Modern ultra-light laptops and hybrids tend to come with one or (at most) two USB Type C ports - and that's your lot. Meaning that there's a whole market for USB 'hubs' (e.g. the one I reviewed here from Choetech) and 'docking stations', as here. When is an accessory a hub and when is it a docking station? I'm going by size and weight - the Vava docking station here is around a foot long, has 10 ports/jacks, plus a mains 100W power supply that's simply enormous. The implication being that you'd leave this in the office, plugged in to all your desktop 'stuff' and then plug your smartphone/hybrid/notebook in when you arrive.
Something of a triumph of design over materials, these Tribit ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) headphones were sent in for review and end up being terrific value for money, with a number of thoughtful touches. Given that many ANC headphone sets, including those best thought of, come in at well over £200, to have these in hand for £60 is rather impressive. Especially so since these charge via USB Type C, i.e. your usual phone charger and not cheaped-out microUSB. Add in being almost infinitely adjustable, being able to use the ANC without even powering on the main Bluetooth circuits, and even plug in ye olde 3.5mm cable, and these are definitely worth a review.
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.