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Michael 84

Technology And Gadgets

The coolest and latest technology with news, reviews and everything on tech, gear and gadgets.

First Look At The Nintendo Switch

Saturday, 22nd October, 2016

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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HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop Review

Wednesday, 21st September, 2016

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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The iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus Announced

Thursday, 8th September, 2016

iphone7-my-thoughts

So yesterday I watched a bit of the Apple conference, and as expected, the iPhone 7 and 7 plus was announced (along with some other stuff like the watch). It was the usual slick presentation, and you have to hand it to Apple, they do these things pretty well. Here’s what we learned about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and I reveal why I will not be upgrading.

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Dell XPS 13 2016 Review

Thursday, 25th August, 2016

dell-xps13-me1

I finally got a new laptop, and it’s the Dell XPS 13 2016 edition!

You’ll have seen the Dell XPS 13 laptop on my blog before, and if you follow me you’ll know how much I like this laptop, and how highly I rate it. I have actually had this for a couple of months now, but just got round to writing about it, I’ve been too busy using it!

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Nintendo Classic Mini – Relive The 80s & 90s NES

Thursday, 14th July, 2016

Nintendo Classic Mini Announced

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard about this today!

Nintendo announced that they are bringing out a new console…Actually it’s an old one! The original Nintendo, aka NES was one of the first consoles I ever owned, and probably the first “proper” console which I actually had and used, and played games on. I got this when I was around 8 or 9, so early 90’s, but it was actually released in the UK back in 1986. It was an 8-bit console, and this was pretty much what people think of as the start of home gaming in consoles (SEGA had their MasterSystem too).

So today Nintendo are embracing the retro fans with this; The brand new Nintendo Classic Mini. You get the vintage look and feel of an original NES, albeit in a much smaller form, but it’s built with 2016 in mind, which means you can hook it up to a modern TV with an HDMI cable. It comes with 30 games, and the absolute classic are on there, including the Super Mario franchise.

As you’ll have read several months ago, I got a JXD retro gaming tablet which is great, but the bad thing about the unofficial hardware and software is that it can be a bit clunky, since the games were not originally designed for the hardware or software. Since there is a JXD and countless other devices, and have been for a while, I think it’s smart of Nintendo to do this, as there are so many fans of 8-bit and also 16-bit generations of consoles. I would love Nintendo and SEGA to officially release more retro consoles like this, they’d definitely be a hit.

You can get your hands on one of these on 11th November, right in time for Christmas, that’s if they don’t sell out.

I have heard that the UK price is said to be £49.99.

Relive your NES days with a Nintendo Classic Mini

What do you think of this?

List of Nintendo Classic Mini Games

Balloon Fight
BUBBLE BOBBLE
Castlevania™
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest™
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Jr.
DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
Dr. Mario
Excitebike
FINAL FANTASY®
Galaga™
GHOSTS‘N GOBLINS™
GRADIUS™
Ice Climber
Kid Icarus
Kirby’s Adventure
Mario Bros.
MEGA MAN™ 2
Metroid
NINJA GAIDEN®
PAC-MAN™
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
StarTropics
SUPER C™
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Tecmo Bowl™
The Legend of Zelda
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link


My Brand New Geforce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Wednesday, 11th May, 2016

Brand New Graphics Card! The NVIDIA GTX 970

Hey guys!

OK, this is a totally geeky type of post, if you don’t like computers and things like that you can make a coffee or something! 😉

I have always built my own computers since I was back at college, I am into computers so it’s always been a hobby, and building your own machine is not really hard, and you can get something much better than a ready built PC. I know most people use laptops now, but as I’ve mentioned in my fashion bloggers desk post, I love a desktop, mostly because I can build and upgrade rather than having to buy a brand new machine every few years.

I am not a big PC gamer (other than Football Manager obviously!), I have always preferred gaming on a console like my XBOX One or a PlayStation, but when I build a PC I usually go for a decent but not brilliant graphics card. My budget is usually around £100-£200 for a graphics card, and my last one was a respectable Geforce GTX660. It was a pretty good card when I bought it, it supports 4K, I can’t remember how much it was, but it would have been around 100-£200 mark.

Anyway, I have gone and got myself a brand new Geforce GTX 970 card! It’s so much more powerful than the 660, it has 4GB of memory which is 4x more than the 660, and all the rest of the graphical improvements along with it too. I have gone for the EVGA FTW+ model, which is one of the higher spec cards of the 970 range. I had a read for a couple of days for recommendations, but to be honest lots of people were saying different things, so I just took the plunge and got this. There’s probably only the 980 and the TITAN cards which are better, and they are too expensive. This set me back around £300, those other cards are £400-£800 which is too much for me to justify!

