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 - Accessories - Page 14
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!
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....!
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.
My first impressions of Monster's headphone style weren't good, with some outlandish cyan over-ear cans shown off by the Monster CEO at last year's Nokia World. Happily, the reviewed in-ear equivalents are a hundred times less garish, especially since they're black. There's plenty of photos and comment below, but in short the audio quality is superlative - depending on the playback device. Balancing this, device compatibility is distinctly spotty and the price is.... rather high. Review added to Dec 2012.
Power hungry smartphones are always looking for a recharge. So a car charger is going to be high on the priority for a lot of people. But which one should you get? One option is Nokia's DC-20 unit, which initially draws the eye with its twin USB charging ports. And while USB car chargers are never going to generate much excitement, the Nokia DC-20 is a diamond amongst the rough competition.
I remember getting into heated debate in 2009 around the pros and cons of resistive vs capacitive touchscreens - one of the biggest pros for 'resistive' was that phones like the Nokia N97 and 5800 could be used with gloves on, out in cold weather. Over the next year, the market swayed decisively towards capacitive technology, and rightly so, but now we have an accessory that brings back gloved, cold weather use to all capacitive-screened smartphones...
We've enthused about Proporta's mobile chargers ever since day one, with capacities rising from just over 1000mAh to 3400mAh, then to 5000mAh and now this, the Turbocharger 7000, at a whopping 7000mAh. In this review, I look at what you get for your money and assess its performance, its build quality and its worth, in terms of keeping smartphones, games consoles and even tablets charged and working.
Smartphone loudspeakers are a mixed bunch, many are good enough while some make us wonder why manufacturers bothered to fit them in the first place. If you like to use your phone as a boombox, external speakers are definitely the way to go. However, some of them are so bulky or elaborate that they rather defeat the object of using a converged device. The XMI X-Mini II mini speakers might just offer a compromise of compactness versus quality and power. Read on for our review and photos.