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A Happy New Year and all the very Tech for 2018
First, of all let us say sorry guys that we haven’t been around for a year. Our parent company I.T. Turning Point had to close and this left us in limbo. But our passion for all things tech and I.T. is still intact.
So a year to the last post we are back and will be posting again here. A Happy New Yera to you all and I hope this year is filled with tech and technological advances for yourself and for your organisation.
We are going to look at all things tech and how they are advancing so keep your eyes peeled and ask us stuff to inspire us to go and look out the answers for you.
So instead of HEy Google, say Hey Techpoint, tell us about this, and we will try and give it our best shot. We are restructuring during this year and things hopefully will settle into a pattern.
Take care and hope to hear from you soon.
Christmas time always brings me some form of new tech, or at least I hope it does. Last year, yes it was last year already, I decided to put a money present to use by upgrading my Android wear. Now there is a lot of speculation about wearable and the lack of uptake etc. so read on and get my views on it and why I have stayed with it.
How it all began?
Well, I have covered this really in my blog about getting the LG G watch and using it to see if it could better my work and life tech experience. You can check it out here. This was always a first generation watch and was expensive when it first came out, but also rather limited in what it could do, still as per my blogs on the usage of it I found that it became part of my everyday activities and it was now something that when my watch strap broke on one occasion I felt I couldn’t function as well without it. So it became a part of how I handled my daily tech and all the emails and social media I deal with.
So why Upgrade?
I did, however, realise that it was limited and the next generation of devices was out there and when funding permitted I would upgrade to a more recent version of Android Wear and see what the new features would offer me. My son had told me he had researched and ordered the Huawei W1 watch. I had known about this watch but the price was very high when launched and not something I would invest in. However checking the deals around Christmas I found it at a reasonable price and purchased it. To the chants of you copied me, dad. (OH, well)
I was lucky enough that the supplier delivered before Christmas and I have been using it for around 3 weeks now. I opened and set it up quickly and hence no unboxing video, but the photos show the impressive box and the kit inside. It felt like quality indeed.
Here are the specs for the watch: –
|Build||Stainless Steel (Cold forged 316L)
IP67 certified – dust and water resistant
Water-resistant up to 1 metre and 30 minutes
|Display||AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
400×400 pixels (286 ppi density)
Sapphire crystal glass
Always on screen
|Platform||Android Wear OS|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8926 Snapdragon 400|
|CPU||Quad Core 1.2Ghz Cortex – A7|
|Memory||4Gb internal, 512Mb RAM|
|Sound||Vibration, MP3, WAV Ringtones
Loudspeaker: – Yes
|COMMS||WLAN 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth V4.1, LE
|Features||Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer
Messaging: – SMS, Email, IM
Voice dial/ Commands
|Battery||Li-Ion 300 mAh battery
Talk Time: – 48 hours (mixed usage)
|Misc.||Various strap options available on purchase.|
These knock the first generation LG G watch into a cocked hat so my excitement is beyond bounds. I know I am a GEEK.
What do you get?
The box as you can see is amazing and reflects the top end price.
- Outer shell box with all the labels and tech details
- Inner box with spring loaded flip open lid
- “Timeless design, smart within”, as the tagline in the lid.
- Top watch mounting padded shelf, Watch was fastened to this with cover on screen for protection, this was in the removable inner section and had two metal pins to remove shelf from box
- Inner section now has a tab the lifts the small container holding the handbook and manual
- Under this is the charger and charging cable and base, all in white.
- The whole package felt of quality and the weight was quite substantial, even when empty.
I ordered the leather strap and wore this until my metal replacement arrived after Christmas. So now have two straps that are very easily changeable due to the small pins with pull sections allowing quick strap changes. Even this is a clever idea.
The watch had to be charged and, I have, to be honest, the claim of fast charging is amazing, it charges in no time at all. I then went through connecting it to my phone via Android Wear and this was painless and happened easily. I had disconnected my old LG G watch and asked it to forget it. Then paired up the new watch. All went well. The watch itself comes with 48 watch faces to choose from so no hunting initially for a new watch face, my LG had a rectangular face so now needed circular one. Some lovely build in options….
It works a treat and gives me the extra options of heart rate monitor and answering phones calls on the watch not even needing to remove my phone from my pocket. To be honest, I have only done this once so far at home, but it went well and I could hear the caller and they could hear me. Useful indeed. I and my phone were in different rooms.
The other thing is that this particular model is one that Android Wear have been using to create Android Wear 2 that is due to launch this year. The rumours say this will create much more functionality and allow you to do even more things. I am now a convert to using a smart watch and think that I will always use one unless the whole project gets dropped. I now glance at it every time an email or post comes in and can vet if it needs an instant response or can be dealt with later. I can mute my phone from my watch and even locate my phone from my watch. Open the camera on my phone and see it on my watch for photos etc. I am still finding all the things I can do but I feel this has been a great investment and look forward to the things I will find over the coming months and the upgrade to Android Wear 2 when it comes out.
Wearable tech what are your thoughts?
Here is a newish term that has been getting brandished around the Internet for some time now. At first as a techie I may think, Institute of Technology devices, Oh, I don’t have any of these. However, I would be so wrong. So what are they and what does it stand for?
IoT’s or Internet of things devices are now all around us whether we like it or not. They are devices that require an IP address to access the network or Internet. I like to think of them as Internet on Technology.
