Author Archive: Peter McMullan

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By June 12, 2016 Read More →

Tales from the Acer Live Blog 2016 Conquer new worlds #AcerLiveBlog2016

Screenshot (1)Acer UK invited a number of top UK Tech Bloggers to Belfast, Northern Ireland to unveil their latest Predator gaming range, as well as the Acer Jade Primo windows 10 phone and the Android Liquid Zest 4g.

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The event was hosted in Belfast’s only five start hotel, The Merchant, which has been famously used by Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in the popular BBC series The Fall. After a brief lunch and introduction we were taken to The Brian Ballard room which had been darkened red room glowing with several laptops in the middle of the room and a display of monitors with desktops at the edge of the room.

Linda_Hassall_-_Head_of_UK_Marketing_-_Acer_-_May_2014Linda Hassall, Head of Retail / Channel Marketing UK & Ireland at Acer introduced herself and gave us a quick briefing on the products that were us.

In the room we had The Predator monitor range Predator Z35 £799.99, Predator X34 £899.99 Predator XB271HU £549.99,

With these new monitors Acer promises;

  • Wrap around Gaming
  • Get a panoramic view of galactic domination with a wraparound game space that pulls you deeper into new worlds.
  • New Smooth Experience a whole new smooth. NVIDIA® G-SYNCTM eliminates screen tearing and minimizes stuttering for legendary PC gaming.

These huge monitors were designed to give the consumer the ultimate gaming experience and with the G6, G3 and the compact G1 attached to them have Acer created a gamers paradise with the Predator range?

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The Predator Desktop range G6 £1199.99 G3 £972.95, G1 £549.99, The Predator 15 laptop £1187.97 Predator 17 £1449.79

The G6 is a huge machine that Acer have packed the latest technologies in, even though these machines are VR ready we did not have any VR content to play with at this time.

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G6 specs

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • CPU: 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-6700k processor
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980 Ti 
  • RAM: 64GB DDR4 2133MHz

You already know what’s inside. Power-up for galactic domination with the latest top-end NVIDIA® and Intel® hardware. IceTunnel Gaming is hot, so stay cool with IceTunnel cooling system. Multiple air intake zones on the front and left side of the machine create a powerful airflow that efficiently pushes out hot internal air.

G3 specs

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-6400 processor Quad-core 2.70 GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 with 2 GB Dedicated Memory
  • RAM: 12 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
  • HDD: 2 TB

G1 specs

  • Smaller & Deadlier
  • This desktop’s 16-liter body conceals the power of a full-sized graphics card – up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX Titan X1.
  • VR Ready
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 9701 graphics and above, you’ll be ready for the world of virtual reality.
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5
  • SoundBlaster X-Fi MB5 and 7.1 channel audio will captivate you in glorious gaming audio. Amplify enemy footsteps, mask your voice, and more.
  • Dual Headset Cradles
  • Two retractable cradles on either side of the PC give you convenient places to rest your headsets.
  • Sound-Reactive Growl Lights
  • Configure these pulsing multicolor LEDs to react to your game sounds and music the way you want them to.
  • There was also the Predator Z650 projector £939.32. Specs

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To complete the Predator range Acer have constructed the Predator 8 tablet retailing at £199.99.

This tablet looks amazing, with four speaker grills on the front of the tablet this looks like a winner however on lifting it off the table I was disappointed in discovering the Predator 8 had a plastic feeling case which made the tablet feel flimsy. The gun metal casing could have been made out of a more solid material, there is no denying the insides of this tablet are impressive, which makes the Predator 8 a good competitor in the mid range tablet market,  this is let down by the casing. Had Acer a metal body like the cheap Archos 70 platinum they could have had made a potential record breaking tablet.

Predator specs

  • Operating System Android Lolipop 5.1
  • Display 8-inch, Full HD (1920 x 1200)
  • 16:10 aspect ratio, 380 nits,
  • Zero Air Gap & IPS technology
  • 283.02 ppi, 10-point touch
  • Processor Intel Atom x7 (2.4GHz(
  • Graphics Intel HD Graphics, Gen 8-LP 16EU 600 MHZ
  • Memory LPDDR3L 2G
  • Storage eMMC up to 64GB
  • Audio Single digital mic, 4 x 2W speakers,
  • Camera 2.0MP front, 5MP back
  • Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, 2 x 2 MIMO
  • Dolby Sound solution
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Input & Output MicroSD up to 128GB, 1 x micro USB 2.0
  • GPS/Glonass, G+Gyro eCompass sensor
  • Power & Battery 10W fixed type 5V/2A adapter
  • 17.3Wh / 4550mAH

There was also Acer’s two mobile devices the Liquid Zest 4G £109, their budget Android phone  and the Jade Primo £429 without dock £475 with dock. I got to use these two devices I had more time with the Jade Primo  but  hope to get them both soon for a full unboxing and review.

