Tag Archives: part 2

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Camera Shootout – Part 2

Yesterday, I published part 1 of my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera comparison which involved comparing the S7 Edge photos to those from the Apple iPhone 6S Plus.

So today I am going to look at shots taken on the S7 Edge and add some commentary. If you won’t to view the originals, click on the photo and select full size. Don’t forget to allow a bit of time for all the shots to appear.

Burst Shots

The two photos below are from a burst photo. Each vehicle was a separate burst. I actually ended up performing this test on 6 different cars but the results were identical. I wanted to see how many shots of the vehicle I could capture as a car drove passed in the frame of the S7 Edge. Worst case was 14 in focus shots of the vehicles up to 19. That’s right all the burst shots for each vehicle were in focus. As you can see it is not a bright day either. Really impressive.

High Speed Bursts #SamsungS7Edge

High Speed Bursts #SamsungS7Edge

Macro

The close up of the leaf is superb. Not much more to say other than if you recall yesterday was a day of strong winds so quick focusing was really needed!

Scenes around St Michael's Church, Meeth, Devon #SamsungS7Edge

Random Shots of St Michael’s Church, Meeth, Devon

Some random shots of the church. The colours are a little over saturated, except the gravestone was really that green!

Scenes around St Michael's Church, Meeth, Devon #SamsungS7Edge

Scenes around St Michael's Church, Meeth, Devon #SamsungS7Edge

Scenes around St Michael's Church, Meeth, Devon #SamsungS7Edge

Scenes around St Michael's Church, Meeth, Devon #SamsungS7Edge

Bull & Dragon Pub

The Bull & Dragon Pub is next door to the church literally. Here is the sign against a backdrop of awkward sky lighting. I like this photo.

Bull & Dragon #SamsungS7Edge

Overall some good shots from the S7 Edge camera.

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Apple iPhone 6S Plus – Extreme Low Light – Photography Special Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my iPhone 6S Plus Photography special. To recap on Part 1 click here – https://gavinsgadgets.com/2015/10/12/apple-iphone-6s-plus-photography-special-video-and-photos-part-1/

Over the last few weeks I have been exploring several camera apps that all claim to help or add something to the photography experience when taking photos. The apps I tested were the default Apple camera app, Slow Shutter, Camera+, Camera Vortex and Nightcap Pro. The 6S Plus was on a tripod for all these night shots. Camera Vortex and Slow Shutter did a terrible job, so I have omitted their photos.

The setting was my local church which has been photographed by most of my smartphones and if you want to see loads of photos of the church was a multitude of angles head over to my flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100 . The Church is called the Church of St Michaels and All Angels. The time of day was passed dusk and the last shots were taken inside the graveyard in near pitch black. I will add commentary on each shot and also at the end I have linked to low light shots from the LG G4 and Honor 6+ that I took.

The developer of Nightcap Pro, Chris Wood, has been extremely helpful trying to help me extract the best from his app. He also gave some interesting insight into the new iPhones –

“The iPhone​ 6s / 6s Plus cameras are a solid upgrade except in very low light where they perform slightly worse than the 6 / 6 Plus and even the older 5s. The smaller pixels mean higher resolution but since they’re smaller, there’s less area for light to hit which means it doesn’t receive as much light. Apple have done a great job in compensating for that with better technology, though. However, the camera is also limited to just 1/3 second exposures, which is 50% less than the 6 / 6 Plus which go to 1/2 second, so the end result is slightly worse performance.”

You'll see why I got in touch with the developer of Nightcap Pro as his app was the best by far for creating a usable low night shot of the church.

First let's take a look at what the default camera app can achieve.

Flash first. Shutter was 1/17, with ISO 2000.

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

HDR on, no flash, shutter 1/17 , ISO 2000.

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

Auto mode, no HDR, no flash, shutter 1/4, ISO 640. A less noisy shot and the best of the 3 from the Apple default camera app.

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

Using Nightcap Pro, the shot below was taken in pitch black conditions. Using long exposure mode for around 20 seconds. ISO is showing as 3,200, but you wouldn’t know it.

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light Camera Test - Pitch Dark - Nightcap Pro - Long Exposure

So with Camera+ using full manual settings, this was the best shot possible at 1/4 second shutter speed and ISO 1250. A noisy shot.
iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

So Nightcap Pro did a really good job. It also has other modes, so I was experimenting with some light trails as per the two shots below. Unfortunately, I live in a rural village, which means no traffic. After 3 hours only 2 cars drove through, hence why there is only 2 photos using this mode!

