Accessories

By March 26, 2017 Read More →

Dubleup Credit Sized Power Bank review

IMG_20170308_133524Powerbanks are increasingly becoming a must-have accessory over the last few years and manufacturers are going to extra lengths the make their just that little bit more attractive to the rest. Be it, adding a flashlight, waterproofing, huge capacity or artwork. However, one company looks to be adding a particularly attractive feature, size.

As capacities increase we see batteries getting bigger and more cumbersome, requiring a bag to carry them. The Dubleup aims to be the backup battery that you can take with you at all times and whilst it’s not going to have your phone back to 100%, it will get you out of a spot.

 

Designed to fit in your wallet or purse the Dubleup has most of the same proportions of a credit card. Save for girth, there is a battery in there so it has to have some girth. And whilst it might be as bloated as three credit cards piled on top of one another, that’s not exactly wide. Especially when you consider there needs to be a connector to charge the unit and a button to activate it.

One the one side the charger has an attractive metallic look, available in three colours. Black, silver and pink. This is a tough and somewhat scratch resistant surface. A subtle logo is in place on the top left and there is a connector on the top right, more about this later.

The understand is a little less elegant, however, this is the where all the action is. On the left is the charge cable and this is the Dubleup’s most commendable feature, the cable for your device is built right in, no need to carry one with you. A power button and some LEDs sit next to this and at the far right are some markings for capacity and output.

There is little on the sides save for the input charge port.

The one this that most will probably take issue with is that the capacity is 1280 mAh and this is lower than most phone batteries. Additionally, the output is 1A so no fast charging will take place here. Expecting your phone to be 100% after a 30-minute charge on the Dubleup is missing the point. This is designed to be in your wallet or purse to top up when battery life is grim. Perhaps when at a party on down in the bar with friends, somewhere that you don’t want to take a bulky powerbank with you and perhaps didn’t have the ability to charge your device over the course of the day, not everyone can.

Slow to charge, and from 0% to around 38% the Dubleup was dead when I unplugged it from my phone 90 minutes after starting. Just enough of an injection of power to see me home. I was able to put the Dubleup back in my wallet and motor on for a few hours before going home. A bit of a life saver in the right hands.

The Dubleup is a godsend, and not just for its slight footprint. The addition of the inbuilt charge cable is the icing on the cake and whilst options only cover MicroUSB and Apple Lightning connections this is an excellent addition to anyone’s wallet, purse or phone case! Hopefully, USB Type-C will be on the cards for the future.

As a Kickstarter project, you can register your interest now on Dubleup.com and check out the Kickstarter page HERE.

An Early Bird Offer is currently available. Get your Dubleup for just 60 AUD (around £36) or bag 2 for 100 AUD (around £60). Prices will include shipping.

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews
By March 25, 2017 Read More →

EasyAcc 13000mAh Power Bank Review

IMG_5768I love practical gadgets, things that can not only really make life easier, but actually get you out of a bind when the poop hits the fan. The way modern life is for most of us, your mobile device is never far away, often, never out of your hand. Manufacturers have spent billions investing in battery tech to provide enough power to enable your device to withstand heavy or prolonged use, but there are times when it’s just not enough.

There are many portable power packs available as a solution to this problem and both manufacturers and users are starting to figure out just how essential these devices are – for emergencies as well as daily use. This means that we are seeing increasingly inventive and innovative tweaks, refinements and improvements in them.

The model I have been looking at recently is the EasyAcc 13,000mah power bank. A fairly standard looking device that houses a couple of neat little features.

Honestly, first impressions aren’t great. The unit comes in a very plain cardboard box and while it isn’t unattractive with its grey and orange colour scheme it feels rather plasticky. It doesn’t feel flimsy, but it does feel a little…….cheap. I have noticed from using it, the plastic does mar and scratch quite easily. The pack itself is a decent size and I personally think it strikes a good balance of capacity, physical size and weight – your mileage my vary. All pretty standard so far.


However, under the device are two micro USB cables and that’s where things start to get interesting.

Two output ports is nothing new, but the party piece of this little device is the dual input ports. You can plug in two micro USB cables to the two ports and charge the device in half the time. This is genius! EasyAcc claim that a full recharge can take as little as 3.5 hours and in my testing, this seems pretty accurate. This is a fantastic feature for travellers who are maybe camped out in an airport for a few hours, or even if you are just topping the battery up at home and don’t have the time that it would take to charge a regular pack of this size.


The output proved pretty good too. The EasyAcc charged my iPhone 7 from 20% to full in a little over 80 minutes thanks to its smart charge function.