With all the buzz happening in the room it was no surprise that #acerliveblog2016 was the no.1 trending hashtag on Twitter that evening

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What I first noticed was the robust and bulky design of the Predator range that evoked  nostalgic eighties memories with its bold red on black colour scheme.  This design carried over all the Acer Predator products from the Monitors, Desktops, Laptops to the Predator 8 tablet.  Acer based their design on galactic battleships, hence their tagline of ‘Conquering new worlds’  However this chunky, bulky design is very much an eighties view of what future technologies would have looked like, would this style suit the age we are living in where consumers want sleek and slimline tech? In any case I was hopelessly lost in their design with the backlit keyboards and mouse imagining my younger self being in a gamer’s ultimate fantasy.  I can recall the last time I was a serious PC gamer was the end of my schoolboy days, I last bought a PC gamer magazine at the beginning of the new millennium when I was still a young free and single man. As friends around me got hooked on the first wave of new age consoles I was adamant that PC gaming was still the frontrunner, so much so I built my own PC and kept it up to date with the latest graphics, sound cards etc. however this was short lived as when I graduated I had to get a job and the spare change for PC gaming was needed for living.

Fast Forward a few years and with a wife and kids I found my gaming time limited and opted for the easy option of having a games console rather than trying to keep up with the forever changing tech advancements. That being said within 20 minutes of playing Metal Gear solid 5 on the Predator 17 laptop my fire for PC gaming was reignited. I forgot how great it is using a keyboard and mouse combination rather than relying on a controller and hoping the charge lasts as long as you are in the zone. I then excitedly moved to the Predator Z35 Which is a beautiful 35 inch curved LED monitor with the huge G6 desktop to test out some more of the games available. The large screen was amazing and if I had the room and spare cash I would definitely have this type of set up in my home and would recommend it to any serious gamer, for the advanced gamer they had a three monitor display which I was lost in as I could only focus on the screen in front and found this setup more annoying than fun. The G1 was a condensed version of the G6 packing almost identical specs but with a rather cool, programmable LED casing, but for my needs I found the gaming experience on the Predator 17 to be just as good and with the added bonus of it being portable my gaming station can be tidied away easily.

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The Predator 17 specs

  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64 bit)
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M (3 GB GDDR5)
  • RAM:16 GB DDR4
  • SSD: 256 GB
  • HDD: 1 TB 5400rpm

With these specifications you would expect this machine to be heavy and it is weighing in at 3950g this powerhouse of technology has a custom made Predator back pack which can be bought with as a bundle pack from….

From turn on to playing a game it took about 55 seconds on the Predator 17 which I was most impressed with, on my console it takes a lot longer, with constant updates needed to be downloaded.

A very strong marketing image however this may not be to everyone’s taste, would a more sleek metallic slimline range have more appeal to a wider market? Even so the power packed into these laptops and desktops is not only a gamer’s desire but also for  consumers who need that extra power to work on projects or edit hd video.

We had been allocated teams for some challenges that were to be completed throughout the weekend and we were given an acer rucksack containing the liquid zest 4g, Jade Primo, a Predator 8 tablet.

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The phone I was most interested in reviewing was the Jade Primo. I had taken some time to quickly do a live periscope unboxing which proved difficult with no tripod to hold the camera, check out the unboxing here. The phone felt premium with the Super AMOLEDscreen. The camera was a bit slow on response although we were told this was a prototype I hope to do a full review and let Gareth do a proper unboxing. Below are a few video tests and images taken with the Jade Primo. The Windows 10 operating system was just standard I didn’t have enough time to investigate to see if Acer have incorporated some of their own style into it.

Our first day came to an end with cocktails in the famous merchant cocktail bar, followed by a quick drink in Belfast pub and then on to the strip joint, a restaurant.

I woke to yet another sunny day, the gods of old and new were making sure the good folks of Acer and fellow bloggers were going to have an amazing time at Castle ward co. Down with @clearskyni Game of Thrones experience.

Being a huge fan of the show I was so excited and caught up in the atmosphere that I forgot to periscope and document my time here. Castle ward was the setting for Winterfell in Game of thrones season one and two, a lot of CGI was used to build on top of the existing castle as we were shown a brief clip of the making of Game of thrones there.  We of course got dressed in official HBO endorsed Winterfell clothing for the occasion and accessorised with our swords we set off for our first challenge.

Using the Acer Liquid Zest 4g we had to take some action shots using the Acer liquid while doing Archery.  Learning to shoot a bow and arrow in the same spot from the series was an amazing experience and after a few shots and some good coaching i actually impressed myself and hope if their is a post apocalyptic world i may be able to survive.  The liquid zest’s 8 megapixel camera was sharp and fast responding, unfortunately the shots taken with the camera were not extracted from it to include in the review.

