The Battle of the Smart Keyboards

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Along with the new iPad Pro, two new accompanying first party accessories came along;  Pencil and Smart Keyboard Cover. Both highly anticipated and sought after, they sold out quickly after launch and both were fetching high prices on the Internet from third party sellers. If you are in the market for a precise input device (or stylus) for iPad Pro, Apple Pencil is an almost no-brainier. It is built especially for iPad Pro and takes advantage of technologies in the screen that no other third party accessory can, significantly reducing latency and allowing for tilt and pressure sensitivity usually only found on graphics tablets. On the other hand, the Smart Keyboard has competition that Apple has readily asked for. With the inclusion of the Smart Connector on the bottom of iPad Pro, Apple has opened up this technology to any third party manufacturer (that they have worked with of course). Therefore there comes a dilemma. Of the two readily available keyboards on the market, which one is better? The Logitech Create or the Smart Keyboard Cover?

First and foremost, let’s start with the typing experience. Here, the Logitech has the more traditional keyboard with chiclet style keys and a scissor mechanism which allows for ample travel on a small keyboard (about the same as the MacBook Air or Pro). On the other side, the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover incorporates technology first pioneered in the 12″ MacBook. A dome switch hidden under the custom-woven fabric. This fabric provides the spring-like tension for each key, removing the need for any traditional mechanism. This allows the keyboard to be dramatically thinner however means that there is significantly less travel making for an experience that is useable but many may find less traditional, requiring more of a ‘hit’ than a ‘press’ on each key. I honestly don’t mind either and have become accustomed to both however feel that coming from a MacBook Pro, the Create was easier to get used to as the keys are almost the same size as that on a MacBook Pro/Air and have almost the same travel, meaning it is more pickup and go. The Smart Keyboard gets some getting used to but after about 5 minutes I was typing at relatively the same pace as that on my MacBook Pro which is relatively fast. Touch typing also was quick to adapt to. One thing that UK or international users may want to note is that the Smart Keyboard is only available in an International/US Keyboard layout so has different sized return keys and a few keys are moved around. There is also no ‘£’ sign on printed on the keyboard however this can be accessed by doing ‘option shift 3’. I found this no different as I have used an International MacBook Pro for a while and have gotten used to it.

Design wise, the two are almost opposite ends of the spectrum. While one has been created for real portability and lightness, the other has been made for a great typing experience with all the knobs and buttons that you may need. The Smart Keyboard is really portable. If you are familiar of the weight of a Smart Cover, the Smart Keyboard feels less than what two Smart Covers weigh. It is also about the thickness of two Smart Covers when closed, making for a cover that feels almost like it hasn’t got a keyboard on it. I really liked this. It was really easy to flip out and after the first few times, I became used to flipping it open and doing the few folds it took to get it into the typing position. A few more folds and it was in a more upright position to view a movie and another fold and it was ready to go. The really nice thing also was that the connector to the keyboard was always in place, not requiring constant attaching and detaching. Don’t worry however, when the keyboard is not in its position, it does not register inputs so don’t worry about accidentally invoking something when you are watching a movie. There is only one colour of the keyboard available at the moment which matches the Space Grey model quite well and I’m sure Apple will bring out more colours in the future. Readers may want to note that the Smart Keyboard, like the Smart Cover, provides no protection for the back of the device and will likely not provide a lot of help in a drop. The back of iPad is a large aluminum surface that looks like it will be easily scratched and with the Smart Keyboard in place, I was constantly in fear of this occurring  (as I have experienced with my iPad mini before). I therefore was more conscious about where I was putting the device and did not slide the iPad around on surfaces. You can pick up a back case for iPad which I plan to do if I keep this case as it just seems really sketchy (as I am quite picky about the condition of my devices).

