Tag Archives: Review

Huawei Mate 9 – Camera Showcase Part 2


Huawei Mate 9. My review will appear shortly but for now sit back and enjoy some of the photos taken on this superb phone.

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Plantronics BeatBeat Pro 2 – Flagship Bluetooth Headphones – My Review

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Bluetooth headphones review. Welcome to my next bluetooth headphone review. This Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are the new flagship bluetooth headphones from Plantronics. They have replaced the original BackBeat Pro headphones which were excellent in their own right.

Key Features / Specifications

– Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband)
– Up to: 24 hours of listening time, six months’ DeepSleep
– Rechargeable, non-replaceable lithium-ion battery
– Charge Time: Up to 3 hours
– Wireless Range: Stream music up to 100 metres (330 feet)
– Multi-Point: Yes
– Microphones: Dual microphones with DSP
– A2DP: Yes
– Voice Alerts: Status alerts for remaining battery
– HP Drivers: 40 mm dynamic drivers
– In the box: BackBeat PRO 2 headphones, micro-USB charge cable, 3.5mm cable, travel sleeve
– Weight: 0.64 lbs / 289 grams

Bluetooth headphones seem to be getter better and better. Everyone wants a slice of this market, and it seems wired headphones are quickly being relegated to the bin. So it should come as no surprise that Plantronics decided to update and improve their original BackBeat Pro headphones.

So how did Plantronics improve the Pro 2’s over the original. First of all, the BackBeat Pro 2 are approximately 50g lighter. The reduction in weight makes a huge difference to the overall comfort. Next, the design of the headphone cups is now rectangular in style. This provides a better fit over the ear and this also adds to the improved comfort. The next improvement is the sound quality. The BackBeat Pro 2 still have deep bass but with more control, but now the mids and treble are improved too. This creates a wider soundstage, clearer vocals and more detail in the mids. Or in simple language, these sound fantastic and are wonderful to use over very long periods. The bass is enhanced so if you prefer a flatter sound, these aren’t for you. Personally, I have enjoyed listening to these with every genre.

However, its not just the sound quality that make these headphones special. They are firmware upgradeable but you need a mac or pc for this and if you find you are on firmware 1.8 you definitely want to upgrade it to v1.9 or above as the difference is noticeable and makes the headphones rock solid when it comes to holding the bluetooth connection. Firmware v1.8 had a few issues. I originally tried to update the firmware on my Mac, but the updater wouldn’t work. I had to use a friend’s laptop!

There is an iOS and android app that provides a help menu and a few other options. The BackBeat Pro 2 allow you to move around up to 100m away and still maintain a connection. Other features like stopping the music automatically when removing them from you head, and restarting the song when you place them back on is rather neat. Call quality was good on these too. The headphones have all the controls you could dream of as listed in the key features.

One of the aspects I like is being able to use the bluetooth connection with or without active noise cancellation. At home, in the peace and quiet, I don’t need noise cancellation. In terms of noise cancellation the BackBeat Pro 2 managed a reasonable job of removing noise but they are not as good as the Bose QC35.

Video Review

Now watch the video review to learn more about the headphones.

Conclusion

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 correct some of the weaknesses of the original BackBeat Pro’s. There are more comfortable and fit better. More importantly, they sound incredible. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Plantronics BackBeat Pro – more info & latest pricing on Amazon
The original BackBeat Pro headphones on Amazon
Link to all my headphone reviews on gavinsgadgets.

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Lenovo P2 – £199 of smartphone goodness and a 5,100mAh battery for 3 days use

I am currently putting the Lenovo P2 through its paces testing every aspect of this new phone that is available on Three UK for £199 on PAYG.

To give you some idea of what makes this phone special, take a look at the key specs –


The Key Specification

– 5,100mAh battery providing up to 3 days use
– Charge other devices – OTG cable in box and adapter
– 24W fast charging – 15 mins charge gives 10 hours of use
– Special Hardware Key slides to activate power saving mode
– 5.5 inch super amoled screen 1080p
– Full metal unibody design in a profile of just 8.5mm thin
– Processor – Snapdragon 625, Andreno 506 GPU
– Connectivity – VoLTE (4G Super-Voice),3G ,Wi-Fi,GPS,Bluetooth® ,NFC, FM Radio
– 32gb rom, 4gb ram
– Micro SD cards up to 128gb
– Headphone Jack
– Micro USB, USB Audio, OTG
– Sensors – Accelerometer,Gyroscope,Ambient light,Proximity,Magnetometer
– Bands – GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA: 850/900/2100 MHz,LTE: 800/900/1800/2600 MHz
– Dimensions – Height: 153 mm,Width: 76 mm,Depth: 8.5 mm
– Weight: 177 g
– Front Fingerprint sensor – special functions on sensor too
– Android Marshmallow
– Cameras – Rear – 13 MP, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, Front 5mp

My full review will be live soon, so if you have any questions please let me know either by leaving a comment below, or contacting me across social media.

Useful Links

Lenovo P2 on Three UK – Click HERE.

Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Honor 6X – Style and a Camera Bokeh Mode & more all for £224.99 – Detailed Camera Specs & Where To Order Now

Honor 6X - Grey (4)

Honor is back with its new Honor 6X. The Honor 6X has a dual camera setup. The main sensor (a Sony IMX386 sensor), is 12 megapixels, equipped with phase autofocus and LED flash, and a secondary 2 megapixel sensor, that helps deliver pro photography: Even in low light, noise levels are kept to a minimum thanks to Deep Trench Isolation, which isolates pixels to suppress blur. The result? A sharper picture quality with better colour reproduction, and no more challenges getting subjects in focus. The 12mp sensor has a 1.25um pixel size and can lock on focus in 0.3 seconds.

