smartphone

All posts tagged smartphone

With more and more gadgets coming out to help you track your daily activity progress, having something handy and easy to use is definitely welcomed by some people.  I was provided with one of the latest offerings from Kit: – the Milestone Altitude Activity Tracker – to review.  Now due to bad health, I am not the most active of people, but I was very intrigued to see how well my activity and sleep would be tracked.

First things first – packaging.  I have always been impressed with how well products from Kit: have been packaged.  It is always kept nice and minimal, whilst providing detailed information at the same time.  The box that the Activity Tracker arrived in was no different.  The front of the box gives a clear view of the Tracker itself, especially when you open the cardboard flap on the right side.  On the outside of the flap, you have the Milestone text, while on the inside, you are told that progress can be tracked via the free to download smartphone app.  On the bottom left corner of the packaging, you are shown that the Tracker has a vibrating alarm, is sweat resistant, and tracks your activity.  Lastly, the rear of the box has a brief description of the item, as well as a list of features, specifications, box contents, and smartphone compatibility.

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Removing the Tracker from the box, you have the item itself, a Micro USB to USB 2.0 cable, and a 3.5mm to Micro USB cable.  The Micro to 2.0 cable is used to charge the Tracker, while the 3.5 to USB 2.0 cable can be used to synchronise the data from the Tracker to the smartphone.  The tracker itself sports a nice rubber material wristband that houses the small unit.  In order to charge the unit, you simply pop it out from the wristband so that you can hook it up to a charging source using the provided cable.  It only took a few hours to charge fully, but I was unable to use it until I had done that initial charge as there was no power at all in the unit.  Once charged, inserting the unit back into the strap was as easy as it was to take it out.  It mentions on the box that a single charge should last 5-7 days – I’ve had the Tracker on since I first charged it and have yet to have to recharge it yet (around 2.5 weeks). On the side of the unit is a small button which is used to cycle through the menu – just line this up with the groove on the strap so that you get it back in the correct way round.

Once charged, I will admit that I was a little worried about how simple it was going to be to get things up and running.  There was no need for any worrying as the instruction booklet took me through the process step by step, from getting started to using the smartphone app and understanding the different functions included.  All I needed to do with the app was enter my personal details and what I would like my daily goal to be.  It finishes up with you syncing the Altitude to the smartphone app for the first time.  Now I know that the Tracker comes complete with the 3.5mm to USB 2.0 cable to help with syncing information between the phone and device, but I honestly found connecting and syncing up via Bluetooth not only quicker, but also very straightforward.

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The Altitude tracker has a range of features.  It not only tracks your daily steps taken, but also acts as a watch, tracks your sleep pattern, your distance travelled (km), the amount of calories burned during a 24 hour period, and lastly, what percentage of your daily goal was achieved.  Sleep mode monitors your sleep movement and can record when you are awake, in a light sleep, and in a deep sleep – I found this very handy, myself.  Please note that your sleep activity can only be monitored once you have synced information between the Altitude and your smartphone app.

The app itself (available on iOS 7.0 and above, and Android 4.3 and above) has as many functions as the wristband.  The History menu provides a daily chart of activity (steps, miles, and Kcal burned), as well as the amount of hours slept and how many of those hours were in a light or deep sleep state.  The Activity menu shows an overall percentage of your goals and sleep, as well as simple to understand view of your steps, Kcal, and distance.  Lastly, the Settings menu contains the section where you enter your personal information, workout goal, a reminder setting, and lastly, the alarm clock (with is a nice and steady vibration that comes through the Altitude).

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I found the tracking provided by the Altitude to be pretty precise, although, sometimes just sitting and moving my arm a bit swiftly would register as steps taken.  The sleep monitor is something that I found useful.  I did like being able to see how much of my sleep was light or deep, and from what I could tell, that was all registered as precise as possible.  Syncing was very straightforward both with the provided cable, and via Bluetooth – the latter of which is definitely preferred method of synchronising.