We had to use the Predator 8 to recreate a number of scenes from Game of Thrones armed with our swords and wigs our team was willing and prepared to take this task and win.  Unfortunately we discovered that it was quite hard to become actors and directors in an instant and our determination to create a HBO worthy clip turned into more of a ‘You’ve been framed’ blooper reel.  The Predator 8 was very capable in shooting the clips in 1080 hd however we paused the video while shooting our scenes which left us with very large files, which in turn made editing the clips on the tablet sluggish.  The sound on the clips was

To end our time at Winterfell we had a medieval banquet of ale, chicken, beef casserole, bread and more beer.  

To end our time on Acer’s Liveblog weekend we visited Belfast’s St George’s market, winner of UK’s Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities.  We had to search for a blitz memorial, and look differ something acer green, being colour blind I had to let Matthew and Katherine seek out this as I would have taken a picture of something orange or yellow.


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I had a fantastic weekend and look forward to receiving some of the products mentioned for  a full review for the site soon.  I think this weekend although was aimed at ‘Conquering New Worlds’ for me it was rediscovering old worlds and igniting my passion for PC gaming all over again. All I need now is Quake and Command and Conquer Red Alert.

By June 7, 2016 Read More →

Have Three screwed their customers again? #Makeitright

kwOR1FfRSeveral months ago in the UK Three announced that they would be changing their contracts structure and forcing all of those who were enjoying the £15 a month all-you-can-eat bundle onto a vastly more expensive tariff with less benefits. The Hashtag #Makeitright became an avenue for angry customers to vent their frustration as Three swung their axe.

On the All-You-Can-Eat, £15 a month, SIM only tariff you could enjoy unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, truly unlimited data (without a cap,) and unlimited tethering. This was on top of Three’s already excellent value for money Feel At Home benefit when it came to calling home from abroad.

Of course all good things come to an end. And with Three it was like dropping an hammer on your toes. A few months later and most of those customers have either moved on to another network or are paying potentially double for a lot less than the contract before. To keep something similar to the All-You-Can-Eat tariff would cost the customer £30 a month and they will lose the unlimited tethering.

This was a no escape scenario you were moving contract whether you liked it or not. Regardless of how long you were on the Network, attempting to haggle with call agents resulted in little movement on Three’s part. Their new contracts were set in stone and there was absolutely no wiggle room. Threatening to leave the network resulted in Three merely suggesting that you close the door on your way out. However, they knew their contracts were still slightly better value with slightly more bonuses than you would find on other networks.  Three forced customers regardless.

Now a source inside Three has suggested that the reason why the cheap deals have been removed is that Three had spent millions of pounds on extra bandwidth to cater for the purchase of O2 and when the deal fell through they no need to increase their customer base. Losing customers was helpful and those who stayed would help subsidise the cost of expansion. They lost a lot of customers with their heavy handed approach and now they’re trying to win them back with more cheap deals, for example:

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Those customers who stayed loyal will have to continue on the contract that they have agreed whilst new customers are going to be paying possibly half the price for six months before moving to a regular price for the last 6 months. Obviously this is going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who has recently renewed a contract begrudgingly taking one of the lesser value contracts.

Posted in: News, Phones
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By May 29, 2016 Read More →

Archos 70 Platinum tablet Review

P1020999Archos have sent us one of their budget tablets, costing a mere £54.99. Have Archos made a premium cheap tablet or is the Archos 70 platinum lack lustre?  Out of the box the casing on the tablet has a brushed metal feel, which is a good start. The tablet weighs 272g which feels nice and light. The tablet has a 7inch screen.

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On the top of the tablet you have the micro USB charging port, a microphone and a 3.5mm head jack. On the left hand side there is MicroSD card slot.

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On the right hand side you have the volume rocker, followed by the power on button.

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At the bottom of the tablet there is another mic.

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On the front of the screen there is the front facing camera, 0.3 megapixel.

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On the back of the tablet there is a camera 2 megapixel, 1080p video capture and a speaker grill on the lower right side.

Inside the Archos we have a Mediatek MT8127 quad-core clocked at 1.3 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM running Android lollipop 5.0.  There is 16gb onboard storage with an expandable microSD slot up to 64gb. There is a 2600 mAh battery offering 6hrs 25mins of battery life, video playback. Before turning the tablet on I was worried that only having 1gb of ram the tablet would not keep up with the latest apps, although this was the least of this budget tablets problems.