The 8mp front camera has a Prism ISP for superb selfies. The 8mp front camera has a 77 degree angle, and intelligent software that is self-adaptive for skin tone and can auto touch up faces.

The lens system consists of six layers to enhance uniformity of light and reduce screen distortion significantly. To add to this, Phase Detection Autofocus Technology (PDAF) promises camera focus on a rapid 0.3 seconds, guaranteeing moments won’t be missed. Wide Aperture mode sets the user up with a host of photographic effects with the ability to adjust f/0.95 – f/16, including watermarks, whilst guaranteeing a simple-to-use editing.

Honor 6X - Grey (2)

The other key specs start with its gorgeous looks using 2.5D glass and a metal frosted design. It comes equipped with a Kirin 655 processor (4 cores at 2.1GHz and 4 at 1.7GHz), 3,400 mAh battery, 5.5-inch screen 1080p Full-HD resolution (403 pixels-per-inch) 450nits brightness, 32gb rom, 3gb ram, micro SD cards up to 128gb, Micro USB faster charging at 5V 2A, a finger print sensor and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Where to Buy

The Honor 6X is available from January 4th in Grey, Gold and Silver on Honor’s vMall and Amazon for an incredible price of just £224.99, and with Three at the end of January, the exclusive provider for Honor.

More information at Amazon UK – Click HERE.
Honor 8 in blue is currently on offer – Click HERE

BlackBerry DTEK60 – Review – A True Powerhouse of a Phone from BlackBerry

Blackberry DTEK60 photos

Welcome to my review of the BlackBerry DTEK60. This is BlackBerry’s new flagship phone with killer specs, audio, security and camera. My thanks to Clove Technology for delivering the phone swiftly.

So does the DTEK60 from BlackBerry cut the mustard? Well, lets take a look at the key specifications and features.

Key Specifications/Features

– Android 6.0 Marshmallow – Full Google services and access to over 1 million applications
– BlackBerry DTEK security – Security that protects the private details of your life from being hacked
– Fingerprint sensor – Physical protection against unwanted access to the phone
– Regular security updates – BlackBerry have committed to delivering Google’s monthly security patches and OS enhancements
– BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard – Learns and provides word suggestions for up to 3 languages of your choice
– Customisable BlackBerry Convenience Key – Provides quick access to your most used applications and more
– 5.5″ QHD 534 ppi amoled screen – scratch resistant glass and nano coating to avoid fingerprint smudges
– 21 megapixel main camera -f/2.0 6 element lens, 4K Video 30fps
– 8 megapixel front camera – Capture great selfies even in low light with a front facing flash
– Snapdragon 820
– 32GB internal storage – 4gb ram
– MicroSD card slot – up to 2TB
– it has a headphone jack
– 4G LTE –
– 3,000 may battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge
– USB Type C
– Stereo loudspeakers

The Basics

The BlackBerry DTEK60 is probably the phone all BlackBerry users have dreamed of with a powerhouse of top end specs, decent stereo speakers, a superb QHD 534ppi amoled screen, a headphone jack, excellent headphone audio and bluetooth stereo.

The 3,000 mAh battery reached on average 4.5 hours screen on time. Some days, this was less, sometimes a little bit more than 4.5 hours. Standby time was ok. It did seem to lose more than other phones I have tested whilst in standby mode. Call quality was good.

The viewing angles of the screen were good too along with sunlight visibility. The screen adjusts the contrast and brightness making photo taking a breeze.

It also features BlackBerry’s DTEK security suite, keyboard, launcher and productivity apps including the BlackBerry Hub. There is a lot of nice useful bits of software from BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry launcher is fantastic too. It allows custom icon packs which 100s available on the Google Play Store. On the home screen, swiping up on an app opens up the app widget. The launcher also allows for a wide selection of shortcuts. More details on the video review.

Camera and Audio

Blackberry DTEK60

The DTEK50 has stereo speakers that sound superb and go loud. Lovely clarity and good volume. Brilliant for podcasts, gaming, watching YouTube videos and more. Headphone audio via the 3.5mm headphone jack was better than normal. Bluetooth audio was excellent. The phone has MAXX audio which adds to the whole enjoyment and quality. See video for more details.

Blackberry DTEK60 photos

The camera app is superb to use. I personally really like the camera app. The video below goes through all the options so do check that out. The photo quality is good too. The 21mp rear camera and 8mp front camera take lovely photos.

Shot on a Blackberry DTEK60 smartphone. Wonders of Dartmoor

A lovely macro shot.

Shot on a Blackberry DTEK60 smartphone. Wonders of Dartmoor

With poor light and fog. The above photo was superb.

Video Review

Below is the video section. The video helps compliment the written part to provide more detail around the phone construction, camera app, Blackberry apps and sound quality.

Conclusion

The BlackBerry DTEK60 is an excellent phone. It excels in all areas and in today’s cyber crime environment, has BlackBerry’s commitment to providing fast and regular security updates. Recommended.

Useful Links

Available from Clove Technology
Help support gavinsgadgets when you shop on Amazon – Click HERE.
If you wish to make a donation to help towards the running costs – https://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

Apple AirPods – My Review – The Wire Free Headphone Paradise

AirPods

Welcome to my review of the Apple AirPods.

The AirPods are probably one of the most anticipated products from Apple since it removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Judging by the 6 week waiting time many people are buying these.

I have already experienced Apple’s new W1 chip that is found inside the AirPods with the new Beats Wireless Solo 3 headphones. The W1 chip performs miracles with the connection process, locking on to the audio and then not dropping out any audio ever along with a huge distance possible from the iPhone. So my expectations were really high with the new AirPods.

