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"Dynamic what?", I hear you ask? This is something I've been enjoying on the Sony flagship Android smartphones for a couple of years and it can, sometimes, really enhance the mobile media experience. The curious thing is that there's no reason, in principle, why every smartphone can't have this, yet few people have even heard of it. In short, as bass notes and low sound effects are rendered over the phone speakers, the haptic vibration system is driven to add 'rumble' and physical effect. Here's how it works and what it's good for.
Reviewing smartphone accessories in the modern age is a frustrating business - as fast as something is reviewed then it seems to go out of production. This happened twice to my previous mobile power bank, the Aenkyo (née Ponsinc) 10000mAh with flying leads - and I can't find it for love nor money still for sale. But I cheered up a bit when this Soaraise alternative popped up as a lightning deal in my Amazon last week - with more then double the capacity and yet still two flying leads (saving having to carry cables around), this looked like it could fill a gap in my family's day to day facilities.
Charging a smartphone has been getting more and more complicated in recent years, with 'fast charging' solutions from several sources and with mixed compatibility in the phone world in terms of device. Quick Charge, Power Delivery, Dash Charge, Warp Charge, and so on... So it's high time that we rounded up the various systems and explained how they work and what they'll work with. With caveats, in that this is a fast changing slice of the tech world and the future is still being written!
Following my imaging head to head between the fixed-up Sony Xperia 5 ii and the new camera benchmark, the iPhone 12 Pro Max in ProRAW mode, there was demand for a quick return to the Lumia 950 as the comparison device. And, with the weather set fair in the UK summer, I'm happy to oblige. As before, Sony has upped their game since the Xperia 5 ii's release, with updates, so can the 2020 multimedia champion also now best the 950 in imaging?
Back in the day (2013), the (Finnish) Nokia Lumia 1020 launched with the PD-95G, a grip accessory that clamped onto the back and bottom of the phone to provide a chunky DSLR-style grip. It came complete with 'pro-grade' shutter button and, interestingly, a built-in power bank (though not a very big one) to help keep the 1020 going, but the core idea was to enhance creativity by making the Lumia feel like a DSLR. And the idea just made a come back, albeit for Apple iPhones, thanks to the (Norwegian) 'Fjorden' system, just launched on Kickstarter. See the demos here, it looks superbly thought out so far, with just two caveats for me personally, of which more below.
It's a constant in the smartphone world that software updates arrive to improve camera performance - this has applied to many Lumias in the past, it applied to the last two generations of iPhones (Deep Fusion and then ProRAW), and it seems to have applied to the Sony Xperias. Nine months after my initial imaging comparison with the Lumia 950 XL, it's evident that Sony has fine tuned its algorithms and the tri-camera-ed Xperia 5 ii is due a re-test. Except that now we have All About Mobile*, I feel justified at using the iPhone 12 Pro Max as my imaging benchmark rather than my beloved Lumia 950 XL, which is now looking at little archaic with just the single camera/lens...
Announced back in June, Microsoft's popular OneDrive has finally gained full photo editing facilities - these went live server-side today, a few hours ago, for both OneDrive's Web interfaces and also for the Android client (the iOS client is presumably being worked on). Some screenshot proof below. Yes, yes, I know we're all drowning in photo editing utilities and services, but something official from what is many peoples' primary file/photo backup service isn't to be sniffed att.
It's potentially a technological hot potato, yet 99% of the world has come down on one side of the argument and Sony on the other. And it's not something we've ever covered in any detail. Essentially, what should go through your mind when using zoom (or ultra-wide) in a smartphone camera? Specifically, should you think in terms of using a particular lens for a particular shot or should you 'wing it' and fiddle with the interface until framing is perfect? Here I demonstrate that the latter approach is fraught with image quality problems.
When questioned by me about the $70 (£50) price of the BLOCK 30 power bank, Tegic was unapologetic, this accessory is an attempt to make power banks 'sexy', with CNC-machined aluminium shell/edges, and with see-through tempered glass window, showing some of the circuitage and the status LEDs. And, with the caveat that this was a review sample and that I didn't have to buy it with my own money(!), I think I'm won over. This is indeed a premium bit of technology and instantly wins a place in my gadget bag.
What a great idea and implementation. One high current braided (non tangle) cable to suit everyone. USB-A or Type C to Lightning or (again Type C) - a few of these in your gadget bag and it really doesn't matter which one you pull out, since you just adjust the ends as needed. Supporting up to 60W power transfer, at under £20 this is a cable that thoroughly tickles my gadget brain!