Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Hi everyone it's Eric and in this article I will be reviewing the Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones with Mic. Now I would like to start off by giving a HUGE thanks to MobileFun for sending me these earphones to review. They also have a great range of iPad headphones
Now let's start off with the presentation.
The earphones come in a clamshell packaging which is nothing but trouble to get into. Once you get the box open the earphones are very nicely presented. Next to the earphones themselves there is a little pack containing the instructions.
They are constructed entirely out of plastic which feels very light and very comfartable in the ear. The cable actually surprised me as it does not feel like the standard cables you get with many earphones. Instead the cable is constructed out of a shoe lace type material which feels very durable and it does not weigh the earphones down when they are in the ear. Now something that amazed me was that there were no different sized ear tips included. That is shocking when you take into consideration that the A Jays One earphones are in a similar price catagory whilst still containing different sized tips. This means that these earphones are not for everyone as they will not fit in every users ear kanel. For me these earphones were thankfully a perfect fit. They were very comfartable and they were so light that you will not feel them in your ear. So the build quality is great but good build is really nothing without good hardware so lets talk about the sound quality these earphones deliver.
Now I tested these earphones with movies, music and games. For music these earphones are great but where they really shine is with vocals. The vocals are absolutley crisp and pin sharp. These earphones do lend themselves very nicely when it comes to music but morso games and movies. Using these earphones with movies and games is excellent. The sound is so clear with a decent amount of bass and base. Even at loud volumes the earphones did not hurt my ears as the sound is very warm. For gaming they are equally as good as they are for video playback. Coming back to the design, the earphones use rubber tips as opposed to silicone tips and I prefer rubber as they always stay secure wheras the silicone ones always tend to slide out of my ears. Aswell as the cable being tangle free the produced sound is all in ear, so you won't have to worry about people hearing your terrible taste in music. The earphones also have a built in control with microphone and it works great for both controling your media playback aswell as making and taking calls. The sound quality from the microphone is really clear and no problems from recipients who have been receiving calls from me.
Overall the Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones with Mic are a fantastic set of earphones. The reason why this review is so short is because I really cannot fault them except the exclusion of different sized ear tips. These earphones will not fit in everyone's ears as I have let a few people try and some could not get on with it at all whereas others loved it. So I am very disappointed that Plantronics did not include different sized tips. The Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones with Mic will cost you £27.95 which is a reasonable price to pay for such high quality looking and performing earphones. a-Jays One In-Ear Earphones have. You can purchase the Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones with Mic from MobileFun by clicking this link.
Stay tuned for my video review.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
I have been waiting for PS3 gaming on a handheld for years. Enter the PSVita. Now let's kick things off with the hardware. The PSVita is made entirely out of plastic, but dont let that put you off.It is constructed out of high quality plastic and when I first held it in my hands I had a feeling that I was holding bullet proof glass (NO JOKE). Now lets move on to the buttons. The d-pad and buttons are great. However the action buttons are quite small and for people with large hands this can proove to be an issue. Even I don't like them that much. They are very responsive don't get me wrong but I prefer the regular mushy buttons that were on the original PSP's not including the PSP Go of course which was worse on every level. Also the original PSP's buttons felt more like the buttons that were on the PS2 and 3 controllers. So I would of liked those to be on the Vita. Now lets talk about the software. Sony is DONE with the XMB and have replaced it with this applications interface. Now it is satysfing to flick between these screens here because the screen is so vibrant and responsive with it's capacitive touch screen but it looks like everything is painted on Smarties. It looks like this is more suited towards kids. Also the app interface does come with it's problems mainly due to launching applications which always come with few second load times whereas the XMB everything was pretty instant. In the XMB you could go to your videos, music and photos without having to wait for it to load but unfortunatley, that's not the case with the Vita's new interface. Sony should of atleast given us the option to switch between the two. You can also lock your PS Vita with a 4 digit code so no one can access it. Great if it falls into the wrong hands. That was a feature I wanted on the original PSP but it wasn't included. Also just look at how long the charger is. It is a 3 piece charger and at night I connected it to the PS Vita and for some reason it wasn't charging and I thought I broke it. But then I noticed that it fits in both ways. It is not a hard design choice and I don't know why Sony did that. The screen on the PSVita is 1 inch bigger than the 1st three PSP's and when you use this then you will not want to go back to any of the other PSP's screens. Not only because of it's bigger size but also because the screen is so vibrant and colourful. The Vita's front panel sports a highly reflective gloss finish which smudges and collects dust easily. However smudges can be removed with an occasional wipe, glare