• Posted on September 8th, 2014

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    IFA 2014: An INsider Perspective #LenovoIN

    Last week was a crazy week full of geeky goodness and gadgets galore thanks to a fantastic invitation from Lenovo to attend the IFA Conference in Berlin.  For those who don’t know what the IFA conference is it is basically the European version of CES (a massive gadget show) only better as it is more focused on European technologies and has a broader range of brands and products than it’s US counterpart.

    Many of you have probably already heard about the big announcements from Sony, Samsung and such like but being part of the #LenovoINsider program I get to hear and play with the latest Lenovo gadgets as soon as they become available. But isn’t Lenovo just business devices? Well no, not exactly.  Lenovo today covers both phone, tablet, laptop and desktop pc’s and today they announced the latest devices in each of these categories.

    This is the full list of what Lenovo announced at the event… Be warned there are a lot of different devices so I’ve split them into categories.

    Phones

    VIBE X2 – Fashion-forward VIBE X2 blends into any consumer lifestyle with trio of impressive features:  world’s first layered smartphone; first global handset maker with new MediaTek MT6595 processor and new VIBE Xtension accessories

    VIBE Z2 – VIBE Z2 perfects the “selfie” with super high resolution camera and super bright HD screen with optical image stabilization

    Tablets

    Tab S8 – Lenovo’s first 8-inch Intel® Atom™-powered Android tablet, blends a beautiful crystal clear infinity screen with powerful productivity in a thin and feather light frame

    ThinkPad Helix – ups the ante for business detachable devices with security encryption, premium processing and no moving parts

    Laptops

    Y70 Touch – Lenovo’s first 17-inch touch laptop – offers gamers high performance with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor and NVIDIA GTX graphics

    ERAZER X315 –  expands Lenovo’s line of powerful desktop gaming devices with blazing fast graphics, high-speed storage and futuristic design

    HORIZON 2s and 2e PC offer consumers choices of an ultra-thin, more portable tabletop PC or more budget-friendly models

    Edge 15 – dual mode laptop for work and play offers long battery life

    B40 & B50 – The Lenovo B50 and B40 All-in-One (AIO) PC provides a full entertainment experience with edge-to-edge IPS display, 10-point multi-touch, and immersive Dolby® sound from JBL® speakers. With up to Intel® 4th Generation Core™ i7 processors, the Lenovo B50 and B40 deliver for speedy performance, while Lenovo Motion Control offers sound control, document navigation and more with simple gestures. The AIO PC comes equipped with a range of connectivity features, including microphone, headphone, card reader, and side ports that offer 2x USB 3.0.

    G70 – a space-saving laptop that simplifies users’ desks by offering the power of a true desktop PC experience through the compact form of a portable laptop. Its massive 17-inch HD+ display provides users with a large viewing screen for work and play.

    M50 – Remarkably slim and light, Lenovo’s M50 notebook is ideally suited for small-to-medium sized business users looking for a premium, versatile and reliable work device. Equipped with a 180-degree hinge for simplified screen sharing, a powerful Intel 4th generation Core i7 processor, enhanced NVIDIA graphics and superior data protection technology, the M50 delivers a quality business computing experience.

     

    Desktops

    H30 & H50 – The affordable Lenovo H30 and H50 desktop PCs combine the latest dual and quad-core processors for fast, responsive performance with advanced multimedia features designed for the whole family.

    ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One 23 –  is Lenovo’s first detach-and-build modular all-in-one (AIO) business PC

    With such a massive list it would be fair to say Lenovo have been pretty busy in recent years with R & D.  We got to meet a representative from the design team earlier today and they ran through some of their processes for identifying different looks and feels for their brand.  It is fair to say the team behind the designs are geeky about hardware and about the look and feel of the devices but it’s not all about how they look and the specs for Lenovo hardware is very competitive.

