Anker PowerLine 6ft Lightning Cable

Anker Lightning Cable

At last I seem to have found a relatively cheap and decent lightning cable, most of the cables I have purchased have lasted a reasonable amount of time but lately the cable are coming away from the plugs themselves (previously Amazon Basics were my go-to cable). So I hunted for a better overall build with Anker again having a product of superior quality, even the feel of the materials stands out once it is out of the box. Purchased for less than £8 at amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013JNAUMW

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iPad case Dux by STM

I have tried a number of cases for our iPads and finally settled on the STM dux, black for my Air2 and red for the wife’s mini. There is nothing really for me to say that is not covered in the following video other than the fact that I found the covers over the buttons a little stiff. I found mine on eBay new for less than £30.

 

iPad, Mini’s & iPhone

iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone

 

We have had a bit of a splurge in the household over the last six months with four new apple devices crossing the thresh-hold.

  • iPad Air 2 128gb (Mine)
  • iPad Mini 3 128gb (wife’s)
  • iPad Mini 3 64gb (6yr olds)
  • New Apple Tv 5th Gen 64gb (Mine)
  • iPhone 5 64gb (Wife’s)

With the exception of the Apple TV (more on the Apple TV in a later post) each iPad has been purchased as a refurbished device costing a heck of a lot less than the full price. Initially purchasing my lad one (he was unlikely to have been fussed with the odd dent or scrap, especially once it was in a bumper case) as we did not want to splash out for a Mini 4 but did not want to be limited to a Mini 2 32gb. Settling on a Mini 3 64gb.

We was so impressed with the quality that one for myself and one for the wife quickly followed with an iPhone 5. Admittedly the original iPhone purchased was scratched and dented but this was quickly replaced. I would normally be upgrading my phone in October, although I have no desire to upgrade yet, I will seriously consider a refurb in future.

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (for podcasting)

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although Apple have had a Camera Connection Kit in the past they have not had one included pass-though power that allows for more power hungry devices to work. In the past devices have either not worked or have required all equipment to be all but plugged together with the final connection being the lightning connector to the iPad, often still displaying a warning message.

The USB speed is only supported on the bigger brother iPad Pro and the adapter does not allow pass-through syncing but not only can you use connected cameras to import photos and videos but you can use it with the iPhone 6 as well, allowing you to plug in…

  • USB microphones, such as the Blue Yeti and the Samson Go Mic
  • Midi Interface
  • USB Ethernet adapter
  • Memory Sticks

For me this adapter is great, I can now throw my Samson Go Mic, stand and pop filter in a bag along with a powerpack (Anker are my choice) and I can pretty much record anywhere with my iPhone 6 Plus!

 

MyScript Calculator (iOS)

MyScript Calculator is another great maths based app. Do you rememebr when you got told that you may not always have a calculator and had to understand how to calculate? or even that you needed to know a reasonable amount of syntax for a calculator to use it? well this app may be a game changer for some, a handwritten based calculator – put in your question and see your handwriting interpreted and a result given.

 

Available for both iOS and Android this app is quick to use and easy to make adjustments by just scribbling out a number and overwriting, for more info see here – http://www.myscript.com/calculator/

 

Andy

Photomath (iOS)

 

I have to say this is an app that has a lot of potential, aim the app at a printed (not handwrittedn) problem and not only see the answer but see the steps that are needed to reach the solution. Available for iOS, Android and Windows devices this could be a boon or a bane!

Check out the ‘examples’ page of the website and have a go for yourself – https://photomath.net/en/examples

 

Andy

Periscope

Streaming is going mainstream with Twitters Periscope, a streaming app that allows for you to title and stream video and audio from you mobile device (both iOS & Android). Followers get notifed of your stream and can comment via text and tap the screen to show appreciation of your content in the form of rising hearts! It’s early days for Periscope but it has already added the functionality of maps to the app so that you can identify stream locations. Other functionality ….

  • Your own streams
    • Provide a stream title
    • Enabling location
    • Restrict to invitees
    • Restrict to followers
    • Tweet new stream
    • Change between front and rear cameras (swipe down)
    • Hide chat (swipe left)
    • Save to camera roll upon completion of stream
    • Identify viewers
    • Identify replays
  • Share watched streams

Currently plans are afoot to “scope” from the upcoming eFair 2015 on the 3rd of July (no necessarily from my Twitter account) #efair2015

I can see in recent weeks that it’s popularity has eased off, my first “scope” had 50 viewers, I’m lucky if I get double figures currently. An interesting video relating to Periscope and its future is worth watching at “The Speed of Outrage: Tom Scott at Thinking Digital 2015“. Whilst I feel it makes valid points regarding reaction times I do disagree with the prediction that Periscope will not be the winner for a number of reasons…

  1. Meerkat was first, clearly stating that Twitters Periscope followed
  2. It is already being further developed
  3. It’s backed by Twitter that have a few pennies in the bank
  4. Twitter was the first “micro-blogging” and seems to have remained relatively stable and the leader (and had evolved since its inception)
  • Will it become as popular as twitter? maybe not.
  • Is streaming going to become mainstream? highly likely.
  • Will something do it better than Periscope? Maybe.

