Posts Tagged ‘GPS’

Hot off the heels of the Mio 658, we now have the pleasure of testing the Mio 638 Touch which is equally as impressive as its bigger brother.

In my last review I started off by not being that persuaded by the whole dash cam revolution. After testing the 658 and now living with the 638, I am a dash cam believer.

I strongly believe that these will either be part of future cars or be something that will be required by law or at least your insurance company.

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Let’s start off with the fact that these Mio devices are so easy to set up. I literally took this out of the box, plugged it in and stuck it on my windscreen and I was away. Of course you do need to plug in a micro SD to get going and maybe tweak a few of the settings, but apart from that their is nothing else to do.

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The 638 looks to be exactly the same body as the 658 but with a few different features. This model has two micro SD card slots allowing for a capacity of 128gb (class 10 recommended). I will say that you do not need two SD cards for this to function as we have also tested with just one. When I first looked at the technical spec I thought this would be for huge capacity but this is not the case and really would not have been necessary for this reason. Instead the second slot is for backup, taking footage from the first just in case. I suppose its bigger brother does this via WiFi straight to the phone which is a very cool feature, but we won’t always have our phones at hand in the car or connected, so this way probably makes more sense for most people.

The Full HD 1080p camera records your journey as soon as you start the car. It takes a few seconds for the GPS to pick up satellites but this wasn’t an issue at any point.

The 638 has a button on the side of the screen very much like the majority of Mio devices. When pressed it takes a copy of the latest event, storing it for you under the “Events” folder for later viewing in the software. The filesystem is very easy to understand separating all necessary events into folders.

This dash cam comes with speed camera notifications which others in its field do not include so it is a welcome addition. The camera itself sits on the windscreen, best placed under the rear view mirror. When recording the screen shows your current speed instead of what it is recording in front of you. I have seen other comments on the web with people saying they would have liked to have seen the footage and cannot understand why you would need a speedometer when you car has one already, but I think that seeing what I am recording in front of me would just be off-putting where as not a lot of people know that the speed shown by GPS devices is actually more precise that your cars own.

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The speedometer can be changed from kilometers to miles but the 638 does seem to suffer with the same software issue as the 658 along with its very own. Firstly shared with its bigger brother is the fact that for some reason when a speed camera notification is displayed on screen it shows 2mph lower than the actual limit. For example, if I was driving up to a speed camera in a 30mph zone, the 638 shows a big traffic sign on screen with 28 in it…I really am perplexed as to why the devices are doing this.

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Secondly, although I have changed kilometers into miles in settings and it happily shows me my speed in miles on the main screen, when the safety camera notification comes up it insists on telling me in kilometers and I see no way of changing this. I am sure this can be easily fixed via a software update…..come on Mio pull your finger out.

Although the safety camera alerts need a few little tweeks, this doesn’t stop them from being a seriously good feature of this device. Not only will it alert within a certain distance which you of course can amend, you can even add cameras that you come across to the database so that it will come up in future for you.

The dash cam can be used to take pictures at any point by touching the little camera icon on screen. This would primarily be used to take pictures of your car when damage has occurred or while mounted on the windscreen if you want to take a picture of anything in front of you.  Here is an example of the picture quality at night.

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Night picture

 

Along with the GPS, Mio have included a G-Sensor inside to pick up any collisions or hard braking that may occur. I tried with a little bit of emergency braking and the system worked well. The device notified me with a “ting” sound that it had saved that recording to the SD card for me to look at later.

Now I know if you are reading this then you are technically inclined and would want this stuffed with every bit of tech available to man, but really their is no point to this camera if the footage is not very good, so here it is in full glory;

Day Footage:

Dark Footage:

 

The device allows you to decide whether you want sound recorded in the car, we have toggled this feature off.

I do like this camera and think that pretty much everyone will get on with it. The instructions are not the best, but we come across a lot of devices like that nowadays. This wouldn’t sway me from recommending it or buying it as it is so easy to set up out of the box.

