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December 2017 Tech Trends Product Reviews

 

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Tech Trends has your back with this special holiday bumper edition of desirable gadget reviews.

Lelo Sona Cruise

Technology is changing the world and traditional ways of doing things are being challenged every day. Getting your rocks off is one of them so Tech Trends, always up for a little onanism, was excited to receive the cute looking Sona Cruise from Lelo. More like standing next to the Marshall stacks at a rock concert than leaning on the washing machine on spin, that’s the best way to explain the cunning technology behind the new Sona Cruise.

Conventional vibrators transmit energy (and pleasure) through physical contact with the buzzing tool but the Sona Cruise emits sonic pulses, sound waves that penetrate and radiate deeper below the surface skin providing by all accounts a thrilling experience like no other. Another plus is that the Sona Cruise doesn’t leave you sore as the pulses generated by the sound pad mean you don’t need to hold it against the sensitive areas, just near. This thing is also beautifully made, the ABS Silicone is gorgeous to touch and the design is funky and comfortable to use.

The Sona Cruise doesn’t leave you sore as the pulses generated by the sound pad mean you don’t need to hold it against the sensitive areas, just near Click To Tweet

It’s 100% waterproof. So if you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, your chariot has arrived. It also makes it super easy to clean. Sona Cruise is made from a single piece of silicone, and this one-piece design keeps it watertight – even at the charging socket. Perfect for the bath, shower or hot tub or a cheeky one in the swimming pool! Because the Sona Cruise is not like a conventional pleasure product, it doesn’t sound like one. It’s quiet and restrained – perfect for users who need discretion. What’s more, it’s USB-rechargeable, so you can take it anywhere you go. An hour of charging will give you an hour of pleasure.

RRP: Currently reduced from £159 to £89

The Sona Cruise is made from a single piece of silicone, it’s 100% waterproof and super easy to clean Click To Tweet

Aukey 1080p Webcam

The nice people at Aukey have sent Tech Trends several of their very well made tech toys recently. The 1080p PC-LM1 Stereo Webcam is another fine piece of kit at a bargain price. The 1/3” CMOS sensor provides a very good image at 1080p in well-lit conditions but as with all small HD sensors it gets a bit grainy and smudged if used in dark rooms. The camera can also take 2-megapixel photos.

The Stereo mic worked very well in my tests and it proved to be truly plug and play on both Macs and PCs Click To Tweet

The Stereo mic worked very well in my tests and it proved to be truly plug and play on both Macs and PCs. Overall this is a match for Webcams twice this price and looks good to boot! Like all Aukey products, it comes with a 24 month guarantee which is unheard of in this price range but all their products we have tested so far have been solid and reliable in use which breeds confidence.

  • High-definition 1080p webcam with 1/3″ CMOS image sensor and 2 built-in stereo microphones. Delivers sharp, smooth video for video chats and recording
  • Excellent video quality with 1920 ×1080p Full HD streaming and recording. Good performance even in more dimly lit rooms (≤5 lux minimum illumination). Fixed focus keeps things in focus up to five meters away
  • Stream and capture clearer and more detailed video, also with stereo sound
  • Easy to use – Plug & Play no drivers or software to install; just plug this webcam into your device’s USB port. Compatible with Windows XP/ 2000 /2003 / Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10, Mac OS 10.6, and Android 5.0 or above, works with Smart TV, Android TV Box, Skype, MSN, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Youtube, Yahoo Messenger etc
  • Conveniently clip this camera onto flat-screen computer monitors and laptop computer screens or stand it on desks and other flat surfaces
  • Package Contents: AUKEY PC-LM1 1080p Webcam, User Manual, 24-Month Product Replacement Warranty and Friendly Customer Service

RRP: £30.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Overall this is a match for Webcams twice this price and looks good to boot! Click To Tweet

Honor 7X Smartphone

You might not have heard of Honor here in the UK but they are part of the Huawei Group and produce some compelling smartphones. Honor is the number one smartphone e-brand in China in 2017 in terms of sales performance. They have also announced a new global growth strategy that aims to make it a top-three smartphone brand worldwide in five years. They are already the number one and number three e-brand in Finland and Russia respectively and Honor’s sales grew significantly on Black Friday in the United States and Europe this year. Read the full review here.

Honor is the number one smartphone e-brand in China in 2017 in terms of sales performance Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Augmented Reality honor 7x smartphone

Aukey Ground Loop Noise Isolator

These Aukey products are great, affordable stocking fillers for technophiles the world over. This Ground Loop Noise Isolator filters out the background hiss or buzz that can ruin your music and is particularly useful in car stereo systems or with cheaper home stereo systems whose electrical components and power supplies are not quite as capable as more expensive options. I hooked this up with the Bluetooth Audio Receiver lats month http://techtrends.tech/tech-trends/november-2017-tech-trends-product-reviews/ which I had linked to my Marantz amp but is powered via USB plugged into my TV.

