Apps End User gadgets media

Chromecast – a second review

chromecast setupHaving read Terry Hughes’ Chromecast review I eventually got round to rushing out (metaphorically) and buying one from Amazon. It was forty two quid or so ($35 in the USA) but the cheaper ones involved longer shipping from the States or an additional postage charge so ripped up the budget and clicked.

The Chromecast is now installed and in use. I have some observations:

  1. You have to actually physically switch on the Chromecast dongle – it doesn’t just power up in the “on” state
  2. Installation from Chromebook didn’t work. I don’t know why. I moved on to do it from the S4.
  3. Installation from my Android was very simple. I guess this is it’s core use market/scenario (if that’s the right phrase)chromecast ready
  4. The dongle sits nicely and unobtrusively at the back of the TV and is powered by the USB port of the TV (didn’t realise I had one but now I do – phew – Anne would have complained if there was another dangling cable)
  5. It is very easy to use. In my case I just selected HDMI2 input and hey presto…
  6. It is also easy to “cast” content onto the TV from your phone – there is a small icon to select inside the app view.
  7. Now this is where it starts to get interesting. You can use Chromecast to stream movies, music, YouTube and Netflix. I only use YouTube to store the occasional vid for use in embedding in this blog – as in this post for example. I have no interest whatsoever in Netflix content – though many others must be as it takes up a significant chunk of ISP bandwidth. I have no movies to stream (and rarely watch them anyway – 90mins?!) and all my music is on my phone.
  8. chromecast musicThe latter point is definitely interesting. This is all about driving traffic into the cloud. In moving operations to Google Apps, Chromebook and cloud storage I began the process of shifting my music to Google Music (or whatever it’s called) but I stopped for some reason. I think it might have been because it involved entering my credit card details. Obviously Google wants to make it easy for me to buy more music.
  9. Currently any music I buy is in CD format and I then upload it to my phone. In my new cloudy ecosystem I may have to rethink this. Although I like having a CD in its case to touch and feel this might be because I’ve grown up with that experience. My kids think nothing of buying music from iTunes and never having a “hard copy”.
  10. Chromecast is likely to change my habits here. I had already been thinking of buying a surround sound system for the TV room and this may top the balance in its favour.
  11. I will also say that I was astonished at the quality of HD streaming on our TV. Although the TV is HD “ready” we have never had an input source to supply the HD – no Blueray, no Sky, no Virgin etc. The HD footage I took with my Samsung Galaxy S4 – this ride on Stephenson’s Rocket for example, was really good quality full screen 1080p on our 42″ box (flat panel).
  12. It was also very easy for multiple users to take advantage of the Chromecast. One of the kids came home from a music rehearsal and had downloaded the App and got it working in seconds. The kids are much bigger users of YouTube than I and he was streaming jazz videos in no time, (until his mum wanted to watch the news).

In conclusion – Chromecast – very easy to set up and use, obviously aimed at delivering content from the cloud, and could well move my music listening to streaming from that cloud. It’s all driving bandwidth use. Onwards and upwards.

I note Phil’s comment re waste of space. It does need to support more apps. I didn’t try seeing if I could surf using it but I suspect not – it would have been more in my face. Rewind – just noticed this icon in Chrome – not tested it but looks positive.

Update on casting from Chrome browser here.

chromecast in browser
Update 17th March Google Chromecast to become available in the UK – leading to lots of visitors to reviews on this site

End User gadgets

Google Chromecast has arrived at the Davies household in the UK

google chromecastI was so impressed with Terry Hughes’ review of the Google Chromecast that I decided I should get one meself. It arrived yesterday and I’ll be plugging it in later today.

I’m not much of a TV watcher but we’ll see how we get on. Let’s hope there are no cookery, DIY, self build etc programmes on to compete with the TV slot – we only have one TV which I know will seem strange to many of you.

