Friday, June 17, 2016

Don't need that fourth pole? Clarito are the headphones you want...

This is an interesting sideline from one of my favourite manufacturers of smartphone headsets. ROCKJAW have produced the stunning Arcana v2 and Alfa Genus headsets in the past, with a forth pole on the 3.5mm jack, for microphone and media control of course. Audio quality from each of these is exemplary and there's really no need to spend more than a few tens of pounds for other in-ear headsets - the Arcana v2 have been my go-to reference headset across all smartphones now for almost a couple of years.

Now, the Arcana v2 have been discontinued, but the Hydra v2 are very similar and only a few pounds more.

Now, what's this? Clarito is a cheaper budget version of the old Hydra/Arcana v2 design, but with standard 3-pole jack, i.e. there's no microphone and thus are aimed at wider headphone use. (Yes, you can use them with a smartphone, but you'll have no pause control or way of picking up a call.)



There doesn't seem to be a compromise in audio quality though - the Clarito drivers are every bit as high quality as the previous ROCKJAW designs, with crisp treble (think hi-hats and cymbals) and very decent bass. The latter if you take the time to pick the silicone seals that fit your ears and then insert them sufficiently to make a good seal*

* so many people give up on in-ears because they're afraid of them - in my experience, get the seal right and then you can really hear the quality in both the source audio material and the headphone drivers.



You get four different sizes of seal/bud in the package and they're all of high quality and distinctive, with an inner red core, as shown above.

The aluminium Clarito ear drivers are clearly marked with 'left' and 'right', something which many headsets omit - you've got to get these details right in order to appreciate stereo music with the sound stage that the artist intended, especially for live albums.

90% of my music is from smartphones, since they're the devices that are always with me, and I therefore need the facility to take calls, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this 3-pole Clarito headset for more generic headphone duties (e.g. iPod, iPad, radio, CD players).

At £24 including worldwide shipping these are a bit of a bargain. If, as I say, you don't need that fourth pole!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review: the Motomo Ino Slimline for the Apple iPhone 6/6s

I know, I know, it's in rose gold. But in this case, my daughter was doing the road testing - a fortnight of real world rough and tumble, in and out of pockets and bags. And the Ino design proved hard wearing and quite superb. Yes, there are a thousand similar clip-on cases from your local high street shop at a few pounds less, but this Motomo-branded case is premium from start to finish.

The Ino case comes in deluxe packaging, with the case wrapped around a dummy iPhone cutout mounted on shaped foam. Now that's attention to detail!


The Ino Slimline design is plastic, but its beautifully finished in mock 'brushed metal', here in rose-gold that would match the iPhone it's designed to protect (though our iPhone was the original gold - not that the two clash!) and with a grippy inner lining designed to help hold the iPhone in place:


Not that the iPhone 6 or 6s would slide out, because it's held too well by the edges and corners, but in the event of a fall, the more shock protection and stability the better!

The Ino Slimline is clipped on in the usual way:


In use, the iPhone is only a millimetre or two thicker, while being protected from at least casual knocks and falls. More to the point, the case looks good too and it's a simple way to also change one's iPhone to rose gold in a few seconds(!):


The finish is stunning - and if you didn't know it was plastic you'd swear it really was rose gold brushed aluminium. The fit and finish around the phone's buttons is an area where many cases fall down, but there's sufficient clearance here and nice rounded edges, making for a very pleasant in-situ experience:


In addition to corner grip, there's extra bracing at top and bottom as well - I wasn't going to tempt fate with a drop test, but I'd guess that the typical metre drop onto tarmac would be no problem - the initial shock would be taken by the case - at worst, the case might pop off, but thereby absorbing much of the impact in the process and leaving the iPhone hopefully unscathed.


My daughter is quite picky about iPhone cases but this Motomo Ino Slimline has become a favourite. Yes, it was sent in for review, but if it hadn't been then we'd be picking up anyway. This case can be found here at Mobile Fun in their iPhone 6/6s accessories pages. I think £12.99 for this is very reasonable indeed.

Turns out it's quite easy to forget to blog...

Well, there we go. With me writing for an increasing number of sites, including Android Beat, iPhoneHacks and All About Windows Phone, and then doing the Phones Show and PSC on top, I kind of forgot to blog. For about 9 months. Ahem.

Or maybe there just hasn't been as much to 'rant' or 'rave' about in recent times?

No.... that can't be it, the world's going quietly potty and quite bizarre. Donald Trump is running for president in the USA and the whole of the UK has to vote on an issue that only 1% of people really understand.


Anyway, let's try and kick start this blog again. I have some accessory bits and pieces that can go up shortly, aimed at keeping my family happy, tech-wise....(!)