Show us your tech – bragging allowed!

Everyone loves to show off their technology now and again.  You may not like to be the centre of attention, but it is likely that you are when you get a new ‘toy’ and want to show it off.

So in what could all too easily become an advertisement for who has the biggest wallet, I thought it would be good to share the different technologies we all own and why.

The idea is to identify and explain what technology you have invested in and used for certain scenarios.  Whether you spent £5,000 on an AV system or £5 on a remote control alarm, every bit of technology serves a purpose in some way shape or from and all technology works in different ways for different people. I love tech, but do not have the budget to go all out on everything!

These lists could get very long and I welcome all additions, but for simplicity you may want to share just a selection of the best.

In the comments below, leave a description of the technology you own, why you own what you do and what purpose it serves etc, I am genuinely interested.

I will start the ball rolling.

USB Sockets

You can read all about these here, but I love them.  I have 3 in my home so far and everyone sees the benefits of these! Only £20.

After

After Installation

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

If you follow the blog you will already know my reasons for owning this.  In short it is down to size.  Devices with screen over 4.7″ whilst lovely, I am unable to comfortably use in one hand, which is important for me.  I want the confidence I can hold and use the phone and am not likely to drop it or have it slip out my hand very often.  I have felt like this for some time and its been reconfirmed by by personal life.

I like to spend as much time as possible outdoors, in the country/forest, most notably because I have a Labrador who likes going on walks.  I use it for navigation, but want to be able to easily hold and handle the phone in the rain, when climbing over a stile.

A more expensive compact phone, it is a powerhouse.  It is not without its faults, but it is a great phone.

Just look at this image I captured on it, I was quite pleased.

Wasp_Z1_Compact

Dell Studio Desktop PC with 2 x 22″ HD ASUS Monitors

Powered by Windows 7 Ultimate, I have recently upped the RAM to 8GB and replaced the graphics card with the addition of 2 x 22″ ASUS HD monitors for a dual screen setup.

I loved Windows XP, grown to accept Windows 7 and just can not get to grips with 8.

Whilst I do a lot on my phone, you still can’t beat a desktop with big screens, keyboard and mouse for graphic editing and some tasks such as wordy emails and documents and some online shopping, it is just easier.

After a little spruce up, it runs like a charm now and I do not plan to change it until it dies or Windows 7 stops getting support. Considering I have had this since 2009, it isn’t doing too bad.

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Sonos System

Perhaps ‘the best’ investment I have ever made.  These are not cheap for the initial setup, but the sound is immense.  It is also the one that I had to convince my girlfriend of least! When she heard it she knew why.

We have one in our lounge, one in my office and will soon be adding others to the kitchen and bedroom when funds allow.

The Sonos system would be considered by many as an unnecessary luxury, but this is the type of product you will use for 10+ years. It is built to last.

You can play music in complete harmony with no lag at all!

All audio goes through this system now without fail.  On a few occasions when the WiFi has failed and we have to resort to the standard speakers on the TV it is like comparing chalk and cheese.

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Gigler 1Gbps fibre internet connection

Yes, a 1Gbps fibre internet connection straight to my door.  You thought your 150Mbps connection was fast, this is lightening quick!

Luckily Bournemouth was one of the first locations to get true fibre to the home. You can read more about it at www.gigler.co.uk

1Gbps sounds amazing and on the most part it is, but like anything you do not always get the top speed of  1 gigabits all the time. Plug right into the box and you can easily achieve 500Mbps+ all the time.

The practicality of modern living means WiFi is the norm and that kills the speed too, but still it is considerably faster!  The hours I have saved uploading video to YouTube etc from home rather than work is ridiculous.

Gigler

Nest Thermostat

Nest_Thermostat The most recent tech spend, I never really liked the thermostat in my home. Always complicated and never seemed to come on quite when you set it.  Considered changing for some time then Nest came to the UK.  It got installed this Spring, not the ideal time, but this thing is fantastic.

I and the other half love it too.  Being able to switch it on easily whenever we want, knowing we are saving energy is always a bonus.  There are lots of great features, but the learning element of it works well and it is easy to manage online or through the app.

I will get a real test of it over the winter, but the style and accuracy of this system as well as the online nature is superb and well worth checking out.  It will pay for itself within a couple of years I am sure of it.

OregonOregon Scientific RMR391 Alarm Clock

What is so special about an alarm clock. It shows the time and wakes me up when I ask it.  Very true it does.  This alarm clock though it controlled by radio waves which means it stays perfectly in sync with GMT here in the UK.  It also has an outdoor sensor, so when in bed I can see the temperature outside.  Another nice addition is that of a projector, that shines the time onto the ceiling of the bedroom at night – handy if you stir, not so great on sleepless nights!

ASUS TF701T Transformer Pad

I have mentioned my partner a couple of times and what was my tablet seems to have become hers!  I am sure you have found the same with your partners or kids.  I think these is what confirms a piece of technology is good, if others adopt it.