You may say why bother upgrading the graphics if you don’t play games…Well it’s to make my PC better, and it will be more “Futureproof”…Not that there is such a thing in computing! 😛 I think VR is going to be a big thing, as with 4K, so a better graphics card will benefit me for these things. Back in the olden days of the early 00’s all you needed to do for a significant upgrade for a computer was buy more RAM…I remember going in computer shops and upgrading from 32MB to 64MB, all in the aid of playing Championship Manager a bit faster, and then later doubling and tripling RAM. Now RAM is not such a big factor, I have 32GB which is more than enough, and 16GB is actually more than you’d really need, it’s become more about graphic power and as always, CPU power too.

So there we go! I am ready for the future, and with all my new graphic power I may even venture in the PC market and buy a game for the PC! 😀


HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook 2016 Edition – First Look

Wednesday, 13th April, 2016

hp-spectre-13-2016-2

WOW…Just Wow!

Back in the day which feels like a lifetime ago (and it was in tech terms) I got a MacBook Pro. That was the first of the unibody Macbooks, way back in 2008. It was beautiful, a design masterpiece, and it’s something which Apple has tweaked and changed over the past few years, but the general design remains the same. Back then it was probably the best looking laptop on the market, and I fancied trying out OSX too…I was not much of a fan, and put Windows on it, and it was still the best Windows offering at the time; Well there may have been a VAIO but I’d already had one of those and wanted a changed.

Fast forward to now and Apple still have the same design, not that it’s bad but it looks a bit dated, and other manufacturers have stepped up their game, and are producing amazing machines for Windows. There’s the Dell XPS with it’s infinity display, The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, both have impressed me, and now there is this from HP…

Last week Hewlett Packard showed off their brand new HP Spectre 13 and it looks amazing! HP are calling this the thinnest laptop on the market, and it looks simply stunning. The design looks original, sleek and like an ultramodern piece of art, rather than a computer. It looks almost like a blade, like it could cut you, and is a blend of black and golden colours, or copper which HP are calling it. Made from aluminium and carbon fibre it looks simply beautiful. It has Bang and Olufsen sound which you can hear through the stylish speaker grates, and even the HP logo has had a makeover; Gone is the HP in a circle which looks dated, and in comes an edgy HP logo which sits well on the back of the lid of the laptop.

The keyboard is a modern Chiclet style which I actually am not a fan of, but that’s the way the world has gone. It’s backlit which always helps, and like everything else in this laptop, it’s stylish. It comes with a glass trackpad too which is something which I like, a good Windows trackpad has been the downfall of many laptops of the past. They said that the design is based on a piece of jewellery, and that’s something which comes across as soon as you see this. Laptop hinges are usually really ugly if they’re exposed such as this one is, but the colour and metallic design actually adds to this.

As for power it’s no slouch. There’s i5 and i7 CPU options available, with up to 8GB RAM , so blows the MacBook out of the water which uses the M series of processors. The hard drive is a PCIe SSD drive which are usually really fast and go to up 512GB. The screen is a full HD 1080p screen, and comes with three USB-C type ports on the back. Sadly the spec does not go up any further, with the Dell XPS offering 16GB of RAM, this is a real shame, hopefully it may get that option in the future.

There’s no UK pricing on this yet, but it’s set to be released in May with pre-orders being taken in April. It’s around $1169, so you should see them coming in at under £1000, my guess would be starting at £899.

hp-spectre-13-2016-1


Dell XPS – The Best Fashion And Lifestyle Blogger Laptop

Friday, 1st April, 2016

The Dell XPS 13 - Best Laptop For Bloggers

So if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll have seen my desk of a fashion blogger post where I shared my physical space of where I blog on a day to day basis. I love a desktop, but I do have a laptop too, and have been thinking lately of getting an upgrade.

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MEEM – Automatic Smart Phone Backups And Charging

Thursday, 25th February, 2016

meem-memory-iphone-revew

If you’re looking for a new way to charge your smart phone and automatically back it up seamlessly, there is a new answer in the form of MEEM. The idea of MEEM is a very simple one, but it’s something which I really like the sound of.

It’s like a USB charging cable with a difference, it comes with storage which is used to back up your phone details, including contacts, calendars, photos and videos keeping them safe and secure should something happen to your phone.

