Reviews

By August 21, 2016 Read More →

Archos 50 Power Review

archos_50power_specsArchos are forever trying to find a sweet spot between bargain budget and quality products, Often having to take a step back on one particular feature in order to bring the whole price of the unit down to a more acceptable level.  It is difficult to say whether they have a hit more often than a miss however of late Archos products have really taken a step up over a few  years of substandard products. The image may never repair however take it from me they know what they’re doing.

This £139.99 phone is a little bit of a misfire from Archos this time round. There is only one killer feature inside amidst a specification list that really doesn’t excite. For the money, you will find better value however it will be lacking that killer feature that this phone has.

Looking around the phone, to the right of the screen is the sim card tray and a power button. The 50 Power can take both a Mini and Nano Sim, the MicroSD shares the Mini Sim seat so you are limited to two sims, or a Nano sim plus expanded storage.

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To the Left is a volume rocker. The sides of the device are rounded and really comfortable.

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On top is a 3.5mm headphone socket and little else.

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On the bottom, there is a MircoUSB port offset to the left and the microphone.

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The back has a LED flash plus the 13mp camera. There is a second microphone above the camera. The whole device is coated in a non-slip rubber that feels good in the hand.

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That killer feature is a 4000 mAh battery. The last few phones from Argos have featured fairly hefty batteries and this seems to be one staple they are determined to keep in their book. You can easily clear around three days of use out of this device and if it isn’t heavily used that could possibly stretch to four or five. While some manufacturers lean toward faster-charging solutions with standard size batteries, Archos have you covered if you don’t want to have to plug your phone in at all. Whilst it has a huge battery charge time isn’t massively increased as we have seen with other products. The 4000 mAh battery can go from 0 to 100% in two and a half hours of charging. Those with fast charge facilities on their phone may scoff at that, however, it wasn’t long ago that two and a half to three hours was a standard charge for a standard battery. In fact, some may have even been quite pleased to have that sort of charge time. Especially when you consider a 50% will last as long as the average phone on 100%.

 

Otherwise the device it’s fairly unremarkable.  I wish I could just say it’s a very strong device with nothing really wrong however it has a mediocre build quality, something of a bland design. Even Android has little in the way of enhancements save for the typical Archos additions.

 

If I was to criticise one thing about the phone is the screen is fairly disappointing, whilst it’s quite sharp at 294ppi, brightness appears very dull. There are no details on the Archos website regarding the Nit count however I dare say it is very low. You will have to run the screen at full brightness in all conditions. The speaker is largely disappointing also, being tinny and lacking any substantial depth. It really caters only for notification sounds and perhaps the odd YouTube video.

Benchmarks aren’t horrible. The device can hold its own against some of the budget phones out there, albeit at a lower price.

The camera is actually pretty good, certainly, it doesn’t pack the punch of maybe something like a Samsung, however, it does captured colours quite well. There isn’t any apparent noise however light levels can bleed into each other quite easily from intense sources.

There isn’t a host of options available here there other than things like gesture functions and HDR. The HDR didn’t really blow my socks off and probably won’t blow yours off either.
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Video quality is pretty poor however you could certainly make do if absolutely necessary.

The Archos 50 Power isn’t a terrible phone, far from it, it’s probably the blandest, middle of the road phone I’ve ever had to review. I think it’s slightly overpriced and the only justification for this price is the 4000 mAh. If that’s what you’re looking for above all else, this is the phone for you. A great backup or business phone but otherwise I couldn’t recommend it for day-to-day use and there are certainly better options on the market available now.

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By August 11, 2016 Read More →

Logitech G610 Orion Red Review

rgbWhen reviewing a gaming keyboard it is incredibly difficult to actually benchmark a keyboard in some way to say whether or not you have a good or bad keyboard from a score that is accrued through various tests. A keyboard very much boils down to whether or not you like it, can communicate with the easily and it’s comfortable for you to be productive or enjoy some leisure time.