When I turned on the tablet it became evident that there was a 3mm gap between the screens. Perhaps this was Archos advanced IPS technology that boasted ‘extra wide viewing angles’ but I was not a fan. I tested the speakers and found their output horrific. The sound was muffled and distorted. A problem that could be forgiven as you still have the 3.5mm jack for headphones but shared viewing or watching a video on the tablet would be an unpleasant ordeal. I also noticed a burn in on the screen, for those who had the first wave of HD plasma screens you will understand the annoyance when you leave one screen to move to the next, the ghost image of the screen before lingers for a few seconds.

This being said the tablet did run games like Minecraft and Roblox well, although my son did complain about them being sluggish at times.

The cameras on tablets frustrate me, why have them there if they are not going to give you a reasonable camera display for video calling. Below are a few images and video taken with the futile cameras.

As with Android lollipop the operating system was fine on the tablet. Clear, clean and simple, Archos did not imprint a heavy overlay on top of the Android platform which makes the tablet easy to use for children or grandparents. The Archos 70 Platinum comes about a stock as you can get however you are reliant on Archos to support it. Lollipop is present as this verison of Android is compatible with their Fusion Storage system to allow users to combine the MicroSD card with the internal ROM and have a larger usable space without having to transfer bits of app to SD, like in days of old.

I tested Antutu on the device and as you can see it scored a very low score.

I had to remember that this was a budget tablet and although it had its screen and sound flaws this tablet did have it’s positives. The USB host cable for connection with a keyboard or mouse was something you did not see on tablets at this price. The storage capacity on the tablet was great, the feel of the tablets metal casing was nice. The Archos 70 Platinum offers a well designed robust tablet with a few flaws but at £54.99 this can be overlooked. Had Archos input an extra 1gb of ram, a better speaker, and a better screen and still kept the price this low this tablet could have been an excellent purchase. Nonetheless still an affordable tablet for kids that’s life expectancy might be short and thanks to the metal casing extended a little longer.

  • Expandable Storage – Micro SD card, up to 64GB (when formatted to fat32 standard)
  • Internal Storage 16gb
  • RAM 1 GB
  • GPU – Mali 450 MP4
  • CPU – Mediatek MT8127/ Quad-Core @1.3 GHz Cortex A7
  • Diagonal Size- 7 inches (17.8 cm)
  • Resolution – 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Technology Type – IPS technology, 5 points Capacitive Multi-touch
  • Back camera – 2 MP 1080p
  • Front Camera – 0.3 MP
  • Battery Size – 2600 mAH
  • Battery Life – Video Playback 6hrs 25min
  • Battery Type – Li-Ion Polymer
  • Battery weight – 40g
  • Charging Adaptor – 5V – 1.5A, Micro-USB IN
  • Bluetooth, Wifi & GPS for better connectivity everywhere

 

 

Posted in: Reviews, Tablets
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By May 13, 2016 Read More →

Follow us on Twitter at the Acer Live Blog 2016 #AcerLiveBlog2016

acer-logoThis year Acer is coming to Belfast for their yearly Live Blogging event and we will be blogging live with the best of them. Using #AcerLiveBlog2016 you can see a bunch of hand picked bloggers from Friday to Sunday embarking on a series of tasks and endeavours utilising various Acer goodies along the way. You can follow us on Twitter as the best source.

Things will be kicking off around 1pm on Friday and rolling on until Sunday. There might be certain theme from a popular Television show with deep links in Northern Ireland. Winter Acer Is Coming!!!

By April 16, 2016 Read More →

Homido Virtual Reality Headset review

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Homido Virtual reality headset

Get the virtual reality party started…

You will have heard of the virtual reality wave that is causing quite a stir with high end devices with high prices preparing to launch during 2016; Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR to name but a few, all these devices come at a costly price. Google cardboard is a cheap alternative step into the VR world although it does have its limitations.

With thanks, the people at mobilefun.co.uk have sent us the Homido Virtual reality headset for smartphones. Homido have produced a quite robust well designed headset to let you enter the world of VR with your smartphone. Out of the box you will notice straight away the adjustable strap attached to the headset no more holding your headset to your eyes like you would have done with Google cardboard. Homido recommend downloading their own app ‘Homido Centre’ for you to get the best experience possible.

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The headset is completely adjustable for you needs, the head strap allows you to make sure the headset is comfortably tight. There are a number of lenses included to help the best possible viewing – Short cone – short sighted people, Medium cone – people with normal vision, Long cone – long sighted people. There is a slot to slide your phone into, currently I am using the Honor 7 with 5.2 inch screen which is about the right size of screen to insert, any larger than 5.7 inches may find it difficult for you to get the full benefit of the headset.

Once you have your app ready and the phone inserted all you need to done then is use the adjustable buttons on the side to move the screen closer or further away from your eyes until the screen you are looking at inside the headset is at the right distance, and breathe, be prepared to journey into the world of VR.

