Category Archives: Reviews

Powerbeats Pro vs AirPods vs Samsung Galaxy Buds

Welcome to my review and comparison of the Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones. These are then compared to the AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds.

Airpods

– physical size – smallest, weight 4 grams each airpod case is 40 grams, one size fits all, may not fit you , only in white.
– no need to tap, just say Hey Siri , use Siri to raise volume etc.
– charging, qi wireless an option, 5 hours or 3 hours of calls, case holds total 24 hours battery life, can get a version with a qi wireless case, lightning cable otherwise.
– quick charge – 15 minutes in the case equals up to 3 hours of listening time4 or up to 2 hours of talk time.
– connection Apple H1 headphone chip, AirPods use optical sensors and motion accelerometers to detect when they’re in your ears. Whether you’re using both AirPods or just one, the H1 chip automatically routes the audio and engages the microphone. And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional speech-detecting accelerometer works with beamforming microphones to filter out external noise and focus on the sound of your voice.
– ease of use – easy pairing on Apple gear, than synced over icloud to all other Apple gear, quick switching, pairs to android, easily too with button, can use individually
– noise cancellation – none.
– audio quality – clear and crisp, good for audio books, voice calls excellent, very low latency.
– Cost £170 without qi case , £200 with the case.

Powerbeats Pro

– physical size – largest of bunch, huge case, Ear tips with four size options, in black and other colours soon, comfy due to design, wont fall out.

– press and hold Beats button on either side for voice assistant
– no need to tap , hey siri built in, other voice assistant like those on android, just press the Beats button.
– Charging – no wireless charging – 9 hours time , 5 mins quick charge gives 1.5 hours battery, Lightning to USB-A charging cable
– connection again Apple H1 headphone chip enhanced phone call performance and call handling from either earbud, easy pairing on apple gear, syncs across icloud
– ease of use – adjustable, secure-fit earhooks for lightweight comfort and stability
– reinforced design for sweat and water resistance during tough workouts, each side has exact same controls
– passive noise cacellations
– voice clarity on calls is excellent, the best of 3
– audio quality the best of all 3. balanced sound with a slight bass , very low latency
– Cost £220

Galaxy Buds

– physiscal size – middle of the road, ear tips in box, and wing tips, dont need them as comfy to wear and stay in.

– press and hold touch button for voice assistnat
– charging – either using cradle with usb a, or qi charging , 15 mins gets 1.5 hours
– connection – 6 hours , then another 7 hours with case
– connection – excellent, occassionally drop , easy pairing with samsung app, app does fimwares, had two, equaliser options, dynamic is best, and ambient sound option as well.
– ease of use – touch controls, can be configured, splash resistant
– passive noise cancellation
– poor voice call clarity outside
– good audio, some latency, more on some phones than others.
– cost £130 although deals are even lower

Video Review

Conclusion

The Powerbeats Pro are the best wireless earphones that cover all the basics and provide a good audio quality. Recommended.

Useful Links

Powerbeats Pro Latest info & pricing on Amazon UK

AirPods latest info & pricing on Amazon UK

Samsung Galaxy Buds latest info & pricing

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Honor 20 Lite Review – Triple Camera Delight

Welcome to my review of the Honor 20 Lite. The Honor 20 Lite retails for £249.99.

The Honor 20 Lite is a vibrant looking phone, featuring a dual tone gradient, 3D curved body. Anyone buying this will feel like they’ve bought a far more expensive handset.

Key Features

– 4gb ram, 128gb storage with expandable storage via micro SD cards.
– EMUI 9, Android 9.
– GPU Turbo 2 for improved graphics.
– Kirin 710 chipset , Mali G51 graphics.
– Large 3,400 mah battery.
– 6.21 inch full view ips 1080p display , 90% body ratio.
– New generation eye comfort mode, certified by TuV rheinland.
– Dual 4G sim, ideal for travelling or just having flexibility.
– Price £250.
– Weight 164g.
– Construction is a plastic build.
– Includes a 3.5mmm headphone jack with reasonable headphone audio.
– Micro USB connector still and not the newer USB C.
– Single downward speaker – this sounds reasonable.

