Wednesday 10 December 2014

Is the 'one device to power them all' dream over?

   In 2011 Motorola released the Atrix - the first phone with a finger print scanner, but more importantly, the first phone which could be connected to both laptop and a hdmi docks which launched a desktop interface, powered entirely by the phone. It was revolutionary.

   Somehow Motorola had trouble shifting their Atrix's - the consensus for struggling sales being that the phone was 'too geeky' for the average consumer! As the company changed their priorities as the platform didn't gain momentum, they killed off their webtop platform and left us heartbroken.

   The problem for Motorola was that they were slightly ahead of their time. The Tegra 2 processor in the Atrix was not quite powerful enough to provide a good experience, but if they had been a year later, the Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4 platforms would have provided us with a much better experience.

   Since then we've heard snippets about this idea being rekindled. Blackberry said that they would try to get BB10 everywhere and they even hinted that it could become a desktop platform and there was the fateful IndieGoGo campaign from the guys over at Ubuntu, but the price was a stumbling block and they just couldn't really garner the sort of interest they needed to get the phone off the ground.

   So while Linux has struggled to fund a one device model, Microsoft have opted instead to promise the synergy in another way. Their recent 'One Experience for everything in your life' campaign has highlighted the companies direction, even if they struggle to giveaway Windows Phones at the moment. The premise for the computing giant then is to offer you the same experience across your phone, tablet and computing platforms, with no immediate intention of merging devices into one. This is something which it seems as though they'll push even more by the time Windows 10 rolls around!

And why would they, as it stands they can get away with collecting your cash for three operating systems if you buy a phone, tablet and PC and until they could make a tablet dock, desktop dock and the mobile phone themselves, it's not a financially viable to offer one device which can do everything.

Companies like ASUS keep the dream alive with concepts like the Transformer Book V. If they can stop Google and Microsoft shutting down their ideas then the one device to rule them all dream could still be achievable!

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Lumsing 11,000mAh Power Bank Review!

   The Lumsing Power Bank is a reasonably priced solution to the problem which a lot of people face of not having removable batteries from their phones. If you have an iPhone or a HTC One or something like this something which would suit you down to the ground!

    As far as power banks go there's a lot of choice on the market; you can go for super cheap solutions which will give you a slight top up if your phone needs one half-way through the day, or you can go for something slightly more expensive like this Lumsing which promises to give you multiple charges from it's larger battery.


   Obviously the main thing with this sort of device is how long it lasts and whether or not it actually comes through on the promise of recharging your devices. With an 11,000 mAh capacity theoretically this battery pack could charge my LG G2, with it's 3,000 mAh battery, three times with a little bit of juice to spare. As we know though, theory and practice are not the same things. People normally say you should expect to get about 70% of the total capacity out of the actual battery bank, so you can think of this as a 7700mAh unit, which is actually quite respectable. With that in mind, it's good to know that the actual transferable capacity of this device is probably somewhere close to the target 7700 mAh. We managed to get 2 full charges of the LG G2 and there was enough to top the phone up to 60% again, so the performance was slightly better than we would have expected, which is fantastic given the price!

   It's also nice to know that you can simultaneously charge the power bank and charge something else at the same time, so if you only have one charger then you're still good to power your battery pack and phone or tablet at the same time.

   Another nice addition is that the five USB ports which you can charge from all offer varying outputs. So you have a 1.3A output for your Galaxy Tab, 2.1A for the iPad line, 1A for your typical mobile phone and then 0.5A for a smaller battery bank or perhaps an MP3 player. It's great because it adds an extra bit of versatility to your power needs and we're sure you could give charging your laptop a go from this if you really needed an extra bit of juice too!

   Some people have asked if you can use the power bank while it is charging and you definitely can, it works really nicely!

Build quality:

   Some of you out there might have been stung by cheap battery banks before and thankfully with
this one we have no concerns over the quality of it. The bank feels nice and dense, which if nothing else is reassuring. The plastic which Lumsing has used feels nice and sturdy - it reminds us of the plastic which LG employed on their G2 and which Samsung have used on their older generations of the Galaxy S.

Ease of use:

   You might be asking yourself why we bothered to talk about ease of use - surely you just plug it in and go. To a certain extent you do, but with some battery banks you have to flick switches for different ports and it can get a bit messy. The Lumsing on the other hand chooses to keep things simple. You get one off and on button. Press it once and it shows you how much charge there is and turns the whole unit on. Press it again and everything will shut off. It's simple and elegant and that's the sort of no thrills performance you want from this sort of accessory.

   In the box you get a plethora of connection options; there seems to be an adaptor for almost every type of proprietary charging jack which we could think of as you can see to the right.

   The little bag which Lumsing threw into the box is a nice touch and although it's undoubtedly cheap and cheerful, it's actually a good extra layer of protection if you throw the unit into your bag. You know that people often say it's the little things which matter, we definitely think helps when it comes to things like this.

