Sony Xperia Z2 60 second review

Z2_Hands_On_ImageaWe appreciate that time can be valuable so listening to our full review of the Z2 (found here) at 9 minutes long might be a bit too much time to give up.

So, with this in mind we have put together a 60 second review of the Xperia Z2 smartphone.  View the video below to see and hear the positive and negatives to this phone.

Sony Xperia Z2 4G Tablet Review

Z2_TabletTablet computers are fast becoming the norm. You may already own one, or if you don’t, you will have seen many using them.

Laptops & netbooks are almost a thing of the past and in the tablet space the benchmark is set by Apple with their iPad. Any other manufacturer have their work cut out to compete. Not only is it design, it is the hardware specifications that have to match too.

Sony have been coming back strong over the last couple of years. We have seen how their Xperia Z series are holding their own and the Z2 smartphone has really impressed us.

The Z2 Tablet could be referred to as companion to any one of the Xperia Z line of devices.

The Z2 tablet is the 2nd generation of tablet behind the original Z tablet released last year.

Is it worth the upgrade or could it be a replacement to your laptop or netbook?

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Sony Xperia E1 Review

Sony_Xperia_E1cBudget need not be boring or basic

The high street stores, billboards and technology websites are often dominated by the flagship smartphones, for obvious reasons. There is however a real demand for the lower to mid tier phones that offer similar functionality, but often without quite the same high end specs and associated price tag.

Low to mid tier phones are often looked down upon, but there are many people who require such a device. A phone that can perform in most situations; a phone that looks ok but does not cost the earth and in fact is an all round good performer at a sensible price.

The Sony Xperia E1 is such a handset. It can do a lot of what a high end phone can do, but there are compromises. These compromises are only such if you compare them to the high end phone, but many features are positives if this is an upgrade or first time smartphone for you.

So what does the E1 have to offer and how does it perform. Read on to find out.

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Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review

Sony’s new premium mobile headset reviewed and rated.

SBH80-main-imageI’m an unabashed audiophile yet whilst I love listening to music in a huge array of varying genres, both live and recorded, I haven’t ever invested too much in portable audio technology. I have a decent home stereo system that has served me well for years, plus I can certainly tell the difference between a good club set up and a poor one, however I have always found music on the go to be somewhat disposable.

Cheap earbuds abound; coming packaged as standard with all manner of portable devices capable of music playback. These also suffice for the majority of people. I’ve never really bought into the idea of paying huge amounts of money on headphones, especially where the perceptible difference in quality is very arguable. The Sony SBH80 could though be one of those products that changes my mind a little in the mid-range though.

Priced at £74.99 including VAT, they’re just out of ‘pocket money’ territory, although we’re certainly not talking the kind of unjustifiably high prices the likes of Beats or Monster charge simply for branding. I reckon Sony have got the pricing spot on for the SBH80; they’re not up at the kind of quality a pricey set of Sennheiser or Pioneer speakers kick out, however they’re noticeably better than common kits on sale in the £20-40 range, and also offer a stylish, unique design and top build quality.

Read on for the full review

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Sony Xperia Z2 Review

Z2_ReviewThe Sony Xperia Z2 is the third iteration in the the Xperia Z line of handsets from the long standing Japanese firm. Perhaps best known for their IP rating, the Z series has grown increasingly popular as a result of this as well as the fact the handsets are packed full of high end mobile computing power.

Announced at Mobile World Congress in February, the Z2 stands strong amongst tough competition, most noticeably the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC’s imminent new One series flagship and of course Apple’s iPhone.

So with two handsets already under their belt in the Z range, the Z2 should be a well-rounded, strong performer that will mark a natural progression for existing owners of either the Z or Z1.

However at slightly over a year since the original Z launched and just 6 months on from the Z1, does the Z2 run the risk of being seen as a marginal improvement over previous devices, or does it stand firm by itself as a handset users will want to upgrade to sooner, or even switch to from competing brands?

Read on to find out more or watch our video review if you prefer.

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Jabra Sport Wireless Plus review

Jabra’s Bluetooth Fitness Buddy

Jabra Sport Wireless PlusThe Jabra Sport Wireless Plus has evolved from the original Jabra Sport Plus and is aimed at gym goers, long distance runners and all round fitness fanatics.

The Wireless Plus features FM radio, Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity for lower power consumption that will also allow you to wirelessly connect to your smartphone or MP3 player.

Jabra are also offering a 3 months free subscription to Endomondo premium. The software will track exercise statistics such as distance, speed, and time, to compute calories burned based on the type of activity.

