Archive for the ‘Tablet’ Category

Following the successful launch last year, Photofast have raised the bar again with their new CR-8800. The MemoriesCable, for those of you that don’t remember, gave a new lease of life to iOS devices with low storage capacities and provided users – for the first time -with the ability to transfer files between iOS devices and an external storage medium.

The cable could also be plugged into any computer via USB to transfer content to the built-in memory and to be honest, it worked brilliantly. The companion app was a delight to use, with powerful copy tools, backup features and even a built in video player seemingly capable of playing all video codecs.

I couldn’t think of many drawbacks –  it really did bring removable storage to fixed storage iOS devices and it felt ground-breaking.

But there was one drawback.- only made so glaringly apparent by this new unit – and that’s true removable storage. More on that shortly.

Let’s get on with the unboxing!

The unit is very nicely packaged in a clear plastic box reminiscent of CD jewel cases:

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Anybody remember CDs? No? Nevermind…

The unit is absolutely tiny, only a little bigger than the micro-SD cards it uses:

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For comparison, here is the unit next to a 64GB Samsung Micro-SDXC card and adaptor that I bought for testing:

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Once plugged into your iPad/iPhone, iOS will prompt you to download the companion app, or, if already installed, to launch it.

The app used is the same, excellent One app from Photofast, first seen on the TechSpy in our MemoriesCable review:

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The same functionality is here as before, and I’m not going to go through all the features again, as we already have it in detail.

 

So what does the CR-8800 bring to the table over the MemoriesCable ?

True removable storage.

In my review of the Mio MiVue 518 dashcam, I had to use a USB card reader and a laptop to view the recorded videos on a larger screen. It was cumbersome but how often would I need to do that anyway?

The GoPro use case is much clearer. Let’s say I’ve gone out for a day mountain biking and I’ve recorded footage of my exploits on my GoPro. In the past, I would have had to finish for the day, go home and put the SD card into my computer before I could select and edit the clips.

Now I can do the selection and editing without a computer. Armed with just the CR-8800 and an iPhone / iPad, I can spend all day biking and recording, instantly discarding bad shots and editing good ones in the field (so to speak).

Other more mundane uses include DSLR video imports and AVCHD camcorder video imports, neither of which are possible using Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.

At only £32 at the time of writing, the CR-8800 is a steal. It’s well designed and comes backed with an established app with an extensive features list.

The CR-8800 is available now on Amazon

The Tech Spy rating:  9.5 /10

As an exclusive offer, The Tech Spy readers can get 15% off using the code: tts15off

 

It is amazing the things you can do on a tablet nowadays. The games you can play and the uses are endless. From talking to your friend half way across the world for free to editing a hi-res photo with professional detail while on the sofa listening to music. It makes me think of what did we actually do when we were younger? How did we survive? How did our parents keep us entertained?!

As a parent myself, it worries me that my child uses the iPad far too much and sometimes we all rely on it far too often. I have even seen my son walk up to a digital photo frame and swipe to the right to see the next picture, but left feeling slightly confused as it doesn’t work.

The question is, are children nowadays too reliant on modern technology and is the imagination that I think we had, going to be lost to a processor? This question can only be answered as time goes by and we see what happens to the next generation.

All is not lost though…A company called Tangible Play (made up of old Google staff) have released Osmo, a new crowd funded app for kids that encourages ‘real world’ play. It allows the user to pick up things and build using their hands, thanks to a mirror attachment which turns the iPad’s camera to view the surface where your child is playing.

Recently I have looked around the App Store and failed to find anything that is different or breaks boundaries, but this app is very different and we should stand up and take notice.

All of the games to be used with this kit are optimised for ages 6-12 but each game has a varying range of difficulty. Take Newton, it’s a physics game, which uses the same concept as “Cut The Rope” where players can use any object, from lines on a piece of paper to a toy or even their own hands to control the stuff on screen. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pen to get started.

Tangram, is a game where puzzle pieces in the real world must be matched to the shapes on screen. The kit comes with an iPad stand and mirror connector and promotes your child’s creativity as suddenly the brain is thinking in many dimensions!

I do not only love this as a educational toy for my kids, but also as a concept in itself. It is not often you get something that comes along that breaks the mold and creates a whole new genre of games….this might just be that thing.

Available now on the Osmo Website for $49. This is a steal considering what you get and of course this will double once pre-orders have been fulfilled. The company is concentrating on developing the apps, but will eventually open this up to developers to create their own games….so watch this space.

Check out the Osmo video

 

 

So winter is finally drawing in here in London, so when better to sit down in front of the fire with my new super light iPad Air. Once again I am faced with the age old question….”Which case do I buy for my iPad?”.

Well this time I had the opportunity to cover the ZAGG Folio Keyboard for the iPad Air (thanks Richard) and it hasn’t disappointed.

From the second you hold the box in your case, it is immensely satisfying how it has even been packed, allowing you to open the case and view it in the shop as it discreetly opens like a book with its magnetic clasp allowing you to touch the product before you buy.