The Logitech Create on the other hand is all about that typing experience. It has great key travel but a really bulky design, making the iPad about 3x as thick as it was without the case and adding the weight of almost an iPad Air on top of that, if not another iPad Pro. It was a bulky case and the use of the lock and volume up and down buttons was a chore. Luckily, unlike the Apple Smart Keyboard, this one came with a row of function keys. Volume, brightness, home button, lock button and media controls adorn the top row allowing quick access to these various preferences. I really liked this feature. Along with this, the keyboard is backlit allowing it to be used easily in the dark without hunting for keys. This is a really nice feature however I don’t usually look at the keyboard to type so this isn’t a massive deal for me, however given the choice, I’d always prefer a backlit as it just looks more aesthetically pleasing. This backlights however isn’t like that on a MacBook. It only comes on for spurts of ~3s at a time. I’m guessing this has to do with battery life but it annoyed me when I was using it. Instead of staying on for the duration of the screen-on time, it would keep turning off. For some reason this annoyed me and made me want to keep pressing keys to wake it again. I wish somehow they could have made it so that it stayed on for longer. It also meant that if it was dark and you wanted to find a key you had to press any to find the key, sometimes undo the thing you just did or sometimes not as it didn’t register an input and then get on with what you wanted to do. At least on the Smart Keyboard, it instantly registered. I found the Create also had a certain ‘wake up time’ as waking the screen using the keyboard required a few taps of the space bar whereas the Apple Keyboard was straight on. The protection provided by the Create is pretty awesome however. All over protection is great and the nice woven fabric would probably take a beating before showing any really obvious marks. I know that Smart Covers can scratch and dent easily so I wouldn’t put it pas the Apple Smart Keyboard which I have already managed to scuff in the two weeks that I have had it (on the keyboard too, tsk tsk). One thing that remains to be seen as an issue is that every time you want to use the Create, you have to dock the iPad on its Smart Connector. While this may sound fine, I actually saw some wear to the connectors on iPad Pro. Nothing major, I mean it didn’t make the keyboard intermittent or anything, it just looked a lot more worn than I thought it would look. This wear issue also came when the iPad was to be used in the case with the back of the iPad on the keyboard itself in ‘easel’ mode. I saw no actual damage to the back of iPad but you could hear the noise of metal scraping against metal every time it was in this position that first I decided not to use this at all and eventually covered the bottom in some tape so that it could be here without risk of scratching the iPad. On the Create, if the iPad is knocked and forced over the keyboard, there is major risk of the bottom scratching against the sides which may not matter to some but made me feel very cautious about using it.

On both keyboards, the screen also only has one typing angle. While that position is fine for me, taller or shorter people may have to adjust their seating position, moving the iPad closer or father away to combat this issue or even having to prop the iPad up with books or other things lying around the office. Also, if this matters to you, the Create is a lot louder when typing.

These are two great keyboards but which will I choose? I think they both have great typing experiences and some may prefer the Create but I feel the Smart Keyboard is the winner for me. The main reason why I like it is its thinness and lightness which really mean that it is a lot more portable and more like a cover than a whole case. The Create’s weight and thickness made me consider replacing it fully with a MacBook Pro and that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted and needed it to be light enough to slip into a bag or carried around and not something that made my arms ache. iPad Pro is already so heavy. Why make it so much heavier?

I feel that you can’t really go wrong with either keyboard here so don’t worry if you can’t get both and try them out, you’re gonna love either one. Do let me know in the comments which one you got and why.

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Razer Nabu X Review

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The Razer Nabu X is Razer’s latest iteration of wearable device, packing all the features of the original Nabu apart from instead of the screen, there are three lights which light up in sequences to tell the user what the Nabu is doing or what is happening on your phone. These lights can be red, green or blue and you can customise the colours in the settings app for iOS and Android. I had a chance as a Razer Insider to buy the band for a low price and get it early. After a week of using the device, I report back:

I have here the black model. The band also comes in a white with gold trim model.

I have here the black model. The band also comes in a white with gold trim model.

The first thing you notice as you open the packaging is the weight of the device. It is remarkably light and can be worn easily without even noticing it is there. The rubber texture is pleasing to the hand and does not cause irritation (at least so far) and I have very sensitive skin so it would have shown something by now. The clasp is really easy to use and stays well enough that it isn’t going to fall off. You can clasp the strap on without too much effort which is very useful if you are putting the band on your main hand. If you haven’t used a smart band or worn a watch in a while, it will feel a bit weird but you soon get used to it and it doesn’t feel like it is there at all; what it should feel like. The band has a ribbed texture which is really nice but it does seem to have a texture that attracts dust (but I am being picky).

The clasp is really easy to use and feels great. Notice the slight wear on the end of the band where the Razer Logo is. I'm not sure what this material is but it seems to already have started to wear away which is kinda worrying... What will it look like a while from now?

The clasp is really easy to use and feels great. Notice the slight wear on the end of the band where the Razer Logo is. I’m not sure what this material is but it seems to already have started to wear away which is kinda worrying… What will it look like a while from now?

