The GLIF – First Impressions

A review by MacJim

A good few years ago, I backed my first Kickstarter project. It was the first version of the Glif for the iPhone 4 and was a neat wee device but, I have to admit, very rarely used… if ever.

The problem with version one was simple down to the way the iPhone 4 was held in place. It relied on a tight fit, the Glif held the iPhone in place by one side and a small area of the top edge, to keep the iPhone from falling out. Although I’ve never heard of any iPhones being damaged while they were used with version one, I never really plucked up the courage to try it out: it also didn’t work with a case.

Continue reading → The GLIF – First Impressions

595Strapco Handmade Classic Leather 36” Camera Neck Strap

I recently bought a second hand camera, an Olympus OM-1n film camera, and decided I needed to get a strap for it. I searched online and in-store but found what was being offered was either too expensive or just didn’t suit my needs.

I own a Fujifilm X-T1 and love it: at the time purchase I looked at alternatives to the supplied strap from Fujifilm, and chose the Camera Strap V2.0 from ThinkTankPhoto. It is a mix of leather and man made fabrics and is very comfortable in use, and works well, but I still had that urge to get something a little better and more in line with the quality of this fine camera, but chose not to for time being.

So, here I was back looking for a strap but for the film camera this time. I again found it difficult to find what I wanted, even in the cheaper end of the market, to suit me.

Continue reading → 595Strapco Handmade Classic Leather 36” Camera Neck Strap

Rcool Twins Mini TWS Bluetooth Earbuds

My super cheap TWS wireless earbuds arrived…

First impressions of the £11 earbuds:
I plugged them in with the short double headed cable (see above) and they produced a nice red glow – and when they were charged a nice green one

They don’t appear to have come with any instructions although all the descriptions say 1x User Guide – I probably need to double check the envelope in case there is a tiny slip in there

Anyway they fit nicely in my ear and feel secure (they don’t appear to have come with any alternative sized tips – but I’ve plenty of those as I always put the spares you get with most earbuds in my little stash…) Assuming you can actually change the tips on these of course!

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SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

Sure those PowerBeats headphones Apple showed off might look the business but the reality is not everyone can afford the $199. I mean how is it possible that a set of headphones with a fraction of the technology an iPhone contains costs 1/3 the price? Granted a lot goes into speaker technology but still.

So today I’m looking at completely the other end of the spectrum of headphones with a price range that most mere mortals can afford, the SoundPeats Q12. Who knows if due to some dodgy translation it was supposed to be SoundBeats.

Still with an asking price of just £19.95/ $24.99 expectations shouldn’t be too high but then again my last inexpensive wireless set won me over.

Continue reading → SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

STM Atlas iPad Pro case Review

The 12inch iPad Pro is a wonderful piece of kit. It has fast become one of my favourite pieces of Apple technology. However for the longest time it basically remained the iPad I kept at home. Both the cost of the darn thing and the insurmountable size of it made me nervous of taking it with me when I hit the road (in my case this is usually public transport as I sold my car last year). However with the recent addition of the Atlas iPad Pro case I have started to feel more comfortable taking this monstrous device out with me.

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Review: Jabra Move Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones

With the recent rumours that Apple might be eliminating the audio jack on the next iPhone we may soon be looking for Bluetooth headphones to replace the standard ones that Apple supplies.

Now I have no issue with Apple’s earbuds other than I’ve never had a pair that managed to stay inside my lug holes for any extended period of time. In fact I often notice folks walking along nonchalantly sporting the famous white earbuds that appear to be glued to their ears without any issues and it has always caused me a pang of jealousy.

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I recently read an article by Serenity Caldwell on iMore that mentioned the Jabra Move Bluetooth Headphones and I thought I’d take a punt on the device. Priced at £53 on Amazon (price may fluctuate) there are many cheaper BT headphones available, some I have purchased previously such as the Bluedio HT, which are available for £18.99

Firstly I was impressed with the packaging. It’s funny but I never even considered packaging until I bought my first few Apple products. I used to only care that the packaging protected the device in transit but now I pay closer attention to how the packaging presents the product as I open it and does it give me that ‘Wow’ factor.

