SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

Sure those PowerBeats headphones Apple showed off might look the business but the reality is not everyone can afford the $199. I mean how is it possible that a set of headphones with a fraction of the technology an iPhone contains costs 1/3 the price? Granted a lot goes into speaker technology but still.

So today I’m looking at completely the other end of the spectrum of headphones with a price range that most mere mortals can afford, the SoundPeats Q12. Who knows if due to some dodgy translation it was supposed to be SoundBeats.

Continue reading

Review: STM Dux iPad Pro Case

I love my iPad Pro despite Apple recently introducing a little brother at the recent ‘In the Loop’ event. However one thing I wasn’t so thrilled about with the Pro was the cost of some of the accessories. I can understand Apple expecting us to shell out for such items as the Apple Pencil and even for the Smart Keyboard but where I often find Apples charges becoming more than a little harder to swallow is the cost of their cases.
Continue reading

Review : 9.7 iPad Pro Review – A Lot to like…

The 9.7 inch iPad Pro concentrates almost everything that’s amazing about the 12.9 inch original into a device that is easy to carry around as the iPad Air 2. That includes not only the ludicrously powerful A9X processor but the smart keyboard and the Apple pencil and it’s got an even better camera.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro packs 2732 by 2048 pixels. The 9.7 inch iPad by contrast packs the same resolution as the Air 2048 by 1536. It has the same custom timing control as a bigger iPad Pro but also has a few surprises under the glass. The first is a DCI-P3 color space, that’s the same as digital theatre projectors and the 2015 iMac. It allows for 25% greater saturation and that means colors especially magentas look better than ever. The display is also 25% brighter and 40% less reflective than even the iPad Air 2. What’s especially clever though is the new true tone system.

It uses two ambient light sensors with four channels each to detect the conditions around you and change your iPad’s display to match white for whatever those conditions might be. It has the same third generation 64 bit system on a chip commanding a custom dual-core processor with a monstrous 12-core graphics processor to very really redefine what it means to be mobile silicon.

It’s paired with an integrated M9 coprocessor which handles the motion sensors and even allows for Hey Siri unplugged. Touch ID is first generation like every device except for the iPhone 6s which might be a relief for some as it can unlock your device a little too quickly.

Storage still starts at 32 gigabytes like the bigger pro and 128 gigabytes for those who want to step up. If you’d rather leap up though there is now a 256 gigabyte option and that’s for both sizes.

I’m not fussy about keyboards, so they’ve all been great for me. It takes about five minutes for me to acclimatize and then I’m flying. The laser ablated fabric Apple uses which along with the MacBook style domes forms the structure of the keys holds up really well even at a smaller scale. For those who dislike the smart keyboard in general there is the exact same smart connector as the bigger Pro which means third party keyboards will be available as well.

As someone who used Wacom tablets for graphic design for decades and stylus pens on iPhone and iPads for almost that long the Apple pencil remains best in class for me. It simply outperforms in every category. That’s now also available on the 9.7 inch. Sure the canvas isn’t as big but that’s the point. It does take some getting used to but only if you’re used to the 12.9 inch version.

Responsiveness and palm rejection remain excellent as good to my eyes and hands as a 12.9 inch iPad Pro and all the apps work every bit as well. Having a 12 megapixel iSight camera in a 9.7 inch iPad Pro makes it fantastic. There’s also 1080p video at 60 frames per second and a 4K at 30 frames per second. Sure some might still make fun of the very idea of iPad photography but for others the best camera they have with them will be the one on the iPad and now Apple is making sure the best is also the best. And for professionals many of whom love shooting with iPhones but do want bigger viewfinders for certain projects, Apple is making sure the 9.7 inch iPad Pro is delivering exactly that. It does come with a price though. An iPhone 6 style camera bump on the lens.

I haven’t had any problem with it though even when resting it flat and drawing with the pencil the other corners keep everything solidly in place. There is also a 5 megapixel face time camera complete with retina flash so you can take your iPad selfie game to the next level as well. And yes you can do iPhone 6s style live photos so your every moment can animate at a touch and hold.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro has four big booming speakers, to be honest I wasn’t expecting Apple to be able to fit the same class of audio into the 9.7 inch version but they totally did. No matter which way you hold or turn it iPad Pro delivers deep base in all four corners and mids and highs to the top two speakers. Together with the display it makes for a superlative entertainment experience even when you don’t have to or have to use earphones. The only downside is having to choose between watching Daredevil season 2 and well, finishing this review.
Wifi is 802.11ac with multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) that supports up to 866 Mbps. Cellular is even more exciting though unlike the bigger iPad Pro LTE has an option at every storage tier so you no longer have to go with big or go without. You also get an embedded Apple SIM, that way you can use your local carrier SIM if you’re already on an existing plan but when you travel you can choose from a variety of plans over 90 regions.
The 9.7 inch iPad Pro comes with iOS 9.3 installed. It’s the latest update to the software Apple released last fall. It includes night shift, the ability to lock notes, better personalization for news.

