Category Archives: Reviews

iFi micro iDSD Signature review

Welcome to my review of the iFi micro iDSD signature which retails for £649.

The Key Features

  • Dual Core Burr Brown True Native chipset supports all hi-res audio formats up to PCM 32 bit / 768kHz, DSD512, and MQA
  • 4000mW headphone amplifier with balanced topology and 4.4mm pentacon output
  • XBass+, 3D+, and iEMatch create an immersive and personalized headphone or speaker listening experience
  • USB A, S/PDIF digital and optical audio inputs; 6.3mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs, RCA line outputs
  • Rechargeable battery provides 6-12 hours of listening, or play while charging

 

Review

A wide range of over the ear headphones and IEMs were used for the review, from Fiio FH7, Fiio FA9, HiFiMan Sundara and Ananda as well as headphones from Sennheiser and Sony.

Below are the music tracks used to test the iFi micro iDSD signature.

  • Roxy Music – True to Life (Remastered)
  • Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (2012 Mix Master)
  • Eric Clapton – Layla (Acoustic Live at MTV Unplugged)
  • Axel F – From Beverly Hills Cop
  • Natalie Ophelia – Ophelia
  • CeeLo Green – Bright Lights Bigger City
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
  • K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
  • Nigel Kennedy – The New Four Seasons
  • Hans Zimmer – Mountains

 

Video Review

 

The iFi micro iDSD Signature is an absolute delight to use. Music comes alive with any pair of headphone or IEM that you care to throw at it. The musical experience feels like the headphones disappear on your head, leaving just the music floating around you. Bass is fast, tight and controlled. Mids and exquisite. Treble is excellent too. Superb soundstage.

 

Conclusion

The iFi iDSD micro signature is my personal favourite headphone amp DAC. 9.5/10.

 

Useful Links

iFi micro iDSD Signature on Amazon

 

Realme 7 Pro Review

 

Welcome to my review of the Realme 7 Pro which retails for £279.

Key Features 

Battery Performance – The Realme 7 Pro comes with  65W SuperDart Charging. This can quickly power up the 4500mAh massive battery, while keeping the phone cool. 4500mAh battery can be charged to 100% within 34 mins. And only in 12mins, it can charge nearly 50%. Even while heavy gaming, the 65W SuperDart Charge can charge up to 43% in just 30 minutes. Only 3 mins, Realme 7 Pro can be charged to 13%, The Realme 7 Pro also supports 18W PD/QC charge, making it even more versatile. In reality, the phone lasted about 2 days on a single charge, but it was easier to top the battery up at the end of each day. Normally 20 mins was all that was required. The phones recharges so fast!

Processor – Snapdragon 720G.  It is also equipped with Kryo 465 CPU with two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores at up to 2.3GHz and six high-efficiency Cortex-A55 cores at up to 1.8GHz, along with a new Adreno 618 GPU.

Display –  6.4-inch Super AMOLED Full Screen with 180Hz sampling rate.  The display comes with 20:9 ratio, 2400x1080P FHD+ resolution, 90.8% screen-to-body ratio, 600nits peak brightness, 98% NTSC color gamut.

Cameras – The main rear sensor uses a Sony IMX682 Sensor which is 64MP . In addition there is an 8MP 119° ultra wide-angle, and a 2mp macro lens and a 2mp B&W portrait lens. The Sony IMX682 Sensor has incredible light-sensing ability, and comes with 1/1.73″ super large size sensor, 64MP super high pixels, supports Quad Bayer, pixel size up to 1.6μm. The front camera is 32mp. 

The video review below includes a range of photo and video examples from the camera, a run through of the camera app interface and features.  The photos are stunning, so it is well worth seeing these to understand just how good the camera is on this phone.

Video Review

 

Conclusion

An extremely impressive phone at budget pricing that offers a great screen, super fast charging with a decent camera. Highly recommended 9/10.

Useful Links

Realme 7 Pro latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Samsung Galaxy M51 review – The Phone with a 7,000mAh battery!!

