Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro Review – Samsung’s new Fitness Tracker with GPS and more

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro review. This is the latest fitness tracker from Samsung that introduces a few new changes that make it a decent fitness device.

Key Features

– Super AMOLED Curved and Capacitive Screen
– Compatible Androïd 4.4 and more, and IOS 9.0 and more
– Waterproof: 5 ATM, waterproof up to 50m according to ISO Standard 22810: 2010
– GPS, Accelerometer, Heart Rate Monitor, Gyro, Altimeter Barometer
– Notifications: social networks, SMS, calls, calendar, reminder, weather, “do not disturb”
– 4gb storage, Bluetooth 4.2
– Weight 34g
– Battery 200mAh

The Gear Fit 2 Pro strap is water resistant up to 5 ATM. It also has a slightly smaller 1.5 inch screen the original Gear Fit 2, which enables it to curve slightly better around your wrist. The strap has been improved to a more traditional system that can’t pop off by accident.

You can now swim in the pool or the ocean, using the inbuilt the Speedo application developed for Gear Fit2 Pro. This tracks your statistics and presents them in easy-to-read summaries.

UA RECORD: View your activity, sleep and workout statistics in a dashboard and learn about your health and fitness levels.

MapMyRun: Plan and follow your itineraries with real-time maps and capture each race, walk up and walk.

MyFitnessPal: Eat smarter and achieve your health goals by monitoring the calories you consume and burn.

Endomondo: Join a global fitness enthusiast community when you achieve your racing goals with personal training plans.

I really like the auto detection. So whether you’re playing tennis, basketball or even dance moves, the Gear Fit 2 Pro will automatically detect and save the activity. It also measures your heart rate continuously throughout the day, indicating heart rate zones, to help you make better fitness decisions.

There are more than 3,000 apps and watch faces to choose from, including Spotify. These are available from the Galaxy App. However, I doubt you will ever need to download more than 3 extra apps.

The Samsung Gear Application and Samsung S Health are fantastic piece of software which have improved considerably over the years, as well as opening up to tons of third party fitness and health services.

Amazon at the time of writing were selling the Gear Fit 2 Pro lower than Samsung’s own website. Click HERE.

Video Review

Conclusion

Highly recommended tracking device which is a breeze to use and has all the features you could possibly want in a fitness tracker.

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Apple iPhone 8 Plus – First Impressions 

Apple iPhone 8 Plus. First Impressions and initial thoughts. 

Judging by the lack of queues at all the main Apple stores it seems many people are clearly waiting for the newer iPhone X. 

But from my initial use of the new iPhone 8 Plus I have come away with a different view. The expression a wolf in sheep’s clothing is quite appropriate. It’s actually its more like a bland lion in sheep’s clothing. 

The A11 Bionic processor is a beast. What it does for the whole phone experience is badass. 

First my views on the 3 finishes. I didn’t like space grey. The gold is ok. But I loved the white and silver finish. 

Screen. The true tone screen looks too good to be true at times. It’s the ultimate in IPS technology. But it’s not light years ahead of the 7 Plus. But it’s still better. 

Operation. The A11 processor must contribute to the overall smoothness of the phone. Really felt like gliding through menus and apps. 

Camera. There’s no HDR option. It’s on by default. The camera felt fast to take shots and there was low noise in the indoor photos. Portrait lightning was fun to use but I did notice some errors on the edges. It is in beta though. The standout feature of the camera was the video. 4K at 60fps is freaking unbelievably amazing. So life like and real to view footage back on the screen. Stabilisation looked good too. 

Speakers. Louder than before. That’s a good thing. Wireless charging worked as expected. 

I started by saying it’s a bland lion in sheep’s clothing. And that is how I feel. It looks like every other iPhone for the last 4 or so years. Except it performs like the King of the Jungle. 