Design and comfort

Jabra have continued with the same behind the ear design and have placed the volume rocker and FM radio button on the arch of the earphone with the play/pause button sitting on the ear hook. There’s also an omni-directional microphone which filters out background noise if you receive a call whilst working out.

A tangle free cable connects the two earphones and comes with a fit clip that can be used to clip the excess cable behind your neck to stop it flapping around when exercising. I found this quite useful as it also secures the earphones making the cable taut for a more comfortable and secure feel around the back of the head/neck.

Jabra supply seven different pairs of ear gels catering for literally every different size and shape of ear allowing you to ultimately get that ideal fit. Some ear gels are designed sheerly for ease of use, some for comfort and others for sound; best for those that perhaps go out running in built up areas where there’s a lot of noise.

Personally I struggled with the ear gels, that could be down to the fact that I have rather small ears; although I can see the purpose behind them, runners would require a different kind of ear gel to that of a cyclist for instance as their movement differs somewhat.

A velcro arm band also features and can pocket most smartphones although anything above 5-inches will be a bit of a struggle. I found that my HTC One fitted almost perfectly which was pleasing and the quality and feel of the arm band is of a premium standard.

The all round build quality is good, the earphones feel robust and are water, shock and dust resistant meaning you can go out in those wintry conditions.

Performance

Jabra Sport +Syncing your smartphone or Mp3 player via Bluetooth is a simple process. Holding down the play/pause button on the Jabra Sport Wireless Plus will activate a voice guide that will talk you through the process to help you get started. I experienced a really strong connection, I didn’t have one signal drop throughout my whole time spent with the Jabra Sport Wireless Plus.

They are extremely light to wear although quite troublesome to apply. Once you’ve played around for a bit the ear gels actually sit quite comfortably in the ear with differing sizes available to cater for everyone’s needs.

When I tested them in the gym I was actually really impressed, I used the treadmill, rowing machine and also used some free weights and they didn’t budge at all. It was quite refreshing to actually lie down on a bench and not have to worry about your earphones falling out every time you planted your head down.

Jabra have stated that the battery should offer its user up to 4 hours of talk time which is pleasing. I used the earphones mainly for listening to music and only got prompted to charge once over a 2-3 day period with some fairly heavy usage. All in all the battery life certainly lived up to the bill.

Now to the pressing issue, Sound quality..

Personally I found the sound quite tinny and the bass to be none existent; then I realised that changing the ear gels effects the way the sound is produced. I tried various different ear gels and found the noise isolating ones to offer the crispest sound. The bass was of poor quality in my opinion and I really struggled when listening to hight tempo music especially when working out. Certain genres were better than others, slower folky type music or soft indie is fine however when you change to the likes of rock or hip-hop then you’re really going to struggle to get that rich sound.

Conclusion

Jabra’s Sport Wireless Plus earphones offer a pleasant wireless experience, having different sized ear gels that offer different qualities for different environments and conditions is certainly a welcome move.

The inclusion of the sports arm band is also an added plus along with the 3 month free subscription with Endomondo.

Although the sound quality could be a little better, you really have to take into account that these Jabra earphones offer great value at just £70-£80 especially when you consider that they are indeed wireless; have a long lasting battery life not forgetting that they are indeed water, dust and shock resistant.

Motorola Moto X review

Google and Motorola’s joint stab at creating their very own flagship device

Moto X blog title imageThe Moto X is Motorola’s first flagship release since Google acquired their services, inevitably giving the consumer a cleaner Android experience.

The X was originally launched in the US back in August ’13 taking almost six months to reach the UK and Europe.

Motorola will be hoping that their latest flagship gets the same hype and exposure as it’s little brother (Moto G) in a quest to turn around the companies financial fortunes from some fairly substantial losses over the last year and a half.

Motorola stated that they have put a lot of effort into the fine tuning of the Moto X’s speech recognition to handle all kinds of accents and tones; as the touchless control facility ‘Google Now’ features heavily on the Moto X with Andrew Morley (director of Motorola UK) stressing “The Moto X is a device which is trying to change the way people think about the smartphone

These are very interesting comments, I’ll be focusing on what Moto’s Director is referring to later on in depth.

Hardware Specifications

I’ll just start by outlining the main spec of the Moto X:

  • 1.7 GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal memory (12 GB available)
  • 4.7 AMOLED display
  • 10MP CLEAR PIXEL camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • MicroUSB with USB host
  • 3G/4G
  • Miracast (screen mirroring)

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KAZAM Trooper X4.0 Review

Budget need not be bad.