The Logitech G610 is an entirely different keyboard to the Logitech G510.  Where the G510 focused on additional features such as media, LCD screens, gaming profiles and programmable buttons the G610 loses all of that in favour of an entirely new hardware approach and a back to basics gaming experience that is determined to win the user over through performance as opposed to extra features.

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The G610 features Cherry MX mechanical switches. These are favoured by gamers and considered to be a standard as they are more consistent in feel and responsiveness, they can take more abuse than rubber dome keyboards. These low-noise switches have a linear keypress for rapid-fire actuation. Cherry MX switches are rated to over 50 million keystrokes and actuate precisely for a reliable gaming experience.

To be honest I find the G610 is a bit of a let down whenever it comes to included features. I love myself some extra buttons to be able to program for additional functionality on the computer and save for some Media buttons in the top right corner the G610 doesn’t provide any of that.  Of course you can program the function buttons on the top row from F1 to F12, however having some dedicated memory buttons is a great feature that most gamers these days will probably have started to rely on even if it is just for storing Memes. There isn’t even a wrist rest included in the box.

That said I would imagine including extra buttons and features would have ramped up the price of this keyboard drastically. Tearing out the membrane innards of the G510 and putting in a whole mechanical key array would ramp up the costs before you know it.

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How is the performance of a gaming keyboard when of all the media buttons have been removed?  It’s hard going, it takes a while to get used to especially if you have been using something other than a mechanical keyboard before. The travel on each key when pressing is a greater distance and can result in a multitude of errors especially when typing for a long period. When gaming the benefits are noticeable almost immediately.  The slightest touch of a button registers which results in near instantaneous reactions. Hardly ideal for typing a document however once mastered there is nothing quite like tapping away at a keyboard that emits a satisfying clack.

 

The look and feel of the keyboard it’s very simple with almost a no frills approach, aside from the backlight. There’s a lot of fun to be had here as the lighting flickers in uniform depending on how you have the keys set to light up. There is a dedicated button for the backlight however rather than being an on/off button, you have to press the button  number of times to dim the backlight and gradually turn the backlight off. A simple feature of holding the button in to turn the backlight off might be nice as if you leave your computer on 24 hours a day that means the backlight on your keyboard is more than likely going to be on with it. When the computer is locked the keyboard takes it upon itself to display some eye candy, lighting up keys and simulating a wave of light from left to right. The backlight is bright at the highest setting, every key is visible.

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The volume roller is large and responsive, it’s easy to find alongside the rest of the media controls that surround it. Hastily jamming your finger down in that area generally meets with the required function you’re looking for. Various other keyboards on the market have a small congregation of keys that are interlinked, this one goes for large and separate and therefore less room for error.

 

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One of the best features are the legs of this keyboard, there are three options. Laid flat on the rubber feet, setting 4 and setting 8. I am guessing the 4 and 8 are millimetre elevation. Also, cable and the connection between the cable and the keyboard is nicely reinforced. This keyboard will travel well and it built to last.

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Sound wise the keyboard is fairly quiet for a mechanical keyboard, it has a satisfying clack as you tap away, however, if like me you record a podcast fortnightly you have to be vigilant when typing or else the sound of the keys will be almost audible in the recording. As a gamer using a microphone and headphone setup

Logitech has a very simple to use interface when it comes to the software for the keyboard.  Everything is laid out very nicely and is very simple to navigate around. Icons are colourful and explanatory and there is a wealth of options available on how to set up the keyboard for various different profiles. It’s easy to switch between profiles to display various keys being highlighted when using a particular game, these profiles can be amended to the user’s preference or setup from scratch.

Would I carry on using the Logitech G610?  Unlikely, I don’t game as often as I used to and spend much more time writing. In all honesty, I’ll be moving back to the Logitech G510 once I finish writing this. The G610 will go to my stepdaughter who is an avid gamer playing World of Warcraft and League of Legends. The keyboard will easily benefit her and be a welcome upgrade to the aging and noisy Corsair she has been using.