In terms of security the phone features both face and fingerprint unlock. One of the neat features is the phone wont unlock when your eyes are closed. Also the face data is stored in secure enclave on your handset.

Cameras

The Honor 20 Lite features a strong camera setup on both the rear and front.

Front Camera
– 32mp front selfie camera, f/2.0, allows you to print selfies to poster size with no loss of detail.

Triple rear cameras
– 24mp f/1.8 Quadra CFA sensor , boosts low light performance , crop or zooming is possible with the high resolution .
– 8mp ultra wide 120 degree wide angle
– 2mp depth sensor

The Honor 20 Lite includes a super night mode , with AI stabilisation. You can also adjust the ISO and shutter speed within this mode. In addition to the portrait mode and standard photo mode, you have time lapse, light painting (star trails, traffic trails and silky water) Pro mode and even more options.

The AI camera is smart enough to recognise 500 scenes and 22 categories. In my testing, I found it better to keep AI on.

The AI beauty mode, supports 3D face recognition, detecting over 100 facial point to optimise facial details, adjusting looks based on gender, age and skin tone. Works with group selfies too. You also have the portrait selfie and lighting effects.

Video Review including camera samples

Conclusion

The Honor 20 Lite a solid budget phone with lots of storage available, which is unusual at this price point. It also comes with lots of camera flexibility.

Useful Links

Latest pricing and more information on Amazon UK Click HERE.

OnePlus 7 Pro First Impressions + Camera Test on new firmware

At 7am this morning, my OnePlus 7 Pro received the new firmware OS 9.5.5 which incorporated big updates for the camera.

I waited for this update before releasing my first impressions video to ensure I gave the phone a fair opportunity to fix a few things and improve the camera.

So what do I think of the phone ? And how good is the camera now?

Honor 20 Pro – Hands on with the Quad Camera – It’s a Beast!

Honor launched its new flagship. It comes with quad camera with a Sony IMX586 48MP Main Camera, featuring the advanced AI Ultra Clarity mode and AIS Super Night mode. The quad camera is also packed with the 16MP Super Wide Angle Camera, 8MP Telephoto Camera, and the 2MP Macro Camera, which allows users to capture wider and closer with Optical Image Stabilisation.

HONOR 20 Series boasts a 6.26″ all-view display with a 91.7% screen-to-body ratio. the industry-leading GPU Turbo 3.0, offering users an enhanced visual and tactile experience, an immersive audio experience through the Virtual 9.1 Surround Sound feature powered by Histen 6.0. This is the first time that this cutting-edge technology is applied to smartphones. The Virtual 9.1 surround sound supports most earphones and packs an in-built dual microphone with noise reduction.

So let’s take a first look at this phone as I went hands on at the official London launch.

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom First Impressions & Camera

Oppo held its UK launch of its Oppo Reno range of handsets.

These included, the Oppo Reno, Oppo Reno 10x Zoom and Oppo Reno 5G.

EE will be offering the 5G version. The Oppo Reno is an all screen phone with a shark fin pop up front camera.

I took a closer look at the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, the UI, camera interface and a few camera samples.

iFi Audio xCan Portable Power Amp vs iFi Audio xDSD Portable DAC Amp – Review & All the Differences!

Welcome to my review and comparison between the iFi Audio xCAN and xDSD.

Intro – What are they?

xCAN is a dual-mono portable headphone amplifier with up to 1,000mW of power per channel plus it also includes bluetooth. It retails for £299.

xDSD is portable headphone amp DAC that can playback high-quality digital audio file formats. Hi-Res True Native playback for all music formats from MP3 to DSD512, PCM768 and 2xDXD. It retails for £399.

Connections

xCAN – digital SPDIF or via analogue 2.5/3.5mm jack connection. iFi’s S-Balanced technology means that you gain the advantages of a balanced connection even when using an unbalanced one.

xDSD only 3.5mm jack using iFi’s S-Balanced® circuit delivers maximum performance from single-ended and balanced headphones alike. You can connect to Apple devices using the CCK Lightning to USB adapter. The design of the xDSD allows for a secure fit. See video below for more info. The 3.5mm coaxial/TOSLINK combo SPDIF input allows connections to older DAPs and CD players.

