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Mobile prices keep goin up and up, but our options in the midrange are getting better and better. This summer the iPhone SE 2020, the OnePlus Nord, the Poco F2 Pro are all great options for under £500 and it makes me wonder, who really needs a flagship phone these days?
As a hardcore Android fan, I've never used an iPhone as a daily device, which I'e often thought was an issue, for someone evaluating technology and specifically mobile phones. I never thought I'd see Apple launch a device in the under £500 price range though, so when they did, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to try iOS out!
After using it for a week, I have a bit of a surprise... if I'm very honest, which I try to always be, I started kind of enjoying iOS!
Obviously, this is a tech site, as is my YouTube Channel. This year though, I've started to take getting healthy and losing weight very seriously. If you follow my YouTube channel you'll have seen big differences in me since March this year as I've lost over 6 stone in weight.
This is done using a pretty simply theory of move more, eat less, but of course it's not as simple as that. Eating less should also include eating the right things. I now check the calories on pretty much everything I eat and have found a few companies that help me control my calorific intake which makes the weight loss much easier to control. Here are the main companies I use. If you're going to try them (and I honestly recommend you do) then please use my affiliate links 👍
Over the past couple of weeks I've been upgrading various parts of my kit, enabling me to make better quality YouTube videos (hopefully!). I got a new Panasonic Lumix GH5 for better video. I invested in Adobe Creative Cloud for better video editing software in Premiere Pro and After Effects. Then I wondered, can I do any better with my mic?
For the last year or two I've used my Rode NT1 for my videos and the sounds is pretty damn great from it, but it does somewhat get in the way. I'm also tethered to my desk with it needing to be plugged in to my PC. Maybe a shotgun mic was needed?
I know it might seem odd an Android site with an article about Apple AirPlay, but I do have a MacBook and sometimes I get sent gadgets to play with that perhaps don't warrant a full video but are still kinda handy. This MagicEther Wireless dongle is one such device.
I've used many Xiaomi devices over the years and the software has always been a dealbreaker. Almost always they have good hardware, especially for the price you pay, but the software has always been rather clunky and more than I could bare for a daily device. But as I recently used the Redmi k20 Pro with MIUI 10 I started to think 'maybe this aint so bad!'
You might be aware, Im trying to lose wieight. A big part of that is my diet and controlling the amount of calories I eat. This of course means cutting out lots of things, I don't eat much bread these days, not much sugary products and in fact my evening meal was often a fruit & veg smoothie I would make myself.
I was very interested though, when I read about a lot of people using Huel as meal replacements. Some people would go so far as having pretty much nothing but Huel! I was interested in perhaps replacing my smoothie with Huel, so placed an order of two packs, Vanilla and Mixed Berry.
I'm not a huge action camera user, but having said that, I have a motorbike and sometimes do track days, I cycle and occasionally do things like karting or paintball, when an action cam is handy to have. Up to this point the default choice if you want quality footage was a GoPro of some form. A month back I was considering upgrading my GoPro HERO 4 Black as I tended not to use it due to the batteries being worn and not lasting more than about 15 minutes and it generally just being old and out of date. So, the obvious choice was the GoPro HERO 7 Black, right?
I have a mixed history with OnePlus. I loved the original and named it my phone of the year for 2014. I then bought the OnePlus 2 and was somewhat disappointed. I didn't buy another until the OnePlus 6T a few months back and actually really liked it. It might have been my daily if the fingerprint sensor worked for me, but alas, it worked only about 20% of the time, so now my brother has that as his daily device.
The along came the OnePlus 7 Pro. It wasn't really on my radar until MKBHD said it was his phone of the year so far. That's pretty high praise, so I watched a few more reviews and thought it was worth a go. I love OnePlus' near stock software and their build quality is generally good, so I had high hopes. I have to say, I think my hopes were met! One of the first things I realised was just how beautiful a device it is. It's the first phone... well, maybe ever, that I've not wanted to cover up with a skin!
