Archive for 2016

By December 30, 2016 Read More →

Xiaomi Mi band 2 Review

img_iv2za6With the season of gluttony upon us, it will only be a matter of time before you may start thinking about getting a new pair of trainers and heading off to your local gym in a desperate attempt to look amazing for the Summer of 2017.  Should you get a personal trainer or should you use a wearable tracker to monitor your progress?

My trainers have been dusted off since September and in October I purchased the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 to monitor my progress, I was curious to see if a fitness tracker is a must have accessory or is it just a gadget that will be used and discarded within a few weeks of wear?

May it be a gift to yourself for Christmas or a stocking filler for that person who has everything, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is available online from amazon from £33.00. The unboxing of the Mi Band can be found below.

Xiaomi is a multi-billion dollar company which was founded in 2010. The company are among the world’s largest mobile manufacturers competing with Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and LG.

Their phones are beginning to make an appearance in the UK market with the Mi Mix, Mi Note2 recently being announced with specs to impress, Xiaomi will hopefully become a main contender in the UK market soon.  The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 was released on the 2nd June 2016 and is an updated version of the popular Mi Band and Mi Band 1s.  The Mi Band 2 differs from the previous models as it now features a 0.4inch OLED screen and a capacitive button.  The display really helps make the device more appealing than a fitness tracker with no display.  I have met people who have been using other fitness trackers and they are frustrated that they have to look elsewhere to get the time for example.

Out of the box, you have the Mi band 2 capsule, the black wrist strap, and the charging dock.

The black wrist strap is made from silicone and has hypoallergenic properties making it ‘smooth to touch and comfortable even for people with sensitive skin’

Growing up I have never been a fan of wearing a watch if it had a metal strap with links the hairs on my arm were plucked daily if the strap was leather I would eventually break out in a rash so up until now I have avoided any smart wearable device. I was worried that my skin would react to the silicone strap but surprisingly after extensive wear, I can say there have been no issues.  The Mi Band 2 is lightweight and was almost unnoticeable when wearing.

The mi band app is available on both the android play store and the apple store. It is easy to follow installation and the on-screen setup helps you link your band to your phone via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connection does not have to be continually on as the mi band records the information gathered throughout the day then uploads it all when connected to the device.  

There are a number of customizable options with the Mi Band 2 via the app, these includes what is displayed when you push the capacitive button.

You can simply have the time, or time and date – always handy when shopping and you can not remember the date. The pedometer counter that displays a number of steps walked that day. This sometimes is not 100% accurate as a waving hand motion can add a number of steps on to your daily total.  Distance walked in meters, calories burned, heart Rate monitor – when pressed the Mi band will track your heart rate and display it with a vibration within 15 secs. Battery Display – The battery life is fantastic I have only needed to charge the device once every 29 days.

There is also the sleep monitor which tracks your sleeping pattern breaking your nights dreaming into a light and deep sleep.  With a baby in our household, this has been a great feature to prove to the other half what time I was up at during the night as it will also track periods awake.

I found that having the mi band connected to your phone via Bluetooth you will receive notifications such as incoming calls and texts which over the past few weeks is a feature I do not think I could do without now.

Via the app you can also set your pedometer goals. The NHS had introduced the 10,000 steps a day challenge stating the average person walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. I set my goal at 10,000 which if reached you received a buzz notification on your mi band 2 display of a shield. I thought that I would have been able to achieve this goal daily, but I was only averaging about 7,500 steps daily.  I activated the idle alert on the Mi Band2 that would notify me to get up and move about the office if i was sitting more than an hour at my desk. This notification really worked and now that I have added extra steps to my routine I now can reach my goal daily.

“With a built-in motion sensor, Mi Band 2 knows exactly when you begin your workout. You don’t have to switch modes or tell it before you start. Measure your heart rate to adjust the length and intensity of workouts. Keep calm and work toward your fitness goals”

The only workout the Mi Band 2 can monitor is walking and running. It cannot tell you a number of calories burned weightlifting or spinning. This can be disappointing but if you connect to google fit the mi band 2 can sync steps and sleep data and then you can input your workout on your timeline.