I can see this being quite popular on contract upgrade plans and for people that still want the convenience of Touch ID. It is however not a design I want to see in my hand. I’m more interested in the upcoming iPhone X!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Review 1 Week Later + Camera Showcase 

After one week with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, this is my detailed review so far with a few tips and a camera showcase. Also I have embedded a few other photos above and below from the Note 8. 


The above shot was edited on the Note 8 using a Bixby voice assistant. I asked Bixby to apply the vignette filter. 


The bokeh is superb. Live Focus was not used for this shot. Auto all the way. 

Tech Addicts Podcast – Apple vs Apple vs Note 8 vs Pixel 2 XL and Other Stuff

Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with a new episode starring –

– Gareth Myles – Twitter / YouTube / Tech Addicts UK
– Jay Garrett – Twitter 1 ; Twitter 2 / YouTube / Gadgetynews
– Leila Gregory – Twitter 1 ; Twitter 2 / YouTube / Swanny
– Brendan Arndt – Twitter / YouTube
– Ricky West – Twitter / YouTube
– Myself – Twitter / YouTube / Instagram

To listen to the latest episode subscribe by searching “Tech Addicts” within your favourite podcast app, iTunes, Google Play Music Podcasts or use the URL “mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss” to add directly.

To listen now –

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – High Speed Camera Action Shots featuring Sophie

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has many camera modes, including its own portrait type mode, called Live Focus. But sometimes you just want to take a quick photo as you suddenly see some incredible action.

Fortunately, a double press of the power button, and holding down the on screen shutter button is a really quick procedure. The Note 8 burst mode, holding shutter button down, is blazingly fast. Here a 4 shots from about 25 that got captured in the burst of my Labrador Sophie running on Dartmoor.

The Note 8 is able to capture the motion so well, and more importantly with ease.

Sophie is an extremely fast runner, sometimes I wonder if she doesn’t have lurcher or greyhound in her genes!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review – 48 hours later – The Highs & Lows plus more camera shots

So 48 hours later using the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, here is my initial review. But it is also 48 hours without my iPhone 7 Plus/Apple Watch combo. I have been incredibly used to using iOS as my main phone for over a year despite reviewing many android phones. 

Having used iOS and other Apple hardware has benefits. Everything talks to everything. It’s a doddle to share content between devices and other people using iOS or Apple hardware. Everything just works and I have got very used to all the methodology and ways. I have had to tell my wife not to send photos over iMessage, instead email them. My wife can’t FaceTime me. Same for the rest of my family who all use iPhones. AirDrop is absent too. But weirdly, the biggest thing I miss is wearing my Apple Watch. I’m not sure it’s missing it as such, but my wrist feels empty without it. It is such a strange sensation.  My wife at the start of my journey was not too pleased with me moving platforms either.

Anyway, so back to the Note 8. The first 24 hours felt alien. As much as I am bowled over by the hardware, the software just felt a mess. Setting up Bixby was a disaster. It kept saying it could not hear my voice. WTF. A deaf voice assistant! I also had a mess of 136 apps and or games installed and everything was out of order and all over the place. On my iPhone, apps were in a particular folder and position within the folder for ease of use.

However, I am not one to give up and realised it would take a while to adjust and hopefully I would start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the time being, I won’t be installing Nova Launcher. I want to feel and appreciate everything Samsung has done with this phone for at least a month. Tomorrow, I have a new super fast Samsung memory card arriving, a Gear Fit 2 Pro and already have a Gear 360 (2017). This way I can appreciate the Samsung eco system more. I won’t be turning off Bixby either. Siri works extremely well for me on my iPhone due to the simple reason I taught it over time. I shall do the same with Bixby and get it to deliver eventually. I hope!

The single biggest problem with the Note 8 has been signal. If I had got my Note 8 direct from Three UK, it would have the wifi calling integrated into the firmware. My Note 8 has come unlocked direct from Samsung. Between Three and Samsung, they have not provided the wifi calling/VOLTE within the firmware. For a flagship phone this is not acceptable. My iPhone 7 Plus had this integrated and was from Apple direct. Three have an app for WiFi calling. Firstly the software looks like a dogs dinner. Secondly it drains the battery. And thirdly, you have messages and calls coming into its app, and not the default Samsung apps. So it gets 1/10 from me and that’s being generous. Fortunately, I have a Three Signal Booster which I had to power up and this has resolved my signal at home.