She loves it.  Whilst used primarily without the keyboard for her, I love the keyboard for writing those longer documents or emails when I am away or want something a bit more versatile on the move.

Paired up with a Cooler Master Ren (designed for iPads) it makes it even more useful and is great in the kitchen if using it for recipes etc.

ASUS_Transformer_Pad-(11)

SSynologyynology DS213 Diskstation

Packed with 8GB of storage, this is where all my files sit and allow me global access to my documents, whilst keeping them off my PC to ensure it performs at optimum levels.

Sat quietly in the corner of my home, it purrs away without fuss.

I have not had it for all that long and am still learning what it can really do, but it is so powerful.  Features such as using it as a recording station/control panel for security cameras is a good thing too.  That works well.

So that is me, what about you….. share in the comments below.

Android Wear 60 Second Review

Android_Wear1

Running on the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, Android Wear is Google’s operating system for wearable technology.

Based on Google Now, the card style interface of Android Wear is becoming increasingly popular with ever increasing capabilities thanks to the add on extras made by developers.

Android Wear is in its infancy at the time of writing, but that does not mean it is not capable or one to invest in.

I recently reviewed the LG G Watch running Android Wear (you can read it here), but in the interest of keeping things separate, here is my review of the Android Wear OS on its own, independent of hardware.

To make it a bit easier, I have reduced it to just 60 seconds, focusing on the positives and the negatives.

Reversible USB Type-C Connector

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I am sure like me on one or more occasions you have tried connecting the microUSB cable to your smartphone, only to realise you cannot get it securely in, because you are trying to put it in upside down.

Well soon you will not have to worry, because to solve your issue, the USB 3.0 promoter group have had USB type-c connector approved from mass production.

USB type-c does away with this issue because the connector is reversible. The right way up or the wrong way round, the connector will slot into the port on the bottom of your phone.

Sounds fantastic right?  It is, but its going to be a few years before this becomes mainstream.

As good as the solution is, it will take time for manufacturers of the ports and mobile products to adopt the technology change not to mention the fact that not too long ago, the microUSB was set as the ‘standard’ in many countries around the world.

An 18 pin configuration, is essentially two USB 3.1 SuperSpeed connectors (which have the standard four pins, plus five more to enable 10Gbps connections). If you plug the connector in one way, the top set of pins are used; if you plug it in the other way, the bottom set of pins are used.

Another addition is support for power up to 100 watts which is enough to charge a laptop!

But the news gets even better as there will be cables with a type-c connector at bot ends meaning subject to compatible products you can connect either end of the cable into the port on either device.  My initial thought comes to those fiddly USB ports on the back of your computer, you know the ones, hidden under lots of cables. You find the port, try to insert the cable and you have it the wrong way round.  In the future you should not have to worry. Whether they will come to desktop PC’s or not is still to be confirmed as it has been designed with mobile in mind.

A similar size to a microUSB connector, the cable will be quite handy, but it lacks an attractiveness for many as it is not backwards compatible.  Therefore an adapter will be required or a device with a type-c connector.

Key characteristics of the USB Type-C connector include:

  • Entirely new design
    • Tailored for emerging product designs
    • Robust enough for laptops and tablets; slim enough for mobile phones
    • Similar to size of USB 2.0 Micro-B
  • Usability enhancements
    • Reversible plug orientation and cable direction
  • Supports scalable power charging
  • Future scalability
    • Designed to support future USB performance needs
  • Mechanical specs:
    • Receptacle opening: ~8.4mm x ~2.6mm
    • Durability: 10,000 cycles
    • Improved EMI- and RFI-mitigation features
    • Power delivery capacity: 3A for standard cables and 5A for connectors The new USB Type-C plug and receptacle will not directly mate with existing

A great example of how the simple things in life are often the best!

Source: USB.org Via: Extremetech

Nokia Lumia 930 60 Second Review

Nokia_Lumia_930_Hands_OnaSpoiler alert!

In my review of the Nokia Lumia 930 I concluded “There is no denying that the Nokia Lumia 930 is one of the best examples of a smartphone today. It is in my book the best example of a Windows Phone.

Whilst the conclusion is very positive, there is without doubt some negatives.

Watch the following 60 second review video to see what are the overall positives and negatives of this smartphone and help make your decision on whether it is right for you or not.

LG G Watch 60 Second Review

LG_G_WatchfEarlier this week I published a full review of the LG G Watch and the Android Wear software found on it.

The G Watch is the next generation of Smartwatch that is capable of becoming quite something given time for apps and android wear extensions to become available.

If you missed the review you can read  it here.

If you are short of time or want to know only about the watch itself rather than the software so much, why not take a look at the following video which summaries the main positives and negatives in 60 seconds.

Pre-Order Samsung Galaxy Alpha – £499.99

04_SM-G850F_012_whiteThe Samsung Galaxy Alpha has today been announced.

Based on the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Alpha is designed to offer a more premium feel and form factor thanks to the use of a metal frame, lightweight and thin design and optimum internal hardware.