Overall, when you consider the functions provided by the Altitude when compared to other Activity Tracker devices, I don’t really see much difference – except the price!  You can get the Altitude from Amazon UK or Carphone Warehouse for around £39.99 (at time of posting).  It does what you would expect, is easy to operate (even for people who don’t have much experience with tech), and doesn’t cost a fortune.  I haven’t taken mine off since I first put it on a couple of weeks back – apart from when showering – and intend to use it on a very regular basis.  I highly recommend the Milestone Altitude Activity Tracker to both hardcore, and casual, fitness fanatics.

I’d like to thank the kind folk over at Kondor for providing me with the Milestone Altitude Activity Tracker for review.

I think it is safe to assume that people are relying on their mobile devices more and more nowadays.  Whether they be mobile phones, tablets, even MP3 players, they aren’t much use without any charge left in the battery.  Anything that helps keep your devices juiced and ready to use is always a plus to me, and hopefully the MSC MP-S6000 6000 mAh Solar Travel Charger will be up to the job!  A full list of features and specifications can be found at the end of this review.

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The Traveler itself comes in a packaging that is easy on the eye.  You have see-through plastic that enables you to get a good view of the black and orange coloured device, as well as information such as the high 6,000 mAh capacity, the dual USB output, and the smart LED indicator that tells you how much battery life is left.  It also states that the charger is suitable for use with tablets, smartphones, Mp3/MP4 players, and portable game systems such as the NDS and PSP.  Removing the unit from the packaging, I was greeted with the device itself, user manual, and the charger cable.  The good thing about this charger cable is that it is an elasticated rubber material, and it also comes with all of the adapters you could want or need (aside from the lightning adapter used on the newer Apple devices – you can purchase these separately though).  The front of the charger itself has a large solar panel, four power LED indicators to let you know how much charge is remaining, a power button, and two smaller LED solar indicators that give you a rough idea how much solar charge is remaining.  Lastly, along the bottom of the charger is a MicroUSB port that you can use to charge the unit via a wall socket of PC, etc, and also two USB output ports that you use to hook up the devices that you would like to charge.  The USB port on the left is suitable for the iPad, and the one on the right is suitable for the Samsung Galaxy tablet.  I had no issues with my HTC One or Nexus 7 tablet when using either of the ports.

It’s recommended that you fully charge the Traveler prior to first using it, so that’s what I did.  However, when I got everything unpacked and ready to charge, the LED lights indicated that everything was fully charged and ready to go – bargain!  I used the charger to charge my devices constantly to see how long I could get out of it.  Because of the nice weather we have had over the past week, I have not encountered an empty device at all, and the 75% LED indicator is the one that is illuminated.  This is after using the charger for around 7 days with my phone and tablet while sitting both, inside and outside.  Without the lovely weather, you could get around 3 charges  before needing to recharge the unit – that is pretty good in my opinion.  You could quite easily go off on your travels and use this handy little device to keep your gadgets charged.  Once the charger has a full charge, it apparently holds that charge for months – obviously, something I have been unable to check myself as yet, but I’ll definitely give it a go and see.

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Considering the size of the MSC Traveler, I am impressed with how it has performed so far.  It is around the size of most smartphones nowadays, and if charging via USB cable, it fully charges in around the same time as a smartphone, which is handy.  You can get three, maybe four, full charges from it when not in direct sunlight, again, handy.  For the price you pay (around £35 GBP) I think it is well worth the money.  Not only does it provide on the go charging, it also provides peace of mind as far as not being caught with a flat battery, if and when it is really needed.  As far as I am concerned, this can stay in my personal collection and it will be with me when out and about for hours at a time.