 

Welcome to my review of the Samsung Galaxy M51 which retails for £330. The main feature of the phone is its huge 7,000mAh battery.

Key Features

  • 7,000mAh battery with 25w fast charging, 115 mins to full recharge, reverse charging
  • FM Radio
  • Snapdragon 730g
  • Dual sim plus a third slot for a micro SD card
  • Weight 213g
  • 6.7 inch super amoled screen 1080p
  • Gorilla glass front, plastic back,aluminium frame
  • 64mp rear camera, 13mp ultra wide, 5mp macro, 5mp depth. 32mp front camera
  • Side mounted fingerprint sensor
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Video Review

Conclusion

Probably one of Samsung’s best phones for 2020. Incredible endurance, plus good all rounder 9/10.

 

Useful Links

Samsung Galaxy M51 on Amazon Click HERE.

How to remove ALL the ads on POCO X3 NFC, all Poco, Xiaomi & Redmi Phones

Welcome to my 11 step guide on how to remove all the system adverts on a Poco X3 NFC, any Poco, Xiaomi or Redmi phone.

This is a simple guide which requires zero knowledge.

By removing these ads, you will increase your battery life and protect your privacy further.

Video Review

Useful Links

Poco X3 NFC latest deal on Amazon UK

POCO X3 NFC review – the new budget champ

Welcome to my review of the Poco X3 NFC smartphone which retails from £199 for the 64gb version. It is also available with 128gb storage for £229.

The Key Features

– The POCO X3 includes an AI quad-camera with a 64MP primary sensor and a 13mp ultra-wide-angle sensor, 2mp depth sensor to help with portrait mode, and a 2mp macro sensor.

– The POCO X3 includes the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor, and an Octa-Core CPU.

– The POCO X3 features a 6.67″ display with a 120hz display for smoother scrolling and browsing.

– The POCO X3 includes 5160mAh big battery, for more prolonged phone usage without having to recharge.

– The POCO X3 charges via USB-C and supports up to 33W fast charging. A 33W fast charger is also included in the box.

– The POCO X3 comes with a 20mp punch-hole selfie camera.

– The POCO X3 also features a side-mounted finger-sensor, allowing you to unlock your phone from the side using the natural grip of your hand.

– It also has a FM Radio and Infra Red Blaster.

– Stereo Speakers

– IP53 rating.

Video Review

Conclusion

The POCO X3 NFC is not just a budget priced phone, but an incredible phone. At £199 it’s a massive recommendation but do see my other video and post on how to remove the system ads which is a one off 10 minute exercise . 9/10.

Useful Links

Poco X3 NFC on Amazon UK

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – How to make Instagram full screen & first impressions

Welcome to my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 which retails for £1,799. In my video review I also show you how you can make Instagram go full screen along with any other apps.

Key Features

– Unfold the next chapter of mobile phones. Our most innovative and powerful smartphone ever, with an expansive Infinity-O Display wraps from edge-to-edge.

– Unfold an expansive 7.6 Inch tablet-like display crafted with Samsung’s bespoke Ultra Thin Glass.

– Live life uninterrupted with App Continuity, enabling seamless transitions from Galaxy Z Fold2 5G’s¹ cover screen to the vast unfolded phone display.

– Enjoy an ultra-smooth viewing experience on the unfolded display, with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz.

– Take the perfect selfies with Galaxy Z Fold2 5G’s Triple Rear Camera, checking your best side on the cover screen. While taking pictures of your friends, they can check out their shot using Dual Preview.

Video Review

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a work of art. A multitasking champ, it’s own tripod and a marvel of modern technology. If you can afford it, then buy it. Recommended 8/10.