The box contains the headphone (obviously, if not then something had gone terribly wrong), a USB cable for charging, an audio lead (for if you get caught short of power) and an instruction manual (which I glibly ignored….I’m a guy, it’s what we do).

The earphones come in three colours, red, blue and black. Not being that adventurous when it comes to colours, I opted for the black version. I was quite surprised by how small and compact the headphones are. They consist of a padded headband, padded ear-cups and a length of curved metal attaching them both.

The controls are quite limited but essentially cover everything you might need in your earphones. There is a controller on the left ear-cup that controls the volume as well as stopping and starting the track you’re listening too. Next to this is the audio jack to use the earphones if they run out of power.

The right ear-cup contains the USB charging port along with the On/Off switch, which also doubles up as the Bluetooth syncing button.

I haven’t heavily tested out these earphones for accepting phone/Skype calls but they do work for this function, and sounded fine in the limited testing I have done.

Although the headphones already had some charge in them on unboxing, I resisted my desire to try them out right away and attached the USB cable to charge them fully. This didn’t take very long and I was soon ready to pair the headphones to my iPhone.

As it turned out this was simply a case of pushing and holding the on/off switch for an extra few seconds, that placed the Jabra Move set into seeking Bluetooth mode. I then simple went to Settings > Bluetooth on my iPhone and selected the now visible Jabra Move and violin….I mean viola, they were connected. The device can link with up to eight separate bluetooth devices but only two can be active at any one time. It is also very easy to quickly reset to factory settings should you need too.

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Once connected I slipped the Jabra Moves onto my head, slipped my phone in my pocket and headed out for a power-walk.

The first thing that struck me was how comfortable the earphones were. I have a fairly big head (don’t say anything) and earphones tend to crush a little. The Jabra Move felt very comfortable and the cushioning on the ear cups meant that after a very short period of time I hardly even noticed I was wearing them.

Obviously the most important aspect of any earphones is the sound. The Bluedio HT earphones, that I mention earlier, had always sounded fine to me but the Jabra Move just moved the sound quality up several levels. I mainly listen to Rock and Country music, with the odd smattering of Podcasts and Audiobooks, while working out and I have been pleased with the quality of all these formats. I’m sure they wouldn’t win many awards from dedicated audiophiles; but to my ears they sounded fantastic. After all, I was listening over Bluetooth and from a compressed audio sources.

Keeping all of that in mind, I still enjoyed the gentle sounds of the opening to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ as well as the more pounding beats of AC/DC and Metallica tracks.

It has been a few weeks since I took delivery of the Jabra Moves and I have continued to wear them every time I go out, both for commuting and when training. They remain comfortable and reliable and last for many hours between charges. I have had the odd occasion where the Bluetooth appeared to be dropping out; however I eventually tracked this down to a streaming issue with Apple Music, so it wasn’t the Jabra’s fault at all.

I have synced them with a number of devices during this period and every time the process has been simple and fast.

If you are on the look out for some headphones as a possible replacement for your current audio ear-wear you should really consider giving the Jabra Moves a look.

Manufactures Link

Available at Amazon

Manfrotto Pixi Tripod and TwistGrip Review

I had the opportunity to test out two great little devices from Manfrotto this weekend. The TwistGrip is a small device that allows you to easily attach your phone to a tri-pod or other form of mount. The Second device was the Pixi Tripod.

Both worked exceptionally well together and I had fun shooting some video at a farm pretty local to me. 

Once you have watched the review video you might also like to see the actual little movie I shot with the rig. 

This video was edited with a fantastic app called Splice, available free in the App Store.

Review: STM Dux iPad Pro Case

I love my iPad Pro despite Apple recently introducing a little brother at the recent ‘In the Loop’ event. However one thing I wasn’t so thrilled about with the Pro was the cost of some of the accessories. I can understand Apple expecting us to shell out for such items as the Apple Pencil and even for the Smart Keyboard but where I often find Apples charges becoming more than a little harder to swallow is the cost of their cases.