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

Nightcap Pro also has a mode to brighten up dark shots. Photo as below. There are many other features of Nightcap Pro, but the long and short of it, is that it takes brilliant night shots that are way better than the default camera app and many other third party iOS camera apps too.

iPhone 6S Plus Low Light camera test - full review at http://gavinsgadgets.com

To see how my LG G4 in manual mode coped with darkness at the same church click here – https://gavinsgadgets.com/2015/05/17/lg-g4-the-review/ . About half way down the review is shots taken at various shutter exposures.

As another point of reference is the super night mode from my Honor 6+. See here for shot of same church again using the super night mode – https://gavinsgadgets.com/2015/05/13/honor-6-the-review/

So in summary extreme low light is difficult on the iPhone 6S Plus unless you have Nightcap Pro ( https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/nightcap-pro/id754105884?mt=8 ) . I can only hope that as the 12mp rear camera is new, Apple will release software update to improve its results.

What do you think?

IFA 2015 – Show Report – Part 2

Following on from yesterday’s post here are some more gadgets of interest from IFA 2015.

Gigaset (Siemens) have launched 3 smartphones with a budget, mid and pro version. The hardware looked excellent and the specs are decent too.

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The Gigaset Me Pro features a 5.5 inch FHD display, weights 195g, features a stainless steel frame, 20mp rear and 8mp front camera, 3gb ram, 32gb storage, huge 4,000mAh battery, snapdragon 810, HiFi & Dirac, Dual nano sim, fingerprint sensor, UV sensor, heart rate sensor, pedometer, WiFi Mimi and all the LTE bands. More importantly it looked good and felt substantial in the hand.

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Audio was everywhere, from budget to hi end equipment. Block was in force with its hifi equipment with each component costing around 1,000 euros. Block equipment looks rather basic but sounds rather supreme. Less is more approach.

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Another audio company, this time from the UK, iFi Audio was demonstrating their headphone and DAC components from their portable micro iDSD to a mini rack setup as shown below. The micro iDSD works with Apple and android and the power output of this headphone DAC is dangerously high. Explosive in my testing. Whilst the micro iDSD is portable it is not pocket friendly due to its largish size.

More tomorrow.

LG Watch Urbane – Part 2 – updated

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Day 2.

I have experimented with more watch faces. Basically with an app called Watchmaker Premium (link to Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=slide.watchFrenzy.premium&hl=en ) it is possible to install practically any watch face you fancy. So no shortage of custom looks.

LG Support – my call to LG Support re getting the heart rate data to sync back to the watch is ongoing. LG have called me back several times re this issue. Basically on the LG G4 is LG’s app called LG Health. It is not recognising that the Urbane is connected and therefore not pulling any data from it. Instead the LG Health app is using the inbuilt G4’s pedometer. According to LG Support, its new and therefore that makes it reasonable to not work as advertised. I would love to express myself with a tirade of four letter words here. This is not acceptable and surely should have been tested. This is another LG app that is not working correctly. QuickRemote is another app not optimised for the LG G4.

Wrist control – this works like a charm. There is no need to touch the watch, just flick wrists up and down to scroll through notifications.

Voice control – OK Google seems fairly consistent at translating my voice or dictating my messages.

Straps – I have received a brown crocodile 22mm strap. I am still waiting for the strap removal tool and another strap, a bright orange sports strap. These other items are expected by Monday. Once I get everything, I will post photos of the new straps. The black leather strap that comes with the Urbane is really lovely. Brown leather looks even better IMO. The choice is yours as the Urbane uses a standard 22mm watch strap.

I am still exploring android wear apps and options. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know.

My main frustrating lies with the heart rate monitor/steps and its data not being transferred to the phone for analysis, nor have I found a way to use it to monitor my fitness whilst undertaking activities. Google Fit is the only app that collects steps but not heart rate. Google Fit is pretty useless IMO compared to the competition. LG Health app also needs updating asap.

I don’t accept LG Support casual remark that being new it’s ok to have bugs. In my mind this is a massive bug and should have been spotted immediately as it is so obviously not collecting heart rate data. Grrrr. Or transferring any data from the Urbane back to the phone.

The only consolation is the Urbane looks like a classy mens watch. And as a watch the time is always visible. No flicking wrists or lifting hands to activate the screen.