on the other hand is a constant problem. Indoors adjusting the position of the Vita is not a problem, however outdoors it is completley unusable. Making the screen brighter helps but it comes at the cost of battery life. Speaking of battery life. Sony quotes that you get 5 hours of play time and they don't live up to their promises. When I first took the PSVita out of the box and started using it Bluetooth was enabled and so was wifi (once you set it up) and with those settings on I got only 2 hours and 15 minutes. However when I disabled wifi and bluetooth I got 3 hours and 30 minutes. The PSVita's battery life is a problem. I know it has high specs but Sony knew about the dissapointment on the 3DS's battery life and they should of atleast strived to make the battery life better but it is infact worse. What also makes it harder to resolve the Vita's battery is that it is not user accessable. That means that unlike the 3DS you can't remove it and replace it with a higher rated battery. There is also the rear trackpad controls. So far it serves no use for the games. Using it is essential for games like Little Deviants but the control is awkward and I didn't enjoy using it. In my opinion I enjoyed using it for the smaller things like zooming in and out with your rifle by sliding the trackpad up and down. It is certainly not for everyone and to show it off as a highlight, developers need to start working on games that will take advantage of the touchpad otherwise it will just be completley ignored. And the front and rear cameras leave alot to be desired. Now you use the buttons on the Vita to play however the touchscreen is also thrown into the mix. And what this implies is that the touchscreen is meant to compliment the controls, not replace it. Developers are not going to be spending so much time to produce a game for an iPad like Uncharted and it is obvious that it is so much more fun to play with physical controls and not entirely on a touchscreen. Let's talk about aurgmented reality because the PSVita has a couple games that demonstrate it, the main one being Reality Fighters which is great fun and is freakishly satisfying to see yourself in the game. However the downfall is that it is not built in. The 3DS came with a ton of augmented reality content built in and they were great. However Sony are charging you to use augmented reality which I question when you take into account the PSVita's BIGGEST problem, and that is cost. The PS3 is even priced at the same range or you could pick up a 3DS that has much more titles currently available at a lower price tag. What's worse is that Sony have chosen expensive propriatary memory cards which add to the problem. The PSVita is high quality and premeum tech and retail price for the WiFi only model is £230. There is also a WIFI+3G model priced at £279. This includes a free 4GB memory card, and a PAYG SIM card, which when topped up with £5 of credit allows consumers to download a copy of launch game WipeOut 2048. As a further sweetener, Vodafone will offer anyone purchasing the console 250MB of data lasting up to 30 days with full 3G connectivity. The PSVita truly is a remarkable device. Albiet larger and heftier than it's predaccesor and the 3DS. Will I be getting one? I most certainly will. However I am going to wait for more titles to release and for a price drop. Also seeing homebrew on this in the future will be alot of fun. It would be great if an application was released for this where you could use the Vita as a wireless controller for your PC games. That would be awesome. If you must buy it now then there is plenty of fun to be had. But those who wait would benefit from a wider selection of games and software.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Now I stated in my unboxing of the Galaxy Nexus that you could pick it up in either a 16GB or 32GB capacity. Well after further research it came to my attention that the 32GB version was cancelled and will not be released. So please keep that in mind when you purchase one of these handsets. On top of that you cannot expand the storage via micro sd cards either which is a let down. Now let's start with the build quality. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a very sleek mobile phone coming in at 135g in weight and 8.9mm thick. So the handset is very thin and very light which is astonishing when you take into consideration the gigantic 4.65 inch screen. Not only is the screen huge but it also runs at a fantastic resolution of 1280x720 Super Amoled HD. This is the highest resolution to ever come to a mobile phone (at the time of writing this review). The screen is even better than the retina display found on the iPhone and iPod Touch. So the screen is fantastic and where the screen really shines is when playing back media. I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos with this phone and the quality is fantastic. Even the lower quality videos were very clear on this screen so hats off to Samsung for making a fantastic screen. A screen has never given me the wow factor but the Galaxy Nexus was the first to have this effect on me. Now let's talk about the hardware. The hardware is probably the worst bit of the phone as the phone is made entirely out of cheap plastic. The phone looks more high quality than it feels. First impressions were that the front of the phone looks like high quality and premium plastic and the back looks like it has a very good textured feel to it although like I said earlier, it looks better than it feels. Now one of the reasons Samsung chose to make the phone entirely out of plastic is to keep it light weight which they have accomplished but coming from a user who has a phone made out of metal and high quality plastics will definitely notice the low quality materials used to construct this phone. Now let's talk about the software and that is Android 4.0 also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The new OS runs like a dream. It has been heavily inspired by Android 3.0 Honeycomb which is an Android OS for tablets and it runs great on the Galaxy Nexus. The interface has so much icandy and much more stock android widgets and the whole interface