Setting up Bixby was resolved by opening Bixby, finding the settings and running through the setup. I still can’t turn the phone on from a lock screen, using my “Hi Bixby”. No idea why that’s not working. Also, the Smart Switch software provided by Samsung to transfer SMS and other stuff from my iPhone to the Note 8 keeps crashing. It just doesn’t work! Bummer. I really would like my text messages transferred across, if nothing else.

Unlocking. Joke, serious joke. WTF did Samsung think by adding the fingerprint sensor so high up. Firstly, it is impossible to reach. Second, when you do reach it, it never works because your finger angle is always out of alignment slightly. So fortunately, I am using Android Smart Unlock options along with face unlock for now. Face Unlock doesn’t work in darkness or bright sun, so its back to a pin code.

Before this sounds like a bash bash of Samsung, let’s move on to the good stuff. The phone looks amazing. My Spigen case arrived on Saturday which made usability a damn sight better. It is a great case for under £9. Link at end if you are interested. As I have had many Samsung phones before, logging into my Samsung account brought back lots of information, from web bookmarks, my Samsung Health data and much more. S Health on the Note 8 is amazing. More on this on my main review.

Themes. Again logged into my Samsung account, and have downloaded all 20 of my themes, checked them all out, and removed the ones that don’t look good on the Note 8. I now have all my folders and home page looking tidy. My weather station, Hue lights and other connected devices are all working well and Google Assistant is super fast at controlling stuff. Quicker than Siri. I have now logged into all my social media accounts, media and web services so the phone is now usable.

Gaming. Samsung Game Launcher is excellent. More on this in my full review.

The screen is wonderful to view anything. It’s big and bright and so visible in sunlight. And the dual OIS rear camera lenses produce amazing results. And so to the camera. Below are just a few random quick shots in auto. These shots are so good, my wife now is happy for me to be on android instead of iOS !!

The Note 8 has a super fast focus system, and now using the zoom lens is offers more flexibility due to having OIS.

Any that’s all for now. More soon.

Useful Links

My Spigen Case – Amazon Link
Great Big Brand offers on Note 8 cases – Amazon Link
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Sim Free on Amazon

London Eye and Waterloo Bridge – Shot on an iPhone 7 Plus – Testing the Zoom on iOS 11

The scene was set. On Thursday, I was standing on the roof terrace of the Institute of Engineering and Technology. The sun was out and I was looking a spectacular view of London. I recently installed the full version of iOS 11, that is, non beta, so lets see how the latest firmware compared.

The above photo is using 2 x optical zoom of Waterloo Bridge. Looks superb.

Above is the same shot of Waterloo Bridge but just using the standard lens. The difference is huge. The sun had temporarily hidden behind some clouds, hence the difference is brightness/colour.

So testing the zoom lens at 2 x optical zoom, we can focus nicely on the London Eye.

The next shot above is of the London Eye, using the normal wide lens.

So despite the iPhone 7 Plus being one year old, it still can perform really well. I cant wait to see how the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X perform against the 7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – First Impressions of the Dual OIS Rear Cameras with Samples of Zoom Quality

So my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 arrived yesterday and I have installed circa 120 apps and a selection of games.

At the moment, the hardware is superb, but the software is a dog compared to the elegance of iOS 11 on my iPhone 7 Plus. However, I have not spent anywhere near enough time in trying to sort everything out, and maybe I will have a better setup over time.

