Archive for 2015

By November 16, 2015 Read More →

Sony Smartwatch 3 Review

P1020431Sony is no stranger to the smart watch, they have produced a few generations of their signature Sony SmartWatch over the last couple of years. I personally owned the original Sony Smartwatch when it first came out 4 years ago. Whilst it might not be a conventional SmartWatch as we know it is perhaps better described as more of an iPod Shuffle with a screen on a wrist strap. This really was one of the first smartwatch devices and was a pretty big  trendsetter.

The second Sony Smartwatch made a lot of big changes and sorted out many of the problems of the original, notably becoming a pure Smartwatch, no clips, just a small screen with a processor on a strap. Of the smartwatches available at the time, the Sony smartwatch 2 was probably the most impressive, that is until the Samsung Galaxy Gear appeared shortly after.

My current smartwatch is the LG G Watch, a simple approach to Android Wear and a cheaper option for anyone wanting to test the water. Moving to the SmartWatch 3 from the LG G watch isn’t as exciting as as one might think. Android Wear is the same from device to device with very little in the way of modification. What we really have to look at is mainly just the physical differences between the two devices and how they operate from your wrist. The Sony SmartWatch and the LG G Watch are practically identical when it comes to many are the physical aspects of these devices.

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The big bonus of the Sony SmartWatch 3 over the LG G watch is comfort, I really noticed a big difference with the Smart Watch on my wrist. I seem to remember adjusting the LG G watch quite frequently as it became somewhat uncomfortable over the course of the day, I was always reminded that I had it on. The SmartWatch 3 has a much more snug fit around your wrist and is ultimately more comfortable. That’s not to say it’s like a second skin, it just has a better fit when it comes to the watch face.

Another major difference is the button on the side, the LG G Watch uses a couple of taps to the watch screen to wake it up whereas the SmartWatch relies on an old fashioned button, some may prefer this however.

The screen itself occupies a strange portion of the front facing panel. It isn’t quite centralised on the y axis leaving a bar at the bottom that looks almost like an Android phone where capacitive controls  may have once resided. The screen feels smaller than the LG G watch and appear to be roughly the same size to the eye. The resolution of the screen works, if not as pretty as some of the other competitors from Motorola, Huawei and Samsung.

There is a price difference between the LG G Watch and the Sony SmartWatch 3 and this price difference certainly feels like it made it’s way into the stock straps provided. LG of gone for a very basic approach to keep the price down whereas the Sony SmartWatch 3 has an infinitely superior strap  with a good solid clip to keep it from falling off the wrist. Additionally, being interchangeable with other ones that Sony sell the watch can be equipped for various different life challenges whether it be a marathon, a day in the office or a holiday.

The biggest annoyance of the Sony SmartWatch 3 is the charging port, a single micro USB connector is pushed into the back of the device. This can be a little annoying especially late at night when you just want to get the thing on charge and get into bed. The typical micro USB “is this the right way round?” syndrome happens whilst you attempt to keep a small rubber flap out of the way. On a number of occasions I have picked up the watch in the morning to find that it is dead, I had not put the charger in fully and the battery does not last more than the day. The little LG G Watch sits beside it in it’s cosy cradle enjoying a flow of constant power.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is a decent entry into the Android wear catalogue at a cheaper price than some of the high-end watches making it one to consider or perhaps a backup. There will be the odd moment it infuriates you however these are hopefully going to be few and far between. I have a feeling that  if Sony provide a Smartwatch 4  it really will be  a contender.

You can purchase the Sony Smartwatch 3 from Mobilefun for £179.00

By November 6, 2015 Read More →

Sennheiser launches marble encased headphones for €50k

Orpheus_printframe3_rgbSennheiser today announces Orpheus – the best headphones in the world, offering an unprecedented audio experience. The electrostatic headphone system combines the most innovative technology, highest quality craftsmanship and luxurious materials including Italian Carrara marble. The high-end headphones, which will be hand-crafted in Germany from next year onwards, will carry a price tag around 50,000 EUR.

 

Orpheus fulfils an ambition of the audio specialists, to build a high-end headphone which sounds so brilliant that you feel that you are in a concert hall; creating acoustics that surpass anything that has been heard before. The new launch is the second in the Orpheus series, bringing new technology that surpasses the original design created in 1990/1991, which took the audio world by storm. The product became an icon of the audio industry and was recognised as the best headphones in the world – until now. Almost 25 years later, Sennheiser is now opening up a new chapter in audio history with the successor, one that shares its famous name: “With the new Orpheus, we once again push the boundaries and show that we can repeatedly set new benchmarks in excellence and with that shape the future of the audio world,” said Sennheiser CEO Daniel Sennheiser.