Stay tuned 🙂

End User phones

Initial review of Google Nexus5

Hugo Pickering has been good enough to let us have his thoughts on the Google Nexus5. He did so in a comment on my unreview of the device but it is very much worth a post of its own so here it is. Thanks for the feedback Hugo:)

Hugo writes:

The N5 finally arrived after the Parcelforce driver failed to read the note on the garden gate telling him to walk through to my office, entailing a trip yesterday to pick it up from the post office in Chipping Norton. Setup and transfer of all apps and data was very easy, once I had taken advice from Adrian Wooster and used the excellent app SMS Backup+, which does exactly as it says on the tin.

The familiar Android interface hasn’t changed dramatically in KitKat, but I might have preferred more icons on screen at once with a bigger screen, rather than bigger icons than before. The screen itself is fantastic, with greater colour depth and clarity – photos look sharper and the detail is stunning. The camera is a huge improvement, with much better low light shooting capability. Auto Awesome looks good, enhancing photos as you go, and then backing them up to Google+.

I’m still not sure about Hangouts hijacking SMS so that all texts have to go through it, which seems a bit draconian, but understandable as it makes everything easier to backup for future migrations. I may experiment with some SMS apps to see if anything else works better, as I guess developers will want to cash in on this.

A few apps seem to struggle with KitKat, notably Movember (yes I am going hirsute for the month –, which seems to be an issue accessing the camera or gallery – maybe the app needs updating. Those apps that have been updated and optimised for KitKat work really well, such as Ookla’s Speedtest – a hugely improved interface and UX.

Speed is another big overall improvement, with apps loading faster and swapping between them with no lag. Hardware-wise, the phone is taller than the previous model, but the same width and thickness. The change to a rubberised back is very welcome and will help to reduce breakages of the old N4 Gorilla Glass back. The phone quality is excellent and the internal speaker seems louder than most phones which is great.

So overall I’m pretty pleased. Now to sell the old N4 on eBay – anyone?

Engineer phones

Comparison of Samsung firmware load versus the base Android version

Bumped into Florian Jensen (@flosoft) whilst out and about in London doing some 4G speed testing. He has a Samsung Galaxy S3 which he had rooted with CarbonRom based on Android 4.3. He wanted to increase the phone’s performance and improve battery life.

I was surprised to see that there is a very noticeable improvement in speed. The SGS3 running CarbonRom was faster than the SGS4 which has a more powerful processor (s) running Samsung’s firmware. We did some videos yesterday that illustrate this. You can read Flo’s post on what he did here. Unless you are a serious geek (which I realise that quite a few of you are 🙂 )I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it yourself.

End User fun stuff

Review of @ITISLENNYHENRY & @colinmcfarlane in #Fences at the Duchess Theatre

Fences at the Duchess TheatreOne of the nice things about writing a blog is that you get invited to all the top showbiz parties in London. I very rarely go to them but on this occasion I happened to be in town anyway so took them up on the offer.  Ok I can’t continue with this lie. I’ve never been invited to a showbiz party before:) Last night I went to one. This is the story.

tref with lenny henryYou may remember way back in November of last year when I was on my way to LINX79 I bumped into a neighbour of mine, Colin McFarlane. Colin is an actor and he was on his way to a second audition for a part playing opposite Lenny Henry in August Wilson’s Fences. Fences is one of a series of plays written by Wilson specifically for black actors.

We sat in the quiet coach and I read out some of Lenny Henry’s lines while Colin responded with his own. All done in an American drawl, y’awl. Well the great news is that Colin got thattref tom lenny part and Fences had a highly successful touring run before hitting the West End which it did this week. Feeling in no small part responsible for Colin getting the job I decided to go and see him in action. I was also invited with my son Tom to the after show drinks party where we got to chat with the cast.

The photos in this post come from that after show party because I know what you lot are like. Wanting to know all about the celebs and the gossip. Well I’m sorry. This is not Hello magazine or OK. It’s Yes there were celebs there but as far as gossip goes what goes on tour stays on tour, darling. Anyway we chatted about WebRTC, Agile computing and the internet.

Later when the theatre kicked us out we ended up in a bar called PJs which is near to the Marquis of Anglesey – the venue of “the day we nearly lost the internet.”

tref outside duchess theatreIt wouldn’t be fair of me to not mention the play and I have to come clean here. I cried through most of the second act. Fences is an utterly brilliant play. I’m not going to tell you the plot. I don’t want to spoil it for when you go which you should do 🙂 This one was a real emotional roller coaster. It made me want to go home, kiss the wife, hug the kids and tell them I loved them. You need to understand that when it comes to things like plays and movies I like nice simple happy ending stories – stuff like Mary Poppins. I was kept gripped to the seat and was exhausted by the end of it.

