there are certain items that you really look forward to receiving. Testing out the latest in technology is certainly one of the perks of this job, and the Royole Moon looks to be a potential revolution in entertainment and consumption. While the entire project is not perfect, The Royole Moon lays the groundwork for new ways of consuming media in the future. Whether you’re on a long trip, or you just want to kick back at home and enter a private world, the Royole Moon is a pricey way to do just that.

At its core, the Royole Moon is looking to put a compact, foldable movie theatre experience in your bag. In many ways it comes close, but we’ll get to that in a little bit. The Royole Moon is a headset with high resolution screen and headphones all wrapped into one, but it’s not a VR headset. This is designed for movies, games, and other media consumption.


The Moon operates on a custom Android-based operating system that utilizes the right earpiece as a touch sensor. The touch sensor works like a TrackPad so you can navigate up, down, left, and right, and in some cases, manipulate a mouse pointer. A tap on the ear piece selects, a double tap goes back. The circumference of the ear cup turns your volume up and down. Overall, it’s an elegant way to navigate.

Optically, the Moon uses 2 AMOLED displays – one for each eye at 1080p resolution (over 3000 PPI), so images are clear and sharp – or at least they are once you’ve set the optics to your taste. If you wear glasses, that’s not a problem as each eye piece can be focused, allowing adjustments from -7.0 Diopter nearsightedness to +2.0 Diopter farsightedness. The Moon cannot correct for astigmatism (so it’s a good thing I had mine surgically repaired).

All ears

On the audio end, you have high-quality sound coming from the built-in headphones. The headphones have active noise cancellation algorithms that will cancel out most droning noises, airplanes for example. The isolation on the headphones is not the best, but decent. Active noise cancellation helps with constant tones, but if you’re trying to drown out a house full of kids and dogs, you’ll have a hard time believing you’re in a movie theatre.

The Royale Moon is not just a headset – the Moon is powered by the Moon “Box”. The Box handles the memory, battery, and connectivity of the headset. If you want to play from an HDMI source, like the HDMI output of my Macbook, that connects through the Box. The Box also contains 32 GB of storage for movies and other media. The Box and the headset connect together via a single cable.

Let’s all go to the movies

Overall, the movie and media consumption experience is great. Once you can kick back and relax and take in a Star Wars movie, you’re golden. When you suspend disbelief just a little bit, you can actually picture an 800-inch screen [...]

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Should LG mess with the V30?

Last week, on the Pocketnow Weekly, we talked about the LG V30 and a slide out second screen it might have.  Juan Carlos Bagnell Jules Wang had a conversation about flagship phones and established brands and whether or not it was a good idea to muck with those devices. For example, the LG V series is a solid brand, entering its third year of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and suddenly there’s talk of doing something crazy with the flagship. But is it necessarily crazy?

Don’t spoil a good thing

On the one hand, you’re messing with success. The LG V and G series of phones are, quite frankly, your money makers. And if there is anything we have learned it’s never touch the principle. Put another way, if you have a steady source of income, it’s best not to mess with that steady source. LG has been gaining a lot of traction lately with its smartphones, if you count out one minor speedbump.

You see, people fear change – they hate change. Granted, you can’t point to the LG G5 as an example of this – the LG G5 was a bad concept from the start. But it’s important to realize that LG tried to do something new with the G5, and it tanked. People voted with their wallets and they decidedly did not vote for the G5. That hurt LG as a brand, and it’s a remarkable how much the LG G6 has turned that around. LG realized it made a mistake, and backtracked as it should have.

People who are familiar with a brand, especially in that key third year of a brand, don’t want change. They want safe. And the LG V30 with a slide out screen is not safe. It’s bold. And bold is rarely what sells. Safe sells. Considering how the experiment of the G5 went, perhaps now is not the right time to fiddle again.

And yet…

But take the LG out of this equation and let’s just talk about flagships in general. Flagships sell. Flagships come with a built-in audience, and what better way to sell a new feature than with a built-in audience. By the third year of a line of phones, people are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. That’s the only way the LG G5 sold as much as it did. And people got burned, picking up accessories that will not be useful in a generation.

But when you consider that built-in audience, that’s the best was to get a concept to catch on. If you want a success story when it comes to fiddling with flagships, look no further than Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is the prime example of a concept phone being applied to a flagship. First, we saw the Note Edge, then we saw the S6 Edge, then the S6 Edge plus. Today, every Samsung flagship has an edge screen, and they are looking good.


But in general, having a built-in audience like that can make or break a new concept in [...]

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Unlike Apple Watch OS, Android Wear is trying too hard to be a watch

It’s funny when you think about it, but sometimes the stupidest thing makes you see something in a whole new light. Watching WWDC’s keynote yesterday it dawned on me. Tim Cook was just showing off the latest watch faces that were added to the Apple Watch OS collection. Like, who gives a crap about stupid watch faces, right? And Toy Story? 2010 called – it wants its cartoons back, am I right? But watching Woody and Buzz and Jessie flopping all around the screen made me realize something.

Be better

Smartwatches aren’t watches. Well, ok they are watches, but they’re not just watches. They are so much more than watches. Then why does Android Wear spend so much time trying to pretend that it’s a watch? When you flip through the watch faces that are available by default on most smartwatches, you get a lot of dials and digital readouts and whatnot. But most of the time you don’t really come across a stuffed toy flopping around the screen, and why is that?

We’ve grown up knowing what watches are – they’re time pieces that, you know, tell time. Often there is other functionality from moon phase complications to Casio stopwatches – depending on your price range. But no watches are comprised of the kinds of screens we’re seeing on smartwatches. And maybe, just maybe, the prime difference between the Apple Watch and so many other Android Wear watches is that Apple recognizes the fact that we’re not all wearing watches on our wrists – we’re actually wearing miniature smartphones. And maybe, we should start acting like it.