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The Headset it made of hard plastic and feels solid, however I would be afraid that if dropped or accidentally damaged its lifespan could be short. There is a nice soft sponge cushioning your face from the hard plastic body of the headset which is a bonus. Priced at £47.99 this headset is cheaper than that of the Samsung headset at £89.99 but does cheaper mean better?

I found through usage of the headset that the lenses do get dirty, hence the lens cleaner cloth included in the box. I had also experienced the lenses steaming up a few times although I was getting the cold at that time. There is currently a wide range of virtual reality 360 degree videos available on Youtube accessible through the Google cardboard app, also the Homido app lets you watch 360 videos as well as download some virtual reality games. Unfortunately I did not have a Bluetooth control to connect to my phone I did find the Homido space abduction app really enjoyable. When sitting at my table I was told by the app installed to look at the box of the Homido headset, this enabled Augmented Reality. The app was using my camera enabling me to view the room around me i focused on the Homido box and boom, before me appeared a farm landscape with cows.

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The box turned into a video displaying information about the Homido headset and then the aliens began to invade and started to try and abduct the cows. By looking at the alien spaceships it unleashed a fury of gunshots to bring down the alien crafts. Such a simple game yet really effective.

The Homido virtual reality was my first time using a VR headset. I would definitely recommend purchasing a headset for the novelty and for the kid in me that always dreamed of a time when virtual reality would be a reality. At £47.99 this is significantly more expensive than the cheaper alternatives however you do have a more superior robust headset. Why Buy?

You can purchase the Homido Virtual Reality Headset here for £47.99

● Experience the virtual world through your smartphone

● Universally compatible

● Huge range of VR apps already available

● Lightweight and comfortable

● Adjustable display

● Protective case included

● Compatible with 4 – 5.7″ smartphones with iOS or Android

By April 15, 2016 Read More →

LED Melody speaker and LED light review LK-B044

davAnd the party doesn’t stop until the lights go out….

LED melody speaker and LED light.

Combining your everyday ordinary light bulb with a Bluetooth speaker should be a winning combination. This was sent to us from Digi4u foor £22.99 and boasts wireless connectivity from your phone, tablet or laptop it also boasts an ultra long life on 50000 hours. Eager to see this innovative combination in action I took the LED melody out of the box and screwed it into my light fitting. The device is obviously heavier than your average light bulb and I was worried that the light fitting would not hold it, however this was not a problem.

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With the light turned on there was a faint beep to let you know the speaker is ready for Bluetooth connection. Excited to hear the output I didn’t connect the remote control and went straight to my phone to connect the device and start to play some beats. I was impressed at the output of the speaker, even at full volume there was no distortion. My wife who is not technology minded whatsoever thought this was amazing.

The led light itself was quite bright. My kids were impressed at the novelty that there was music playing from the light bulb, however when my son queried did the music play when the light was turned off, I was disappointed that the music does stop when the light switch is turned off. Perhaps the 2nd generation of this Led melody could hold a charge and let the music continue when the light is turned off. 

After thirty minutes of playing music the LED melody blew the trip in my fuse box and became obsolete. Just like all light bulbs they eventually blow, however this was considerably less that the 50,000 hours promised on the box. Perhaps this demo model was on its last legs, however I would be tempted to buy a LED Melody as I think it is a fantastic combination. Maybe next time I will get to check out the remote features where the brightness of the LED can be adjusted perhaps solving my previous problem of keeping the music going with the light turned off. 

  • Support Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR audio sources
  • Bluetooth hands-free
  • With remote controller to adjust the brightness and volume
  • Strong LED light 10~15W, Warm and white light
  • Loud Speaker in 10W
  • Can connect with Wire or adapter

Specifications:

  • Power supply:DC5V
  • Output power:Speaker 10W
  • LED 10W
  • Frequency: 200Hz -18KHz
  • Noise-Signal ratio: ≥60dB
  • Impedance: 4 OHM(Ω)
  • Output: 3.7V~4.2V+0.05V
  • Input: 5V
  • Speaker Unit: 40mm
  • Driver Unit: 52mm, 6ohms
  • Frequency Response: 100-18Khz
  • Case Material: ABS
  • Dimensions: 87*140mm
  • Weight: 600g
  • Color: White
  • Color box: 12*12*17cm

 

By January 11, 2016 Read More →

EasyAcc PowerBank PB10000CF Review

easyacc-2nd-gen-brilliant-10000mah-power-bank-“Make it easy to keep running.” We are becoming a more power hungry society, with technology connecting us instantly to friends, family and news there is nothing worse than that dreaded notification on your mobile device that your battery is running low. You hope that the remaining 8% battery life will enable you to make that important phone call, or let you listen to a few tracks on the journey home but there is no need to worry if you have a portable powerbank to charge your device on the go.

The EasyAcc powerbank PB10000CF is a fine example of many of the power banks available by the company. The company describe it as a super battery pack that can give your smart devices enough juice to keep them running.