Honor Holly – Review – Part 2

Welcome back to the Honor Holly review part 2. Today I am going to cover the audio and camera.

The Honor Holly camera app has a number of options available including ISO controls all the way up to ISO 1,600. The burst mode captures up to 40 shots or you can amend the setting to allow up to 99 shots in a burst. The burst mode works fairly well. The separate post today covers off some of the camera shots taken on this phone.

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It also features a number of other options from HDR, Face detection and timer can be set for 2 or 10 seconds.

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Scene mode has options for night, sunset, party, portrait, panorama, night portrait, theatre, beach, snow, steady photo, fireworks, sports, candle light or auto. There is a number of colour filters available from whiteboard, blackboard, aqua, negative, sepia and mono.

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The main interface on the left side includes modes for panorama, face beauty, live photo mode (combines a photo and video) and the standard camera shooting mode. On the top right you can toggle HDR and the flash and switch between front and rear camera.

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All in all a competent set of options and in my testing a good camera too that punches above it weight at its price point.

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The Honor Holly has its own music player app, similar to Honor 6 which I reviewed recently.It also includes a number of options in the graphic equaliser department as shown below.

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The loudspeaker sounded a bit tinny and the sound via the headphone socket was satisfactory. However, with the help of all the EQ options you could tweak it to your liking. I tried connecting via USB Audio but the Honor Holly does not support this.

Tomorrow I will provide my final thoughts on the Honor Holly.

Yotaphone 2 – Review – Part 2

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Welcome back to part 2 of my Yotaphone 2 review. Today I am going to take a closer look at the special software and other aspects of the phone.

I was asked if I could provide the AnTuTu and Geekbench 3 scores for the Yotaphone 2. Personally, I don’t like these scores as they can mean nothing in real life. But as a few of you asked for the information, here is the highlights. AnTuTu scored a respectable 39,878. Geekbench 3 produced the following scores 895 for the Single Core and 2661 for the Multi Score. To give you a comparison the Samsung Galaxy S5 is similar to the single core and multi core scores of the Yotaphone 2.

Considering the Yotaphone 2 uses a Snapdragon 801 processor the above scoring is totally in the range I expected.

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Anyway back to the Yotaphone 2 and its secondary display. When you first power up the phone for the very first time, you are guided through a tutorial which explains how to use the display. Useful. One feature I really liked was the Yota Mirror function that allowed you to send the display from the front to the rear. This is not simply switching displays but also converting the display to the lower e ink resolution. It is worth noting that the e-ink rear display is slower to use, has much longer refresh rates and ghosting does appear. However, it is totally usable and in many situations really superb to use.
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Yota provide 2 extra pieces of software on top of the Yota Mirror. These are YotaCover and YotaPanel which are managed by the YotaHub app. The YotaCover is the lockscreen for the e ink display. Yes a lockscreen to protect your private content if you so wish. It can also have notifications for email etc Here you can have a static or moving image. YotaPanels are up to 5 bespoke screens/panels of information that you can switch between. The recent firmware update increased the panels from 4 to 5 and also provided a white screen theme as shown in the photos. You can use the pre designed panel layouts or create your own. Some of the widgets which come in various sizes include a clock, battery, music player, calendar, appointments, app launcher and notifications. It is really customisable and clearly a lot of thought has gone into this section.
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But what else is included. Well lets just step back a moment. The Yotaphone 2 has a near stock android experience which is a good thing as it makes for a snappy device. But Yotaphone did include some apps and games to improve matters. I mentioned yesterday YotaSnap but it also has a powerful battery saving mode called YotaEnergy. You can preselect at what battery percentage you would like this to be activated or turn on manually. This has a number of options to decide whether you want wifi, bluetooth or other options turned off. YotaReader allows you to import books, (you could of course mirror Amazon Kindle app), YotaRSS uses Feedly, games included are Chess, Checkers, Sudoku and 2048, all of which are ideal to be played on the e ink display.

Tomorrow, I will look at the camera and audio/loudspeaker. If you have any questions, please let me know.

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Acer Jade S55 – Review – Part 2

Yesterday, I looked at the hardware design of the phone and today I am going to take a closer look at the software package.

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This is the home screen that you are shown after turning on for the first time. I have installed the Acer Liquid Leap manager SmartBand app.

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The lock screen has shortcut options and in practice swiping anyone of them works really smoothly.

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The notification settings options are the usual affair, but with a shortcut for the torch. Always handy to have that option close to hand.