By August 5, 2016 Read More →

Alba 10inch 16GB Wi-Fi tablet review

606-4998015-ATN041XWith summer in full swing we have been graced with only a few long hot sun filled days, so entertaining your kids on their school holidays can be quite a challenge. With the new Argos catalogue being released on the 16th July expect a wide new range of technology and toys to make their summer a memorable one.

Argos has sent us a 10-inch tablet from the Alba range which you can see the unboxing video below with Gareth.

Out of the box, this tablet has an impressive 10.1inch screen, with a resolution of 1280×800. Unfortunately, there is a disappointing 144 pixel per inch pixel density.  The screen is not as sharp or as clear as you would like but one has to remember that this is a mid-range budget tablet costing only £89.99. There are a few options within the tablet with Miravision to help sharpen the image on screen.

While trying out various combinations within these settings the screen still lacks in comparison to more expensive tablets but it still serves its purpose.

Out of the box, the tablet comes with two silicone bumpers for extra protection and also has the added bonus of a screen protector. Taking off the silicone casing the shell of the tablet is hard plastic but feels sturdy.

Powering the tablet we have the MTK quad core 1.3 Ghz processor with 1GB RAM. The tablet runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with 16 GB storage expandable up to 32 GB by MicroSD.

With the tablet held landscape you two speaker grills on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side you have the power button, the volume rocker, microuUSB port, microSDd slot and finally the Mini -HDMI slot.

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On the top and bottom of the tablet there is nothing. On the front screen of the tablet in the top right hand corner there is a VGA camera. On the rear of the tablet there is a Camera and a reset button.

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With a quick test using AnTuTu Benchmark this Alba tablet scored a reasonable 31344.  Although when running the AnTuTu 3D Benchmark app the tablet was a bit sluggish on performance, that being said the tablet was able to cope with any of the games my kids wanted to play on them, as well as being able to cope with playback of various streaming applications.

5.0 Android lollipop works fine on the tablet, with no heavy overlay, the layout on the tablet is the usual, simple stock Android experience. For newcomers to Android it will not be long until you get to grips with the layout and begin to utilise the tablet. There is the usual app drawer where you can access all your installed applications as well as full customization with widgets and wallpaper but simply holding down on the screen.

Argos boasts a pre-installed application called Teenlimit which gives parents ‘peace of mind’ by limiting what apps their children have access to and also setting time limits on the device. Fortunately this was not preinstalled, on checking reviews of this Teenlimit app on the Google Play store the app scored 2.7 stars with the majority of users complaining the app was power draining and difficult to use. I like to have full control on any device my kids use by setting up a profile  for them with their games and YouTube kids installed. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your children and internet safety.

The tablets loudspeakers are disappointing, at full volume you would need to be be within close proximity to the tablet to hear it.  Perhaps this is a good thing for kids as it will never be too loud. That being said my son was quick to pair his bluetooth headphones with the tablet so he would not be interrupted by his siblings during his gaming time.

The tablet runs most games without a hitch, Clash Royale, Minecraft, Crossy road, Roblox and the very popular Pokemon Go. With the latter app the tablet will need wifi connection if you are going on a pokemon hunt, also you will probably need the addition of a portable charger to keep the tablet going. Gameplay for the games my kids have played on the tablet has been smooth, their only gripe was the tablet was heavy weighing in at 568g it often had to be perched somewhere if they were watching video playback.

The battery life on the tablet lasts just over 5 hours of heavy usage. This can be lengthened by dimming the screen.  The battery however takes well over 7 hours to become fully charged so overnight charging is recommended!!

The cameras on the Alba 10 inch are of low spec, the rear camera is 2 megapixel and the front camera a VGA resolution. The picture quality and video quality is mediocre. Below are some examples of images and videos taken with the tablet.