Setup Process and Configuration Options

Just open the lid of little charging case the AirPods come in, and a message will pop up on your iPhone asking to pair. Tap connect, and voila. The AirPods will get renamed with your name. If you want to give them a different name, though, you can change it at any time via the settings app.

Now the AirPods are paired to your iPhone , via iCloud, the pairing syncs across all your Apple devices. Neat.

AirPods

So now whenever you pull your AirPods out of the charging case, they instantly turn on and connect to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac. Audio will automatically play as soon as you put them in your ears and pauses when you take them out. The controls work by using Siri. To adjust the volume, change the song, make a call or to get Siri to do anything else, just double-tap to activate to bring up Siri. You don’t need to say “Hey Siri”, just talk.

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If you head over to the settings app, tap bluetooth, then look for the Airpods in the list, and tap on the “i” you can now do the following –

– To change the AirPods name, open the settings app from your iPhone’s home screen. Tap on Bluetooth. Tap on the current name of your AirPods under My Devices. Tap on Name. Edit the name.

– By default, double tapping the AirPods activate Siri. Again in the settings you can switch between Siri, Play/Pause, or to disable double tap function. That’s all you can do at the moment in terms of the double tap functionality.

AirPods

In the settings app you can also tell the AirPods which side you would like the mic to work. Normally, both mics are on, but you can just have the left or right side if you desire. I would recommend leaving this setting alone, as the AirPods will decide where the best signal is coming from.

Do they fall out? No they don’t no matter how hard I tried. The AirPods use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they’re in your ears and automatically routes the sound and also engages the microphone. And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional accelerometer works with beam forming microphones to filter out background noise and focus on the sound of your voice.

Battery life is 5 hours of listening time on one charge. The case is a charging case and provides up to 24 hours of charge. A 15 min charge provides 3 hours of listening time.

Audio Quality / In Use Experiences

I have now used the AirPods for 8 hours. The 5 hour battery life is correct. I got 5 hours 15 mins on my first charge. Recharging them in the case was a speedy affair and I did check that the claim of a 15 min charge provides 3 hours of music. Impressive.

The AirPods are more comfortable than the EarPods. I am not sure why, but it might be because they are marginally lighter and sit better in my ears.

The charging case is smaller than I expected, which is great as it will easily fit in any pocket.

The AirPods have a stronger, fuller bass line that the EarPods and sound good with all genres. The mid and treble are average, but certainly not dull or recessed. The soundstage is middle of the road. The AirPods do sound better than the EarPods. The maximum volume is plenty loud enough for me.

At £159, there are headphones that sound better, but there are none that offer all the connectivity, flexibility, size, style and wire free convenience. The AirPods do not drop bluetooth connection and that in itself is remarkable.

I watched a number of YouTube videos and watched a TV programme. The voices were in sync. Walking down a very busy main road, I was still able to double tab and ask Siri a question. I used Siri to raise or lower the volume, skip tracks and more. It is worth noting, Siri can only change tracks with the official music app from Apple. Using Amazon Music or a third party music player app called Neutron, Siri could not skip to the next track.

I also tried the AirPods with my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. And as if by magic, the AirPods were showing up ready to select. Double tapping to bring up Siri to change tracks using iTunes work fine, albeit it is faster to manually press the next track on the Touch Bar. The AirPods sound superb when connected to the MacBook Pro.

When it comes to noise cancellation, the AirPods have none. You can use just one AirPod. If you take one of the AirPods out of your ears, the music stops. If you then ask Siri to play the music, it will now play through the other AirPod in mono. So if you wanted to listen to a podcast, and just use one AirPod at a time, you could manage 48 hours worth of battery life.

Overall, the entire package is beautiful to behold and a pleasure to use. The music quality is about 7.5/10.

Video Review

In the video below, I try and shake the AirPods out of my ears, unbox and reveal more about these little gems.

Conclusion

A superb product from Apple. Wire free headphones are the future. The future is now. Highly recommended.

Wileyfox Swift 2+ – The new budget flagship from Wileyfox – Does it cut the mustard? My review with bonus video

Wileyfox Swift 2+ Photos

Welcome to my review of the Wileyfox Swift 2+. This is the new budget flagship phone from Wileyfox. My thanks to Clove Technology for a swift delivery of the phone.

So does it cut the mustard in a world of increased competition?

First lets take a look at the key specifications.

Key Specifications/Features

– Cyanogen OS 13 – added customisation options and new lockscreen Mod support
– Based on Android 6.0 with full access to Google Play store
– 5″ HD 720p Screen, 32GB storage, 3GB RAM, micro SD, 16MP rear camera, 8MP selfie camera, 2,700 mAh battery
– Swift 2+ (Plus) redesign has metallic finish, PDAF assisted camera, USB Type-C, NFC for Android Pay and a fingerprint sensor
– Simple UI customisation with the Theme chooser. Modifying application icons & boot animations!
– Improve lock screen functionality with Mods
– AudioFX delivers 24bit High Res Lossless audio with equalizer presets
– Caller ID & Truecaller Dialler identify & block spam calls
– Cyanogen email & calendar powered by Boxer for integrating multiple accounts
– Cyanogen web browser has enhanced security
– Privacy guard provides fine permission control for apps
– PIN Scramble improves lockscreen security
– Snapdragon 430, Adreno 505 GPU

The Basics

Wileyfox Swift 2+ Photos

The Wileyfox Swift 2+ is a unibody design. It feels far more premium that Wilefox’s original phones. However, it loses the removable back cover and the ability to swap the battery and have 2 SIM cards and a micro SD card. Now, you are left with a hybrid sim design, meaning you have to decide whether you want the second sim for a SIM card or a micro SD card. The upside is a decent 32gb amount of storage with 3gb of ram.