That’s the problem with future tech predictions, they are just predictions. At best they turn out to be right, at worst we laugh at how wrong they were – in the end nobody really cares other than looking for YouTube Clips of Tomorrow’s World and the elusive Hover Car, Personal Jet-pack and Robotic Assistant. For further info see https://www.periscope.tv/

Andy

Betron YSM1000 Headphones

 

On the back of a recent post regarding Betron B850i I have the opportunity to review a pair of Betron YSM1000 (currently £20 from www.betrononline.com), a set of headphones that are packaged exquisitely:

  • Attachable clip
  • 1.2m cable
  • 8 earbuds (in red and black)
    • Small aperture buds in Small/Med/Large
    • Larger aperture buds in Small/Med/Large
    • 2 Memory Foam earbuds
  • Soft black ‘leather feel’ storage pouch, with a snap shut/open action
  • Metal Body in a black anodised finished
  • Metal ‘Y’ connector
  • Round cable, clear cover, with a twisted cable appearing under the coating
  • Metal straight 3.5mm jack

The packaging is in the form of a cube and certainly gives the appearance that they hold a quality product, you know that packaging that you actually don’t want to damage as you open it up. Upon opening the cube the headphones are p[roundly displayed set into a protective foam, the accessories are stored in the lid of the cube in a small slimline box whereby you pull out a tray of earbuds and the attachable clip.

The left/right earbuds unfortunately indicated through the use of red (right) and blue (left rings around their body that actually comp-liments the red and blue twisted cable visibly under the clear protective covering of the main cabling. The cable looks great and feels neither plastic nor too rubbery. Although not promoted as a tangle free cable I have not had those infuriating issues over the week.

The metal build of these makes for a great quality feel and the jack and earphone casing has a pronounced knurling effect that helps with gripping the jack and would reduce potential scratches on the earphones, making them look better for longer.

The memory foam earbuds are fantastic, certainly are my choice of earbud choice, reducing that annoying fall-out that you often have with earbuds. The audio quality is amazing and rating the Apple earbuds at an average 5/10 I would give the YSM1000’s 9/10. The quality puts to shame all other earbuds I have owned with the buds having an amazing  loud and rich sound than the earpods. I have noticed a little bleed over from each headphone to the other side, the left channel plays ever-so-slightly in the right channel and vice-versa but this is only noticeable if you have a the incorrect headphone in and the opposite channel plays (utilised https://youtu.be/M05w0gIDQVM and the iOS app ‘Headphone Check by Citrus Apps’), I tested on an iPhone 6 plus, a Dell PC and an Acer PC. But this was barely audible and less than the B850i’s recently reviewed (The fact the B850i’s had a mic may attribute to slightly more bleed-over).

 

Here are the specs:

  • Speaker Driver: 9.2mm
  • Nominal Impedence: 16 Ohm
  • Frequency Respoince: 18 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sound Pressure:Level (SPL): 118 dB/+-3db

These are my definite choice of headphones, in fact I think that any future purchases would be these with the microphone (currently at time of post £25 with free delivery from www.betrononline.com ). Its worth noting that they also come with a two year warranty as well.

Betron has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review.

Andy

Betron B650s Headphones


 

On the back of a recent post regarding Betron B850i I have the opportunity to review a pair of both the silver and gold versions of the B650s (currently £15 from www.betrononline.com), a similar specification to the B850i’s, and very similar traits:

  • Stated as iPhone/iPod compatible
  • Attachable clip
  • 1.2m cable
  • 7 earbuds
    • Small aperture buds in Small/Med/Large
    • Larger aperture buds in Small/Med/Large
    • Memory Foam earbuds
  • Soft black ‘velvet feel storage pouch’ (‘gold’ look for the gold version)

Where they differ:

  • Metal Body
  • Metal ‘Y’ connector
  • Round cable, clear cover, with a braid look effect under the coatinge
  • Metal straight 3.5mm jack
  • No microphone option

The packaging is appropriate and offers an external view of the headphones and variety of earbuds (Identical to the b850i’s hate those sealed packs you have to be a safe cracker to get into!). The left/right earbuds unfortunately not clearly indicated, a hard to see molded L or R on the protective sleeve as the cable comes away from the headphones. The cable looks great and feels neither plastic nor too rubbery and the storage pouch which is a good size, neither to small or big, minimises tangles. Although not promoted as a tangle free cable I have not had those infuriating issues over the week.

The metal build of these makes for a great quality feel and the jack and earphone casing has a slight knurling effect that helps with gripping the jack and would reduce potential scratches on the earphones, making them look better for longer.

The memory foam earbuds are fantastic, certainly are my choice of earbud choice, reducing that annoying fall-out that you often have with earbuds. As with the B850i’s the audio quality is great for budget headphones and rating the Apple earbuds at an average 5/10 I would give the B850i’s 7/10. With the buds having a louder and richer sound than the earpods. I have noticed a little bleed over from each headphone to the other side, the left channel plays ever-so-slightly in the right channel and vice-versa but this is only noticeable if you have a the incorrect headphone in and the opposite channel plays (utilised https://youtu.be/M05w0gIDQVM and the iOS app ‘Headphone Check by Citrus Apps’), I tested on an iPhone 6 plus, a Dell PC and an Acer PC. But this was barely audible and less than the B850i’s (The fact the B850i’s had a mic may attribute to slightly more bleed-over).

Here are the specs:

  • Speaker Driver: 10mm
  • Nominal Impedence: 16Ohm
  • Frequency Respoince: 17Hz to 20kHz
  • Sound Pressure:Level (SPL): 112 dB/+-3db
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.1%

Although technically no difference between them I would purchase the metal B650s model over the plastic B850i, unless I required a mic, which the B650s does not seem to offer.

Betron has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review.

Andy