This tells me that I have only completed one of my three goals today.

This tells me that I have only completed one of my three goals today.

I think that a smart band has to feel great on the wrist or you won’t wear it and therefore it is a waste of money and out of the Jawbone UP and this, this seems to be the better pick as it is clasped to your wrist. Many a time I would wake up and my Jawbone UP would be the other side of the bed due to it falling off in sleep. I haven’t experienced it yet. Putting the band on is a bit harder as the Jawbone does not have a clasp and just slips on, but I feel that the benefits of the band staying on outweigh putting it on due to the fact that you don’t do it very often.

The setup of the band was really simple, just download the app, sign in and look for your device. Then set up the options to your liking. The only thing (that doesn’t affect performance or app use) is that the app is not optimised for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and therefore feels a bit outdated for a very new product. I am looking forward to seeing a newer app soon as it just doesn’t feel like the experience is complete.

The App is really easy to use (though there aren’t very many options to configure) and shows the details of the band (including battery charge of the band which is really useful), the notification settings, the alarm, sleep mode and social settings. The notification settings are a bit misleading as all iOS notifications come in as one colour (that’s all text messages, emails, FaceBook notifications etc) which I found a bit disappointing. With 3 lights of 3 colours, there could have been 27 different configurations but there are only three that can be used: three red, three blue and three green. You cannot configure which apps cause the notifications either as everything that goes into notification centre creates a notification. This caused a bit of trouble due to my Tumblr notifications coming in very regularly, meaning that battery life depleted very quickly. Also, do not enable ‘sleep mode’ until you are sleeping. This disables all step tracking and mutes all notifications. I mistakenly thought this was the ability for the band to track sleep which it is not (it does this by default).

Weirdly Razer created two apps for the Nabu X, a utility app and a fitness App. I think the idea is that if you download a third party App to show your fitness you can keep the utility one without having to keep the fitness part. not sure about this though...

Weirdly Razer created two apps for the Nabu X, a utility app and a fitness App. I think the idea is that if you download a third party App to show your fitness you can keep the utility one without having to keep the fitness part. not sure about this though…

A nice display of info about your day. Tapping gone any of the different categories will bring up stats about your day. This data is also integrated into the iOS Health App which is really useful for a whole overview from several different Apps.

A nice display of info about your day. Tapping gone any of the different categories will bring up stats about your day. This data is also integrated into the iOS Health App which is really useful for a whole overview from several different Apps.

Software updates for the band are done over bluetooth, with the update being downloaded to your phone and then transferred to the device. I think that it is very good that Razer pushes these updates to users as it could add extra features to the band that people request. The bluetooth has a good range as well, with my phone being across the room (5m from me) and the band still receiving notifications. I only felt that the charging cable was a bit weird; it is proprietary and can only be inserted one way. I don’t really know why this was needed (unless for water resistance) as the band could have easily housed micro USB. I worry about loosing the cable and therefore the use of the band as the cable can only be sourced through Razer.

The notifications are really nice compared to my phone. They feel like a light tap on your wrist telling you that something is happening without disturbing you too much and without telling others. It is much more preferable to the iPhone vibration which on the iPhone 6 can be quite loud. I put the phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ and notifications still came through which meaning that there were not two different vibrations going on in the pocket at the same time. I thought this was a lot better as I prefer a notification on my wrist compared to my pocket which can be quite distracting.

The three different colours can be seen easily through the band. Mine is set on medium brightness but this can be edited in the settings menu to either low, medium or high.

The three different colours can be seen easily through the band. Mine is set on medium brightness but this can be edited in the settings menu to either low, medium or high.

What I really love about this band is the fact that it doesn’t try to be everything. It does just enough and does that for the right price. It looks really understated and feels like a really premium product – and behaves like one. The Nabu X packs a lot of features into a small package that can change to your wrist size (which may increase as you grow). It does lack workout options which the UP had but has the same walking and sleeping graphs which help to show when your sleep was good or bad which are very useful to seeing when you are being most idle.

Understated and cool!

Understated and cool!

In conclusion, the Razer Nabu X is a really strong entry from Razer into the smart band category. I really like the feel and build quality of the band compared to its price and would recommend this not only for hardcore Razer fans, but also others who would like a good kick up the butt to start moving.