 

With the first few models only just being created, there have been a series of limited listening sessions and alongside star producer Steve Levine, Grammy award-winner Gregory Porter was one of the first to be invited to an exclusive listening trial. “When I record my own music, I always try to convey my emotions. I don’t know how exactly, but these headphones really do succeed in getting those emotions across,” said the jazz musician, describing his listening experience with the Orpheus.

 

The unique Orpheus experience begins even before you start listening. When the system is inactive, the components are all retracted and the Orpheus has the serene beauty of a sculpture. Gently pushing the on/off-volume control brings the sculpture to life: the control elements, each of which are crafted from a single piece of brass and then plated with chrome, slowly extend from the marble housing, before the vacuum tubes enclosed in quartz glass bulbs rise from the base and start to glow. Finally, a glass cover is raised, allowing the headphones with ear cups finished in genuine leather to be removed.

The Orpheus uses an innovative amplifier concept that combines to perfection the advantages of a tube amplifier with those of a transistor amplifier.

 

The selection of all materials consequently supports the acoustic excellence of this milestone product.  Over 6,000 components were meticulously chosen to ensure an outstanding acoustic performance. Sennheiser used exclusive components such as gold-vaporized ceramic electrodes and platinum-vaporized diaphragms. The marble that Sennheiser chose for the amplifier housing comes from Carrara in Italy and is the same type of marble that Michelangelo used to create his sculptures.

 

To immerse yourself in the unique world of the Orpheus, please visit www.sennheiser-reshapingexcellence.com. You can watch the full interview with Gregory Porter by clicking the following link: www.sennheiser.com/bluestage.

By November 6, 2015 Read More →

AuraVisor Kickstarter Campaign Reached Goal

auravisorMemo to Facebook, you bought the wrong company. AuraVisor has officially just become the first true Virtual Reality game changer in the industry. James Talbot. CEO, AuraVisor, wants the industry to know that his AuraVisor is definitely the most cutting edge product. It’s the first virtual reality system that doesn’t need to be connected to a computer or smartphone.  Its on-board computer allows you to break free from other devices and experience the ultimate in virtual reality.

Talbot is still in shock over Oculus Rift’s Founder Palmer Lucky’s recent tweets that were circulated over the major tech sites that the industry is not ready for the mass market until VR can get rid of the $1,000 high-end PCs that are connected to the headsets via wires. 

Talbot said, “We beg to differ and that is the essence of our Kickstarter campaign. AuraVisor has everything you need embedded in the headset now to experience VR without the need for a separate computer, connected by wires or even a smartphone.”

AuraVisor is a virtual reality head mounted computer (HMC) that works without a computer or smartphone, free from the clutter of wires and the hassle of interchanging a smart phone. AuraVisor has an on-board Android based operating system that allows you to experience the immersion of virtual reality, and all it offers, without breaking the budget.

The built in 5″ screen delivers full 1080 HD video and a wide 100° field of vision means that the AuraVisor provides a truly immersive gaming experience but, more than that, it’s a completely standalone entertainment system. AuraVisor fully supports 3D movies.  Imagine watching the latest action films in full 3D on the equivalent of a 100 foot screen.

AuraVisor has powerful on-board WiFi and a simple smart scrolling graphical user interface. Simply turn on, download and immerse yourself in whatever activity you like.

Users have the ability to download more content, including games, videos and apps from the VR store. The VR store is based on, and linked to, the Google Play Store. With support for popular video apps such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, and gaming engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine. AuraVisor supports almost every entertainment and gaming option a user would need.  A HDMI input allows users to connect a computer or gaming system for even more content. AuraVisor includes 16 GB of on board memory, with an expandable microSD slot, users can add their own content and provide additional storage space for apps. 

AuraVisor features a built-in Lithium Ion battery which provides more than five hours of power.  With included Bluetooth gaming controller, microUSB charging cable, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI 2.0 input and support for 4K UHD video at 60fps, AuraVisor will immerse users into the latest and greatest content available today, at a price that everyone can afford.

Currently available as part of our Kickstarter launch are options such as additional adult and children-sized faceplates and a Power Bank Battery, designed specifically for AuraVisor allowing additional gaming and entertainment time.  Other features and options will be announced soon. 

