Tag Archives: First Impressions

Apple iPhone 8 Plus – First Impressions 

Apple iPhone 8 Plus. First Impressions and initial thoughts. 

Judging by the lack of queues at all the main Apple stores it seems many people are clearly waiting for the newer iPhone X. 

But from my initial use of the new iPhone 8 Plus I have come away with a different view. The expression a wolf in sheep’s clothing is quite appropriate. It’s actually its more like a bland lion in sheep’s clothing. 

The A11 Bionic processor is a beast. What it does for the whole phone experience is badass. 

First my views on the 3 finishes. I didn’t like space grey. The gold is ok. But I loved the white and silver finish. 

Screen. The true tone screen looks too good to be true at times. It’s the ultimate in IPS technology. But it’s not light years ahead of the 7 Plus. But it’s still better. 

Operation. The A11 processor must contribute to the overall smoothness of the phone. Really felt like gliding through menus and apps. 

Camera. There’s no HDR option. It’s on by default. The camera felt fast to take shots and there was low noise in the indoor photos. Portrait lightning was fun to use but I did notice some errors on the edges. It is in beta though. The standout feature of the camera was the video. 4K at 60fps is freaking unbelievably amazing. So life like and real to view footage back on the screen. Stabilisation looked good too. 

Speakers. Louder than before. That’s a good thing. Wireless charging worked as expected. 

I started by saying it’s a bland lion in sheep’s clothing. And that is how I feel. It looks like every other iPhone for the last 4 or so years. Except it performs like the King of the Jungle. 

I can see this being quite popular on contract upgrade plans and for people that still want the convenience of Touch ID. It is however not a design I want to see in my hand. I’m more interested in the upcoming iPhone X!

Advertisements

Samsung Gear 360 2017 – First Impressions on iOS & mac

img_6306

Samsung Gear 360 (2017). First Impressions.

First up it’s new design over last years ball style is vastly improved in terms of holding it instantly.

The Samsung Gear 360 (2017) is currently only compatible with a number of Samsung flagship and Samsung A series along with the iPhone. Other android phones don’t work with this. I will cover off more of the what does and doesn’t in my full review.

There are 2 apps for the MacBook to install. One is a gallery photo and video app that stitches the media on your MacBook. Samsung recommend a core i7 processor. Then there is the Samsung Gear 360 iOS app.

At this stage everything worked well, from the mac software to the iOS app. No bugs. There are limitations on a few features that are available with the Samsung Galaxy S8 but not via the iPhone 7 Plus.

These currently include –

– Live broadcast (only available using mac not iPhone )
– No live video feed
– Resolution is reduced when stitching slightly on iPhone. Full resolution can be maintained using mac software.

Then menu system is a breeze to use and there are a few tweaks to be had to improve the results.

If you have any questions on this please let me know for the full review.

NB. Photo shot in portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Useful Links

Latest pricing on Samsung Gear 360 2017 on Amazon

Huawei P10 Plus – First Impressions and Camera Samples by Ellie

The Huawei P10 Plus has arrived for review with thanks to Vodafone UK.

It feels like that expression about buses. You wait ages for a bus, and then 10 arrive all at the same time. That is what it feels like with flagship phones at the moment.

So this is the time for the Huawei P10 Plus, the flagship phone from Huawei. This has the new improved dual Leica cameras over the standard Huawei P10.

So what does it look like. Well in its black finish its rather slick. Fairly grippy too which is not the case with some of the other phones I have used recently. In the box was all the usual bits but also a clear silicone style case.

The other thing I have noticed is the red power button on the side. That looks neat. Out of all of the phones I have seen recently this feels the quickest to unlock, and nip around the various apps. Being used to my iPhone 6S, I do like the fingerprint sensor on the front, and it was good to see the same on this phone, except the P10 Plus is so much faster. Mind you nothing is slower/trickier to unlock than the new Samsung Galaxy S8+. I asked Gavin about the finger print sensor being so flipping awkward and up so high on the Samsung S8+, and I got some spiel about the iris and face unlock methods.

