Category Archives: Reviews

BenQ treVolo S – Portable Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker REVIEW – Redefining sound!

Welcome to my review of the BenQ treVolo S Portable Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker. The BenQ treVolo S retails for £149 / $199.

It is the world’s smallest portable Bluetooth speaker featuring Electrostatic Speaker Technology. Electrostatic speakers deliver superb clarity and accuracy. The vertical dispersion of the entire thin-film diaphragm offers bi-directional sound projection for a more detailed audio performance and accurate delivery of natural, crisp and clear sounds. The dual amplifiers and dual woofers finish the sound off.

Key Features / Specs

– Unique electrostatic speaker technology
– Dual 12w woofers and dual amplifiers
– Lossless music playback via USB connection
– Several playback modes – duo mode (pair two treVolo S for stereo sound), standard and non distorted 3D sound
– NFC
– USB DAC/charging
– Batteries last up to 18 hours on a charge
– Bluetooth 4.2 with AAC codec support
– Input Types‎ – 3.5 mm stereo input / USB audio‎
– Key Definition‎s – Power, BT pairing, Volume +, Volume -,3D (mode), play/pause‎
– LED Indicator‎ Power key : Red LED x1; Green x1 ,BT Pairing Key : Blue LED x1‎
– Dimension‎s 96.3x 157.5 x 63.2mm (Closed)‎
– Weight 1kg‎

After removing the treVolo S from its packaging, I was pleasantly surprised at the solid construction. The electrostatic speakers open out from the sides of the speaker (watch video to fully appreciate the design, operation and sound)

There are a few ways to connect to the speaker. NFC for quick pairing, standard bluetooth or via USB for the highest quality sound. There is an android and iOS app available to assist with linking another speaker together and well as quickly toggling between standard and non distorted 3D sound.

As the treVolo S uses electrostatic speaker technology, (this is normally found in high-end speaker systems), this means it has a really low distortion rate that is only one-tenth of the rate of conventional speakers. There is also no cabinet resonance. One of the key sound characteristics of electrostatic speakers, is the natural and spacious sound. Listening to a variety of genres with the treVolo S and this sound quality is obvious from the get go and a joy to listen to.

Genres auditioned. Classical, jazz, blues, rock and pop. Listening to some of my favourite classical pieces, the treVolo S has an wonderful transparency and emotion. Clear vocals and mid range with just the right amount of bass. Female jazz singers sounded superb. With rock and pop, once gain great clarity with just the right amount of bass. These do not have a V shaped sound with over compensated bass. The treVolo S is designed to play high quality lossless music, yet even via bluetooth its reproduction is beautiful.

As a tip for placement, do not push these back against a wall. Electrostatic speakers emit sound from both sides, so leave some space behind and place speakers at ear level when listening.

Video Review

Conclusion

Gorgeous sound and design. Highly recommended. 9.5/10.

Useful Links

BenQ treVolo S on Amazon UK – Click HERE
BenQ treVolo S on Amazon US – Click HERE.
BenQ website

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Huawei P30 Pro – The new smartphone phone with 50 x zoom – First shots

The Huawei P30 Pro packs a range of cameras on the rear and front.

The rear cameras featuring a 40mp wide, 20mp ultra wide, 5 x optical zoom and a depth sensor. There is a 32mp front camera.

There’s a lot of special features available from 5 x optical zoom, 10 x lossless and upto 50 x zoom. ISO up to 409,000. That’s insane. That means in auto mode the camera can see in the dark. Then there’s the dedicated modes from night, aperture, light painting and so much more.

Above a normal shot and then the ultra wide.

And then there’s the 5 x optical zoom and followed by 10 x optical.

Using digital zoom you can go up to 50 x zoom, although the quality takes a big hit. At 50 x zoom I could see the birds nesting.

Then there’s the next trick from the Huawei P30 Pro. Super macro mode. Using the ultra wide lens you can get as close as 2.5cm away from the lens.

And above some further shots from the camera.