It has, of course, the now obligatory little LED light, which are generally pretty useless, but in this case, they have put a reasonable sized parabolic lens over the LED to amplify the output and provide a bit more of a useful amount of light. Nice touch!

I have been really rather impressed by this charger. Yes, it feels a bit cheap, but it still manages to feel solid. EasyAcc have chosen to forgo the flashy materials, packaging and little carry pouches in favour of functionality. The inclusion of the two charging cables is a real bonus too.  For £18.99, this is an easy recommendation.

Available on Amazon now for £18.99

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews
By March 23, 2017 Read More →

GEAR4’s top selling phone cases with ‘Trusted Protection’ are now available for the Samsung A5

unspecifiedGEAR4, the UK’s number one trusted impact protection case brand, has today announced that the Piccadilly and Oxford cases from its hugely successful range featuring D3O® technology, will now be available for the Samsung A5.

Samsung A5 owners will no longer miss out on the opportunity to wrap their treasured device in the most advanced shock absorbing technology for enhanced impact protection. Featuring the same D3O® technology that is trusted worldwide in U.S military combat uniforms, American football helmets and protective gear worn by pro athletes (including Usain Bolt), the stylish Piccadilly and Oxford cases boast unrivalled protection.

The Oxford and Piccadilly cases linked to GEAR4’s British roots, combining modern forms and materials to deliver the ultimate combination of sleek protection.

 

The Piccadilly

The Piccadilly case is the perfect choice if you desire protection but want your phone to remain as close to the original look as possible. Offering the world’s first Metallic INJECTABLE D3O® technology, delivering more impact protection per cubic millimetre than other leading materials hese ultra-slim, ultra-modern, ultra-protective cases can make an impact and still blend with contemporary life.

Piccadilly is scratch-protected with UV coating and offers easy access to all ports. Available in Black

RRP £29.99 

 

The Oxford Bookcase

GEAR4’s multi-tasker, the Oxford mobile wallet features slots for credit cards and also a convenient stand for viewing videos in landscape. It’s unique clip closure design keeps your valuables safe. Function doesn’t compromise form on the Oxford, as it features the same D3O® smart material that offers the highest performance impact protection.

The Oxford comes in Black only.

RRP £34.99 (Images available here)

 

So what exactly is D3O?

The molecules in D3O® materials in their raw state flow freely when moved slowly, but on shock, lock together to absorb and disperse energy, before instantly returning to their flexible state. This reaction is counter intuitive. The greater the force of the impact, the more the molecules lock together and the greater the protection meaning your device stays safe when dropped.

The GEAR4 Oxford and Piccadilly cases from Carphone Warehouse and www.gear4.com

Posted in: Accessories, News, Phones
By March 15, 2017 Read More →

A look at the EasyAcc 13000mAh Power Bank Monster!

vlcsnap-00044A simple, to the point power bank that features dual inputs allowing the battery to recharge itself to full, in around 3.5 hours. Using this approach means the EasyAcc 13000mAh charges twice as fast as regular portable chargers. Combined with a powerful 4.8 output through both ports results in the ability to charge two high-input devices with full speed. Easyacc’s smart technology automatically detects and outputs the exact current your device requires, delivering a fast and universal charging experience. With a capacity of 13000mAh the Monster can provide four charges to an iPhone 7, 2.5 charges to a Galaxy S7, or 1 charge to an iPad Air 2. Also included is an ultra-bright Flashlight, bright enough to light you through darkness and emergencies, yet lasts longer than most regular flashlights between charges.

For more information check out EasyAcc’s page.

Grab one from Amazon for £18.99.

By March 12, 2017 Read More →

XM-L2 Led flashlight from Uniquefire Review

IMG_5728You’d be amazed at the technology that goes into modern flashlights. I’m not talking about the cheap and cheerful/nasty ones you can pick up for £1 at the checkout at Tesco or a petrol station, I mean “proper” flashlights. Precision machined reflectors shape the beam pattern and balance the throw and spill. Cutting edge LEDs generate insane amounts of light. Clever electronics regulate the output to ensure a constant and steady output for as long as possible before dimming, squeezing the maximum out of the batteries. And that’s not to mention the various user interfaces that allow for a number of different light levels along with other modes such as strobe, S.O.S. and beacon. These lights cost between “quite a lot” and “eye-watering” on the scale of wallet pain. Believe me, I know, I have quite a few of them.

Yes folks, my name is Paul and I am a flashaholic.