The ZAGGkeys Folio is a mere 7.6mm thin and only 17.7mm, when holding your iPad. This makes it one of the thinnest keyboards available on the market today but somehow have managed to keep it made of quite a hard wearing material that feels like leather. This case features a pivoting hinge that allows you to place your iPad at virtually any viewing angle, just like a laptop screen. Open it up, set it to your preferred angle, and just start typing as it is held in place wonderfully.

It amazes me how thin they have actually got this case and with the iPad inside, it feels like a fully blown netbook. The annoying thing with this is that it tricks the mind so much that I have found my finger so many times looking for the mouse touch-pad, regularly found on laptops. Even with this small form factor, the Zaggkeys manages to fit a 950 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery inside which the manufacturers say will last several months with normal usage….all I can say is that it hasn’t faltered with me yet, but I have tested the USB charger which comes with the device.

Along with the rigidity of the screen, one of my favourite things about this keyboard is the backlit keys. The keyboard connects to the iPad via Bluetooth and the cool backlit keys omit a blue/white light to sufficiently aid you in low light conditions and generally just look awesome.

The designers have opted for an island style of keys on the keyboard which as a Mac user I am very at home with. It seriously beats the likes of Microsoft’s Surface keyboard case as this was just unresponsive and you simply had to press hard for the keys to react.  The “F” keys are replaced with shortcut keys which work very well with the iPad Air. When closed, the iPad is fully protected as it sits inside its clamshell case.

In terms of weight, due to the iPad Air being so light, it is fine for me and really doesn’t make me think of the weight every time I pick it up. My only issue with this device is that it doesn’t angle into a tablet form, so you are constantly faced with taking the iPad out of the case to hold it in the manner that Steve Jobs himself wanted you to.

Apart from this small issue, I cannot see anything else wrong with the device, it performs better than any of the cases in the same field, it’s light and protects your iPad from most falls and impacts and still manages to look and feel like a premium product.

The iPad Air Folio Keyboard case by Zagg, available now at £99 in black or white. Zaggkeys-Cover-image-001

So the new set of iPads are out and man do they not disappoint! TheTechSpy couldn’t believe when we first picked up the Air how light it was and secondly how much it felt like an iPad Mini with its new slimline bezel.

Well, now the iPads are out, we all turn to new accessories for our new tablets and where better to start than a cover to protect it!

Now of course, iPad cases and stands are literally “two a penny” but not all are worth their weight in gold. Some disappoint in the way they protect, others just the way they look, but some just simply don’t make the grade.

Well, the guys over at NewFlux Designs think they have come up with the ultimate stand/case.

The Flux + Flap uses magnets to secure it in place as the designers wanted to get round the problem of stands just not standing up properly. We have all been there, leaning our tablets up against anything we can, as the stand is just not good enough to prop up the device at the angle we want.

The design consists of a durable polycarbonate case which the iPad can be detached from at any point which has been aimed at gamers. Once attached to the case again, the product uses magnets to keep itself in position and can be held in portrait or landscape in a number of different angles simply by sliding the iPad through the cross section.

We love this case as it is so versatile and gives you the freedom to not only protect your iPad but quickly detach and remove it. The case will work with iPad 2,3,4 and the Mini and will be ready for the Air and Mini Retina at launch. Head on over to Kickstarter as the early bird pledges with go very quickly as they start at $49 and are delivering in April 2014.

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One of the main reasons the “tablet” has become such a success in the computing industry is that they are so easy for absolutely anyone to pick up and start using. As techies all over the world picked up either a Kindle or iPad way back when, we all started to realise that this could solve the issue of most of us being the older generation’s free IT support.

Think about it, I am sure your parents and grandparents have a laptop or computer and at some point have called on you for some assistance as they have been attacked by a virus or just stumbled upon an error message that “they didn’t do anything” to make happen.  Devices like the Kindle and iPad give older users all the capabilities of internet, book reading, videos, games and music all on in a very safe and easy environment. Once set up, they can pretty much just get on sending emails and surfing the web with a device that doesn’t needed to be booted up or maintained the same as a computer.

The Kindle HDX is the new offering in this arena. Debuting in 7 and 8.9″ configurations with higher resolutions of 323 ppi (1,920 x 1,200) and 339 ppi (2,560 x 1,600) and weighing in at a feather-weight 13 ounces and running the Fire OS, this really is a cool little device. The HDX has a micro USB connection with the 7″ variety having a front-facing camera and the 8.9-inch version having front and back facing which includes an 8mp one on the back that’ll shoot 1080p video with an LED flash and stabilisation.

Under the hood we still see a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor but double the RAM of the last version at 2GB. The battery promises to squeeze 11 hours, but if you go into reading mode apparently you get a mental 17 hours of battery time.

One of the most interesting things about this tablet is the support it now offers called Mayday, working 24/7 365 days a year working wonderfully for the less tech-savvy. A tech advisor appears on your screen to help you sort out your problem. The support advisor can see your display, but not you. He will walk you through the steps, drawing circles and pointing to where you have to click. The advisor can take full control if you wish which represents a huge step forward for this device.

Both versions are available now for pre-order, with the 7″ version starting at $229 when it starts shipping October 18th in the US. The 8.9-inch version won’t ship til November 7th and will cost you $379. Add $100 to either, and you’ll get 4G but UK pricing and availability has not yet been confirmed.

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