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.
Recent Reviews - Accessories - Page 3
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.
As reported last week, Proporta's just launched a bike mounted version of their popular Beach Buoy waterproof case for all touchscreen phones - and I couldn't resist giving it a real world test. Here's my review - is it worth the five minutes set up time to have your smartphone always to hand in all weathers? Maybe - I'd say a more definite yes, if you live in the rainy UK and get lost a lot!
Having just reviewed the top end Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth stereo speaker, I was expecting the slightly cheaper Nokia Play 360 to sound less impressive. And I was wrong - the Play 360's output is, literally, awesome, for such a small box. The only fly in the ointment is that, for stereo, you have to buy two, taking the combination to £200 and beyond. Ah well, it's only money....!
Although there are a number of smartphones with capable speakers (Nokia 5800/X6/N8 all come to mind), many have loudspeakers which are rather weedy if we're honest. Making podcasting listening around the house somewhat of an ear-straining experience and making music playback almost a no-no. Which is where portable speakers come into their own, especially the Bluetooth variety, giving maximum volume without messing around with wires. I'm reviewing several over the next month, starting with the Jawbone Jambox.
Released last year, this is the 'Nokia Digital Radio Headset DAB', a (now) £23 accessory that turns any 'USB on the go' Symbian handset into a full-on DAB radio. It works surprisingly well, too - amazing, given the size and cost of the first DAB radios. For the confirmed digital radio fan with a modern Symbian smartphone, at this price it's something of a must-buy, in my opinion. And you get a decent in-ear headset with full multimedia music controls into the bargain...
My first impressions of Monster's headphone style weren't good, with some outlandish cyan over-ear cans shown off by the Monster CEO at last year's Nokia World. Happily, the reviewed in-ear equivalents are a hundred times less garish, especially since they're black. There's plenty of photos and comment below, but in short the audio quality is superlative - depending on the playback device. Balancing this, device compatibility is distinctly spotty and the price is.... rather high. Review added to Dec 2012.
Power hungry smartphones are always looking for a recharge. So a car charger is going to be high on the priority for a lot of people. But which one should you get? One option is Nokia's DC-20 unit, which initially draws the eye with its twin USB charging ports. And while USB car chargers are never going to generate much excitement, the Nokia DC-20 is a diamond amongst the rough competition.
I remember getting into heated debate in 2009 around the pros and cons of resistive vs capacitive touchscreens - one of the biggest pros for 'resistive' was that phones like the Nokia N97 and 5800 could be used with gloves on, out in cold weather. Over the next year, the market swayed decisively towards capacitive technology, and rightly so, but now we have an accessory that brings back gloved, cold weather use to all capacitive-screened smartphones...