Category Archives: Windows

Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Aug 2nd, but what about Mobile? – Steve is upset again 

“Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Aug 2nd, but what about Mobile?

Microsoft has announced the official date of the production rollout of the ‘final’ binaries for Windows 10 on the desktop, to be supplied as an Over The Air upgrade. But what about ‘Mobile’? Some quotes and musings below.”

Steve Litchfield is unhappy with Microsoft and its big Windows 10 announcement. Where is the Windows 10 mobile love? I can understand Steve’s frustration here. I do wonder if mobile will be forgotten in its current guise and will re launch with the Microsoft Surface Phone that will actually run the full desktop Windows software, whereby it will solve many app shortages and more on the spot.

More at All About Windows Phone

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Tech Addicts Podcast – Next Episode is Live

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Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with new episode starring Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Sam Pullen and I. Tech Addicts is released every 2 weeks.

To listen to the latest episode subscribe by searching “Tech Addicts” within your favourite podcast app, iTunes or use the URL “mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss” to add directly. ALternatively, you can also add it to Google Play Music, Click HERE.

Have fun listening!

HTC 10, Xiaomi Mi Max, LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, MS Lumia 950 and more – check out the latest on these phones

There have been many review recently published and many more coming soon. Below is a highlight of the reviews of all the smartphones recently published.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus – review

HTC 10 review

LG G5 – And All The Modules – review

LG V10 review

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Review

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – The Experience

Xiaomi Mi Max review

Xiaomi Mi Max with MIUI v8

Phone Accessory Reviews

Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic review

Samsung Lens Cover – Closer Look at the Telephoto Lens

Samsung Lens Cover for S7 and S7 Edge review

Audio Reviews

iBasso DX80 with Chord Mojo – review

Pioneer XDP-100R – review

Chord Mojo – Review

Dragonfly Red – review

Fiio Q1 review

Oppo PM-3 Headphones – review

Security

Miguard A105 Security System

Netatmo Welcome – review

Piper NV HD Security System

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL – Review – How does it stand up to the competition?

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - The end of an era

Welcome to my review of the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL. Thanks to Steve Litchfield from @AA_WP for the loan.

The first thing I noticed reading the specs sheet is that the hardware is well specified. However, more and more phones also comes stacked to the gills with specs, so does the 950 XL stay ahead of the came. Well first, you will notice my 950 XL has the optional Mozo red leather back cover, which I have to say looks smart. Without the leather cover, the standard plastic finish looks and feels cheap and not as premium as other phones. Anyway, maybe the specifications are ahead of the competition? So lets look at the full specifications –