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Technical specification

Solar energy transfer efficiency: 17% Solar panel 5v/90mA
Polymer Lithium-ion Battery
Capacity 6000mAh /22.2 wh
Input : Micro micro usb DC5v/1000mA
Output 2x USB 5V/2100mA
Working Temperature -10C to + 55C
Charging time about 5 hours via USB mains
Charging time from solar about 45 hours
Cycle Life >500 cycles
Weight 178g
Dimensions 130 x 76 x 16mm
Compatible with most popular mobile phones, iPhone, Blackberry™, Nokia™, iPad, Digital Cameras, PSP, ND, PDA, Mp3/Mp 4 player, GPS, Bluetooth etc

Product Features

High Capacity 6000mah Lithium-Polymer battery
Multi-charging capabilities: Mains, car charger, USB or Solar
Compatible with most popular mobile phones, iPhone, Blackberry™, Nokia™, iPad, Digital Cameras, PSP, ND, PDA, Mp3/Mp 4 player, GPS, Bluetooth headsets etc.
Robust and stylish rubberised case design
Single Reversable charge/discharge bungy lead.
10 detachable charging tips for the most popular devices
Simple one button operation
DC Input Port
Dual USB Output Ports
Remaining power leds
Solar charging led
Multiple protection charge/discharge and overcharge/undercharge

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Website: http://www.mobilesolarchargers.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mobilesolarchrg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MobileSolarChargers

I use my phone on a daily basis for a number of activities that range from checking Facebook & Twitter, to reading and sending emails.  I would be lost without it so am always on the lookout for ways to keep it protected.  Having something that is useful for more than just a case for my phone is even better, and that is where the Wallet Case from Sandberg comes into play.

The case itself is packaged in the usual Sandberg white box with a transparent plastic window on the front which gives you a decent view of the case itself.  The back of the box gives a few short lines of information regarding the case, which as usual, is available in several different languages.

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The case itself has a nice feel to it.  It is held closed by a magnetic strap, and it actually feels like quite a secure magnet.  The back of the case has holes for the camera and flash, as well as a small hole for one of the built-in mics.  On the inside of the flap that opens you have two spaces for cards of your choice, whether they be credit cards or reward cards, etc, and behind these slots, located by the spine of the case is a pocket that could be used for either more cards and/or cash.  The other side of the case has a cradle that is made from a textured plastic material that holds your phone in place.  There are slots available to all of the buttons and controls needed for phone use – each one allowing for decent access and none of the controls or buttons are in any way covered or not accessible.

After using the case for awhile, I am actually pretty fond of it.  I don’t like to use a bag too often, and having loose cards in pockets can result in them becoming bent, damaged, or even lost.  Knowing how protective I am of my phone, I always know where it is, whether I am at home or out and about.  This case means that I also know where my cash and cards are also – an added bonus if you ask me.  The case does a good job of protecting the phone also, which is something that you would probably want it to do primarily.  Even after use, the material that the case is made from is still fully intact and there is no sign of any damage at all.

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Although the price is a little steep (around £25) it does do the job, and it does it well.  I am sure, however, that you could find something that does the same job for a fraction of the price.  That is all that lets it down, in my opinion.  A great product at a not overly great price.

The Speak’n Go Earset from Sandberg is  made to not only provide you with the freedom of using your phone whilst keeping your hands free, but also to provide excellent call quality, with the added extra of using it to fill your ears with musical goodness.

The earset arrives in the standard Sandberg packaging – a see through plastic packaging that gives you a nice view of the product itself, with the ‘need to know’ information also included.  The front of the packaging shows that you can use the earset for handsfree conversation, and that the earset contains an inline microphone and answer button.  The back of the packaging provides a short paragraph about the headset – this information is also available in several different languages.

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Taking the earset out of the packaging, to be honest, if you have ever used a pair of earphones with your phone or an MP3 player, then you would already know what this earset is like.  It has the standard earphone feel to it, complete with the inline controls for use, and the 3.5mm connector at the end.  The earbuds themselves are the standard size earbuds, not the in-ear ones that are available nowadays.  Saying this though, the in-ear canal version of this earset is available from Sandberg, and both styles are available in a range of colours.