If I'm honest, I don't really know how much this matters to most people, but I like to play with the latest tech, so for a while now I've had my sights set on upgrading my YouTube channel to 4K video. For this I initially though I simply need two things. A 4K Compact Camera (for the close up shots of the gadgets) and a 4K Webcam (for the footage of me). So, I had my eye on the Logitech Brio 4K Webcam on Amazon. Annoyingly I missed it on Prime day, but it was reduced for Black Friday and I got it for £110.
I don't really visit Kickstarter or Indiegogo very often, I don't think I should, mainly because I don't fully understand them. They're not a shop, right? I'm sure people much smarter than me have lost money on projects in the past, why would I risk it? But, every now and then a product appears that pursuades me to take the risk and the TAIHE Gemini Portable 'On-the-go' Monitor is one of those projects.
I was recently reminiscing about previously owned devices, all the way back to my first Android the HTC Hero. One device that stood out as a milestone in many ways was the Google Nexus One. I recell it's super fast processor, it's amazing design and it's multi coloured LED track ball. Full of excitement, I bought one on eBay!
I can't lie, I'm a bit of a sucker for a gimmick on a phone, so when I saw the Huawei Mate 20 Pro had reverse wireless charging, the ability to turn your phone into a wireless charging pad, I knew I had to give it a go.
Yesterday I finished my video review of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro but I realised I'd not really tried reverse wireless charging. The review was already close to 30 minutes long, so I figured I had better deal with this separately. This morning I've been using it to charge my Pixel 3 XL and here are some of my findings.
It's quite chunky at almost 30 minutes long, but there was a lot to discuss!
Does the amazing hardware make up for the janky EMUI 9.0? Is the camera really that good? Does the massive 4,200mAh battery best the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for lastability?
Watch the review to find out!
I've had my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for about a month now and I still really like it. There are a few things that annoy me a little, mainly around Samsung Experience, their own skin that replaced Touchwiz. Still, I thought I would take a look at the Pixel 3 XL and I would have one of my classic head to heads over Samsung's flagship and Google's flagship, pick my favourite and that would be my new phone into the new year. Then I watched a few videos on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro...
"Hi guys, Andy here..."
You might have notice, but I've been quite busy through September. Not only did I have a Note 9 and Pocophone F1 to review, but I came across many different gadgets such as the HyperX Cloud Flight Headset, a variety of CHOETECH accessories as well as my new Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise cancelling headphones. Throw in a few amazing apps and there was at least one video released every day of September! Infact, I think I counted 43 videos in total released last month. Busy!
If you've not seen them yet, go check out my channel!
I can't lie, I've been a big fan of the Note series since the Note 3. Funnily enough, I had the original Note but thought it was too big and ugly. Didn't even bother getting the Note 2. I have then loved the Note 3, 4 and 5.
I had a Note 7 on order, but Carphone Warehouse mucked me about with my delivery date and I cancelled... just before they started bursting into flames. In a stroke of good timing, the Pixel XL came out and I bought that and followed it up with the Pixel 2 XL.
This year, partly because of what I see from the Pixel 3 XL leaks I decided to go back to the Note 9 and see how they've progressed since the Note 5.
I'm trying to make more of an effort with social media in general recently. I've posted a few times on Facebook in the last week, I've been putting some bits on Google+ and now I've signed up a specific account for AndroidAndyUK on Instagram!
Be sure to follow me.
I've been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for over a week now and I can honestly say I love it. Whilst it's one of the heaviest devices I've ever owned, it doesn't really feel bulky in the hand. The screen is huge, bright and vibrant, the stereo speakers are loud and clear even containing a little base, the camera is up their amongst the best and the battery is now a monster with enough power for me to go two days without charging.
I thought I'd write a little something, just in case you've just emerged from a cave and hadn't seen the Pixel 3 XL leaks that have come from some Russian guy, who is apprently now trying to sell the Pixel 2 XL for around $2,000!
Really there are two things that have caught people's eye from the leaks. The main talking point seems to be the 'notch'...
I'm aware I've not posted much recently and now along comes loads of news in the same week. Let's start with a nice simple one, my thoughts on the Note 9 announcement.
