What would you say to a Bluetooth speaker that really delivers in 2019? 40W of music power, USB Type C fast charging, NFC Tap-to-pair, IPX7 water andand sh proofing, microSD and Aux input, all for less than £50? That sounds a lot like the Tronsmart (slightly pretentiously named) 'Element Force'. Yes, it's a Bluetooth speaker, but on steroids.
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I know what you're thinking - such a 'many tools in one app' is a staple of phone and PDA software since the dawn of time - the tools are often trivial and easy to write, which is why this genre keeps re-appearing. Except that Perfect Software's version has had an unusual amount of time invested in its various tools/utility. Enough for a full review here - you'll thank me later.
No, don't snigger at the back. Far from being a geek case, this has the potential to make you think differently about what you carry around. For example, I carry a fairly fat wallet (not all money, I should add!) and a cased smartphone around all day, every day. What if the two could be fully combined? And not just with a couple of token card slots, as with most 'folio' cases, but a full wallet complement?
Although this can apply to Windows 10 phones as well, it's less likely than for the Surface Go, which is more likely to need to hook up with USB accessories. Either way, this is an ultra lightweight, cheap way to expand a single USB Type C jack to four USB-A jacks. It only weighs 35g, costs just over £8 (including shipping), and is a no-brainer to pick up if you have a Go. Or indeed a recent Macbook or you just like having adapters and dongles in your kit bag!
Apple announced something like this a year ago, but have yet to ship it. Meanwhile, Choetech has come up trumps with a 5-coil array that can handle the most casual charging positions or, side by side, can wirelessly fast charge two smartphones/gadgets at the same time, at up to 2A each (depending on the recipient's capabilities). And it works exactly as advertised, with a theoretical 20W total output.
Apple's AirPods have proved very popular in the iPhone world, despite the high price and likelihood of losing one of the earbuds. Principally because of the sheer convenience of having no wires at all. And so we shouldn't be surprised that third parties have stepped in to copy the idea for the Android and (here) Windows phone worlds. Blitzwolf's attempt at this category succeeds on the power front but fails in actually supplying decent audio, sadly.
Just scraping into 2018, this is the final review part (for now) of one of the most impressive mobile computing devices I think I've ever used. Not a smartphone, not a laptop, not even a tablet, but something in between that encompasses most of their roles. True, it's too big to be pocketed, and true, it's probably too small to be used as an all-day computer, but embrace the Go lifestyle and you can do more while (literally) on the 'go' than ever before. Microsoft has got (almost) everything right in this new Surface product, with perhaps the only significant caveat being battery life - you'll probably need to take a USB power bank on long trips!
Bluetooth headphones have existed for years, of course, though anyone who really cared about audio quality usually stuck to the traditional wired headphones and a phone's 3.5mm jack (this being AAWP, the DAC and output in the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is exceptional). But over the years, with new codecs (e.g. aptX HD at the high end) and faster and more capable chipsets in both phone and accessory, quality has been rising, prompting me to experiment with the mass market 'state of the art', exemplified here in the Tribit XFree Color.
Now, this is certainly not traditional freemium - it's £15 to get rid of the ads, so perhaps it's priced as a desktop game, with this working on Windows 10 computers everywhere. But it works beautifully on Mobile, in this case my test Windows 10 phone, the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro. There's the catch in that there are compulsory 30 second adverts to watch between games, but you can retry levels after dying without being hit by ads. So as long as you consider the waits to be where you sip your beer or coffee then this might be a load of motorised fun.
Following on from the first part of my main review of this relevant ultra-mobile computing device, part 2, concentrating on the Type Cover and the laptop experience, part 3, with comments on performance in daily use, and part 4, looking at imaging, here's part 5, looking at the optional Surface Pen, adding another dimension to what you can do on this tablet/laptop hybrid.