Tag Archives: part 3

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Camera Shootout – Part 3

Welcome back to my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Camera Shootout Part 3. Scroll back to read Part 1 and Part 2.

In Part 3 I will be looking at some specific aspects of the camera. Firstly, how does the S7 Edge cope with sun flare and shooting directly in to the sun. I also added some shots from the Apple iPhone 6S Plus as a comparison. It is worth noting that you can record video with still photos and at the same time as snapping panoramic shots.

Sun Flare Shots

The first shot is from the iPhone 6S Plus and then from the S7 Edge. From my point of view the S7 Edge does a better job.

Church of St Michaels - Sun Flare Test 2 #iphone6splus

Church of St Michaels - Sun Flare Test 2 #SamsungS7Edge

Another test. iPhone 6S Plus first then the S7 Edge.

Church of St Michaels, Princetown - Sun Flare Test #iphone6splus

Church of St Michaels, Princetown - Sun Flare Test #SamsungS7Edge

Aiming at the Sun

Below is a shot from the S7 aiming directly at the sun itself. Rather impressive.

Cloud Extravaganza - Into the Sun #SamsungS7Edge

Selective Focus

This mode should not be ignored. You can create some really arty shots with this mode. Here the church cross becomes centre of attention with the background all blurred nicely.

The Cross That Divides Reality - Selective Focus Mode #SamsungS7Edge

Vertical and Horizontal Panoramas

Below are two panoramic shots from the S7 Edge.The speed of taking and saving these photos is super fast. Decent size outputs as well.

Horizontal Panoramic view of Church of St Michaels Graveyard #SamsungS7Edge

Vertical Panoramic of Church of St Michaels #SamsungS7Edge

Close Up

And finally a close up shot of a headless tap.

Headless Tap #SamsungS7Edge


Overall some good photos. Part 4 will be looking at low light and night shots. Long exposures in Pro mode will be used too to see what tricks can be pulled off by this phone. This will go live on Monday.

All I can say is the night and low light post on Monday is staggering and needs to be seen to be believed. For this post I did test the S7 Edge vs iPhone 6S Plus as well. 


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Apple iPhone 6S Plus – iCloud, Apple Watch – Part 3 – The Lows, Highs and Findings

It will be nearly two weeks with the iPhone 6S Plus and Apple Watch. It has been 2 weeks of jubilation and frustration, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Lows

iCloud Photos and iTunes Match. Apple senior support had to remote access my macbook to resolve the mess left by iTunes Match. iCloud Photos had a mind of its own, and has taken nearly 2 weeks to get in sync. In fact, I nearly decided to go back to Google Photos but gave it one more chance. Again it took Apple senior support to help resolve the issues initially with iCloud Photos.

The issues I had with the iCloud services drove my mad, to the point a few days in that I wondered if I had made a mistake switching my main phone from the LG G4 to the iPhone 6S Plus.

High mobile data usage. WiFi assist is a great feature, but again I think my upload speed at home meant it was uploading 4K video using my mobile internet and wifi. Consequently my first week with the phone used 2.5gb, which is normally what I use per month. By default, this setting is left on. It is worth noting this could happen. I also noticed at the Apple store Plymouth, the genius employees were deactivating this on 3 phones while I was there.

The Findings

Fortunately, when matters get crazy frustrating, I have patience and try to find what the rules/parameters software and hardware work to. My conversations with Apple senior support where also about trying to establish the rules and parameters of what does what under given circumstances.

If you are going to use iCloud for the very first time like myself, make sure you have fast internet for both upload and download speeds. My upload is slow and I do believe this contributed to the issues I had. Thinking back when I uploaded my music to Google Music it took 6 weeks. I also have to remember that I have used Google for years and years continuously so it has all my data already and knows what I do and when I need it. Apple, iCloud and Siri are on a learning curve, the data needs time to upload and sort itself out. Sometimes, it appears as if the cloud isn’t doing anything, and that may be the case as its having a coffee break. But it does start again and once my library was stored correctly future uploads are fine.

