Category Archives: Android

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. 


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

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 🙂

Sony Xperia XZ Premium – Audio Review & The Best Headphones to Use

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Audio Review plus the best headphones to use with the phone. The Sony Xperia XX Premium is a phone that holds many firsts in a phone. For a start it has a 5.5 inch 4K HDR display and a 19mp rear camera that can take 960fps slow motion. The phone also has the latest Snapdragon 835 processor along with a dedicated audio setup. It is this audio setup, the Bluetooth, stereo loudspeakers,headphone output and the best headphones to use with it that I am going to cover off today.

Over the next 24 hours, I will be publishing my main review of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and a dedicated camera only review too.

Camera Review & Showcase

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Main Review
My thanks to Vodafone UK for the loan.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Audio Review

Also available from Amazon UK

Sony Xperia XZ Premium – Detailed Camera Review and Showcase

Sony Xperia XZ Mega Camera Review and Showcase. The Sony Xperia XX Premium is a phone that holds many firsts in a phone. For a start it has a 5.5 inch 4K HDR display and a 19mp rear camera that can take 960fps slow motion. The phone also has the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, a 13mp front camera along with a range of camera modes and options.

Over the next 24 hours, I will be publishing my main review of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and a dedicated audio only review too.

My Sony Xperia XZ Premium Flickr Album.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Main Review
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Audio Review & Best Headphones
My thanks to Vodafone UK for the loan.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Camera Review and Showcase

Also available from Amazon UK

Scenic views of Newquay and Dartmoor – Shot on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Below are a number of shots taken with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. All shots were snapped in auto.

The above shot is one of my favourite with good colour and dynamic range. All shots have been uploaded in full resolution.

No need to rush for a space on the beach!

A home on your own rock with a private bridge too. I would imagine the maintenance costs are pretty high.

The above shot was taken before sunset. It is a little too dark versus the real lighting conditions.

Dartmoor ponies. Again the photo is a bit dark. This could be brightened up afterwards. The f/2.0 rear lens is the primary reason in lower lighting conditions, the photos tend to be a little dark.

And there you have it, some photos from the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. At the weekend, I will have a separate camera and audio reviews, and the main review too.

My thanks to Vodafone UK for the loan.

HTC U11 Review plus Camera Review & Showcase

Welcome to my review of the HTC U11 including a camera showcase. This is the top model of the HTC U11 in solar red, dual sim and with 6gb ram and 128gb storage.

In addition I have two additional posts covering the HTC U11 –

HTC U11 solar red vs iPhone 7 Plus Product Red
HTU U11 Full Audio Review incl best headphones to use & comparison with LG V20 & DACs

If you’re buying anything on Amazon UK please head over by this LINK . It won’t cost you anything extra either but will helps towards the running costs of Gavin’s Gadgets.

HTC U11 – Audio Review + Best Headphones To Use + vs LG V20, DFR & more

HTC U11 in Solar Red with 6gb ram and 128gb storage. The best version of the HTC U11. It is also dual sim.

But for this review, I am going to look at the following –

– HTC U11 Audio Review including the HTC uSonic Noise Cancellation Headset

– The Best Headphones to use with the HTC U11

– Bluetooth Quality

– HTC U11 vs LG V20

– HTC U11 vs Dragonfly Red and other DACS

– And my overall conclusion.

The Audio Review

I also have two additional posts on the HTC U11 –

HTC U11 solar red vs iPhone 7 Plus Product Red

HTC U11 Review incl Camera Review
If you’re buying anything on Amazon UK please head over by this LINK . It won’t cost you anything extra either but will helps towards the running costs of Gavin’s Gadgets.

HTC U11 Solar Red vs iPhone 7 Plus Product Red

Today I am comparing the solar red HTC U11 vs iPhone 7 Plus Product Red. How does the solar red compare against the Product Red. Which is your favourite. 


Also check out my additional posts on the HTC U11 –

HTC U11 Full Audio Review incl best headphones to use & comparison with LG V20 & other DACs

HTC U11 Review incl Camera Review
If you’re buying anything on Amazon UK please head over by this LINK . It won’t cost you anything extra either but will helps towards the running costs of Gavin’s Gadgets.

The solar red HTC U11 – First Impressions and First Shots from the camera

The solar red HTC U11 is without a doubt the most stunning phone I have seen. I even prefer it over the Samsung Galaxy S8. Red on one side and the edges with a black front is a cracking combination. HTC seem to have a habit of making gorgeous red coloured phones. 

In my main review I’ll briefly compare it to my red iPhone 7 Plus. I left the phone on my desk at work yesterday and the reactions and attention it good were so positive and lots of them. Of course all you will want to do is stare at it and maybe give your little gem a squeeze. Actually you’re meant to squeeze this phone as it does stuff when you squeeze the lower half. At the moment one squeeze opens the camera and another fires the shutter to take the photo. 

Before I received the HTC U11, I was fairly critical of HTC. Surely the squeeze is a gimmick. The HTC launcher is old as hat. It doesn’t have the new 18:9 screen ratio. No headphone jack. Just a single rear lens and no dual lenses. And so on. At this point, until you have held and used the phone, you have no idea what you are talking about! The sum of all the parts make this a killer phone. The hardware is incredible. The software too. The camera is a monster. The camera app is well designed. Now as a disclaimer these are my first impressions in a honeymoon period, so I will be more objective by the time I publish my full review. However, first impressions are important. If you didn’t like a phone when you first set eyes on it, you would find it hard to use it going forward. 