The Swift 2+ uses a Snapdragon 430 with an adreno 505 GPU. In general day to day tasks, the phone is fairly fluid/fast. However, start trying to play a graphic intensive game, and frame rates drop. Standby time and battery life are good. 3.5 hours was my average for screen on time. Standby time was really really good.

The 720p screen on the 5 inch screen works fine. Viewing angles are reasonable too.

Wileyfox are using Cyanogen OS based on android 6.0 which throws in a lot of customisation and useful tweaks. In light of the news regarding Cyanogen dissolving as a company, I would be keen to see what plans Wileyfox decide to instigate. I will update this review when I get the respective detail.

I was pleased to see a fingerprint sensor on the back along with NFC. The fingerprint sensor was not the fastest in the business, but it was fairy quick. Android pay app is installed as standard.

Camera and Audio

Unusual scenes on Dartmoor. Shot with a Wileyfox Swift 2+.

Above is a sample shot from the camera. The Swift 2+ has a 16mp rear and 8mp front camera. These are a leap forward from its predecessor. Photos in anything but decent sunshine start to look washed out and low light was just average. In good light, photos were good. For sharing on social media, the front and back cameras are fine. To see the camera app in more detail, refer to the video below.

Wileyfox Swift 2+

The phone loudspeaker goes loud to around 83db. It does sound a bit metallic. The AudioFX eq system helps improve matters but the output via the headphone jack is adequate. Mids are a bit recessed. Bluetooth audio is average. A FM Radio is also provided on the phone.

Video Review

There are many other aspects of this phone, covered off in the video section, so enjoy.

Conclusion

The Wileyfox Swift 2+ faces more competition as it is priced around the £150-190 depending on colour and if a promotion is live.  At this higher price there are other options available. However, it is a competent performer with decent battery life and with the Cyanogen skin is fairly fluid in operation.

Useful Links

Available from Clove Technology
If you are buying anything from Amazon – Click HERE.
If you wish to make a donation of any size to help with the running costs – https://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

Zecti Aluminum Alloy Tripod Ball Head Review – Stunning Build & Precision

Zecti Ballhead 6

Zecti is a small company, on a mission to expand into various different niches, one of which is camera tripods and mounts. I recently reviewed their 55 inch Aluminium tripod and was really impressed by the quality at a competitive price point. Link at the end of this post.

Zecti Ballhead 5

I have now have their Aluminium Alloy Tripod Ball Head, which simply oozes quality and precision. It retails for £39.99. It features separate adjustment knobs for different angle rotation adjustments and a scale to pan for 360 degree panoramic shooting. At the end of the post is a code with link to save a few pounds.

Zecti Ballhead 3

The Ball Head is made using CNC forging and an oxidisation anodised aluminum alloy body ensures the good payload performance and durability.

Zecti Ballhead 2

Other features of the ball head is horizontal adjustment locking system, levelling bubbles for precise framing, a removable quick release arca plate with a 1/4″ screw for easy and safe installation of the camera / 3/8″female screw thread for various tripods and a safety locking system. The Ball head diameter is 35mm with a max load of 15 kg.

Zecti Ballhead 4

The net weight of the ball head is 255g. When I removed it from the packaging, it felt strong and substantial. This is a beautifully made product and ideal for the keen photographer. Recommended.

Useful Links

Use the link below and enter code DSMS7835 to save 5%.

More information & the latest pricing on the Zecti Tripod Ball Head – Click HERE.
Zecti 55 inch Lightweight Aluminium Tripod Review – Click HERE.

BlackBerry DTEK50 Smartphone – My Review – Secure & A Huge Hit

Blackberry DTEK50 review

Welcome to my review of the BlackBerry DTEK50. My review covers off all aspects of the phone from the camera, the audio, the security and much more.

It is in two parts. The written part below and then complemented and finished with the video review embedded below.

My thanks to Clove Technology for sending the BlackBerry DTEK50. The BlackBerry DTEK50 costs £265.

The Key Specification

– Android 6.0.1 and at time of review 6th September 2016 security patch (the latest)
– Snapdragon 617 processor, adreno 405 GPU
– Micro SD support up to 2TB
– 3gb RAM, 16gb storage
– 5.2 inch IPS 1080p screen, 424 PPI
– Sunlight visible with sunglasses
– Bluetooth 4.2 LE
– 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz, 802.11 a/n 5GHz, 802.11 ac 5GHz
– Micro USB, Nano SIM
– Cameras – Rear 13mp, Front 8mp
– Battery – 2,610 mAH
– Quick Charge 2
– 147 x 72.5 x 7.4 mm
– Weight 135g
– BlackBerry security – latest security patches and OS enhancements without considerable delay.
– BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard – Learns and provides word suggestions as you type, that include up to 3 languages of your choice.
– Customisable BlackBerry Convenience Key – Provides quick access to your most used applications and more
– BlackBerry launcher and apps, DTEK Security
– Stereo Speakers

Phone Basics

The BlackBerry DTEK50 is built by Alcatel, and based on the Idol 4. However, if I had to choose between the two, I would pick the DTEK50 every time. The DTEK50 has been customised by BlackBerry. It has a super grippy back and has BlackBerry’s commitment to the latest security updates. It also features BlackBerry’s DTEK security suite, keyboard, launcher and productivity apps including the BlackBerry Hub. See video below for more details.

