Category Archives: Tech News

LG G6 – The Dual Camera Setup – Editorial

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LG has confirmed that the LG G6 will have a new dual camera setup on the rear.

It will have two 13MP rear sensors, with one a wide-angled camera with a 125 degree field of view  which  similar to that of a human eye. Also with the new rear camera setup the wider images will allow for more fit inside a square ratio Instagram photos. The square camera mode will allow for the screen to split in two ,so you can see what you’ve just shot while you line up your next picture.

LG  also said the phone would come with a 360-degree panorama mode, as well as a food mode that boosts color saturation.

The front-facing camera gets a new ‘SELFI’ shooting mode, which has filters to help you take the perfect selfie and you’ll also be able to combine between 2 and 100 photos together to create an animated GIF.

I have to say the camera hardware seems exciting with less distortion than the LG G5 wide angle setup. It also seems that the new screen resolution of 18:9 is going to be perfect for the Instagram type shots. This really could be the star of MWC but the Huawei P10 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are both capable of stealing its thunder.

Droid Life

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Choetech Power Surge Extension Lead with 4 Smart USB’s – review

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Cheotech Power Surge Extension review. If you were lucky enough I offered 10 of these for free on my twitter account (@gavinfabiani). Thanks to Choetech for supporting gavinsgadgets! Choetech have an extensive range of accessories too.

So here is my quick review and unboxing.

The Key Features

– Power output of 3250W allows you to connect more high-powered devices.
– 3x standard outlet powering up electrical appliances, computer, TV, stereo for your home / office / business.
– Smart Auto Detect Tech: The 4 x 2.4A smart USB ports can automatically recognize the devices connected and provide the optimum amount of current to each, ensuring the fastest charging possible.
– Sophisticated circuit design with over-heated, over-current, over-charging protection, so you can use this device without any worries about safety.
– Material: Aluminum outer casing & Fire-resistant ABS
– Max AC Output Rating: 250V/13A/3250W
– Surge Protection Rating: 320 Joules
– USB Charging Output: 4 x 5V 2.4A Max 30W/6A
– Power Plug Type: 3 Pin UK Plug
– Cord Length: 1.5M / 4.9Ft
– Dimension: 27*7*3cm; Net Weight: 650g
– CE & RoHS Certificated: Yes

Useful Links

More details on the Choetech range on Amazon

This is the LG G6 – It’s looking promising!

With Mobile World Congress around the corner, many of the hottest phones new flagships from Samsung, Sony, Huawei, LG and others are about to get announced.

Evan Blass (evleaks) on twitter tweeted a smashing teaser on the LG G6, as below.

I intend to give the LG G6 the same treatment as I have done for the LG G3, LG G4 and LG G5. What treatment was that you ask? My LG G5 review ended up being featured on LG’s main website too.

LG G3 – 31 Part Review

LG G4 – 26 Part Review

LG G4 – 4 months later review

LG G5 – 26 Part review and all the Friends

So whilst I have several more devices/gadgets being reviewed and going live next week, I will be focusing on the hottest news that gets announced at Mobile World Congress too.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – A Budget Smartphone from Vodafone

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The Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 is a budget packed android phone from Vodafone. This is available on Pay As You Go for £130 and on contract too. This phone was provided by Vodafone for review purposes.

Key Features and Specifications

– Dimensions (mm): 152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68
– Weight (g): 150
– Operating system: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
– Screen: 5.5″ touchscreen, 1080p, IPS
– Camera: 13 megapixels, auto-focus, LED flash, 5mp front
– Nano sim, 4G
– 16gb storage, 2gb ram, micro SD card up to 32gb
– Mediatek MT6755M, Mali T860MP2
– Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP
– GPS with A-GPS
– Radio FM radio
– USB microUSB v2.0, NFC
– Non-removable Li-Ion 2960 mAh battery
– Extras – Vodafone apps – Call+ and Message+

Phone, Camera and Performance

The Vodafone Ultra 7 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out the box with the a few of Vodafone’s network’s branded apps included. However, apart from these Vodafone apps, which are useful, it is a near stock experience. On the home screen, swiping right is customisable. You can select any app you prefer to launch.

The screen is 5.5-inch IPS LCD which at 401ppi provides good colour reproduction. Viewing angles are reasonable and in direct sunlight the brightness just about suffices.

The processor is an octa-core MediaTek chipset with 2GB of RAM. Due to the stock android approach it operates the phone fairly smoothly. Heavy gaming does result in a few dropped frames.The plus side of using this processor is decent battery life. 4.5 screen on time!

Inside the phone is 16GB of internal storage. However only 9.77GB of that is actually user accessible. This can be bolstered with a microSD up to 32GB.

