Tag Archives: First Impressions

Samsung Gear 360 2017 – First Impressions on iOS & mac

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Beats Solo Wireless 3 – The New Headphones with Apple’s W1 Chip – My First Impression

Beats Wireless Solo 3 with Apple's new W1 chip

My Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones arrived yesterday. I was very excited to open the box and test these for a number of reasons. Firstly, the packaging and presentation is first class. When you open the box, the headphones themselves are folded inside a protective case. Lift the case out and you get the cables and extras that come with the headphones.

Beats Wireless Solo 3 with Apple's new W1 chip

The second reason was to see what difference the Apple W1 chip made to the bluetooth process, setup, sound and real world usage.

Beats

I had watched the videos from Apple showing how the AirPods that also have the W1 chip, just connect by opening the protective case. I honestly did not believe it would work “magically” as shown, but the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones did just connect to my iPhone 7 “magically”. I simply pressed the power on button on the headphones, a big notification instantly appeared from the bottom of my iPhone asking if I wanted to connect. I tapped “connect”. And that was it. The first connection was over in a second. Not only that it named the Beats “Gavin’s Beats Solo 3” as you can see.

Beats Wireless Solo 3 with Apple's new W1 chip

Not only does it pair instantly, every time I have turned it on and off and on again, it connects like a bullet. But it doesn’t stop there. Now that I have paired it to my iPhone, it is now paired to my Apple Watch, iPad and MAC using iCloud. So neat.

Beats Wireless Solo 3 with Apple's new W1 chip

So what do these £249 on ear headphones sound like? Well, not £249 headphones IMO. More like £150 headphones but I am still burning these in. Over the last hour, they have improved a lot. At the moment they do not sound as good as my Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 or B & O Beoplay H5 headphones. They have improved since the last hour and I am listening to them as I type this and I am noticing better mids and treble occurring. Once I have burnt these in for 50 hours, I will let you know my final thoughts on the audio quality. However, it is worth remembering part of the pricing is paying for the Beats branding and the Apple W1 processor and included technology.

The headphones have controls on the left earcup to activate Siri, take and receive calls, control your music and volume. They feature dual beaming microphones for clearer calls. Siri worked perfectly, but I need to test voice calls to see how they perform. One feature of these headphones is the 40 hour battery life from one charge, and the quick charge option that gives 3 hours playback after a 15 min charge from a low battery.

So have Apple invented bluetooth. No. But they have made the experience amazing. This is by far the quickest and easiest pair of bluetooth headphones I have ever paired, used and connected. Also, the signal has not dropped, not even once, not even for a blink of an eye.

My final thought is this – “Why are you wasting your energy, plugging headphones into a 3.5mm headphone jack or lightning port?”. Wireless is the future and the future is now!

Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon

Apple iPhone 7 Plus & Apple Watch Series 2 – First Impressions

Iphone 7 plus

When I got home last night, DPD had delivered my Apple iPhone 7 Plus Black and Apple Watch Series 2 Space Grey Sport with Black strap. I also picked up an Apple black leather case and a white sport band for the watch. In terms of finish, I chose black as opposed to jet black. The matte black looks cool.

I have been using android for ages and picking up the iPhone 7 Plus initially felt alien. My first problem was setting up the iPhone. I have 2 factor authentication on everything, and for some reason my SMS code was not appearing. 40 mins later, a plate of salmon and veg consumed, and voila, my SMS code arrived.

As you will know I had the Note 7 previously, so picking the iPhone 7 Plus up was a shock. The iPhone 7 Plus feels huge in comparison to the Note 7. However, based on the extensive drop tests by people on YouTube who have nothing better to do with their time, the extra bezels protects the iPhone a lot from damage.

Next up was the process on installing my essential apps first, then syncing my photos and music from my mac. Out of all the iPhones I have setup, the 7 Plus has been the fastest to sync everything across. Out of the 256gb, I only have 129gb free and I haven’t yet installed all my apps.

Now on to iOS 10. This is all new to me and I am on a learning curve. I am sure there are some bugs, in particular the iPhone 7 Plus was having some issues holding on to the mobile signal and kept showing every few minutes “no service”. This is worrying as I have a Three signal booster in the house. It should be maximum reception at all times. I will wait until I use the phone outside of my signal booster to see if it registers properly/differently on the Three network. I think this is a wifi bug as the connection held perfectly when I turned wifi off on the iPhone.

While the phone was syncing and downloading apps, I set up the Apple Watch series 2. It is faster than the original watch but not night and day faster. The Apple Watch is such a geeky piece of tech but also fun to use. Apple Pay on the watch is damn cool. Watch OS3 is such an improvement over the previous versions too.

I had a play with the camera, trying out some test shots and using some third party photo apps too. The camera shows a lot of promise. Is it better than the S7 or Note 7? I will answer that soon. In terms of audio, the iPhone 7 Plus is better than the S7 or Note 7 in every aspect – loudspeaker, wired headphones and bluetooth. I connected my Oppo PM-3 using the dongle to the lightning port, and the sound was excellent. Listening to music via my B & O Beoplay H5 over bluetooth was really superb too.