The Mi band 2, is a fantastic value for money multi-function fitness tracker for anyone wanting to venture into the realm of wearable technology.  This is my first time trying a smart wearable and I have to say I have been more than impressed with the Mi band 2 and what it has to offer.  I have realised that I need to walk more and through tracking my sleep have made changes to my lifestyle resulting in a current weight loss of 24 lbs.  I have managed to create substantial wear and tear on the strap and have ordered two replacements. For anyone wanting to achieve their fitness goals for 2017, I would thoroughly recommend starting your quest with the added help of this fitness tracker.  

Purchase the Mi Band 2: Amazon – Gearbest

 

By December 29, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 8 – The Test

vlcsnap-00028reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part eight we take a look at how well things run. A little stress test and install of Skyrim Enhanced Edition.

Inter-Tech K-11 midi-tower including SL-500 – £34.17

Desktop hard drive, 1 TB, WD Blue – £44.66

AMD FM2+ A6-7400K, 2x 3.50GHz, boxed – £51.33

ASUS GF GT730 – 2 GB – passive – £55.19

GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-D3HP (FM2+) – £60.10

8 GB DDR3L 1333 CL9 Kingston Fury, black, twin pack – £63.61

Added to the computer for testing purposes, however not included in the £300 budget, is a Benq GW2270H 21.5 inch LED Monitor available from Amazon for £79.99

And a Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000 costing £12.99

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 28, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 7 – The Build

image24reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part seven, we throw the parts together and hope for the best. Here is a summary of the parts, prices and links used in the video.

Inter-Tech K-11 midi-tower including SL-500 – £34.17

Desktop hard drive, 1 TB, WD Blue – £44.66

AMD FM2+ A6-7400K, 2x 3.50GHz, boxed – £51.33

ASUS GF GT730 – 2 GB – passive – £55.19

GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-D3HP (FM2+) – £60.10

8 GB DDR3L 1333 CL9 Kingston Fury, black, twin pack – £63.61

Added to the computer for testing purposes, however not included in the £300 budget, is a Benq GW2270H 21.5 inch LED Monitor available from Amazon for £79.99

And a Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000 costing £12.99

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 26, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 6 – Storage

image23reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part six, we grab some storage. A Western Digital Blue 1000GB, 64MB Cache, SATA3 and costing only £44.65 incl. VAT will do the job cheaply and reliably.

Cool, quiet and fast. WD Blue drives offer superior performance and reliability. This makes them ideal for business or private desktop computers.

WD Blue WD10EZEX – hard drive – 1 TB – SATA-600
• Type: hard drive – internal
• Capacity: One TB
• Form factor: 8.9 cm x 1/3H (3.5″ x 1/3H)
• Interface: Serial ATA-600
• Data transfer rate: 600 MBps
• Buffer size: 64 MB
• Spindle speed: 7200 rpm
• Features: IntelliSeek, NoTouch ramp load technology
• Dimensions (width x depth x height): 10.16 cm x 14.7 cm x 2.54 cm
• Weight: 440 g

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 24, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 5 – Graphics Card

image22reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part five, we pick a graphics card. The Asus GT730 is a low-end passive card designed for silence and costing only £55.17 incl. VAT.

GT 730 is the fantastic new graphics card from ASUS. Engineered with a highly-efficient 0 dB thermal design, it dissipates heat in complete silence — making ASUS GT 730 the perfect choice for your slimline home-theatre PC (HTPC) build. Advanced EMI shielding reduces electromagnetic interference by up to 66% for a stable signal, pin-sharp images and safer and healthier computing. Users who love to customise can enjoy the integrated GPU Tweak software, enabling them to control video memory, voltages and cooling fans and even stream live gameplay in real time!