The 'smart' bit of the band

This can be taken out for cleaning or putting into another colour band which I think is great as the band could experience some severe wear and tear if used every day.

This can be taken out for cleaning or putting into another colour band which I think is great as the band could experience some severe wear and tear if used every day.

a-Jays Four Review

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Recently I have been going through a lot of headphones, and I mean a lot. When I got the iPhone 5 I got a pair of EarPods which were pretty good until they broke. I got another set of EarPods. They broke. I then went through another 2 after getting them from my iPhone 5S and most recently my 6 Plus. I needed something that might be able to last. You see, I listen to music a lot. My most played album has only been out a year and already has song counts way over 1000 on each song. That’s more than 48 hours spent listening to that album non-stop. Every morning I wake and listen to music so I need a pair of headphones that I can rely on.. And I think I may have found them.

The a-Jays are a midrange set of headphones which offer really good value for money

The a-Jays are a midrange set of headphones which offer really good value for money

The a-Jays aren’t cheap but they aren’t crazily expensive. I opted for the a-Jays Four as I didn’t see a lot of difference between the Four and the Five. I think the Five is capable of higher frequencies (which you may not even use in the real world) and is better suited for Android and Windows Phone (if you have them) as there are separate headphones made for them. I was recommended the a-Jays from my uncle who also listens to a lot of music (he has 3 full iPod Classics (yes you read that right) of music which is crazy!). He had had the same problem that I had, headphones constantly breaking.. Until he got these. He says that he has owned these for two or so years now and they haven’t let him down yet which I think is amazing, and therefore  actually more cost efficient (if my pair stand the same test of time).

The sound on the a-Jays is really quite good. Now I’m no audiophile but the sound I was getting was miles beyond the sound of the EarPods (which depending on your opinion might not be a great comparison) and everyone that I have handed them to has said that the a-Jays sound really nice. They hit the trebles well and really bring clarity to voices which is greatly appreciated. I hate a pair of earphones that is suited to only one type of music. Bass response is excellent in my opinion, you can really hear it but it is not excessive which is also really important. After listening to a large range of music and tv shows, I have found nothing that the earphones don’t sound good with; sometimes even excelling some really expensive headphones (I won’t mention names- *cough* Bang and Olufsen *cough*).

The design of the earphones also drew me to them. The first thing you will notice is the fact that they have a flat ‘noodle’ cable which is supposed to be tangle free. Let me just say that in the whole time I have had the headphones (which is about a month), they have not tangled once. They haven’t started to develop ‘weak spots’ like my EarPods where you could see the wire was stressed. A word of advice however, if you are going to get these in white, don’t expect them to stay white. My uncle’s was a grey-white combo when I saw them and it actually was slightly repulsive. I would always go black (I had same experiences with the EarPods). The only problem I found with the thick cable was that the earbuds were very prone to falling gout of your ears due to the weight. Make sure you get a tight fit so that they can support it! The remote is placed exactly right which is the same as many other manufacturers and the buttons are clicky, getting the right response to make sure that you know what you are doing (they use the standard iPod controls; up vol, down vol and the middle button which can be used to do an any number of things).

A nice design; big and clicky however the built in mic is not great quality

A nice design; big and click however the built in mic is not great quality

In ear headphones are often criticised for the fit that they have. Not with these guys! My box had five different sets of buds which made sure that you got the right fit. This I think is really important because you can get the most expensive earphone sin the world but if they don’t fit, where are you going to go from there? Mine fit perfectly in my ear and block out all surrounding noise. This meant that even in busy areas I could completely loose myself in music which I feel is really nice. One earphone in is decent but doesn’t sound amazing and for some reason you don’t get the same responses that you get with two in. I think you need the surround to really take advantage of it. One ear is also prone to falling out quite easily due to the weight of the cable. This makes it quite annoying, especially when you are shopping and have to keep picking up the stray earphone off the floor (not to mention very unhygienic when that thing is going back in your ear!).

Notice how it is really easy to disconnect the headphones when putting in a pocket.

Notice how it is really easy to disconnect the headphones when putting in a pocket.