The performance got a standing ovation and Tom and I, as you know by now, decamped to the bar to meet Colin, Lenny and rest of the cast. They were all really lovely people and happy to indulge tourist Tref with some photoshoots which of course  I only did for journalistic reasons. Special thanks to Colin for the invitation.

Note the photo of Tref and Tom taken by Lenny Henry – nice touch I thought. Tom’s idea.

That’s it. That’s today’s post. It has only a loose association with technology but hey. It’s my blog… It’s also quite nice to round off the story from last November of the script reading on the train.

I’m off next week. Taking my daughter on a jaunt to Barcelona for a few days so there won’t be any blogging unless I feel like a break from the culture and the infernal heat.

The last photo is of me, Tom, Colin and Tanya Moodie who played Lenny Henry’s wife on stage. They were both top class. Catch ya later.

tref tom colin tanya

Business nuisance calls and messages Regs

ICO Annual Report and nuisance calls from 08432890049

ICOThe Information Commissioners Office has 355 staff. Hadn’t realised it was such a big outfit. When you think about it with the world moving online and with so much information about us being kept in so many places the ICO has a huge brief. Also the ICO website has been changed from .gov to .org to emphasise its independence.

I know this because I’ve just come from the ICO’s Annual Review at Central Hall in Westminster. Being on the ICO’s Tech Reference Panel and all that!

A lot of meeting was just the presentation of statistics. Did you know that over the past year more than 225,000 people called the ICO’s helpline? Well you do now. There are some big growth areas such as SPAM calls and texts. It’s good to see that the ICO is starting to bare its teeth when it comes to this kind of stuff. We have seen the first two lots of fines (called civil monetary penalties for some reason) to the value of £225k imposed on pest cold callers. These people are just the lowest of the low.

I’ve started to report incidents of spam calls to my own phone – coincidentally got one this morning from 08432890049. I have duly reported it here. If all of us report it every time we get a spam call or text we can at least contribute towards nailing the ones in the UK. The overseas call centres are unfortunately beyond the reach of the ICO. I’ve just started to get rude with them.

You can look at the report yourself here. In line with the ICO’s new green policy the only hard copies available are the ones required to be kept by Parliament. Now there’s a very telling message in itself.

I will leave you with a fact that was related by Commissioner Christopher Graham. The ICO is currently looking at online privacy Ts & Cs. I got the impression that they are looking to try and come up with recommendations for a set of rules that would provide adequate privacy protection for people signing up for new products and services online and who just tick a box to accept conditions imposed. Did you know that if you added up every set of T’s and C’s you accept in this way it would take 77 days if you had to actually read it all? Well now you do 🙂

Apps End User mobile apps phones

Nokia Lumia 920, Windows 8 compared to the Samsung Galaxy S3 when using social media

 windows phone 8 screenshotsMy next observation on my play with the Lumia 920 relates to the user interface. It’s a very smooth phone for moving around mechanically. A swipe of the finger take you to another relevant screen – more so than the S3 which feels as if you have to return to the main screen more often.

I use Tweetdeck on the GalaxyS3. Since using the Lumia 920 I’ve grown to realise the things that are particularly good about Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck lets me easily move between my stream, mentions and DMs and when I read a tweet it shows the conversation trail.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is organised differently and I’ve not found it easy to remember my way around. The tweet stream is shown in “People” but my own tweets and mentions are shown in “Me” which is a completely different tile. I can’t therefore flick easily between them as I can with Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck doesn’t seem to be supported on Windows 8 yet.

The same me/people split seems to apply for Facebook. The concept is good but the reality is that I personally want to look at all my Twitter stuff in one place and all Facebook in another. Ok so I can just use Twitter directly using the browser. I sometimes have to do this even when I am using Tweetdeck – Tweetdeck doesn’t let me easily see who is following me & who I am following.

