Archive for December 15th, 2015

By December 15, 2015 Read More →

Win a new Panasonic Sound Bar worth £160

20138_SC-HTB485_angleTo champion the latest Viera TV range, we’ve teamed up with Panasonic to offer one lucky reader a brand new Panasonic Sound Bar worth xx. You’ll be able to enjoy watching your TV with the highest quality of sound.

Panasonic Viera TVs, which I got to see in IFA, Berlin, as part of the Viera VIP Club, produce stunning images and are packed with ‘4K Pro’ technology, allowing you to view TV in remarkable quality.

Many Viera TVs from this year’s line up now feature 4K pro technology as standard. 4K allows content to be viewed in four times as many pixels as Full-HD content. They have a shiny new Mozilla-powered user interface which allows navigating around so much easier. Not only that, but the new range is the first to host Freeview Play. This service allows the viewer to stream Freeview programmes from the internet which you may have missed using the familiar TV guide rewind facility.

The Panasonic SC-HTB485EBK Sound Bar is a 2.1-channel high-quality sound system which produces a rich sound field and crisp, clear dialogue. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and its Music Sound Mode optimises music listening. Without taking up too much space, you can enjoy movies, TV and music videos with lifelike acoustic ambiance and the clearest of sounds. 

To be in with a chance of winning a Panasonic Sound Bar, just answer the following question.

As usual we are going to make this very easy for you.

To enter, all you have to do is follow tracyandmatt on Twitter and retweet the following tweet: “RT I want to win a new Panasonic Sound Bar from @tracyandmatt and @PanasonicUK – You could too: http://wp.me/p3WUB6-fwL #vieravipclub” You can also click the retweet link below to save you copying and pasting the phrase. Your twitter name will be entered in to the draw.

 

RETWEET ME!

Your twitter name will be entered in to the draw. You’ll have to keep following us as we’ll notify winners via DM. 

Entry is open until midnight on the 28th December 2015 and the winner will be picked on the 3rd January. Will that be a lucky day for you?

We’ll contact the winner via twitter so make sure that you are still following us!

Good luck.

Click here to find out more about the Panasonic Viera TV range.

 

Terms & Conditions for [insert blog/website name]/Panasonic Competition

1. The promoter is: Tracy And Matt Ltd

2. Tracyandmatt.co.uk contributors, Panasonic and their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition including helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition. The competition is only open to residents of the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI), aged 18 years or over.

3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via http://wp.me/p3WUB6-fwL

5. Closing date for entry is 28/12/15. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted. Only one entry may be submitted per participant. Multiple entries will not be considered. Incomplete incorrect or otherwise invalid entries will not be considered. The Promoter reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all participants. 6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

7. The prize for each winner are as follows: one Panasonic SC-HTB485EBK Sound Bar

8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice and for any reason. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and the promotor reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

11. Winners will be drawn at random by Tracyandmatt from all valid entries received

12. The winner will be notified by email and/or letter within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, the promotor reserves the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

13. The winner consents to their name, postal address and mobile contact number to be passed on to Panasonic in order to fulfil the prize.

14. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.15. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

16. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

17. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.

 

By December 15, 2015 Read More →

Asus Zenpad 8.0 Review

IMG_20151026_182344Christmas is normally a time that folks start looking for a cheaper tablet to appease a younger child or to slip down the side of an armchair for quick usage and there are a bunch of online lists of the best tablet to grab for not too little money. Over the has couple of years the Tesco Hudl has usually been the all rounder that many would pick up however this year there is no refresh and the Hudl name is a thing of the past.

This creates a gap in the market and there will be a flurry of tablets fighting to be the hit this year. From this tech enthusiast I would recommend avoiding the unknown and going with the trusted. Looking around the options there is no tablet that really ticks all the boxes however one tablet gets very close, it’s from Asus.

Having impressed everyone for the last few years, admittedly with Google supporting them, with the Nexus 7 devices Asus know how to put together a winning package. Some of their ventures between the Nexus 7 2013 and now have been a little forgettable however they are back with the Zenpad range and I urge you to check them out.

Most manufacturers will fill their devices with tech and you will have little to no option save for some storage options depending on your location. Asus have gone the other way with a confusing array of differing tablets that will fit your desired spec without inflating the price too much.