    The device that we liked best was the Vibe X2 as the layered design really did look good and the device was both slim and stylish. We particularly liked the bamboo cover which felt warm to the touch and not like a phone at all really. It was interesting to see a company playing with the finishes on devices and include finishes such as wood and other materials in the line up. It’s a shame that the Vibe X2 won’t be out in the UK any time soon but watch this space once the Lenovo Motorola deal is complete as you are likely to see mobile and smartwatch capabilities from Lenovo/ Motorola as a combination in the UK once that has been finalised. At least that’s the “vibe” that we got when we were there although Lenovo staff were not allowed to comment on the future of mobile and wearable devices at this time! :)

    Here are a few pics of our time at the IFA conference with Lenovo!

    And finally I just wanted to say a big thank you to the Lenovo staff who were so welcoming and helpful during our time out in Berlin! You were all awesome and I look forward to meeting many of you again very soon!

  • Posted on July 30th, 2014

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    Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s Review

    For the past month I’ve been using my shiny new Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s laptop as my main machine. My first impression of this laptop is that it is small and understated… In fact you might be tricked into thinking it was a low powered machine based on its size when in fact it has a nifty i7 processor and 8gb ram… Whilst it is small it is nippy!

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    Being both a blogger and someone who likes to get their hands dirty in code from time to time I like to have a laptop that is both portable and that has enough oomph to run apps like Visual Studio and such like without taxing the machine too much.  The device emulators have been the one thing that really cause chaos and slow the machines down and if I’m doing video editing I need something that is going to cut it. Fortunately for me this little machine is just the ticket.

    It would probably not have been the first machine I thought of when looking online but it probably should have been!  Looking around on the web at alternatives to it, there’s not a lot to compare it to really. The only thing this doesn’t have is SSD. Instead it’s got a pretty big 500GB HDD but that’s no bad thing as it means I can get all my content on here without issue.

    The other thing that I like about this machine is the “Yoga” aspect, the ability to turn the screen over and use the device as a tablet or on the train in “tent” mode. The one thing I wish is that the screen could be used with a pen as well as with my finger. That way I could write my notes in OneNote and convert them to text. I could also sketch out ideas better that way too. Maybe I should send that back as feedback to the LenovoIN program and see what they say. :)  Unfortunately I’ve not managed to find this machine in stock anywhere in the UK or US now… It’s that popular!

    What laptop are you using and why?

  • Posted on July 21st, 2014

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    Sennheiser MOMENTUM On-Ear Headphone Review

    Being a big fan of in ear headphones and a Sennheiser fan I was excited to be able to have a good play with the latest MOMENTUM on-ear headphones in the Brazilian World Cup colours.  After all you can’t help but get swept up in what was World Cup mayhem!

    I’m not usually one for on-ear headphones as they are usually too big, heavy and bulky however these are not all that heavy and look pretty stylish. I don’t have a big head so usually on-ear headphones and especially over ear headphones just look silly on me. My husband has the opposite issue they tend to press too hard on his ears as his head is wider than mine. So headphones that work for me don’t usually work for him. These were different.  Their flexible metal frames flex outwards and you can extend them down in the usual way too.

    When I first opened the box of these headphones the immediate thing that grabbed my attention was the tactile nature of them from the metal frame to the well made comfy band over the top.  The detailing of the finish is excellent and these headphones feel really hard wearing. They come with a protective storage bag and a solid case both in soft tactile materials. I thought the storage case would mark and wear with time but it’s actually pretty hard wearing. I’ve taken them about all over the place for the last 3 weeks or so and still the case looks as good as new.

    The headphones come with two different cables, one for use with your iPhone so you can make and take calls through them and another that is just straight through sound without the distraction and weight of the phone remote. Both cables fit neatly into the case so you don’t have to be without either.

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    So that you can see what I’m talking about I’ve grabbed the video of the headphones from the Sennheiser website. Whilst the video is very marketing it does give a really good overview of the headphones look and feel.

    Price wise these are pretty competitive at £169.95 and when you compare the build quality to other brands I’d choose these hands down.  You never know you may even manage to get hold of the special editions a little cheaper now that the World Cup is pretty much done and dusted!