Blackberry DTEK50 review

The screen is a lovely 5.2 inch IPS affair at 1080p, offering 424 PPI. Viewing angles are good and the brightness is excellent. In fact the auto brightness is too high, so I often controlled the brightness manually and at the lowest setting. This did mean, it was rather bright at night time. Sunlight visibility is the best I have used in ages. With my polarised sunglasses on, holding the phone in portrait mode, the screen was 100% readable. So crystal clear it was a joy. However, in landscape mode, I couldn’t read the screen with my sunglasses on, unless I removed them.

Call quality was reasonable, reception was excellent. Battery life was stellar too. 4 hours screen on time on average but with hardly any drain when left in standby. I did a 8 hour overnight test. The battery did not lose anything at all! Not even 1%.

The BlackBerry launcher is fantastic too. It allows custom icon packs which 100s available on the Google Play Store. On the home screen, swiping up on an app opens up the app widget. The launcher also allows for a wide selection of shortcuts. More details on the video review.

Audio

The DTEK50 has stereo speakers that sound superb. Lovely clarity and good volume. Brilliant for podcasts, gaming, watching YouTube videos and more. Headphone audio via the 3.5mm headphone jack was better than normal. Bluetooth audio was excellent. The phone has MAXX audio which adds to the whole enjoyment and quality. See video for more details.

The Camera

The rear camera is 13mp, with a dual tone LED flash, phase detect auto focus (PDAF), fast focus lock, HDR, 6-element f2.0 lens, 4x digital zoom, continuous & touch to focus, face detection, image stabilisation, panorama, burst, live filters, multi-frame low light enhancement and 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps.

The front camera is 8mp, 8 f2.2, 1.125um pixel size, 84° wide angle/field of view lens, image & video stabilisation, 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps, selfie flash and a wide selfie mode.

All the shots below are unedited unless I mention otherwise, and on full auto.

First up is sunrise on Dartmoor. This shot made Flickr Explore. Superb photo.

Sunrise over Dartmoor #BlackBerry #DTEK50

A cropped photo, but otherwise unedited of George. Great detail.

Hypnotic Eyes - George poses for the camera Shot on a #BlackBerry #DTEK50

Some local cows grazing on Dartmoor. Good colours.

BlackBerry DTEK50 camera shots on Dartmoor

Foggintor Quarry. The DTEK50 did a fab job of this. Realistic colours.

BlackBerry DTEK50 camera shots on Dartmoor

My three dogs were running, but the DTEK50 did a good job capturing them. There is an option in the settings to focus before each shot before taking the photo.

BlackBerry DTEK50 camera shots on Dartmoor

The DTEK50 has manual controls. I used these to take this shot. Don’t forget to view the video to learn more about all the manual options.

BlackBerry DTEK50 camera shots on Dartmoor

Now the below shot has been edited in snapseed using the HDR scape filter to show you what is possible. I love this version.

Inside Foggintor Quarry #dartmoor #blackberry #dtek50

If you look at my flickr album, Click HERE, there are 30 photos from the DTEK50 including the ones above. What I have found is the phone has consistently taken decent photos, way better than I expected. The front camera also takes good photos.

The Review Part 2 – Video Review

Conclusion

The BlackBerry DTEK50 is the best budget/mid range phone I have experienced to date. Excellent audio and camera, great form factor and design along with the latest security updates and BlackBerry’s apps and services make this a strong recommendation!

My thanks to Clove Technology .

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

Bluedio V (Victory) Pro Patented PPS 12 Drivers Wireless Bluetooth Headphones – Review

Bluedio Victory

Welcome to my review of the Bluedio V (Victory) Pro Patented PPS 12 Drivers Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.

With the removal of the headphone jack in the new iPhone 7, wireless headphones are going to explode in popularity. In fact in the last 12 months, 53% of all headphones bought were wireless.

The Bluedio V headphones use patented technology so I do recommend reading the key features and specifications below.


Key Features / Specifications

– PPS 12 Exclusive Acoustics Technology specially built with 12 drivers. Paired with a carefully designed compound cavity these headphones will accurately reproduce every frequency, ensuring an immersive, DEEP and POWERFUL BASS.
– Transcendent S/PDIF Optical Transmission. HD sound is available through the professional S/PDIF Optical Transmission audio jack. Combined with 24bit@48kHz audio resolution, this enables the transmission of the highest quality DIGITAL sound.
– Lossless Aptx transmission Aptx coding-decoding will recompile the high-quality audio to bring you a rich listening experience. With downward compatibility, not compressed and partially compressed audio (such as MP3, aac & flac) can also be clearly transmitted via Bluetooth.
– Share music wirelessly between two headphones. Automatically connect two pairs of Victory headphones by simply entering pairing mode and enjoy all your favourite music with your friends.
– Touch controls. Simply touch, swipe and drag your finger across the ear cup to change volume and skip track.
– Bluetooth version: 4.1 – Bluetooth operating range: up to 10m
– Frequency range: 2.4GHz-2.48GHz , Frequency response: 10Hz-22,000Hz
– SPL – 112db
– Drivers: 50mm x 2; 30mm x 2; 20mm x 8
– Impedance: 42Ω (50mm); 32Ω (30mm); 32Ω (20mm)
– Bluetooth profiles: aptx®, A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
– Digital audio decode format: IEC-61973, PCM(24bit@48KHz)
– Audio supported – AAC, APT-X, APT-X Low Latency, SBC & Fastream
– Optical music time: about 40 hours
– Bluetooth music/talk time: about 25 hours , Standby time: about 1000 hours
– Charging time: 2.5 hours for full charge
– Headphones dimensions: 17.6cm*9cm*18.8cm
– Headphones weight: 446g
– In the box – Bluedio Victory Bluetooth headphones , 3.5mm audio cable ,6.3mm patch plug,User manual Carrying case with a buckle, USB charging cable, Pouch for cables ,Optical audio cable with adapter
– Note 1. Gently push the On/Off button to enter pairing mode, and you will see the red and blue light flash alternately.
– The 3.5mm audio jack on both two sides of the headphones are useful; while the S/PDIF input jack is on the right ear cup.
– The aptx low latency profile is closed by default because iOS and some Android devices don’t support it. If necessary, please contact our customer service to download the specified App to open it.

