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!
Recent Reviews - Accessories
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.
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)?
Last featured in our unboxing and first impressions Gallery, the NexDock 2 is an accessory par excellence for Windows 10 Mobile Continuum-compatible smartphones. Arriving way too late in the day really, the NexDock 2 easily redeems itself by also working with a large number of Samsung and Huawei Android phones. But let's start with general operation: what's involved in plugging in (e.g.) a Lumia 950 XL and getting going?
Apple's success with Airpods has spawned a number of 'true wireless' copies - furthermore, copies with higher quality audio, in-ear-canal operation and even (here) USB Type C charging. A couple of months ago I reviewed the waterproof SoundLiberty 53, similar but with microUSB charging. Now Apple has finally gone 'in ear' and waterproof too, with the AirPods Pro, though at a crazy £250. These 'Rimor' headphones come in at almost £90, which is also too expensive, I contend...
With Apple's AirPods inventing the 'True Wireless' earbud market but at extravagant cost, there have been a number of far cheaper alternatives of gradually increasing quality. Working with Windows phones, Android and iOS, the TaoTronics 'SoundLiberty 53' are the best I've tested so far - and they come in at under £30, compared to over five times that for Apple's offering. Plus these sound far, far better. And they're waterproof. What's not to love?
There's one small issue with most Qi wireless charging pads... We all love them, charging our Lumias, Galaxies, iPhones, whatever, but the vast majority of them are horizontal, meaning that there's limited visibility of stuff arriving on the phone screen and limited interaction possible with the device. Pads are usually horizontal because then the user can align the phone's Qi coils with the pad precisely, whatever the model. Happily the new Choetech T555 is vertical and yet has multiple Qi coils so that most/all phones would still work with it, at up to 15W.
It's a fair cop, this new accessory from Xiaomi doesn't connect (anymore) with Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile. But it's a good data point as to where the wearables market is going and will be of special interest to any fans of the old Microsoft Band, since this is very similar in many ways - except that it runs for a month on a charge and only costs £30! It's something of a technological miracle, saved from perfection only by holes in the Xiaomi integration into Android's notifications system - and in my phone's battery each day.
I make no apologies for another Bluetooth speaker review - the last was back in February, looking at the original Tronsmart Element Force - super sound and super ruggedised. This is a sister product with much the same audio capabilities - but there are a couple of new and significant USPs. Not least that this also functions as a power bank, so two accessories in one! UPDATED: with promo code/saving.