There is a new firmware incoming which improves the cameras and others aspects of the phone.

Watch out for lots more coverage on the Huawei P30 Pro both on my website here and on my YouTube Channel “gavingadgets”.

Nokia 9 Pureview – A Photographer’s First Impressions + Camera Samples

Welcome to my Nokia 9 Pureview, a Photographer’s First Impressions.

The Key Features

The Nokia 9 Pureview features 5 rear cameras with Zeiss optics. Each of the five cameras automatically adopt the optimal settings for various parts of the scene and then fused into a single HDR photo with texture and detail from both the shadows and the highlights. All 5 cameras shoot simultaneously.

The five cameras create an incredibly accurate depth map of your image. This gives you ultimate focal control when editing the photo long after the shot is taken. Up to 1,200 layers of depth are captured.

So now sit back and enjoy the first impressions which include –

– Full Camera UI
– System UI
– Audio Test
– Camera Samples
– Current Pro & Cons Demonstrated

Video Review

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Nokia 9 and cases on Amazon UK – click HERE.

Fiio BTR3 Review – Bluetooth Headphone Amp for converting wired into wireless headphones!

Welcome to my review of the Fiio BTR3 Bluetooth Headphone Amp adapter and USB DAC. The Fiio BTR3 retails for £61.99.

The Key Features

– integrated clip

– small size

– upgradeable firmware

– all available Bluetooth codecs supported

– good sound

– mic for calls

– voice assistant support

Video Review

Latest pricing on Amazon UK and more info click HERE.

iFi Audio micro iDSD Black Label DAC Review – A Power Beast

Welcome to my review of the iFi Audio micro iDSD Black Label DAC. The iFi Audio micro iDSD BL labels retails for £599.

Key Features

– Burr Brown chipset plays high resolution music files natively, including Octa-DSD512, PCM768, and Double DXD
– Up to 10V, 4000mW of power
– Built-in iEMatch for sensitive in-ear monitors and Bit Perfect sound
– Portable with up to 12 hours of playback
– 1.5A SmartPower USB to charge your smart device
– 3D+ and XBass+
– AMR Global Master Timing femto-precision clock system upgraded for ‘super low’ phase-noise and jitter
– MQA support

Video Review

Conclusion

The iFi Audio micro iDSD BL is one hell of a DAC and amp that is able to drive any headphone to decent levels. As a desktop device it works extremely well, yet it can be used as a portable device that lasts 12 hours on battery. Highly recommended.

For more info and the latest pricing on Amazon UK, click HERE.

UAG Plyo iPad Case Review – Ultimate Impact Protection for your iPad

Welcome to my review of the UAG Plyo iPad Case. This case is clever as it is compatible with all the following iPads –

– iPad Air 1
– iPad Air 2
– iPad Pro 9.7
– iPad 5th Gen
– iPad 6th Gen

It also has built in impact protection, auto wake/sleep and more.

Video Review

Conclusion

The UAG Plyo case for iPad provides strong impact protection, extra grip and more. Recommended. Discover the full range of UAG cases on Amazon UK.

Meze Empyrean Headphones Review – One of the Best Headphones in the World!

Welcome to my review of the $2,999 Meze Empyrean Headphones.

Key Specifications & Features

– Drivers – Rinaro Isodynamic Hybrid Array
– Style – Open Circumaural
– Frequeny range – 4 – 110,000 Hz
– Impedance Ohms 31.6
– Nominal SPL 100 dB (1 mW/1kHz)
– Max SPL 130db

Some background behind the Meze Empyrean headphones and what makes them special. Meze Audio collaborated with Rinaro, and in doing so created lightest and most advanced planar magnetic drivers in the world.

The Empyrean Driver combines individual switchback and spiral-shaped voice coils. This unique shape allows sound to be targeted with more accuracy around the natural form of the ear. The frame is fiberglass infused ABS. The driver is a hybrid magnetic array, symmetrically placed on each side of the diaphragm, with neodymium magnets specifically arranged into a hybrid array to create efficient isodynamic magnetic field required for a uniform activation across the whole diaphragm surface.