Uniquefire sent us one of their flashlights to take a look at. At £18 I really didn’t expect a lot, but two things intrigued me, the name of the light and the specification/description from the manufacturer, but I’ll get to those later.



So let’s judge the light on its own merits. Is it any good? Well, yes and no. For £18 it falls firmly into the cheap but useful pigeon hole. It does feel quite solidly made, which surprised me. I initially thought the tail button glowed in the dark which would have been a really nice feature, it alas no, it’s just green.

The light can be powered by either an 18650 battery or 3x AAA batteries. The former will provide more power, but they are not exactly common, so most people will opt for the much more readily available AAA option. There are 5 modes available – high, medium, low, strobe and S.O.S. which are cycled through by half-pressing the tail button. The main gimmick of the flashlight is the zoom function. This allows the output to transition between a wide flood or a tight and narrow beam for maximum throw.

It all sounds very positive, but there are some issues. The reflector, what there is of it, is incredibly shallow and untextured. This is compensated by a parabolic lens to magnify the light from the large LED. It’s a common feature on cheaper lights.



Putting the light on high mode the flashlight does a decent job at illuminating a wide area, perhaps 5m wide, but only for about 3m in front of you. Pulling the head away from the body create a telescoping effect which tightens the beam to a bright but very narrow profile that stretches out perhaps 80-100m. The beam pattern is horrible though. It’s square, full of artefacts and clearly shows the cheapness of the light. I compared it against my little Zebralight SC51, a single AA light that, although almost twice the price, is also a fraction of the size and weight. It has an output of 200 lumens, so it should be interesting to see the comparison.



As you can see from the pictures below, the zebralight may lack the zooming feature, but a properly engineered reflector can create simultaneous spill and throw, giving a much more versatile beam.


Now onto my issues with the name and spec. The light is called the “XM-L2”. I have seen this particular sales tactic before. It leads the buyer to believe that the light has an XM-L2 LED, a high output, super efficient component in it and not the sort of LED one might find in a low-end light. I don’t know what LED is actually in this. The spec from the company is vague, non-specific and potentially misleading. Generally, companies will provide output and runtimes for each mode, but sadly not in this case. You can see that the 200-lumen zebralight appears to be putting out more light, yet the XM-L2 claims to put out 600-1000 lumens in its somewhat confusing information. I don’t think so.

Overall, this light isn’t bad for the money, and if it marketed itself as such, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. However, I take issue with how it appears to be presenting itself as a high-end light when it is very clearly not.

Pick one up from Amazon here.

Posted in: Accessories, Featured, Reviews
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By March 9, 2017 Read More →

A look at the Dubleup Powerbank

unspecifiedIn an age where we increasingly rely on our smartphones for work, for keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world, chatting with our friends and checking social media, absolute power is an absolute necessity. The sheer panic many people feel when their phone is running out of juice and the mad scramble to find a power source can now be a thing of the past.

The Dubleup power bank, which is launching on Kickstarter on the 9th March, offers a truly portable solution to your charging issues. Being the same size as your average credit card, it can easily be popped into your purse or wallet so is readily available to charge your phone whether at work, on the move or whilst travelling. The ultra-light and ultra-thin design mean you will hardly know you are carrying it, no bulkier, heavy chargers weighing you down now!

Dubleup is not only incredibly portable but also incredibly stylish and is available in a choice of gold, silver and black. It is available with either a built-in lightning connector for iPod and iPhone or a built-in MicroUSB for Android devices. With a capacity of 1280mAH, there is more than enough juice to give a dead or dying iPhone 7 (1,960 mAH battery capacity) sufficient battery life to last the rest of the day.

The LED power indicator displays your battery level and charge status so no more flat battery dilemmas either. The power card has met worldwide safety approvals and is Apple Certified, so you can rest easy knowing that your device will charge safely when the power bank is operational and that all of your Apple items will be supported with Dubleup’s power bank.

Don’t miss out on this stylish and portable charging solution, register your interest now on Dubleup.com and check out the Kickstarter page on 9th March and make your life a little lighter!

Early Bird Offer! The first 6000 backers will be able to get their Dubleup for just $50 USD (Around £39.94).

Thereafter the price is $59 USD (Around £47.13).

Both of these prices will include shipping.

By February 23, 2017 Read More →

Aukey Portable Wireless Speaker Review – Model SK-M12

IMG_20170214_233310-e1487799030824Has this top amazon seller sent me a speaker to replace my hi-fi system? I usually have music blasting in the background if I am home alone doing housework, my wife listens to music during her home exercise routines and whenever we are having parties it always helps to have some music in the background to keep the kids entertained.  I suppose with it being 2017 it is time to move into the world of wireless and put this speaker to the test.