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Review: STM Dux iPad Pro Case

I love my iPad Pro despite Apple recently introducing a little brother at the recent ‘In the Loop’ event. However one thing I wasn’t so thrilled about with the Pro was the cost of some of the accessories. I can understand Apple expecting us to shell out for such items as the Apple Pencil and even for the Smart Keyboard but where I often find Apples charges becoming more than a little harder to swallow is the cost of their cases.

Fortunately, as is often the case, third party manufactures step into the market and fill many of the gaps Apple creates. It sometimes may take a little while for these items to make their way to market but that is usually due to the secrecy surrounding new Apple products and their form factors. However, when they arrive they are often well made and priced much more reasonably.

For example, the official Apple Pro Case is Silicone Case priced at £65. Of course that only protects the back of the iPad Pro, the Smart Cover will run you an additional £49. So for ‘just’ £114 your iPad Pro can be protected.

However, I use the term ‘protected’ fairly loosely for although the official Apple case will keep scruff marks from the device I doubt it will offer much real protection if you dropped your iPad Pro.

STM have produced DUX designed for iPad Pro. This is a rugged rubberised TPU case that passes the US military spec 810G drop tests. It has a translucent back allowing you to display any decals you might wish to stick on the back of your Pro. My favourite part of the case however is the Apple Pencil storage area located on the side. The official Apple case doesn’t have this basic feature and it’s greatly appreciated here to keep your Pencil handy and safe when carrying your iPad Pro.

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The DUX also allows for the connection of both the Apple Smart Cover and the new Smart Keyboard. I can personally vouch that once the smart cover is connected the whole case looks pretty smart indeed.

Sectional cutouts around the case allow for the four speakers, the power button, volume controls and the camera.

If you are afraid of dropping your iPad Pro while out and about the DUX will certainly offer more protection than the official Apple case and at a lower price, with the added advantage of preventing you loosing your Apple Pencil.

See the DUX STM, Atlas and other iPad cases at the website

Review : 9.7 iPad Pro Review – A Lot to like…

The 9.7 inch iPad Pro concentrates almost everything that’s amazing about the 12.9 inch original into a device that is easy to carry around as the iPad Air 2. That includes not only the ludicrously powerful A9X processor but the smart keyboard and the Apple pencil and it’s got an even better camera.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro packs 2732 by 2048 pixels. The 9.7 inch iPad by contrast packs the same resolution as the Air 2048 by 1536. It has the same custom timing control as a bigger iPad Pro but also has a few surprises under the glass. The first is a DCI-P3 color space, that’s the same as digital theatre projectors and the 2015 iMac. It allows for 25% greater saturation and that means colors especially magentas look better than ever. The display is also 25% brighter and 40% less reflective than even the iPad Air 2. What’s especially clever though is the new true tone system.

It uses two ambient light sensors with four channels each to detect the conditions around you and change your iPad’s display to match white for whatever those conditions might be. It has the same third generation 64 bit system on a chip commanding a custom dual-core processor with a monstrous 12-core graphics processor to very really redefine what it means to be mobile silicon.

It’s paired with an integrated M9 coprocessor which handles the motion sensors and even allows for Hey Siri unplugged. Touch ID is first generation like every device except for the iPhone 6s which might be a relief for some as it can unlock your device a little too quickly.

Storage still starts at 32 gigabytes like the bigger pro and 128 gigabytes for those who want to step up. If you’d rather leap up though there is now a 256 gigabyte option and that’s for both sizes.

I’m not fussy about keyboards, so they’ve all been great for me. It takes about five minutes for me to acclimatize and then I’m flying. The laser ablated fabric Apple uses which along with the MacBook style domes forms the structure of the keys holds up really well even at a smaller scale. For those who dislike the smart keyboard in general there is the exact same smart connector as the bigger Pro which means third party keyboards will be available as well.