has loads of finishing touches that really give the user a fantastic experience which is hard to put into words. Ice Cream Sandwich is a joy to use and it can not be explained. You will have to see it to believe it and that is why I made a first impressions video of the handset demonstrating ICS which you can find on my YouTube channel. It has a 5 megapixel camera which is capable of capturing 1080p video at 30FPS and both the photos and video capabilities really surprised me. The pictures have a surprisingly high amount of detail which is very impressive for a 5 megapixel camera. The HD video was fantastic. It has very smooth panning and focused very well on the subjects. The only downside with the HD video is that the focus takes a little long to kick in. So I was really impressed with the camera. What I was not really impressed with was the battery. The battery is a 1750mAh battery which sounds like a lot but what is taking up most of the battery is the screen and that is what can kill the battery for you very quickly. When I use the handset as my full time multimedia device it lasts 4-5 hours. If I use this every now and then to check my emails, play the odd game and watch a few videos then the battery will last about a day. There were even times however when the battery would be at 6% and then about 30 minutes later I would find the phone turned off. So the battery is really a problem with this handset and I really wish they would of put a bigger battery in this handset even at the expense of making the phone a little thicker. So overall the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is an absolutely fantastic device and I have far more likes than dislikes. The processor is 1.2Ghz dual core which is very fast and goes well with the fantastic screen. The screen is the winning feature for me as I can not get enough of it. I spent most of my time watching back videos on this phone as the screen is so beautiful and vibrant. This phone is much more well specified than Apple's latest handset the iPhone 4s and many apple fanboys have been disappointed with the 4s and have switched to the Galaxy Nexus. So the Galaxy Nexus is definitely an iPhone beater and I am sure you will be very happy with it. For those of you that used android in the past will be right at home with this handset, for those who have not used android before but are looking for their first android phone then I can highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. You can pick this up from Vodafone.co.uk free on contract for £41 a month.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
For my regular readers, you will have already seen my unboxing and review of the Samsung Galaxy Y that was loaned to me by the very kind guys at Vodafone.co.uk. You can purchase this handset from them on Pay as you go for £100 or you can commit to a contract and get the handset free of charge by paying £10.50 a month.
Now lets start off with the hardware. The Samsung Galaxy Y is entirely made out of plastic which is not very durable but it feels solid in the hand and the back plate has a textured feel to it. However I do not think that it will survive a few feet drop so I would recommend that you get a case for it to be on the safe side. The handset sports a 3 inch (240x320) capacitive screen which has nice vivid colours however text is not very sharp and when watching videos you definitely notice the low quality of the screen. It also has three buttons at the bottom two of which are touch sensitive. The touch sensitive buttons act as the back and menu buttons and the button in the middle is a physical button which acts as the home button. The touch sensitive buttons aren't backlit neither do they have tactile feedback which is a real disappointment. It also sports a 2 megapixel camera which can also shoot video at 320x240. The video quality is awful and the microphone is equally as bad. The photos are alright for the occasional snap, but the photos are terrible indoors however outdoors they are acceptable.
Now lets talk about my experience with the handset. Now as soon as I started using the handset I thought it was really responsive. When swiping between screens and launching applications I was surprised at how responsive the handset was. The reason as to why that is is because the Galaxy Y has a 832MHz processor which is very surprising when you take into account the price. However things were not all responsive throughout the week I had it. When you start getting into the phone and installing applications you notice the phone starts to slow down and lag. Also since the screen is 3 inches not all the applications format well on it. Also some of the more simpler games like Racing Moto are not supported on this handset.
Now there is one major deal breaker with this phone for me and everyone else and that is the size of the screen. The screen is so small that even typing on the keyboard becomes a chore. I would like a minimum screen size of 3.2 inches because it is possible to access everything on the phone with ease however 3 inches for a screen is too small for my size hands. I gave the phone to my younger brother and he loved it. He has small size hands and he was having more fun with the phone than I was. Now please keep in mind that I have medium size hands and I was struggling so much with the screen and that took away all enjoyment for me. Now you might think that I am saying the phone sucks which it does not. You just have to keep this kind of stuff in mind when you purchase it, the phone is not for everyone. It is certainly not for me even though I have medium sized hands. For those of you that have large hands I would advise you to stay well away from the Galaxy Y because you will struggle with it just as much as I was. That being said the Galaxy Y is great as a phone. Call quality from the earpiece is not the best but I could certainly hear the person on the other end of the phone clearly. Outgoing call quality from the microphone is alright. Recipients of my calls said that I sounded a little blurry and muffled but they could still understand what I was saying. So as a phone this is more than acceptable, especially for the price.
