All posts by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

About Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

President, CEO & Editor of http://gavinsgadgets.com Reviews & News of Technology

LG G6 – The Dual Camera Setup – Editorial

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LG has confirmed that the LG G6 will have a new dual camera setup on the rear.

It will have two 13MP rear sensors, with one a wide-angled camera with a 125 degree field of view  which  similar to that of a human eye. Also with the new rear camera setup the wider images will allow for more fit inside a square ratio Instagram photos. The square camera mode will allow for the screen to split in two ,so you can see what you’ve just shot while you line up your next picture.

LG  also said the phone would come with a 360-degree panorama mode, as well as a food mode that boosts color saturation.

The front-facing camera gets a new ‘SELFI’ shooting mode, which has filters to help you take the perfect selfie and you’ll also be able to combine between 2 and 100 photos together to create an animated GIF.

I have to say the camera hardware seems exciting with less distortion than the LG G5 wide angle setup. It also seems that the new screen resolution of 18:9 is going to be perfect for the Instagram type shots. This really could be the star of MWC but the Huawei P10 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are both capable of stealing its thunder.

Droid Life

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Choetech Power Surge Extension Lead with 4 Smart USB’s – review

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Cheotech Power Surge Extension review. If you were lucky enough I offered 10 of these for free on my twitter account (@gavinfabiani). Thanks to Choetech for supporting gavinsgadgets! Choetech have an extensive range of accessories too.

So here is my quick review and unboxing.

The Key Features

– Power output of 3250W allows you to connect more high-powered devices.
– 3x standard outlet powering up electrical appliances, computer, TV, stereo for your home / office / business.
– Smart Auto Detect Tech: The 4 x 2.4A smart USB ports can automatically recognize the devices connected and provide the optimum amount of current to each, ensuring the fastest charging possible.
– Sophisticated circuit design with over-heated, over-current, over-charging protection, so you can use this device without any worries about safety.
– Material: Aluminum outer casing & Fire-resistant ABS
– Max AC Output Rating: 250V/13A/3250W
– Surge Protection Rating: 320 Joules
– USB Charging Output: 4 x 5V 2.4A Max 30W/6A
– Power Plug Type: 3 Pin UK Plug
– Cord Length: 1.5M / 4.9Ft
– Dimension: 27*7*3cm; Net Weight: 650g
– CE & RoHS Certificated: Yes

Useful Links

More details on the Choetech range on Amazon

This is the LG G6 – It’s looking promising!

With Mobile World Congress around the corner, many of the hottest phones new flagships from Samsung, Sony, Huawei, LG and others are about to get announced.

Evan Blass (evleaks) on twitter tweeted a smashing teaser on the LG G6, as below.

I intend to give the LG G6 the same treatment as I have done for the LG G3, LG G4 and LG G5. What treatment was that you ask? My LG G5 review ended up being featured on LG’s main website too.

LG G3 – 31 Part Review

LG G4 – 26 Part Review

LG G4 – 4 months later review

LG G5 – 26 Part review and all the Friends

So whilst I have several more devices/gadgets being reviewed and going live next week, I will be focusing on the hottest news that gets announced at Mobile World Congress too.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – A Budget Smartphone from Vodafone

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The Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 is a budget packed android phone from Vodafone. This is available on Pay As You Go for £130 and on contract too. This phone was provided by Vodafone for review purposes.

Key Features and Specifications

– Dimensions (mm): 152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68
– Weight (g): 150
– Operating system: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
– Screen: 5.5″ touchscreen, 1080p, IPS
– Camera: 13 megapixels, auto-focus, LED flash, 5mp front
– Nano sim, 4G
– 16gb storage, 2gb ram, micro SD card up to 32gb
– Mediatek MT6755M, Mali T860MP2
– Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP
– GPS with A-GPS
– Radio FM radio
– USB microUSB v2.0, NFC
– Non-removable Li-Ion 2960 mAh battery
– Extras – Vodafone apps – Call+ and Message+

Phone, Camera and Performance

The Vodafone Ultra 7 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out the box with the a few of Vodafone’s network’s branded apps included. However, apart from these Vodafone apps, which are useful, it is a near stock experience. On the home screen, swiping right is customisable. You can select any app you prefer to launch.

The screen is 5.5-inch IPS LCD which at 401ppi provides good colour reproduction. Viewing angles are reasonable and in direct sunlight the brightness just about suffices.

The processor is an octa-core MediaTek chipset with 2GB of RAM. Due to the stock android approach it operates the phone fairly smoothly. Heavy gaming does result in a few dropped frames.The plus side of using this processor is decent battery life. 4.5 screen on time!

Inside the phone is 16GB of internal storage. However only 9.77GB of that is actually user accessible. This can be bolstered with a microSD up to 32GB.

