Archive for October, 2013

By October 16, 2013 Read More →

How Can We Keep up with Technology?

Whether it is a laptop tablet hybrid or a smartphone with voice recognition technology, there is always a new addition to the technology market that means consumers have a frantic need to own the latest device with technology that will be life changing. Does technology evolve too fast? Are we ever able to actually keep up and own the devices that appeal to us? As soon as we purchase one gadget another is released in its place and it makes it hard to keep up with the items that have some of the best features and that are claimed to be far superior to its predecessor.

Keep Up With Technology 1The Past…

In the early days of technology, the rate of development was manageable and consumers were able to get to grips with new items, purchase them and have a considerable amount of time with that device before a new update was released.

The Present…

The rate at which new technology is released is faster than anyone ever anticipated that it would be. There are constant new releases of items and updates every few months and consumers are unable to keep up with the number of products that are released every year. The consumer places a great deal of pressure on itself to indulge in the most recent items that will allow them to participate in the technological culture that has long since been an important part of life.

The Future…

Technology will quite possibly continue to evolve at much the same rate as it is now. People will continue with their frantic need to keep up with technology and possess the items that make a great deal of promises regarding the way people are able to carry out everyday tasks.

Keep Up With Technology 2Smartphones are one area that result in a high number of technological advancements and see people scrabbling for the latest in phone technology. The smartphone market really took off 6 years ago with the release of the first iPhone, and since then mobile phone makers have transformed their handsets and the technology they use to fill the latest desires of the consumer. The smartphone and tablet markets tend to go hand in hand as many mobile makers are indulging in the tablet market as a way of securing the popularity of the consumer and its place in the industry. 20 million people a month use a tablet, which is up by 39% from 2012.

Society has quickly become dependant on technology and the benefits that it brings, gadgets and devices are must have items and shape the way we carry out even the simplest of tasks.

As soon as we get used to one format and one way of doing things, it quickly changes to cater for the latest advancements and the changes it brings to everyday life. People are often judged or considered to be ‘out of the loop’ if they do not embrace the latest in technology releases and embrace items such as smartphones and tablets but there is a real concern that one day we will all lose touch with technology as it grows at a rate faster than we can keep up with…. Are technology manufacturers hurting themselves and their consumer? Competition is the backbone of the succession of new releases although there seems to be little consideration for the main focus of the business… the consumer.

Posted in: Editorial, Phones
By October 16, 2013 Read More →

Apple Leather Case for iPhone 5 & 5S

iphone 5s case leatherJust a quick review of a case that I picked up at the weekend for my new iPhone 5S that I’ve been using since launch day without a case.

I previously had an iPhone 5 and I used that with a shell case from launch day until I got the new S model.

I was quite shocked at the condition that the iPhone was in. It appeared that small pieces of grit had somehow managed to get between the case and the phone and has scratched the finish off the edge of the phone.

I decided that I wouldn’t be using this case with my new 5S but I tried it on there for an hour or so and it felt a little loose on the new phone. I decided that I would use the phone without a case and see how I got on. I quickly found that I don’t like the way the iPhone 5/5S feels without anything on. It is too slippery and too thin for my liking and I was constantly scared that I was going to drop it whilst removing it from my pocket.

Whilst walking past an Apple store I thought I’d take a look at the different cases that they had available and the Apple case really caught my eye for the simplicity and quality. It seemed a little expensive at £35.00 but I thought that if I can buy one case and stand a good chance that it would look after the finish of my phone in everyday use it was worth a go.

This is what your £35 gets you.

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I chose the black but it is also available in brown, beige, yellow, blue and a special (Product) Red version where some of the profits go to a Charity set up by Bono of U2.

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The back of the case has a nice embossed Apple logo and the leather feels very nice. There is a warning on the back of the packaging that the case is made of natural leather and that the finish will change with use.

There is a nice large cut out for the camera and flash but all of the buttons are covered and have little bumps so that you can feel where they are. No need to try to reach through the case to press them with a fingernail here. Unfortunately apple chose not to replicate the ring/vibrate switch as part of the case and it might be a struggle for those with larger fingers to operate. As a plus it will not get knocked accidentally.

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The case is lined with a nice, soft suede/micro-fibre material which should help to prevent scratches like I experienced before.

Inserting the phone is easy, just push it in.

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The case fits the phone perfectly. If it had been any other way I would have been shocked.

The case offers a small lip to provide some protection to the screen if laid on a surface face down.