Details:
• Chip: GK208-301-A1 “Kepler”
• Chip clock: 902 MHz, boost: N/A
• Memory: 2GB DDR3, 900 MHz, 64 bit, 14.4 GB/s
• Shader units/TMUs/ROPs: 384/16/8
• Processing power: 693GFLOPS (single), 58GFLOPS (double)
• Process technology: 28 nm
• Power consumption: 23 W (TDP), not specified (idle)
• DirectX: 11.0
• OpenGL: 4.4
• OpenCL: 1.1
• Shader model: 5.0
• Interface: PCIe 2.0
• Design: Dual-slot
• Cooling: passive
• Connections: VGA, DVI, HDMI
• External power supply: N/A
• Dimensions: 137 x 69 x 30 mm
• Special features: low profile

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 23, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 4 – Memory

image21reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part four, we look at the Memory. The Kingston HyperX FURY schwarz Kit 8GB, DDR3-1333 costing £54.41 incl. VAT. Great memory, that takes the pain out of picking the correct clock speed for your motherboard. This stuff overclocks itself to match up with the frequency of the board.

Score with the HyperX FURY. Fury recognises its host platform automatically and overclocked and automatically overclocks to the highest specified frequency of up to 1866 MHz1. This gives you power for your next punch and lets even beginners get up to speed.
The FURY’s asymmetric heat sink makes it stand out from standard designs. It is available in the colours black, blue, red and, for the first time in HyperX history, white with a black PCB. Now, you can show off your stylish equipment at a really reasonable price. Fury is 100% tested, LAN-capable and comes with a lifetime warranty and free technical support.

Details:
• Modules: 2x 4GB
• DDR3 DIMM 240-pin
• 1333 MHz
• JEDEC: PC3-10667U
• Non-ECC
• CL9
• Voltage: 1.50V
• Unbuffered

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 22, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 3 – Motherboard

Building a computer for £300 – Part 3 – Motherboard

reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

Part three, we look at the Motherboard. A Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3HP costing £54.15 incl. VAT. A fine motherboard with some of the newest tech, specifically a USB 3.1 type-C connector! The AMD features the following:

The GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-D3HP is based on the AMD-A88X chipset and supports AMD APUs with integrated graphics. It has four DIMM slots and supports up to 64 GB of DDR3 RAM in dual-channel operation. Depending on the APU, the µATX mainboard GA-F2A88XM-D3HP provides high-performance graphics with DVI, HDMI and VGA connections. Other features of the GA-F2A88XM-D3HP include a Gigabit LAN connection with Realtek chipset, an 8-channel sound chip (Realtek ALC887), eight SATA3 connectors, two USB 3.0 type-A ports plus a USB 3.1 type-C port and a USB-3.1 type-A port.

Details:

    • Chipset: AMD A88X
    • Memory: 4x DDR3 DIMM, dual PC3-19200U/DDR3-2400 (OC), max. 64 GB (UDIMM)
    • Expansion slots: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4), 1x PCIe 2.0 x1, 1x PCI
    • External ports: 1x VGA, 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.1 (type A + type C, ASM1142), 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 1x Gb LAN (Realtek), 3x jacks, 1x PS/2 combo
    • Internal ports: 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 8x SATA 6 Gb/s (A88X), 1x CPU 4-pin fan, 2x 4-pin fan, 1x serial, 1x parallel, TPM header
    • Audio: 7.1 (Realtek ALC887)
    • RAID level: 0/1/5/10 (A88X)
    • Multi-GPU: AMD 2-Way CrossFireX (x16/x4)
    • Power connections: 1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin EPS12V
    • CPU phases: 6
    • Graphics: IGP (via CPU/APU)
    • Special features: µATX, all solid capacitors

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 22, 2016 Read More →

Mi Band 2 Unboxing

vlcsnap-00026The Mi Band 2 is the latest fitness tracker from Xiaomi. Perfectly pricey to encompass everything a fitness fanatic needs to keep track of their exercise.
Record daily motion data, Xiaomi bracelet to help you record all-day event, calculate walking distance, and calorie consumption.
Smart Vibration alarm clock, simulate wake up naturally status: You can set the alarm on the APP, in front of the preset alarm within 30 minutes, with a slight vibration to wake you from a shallow sleep, when to wake up slowly shallow sleep, naturally wake up closer.