So how’s the camera. If you take a lot of selfies you will appreciate the front-facing LED flash attached along with the front 5 megapixel camera.

The main camera is 13 megapixels and does a reasonable job of capturing something in all conditions, even low light including HDR. The main problem with both front and rear is the post processing. The detail could look better when zoomed in.

Call quality. Callers had good caller quality. 4G speeds at CAT 4 LTE are available too. Most importantly for a phone at this price, NFC is included, so android pay is possible.

Audio. The phone has a single firing loudspeaker and a FM Radio. The loudspeaker output was reasonable. Bluetooth audio is average too.

Video Review

Conclusion

Overall at this price point, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 packs a lot of phone for the money. If you’re on Vodafone and have a limited budget, this is a phone you should check out.

Useful Links

Vodafone Shop
Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – More info & pricing on Amazon

Tech Addicts Podcasts – The Next Episode – 3310 Lovers Rejoice

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Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with a new episode starring Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Leila Gregory, Brenda Arndt and myself. Tech Addicts is released every week. Twitter: @garethmyles ; @gavinfabiani ; @GadgetyNewsCom ; @JayGarrett ; @swanny ; @girlsngadgets ; @wildlime

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.

Or you can listen directly below –

Nokia 150 review – Nokia is back with a phone with 31 days battery life!

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Nokia is back with the new Nokia 150 feature phone. Costing £25 plus £10 top up from Carphone Warehouse.

So before you watch the video review these are the key specs/features –

– 2.4-inch display, 167ppi
– VGA camera
– Space for 32GB microSD card
– 2mp camera with LED flash
– 118mm x 50.2mm x 13.5mm
– Weight 81g
– Battery 1020mAh – lasts up to 31 days

Video Review

Useful Links

Carphone Warehouse
Nokia phones on Amazon

This is not a loan/review unit.

Austell&Kern XB10 – Hi Resolution Bluetooth Adapter – Review – Ideal for iOS, android & more

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Austell&Kern XB10 is a Premium Bluetooth Receiver/High Definition Adapter. Put simply it turns any pair of headphones, or speaker, into a wireless design, but retains, and even boosts the sound quality. The Austell&Kern XB10 retails for £149.

Austell&Kern are a specialist audio manufacturer. Astell&Kern believe in the power of music and so strive to provide the original sound without distortion. Their portable and home audio products offer the exact presence with tiny details bit for bit, exactly as it was recorded

The XB10 is the first bluetooth receiver/adapter to support new Qualcomm aptX HD technology. This means it includes a 24bit, high-power DAC so that it transforms smartphone sound and at the same time drives headphones harder. It even supports high-quality balanced headphones

Key Features / Specifications

– Dimensions 50 mm x 50 mm x 12.3 mm
– Weight 23 g
– Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 4.1, Class2
– Bluetooth Profile A2DP (multi), AVRCP, HFP, HSP
– Frequency Band 2.4 – 2.4835 GHz ISM Band
– Range Maximum of 10 meters
– Operating Temperature – 10°C to 45°C
– Codec SBC, AAC, aptX™, aptX™ HD
– Port 2.5mm Balanced / 3.5mm Unbalanced
– Output Level 2.5mm Balanced : 1.8Vrms / 3.5mm Unbalanced : 0.9Vrms
– Battery Type 350mAh 3.7V lithium polymer rechargeable battery
– Approximately 5 hours for music playing and phone calls
– Standby Time Up to 300 hours
– Charging Time Approximately 2 hours
– Charging Method Micro USB 5Pin (charging 5V 2A)

So what is APT-X HD? Qualcomm® aptX™ HD audio ensures your Bluetooth® wireless enabled device can deliver High Definition (HD) audio. It preserves sound data through the audio transmission, resulting in a ‘better-than-CD’ listening experience.

With aptX HD, you can enjoy listening to your music at the highest audible quality when using a wireless device. APT-X HD is indistinguishable from high resolution audio. APT-X HD enables 24-bit music quality over a Bluetooth® wireless connection. To achieve the HD sound you need a compatible music player/phone as well as the XB10.

APT-X HD is found on several smartphones. In fact the LG G5 was one of the first to feature this tech. So what does the XB10 sound like and how well does it perform. Well I paired it to my iPhone 7 Plus, Huawei Mate 9 and my friends LG G5. I then plugged my Oppo PM-3 and Sennheiser HD598 headphones into the XB10. I would have loved to have tried a pair of balanced headphones with the XB10 as the sound was phenomenal using the XB10 on all 3 of the different players. The XB10 powered both headphones with such ease.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus – the XB10 has the Apple AAC codec and sounds terrific. This is such a good solution for using your existing wired headphones without wires.
Huawei Mate 9 – The Mate 9 has the standard APT-X and again sounded really good.
LG G5 – This has APT-X HD built in so transmitted 24 bit bluetooth sound to the XB10. Truly stunning and so good this is the end of wires!