  • Posted on July 16th, 2014

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    The smallest phone charger ever…

    If you are anything like me then inevitably pretty much every time you are about to head out you check your phone and there is no charge in it. It’s a really common problem.  Even worse you are already out an you’ve just found that it’s low on charge and will run out before you will get home. You have that all important call and you just need your phone to be charged.  Yes I’ve been there a thousand times! Worse still they’ve just added the complication now that you have to power up your phone and laptop to prove they are real and work when going through airport security. No power and you’re phone/ laptop get taken away!!! :(

    Most people would say just carry an extra battery but to be honest I’m as bad at charging the spare battery as I am the phone itself.  If I could I’d carry the charger with me and plug into the nearest power point but the charger and cable are usually big and bulky.  Well a small and relatively unknown company called Nomad have come up with a couple of innovative solutions to the great big long charging cable issue. They have two offerings a ChargeCard and a ChargeKey.  When I got the email about them I thought really would they ever be that useful as there isn’t a plug with them but do you know what. I did end up with the ChargeKey on my keyring and I’ve already resorted to using it twice this week for one reason or another.

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    I opted for the USB to microUSB option rather than the iPhone version as most of my devices are non Apple devices so it will not only work with my tablet and phone but also my Kindle and pretty much every useful gadget I own. This has to be one of the single most useful gadgets I’ve had my hands on in quite some time. Now I just need them to bring out a laptop charger that is this small for those airport emergency situations. That or airports need to start having charging stations just before the security gates!

  • Posted on June 19th, 2014

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    5 Things to do when Facebook is down…

    Many of you are sat there wondering what to do with yourselves whilst Facebook is down… Well here are a few simple ideas:

    1. Try a new or different social media platform.  Most people have reverted to Twitter or G+ whilst Facebook sort out their site but why not also consider browsing a few pinboards on Pinterest or even taking a look at some of the free courses on Udemy.
    2. It’s sunny outside here in the UK… why not make the most of having a proper break and going for a short walk. After all Facebook is never down for long!
    3. Focus on the work that you were meant to be doing rather than procrastinating further. Yes I know that sounds harsh but many of us sit reading Facebook as a distraction from the mundane. Write your to do list and start working through it now before that distraction comes back on.
    4. Go and have a cup of tea/ coffee and network with colleagues in real life. It’s amazing how much you learn from real in person interaction rather than just the online stuff.
    5. Keep refreshing the page and wait for Facebook to return… after all you were going to do that anyway… right!

    If you liked these tips please share them with your friends and colleagues. Before you know it your favourite social network will be back up and running!

  • Posted on April 11th, 2014

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    24 Hours with the Acer Iconia A1 830

    We’ve recently got our hands on the latest tablet from Acer.  It’s been released quietly and without the usual fanfare of PR promotion but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is an insignificant device.  What is this device that we speak of… well it’s an 8″ tablet that looks VERY similar to the iPad Mini… And I do mean REALLY similar. If it wasn’t for the Acer badge on the front and the OS being Android you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for it’s fruity cousin.

    The Spec

    • OS: Android 4.2.2
    • CPU: Intel Atom 1.6 Ghz
    • Storage: 16GB ram + MicroSD slot for expansion
    • Screen: 7.9 XGA (1024 x 768)
    • Connectivity: Wifi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth 3.0
    • Location: GPS integrated
    • Cameras: Rear Facing: 5MP Front Facing: 2MP (No flash on either)

    Price: £160.46 (Amazon)

    What we thought of it

    We compared this device to the Tesco Hudl and the iPad Mini both in terms of cost and value for money.  The Hudl comes in at £119 although you can buy it for £60 plus Clubcard points which is what most people do so this is the cheapest of the devices currently out there.  The iPad Mini is at the other end of the spectrum and comes in at £249.   As you might expect the finish and spec of these two comparables also varies with a cheap look and feel to the Hudl and a very sharp screen and finish to the iPad Mini.

    With the £160 price mark for the Acer Iconia A1 830 I would have anticipated it would look and feel closer to the Hudl than the iPad Mini but in actual fact it is a very very well built device with a finish that rivals the iPad Mini.  We took the Acer Iconia A1 830 down to our local Apple store and took a few pics to show you just how similar they really are.