The Technology

Bluedio invested 1 million yuan in purchasing BK Acoustics test equipment which comes from Denmark. The aim of this was to create the perfect environment, zero noise room, to create the best timbre sound from these new patented flagship headphones from Bluedio. Their 12 driver setup is patented too.

Bluedio Victory

Each headphone has 6 drivers, making a total of 12 drivers for these headphones. Above is the breakdown of one side, and below the internal tech driving the setup.

Bluedio Victory Tech

As a surprise and rather unsual, Bluedio added the option to connect these digitally using a S/PDIF optical connection and supply the cable too.So you connect these directly to the optical out of a CD player for example. The Bluedio V (Victory) also supports AAC, APT-X, APT-X Low Latency, SBC & Fastream. You can also connect another Bluedio headphone wireless to another and share the music.


Build Quality & Operation

Bluedio Victory

The Bluedio V (Victory) headphones are built like tanks, and are also heavier than most at 446g. The extra weight is noticeable and takes a while to adjust to it. The headphone cups swivel up into the band, which is different to most headphones that fold. The right ear cup has touch controls for adjusting the volume, and changing tracks. You can also make phone calls from the headset.

Bluedio Victory


Sound Quality

I have connected these to my laptop, chromebook, Wileyfox Swift, Samsung Note 7 and iPad. I have tried all genres. On first listen, I found the sound strange. The 12 driver setup was reproducing music differently to what I was used to. Plus the sound seemed too sharp. At this point I was ready to return these but I was too busy to sort out. So I decided to give these another shot, left music playing for about 10 hours to burn the drivers in, and then had another listen. Oooh. Much better now. In fact, the longer I have owned these the more I like listening to them. They don’t do floppy sound, the reproduce accurate and powerful bass (not floppy bass) and have a great soundstage. A word of warning. These go so bloody loud they could blow your ears off. So make sure before you hit play, make sure you have the bluetooth volume very low. Important to remember this. The Bleudio also support APT-X low latency but to turn this feature on, you need to email Bluedio who provide an app, the turns this on.

Conclusion

The Bluedio V(Victory) PPS 12 Driver Patented Wireless Bluetooth headphones are a surprise package. The sound good and can go very loud if required. The only caution is their weight at 446g. However, I like these and consequently are recommended.

For more info and the latest pricing on Amazon – Click HERE.

Wileyfox Swift Dual Sim Smartphone – The £100 Phone – Disaster or Revelation – The Full Review

Wileyfox Swift

Welcome to my review of the Wileyfox Swift smartphone.

I have been using the Wileyfox that cost me just under £100 on Amazon UK. This has been used as my main phone. I am a heavy power user, so how did the Wileyfox Swift cope? And in case you are wondering why I am using the Wileyfox Swift, it is due to the loss of my Note 7.

First let’s take a look at the specifications.

The Key Specification

– Dual Sim (micro sims) plus a third slot for the micro SD card
– Cyanogen OS – Android 6.01 with latest 1st September 2016 update
– 5″ HD IPS Screen, Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels (~294ppi), Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– 16GB storage, 2GB RAM,
– micro SD support upto 32gb
– 13MP main camera, 5MP front camera,
– 2,500 mAh battery
– Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 8916, Adreno™ 306 GPU
– Themes, theme creation,
– AudioFX for music delivers 24bit High Res Lossless audio with several equaliser presets with full modification allowed
– Caller ID & Truecaller Dialler can identify & block spam calls
– Cyanogen email & calendar powered by Boxer for integrating multiple accounts
– Cyanogen web browser for enhanced security & fast performance
– Privacy guard allows you to monitor how your phone shares data
– PIN Scramble for added lockscreen security
– Protect individual apps in secure, lockable folders on your homescreens

Wileyfox Swift

Phone Basics

The Wileyfox Swift is no speed king. It has a snapdragon 410 which means at times it is slow, lags and can get flustered if I am trying to do too many things. However, I pushed the Swift way beyond what is was designed for. I connected my Samsung Gear Fit 2, Garmin Smart Index Scales, my lights, security cameras and weather station to the Wileyfox Swift. I then installed every social media app, added all my email accounts and then installed more apps until I had a total of 60 apps. Occasionally, it all became to much for the phone, and the only cure was a quick reboot.

The screen has reasonable viewing angles, and is super bright and visible in sunlight. In fact the auto brightness was always too bright, that I turned it off and often had brightness set at the lowest setting. At night, it is too bright though. The phone is prefitted with a screen protector. Neat touch.

The phone is super grippy. It is also easy to hold and use one handed.

Phone calls were ok, the call quality was average but it does have Truecaller installed to help identify who is calling. Except this feature never worked. This is a dual sim phone too, which is useful.

What did impress me was all the firmware updates that occurred at first boot, 3 in total, taking me to android 6.0.1 and the 1st September 2016 security patch update. Also I do like Cyanogen’s skin. It is light and offers helpful functionality to make the phone easier to use. It also has the option to create or install themes. I was able to make my Wileyfox Swift look like a HTC and Sony phone.

The phone recommends using a micro SD card up to 32gb. I have been using my Sandisk 64gb card. The phone also has the option of converting the card and using it as adoptable storage.

