Category Archives: Apple

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!


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.

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 – . 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!

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



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.

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



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.

Live Photos in iOS 11 is a game changer!

I am currently using my iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 11 Public Beta. 

iOS 11 has many new features but my favourite is Live Photos which becomes super clever. For starters you can create fun loop, bounce or long exposure effects in an instant with your snapped masterpiece.  

But my personal favourite is change the key cover photo in the Live Photo. Sometimes the video part of the Live Photo holds a better shot. 

Anyway below are some shots from today, where I changed the key cover photo. 

And the new black Labrador above is our new addition to the family called Sophie. She was a rescue dog and is 2 years old. 

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.

A Trip to Cotehele House – Shot on the iPhone 7 Plus

At the weekend I visited Cotehele House which is a National Trust property. Cotehele House is a lovely place with beautiful gardens.

Below are a selection of photos taken with my iPhone 7 Plus, showing the house, the flowers and some of the smaller insects found there.

The best views of the house are from the rear.

Here you get a glimpse of the garden.

From inside the house, looking out.

Some close up of the little things found feeding on the flowers.

The gardens at Cotehele have such an amazing range of flowers and plants. Well worth a visit if you are visiting Cornwall, UK.

Belkin Classic Leather Apple Watch Strap review vs Nike Sport Band

Welcome to my review of the Belkin Classic Leather Apple Watch Strap with a comparison with the Nike Sport Band. 

Key Features 

– The classic Apple watch strap is made from genuine high grade Italian leather

– Custom designed fittings ensure a secure fit and easy band exchange. That is black metal to match the Apple Sports Watch frame!

– 3 mm thick band and extra holes for maximum comfort and fit for your wrist

– Fits 42 mm Apple watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch Nike+, Apple Watch Hermès, series 1 and 2

– Available in three different colours black, tan brown and grey

– A lot cheaper that the Apple Leather Strap. 

Available from Amazon UK.

Video Review

4K Pro Video Editing on the iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Air vs MacBook Pro Core i7

The new iPad Pro 10.5 is a powerful beast. But can it act as a pro video editing machine? How much more powerful is it than the iPad Air at 4K video rendering. Can the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar with top graphics and a Core i7 beat the iPad Pro 10.5 rendering a 4K video. What are the differences in 4K video rendering? 

In addition, my iPad Pro 10.5 is going to be used to create a pro movie with many cool features, including video in video, flashy titles and more. Instead of using iMovie, a powerful video app called Luma Fusion was used. Luma Fusion works beautifully on the iPhone 7 Plus too. Finally, iMovie is compared with Luma Fusion. 

The 4K video footage was filmed using my iPhone 7 Plus. I could also have used the iPad Pro 10.5 as the cameras are the same as the iPhone 7!

The 4K Pro Video Test – Created on the iPad Pro 10.5

Useful Links

Luma Fusion for iPad & iPhone App Store link

Amazon’s iPhone Store & Shop on Amazon UK

Tavistock, Devon – A walk along the high street in 360 video

A short video walking along the high street in the historic market town of Tavistock, Devon, UK. Tavistock has some really ancient buildings.  Make sure you change the YouTube video quality to the maximum 3K.

For this 360 degree video the titles, music and all the editing was done on my iPhone 7 Plus using Luma Fusion app which supports 360 degree footage. 

iOS 11 Public Beta – My Experience & Should you install it? 

iOS 11 Public Beta 1, my experiences so far using my iPad 10.5 and iPhone 7 Plus. 

So yesterday I backed up on my MacBook and iPhone 7 Plus to iTunes on my Mac, and then archived the backup. Then it was full steam ahead and installed the 2 iOS 11betas, one on my iPad 10.5 and the other on my iPhone 7 Plus. 

So what is iOS 11 like? In one word, awesome. The extra functionality and features, the new visuals and faster speed is incredible. The iPad is a new machine. The iPhone has improved features in the camera. Live Photos take on a new purpose with loop, bounce and long exposure effects. These are such good fun to use. 

It’s so easy to make the water silky now using the Live Photo long exposure mode. Too easy really.  The control centre takes some getting used to, but at least it’s customisable. However, there are some things I don’t like but it’s early days and it’s the first Public Beta. 

So should you install iOS Public Beta. My advice is no. Any 32 bit apps and games you have won’t open now unless the developer updates them. In reality many won’t get updated or the developer may offer a new version that you might have to purchase. In my case I lost about 20 games across both devices. 

Next several installed apps don’t work properly. Insta360 has issues with exporting the video. WordPress has suddenly stopped working full screen. It only works on a split screen. Very weird. There are random oddities. Apple’s own apps have bugs too. 

However, I’m ok with running the Beta due to the wealth of new features. There are so many new features!