I am not a fan of the cloud for backups, especially public clouds which anyone can get access to. The biggest problem with them is that no matter how secure they are, there is always the chance that an account can be compromised. More worryingly, someone could look at or copy your details without you even knowing, and then there’s the cost factor too, which is not too bad actually. I much prefer keeping my backups local, I.e. on my own computer or a personal hard drive which is not online in a public place. MEEM addresses these issues, and can automatically back up your data while you charge the device.

I tried out MEEM with my iPhone and it’s a very simple device to use. All you need is to download the free app, plug your phone in one end and USB power in the other and you’re set. If you only want to do partial backups that’s no problem, you can choose which types of things you want to back up, or back them all up, which doesn’t take long at all. There’s no computer interface needed, it’s all done on your phone and it’s as simple as swiping to back up all the data you’d like to. Once you connect your phone to it you can set a passcode similar to the iPhone passcode, so you’ve no need to worry about the data on the cable once you’ve backed up.

MEEM is currently on Kickstarter, you can find more about it here. It will be available for Apple iOS devices in a 32GB size and Android devices in 16GB size at £69.99 and £49.99 respectively.

UPDATE – Win An iPhone 6s / Samsung Galaxy 6s

So the guys over at MEEM are giving away a smartphone for their brilliant MEEM cable! You can sign up to win your choice of iPhone 6s or Samsung Galaxy 6S. All the details are over here. Good luck! 🙂

meem-memory-iphone

MEEM Sent over a cable for me to try

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 – Men’s Must Have Tech & Gadgets

Monday, 14th December, 2015

christmas-gift-guide-2015-mens-tech

If you’re getting presents for a man, or buying yourself something, you can’t go wrong with a bit of tech. Tech can be cheap, but it’s usually expensive, and with everything, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for some brand new tech, or looking to upgrade something you have, here’s a couple of ideas to get you started.

JXD S7800

I have to recommend the JXD S7800 tablet. It’s a gaming tablet, so it has hardware buttons and controls which is essential for gaming. I bought myself one of these and reviewed it here. It’s a brilliant device for playing old retro games, so if you’re 25+ and remember the good old days of arcades, Megadrives, NES, SNES, Dreamcast, Saturn, PS1 and more, you’ll love this and spend countless hours on it. Better still it’s only around £130.

iPad Mini 2

I have to recommend an iPad Mini 2, because a few months back I took the plunge and got one. I decided that I actually did not need the bigger screen of the iPad Pro, and replaced my original iPad 2 with one of these. Sure, it is smaller, but after months of using it I can honestly say the size has not made too much difference, and I really enjoy using it. The biggest selling point is the price, £259 for a 32GB model is such a good price for this device, which will last for a couple of years, no less than a bigger iPad Air.

XBOX One / PlayStation 4

If you’re into gaming and have still not got one of the latest generations of consoles, now is the time. There’s great deals on both the XBOX One and PS4, you just have to decide which one is for you (or be greedy and get both).

Bang & Olufsen H6 Headphones

If you want premium sound, the H6 headphones from Bang & Olufsen is definitely one way to get that. They’ve been around for a while, and now do the H8 which are Bluetooth, but I prefer a hard wired connection which will never compromise the quality. They are expensive at around £280, but are worth the purchase for those looking for a serious sound with style.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone

If money is not an object, and you want to buy a high end piece of tech which most will not have, the DJI Phanton 3 drone will fit the bill. It will cost you upwards of £600, but this is very much the Rolls Royce of drones. With features like an intelligent flight system, GPS which you can map out a route and it will fly to that and return home, it’s easy to use. The camera records upto 2.7K video, half 4K, and can snap 12MP photos in it’s journey which can be anything up to 25 minutes on a full charge.

Marshall Bluetooth Speaker

The Marshall Amps are an iconic design, anyone who likes rock or guitar music or has any kind of music knowledge will instantly recognise the design of this Bluetooth speaker. Coming in at around £170 it’s reasonably priced, and for that you do get this really nice design, which will look great in any bedroom, lounge, dining room or kitchen.

Surface Pro 4

It was launched a few months ago on the back of the successful Surface Pro 3, the Surface Pro 4 looks to build upon that and goes from strength to strength. If you want a laptop replacement this should be worth considering, and if you travel a lot it could save you lots of space as well as being powerful. These start at £749, for power I’d recommend starting at the 256GB/i5/8GB Ram option, which is £1079.