Althought my last two devices have been Pixels, I owned the Note 3, 4 and 5 with the Note 3 and Note 5 being two of my favourite devices I've ever used. I don't think I even used a Note 7 or 8 though and having seen some videos on the Note 9, I have to say I'm really tempted to move back to Samsung.
It's been quite a big week for Google releasing new apps this week. It was only a few weeks ago they released a new (and improved?) Google News app, well this week we've been blessed with two more media consumption apps from the Big G.
The first I will mention is Google Podcasts. Previously Google would have us use Google Play Music for listening to our favourite podcasts, even then, it would only work if you're in the US. The rest of us had no options. Now, they've finally released a stand alone app for us to listen to our favourite podcasts on, like AndroidAndyUK (pictured to the right) for example!
The first thing you notice is it's a nicely presented app with a neat and simple layout. At this point though, it's not just the layout that's simple, the app itself seems rather bare. You search for an app you want and then subscribe.
There are features coming though. I don't know if it's official or I've just heard a rumour, but the hope is in the future it will transcribe all podcasts and you would be able to search for a particular discussion and jump right to it. Now that would be pretty cool!
The good people at BenQ got in touch with me this week to see if I'd like to try their new eReader Lamp. I wasn't really sure what that meant, but of course said I'd love to! What it actually is, is a table lamp that sits on top of your monitor. It's not quite as simple as that though, the BenQ ScreenBar eReader Lamp has five important features to make it stand out from other lamps.
The BenQ ScreenBar eReader Lamp features the following -
Up until very recently I thought it was too expensive to go 4K. I remember last year I noticed some quite nice 4K TV's for around £600, but decided against it as there still wasn't much 4K content available. I'm not sure what really changed my mind this month, but I upgraded both our living room TV (55") and my bedroom TV (40") to 4K HDR and wow... amazing! It's not even the 4K content, the 1080p I watch looks outstanding! I now understand what people mean when they say it looks too real. It's hard to explain, but every now and then you get a shot that just looks so real, you expect the director to walk in shouting 'cut!'.
It all began about 6 months ago when my brother splurged on a pair of Bose QC 35 ii's for his hour plus commute to work. Now, I remember hearing Bose noise cancellation before, a demo somewhere, sometime, but I don't remember it being as impressive as it was when I reviewed his Bose headphones. I almost instantly ordered my own set.
I then realised they weren't as perfect as I thought. Playing games I noticed quite a delay in the sound, from firing a bullet to hearing it fired was around a third of a second. It doesn't sound much but actually it's quite off putting. Also, ask a gamer what he thinks of playing competitively with a 300+ ping! So began my hunt for the perfect wireless noise cancelling headphones!
Google I/O has been on this week and with it came the beta release of Android's latest OS update, Android P. At this point we don't know what P will stand for, we don't even know what version this will be, will it be 8.2 or Android 9?
Some good news for non-Pixel types though, Android P Beta is available on many more phones than it's been allowed on in the past -
|Google Pixel||Google Pixel XL||Google Pixel 2||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|OnePlus 6||Essential PH‑1||Sony Xperia XZ2||Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S|
|Nokia 7 Plus||Oppo R15 Pro||Vivo X21|
I think it's very interesting to see OEM's like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo on the list, well done Google!
Many people in the UK have never heard of Xiaomi, but they're actually the worlds 5th largest smartphone company with revenue of $15 billion in 2017. They aren't just limited to smartphones either, my pedometer is a Xiaomi product for example. They make drones, TV's, laptops and air purifiers to name just a few other products.
If you watched my Redmi 5 Plus review from last week, you'll already know that buying Xiaomi devices over here in the UK is a slow process, taking weeks and including a income tax Russian Roulette element when receiving the device. Maybe soon that will all change though.
At a recent 'Hack in the Box' security conference in Amsterdam, two researchers called Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of the firm Security Research Labs revealed the results of a two year long investigation into Android security patches by vendors. In their study, they examined the firmware of 1,200 Android devices, to see if the patch level quoted in the OS was actually the patch level found on the device for patches released in 2017. They found what they call a 'patch gap' in many of the well known OEM's devices.