It is due to be available for dispatch during September, but you can pre-order now at Clove.  Whilst the final price and release date is to be confirmed, we expect it to be £499.99 including VAT.

The Alpha features:

  • Octa core processor (Quad 1.8GHz & Quad 1.3GHz)
  • 32GB internal memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 12 megapixel rear camera
  • 4.7″ Super AMOLED display
  • 4G
  • 1860mAh battery
  • Less than 7mm thick
  • Just 115g

The Alpha does not have the IP rating like the S5, nor does it have a microSD memory card slot.

Check out the promotional video from Samsung.

Android Wear & LG G Watch Review

LG_G_WatchThe ‘Smartwatch’ is not a particularly new concept but within the last few months the hardware and software that make up such a product have taken a radical step forward.

Samsung and Sony have been pushing the market along with their versions but the availability of ‘Android Wear’ from Google has helped take the smartwatch concept from something that a ‘geek’ may wear to something that anyone on the street may consider as an option.

To date, I have personally never really desired a smartwatch, I have not feel the need for one.  Android Wear naturally sparked a little desire in me being an avid Android user and seeing the real value of Google Now.  The thought of key notifications on your wrist just makes sense from a time saving perspective.

At the time of writing there are 2 Android Wear enabled devices on the market: the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live.  The much talked about Motorola Moto 360 has yet to be launched.

For the last 6 weeks I have been using the G Watch.  I have left it this long to post a review as Android Wear is an evolving product and I felt it necessary to see how such a product would really fit into my everyday life.

After a few weeks of use I can honestly say that my opinion is changing on smartwatches and if you read on you will find out why.

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Sony Xperia E1 receiving Android 4.4 update

Sony_Xperia_E1bSony Xperia E1 users, listen up!

Sony are in the process of rolling out updates to the Xperia E1 and E1 Dual.

The update will take your device to version 4.4 with the aim of improved performance and improved user interface.

Alongside the additions to stock Android, Sony have added a few other tweaks including a revised status bar and quick settings. Making it more intuitive and slightly easier on the eye so you get the notifications you really need.

For those struggling with space, it is now possible to move apps from the internal storage to the microSD with more ease.

There is too new Xperia themes, a new boot animation and live wallpapers as well as updates to messaging, SmartConnect, TrackID and more.

Check your device now to see if the update is available.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog Via: Pocketdroid

Google Nexus 5 32GB – £59 cheaper than the play store – Just £280

Nexus 5Back in May we had a limited time offer on the 32GB version of the Google Nexus 5 in Black.  It was available for just £280 including VAT.

The stock sold out in a matter of days and many missed out.

Back on July 18th the offer was back all be it £10 dearer, but a couple of weeks on and we have worked our magic and managed to bring back the original offer.

As of the 11th August we will have the SIM free 32GB  Google Nexus 5 in both Black and White for just £280.

This is £59 cheaper than the official Google Play Store price!

£59 is a lot of money and could buy you a Qi wireless car cradle or a Qi wireless charging pad amongst other things.

So what do you get for £280?

  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Quad Core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 8 MP camera with Optical Image Stabilisation
  • 4.95″ Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual channel 2.4 / 5 GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC & Wi-Fi direct Miracast
  • 4G LTE compatible
  • Qi wireless charging built in

Not a bad feature set and being a Nexus device you will also get all the latest updates as soon as they are available.

Do not delay, pay today and get your hands on an exceptionally good value Google Nexus 5.

If you have already ordered one at the higher price of £290, you will receive a refund of £10 prior to dispatch.

Clove’s top 10 smartphones of August 2014

Where has the time gone? It is the middle of summer here in the UK and everyone is using their photos to snap pictures of beaches, planes, far flung destinations and family members enjoying themselves.

August tends to be a quiet month in the mobile industry as people wind down after a busy few months and prepare for the run up to that big day in December….(yes we are already thinking about this).

Although things may be calming down that has not stopped a battle emerging for a space in the top 10 smartphones this month.

We have a new addition in the form of the Nokia Lumia 930 and a few movements amongst other strong contenders.

So after a bit of discussion, we have come up with the list below.

Please do remember that this list is our top 10 based on our preferences, feelings, sales and customer feedback.  Others may have a very different opinion on what makes their top 10.

If you have any questions then contact us on sales@clove.co.uk or by phoning +441202552936 and we will happily help.

 

Motorola Moto E Front_small10. Motorola Moto E

A less featured Moto G but below with £100 price point the Moto E brings great value performance and features to the mass market. Dual core processor, 5 megapixel camera and 3G connectivity.

It might not be all that inspiring in terms of design but it offers what the majority of us will need for communicating on the go and there are interchangeable covers for that added personalisation.

Like the Moto G the E offers all round value but does away with the added power and features that not everyone needs.  As an upgrade from a feature-phone this is a good example of a first smartphone.

Buy Motorola Moto E HERE


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