The Highs

I am pleased I gave iCloud Photos another go. It all works dandy now. Changes appear instantly across any Apple devices, and if I use my Chromebook and go to http://www.icloud.com I have access to my photos there as well. In fact, despite Apple refunding my iTunes Match subscription I am thinking about giving it a go again, but this time after my Apple Music trial has expired. When I switch iTunes Match on again, I will do this at a place with a fast upload speed to avoid any time out issues.

The phone itself is a wonderful piece of technology. iOS 9 is a bit of a learning curve for me as there are a lot of new ways of doing stuff and features but it is so good to use. 3D Touch, Apple Pay, the camera and all the apps are superb. The camera is not the best at one single aspect eg still shots goes to the LG G4, but as an overall package across all the different modes it is consistent and a decent shooter and always only takes a single shot to get that perfect shot. The Photos app allows for non destructive editing which syncs the edits across several devices. The features of the Photos app are excellent too. The iPhone is the only phone that has a burst mode that can take 999 shots in one go. In fact, I am not sure my DSLR could manage that many and then save them in such a short time either. So with 4K video, decent photos, you can use iMovie to create a slick movie in seconds. I miss not having iMovie on other non Apple phones.

Apple Pay really does just work. Raise your phone and near a terminal, your credit card image appears automatically, hold the Touch ID button and voila. All of one second. So far I have used it at MacDonalds, Costa Coffee and Marks and Spencers. I actually have used the phone once and the Apple Watch for the other 2 purchases.

And finally apps. A year ago if anyone had asked me I would have said android and iOS were equal when it came to apps. In fact android had some advantages due to its sharing options. With iOS 9, Touch ID and 3D Touch and gaming on iOS in my brief time with the 6S Plus, my view is swinging to iOS having an advantage. Apps feel and run smoother on the iPhone. In fact the whole user experience of the iPhone 6S Plus is a joy to use. Even Apple Maps has not failed me yet for car directions and even walking.

Link all of the above with the Apple Watch, iPad, MacBook and any other Apple eco system component and the benefits of continuity and handoff occur.

Now, in case you’re wondering if I am ditching android all together, this is not the case. I have several devices on test at the moment along with several reviews too. I also use a BlackBerry Curve daily, as this is a work issued phone.

Honor Holly – Review – Conclusion

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Welcome back to part 4 of my review on the Honor Holly. Today I will cover off my final thoughts on this lovely budget phone.

Huawei have produced a decent budget phone with the Honor Holly that is dual sim, 16gb storage with micro sd expansion and a camera that took much better photos than I expected. The included software provides enough to get most people off the ground with an all round capable budged priced smartphone.

Its additional versatility with the dual sim really makes it stand out from the crowd. I can see this being a popular addition to the Honor range. And at the moment it is on for pre order at Amazon UK for only £74.99!!

Yotaphone 2 – Review – Part 3 – Camera, Audio and More

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Welcome back to part 3 of my review on the Yotaphone 2.

Today I am going to cover off the camera and audio aspects and any other titbits.

First up lets talk audio or sound. The loudspeaker is on the bottom edge, goes reasonably loud but is a little tinny. The sound through the wired headphones is not so hot. For some people it would be fine, but not for me. However, as soon as I connected my bluetooth headphones it was a different story. The music was so much better and a joy to listen to. But what about USB Audio. Using my USB Sabre DAC and USB Audio Player Pro app I was able to get USB Audio to work just fine.

The camera. 8mp on the rear, 2.1mp on the front. And being dual displayed comes with a few extra features. Firstly, the camera app is the default Google Camera app, so don’t expect any surprises. But don’t let the low resolution of the front camera put you off. Why? Well you can use the rear camera to take a selfie as the e-ink display will show your face to help take the shot. Also, when using the rear camera normally, 2 eyes appear on the e-ink display or a fake camera as shown above. Clearly Yotaphone have a sense of humour. There are other software novelties that appear when using a range of other apps. But what about the quality of the shots. Well on Sunday, I went out walking my 3 dogs. The lighting was poor and overcast so I did not expect brilliant shots. When I got home and examined them I was pleasantly surprised as they were better than expected. There are plenty of better cameras available but the f/2.0 clearly helped with my running dogs. I have created a Flickr album for the YotaPhone 2. Click here – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157650816294865/

In the meantime, below are some camera shots taken with the phone. Most are completely unedited.