The L shaped jack is good and bad. The L shape makes sure that the plug or even the phone’s jack doesn’t get bent (which has occurred on my 5 and 5S). It feels really secure when you click it in and I no longer have OCD about which way the sticky out bit is in. It also helps when plugged into a laptop as it sits a lot more flush against the body of the machine allowing you to get to ports more easily (although it may cover ports if you are not careful). The downside is the plug can sometimes disconnect itself when you put your device in your pocket. It has happened several times that I have changed the song and went to put the iPod/phone back into my pocket and the plug has come out. It seems to snag very easily on articles of clothing. Another thing to mention when talking about negatives is the sound that you get from the cables hitting each other is a lot more prominent than other in ear headphones due to the weight of the cable. However I prefer to have a bit of this than have to untangle my calves every time I want to listen (in fact I have once or twice groaned at my friend sitting there patiently untangling his headphones).

Note the Jays branding and how the 'noodle' call does not flex sideways very well

Note the Jays branding and how the ‘noodle’ call does not flex sideways very well

The branding on the a-Jays is quite prominent, especially on my black piece due to the fact that it is white. This may discourage some people but it did not really affect me as I am not particular about that sort of thing. In fact this made people interested in the headphones even more most of the time which was quite good. Packaging of the a-Jays looks nice and contains all you ned but I had real trouble getting them open due to the use of a small push tab thing which you had to push down whilst pulling on the packaging (I have seen the a-Jays Five have developed on this, making it easier to enter). The box however is nice to touch and makes it feel like a really premium product.

Nice but a bit hard to get into!

Nice but a bit hard to get into!

Note all the different sized earbuds. Lots of choice is good!

Note all the different sized earbuds. Lots of choice is good!

In conclusion, I feel that the a-Jays Four are a really nice set of earphones and offer good value for money. They boast excellent sound quality and a cable which is tangle free in most situations. They come with a  large selection of earbuds and have excellent noise cancellation outside. If you are looking for a great midrange set of headphones, look no further.

Windows 10, whaaaa-?

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Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.

This is the quote on the Microsoft Blog about the new upcoming Windows 10. It is definitely a really good step for them, going for a system which does not force you into buying a touchscreen PC if you want the full experience and gets rid of the weird feeling that it is a combination of things that Microsoft thought would look cool.

First of all, the Start menu is back – and who wouldn’t be happy to see that. It has live tiles too so that you can easily see what is going on if you have a mouse. Then it does that clever witchy thing where it becomes a tablet OS if you remove the keyboard or bend the screen so that the keyboard is no longer useable. This is really what Windows 8 should have had; a robust and easy way to switch so that older PCs would not get caught in the dust.

Now we get on to my criticisms. The whole OS is new, yes. It has the stuff that people have wanted, yes. But where has that inspiration come from? I think you may have guessed it, Apple. Now Apple didn’t jump on the touchscreen PC bandwagon and they may not do (which could be detrimental for the Mac eventually, even though I prefer it this way), but Windows 10 seems to have copied a lot from OS X. For starters, including the feature of searching for web results in that already copied search bar (first introduced in Vista to mimic Spotlight) is just plain stealing. And what? You’re adding a revolutionary new feature where you can have more than one desktop? *cough* Mac OS X *cough*.

Oh and snap suggestions look a lot like an expose… Even when they copy they put it in the same sort of style. Take Task View for example, it copies Mission Control with even blurring the background. Just they put the desktops at the bottom. Revolutionary my ass.

Yes, flat icons may have been on the way you may argue but I still think that they planned it a bit weirdly to be just behind the massive Yosemite release for Mac which is mainly comprised of the flat icons and UI.

There are so many different things you could have done which include a touchscreen which would have further enhanced Windows, but you copy. In this day and age where Samsung had to pay out a billion USD for copying… Not a great move.

iPhone 6 Plus

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Ever since I saw the iPhone 6 Plus, I knew it was the one for me. I have always wanted a 5.5 inch phone and this was my replacement for the Samsung Galaxy Note. I always thought that this screen size was the best compromise of portability and functionalability. And I was right, it is a beauty. When you first hold the new iPhone, you immediately realise how smooth the edges are. The glass meets the metal at the back perfectly and it feels like a single slab of material of which you can manipulate. When you pick it up, you realise how light it is, but not too light, just the right amount to make sure it still feels premium. Even my 5.5 inch model is lighter than the 5S which is really a feat. It really is a masterpiece and is nothing less than what I expected from Apple.