Perhaps where I am getting to is that everyone has their own preference for UI and the Lumia 920 / Windows 8 is being constantly relegated to second choice whilst I have the Galaxy S3 as an option.

I’m not giving up though. The Office suite is more important for work that is all this social media stuff and that may be where the Lumia 920 finds it’s niche. It’s probably not where Microsoft and Nokia want it to be though. More in good time…

End User phones

Nokia Lumia 920 camera compared with Samsung Galaxy S3

snow on railway lines taken with Nokia Lumia 920I’m not going to go into a detailed comparison/review of the Nokia Lumia 920 camera compared with Samsung Galaxy S3 camera but I will share a few observations.

First two photos:

Alex Whitworth taken with Lumia 920Alex Whitworth taken by Galaxy S3






The one on the left was taken with the Nokia Lumia 920 and the one on the right with the Samsung Galaxy S3. I have no complaints about the photo quality of either camera but you do have to say that they look different. They were both taken at the same time – the Lumia in my left hand and the S3 in my right. I personally think the Galaxy S3 looks more natural.

The  S3 camera definitely has more functionality out of the box. For example panorama mode is an additional app download for the Nokia and the S3 has far more variables that can be modified in its settings. Having said that I guess the Nokia stance is that the simpler the camera, ie the fewer settings you have to play with, the less likely things are to go wrong.

I don’t feel that the increased functionality of the S3 has been detrimental to my photo taking though. The Lumia 920 is a lot faster in bringing up a photo on screen once you have taken the picture. It’s just a sideways swipe of the finger. I’m wondering whether the reaction time of the S3 is because I’ve got a lot more running on it. It’s something I’ve begun to notice recently. Both camera apps  take the same amount of time to fire up which is important because I often find myself wanting to take a quick photo of something – Lancaster bomber flying by etc1.

The header photo is “snow on the line at Newark Northgate train station” taken with the Nokia. You will be relieved to know that this light dusting was not enough to cause railway chaos though it did mean we were slightly late into Kings Cross as the driver was taking a tad more care than he normally would – good to know we were in safe hands. Arrive alive and all that!

Alex Whitworth, the model shown sitting down is one of our excellent product managers. Which photo do you prefer? The people shall have their say!

1 I should point out that I don’t often take photos of low flying Lancaster bombers. I was merely using that situation as an illustration of the kind of scenario that demands quick reaction time with the camera. I could have used a low flying spitfire as an alternative. That of course would have required even faster reaction time being a fighter and therefore designed for speed and agility instead of bomb carrying capacity and range.

End User phones

A stroll through the Lincolnshire countryside with Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S3

Drive Carefully Sign at North GreetwellI’m just doing a lot of work with Microsoft Windows 8 at the moment and am running it on the desktop and on the Nokia Lumia 920. It is taking me a while to get into the OS but it is going to be on the menu on for the next few weeks.

I am also going to be comparing Windows8 with the Google ecosystem – Chrome and Android. This isn’t one big post or article. It’s a series of bite sized chunks discussing specific aspects. I think this whole subject area is important because I see the business customer base polarising between the two. It might take some time for this to be totally apparent but it is happening.

It’s a cloud versus mobility versus desktop play. Whoever gets the mix right will take the top spot and by definition, money. Apple isn’t in this business centric game other than a boutique player.

Nokia Lumia 920 mapsgoogle maps on Samsung Galaxy S3In playing with Windows Phone 8 (or whatever it is specifically called) – I am using the Nokia Lumia 920. Some of my comments may be specific to Nokia rather than Microsoft but for simplification I am going to assume that they are one and the same.

The first opportunity I had to compare the two was last Saturday when my beloved wife and I decided to go for a stroll through the (bitterly cold) flatlands of Lincolnshire. We settled on a walk to the Cherry Tree Cafe, a renowned purveyor of hot drinks and home made cuisine in Sudbrooke.

To figure out how far it was to walk and how long it would take I used Google Maps. 3.5 miles and one hour five minutes. Perfect. We could get there for a cup of tea, walk back and I would be able to sit down and watch Wales wallop Ireland at the rugby. As a cross check I did the same with the Nokia Lumia 920. The answer I got was a slightly longer 3.6 miles but giving me an elapsed time of one hour thirty seven minutes. Oo I thought.

