Michael 84

Tech Blog

Tuesday, 12th September, 2017

Apple Event: iPhone 8 Underwhelming – iPhone X Overpriced

iPhone X Announcement and UK Price

I just watched the Apple Event for the announcement of the new iPhones, that is the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and their latest creation, the iPhone X (which they were calling ‘iPhone 10’ – No idea what happened to the 9). I guess you guys watched it or have heard about it…

So what did you think?

My initial thoughts were pretty good…Then I discovered the price and configurations, and i’m already having major second thoughts. I won’t bore you with much of the details of the announcement, but here’s the key things which the iPhone X has:

  • Facial recognition to open the phone (Face ID)
  • Near Bezel-less display of 5.8″ OLED
  • “Super Retina” screen with 2436 x 1125 resolution, 458ppi and 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Animated emoji (Animoji)
  • Portrait mode on the back and front camera
  • No home button
  • Wireless Charging (As does the 8 and 8 Plus)
  • Glass on the front and back (As does the 8 and 8 Plus – More to break!)
  • Larger than the iPhone 7 and 8, but smaller than the Plus.

And for all of this… £999. Pretty expensive, but it’s what I predicted, and I would pay that, but it’s £999 for the base model, which is only 64GB. My current iPhone 6 is 128GB, so it’s already a step down in terms of storage, and although I don’t use 128GB I do use more than 64GB, which means I’d have to go for the next model. There’s no 128GB variant, the only other model is 256GB which costs a whopping £1149!

The iPhone X will be available for pre order on 27th October 2017 with a release date of 3rd November 2017.

I was set to buy this, but now having serious second thoughts. So what about the iPhone 8? Well, it’s no shining star. In fact, there’s barely any difference between the now old iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8.

The only noticeable difference I can see is the chip; the iPhone 8 has a newer A11 CPU and GPU. Maybe it has more RAM? who knows, but that’s pretty much it.

I thought that it had the portrait camera, and all those other camera goodies, but then I realised that was the 8 Plus, which is no good to me, as it’s just too big.

UK Price comparison: iPhone X vs iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7

iPhone X – £999 or £1149
iPhone 8 – £699 or £849
iPhone 7 – £549 or £649

The iPhone lower spec is no good for me, so I’d not be getting any of those. So from a 128GB iPhone 7 at £649, to a 256GB iPhone X the price difference is £500. The iPhone 8 is £200 more than the 7, and is a minor bump up in spec.

What is the choice?

I think it’s between keeping my iPhone 6 which I am happy with, upgrading to a 7 which I didn’t do originally because it’s a minor spec bump, get the 8 which is another minor spec bump, or paying the obscene £1149 for the iPhone X. Of course the spanner in the works is that the iPhone 8 is available for pre-order this Friday, and as with all things which are new, if you don’t get a pre-order asap, you may have a bit of a wait for a phone.

All the little trinkets of the iPhone X are nice, but do I want most of them? Not really. The design? I like it. The camera? Nice, I’d use and enjoy that. Will I use FaceID? no. Do I care about wireless charging? No (and especially since no wireless charging mat is provided or even available!). Aniemoji? A bit of a novelty.

What did you think of the event? What will you be doing going forward?


Wednesday, 28th June, 2017

The Super Nintendo Classic Mini Is Announced!

Super Nintendo Classic Mini Is Coming

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you just don’t care, you’ll know that the Super Nintendo Classic Mini was announced a few days ago, and once again Nintendo has got people excited!

It has only just been officially announced by Nintendo and not released, and it’s immediately sold out. Nintendo had it up on their site which lasted a few minutes before it sold out, it sold out at Amazon, and Game has some pre orders available, and now they’re gone too.

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Tuesday, 25th April, 2017

The SNES Mini Is Officially Rumoured To Be Coming!

A Happy Michael with his NES Classic Mini 😀

YES!!

The SNES Classic Mini is officially rumoured to be getting a release…That’s officially rumoured, which means it’s a rumour, but now with a tiny bit of credibility 😀

Ever since the NES Classic Mini was announced then released, Nintendo lovers, including myself thought about a world with a re-release of a Super Nintendo. There were rumours back then, but they were more hopes and dreams rather than a ‘concrete rumour’.

If you hadn’t already heard, the NES Mini Classic has now been discontinued. If you didn’t get one, you weren’t the only one, as they’ve been super rare, and you’ve more or less never been able to walk into a shop and buy one, the stock has been that low. It’s left people who didn’t get one pretty miserable, and shops which buy and sell used gaming consoles and games which usually rip off the people they buy from are actually offering almost 3x the RRP of the NES Classic Mini, some offering as much as £125 for the tiny machine which had an original price of £50.