KAZAM_TROOPER_4.0In a time where the screen on smartphones just seem to be getting bigger and bigger, KAZAM have recognised the need for a more appropriately sized device.

Sporting a 4” touchscreen display the Trooper X4.0 is an entry level Android smartphone that retails at less than £100.

Focusing on price isn’t always the best thing, but when you see what you get I think you will agree that value for money is the key phrase to attribute here.

You maybe wondering who KAZAM are. They are a new company that have been formed to serve a particular sector of the market and are headed up by a strong team of recognised individuals.Find out more HERE.

All KAZAM handsets with Dual SIM capability, meaning 2 SIM card’s in one phone. Perfect for business and personal SIMS.

All come with a FREE screen replacement. If you drop it, smash it or it breaks for no reason, you will get 1 FREE screen replacement within the 1st year of ownership.

The specifications are strong for an entry level handset, including a dual-core 1GHz processor, MicroSD memory card slot, 4GB of internal memory, 5 megapixel camera, 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi.

Kazam_Trooper_X4_In_use

The biggest disappointment all told is the screen resolution at 480 x 800, but in all honesty, unless you really want high definition playback on your phone, for the most part, everything appears just fine on screen. It is a bit reflective and a bit resistive in comparison to more expensive handsets, this is the drawback of a slightly cheaper screen. Higher resolution and more detail is just more desirable, but you have to pay to get this.

The build quality is solid and the materials feel good considering the price. The main ports and controls including the camera sit in logical positions.

Headphone socket on the top edge with the power and volume on the upper right and left respectively. The microUSB is placed centrally on the bottom edge.

The screen bezels are a bit big but I am picking here really when you consider the price.

The camera is placed centrally in the upper third of the rear of the phone with a flash to the left and microphone to the far right.

The lower third of the soft touch back cover has the speaker grill, which gives the impression that the speaker stretches across the back but removing the back cover reveals the speaker is placed to the left. That said the audio sounded pretty good considering.

With the back cover removed, you see the battery compartment and directly under this is the 2 SIM slots and MicroSD memory card slot running from left to right.

The Trooper X4.0 does have a light sensor so manual or automatic control of the screen brightness is an option; as is rotation of the screen into portrait or landscape mode using the G sensor.

Kazam_Trooper_X4_In_useaOut of the box Android 4.2.2 is installed on the device. Therefore the device is pretty up to date. OK it is not Android 4.4 but very few devices have this and for the vast majority it is not necessary.

It is pretty much stock Android on the device, with the smallest of tweaks, which include a flashlight and a few wallpapers not to mention the SIM Management for the dual SIMS.

This therefore gives all the standard Google services out of the box. Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Navigation, Calendar and more. Just input your existing Google account details if you have one and within minutes you can be up and running.

With access to Google Play Store you can download all of you favourite apps from Twitter to Facebook to Angry Birds.

Boasting 4GB of memory, 2.5GB of which is user accessible you may need to take advantage of the expandable memory for more memory hungry content like photos and music.

There is a File Manager on board which makes accessing content simple especially for copying and moving files. An FM radio enhances the multimedia capabilities on the move too and a handy flashlight app could come in useful.

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Do not expect updates the moment Google announce them, they will come but it may be slow. With a KAZAM handset, you do not pay the same premium as is found on higher end handsets, so the speed of updates etc will inevitably be affected.

General operation has been good with the device. Demanding apps will make the phone lag as will multitasking, but its fine if switching between calls, your calendar and your YouTube video stream.

Whereas before you may have had two separate phones, with the KAZAM Trooper X4.0 you can have just one phone with the two SIM cards in it. From with the settings you can choose how the SIM cards are used and managed.

Kazam_Trooper_X4_In_usebYou could have one SIM for voice calls and text messages and another for mobile data. You have full control over how it is configured.

Call quality was average during my usage. Not super clear like a Nokia but not poor.

The Trooper does not boast any special camera technology or features which is a shame, but a basic, easy to use camera application make photo and video capture simple. Image results were mixed but fine for sharing on social networks and the odd one you may want to print out.

You have a reasonable level of control over the camera settings which is a positive thing. With a bit of manual tweaking you could make an ok shot look pretty good. Change the colour effects, white balance, HDR, resolution or even capture up to 99 continuous shots.

There is no dedicated camera key, so it must all be managed on screen which is a drawback in keeping the camera stable.

There is too a front facing camera for ‘selfies’ or video calls.

Here are some sample shots.

During the testing phase for about a week I had just one SIM in it and with light usage I was getting 2 days out of the 1550mAh battery.