So are there any negatives. Just one. Its range is limited to 10 metres, but in reality if using the APT-X HD you do need to keep the music player/phone nearby as the bandwidth used is much higher than standard bluetooth.

Video Review

To really appreciate this dynamite piece of tech, you need to watch the video.

Conclusion

Useful Links

Austell&Kern XB10 latest pricing & more info on Amazon

More headphone & audio reviews on gavinsgadgets.

PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Plantronics BeatBeat Pro 2 – Flagship Bluetooth Headphones – My Review

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Bluetooth headphones review. Welcome to my next bluetooth headphone review. This Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are the new flagship bluetooth headphones from Plantronics. They have replaced the original BackBeat Pro headphones which were excellent in their own right.

Key Features / Specifications

– Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband)
– Up to: 24 hours of listening time, six months’ DeepSleep
– Rechargeable, non-replaceable lithium-ion battery
– Charge Time: Up to 3 hours
– Wireless Range: Stream music up to 100 metres (330 feet)
– Multi-Point: Yes
– Microphones: Dual microphones with DSP
– A2DP: Yes
– Voice Alerts: Status alerts for remaining battery
– HP Drivers: 40 mm dynamic drivers
– In the box: BackBeat PRO 2 headphones, micro-USB charge cable, 3.5mm cable, travel sleeve
– Weight: 0.64 lbs / 289 grams

Bluetooth headphones seem to be getter better and better. Everyone wants a slice of this market, and it seems wired headphones are quickly being relegated to the bin. So it should come as no surprise that Plantronics decided to update and improve their original BackBeat Pro headphones.

So how did Plantronics improve the Pro 2’s over the original. First of all, the BackBeat Pro 2 are approximately 50g lighter. The reduction in weight makes a huge difference to the overall comfort. Next, the design of the headphone cups is now rectangular in style. This provides a better fit over the ear and this also adds to the improved comfort. The next improvement is the sound quality. The BackBeat Pro 2 still have deep bass but with more control, but now the mids and treble are improved too. This creates a wider soundstage, clearer vocals and more detail in the mids. Or in simple language, these sound fantastic and are wonderful to use over very long periods. The bass is enhanced so if you prefer a flatter sound, these aren’t for you. Personally, I have enjoyed listening to these with every genre.

However, its not just the sound quality that make these headphones special. They are firmware upgradeable but you need a mac or pc for this and if you find you are on firmware 1.8 you definitely want to upgrade it to v1.9 or above as the difference is noticeable and makes the headphones rock solid when it comes to holding the bluetooth connection. Firmware v1.8 had a few issues. I originally tried to update the firmware on my Mac, but the updater wouldn’t work. I had to use a friend’s laptop!

There is an iOS and android app that provides a help menu and a few other options. The BackBeat Pro 2 allow you to move around up to 100m away and still maintain a connection. Other features like stopping the music automatically when removing them from you head, and restarting the song when you place them back on is rather neat. Call quality was good on these too. The headphones have all the controls you could dream of as listed in the key features.

One of the aspects I like is being able to use the bluetooth connection with or without active noise cancellation. At home, in the peace and quiet, I don’t need noise cancellation. In terms of noise cancellation the BackBeat Pro 2 managed a reasonable job of removing noise but they are not as good as the Bose QC35.

Video Review

Now watch the video review to learn more about the headphones.

Conclusion

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 correct some of the weaknesses of the original BackBeat Pro’s. There are more comfortable and fit better. More importantly, they sound incredible. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Plantronics BackBeat Pro – more info & latest pricing on Amazon
The original BackBeat Pro headphones on Amazon
Link to all my headphone reviews on gavinsgadgets.

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Huawei Mate 9 – UK version firmware update details 

Just to let you all know I have received the new firmware update on my Huawei Mate 9. 

It has installed B138 as per screenshot. The differences are – 

– Improves lock screen controls for third party players e.g. Pocket Casts

– Fixed screen sensitivity 

– Improved power consumption

– Bug fixes 

– In the settings there is now an option to enable VoLTE calls i.e. use 4G LTE Data to place HD calls

– Security update has improved from 1st November 2016 to 1st December 2016

BeatsX Wireless Headphones – My Review – Are these the best Beats Headphones to date? & vs AirPods?

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BeatsX Wireless headphones went on sale on Friday 10th February 2017 on Apple’s website. They are available in grey, white, blue and black and cost £129.95.