Comfort wise, this earset is not too bad.  I don’t have overly large ears and they stay in place as you would expect them to.  I am not sure, however, how they would feel to someone with smaller ears, or whether they would fit in place enough to be comfortable – the same with people who have larger ears.

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I used the earset to listen to some music from my phone and while the music quality was ok, it wasn’t the greatest I have heard.  Saying that, this earset is made for managing phone calls while on the go, and in that respect, they performed really well.  I had no complaints regarding the quality of my voice during phone calls, and I have no complaints in regards to the voice on the other end of the call.

Overall, this headset does what it was made for, very well.  Trying to use it for other tasks such as listening to music, etc, I don’t think would provide the satisfaction that you may be used to with other earphones.  For a handsfree headset for use when on the go, the Sandberg Speak’n Go does exactly what it says on the tin (and packaging).

I think it’s only fair that I start off this review by saying how much I love these Manhattan headphones from KitSound.  Out of all of the ones that I have reviewed, these are my absolute favourite!

First up, the packaging.  As with all of their products, KitSound know how to make their packaging stand out, but not in a bad way.  The front of the box has an image of the headphones, as well as a few tidbits of information regarding play time and call-handling.  The sides of the box gives some information in regards to where the name of the headphones came from, and the back of the box lists the features and specifications for the products, as well as the contents of the box.

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Speaking of the box contents… The headset is well packaged between two cardboard inserts that offer a high level of protection during storage and transit.  Pulling these pieces apart, the headset is there for you to see in all its glory, and it is a very glorious sight!  Also provided is a USB to Micro USB cable, a Micro USB to 3.5mm jack cable, and a user manual.

The headset itself feels great in the hand.  The fully adjustable headband is padded, but not too much, whereas the rotatable earcups have a nice amount of padding.  The earcups are fitted to the headband using a silver metal fastener, which is also used to adjust the size of the headband.  The cables that feed through the headband are a braided material rather than the rubber material that you find on other headphones – a really nice change as there is no chance of stretching and damaging the cable.  The earcups both sport the KitSound brand logo on the outside and the bottom of the left earcup has the Bluetooth On/Off switch, the Micro USB port, Forward/Back button which also couple as the Volume + & – buttons, the Microphone and the LED indicator.

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Setting up these headphones to use with my phone was rather straightforward.  Because they are wireless and include Bluetooth 2.1, they are compatible with most devices out there right now.  I set them up firstly with my HTC One and I had them working within 30 seconds.  It was just as quick setting them up with the iPhone as well.  If I did run into any issues, the user manual provides steps to get things paired. Getting used to the controls on the earcup took a little longer, but once I had got used to which way I had to press the button to change song/volume level, everything as fine.

Comfort wise, I cannot fault these headphones.  They are light enough to sit on my head and over my ears for hours of use with no discomfort from both the headband or the earcups.  The sound quality is pretty amazing, too.  I have used a few high priced pairs of earphones and the Manhattan’s are way up there with those.  There is a decent amount of bass, the music doesn’t sound tinny, and no matter what genre of music I tried them with, the music sounded as it should have.  Call quality is top notch too, both incoming and outgoing sound.

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The battery life on these headphones is impressive – 18 hours of play time, 30 hours of talk time, and up to 300 hours standby time!  Charging the headphones’ Lithium Polymer battery is as easy as hooking up the Micro USB cable to the port on the left earcup and the USB to a power source and you’re away.  The other thing that I love about the Manhattan’s is that if you are caught out with a low battery, you can simply hook up the Micro USB to 3.5mm jack cable and use them as wired headphones!

If you haven’t been able to tell already, I am in love with these headphones.  They have impressed me no-end since I started using them and I look forward to using them on a regular basis.  If you ask me, these are well worth the £34.99 price-tag, and more.  I HIGHLY recommend these to anybody looking for a decent pair of headphones at a decent price and with them being available in a range of colours, there is sure to be something to suit everyone!