These Aukey products are great, affordable stocking fillers for technophiles the world over Click To Tweet

This poor quality supply of power to the Bluetooth Receiver will inevitably affect the sound so I was keen to see how this gadget improved things. I powered it up connected my Galaxy S7 via Bluetooth and blasted out my current favourite track, Higgin & Kissin by Big Black Delta. There was a definite improvement in the sound feeling clearer and more solid but also a little peakier. Generally, it was an improvement and keen to try it out on my other computer stereo set up. At £8.99 get one and give it a go, it can only make your setup sound better!

  • ELIMINATING BUZZING NOISE: Eliminate hiss, buzz, and other background interference caused by ground loop noise. Designed to improve sound quality on car stereo systems and home speaker systems when the audio source is physically connected by 3.5mm audio cable
  • WORKING PRINCIPLE: Filters out noise instantly for clear, uninterrupted, uncompromised sound. Lose the noise; keep everything else
  • PLUG AND PLAY: Nifty little gadget that just plugs in; no other setup needed
  • COMPATIBLE MODELS: Works with any audio device that has 3.5mm audio jacks, for your Car Audio System/Home Stereo, when grounding issues persist
  • PACKAGE CONTENTS: AUKEY GI-L1 Ground Loop Isolator, 3.5mm Audio Cable, User Manual, 24-Month Product Replacement Warranty and Friendly Customer Service

RRP: Reduced fro £11.99 to £8.99 on amazon.co.uk

The new Add-X feature displays exclusive offers and adverts, tailored to the user’s age and gender, on the phone’s lock screen Click To Tweet

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus with Add-X

Wileyfox is a London based smartphone maker focused on offering consumers a mobile experience that is intuitive, highly spec’d and competitively priced. Wileyfox is proud to be a disruptive company and this December launched its revolutionary “Add-X” range – an extension of its well-regarded Android premium and high-spec’d Swift 2 and Spark ranges, but with added value for savvy consumers. What deal-seeking shopper wouldn’t love an upfront price discount on their new premium Wileyfox smartphone of up to 42%. Yes, that’s right if you choose the Add-X version of the top spec Swift 2+ or Spark phones you will get up to a 42% discount. What, Why, How the flip….?

The new “Add-X” feature displays exclusive offers and adverts, tailored to the user’s age and gender, on the phone’s lock screen. This doesn’t interfere with access to personal notifications, date and time and users can simply swipe right to unlock their phone as normal or swipe left to see more.

“At Wileyfox we’re committed to shaking up the competition again, to give our customers the best smartphone for their budget. And with Add-X we’re smashing expectations at an even higher level reducing the costs across our range upfront, while also giving the consumer even more ways to be “wiley” Michael Coombes, CEO of Wileyfox explained

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Augmented Wileyfox Swift 2+ Add-x smartphone

Wileyfox is a London based smartphone maker focused on offering consumers a mobile experience that is intuitive, highly spec'd and competitively priced Click To Tweet

Examples of offers could include a discount or a preview of a sale, selected to provide Wileyfox customers with brands, products and services they would want to see. Not only that but over time through the proprietary AI and machine-learning technology, the Add-X platform adapts to the user’s behaviour and learns to serve the user with more of the brands and offers they are looking for. Advertisers now on the Add-X platform include Dominoes and Ministry of Sound, among others.

“As Wileyfox is committed to consumer experience, there is a highly selective process to which brands and products can advertise over the platform. There will be no adverts for porn or money-lending companies. Only users over the age of 18 will receive adverts for alcohol brands.” Coombes continued

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Augmented Wileyfox Swift 2+ Add-x smartphone

Wileyfox claim Add-X has no impact on the phone performance plus all the existing phone features operate on the phone as usual. They have optimised the handsets’ power management systems to ensure they perform to the same standard as non Add-X Wileyfox phones and the impact of Add-X on data appears to be negligible – they claim less than 20MB per month. The advertising subsidises the cost of the mobile phone, without tieing the user to an Operator.