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - The end of an era

Key Specifications

– OS – Windows 10
– Size & weight -Height: 151.9 mm,Width: 78.4 mm,Thickness: 8.1 mm,Weight: 165 g
– Display size: 5.7 inch, WQHD (2560 x 1440),TrueColor (24-bit/16M),AMOLED, ClearBlack,518 ppi
-Display features: Easy to clean, Orientation sensor, Wide viewing angle, Lumia Color profile, High brightness mode, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Automatic brightness control, Sunlight readability enhancements
– Memory 32 GB,RAM: 3 GB,Maximum memory card size: 200 GB micro sd,
– User data storage: In device, OneDrive cloud storage, App and data storage on memory card
– Replaceable battery: Yes, 3340 mAh, Fast charging, Built-in Qi wireless charging
– Design details: Exchangeable back cover
– Other user interface features: Glance screen, Voice Commands, Tactile feedback, Voice dictation in edit fields
– Sensors: Barometer, Gyroscope, SensorCore, Magnetometer, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
– CPU name: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
– SIM card type: Nano SIM
– AV connectors: DisplayPort over USB-C, 3.5 mm stereo headset connector
– Charging connectors: USB-C
– System connectors: USB-C
– USB: USB 3.1, USB Dual Role Port (Gen1)
– Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1
– Bluetooth profiles: Hands-free profile (HFP) 1.6, Object Push profile (OPP) 1.1, Generic Attribute Profile (GATT), HID over GATT profile (HOGP) 1.0, Message Access Profile (MAP) 1.1, Human Interface Device Profile (HID), Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) 1.1, Personal Area Network Profile (PAN) 1.0, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.2, Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) 1.3
– NFC: Pairing, Sharing, Tagging, Secure NFC for payment
– Wi-Fi: MIMO, Wi-Fi call, WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
– Wi-Fi hotspot: Up to 8 Wi-Fi-enabled devices
– Other wireless connectivity: Screen projection
– Local sharing Peer-to-peer sharing: Nearby Discovery
-Cellular connectivity, GSM network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz, WCDMA network: Band 5 (850 MHz), Band 8 (900 MHz), Band 1 (2100 MHz), Band 2 (1900 MHz), Band 4 (1700/2100 MHz), LTE FDD network: Band 5 (850MHz), Band 8 (900MHz), Band 17 (700MHz), Band 20 (800MHz), Band 1 (2100 MHz), Band 12 (700 MHz), Band 2 (1900 MHz), Band 28 (700 MHz), Band 3 (1800 MHz), Band 7 (2600 MHz), Band 4 (1700/2100 MHz), TD-LTE network: Band 38 (2570-2620 MHz), Band 40 (2300-2400 MHz)
– GPS and navigation – A-GPS, A-BeiDou, A-GLONASS, Barometer, Gyroscope, Sensor enhanced positioning, Cellular and Wi-Fi network positioning
– Main camera -Main camera: 20.0 MP f/1.9 OIS Camera Focus Type: Auto focus with two-stage capture key
– Camera digital zoom: Yes,Camera optics: 6-lens optics,Oversampling, Sensor size: 1/2.4 inch
– Camera Flash Type: Natural flash
– Camera features: PureView, Fast Focus, True 16:9 sensor, High resolution zoom, Backside-illuminated image sensor
– Camera minimum focus range: 10 cm
– Front camera: Full HD 5 MP wide angle, f/2.4,Front camera video resolution: 1080p (Full HD, 1920 x 1080)
– Main camera video resolution: 4K (Ultra HD, 3840 x 2160)
– Camera video frame rate: 30 fps
– Video recording features: Video zoom, Video light, Continuous autofocus, Optical image stabilization, – Lumia Rich Recording with four microphones
– Video recording formats: MP4/H.264
– Audio recording codecs: AAC LC, AMR-NB, GSM FR
– Audio recording features: Lumia Rich Recording with four microphones
– Audio playback features: Graphical equalizer, Virtualized loudspeaker listening
– Radio features: FM radio
-Video playback frame rate: 30 fps
– Video playback codecs: VC-1, H.263, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, Windows video
– Video streaming: Progressive video download, YouTube browsing and video streaming, Streaming from video services and internet

Phone Basics

From a hardware point of view, the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL rocks and in many areas is ahead of the competition especially when you consider when it was first released. Just have a look again at the specification above. Qi Wireless charging. Quick charging. Excellent 20mp camera. Great audio and so on. Where the 950 XL suffers is software. Windows 10 is still being improved so there is the odd bug present.

The Windows Store for apps and games is dismal at best, but we all know that by now. So if the official app is not available you will be hunting for a decent third party option or not bother with an app, and use the web browser instead. You may be lucky and a universal app arrives though. Universal apps may be what helps keep Windows 10 going. However, some of the included software like the Creative Studio are absolutely brilliant. I have covered more of the software situation in my video embedded near the end of the review.

The screen is fantastic. Amazing visibility in sunlight, bright and good viewing angles. Cellular and wireless connectivity was top notch too. Callers had no difficulties hearing me. Battery lasted a day and was recharged over night.

Bluetooth audio was good and the loudspeaker was reasonable.

The 950 XL has the benefit of the Display Dock, Continuum and Universal apps. So when you use the display dock, the phone becomes a mouse, and the apps go desktop quality on the connected display or TV. That’s the theory and its works sometimes. It does depend on the developer as to how well the Universal app is written.

Camera

The highlight of the phone so far is the camera quality. It is a real quality affair. Period. It does have some weaknesses mainly in the post processing whereby if you take a few shots and go to view them, you might see applying the finishing touches and have to wait until these are completed. Another aspect is using burst mode, or taking a large number of shots one after another. Eventually you might see a message on screen “saving” and will have to wait until this finishes before taking another photo. However, the image quality is so good, its worth the wait!