One thing I noticed is just how many more apps I have on iOS than android. Also gaming on iOS is so much smoother. The iPhone 7 Plus is so fast to use in real world usage. I will be testing my iOS game controller at some point as well.

I need to sort out my homes screen layout and folders in terms of positioning and content.Everything is not perfectly organised yet.

So my first 4 hours have been a mix of enjoyment, frustration, and learning the iOS way and getting used to the new home button!

All in all its a positive experience so far and I hope one that continues passed the honeymoon period.

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – First Impressions – incl audio, camera and that new home button

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The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus went on sale officially this morning at 8am.

This year Apple has prevented walk-ins and opted for pre order online or reservations for pickup in a store. My local Apple Store in Plymouth opened a lot earlier than normal and allowed people to browse as well as collect their reservations.

Whilst my order won’t arrive for another for days, the calmness inside the Apple store was a far superior experience than the normal chaotic launches. The staff were able to spend the correct amount of time helping customers setup their new iPhone and run through all of the new features. Other staff were also on hand to help you with any product knowledge.

What was missing from the iPhone 7 counter was the iPhone 7 Plus in either black or jet black. However, the finishes were available in the smaller size iPhone 7. If I am being brutally honest, I cannot see any point in getting the jet black over black. Once a case is fitted to the back, it is impossible to tell the two apart and as the jet black is more prone to micro abrasions it makes more sense to go for the standard black. Also, both blacks will show fingerprints as well, although the jet black attracts fingerprints much faster. Both black colours disguise the antenna lines better than any of the other colours available.

Now what about the new home button. I honestly don’t understand what the fuss is about. It just works and I was not bothered about the way it now worked nor did I have any issue with its operation. The taptic feedback system works really well for me.

The screen. Both iPhone 7 screens look good but they are not as good as those from the Samsung Note 7.

Performance. Testing the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is a joy. iOS 10 and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are so fluid and fast to use, but we all knew that anyway.

Now to the audio. I tested the loudspeaker with BBC Radio 4 for spoken voice and Beats 1 radio station for music. The loudspeaker is louder than previous but it is not as good as having traditional speakers integrated into the front of a smartphone. Next I paired by B & O Beoplay H5’s Bluetooth Wireless headphones and listened to a number of different genres. The iPhone 7 bluetooth audio is excellent, so are the B & O Beoplay H5’s headphones and I doubt whether Apple’s Airpods would sound better, although the AirPods are wirefree.

The camera. It works as advertised. The standard iPhone 7 now takes fabulous photos and the 7 Plus with the telephoto lens is equally as impressive. The telephoto lens does not have OIS though. The optical 2 x zoom really worked very well. However, software zoom introduced too much noise for my liking. Obviously, the lighting inside the Apple store is dreadful, but nonetheless it still is a test of what the camera can achieve. I used the telephoto lens for panaroma shots too. I noticed the phone needed me to slow down panning more when using the telephoto lens over the normal 12mp lens. I then tried burst shots of people walking inside the store, with and without the telephoto lens. None were really crispy sharp like those I took on the Samsung S7 or Note 7. I need to re-test the burst operation is better lighting to see how it performs before I pass judgement properly, but early testing seems to show that the fast focus system on the Note 7 and S7 really is king. However, the iPhone 7 offers many other options on the camera which need testing as mentioned. The camera did freeze on me too which was resolved by restarting the camera app.

Anyway, this is my first impression of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. I intend to cover off a lot more over the next few weeks.

If you have received your new iPhone, do add a comment below on your experience so far.

Samsung Note 7 – First Impressions – Dual Sim – Duos – The Setup, Official Cases and More

Samsung Note 7 LED CASE

I have now setup my new Samsung Note 7 Duos (Duos is the dual sim Note 7) a few nights ago. I decided to try Samsung’s Smart Switch application which worked fairly well. The Smart Switch application allows you to transfer pretty much everything from one phone to another including phone logs, text messages, images, music, docs, apps and application data and much more. This can be information from the micro SD card as well. You can select whatever information you like to be transferred. Instructions are shown showing how you transfer data from an iPhone, android phone, windows phone, Samsung phone and BlackBerry.

Being dual sim, the sim tray is a hybrid version meaning you can either have 2 nano sims or one nano sim and a micro SD card.

SIM

Within the connection settings there is a sim manager option as shown above with some extra options for controlling both sims. You can also limit the number of notifications on the status bar to 3 so as to not interfere with the signal information.

The Note 7 does not have Touchwiz. Samsung calls the new interface Grace UI and it really is very polished.

Settings

Main settings menu shown above. You can now have themes, wallpapers, and icons for the Grace UI. I have a material dark theme applied.

Home screen

I am so pleased I picked the Black Onyx finish. This is by far the best option. It looks bad-ass.The Note 7 is beautiful from all angles and the Samsung really have excelled from a hardware and software point of view. Everything is tightly integrated and improved from the Samsung Galaxy S7. For example, the calendar widget can now be white or black and has a transparency slider. Everywhere across the email app and more there are neat touches that I will cover off in future posts.