Useful Links

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 on Amazon UK

iFi ZEN DAC Desktop DAC Review & Comparison

Welcome to my review of the iFi ZEN DAC which retails for £129. In my video review, I also compare the ZEN DAC to my ZEN Blue and ZEN Can combo,

Key Specs

– Input: USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)
– Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM, 2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD, 353/384KHz DXD
– DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
– Line section -Output: Audio RCA (UnBAL), 2.1V fixed, 1V / 3.3V max. (variable), 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) 4.2V fixed, 2V / 6.2V max. (variable) Zout: <= 100 Ohm (UnBAL), <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
– SNR: < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL
– DNR: < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL) L)
– THD+N: 280mW @ 32R, > 36mW @ 300R, BAL: > 380mW @ 50R, > 70mW @ 600ROutput Impedance: < 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)
– Dimensions: 117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm
– Weight: 491g (1.08 lbs)

The Review

So for this review, I used a number of headphones. These included the HiFiman Sundara and Ananda, Sony MDR-1AM2 in 4.4 balanced, Sennheiser HD599 and a selection of IEMs from Fiio and others. I also listenend to as many different genres as possible from jazz, blues, dance, rap, hip hop, classical, pop, rock, electronic and orchestral.

The ZEN DAC doesn’t need a power supply as it runs via the USB power from your PC or even smartphone. IMO I don’t think you need to spend more money on a stand-alone power supply either. Using just USB power from my laptop, there was surprisingly enough power for both my HiFiman Ananda and Sundara.

With IEMs, there was no floor noise or background hiss. Balanced output using my Sony MDR-1AM2s was fantastic. All my headphones sounded excellent with plenty of dynamics and detail. The mid range had a lovely bit of warmth with it, ideal for some of my favourite classical piano, orchestral and classical tracks. In fact, music genres including jazz, blues, dance, hip hop, rap, pop and rock came across really effortlessly. Good separation and soundstage too.

Compared to the ZEN Blue/ZEN Can Combo

The ZEN Blue/ZEN Can benefit from using external power supplies and therefore are able to add that extra dynamics and sparkle to my music. However as the ZEN Dac is a wired solution, this helps it compensate with some extra clarity. Personally I prefer the combo solution, but then it is twice the price too.

Video Review

Conclusion

I highly capable desktop DAC and headphone amp, in a stylish design that looks good in any room. Highly recommended. 9.5/10.

Useful Links

iFi ZEN DAC more info and latest pricing on Amazon Uk – Click HERE.

iFi ZEN Blue + iFi ZEN Can REVIEW – the ultimate combo!

Welcome to my review of the iFi ZEN Blue and ZEN Can. The iFi ZEN Blue retails for £129 and the ZEN Can for £169.

Key Features/Specs

ZEN Blue

– Power: DC 5V
– Input: Bluetooth 5.0TM with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA Codec
– Output: Optical/Coaxial, Audio RCA L/R, 4.4 Balanced Lineout
– Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz <+0/-0.5dB (44.1kHz)1Hz – 44khz = 88.2kHz)
– Output Voltage @ 0dBFS: 2.05V (+/-0.05V)
– Dynamic Range: 109dB (A)
-Signal/Noise ratio: 109dB (A) @ 0dBFS
– THD & N @ 0dBFS: < 0.0015% 10k Load
– Dimensions: 158 (l) x 100 (w) x 35 (h) mm
– Weight: 476g (1..05 lbs)

ZEN Can

– Inputs -4.4mm Pentacon BAL, RCA L/R Socket SE, 3.5mm Jack SE
– Balanced Output – 15.1V/385 mW (@ 600 Ohm), 11.0V/1890 mW (@ 64 Ohm)
– S-E Output – 7.6V/196 mW (@ 300 Ohm), 7.2V/1600 mW (@ 32 Ohm)
– Gain 0dB, 6dB, 12dB and 18dB
– Frequency Response – 20Hz – 20kHz (+0dB / -0.03dB)
– Input voltage – DC 5V/2.5A, AC 100 -240V, 50/60Hz
– Dimensions – 158 x 117 x 35 mm
– Net weight – 515g

The Review

So for this review, I used a number of headphones. These included the HiFiman Sundara and Ananda, Sony MDR-1AM2 in 4.4 balanced, Sennheiser HD599 and a selection of IEMs from Fiio and others. I also listenend to as many different genres as possible from jazz, blues, dance, rap, hip hop, classical, pop, rock, electronic and orchestral.