Although the tablet comes with a 2 year manufacture warranty Argos have introduced a new monthly insurance scheme where you can insure the tablet for as little as £3.49 a month with added benefits like unlimited repair requests, approved repairs include damage caused by accident and a brand new product if Argos decided to replace it.  This for me was essential as you never know when accidents can occur.  Many of the tablets and phones I have owned in the past have often suffered a misdemeanour at the hands of one of my kids or myself so to have monthly breakdown care it can give you peace of mind.

It is hard to believe that this tablet costs only £89.99, and although it is from last years range. The Alba is still sufficient for any child or adult on a budget.  Is the tablet future proof? Will the tablet get a marshmallow update? These questions remain unanswered however I still use a tablet that runs Android 4.0 with no problems.  As newer games roll out some may not work however Netflix and Chrome still work well. So if you are on the lookout for a large screen, budget tablet, despite some flaws, this Alba tablet is a good purchase.

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By July 28, 2016 Read More →

ADATA i-Memory Flash Drive Review

productGallery4496Even the most stalwart iPhone user will concede that one of the major limitations of the device is the lack of expandable memory. This isn’t much of an issue if you splashed out on the 128gb model, but those with the 16gb version will know the pain of having to upload and delete holiday photos to make room for more. Enter the ADATA i-Memory 64gb flash drive, potentially the answer to many prayers.

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With its rounded edges and rather tasteful metallic rose colouring, it looks the part, very apple-esque. Once out of the packaging however, it does feel a little plasticky. It doesn’t have that “just throw it in a pocket/in your bag” feel. Aluminium would have been a nice touch but would increase the cost significantly. But does it work?

Right out of the gate we hit a stumbling block. Being a clumsy oaf, the first thing I do when I get a phone is to put it in a robust case, in this instance, an Otterbox Commuter. As you can see, the lightning connector is rather short and does not work with encased phones. That’s a bit of a pain.

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Once out of the Otterbox (and feeling vulnerable) the ADATA fits nicely into the iphone, and you are prompted to download the free i-Memory app. The app appears extremely simple in design, allowing the user to select Photo, Music, Video, Document and File Manager for both the phone and the ADATA drive.

Unfortunately it becomes quickly apparent that the Achilles heel of this device is the app. It is simple, but not particularly intuitive nor pleasant to use and did have a few glitches and hang-ups when I was using it.

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There are no tutorials, prompts or on screen instructions in the app, so you’re on your own. Transferring photos or videos from your camera roll is fairly straight forward, but no transferable music or document files could be located on my phone. It allows access to an “internal storage” for your phone, but could not find anything in it. It was unclear where this storage actually was. At this point I couldn’t help but wonder if this is an iproduct specific app, or a generic template that has been beaten into an apple shape.

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Still, I used the rather nifty sliding connector feature and plugged the device into my pc. Another snag. Due to the width of the device, it covers two USB ports if they are side by side. This could be problematic for laptop users.

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The pc found the device without issue and up opens like any regular flash drive. Once in familiar territory of dragging dropping, the ADATA performed well and transfer speeds were impressive.

Plugging the ADATA back into my phone, I found that accessing the new data through the app was easy enough and was pleased to see that both music and video files played directly from it without hesitation. Transferring content to the phone is the same somewhat clunky procedure as before. Out of interest, I decided to copy a music file from the ADATA to the internal storage area of my phone. According to the app, the file transferred successfully, however, it would not appear in any searches carried out on the phone. It would appear that anything sent to the internal storage is only accessible through the i-Memory app and does not integrate into any other apps. This is a drawback, especially when it comes to music files.

The ADATA i-Memory Flash Drive is undoubtedly a very handy device and allowing the user to safely copy content from their phone to free up some space is definitely where it shines. I can also see its usefulness as a media drive, somewhere to store videos that you can access on your phone without eating up all its memory. It is not without some design issues, but the biggest let down by far is the app. I can’t help but feel that what could have been an excellent little device has been hamstrung by its software.

