The Hottest Reviews/Editorials – Oppo HA-2 & PM-2, Nexus 9, Samsung Galaxy A5, HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge, Lumia 535, Acer Aspire 11& Iconia 8, Sony SBH80 & 50 more

If you have been busy over the last 10 days, don’t worry. Below are the reviews and special editorial pieces that have been published on Gavin’s Gadgets.

And stay tuned for more reviews over the next few weeks including HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 128gb, Official Samsung Galaxy Note 4 S Charger Kit, Oppo PM-2 Headphones, HTC Desire 820, Nokia Lumia 830 and the next episode of “Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast”.

Tablets/Notebooks

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Tablet review
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 – 9 Part Review
Acer V15 Nitro Windows 8.1 laptop review
Acer C720 Chromebook review
Acer Aspire Switch 11 review
Nvidia Shield Tablet – 7 Part review
Acer Iconia 8 Android Tablet review

Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge – Hands On
Yotaphone 2 – 4 Part review
Samsung Galaxy A5 review
Samsung Note Edge – 14 Part Review
Samsung Note 4 – 17 Part Review
BlackBerry Passport 10 Part Mammoth review
Apple iPhone 6 Plus – 24 Part Review
Amazon Fire Phone – 2 Part review
LG G3 review – 31 Part Review
HTC Desire Eye – 13 Part Review
HTC One M8 – 11 Part review
Acer S55 review – 6 Part Review
Honor Holly – 4 Part review
Honor 6 – 12 Part Review
Microsoft Lumia 535 review
Nokia Lumia 1520 – 6 Part review

Wearables/Virtual Reality Headsets/Fitness Trackers

Samsung Gear VR – Virtual Reality Headset – Review
FitBit Charge HR review
Acer Liquid Heap Smartband review
Samsung Gear S – 9 Part Review
LG G Watch R – review

Audio Reviews

Oppo PM-2 Headphones – First Impressions after 100 hours
V-Moda Crossfade M100 headphone review
Plantronics BackBeat Pro bluetooth headphones review
Fiio RC-HD1 Headphone cable review
Sennheiser HD518 Headphone review
Philips Fidelio M1BT Headphone review
AKG K845 Bluetooth Headphone review
Sony SBH80 Bluetooth headphones review
Sony XBA-H1 Headphone Review
Logitech UE Headphones – 3 part Master review
Audio Technica ATH-AD900x Headphone review

Oppo HA -2 Portable Amplifier and DAC review
Cayin C5 Portable Headphone amplifier review
Fiio E12 – master review
HiFiMeDIY Sabre Android USB DAC review
Little Dot MKIV Tube Headphone Amplifier review

The Internet of Things

Belkin WeMo Smart light Bulb starter kit review
Mipow Playbulb Rainbow review
Mipow Playbulb review

Editorials

Technology working in Harmony
HTC One M9 Camera vs Samsung Note 4
The Myths of High End Audio Blown Apart – Plus Photos of a £100,000 system

Nexus 9 – First Impressions

I received the Google Nexus 9 a few days ago. I will be writing a more detailed review shortly but in the meantime here are my initial thoughts.

This is the 16gb storage version. This had around 8gb storage free. I am not sure why the storage is so low, considering this is meant to be a “pure” Google build. It runs Lollipop.

The Nexus 9 is made by HTC. The Nexus 9 is a 8.9 inch Android Tablet with a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz, 2GB RAM. It weighs 426g and the battery is meant to last 9.5 hours. HTC’s trademark “Boomsound” front facing speakers are also present.

This is my first Lollipop device and pure Google Experience. Starting up for the first time, the new Lollipop setup menus seemed simpler and more logical. I was up and running in no time. I was excited by the fact that the processor was a Nvidia Tegra K1, meaning all the games I bought specifically for my Nvidia Shield Tablet would work on this tablet. Not so. Only T.E.C. 3001 worked and 3 other games had trouble running. Clearly these games needed updating. T.E.C. 3001 was absolutely brilliant on the Nexus 9, played using the Moga Pro Power Game Controller.

Battery. I need more time, but it does seem to zap juice under certain circumstances eg playing T.E.C. 3001. I will keep an eye out on actual run time to see if I can get around 9.5 hours. It is a shame this isn’t higher, especially as the tablet weighs 426g. It feels slightly heavier than other tablets I have used recently and yet it is lighter than say the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. But the illusion of weight does gives it a sturdy feel.

Smoothness. On the whole the Nexus 9 is a nimble affair. Typing on the on screen keyboard is very fast. I have experienced a few redraws of the home screen was pressing the home capacitive button.

And finally for now my lasting impression is those front facing Boomsound loudspeakers. The extra quality makes movies, YouTube and everything else a pleasure.

If you have any questions you would like answering for the main review, please let me know.

