Friday 30 September 2016

Lumia 950 by Microsoft

This phone was released with the first version of Windows 10 for mobile and the first phone by Microsoft. I really like it as the interface which used to be called "Metro" on Windows 8 has been improved to allow more customising and is very quick to load an app. This interface works so much better on a phone or tablet rather than a PC which better with the traditional set up. The best changes made to the design from the Nokia 930 by Microsoft is the addition of an expansion slot of up to 128gb more than enough to hold all your pictures and music. Microsoft are also pushing the syncing of all devices and true enough I have no problems syncing email, calendar, contacts with my PC and IPad. 


I have found it competitive in a package from Vodafone. Of course not everything is perfect. I found the Wi-Fi connection not 100% reliable as you move from one access point to another. Battery life drops very quickly with use of video and running games like most phones, but if you switch off all the unnecessary stuff battery life is much better. One extra item that does drain, is the automatic screen brightness adjustment, unless you are in bright daylight all day switch it off.


Always the main complaint with Windows phone is the lack off apps. Although this is accurate you can get most of all the essential apps like Facebook and Twitter as well as seamless integration of MS Office application like Outlook, Excel and Onenote. I get annoyed by adverts on TV where they claim you can do it on your phone- get the app but is does not exist. I am hopeful this will change with Windows 10 and developers take advantage of the common platform. Overall I would recommend it if you can live without a million apps.

Sunday 3 January 2016

Kindle Paperwhite

I got an original Paperwhite two years ago as a gift and it has without doubt totally changed my reading habits. Now I have just purchased a new Paperwhite at Christmas to replace one of the original keyboard Kindles used by my wife.

Did she like it?, yes she did, best Christmas present this year. I was able to also buy a standard cover for it which has the facility to send the unit to standby, just by closing the cover, a big improvement over having to switch off every read to avoid battery rundown. Does the battery charge last? Yes it does I have had mine for two years with no issues and charges lasting up to a month or more, with heavy usage of 40 - 50 books read per year.

Is it good value? It is fantastic value especially when you buy during one of the Amazon promotions. Priced at £109.99 I saved £30.00 allowing me to get a good cover. 

Personally the invention of the e-reader stands alongside the mobile phone in that it has made a step change in the way I read. Before Kindle I may have read only about 5 - 9 books per year and this mostly at holiday time by the pool. Now I read 40 - 50 per year and enjoying it. You really need to try it but, like Marmite some love it others prefer a traditional paperback.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Devolo Dlan 500 WiFi Starter Kit

WiFi in your house can be a problem, if your walls are brick or concrete they will make the WiFi emitted by your router is only as good as the area it is located in. WiFi is line of sight and it might have to travel through thick walls, and the signal will be diminished to almost zero. Not a desireable situation if you use several devices in different rooms. This Devolo kit solves all this without any cabling.

The kit is so simple to install and can be easily extended with various optional units. Apart from providing WiFi around the house it also can provide line connections to the Internet for all your PC equipment, TV, games consol and so on. The system uses your electric ring mains. A master unit is connected to your router and the mains and all subsequent unit you install anywhere in your electrical system will pick up the signal. Easy. I have just installed my second set after moving house and now coverage all over the house. Even the blackest of spots can be covered ( like my garage) by unplugging a unit and moving it to a socket near where you are working. If you live in a bungalow try putting a unit in the loft, ceilings are much thinner than walls and therefore you may get excellent coverage in most rooms with only this one unit from the starter kit.

I think this is a fantastic kit and beats cabling your house. As far as price goes I think it is reasonable for what you are able to do.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Blyss Dehumidifier by B&Q

There is one room in our house which really never gets sunshine during the day and with the ensuite bathroom it gets a damp and mouldy smell. To address this problem I decided on a humidifier would be the answer but which one? There is quite a large range to choose from, cheap to expensive however after some research I selected a 10 litre size would suit the problem. Not wanting to spend a lot of money I settled for a unit branded Blyss sold by B&Q at £99.

The unit has simple controls on the top panel, select the relative humidity you want from four options 40, 50, 60%, or continuous. On reaching the desired humidity it should switch off. My unit is still running after a week of daytime running but a damp room can take up to a week or more to dry out. I must have emptied out around a good 10 litres. The improvement in the room conditions is very noticeable , much reduced mouldy smell and minimal condensation on the window.

For value for money I think this is a winner and providing it does switch off eventually I will know I am sleeping in a much more healthy environment.

Monday 11 August 2014

Nokia Lumia 930

I have now had a new Nokia Lumia 930 for 3 weeks and can already confirm I have made a very good decision. I have waited for some time for this phone to be released. I got it on contract from Vodafone. It is very interesting to see how much Nokia, once the only phone to have has dropped out of people's consciousness. I had to tell the store staff that they were selling it, and yes after a quick check they confirmed 3 were in stock. I am pleased to say though, this hassle has been well worth it, the phone for me is excellent.

The build quality from Nokia is as good as it was in their market leading days, good solid feel and a smooth comfortable in the hand finish. The only possible weak spot maybe the lock screen / power button of the right hand side. It is used a lot to wake the screen up as well as put it to sleep. I expect it will be okay, however Nokia have included an alternative method of opening the lock screen, with a double tap on screen, should it fail. The only  removable part of the case is the nano sim drawer, the battery is not removable. This make sense as the case is much more robust without a battery door and has less places to harbour dirt. The new cordless charging system is a real bonus, just place your phone on the charging plate at night and in the morning a fully charged phone is at your disposal. I have only used about 60 % charge for a days usage and still have to go into battery saver territory, not bad.

What about the operating system? The windows phone mobile 8.1 is very good, and leaps and bounds ahead of the versions of a couple of years ago. I tried a windows phone about two and half years ago and had to send it back. I could not adjust the size of text in the contacts fields or in the text messaging, it was so small I could not read it. Vibrate was added to the back button but it could not be disabled. All of this I am pleased to say has been resolved. 

I have always resisted going to Apple, and now Microsoft have given me a good reason not to. I love the tile design, it is now even more customisable, so your home screen can be changed on a whim. With the addition of live tiles it really comes alive. The best feature of all is the response of the unit to commands, screen refresh is impressive and smooth flowing. The connectivity with other systems is good. When I started the phone up and added one or two email accounts and calendars within 30 minutes I had synchronised with my contacts, calendars from my Ipad and now redundant Blackberry Bold.

In summary I think Microsoft / Nokia are well on the way to a phone that will get significant amounts of market share back from Apple and Samsung, especially in the business community. This will increase as more of the popular apps are made available.