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.
Recent Reviews - Accessories - Page 8
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.
The phone case is an oft-overlooked item these days. There was a time when having a phone in a leather case clipped to one's belt was the norm, not so much these days as thin touch slabs tend to casually slip into our pockets or bags. That hasn't deterred manufacturers like Noreve who claim to make 'haute couture' for mobile phones. We give its cases for the Lumia 800 and 900 the catwalk treatment.
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!
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.