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At the lower end is the  £80 Zenpad C Intel Atom X3 processor with 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB ROM. Moving up through various different price bands and losing the C there is a Zenpad 7 and 8 with a base model spec increase with 2-4gb of RAM, 16,32 and 64gb of storage and display sizes of 7, 8 and 10” inch size. You will have to spend some time to get your desired spec.

There is also a high end option called the Zenpad S that seems to have the strongest spec options however lacks the customisable hardware we will be looking at next.

In this review we will be having a look at the P022 Zenpad 8.0 with 2gb ram, 16gb rom, 800 x 1280 (189 dpi,) Intel Atom Z3560 processor. Asus were kind enough to provide the optional extended battery and an alternate cover. The covers and setup were previously illustrated in this Unboxing video.

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The extended battery comes with a simple, yet funny charge adaptor that clicks onto the battery with little fuss. I would suggest it is easy to lose based entirely on size however it does provide a handy alternative to using the tablet to charge the extended battery. In a sense you do never need to charge the tablet if you were to make full use of the extended battery every other day. Combined we are looking at roughly 14 hours of continual use or over a week of standby. The little adapter that magnetically grips the extended battery cover and charges it independently, hardly a fast charge I clocked a full charge at 5 hours.

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One additional add-on is the ASUS Audio Cover, a simple folio cover with an over-the-top cinematic, 5.1-channel surround sound built in providing the ZenPad with DTS-HD Premium Sound and SonicMaster technology provide further enhancement. I’m not sure where this might be useful however I love it exists. In saying that I would probably want to be able to use it everywhere.

One issue I would have is the alternate cover. I would have been fairly annoyed having purchased it as the clips are broken having removed it once. Given the nature of the extended battery the covers should have a more durable fitting method.

The tablet has a very standard layout, aside from the lines of the back cover. Here is a little gallery of the device’s notable edges:

Below is a video illustration of the Asus Zenpad benchmark scores and compared again a high end Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. The Zenpad has a decent amount of power inside to keep things ticking over and for the money I hope to see if stand up well against an ageing super beast of a tablet, in saying that the innards of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 are almost identical to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. 

Asus have also included a fairly heavy overlay. This doesn’t intrude as much as Samsung’s Touchwiz or HTC’s Sense UI, instead it adds a number of features for helping the user get more from the device’s settings.

Take, for example, the screen settings. Ordinarily Android offers the ability to adjust the screen brightness with sensors above the screen measuring the direct light on the screen. In a step forward manufacturers have taken the brightness and contrast settings and allowed the user to pick from different settings to customise the look of the screen’s colour palette. Asus have taken another step again allowing a massive amount of freedom in boosting and subduing the colour palette to get the most out of the screen. Adding filters to help reading in the dark and reduce eye fatigue.

The screen is good. Using a Samsung Galaxy Tab S as my main tablet I am spoiled when it comes to screen tech in my life. The Zenpad, doesn’t quite measure up yet I would find it difficult to fault. The IPS display works well, has great brightness and contrast levels alongside some commendable colour representation. Movies and games look very well and there is no evidence of a limited viewing angle. The Tru2life additions give great options for the user to get the most out of the screen alongside some presets that enhance the most basic experiences.

Android 5.0.2 is whats at play here. Far from stock as the Zen User Interface is in full swing. Whilst I had initially thought Asus had really taken strides to enhance the user experience on the tablet I realised quite quickly that the Zen UI is for the Zen range as there are tools and options that are really designed for the Zenfone and there is no way they would put the level of effort into a camera application as they have here for such a poor camera optic.

The Camera isn’t terrible, however it’s about as far from award winning as you could get and falls in line with the majority of tablet cameras. Fit for purpose, little more. The front facing will work for video calls and the lesser quality will help disguise blemishes and not-quite-so-beauty spots better than most smoothing options. Yet those beautification additions are resident, turning the user into a mannequin, an obvious leftover for a better camera on the Zenfone. 

Video quality is pretty bad and there do seem to be some bugs with the camera software itself when rotating the device. There are only two options for the camera, SD or 720 HD. Both feature a large amount of image fragmentions.