You can see above that I got mine, I guess by luck. I didn’t pre-order, and waited weeks to get one, checking out various sites and shops before Amazon finally opened pre-orders again after it was released. I didn’t think I’d get it to be honest, but low and behold I did, and it’s brilliant 🙂

The reason for not originally pre-ordering was I thought it was going to be quite a geeky niche item, with a few of the hardcore reliving their youth, and plenty of chances to get one…I was so wrong! If the SNES Mini does materialise I will definitely be pre-ordering! And yes, I know you can get emulators and things like that, in fact I’ve already got a JXD to play old games, and it’s good, but you can’t beat authenticity!

The rumour, which I must say is still only a rumour, has been credited to Eurogamer, who’ve suggested that it could come in time for Christmas this year and is already in development.

Games For The Snes Mini

Which games would you like to see on the Snes Mini? I think that a few of my favourite ever Super Nintendo Games have been:

  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Legend Of Zelda
  • Donkey Kong
  • F-Zero
  • Street Fighter II
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Super Mario All Stars
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Sensible Soccer (I know, not really a SNES Classic but a favourite of mine)
  • Pilotwings
  • Final Fight (I know it’s more of an arcade/Neo Geo title)
  • Smash TV
  • Starwing

There’s probably lots more I’ve missed, and lots which I missed out on first time round which I’d be able to play.

Which Super Nintendo Games would you like to see on the SNES Mini?


Monday, 27th February, 2017

The New Generation Nokia 3310 Has Been Announced

The brand new Nokia 3310 is coming in four colours!

I previously wrote about the Nokia 3310 rumours, and today Nokia have announced the return of the Nokia 3310, albeit an updated version for 2017.

The phone design is pretty cool, as you can see. It will come in four colours which are red, yellow, blue and silver, and it takes shape just like the original classic 3310, with a more modern design. That means that keys are back! Actual buttons to press which I have always loved. The screen is also a lot bigger, as screens are these days, it’s not a mega 6 inch screen, but a very reasonable 2.4 inch curved colour screen.

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Friday, 17th February, 2017

Is The Nokia 3310 Coming Back – Why I’m Not Excited

My Nokia 3330

This week there’s been some news that HMD, the Finnish company which has the licence to the Nokia brand, is going to re-release an updated version of what I would say is the best mobile phone series in history, the Nokia 3310 at MWC (Mobile World Conference)

I am looking forward to seeing what this Nokia looks like, but sadly, I am not too excited by this, and I doubt very much I will get one. Let me explain why.

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Thursday, 19th January, 2017

New Camera – Canon 80D Review & Unboxing

Canon 80D Unboxing

I got a new camera!

Actually, I have had it for a couple of weeks and have been playing around with it; It’s the Canon 80D!

I bought my first and only DSLR back in 2012 and it was the Canon 600D. It’s been a good camera to me, and I’ve taken it so many places and made some great memories with it. I decided that I’d upgrade to something a little better, and after waiting for a long time, after lots of reading and making up my mind, I went for a Canon 80D.

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Friday, 2nd December, 2016

The Nintendo Classic Mini Review – I Finally Got One!

Nintendo Mini Classic Review - In The UK

They’re out of stock everywhere in the UK and abroad… Do I look happy? :mrgreen:

As soon as I heard about the Nintendo Classic Mini aka NES Mini, I wanted to get one. I heard about them as soon as they were announced, and thought they’d be pretty popular among a few people like me, who love a bit of retro gaming…I didn’t bother pre-ordering at the launch, they sold out everywhere almost instantly! I didn’t think it would be so hard to get one, and after a couple of weeks of the launch, I finally got one!

The original NES was one of my first ever consoles; I did have an Atari 2600 but probably too young to understand what they really were all about. I got a Nintendo when I was about 7 or 8, I can’t actually remember whether it was a Christmas present or Birthday, but it was obviously my favourite present. Now we can all relive the good times with the brand new Nintendo Classic Mini! 😀

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Wednesday, 26th October, 2016

Introducing Microsoft Surface Studio

microsoft-surface-studio-introducing

Today was the Microsoft event, and a few things were introduced, including a newer, more powerful Surface Book, but the story which everyone is talking about is another great brand new design from Microsoft, the Surface Studio.

Just look at it! Forget about what it can do, why you’d need it or the specs for a moment, and look at it! It looks beautiful, possibly one of the best designs of a computer for a very long time. The design is thin and sleek, minimal, modern and minimal. For a brand new machine, it looks like a brand new design, which is important these days.

First of all we have to talk about who it’s designed for; This is a computer which is aimed at the creatives, and not the general consumer market; That’s quite an important point and you’ll see why later.