As someone who used Wacom tablets for graphic design for decades and stylus pens on iPhone and iPads for almost that long the Apple pencil remains best in class for me. It simply outperforms in every category. That’s now also available on the 9.7 inch. Sure the canvas isn’t as big but that’s the point. It does take some getting used to but only if you’re used to the 12.9 inch version.

Responsiveness and palm rejection remain excellent as good to my eyes and hands as a 12.9 inch iPad Pro and all the apps work every bit as well. Having a 12 megapixel iSight camera in a 9.7 inch iPad Pro makes it fantastic. There’s also 1080p video at 60 frames per second and a 4K at 30 frames per second. Sure some might still make fun of the very idea of iPad photography but for others the best camera they have with them will be the one on the iPad and now Apple is making sure the best is also the best. And for professionals many of whom love shooting with iPhones but do want bigger viewfinders for certain projects, Apple is making sure the 9.7 inch iPad Pro is delivering exactly that. It does come with a price though. An iPhone 6 style camera bump on the lens.

I haven’t had any problem with it though even when resting it flat and drawing with the pencil the other corners keep everything solidly in place. There is also a 5 megapixel face time camera complete with retina flash so you can take your iPad selfie game to the next level as well. And yes you can do iPhone 6s style live photos so your every moment can animate at a touch and hold.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro has four big booming speakers, to be honest I wasn’t expecting Apple to be able to fit the same class of audio into the 9.7 inch version but they totally did. No matter which way you hold or turn it iPad Pro delivers deep base in all four corners and mids and highs to the top two speakers. Together with the display it makes for a superlative entertainment experience even when you don’t have to or have to use earphones. The only downside is having to choose between watching Daredevil season 2 and well, finishing this review.
Wifi is 802.11ac with multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) that supports up to 866 Mbps. Cellular is even more exciting though unlike the bigger iPad Pro LTE has an option at every storage tier so you no longer have to go with big or go without. You also get an embedded Apple SIM, that way you can use your local carrier SIM if you’re already on an existing plan but when you travel you can choose from a variety of plans over 90 regions.
The 9.7 inch iPad Pro comes with iOS 9.3 installed. It’s the latest update to the software Apple released last fall. It includes night shift, the ability to lock notes, better personalization for news.

The 9.7 inch original iPad is once again being reinvented this time by going Pro while the 12.9 inch model felt like it was filling a really important niche and growing Apple’s addressable market. The 9.7 inch iPad Pro feels like it’s bringing everything great about that device, the power, the connectability, the pencils , the speakers and most importantly the attitude parked to that original size.

This can still be your everyday iPad and better so than ever but it can also be your ultra mobile productivity machine with little on the way of compromises. Sure you lose some display in keyboard real state but you gain portability and an excellent camera system. I’ll be getting 128 gigabyte rose gold and I might even look at going for a cellular enabled device to use when I’m on my travels.

iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works

In perhaps the worst kept secret in the world of Apple, the new iPhone SE was launched on monday with little in terms of surprises. Tim cook may have proclaimed that Apple was “doubling down on secrecy” but somewhere along the line this got missed and for the last few montsh we’ve all head to endure rumour after rumour surrounding a new iPhone. Thankfully mondays Apple event put us out of the rumor cycle and now into the review cycle for the iPhone 5SE.

Continue reading → iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works

App Review : Gopili find cheap tickets for planes, trains, automobiles and coaches.

Sometimes something arrives for review at the most fortuitous time. At the start of almost every year I seem to end up having to do a fair amount of travelling. So the arrival in my reviewer’s box of Gopili, an app that promises to Find Cheap Tickets for UK and European Journeys could not have come at a better time. What better way to test a travelling, route planning and discount finding app than to test it in the real world.

Find Cheap Tickets for UK and European Journeys is the strap line on the website. Gopili caters for all the usual planes and trains but it also includes coaches and car sharing, something you don’t find in most other apps of this ilk.