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    Overall we love the Acer Iconia A1 830 as it certainly seems like the future and if Apple want to stay competitive in the small screen tablet market then they will have to drop their prices quite considerably.  This is a smart device with good battery life and a fast processor.

    If you are also in the market for a shiny new phone and are an Andriod fan consider looking out for the latest Acer phone, the Acer E3 which should (whispers from the Acer staff at the launch event…) be coming to Three on contract very soon…

     

  • Posted on November 27th, 2013

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    2 Weeks With the Nokia Lumia 1020

    I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Nokia 1020 for a couple of weeks to try it out and see what all the hype was about. Quite often with phones there is a lot of hype about a phone and it doesn’t live up to my expectations.  With the Nokia 1020 this was no different.  I’d already been using an HTC X1 so I’m pretty used to the Windows Phone OS so anything relating directly to the OS really wasn’t going to be anything new to me.  So in the case of this particular phone the key feature was the camera!

    Week 1.

    Setting Up:

    The first test that I did with the Nokia 1020 was to set it up as though it were my every day phone. Unlike on the Windows 8 PC’s and Tablets your mail, contacts etc aren’t stored against your Windows Live ID so the setup time was longer than I expected which was a shame but hey, I don’t know of any other phone with that functionality yet. Once I had mail, calendars and contact sorted and my favourite apps installed, fixed the colour theme and set my personalised background I was much happier with the device.

    First Impressions of the Hardware

    Taking the OS and software out of the equation I soon got to grips with the phone in my hand.  I have relatively small hands like many other females and I have to say the form factor of the 1020 is just a bit too wide to be able to use this for one handed texting and data input which is a shame.  The screen has quite a wide boarder of casing and that along with the thickness of the device make it just that little bit harder to use it one handed.

    Weight wise at first I thought it was pretty heavy but I soon got used to that and actually it meant I could find it easily in my bag as it was always there at the very bottom. The bright colour options for this phone mean that when you are fishing around in your handbag you can find it easily which is also a bonus.  Black phones just tend to blend in and are a bit harder to find. I’m not the biggest fan of the colour choices of this phone, they should really have brought out a Blue and a Purple edition, who knows maybe their next phone with have more colour options.

    The screen brightness was great and it’s clarity was just fine too. In terms of how black the black is, I’d say pretty good. I’m not exactly gentle with phones and I haven’t managed to scratch the screen or the casing even though it’s not been in a case since I’ve had it so it’s pretty well made. If you saw my bag you’d wonder how on earth it hadn’t got scratched in the process! What with keys, pens and other random bits in there just waiting to attack it!

    The biggest issue I had with my HTC was the buttons not being reliable and the build quality being poor.  I have no concerns about that with the 1020 at all.  The buttons feel sturdy and I’ve had no issues with them at all.

    Battery life… well for the size of the phone and the way that I use it I have to say it’s not lasted too badly. I have been charging it every other day which isn’t bad for a smartphone. My general usage patterns were WiFi browsing at home, checking email etc.  It got used a few times as a satnav but I did plug it into the car then GPS always drains phone batteries and once or twice I used it as a flashlight when in the garage.

    Overall my week 1 first impressions were it’s good, but not perfect.

    Week 2

    During week 2 I attended a few different events including one at Bletchley Park so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out the camera features.  I did take a look at the camera a little bit during week one but only very quickly.

    In low light in and around home in an evening I thought it would be fun to try out the camera on the cats.  Moshi our grey cat is always the one who is hardest to shoot as he rarely sits still so I started there and I have to say whilst the images weren’t great they were a lot better than I get from most other cameras. (Fancy DSLR’s excluded!)  The pics can be seen below:

    Overall I like the Lumia 1020 but what I’d love to see is the camera technology from the 1020 in the 925 format so that it wasn’t quite as wide as the 1020. That and maybe add the waterproofing that they are doing on the Sony Xperia Z. :)

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