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I mentioned yesterday Acer offer BYOC. Bring Your Own Cloud. This enables you to use your own PC as a cloud sycning solution for your music, photos, videos, files and documents. Each one of these options has its own app as you will see below in the screen shots.

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Apart from BYOC apps, Acer also include Acer Nav which is powered by TomTom. Handy.

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Acer do not add much bloatware to the phone. Chrome is the only web browser. Google Play is the music player. Consequently, out of the 16gb storage, just over 12gb is available.

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In terms of other apps, a FM radio, Easy Hotspot, File Manager, Livescreen, Polaris Office 5 (editing too), Power Save, QuickMode, System Doctor and Flash Light are added and not much more.

The Quick Mode app is rather good. It allows you to select from 3 easier to use home screen modes. In basic mode you get a list of apps on the home screen maximum. All accessing settings is password protected as it is for the other Quick modes. See screen shot below.

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Easy mode is similar but with large icons on home screen that scrolls up and can have more items added.See screen shot below.

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And lastly standard mode makes the icons smaller on the home screen but again with restricted access. All in all, I think Acer did a good job adding just enough, but also creating some easier to use home screen modes.

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Acer have also add a few of their own widgets.

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With plenty of widgets for the time and weather!

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In terms of operation the processor powering the phone does not seem to impact performance. It is a smooth affair moving from app to app. Antutu scoring revealed it only had one quarter of the performance versus the Note 4. And yet you would not know it in real life. Riptide GP2 played just fine. Call quality was ok too. The power button is on the top of the phone. This is not the best placement due to the height of the phone. The rear of the phone is a fingerprint magnet.

Tomorrow I will look at the camera and audio in more depth. If you have any questions, please let me ask in the comments or on social media in the usual places.

HTC Desire Eye – review – part 2 – sound and more

Welcome back to my review of the HTC Desire Eye. Click here to read part 1 – https://gavinsgadgets.com/2015/01/26/htc-desire-eye-review/

In part 2, I am going to look at a few other aspects of the Desire Eye and then focus on the sound and music. Part 3 which will be live tomorrow will focus exclusively on the cameras and software that is included for them. On Thursday, I will pen my final thoughts on the HTC Desire Eye.

So lets jump back into the review again and look at a few other neat aspects. Car Mode. Simple concept but in this mode you get thumping big icons to press which makes it easier and safer to use, and you can customise the apps you want to see too.

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The other aspect of Sense UI is the theme options where you can personalise the look. HTC include a number of themes that tweak the look across the apps and home screen. Again, a simple touch but ideal.

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HTC include 2 power saving modes. The standard power saving mode reduces the CPU, display brightness, turns off vibrations and puts data connection to sleep when the display is off. All these options are toggles. There is also a generic sleep mode option to turn off data during long periods of inactivity. And finally there is the Extreme Power saving mode which can turn on automatically when the battery reaches 5,10 or 20%. In this mode many android functions are turned off including the ability to wipe or remote lock the phone.

So what can really add to the experience of a device. SPEAKERS. SOUND. The listening experience. And lets get straight to the point. Decent front facing stereo experiences makes everything from playing YouTube videos to listening to music and podcasts and absolute joy. And thats what the Desire Eye has behind tiny nearly hidden grills at each end on the front – stereo boomsound speakers. These front speakers are not as bassy as the HTC One M8, but nonetheless are still commendable and better than many other phones.

HTC include their own music app which can automatically update the album art, artist photos and lyrics. I copied across initially a few tracks and within a minute all the photos etc were fetched.

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So as I started talking about the sound, lets continue. If you plug your headphones in your get a good sound with the emphasis on bass. The headphone amp is able to power the headphones to a loud level, higher than many phones. Boomsound EQ is a setting that can be turned on or off. When switched on ,which is the default setting, the music is slightly bass heavy and not necessarily the finest word when it comes to pure audio analysis. With boomsound off, the music is rather flat. I imagine most people will leave it on, and for modern music boomsound is just fine. But what I discovered is by connecting my Plantronics BackBeat Pro bluetooth headset/headphones, the sound is booming amazing. Again no shortage of bass, but much better than the wired connection. That is because the Desire Eye has APT-X codec for bluetooth music. This is a phone for the trendy modern person, so I imagine most people will enjoy the extra bass. Some won’t. However, you can install a different music app to regain some control over that bass and that is what I did.