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The headphone and Lightning connector ports are nicely exposed for the majority of things that you’d want to use them for but strangely the lighting connector will not work with one of Apple’s own accessories that I use every day. I have still not updated my bedside dock to one with native Lightning and so, I have been using the 30 Pin to Lighting adapter. As you will see this will not work with this case.

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The mic and speaker ports in the case line up perfectly with those on the phone and no difference in call quality or speaker volume can be noticed.

Apple iPhone 5s leather case Verdict.

Over all I am extremely impressed with the case but it does have a couple of downsides but for me these are not enough to make me want to return it and search for something else.

Pros

  • Quality looks and finish
  • Perfect fit

Cons

  • Not all Lightning accessories will be compatible
  • Ring/Vibrate a little difficult to access.
  • £35 is quite a lot to spend on a case.
Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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By October 16, 2013 Read More →

LG are back in the tablet game with LG G PAD 8.3

LG G Pad Looks like LG are back in with a new and exciting tablet. Having made only a small dent with a number of unmemorable tablets in the past LG look to be pushing aggressively with their G Pad 8.3. With the specs quoted and a nice price point this looks like a very serious contender for your Christmas gifting list.

LG RE-ENTERS THE UK TABLET MARKET WITH THE LG G PAD 8.3

Hotly anticipated tablet launches in the UK

UK, 15 October 2013—LG Mobile today announced that its highly-awaited LG G Pad 8.3 tablet will be rolled out across the UK and Ireland in the run-up to Christmas. The impressive tablet is the first of its size to offer Full HD display and is the latest ground-breaking addition to LG’s G Series line-up of premium mobile devices.  This follows the successful launch of the G2 smartphone in October.

The LG G Pad 8.3 will be available in the UK market via an exclusive partnership between LG and IT distributor Micro P, at an SRP of £259.99. Harvey Norman will also exclusively offer the device in the Irish market from the end of October through its retail and online stores. This forms part of the global roll-out of the G Pad 8.3, which will also go on sale in over 30 other key markets by the end of 2013.

“The introduction of the LG G Pad 8.3 is another great step in design and technology from LG and shows that the G Series is going from strength to strength,” said Andy Coughlin, Head of Mobile for LG UK. “Just like the LG G2, the G Pad 8.3 delivers cutting-edge technology in a slim and sleek form, and is just the product for our re-entry into the UK tablet market.”

Powerful yet portable

The LG G Pad 8.3 was unveiled at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin in September where it received praise for its intelligent design and industry leading technology. Despite its large display and powerful 4600mAh battery, the G Pad 8.3 is comfortable to hold in one hand and as light as a newspaper at just 338g.

First full HD display tablet in 8-inch class

The LG G Pad 8.3 is the first 8-inch class tablet to offer a Full HD display, just like its G Series cousins the G Pro and G2 smartphones. The G Pad 8.3 is equipped with a 1920 x 1200 WUXGA (Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array) display capable of delivering picture quality with even higher resolution than a standard Full HD display. The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600 Processor with 1.7GHz Quad-Core CPU enhances the viewing experience with powerful performance as users will be able to enjoy Full HD content without any compromise.

The G Pad 8.3 meets the challenge of the convergence age by improving connectivity between multiple devices. The unique QPair app allows users to receive smartphone calls and messages through their G Pad and to send simple replies.

Key Specifications:

  • Processor: 1.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600 Processor
  • Display: 8.3-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixels / 273 ppi)
  • Memory: 16GB eMMC
  • RAM: 2GB LPDDR2
  • Camera: Rear 5.0MP / Front 1.3MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • Size: 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3mm
  • Weight: 338g
  • Colours: Black / White
Posted in: News, Tablets
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By October 15, 2013 Read More →

Apple confirms iPad press event 22nd October

apple ipad 5 eventThis afternoon Apple announced a press event to be held on the 22nd October in San Francisco. Press invitations have already been sent out to the event in which we’re expecting to see the new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 unveiled but the tag line in the invitation “We still have a lot to cover” possibly suggests that there may be more in the line up for the day.

Certainly the smart money is pointing to the two new iPad models both of which are expected to have the Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor introduced in the iPhone 5S as well as a version of the 64-bit A7 chip.

The hope from us is that the iPad mini 2 will have a retina display but there have been many rumours about this over the past few weeks that seem to equally say yay and nay, all will be revealed next week.

Other possible attractions at the event are OS X Mavericks that went GM earlier this month and the Mac Pro which has been teasing us for several months.

We’ll be coving the event from 6PM BST on the 22nd October.

Posted in: News, Tablets
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By October 15, 2013 Read More →

Which Chromebook is right for you?