So how’s the camera. If you take a lot of selfies you will appreciate the front-facing LED flash attached along with the front 5 megapixel camera.

The main camera is 13 megapixels and does a reasonable job of capturing something in all conditions, even low light including HDR. The main problem with both front and rear is the post processing. The detail could look better when zoomed in.

Call quality. Callers had good caller quality. 4G speeds at CAT 4 LTE are available too. Most importantly for a phone at this price, NFC is included, so android pay is possible.

Audio. The phone has a single firing loudspeaker and a FM Radio. The loudspeaker output was reasonable. Bluetooth audio is average too.

Video Review

Conclusion

Overall at this price point, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 packs a lot of phone for the money. If you’re on Vodafone and have a limited budget, this is a phone you should check out.

Useful Links

Vodafone Shop
Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – More info & pricing on Amazon

Nokia 150 review – Nokia is back with a phone with 31 days battery life!

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Nokia is back with the new Nokia 150 feature phone. Costing £25 plus £10 top up from Carphone Warehouse.

So before you watch the video review these are the key specs/features –

– 2.4-inch display, 167ppi
– VGA camera
– Space for 32GB microSD card
– 2mp camera with LED flash
– 118mm x 50.2mm x 13.5mm
– Weight 81g
– Battery 1020mAh – lasts up to 31 days

Video Review

Useful Links

Carphone Warehouse
Nokia phones on Amazon

This is not a loan/review unit.

Huawei Mate 9 – UK version firmware update details 

Just to let you all know I have received the new firmware update on my Huawei Mate 9. 

It has installed B138 as per screenshot. The differences are – 

– Improves lock screen controls for third party players e.g. Pocket Casts

– Fixed screen sensitivity 

– Improved power consumption

– Bug fixes 

– In the settings there is now an option to enable VoLTE calls i.e. use 4G LTE Data to place HD calls

– Security update has improved from 1st November 2016 to 1st December 2016

BeatsX Wireless Headphones – My Review – Are these the best Beats Headphones to date? & vs AirPods?

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BeatsX Wireless headphones went on sale on Friday 10th February 2017 on Apple’s website. They are available in grey, white, blue and black and cost £129.95.

The Key Features / Specs

– Experience authentic, clear sound
– Up to 8 hours of battery life
– Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback
– Lightning to USB-A charging cable (short length cable in box)
– Pocket-sized carrying case
– Unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability
– Eartip options provide a personalised fit and secure-fit wingtips available in box offer added stability
– Class 1 Bluetooth
– Apple W1 Chip
– RemoteTalk allows you to take calls with a built-in mic, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri
– Charges from a lightning port, short cable provide in box
– Noise isolating

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How To Setup

They instantly set up using the new Apple W1 Chip and iOS 10. Just power on and hold near your iPhone, a notification box appears, tap connect and after that you have simultaneously connected to your Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. This means no more pairing with your other Apple devices as the pairing is synced across using iCloud. The only exception is the Apple TV for some reason which will need manual pairing as will any non Apple device.

The Sound Quality

Apple describe the BeatsX sound as “authentic, clear sound with optimised noise isolation for an immersive listening experience. An innovative acoustic design delivers a clean treble response and distortion-free bass for the most natural tonality across a broad range of genres.”

Seriously, are the BeatsX possessing a natural tonality across a broad range of genres? Well, blow my socks off, because these are the first Beats headphones that have a more natural tonal response. That means there is soundstage separation (medium), there is treble and decent midrange, something that is missing off many older Beats products. And these do deliver a decent punch too.

In fact, I tried these with every genres including pop, rock, classical, dance, jazz, blues, new age and many more. The BeatsX did a stellar job with all of these plus provided a good amount of noise cancellation.

Also as these have the Apple W1 chip, the bluetooth connection range is crazy long and without any signal dropouts.

UnBoxing, Video Review and Comparison versus AirPods and other Bluetooth Headphones

Now its time to watch the next part of my review. This includes a quick unboxing, sound test, comparison with AirPods and other headphones.

Conclusion

The BeatsX are somewhat of a surprise sonically as the midrange and treble are not lost to the bass line. In fact they sound really good. With the iOS benefits of instant pairing across all Apple devices, music controls and more, these are highly recommended and for many will be preferred over the superb AirPods.

Finally, I just want to say a quick thank you to the excellent customer service at the Apple Store in Plymouth.

Useful Links

BeatsX earphones at Apple – More info
Beats headphones on Amazon

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Back in Action – This is what’s coming up

For those who listen to the Tech Addicts Podcast, you will have known I have not been able to record the last 2 weeks due to being poorly.

I picked up some sort of virus that took me out for a few days, but also left my voice rather croaky 🙂

Anyway, I now have several hot gadgets that I have been testing in the background, ready for publishing the reviews and videos.

