Category Archives: Tech News

iFi Audio hip dac review – a fantastic portable headphone amp dac with MQA support

Welcome to my review of the iFi Audio hip dac . The iFi Audio hip dac retails for £149.

The Key Features and Specifications

– Portable, slim design with up to 12 hrs of battery life and a slim.
– Hi resolution audio support including Spotify, Tidal MQA to MP3. Play any high res audio format with native digital to analogue conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended.
– Powerful amp ideal for in ear monitors or over the ear headphones with 400 mW max power output from the on-board amplifier via the 3.5mm headphone socket or 700mW via the 4.4mm balanced.
– Connects via USB, works with iPhone with Apple Camera Kit
– Power Match and XBass offer adjustable analogue enhancements to customise your listening experience without compromising the digital conversion
– USB C and USB Type A

Review

iFi Audio history. iFi Audio was born in 2012 to produce ultra-fidelity audio products that push the sonic envelope whilst still priced within the mainstream. iFi audio is now under parent company AMR (Abbingdon Music Research), which designs and produces top-end luxurious audio products. AMR saw in 2010 that customer demand for wireless and portable headphones was expanding as the whole audio dynamic was changing. Thus, iFi Audio was launched.

The iFi Audio hip dac smart stuff. The DAC section is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chip that provides a lovely fluid, highly musical sound quality and also true native architecture. iFi Audio have then desgined their own circuitry. This means you get bit perfect PCM, native DSD and MQA. Hi-res PCM and DXD audio data is supported at sampling rates up to 384kHz, alongside DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD64, 128 and 256). Thanks to the Burr Brown chip’s True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables both PCM and DSD to remain bit perfect in their native form right through to analogue conversion.

There are two USB ports – USB Type A for audio data and USB-C for charging. The USB Type A input features a male connector, rather than a typical female port. This provides greater mechanical integrity than USB/Micro USB ports.. This is an advantage for iPhone and iPad users, because it accepts Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adaptor directly without requiring an additional female-to-male USB adaptor, as shown in my video review. The optional bass boost enhances low frequencies without muddying the mid range, and is particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP.

Sound quality. For this review I used a range of headphones including the Focal Elear, Sennheiser HD599, AKG K371 and Fiio FA7. I also tested the 4.4mm balanced using the Fiio FA7 with the Fiio 4.4mm headphone cable. iFi Audio recommend activating the PowerMatch for over ear headphones. So for this review all my over the ear headphones had this activated. When using my Fiio FA7 IEMs this was turned off.

Genres. All genres were tested from electronic, jazz, blues, classical, pop, rock and alternative. I spent hours and hours testing the hip dac including a 10 hour burn in before listening to it. All the over ear headphones were driven with ease, scale and presence. The XBass feature is great to use, but there is already IMO enough drama without having to use it. However, my AKG K371 headphones just loved the XBass being on and transformed from being a fairly accurate sounding headphone to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. OMG what a chalk and cheese difference and for the better. The Burr Brown chipset provides a lovely musical presentation, slightly warm, but with plenty of scale, drama, soundstage across all genres. And speed too. The 4,4mm balanced output added a little hiss with my Fiio FA7. This hiss was not present using the 3.5mm option. So ultra sensitive IEMs are best used with the 3.5mm jack which is extremely powerful in its own right.

Video Review

Conclusion

The iFi Audio is a fantastic compact headphone amp dac and highly recommended and one of my favourite amp/dacs!

Useful Links

Latest pricing & more info on iFi Audio hip dac on Amazon

How to use manual video controls on the iPhone 11 incl sample photos & video using Moment lenses

Happy New Year everyone.

In this article I am going to explain how to use manual video controls on the iPhone 11 Pro along with what accessories you will need to accomplish this task.

First, why bother. Well the difference before and after is night and day. Video footage is smooth with the correct motion effect that isn’t jagged, instead it’s smooth.

First things first, I headed over to the Moment store and bought myself their Moment Photo case for my iPhone 11 Pro. If you have some spare time, and you are into video & photography the Moment store is one helluva a great place to browse with tons of great useful gear for your phone, not just iPhones either.

