Transparent, waterproof pouches that enable us to use our tech in the pouring rain, down the beach or even, in extreme cases, underwater, have been around for a while, of course, I looked at Proporta's Beach Buoy last year. And now we have E-Case's eSeries 9, with smaller overall form factor and higher window-to-bezel ratio. Here's the eSeries 9 submersible case in action with a couple of likely candidate handsets. Summary? We have a winner...
Recent Reviews - General
This, wireless charging, is supposed to be the future - but I approached this latest accessory with extreme caution. I understood the theory behind the Qi charging standard - electromagnetic induction, and so forth, but I was sceptical about the value proposition ('how hard is plugging in a cable, after all?') and I was even more sceptical about how much power could be transferred in this manner ('surely it's going to take five times as long to charge a phone?'). Well, I've been using the Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charger with the Lumia 920 for the last week and it has made me a believer. Turns out this really is the future.
Maybe I'm destined to always be something of an edge case in the smartphone world - but it's hard to see how I'm so unusual here. I want to listen to podcasts and music on my Windows Phone and I want a wired headset rather than Bluetooth - I want the 'perfect' audio quality and I don't want to have to keep remembering to charge up yet another accessory. What about the headset that comes in each device box, I hear you cry? Ah, but I also want something that I've loved from Symbian devices - control of playback volume. Whether it's a quiet track and I'm now jogging along a noisy road or vice versa, I need to have volume control without having to stop and take my phone out of its case/pocket.
Smartphone speakers are a mixed bag, but most of us make the best of what we have. While more and more people seem to be audiophiles and are making their audio opinions known online, there comes a point where you might say a smartphone speaker isn't enough. The question is then which are the best external speakers? Nokia are keen to push NFC paired Bluetooth speakers which come with hefty price tags. Today's review looks at the more affordable Veho 360 M4 Bluetooth speaker.
I've reviewed all the Proporta Turbochargers so far and the trend so far has been for bigger and bigger, higher and higher capacity. At the expense of the accessory getting larger as well, of course. And now we have a lovely slice of lateral thinking in this, the unique Turbocharger Pocket Power, no larger than a credit card and only slightly thicker, yet able to deliver at least half a charge into (or to power) your smartphone in an emergency. What a wonderful accessory, here's my illustrated review.
Something a little different for a Friday. Frustrated that a lot of the Symbian and Windows phones I wanted to try day to day didn't have a built-in FM transmitter (I'll explain why that's important to me below), I opted to grab the Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter and try it out and about in the UK. Summary: it works brilliantly, far better (surprisingly) than the few phones which did have the functionality built-in.
As more smartphones are designed with non-replaceable batteries, the potential of getting through a day of heavy use by carrying a spare battery is going away. This has in turn created a market in external batteries. For instance, the first phone with a non-replaceable battery was the iPhone, which has an array of battery jackets. However, these are fixed to just one phone design. The alternative is external batteries that connect via cable. It's a less stylish solution, but guarantees that any of your devices can be topped up. That's where Nokia's new DC-16 external battery steps in, and we've been putting it to the test in this review.
As reported last week, Proporta's just launched a bike mounted version of their popular Beach Buoy waterproof case for all touchscreen phones - and I couldn't resist giving it a real world test. Here's my review - is it worth the five minutes set up time to have your smartphone always to hand in all weathers? Maybe - I'd say a more definite yes, if you live in the rainy UK and get lost a lot!
Qype is a social network that reaches over multiple platforms, including a desktop and mobile web version, as well as clients on mobile phones. Its Windows Phone version has been through a number of updates, and brings the network to the Metro'ed world of Microsoft's smartphone. Will it find you the best venues close by while you are out and about?
It might not look like much, but Chess Solitaire is a nice little puzzler that I'm enjoying. If you can get over the very basic presentation, you'll find something you can easily dip into when you need a distraction from the rest of the world.