“Not only can consumers buy a better phone for less, but during the lifetime of the phone they will be presented with many great offers, which can over time save them even more than the cost of the phone. Protecting customer data is a priority. No customer data is shared with any advertisers or other parties. Customer profiling data is only used to tailor the customer experience.” Concluded Coombes

Ok, but what are the phones like? Well, Tech Trends received a lovely pink Swift 2 Plus with Add-X and first impressions were very good. Lovely packaging a nice long USB-C cable and the phone clear upgrade on the previous Swift model and has a nicely machined metal body and good looking 720p screen. I was pleased to see that the overall handset quality is only a step behind the big boys in machining and finish and is more than acceptable for the price bracket.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Augmented Wileyfox Swift 2+ Add-x smartphone

I was pleased to see that the overall handset quality is only a step behind the big boys in machining and finish and is more than acceptable for the price bracket Click To Tweet

The 16MP & 8MP back and front cameras are good and the fingerprint sensor is quick and easy to set up. Located on the back of the phone it means there is no need for a home button on the front so the Swift 2 feels like the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony Xperia and iPhone X plus it runs Android 7.1.2! The 1.4GHz Snapdragon 430 paired with 3GBs of RAM mean it is pretty quick to use and multitasking is no problem and the 32GBs of storage is enough for most users. It also has NFC, Duel SIM functionality and Quick Charge 3 a serious list of features that most mid-priced handsets can’t offer.

The Wileyfox 16MP & 8MP back and front cameras are good and the fingerprint sensor is quick and easy to set up Click To Tweet

It is not a speed demon but then it is not meant to be and for the price Tech Trends hasn’t seen many better options. Maybe most importantly we felt that Add-X was only minimally intrusive and did not ruin the fun to be had playing with the Swift 2. It’s a really nice phone and we can thoroughly recommend it. I am also pleased to see a British company innovating in this market and who knows where Wileyfox will go from here.

I was pleased to see a British company innovating in this market and who knows where Wileyfox will go from here Click To Tweet
Wileyfox smartphones with Add-X are available from www.wileyfox.com, Amazon UK, Carphone Warehouse, eBay and  ao.com at the following prices:
Wileyfox Model
RRP
Model with Add-X Price
Saving
Spark +
£119.99
£69.99
£50 / 42%
Spark X
£139.99
£79.99
£60 / 43%
Swift 2
£159.99
£99.99
£60 / 38%
Swift 2 +
£189.99
£119.99
£70 / 37%
For further information please visit Wileyfox’s website Twitter feed, Facebook page and Instagram

 

Dough Universe

Since the days of Texas Instruments Little Professor and Speak and Spell there have always been toys that tried to blend education and play – albeit with mixed results – but few have sought to educate, entertain and prepare children’s blossoming creative minds for the flourishing worlds of technologies to come. Tech Will Save us aims to change all that. Their mission is to inspire kids everywhere to use technology to create new things, solve life-changing problems, and invent their own future in a world where 65% of kids in school today may well have a job that doesn’t exist yet. Read the full review here.

Tech Will Save Us is on a mission to inspire kids to use technology to create new things, solve life-changing problems, and invent their own future Click To Tweet

Tech Trends Product Review Holidays Shopping Toys Educational Technology Will Save Us Dough Universe Kits

Aukey USB Quick Charge 3.0 Mains Charger

If you are anything like me you burn through your devices’ batteries and are constantly plugging them in, swapping them around and screaming for the right lead. Well, this six port USB mains adapter will solve some of my problems and I was very excited to try the two Quick Charge 3 ports on my Galaxy S8. The other 4 ports are no slouch and use adaptive AiPower Tech for Samsung S8, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPad Air 2/iPad Pro, Nexus, LG G5 and more.

usb charger quick charge 3.0 Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual honor 7x Wileyfox Swift 2+ Add-x Aukey 1080

If you are anything like me you burn through your devices’ batteries and are constantly plugging them in, swapping them around and screaming for the right lead Click To Tweet

The charger is tuned to support healthier battery function and faster USB charging speeds, AiPower intelligently adjusts power output to match the unique charging needs of all your USB powered gear. With up to 2.4A of dedicated adaptive output per AiPower USB port, your devices will each receive the safest maximum recharge rate possible. The charger is compatible with a full range of USB connector types, from A to C so will work for most devices out there. The Quick Charge 3 worked a treat and charged my S8 up to 50% in 40mins and 100% in around an hour and a quarter, now that is impressive! When you take the 24-month guarantee into account this is another great product from Aukey at a very reasonable price.

usb charger quick charge 3.0 Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual honor 7x Wileyfox Swift 2+ Add-x Aukey 1080

The Aukey charger is tuned to support healthier battery function and faster USB charging speeds Click To Tweet
  • Quick Charge 3.0 – Charge compatible devices up to 4 times faster than conventional charging
  • Adaptively charges all 5V USB powered devices including Android and Apple devices at up to 2.4A
  • Plug everything in at once and charge simultaneously at full speed
  • Built-in safeguards protect your devices against excessive current, overheating, and overcharging
  • Package Contents: Package Contents: AUKEY PA-T11 Charging Station, 2.6ft Detachable Power Adapter, User Manual, 24 Month Warranty Card

RRP: £24.99 on amazon.co.uk

 

Tom Atkinson is a Digital Producer & Photographer at R3Digital and Reviews & Dept. Editor at Tech Trends. Follow him on Twitter @R3Digital