Samsung 850 EVO review – putting 3D vertical NAND to the test

IMG_3010

I recently bought a Samsung 840 EVO on Amazon – a great deal at £90 for a 250GB solid state drive, or so I thought. A few days later, I was offered the chance to review the 850 EVO, and of course I couldn’t pass that up – especially as I now had the perfect means to see exactly what’s changed in the new generation.

The 850 Evo promises improved speeds and aggressive pricing thanks to its vertically stacked (3D) NAND. Today, we’ll find out if it’s a true improvement over the 840 series, or just marketing hype. Let’s go.

Continue reading

Acer GN246HLB review – an affordable 24-inch 144Hz monitor

Acer-Predator-GN246HLBbid-vorne

Today we’re taking a look at Acer’s gaming monitor, the GN. This is the 24-inch model, which boasts a fast 144Hz refresh rate that far surpasses the 60Hz standard. If your PC is capable of producing that many frames per second, you’ll see a much smoother experience. The other key specification is £190 – an aggressive price point for a 144Hz monitor. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the monitor’s specifications and physical features, before we move onto testing.

Continue reading

Buffalo WHR-1166D review – a budget dual-band WiFi ac router

whr-1166dhp_f1_1000x1000

I was looking for a cheap router to add better wireless coverage in the living room, as my existing modem/router is on the far side of the house, in one of the bedrooms. One router I considered was the Buffalo WHR-1166D, which Ebuyer have very graciously sent me to review.

The WHR-1166D is so-named because it promises maximum speeds of 866 Mbps on the 5GHz band, while also transferring up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band; 1166 Mbps in total. In this review, I’ll be testing that claim with real-world benchmarks. Let’s get started!

Continue reading

Tech21 iPhone 6 Plus case reviews – advancement through technology

IMG_2556

Vorsprung durch Technik – advancement through technology. That’s the motto of Audi, but the phrase works equally well for a small company called Tech21. This case-making firm produced the two iPhone 6 Plus cases that we’re looking at today, promising excellent protection through the use of advanced materials. Let’s see whether these cases live up to that promise.

Continue reading

#AcerLiveBlog2014 part 4: Acer Iconia Tab 8 rapid review

tab8-1

On Friday I travelled to Edinburgh with a group of technology journalists to get some hands-on time with Acer’s latest gadgets. I’ve written some rapid reviews of the svelte Liquid Jade smartphone, the surprising Switch 10 convertible tablet and the disappointing Liquid Leap smart band. Now, it’s time to look at the final piece of the puzzle – the Android Iconia Tab 8 Android tablet.

Continue reading

Innergie PocketCell review – portable battery for smartphones and tablets

Running out of battery sucks. That low battery warning is like a shambolic friend, always stumbling in at the worst possible moment to make things all about him. Trying to find your hotel? He’s there. Want to finish that movie? He’s there. On an important call? Oh yeah, he’s there too. Just dealing with him is bad enough, but you even start changing your plans to work around him, turning down stuff you’d enjoy because it’d upset him. Thankfully, there’s a way to pacify him – the Innergie PocketCell. This portable power pack steps in on your behalf, charging your devices and showing your inconsiderate friend the door.

IMG_2577

Right, let’s get out of that analogy before it breaks down entirely. We’re going to be looking at the PocketCell, to see whether it delivers on its promise of convenient, portable charging for your smartphone, tablet and accessories. Let’s start with the specifics of the promise it’s making: the features and specs.

Features & specifications

  • 3000 mAh power capacity, delivered at 2.1A via USB
  • Charged via microUSB at 1.5A (cable provided)
  • Protection from excess current, voltage, temperature, power & short circuits
  • 91 x 30 x 21 millimetres & 72 grams

First, capacity: 3000 mAh is enough to recharge high-end smartphones and phablets once over, effectively doubling your battery life. Accessories have smaller batteries and you’ll get many more charges from the PocketCell; a Moto 360 smartwatch can be charged ten times and most Bluetooth headsets can be charged about 20 times. Most tablets have larger batteries, so you’ll be able to recharge about 30~50% of their total capacity.

The PocketCell comes with a bag and short micro USB cable.

The PocketCell comes with a bag and short micro USB cable.

Next, speed. 2.1A will charge ~99% of mobile devices at full speed, including both phones and tablets – very good. For reference, most iPads and other tablets charge at ~2A, most phones at ~1-1.5A and accessories a bit slower.

Protection from charging maladies are nice inclusions; Innergie have rated their product as being able to withstand all of the common dangers like overfilling the battery or providing too much current to the device being charged.

The final stats are size and dimensions; suffice it to say that this is a pocket-sized device that’s easily kept in pockets, bags or gloveboxes. We’ll take a closer look in the Design section – which starts now.

Design

This battery feels compact and weighty in-hand; it feels well-built compared to most portable chargers that I’ve handled. The slightly curved shape and glossy finish let it fit into small pockets easily.

IMG_2582

 

IMG_2586

The body of the device contains a few features – a microUSB port on one end for charging the PocketCell, a USB port for providing charge to other devices on the other end and a button to activate the LED read-out of the current battery level and ask the device to begin charging in the middle.

IMG_2595

The PocketCell is available in a few different colours; this review unit is fairly obviously a reddish maroon colour. Other options include blue, yellow, black and white.

0829_Innergie_PocketCell_04-1024x1024

That just about covers the design of this small accessory, so let’s move onto testing.

Testing

Testing a mobile charger is pretty simple; we’re looking to see if it provides the charge and capacity promised and evaluating the device’s ease of use of the two week test period. Thankfully, we can keep this section short and simply say that the PocketCell delivered on its promises, delivering a good amount of charge quickly and easily. I used the device for the recent #AcerLiveBlog2014 event, and the PocketCell was able to fully recharge my OnePlus One smartphone in the same time it would have taken a wall charger.

Conclusion

The Innergie PocketCell is a nicely designed portable charger, with good specifications and a reasonable price point. The PocketCell feels well-constructed and should last for a long time. If you’re looking to charge smartphones, tablets or both, the PocketCell is a worthy choice.

#AcerLiveBlog2014 part 3: Acer Liquid Jade rapid review

ed (161)

This weekend I travelled to Edinburgh on an Acer-sponsored blogging expedition. We took in the sights and sounds of Edinburgh and got some interesting tech to test out too. I’ve already written about the flawed Leap smart band and surprisingly good Switch 10 convertible laptop; next up is the Acer Liquid Jade smartphone.

The Liquid Jade is immediately interesting; an ultra-slim mid-range device with reasonable specifications and a good price point. Here are my impressions after a couple days of using the phone.

Continue reading

#AcerLiveBlog2014 part 2: Acer Aspire Switch 10 rapid review

ed (75)

This weekend I joined a cadre of technology writers for an Acer-sponsored trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. Amongst chowing down deep fried Mars bars and photographing men in kilts, we had a chance to try some of Acer’s latest tech. Last time I wrote about the Liquid Leap smart band, and now it’s time for something a little bigger: the Switch 10 convertible laptop.

Continue reading

#AcerLiveBlog2014 part 1: Acer Liquid Leap rapid review

This weekend I joined a dozen or so fellow tech bloggers for something rather out of the ordinary – an Acer-sponsored blogging event held on a sleeper train from London to Edinburgh, Scotland. We were given one each of Acer’s newest toys to play with for the weekend: one convertible laptop, an Android tablet, a smartphone and a wearable. I’ve had a chance to try each now, so here are my impressions – starting with the Liquid Leap smart band.

leap1

Continue reading