Wireless Touch Speaker Review

23 05 2013

The Wireless Touch Speaker by Thumbs Up is a product sold by The Great Gift Company UK.

Image

The product retails for £30, and is pretty competitively priced in the market with a great deal of competition seen online, as well as any local music stores/HMV etc.

These sort of devices have came out in barrel loads over the past number of years, with sizes decreasing and more increasingly clever ways of making them portable and wireless.

The thing that interested me most about this speaker was the fact that it did not connect to the device it was amplifying by any cables or Bluetooth. I’ve reviewed an amplifying solution that did this before, but never to the extent of this device. It works by claiming to use ‘Near Field Audio’ technology. This means that the device does not connect to the phone or mp3 player, and simply if the device is placed on top then the music is amplified using the inbuilt speakers with the volume being controlled by your device as you usually would.

There is also an option to plug your device into the speaker with a Headphone jack on the device, and also an option to plug into DC if you don’t want to use the 3 AA batteries required to use on the go.

The amplification is massive, I was astounded as to how loud it was at first. Due to the wireless nature, I had expected to be let down, but I wasn’t in the slightest. The volume can fill a room easily, and for £30 it is a pretty good purchase. The device feels well made, it is simply designed to look at, and includes a rubber band to hold your device to the speaker if you are using this on the move.

Discovering a flaw with the NFA technology, the amplification only works when the speaker is directly on top of a certain place on the device. As you can see in the videos posted, If the iPod is turned 180 degrees, no amplification is achieved. This was discovered completely by accident, but I am assuming this is to do with the technology it uses. This could potentially be an issue with centrally located speakers, and I’d also be curious to see how this would work with devices such as the HTC One with front facing speakers.

Coming up to Father’s Day, www.thegreatgiftcompany.com has lots of great items that anybody would be thankful for and reasonably priced. If your looking for something unusual or unique, I’d recommend giving this website a look, especially if your stuck for ideas as there is a lot of items that will spark anybody’s imagination !





YouVue SmartPhone Camera Lens Review

15 11 2012

So, I’ve been on the market for a camera lens for my smartphone for quite some time.

The lenses can range from a few pounds to much much more.

The YouVue lens comes in at approximately £20 depending on where this is purchased from, and has 2 main functionalities.

The first functionality is the Close Up ‘Macro’ Lens. This should magnify your existing photos and give you a much more close up shot without the need for zoom, and obviously with zoom increases your distance.

The second functionality is the wide-angle fish-eye style lens. This lens encapsules more into the pictures, and gives quite a nice modern effect to them with the fish-eye style.

The lens is made up of a few different parts, the macro lens is clipped onto the clip that attaches to the phone, and the wide angle lens screws on top of the macro lens which also helps keep everything together, as well as coming with a compact carry case that can attach as a keyring.

Not having had the opportunity to try out many more lenses for smartphones, my opinion is solely based upon the YouVue. Sadly, my impressions weren’t that great of this piece of kit.

The clip that attaches to the phone works well, but seems as though it may become flimsy with a little bit of use, and the macro lens does not impress. I don’t know if it was my phone, but after a thorough cleaning the macro lens still produced incredibly fuzzy unclear pictures. This was much worse than the standard zoom of a phone and did not seem to do what it was asked.

The Wide-Angle lens seemed to work a lot better, if it was purely based on this functionality the lens would probably receive a much better write up, but it would be unfair to give it complete praise, or critiscism for this function as it isn’t the only function it looks to provide.

This works great for taking funky pictures and if your into Instagram, it does the trick in giving the pictures a quirky difference to help them stand out!

If your a serious photographer or are looking for a great deal of functionality and build quality, I wouldn’t recommend the YouVue. If your looking for this to be a fun gift, this is a good purchase and should provide a difference to the normal monotonous camera pictures !





Mobile OS, Where is this leading ? Patent-Wars

1 08 2012

This post will follow a bit of a different format in comparison with previous posts!

Years ago, most phones would run an individual OS, with most manufacturers having their own. This, apart from giving the manufacturer a lot more costs and work, meant that we had a lot of different mobile phone OS’s available, with different UI, features and options.

Now, we have more or less reached a point where we have less than 5 major operating softwares.

Apple iOS

Google Android

Windows Phone

Blackberry OS

I understand there are a lot more than these 4, but none of the others are as large as these 4 in the UK anyway, with Blackberry sales decreasing rapidly in recent times.