Dell XPS 13

If a new laptop or an upgrade is something you’re looking at, Dell has the one for you. If I was going to get a new laptop I’d have to seriously consider the Dell XPS 13 with the brand new 6th Generation Processor. The XPS 13 (9350) comes with a touchscreen and an infinity display, with an i7, Windows 10, 8GB Ram and a 256GB SSD Drive. All that comes in at just over a grand, £1149 in fact. High end ultrabooks don’t look better than this, and if you want to spend even more you can max this thing out for £1649 and get a 1TB SSD Drive and 16GB Ra. Did I mention it was only 1.29KG.

So that’s the top gadgets this year for Christmas, hopefully you’ll get something here, buy one for someone or buy yourself something 😉


JXD S7800b Retro Gaming Tablet Review

Tuesday, 17th November, 2015

JXD S7800B Retro Gaming Console Review

I love retro gaming! I was lucky enough to be born when I was, and so I had games machines like the NES, and a few SNES and Sega Megadrive consoles too; Those to me are my childhood, and when I got a bit older came the PlayStation/Dreamcast/N64 generation; and I had the best one, the PlayStation.

Between those I had others, in the handheld department I had an Atari Lynx and SEGA Game Gear, I also had an Atari Jaguar, and computers including Atari ST along with a whole host of Amigas, including a few Amiga 1200’s, which was probably my favourite in the computer department.

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The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 And Surface Book – My Thoughts

Thursday, 12th November, 2015

microsoft-surface-book-pro4

A few weeks ago I watched the Microsoft unveiling of their new devices and gadgets, namely the Lumia 950 phone, Microsoft Band, but the one I was interested in watching was the announcement of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I have to say I was quite blown away with their technology, I really like what they are doing, and in recent times they’ve been doing things which one of their main rivals, Apple haven’t been doing; Bringing something brand new, cool and fresh to the table which you’d want to buy.

They’ve made a lot of noise with the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Pro which is out today, and have always billed them as “The tablet that can replace your laptop”, and they’ve not been wrong judging by the reaction which they’ve got. Everyone seems to love the Surface Pro, especially the pen, and the fact it’s a tablet with real PC power and productivity. That all sounds great, but there’s one thing it can’t do (yet); It’s not the tablet which will replace my tablet.

I am a Windows guy. I love Windows; From getting all nostalgic with Win 95 and 98, XP the best in my opinion, and the latest from 8 to 10, I have enjoyed them all. I do own a MacBook Pro and have used OSX, but I simply don’t like it as much as Windows, that’s by-the-by though, I put it down to personal preference. That’s my power PC. When it comes to tablets and phones, I am on the other side, I love iOS. iOS simply has the ecosystem that nothing else has, the apps are plentiful, they work amazingly and they’re simply great. iOS for a mobile device is what Windows is to a personal computer, that’s the way I look at it. When it comes to personal computers the OSX people have to make sure something works with the OS or find an alternative; All you have to do is read Amazon reviews for the “This did not work with my Mac” responses. It’s the opposite in the mobile world, with iOS having a big head start over Windows and Android, it’s got bigger and better, and in my opinion, for the time at least, iOS is the way to go for tablets and mobiles.

I think that’s where I got the Surface Pro wrong. Since it’s a tablet, I, and probably ‘we’, think of it as a tablet. However we should be thinking of it as a laptop replacement and not a tablet. It shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for an iPad, rather a replacement for your laptop/desktop, be that an Apple or other PC you have. The fact it’s as small as a tablet and can run the terrible windows apps should be thought of secondary in my opinion. The Surface in a good config setting is simply too good, and too powerful to be compared to any ‘regular’ tablet.

Surface Book

It was a surprise to me when Microsoft announced a Surface book, which is their first laptop. Why? Pretty obvious really, they’re shouting about how their Surface Pro can replace a laptop, then they’re selling a brand new product, which is a laptop! 😀 This, however is a super cool laptop, or ultrabook to put it better. It’s actually three-in-one thanks to it’s special hinge, which let’s you fold the book closed and 180 degrees open, like a clipboard, as well as detaching the screen from the keyboard completely when you want to use it as a tablet. So it’s an ultrabook with an amazing 13.5″ screen which is of course touchscreen too.

I really love the Surface book, it doesn’t have a UK price yet but the U.S. price is quite steep, however, if you’re looking for a powerful machine, it has to be considered.

