Transparent, waterproof pouches that enable us to use our tech in the pouring rain, down the beach or even, in extreme cases, underwater, have been around for a while, of course, I looked at Proporta's Beach Buoy last year. And now we have E-Case's eSeries 9, with smaller overall form factor and higher window-to-bezel ratio. Here's the eSeries 9 submersible case in action with a couple of likely candidate handsets. Summary? We have a winner...
Recent Reviews - General
File this review well and truly under 'Really? This app is still going?' - ChessGenius has been around the Symbian world for many years, we even looked at it in 2006 briefly, on S60 3rd Edition. Wow. Seven years ago. Making it all the more remarkable that ChessGenius has not only survived well into the era of nHD screens and Symbian^3, it's fully compatible with the latest Belle FP2 phones and had even had updates in the fairly recent past. And, with that seven year gap in mind, here's a 2013 review of ChessGenius on the Nokia 808, powered by the fastest processor in the Symbian world. Taking on the game's chess engine under these circumstances was more than a little daunting...
Smartphone speakers are a mixed bag, but most of us make the best of what we have. While more and more people seem to be audiophiles and are making their audio opinions known online, there comes a point where you might say a smartphone speaker isn't enough. The question is then which are the best external speakers? Nokia are keen to push NFC paired Bluetooth speakers which come with hefty price tags. Today's review looks at the more affordable Veho 360 M4 Bluetooth speaker.
Take Angry Birds physics, add bombs of various types and then add a real life opponent trying to blow you up as hard as you're trying to blast them, and you end up with Jelly Wars, a slick online multiplayer affair. In fact, Jelly Wars is not only online and multiplayer, it's also utterly cross platform (iPhone, Android, Meego, Bada), which means that there's never a shortage of people to play. The game itself is slick and well thought out, even if it's rarely quite as slick as the titles coming out of Rovio.
Something very different for AAS here - what we have here is custom firmware for a Nokia smartphone, in this case created by a Colombian enthusiast and aiming to bring old S60 5th Edition phones up as close to the modern Symbian experience as possible. That 'CFW Symbian Anna 7.9' (links and caveats below) ultimately still disappoints a 2012 phone user is 99% down to the limitations of the hardware of the time, mainly in terms of free RAM - but such improvements are still tremendously interesting, which is why it's receiving the review treatment here.
I've reviewed all the Proporta Turbochargers so far and the trend so far has been for bigger and bigger, higher and higher capacity. At the expense of the accessory getting larger as well, of course. And now we have a lovely slice of lateral thinking in this, the unique Turbocharger Pocket Power, no larger than a credit card and only slightly thicker, yet able to deliver at least half a charge into (or to power) your smartphone in an emergency. What a wonderful accessory, here's my illustrated review.
In part 1 of my Nokia 808 PureView review, I looked at its hardware and physical capabilities as a smartphone, in part 2a, I have a summary of how PureView works, along with samples of its output and comments on the quality produced. In this review part 2b, I'm going to be testing the 808 head to head with its predecessors in the Symbian world, along with the best competing (non-Symbian) camera phone for challenging light situations, the HTC One X/S. Future review parts will cover the massively reworked Camera interface and testing the video capture/Rich Recording capabilities, in addition to looking at the Nokia 808 as a smartphone platform in 2012.
As you may recall, I've been trying out a number of Bluetooth speakers, first the Jawbone Jambox (loud, but massive and expensive) and then the Nokia Play 360 (loud, but still big and expensive). And now the budget contender, the SoundWave SW50, at just over 7cm wide/high and costing less than £30, so roughly a quarter the price of the previous two speakers. I tested the SW50 with both my Nokia N8 and N86 from the Symbian world, with my Lumia 800 from the Windows Phone world and with my Android-powered Galaxy Nexus. Summary: it's almost as loud as the two pricier contenders and amazing value for money, with only one caveat.
Something a little different for a Friday. Frustrated that a lot of the Symbian and Windows phones I wanted to try day to day didn't have a built-in FM transmitter (I'll explain why that's important to me below), I opted to grab the Belkin In Car Tunecast 6 Universal FM Transmitter and try it out and about in the UK. Summary: it works brilliantly, far better (surprisingly) than the few phones which did have the functionality built-in.
As more smartphones are designed with non-replaceable batteries, the potential of getting through a day of heavy use by carrying a spare battery is going away. This has in turn created a market in external batteries. For instance, the first phone with a non-replaceable battery was the iPhone, which has an array of battery jackets. However, these are fixed to just one phone design. The alternative is external batteries that connect via cable. It's a less stylish solution, but guarantees that any of your devices can be topped up. That's where Nokia's new DC-16 external battery steps in, and we've been putting it to the test in this review.