Specifications:

  • Capacity 10,0000 mAh/37 Wh
  • Battery Type Lithium-polymer rechargeable battery cell
  • Input DC 5V 2A (max)
  • Smart Outputs DC 5V 2.4A (max)
  • Size – 144x75x14.8mm/ 5.7×2.95×0.58 in.

I have previously used powerbanks to give my battery a boost but this power bank can fully charge your phone not once, twice but three times on a single charge. The battery takes about six hours to fully charge and about 90 mins to fully charge my phone from zero battery. The device is quite weighty and is about the size of my palm. EasyAcc describe it as i phone 6 plus size and boast it is capable of charging the new mac book.There are two USB ports on the device and a flashlight in between.  Double tapping the button on the right hand side turns the torch on and off. There is a 4 light indicator of the power banks charge, and it is charged with a micro usb port.  

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This is the 2nd generation of this battery and the advance on style and shape is a great improvement from the 1st generation.

I have used this power bank extensively over the Christmas period, and to my surprise have used it more than I imagined I could, the 10,000mAh battery just keeps going. Not only did I take it with me as a charging source in the car, on my commute to work I have also found use in charging my gaming consoles’ controllers. I have battery packs on the controller that the charge never lasted for any great length of time. My son used it as an excuse to sit too close to the television as the charging cable was plugged into the console. Now he has to sit at an appropriate distance away from the television as this power bank can keep up with his gaming needs.  No longer do i hear cries of despair as batteries are running low, it is now pass the power bank.

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Currently priced at amazon.co.uk from £10.39 this EasyAcc powerbank is a great purchase for any user of smart technologies. It really does make life easier and help you keep running all day long.  It is also available in a variety of colours. Black and Orange, Black and Green, Black and Gray, Black and Purple, White and Gray…

This is a fantastic product and is now an essential item that i do not think I could do without. Head over to Easyacc’s website to read more about this product.

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Other specifications

  • OUTER CASE – premium grinding craftsmanship with better touch
  • BATTERY – High-quality Li-polymer battery cell
  • CENTER FRAME – Uniquely colored and durably constructed
  • Auto On/Off – Auto on/off when devices are connected or unplugged
  • PCB – Highly sophisticated and safe smart ICs;
  • Short circuit protection;
  • Overcharge protection;
  • Overdischarge protection;
  • Overcurrent protection;

 

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews
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By December 22, 2015 Read More →

Syma X5SC explorers 2 Review

syma-x5-sc-1-explorers-2With the mad Christmas rush reaching fever point you may find yourself stuck finding that perfect gift for someone. Look no further than red5.com for some fantastic gift ideas. Whether or not a Quad copter is on your child’s or your own Christmas wish list they are fast becoming the must have fun item for this Christmas and new year.  You can spend hundreds of pounds on a drone however if like me you are a complete novice you can start with a low budget quad copter like the Syma X5sc explorer for £58.95 available in black or white.

This was my first time test driving a quad copter so when I unpacked the Syma X5sc explorers 2 I was surprised at how light it was. My main concern was would this break easily?

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When my kids saw the drone they were thrilled and could not wait to have a turn, however I had to make sure that I was able to show them how to fly it, so after a few hours they lost interest waiting for their turn as I needed another go, just to be sure.

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Out of the box it took 15 minutes to attach the legs, blade safeguards, camera and battery.

With the remote control taking 4 AA batteries I was ready to fly.  I like most men had a quick glance at the instructions and figured i would instantly know how to fly the drone. I was proven wrong. I suggest you have a long read at the instruction booklet as the controls are quite tricky to get use to.

My first test flight was indoors as storm Desmond was still attacking the UK.  The controls were tricky to begin with as i was restricted to the flight paths available. But i must say it was incredibly fun, dodging doors and christmas decorations. The blade safeguards proved to be extremely useful as they prevented any damage that may have been caused on my first few turbulence filled flights. 

On my second attempt i took the drone outside with my son as my navigator we went were no drone had been before.  With a full battery charge we managed six minutes of flying. To recharge the battery it took just over one hour and thirty minutes before the quad copter was ready to fly again.  I have been told by colleagues that this wait time for a battery charge was incredibly fast.

The controls outside were easy to handle as I was not restricted by the inside obstacles. The quad copter took off and I was able to control very carefully around my back garden, however there were a few epic crashes.  The Quadcopters light frame was very durable as there were a number of times the it fell from great heights and seemingly like a cat bounced into an upright position ready to fly again.  On testing my seven year old son and I did not manage to damage the Quadcopter or blades. There are however four extra blades included in the box but I am sure these are only there as after extensive use they will eventually need replaced.

In my videos I have included a couple of the crash landings the copter experienced.