By May 30, 2016 Read More →

EasyAcc 9000mAh Waterproof Power Bank Review

P1030010 When it comes to the Powerbank there is no shortage of options. There are many recognisable brands now and many accessory companies trying to make their mark. One such company is EasyAcc. Having used a number of their power banks in the past it is a brand that I can feel you recommend when it comes to choosing.

Most recently I have been using the EasyAcc Rugged 20000mAh powerbank as my daily backup power source and am pretty pleased with the results, even though it is pretty huge. Admittedly one of the latches that hold the door closed has broken making it a little fiddly to open the door. However, the powerbank lasts a full working week and only needs charged over the weekend.

This brings us to the EasyAcc 9000 mAh power bank. This backup battery is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. Features a compass, detachable Carabiner, a 2.1 amp output, 2 amp input and is compatible with almost everything has a USB charger. As with most of these power banks of late there is an inbuilt LED flashlight.

The build of the battery is tough and robust, having used it for a couple of weeks I’m glad to say it shows no signs of wear and tear and could totally handle a camping trip to one of the more extreme climates for where it has been designed to perform. The battery itself can handle around three or four good charges of my Nexus 6P.

Size wise for a 9000 mAh battery inside a tough enclosure this unit is perfect. Not too big to avoid being cumbersome and not too small, being easy to grip and easy to find.

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However, I will say that the compass does feel like an afterthought and doesn’t provide much use however I guess it might be a lifesaver if the situation was to present itself. Also the door on the bottom is quite difficult open which is more reassuring when you think about the waterproof properties. With gloves you will struggle to get it open and it really requires your nails to get in underneath to prize the door open. I guess that is both a pro and con.

One thing that might not actually be a big issue the power bank does suffer from not being able to charge during the rain as the door needs to be open. I’m not sure of this problem would present itself too many users however it is something to keep in mind.

This little battery will continue to be in my travel sack. It’s a great backup and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone on the market looking for something a little more robust.

EasyAcc are always keep their prices low and have even set up a Flash Deal page were you could save a few if you keep an eye on it.

 

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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

 

 

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By May 24, 2016 Read More →

Petcube Camera Review

IMG_20160521_152450Let’s face it our cats and dogs are as important to us as any other member of the family. Insuring they looked after and entertained during the day whilst we are at work is one of our higher priorities. Petcube camera promises to do this whilst essentially just being an IP camera whilst also operating as an activity centre and it looks pretty good to boot.

Inside the Petcubes attractive exterior are three things. Firstly an IP camera, This requires minimal setup, works almost first time, seems to be fairly reliable and whilst the quality isn’t superb it is certainly serviceable.
Secondly, a microphone and speaker.  For your animals to be able to hear your voice whilst you are not their offers a lot of reassurance. This can also be useful for directing family members to find something in a room.
Thirdly, a laser beam. The primary focus of the laser beam is a distraction for your animal.  dogs aren’t terribly amused by it however cats and children love it.

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These three things are housed within the black and silver housing. The silver aluminium around the outside is strong and elegantly designed. The black glass on the front proves fingerprinty, however it looks well and with the three small divisions for the camera laser and Petcube logo/notification light this device wouldn’t be distracting sitting on a shelf.

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Around the back of the device there is a rubberised exterior that houses the power button the micro USB charger and the speaker. On the bottom is a rubberised surface with the tripod hole added for convenience.

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Using the device is very simple, everything runs through an app that is compatible with both Android and iOS, sadly no reference to Windows just now. Once set-up the application is easy to navigate and proves to be a fun distraction even if not being used for it’s main purpose. Petcube have taken the opportunity to make the app a more Social experience,  allowing the user to view other shared cameras and you can even interact with the animals belonging to the shared profiles if the user has opted to give access.

The image quality can be a little uneven. Whilst you can connect to the device whilst out of the house the stream picture quality can really become degraded depending on the quality of  the network you are connected to. Even inside the house on the 5 Ghz wifi the picture quality  was less than stellar. Camera support is 720p and I rarely saw anything close to that.

