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.
Recent Reviews - General - Page 24
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.
Having just reviewed the top end Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth stereo speaker, I was expecting the slightly cheaper Nokia Play 360 to sound less impressive. And I was wrong - the Play 360's output is, literally, awesome, for such a small box. The only fly in the ointment is that, for stereo, you have to buy two, taking the combination to £200 and beyond. Ah well, it's only money....!
Sometimes you can find the greatest little games on the Marketplace that you just keep coming back to on your Windows Phone. Permutile 2 (that's Permutile Squared, not Permutile Two) is one of those titles, and over the last week it's gone from 'nice icon, let's download it', to 'must be pinned to my tiles'.
Although there are a number of smartphones with capable speakers (Nokia 5800/X6/N8 all come to mind), many have loudspeakers which are rather weedy if we're honest. Making podcasting listening around the house somewhat of an ear-straining experience and making music playback almost a no-no. Which is where portable speakers come into their own, especially the Bluetooth variety, giving maximum volume without messing around with wires. I'm reviewing several over the next month, starting with the Jawbone Jambox.
With the loss of MetroTube, a number of services and mobile applications have stepped up to fill the gap. Some of them continue to poke around the edges of the YouTube API, while others bring you great video content but from other services (such as Vimeo and their official Windows Phone client). Next up in my applications list is Vevo, and it's one for music fans.
For the record, calling this application "Board Game Clock" and not "Chess Clock" was a smart move. I would suspect that 99.999% of Windows Phone users would have no need for a clock to play chess - but there are far more people who need a timer to keep an eye on two different things, even if they don't know it yet.