For the moment, this is what I have lost moving my main sim out of the iPhone 7 Plus and into the Note 8-

– iMessage with my wife and family. I used all the stickers too and effects.
– Facetime
– Three WiFi Calling is not present and this is a nightmare inside my home.
– Airdrop across devices from Mac, iPhone and iPad – my wife and I could share anything from bookmarks, photos in an instant.
– Apps are just better on iOS in style and overall functionality, although this is not for all apps. Some actually seem better on android, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
– Everything feels out of place
– Siri
– Loss of using Apple Watch
– Messages on all devices (Mac, iPad)
– iOS 11 really has so much functionality as standard.
– Touch ID – unlocking the phone and access to apps is way better on iOS

This is what I have gained –

– Epic camera results so far in very limited testing
– Powerhouse of specs
– S Pen
– Great headphone audio, better than the iPhone 7 Plus
– My Samsung Gear 360 (2017) works better with the Note 8
– Stunning hardware

This is just my honest view after 24 hours. But back to the dual OIS rear cameras. Testing the zoom near dusk.

Above shot is standard lens.

Now 2 x optical zoom. Focus on the mast in the distance.

10 x digital zoom. Really impressive detail for such a long distance. Remember this is not in bright lighting conditions either.

Ok, so above is a normal shot of the church.

Zooming into to the window. Having OIS on the zoom lens makes a massive difference.

However, the white balance is somewhat warm on auto, so making a quick adjustment makes a difference as shown above.

Anyway, just a quick update. More very soon 🙂

Apple iPhone X – My Thoughts on The Future and everything else Apple announced

Yesterday, Apple held its special September 2017 event. During the presentation it announced 3 new iPhones, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X. The Apple TV got updated and a new Series 3 Apple Watch got announced.

Before it got to the new iPhones, the new Apple Watch Series 3 got launched. The Series 3 comes in two options – with or without LTE. If you’re in the UK, only EE currently works with the LTE version. In addition the new Series 3 adds a Barometric altimeter over the Series 2. If you compare the specs of the Series 3, the non LTE version comes with half the storage at 8gb vs 16gb and the back of the non LTE watch with a composite back, whereas the LTE version is made with a ceramic back. Series 1 now starts at £249 for the 38mm or £279 for the 42mm. Personally, I see no reason whatsoever to change my Apple Watch Series 2.

Next came the new Apple TV 4K. An TV box with 4K HDR and complete with Apple’s A10X processor making this one powerful beast. The other internal specs had been improved too. It still comes with the remote that I personally find irritating to use due to constant accidental presses.

Then came the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. These continued the shape and design of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. In reality these are iterations of the 7 and 7 Plus but they do have some seriously upgraded internals. Now designed with glass backs, the Apple A11 chip, Qi Wireless charging, True Tone displays, IP67, improved cameras and software, 4K at 60fps and more. The storage sizes are now 64gb and 256gb. The new storage options pushes the prices up on these models.

The future. iPhone X. You can read all about the official specs here – https://www.apple.com/uk/iphone-x/ . 64gb is £999. 256gb costs £1,149. Touch ID is replaced by Face ID which failed on stage with the first demo attempt. I have some reservations about usability but I will need to use it before commenting further. The first iPhone to move to an OLED screen. The cameras have been updated too. The iPhone X is a powerful beast, the A11 processor is epic in its performance. iOS 11 and all the software for the iPhone X make it a marvellous phone. But its a £1,000+ phone to buy which puts it into luxury ownership territory. The reality is all manufacturers have increased their phone prices. So cost aside, this looks like a decent piece of kit!

So what did you think of all the new Apple announcements and the new iPhone X!

Audio-GD NFB 11.28 TXCO Amanero USB DAC & Headphone AMP – Review – Connect your MAC, iPhone or LG V30

Welcome to my review of the Audio-GD NFB 11.28 TXCO Amanero USB DAC & Headphone AMP.

This is no ordinary headphone amp. This is handmade meticulously in China. Audio-GD is considered one of the best manufacturers are high end audio. The Audio-GD NFB 11.28 is their cheapest offering coming in at under £400.