A heavier user with 2 SIM will likely find a daily charge necessary but may be able to stretch it out if careful.

At sub £100 the Trooper X4.0 is brilliant value for money.

The Moto G is the closest equivalent at £30-50 more. It has double the processor speed, memory and RAM but lacks dual SIM and free screen replacement.

The smartphone market is ultra competitive and there is a lot of choice. But if you want good connectivity, dual SIM capability and a smaller screen then consider the Kazam Trooper X4.0.

Kazam_Trooper_X4_In_usec

Jabra Revo Wireless Headphones

Jabra_Revo_Wireless_Headphonesb

There are countless headphones on the market today be it in ear or over the ear, many of which are now available with or without wires. From the big brand names to the unbranded. £30 or £300, there is no arguments that you have plenty of choice when it comes to your headphones today.

Of course we all have our preferences so are the Jabra Revo Wireless Stereo headphones the ones for you?

Lets start with the price. At £199 these are not cheap headphones, but they are cheaper than many. I will leave you to make your own decisions on whether the prices is justifiable once you have seen what they have to offer.

As the name implies, they are wireless, but the great thing here is that they come with a detachable 3.5 to 3.5mm cable so you can use them like a more traditional wired solution should you want, normally when you have run out of power. The cable is also made of a corded material and does not tangle quite like many headphone cables tend to.

The headphones themselves come with a USB to microUSB cable for charging, but you can of course a conventional microUSB mains adapter.

Jabra_Revo_Wireless_HeadphonesIt is worth noting that whilst their primary role is as headphones you can use these for handsfree calling too, thanks to built in controls and microphones that actually do a good job of blocking out background noise.

There is a reasonable weight to the Revo Wireless which is a sign of the quality of these headphones. They look pretty smart too and the reddot design award won in 2013 is proof of this.

The construction is a mix of plastic and aluminium which makes them very robust. Jabra make a point of explaining that these have been drop tested from 2m and extreme flex tested 10000 times.

The headband has considerable flex but feels strong and springs quickly back into place, which is a good thing. The padding under the headband could be better. It is not at all bad, but it is made of a silicone like material that stretches with the headband and lacks a little additional cushioning.

The earcups have a decent amount of padding. They tend to sit on the ears rather than over them. That said they manage to knock out background noise well considering they are not noise cancelling headphones. I could use these happily for a few hours but after that they become a bit uncomfortable.

The headphones can be easily transported thanks to a provided pouch case and both earpieces bend in thanks to a hinged mechanism on the bottom half of the headband.

They connect to your phone or music player primarily via Bluetooth, but there is the cable option if you require. One touch pairing with NFC works well. Just scan your NFC phone over the earpiece and pairing happens within seconds. There is a power/pair switch and LED indicator on the base of the earcup.

Jabra_Revo_Wireless_HeadphonesaThe headphones have on them touch controls for adjusting the volume, pausing and skipping tracks as well as handling inbound calls. These take some time to get used to. They are fiddly and a little unnatural but after a while you get used to them. A physical button may have detracted from the design but it may have been a good addition.

Jabra boast 12 hours of usage time. Whilst I did not keep strict tabs on my usage during my testing I certainly was not concerned at them depleting too quickly.

So the very important point of the sound.

It was very good, better than I expected if I am honest. It was clear with rich tones. I found the experience very pleasurable. There was a good balance of low and high tones and no need to max the volume to enjoy the sound.

Add the Jabra Revo Wireless Sound app to your phone and you get more control of the audio experience, for the better when the Dolby Digital Plus feature is used. Complete control in the equaliser means you can set the headphones to give you the optimum experience. The drawback here is the use of a dedicated app.

Trying to compare headphones is always difficult as different ones have different features and price points. I can only draw real comparison to my Audio Technica ATH-M50’s which are about £100 cheaper but much bigger and not so pretty.

The sounds were close, but I still prefer the M50’s as I feel the sound is a bit richer and more appealing to my ears.

With that said, they are much bigger, do not knock out background sounds as well, they are wired, do not have a built in mic and do not look as stylish.

Jabra have done an exceptional job with the Revo Wireless headphones. They have a lot to offer someone, especially if you are prepared to use the app. You could pay considerably more and get a lot less.

Buy Jabra Revo headphones Here

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact 60 second review

Want to hear what the best and bad bits of the Xperia Z1 Compact are, but short of time?

Well here is our 60 second review of the device.

If you want a fuller or more comprehensive review, then our full written review is available here or we have a video review at just under 10 minutes below.

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