Battery life is not its strong point for my usage and power needs. With bluetooth, wifi permanently switched on and location services left on high, screen on time ranged between 2 to 2.5 hours. I often found I need to charge it during the day. There are power saving options, but I never used them. The other point to note is the micro USB socket needs a slightly longer connector on the cable. Out of 20 micro USB leads two thirds of them wouldn’t stay plugged into the port. One just fell out. The supplied micro USB lead works just fine. In a period when batteries are sealed into the device, the Wileyfox Swift bucks the trend. The battery is user replaceable.

Camera and Audio

The camera app follows the Google camera app which some extra shooting modes for good measure. But let’s not beat around the bush, the camera is the not the best and by a fair margin when you compare it to the Samsung Note 7 iPhone 6S Plus. However, apply an instagram filter and nobody would know any better. Video is terrible too. Below are some photo samples from the phone.Low light introduces a lot of noise. However, as you will see below there are some ok shots. I also have created an album of photos from the Wileyfox Swift – Click HERE.

The Dartmoor Prison shot was converted to black and white to make it look more interesting.

Haunted Dartmoor Prison #Dartmoor #WileyfoxSwift

Wileyfox originals

Just some sheep and landscape shots.

Wileyfox originals

Dogs having fun #WileyfoxSwift

Capturing some of my dogs running was a surprise.

Dogs having fun #WileyfoxSwift

When Tiggy spun her body to shake the water off, again I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had captured the moment.

Dogs having fun #WileyfoxSwift

Whilst the camera is not up to my standards, the audio is fantastic. The loudspeaker is reasonable, the headphone amp is too. On board is AudioFX which really helps improve the sound. The biggest surprise was bluetooth audio. I paired it to 3 bluetooth headphones. The B & O Beoplay H5, Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 and Bluedio V (Victory) Pro 12 Speaker headphones. The sound quality was excellent.

Conclusion

The Wileyfox is no speed demon. Neither does it have flagship specs. But it does allow 2 sim cards and also a micro SD card which can be used as adoptable storage. It has a Cyanogen OS installed which is superb on this device. At around £100 this is a cracking piece of kit and somewhat of a surprise. As a power user the phone kept me connected and I really loved the bluetooth audio.

For more info and the latest pricing on Amazon – Click HERE.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – A Smoking Hot Flagship Phone – My Review – IMPORTANT UPDATE

20160830_071544 (1)

Update – If you read my review, I wrote the following “However, despite my personal contempt towards Samsung, I will provide an honest appraisal of the phone. This is based on the assumption, that the replacement units that will arrive over the coming weeks are safe to use.”

However, based on the numerous publications and additional facts about replacement devices causing bodily injury and property damage, I cannot recommend you buy this phone anymore.

Welcome to my review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. My review was based upon using the Samsung Note 7 Duos version which has a hybrid sim slot to allow 2 sim cards. This provided an additional option in the settings menu for a sim manager to control what each sim was allowed to do or not. In addition the settings had an option to select what was shown on the status bar.

I have also reviewed various official and third party cases and accessories for the Note 7 and also aired an article on my view towards Samsung and their handling on the Note 7 along with the safety warnings from Oculus. It is worth watching the case reviews linked below, as this also shows the Note 7 in black onyx on video in all its glory.

Samsung Official Cases and Lens Cover Kit plus Third Party Cases and Power Reviews

Oculus Email to Samsung Note 7 Owners

I am not happy with Samsung – Major Safety Update

Before I delve deep into my review of the Note 7, I would point out that due to the dangers around the Note 7, I no longer have the phone nor will I ever buy another Samsung device, ever, as their handling along with Carphone Warehouse was bordering along the lines of criminal. See links above.

However, despite my personal contempt towards Samsung, I will provide an honest appraisal of the phone. This is based on the assumption, that the replacement units that will arrive over the coming weeks are safe to use.

Technical Specifications

– Dimensions – 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm
– Weight – 169g
– Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Back and Front
– Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
– IP68 certified – dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
– Stylus – S Pen
– Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
– Display – Super AMOLED , 5.7 inches (~78.0% screen-to-body ratio)
– Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~518 ppi pixel density)
– Always-on display
– Grace UI
– Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow), planned upgrade to v7.0 (Nougat)
– Chipset Exynos 8890 Octa, CPU Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Mongoose & 4×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53)
GPU Mali-T880 MP12
– MicroSD, up to 256 GB
– Internal – 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
– CAMERA – Rear 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, check quality
Features 1/2.5″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama
Video – 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@240fps, HDR, dual-video rec., check quality
– Secondary 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm, dual video call, Auto HDR
– 24-bit/192kHz audio
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
– GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
– NFC Yes
– USB v3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
– FEATURES Sensors Iris scanner, fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
– Fast battery charging
– Qi wireless charging (market dependent)
– ANT+ support
– BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery
– Colours Blue Coral, Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx

Phone Basics

The Note 7 is the best phone ever made by Samsung. The new UI called Grace UI is incredible. Lots of extra functionality, but all making sense. A lot of thought clearly has been applied with the menus, the options and extra functions. Somebody actually sat down and made sure everything flowed smoothly.

The display is awesome. Amazing viewing angles and great sunlight visibility. It is also fast.

Screenshot_20160829-092015

AnTuTu produced a very respectable score as shown above. This was with 150 apps installed. This included games galore, most social media apps, security camera apps, apps for controlling lights and loads of bluetooth devices. The Note 7 was also connected to my Samsung Gear Fit 2.

Call quality was excellent too. Bluetooth, WiFi and all the antennas worked really well. I noticed signal strength was better than that of my Samsung S7. The UK version has whitepages integrated which means it automatically tells you who is calling or if the call is a spam call. Samsung bought whitepages hence why it can integrate this service in to the firmware. On the Google Play store the app is now called Hoya.