Single Ended Headphone & pre- amplifier equipted with hyper-modern Sabre ES9028Pro dac chip. All parts and components are selected based on excellent sonic and measurements performance. Components are e.g. from WIMA capacitors (Germany) and NOVER parts (UK) . The used components but also the technical design (e.g. discrete analogue section) of this system were being selected after many years of experience and practices and are considered to perform and provide very good sonic results. Up to date with the latest technology, and ensuring peak performance.

This version includes the low jitter TCXO clocks & Amanero USB options. Amanero is currently the best compatible USB interface and sound in world according to Audio-GD.

Key Features

– Discrete DAC single ended headphone- and preamplifier
– DSD , DXD support from USB
– Sabre ES9028 – 32bit / 384K
– Low jitter precision 100MHz TCXO upgrade
– USB Amanero
– Volume controlled ALPS 27
– Upgraded the digital power supplies to double stages PSUs with ultra high speed ultra low noise parts, for remove the power interrupt and made the back stage darker, better transparency .
– The DSD and PCM switch upgrade to MCU control, remove the switch noise.
– Digital filter settings can selectable the different sound flavors for better suite different sound headphones and user’s personal taste.

Inputs

– USB input.
– Toslink optical SPDIF
– RCA coaxial SPDIF

Outputs

– RCA single ended (Output is configurable: fixed or variable)
– Headphone 6,3mm jack

Key Specifications

– Weight: 2.5 kg
– Width: 180 mm x Length: 220 mm x Height: 55 mm
– DAC Type Sabre ES9028Pro
– Signal to Noise Ratio – SNR (dB) 118dB
– Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 0.002% (0dBV output level )
– Output Level (V) 2.5V (RCA)
– Output impedance (Ω) 2 ohm / Headphone output 2 ohm / DAC output
– Coaxial Input Sensitivity 0.5 Vp-p
– Optical Input Sensitivity 19 dBm
– Sample Rate USB: 44.1 – 384kHz | Coax: 44.1 – 192kHz | Optical: 44.1 – 96kHz
– Frequency Response (kHz) 20Hz – 20KHz (-0.2dB) | 3Hz – 350KHz (Analogue)
– USB Audio Class 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 & 3.0
– USB Operating Systems Windows, iOS, Linux
– Preamp Variable Output (V) 5.0V Max
– Preamp Fixed Output (V) 2.5V Max
– Headphone Output Level (V) 10V RMS
– Headphone Output Power (Watt) 3500mW/25 ohm 1800mW/50 ohm 900mW/100 ohm 300mW/300 ohm 150mW/600 ohm
– Power Consumption (Watt) 12
– Accessories -USB Cable, IEC Power Cord

Review

The Audio-GD 11.28 is something you won’t find on Amazon Prime for next day delivery. This particular model is popular and often has a wait time of over 30 days. There is a reason for that. You get an extreme amount of bang for your buck.

Lifting the top off the device reveals a work of art. It also gives you access to the digital filters which allows you to tweak the sound marginally. See more info on the options at Magna HiFi. Adjusting the digital filters can warm the sound up a fraction.

You will also notice from the specifications the amp section delivers oodles of power. I have tested the device using Sennheiser HD598, Beyer Dynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm, Beyer Dynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohm, Sony MDR-100AAP, Optoma NuForce NE8’s and Sennhesier In Ear Momentums. I connected a MacBook Pro, LG V20 and iPhone 7 Plus to the Audio-GD as well. Irrespective of headphone used, the Audio-GD pushed the headphone to its maximum abilities and they all sounded superb through it.

Describing the sound – its fairly dark and neutral but with reserves of energy that scales as the music demands. The sound does warm up slightly after the device has been left on for a good hour. The amp does get slightly warm, but this is normal.So don’t cover up the vents.

Vocals and instruments have excellent clarity. Soundstage is excellent too. Going back to the digital filters. I did try the warmer option but at the moment cannot decide whether I prefer the default setting or the warmer one. I imagine in the end I will opt for the warmer setting.