Early Cols and Overcast Morning by Windy Post on Dartmoor with the Doggies #Yotaphone2

Early Cols and Overcast Morning by Windy Post on Dartmoor with the Doggies #Yotaphone2

Early Cols and Overcast Morning by Windy Post on Dartmoor with the Doggies #Yotaphone2

Early Cols and Overcast Morning by Windy Post on Dartmoor with the Doggies #Yotaphone2

Acer Jade S55 – Part 3 – Camera, Screen and Audio

Welcome back to part 3 of my Acer Jade S55 review. Today is all about the camera and audio. There will another post with some camera samples.

Before I start on the camera, I will discuss the audio quality for music and the loudspeaker. The phone comes with DTS HD Premium Sound option, which gives adjustments for bass, treble and EQ presets for music and video to choose from. Music presets are flat, classical, dance, jazz, pop and rock. Video presets are flat, drama, action and MTV. The loudspeaker is just average and lacks bass levels found on the HTC One M8. But to be honest I would also connect a bluetooth speaker to any phone. Plug in your headphones and it is a different ball game altogether. In the box are a pair of in ear headset headphones which are best to be left in the box, as their sound quality are poor. To test the audio quality I therefore attached some decent over the ear headphones. For this test I used my V-Moda Crossfade M-100s. The Acer Jade S55 had no issue powering these to a decent volume and provided an average the audio quality which was better than I had expected. The treble was a little over the top at times too. However, at the price point the audio was reasonable.

Bluetooth. No issues playing through my stereo bluetooth headset/headphones. Loud, dynamic and punchy.

The screen is my opinion is good. As I type this, I am watching a YouTube video with my headphones plugged in. And it looks great. Just shows you how far screen technology has moved on at the lower price points.

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So lets move on to the camera. Firing up the camera takes you to a simple layout. The HDR button can be changed, more later on that.

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So lets look at all the camera settings. The screen shots below are pretty self explanatory.

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What is unusual is the resolution at 16:9 or 4:3 can both be set at 13mp.

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In terms of ISO control, this increasing from AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800 and even as high as 1,600.

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To explain some of the not so obvious shooting modes, Bright Magic is ideal for dark scenarios, AEB takes 3 shots at different exposure levels and then shows all 3 photos for you to decide which one(s) you want to keep.

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In terms of shooting modes there are several options. Whatever option you choose will become the second button available. If you look above my selection was HDR. So pressing the big camera shutter button takes a standard shot, but then pressing the smaller one shoots HDR. Taking HDR shots takes about a second and a half per shot.

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So what about the camera quality? Well don’t forget this has a f/1.8 for the rear camera so it should take a good shot even in low light conditions. In reality I had some pleasurable results.. Some shots were really good and with some I did get some from blurry shots. But the more I used the phone, the better my photos were.

Have a look at the photo samples and decide for yourself.

Honor 6 – review – part 3 – camera

Welcome back to my next instalment of the Honor 6 review. Today, I am going to look at all the camera options.

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Above is a screen shot of the various shooting modes included. Something for everyone! I will have an additional post with more camera samples using as many of the modes as possible. Panoramic shots can be vertical or horizontal. Smart mode decides which is the best mode to use based on what you are about to shoot. HDR is self explanatory but I have found it is best to keep it in Smart Mode as the Honor 6 really does know when to switch to HDR. Best shot takes 10 photos in an instant and selects for you the best photo. You can override this as necessary. Watermark adds 10 different watermarks over your snap. Some are cute, weather stamp, food stamp and editable too. I will have some sample photos in my other post today. Audio control uses your voice to take the photo and works well. Audio notes allows you to add a little message with each photo. All focus is a selective focus type mode and the others are all self explanatory. I would recommend always using smart mode. It did a superb job.

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Various options for the picture sizes. Note bottom left George fast asleep 🙂

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More still photo options from object tracking to smiles. Dependent on the shooting mode, you have control of ISO from 100 to 800, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and brightness.