The walk actually took bang on one hour five minutes – it would have been less had my wife who is a bit of a racing ferret not had me in tow slowing her down.

Now it may be that Nokia assumes a slightly older and less mobile demographic as its main customer base but this isn’t a good start. The error of half an hour represented around 50% delta in actual time taken. Not much use if you rely on a service to plan journey times. That’s all for now.

PS note the header photo was a sign we passed in the village of North Greetwell. It should read North Greetwell, Please drive carefully through our village!

PPS Each phone photo taken with the other – review of cameras to follow soon.

End User phones

BlackBerry Z10 smartphone comparison with Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone

trefor with blackberry10We have a BlackBerry 10 and have put it through some rudimentary comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4s1. The iPhone5 may perform differently but I don’t think it hugely matters as the comparisons are not particularly scientific.


  • iPhone4s 38seconds
  • BlackBerry10 79 seconds
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 26 seconds

Galaxy S3 wins hands down but reality is that most people keep their phones on 24×7 and the BlackBerry has to perform a handshake with the BlackBerry Enterprise server so it is no wonder it takes longer. This test is therefore probably not hugely relevant but seeing as we had done it I’m not going to waste the info.

At this point the iPhone4s left the room and we continued testing:

Web browsing

BlackBerry10 ZThe BlackBerry10  is supposed to major on speed of web access and this would appear to be the case. We tested the BB10 versus the SGS3 on two websites. Initially we chose a random site – speciality fasteners and screws – you know it makes sense. Both devices loaded this site in around 6 seconds though there is a lot of room for error in the measurement with this method – clicking on start buttons on timers and also trying to ensure that both of us did it simultaneously on two devices.

We moved on to which gave us a reading as to the speed of our web access – at least for html5. For good measure we also threw in Google chrome running on my laptop.

  • BlackBerry10 485
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 390
  • Chrome on Windows7 448

Higher is better here so at first glance, and with only a small set of comparison points BB10 is, as it claims to be, a fast device for accessing tinterweb.

Couple of videos for your delight and delectation. Firstly Timico Engineer Dean Asher talking about his first impressions of the BB10 which are very good.

The second vid is Dean showing off BlackBerry Flow which does seem to have some very nifty features in allowing you to switch between applications.

All in all the BlackBerry10 is likely to be a device that corporate IT managers can give to their staff that won’t make them complain about its functionality. To a large extent it is going to be all about the timely availability of apps. Time will tell whether the BB10 turns around RIM’s fortunes but it looks like it could give them a sporting chance.

1 I couldn’t find an iPhone5 around the office and not being an Apple fan I don’t care if someone comes along whinging saying that the iPhone5 is much better than the iPhone4s. iPhone5 sales are disappointing the markets anyway and it’s no wonder I couldn’t find anyone with one 😉

Apps Cloud End User mobile apps

Windows8 Windows8 Windows8 Windows8 short review

Trefor DaviesHad my first play with Windows 8 yesterday. I now have two family members with the OS and it is going to be unavoidable. There have been some really scathing reviews and this prompted me to take a look myself. I’m not, btw, going to link to any reviews. A search for Windows8 reviews comes up with, wait for it, 1,120,000,000 results!

Because Windows8 is designed particularly for use with a touch screen I took mine home from the office so that we could see it in its best light. With the billions of people giving Windows8 free publicity there is no need to go into any huge detail.

I liked the User Interface although our feeling was that it was definitely better with a touch screen than without.

I noted the ability to use the PC in either online or offline mode. Good I thought. Then I realised that I would have to sign up for a Microsoft account. Hold on a minute!  Then I thought (I’ve clearly been thinking a lot lately) hey, I’ve got a Google account because I use their services, I have a Samsung account because I use their phones. There is no harm in having a Microsoft account if I am using their kit. Having a Microsoft account will let me synch my settings across all my Microsoft devices (current standing count = 1).

This becomes particularly important as to me the business ecosystem looks increasingly likely to be moving to a fight between Microsoft and Google with Apple playing only a peripheral boutique role, just like it always used to be.