I have included a video review which covers the camera in more depth. In the meantime, lets look at some camera samples below.

The Tree at Yelverton Green #lumia950xl

The above photo is extremely accurate to the actual colours.

Yelverton Green #lumia950xl

Again, very well balanced shot.

The End of The Line #lumia950xl

Vivid true to life colours with the shot above.

One Way Out #lumia950xl

Difficult lighting but a great shot.

Wooden Living #lumia950xl

Unusual shot, but superb result.

Blossoming Flowers #lumia950xl

The white flowers are handled well and again overall a good shot.

High speed cornering by George #lumia950xl

I really like this one of George. He was runninig really quickly and sort of cornering at the same time.

George says "hello" #lumia950xl

The overall balance and colours of this photo are absolutely spot on.

George & Fury blasting off #lumia950xl

Another high speed shot and beautifully balanced with accurate colours.

Merrivale Stones, Dartmoor #lumia950xl

Merrivale stones captured in all its glory. Perfect true to life shot again.

Sunshine & Shade #clouds #Dartmoor #lumia950xl

The shade and sun along with the clouds are captured brilliantly.

Scenes around St Michael & All Angels Historic Church #lumia950xl

And finally a shot of my local church.

Video Review

As a compliment to my written review, I have created a video to cover off other aspects and demonstrates some of my points above.

Conclusion

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL is a hardware powerhouse phone with its weakness being the lack and quality of applications / games in the Windows Store. The camera is fantastic, one of the best I have used, so if you can live without a number of apps, which many can, then the Lumia 950 XL is ideal.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL – Further Thoughts & Camera Shots

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - The end of an era
So it’s been nearly a week with the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and I am starting to form some opinions of this phone. I also have the dock to review and test. Thanks to Steve Litchfield from @AA_WP for the loan.

The hardware is reasonably well specified but so is most other hardware nowadays. I have a red leather back cover, which looks very smart, but without this extra cost, the 950 XL is just too plastic.

The Windows Store for apps and games is dismal at best, but we all know that by now. So if the official app is not available you will be hunting for a decent third party option or not bother with an app, and use the web browser instead. You may be lucky and a universal app arrives though.

The highlight of the phone so far is the camera quality. I have taken some more photos.

The Tree at Yelverton Green #lumia950xl

The above photo is extremely accurate to the actual colours.

Yelverton Green #lumia950xl

Again, very well balanced shot.

The End of The Line #lumia950xl

Vivid true to life colours with the shot above.

One Way Out #lumia950xl

Difficult lighting but a great shot.

Wooden Living #lumia950xl

Unusual shot, but superb result.

Blossoming Flowers #lumia950xl

The white flowers are handled well and again overall a good shot. Some of the above photos were also snapped with a Samsung Galaxy S7, so have a look at the other posts today.

Whilst the 950 XL takes marvellous photos, I am getting frustrated by the processing or saving messages while it either saves or post proceses the finishing touches. There should be an option to complete this task without slowing down the phone so you can’t take another photo until this has finished.

I am also experiencing the odd bug and this is again a nusiance.

Anyway, more soon.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL – First Impressions

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - The end of an era

Despite the sad news coming out of the smartphone division of Microsoft, I now have a Microsoft Lumia 950 XL to evaluate along with the dock to connect to a screen via HDMI for the next few weeks, thanks to Steve Litchfield.

So, I powered up the Lumia 950 XL, entered my Windows credentials and shortly was asked if I wanted to restore from an earlier Windows Phone backup from an old device I had used previously.

This time, I choose new setup. I left the phone for a few hours to update and download a few apps.

The 950 XL I am testing has a gold edge and red leather back cover which really feels great in the hand and looks somewhat premium too.

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL - The end of an era

Live Tiles. Oh how I missed them. I don’t know what it is, but I really do like the live tiles interface. I also have had a little play with the camera and in my brief testing it does seem rather good. More over the weekend on the camera and other aspects next week.

