Showing posts from 2018

Why the Google Pixel 3 XL has a 'chin'...!

After weeks with the Pixel 3 XL, an aspect of the phone's slightly odd design dawned on me. The 'notch' at the top of the phone has rightly caused controversy because of its depth - it's needed apparently because of the size of the front facing cameras and the use of a decent earpiece speaker. Regardless, it does let content flow up in the 'ears' to the top of the phone and it works well enough on the whole. But the bottom 'chin' looks wrong when you first see the phone - why is it quite so large? One theory is that it's to make room for (again) a loud speaker (and it's very loud), but I have another. You see, when a design takes the screen almost to the bottom edge of the phone and there's a notch at the top, media watching suffers by the playback window being off-centre. I realise that this is something of a nit-pick at some other phones, but could one reason for the Pixel 3 XL's bottom chin be that it matches the notch's de

Google Pixel 3 XL Case roundup

Another flagship in for review - this time it's the bigger, notched Pixel. And it means more cases to try out and score! I've taken a likely cross-section of Pixel 3 XL cases, thanks to the folks at  MobileFun , kind people that they are, and also to the folks at  Totallee  and (especially, given the cost)  Noreve . See Mobile Fun's  complete range of Pixel 3 XL cases and covers here . In no particular order(!): Ringke Fusion, £13 This has been one of my favourite cases for the last few years, on several phones. It's crystal clear (it comes with protective layers that need stripping off), ruggedly made, and has moulded bracings in the corners, to protect the phone from corner drops. Being clear has the huge advantage in 2018, with phones now coming in premium finishes, usually glass, that you actually get to see the expensive smartphone you just bought. The corner bracings double as feet when the phone's laid down on its back, plus there'

Review: Blitzwolf Smart Socket (BW-SHP4)

The 'Internet Of Things' (IOT) has gotten itself some bad press - and probably for good reason. Hooking up gadgets in your home to the wider Internet has all sorts of security implications. The usual example is that vulnerabilities in the Internet-facing APIs in each gadget could be exploited for a bad guy to take control. Real life exploiting of such vulnerabilities is rare, though. Not least because there's nothing in it for the 'bad guys'. How would taking over your lights or heating or sound system benefit anyone else, other than causing chaos? But all this was in my mind as I unboxed a couple of (240V/10A) Smart Sockets here, from Blitzwolf ( £16 on Amazon UK  or try Banggood or  see the product home page here ). How far would I extend my home's electrical functions onto the Internet? I decided that as long as I stayed away from gadgets which provide heat (toasters, fan heaters, kettles) then I'd be OK. I mean what's the worst that could hap

Review: Blitzwolf BW-HP1 folding dual-driver headphones

I was searching for something specific in the field of headphones: plush over-ear, i.e. comfortable padding and isolation from the noise of the world, i.e. no active noise cancelling, which always introduces artefacts facility to work wirelessly (i.e. Bluetooth) and via wires (i.e. 3.5mm cable, ideally detatchable and replaceable) foldable, to fit any bag and not get in the way sound amazing, with super-crisp top end and deep and rich bass cheap! The last rather usually prohibits the previous requirements, but... I found what I was looking for. Made by Blitzwolf, the BW-HP1 are quite near the bottom of the price spectrum for over-ear headphones yet they sound top notch. The main product page for these is here on Blitzwolf's site , but you can also grab these on Amazon here, for £32.99 , and on Banggood here . The catch? Well, there isn't really one unless you're a true audiophile. These work wirelessly over standard Bluetooth A2DP, but they don't sup

Google Pixel 3 case round up!

Another flagship in for review - and a compact one at that! And it means more cases to try out and score! I've taken a likely cross-section of Pixel 3 cases, thanks to the folks at  MobileFun , kind people that they are, and also to the folks at Totallee  and Noreve . See Mobile Fun's complete range of Pixel 3 cases and covers here . In no particular order(!): Ringke Onyx Tough Case, £18 The most protective case in this roundup, arguably, this is also the most 'bad ass', with Spigen-styling (the Spigen 'armor' cases aren't available as I write this), really tough but flexible TPU, and textured detail on the back to add to the premium feel. There's also a slight raising of the case profile at the top and bottom of the Pixel 3, giving added protection against a face down drop. Plus, note the lanyard holes, a life saver if you're using your phone on holiday and near water and drop hazards (whatever Google says about waterproofing!)