For me to say that the world’s biggest company is not going to have much presence on the business desktop sounds somewhat precocious. When you think about it Apples’ phenomenal growth is centred around iPad and iPhone and not their desktop devices.

Aside from in their traditional media luvvy market and the type of geek community that reads this blog an Apple desktop product is not something that the IT department would normally support. For one thing a Mac is a lot more expensive than a laptop/PC using Micrsosoft software (however much we like to whinge about how expensive that software is).

In fact if I’m going to get the best out of Windows8 I really need to be using it at the desktop and on mobile so watch this space. 2013 is shaping up to be the most interesting yet on the technology front. #techtyrekickersrus

PS If you’re wondering about the title of this post I just thought it sounded good – rolls off the tongue.

End User events

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll and a quiet cup of tea backstage? – Rolling Stones at the O2

Inside the O2 for the Rolling Stones Concert 25/11/12I’d like you to hold out an arm at full stretch rolling stones in concert at the O2with your little finger sticking out. Left or right arm – it doesn’t matter which. In the mid 80s I went to see Bruce Springsteen at Roundhay Park in Leeds. There was an enormous queue of cars coming off the M1 to get there and we eventually had to abandon ours in a side street and walk the rest of the way. When we got to the park it was packed and we were so far from the stage that Bruce was half the height of the fingernail that you see before you, assuming you followed instructions 🙂

Last night at the Rolling Stones concert at the O2 was a different story. Thanks to the O2 angel - very helpful & had our tickets and wristbands ready to collect.generosity of O2 we had great tickets – maybe two cricket pitch lengths from the front of the catwalk. Mick Jagger was two or three times the size of that fingernail.

You’ll all have read or heard the reviews already so there’s no need for me to go in to detail. I will say that Mick’s voice was incredible showing no signs of age.  Although most of the band looked pretty shrivelled the quality of the entertainment was top notch and we got to see Bill Wyman, Mick Turner and Jeff Beck join them at various stages of therolling stones gorilla - you know it makes sense evening.

The O2 as a venue has to be the best place I’ve been to see a concert. The sound quality is great and it is really easy to pop to the bar to bring drinks back to your seats. We had access to the O2 lounge which meant we could check our coats in and grab a couple of cocktails before the band came on stage. The lounge also has a lift that takes you up to just behind where your seats are. Life is made easy.

The only disappointment of the night was that they didn’t play “Satisfaction”. Apparentlycrowded tube - that's Dan Cunliffe of O2 wholesale in shot they were running late and hit the hard stop time of 23.00hrs. They were on stage for nigh on 2hours and 30 mins which is good going at the age of seventy.

After the gig we hit the O2 lounge again and just managed to catch the last westbound tube at 23.45. Would have been a bit of a problem had we missed that. There is no way we could have caught a cab with that many people there.

The short tube ride into town was a story in itself. We were crammed in like vacuum packed sardines – not the ordinary tinned variety swimming in tomato sauce. I wanted to take a photo but my phone had run out of juice so a friendly Dutchman named Robert Jan Pabon did the honours and then emailed it to me. The power of communication. Robert was there with his wife Katja. Lovely couple. We got very close, on the tube – there was no choice :). Thanks for the pic Robert. Have a safe trip back to Holland.

The guy in the photo is Dan Cunliffe from O2. Top bloke. You have to hand it to O2. They know how to do business.

It strikes me as I write that the world has changed massively since the Stones started their careers. At the time there would have been no Personal Computers – we are talking almost back to the days of Colossus at Bletchley Park. No mobile phones, no internet. Even the TV probably had only two or three channels (all you need) and was in black and white. All they really had was sex and drugs and rock and roll. Ahh the good old days…

Bellowhead at the Engine Shed in LincolnI’ll leave you with the observation that it’s been a weekend of gigs – the Rolling Stones last night preceded by Bellowhead at the Engine Shed in Lincoln on Friday. Bellowhead were fantastic and I urge you to go and see them. I bought their LP – my first vinyl purchase for perhaps 25 years. Apparently it’s coming back into fashion. Get with it you lot.

Thanks again to O2 for a terrific Sunday evening out. Quality.