OnePlus 5 vs iPhone 7 Plus – Portrait Mode Shootout

So the OnePlus 5 has arrived. There is a lot of noise on the internet regarding the camera. Well I am sure to take a few shots with it over the coming days but here is a huge surprise. Portrait mode. I truly expected the iPhone 7 Plus to walk over the OnePlus 5. Except it didn’t. I took 5 portrait shots on each phone, and every OnePlus 5 Portrait mode photo was better than the iPhone 7 Plus on every shot.

Above is the best shot I could achieve from the iPhone 7 Plus in portrait after 5 attempts.

And above is one of 5 decent portrait shots from the OnePlus 5. Incredible and a surprise.

More to follow.

My Thoughts – WWDC 17, new MacBooks, iMACs, new iPads, HomePod, iOS 11, watchOS4 & macOS High Sierra

So last night Apple held that keynote speech for WWDC 2017. The keynote speech lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours and in that time Apple revealed an incredible amount of new hardware and software.

So what did I think of all the new announcements made last night. Firstly with all the new Macbook, MacBook Pro, iMac and iMac Pro hardware improvements, it was clear Apple was addressing gripes of not having the most powerful processors and or enough ram/graphics. The new iMac Pro can be configured with 18 cores. 18 cores! Incredible. So if Apple was looking for a complete refresh of the range it now has a bit of time to enable any future updates to the happen because most people should be very happy with the latest hardware improvements. Even the MacBook air got a slight tweak in the hardware improvements.
Apple also announced new iPad Pro with a 10.5 inch screen and slimmer bezels. The new iPad will really benefit from iOS 11 when it comes out of beta and is made as a free updates in the fall. iOS 11 brings a ton of new functionality to the iPad and makes it look more like macOS. In fact I think this is the first step and unification of macOS and iOS. Whilst there are heaps of new features with iOS 11 the biggest change is the refresh rate going up from 60 Hz to 120 Hz. This makes ultrasmooth display refresh rates and strolling and in my mind is a game changer. Of course the new iPad Pro is more powerful with a new chip and has all the latest cameras found from the iPhone 7. Obviously there is a new update to the iPad accessories so Apple also makes some more money with those as well. Due to the new screen tech the Apple Pencil latency is the lowest ever and now makes the pencil even more productive with the iPad. 

WatchOS had a number of updates as well which will just take Apple’s lead in this field even further. macOS High Sierra had a ton of new features and refinements but also insures the possibility of using your Mac to create the VR media as well as AI. 

iOS 11 had tons of new features and functionality too, but what was evident is Apple’s push for AI with their new AIKit APIs. The new iPhone is clearly going to feature AI technology and this could be a game changer.

Apple also showed off the new HomePod, a blend of Siri and high-tech speakers. The proof  in this new product will be in use and how well it works, so until it comes out later in the year it will be one of those let’s wait and see before casting any verdicts.

Overall I thought Apple announced an awful lot of hardware and software. On the software side there will be a ton of functionality and features that never got mentioned at all. All these will take time to be uncovered over the coming weeks and months.

So what do you think?

Insta360 Nano vs Insta360 Air – Review & Comparison – 360 degree cameras for iOS & Android

Insta360 Nano Review and Insta360 Air Review. The Nano works with your iPhone and the Air on an android phone. Both are 360 degree cameras that take photo, video and live stream to many places e.g. Youtube and Facebook.

The Insta360 cameras come with the best mobile apps that are ahead of that provided by Samsung for their Gear 360 (2017). Why? Find out in my video review.

The video review provides a practical in depth review of both cameras. The main review include some sample footage that I could embed however there were many modes that were not included and consequently are shown below. My review also includes a DIY way to attach the Insta360 Nano to an iPhone whilst it is still in a case.

Finally, I have also provided a comparison between the two Insa360 cameras along with my views using these with the Samsung Gear 360 (2017). At the end of this post, I have all the useful links.

Video Review

360 Degree Photos – Normal and then HDR

360 Degree Video – Normal and then Low Light

360 Photos made into Animations (several options and all very cool)

The Northcott Theatre was packed earlier for "The Play that went Wrong" – great comedy 👍

A post shared by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond (@gavinsgadgets) on

Thumbs up 👍- it's the start of the weekend #insta360air #360photography #360camera

A post shared by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond (@gavinsgadgets) on

360 Live Stream Footage using Facebook (if you can’t see this, turn off your ad blocker)



Both cameras are excellent, versatile and solve the key issue, how to share the footage in a fun and easy way to nearly every social media platform.

Useful Links

More info and the latest pricing on the Insta360 Nano and Insta360 Air at Amazon UK
More info and the latest pricing on the Samsung Gear 360 and 360 (2017) at Amazon UK
iPhone 7 Plus Extension Dock on Amazon UK
Samsung Gear 360 (2017) – My review with every mode tested