The Key Features / Specs

– Experience authentic, clear sound
– Up to 8 hours of battery life
– Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback
– Lightning to USB-A charging cable (short length cable in box)
– Pocket-sized carrying case
– Unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability
– Eartip options provide a personalised fit and secure-fit wingtips available in box offer added stability
– Class 1 Bluetooth
– Apple W1 Chip
– RemoteTalk allows you to take calls with a built-in mic, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri
– Charges from a lightning port, short cable provide in box
– Noise isolating

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How To Setup

They instantly set up using the new Apple W1 Chip and iOS 10. Just power on and hold near your iPhone, a notification box appears, tap connect and after that you have simultaneously connected to your Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. This means no more pairing with your other Apple devices as the pairing is synced across using iCloud. The only exception is the Apple TV for some reason which will need manual pairing as will any non Apple device.

The Sound Quality

Apple describe the BeatsX sound as “authentic, clear sound with optimised noise isolation for an immersive listening experience. An innovative acoustic design delivers a clean treble response and distortion-free bass for the most natural tonality across a broad range of genres.”

Seriously, are the BeatsX possessing a natural tonality across a broad range of genres? Well, blow my socks off, because these are the first Beats headphones that have a more natural tonal response. That means there is soundstage separation (medium), there is treble and decent midrange, something that is missing off many older Beats products. And these do deliver a decent punch too.

In fact, I tried these with every genres including pop, rock, classical, dance, jazz, blues, new age and many more. The BeatsX did a stellar job with all of these plus provided a good amount of noise cancellation.

Also as these have the Apple W1 chip, the bluetooth connection range is crazy long and without any signal dropouts.

UnBoxing, Video Review and Comparison versus AirPods and other Bluetooth Headphones

Now its time to watch the next part of my review. This includes a quick unboxing, sound test, comparison with AirPods and other headphones.

Conclusion

The BeatsX are somewhat of a surprise sonically as the midrange and treble are not lost to the bass line. In fact they sound really good. With the iOS benefits of instant pairing across all Apple devices, music controls and more, these are highly recommended and for many will be preferred over the superb AirPods.

Finally, I just want to say a quick thank you to the excellent customer service at the Apple Store in Plymouth.

Useful Links

BeatsX earphones at Apple – More info
Beats headphones on Amazon

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Back in Action – This is what’s coming up

For those who listen to the Tech Addicts Podcast, you will have known I have not been able to record the last 2 weeks due to being poorly.

I picked up some sort of virus that took me out for a few days, but also left my voice rather croaky 🙂

Anyway, I now have several hot gadgets that I have been testing in the background, ready for publishing the reviews and videos.

So coming up for review will be the –

Huawei Mate 9 – don’t forget to scroll back several weeks to see all the photos taken from this phone.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Bluetooth Headphones, the update to the incredible original version. These are the new flagship Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics.

Austell & Kern XB10 APT-X High Resolution Music Bluetooth Adapter with optional balanced output. This is a dream gadget for going wireless with high quality wired headphones.

Zecti 70 inch tripod. After reviewing the 50 inch version, Zecti has a new 70 inch model which I bought yesterday. Can’t wait to see this and put it through its paces.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – great value phone from Vodafone. I reviewed the Smart Ultra 6 a while back, so I am looking forward to this.

BeatsX Wireless headphones. Just released today. I will see how these compare to the AirPods and other bluetooth headphones.

These will all appear over the next few days to a week or so.

Android Wear vs Apple Watch OS – Android plays catch up nearly

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Last night Google announced the new Android Wear 2.0 update and LG announced some new watches that run the new update.

So how does Android Wear 2.0 compare to the Apple Watch?

– Complications are now included in Android Wear. Finally!
– Android Wear now allows switching between the different watch faces like the Apple Watch.
– GPS enabled android wear watches now work standalone, something Apple introduced months ago.
– Android Pay is now included if the watch has NFC
– Now its possible to select which apps are installed on the android wear watch.

– Google Assistant vs Siri – You decide which is better 🙂
– Android Wear now has its own version of the Google Play store
– LTE – Mobile connection on android wear are possible without a phone. The Apple Watch does not offer this.
– Google Fit has been revamped and now has auto workout detection.

Whilst it is clear Google has copied or has been inspired by Apple, it is great to see such big and worthy improvements to the android wear platform.

I sincerely hope android wear is now successful as Apple needs some competition for its Apple Watch.

Source

Tech Addicts Podcast – The Next Episode – LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8

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Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with a new episode starring Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Leila Gregory, Brenda Arndt and myself. Tech Addicts is released every week. Twitter: @garethmyles ; @gavinfabiani ; @GadgetyNewsCom ; @JayGarrett ; @swanny ; @girlsngadgets ; @wildlime

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.

Or you can listen directly below –