Video Review

Conclusion

A cracking piece of kit that delivers exactly what it set out to be. Recommended.

Available from Magna HiFi

Tech Addicts Podcast – The Next Episode is Live – IFA 2017 & Which Reality is For YOU!

Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with a new episode starring –

– Gareth Myles – Twitter / YouTube / Tech Addicts UK
– Jay Garrett – Twitter 1 ; Twitter 2 / YouTube / Gadgetynews
– Leila Gregory – Twitter 1 ; Twitter 2 / YouTube / Swanny
– Brendan Arndt – Twitter / YouTube
– Ricky West – Twitter / YouTube
– Myself – Twitter / YouTube / Instagram

To listen to the latest episode subscribe by searching “Tech Addicts” within your favourite podcast app, iTunes, Google Play Music Podcasts or use the URL “mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss” to add directly.

To listen now, click HERE to play immediately. 

Belkin PowerHouse Dual Apple Watch & iPhone Charger Stand – Review

Welcome to my review of the Belkin PowerHouse Apple Watch & iPhone Charger stand.

Key Features

– Dual fast charging: Dock offers 3.4 A total power output (1 A for Apple watch, 2.4 A for iPhone); simultaneously charge iPhone via lightning connector and Apple watch via integrated magnetic charger at the high speed possible
– Safe, neat, elegant: Elevates Apple watch safely while charging and provides easy access and visibility to both devices; built-in power supply with 1.2 m/4 feet cable and UK/EU plugs supplied for your convenience.
– Universally case compatible: Wheel at back of stand raises/lowers lightning connector to fit any protective case; forwards/backwards movable connector makes it easy to plug in your device
– MFI certified: Electronical accessory has received Apple’s made for Apple watch and made for iPhone certifications which ensure compatibility and performance
– Compatibility: Compatible with all Apple iPhones with lightning connector such as iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus or SE and all Apple watches such as Apple watch Series 2, Nike+, Edition or Series 1

Review

Conclusion

The Belkin PowerHouse Apple Watch & iPhone Charger Stand was far better than I anticipated and now sits proudly on my bedside table. Highly recommended. Available from Amazon.

Joby GripTight ONE Magnetic Tripod Review

Welcome to my review of the superb Joby GripTight ONE Magnetic Tripod.

Key Features

– Compact Design. Patented, compact, foldable design
– Universal Fit. Fits most smartphones with or without a case
– Quick Release. Stainless steel spring loaded design for quick grip and release of smartphone
– Flexible Base. Flexible gorilla pod legs with rotating ball head and magnetic feet provide endless platforms and creative angles

Main Review

Conclusion

The Joby GripTight One Magnetic Tripod is simply amazing. I have used it in so many different scenarios and with a number of portable devices from my iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Gear 360 (2017) and Sony RX100 camera. Highly recommended.

Available from Amazon UK.

Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar iPhone Adapter – Review

Welcome to my review of the Belkin

Key Features

– Power in and audio out: The RockStar delivers power in to your iPhone/iPad and audio out; it only supports lightning audio; it does not support audio split, dual charge, data sync or any other lightning adapter other than Apple lighting to 3.5 mm adapter
– Dual functionality: Listen to lightning audio and charge at the same time (supports up to 48 kHz, 24-bit audio output + pass-through charging up to 12 W for iPhone and iPad)
– Remote control and microphone: Supports remote control and microphone from lightning audio headphones
– Works with: Made for iPhone 7, iPhone 7 plus and any lightning device that runs iOS 10 or later, MFI certified lightning audio headphones, Apples lighting to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter, MFI certified USB to lightning cables
– Smart battery case compatibility: Works with Apple smart battery case for iPhone 7; in order to work properly, connect charging cable and lightning headphones to RockStar prior to inserting RockStar into the Apple smart battery case

Review

Conclusion

The Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar iPhone adapter solves the problem of being able to charge your iPhone and listening to music. It works perfectly. Recommended. Available from Amazon.