Grabs one here: http://amzn.to/2hsAZed

By December 22, 2016 Read More →

Wraps Core headphones review

img_5494The nice folks at Wraps recently sent us some if their funky headphones to check out. The range starts out around the £15 mark for the bright and colourful entry level models, right up to the model I’ve been playing with, the £50 “Core” version. This differs from its cheaper stablemates due to its braided faux leather cable and improved speakers which are made from titanium no less.

Right out of the box, they are a good-looking set of headphones. I’m not a fan of bling, so the nicely subdued colour scheme of “space grey” buds on black faux leather was right up my street. The unique selling point (gimmick) of the wraps headphones is that they are designed in such a way that they can be worn around the wrist when you aren’t using them. This is a bit fiddly at first, but after a few goes, you get the hang of it. The mechanism for securing the headphones is simple but effective, the 3.5mm jack is the peg and there is a hole for it either in the ear bud separator or in a small piece that slides freely along the length of the cable, so you can achieve a good fit. This works really well and I can definitely see people using it as an alternative to having the big over ear headphones hanging around your neck all day.

Personally I tried it out for the sake of the review, but to be honest, I preferred to store the headphones in a small pouch in my bag. I always have headphones with me, but I don’t always need them (literally) right at hand all the time. Your mileage may vary. As for sound quality, I was initially somewhat disappointed. Gimmicks aside, for £50, I expect a set of

As for sound quality, I was initially somewhat disappointed. Gimmicks aside, for £50, I expect a set of headphones to sound good. The Cores sounded a bit subdued, almost to the point of sounding muffled. I tried the various sizes of silicone buds provided in the package, but even with a good fit, the sound wasn’t great.

Now, I know that the sound can change once headphones “burn in”, but I have never experienced such a noticeable difference in any other set. After a few days, the sound transformed. The fuzzy, dampened sound cleared up and the details started to come through. Maybe it is because of the use of titanium speakers, but an extended burn-in time certainly made a massive difference. The overall sound is not what I would call outstanding, at this price point there are competitors that will give a much richer sound quality, but I would say that it is still very good and more than up to the task. You get a nice amount of detail and it has a bass that is nicely rounded but can deliver a bit of a thump when asked. Sometimes with braided cables, you get a lot of noise coming through when they rub against clothing etc, thankfully I didn’t find this was the case with the wraps.

If I was to level a criticism against the headphones, one tiny niggle is the size of the ear buds themselves. They are rather small. This is a good thing when they are stored on your wrist, but I found that when I was wearing them whilst out for a walk, I kept having to push them into my ear regularly. I have pretty small ears, so if you have Dumbo lugs, this might be an issue for you.

Overall I really like these headphones. The styling is really nice and the sound quality is totally decent. Yeah, they are maybe a bit pricey compared to others on the market, but the addition of the wearable feature is pretty handy and does set it apart. There is obviously an element of personal taste with non-conventional designs, but if these appeal to you, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Available in Gold, Space Grey, Silver and Rose Gold from www.mywraps.com  for £49.99

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By December 21, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 2 – Processor

image19reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

Part two, we look at the processor. An AMD A6-7400K Black Edition, 2x 3.50GHz costing £50.53 incl. VAT. Certainly, there are better processors on the market, however not at this price for a budget build. The AMD features the following:

• Dual core: “Kaveri”
• Clock speed: 3.50 GHz, Turbo: 3.90 GHz
• TDP: 65 W
• Production: 28 nm
• Interface: UMI, 5 GT/s
• L2 cache: 1 MB shared
• L3 cache: N/A
• Stepping: KV-A1
• Graphics: AMD Radeon R5, 756 MHz, 256 shaders, 387GFLOPS
• Memory controller: Dual-channel PC3-14900U (DDR3-1866)
• Features: SSE4a, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES, AVX, CLMUL, XOP, FMA3, FMA4, CVT16, NX bit, AMD64, AMD-V, Cool’n’Quiet, Turbo Core 3.0, Eyefinity, unlocked multiplier

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!