Amazon offers new Cloud Storage Plans including unlimited storage

“Amazon on Thursday announced two new unlimited cloud storage plans for , enabling users to store an endless amount of photos, videos, movies, music, and files. Amazon users can choose either the Unlimited Photos Plan for $11.99 per year or the Unlimited Everything Plan for $59.99 per year, with a free three-month trial available for each plan for customers that want to try the service.” If you are a Prime member, you already get unlimited cloud storage. The lower-tier Unlimited Photos Plan allows for an unlimited number of photos to be stored on Amazon Cloud Drive, alongside up to 5GB of additional storage for videos, documents and other files. The more expensive Unlimited Everything Plan allows for unlimited storage of photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music with no restrictions. Amazon Prime members are already provided with an Unlimited Photos Plan at no additional cost.”

Good to see Amazon raising it game towards other offerings like Microsoft that also offer unlimited plans.

Source – macrumors.com

Samsung Galaxy A5 – The Trendy Selfie Phone

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The Samsung Galaxy A5 is 6.7mm thin. It is a solid unibody design that looks gorgeous. Just look at the photos.

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When Samsung announced the all new metal unibody Galaxy A5 along with the smaller A3, I was really keen to try the Galaxy A5 in particular. I had had a blast using the Samsung Galaxy Alpha but the A5 took the materials to the next level over the Galaxy Alpha. It’s a very solid phone, which doesn’t bend! At 6.7mm thin it fits in all my pockets, shirts and jeans with ease. I’m fact, I enjoyed using this phone so much due to its performance, size, camera and finish. Out and about with friends we spent hours taking endless selfies!

As this is a Samsung, the Galaxy A5 comes equipped with an lovely Super AMOLED display and Adaptive Display technology which as expected produces wonderful images.

The Galaxy A5 proved to be a hit taking selfies. The camera has a Wide Selfie (like a panoramic selfie), Palm Selfie (just hold your palm in front of screen to get 2 sec countdown), Animated GIF, Beauty Face Features (3 different adjustments – beautify, thinner cheeks, eyes) and Rear-Cam Selfie, which enabled me and my friends to capture great selfies in high resolution. Again using the Rear Selfie mode, you got a beep to say locked on to our faces, then countdown beeps before taking the selfie.

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The Galaxy A5 was really quick at automatically detecting and focusing on a person’s face. In low light or outdoors my friends and I took some smashing photos. This phone has been clearly tuned for decent selfies and this really surprised me.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 comes with LTE Category 4 which is handy for quick uploads and sharing of photos and videos, to Twitter and other social media websites.

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I thought the camera took some great photos too.

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In some of the specialist modes like night mode and HDR, the 13mp resolution is dropped to 8mp.

One of my favourite features is Ultra Power Saving Mode. One evening, just before 11pm and with just a few percent battery remaining, I turned on Ultra Power Saving Mode which gave me enough juice for another 25 hours basic phone usage.

The key remaining specs are as follows –

Samsung Galaxy A5 Specifications

– Processor 1.2GHz Quad-Core Processor
– Display 5.0” HD Super AMOLED
– OS Android 4.4 (KitKat)
– Camera Rear: 13MP AF with LED Flash, Front: 5.0MP
– Camera Features – Wide Selfie, Rear-cam Selfie, Beauty Face
– Ultra Power Saving Mode
– Changeable Theme (Natural, Classic, Casual, Romantic),
– Private Mode, Multi Screen, Quick Connect
– Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n
– Bluetooth: 4.0(BLE, ANT+)
– NFC (LTE version only)
– A-GPS/ GLONASS
– Sensors – Accelerometer, Proximity, Geo-magnetic, RGB ambient light, Hall Sensor
– Memory 16GB Internal memory + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
– 2GB RAM
– Dimension139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7mm, 123g
– Battery 2,300 mAh
– Gorilla Glass 4

I tested the loudspeaker which is next to the camera on the rear. As the camera is slightly raised it doesn’t get muffled. It’s a clear loud sound. Headphones sound good via the headphone jack too. USB Audio is not supported.

Touchwiz now has themes which add a lovely bit of personalisation.

But the real takeaway for me and my friends was how solid, stylish and slim the all metal unibody design felt, the fast speed of operation, and how much fun is was to use the Galaxy A5 to snap selfies using the front or rear camera, and then share them quickly using 4G internet speeds.

To find out more on the Samsung Galaxy A5 and current offers head over to Amazon UK
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Qardio to support Apple Watch

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Above is the screen shot from an email I received from Qardio regarding their Blood Pressure kit.  The bluetooth enabled blood pressure kit is fantastic. It works on Android too.

But now it can work via your Apple Watch. Neat. For sure. Pointless too.

Surely it makes more sense to use the larger screen on your phone than the Apple Watch. Also,  if you have many apps running on your Apple Watch, your battery will be dying really fast.