The Next Tech Addicts Podcast is Live – with Gareth, Jay, Sam and I

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Tech Addicts Podcast is back again with new episode starring Gareth Myles, Jay Garrett, Sam Pullen and I. Tech Addicts is released every 2 weeks.

To listen to the latest episode subscribe by searching “Tech Addicts” within your favourite podcast app, iTunes or use the URL “mobiletechaddicts.libsyn.com/rss” to add directly.

Alternatively, just click listen via the embedded player below.

Have fun listening!

A Sad Day for Windows Smartphones – 1,850 jobs cut at Microsoft – Viewpoint

Via the Telegraph

Microsoft will cut as many as 1,850 jobs and take a new impairment charge as Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella pares back the company’s ambitions in smartphones.

The company will take a $950 million (£650 million) impairment and restructuring charge, including $200 million for severance payments, Microsoft said. About 1,350 jobs will be cut in Finland, the base of the handset business it acquired from Nokia in 2014.

Nadella has already written off most of the $9.5 billion Nokia deal led by his predecessor Steve Ballmer, shifting its Windows phone strategy toward business customers as it struggles to compete with Apple and the Android operating system.

Microsoft already indicated a few days ago that the Lumia 950 will be the last Lumia. And now it is decimating its smartphone division. Is this game over for Microsoft and its Windows Phone Mobile hardware? Maybe. Or it just needs time to get the Universal apps sorted and come back fighting with new mobile hardware that truly innovates and doesn’t need a new app store, as it has Universal apps.

Whatever happens in the future, it doesn’t help all the employees who are about to lose their jobs.

And today I will be receiving a Microsoft Lumia 950 for review. Thanks to Steve Litchfield for the loan.

Audioquest Dragonfly RED – The Latest & Greatest DAC the size of a USB stick – review

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Welcome to my review of the Audioquest Dragonfly Red. The Dragonfly Red is a USB DAC, Preamp and Headphone amplifier all squeezed into the size of a USB memory stick.

The Key Specification

– USB Stick-Sized Digital-to-Analog Converter
– Plays all music files: MP3 to high-res
– Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or Made for Android/OTG adaptor)
– Drives headphones directly
– Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
– Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
– High output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
– 32-bit ESS 9016 DAC with minimum-phase filter
– Bit-perfect digital volume control
– Firmware upgradeable

The Sound Quality and Experience

For the purposes of this review I tested the Dragonfly Red using my iPad, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Macbook. Headphone used were Oppo PM-3, Dunu Titan 5, Sony XBA-1, Sennheiser HD598se and Audio Technica M50x.

All three source components had no issues functioning with the Dragonfly Red. To use with the iPad I needed to use the Apple Camera adapter and with the Samsung Galaxy S7 an OTG adapter. Samsung include an OTG adapter in the box which is handy.

Also worth noting on the S7, to get the best experience you must use an app called USB Audio Player Pro. If you listen to the S7 using other music services/apps they don’t connect to the digital direct drive volume so at max levels the volume may not be high enough. With UAPP the volume is immense.

When using portable devices or your smartphone, the Dragonfly Red does drain the battery of your device faster than normal. This is to be expected as its needs power from somewhere. However, unlike other portable DAC/Headphone amps that have an built in battery, it never goes flat or needs recharging.

I listened to a number of different genres – dance, classical, jazz, rock and blues. I found the Dragonfly Red provided oodles more power and control than using the source components own headphone jack. Also the layering and delicacy of the music was lovely at times. This was more noticeable with classical and jazz genres. The soundstage improved too with the DAC. Overall the music was clearer, more defined, better layered and provided a decent lift in quality.

Conclusion

A remarkable piece of kit from Audioquest. Top notch sound quality bundled in such a small package. Recommended.

For more information and the latest deals on Amazon UK, click HERE.

Fancy a Free Phone when you buy 1? – You Can

Microsoft Canada has a genius plan to double handset sales. Buy a Microsoft Lumia 950 and get one free. This deal will likely drift overseas at some point, hopefully.

Whilst this might seem a measure of desperation, it actually it one way of getting the phone into more people hands.

I will be honest, even if one was free, I wouldn’t be interested. I am waiting for Microsoft to have a Eureka moment and re-invent the smartphone. Anything is possible in the world of tech in just 18 months.