For starters, I really appreciated the 4 way gain switch for a more precise adjustment. The HiFiMan Planar Magnetic headphones benefited from a +6db gain. With IEMs the floor background noise was non existent on the IEMs that I used. The bass boost and 3D spatial options are nice options to have to as some of my headphones can sound too bass light.

However this combo is an incredible system, and as a consequence it powered every headphone I tried effortlessly. Apart from the sound, the design looks luxurious and would be at home in any room in the house. The freedom of using the ZEN Blue with portable devices like your smartphone, and in my case my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, meant I had LDAC quality music streaming to the ZEN Blue. The ZEN Can is full of dynamics and blew the cobwebs off some of the headphones I hadn’t used for a while. It also possessed good detail, wide sound staging. TBH the two components together make a cracking piece of kit.

Video Review

Conclusion

Freedom from wires with the iFi ZEN Blue with all the respective hi-res bluetooth codecs coupled with the iFi ZEN Can is a formidable combination and highly recommended. 9.8/10.

Useful Links

iFi Zen Can – more info and latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.
iFi ZEN Blue – more info and latest pricing on Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless ANC Headphones REVIEW

Welcome to my review of the new Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless ANC headphones that retail for £349.

Key Features / Specs

– HEADPHONE TYPE – Closed, dynamic, 40mm driver, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
– MAGNET Neodymium
– DIAPHRAGM Aluminum coated LCP
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE 4Hz-40,000Hz
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE (ACTIVE OPERATION) 4Hz-40,000Hz
– FREQUENCY RESPONSE(BLUETOOTH® COMMUNICATION) 20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling) / 20Hz – 40,000Hz (LDAC 96kHz Sampling, 990kbps)
– SENSITIVITIES (DB/MW) 105dB / mW (1kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on) , 101dB / mW (1kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)
– CORD TYPE Single-sided (detachable)
– CORD LENGTH Headphone cable (approx. 1.2m, OFC strands, gold-plated stereo mini plug)
– PLUG – Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug
– WEARING STYLE -Circumaural
– NFC – Yes
– DSEE EXTREME – Yes
– PASSIVE OPERATION – Yes
– BATTERY CHARGE TIME Approx. 3 Hours (Full charge)
– BATTERY CHARGE METHOD – USB
– BATTERY LIFE(CONTINUOUS MUSIC PLAYBACK TIME WITH INTERNAL MEMORY) – -Max. 30 hours(NC ON), Max. 38 hours(NC OFF)
– BATTERY LIFE(WAITING TIME) – Max. 30 hours(NC ON), Max. 200 hours(NC OFF)
– BLUETOOTH® VERSION – Version 5.0
– EFFECTIVE RANGE – Line of sight approx.30ft (10m)
– FREQUENCY RANGE – 2.4GHz band (2.4000GHz-2.4835GHz)
– PROFILE – A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
– SUPPORTED AUDIO FORMAT(S) – SBC, AAC, LDAC
– SUPPORTED CONTENT PROTECTION – SCMS-T
– NOISE CANCELING ON/OFF SWITCH – Yes
– PERSONAL NC OPTIMIZER – Yes
– ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE OPTIMIZING – Yes
– AMBIENT SOUND MODE – Yes
– QUICK ATTENTION – Yes
– What’s In The Box – Carrying Case, Plug Adaptor for In-flight Use, Headphone cable (approx. 1.2m), USB Cable: Type-CTM (approx. 20 cm)

Video Review

Conclusion

Sony have delivered again with their new flagship wireless headphones. Highly recommended. 9/10

Useful Links

Latest pricing & more info on Sony WH-1000XM4’s on Amazon – Click HERE.