Amazon launches global bid to take over your living room

Fire TV Stick

“Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will soon be much more useful, due to an impending update. Both streaming media hubs will work in dorm rooms, hotels and other places where you have to sign in before you get online — you can pack your device on that big vacation. The two also get support for Prime Music playlists, shortcuts for screen mirroring and hidden PIN codes when you make a purchase. You’re in for the biggest treat if you have a full-fledged Fire TV box, since you’ll get support for USB storage (to hold all your extra apps and games) and Bluetooth headphones (for those late-night movies).”

Amazon have just made their Fire TV Stick available to pre order in the UK, costing as little as £7 for new prime customers, rising to £19 and if not a prime customer the Amazon TV stick will cost £35.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick according to Amazon is the Most Powerful Streaming Media Stick.

-Powerful performance—4x the storage and 2x the memory of Chromecast, plus a dual-core processor
-Massive selection—Tens of thousands of TV episodes and movies, plus millions of songs and hundreds of games
-Effortless to setup and use—Simply plug in, connect to the Internet and start streaming in minutes
-Perfectly Portable—Take it from room to room and turn your HDTVs into streaming media centres
-No buffering with ASAP—ASAP learns what Amazon movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play
-Perfect with Prime—Prime members enjoy unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video
– Streaming services from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and many more available.

To get full details and pre order click here – Amazon Fire TV Stick

The link above includes all the technical specs, comparison to a Google Chromecast, list of other TV services available and more.

Sources – http://www.engadget.com/amazon

Oppo R7 Smartphone – Zero Bezels on a Phone

Oppo R7

The above photo is a shot of the upcoming Oppo R7, their new phone without hardly any bezels. According to GSMArena, the R7 will offer an octa-core MediaTek MT6795 processor, and a 20.7-megapixel rear-facing camera, but it’s currently unclear when it will be available.

So looking at how thin these bezels are, is this a point when the bezels should be larger or not. What happens when you drop the phone. Does thinner bezels means less impact protection?

What do you think? Is thin too thin at some point?

Reviews coming soon – updated

Just a quick heads up and some new reviews coming shortly.

From HTC, the HTC One M9 and the HTC Desire 816.

Tablets – Google Nexus 9

Samsung – Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and also the Samsung Galaxy A5.

Honor – new devices from Honor

Misc – stuff under NDA

If you have any questions for these devices, please let me know as soon as possible.

HTC One M9 Camera vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Below are two photos, one from the HTC One M9 and the other from the Samsung Note 4 taken by “tryfound” on XDA Developers.

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The above shot is taken with the Samsung Note 4. And below from the HTC One M9.

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So which is best? Well, I will let you decide as there are pros and cons with each. The biggest difference is the detail around the ceiling on the Note 4. But then in some other ways the M9 looks better. Neither is perfect. But add a filter and share of social media, and who would really care!

Source – http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=59650086&postcount=71

Apple Watch – Manufacturing issues curb supply

I had to laugh when the story broke yesterday of supposed manufacturing issues of the Apple Watch. It is the classic Apple move. Leak a rumour and voila it gets picked up by the global tech press.

Except lets step back one moment. I cannot think of any new product releases by Apple where there is a story leaked about supply shortages. Whether the story is true or not is irrelevant, since rumours of a supply shortage will spur people on to buy the Apple Watch, to ensure they get one before supplies run out.

A thumbs up for marketing is due here.

HTC One M9 – All the Reviews

HTC One M9 Review embargoes have lifted and all the major websites have released their review of the One M9. The camera came under fire in most, as did the battery life. However, like every other previous HTC phone, the camera is a social camera, and therefore Michael Fisher of Pocketnow made a specific point of all the fun options that come with the camera software. These seem to have been glossed over by many of the reviews. ZDNet created a Flickr album comparing the M9, M8, Z3, and iPhone 6 Plus with a few Blackberry Passport shots. Worth viewing those shots as this is a more realistic comparison than most. Only one website highlighted the fact the M9 had the best audio quality experience both from its speakers and headphone output. So are you waiting to order the new HTC One M9

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9102/the-htc-one-m9-review-part-1/

http://gizmodo.com/htc-one-m9-review-a-great-phone-that-cant-keep-up-1692880041

http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/22/htc-one-m9-review/

http://www.technobuffalo.com/reviews/htc-one-m9-review/

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/22/8272727/htc-one-m9-review

http://bgr.com/2015/03/22/htc-one-m9-review/

http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_one_m9-review-1230.php

http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/HTC-One-M9-Review_id3956

http://www.stuff.tv/htc/one-m9/review

http://www.zdnet.com/article/htc-one-m9-review-iconic-metal-dual-tone-design-with-focus-on-personalization/

http://mobilesyrup.com/2015/03/22/htc-one-m9-review/

http://www.trustedreviews.com/htc-one-m9-review

http://www.techspot.com/review/980-htc-one-m9/

http://www.slashgear.com/htc-one-m9-review-counting-on-quality-22374718/

http://pocketnow.com/2015/03/22/htc-one-m9-review

http://www.pocket-lint.com/review/133290-htc-one-m9-review-distracted-by-refinement

http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-one-m9-review