The display is gorgeous. I have seen the other 1080p displays on other phones and they are really nice. But even compared to an Amoled display, this one just looks better. It may be how close they have put the display to the cover glass or the contrast ratio or even the high PPI, but this one is just stunning. Colours look real and vivid and for some reason feel more easy on the eyes without being intrusive. Just a beauty to feast your eyes on. It looks massive when you first pick it up but soon you get used to the size of the phone and its all fine (apart from skinny jeans!)

Performance is good, as is with all new iPhone models. I haven’t experienced a major increase (then again I haven’t used anything that really uses all of the new processor so I suppose I won’t get a real experience til they are updated), but everything is as smooth and fast as the 5S, even with all of those extra pixels and the ‘desktop class rescaler’. The rescaler works perfectly, but everything looks massive, including the top bar which just looks weird, as if the phone is for old people with sight problems. Hopefully these will be updated soon because the keyboard is a different size and is really annoying when you are switching from unoptimised from optimised.

The camera is just amazing. Like really, it is the best I have seen on a smartphone and that is saying something compared to Sony’s 20MP sensor and Samsung’s camera technologies. It is the right compromise between Megapixels and quality with larger pixels. HTC is at one end with the ‘Ultrapixel’ sensors it uses and Sony and Samsung (and even Nokia with Pureview 41MP wtf??) are at the other end, however nobody really gets it right apart from Apple. Don’t get me wrong, you get really nice photos on nearly every smartphone nowadays but Apple has excelled even further than from the 5S and made a truly amazing camera. The only thing I don’t like that much is the protruding camera which makes the phone sit off the table when you put it down and makes me worried that the lens will scratch (luckily its sapphire, but maybe Im working with diamonds, then what?). It disappears as soon as you put a case on it because it protrudes only slightly, but the phone looks so much nicer and feels so much better without a case (which has been the same for any phone) but makes me wonder about the durability.

iOS 8 works well on the phone as it has been optimised but there are random crashed that I experience in 3rd party apps which have not been rescaled yet. I think (and hope) that this is only a temporary issue because it is really annoying when this happens. The larger screen makes everything seem easier to do and (apart from letting you see more) makes things easier to do. Like really. You can have tab tops on Safari which is really useful for navigation and apps like Mail and Messages let you use a split to show the person or message you are looking at and others while seeing the actual message which is quite useful. I however found it really hard to use the landscape keyboard because the phone is pretty tall. It is not impossible to use but quite hard and the extra keys are in the way on the side. Yes, they are useful but they do sometimes get in the way. Hopefully I’ll get used to it though. I don’t like the paste button though, like eww what is it? A glue bottle with glue suggests paste but in no way at all is it intuitive. I hope there is a new one for 8.0.1, like this is the biggest issue.

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The barometer included in the M8 is useful for counting flights of stairs and I think it is a really interesting thing to put into the phone but I just hope that it doesn’t drain the battery life too much because battery life is pretty important. But let me tell you, this is no slouch on that front. The battery is good, not excellent (excellent would be 3 days without charge). It lasts me the day. But I use my phone a lot, like really, a lot. A breakdown during this weekend was: 3 hours Tumblr, 30 mins Facebook, 30 mins Twitter, 30 mins Instagram, listen to music on speaker for 2 hours, watch about 4 5-10 mins videos on Youtube, Godus for about 1.5 hours (what an amazing looking and feeling game!), Messaging for about 30 mins and a few more bits and bobs.. And still about 20% juice remaining which is amazing compared to my 5S which would have required 2-3 charges for all of this! Can’t wait to not lug around a charger to school which is so annoying.

The lock button is on the side. Yes, Apple has actually moved it. That is one of the first things people say to me when I show them the phone. First: “Wow its big!”, second “Oh, the button’s on the side” (followed by a confused face). “Yes”, I remark, “But try and reach the top on this phone and you understand”, (followed by an understanding face) and I agree with its placement totally. It is a bit higher than I expected but otherwise it would turn from a lock button into a lock button into a weird middley button. It is exactly mirrored from the volume up button with the same size and shape which really makes it look nice. In a case however this can be annoying. The case I have been using is a £3 transparent silicone case which takes a bit of effort to push the buttons. The other side of the phone is the volume up so when you lock the phone it turns up the volume (annoying when listening to music and suddenly its way too high and my eardrums are on the verge of exploding). But a small issue which I’m sure will get better when the silicone gets a bit more ‘tender’.

