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.
Recent Reviews - Accessories - Page 3
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.
Hooking accessories up to smartphones has always been a case of finding the right adapter and then praying that it'll all work. USB Type C, used on the top end Lumias and IDOL 4 Pro, made things easier because of the plug and play protocols involved. And the need for adapters got more intense with the arrival of the Surface Go, which I've been reviewing over the last month or so. As with the phones, it only has one Type C port. Enter a variety of hubs and adapters, which I'll get to in time. First to arrive on my desk though, is this Choetech hub - and you'll be surprised at just how much it can do.
Following on from my Gallery of the Surface Go review hardware kit and the first part of my main review of this relevant ultra-mobile computing device, here's part 2, concentrating on the Type Cover and the laptop experience. And you'll forgive the gushing praise, but the Alcantara Microsoft Type Covers are just spectacularly high quality. Snapped onto a Surface Go, this gives you the Windows laptop experience at not much more than 700g.
I get pitched power banks every week for review - and I only ever look at the best and more innovative. In this case, the Tronsmart is brand new, super slender, the same size as a smartphone in every dimension - and yet high capacity, with Power Delivery and Quick Charge compatibility. And it looks and feels a million dollars, yet is only actually just over £20 - this is the power bank to get if you're not sure which one to buy! [PS. I've added some offer codes below]
Back in 2016 I looked at the ZAGG Pocket Keyboard, a jacket pocket solution that used multiple hinges to provide a narrow form factor - it worked, but it wasn't 'lappable' and the sheer number of ribbon cables and multiple points of failure was a little worrying. Fast forward two years and we have the new ZAGG Flex, taking inspiration from the multiple two-in-one keyboard designs for tablets that turn into 'laptops'. With the Flex, your phone can be your tablet or laptop too. Or - you know - use a tablet as well. Regardless, the Flex is superbly made and possibly my new favourite Bluetooth keyboard solution.
You'll see in the Apple and even now Android worlds that wired headphones are falling out of fashion. Sadly. But not in my household and not in the world of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, with every single handset ever made having a 3.5mm jack. And striking one more blow for quality in-ear headphones rather than tinny, plastic outer-ear headsets, here's my review of the latest 3D-printed (yes, really) design from Brainwavz.
As is traditional, I save this sort of accessory review for Friday. Bluetooth speakers are very common and commoditised by now, of course, but I chose this one to review because it has a single unique selling point. It has a carrying handle. Don't laugh - it makes a huge difference and is immediately likeable - every other speaker has to be held in a vice-like grip or cradled somehow. The DA150 here can be hooked around a finger while you carry other things, to the beach, to the garden, whatever. Read on...
Last week, I unpacked and set up the Fitbit Versa, one of the remaining smartwatches with 'full' Windows 10 Mobile support. All went pretty well, though there were some questions about detailed functionality and logging. With a few more days of real world use under my belt (on the IDOL 4 Pro), here's my review of what works... and what doesn't.
Back in March (2018), I reported on Fitbit's UWP application for Windows 10 including support for the new 'Versa' smartwatch. Fitbit is one of the few accessory companies still believing in Windows 10 Mobile as a viable concern and their full range of trackers and smartwatches are supported by their UWP application. And the Versa is almost the perfect smartwatch, borne of five years of iteration (including the Pebble tech, which Fitbit acquired). Here are my first impressions of the hardware and of getting hooked up.