Moment have 3 styles of cases for the new iPhone 11 range, and I have all 3 which I’ll be covering off the pros and cons of each shortly, however, my strong advice is just to buy their strongest and toughest case only, the Photo case. Once you have this case, you can now attach their lens, filters and more. It’s a small price to pay for the extra benefits.

In terms of filming the video, there are 2 apps I would recommend on iOS. Filmic Pro or the Moment app. If you have Moment lenses then their app is ideal. You will be advised to grab a gimbal for even smoother video footage. The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is what I use. I’ll leave links to everything at the end of this article. In terms of filters I got a set of ND & CPL filters from Gobe on Amazon.

So now you have all the accessories and apps for your iPhone, what next. Well you need to setup the manual video controls. Here’s the rule of thumb. If shooting at 30fps , your shutter speed needs to be double at 1/60. Same rule applies for other FPS. So another example, shooting at 60fps needs a shutter speed of 1/120. The great thing about shooting at 60fps is that you can slow this down in post production for even smoother footage. For editing video on the iPhone, the best app is Luma Fusion.

Sounds simple, and it is , except now that you have a slow shutter speed, too much light will be entering the lens, so you need to attach a ND filter over the lens to counteract the extra light. In the video below, I used a ND8. I then used my DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal.

Above is a photo using the Moment Anamorphic lens. It creates a cinematic look and in video is stunning. Especially when it counters light sources as you get those blue lines across the screen.

The above shot was taken using the new fisheye lens from Moment.

Now back to the video created. It’s just over 2 mins long so enjoy.

Useful Links

Moment Store

Moment Lens, Cases & more on Amazon

Gobe Filter set on Amazon

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Gimbal on Amazon

Honor MagicWatch 2 – Hands On + UI & Watch Faces

Welcome to my hands on and full walk through of new fitness watch from Honor, the Honor MagicWatch 2. This Honor MagicWatch 2 retails for around £159.

Key Features

– Battery Life: The Honor MagicWatch 2 is an ultra-thin sports smart watch featuring a super long battery life, lasting up to two weeks on a single charge
– Smart Features: Integrated smart features such as Bluetooth calls, music playback, scientific sleep monitoring, stress monitoring, information assistant, heart rate monitoring, GPS tracking and more
– Fitness Monitor: The lightweight design and water resistance rating of 50 m makes it an ideal fitness tracker. Monitoring your daily activities and steps as well as providing exercise statistics
– Always-On Display: The always-on AMOLED display stays lit so you can glance at the time without the screen taking time to brighten
– Design: The watch features a double crown design, while its colour screen is matched with a strap that passes strict skin allergy tests to provide you with a safe and comfortable wearing experience
– Built in Speaker & Mic
– Stress Monitor
– GPS
– Dual Satellite GPS

Video Review

Conclusion

A full feature packed fitness watch from Honor. Recommended.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Honor MagicWatch 2 on Amazon

Honor 9X – Full Screen Phone – Unboxing, Setup & First Impressions

Welcome to my Honor 9X unboxing, setup and first impressions. The Honor 9X retails for £249, and at that price you get a lot of phone for your money.

The Key Features

– 6.59 inches IPS display with high screen-to-body ratio of 91%.
– AI Triple Camera, 48MP High-resolution main camera, 8MP Super Wide Angle Camera 120 degrees, 2MP Depth Assist Camera will provide hardware-based bokeh effects.
– AIS Super Night Mode can help you capture the beauty of night by holding your phone in just 6s.
– Pop-up camera withstands loads of up to 15 kg and passed testing to be able to raise & retract 100,000 times.
– 4000mAh large battery capacity, doubled with AI Power Saving technology, can last all day without stress.
– Memory 4GB RAM+ 128GB ROM
– GPU Turbo 3.0
– Powered by AI, HONOR 9X allows you to have interactions with EMUI 9.1. HiVsion is your personnel assistant, and can support QR code scanning, Object Identify, AI Shopping and Calorie Measure.
– 3.5mm headphone jack with built-in Histen 6.0 allows you to have immersive experience.
– HONOR 9X also has customized eye comfort mode certified by TÜV Rheinland, that can better protect your eyes by filtering blue light. With AI Video Enhancement.

Video

Conclusion

First impressions are positive. You get a lot of phone for your money and currently there is a deal available on the Honor 9X too.