Initially I thought the asking price of £170 was quite steep, having spoken to a number of interested parties I realise that people are happy to pay this amount for such a device.  Cheaper options certainly are not as elegant, perhaps omit the laser or the two way audio function, or might be more problematic to setup.

One thing that could be added to the Petcube help function a little better would be a battery inside it. If the power goes down this goes down. Also you are limited to putting this close to a power outlet, even temporarily.

Petcube Camera is a fun and interesting device. Those dedicated to their animals and not wanting to install a lesser, uglier product I can fully recommend the Petcube as a good looking and feature filled device.

 

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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 22, 2016 Read More →

Panasonic Viera TX 50CX802B review #VieraVIPclub

downloadLast year we saw Panasonic putting out a pretty fantastic Viera television set the really blew  away the competition with a feature set that included some of the nicest looking Smart TV software experiences available at the time. This year Panasonic have changed their focus away from pushing a software feature set in favour of display technology where their heart really lies.

A new super bright LED panel featuring wide colour phosphor technology which combines LED back lighting with a new colour filter system has increased brightness significantly without increasing the power requirements. This keeps the television as a low power option whilst maintaining a fantastic picture quality. This year’s 4K set has proved to be better than we could have imagined featuring crisp Blu-ray images on the panel’s generous 8.3 million pixels.

Some folks may pass this by as it is an LCD screen, nowadays most are all about LED. Panasonic is managed to produce a picture from an LCD screen that truly resembles in many ways the picture they managed to get from the plasma technologies that they so dearly clung onto for the last few years. It is a crazy notion that a company uses older technologies to achieve the best however Panasonic are certainly getting close.

Major work has been done to avoid the glow effect LCD TV’s sometimes suffer from when trying to show black, Panasonic has spent a lot of R&D time eliminating this glow effect and delivered a sense of depth and realism in the brighter content, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Utilising clever light management Panasonic have been able to deliver deep blacks and can seemingly crush the bleed that can come from the side of the pixel affecting the next pixel. Each individual pixel seems to be able to offer its own degree of colour without affecting those surrounding it. An impressive technological feat that will probably be lost on the average viewer.

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The Tom Cruise movie Oblivion is widely considered to be one of the best test cases for a screen and Panasonic have no qualms about showing off this movie on one of their screens. This is primarily because the television can handle it easily, and if I can handle that movie I can handle any.

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The television itself is gorgeous with a minimal bezel surrounding the 50 inch screen. The stylish stand, admittedly that some may find impractical, possesses 3 HDMI sockets, 3 USB ports and an SD card slot alongside integrated Wi-Fi and wired network options. Changing from their in-house software the television now features Firefox OS as it’s main operating system. This has may concern some as recent news suggests that Firefox OS has become “a genuine open source project” and has been discontinued for smartphones. No word on the future of the television variant, and I hope that there is no plans to stop development as this it really works well. Minimal without being threadbare yet packing a lot of features that most TV manufacturers can’t manage to find a logical way to integrate without clustering of the user interface.

Functionality of this television is deeply impressive. We are given the option to simply be able to add frequently used features of the television to the main screen. I’m not talking about just a channel that is loved but a shortcut to your HDMI 3 instead of having to cycle through the TV/AV option on the remote control several times to get to HDMI 3. The helps greatly when wanting to use a Playstation or something a little more custom.

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As a cord cutter I was skeptical of the television’s ability as a smart TV to function without an aerial or satellite feed. Firefox OS has an app collection that covers the main basis of television viewing whilst not stretching the boundaries. This was to be expected given the infancy of the operating system. Whilst most people will probably not actually use the TV’s inbuilt  smart technology favouring Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Android TV options for their streaming needs there are some who will find the television’s operating system’s life span a concern as apps may not be supported for the long. For now, all is fine and like any emerging platform, only time will tell.