Out of the box, the Aukey Portable wireless speaker looks and feels like a premium device with the smooth black rubber casing and the silver grills. This brick shaped speaker weighs 650.6 grammes and is 20.9 x 8.3 x 7.3cm (L x W x H). The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.1 and Aukey state you can get up to 30 hours playtime connected via cable or 12 hours wireless play with the  2600mAh lithium battery.

On top of the speaker you have the control panel, volume buttons, call button (pressed twice dials the last number dialled on your phone) the power button and Mode button (presumably pop, rock, vocal)

On the left-hand side there is the USB charging port, Aux-in, and reset button. These are covered with a red silicone cover

On the right-hand side, there is a detachable handle which can be used to mount the speaker on a hook.

At the bottom, there is a 1/4″-20 standard tripod screw mount

The speaker paired via Bluetooth to my phone effortlessly.  Browsing through my music collection I had a mixture of dance, country, rock and pop are being played and I must say I was impressed.  The sound output was crystal clear, with fantastic bass and treble with no noise distortion at maximum volume. Aukey state ‘Dual 5W drivers produce deep lows, textured mids, and clear highs to enjoy at home or outdoor’

When testing the speaker outdoors the 33ft wireless range opened a world of opportunity for summer BBQ’s.  The Aukey Wireless speaker has not only impressed me, my wife and kids but other members of our family have been impressed by the sound quality from ‘the brick’ speaker. On a single charge, I have got two weeks worth of listening without having to worry about charging the battery, listening to the speaker for about an hour a day I have had no issues or problems. It currently has found a home at the kitchen sink with the splash proof grills it has made washing the dishes a more enjoyable task!

I would definitely recommend this Aukey speaker for £29.99 on Amazon this is truly a smart purchase and will hopefully be able to explore more of the Aukey range soon.

Package Contents: Aukey SK-M12 Bluetooth 4.1 Speaker, Micro-USB Cable, 3.5mm Audio Cable, User Manual, 24 Month Warranty

 

 

By February 23, 2017 Read More →

Piccadilly phone case has ‘Trusted Protection’

Piccadilly-iPhone-6-6s-Proective-Case-Gear4-D3O-Case-2The people of the UK have spoken! When looking for a new case to protect their all-important smartphone, consumers are looking for maximum protection, high-quality materials without making the case bulky and a great colour (according to an NPD survey).

Maybe this is why then, the Piccadilly phone case, featuring D3O technology from GEAR4, the number one trusted impact protection case brand, has proven to be one of the best-selling cases over the last year in the UK as it ticks all of these boxes.

Featuring the same D3O® impact absorbing technology that is trusted worldwide in U.S military combat uniforms, American football helmets and protective gear worn by pro athletes (including Usain Bolt), the stylish Piccadilly case for iPhone and Samsung devices boasts unrivalled protection without adding bulk or unsightly padding.

In fact, the level of protection offered by the Piccadilly case was independently tested at Cranfield Impact Centre (the UK’s leading independent test centre for F1 and defence) and it topped the charts. When impacted three times on its side from 1.7 metres (ear height), it was proven that GEAR4 D3O cases transfer less force than competitors by 30 percent. Not only this, on average the GEAR4 D3O range was also 53 percent lighter than other competitive cases.

GEAR4 is the first case brand to use injectable metallic D3O® to perfectly colour match the iPhone in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Black delivering more impact protection per cubic millimetre than other leading materials. Piccadilly is scratch-protected with UV coating and offers easy access to all ports.

So what exactly is D3O?

D3O materials in their raw state flow freely when moved slowly, but on shock, lock together to absorb and disperse energy, before instantly returning to their flexible state. This reaction is counter intuitive. The greater the force of the impact, the more the molecules lock together and the greater the protection meaning your device stays safe when dropped.