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All travel journeys are started by choosing the departure date and time. Perhaps I am missing something but I couldn’t see any way to add a return leg to the journey. I reached out to the developers and this is what they came back with:

As our services aim to find the best option for the journey among all modes of transport, it is quite often that the cheapest option for a return journey will involve using different modes of transport. For example, using the bus from Bristol to London, and using the train to come back to Bristol. By displaying the cost of the return journeys by train and the return journeys by bus, it might prevent users to identify the cheapest option: bus on the first trip and train on the way back that is why on the desktop version of the website, the 2 searches are separated (1st search: departure, 2nd search: return).

Testing was problematic. My nearest train station wasn’t available at the time of review but speaking to the developers it is on the list to be added. Gopili would default to coach planning at times or not show any search results at all.

Again talking to the developers, who genuinely seemed to appreciate the feedback, they have been upfront to say that Gopili is more aimed at the major cities and towns for now but there are regular updates happening, working on getting the best results for your journey rather than covering everywhere.

GoPili Plains, Trains, Automobiles & Coaches.

So heading from my nearest city of Swansea to Bath for a job interview the results were as I expected for Trains. National Express coaches were on the list along with the local budget bus provider, Megabus. This is where Gopili can help you to make your journey cheaper. As long as you put a bit of thought into your travelling plans.

Megabus couldn’t take me all the way to my chosen destination, but given how cheap the service is it actually worked out cheaper for me to travel to Bristol by Megabus, and then to continue the journey from Bristol to Bath on the train.

Granted to some this may seem likea lot of hassle. For the budget conscious though, this is an incredibly handy addition. Having all the times, prices and durations on an easy to read screen certainly helps to make those decisions.


Gopili scrapes the major airline services and found me a couple of flights, which I already knew about, going from Cardiff to Munich. There were no options for train, coach or car travel but this is hardly surprising given my location. If you have used a flight scraping service before it’s worth using Gopili to see other options.

A cursory check of London to Munich showed train services I’d never heard of before with a huge 50% saving versus flying on selected date. Granted it’s a 12 hour train journey instead of a 2 hour flight but at least you can have option. For some travellers the price can be more important than time – if a 12 hour journey on the train means you can afford to make a trip you might not otherwise manage then maybe that is a small price to pay .

Car sharing.
This seemed to be a feature which popped up quite rarely but nonetheless gave me the option to travel with someone in a car in my fictitious journey of Bristol to London.

Pricing varies from £15 onwards depending on the person, time of day and the journey. Again seeing the pricing and times helps to work out effort vs time, vs hassle. BlaBla car turned out to be much cheaper than going on the train but only marginally more expensive than the bus but was over 2 hours quicker.
If you’re lucky enough to plan a journey where you have the option of planes trains and automobiles you can adjust the filter at the bottom of the screen to tailor to your preferred travelling method.

It does take a few seconds to collate the results for your journey but it is responsive enough not to border on being frustrating. Best of all even though it is scraping many sites you are not going to be bombarded with endless pop-up windows and adverts.

Journeys and bookings are done by taking you to the Gopili webpage via in app Safari browsing. This of course means you’re not handing over any personal or payment information to Gopili

A Few Problems
On a few occasions trying to book through the app, which forwards you to the bookings section of your chosen transport method would hang. Even if on Wifi or 3G using my iPhone 5s netted the same result. To me that’s not a big issue as once I have travel plans in mind I can easily jump on the desktop. The developers have responded, very quickly I might add, to say they are aware of this issue. At times it can take up to 30 seconds to get a response from the providers server and they are working on a fix for this.

Overall on GoPili Finding Cheap Tickets For Journeys

If you’re looking for an all in one travel planner which is quick, efficient, and scraping all of the sites you would probably do yourself manually then Gopili should be a first app to check. So long as you are in a supported area or at the very least, near to one.

Gopili – Cheap tickets for train, coach, flight and ride share is available from the App Store.