The diaphragm is manufactured from a custom developed isotropic thermally stabilised polymer with a conductive layer. End result is an ultralight yet rigid diaphragm has been achieved. The switchback coil is more efficient at reproducing lower frequencies and is positioned in the upper part of the driver. The spiral coil is more efficient at reproducing middle-high frequencies and is positioned directly over the ear canal enabling more direct sound waves to enter the ear without any time delays. Total harmonic distortion (THD) measures under 0.1% in the whole frequency range. Upper-frequency limit of audio reproduction is a massive 110,000 Hz. They are also ultra efficient at 100db@1mw/1kHz , meaning you get the high performance without needing amplification.

They are also a patent pending isodynamic hybrid array driver, which is a world’s first in planar magnetic headphones.

The rest of the headphone comprises of anatomically designed ovate earcups and an anthropometric earpad design. The Isomagnetic ear cup attachment utilises the demagnetising field generated by the driver to hold the ear cup in place whilst also redirecting the magnetic field back into the driver and improving driver efficiency. Patented ferromagnetic plates channel the magnetic field back into the driver, increasing output.

The pressure distribution wings consist of a carbon fibre headband and leather headrest and is the most comfortable headphone I have ever worn. The main skeleton of the headphone is made from a single piece of sculpted aluminium, that takes 20 hours in a CNC machine. The entire headphone is hand assembled.

The testing process used amps from Audio GD, iFi Audio, Fiio BTR3 and a Honor View 20 smartphone. Tidal and tracks on my computer covering every genres were listened to. The main focus was with the following music –

– Orff Carmina Burana – Live from the Forbidden City – Shanghai Symphony Orchesta
– Diana Krall – Various
– Norah Jones – Varios
– Badflower – Ok I’n sick
– Bruce Springsteen – The Live Series
– Gary Clark – This Land

As mentioned before, the comfort of these headphones is off the charts. The most comfortable pair of headphones I have ever worn.

The sound experience. I am calling it an experience because that is exactly what the Meze Empyrean create. You sit back, forget you are wearing headphones and get absorbed into the music. Timing is phenomenal, fast, quick. The soundstage is large, precision placement of voices and instruments. Vocals sound inviting, dynamic and expressive. It didn’t matter what I chose, everything was a delight to hear. Mids and treble were delicate, not too forward either. There was no harshness in the treble. Bass was deep and dynamic and quick.

Opera is not a genre I listen to a lot, but the Carmina Burana was wondeful to listen to. In fact I had only planned to listen to the first track, but ended up listening to the entire album.

Another aspect of these headphones is just how easy they are to drive. Obviously, better amplification improves the overall performance, but with modest amps these still sounded excellent.

Video Review

Conclusion

The Meze Empyrean are in a class of their own. Not only are they one of the best headphones in the world, they are easy to drive, look magnificent, but they are so comfortable you could wear them for as long as you wanted. Verdict – just buy them!!

Useful Links

Meze Empyrean on Amazon UK
Meze Audio Website

Honor View 20 – 10 Part Review – Deep Dives with the Camera & Audio System & Much More

As a reviewer of smartphones and gadgets, I am privileged to use a significant number of phones across a number of different manufacturers.

The Honor View 20 is a phone that has surpassed all my expectations. Here’s why.

Main Review

Honor originally provided me with a Honor View 20 on loan for the purpose of this review. However, after the loan period, I had enjoyed the phone so much I bought my own View 20 in phantom blue. This is the 8gb ram 256gb storage option. Some of you would have been aware that I had had a Pixel 3 XL. I sold this and replaced it the Honor View 20. That’s how impressed I have been with this phone.

So below are the key aspects of the Honor View 20 that have stood out for me.