Verdict

So do you stay with Apple/other or move on over to Microsoft? My answer is actually easier than I thought; Both. As I have said, I love Windows to use as a ‘proper’ productive machine, but then for a tablet/phone I want something which is more tablet/phone orientated. I think right at this moment in time Apple are doing the best things in mobile devices, but when I want proper productivity the only choice is a device which runs Microsoft.

If I were to go out and buy devices now and wanted a PC, tablet and phone, I would choose an iPhone, iPad (In fact I just got an iPad Mini 2!) and a Surface Pro 4, Surface Book or other Windows based machine. Microsoft are setting the bar with their Surface Book, and if money is no object or you want a power PC, it’s an amazing option.


Just Got Myself An iPad Mini 2!

Monday, 2nd November, 2015

ipad-mini2-michael84

I’ve only gone and got myself an iPad Mini 2!! :mrgreen: So this is a strange time to buy this, but I can explain all! 😉

I have an iPad 2, and had it for a hell of a long time, over 4 years in fact which is a lifetime in technology terms. It’s been a great thing to have, but it’s getting a bit old, slow and tired, and although it’s been useable, it has seen better days. Even before I bought that I wanted a bigger iPad, but there was no such thing at the time. Last year the iPad Mini 3 was released, and the Mini 2 came down in price, I think it was £279 for a 32GB which was so tempting! There were rumours of a larger iPad in the works, so I held off.

iPad Pro Announced

Several months ago I got what I (thought I) wanted, a larger iPad was announced to be released in November. I was excited, and planned on getting one when they were released. But Apple just stated “November” with no actual date, and not even a price for the UK. The speculated price for a 128GB model is £799, and I was happy to pay that, until I got thinking (also with help from watching the Microsoft Surface keynote).

Hello iPad 2 Mini!

The iPad Mini 4 is now available, and they’ve kept the mini 2 going, with an even better price of £259 for a 32GB. This was now far too tempting, and after a few weeks of contemplating I have finally upgraded and got myself this brand new iPad Mini 2 and couldn’t be happier.

So Why The Change Of Mind?

It’s simple, the iPad Mini 2 fits my lifestyle. I wanted a big pro, but when I thought more and more about it, and what I would actually use it for myself (rather than what it can do for other people) I figured out that it would be a bit of a waste. What do I use my iPad for? Reading web pages, a few apps, and that’s about it. I love my iPhone, and use that a lot, and rarely use my iPad if I’m honest. I wanted a pro for the large screen and big space to put lots of films, but really, I watch films on my far larger and better TV via blu ray, so I don’t think I would watch many at all, even though it seems like a really good idea. The iPad Pro is also untried, and doesn’t have a few things that other new Apple products have such as 3D touch, so it’s almost old before it’s even been released!

It seems a bit odd to go from a regular size iPad, want a bigger one, and in fact buy a small one, but that’s how it’s happened! 😛 I’ve been using it for a little while and love it, it feels so much faster and all round better than my iPad 2, which has been good to me. Why not the Mini 4? I don’t think the higher price justifies it, other than the fact that you can get it in gold and it has slight performance benefits.

I will be using this as a reader, probably a few apps and that’s about it. It’ll be good for reading blogs and doing social media, and should last a couple of years, and for £259 you can’t really see better than that. I don’t think I took full advantage of my iPad 2, and used it sparingly, but I think with this one being smaller it fits perfectly as a coffee table device, and can live on a bedside table too.

As for the Pro? I’ll put the idea of getting one on the back burner for now. I may get one sometime in the future, it just won’t be now, or I may not get one at all, and get an ultrabook like a Dell XPS or a Surface Pro, or Surface Book which are proper computers for just a bit more money.


Pip – The Personal Stress Management Device: Review

Monday, 12th October, 2015

pip-stress-device-review-1

The team behind Pip got in touch with me to see if I wanted to try out this piece of revolutionary kit, and I said I would test out this cool little device. We all have times where we feel stressed or tired, and I wanted to put this to the test and see what it was all about, and if I could improve stress levels.

What is Pip?

The pip is a small biosensor which you can use with your phone on iOS or Andriod, which helps you learn to relax. It’s a simple small device which you hold between your thumb and index finger, and in combination with a few apps they have developed it will tell you whether you are feeling stressed or relaxed in real time. The Pip measures electro dermal activity at the surface of the skin, and using their algorithms and data processing technology your stress levels are displayed in the specially developed apps as they happen.

pip-stress-device-review-2

What’s in the box

In the box you get the Pip device which is really small, a small USB charging cable and a small, handy pouch to keep it in. The USB cable is very small, and small enough to fit in the pouch with the device itself, making it extremely portable and convenient. A full charge should last for 4 hours, which is plenty of time where the device will only be used for a few minutes a day.

