It's inevitable that technology will drop in price as time goes on - Apple introduced the original TWS (True Wireless Stereo) AirPods at around £150, but we now have vastly cheaper alternatives with better sound quality at under a fifth the price (or a seventh, compared to the in-ear AirPods Pro, which are a better comparison). I've been reviewing these with my Lumia 950 XL and my iPhone 11 Pro and was impressed. Obviously, the materials used are a cut below Apple's and there are less 'joined up' software bells and whistles, but the Realme Buds Q are £30. Cheap plastic, whatever, these are damned good value.
One of several mapping UWP apps for Windows 10 that I've been trying out on my Lumias, PocketMap is just that - a selection of bitmapped, vector and photo maps presented in a fast(ish) and logical interface. Built with a little bit of a Norway focus, it's nonetheless rather cool to play with anywhere else in the world, as you'll see below. If nothing else, it's an easy OpenStreetMap viewer!
I've no idea how this UWP application got missed on previous excursions into the Store, but let's put that right now. Outdoor Tracker is a simple but very useful mapping and tracking utility, with the sole caveat that you have to be online (obviously) to access the underlying Open Street Map err... maps. Happily, it's easy to preload areas and map tiles that you need, for when you venture onto footpaths in the wild and windy hills and out of contact with networks. It's also Open Source and completely free, which is always good.
Something a little different, but which has the potential to save your bacon when mobile - these have been around for a few years but rarely in UK mains format and rarely so polished. Essentially this is a 20000mAh power bank with full PD (Power Delivery) right up to Macbook levels, but which also includes a 240V inverter, i.e. it generates mains electricity from its stored charge. And that's pretty neat - I've been going round my tech and household working out what it can and can't do!
When did power banks get so capacious and so cheap? A few years ago a 100Wh power bank would have been nigh-on science fiction and the best part of £100. Yet the Sense 8+ was sent in for review and it's £23 on Amazon UK. Yes, you read that right. Supporting multiple inputs and outputs, including Type C, of course, for Android and (here) Windows phones, this is a super value 'glove box' power bank to keep you and the family charged up day to day. If we're ever allowed out on trips again in these COVID-19 days, that is... [Updated]
Guest reviewer Simon Browne brings us a short write-up of a new Lumia 950 battery replacement. After market batteries have often been of low quality and with disappointing capacity (see my own Kamal Star experience), but this newish Taeozi brand seems trustworthy.
New UWP applications and games are somewhat rare on the ground in 2020, especially those which have been developed according to (and tested for) Windows 10 Mobile, yet here we are with a Windows port of a largish iOS and Android 'world sim' title. TerraGenesis is essentially a world modelling game, at least in a numerical sense - this is stat-heavy but dressed up prettily enough in pseudo-RPG, pseudo-cinematic form.
So... the 'tenner a month' model for music and/or TV/movie content. Why shouldn't this also apply to reading matter? Why indeed, which is where Bookmate UWP comes in - it's the Windows 10 client for a cross platform ebook service and it's rather swish and customisable, with a huge number of settings and available in over a dozen languages. The exact number of titles available varies according to where you look, but a million is now a safe bet. Plus you can use the client for uploading and then reading your own existing ebook content.
Now, I've ranted before about developers pulling greedy tricks in the Store, 'massively discounting' apps and games from unrealistic original 'RRP's to attract attention. And Yellow Elephant here is guilty in the same way, partly by offering silly discounts in the Store (though not as bad as in my original examples) but mainly by producing an application that's so ridden with 'buy-me-now' purchases that it's almost impossible to use. The core idea is to play local music and videos, plus Internet radio and other streams, but save your time (and money) and... Just. Don't. Bother.
You'll have already browsed our NexDock 2 unboxing gallery for this new 'super' smartphone accessory, plus you'll have read part one of our review, looking at the NexDock 2's hardware and operation in detail. In this, part two, I look at more examples of the NexDock 2 in use, in both a Windows 10 Mobile and Android context - what exactly is the use case proposition? Why and when would this be a better option than a Bluetooth keyboard (on one end of the accessory spectrum) or a Windows laptop (at the other)?