If Mio can sort out the software issue concerning speed units, then we will have ourselves an almost perfect dash board camera.

If you are looking for a Dashcam for your car, this is one of the best I have reviewed.

TheTechSpy Rating: 7/10 (8.5/10 if they get the units updated)

Currently around £149 in the UK.

 

 

It still amazes me that with all the tech stuffed inside our phones and all these expensive materials used to build them, they still break so easily.

We all know someone who is walking around with a cracked iPhone screen trying to find the cheapest way to get it fixed. I once saw an iPhone 5 fall off of a colleague’s desk straight onto the carpeted office floor. It dropped no more than 80cm to the floor and the result….a completely cracked screen.

So when this particular case was brought to our attention, we had to have a little look.

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The Quadlock case is called this due to its locking mechanism which attaches the specially designed case that you put onto your phone, directly to the mount. This in turn can then be attached to different hosts and one thing is for sure, once locked in place (which is very easy) the phone is very securely attached indeed.

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The first thing I thought about when I opened the packaging was how I was going to live with having the case that Quadlock supply constantly on my iPhone 6 as it would just be annoying replacing it every time I went out for a run or cycle. I started to instantly dismiss the idea of ever owning a kit like this.

But after two weeks of having the case on my iPhone, I really like the feel of it. It has beefed the phone up in the right way and I actually find myself holding the phone more because of it. Even as a standalone case this would protect your iPhone, but I do wonder whether dust and dirt will eventually collect inside the lock section. But in two weeks of use this hasn’t happened and on further inspection it would be quite easy to clean.

I have had no issues docking the phone on my nightstand with the case on, as it is unobstructive and really doesn’t increase the size of the iPhone that much at all.

As you can see from the front it looks like a normal case which even has a small lip to ensure that if you place the phone down on its screen, it won’t actually touch the surface protecting the screen from scratches.
Quadlock make an attachment for cycling, running, driving and of course even selfie taking. I have got the cycling attachment which fits onto the middle of the handle bars by two very strong bands. The company supply two sizes of band to cater for most bikes. The size I have gone for was quite tough to put on but I would say this is a good thing as the attachment is now sat firmly in place and that baby is going nowhere.

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You secure the phone into place by pulling the little blue sleeve down (shown in the picture) which is on a spring so immediately snaps back into place. The Quadlock easily slots in and holds the phone firmly. This is very well designed and I would be perfectly happy cycling with this in front of me with no worries of it ever coming off or even sliding with any turbulence you may encounter on your ride.

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Along with the case and lock mechanism, the company even supply a nice rubberised clear case which can be attached to the whole setup to protect the iPhone even further while cycling. I suppose if you were out cycling and it was raining this would aid protection from the elements, but I will admit I have not tested it with rain so cannot confirm.

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The Quadlock can be purchased for all iPhones from 4 to 6 Plus and the Galaxy S4/5, so it would be ideal if you were using the phone for directions and its GPS capabilities.

I do like the idea of being able to use this on a run and even to hold my phone in my car rather than the traditional annoying phone holders due to its ease, rigidity and solid feel, but you will have to get used to your hand going behind the device to unlock it out of place where the gap is quite tight.

All in all we love this product, not only is it a nice case within its own right, but it also serves the purpose it was built for allowing you to travel with your smartphone safely in play.

It’s the right price for a solid product, well done Quad Lock

TheTechSpy Rating – 8/10

TheTechSpy never thought he would be reporting on an item of luggage, but it is time to introduce this little baby.

It was only a matter of time before someone was going to do this as it is an arena which has been fairly untouched by Tech and in need of a shakeup.

Introducing the Bluesmart carry on case with some serious in-built features that you just wouldn’t expect. Let’s start off with the “smart” part of the case. This piece of luggage will connect to your smartphone allowing you to not only digitally control the lock, but also track its location. With this, it also has a built in proximity sensor which will alert you via your phone if you stray too far from your case or if it indeed strays from you.