Extra Features

xCAN 3D+® opens up your music to give you the spaciousness of a live-concert atmosphere. and XBass Ⅱ® analogue bass correction system corrects headphone/speaker bass response to deliver a more natural sound to the midrange frequencies.
xDSD has 3D+ and the original XBass+

xCAN uses the parent company AMR’s Global Master Timing® (GMT)/ Memory Buffer System. solves the problem of digital SPDIF jitter.

xCAN USB C to charge
xDSD micro USB to charge

Bluetooth

xCAN – ESS Sabre 44.1/48k 16-Bit (AAC, aptX, aptX LL and SBC)
xDSD – AAC & APT-X

Battery

xCAN – 18 hours, 12 hours with bluetooth
xDSD 10 hours

Power

xCAN upto 1,000mw in balanced at 32 ohms, 6 volts max too (3 volts in s balanced mode/ 600mw)
xDSD upto 500mw but at 16 ohms, 270mw at 50 ohms, remember xCAN was 1,000mw at 32 ohms so significantly more powerful. Max voltage 3.8 volts.

Weight

xCAN / xDSD both weigh 127g

Sound Quality

xCAN the extra oomph really make the xCan squeeze every last drop out of your headphones. From my Fiio FA7 and AKG and Sennheiser HD600, all sounded excellent. Excellent bass extension, seperations and more. Genres from dance, classical and jass , rock all handled with aplomb. Like everything, all depends on the quality of the source, but then there is bluetooth. This is a good sounding option, iFi have gone to a lot of trouble to get the best sonically. Not all Bluetooth is made equally. Highly convienant having bluetooth. Having the Xbass and 3D+ really is a godsend too. Some headphones like my AKG really benefit from a slight bass boost.

For an extra £100.

xDSD gives you a decent DAC with good amp but not as powerful as the xCAN. However, partnering both together will bring a big smile on your face.

Of course, if you want a great DAC but extreme power to drive any headphone, iFi Audio have you covered with the micro iDSD Black Label, with a max of 10 volts, 4,000mW of power at 16 ohms. This costs £599, is much bigger but still portable.

Video Review and Comparison

Conclusion

The iFi Audio xCAN is a fantastic portable headphone amplifier and highly recommended. If you need a decent DAC and amp then look no further than the xDSD.

Useful Links

For more information and specs, click on the respective links below.

xCAN on Amazon UK
xDSD on Amazon UK
Micro iDSD Black Label on Amazon UK

Huawei P30 Pro Review including 150+ Stunning Photos

Welcome to my Huawei P30 Pro Review. I have already posted a dedicated camera review, so please check this out.

Key Features

– 40mp Wide Angle Lens f/1.6 with OIS
– 20mp Ultra Wide Angle Lens f/2.2
– 8MP Telephoto f/3.4 OIS
– ToF Sensor – Time of Flight
– Underscreen front speaker for the earpiece
– Underscreen fingerprint sensor
– Infra Red Blaster
– USB Type C
– Desktop mode
– 4,200mAh battery
– Video AI Effects
– Incredible colour hardware options
– 40w Super Charging
– 15w Qi Fast Charging
– Reverse Wireless Charging

The Huawei P30 Pro features quite a significant camera upgrade over the P20 Pro with its new RYYB sensor in the main camera. The use of red yellow yellow blue photocells on the sensor surface rather than the traditional red green green blue Bayer array provides offer 40 percent higher light sensitivity over the P20 Pro, as yellow lets in more light than green.

With a 5 x fixed optical zoom lens, installed periscope style, the P30 Pro can manage 10 x lossless and up to 50 x digital zoom. If macro is your thing, the super macro mode can get as close as 2.5cm away from the subject. This is done using the ultra wide lens.

Other key features is being able to use an ISO up to 409,600. And no that isn’t a typo. So what I have done, is create a video below to give you an idea of what the P30 Pro can deliver with out of the box firmware. Future firmwares will improve the phone and add more functionality.

But then there is the rest of the phone with a kitchen sink approach. So sit back and enjoy my review, covering the positives and negatives.

Video Review

Conclusion

The sum of all the parts make this an amazing offering and experience. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Huawei P30 Pro info & pricing plus cases

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

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”.