PS check out the crowd video here.

PPS you can put your arm down now!

End User phones

Looking forward to getting my Samsung Galaxy S3 back

Sandown Park panorama taken with Samsung Galaxy S3Quick brain dump. I’ve been using the HTC One S for just over a week now. You may recall I’ve had to send the Samsung Galaxy S3 off for a new screen.

The keyboard keys on the One S are smaller than I’m used to and I have to be very careful when typing things in not to get it completely wrong. The User Interface seems not to be quite as slick – more button presses than required for the S3. This might be totally wrong and I don’t have a specific example, particularly as I haven’t got both phones side by side to compare, but that’s what it feels right.

The smaller form factor of the One S is good except that it means that things are smaller on screen (ref keyboard above). I also like the “ring pull” feature you use to activate the screen but this in itself is not a major reason to buy.

I guess the One S must be cheaper than the S3 which is probably how it is positioned and sold and in reality it does have a great many of the benefits of Android ICS. The One S doesn’t have an SD card slot so I haven’t swapped my music across although I suppose I could have done it via cable – it does have 32GB on-board memory. I don’t listen to music often enough for me to have bothered.

Also I don’t like the zoom function on the camera. “pinching” the screen doesn’t work. You have to use the +/- slider to zoom in and out. The One S doesn’t seem to have the panorama feature though the burst mode of the S3 is there by default – you just hold the shutter button down and it just happens. The header photo is reused from a previous post – notionally to show off the panorama feature of the S3 but in reality so that I can “pin” the blog on Pinterest – it won’t let you do it without a photo (yes I know I’m a tart).

I don’t know whether these features also apply to the HTC One X but I’m not going to find out. Bring back my Galaxy S3 – as soon as possible – I will try and be more careful with you in future (strokes an imaginary phone lovingly) 🙂

That’s all folks…

PS I realise I have to be careful here. I don’t want to appear too much like an Apple fanboi. Samsung fanboi? Nah.

PPS this post is for Jonathan – he will understand.

End User phones

Unstructured user review of the Samsung Galaxy S3 & comparison with S2

Samsung Galaxy S3 seen next to a Samsung Galaxy S2I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S3 for three days now. I don’t think you can sensibly rush out a review within hours of getting your hands on a device particularly as these phones are not simple gadgets anymore. They are highly complex and despite any focus on usability and simplicity there is so much to learn and find out about them that it inevitably takes time.

My first concern was somewhat mundane – the size of the phone. The Galaxy S2 was just about ok for me  – I struggled to read the top of the screen with my thumb and was worried that the S3 might be significantly bigger and thus harder to reach. This aint the case. Although the S3 is advertised as being bigger it isn’t that much different in real life, which is good. I also sat it next to a Samsung Note and it isn’t much smaller than that either but a lot more usable as a phone. I suspect we are getting the best of both worlds here.

The  Samsung Galaxy S3 is otherwise known as the GT-I9300. I know that this is the underlying model number of the phone because whilst trying to name it something to hook up with my Parrot car kit it automatically connected itself. It was easy. All I had to do was enter the car kit pin number.

I couldn’t, in my desire to get going on a Friday evening, find out how to name the phone. It must have been me because when I discussed this with one of the kids the next morning it took him seconds to find out how to do it. I wanted to call the phone “Rosita the Dragon Slayer”. The kids thought that was daft.

End User phones

crystal ball gazing – mobile tech style

I’ve been gazing into that mobile market crystal ball again. I can see nooootthhhinggggg. That’s because all the main phone vendors have sued themselves into the ground in every single market they operate in. This time Samsung is ringing the changes by suing the Australian Patent Commissioner. I don’t need to say more – you can read it yourself on the beeb.

I’m pleased I just got my Galaxy S3 because it is going to remain state of the art for years to come – until the army of corporate lawyers grow so old they trip over their ever lengthening beards, bang their heads against one another and self-destruct. That’s a wake I’d like to attend. It’ll be champagne and caviar all round all paid for out of the rich estates of the dearly departed.

Other than that you aren’t getting an S3 review until Monday although I will say that I have discovered the burst mode on the camera and it is super cool.