Which ChromebookThere has been a flurry of Chromebook’s over the last week and whilst they are largely the same, there are a few subtle differences to distinguish them. Here is a brief overview of the main contenders, there will be more, many more over the next year or so however you might need one right now and this little table may help:

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Acer C720

HP Chromebook 11

Samsung Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14

Screen

11.6″ 1366 x 768

11.6″ IPS display 1366 x 768

11.6″ 1366 x 768

14″ 1366 x 768

Ports

1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0

Weight

1.27kg

1.04kg

1.08kg

1.9kg

CPU

1.4 GHz Intel Celeron (Haswell)

1.7 Exynos 5250

1.7 GHz Exynos 5000 Series

Intel Celeron 1.4 GHz

Memory

4GB

2GB

2GB

2GB

Storage

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

16GB SSD + 100 GB Google Drive

Battery life

8.5 hours

6 hours

6.5 hours

9.5 hours

Network

802.11a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n

Connections

1 x HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0

Bluetooth 4.0, MicroUSB

Bluetooth 4.0, SD card slot.

Bluetooth 4.0, 1 x HDMI, SD card slot.

We’ll be going hands on sith several of these over the next week so be sure to came back to see unboxing videos and reviews soon! 🙂

Posted in: Editorial, Laptops
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By October 15, 2013 Read More →

A Brief History Of Car Stereos: From Victrola to Wi-Fi Radios

victrolaHow much have you spent on your car’s stereo system? Today, car and music enthusiasts can drop more than a quarter of a million dollars on a serious music system like the Rogue Acoustics 1K. One hundred years ago, however, the most technologically advanced car radio cost only fifteen dollars. How has sound engineering for automobiles evolved over the decades?

In The Beginning

One of the first popularized radios, named the Victrola, would be the forerunner for all car audio equipment today. During the 1930s, a brother team installed a Victrola into a Studebaker, naming it the “Motorola”. This brand became so popular that it grew into a corporation of radios, stereos, televisions, and electronics that Google purchased in 2012 for just less than thirteen billion dollars. At first, these Motorolas could only pick up on AM transmissions; it would take another two decades before FM radios became available that would pick up on short-range, local radio station transmissions.

Music Players

Today, a user can open up an iTunes or Spotify account in their vehicle and gain easy access to libraries of tens of millions of songs. Only fifty years ago, however, radios held drivers in thrall to the music that DJs wanted to play. The first time any driver could make a choice in music came in the late 1960s, when 8-track tape players became available for installation in automobiles. Cassettes followed soon, then in the late 1980s the CD revolution allowed a user to switch between as many as 10 CDs in a single player without needing to re-wind each time.

Digital Vehicles

When people think of mp3 players, they think of iPods, and for good reason; according to MacTech, the iPod has a staggering 70% market share. The first mp3 players pre-dated the iPod by half a decade, however, and sports cars like the Mazda MX5 would be the first cars with mp3 compatibility. Today, mp3 players can be directly hooked into a stereo system, used to play music via a tape adapter, or streamed via Bluetooth to create a mobile wireless unit.

The Future Of Mobile Music

Anyone with a smart phone knows how practical it can be to use it as a driving aid. From GPS navigation to apps that find the cheapest gas prices, smart phone integration drives the development of today’s automobile interiors. As such, subscribers to online car services can do everything automobile-related from the inside of their vehicles, including paying for the car itself. Paying car bills today requires nothing more than a login, pulling up Mydrivetime.com, and entering a payment through their finance services. Music apps are no different from online bill management: login to Pandora and stream music directly to your speakers. Developers looking to create ever-more-advanced stereos believe “smart cars” point the way towards the future of automobile audio, with on-demand music and information caches that preclude streaming interruptions like tunnels.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By October 15, 2013 Read More →

An Introduction to the Amstrad CPC 664

Amstrad CPC 664Continuing his retrospective of the Amstrad range Gareth moves onto the second 8-bit computer produced by Amstrad, the CPC 664. This rare machine was produced for a very short period and now attains the status of a collector’s item. Luckily Gareth has one in his collection.

The Amstrad CPC 664 sold well in it’s day however was superseded by the CPC 6128 quite quickly as the 64kb of memory onboard did not deliver what people were looking for. The CPC 6128 became almost as iconic as the CPC 464 and the CPC 664 was ultimately forgotten. Until today!