The true tone flash is round now which at first I thought I would not like because I really liked the shape of the 5S’s but it actually looks a lot nicer because everything on the back is now a circle, and design wise everything has been thought through perfectly with a great compromise of form and function. The antenna breaks on the back are a bit weird at first and seem like an error on Apple’s part but when you get used to them, they are reminiscent of the glass panels of the 5 and 5S, reminding you that this is an iPhone, not that you could forget. Space grey on this phone is the same as the iPad but seems radically different to the 5S because of the lack of the black glass. It really is grey now (although I don’t understand the name of ‘Space Grey’; Space is black….). The rounded edges are beautiful especially when using the ‘swipe back’ gesture from the side of the screen and as I may say for the second time, make it feel like a beautiful slab.

One thing I notice which seems weird is the vibration for notifications is very loud… Like really loud. I wonder whether I will get away with it at school or whether the Do Not Disturb function will be used extensively to mask this. Not good. Maybe this is because of the thinner body and the fact that the vibrator is closer to the shell therefore making it louder, I don’t know. All I know is that it is annoying.

Talking on the phone is something that I worry about. Will I look like an idiot using a massive phone that covers half of my face. Then I think, Apple has covered this. I will probably look like a twat, but everyone will know that I spent a lot of money on my massive iPhone. Brand power eh? Especially with that new metal Apple logo, not printed but an actual piece of metal which looks so premium.

Before I end this, I would like to mention the location of the SIM tray. It is kinda weirdly placed, not central as with other iPhones but slightly higher than that, closer to the lock button. It annoys me but I suppose I will have to get used to it *sigh*. Also on the back there is a massive ‘0682’ which is an EU requirement, however the first time I saw it I was hoping it was a production number to say that my iPhone was the 682nd out of the factory but no, not so… This would have been so cool…

Ok then, I think that’s about it. I love this phone, it is definitely my favourite of all my phones (which has been mainly iPhones) and taunts me away from Android for a few more years. I am defiantly looking forward to the NFC payment option however it would have been really good if they had made this 3rd party accessible so that we could use tags and stuff but its not that big of a deal. Split screen multitasking would have been amazing on this phone. Accessibility shows you how this could have worked with half of the screen taken up however I would seriously question the idea of text input in this mode.

The phone is beautifully made and feels exquisite and has really good features and software, making it almost feel like an iPhone 7; a more substantial upgrade than the normal 6. I am definitely keeping this phone after my 14 days are up. I only would have asked that the storage would have been 32GB, 64Gb and 128GB rather than 16GB, 64GB and 128GB because then I would have gone base.. But then I wouldn’t have 32GB of free storage still available after I have loaded all of my apps, music and videos.. Who needs cloud storage when you have an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPod Classic? Not me!

Celebrating 30 Years of the Macintosh

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So what I’m going to say here isn’t going to be much different from other sites but I just thought I would like to share my celebration of the Mac. For me, Mac OS X is the best operating system and combined with a Mac, is the best personal computer. From the first time I used a Mac, I knew that it was the logical decision; the design of the casing, seamless,without grilles and ‘cut outs’ with screws everywhere. The OS was designed with the computer, which is how it should have been. You didn’t have to install some external software to protect yourselves from viruses. The OS isn’t bloated with extra software and installing and uninstalling programs is really easy. If you need to, you can use Windows, and the user isn’t left to choose between options such as 32 and 64 bit architecture or whether their computer will be powerful enough and stable enough to run the next operating system. If they need help, they go to one company, not one for the computer and one for the OS. There’s someone behind a bar, ready to give you answers and technical advice without paying. The way it should be. It just works.

My personal first Mac was a gift from my Uncle, a 2006 Black MacBook which I was able to customised with extra RAM and a better, larger hard drive. It was weird at first but soon when going back to Windows, it seemed old and not the best option. I do admit that Windows has its merits and I do have it dual booted on my MacBook Air at the moment, which I use for occasional development, however I will always keep Mac OS X as my primary OS. The MacBook had battery life that I had not experienced on a Notebook before; even though it was only 3 hours, it seemed amazing.

The Mac has changed how we think about computers. The mouse was pioneered with the Mac, the GUI, the Mac and all of this would not have come to the consumer if it were not for the Mac. Every day, people use Macs to make amazing, creative things which, without the Mac would have been impossible, even for other PCs. Even if you do not like Macs, you cannot deny that they have changed the way we think.

If you want to know more on 30 years of the Mac, click here.
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