Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Best prices - and a defense of the ROCKJAW stars - in-ear-canal headphones

Image
Headphones are very much a 'personal preference' thing. You might love big over-ear 'retro' headphones and you'd be right, the sound is nearly always better with larger speakers and more physical space. But over-ear headphones aren't super-mobile and you can't fit them in a pocket.You might love Apple EarPod-style (typically white) outer-ear headphones, but in this case you'd be wrong since you've become used to sub-standard audio. So much bass and music information gets lost in the air between the speaker membranes and your ear drums because there's no seal - not even remotely close to a seal.You might like the idea of TWS earbuds - 'True Wireless' - separate gadgets that stick out of each ear, and the lack of wires is certainly appealing. But many TWS earbuds also live in the outer-ear, and those that sit in the ear canal (providing a seal) are usually crippled by having to have a tiny speaker membrane and so there's limited bass a…

Review: Zepp E fitness smartwatch

Image
Despite the much-publicised failures of Android Wear and the equally publicised successes of the Apple Watch series, the smartwatch/wearables world is still exploding - almost everyone seems to be experimenting with some form of band or watch - and I'm no different. Although I'm more a smartphone guy, I've tried a number of wrist options. The Fitbit Versa got very close to my perfect wearable (I reviewed it here) but ultimately the tension of a band on my wrist wasn't something I could stand for multiple days at a time unless there was a single huge benefit.The arrival of the Zepp E, made by Huami, also makers of the Amazfit range, presented quite a benefit though:Compatible with any Android or iOS phone (so many other accessories are limited to a particular platform, manufacturer or version)A built-in SpO2 (oxygen saturation) sensor (now matched by the top end Apple Watch in the last week or so, and a few others, mind you)Sleep quality monitoring (also tied into SpO2)…

Google Pixel 4a Case Roundup (part 1)

Image
As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with most samples supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of Pixel 4a cases and covers.

But on with the individual cases, each link goes to the relevant product page, of course.Olixar Soft Silicone Flip, £13A superb mix of premium-feeling materials at a value price but let down by a huge design flaw. Sadly.
We have the grippy 'soft silicone' on the outside, with soft felt on the inside cover and even softer cushioned and textured felt inside the hard TPU frame. Super. There's even a metal earpiece audio passthrough. In use, the Pixel 4a is terrific most of the time, provided you're OK with the 'folio' concept and especially if you like having a 'media stand' option, since the folio back is hinged in the usual way. The problem is with the cutout for the fingerprint sensor - while accurate, the thickness of the interior cushioning, the TPU and then the hinged…

What's in my tech/gadget bag (2020)?

Image
Here are the accessories I group together in the house and take with me on any serious journey to family etc. What inevitably happens in all locations is that, as the 'tech guy', I'm the one people turn to connect A to B, to adapt C to D, to provide power in the middle of nowhere, you get the idea. I'm sure the same is true for you!  From my original AAWP intro to this idea:Over the years I've reviewed dozens of smartphone accessories, maybe even hundreds. And I've reviewed a fair number formally here for AAS and AAWP. But, of this mass of plastic, metal and, often, lithium, which accessories really made the grade? Which ones do I personally carry around with me on any trip out of the house of more than a few hours? Here's a glimpse into my standard kit.
Here's the same kit briefcase but exploded in summer 2020 form:
Note that:I've set the case code here to a dummy number to mask my real case unlock...I also often take either my Surface Pro (and Backli…

Round-up: Cases for the Sony Xperia 1 II flagship

Image
As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with most samples supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of Sony Xperia 1 II cases and covers.

But on with the individual cases, each link goes to the relevant product page, of course. Olixar Carbon Fibre, £13
This is a well worn design, of course, I've seen similar cases from Spigen and others. The idea's the same though - encase the fragile phone in a tough layer of flexible plastic - something tough enough to provide protection against casual drops, yet looking relatively stylish at the same time.

The Xperia 1 II design does throw this case style a few curves, not least the top 3.5mm headphone jack (the hole fouls some 3.5mm jack designs, so pick your headphones to match!), and the side fingerprint sensor, shown above - the case beautifully flattens out here and finding the power button/sensor is child's play.

The 'carbon fibre' texturing is as tastefully done as ev…