Tag Archives: Review

Apple iPhone 8 Plus – First Impressions 

Apple iPhone 8 Plus. First Impressions and initial thoughts. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tavistock, Devon – A walk along the high street in 360 video

A short video walking along the high street in the historic market town of Tavistock, Devon, UK. Tavistock has some really ancient buildings.  Make sure you change the YouTube video quality to the maximum 3K.

For this 360 degree video the titles, music and all the editing was done on my iPhone 7 Plus using Luma Fusion app which supports 360 degree footage. 

Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom – Day 2 Impressions – PLUS – Camera Samples

Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom impressions Day 2. Lots to talk about but so little time so I will try and cover off some points.

That 5,000mAh battery is epic. 2 days heavy use should be straight forward. 10% lost in 13 hours. 35% in a day which included using the camera. The power management is super smart with a couple of slick options which I will cover off in my main review.

The front camera does slow motion video as well as the rear. 4K video from the rear. 1080p from the front.

The audio system is consumer friendly. It has a slight presence towards the bass, producing a full, powerful and fun sound. Just not the bleeding edge in neutrality for audio, although it does manage hi res audio and include apt-x. I need to spend some more time with the audio though to decide where it fits in my scoring.

So below are the first 7 shots from the camera.I intend to go through the options in a lot more depth. Just remember this phone costs £330 which is over half the cost of an iPhone 7 Plus.

Reds & Greens #zenfone3zoom

Close up of some bushes. There is a slight softness on close up shots.

Scenic views around Church of St Michael & All Angels #zenfone3zoom

Both the shots above and below look good.

Scenic views around Church of St Michael & All Angels #zenfone3zoom

All photos shot in auto mode.

Scenic views around Church of St Michael & All Angels #zenfone3zoom

Sky looks quite good too.

Scenic views around Church of St Michael & All Angels #zenfone3zoom

I love this shot of my local church. Captured the mood really well. This was just before a hailstorm.

Dandelions #zenfone3zoom

After dusk I took the shot of the dandelions.

Dreamy Clouds #zenfone3zoom

The sky looks great last night.

So there you have it so far. Plenty plenty more to cover off.

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.

Untitled

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