The front facing speaker is a welcome addition, there is only one however it proves to be loud and whilst hardly amazing quality will provide a decent output for sound when watching a video or playing a game. The user won’t accidentally cover the speaker but it would have really been a step up had there been a second speaker on the other side of the screen.

There is a bit of bloatware on the device, something I am not a fan of, especially when dealing with a 16gb were only 9gb being available. Most of the pre-populated apps are Asus’s own however the odd app like Trip Advisor pops up and isn’t removable. It can be hidden however it’s still there, and that bugs me.

In all the Zenpad range is a truly welcome move and entry to the market. Priced nicely with echoes of the Nexus 7 legacy here and there and no real compromises with the hardware. You are getting what you pay for and knowing upfront how well it should really operate. This is the device to replace an aging Hudl, a kids beaten up cheapie or something to slide down the side of the sofa for quick reference.

 

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By December 15, 2015 Read More →

Sennheiser unveils new version of the HD 800

opopopThe Sennheiser HD 800 is cherished by music lovers throughout the world for its brilliant sound image and impressive spatiality. With the HD 800 S, the audio specialist now presents a new version, which even surpasses the listening experience of its predecessor: Acoustically, the proven transducer technology and the innovative earcup design of the HD 800 are still being employed, while the sound image has once again been further optimized in the medium and low frequency range. Sennheiser has also enhanced the equipment level of the HD 800 S with the addition of a symmetrical XLR4 cable. The color was also slightly changed: the earcups of the new model are resplendent in a premium matte-black finish.

Ever since its launch, the HD 800 has been a firm favourite among music lovers and audiophiles. Brilliant trebles, precise bass reproduction and a particularly clear sound image combined with a frequency response from 4 to 51,000 Hz – these are the outstanding qualities of the multi-award-winning HD 800.

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With the HD 800 S, sound reproduction has been optimized even beyond the high benchmark set by the HD 800. This is made possible through the innovative absorber technology that was first introduced in the IE 800. This patented technology ensures that the so-called “masking effect” is neutralized. This acoustic phenomenon, that diminishes sound quality, arises as the human ear is unable to perceive higher-pitched sounds, that have low-volumes, at the same time that sigificantly louder sounds in a lower frequency range occur. Through the application of the absorber technology, the energy of the resonances is absorbed, thus preventing any unwanted peaks in the frequency response and ensuring that even the finest nuances in the music remain audible over the entire frequency range.

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Impressive sound experience – outstanding technology

The improved audio quality of the HD 800 S is based on the high-end technology of its legendary predecessor. As before, the core of the new model is a unique transducer system which, as in the HD 800, is the source and guarantee of an exceptionally detailed sound image. Measuring 56 millimetres, it is the largest transducer currently to be found in a set of dynamic headphones. In spite of the size of the transducer, the patented diaphragm with its innovative ring design minimizes any distortion that might occur especially at higher frequencies – keeping total harmonic distortion to less than 0.02 percent. Meticulous attention was also paid to the design of the earcups. These are designed in such a way that the sound waves are directed to the ear at a slight angle. This ensures a particularly natural and spatial sound perception.

In order to achieve even better audio quality in the reproduction of audio sources with a symmetrical output, such as the Sennheiser HDVD 800, the HD 800 S comes with a symmetrical XLR4 cable.

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Luxurious materials for luxury headphones

“The HD 800 is in a class of its own. During its development, we took time to focus on every single detail,” explained Maurice Quarré, Director Business Segment Select & Audiophile at Sennheiser. And that is also true for the new HD 800 S. Like their predecessor, these high-end headphones from the audio specialist use only the highest quality materials – not least to optimally support the outstanding sound properties. For example, the transducer is embedded in a specially manufactured stainless steel gauze. For the headband, the audio specialist has chosen a design consisting of several layers of sound-attenuating plastic and stainless steel, while the connector contacts are gold-plated to ensure optimum contact. The earcups are made of high-quality, high-attenuation plastic, which is used in aviation engineering as a substitute for metal. It is precisely these components on the HD 800 S that feature a matte-black, silk-gloss finish, providing the new high-end headphones with a unique, silky luxurious look. In this way, the outer appearance of the HD 800 S is in perfect harmony with the exceptional quality of the sound image.

Like the HD 800, the HD 800 S is hand-crafted at the company’s German headquarters in Wedemark. It will be available from mid-December 2015.