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The quality of the video is fine for a 2 megapixel camera. Understandably if you wanted a better recording device you would have to spend more money on a better on board camera. For there most part there is a small amount of fragmentation in the recorded image and some might be unhappy with it, however for the money it is considerably better than the competition.

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Product features

  • Super Stable quadcopter
  • Built in HD camera
  • 2.4 GHz frequency
  • 6 axis gyroscope
  • 720p video recording
  • Take in flight videos and photos
  • Headless flying fuction – easier in flight control
  • Bigger improved optional blade protectors
  • Raised landing skids optimize camera viewing angle
  • 2 fly modes – beginners and advance
  • 360^ flips and tricks
  • 4GB micro SD card and card reader included
  • Colourful LED lights indicate front of quadcopter
  • USB charging
  • Measures approx. 32cm x 32cm x 11cm

The Syma X5sc explorers 2 has 360 flight which you can do many stunts with as with time I am sure I could master.  For a budget under £60 I feel you cannot go wrong purchasing this Quadcopter. As a learning experience before moving onto a bigger, more expensive device, or perhaps just for curiosity, I have never purchased one before however I will consider purchasing this one for my son’s birthday as he thoroughly enjoyed test flying it.  The camera recording may not be as fantastic as you would want but for a 2 megapixel camera the recordings are adequate.

The best place to get the Syma X5SC quadcopter is from Red5.

By November 20, 2015 Read More →

Are you ready to join the revolution? The Wileyfox Swift Review

WFA phone that gives you complete control is now a reality with thanks to London based company Wileyfox.  This new company has launched with two devices the swift and the storm, today I will be reviewing the swift their cheaper phone but by no means does cheap mean basic. Don’t forget to check out the hands on video with Gareth to see the swift in action.

Product Specifications

  • Dimensions  141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
  • Display 5 Inch
  • Resolution1280 x 720 at 294ppi
  • Weight 135g
  • Processor 64-bit Quad-core 1.2GHz
  • Battery Removable 2500mAh battery
  • Camera 13MP primary camera
    5MP front camera
  • Features 4G LTE
    HD video recording

Wileyfox use Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on android lollipop 5.1.1. The swift comes packed with a 13mp primary camera, 5mp front facing camera, a Quad core Snapdragon 410 8916, 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM, Expandable memory up to 32GB, Dual SIM functionality,4G LTE, 5″ HD Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 IPS Display.  This all comes packaged with a very reasonable price of £129. So will this be enough for the average phone user to take a chance on the Wileyfox?

 

A hidden game when checking out the phones software. More annoying than fun.

 

The phone looks and feels like a high end device at a budget price.  The rear cover with the Wileyfox embossed logo really makes the phone stand out. The phone has a plastic casing but has a nice non slip feel.

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At top of the phone you have the 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone.

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On the right hand side of the phone you have the volume rocker and power button.

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At the bottom of the phone you have the usb charge point and two grills where lies the phones impressive speakers.

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On the left hand side there is nothing but smooth plastic. Pop off the cover and you have the removable 2500mh battery, two slots for your sim cards and the micro sd card slot.

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On the rear of the swift you have the 13 megapixel camera with led flash and below this the indented Wileyfox logo.

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On the front of the phone you have the ear speaker at the top, with the LED notification light to the right of this.  To the left you have the 5 megapixel front facing camera. There is no capacitive buttons at the bottom of the swift they are on screen.

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Smart phones are increasing in size, the phone I currently use is 5.5inches making the Wiley fox’s decision to use the popular 5 inch size a downsizing of screen for me. However this was not a problem as the 5 inch screen is the perfect size screen for any user.  Its bright vivid 720p display makes using the phone, watching video playback, capturing images with the camera a dream.  Wileyfox also offer screen replacement cover for £9.99 per year, which is a fantastic option to have.

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Cyanogen OS

The swift uses Cyanogen 12.1 with android 5.1.1 it looks and feels like android so don’t be alarmed that this is too 1much of a change when choosing this phone.  It is close to almost naked android.  In fact the Cyanogen OS allows consumers the chance to delete any or all the apps that are preloaded on the device and download only the apps that you need.  This feature is great as some apps run tirelessly in the background of my current phone and if I could uninstall them I would free up some valuable space.  From the main menu screen you can access the app drawer which is laid out in an alphabetical list format. The bottom of the screen there is an a-z list which you can fast track the letter you are looking for.

 

You have the option to have android or cyanogen themes on the phone.

 

The operating system runs smoothly with a 64-bit CPU at 1.2GHzsnapdragon processor although when running the performance test it scored quite low.  When playing high spec games like Batman the dark knight rises on the swift there was a noticeable lag at times however gameplay was still enjoyable.  Less graphic enduring games such as Minecraft and Jurassic World builder app played seamless.