Anyway, below are a few shots from the camera taken at the weekend. Nothing too fancy. I noticed some of the camera modes and must check these out soon. Lots of fun to be had by the looks of it.

A really lovely shot of the church. Shot in auto. All photos uploaded in full size too.

Monochrome mode. A bit different for sure.

And now in full colour and in auto mode.

Some macro shots, truly amazing too.

A tree stump.

Flag pole and another monochrome shot.

Panoramic Shot.

Conclusion.

The photos look good to me. What do you think? Of course there are so many other camera modes on this phone from wide aperture, portrait, light painting and more. The Huawei P10 Plus is impressive so far.

Useful Links

Vodafone Shop UK
Huawei pricing on Amazon

LG G6 – First Impressions & Camera Shootout by Ellie

img_5591

Welcome to first impressions of the LG G6. This is not the stripped down feature less UK version G6 being cross examined, this is from LG Korea. This is the LG G6 G600.

The Korean version features double the storage at 64gb versus 32gb for the UK. In addition it has a 32 bit quad DAC which can power headphones up to 600 ohms. If your reading this from the USA, you don’t get 64gb or the quad DAC but you do get wireless charging.

Anyway, lets get down to some basics. As Gavin’s wife, I hate phones. To me there are just another It’s another rectangular blob. However, I must concede the slim bezels and large display look great for viewing content on the screen, although being narrow and tall with the 18:9 aspect ratio does look weird. For such a large screen the narrowness makes it a breeze to hold. I do like the flat side edges too. Practical for usability.

If you get the G6 without the quad DAC, the audio is still good, just not epic amazing plus you won’t be using any huge over the ear hifi headphones. I borrowed a few of Gavin’s Sennheiser, NuForce and Oppo headphones plus some in ear headphones and the difference is so noticeable. It is like having a pro music player. There is a toggle to turn the DAC on or off. When on, all audio from any application via the headphones is enhanced. The reason for an off switch is to save battery. The quad DAC uses more juice. All versions of the G6 feature the Hi Res Bluetooth APTX-HD which is a bonus.

I took the G6 out in the bright sun last night. The display was visible but could have been a wee bit brighter. As a comparison when I took a photo on the iPhone 7 Plus in landscape, the screen was crystal clear through my polarised sunglasses. Not so on the G6. The iPhone display only becomes clear in landscape with sunglasses not portrait.

I took a photo of our local church using an iPhone 7 Plus and then using the normal lens on the G6. I stood in the same spot. Just look how different the field of view is.

20170418_171204_hdr

The above is the G6 shot. And below is the iPhone 7 Plus from exactly the same spot.

img_5620

In fact to make life easier, I have created a LG G6 camera video showcase with my views on each shot. This has a variety of shots in bright and low light too.

Useful Links

LG G6 on Amazon UK
LG G6 cases on Amazon
Samsung S8 and S8+ on Amazon UK
Samsung S8 and S8+ cases on Amazon
LG G6 G600 Quad DAC 64gb from Wondamobile

Huawei Mate 9 – My review of the phablet flagship phone from Huawei

71e9d62c-4747-4fde-bf48-ea2fc511c219

Huawei Mate 9 review. Welcome to my review of the flagship phablet phone from Huawei.

The Key Features

– Leica Dual Camera – 12MP RGB Sensor and 20MP monochrome sensor
– Android 7.0 (Nougat) with EMUI 5.0
– Metallic uni-body design
– Superfast and secure 4 Level Fingerprint Sensor
– Latest Kirin 960 chipset
– Large 4000mAh battery
– 5.9” FHD display with 1080p resolution – great for viewing
– 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage and up to 256GB SD card support
– FM Radio
– Infra Red Blaster
– Huawei VIP Service included

First Impressions

Main Review

Camera Showcase

Conclusion

An awesome phone in every way.

Useful Links

Huawei Mate 9 on Three UK – Click HERE.

Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Donations – https://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

Huawei Mate 9 – First Impressions via VLOG

It has been a period of exciting new tech, and along with all the gadgets, came the new Huawei Mate 9, the official UK version. I picked my Huawei Mate 9 at Three UK from my local store on PAYG. My local store in Plymouth is so friendly and provides a great customer experience.

I will be providing a full detailed review of the Huawei Mate 9 soon but for the time being I filmed a first experience VLOG type video. I have taken lots of photos and video with the phone already and have been very impressed.

In the meantime, enjoy my first impressions video 🙂

Useful Links

Huawei Mate 9 on Three UK – Click HERE.

Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Donations – https://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

Amazon Echo Dot – The Highs & Lows of Amazon’s Little Connected Miracle

Echo Dot<

Amazon had their Echo Dot on a Bank Holiday offer which took £10 off the price, making it £39.99. The offer is still valid today on Cyber Monday, so if you want one, click the link below in the useful links section at the end of the article.

There is not much to the Amazon Echo Dot. In the box is the Echo Dot itself, a micro USB cable that plugs into the UK adapter. A few mini booklets are provided. All you have to do is download the Amazon Alexa app, plug the Echo Dot in to the power socket, sign in via the app and it takes your wifi credentials and sets itself up.

You can now say things like, Alexa will it rain tomorrow. Or will it rain on Wednesday, and stuff like that. If you want the Echo Dot powered by a voice spoken assistant called Alexa, you can add more features, called skills. The USA has over 3,000 skills. The UK is somewhat behind that number, but it has only recently been launched in the UK.

So what can the Echo Dot do now –

– Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more
– Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify and TuneIn
– Controls lights, switches, thermostats and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Hive, Netatmo, Nest, tado° and others
– Hears you from across the room with 7 microphones for far-field hands-free voice control, even in noisy environments or while playing music
– Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled device
– Always getting smarter – Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and is continually learning, adding new features and skills

So in no particular order these are the lows and highs, starting with the lows first –

– sometimes it did not understand my voice/accent.
– you have to remember to start every sentence with Alexa. It is not aware of context and any commands have to be spoken precisely as it has been programmed
– my Belkin Wemo Smart Lights did not work with the Echo Dot without adding a skill (or service) from Konomi. Once added I could say things like “Alexa, lights on”. This was all working perfectly, and then none of the voice commands worked. I got this working again, only for it to fail again
– Be careful with compatibility. I though Wemo products were supported by the Echo Dot. Turns out it is only certain WeMo products and not my smart lights. (in hindsight it would have made more sense 2 years ago to spend the extra and buy Philips Hue lights)

And now for the highs –

– setup was a breeze
– I really like the small size of the Echo Dot. It is small enough to not disturb the look of any room. The microphones work really well.
– despite the issues with Belkin WeMo Smart light bulbs, this is the only product that has been able to connect to these and allow operation by voice
– Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot has vastly more connectivity services than Apple’s HomeKit.
– The speaker on the Echo Dot is much louder than I expected and sat on a solid wooden shelf delivers a lot of punch for its size
– With Prime Music (the free option) I can play music from most genres
– If the sound is not loud enough, connecting to a bigger speaker is easy.
– Its early days but the amount of stuff and services the Echo can connect to is vast

The big plus is it doesn’t need voice training. That means my wife can turn the lights on, off or dim them using her voice. Early days but so far, its great fun and impressive little piece of kit.

Useful Links
Amazon Echo Dot

The new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – My First Impressions – Speed & Beauty

MacBook Pro 2

Welcome to my first impressions of my new MacBook Pro 13 inch with the Touch Bar. Below are my first impressions of the new MacBook Pro from Apple.

It is late at night when I typed this post on my new MacBook Pro but I wanted to try and share how things have been plodding along. Plodding is the wrong word as you will read shortly. Whilst typing this post, I tested the bluetooth audio with my Sony MDR-1000x and Beats Wireless Solo 3 headphones. Both sounded excellent and there were no drop outs with the bluetooth.