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Next up video file options. Note there is no 4k video. Other video options include beauty mode, object tracking, stabiliser and HDR video.

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And finally some other random camera settings.

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Selfie mode is clever as a box appears. Here you concentrate in getting your face correct. It will then appear correctly and not look odd once the selfie is snapped.

Another smart camera mode is with the device off, double press the volume down. This triggers Ultrasnap. A photo is taken within a second. So that means, phone turns on, camera app opens, shot is focused on and picture taken all in less than a second. And it works. Every time!

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Tomorrow, I will write my final part covering off the audio options and more.

Samsung Note 4 – camera action shots – part 3

Yesterday I created 2 posts with some examples of how the Note 4 handles fast moving objects. In my case it was dogs. I have included a few more and some stills. It was sunrise so tricky lighting with some when shooting in to the sun.

Part 1 – click here.

Part 2 – click here.

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Camera exif for shot above. ISO 40. 1/461. F/2.2.

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Camera exif for shot above. ISO 40. 1/348.

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Camera exif for shot above ISO 40. 1/141.

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 ☺

BlackBerry Passport – Impressions part 2 – will it bend?

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This question has been asked by so many people.

“BlackBerry Passport, will it bend”

“Answer – not even Superman can bend the BlackBerry Passport”

Next week starting on Monday, I will give me views on the software, audio quality, camera verdict and much much more.

The Passport is in a live battery test. So far at 6.30am it’s managed 24 hours and has 10% battery left.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus – more impressions part 3

Just a quick update on yesterday’s impressions and observations.

1) FaceTime video calls whilst moving in a car are not possible as the video image is blurred deliberately. This is a clever safety move.

2) Camera – I just took a few random snaps yesterday. Without a doubt the iPhone 6 Plus is such a competent shooter. I do need to test the burst mode out properly though.

3) I’ve sorted the iCloud photo syncing. Problem relates to the Mac not having iCloud Drive yet.

4) Overall the iPhone 6 Plus is proving to be reliable and fun to use.

5) Yesterday evening I charged the iPhone to 100% before I went to bed. I unplugged it and this morning the battery is still at 100%.

LG G3 – review – part 3

Welcome back to the LG G3 review part 3. Don’t forget to scroll back a few days to read parts 1 and 2.

One question I was asked about the LG G3 was battery. Just how much a toll does a 2.5k screen impact the battery. LG have stated the G3 has many battery saving options, that help ensure good battery life. Some are applied automatically and some require user intervention. So below are some screenshots showing battery stats at the half way mark.
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So from 6am to 4pm the G3 battery stands at 53%, with another 12 hours remaining and a typical 4-5 hours on screen time. So in essence the G3 will get you through a typical day. My G3 has loads of background processes, push email and other cloud services always running. But what impacts the battery is heat. When the phone detects heat build up you will not be able to crank the brightness slider up to 100%. And when the phone gets hot, the battery may drop faster. However, every phone I have used which get hot, all suffered from a faster battery drain. But what about playing an action type game like Asphalt 8. The G3 has to push 534 pixels per inch, and that does impact the duration of the battery. Nothing can beat the law of physics. However, LG’s methods of boosting the battery do work. So what you get is an android phone with a crazy hi res screen, that has similar battery performance to the majority of the android phones available to date. The G3 does have seriously stunning battery performance when in standby. It sips the battery at a very slow rate! Overall, I always get through a working day and with enough juice until I go to bed. WiFi, Bluetooth and Location Mode are all active. Location services are left in high mode too.

Lets move on to storage. The UK LG G3 is a 16gb storage/2gb ram configuration. I bought the European version which is the same as the UK D855 G3 except you have the option to get it in 32gb/3gb ram. And with all my games and apps installed, this is my storage stats.
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As you can see, it feels liberating to have so much space available plus the 3gb ram must make a difference to the overall performance, even if it is marginal. If nothing else, it future proofs the device for longer.

Moving on to some other options with the G3. One handed use is an option in the settings.
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The one handed options are useful, but I am having no issues using the G3 normally. I think this is because it fits snugly in the hand and the weight distribution is well balanced.