Below are literally the very first shots I have taken. 

The pointy tower in the rear of the photo has a clock. The below shot is a crop from a photo I took of the clock section. 

It was an overcast day, so lighting was not the best, but still the HTC U11 performed really well with great dynamic range. 

This was a tricky shot as the glare was particularly strong. Not that you would realise. 

No clip on lenses used here. Just switched to the pro mode, manual focus. And then cropped in to see how much detail was available. Pretty impressive. 

After sunset, dim light and a Dartmoor pony. This is unedited but with a few minor tweaks it is easy to bring the pony’s face up a few notches in brightness. However, the photo is very true to life. 

HTC have tweeted that future software updates will include Bluetooth 5 and adding 60fps to the camera app. 

My review will be as in-depth as possible, and I will create a separate camera showcase too. If you have any questions you would like answered in my review please let me know.  

LG V20 vs ZTE Axon 7 – Audio Comparison – With guest Steve Litchfield 

Earlier today, Steve Litchfield from The Phones Show compared the audio quality from the ZTE Axon 7 and LG V20. 

So without further ado, see what we both had to say about the audio centric phones. 

Video Review

You can find links to all of Steve’s websites and , podcasts and YouTube channel, by clicking HERE.

Vodafone Smart N8 Review – Camera & Audio Review – The £85 PAYG marvel from Vodafone

Welcome to my review of the Vodafone Smart N8 which is a budget phone from Vodafone available for £85 on Pay as You Go or on pay monthly plans from £17 per month.

Key Features and Specifications

– Weight 151g, 8.6mm thickness
– NFC and Fingerprint Sensor, Android Pay
– FM Radio
– Android v7.0
– Chipset Mediatek MT6737, CPU Quad-core, GPU Mali-T720 MP2
– Internal storage 16GB, RAM 1.5GB
– microSD, up to 32GB
– Battery 2,400mAh
– Primary 13MP with flash, Secondary 5MP, Video 720p @ 30fps
– 5 inch IPS 720p screen

Camera Samples

The below shots are from the Vodafone Smart N8. Can you believe the amazing quality!

I must admit I was rather surprised at just how good the rear camera photos were from the Vodafone Smart N8. My main review below, has more samples and video clips from the front and rear cameras, along with more information on the whole phone its strengths and weaknesses.

Video Review including Audio and Camera Analysis


The Vodafone Smart N8 is a superb budget phone. It has weaknesses but it pulls off a decent overall experience for £85.

For more Vodafone handsets from as little as £19.99, view the range available on Amazon UK.

The new Honor 6A – A new benchmark for beginner smartphones 

Honor, the smartphone brand for the young at heart, launches the Honor 6A, presenting another smartphone at an unbeatable price. The new device is a true smart companion – especially for those who are looking for a high-performing phone.

 “The new Honor 6A, is a perfect device for all, especially those new to the smartphone world,” said Wilkin Lee, sales and marketing manager at Honor UK. “Available in a stunning grey with a slick design, Honor has created the 6A handset to incorporate the newest camera features and high specs for a competitive price.”

The Honor 6A features a 13MP main camera for clear and impressive images. Each snap shot can be caught with precision with the 0.3-second PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) technology, making it easier for users to capture their life moments. The 5MP front camera conjures bright selfies, while the beauty mode makes sure that each image shows oneself at their best – ready to share with friends and family on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

 The Honor 6A combines a clean cut design with outstanding performance. Only 8.05mm-thin the smartphone comes with 2.5D glass and a slim but robust metal unibody, slightly curved to lie comfortably in the user’s hand. Its compact 5.0-inch display provides HD indulgence on the go (1280×720 pixel).

It’s not only the outside of the Honor 6A that has been carefully designed. The smartphone also features upgraded functionalities, the latest software and technical details that provide all essential information at one’s fingertips. The Honor 6A features Android 7.0, combined with the newest EMUI 5.1, making all applications easy to use. Powered by a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8937 octa-core processor with 4 x 1.2GHz and 4 x 1.0 GHz, the Honor 6A enables users to enjoy messaging, surfing the net or gaming without disruptions. The 2 GB RAM and 16 GB ROM, extendable to up to 128 GB with a microSD card, offers enough space for all songs and images.

 LTE Cat4, VoLTE and Wifi 802.11b/g/n ensure that owners of the Honor 6A are always connected, while the 3.020mAh battery provides power for up to 1.8 days of normal usage or 1.2 days of heavy usage.

 The standard version of the Honor 6A in Dark Grey will be available to pre-order on VMALL today starting from 31st July 2017 for a RRP of £149.99. Each purchase includes a complimentary black tripod selfie stick.

 The Honor 6A is also available on PAYG for a RRP of £149.99 and a variety of contracts with exclusive network provider Three UK, starting at just £11 a month on a 24 month contract with no upfront cost. It will be available at Three from August 4.

 Honor 6A – key technical data:

· 5.0 inch HD (1280×720) IPS, 2.5D glass front

· Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8937 Octa-Core (4x 1.2 GHz + 4x 1.0 GHz)

· 2GB RAM, 16 GB ROM + microSD card up to 128 GB

· Android 7 (Nougat) + EMUI 5.1

· 13 MP main camera and 5 MP front camera

· 3.020 mAh battery

· Bluetooth 4.1

· LTE FDD:Cat4


· Dual Nano SIM or Nano SIM + microSD

My full review of the Honor 6A will be coming soon. 

#Honor #ForTheBrave