I installed USB Audio Player Pro. I then connected my USB DAC (Sabre Android DAC) and Cayin C5 headphone amplifier. I can confirm that the HTC Desire Eye in this setup supported USB Audio. The sound was naturally miles better and totally accurate from an audiophile point of view. The phone did put a warning triangle in the notification bar advising during this mode, the phone could not be charged. Minor inconvenience I would say for the improvement in sound.

Tomorrow its all about the camera, the editing software and video highlights. Plenty to talk about on this subject!

Samsung Note 4 – George demonstrates the long jump in 5 stages – crazy action camera shots

Part 2 of my earlier post. Part 3 will be tomorrow.

For part 1, click here.

Here’s George showing off the long jump in 5 stages. The photos were snapped using the Note 4 default camera app.

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Pretty amazing shots from the Note 4 camera!

Update – exif data for all 5 shots. ISO 40, f/2.2 , 1/400

PS. If you are likely to shop on Amazon please help with the running costs and use my affiliate link – details here. Thanks in advance ☺

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BlackBerry Passport – Impressions – Part 3 – Active Panels, Battery, Screen and more

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So I have now had the Blackberry Passport for just over 5 days. My first post predominately covered the hardware and my very first thoughts. My next challenge was to understand the BlackBerry OS and its way of tackling tasks and moving between screens.

So at the moment, I have worked out how to tidy up my app home screen as shown above and create folders. I have also installed EBay, Flickr, WordPress and a few other apps, including a podcast app. I have a separate home page for games.

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A highly recommend the above podcast 🙂

So what’s the software like? Full of swipes and gestures and peeking. It does take a while to adjust and after 24 hours I was just getting to grips with the functionality. In fairness, I’ve been very busy so not spend much time with it properly other than actually use it as a phone and communicator. With the display off you can swipe from the bottom up in an arc to the left or right to turn the screen back on. You can even set an option that turning the Passport on to its front switches the display off. Turning it back over and the displays comes back on. In applications, two finger swipe downwards pulls down the quick toggles. Screen shot at the bottom of the page. In any app, pull from the top edge downwards with one finger brings up the app settings. Swipe up from the bottom edge brings you back into the multitasking page. The running apps shown below are active panels. They change and display information depending on what type of app it is and how it is configured to work in this mode. I must admit it is becoming more natural to use. I have both the Passport and iPhone 6 Plus on the sofa and when a new notification arrives, it is the Passport that I prefer to pick up and use to respond.

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The toggles menu accessed in any app with two fingers swipe down from top of screen. In home screen only one finger is needed.

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After realising I had several app updates waiting in BlackBerry world, a new app appeared. Virtual Expert provides information about the Passport. This app also allows you to test all the different functionality of the phone, like an engineer mode.

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And here you can see some battery stats. These were the first lot of battery measurements take. The battery has improved after subsequent charges. For my usage, The Passport will last 24 hours or so, but I would recommend charging it overnight. I gather the next update to the firmware will include a battery saver mode. It does seem to drain more battery than I would have expected in standby mode. I would hope the next software update will help improve matters.

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The Passport also has peeking options. With half gestures movements you can have a sneak peek at the Hub, running apps and on the lock screen summaries of the types of notifications received.

However, what makes the BlackBerry a BlackBerry is the Hub, it’s keyboard, and overall functionality. The OS is rather enjoyable to use, even though it’s different to other systems. So let’s talk about the Hub today.

The BlackBerry Hub is a central area to manage all your conversations and prioritise the ones that are important to be seen first. The Hub amalgamates email, text, BBM, phone calls, all your social media accounts and more. So I had my google accounts, yahoo, BBM, Twitter and a few more all setup in the Hub. For privacy reasons I cannot show you any screen shots. You also get system alerts too. Even Flickr upload alerts appeared in the Hub. And the Hub is always a swipe away. So with all the messages and notifications and more you can reply directly from within the Hub. After a few days of using the Hub it really does become a smooth way of quickly seeing, replying and managing your communications. And as mentioned above, it is by far my preferred device for replying to all my different types of notifications from social media, texts, emails and more.

And one of the promoted features is the 4.5 inch screen. And you know what it really is handy for many uses and means never having to rotate the screen, even though rotation is supported!

So below are a few screen shots showing you what certain applications look like on a 4.5 inch screen.

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And with the Passport you can use the keyboard as a trackpad to scroll up and down web pages.

So what do you think so far ?