Every now and then I get asked about what equipment I use to make my YouTube videos. Well, once I got asked. Okay, once I told someone and now I'm going to tell you...
It doesn't take a huge amount of money to get a decent setup, but you do need to spend a little. If I get to a YouTube video and the lighting means the camera can't focus or the person can barley be understood as the audio is that bad, I quite often just move on. I think my setuo can be had for around £500, which I think is reasonable if you're serious about YouTube videos. So, lets take a look at the kit.
Interesting timing, the day after I record my video about online security that Cloudflare and APNIC announce they have a simple way for everyone make themselves more secure and private online and it can be done in a matter of minutes. It was also quite interesting that they chose to announce it on April 1st... so many people took the news to be a joke!
Until last year I hadn't really thought about passwords, how they're stored online and what are the best ones to pick are, but then I needed to code them into my website. I thought it was interesting enough to share with everyone, to hopefully help keep people safer online.
There are really 4 ways you can be compramised (I missed one in the video below)
I don't feel the review video went as well as most I do, but hopefully you get a good feel for my opinion.
So do I like it? Generally, I'm quite a fan actually. The main negatives people give are the screen and design, but I can't say the screen was an issue for me and the slightly larger bezels don't bother me.
On the plus side, I love the portability, I love the gestures, I love the backlit keyboard and I'm just about coping with MacOS which is actually nice and smooth, even on what is considered the 'budget' MacBook.
I think I could definitely be tempted when a 2018 version comes out and I am also on the lookout for a cheap second hand iPhone, but I promise you, it's only for helping with my iOS coding development, I'm not switching sides!
Come and let me know what you think on my forum post about my MacBook.
I actually enjoy debugging code... mostly. I think you need to if you're going to be a programmer, you spend too much of your time doing it!
I'd noticed this week that the 'accordion' effect wasn't working consistently on this front page. Sometimes you could click something and it wouldn't open. Then you would open new articles but the others didn't close.
Someone had mentioned to me that the navbar broke with the latest version of Bootstrap, but I wondered if this update would fix my accorion woes, so this morning I updated Bootstrap.
It did break the navbar, but that was quite easy to fix. In fact, now it's much better, on a mobile you don't get an oversized bar, covering half the site, you get a little drop down menu button instead!
I also realised the collapsing accordion code had totally changed, so I went through each of these news items and changed the code! Okay, they bit wasn't all that fun, but it's done the job!
Now I need to see if I can be bothered to do it for the 'Show more news' bit at the bottom... that's a lot of work!
In the mean time, please report any bugs you find in the coding forum. Thanks!
Not a video I had thought I would ever be making, but don't worry, I explain why...
Do you think it was a good idea? Why not come and discuss it with me on my forum post?
I've set up a forum, giving you all a new way of discussing tech and interests with me and others.
Simply click on 'Forum' in the Navbar at the top, register and post away! If you'd like me to look into reviewing something, let me know!
I'm sure it comes as no surpsise that I enjoy making videos. Also, one of the main reasons I have a Pixel 2 XL as my main device is the camera on it, as this is often the main tool of my personal video creation.
One thing you generally want when creating video, is a nice smooth frame. The Pixel has fantastic video stabilisation, but nothing can compare to an actual gimbal, so when I saw this Zihyun Smooth-Q Gimbal for only £99, I thought I had to try it!
It has three modes, each one locking different axis -
Don't forget the massive 26,000mAh battery giving a quoted 12 hours of smooth recording or you can use it to keep you phone battery topped up, while in use!
All in all, it really is a capable little device, which copes just fine with a phone the size of the 2 XL. It's quite impressive how smooth it is, even as I jog along using it and well worth the money if you also love making videos.
My latest video is a request from someone, asking me to make a video of what I have installed on my phone. You ask. I deliver!
The highlights, the daily used essential apps are -
Do you have any essential, daily use apps? Why not let me know about them.