So what is it. Well it’s a touchscreen PC, but this is not one of those old fashioned, under-powered all-in-ones which came around several years back. Other than the design, this is a real powerhouse from Microsoft. First off, it has a 28″ Pixelsense display, this is the same kind of display found on the Surface Pro and Surface Book which creatives adore and is widely regarded as one of the best screens for pen input out there. This one of course is bigger, and comes with a 4500×3000 resolution, and is perfect to use as a canvas.

Writing on an upright screen is probably not the best, and that’s where the party piece of the Surface Studio comes into play. It has a special Zero Gravity hinge which allows you to lie it at an angle, perfect for drawing or writing.

In terms of spec, it comes with either an i5 or i7 CPU, 1 or 2TB Hybrid HDD, 8, 16 or 32GB RAM, Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965m 2GB or 980m 4GB graphics; Expansion comes in the way of 4x USB 3.0 ports, SD Card Reader, Mini DisplayPort and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Another device to compliment this is the brand new Surface Dial. It can be used as a stand alone to control things, or place it on the screen and it can do more. All of this can be explained better in the video below:

The Surface Studio will start shipping in 2017, and comes in at a starting price of $2999, around £2499. This is a lot of money for a home machine, but remember that this is actually designed for creatives and studio types (hence the name) and not the home, although there’ll be quite a few people wanting this.

Has Microsoft just changed the game?

Let me know what you think of this, I personally think it’s brilliant!


Saturday, 22nd October, 2016

First Look At The Nintendo Switch

nintendo-switch-3

Nintendo do know how to tease us…

If you’re a gamer then you’ll know that Nintendo have been hinting at a new console for a while, and we’ve all been calling it the Nintendo NX, and even though we now know that was a codename, it was actually a pretty good name. Nintendo finally revealed what they’ve been working on and what will be their next console, it will not be called the NX, they teased us with the Nintendo Switch on Thursday, and it looks very interesting.

The first look doesn’t actually tell us a whole lot about the console in terms of spec or what it can do a whole lot, but it does show off what it’s all about, and at least some of it’s capabilities in it’s video (below). In terms of spec, the only thing we know as of now is that it’s powered by an NVIDIA processor.

What we do know is that it’s designed to be a hybrid home and portable console, it comes with a dock which connects to your TV, and when you want to go or have to leave, you simply undock it, and pick up where you left off on the screen. The design is interesting, with the main screen part being the console and having two controls either side which are detachable. The two sides of controllers come with plenty of buttons, so as seen in the video, you can play 2 player games with the one console and the two detachable controllers. Not only that, two consoles can be linked up for play wirelessly which will be fun for gamers being in the same room. For sitting in your living room for bigger games, there’s also a more standard looking controller, probably known as a “pro” controller or something similar.

It’s interesting that it’s going to be a proper console going mobile, rather than a mobile console. So where will the DS line-up fit into all of this?

Games

As for games, there’s the beloved games in the preview; I’m talking about Super Mario and Mario Kart. We also seen Skyrim, Splatoon, NBA 2K17 and Zelda. Nintendo has released a list of all the support which the Switch is going to receive from games, and it’s quite a list. As we know, a gaming console is only as good as the games available for it (Just ask the then-powerful Atari Jaguar!). As for the game storage, it appears to be a card or cartridge similar to an SD card, but will probably be some proprietary Nintendo card.

UK Release Date And Price

The price is TBA, and the release date is March 2017.

My Initial Thoughts

It’s an interesting idea from Nintendo, and I am not sure at the moment if I think it’s brilliant or terrible. It’s a home console which you can carry around with you, it’s bold and new, and something we’ve not really seen before, so it’s hard to judge, especially with the little detail we have. As mentioned, a lot will depend on the spec, games support, as well as the price, and since this is a portable device, how long the battery lasts. If Nintendo can get is all right, it could be pretty hard to resist getting one.

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Wednesday, 21st September, 2016

HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop Review

hp-omen15-review-overview

In the past I’ve always associated PC gaming with a traditional PC, because back then, laptops were never really thought of as a gaming machine. However times have changed, and so many people have switched over to a laptop or ultrabook rather than a traditional PC. If you know about gaming then you’ll know that the one thing it needs is power, and I am excited to try out the brand new HP OMEN 15, HP’s PC gaming machine.

The Overview Of HP OMEN 15

So the machine itself is pretty nice. It has a 15.6″ screen which is inside a pretty nice faux-carbon fibre body which is called shadow mesh, and comes  with the red OMEN graphic on the lid. At 2.2kgs it’s actually not too heavy for a 15″ gaming laptop, which are known to be a little on the beefy side. However the relative light weight of the machine does not compromise the power which is under the hood. It packs a 6th generation i7 CPU along with a dedicated Geforce graphics card, SSD drive and 16GB RAM. I’ve got the full details on the spec of this beast below.

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