Compared to the CPC464, the CPC664’s main unit has been significantly redesigned, not only to accommodate the floppy disk drive but also with a redesigned keyboard area. Touted “ergonomic” by Amstrad’s promotional material, the keyboard is noticeably tilted to the front with MSX-style cursor keys above the numeric keypad. Compared to the CPC464’s multicoloured keyboard, the CPC664’s keys are kept in a much quieter grey and pale blue colour scheme.

The back of the CPC664 main unit features the same connectors as the CPC464, with the exception of an additional 12V power lead. Unlike the CPC464’s cassette tape drive that could be powered off the main unit’s 5V voltage, the CPC664’s floppy disk drive requires an additional 12V voltage. This voltage had to be separately supplied by an updated version of the bundled green screen/colour monitor (GT-65 and CTM-644 respectively).

The CPC664 was only produced for approximately six months. In late 1985, when the CPC6128 was introduced in Europe, Amstrad decided not to keep three models in the line-up, and production of the CPC664 was discontinued.

By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max photo gallery

Further to my HTC One Unboxing video and HTC One demo video, here’s a gallery of hi-res images of the HTC One Max for you to take a look at.

Several photos have the HTC One included to offer a size comparison.

There are a couple of things worth pointing out from the images below.

  • Firstly the power button on the One Max is set to the side instead of the top, as on the HTC One, but the infrared transmitter is still found on the top.
  • The back cover is removable and underneath you’ll find the SIM card and microSD card slots. There will be a dual-SIM version available in Asian markets.
  • The back cover is made from machined aluminium and includes the NFC antenna.
  • The Boomsound speakers and amplifier are the same as on the HTC One but the One Max has larger acoustic chambers which makes the sound louder
  • The fingerprint reader found on the back of the HTC One Max is a capacitive reader so requires that you swipe your finger across it.

HTC One Max photo gallery

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By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max Demo Video

HTC One Max Demo VideoHopefully you will already have seen my HTC One Max unboxing and hands-on video. That video ran a little long, at over 30 minutes, so I decided to record a separate HTC One Max Demo Video to show off a couple of the other features.

In the video below we have a look at RSS feeds in Blinkfeed, web browsing on that huge screen, Gallery and Video Highlights as well as some sample video playback.

One thing that you cant really appreciate in the video is how loud the Boomsound speakers are. The HTC One held the top-spot for loudspeaker volume and quality but once the HTC One Max came along that stole first place. The One Max may have the same speakers and amplifier but larger chambers make a bigger sound!

Enjoy the video below and don’t forget to check out the HTC One Max photo gallery too. Oh and don’t forget to tell us what you think of the HTC One Max as well…

By October 14, 2013 Read More →

HTC One Max unboxing and hands-on video

HTC One Max fingerprintSo after those weeks of further speculation and rumour, the HTC One Max becomes official today.

Since the launch of the HTC One the ‘One’ brand has become one of the most recognised in HTC history and by adding the HTC One Max to the existing line-up HTC hope to provide consumers with even greater choice.

The HTC One Max brings with it the a new version of HTC Sense, this time we have 5.5 which builds upon version 5 found on the One and One Mini. Sense 5.5 adds new Blinkfeed features with the ability to now add RSS feeds and a variety of other services. There’s also the ability to read feeds off-line thanks to a caching mode.

The Gallery app has been updated with new ‘view by event’ and added Zoe capability, being able to share Zoe moments with non-HTC devices. There’s a GIF editor and new video highlight options.

In terms of hardware the most obvious thing is the 5.9 inch full-HD display which is glorious! As with the HTC One, there’s a Quad-Core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB RAM and either 16 or 32GB of storage. In a change from the HTC One, the Max has a microSD card slot under the removable back over and supports up to 64GB memory cards.

On the back you’ll find the same 4MP Ultrapixel camera as seen on other One models, which is a good thing.

Below the camera, and settling the speculation, you’ll find a square panel which is a capacitive fingerprint reader. The nice feature here is that you can enrol multiple fingers on the device and allows you to set a specific finger to launch straight into a specific application. Handy.

Powers is supplied by a sizeable 3300MAh battery which can be further supplemented by a 1100MAh battery in the dedicated HTC One Max cast that HTC have developed.

The HTC One Max will go on sale later this week and should be in Vodafone stores first. No word on the price as yet but expect the networks to be making announcements later today too.

There’s plenty to talk about with the HTC One Max so I’m starting off with the unboxing and hands-on video below. It’s pretty lengthy so be sure to make yourself comfortable. I also have another demo video coming up later where I’ll cover some of the other features and there’s a gallery of hi-res images for you to enjoy too.

Oh and there’s a benchmark of the HTC One Max in here too! 🙂