Honor 9X on Amazon

My Top 5 Phones of 2019 – And there’s a surprise winner + apps/games on my phone

Welcome to my top 5 smartphones of 2019. This is my personal lineup of which phones are my top 5.

Factors that were taking into consideration include –

– Overall experience
– Camera Experience
– Camera quality split into video and photo and other features
– Phone UI
– Links to a wider eco system
– Software and security updates

The second half of the video, is a close up look of what’s now on my phone in 2019 and why. This includes apps and games.

Video

If you have a different top 5, what are they and why?

Useful Links

Google Pixel on Amazon
Huawei on Amazon
Oppo on Amazon
Honor on Amazon
Apple on Amazon

AirPower in 2020 – Mophie 3 in 1 Wireless Charger Unboxing & First Impressions

Welcome to my first impressions and unboxing of the Mophie 3 in 1 wireless charger that charges your AirPods, Apple Watch & iPhone all wirelessly. Fast wireless charging is available for the iPhone as well.

This is what AirPower should have been. It’s a seriously cool product and currently exclusive to Apple, retailing for £130.

One of the positive aspects of the wireless charger is the two white lights on the front edge initially and gently glow for two or three seconds before turning off. The left white light is to acknowledge AirPods are charging and the right side is for your iPhone. So at night , you won’t get an annoying charging led light that so many other chargers seem to have!

Video Review

Conclusion

It’s expensive, it’s sold exclusively at Apple. But it’s relatively compact and looks fabulous on your bedside table.

Useful Links

Mophie chargers on Amazon UK

Jabra Elite 75t review vs AirPods Pro

Welcome to my review of the Jabra Elite 75t.

The Key Features

– Compact new shape, tested for secure fit
– 4-Mic call technology for superior call quality wherever you are, even in noisy and windy environments
– More power, more freedom, with more than 7.5 hours of battery and a total of 28 with charging case
– Make your music sound exactly the way you want it to, with a customisable equaliser, available in the Jabra Sound+ app
– Durability guaranteed, with IP55-rated protection and a 2-year warranty against dust and water
– 7.5 hours battery life extended to 28 hours with case
– USB C charging on case
– Full range of controls on earbuds

Review

Conclusion

The Jabra Elite 75t are the best true wireless earbuds I have tested. 9.5/10. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Jabra Elite 75t on Amazon

iPhone 11 Pro Max Smart Battery Case Review – Apple’s official battery case with Real World Test

Welcome to my review of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Smart Battery case.

Key Features

– Official Apple Battery case
– Claims to extend battery life by 50%
– Dedicated Camera shortcut button for launching Apple Camera
– Silicone protection

Review

Conclusion

6.0/10 scoring. Buy with caution. Adds a lot of weight and bulk. Battery drain when not in use and connected to iPhone.

Huawei Nova 5T Review – The Phone with 5 A.I. Cameras!

Welcome to my review of the Huawei Nova 5T.

Key Features

– With one of the biggest screen-to-body ratios around, the all-new Huawei Nova 5T takes smartphone design to the limit. Embedding the front camera within the screen expands the field of view, revolutionising the user experience
– From panoramic, instagrammable views to sparklingly clear selfies, powerful photo and video algorithms capture every colourful detail, anywhere, any time. Equipped with four rear-mounted AI cameras, stunning high-definition, ultra-wide-angle, Macro and Bokeh photography are all possible with the Huawei NOVA 5T
– Shoot bigger and better photos with the F/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens. Whether showcasing beautiful landscapes or capturing striking portraits, the Huawei NOVA 5T is there to help you broaden your horizons
– With a huge 32 MP selfie camera nestled in the front top corner, Plus 4-in-1 Pixel Fusion, the Huawei NOVA 5T brings out your natural beauty and individual Characteristics. By balancing the exposure and backlighting while optimising the background, The AI technology creates Bright, clear selfies you can be proud of
– Unlike other smartphones, the Huawei NOVA 5T always keeps up with you. A massive 6 GB RAM accelerates and powers multiple apps, while 128 GB of internal storage gives you all the space you need for photos, songs, movies and more, so you never need to compromise on the things you love

Review

Conclusion

8.0/10. The Huawei Nova 5T offers a lot of phone for the money. I

Useful Links

Latest pricing of the Huawei Nova 5T on Amazon