Bring it on

This is a fundamental shift into how we view smartwatches. When you put into perspective – suddenly, having a square watch face is no big deal. Why shouldn’t small smart devices have small rectangular screens? Why do we spend so much time and effort into trying to display to the outside world that we’re wearing a watch instead of a smartwatch? Because that’s what we’re wearing. And Apple owns that fact.

One point that often comes up is that smartwatches “look funny” if they’re not round, or if they’re off, because all you have is a blank screen of your wrist. Well, why shouldn’t a smart device have a blank screen when it’s not in use? That’s what makes sense. When I go to bed, I turn the TV off, and at no time do I find it weird that I have a large blank rectangle in my family room. Why shouldn’t the same principle apply to my wrist?

And furthermore, why shouldn’t I have simple text blocks that tell me what my next appointment is, rather than a calendar icon in a circle and a time in hours? Why shouldn’t I have Google Now cards on the main screen with my time display? If we’re going to wear a smartwatch, let’s start emphasizing the smart rather than the watch.

Hold up

Now before you go on a tirade, let me explain that I understand there are likely [...]

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Despite some advances, Android Wear 2.0 is not progress

Android Wear has been out for a while now. I’m a bit late to the party – totally get that. But I just got an LG Watch Style and I’ve been sporting it for a couple of weeks now. I like the watch, itself. It has a nice build and it’s, well, stylish, but Android Wear 2.0 keeps driving me up a bit of a wall, and I just wanted to clear the air. There has been some Android Wear progress, but I’ve had a few issues with the operating system and a few tweaks could really help.

First, I’d like to say, that I love the way Android Wear 2.0 handles things like emails. The archive control is front and center, and since I archive a lot, that’s important to me. I don’t have to struggle with notifications like I’ve had to on Android Wear 1.5. The new UI is nice, keeping your app list out of the way, along the left side of the watch. All neat things, but while we’re on the topic, let’s talk about that list of apps.

Lefty Loosey

The world is full of right-handed people. The world is less full of left handed people. I’m weird. I’m a righty who wears my watch on my right wrist. It’s a long story. Anyway, as I was saying the app list running along the left side of the screen is really convenient for keeping your hand out of the way while scrolling through the list – unless you’re wearing the watch on your right hand. Then, your hand is still getting in the way.

Android Wear 2.0 needs a left-handed mode. Granted, it’s not a 50/50 split. Left handers represent only ten percent of the population. With me, it’s ten percent plus one, but our lefties (which include my brother and my dad by the way) need some love from Android Wear developers. Get on it, and make ¾ of my family happy!

Oops, I can’t do that now

Google Assistant on Android 2.0 is also really great – or so I’ve heard. You see, I wouldn’t know about that because Google Assistant hasn’t worked on my watch from day one. It launches, accepts my commands, it even goes to the trouble of writing them out on the screen. Then, it says “Oops! I can’t do that right now.” Every time for everything. It’s really irritating.

The only solution I have found online is to factory reset the phone to get it to work. I’m not a normal use case. I factory reset phones all the time as part of my job. But the normal everyday Joe who’s reading this probably doesn’t. For them, that advice sucks. I haven’t gotten around to it yet because I had to move on to a different device for review. But when I go back, I’m going to have to factory reset that thing. That shouldn’t ever be the answer. If Google wants its Assistant to succeed, that can’t be the answer.

(Editor’s note: After this writing, [...]

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Essential Phone: what do we really have here?

Wowee wow that Essential Phone, huh? Andy Rubin, the father of Android has returned to the lime light with a big splash. A high quality, feature packed, new smartphone made with premium materials and engineering. And there’s a lot more to the story. This is a big deal, and it’s a lot to take in, but I had some thoughts I wanted to share.

My thoughts on the Essential Phone can be summed up in one sentence:

“OnePlus is making the Xiaomi Moto Z Mix, the Next Big Thing.”

Let’s break that down

Now, there’s a lot in there, so let’s break it down a little bit. The first item on the agenda is OnePlus, and believe it or not, this is a favorable comparison. I could have said Jolla, or NextBit, of the vaporware that is the Saygus V-divided-by-0, or any number of other companies that are no longer with us. OnePlus started off as a plucky little startup that was fighting to get its name out there in the general public. OnePlus quickly developed a tight-knit fan base, and I’m certain Essential will do the same.

But coming from out of nowhere into being a respectable manufacturer did not come easy for OnePlus. OnePlus’s main “feature” was high end specs at a midrange price – a truly compelling offering. Essential’s main selling point seems to be premium construction and materials – a durable though not waterproof phone. That’s a tougher sell, to be perfectly honest, but not completely crazy. Going up against the likes of Samsung and Apple in that price range will be no small feat. That nearly bezelless screen though could be an x-factor.

Bezels begone

Except we’ve seen that type of screen before – look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. Let’s also remember the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which sports an equally bezelless screen, but without the divot in the middle. Sure, arguments are going to be made that the divot won’t matter because of the notification tray, yadda yadda. I’m not convinced, but we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for the moment. The point is, that the bezelless screen is not a new concept, and some companies have arguably done it better. Let’s continue.

The modular – maybe let’s call them “friends” – concept is also not necessarily new, though when compared to the Moto Z, it may well be better executed. Having two magnetic connectors in the corner of your phone is likely going to result in a more future proof concept going forward. Moto married its form factor when it introduced moto mods – it will be hard pressed to make a bigger or smaller phone without rendering previously bought mods obsolete. So Essential has a leg up here.

Plus, it’s also fun to see the 360 camera concept as its first venture into the accessory market – especially when it’s so flipping small. But how these mod-friend-things will evolve going forward will be interesting to see. But it’s important to stress that the accessories will [...]

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