The 9.7 inch original iPad is once again being reinvented this time by going Pro while the 12.9 inch model felt like it was filling a really important niche and growing Apple’s addressable market. The 9.7 inch iPad Pro feels like it’s bringing everything great about that device, the power, the connectability, the pencils , the speakers and most importantly the attitude parked to that original size.

This can still be your everyday iPad and better so than ever but it can also be your ultra mobile productivity machine with little on the way of compromises. Sure you lose some display in keyboard real state but you gain portability and an excellent camera system. I’ll be getting 128 gigabyte rose gold and I might even look at going for a cellular enabled device to use when I’m on my travels.

iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works

In perhaps the worst kept secret in the world of Apple, the new iPhone SE was launched on monday with little in terms of surprises. Tim cook may have proclaimed that Apple was “doubling down on secrecy” but somewhere along the line this got missed and for the last few montsh we’ve all head to endure rumour after rumour surrounding a new iPhone. Thankfully mondays Apple event put us out of the rumor cycle and now into the review cycle for the iPhone 5SE.

Continue reading

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors. Listen to live streams of new and upcoming artists, shared and rated by MixPal.FM users. There’s features a plenty along with a wide variation of electronica, dance, house, hard house banging house (think Kevin & Perry) to choose from. Ever tuned into Di.FM? You’ll be happy here.

If your musical tastes are that of tuning into Di.Fm them you’ll be at home here in a nicely presented way with the ability to rate, share, review tracks and artists and skip forward AND backwards through track listings.

As seems to be the trend now you get a walk-through of the UI and features before being dumped into the app but it’s good to be aware of the features as the UI is text free, relying on icons to for getting to settings, some of which aren’t completely obvious to press.

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors. Listen to live streams of new and upcoming artists, shared and rated by MixPal.FM users. There’s features a plenty along with a wide variation of electronica, dance, house, hard house banging house (think Kevin & Perry) to choose from. Ever tuned into Di.FM? You’ll be happy here.

MixPal Music Offerings

If your musical tastes are that of tuning into Di.Fm them you’ll be at home here in a nicely presented way with the ability to rate, share, review tracks and artists and skip forward AND backwards through track listings.

As seems to be the trend now you get a walk-through of the UI and features before being dumped into the app but it’s good to be aware of the features as the UI is text free, relying on icons to for getting to settings, some of which aren’t completely obvious to press.

Scrolling and navigation through the menus is silky smooth with no problems encountered during testing on iDevices from the iPhone 4s up to the 5s. Track loading time is pretty much instantaneous on both Wi-Fi and 3G connections and in most circumstances quicker than the MixPal.FM website.

As most people who read reviews here know that we like to do our testing anywhere and everywhere and when MixPal came in for review I was on the beach and so what better place to listen to chilled out melodies whilst strolling on Newgale beach.
It wasn’t smooth sailing at first. Bizarrely pressing play whilst only on 3G you won’t hear anything despite the “Radio EQ” away at the bottom of the screen. No amount of tapping or trying different stations would produce anything in to my headphones. Other music apps would work and in my haste I fired off a bug report to the developers

It’s not until you head into settings and enable a streaming bit rate you’ll be able to use 3G. Confusion which could be easily avoided with a simple notification.

Update The developers have gotten back to me saying this will be addressed in a soon to be released update.

The Social Element

Social interaction is taken care of with the usual Twitter, Facebook integration with the ability to thumbs up or down tracks, leaving a small review for as well. It’s not 100% clear on where the review shows up or what rating tracks actually does as it made no difference to anywhere in the app.

When you register for an account both Facebook and Twitter icons looked grayed out but oddly the Facebook icon works but not twitter. Another oddity is there’s no way to book mark a track that’s playing for later or to share with others.

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors

Fan membership comes in at $1,99 month / $9.99 for 6 months. This nets you 96k sound quality, no ads and repeats some tracks. For the best experience including high quality audio, full play features, no adverts, no voice overs and the ability to kill your 3G data plan streaming up to 320 KBIT/s will set you back $4.99 a month or $24.99 for 6 months.

When you look at the more generic music based offerings such as Spotify ($9.99 per month) or Pandora ($3.99 per month) MixPal.Fm make for an interesting proposition as long as your preferred music tastes are catered for.

Update. MixPal.FM will give you 1 months PREMIUM features for FREE simply by registering the app.

Running MixPal.Fm for the first time takes you through the now standard how-to slash screens getting you familiar with the app. Once done you’ll end up at the station lists to get on with some listening.

All that being said if you’re a fan of the genres of music offered by MixPal and don’t mind stumping up the extra cash for decent quality this isn’t a bad app at all to consider.

Overall Thoughts on MixPal for iOS

It’s a cracking little up and if you’re into these genres of music you won’t be disappointed with the features on offer once you’ve stumped up for the more premium offerings. The social integration side does need more work on as it’s not clear what happens to your review or rating after you go to the effort of it all.

Being able to scroll backwards is a nice unique feature that to my recollection hasn’t been implemented in a decent fashion before and there is a LOT to choose from.

http://web.archive.org/web/20140827130852/https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mixpal.fm-music-radio-network/id704407028?mt=8&uo=4&at=10lt3D&ct=EA-Review