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The team are promising smartwatch apps which will show all the information that your phone would display but on your wrist. I would be particularly interested in this as when moving around the airport is not always convenient to pull out your phone.

You can tell the team behind this have really sat down and researched what is wrong with the current design of luggage. A great feature to show this is the digital lock which will tell you if your case has been opened, so you will always know if the authorities have been through your case. The lock is also TravelSentry approved and has a feature that when you move away from it, the case will automatically lock for extra security.

The case itself has an in-built digital scale that when you hold the handle and lift the case, will provide the weight information directly to your phone app, hopefully stopping all those unwelcomed airport charges.

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Inside, the firm have provided easy access spaces for your laptop or tablets and a hidden removable battery that can be connected to your phone to recharge on the move. We would have loved to have seen some kind of recharge of this batter via the rolling of the wheels. It would be cool to get a little charge back for the work you are doing pulling it around the airport.

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As a basic case, this has been built to a very high standard. The team have opted for 4 wheels to improve the way this case moves around and used anodised aluminium and polycarbonates to keep the case lightweight.

All in all this is an awesome smart suit case which you can carry onto the aircraft. But the things to consider here are firstly the ever changing rules of the airlines which at the moment here in the UK can force you to check the baggage in. Secondly, the company are yet to confirm the warranty details, which for the likes of Samsonite are set at 10 years and over. Last but not least is the August 2015 delivery via Indiegogo….these crowdfunding campaigns have a horrible habit of taking longer to deliver than promised so expect this to go over its target.

With all this being said, $235 + $40 shipping (£170ish) is a cheap punt to take on a product that could revolutionise this sector.

I have never been so excited by luggage…..take notes Samsonite, this case is a glimpse of the future.

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It was only a few years ago when we were all playing CD’s in our cars, with our glove boxes crammed with alphabetised CD holders to store our delicate discs. We were all worried about every bump in the road that would skip our prized collection while out on a summer’s day.

Now in 2013 things are very different! Technology has left no industry untouched and cars are really starting to see a massive change to keep up with these advancements.

Pioneer, no stranger to being top of the market have now released the AVIC-F50BT….the all singing, all dancing powerhouse for your motor.

This in-dash unit (type 2 DIN) has a motorised 7″ multi-touch, hi-Res, anti-glare display which looks amazing day or night. Packing a CD/DVD drive it will play films (DIVX) and music alike and even has a GPS chip in-built for navigation. The maps come pre-installed for 45 countries and will include 9.2 million POI’s and TMC traffic receiver for a superb navigational experience.

In terms of connections, it’s probably easier for me to list what it can’t have connected, but then that would be no fun at all. So here is the list;

– Bluetooth – Hands-free calling, music streaming via A2DP and phone book transfer.

– Micro SD/USB slots/Aux in – Playback functionality

– HDMI – Android smartphone connection

– 2 rear auxillary inputs

– iPhone/iPod connection – charging, music and video playback

– Steering wheel button connection – Using the factory fitted buttons to control the head unit.

Using its dual zone entertainment facility, you can display films on rear screens for any passengers you are carrying. It will also allow you to input climate and parking sensor data onto the screen (with compatible cars) to further integrate this monster into your car. A mic is included in the box to aid with audio setup using the inbuilt AUTO EQ for the best possible sound which shows Pioneer’s experience in this area creeping into the design.

My one gripe with these in-car units is security is not normally high on the agenda. Unlike the old style head units which came away to put off any would-be thief, the screen based units normally proudly sat in place with no real security function. But, the F50BT is not only password protected, but has a detachable screen plate….well done Pioneer!

The big thing in cars at the moment is app mirroring and Pioneer have not left this out. This allows the user to use compatible apps directly on-screen through the connected smartphone. With the likes of Apple rumoured to be pushing Siri onto your dashboard, voice guidance and text to speech have been included.

This unit will not only look great but perform it too. At £899.99 in the UK, and with 18 languages in-built, this is a serious upgrade to any car, but expect this to go on sale when the Siri integration really starts to gain momentum.

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