How does it work

The device connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and there’s a few apps to download whether you’re on iOS or Android. I have an iPhone, so that’s obviously iOS. I have three of the apps, including the Pip stress tracker, and two games; The Loom and Relax And Race. Connecting the device to the phone via Bluetooth is fairly painless, just press your thumb and finger on the sensors three times, this puts it into discovery mode, then hit connect on the app and you’re ready to go. Load up one of the apps and enter your name, and you’re set. Here’s a little bit on each of the apps.

Pip Stress Tracker

This monitors your stress levels, and there’s three different events; Stressed, Steady and Relaxed, which follows an easy red, amber and green system. You can set a time as low as two minutes, then it’s as simple as relaxing and holding the Pip between your thumb and finger. You can see on the screen when the levels go up and down, and can try to relax yourself if it goes up. When you’ve completed the time it gives you some information about how you’ve done, and the percentages you were in each zone. This is saved and you can look back on previous results, and progress from there.

pip-the-loom

The Loom

The Loom is a game where you start with a graphic of a winter landscape, complete with scenery, a waterfall, tree and everything you’d expect to find. The idea is to clear your mind, focus on the image and feel as stress less as you can. The less stressed you are, the more the graphics turn into summer, the tree turns green and the waterfall melts and starts to flow. Once the game is over you should be left with a summer’s landscape which has warmed up from the winter as you’ve became less stressed.

pip-relax-and-race

Relax And Race

This is a game where you control a flying dragon with your stress. The less stressed you are, the higher it goes and better it flies, but if you get stressed it will slow down and fly lower. Once it reaches the end you’ll get a time. After your first run you can then try to beat your previous time by staying less stressed. The game has two dragons, your dragon and the other which is your previous best, so you can see how you’re doing in comparison to your best previous efforts.

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Does it work?

The readings are good and this does work, I know this because one day halfway through my stress tracker session I sneezed a couple of times and my stress went up significantly, and I was able to bring it back down by relaxing. I wanted to test this out at different times of the day, just to see if I could pinpoint a particular time I was feeling stressed, e.g. after work, in the morning, on a night etc. I could not really find any link, however I have only used this for a couple of weeks, so I will continue to use it and see what the results are.

In my latest reading I was able to get 100% in a stress tracker test, which is obviously great news! 😀

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Get Yours

You can get your hands on the Pip device for £145 here at the official Pip store.


iPad Pro – Officially Coming In November

Friday, 11th September, 2015

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The news I have been waiting on for a while; The iPad Pro! It’s now real, and is coming soon…In November to be exact. I have wanted a bigger iPad since before I got my iPad 2, which is around 4 years old now. I have never replaced it with a newer model because it’s been good, and never really needed replacing. I was going to go for a new one this time round, and have been hearing the rumours of a larger iPad for some time now, so I’ve resisted getting one. Now however, I will hopefully be getting a new one.

What’s changed?

It’s still an iPad at heart, it runs iOS which is exactly what I have been looking for; Something the same, but bigger and better. It has more power, and a refined touchscreen which will come in handy, as they’ve released a stylus too, dubbed the Apple Pencil. This is sold separately ($99 in the USA), which is a bit of a kick in the teeth when you hear the price of the device which I’ll get on to.

There’s 3 models which are available in silver, space grey and gold; There’s the 32GB, a 128GB and 128gb with cellular.

iPad Pro UK Price

There’s no official UK pricing yet. The US Dollar pricing is $799 $949 and $1079 for the 32GB, 128GB and 128GB with Cellular respectively. If I were to guess the UK price I would say they’ll come in at £699 £799 and £899. Those prices convert well when including tax, and will sit well with other Apple products like the MacBook Air which starts at £749. I’ll be surprised and very happy if it’s less than my estimate! 😀

Will I Get One?

That’s a good question! I have wanted one for so long now, and I need to replace my old iPad 2. I am quite certain I will be getting one, but I will have a good around at some of the hands on reviews before I am 100% certain. The size is not a concern, I have wanted a bigger iPad for a long time, but something which I have yet to consider is the weight, which I obviously can’t experience without holding one in my hand, which I probably won’t get to do unless I buy one; And if I wait, I imagine these will sell out fast, as it has a picture of an Apple on the back and these things tend to 😉

What to you think of the iPad Pro? Will you be getting one?