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It is worth exploring the accessibility options in the settings app. As shown in the above screen shots there are some interesting options. The screen colour adjustment allows you to adjust the colour contract and hue. There is also an option for text messages and calls to be announced. The body of a text message is not read out aloud, just who sent the message or is calling. If the notification LED is not bright enough, you can enable Flash Alerts. This triggers the camera flash when you receive notifications and incoming calls.

And the last item to be covered today, is the option to enable shortcut keys on the rear volume buttons.
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When the G3 is off, a long press on the volume up launches quick memo and on the volume down launches the camera.

Tune in for part 4 tomorrow.

Any questions, please ask.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom – review part 3 – camera, software, solutions and more

Welcome back to part 3 of my review of the Samsung K Zoom. To recap on specs and a video highlighting the K Zoom click here https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/introducing-the-new-samsung-galaxy-k-zoom-video/

To recap and part 1 of the Samsung K Zoom click here https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/samsung-k-zoom-review-part-1/ and part 2 click here https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/samsung-k-zoom-review-part-2/

To see the full resolution photos shown below head over to my Flickr K Zoom album. There are other shots there too https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157644532639249/

Let me start by saying this will be a longer than normal article and will be the only one today as a consequence. Well, apart from a 10 x zoom separate post.

Over the last few days I mentioned some issues with phone signal strength. I live on Dartmoor, and phone signal inside my home can be zero, one or two bars at most. The K Zoom was losing signal often and seemed to be weaker when out and about. However, after discussing with @stevelitchfield, @1pynt21gigawatt @mobilemandan and @richardcyates on twitter, we came up with a setting adjustment which seems to make a marked improvement. In other network settings, I changed the network from auto select carrier to selecting my carrier 3 UK, and then the band to just WCDMA instead of LTE, WCDMA and GSM. Simple, but effective. It is still not the strongest signal, but it now has signal more times than not!

This in turn left me investigating my universal GPS mount and realised the side arms moved up and down as well as inwards. So I have now tested the GPS and this works fine, especially as I have resolved the signal strength to an acceptable working level.

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So from top to bottom, Camera widget, My Magazine which is accessed by swiping to the left on the first home screen, and finally, my main home screen with folder and widgets. The Camera widget is very useful for accessing key camera and photo apps.

On board Samsung have included the latest version of Camera Studio.
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Camera studio is an excellent photo editing app with loads of options. With this app you really should not need another photo editing app. Any amendments can be saved as a high resolution 8mp or lower 5mp file.

The Pro Suggest Market app is where you can download shooting mode effects based on what the camera identifies your scene to be. You can either when shooting photos let the K Zoom give you a range or options or use your own. More on that below.

I mentioned in part 1 of my review there was nearly no Samsung bloatware. Well, there is an optional My Galaxy app to download with only Samsung Apps installed. Below is screen shot of My Galaxy and the Galaxy Gifts available for the K Zoom. Warning if you have used some of the free trials already on another Samsung device, you may not get the full trial periods on offer if they have expired. If so, use a different email for your Samsung account.

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Now on to the camera options. 27 shooting modes. You can manage which ones you want displayed, and whether a grid or not.
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And of course you can manage the modes as mentioned above.

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Below are screen shots of the camera settings available.

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As you can see from above, selecting the Pro Suggest mode and half pressing the camera shutter button and releasing brings up some suggestions based on the shot in the view finder. Apart from the pre selected modes you can choose Program or Manual mode. The manual range of adjustments in these modes offers a finer control as shown below.
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So lets take a look at the impact of using the Zoom feature. Standing in the same spot I took the following 3 shots. One of the front view of Exeter Cathedral, then a close up of the front architecture and finally the top spire which I could have zoomed in even closer!

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If you want to see some more examples from the camera click here for my Flickr album https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157644532639249/

I have also taken many other photos in all conditions from darkness to daylight and all have been good shots. Without a doubt, this phone is one of the best, if not best cameras on any phone at this time. To give you an idea of its benchmarking score see screen shot below.
KZoom

Even with some of the issues or weaknesses it has, I am more than likely going to carry on using this as my main device or driver and end up selling the Samsung S5.

In a few weeks time, I will report back with my feelings to see if anything has changed.