Archive for October 5th, 2016

By October 5, 2016 Read More →

GoPro HERO5 Cameras – Cloud-Connected and Simplified.

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HERO5 Session
The Best, Only Smaller. For $299.
HERO5 Session shares the same small design and brilliant convenience of the original HERO Session camera, but benefits from significant performance upgrades:
  • Video Resolutions up to 4K at 30 Frames per Second
  • Professional Quality 10MP Photos
  • Auto-Upload of Photos and Video to Cloud when Camera is Charging*
  • Voice Control with Support for 7 Languages (additional languages coming)
  • Simple 1-Button Control
  • Waterproof Without a Housing to 33 Feet (10m)
  • Compatible with Existing GoPro, Mounts Including Karma
  • Professional-Grade Electronic Video Stabilization
  • Distortion-Free Wide Angle Video and Photos with new Linear-View Setting
HERO5 Session will be available October 2nd for an MSRP of $299.99. Learn more HERE.
Posted in: Cameras, News
By October 5, 2016 Read More →

Panasonic RP-HXS200 Review

download-41I recently had the opportunity to try out the RP-HXS200 headphones by Panasonic. These are budget headphones (retailing for around £18 on Amazon), something immediately evident from the rather basic clamshell packaging which claims “Clear & powerful sound”. The set I tried were a funky black, blue and light grey combination and I must admit, I did like the look of them. Once you get them out of the packaging and in hand, they do feel very plasticky and I’m not sure how much daily abuse they’ll take, although I was pleasantly surprised to see the flat, tangle-free type cables do seem reassuringly robust. A rarity at this end of the market.

One of the main gripes I have with on-ear headphones has always been a question of where you put them when they aren’t in use. I am nowhere near hipster enough to dander around with them around my neck like a big plastic fashion accessory and they are usually too big or fragile to be just chucked in a bag. The Panasonic party piece is that they fold up Transformer style into a neat little form factor that can be easily tucked into a bag or jacket pocket. This is a great feature, but sadly these headphones are not the clunky, rugged Transformers of old, they are the flimsy plastic modern ones and I was more than a little wary of putting too much strain on the various joints, hinges, and rotating pieces.

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Once they were transformed and ready to roll out, I plugged them into my iPhone to see what kind of sound they were capable of. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I was actually rather impressed. For under £20, the sound quality was really rather good. Well, initially it was. The Panasonics seem to handle intros and simple pieces very well indeed, punching well above their weight. I was listening to S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff and was getting some great separation and a nice tone during the opening of the song. The acapella vocals, humming and clapping were all coming through extremely well. Sadly this ended swiftly when the rest of the band kicked in and price point of the Panasonics showed through. Unable to handle all the layers and detailing, the sound appeared compressed as they struggled to funnel the high, mid and bass levels through the drivers. I tried several pieces across a number of musical genres and found this to be consistent.

They did very well with the stripped back sounds of Lorde, but sounded terrible with Metallica’s layered detail and depth. I initially spent about 25-30mins testing out these headphones before I had to take them off. The plastic covering of the earpieces had slowly roasted my ears almost to the point of combustion and I had to take a break. The Panasonics are very light and have a great range of adjustment and I suspect if you are the sort that can put up with the plastic against your skin for extended periods of time, you’ll probably have no trouble with them. But if you are the sort that finds headphones make your ears start to get warm after a while, I’d maybe pass on these. In truth, I personally have never found on ear headphones particularly comfortable and these are certainly no exception, but your mileage may vary.

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Overall I’d say these headphones are aimed at the younger user and at the price point there is always going to be a compromise with the quality of sound and construction. If you like on ear headphones and simple pop music, then they are a pretty good buy and certainly worthy of consideration. For those looking for a quality sound however, I would suggest leaving these for the kid in the skinny jeans and slouch hat behind you.

The Panasonic RP-HXS200’s are available at www.reichelt.co.uk the online electronics retailer where many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK.

Posted in: Headphones, Reviews
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By October 5, 2016 Read More →

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL in a nutshell

download-4Most are saying farewell to the Nexus brand however I’m not committed to that mindset, as with Indiana Jones and Red Dwarf, never say never. The Pixel phone is the new phone on the block. A pair of super high-end offerings with price tags at one particular end of the spectrum. There was a lot of speculation and excitement right up until the announcement itself and then the controversy started.

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On the one hand, there was nothing along the lines of the recent Apple controversy. Google are not reinventing the wheel with the Pixel, it’s just another phone line with specs you would expect from any other high-end phone. There is a distinctive look that some, including myself, are not 100% on. There is a camera with some bold statements and, given the demonstration material, impressive results. However, many of the features of the Pixel’s announcement were down to the apps themselves, Google Assistant, Duo and Drive.

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Under the polished glass, the Pixel has a 5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display, not a Quad HD. Unlike the Pixel XL’s larger 5.5-inch AMOLED Quad HD display. A quad-core Snapdragon 821 chipsets (2x 2.15Ghz / 2x 1.6 GHz,) the first of its type in the US and the UK. Backed by 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM keeps things lightening fast. The Pixel has a 2,770mAh whilst the Pixel XL’s  sits at 3,450mAh.

On the back is a little imprint fingerprint sensor, nothing particularly special by today’s standards. However, above this is the 12.3MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus sensor with a 1.55µm pixel size, at the same number of pixels, bigger pixels in a camera sensor means more area for light to strike the sensor, larger pixel sensors meaning you will have more accurate color and luminance in each pixel. Helping Google outline this are independent researchers at DxOMark judging this as the best you’ll find in a smartphone. The front sees a 8 MP, f/2.0, 1/3.2″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and every “ahem” and wink Google peppered into the presentation was accompanied by a little groan from myself.

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Three colours are to be made available and the naming system is quite cute. Quite Black, Really Blue and Very Silver.

Much of the Pixels launch was taken up by the Google Assistant demonstration. This can’t be considered a backbone of the Pixel as most Android users will be able to take advantage of the service once rocking Nougat. Assistant is a complex app, integrated with most of Google’s services to provide you with itineraries, news, search results and suggestions through a casual conversation. Assistant keeps track of your searches and preferences to cater better results as you use it.

The pricing is the same as the iPhone, a 32GB Pixel is £599 and a 128GB is £699. Whereas the Pixel XL is £719 for the 32GB, and £819 for the 128GB.

https://store.google.com/product/pixel_phone

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Posted in: News, Phones
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