I have 5 cases for the Note 7. 3 official and 2 third party options. The Samsung LED cover is shown in the top photo. This is super cool but does take more time to setup as you can design you own LED app icons. I recommend doing this too. Its fun and makes your LED notifications more personalised. The S View Standing case is also excellent using the always on display to show data in the window. I will cover off more on the cases in future posts.

So the Note 7 has an iris scanner, S Pen, Edge screen and the kitchen sink. The fingerprint sensor on the Note 7 is perfect. Better than the one on the S7. The iris scanner is a PITA. It took me ages to get my eyes learnt. And I have loads of failures when trying to unlock. I need more practice clearly! However, I can unlock via the fingerprint or iris as both are activated at the moment.

I did receive a 230mb software update yesterday as well. One last point, my dual sim Note 7 has the Exynos processor.

On paper the Note 7 is clearly a S7 Edge with a S Pen (stylus) with a premium price over the S7 Edge too. In reality it feels like a totally different device. I will be amazed if any other manufacturer can beat the Samsung Note 7 in 2016.

Withings Activite Steel – Swiss Activity Tracker – First Impressions

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Welcome to my first impressions of the Withings Activite Steel watch. The key features are –

– Automatic activity tracking – Steps, runs, swims (water resistant – 50m) and calories burned
– Sleep monitoring – Sleep cycle analysis (light and deep sleep) plus silent vibrating alarm
– Automatic synchronisation – Visualise trends and data on your smartphone with the free Health Mate app available on iOS and android
– Premium materials – Stainless steel, chrome hands, silicon sport strap
No charging – Up to 8-month battery life

The Withings Activite Steel smartwatch arrived yesterday. Photo above shows watch on my wrist. Settings up is a breeze. You download the Health Mate app, and follow the simple instructions. I was all setup within 5 mins. Syncing is done periodically during the day using Bluetooth Low Energy. This is an analogue, swiss style watch. The watch strap is easily removable with a built in slide pin. Withings sell leather straps made from quality Barenia leather from Haas Tanneries, the supplier of the finest French Haute Couture houses. Choice of black or tawny brown colours. A single leather strap is £100. The silcone strap is also replaceable with other colour straps. Withings sell a 3 pack of coloured silicone straps for £25. The colours are orange, plum and teal.

The watch has a dial for the hands and minute hands. The other dial moves from 0 to 100% of step target. On the app you set how many steps is you goal. The Health Mate app displays a whole range of data, more of which I will cover off in my review.

The first thing I noticed is the comfort of the strap. Next the watch size is smaller than expected. I think changing the strap for orange or black leather would be a better choice. I cannot believe this doesn’t need charging and lasts 8 months. This takes all the pain out of charging a tracker. My main issue is the watch costs around £139 but just doesn’t look expensive enough.

However, seeing the analogue dial move round felt far less stressful than having an actual number of steps travelled on the screen. Opening the health app does reveal step count and more.

More soon.

More info & latest pricing on Amazon UK

Sony MDR-XB950BT Bluetooth Headphones – Redefining Bass – First Impressions 

Nothing in life will prepare you for the Sony MDR-XB950BT headphones. Nothing!

The Sony headphones arrived about 3 days ago and I have been putting them through the paces in both Bluetooth and wired mode. 

Some basic specs – 

– Bluetooth with NFC

– 20 hours battery life

– Bass Boost button

– Foldable cups 

– Sensitivty 102 db/mW

– 40mm dynamic driver 

– Frequency range 3 – 28,000 hz with headphones cable, 20 -20,000 hz Bluetooth mode

The very first thing I wanted to do when I received these headphones was pair them to my Samsung Galaxy S7 and listen to the bass these headphones are meant to be able to produce. I think I swore when I first heard them. I then thought the bass boost button was left on, so I pressed it, and OMFG. The bass and sub bass was so extreme my teeth felt like they could rattle. I’ll be honest I don’t use the bass boost button as these headphones produce plenty without it. I do however press it and listen for a few minutes just to bring a smile to my face a few times a day.

Now you can also connect these via the supplied audio cable. Bluetooth turns off. So does the use of the bass boost button. But in wired mode these operate at a gut drawing level of 3 – 28,000 hz. They also sound better too in wired mode. And there is still epic levels of bass. 

Now the cons. I have listened to every genre. Some tracks collapse with the bass levels and sound wrong. But the majority are fine. In fact, in some cases having the extra bass or I should say sub bass adds a whole fun listening level. Some jazz and classical tracks really worked well with these. Some just got swamped with too much bass as the mids got lost. For example Michael Buble, Feeling Good has lots of depth and didn’t get ruined by the extra bass. With dance , rap or electronic music these are like being at a rave or club, and even better if you switch on the bass boost button!

These headphones aren’t for everyone, but I love them. They go against all the rules I believe in, but they add swagger to a lot of my music across many genres that for the times the bass becomes overpowering, I just skip to the next track or lower the bass in the equaliser settings. These are my first impressions, and I will evaluate these for a longer period and report back accordingly.

The question to ask yourself, are you brave enough to own a pair 🙂 

Available from Amazon UK – Click HERE.