I wasn’t meant to receive my MacBook Pro order until mid December but fortune happened to be in my favour yesterday. I had to pass by my local Apple Store in Plymouth to try and sort out my wife’s iPhone 6S battery problem and whilst I was waiting to resolve the issue (which was resolved brilliantly by the Apple staff in Plymouth, see update to yesterday’s post) I asked if they had a demo of the new MacBook with Touch Bar available. The answer was no, but stock had just arrived in the store and did I want to buy one now. Well, I said yes, surprise surprise.

I am upgrading my MacBook Pro from 2010 which had 4gb ram, a 512 hard drive and some anaemic processor compared to what’s available in 2016. I have a 13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar which is the perfect size for me. It also has 16gb ram, 512 SSD and a 3.3GHz Core i7 processor.

So unboxing the MacBook Pro is a joy. The hardware is stunning in space grey. The MacBook Pro looks stunning. My wife totally agrees with me on this front too. It feels a lot lighter than my old machine and is a smaller profile. Adapters are not an issue for me as I have a few Choetech USB Type C to USB adapters and other Type C cables already. A pair of the Choetech adapters cost £5.99 – Click HERE for More Info. so the issue of adapters is a non starter. The benefit of the more powerful Thunderbolt 3 ports is a bonus in the long run.

The next massive difference is the SPEED. OMFG. This machine flies like a rocket. Lifting the lid, and it starts automatically from a cold boot. A few logins later and less than 5 mins, its setup with my Apple ID, iCloud Photos, Siri, Touch ID, Apple Pay and iTunes Match. Next its time to install Adobe Creative Cloud and Lightroom and Photoshop. To give you some idea in the difference of the speed between my old MacBook Pro and new MacBook Pro, Adobe Lightroom would take the same amount of time to open on my old machine as it took to boil the kettle and make a cup of tea. The new MacBook Pro took just over 6 seconds.

So what else have I noticed? Well the keyboard is totally different to my old keyboard and I was thumping the keys too heavily at first. I now am using less pressure and I am typing really really fast. Took me about one hour to adjust to the new keyboard. The screen makes my photos shine. The new colour gamut which matches the iPhone 7 Plus screen is noticeably better than my old MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro 1

So what about the Touch Bar? Is it gimmick or useful. At first I completed ignored it but as I have gone to do more and more things with the MacBook Pro I have started to use it and it is a smart tool to have. As I type circa 80 words a minute, the word suggestions on the Touch Bar aren’t really useful unless I am trying to type a long word that I am not 100% sure on its spelling. But for other actions it is a quick way to adjust settings, scroll and more. However, it is a feature that I will need to adjust too as time progressed.

For the first time, I have the latest iPhone with the latest MacBook hardware and can fully utilise all the tight integration between the devices. This makes me very happy.

Anyway, these are first impressions. More soon. Any questions, ask away in the comments or find me on all the usual social media channels.

Finally, my thanks to Will and all the lovely staff at Apple Plymouth for their assistance. They are really a friendly bunch and when I unboxed the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, this was the first time any of the staff had seen one first hand. Some it was a wow moment for everyone 🙂

DJI Osmo Mobile – First Impressions – Stabilise your Phone with this luxury gimbal

dji

The DJI Osmo Mobile is the new king on the block for stabilising your iPhone and android. Sorry no windows smartphone support.

It comes with a swish app on android and iOS too which adds a whole wealth of features. Now, I have watched many YouTube reviews of this new stabiliser and most left out the weaknesses. I intend to cover off everything, good and bad.

For now below are 2 short clips, both stabilised. One edited using the DJI Go app and the other using iMovie.

First up the clip using the DJI Go app.

And next a clip created using iMovie on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Now, these are the first video clips from the DJI Osmo Mobile and I am certain based on my learning curve, I should be able to improve the footage and the types of shots possible from moving timelapses and more.

Useful Link

More info and latest deal on Amazon UK – Click HERE.