Battery – In real daily use the battery life whether on wifi or 4g is astonishing. Today, I am likely to end with around 9 hours screen on time from coming off charge at 6.00am this morning. I have watched a movie on it, streamed from Netflix, streamed Tidal MQA Master quality audio into a USB DAC ( iFi Audio xDSD ) , messaged, browsed, played games and so much more. The fact it comes with a super charger plug which gives 50% recharging in 30 mins is really the icing on the cake. Compared to my Pixel 3 XL, the Honor View 20 totally crushes it. The Pixel 3 XL would only manage 4 hours screen on time.

Signal strength – whether on wifi, cellular, GPS or bluetooth, the phone just has remarkable coverage. This is likely due to the 3 bands for wifi and the double GPS signal system. Bluetooth is the latest version 5, with LDAC Hi-Res Codec support. Wifi calling all works a treat.

Screen. It’s a big 6.4 inch IPS screen that nearly goes edge to edge. That’s is what is feel like when watching YouTube or movies that fill the entire screen with just a hole punch for the front camera. Face unlock works instantly as does the rear fingerprint sensor. It is worth noting that if you wear polarised sunglasses, the screen is visible in portrait but not landscape.

Cameras. These are amazing. The rear cameras consist of a 48mp and 3D Time of Flight Sensor. The front camera is 25mp. My dedicated camera review is below. I have been out several times and taken shots with my Pixel 3 XL and Honor View 20. I then did a blind viewing with several people and 75% of the time, the View 20 was the winner. I subsequently have done more tests and ended up preferring the Honor View 20 shots. Add to the fact the diversity of camera modes makes this one blockbuster of a phone for taking pictures. Even the video is good especially at 1080p with all the Video AI modes.

Audio. The Honor View 20 has a 3.5mm headphone jack and its really good. Here’s why and more on the audio aspects of the phone.

Other features – It is great for making actual phone calls. It has an infra red blaster, great for adjusting the volume on my TV.

Price. It costs £499 for the 128gb version and £579 for the 256gb version. Link at end to Amazon where you can currently order and get a free Honor Watch Magic smartwatch. The Honor Watch Magic is worth around £155. When you think that Apple charge £1,149 for their 256gb iPhone XS Max, that’s a huge difference.

Camera Samples

The above shot was taken using the Aperture mode which allows post photo to adjust the focus point and blur from f/0.95 to f/16.

The above traffic trails light painting mode is so easy to use. For this a tripod is needed or a firm surface. This mode is built in to the default camera app.

The above is a hand held night mode. No tripod needed. Check out the main video review after one month which has over 40 additional camera samples.

Main Video Review

Additional Articles on the Honor View 20

The Barbican Historic Harbour Shot on the Honor View 20

Can your phone deliver this level of battery performance on 4G?

Portishead Quay Marine – Long Exposure Night Shots

Trip to London – Shots of Hyde Park

Honor View 20 – Secret Extra Night Mode discovered

Honor View 20 – Check out these battery stats

Conclusion

This phone sits at the top of my tree for recommendations. The sum of its parts creates a superb user experience.

Available from Amazon UK

Honor 10 Lite Review

The Honor 10 Lite is a budget smartphone that retails at £199.

Key Features

– Display – 6.21 inch IPS screen
– Chipset – Kirin 710, GPU Mali-G51 MP4
– Android 9.0 (Pie)
– Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass
– 3 GB RAM,
– Non-removable Li-Po 3400 mAh battery
– 64gb storage, micro SD card support
– Dual 4g sim
– 24mp Selfie Camera
– 13mp AI rear camera + 2mp depth camera

Main Review

Conclusion

The Honor 10 Lite is a fabulous looking smartphone, complete with a decent camera and a headphone jack. Recommended.

Useful Links

More info & latest pricing on the Honor 10 Lite on Amazon

Honor View 20 – 10 Part Review after 1 Month + Camera Showcase + Camera Deep Dive + Audio Review

As a reviewer of smartphones and gadgets, I am privileged to use a significant number of phones across a number of different manufacturers.

The Honor View 20 is a phone that has surpassed all my expectations. Here’s why.