Thankfully Wileyfox did not opt for the pitiful option of 4 gb or 8 gb on board storage.  The swift comes with 16 gb on board storage. This is all powered by the 2500mh battery which does last 24 hours with general use. The battery for me lasted about 8 hours before I had it drained although I had used the swift to its full capacity.  On my daily commute to work I could watch a 30min programme, listen to music when walking to work, general use during the working day, another 30 min programme on my way home as well as the occasional phone call.

The camera quality is average. The 13 megapixel camera performs well however the quality reduces in low light conditions.  Below are a few examples of the 13mp camera and a short video for you to make up your own mind. 

 

The video quality is fine, however when the digital zoom option is used the quality reduces dramatically. 

The panorama option was my favorite option when using the camera.

PP6

 

PP7

 

There are plenty of options and filters to use within the camera app, so perhaps with extra time and tweaking the settings you can utilise the camera to its full potential.

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The speakers are loud, with twin speakers located at the bottom of the phone. Built in to the swift there is an equalizer option which is always handy to have.

Should you join the Wileyfox revolution? In my opinion yes! If you are looking for a smart phone as a gift for Christmas or looking for a phone that can perform on a budget you cant go wrong with the swift.  Take a chance on Wileyfox as I expect them to make a huge splash in the mobile phone arena. The swift packs a lot of hardware for its £129 price and with the additional 3 year phone replacement at £9.99 and screen protection at a further £9.99 per year this should make a killer selling point.

I do not want to renew my membership to the cracked screen club but for the protection at this price it makes the to join the Wileyfox revolution an easy choice.  There are other smartphones available around this price with similar specs but if you want something a little different and a break from the norm they sign up with Wileyfox who in their own words provide unrivalled customisation, privacy and security and freedom.

“Unrivalled customisation: give your phone a look and personality that’s as unique as yours.

Unrivalled privacy and security: choose precisely the data you wish to share; protect apps with additional PINs; prevent spam with Truecaller Integrated Dialler.

Unrivalled freedom: curate your own suite of apps – delete any or all of the apps we preload to get you started and download the ones you need. Enriching your life, extending your battery life; keeping you connected everywhere, to everyone, for longer. “ https://www.wileyfox.com/

 

 

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By August 11, 2015 Read More →

Olixar Ninja Katana Selfie Stick Review

UnboxingOur second look at a selfie stick again comes from Olixar. This time around they have gone a more novel approach with a Ninja look and feel. Driving the craze into a more preposterous form and with all the right intentions.

Can the Olixar Selfie Katana Stick help assist my quest to the perfect selfie or will it prove to be a gimmick product that i just do not need?

The selfie phenomena has taken over the world, from celebrities to your gran everyone has gone selfie mad. Most mobile phone devices manufactured now are equipped with a half decent front facing camera for the selfie addicts worldwide. Up until now I have never used a selfie stick so this being my first experience of using one I can say it definitely say it has been memorable.

The selfie katana stick extends from 21cm to 67cm, and has an adjustable clamp to hold your phone in place, you can adjust the angle of the clamp easily with a screw. Once your phone is attached you simply connect the shutter remote cable into your 3.5mm jack and you are ready to shoot at the touch of the button. Assembly is easy although my phone has the power button on the side so beware not to clamp this as it will turn of your device. Using the katana stick was fun, my son thought I had a ninja sword when he first seen the stick and instantly took to walking about the house and garden taking selfies as well as using the rear camera.

I believe that the selfie stick may be more than just a gimmick product. People are trying to create original more creative ways to take a selfie and a selfie stick really does provide new heights to selfie photos.. The olixiar stick is a selfie stick with and added fun feature of looking like a ninja sword. I could see myself using this selfie stick in the future, I recently had a family party and left the katana stick sitting on the table with my phone attached. It was soon lifted by family members who took their selfies and had great fun posing for the camera. This gave the party a relaxed atmosphere as people where not hounded by a designated photographer to smile and say cheese. My mother who is a self confessed techno phob found herself asking people to take pictures with her.

I could imagine that an estate agent could find a selfie stick to be an essential tool for taking angled pictures of rooms to make even the most undesirable house more appealing.

The Olixar Katana Stick is well built and does exactly what it aims to do. With no batteries or pairing needed you are taking selfies in no time out of the box. I would definitely recommend this stick to anyone who has never owned a selfie stick. At £24.99 this may seem a bit pricey but you get what you pay for a no fuss great looking katana selfie stick.

You can purchase the Olixar Ninja Katana Selfie Stick from Mobilefun for £24.99 

  • Fun, Katana design
  • Capture the perfect selfie like a ninja
  • Built-in button to capture an image
  • No Bluetooth or charging required
  • Retractable pole for portability
  • Safety locks and shock absorbing material
  • Case compatible
  • Compatible with all smartphones