So in conclusion could I recommend this phone? Well I can recommend it to those who are on a budget, have small hands and are not expecting much from the phone. Playing back your music on this is a decent experience, videos on the other hand is a completely different story altogether as the screen is such a small size and low resolution. If you gave your child the Galaxy Y as their first mobile phone then they will be really happy with it. Overall I would say instead of purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Y I would spend a little more and get the HTC Explorer that Vodafone also supply. I will definitely review the HTC Explorer in the future and I will let you know weather it is better than the Galaxy Y but the Explorer has a bigger and better screen, slightly improved camera and better build quality. But as the Galaxy Y stands it is still a decent phone but there are things that you will have to take into account before you make your final decision and purchase it.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Looks like Apple are producing an 8-inch iPad. Apple is working with suppliers to test drive a new smaller version of the tablet that measures in at the smaller size and quite obviously, lower price. Looks like Apple heard the call of people who can't afford an iPad with it's base model recently selling for £399 and the top end 64GB WiFi + 3G model at a whopping £659. So it is good that Apple are at least thinking about those who can't afford an iPad for it's current price. That is very nice of them... or maybe not as it’s important to note that even if the rumors are true, and Apple is testing a smaller iPad, that doesn't necessarily mean that the tablet will ever see store shelves. Apple tests new products quite regularly, many of which never make it into customer’s hands. So we will have to see what happens. In March we should expect the release of the iPad 3. I will try my very best to get one in to review. Thanks for reading this post guys. Come back soon for more tech related reviews.
Hello everyone it's Eric here with another update video. Now many of you saw in one of my previous posts that I said I purchased a Kodak Playsport ZX5. You may also remember that the camera froze and it would not reset even though I put the pin into the reset jack. So I sent the camcorder back to Amazon who had fantastic customer service and I opted for a replacement. Now this camera was working fine but eventually when I was reviewing more products I noticed the lack of optical zoom and having to constantly switch between auto and macro mode in order to improve the video quality was a nightmare (it made editing harder and longer too). Another problem that I discovered with this camera 6 months in is that the slot that the SD card clicks into had gotten damaged. Now take note I take really good care of my tech and I never dropped this once or banged it against a wall. But the SD card slot got faulty and when I closed the flap that covered the SD card slot it pushed the card into the slot and it was forced to stay there. (So I thought) In between recordings my camcorder would say no SD card and stop the recording of my videos. Enough was enough. I only owned this camera for 7 months and I contacted Amazon and opted for a refund. So then I was on the look out for a new camcorder only this time with optical zoom and better focus so I don't have to keep switching between modes. So after a few days of looking I finally purchased the Panasonic SD90. The SD90 is the camcorder I am using now and it is absolutely AMAZING. It has a viewfinder that you can manoeuvre into almost any position you want it and that alone made it easier for me to see what I am recording and the focus was absolutely FANTASTIC!!! I could bring my products closer to the camera and further away without having to change the focus modes. The Panasonic SD90 has fantastic focus capabilities. Another feature it has which is the icing on the cake is an external microphone input. That means that not only does the video quality look professional but now I can get any sort of external microphone that even movie studios use (Not that I would because that is an overkill). But that gives you an idea of how flexible and experimental I can be with my camcorder. I uploaded an unboxing of the camcorder and I recorded it with my HTC Desire S although I did not use any studio lights because I didn't own any at the time. So now I have a better camcorder, external microphone and studio lights. So I am all set to make product reviews etc. So that is my little story of my new camcorder that I purchased and why I did not keep using my previous one. The Kodak Playsport ZX5 is a great camcorder don't get me wrong. It just didn't suit my needs and I didn't want to get another one incase I experienced another problem. I needed a reliable camcorder that would not keep crashing or anything and if you guys are looking for the same, then I cannot recommend the Panasonic SD90 highly enough.