The Edge panel is available on the Note 7 too. Extra edge panels are available to download. Like this one for Pocketcasts.

Screenshot_20160829-194121

I personally used the Edge panel for app shortcuts, pocketcasts and the ruler/torch panel. The always on display now accepts third party notifications, so finally becomes useful. Link this functionality with some of Samsung’s official cases like the S View Standing Case or LED case and you have really cool functionality.

The S Pen makes the Note 7 special. And I love using the S Pen. This year Samsung has cleaned up the approach, making it more useful. For example, pull the S Pen out with the screen off and you can write a memo on the black screen and pin it there for an hour to remind you to get milk before you get home! The S Pen is more accurate this year, and the drawing creative aspects of it have been improved too.

Battery life was reasonable. I achieved about 4.5 hours screen on time. This was with bluetooth, NFC, and wifi always on, location on high and the always on display activated.

One of the new features of the Note 7 is using the iris scanner to unlock the phone. When I first set this up, I found it unreliable and a PITA. So I stuck to the super fast fingerprint sensor unlock. After chatting to a few of my tech friends, I was giving a few more tips. Hold the phone nearer to your eyes, not further away. And voila. Instant phone unlocking using my eyes. So cool. So my advice is to not give up. I also found it worked when I was wearing my sunglasses.

Design

The Note 7 in black onyx is gangster cool. It looks amazing and has such a small profile versus its 5.7 inch screen. Opening the box is such a wow moment. However, its glass back and front and its a fingerprint magnet consequently. The Note 7 is IP68 dust and water resistant.

Audio

Due to the IP68 rating the loudspeaker doesn’t go that loud. It is just loud enough for podcasts. The headphone jack output is high quality but the headphone amp is not powerful enough, meaning you need to pair it to some very efficient headphones to get the most out of it. However, Samsung clearly focused the audio via bluetooth as the bluetooth audio is excellent.

Camera

At the time of writing this review, the Note 7 is the best phone for both video and photos. It just kills the competition. Double press the home button, press the shutter and you will have a perfect photo. The camera is super fast to focus too.

I have a Flickr album for the Note 7 – Click HERE. However, below are a few shots from the Note 7.

Church of St Michael #Princetown taken with the Samsung Note 7 #SamsungNote7

Sniffing out the stones #SamsungNote7

The aim here was to capture the stones close up, but my labrador Tiggy had other ideas and was a bit curious and photo bombed the shot. The Note 7 was so quick to focus too.

Life on Dartmoor #SamsungNote7 #Dartmoor

Sunrise over Dartmoor #SamsungNote7

The above shot was totally unedited as are all the shots shown. Exposure is handled so well. The Note 7 camera app has been tidied up from the S7/S7 Edge and is slightly easier to use. It still comes with a pro mode as well, although the auto mode is so reliable its doubtful many people will use the pro features. As impressed as I was with photos, the video recordings were just as impressive.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is an amazing phone and in my opinion near perfect in terms of hardware and software integration. Add into the mix all the Samsung accessories like the Gear VR or Gear 360 and you have a dynamite combination!

Samsung Gear VR 2016 – The New Gear VR – First Impressions

I had the original Gear VR which I used with my Samsung S7 Edge. So last week, I got my first attempt at setting up and using the new Gear VR which is designed to work with the new Samsung Note 7 and also be backward compatible with older phones. (If you haven’t exchanged your Note 7 yet, don’t use the Gear VR as its dangerous).

First up the new Gear VR is lighter on the head. It only needs one strap, the second strap is optional. The new Gear VR feels slightly smaller too. The field of view has been widened too and the clarity is that little bit better too. This all adds up to an improved view of VR and 360 media. Footage is slightly clearer and the overall experience is improved.

The software is vastly improved and it is looking really polished and one of the best low cost VR experiences I have witnessed. Unlike the previous Gear VR, you connect your Note 7 case less to the device and then put the dust cover to one side. This does not cover up or connect whilst the phone is in position.

When you first clip your phone into the Gear VR, you see a message inside that says to remove the Gear VR and install all the software required and setup your Oculus account. Once you have done this, put the headset back on. Make sure you install Samsung Internet and Samsung Gallery. Samsung Internet gives you access to YouTube and YouTube 360 degree videos. Samsung Gallery is the app you need to access your own 360 content. When accessing YouTube via Samsung Internet, when a 360 video starts playing, tilt you head to reveal the Samsung Assistant, select this and then you can select the view in 360. It really is simple to do.

I have watched many films and YouTube videos of Mount Everest and other similar mountains, but to witness the peak being climbed in 360 degrees is truly fantastic. There are plenty of other games and apps to explore as well. Don’t play Temple Run unless you are using a bluetooth game controller, otherwise you will feel sick very quickly.

If you want to be transported into a virtual world, the Samsung Gear VR is a great way to start enjoying the experience.

So my next test was to ask my wife to try it. She uses an iPhone is hardly ever upgrades her phone so it not that interested in the latest phone technology. First, I got her to experience the Mount Everest 360 VR video, then some 360 photos and then she asked me what the Netflix app did. So I got her to launch it, and then she started watching one of her TV programmes. After that, I wanted my Note 7 back, and went off to test a few gadgets.

About an hour later, my wife says, I want a pink Samsung Galaxy S7 with a Gear VR. Not only had she researched the pricing, colours and all the options, she even worked out how much her iPhone would sell for second hand. So why did she want to swap her iPhone to the S7? Just to use the Gear VR because she realised it only worked with a Samsung S7!

That’s how much of a positive impact the Gear VR is, and the new version is more comfortable, slightly ligher and provides a marginally increase in quality and a field of view.

Just a shame the Note 7 is too hot to handle at the moment.