Main Review

First up, full disclosure. Honor provided me with a loan device for the purpose of this review. After the loan period, I enjoyed the phone so much I bought my own View 20 in phantom blue. Some of you will know that I have a Pixel 3 XL. I have now sold this and will be replacing it with my own Honor View 20. That’s how impressed I am with this phone!

So below are the key aspects of the Honor View 20 that have stood out for me.

Battery – In real daily use the battery life whether on wifi or 4g is astonishing. Today, I am likely to end with around 9 hours screen on time from coming off charge at 6.00am this morning. I have watched a movie on it, streamed from Netflix, streamed Tidal MQA Master quality audio into a USB DAC ( iFi Audio xDSD ) , messaged, browsed, played games and so much more. The fact it comes with a super charger plug which gives 50% recharging in 30 mins is really the icing on the cake. Compared to my Pixel 3 XL, the Honor View 20 totally crushes it. The Pixel 3 XL would only manage 4 hours screen on time.

Signal strength – whether on wifi, cellular, GPS or bluetooth, the phone just has remarkable coverage. This is likely due to the 3 bands for wifi and the double GPS signal system. Bluetooth is the latest version 5, with LDAC Hi-Res Codec support. Wifi calling all works a treat.

Screen. It’s a big 6.4 inch IPS screen that nearly goes edge to edge. That’s is what is feel like when watching YouTube or movies that fill the entire screen with just a hole punch for the front camera. Face unlock works instantly as does the rear fingerprint sensor.

Cameras. These are amazing. The rear cameras consist of a 48mp and 3D Time of Flight Sensor. The front camera is 25mp. My dedicated camera review is below. I have been out several times and taken shots with my Pixel 3 XL and Honor View 20. I then did a blind viewing with several people and 75% of the time, the View 20 was the winner. I subsequently have done more tests and ended up preferring the Honor View 20 shots. Add to the fact the diversity of camera modes makes this one blockbuster of a phone for taking pictures. Even the video is good especially at 1080p with all the Video AI modes.

Audio. The Honor View 20 has a 3.5mm headphone jack and its really good. Here’s why and more on the audio aspects of the phone.

Other features – It is great for making actual phone calls. It has an infra red blaster, great for adjusting the volume on my TV.

Price. It costs £499 for the 128gb version and £579 for the 256gb version. Link at end to Amazon where you can currently order and get a free Honor Watch Magic smartwatch. The Honor Watch Magic is worth around £155. When you think that Apple charge £1,149 for their 256gb iPhone XS Max, that’s a huge difference.

Camera Samples

The above shot was taken using the Aperture mode which allows post photo to adjust the focus point and blur from f/0.95 to f/16.

The above traffic trails light painting mode is so easy to use. For this a tripod is needed or a firm surface. This mode is built in to the default camera app.

The above is a hand held night mode. No tripod needed.

Main Video Review

Additional Articles on the Honor View 20

The Barbican Historic Harbour Shot on the Honor View 20

Can your phone deliver this level of battery performance on 4G?

Portishead Quay Marine – Long Exposure Night Shots

Trip to London – Shots of Hyde Park

Honor View 20 – Secret Extra Night Mode discovered

Honor View 20 – Check out these battery stats

Conclusion

This phone sits at the top of my tree for recommendations. The sum of its parts creates a superb user experience.

Available from Amazon UK

Honor View 20 – Audio Review – Bluetooth, Loudspeaker and 3.5mm Headphones all tested

Welcome to my audio review of the Honor View 20.

My audio review will focus on the following aspects –

– Bluetooth quality and codecs

– Loudspeaker quality

– System Audio options

– 3.5mm headphone jack and recommended headphones to use

Don’t forget to check out my dedicated camera review and future posts on the Honor View 20.

Audio Review

Useful Links

Honor View 20 is currently on offer at Amazon, the 6gb and 8gb version, with a Honor Magic Watch included free of charge Amazon UK.