So coming up for review will be the –

Huawei Mate 9 – don’t forget to scroll back several weeks to see all the photos taken from this phone.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Bluetooth Headphones, the update to the incredible original version. These are the new flagship Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics.

Austell & Kern XB10 APT-X High Resolution Music Bluetooth Adapter with optional balanced output. This is a dream gadget for going wireless with high quality wired headphones.

Zecti 70 inch tripod. After reviewing the 50 inch version, Zecti has a new 70 inch model which I bought yesterday. Can’t wait to see this and put it through its paces.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – great value phone from Vodafone. I reviewed the Smart Ultra 6 a while back, so I am looking forward to this.

BeatsX Wireless headphones. Just released today. I will see how these compare to the AirPods and other bluetooth headphones.

These will all appear over the next few days to a week or so.

Android Wear vs Apple Watch OS – Android plays catch up nearly

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Last night Google announced the new Android Wear 2.0 update and LG announced some new watches that run the new update.

So how does Android Wear 2.0 compare to the Apple Watch?

– Complications are now included in Android Wear. Finally!
– Android Wear now allows switching between the different watch faces like the Apple Watch.
– GPS enabled android wear watches now work standalone, something Apple introduced months ago.
– Android Pay is now included if the watch has NFC
– Now its possible to select which apps are installed on the android wear watch.

– Google Assistant vs Siri – You decide which is better 🙂
– Android Wear now has its own version of the Google Play store
– LTE – Mobile connection on android wear are possible without a phone. The Apple Watch does not offer this.
– Google Fit has been revamped and now has auto workout detection.

Whilst it is clear Google has copied or has been inspired by Apple, it is great to see such big and worthy improvements to the android wear platform.

I sincerely hope android wear is now successful as Apple needs some competition for its Apple Watch.

Source

Huawei Mate 9 – Ellie Shoots Star Trails with the Dual Lens Huawei Mate 9

The Huawei Mate 9 has many features within the default camera app. The default camera app is so extensive and also easy to use that there is no need to fork out on any other third party apps.

To prove this point, I gave my Mate 9 to my wife Ellie. Her challenge was to shoot a photo of star trails. She was actually out with a group of friends, all of which were using iPhones.

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And she did. Completely unedited and shot using the star trails mode. This was a 13 min exposure. It is really cool shot. It was totally pitch black and a torch was needed to setup the tripod! Her friends were equally as impressed and at the same time disappointed at that their iPhone’s camera app couldn’t do the same.

In reality this would have looked so much better if the camera shutter had been left open for 2 hours.

So next time, when I’m feeling better (currently have man flu), I will attempt a long exposure myself.

How to control all your home devices in one application – This is Really Slick Stuff – Imperihome for iOS & Android

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Imagine being able to control your home automation systems and connected objects from a single and highly customizable interface as I have done above with several of my home devices. An app called Imperihome for android and iOS allows you to do this.

You could for example wall mount a tablet or use your smartphone to control your smart home the way you want and without any required modification on your current installation.

Systems that are linkable include –

– Logitech Harmony hub-based remotes (universal remotes)
– Musaic HiFi speakers (audio HiFi system)
– Fitbit (fitness and health devices)
– XeeConnect (connected car module)
– Sonos (audio HiFi system)
– Kodi (home theater software, formerly known as XBMC)
– LIFX connected bulbs (lighting system)
– Parrot Flower Power (plant sensor)
– Legrand EcoCompteur (energy consumption sensor)
– Myfox Home Control 2 (security and home control system)
– Philips Hue (lighting system)
– Vera, VeraLite (ZWave controller by Micasaverde / Vera Control) UI5, UI6 and UI7
– ZiBase (Multi-protocol controller by Zodianet)
– eedomus (ZWave controller by Connected Object)
– Fibaro Home Center 2 (home control system by Fibaro)
– IPX800 v3 / v4 (Relay controller by GCE Electronics)
– Eco-Devices (Teleinfo energy counter by GCE Electronics)
– Netatmo Weather Station and Thermostat and Welcome Camera
– Zipabox (Multi-protocol controller by Zipato) / Cameras and security features not yet supported
– Systems implementing the ISS API (ImperiHome Standard System)
– MJPEG, MPEG4, h264 IP cameras
– Withings – activity trackers, scales, blood pressure monitors
– Jawbone UP

And more systems are being added constantly.

Options include –

List View – Smartphone optimized portrait layout, ability to hide devices and groups, notion of favorite devices, grouped actions (all on/off)…

Dashboard View – Tablet optimized landscape layout that matches the wall-mounted tablet use case, different layouts fully customizable, place holders for smart widgets, automatic wake-up using camera move detection. The screenshot shown at the start is one of my dashboard views.