Monday, 6 February 2012
Hi everyone it's me Ecartman12 and this time I will be reviewing the a-Jays One In-Ear Earphones. Now I would first like to start off by giving a HUGE thanks to MobileFun for sending me these earphones to review. I requested the product in the afternoon and I received it the next day. Absolutely fantastic delivery and customer service from MobileFun. They also have a great range of Samsung headphones. Now lets get on with the review. Now I am not the type of person who would purchase replacement earphones. I am into my music but I always used to think that earphones are earphones and I should just use the ones that come with my device. I used the Apple ones, which to be honest were alright but then I used HTC earphones that came with my HTC Desire S and despite them not being as comfortable as the Apple earphones they did produce a much clearer sound so I stuck with those for a few months. So up until that point I did not find the need to invest in newer earphones. That was until I was sent the a-Jays Earphones from MobileFun and I gotta tell you my opinion has changed 100%. The a-Jays One In-Ear Earphones are beautifully packaged and presented to you. The style that has been chosen to get into the box is a little unorthodox. What you are required to do is push something slimlined into a tab which is located on the back in which case I used the Apple earphones 3.5mm audio connector to push into the tab (as they weren't needed for anything else) and then push the bottom of the box upwards and then the case sleeve is released off the packaging, and then you are greeted with the instruction manual and once removed you are presented by the earphones which are placed in a rather striking position that looks really nice. And above the earphones there are four sets of different sized silicone tips which go onto both the earphones and these are essential as the tips that were pre-installed on the earphones did not fit my ears that well at all, so I switched to a tip which was the most comfortable for me. Now the earphones themselves are made of very good quality. They have a textured rubberised feel to them and once in your ears you barely notice they're there. A very nice touch is that the cables are flat and are tangle proof so you don't need to keep worrying about untangling your earphones before using them. You can just take them out, give them a quick stretch and then they are ready to use. At first I was a little sceptical about these as I thought they looked thin and would not last long but once I held them in my hand it was clear to me that these were very well constructed and they felt like they would last a really long time. Now lets talk about the actual sound quality of the earphones. The sound they produce is absolutely beautiful. The base is there but it is not giving your ears a thump which is great because I have tried earphones that are very high on base and after 10-15 minutes my ears start to hurt so I am glad that they have controlled the amount of base these earphones produce. The sound they produce is very warm therefore my ears do not hurt even after a lot of extensive use. When listening to music these earphones out perform the Apple and HTC earphones by hundreds of miles. The sound is so clear and the silicone tips help keep the sound contained in your ears so you will hear every bit of detail from the audio. Now something that many reviewers do not cover about these earphones is how they perform when watching back movies and playing games. In my opinion movies and games are very well suited with these earphones as the vocals are crystal clear and if you are watching a movie or playing a game with loads of action then you are in for a real treat as these earphones make you hear every bit of detail in the audio. One of the videos and games I used these earphones with is the Batman Arkham City Hugo Strange Trailer (the fight scene and vocals were absolutely pristine) and Batman Arkham City for PC. I was just amazed at what sound quality these earphones produce especially considering these only cost you around £19.95 from MobileFun. I have just been so so impressed with these earphones. There are even many times where I hear some extra detail in some music or video I am listening to and I think to myself, "HEY... I never heard this before with those HTC and Apple earphones." These earphones just put a smile on my face everytime I use them, and the fact that they are tangle proof means I don't have to bother untangling my earphones when I want to listen to some music. Also the comfort that you can achieve with these earphones are absolutely mindblowing. With the Apple and HTC earphones I had to constantly twist and turn the earphones to tighten them into my ears as they used to get quite loose when I was walking around. I don't have to do that with these earphones. I just put them into my ears and they sit in there very comfortably. As for Bad aspects the only little niggles I do have with the comfort is that the sound waves that come out of the silicon tips tend to make them move around in your ears very slightly and the silicon material gives you the impression that they are falling out when really they are not. That is just a minor issue but that does effect comfort a little. Another thing which I have a problem with is that when you are listening to music with the earphones and you are walking around, the cable that is connected to your device tends to bounce around back and forth on your chest and you do hear the cable moving back and forth through the earphones even when you are listening to very loud music. That is quite annoying. But that is all of my bad aspects. In conclusion these earphones are absolutely stunning and £19.95 is a very good price. I can't help but wonder, if these headphones produce absolutely stunning sound then what is the sound quality like on the Monster Beats By Dr Dre series that cost around about the £120 mark? How can it get better than this?? Well I will have to wait and find out, however I will not be purchasing any of those because as much as I like my music I am not willing to pay over £100 for some earphones considering that you can get the a-Jays for a lot less money and the sound quality you are getting is still amazing.
So that is my full review of the a-Jays One In-Ear Earphones. I think it is an absolutely fabulous purchase if you are currently stuck with cheap earphones that were included with your mobile phones. It is also worth noting that a-Jays have also produced earphones that are follow-ups to this one. As you can see the earphones I am reviewing have a number one in it's name but a-Jays have models up to four and they include more features like a handsfree function and they also include higher bass and base etc. So you can go up the range if you so wish. These are absolutely stunning earphones and highly recommended. You can purchase them from MobileFun by clicking this link