Honor View 20 Camera Review – The 48mp AI Camera – All Modes Tested in 4K

Welcome to my camera review of the Honor View 20.

This is the first part in a series of dedicated reviews focusing on particular aspects of the new Honor View 20. Tomorrow, the Audio Review will be published, and later on my camera/gallery app tutorial and after using the phone for an extended period of time to properly assess it, my main review will get published.

The Honor View 20 features a 48mp f/1.8 AI rear camera (Sony IMX586) along with a 3D Time of Flight sensor and flash. The front camera is 25mp f/2.0 with HDR.

The camera review looks at the following modes from the front and rear cameras –

– 4K, 1080p video front and rear camera
– Video AI modes – colour, background blur, vintage, suspense, fresh
– Slow motion at 960fps and 120fps
– Time Lapse
– Portrait front and rear
– Night mode
– Aperture Mode
– Light Painting – Traffic trails, light graffiti, silky water, star trails
– AR Lens
– Pro Mode
– Panorama / 3D
– HDR
– Artist Mode
– Stickers

Main Review

Conclusion

The Honor View 20 is has an excellent camera, that is versatile and easy to use. Recommended.

Useful Links

Honor View 20 is currently on offer at Amazon, the 6gb and 8gb version, with a Honor Magic Watch included free of charge Amazon UK.

Best USB-C Headphones in 2019 – OnePlus Type-C Bullets vs Google Pixel USB-C Buds vs Soundmagic E11D

Welcome to my review of the best USB-C headphones in 2019. With the rapid loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack and at the same time more devices from phones, macbooks, chromebooks, laptops and more adopting USB C over the outgoing micro USB, my review covers the best affordable options.

The three headphones chose are –

1) Soundmagic E11D which retails at £60.

2) OnePlus Type-C Bullets which retail at £16.

3) Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds which retail at £30

All three have different qualities, build and strengths, however I do pick a winner.

Main Review

Useful Links

Soundmagic E11D on Amazon UK
Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds on Amazon UK
OnePlus Bullets Type-C on Amazon UK

Honor View 20 – Unboxing and Full UI & Camera

Welcome to my unboxing of the new Honor View 20 smartphone with a 48mp rear camera. Photography just took a huge step forward.

My full review will be coming very soon.

Key Features

– 48mp Sony IMX586 AI Rear Camera with a 3D TOF Sensor (Time of Flight)
– 25mp AI Front Camera
– 6.4 inch IPS screen with a punch hole cutout
– Kirin 980
– 6gb ram/128gb storage
– 4,000mAh battery

Huawei P Smart 2019 – The Review – Full UI Tour incl Camera – Camera & Audio tested in detail

Welcome to my review of the Huawei P Smart 2019 smartphone. The Huawei P Smart 2019 retails for around £199 and is Huawei’s budget offering. Camera aside they were 2 other surprises with this phone that made it really stand out for me.

Key Features/Specifications

– Huawei Full view display with an 6.21-inch 18: 9 screen with smart split screen
– Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4G BT4.2, USB 2.0.
– Rear Cameras 13MP f/1.8 + 2 MP dual rear cameras including Bokeh effect, face beauty and gesture shoot
– 8mp from camera
– EMUI 9.0.1 AI intelligent engine + smart multitasking + 2nd Gen fingerprint sensor + speed sharing + dual Bluetooth connection
– 3 GB RAM + 64 GB memory (up to 512 GB with microSD)
– Android 9.0
– Kirin 710 processor
– 3400 mAh battery
– 3.5mm headphone jack included
– TPU case included

Main Review

The video review includes an index at the start of the video.

Camera Samples

The video review includes many more photo and video samples. Below are a few shots from the camera. First photo is using the hand held 5 second night mode. No tripod is needed. Apart from being extremely dark, it was also foggy.

Below is shot of Bellever Tor on Dartooor. Auto mode.

Conclusion

The budget Huawei P Smart 2019 offers a lot of phone for the money. Recommended.

Useful Links

More info and latest pricing on Amazon UK – click HERE.