With the increasingly frequent patent disputes, it looks as though one company is introducing a great feature with all other rival companies looking to make their own version ASAP. This is something that has been going on for years in F1, and although making each OS better in their own right, is incredibly disappointing from a creative and innovative viewpoint.

It seems as though any new feature now has to be patented and protected till the death by lawyers with each company preferring to find ways to copy technology without being sued as opposed to actually creating the next great thing and using resources more wisely !

I hope that the recently discussed ‘patent amnesty’ as such can be achieved and that the companies strive to constantly develop and innovate the next best tech and spend more time developing than in the courtroom !

I’d love to hear your views on the current Patent wars that are ongoing, and who you feel will prevail in the battle of the OS? JellyBean has been a hit so far for the very few devices that have received the update with iOS6 looking to be a massive hit in the Autumn. Windows Phone 8 is also thought to be releasing nearer the end of the year as well as a new range of Blackberry’s, I think Windows is looking like a dark horse and will hopefully gain a larger share of the market and help with the competitiveness of it all !

A quick reminder also that any of the previous posts I have made can be viewed by clicking any of the category buttons at the right hand side, or choosing a Tag in the Tag Cloud, this will bring up any articles I’ve Tagged under the Tag you have clicked! I understand this may be simple to some, but this is a great way to find some older articles without endless scrolling, or if you are looking for any subject matter in particular !!





Netflix , How to get USA when not in USA !! PC XBox PS3 PS Vita IOS Android

26 07 2012

Having been a member of LoveFilm as opposed to Netflix for a while, this hasn’t been an issue I’ve really came across, but on checking UK Netflix compared to the US, the differences are vast !
The US has a lot more choice, as well as a lot newer programmes than most other services making it an easy choice for such a simple fix. This will also work for other countires such as Canada, as long as the user has a valid Netflix account.

When you register for a Netflix account, you don’t register for a UK account, a US account or any other account.. You register for a universal account, this is why the fix is so easy.
The Netflix website uses your IP address to locate you, then with this information the correct website is displayed for you.

PC
Using a VPN ( virtual private network ) you can easily get access to whatever service you like.
While you are connected to this VPN you take advantage of its IP so if its based in New York, Netflix thinks you are in New York, hence displaying the US Site as opposed to where you really are. The service I use is Spotflux, there are numerous different services you can use to take advantage of different VPN’s but I found this one was pretty simple and is free to use and download at
http://launch.spotflux.com/

Once this is downloaded, you merely open it up and click enable. This will then make your browser connect to the VPN ( this may slow your connection considerably ) Once this is complete go to the Netflix site, sign in and search for your film/show, you will notice there are now more options on many TV Series as well as lots more films.. Taking Breaking Bad for instance, the UK site has up to, and including Season 3 whilst the US has the entirity of Season 4 included on top of this.

From my experience a tip I would give is that once you had chosen what you wanted to watch, once the streaming starts disable Spotflux, this means that your browser will revert back to your normal internet connection and will help the speed and quality of the streaming. Spotflux is a free service, a lot of VPN’s require monthly subscriptions or joining fees. This, may put a lot of sceptics off, thinking it must be free for a reason but it has a lot of positive write ups. As well as giving this benefit for Netflix, it also blocks pop-ups and ads, as well as constantly scanning for Viruses and malware, whilst keeping your IP address secure.

Consoles, XBox, PS3, etc.
For Xbox, PS3 etc ,  if you change your network settings so that your Primary DNS is set to 208.122.23.22 and the Secondary DNS is set to 208.122.23.23 you can access all of Netflix USA’s content. You don’t have to change any router settings, the changes should be made on the console itself. This is useful when using it to watch Netflix, but for gaming id recommend reverting your settings back as this will put you into US servers for games like COD, FIFA, Battlefield etc.

Apple IOS & Android Devices
There are a lot of Apps on these devices that make this really easy, as well as a manual option to input details of a VPN. If you have signed up to a VPN service you can input the details at this point to join your VPN, or as I said, use an App. A lot of the VPN’s are constantly changing at this point so its probably best to google a currently working VPN for the US for IOS and Android devices as these are prone to shutting down with them working great some days and not others.

I hope I’ve helped get a little more for your money if your outside the US !! Feel free to comment on any current Usable US VPN’s as you find them!








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