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Panasonic are one of the first manufacturers to include a Freeview Play app. This app opens up the ability to view live television from all of the main UK terrestrial broadcasting platforms and integrate with their catch up platforms in a seamless experience to make up to the last month’s programming available at any time.

Adding to the Freeview Play option comes the Market. A diverse collection of content delivering apps that vary in quality however the main contenders are there. Wuaki, Youtube, Amazon, Vimeo and Netflix lead the way with around 100 others to flirt with. Catch up options are all pre-installed  and might only need an update before use. Honestly, Firefox OS is beautifully convenient for a TV operating system, it’s hard to get right, Amazon and Roku’s hardware could learn a lot from this simple setup. In testing the 4K however I found there to be a bit of a scarcity of material. YouTube, Vimeo and Amazon are the only apps that deliver 4K out of the box. Netflix have some however I would have to change my subscription for gain access, as a legacy subscriber I get the HD for £5.99 instead of £6.99, to get 4K this would have to change to £8.99.

However judging a television cannot solely be based on the smart technologies inside. Many users never touch TVs in built operating system outside of setting the TV up. The Panasonic Viera is a display first and foremost and a phenomenal one at that. This is a television that people will stand in awe looking at and when you tell them how much you paid for it they will be considering going to the same retailer as you and picking one up.

Panasonic have lost the IPS technology they used in last year’s model and we’ve actually seen a bit of a u-turn on the viewing angle however this allows for a more impressive contrast performance.This helps Panasonic achieve the 4K Studio Master process they’re very proud of. Panasonic are hoping to deliver a similar experience to that directors see when editing their movies in Hollywood, on the master screens. Whilst most will probably not be able to tell the difference they’re taking it almost as a personal goal for the company to create the best-looking colour representation on screen this year.

If there is anything negative to say about the television is that the 3D included really feels like unnecessary addition that they don’t really expect you to use. Case and point, there are no glasses included in the box. Unfortunately I was unable to test the 3D without glasses and  whilst content providers and exactly pushing 3D as much as they had been it’s likely someone who is actively going to purchase this television will have some 3D movies on amongst  a media collection. Plan ahead, know where to get glasses.

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Many will complain that they have too many remote controls in their living room, this Panasonic Viera will add two more. Oddly they both do pretty much the same thing. One controller is a standard long candy bar with the typical functions you would expect to find on a TV remote control save for a few shortcut buttons added in for convenience such as Netflix.

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The second controller is the more interesting of the two. Much like last year Panasonic have be working on touch and voice controls. Lacking backlit buttons and a somewhat slippery exterior this little controller was more difficult to use than it’s bigger brother and be completely honest somewhat unnecessary as the touch controls felt a little unnatural. Certainly it is great to show off and voice control on your television is a wonderful addition especially when done right as with Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku however Panasonic haven’t quite nail this yet.

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On the most cutting-edge television sound really isn’t taken seriously. The speakers here perform quite well however having the screen technology that is on display only makes sense that you plug-in a suitable system rather than relying on the inbuilt rear facing speakers. It seems a little crazy that it’s a given that people will purchase a surround sound system to go along with a television and the Panasonic Viera is no exception to this rule. If you want the most you will have to add something to it. The volume can go reasonably high and it renders voice is quite well. There was no noticeable disruption during noisy sequences however it just lacked that the immersive quality.

This TV is currently priced at £1,300 in Currys. Given that 4K TV’s can cost roughly doubt that this seems like an absolute bargain and if you purchase one you will be deeply pleased with your choice. Panasonic Viera maybe arguably slightly inferior to some of Samsung’s top offerings right now however Panasonic have a loyal customer base and those who are upgrading to this will be deeply impressed and thoroughly satisfied. Those who are not should really consider just why the loyal customers keep coming back to Panasonic.

 For more information and demonstrations please check out:

http://bit.ly/Panasonic_Viera_TVs  

 

 

 

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