The GEAR4 Piccadilly case is available for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for £29.99 from Carphone Warehouse and www.gear4.com

Posted in: Accessories, News
By February 22, 2017 Read More →

Mio MiVue 688 Unboxing

vlcsnap-00037The Mio Mivue 688 dashcam is an all in one solution for your in car security and on road recording. A small unit with big potential. Priced around £155 the MiVue688 features:

  • 1080p Full HD recording at 30 fps – with the latest H.264 technology for high-quality videos at a smaller file size
  • High-quality Sony™ optic sensor for an optimal view and superior quality, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Safety Camera Warnings – Free safety camera data with monthly updates for the lifetime of your device, so you’ll always know where to drive extra carefully
  • GPS Tracking automatically records your driving information, including speed, altitude, longitude, latitude and heading
  • Lane Departure Warning System Offers a sound alert if you drift away from the centre of your lane
  • Wide Viewing Angle 140° wide-angle lens to capture every detail at critical moments
  • Bright F1.8 lens This results in brighter and clearer videos, even in low-light conditions.
  • 3-Axis G-Sensor When the G-sensor detects sudden motion, MiVue will save and lock the event recording to protect it from being deleted/overwritten. The integrated 3-axis Sensor records G-forces, which show the direction and force of accident impacts.
  • Rotating Mount Design Mount is easily rotated to any desired angle for video evidence collection
  • Parking Mode motion detection activates and records from a parked car with no driver present
  • Switch to photo mode Use the dash cam as a camera for close-up accident evidence collection. The pictures include your GPS coordinates, so you know the exact location of what happened
  • Speed Alarm offers a sound alert if you go over the speed limit
  • Auto power on starts recording when you turn the key to start your car. You can even choose to have the device always on a recording, which is possible in vehicles with constant power supplies.
  • MiVue Manager Intuitive interface allows you to browse recorded videos with speed control. Records your driving directions with a 3-axis G-Sensor for post-accident analysis. Combine videos and share them to social media sites like YouTube™ & Facebook®. Track your routes with the GPS receiver. Play video with tracks on Google Maps.

Currently, the camera is on sale for £114.99 through the Mio website and for that price, it comes as a recommended purchase.

By February 15, 2017 Read More →

Gear4 Buckingham case for iPad review

I have been rather impressed with Gear4 products. I have been lucky enough to check out a few of their iPhone cases and have always found that they manage a nice balance between being very rugged, but not massively overbuilt. So when I got the opportunity to get my hands on the new Gear4 Buckingham iPad case for my Air 2, expectations were high.

The Buckingham features the same DSO “smart material” that Gear4 uses in their phone cases and purports to meet military standards at keeping your tech safe from being dropped. This wallet style case is almost identical to the Oxford model that my phone is currently encased within and I have been very happy with that.

As soon as I received the package from Tech Addicts HQ, I noticed something was up. It felt much heavier than I was expecting. It’s not uncommon for us to receive several products for review at the same time and, although I wasn’t expecting anything else,  I thought this was maybe the case. Nope. Just the Buckingham. Now, Gear4 do package their products very robustly, so maybe it’s the packaging. After opening it, it still felt rather heavy so out came the scales. The case weighed in at a rather chunky 427g. That may not seem like much, but to put it into context, the iPad air 2 weighs around 440, so the case weighs almost the same as the device!

 

IMG_5625

In fairness, it does feel like a very sturdy case and I would certainly have faith in its ability to keep my iPad secure. The iPad sits snugly inside the holder and the wrap around cover stays closed thanks to a magnetic tab and offers the very handy sleep/wake function. It’s a great looking case, nicely styled without going over the top and does not add significant bulk to the ipad. I did like the flat black with blue accents on the front and the card/note holders inside the cover. I wasn’t sure at first about the tab, it seemed to get in the way, but after a short while, I kinda got used to it. The cover also acts as a stand for the iPad, although I found that the material on the inside cover was too soft and not grippy enough to stop the screen from slipping flat. Perhaps this is something that would improve with time as the case wears in. Another little niggle that is common to most of these style cases is the access to the buttons

Another little niggle that is common to most of these style cases is the access to the buttons along the edge of the iPad. The thick DSO material actually works against the Buckingham in this respect. The controls themselves are covered, but there are raised “virtual buttons” on the cover directly over them with the idea being that you press on the case and it, in turn, presses on the actual button. This works in theory, but in practice, I have always found that you have to press a few times and generally rather firmly before anything happens. Truth be told, I have become so frustrated with them in the past that I have taken a craft knife and removed them, leaving recessed access to the controls. Elegant? No, but it does work.

IMG_5624

Overall I liked the Buckingham, I liked it a lot in fact, but the burning question is did I keep it on my iPad or did I revert back to the relatively simple Targus cover that I had been using?

As much as I like the Buckingham, and as fond as I am of super protective cases, I personally did not like the extra weight it added. It is a lot more protective than most cases, including the one I am currently using, but it is also double the weight. This makes it a judgement call. If weight isn’t a factor for you, or you need that extra protection, then I say go for it, you won’t be disappointed with it. However, if your daily carry bag is already feeling a bit on the hefty side, you may want to look at other options.

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews, Tablets
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