With over 600 backers, the AuraVisor Kickstarter campaign has already smashed its £100,000 funding goal in little over a week.  For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, please visit AuraVisor Kickstarter Campaign  

 

 

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By November 6, 2015 Read More →

Huawei Nexus 6P Unboxing

vlcsnap-error992This is the Huawei Nexus 6P, the flagship Android device. Google have put out two Nexus devices this year and this is the Nexus 5X’s bigger brother. Packed to the gills with the latest tech the 6P is easily one of the most eye catching devices on the market, but it is any good?

Over a series of videos we will take a look at the Nexus 6P’s various features starting the the routine unboxing. 

Huawei Nexus 6P spec list:

Operating System

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display
  • 5.7 inches
  • WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED display at 518 ppi
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4
  • Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
Rear Camera
  • 12.3 MP¹
  • 1.55 µm pixels
  • f/2.0 aperture
  • IR Laser assisted autofocus
  • 4K (30 fps) video capture
  • Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash
Front Camera
  • 8MP camera
  • 1.4 µm pixels
  • f/2.4 aperture
  • HD video capture (30 fps)
Processors
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 v2.1, 2.0 GHz Octa-core 64-bit
  • Adreno 430 GPU
Memory & Storage²
  • RAM: 3 GB LPDDR4
  • Internal storage: 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB
Dimensions³
  • 159.3 X 77.8 X 7.3 mm
Weight
  • 178 g
Color
  • Aluminium
  • Graphite
  • Frost
Media
  • Dual front-facing stereo speakers
  • 3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
Battery⁴
  • 3,450 mAh battery
  • Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 10 minutes of charging
Wireless & Location
  • LTE cat. 6
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • NFC
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • Digital compass
  • Wi-Fi use requires 802.11a/b/g/n/ac access point (router). Syncing services, such as backup, require a Google Account.
Network
  • GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • UMTS/WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/6/8/9/19
  • TD-SCDMA: 34/39
  • CDMA: BC0/1
  • LTE (FDD): B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/9/17/19/20/28
  • LTE (TDD): B38/B39/40/41
  • CA DL: B1-B5, B1-B8, B1-B19, B3-B3, B3-B5, B3-B7, B3-B8, B3-B19, B3-B20, B3-B28, B5-B7, B7-B7, B7-B20, B7-B28, B39-B39, B40-B40, B41-B41
  • Phone is carrier-unlocked with wide-range band support for service providers worldwide. Check with your service provider for more information.
Sensors
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Barometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Hall sensor
  • Android Sensor Hub
Ports
  • Single USB Type-C
  • Single Nano SIM slot
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
Material
  • Anodized aluminum
Other
  • RGB LED notification light
Posted in: Phones, Videos/Unboxings
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By November 3, 2015 Read More →

Belkin Announces the QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

372Belkin, the leader in mobile accessories, today announced the Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2. Weighing a mere 370g, the QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard case is the lightest keyboard in Belkin’s collection of premium tablet keyboards.

Designed for iPad Air 2, the QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case features a protective case, aluminium keyboard, and advanced power management feature to preserve the battery life of the keyboard. These key features enhance the tablet experience without compromising the design or weight of the keyboard.

The Ultimate Lite’s aluminium keyboard is designed with well-spaced and responsive keys to create a laptop-like typing experience, making it faster and more accurate for users.

This versatile protective case wraps around the iPad for full protection, and has convenient cutouts for access to all the tablet’s ports and buttons. This means users can charge their tablet or snap a picture without the hassle of removing the iPad Air 2 cover.  It effortlessly folds into landscape or portrait mode for watching movies or presenting.

belkin-be-F5L190-2 belkin-be-F5L190-3

 

QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2

  • Thin & lightweight
  • Aluminium finish on keyboard
  • Well-spaced keys offer responsive, accurate typing
  • 6 month battery life
  • Auto on/off feature preserves battery life
  • Secure magnets hold tablet in a variety of comfortable viewing angles
  • Keyboard folds into case in media mode for handheld use
  • Full port access

Pricing and Availability: The QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 is available now on belkin.com/UK for an MSRP of £79.99.

Posted in: Accessories, Tablets
By November 2, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Amazon Prime 26th Oct – 1st Nov 2015

TWoAP 4x5Lets take a look at what streaming on Amazon Prime from the 26th October to the 1st November.

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By November 2, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Netflix 26th Oct – 1st Nov 2015

TWoNFLets take a look at what streaming on Netflix from the 26th October to the 1st November.