Highly Configurable – Devices icons animated and changeable with built-in or personal images, possible customization of sensors units, customizable refresh rates, ability to define a custom name for each device, export/import of your configuration…

Use Power of Your Device – Fast and responsive user interface, voice recognition, NFC Tags (android), shortcuts on Android launcher, Android Wear & Sony Smartwatch 2 integration… Works great on my Huawei Mate 9 for example.

Charts Module – Built-in, generic, compliant with several systems, configurable timeframes, integrated in the different views…

Third Party Integration – ImperiHome Control API (android), integration with Tasker, ImperiHome Standard System for home-made installations

Ultimately, you are only limited by your lack of imagination in many cases. I have used Imperihome for over 2 years and it has been vastly improved in that time. In the screenshot shown at the top I have linked in 4 different connected systems on to one dashboard. From the one dashboard I can see all my security camera footage, adjust all my Philips Hue lights from fading, on/off and colour changes, check all the data from my weather station and much more. Have a view of the video below too, to give you a better idea of what is possible.

Useful Links

Imperihome for iOS
Imperihome for Android

Apple – iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch Set All-Time Records – Plus Additional Points to Note!

Apple iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch Set All-Time Records.

“CUPERTINO, California — January 31, 2017 — Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended December 31, 2016. The Company posted all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion and all-time record quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.36. These results compare to revenue of $75.9 billion and earnings per diluted share of $3.28 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 64 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

Our outstanding business performance resulted in a new all-time record for earnings per share, and over $27 billion in operating cash flow,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “We returned nearly $15 billion to investors through share repurchases and dividends during the quarter, bringing cumulative payments through our capital return program to over $200 billion.”

WOW – APPLE IS SURELY DOOMED (NOT).

Note the additional points below which are mind blowing TBH –

– 78.3 million iPhones sold with average price per iPhone up by $4 dollars. This was driven by the higher priced Plus models/higher storage options. This is also a new record for number of iPhones sold.
– China – sales decreased by 12% from this time last year
– 13 million iPads (19% drop) and 5 million MACs were sold (MACs returned to growth too)
– $7 billion made in services – huge number and this is only going to get bigger
– $4 billion in other services which includes Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, iPod and Apple-branded and third-party accessories (8% decline)
– Apple Watch – best quarter for units and revenue – demand was so high they couldn’t keep up!
– AirPods – Apple still trying to catch up with demand!
– Enterprise – major partners with IBM, Cisco, SAP and many more
– HomeKit – best level of security – loads more products announced this month. Also Apple is unmatched when it comes to securing your home with HomeKit-enabled door locks, garage doors, and alarm systems
– Apple Pay transactional volume up 500%

Source – Apple

Apple Watch – Activity & New Years Resolution – How I’ve managed to clear all 3 rings every day and stay motivated

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Apple Watch, staying fit, being more active and New Year resolutions. Sound familiar.

My New Year resolution in 2017 was to continue my weight loss and improve my fitness. As you can see from the screen shot above, I have cleared all 3 activity rings on my Apple Watch every day this January, with just today to complete for the perfect month.

To recap, to clear the 3 rings, you need to first do enough calories to hit the calorie goal, exercise for 30 mins per day whereby your heart rate registers higher than just walking and stand for 1 min minimum in at least 12 hours per day. Apple’s method is slightly different from a few other fitness devices eg Fitbit which set a target of 10,000 steps per day. Apple’s approach is to ensure you stay more active during the course of the whole day and raise your heart rate to complete 30 mins exercise.

This year I decided to set a lower calorie target of just 400 calories per day. This meant if I was having a long day at work in meetings or driving or something else I had a higher chance of hitting this target. I don’t know about you, but if I had failed to hit the target one day during January, I could have easily given up. With a lower target, I am feeling more and more motivated and pleased that I am smashing my target. In reality, the lowest amount of calories burnt per day is 700. Every day I complete, makes me more motivated to complete the next day. I also like receiving the various achievements awarded in the activity app. After a successful day today, I will get my successful month award.

The next difficult part is completing 30 minutes exercise per day. The simplest solution I have found is to listen to some upbeat energetic music, and walk/jog on the spot at home. Sometimes, exercise minutes are registered when I walk my dogs but normally walking my dogs doesn’t translate into enough exercise minutes. Of course I could go to the gym, but with such a busy life and living on rural Dartmoor, going to a gym is not practical.

The final aspect of hitting the daily goals, is making sure you are sharing your progress with a suitable friend or two. This really helps maintain focus and adds a friendly competitive nature to the challenge.

Now if you don’t have an Apple Watch, all of the above still applies. Don’t set an unrealistic tough goal for each day. Set one that you know you will hit to keep you motivated and compete with friend or two.

Finally good luck!