   It's also worth bearing in mind that this power bank comes with a 12 month warranty and that promise of longevity is also so a sign of Lumsing's confidence in their product which is great to know as a buyer. Especially as most phone companies recommend changing the battery in your mobile phone every six months if that's an option!

The Wrap Up!

   So is the Lumsing power bank worth your hard earned cash? In a word, yes. It does exactly what it says on the tin, it's solidly build, Lumsing has convinced us that they're offering a good quality product and as far as we're concerned you shouldn't be disappointed with what you're buying.

Opinion: The OnePlus One lottery.

   The beautiful device which you see pictured above this text is the OnePlus One. The company is made of a few people who used to work for Oppo, you can probably tell given the similarities between this device and the Find 5. But, looks aside the OnePlus One is a powerhouse with the Snapdragon 801, Full HD 1080p 5.5" screen, 3GB of RAM, 16 or 64GB of internal storage and a 3100mAh which should last you pretty well. 

   The best thing about the phone though is the price. £229 for a 16GB version or £269 for the 64GB variant which simply blows everything out of the water in terms of price to performance ratio, especially when you consider that the device will be kept up to date by the guys over at CyanogenMod, this thing becomes a very interesting beast for people who like to buy their phones sim free.

   So what's the catch? Well seemingly nothing with regards to the phone, the problem though is that it's nothing short of a lottery to get hold of one! We know the problems that some companies (I'm looking at you Google) have when they try to launch a new device and people can't wait to get their hands on the shiny new toy as soon as possible. To alleviate this issue OnePlus have decided that they will release a very limited stock onto the market and then from there you will be able to get hold of a phone by invite only.

   On the surface this is a good way of managing demand while the early production issues, which there will inevitably be with a new company and new device, get ironed out. But, where does that leave the consumers, the people who actually want to buy this phone. Well, in a bit of a predicament. Why would someone who wants a new phone try desperately to get hold of this phone by bribing someone for an invite or smashing their old phone when they can just walk into the nearest Carphone Warehouse or navigate their browser straight from here to Google Play or Amazon to pick up the Nexus 5 or any other device they want? 

   Yes, the price is the only reason why you would wait for this phone. The problem for OnePlus is how quickly they can go from these 100 phone smashing incidents to taking the money from everyone who wants to carry one of the 'Ones' in their pockets. If they take a few months something better will come out, but they have a couple of months to scale things up and if they can do it fast enough, then they'll stand some sort of chance of having a successful product.

   I think the phrase to finish this off with should be slightly ominous, so I suppose 'time will tell'.

Friday 28 February 2014

MobileFun put the 2014 HTC One up for pre-order: Is this what we can expect?

   Today the UK retailer, MobileFun, may just have blown the surprise on this year's HTC One. The much anticipated device has cropped up on a pre-order page on their website so it's hard to be sure if this is entirely accurate or not. While the company will be stocking the device they may have just made a mock-up of the page to save themselves some time when the phone actually launches, or alternatively someone has made quite the mistake.

   The website has the phone up for a pre-order price of £580, which is a bit expensive and subject to change, but here's what that money will supposedly get you. 
  • 5" HD Super LCD3display with Gorilla Glass.
  • 32GB of on-board storage.
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
  • A Quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.
  • Wi-Fi, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, microUSB, GPS, NFC
  • Dual 5MP cameras on the back with autofocus, LED flash, HDR video 1080p@30fps and secondary 2.1MP camera, HDR video 720@30fps.
   All round this seems like a solid package, the only other thing we'd like to know is the size of the battery and whether or not it will be removable, but that will come in time and we don't know for sure that these specs are correct anyway.

   What do you guys think? Would you be happy to own a new HTC One if it looked like this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to check out the screen grabs either!

MobileFun Via Twitter (Dave Thornton).

Click to enlarge.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Asus announces Android 4.4 KitKat is coming to the Padfone 2!

   Some of you lovely people out there might be big fans of Asus' dockable phone/tablet combos which have the wonderfully strange name, Padfone.

   The second generation of that device is currently running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, but today Asus UK announced through their Facebook page that the device will be getting a bump to Android 4.4 KitKat at the end of Q2 this year.

   As well as the bump to the latest version of Android there is also the promise of the new Zen UI landing on the device too, which will definitely spice the interface up for people who have owned the device since launch!

   Asus also confirmed that the update will come to the PadFone Infinity, but that won't be until Q3 this year!

Via Asus.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Nvidia push out Android 4.4.2 to the Tegra Note 7!

    This evening Nvidia, the makers of the Tegra Note 7 which has been adopted by a number of different brands around the world, have started pushing out a new update to the tablet!

   The update brings along Android 4.4.2 KitKat, making this little guy one of the first tablets aside from the Nexus range to receive the update.

   Some of the notable changes, aside from the software bump, are the new Gamepad mapping feature which we've previously seen on Nvidia's Shield and the notification bar is now that KitKat white colour. That colour change also made its way onto the toggle bar, which you can see in the images below.

   As always with updating Tegra Notes, if you check for the update and don't find anything waiting for you then put your tablet on charge and try checking for updates again, that always seems to do the trick with our device!


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More