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By October 30, 2015 Read More →

4 Recent Innovations in Video Game Development

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 00.44.05The global video game industry is estimated to be worth £80bn and is one of the fastest growing sectors, overtaking the movie and music industries; in part due to an influx of new technologies and developments. We have looked at some of the recent trends and innovations that are shaping the video game industry:

 

Preview Programmes

Preview programmes are a new trend becoming popular with game studios, which allows gamers to feedback into the development process. Steam Early Access and the Xbox preview programme allow gamers to access new titles before they are finished so that they can have a say in the finished product. Small studios are breaking away from the traditional publishing models and incorporating gamers’ opinions into the development process to create a better gamer experience. 

Some studios are even live-streaming the development of their video games, making the whole process more transparent for gamers. Dutch independent game studio Vlambeer has 12,000 users subscribed to its live-stream; the closer audience interaction also means that there are more gamers advocating the game even from the early stages of development.

 

Virtual Reality 

A number of virtual reality gaming headsets are set to hit the market in 2016, including the much talked about Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and Microsoft’s HoloLens. The virtual reality field has so far been dominated by headset technology, but some companies are exploring different technologies; two Amazon patents recently released have revealed their plans to develop AI technology that avoids the need for a headset. This new take on virtual reality uses a projector and single light source to map a room in 3D space.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

According to Microsoft, video games and AI research are ‘mutually beneficial’; AI technology can be used to create virtual characters that behave realistically and intelligently within the game world. 

For the gamer, this means that non-player characters are capable of planning and learning in a way that more closely mimics real-world situations. Google has already contributed by creating a network that can look at a complex image and describe in natural language what is happening.

For developers, this means utilising some of the new resources for game development that incorporate AI technology into the process. Recent versions of game engines such as Frostbite 3 for PlayStation and Xbox, or FPS creator Reloaded for Oculus Rift incorporate artificial intelligence into their development framework to create more realistic in-game experiences for the gamer.

 

Computer-Developed Games

Moving on from artificial intelligence within video games, a researcher at the UK University of Falmouth has created an AI program that develops its own games. The program is called ANGELA – ‘A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I’ve Named Angela’, and it uses parameters set by its creator to develop video games.

It is essentially a computer algorithm that learns to make a game; as time goes on, ANGELA requires less and less input from its creator. So far, the games created by ANGELA don’t compare to human-developed video games, but as the program learns more over time the aim is that it will be able to write its own code and develop independently.

 

 

Posted in: Editorial, gaming
By October 28, 2015 Read More →

Asus ZenPad 8.0 unboxing

vlcsnap-error133Asus have been quietly releasing a slew of tablets and it would appear there is one for every taste on the market. If you have the patience you could track down every spec you desire in a tablet and not have to pay through the nose for it.

Here we take a look at one of the variants in the range. the Asus Zenpad 8.0 with the optional Power Case adapter to expand the battery life by an extra 10 – 13 hours with very little compromise.

In the inital unboxing there is a little confusion about the specs. Spending some time with the device, it is specced out as follows:

OS – Android 5.0 Lollipop
Processor – Intel Atom x3-C3200 Quad-core
Screen – IPS LCD 8.0 inches, 72.2% screen-to-body ratio, 800 x 1280 pixels, 189 ppi pixel density
Storage – 16 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
RAM – 2 GB
GPU – Mali-450MP4
Front Camera – 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus
Rear Camera – 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels

Posted in: Tablets, Videos/Unboxings
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By October 27, 2015 Read More →

Hunter’s Moon – see the full spectacle in just a few hours!

starYou may have caught the news today that Jupiter, Venus and Mars will form a triangle in the sky just before sunrise this week. A rare planetary phenomenon which will not take place again until 2021.

If you find yourself getting a taste for star gazing but have no idea what it is you’re seeing, Universe2go’s great new gadget, the Sky Viewer (RRP: £69) gives you all the information you need, looking at the planets and stars in real time in any weather, thanks to the use of your smartphone’s GPS technology point to the sky and it will identify where you’re looking.

The brand new piece of kit is super easy to use, there’s no need to sync: all you need to do is download the free app, pop your phone into the star gazer and you’re off into the night sky. You can find your way around using just small head movements – a quick nod will zoom you to galaxies, star clusters or constellations. Plus, Universe2go provides commentary so you can learn all about life on Mars, Jupiter’s great red spot or Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system.

You’ll be able to see this impressive planetary triangle all week, so do let us know if you’d like to borrow a Universe2go Sky Viewer to try it out for yourself!

RRP: £69.00                                         

Stockist: via the Universe2go website (free shipping worldwide)

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