Your mobiles and any tech wear that you have, card reader machines, cash points, smart TV’s Tablet computers and any smart home devices that you may own. Your car, security cameras, home thermostats, amoung other things, even ticket machines and some vending machines.
What does it mean?
It means that things have progressed along a road that had been predicted, but the faster broadband speeds and methods of connectivity have meant it is now a reality.
Let’s rewind a little, A few years ago we have a desktop PC and then maybe a laptop and at first they did not connect to the Internet at all. We then got dial up Internet and we all tentatively put our toes in the water that was the Internet. Well, from there speeds just got faster and faster and Mobile phones came along, then they became smart. This meant connecting to the Internet and using it as a resource to feed you constant information. This meant improving phone signal strength and so we got up to 4G with 5G on its way.
Other devices then came along and allowed us to stream content around our houses and cars, how great was all this connectivity. Well, it is amazing how far we have come in such a short time.
So what’s all the fuss about, surely this is great news?
The reason that these devices are in the news a lot today is that there are now hundreds of thousands of them, being made by well-known companies and also so not so well known but less expensive alternatives and they all connect to the Internet. Now, securing our stand alone network that had no Internet connection was easy, what you put into it was the only danger. Now that these devices are on the Internet all the time they are able to pull all sorts of data into your device and if it is connected to your network, then onto your network as well.
You would think that this was matter of the device being smart and you being able to configure all the settings and hence protecting all that is does. However, loopholes in the software on these devices, not them all, but some are causing the security world a massive headache and some of the attacks to systems that you have read about recently have been because the software on these devices is not well written and is very insecure. Hackers are catching onto the fact that the world has a massive amount of these types of devices and there are more switched on each day and they are targeting their weaknesses.
So really the question is, “When is a smart device not so smart?” when it runs badly written software that has security holes that you can drive a programming bus through.
Here are a few articles to give you some more information: –
What are your thoughts about this and have you bought into any of these devices and are you using them. I have to admit I have some.
Hi guys, I have so much to report on that I am writing this all inclusive blog post.
So, what are the main headlines then? Well, I have had so much that here are the areas I will touch on in this blog post.
- Nexus 5X usage and how that is going
- Nexus 9 revival and discovery
- Android Beta Testing Nougat 7 and the final version, on the Nexus 9
- Update on Android Wear from last year, how is that going then?
My everyday life
I am really letting you into my everyday life, my devices that sustain and support me as I go about my daily tasks from business to personal. How I interact with them and how they perform and allow me to do what I need to do or not as the case may be…
So where to start? Well, let’s start with my mobile phone, as we all have one and it ends up being our mainstay most of the time.
LG Nexus 5X
So, to recap I have been using the Nexus 5X for the last month or so and it was to replace my older Nexus 5 that was a tremendous phone and caused me little to no problems. The main thing about the Nexus 5X is the slimmer shape and the more up to date hardware and the fact that it today as I finish this article has updated to Android N (Version 7, Nougat). It has fingerprint launching and better camera etc.
So how has that been going?
A quick update is that the battery still drains very fast and when taking photos and running Bluetooth all the time it seems to drain even faster. I am hoping this will be much improved now I have updated to Android N. Which has better battery saving than ever before. It does have the USB C connection and fast charging so as long as you can access that or a power pack that I carry a lot, then it can be back up and running quite quickly. The camera on the rear is excellent and creates great photo shots. The only problem I have had with this so far was that after about a week of having the phone, the camera refused to focus on anything and made a clicking noise when trying to focus. A tad scary as I hadn’t dropped or miss-used it. I Googled it to see if anyone else had experienced this and found that many had. A simple restart cures it. So restarted and it corrected itself and it hasn’t raised its head again since.
Strange one that. I have put a slim Spigen case on my Nexus 5X and this has great grip and acts as a bumper to protect in case of a drop or bump. But all in all loving the phone and no issues other than the camera weirdness to report.
Nexus 9 Revival and Recovery
Yes, yes, yes. I know the Nexus 9 don’t go there device and all the bad reports I had posted. Well if you remember the last report I stated that I had stuck the Beta testing of Android 7 (Nougat) on it. Well, it seemed worse and everything was just confirming my fears that this device had missed the plot a lot and really needed to be avoided. I kept running it, however, as I am persistent if nothing else, I noted that the battery was running out very fast and I constantly had to recharge it and that the processor was running hot. This intrigued me and I installed a few apps to see what the processor was doing and why it was hot etc. I found it was running at 89% to 94% most of the time. Further checking revealed that the Facebook Messenger App was responsible for my battery dying and probably the processor usage. I uninstalled it and guess what happened? Go on have guess?
The processor went to normal and was hardly running and the battery lasts up to two days unless heavy use. Thanks a lot there Facebook. That won’t be going back on anytime soon. It is important to note there that this App runs on my mobile phone and has none of the above aspects there. So I can only assume that Facebook hasn’t optimised it for Android 7 yet. Which will now be interesting as my phone has just updated?
So, the tablet was behaving a lot better, still slightly unstable with some things, but remember that I was running a Beta version of Android 7. The good news is because I was enrolled on the Beta programme I have now been fully upgraded to the finished version of Android 7. The tablet has improved again with the apps being much more stable and the tablet being more responsive. Some Android 7 features won’t work with some Apps but that is the Apps suppliers needing to get their apps updated. This will come. So I am slightly more positive and happier with my N9 than I have been for a while. Time will tell, though.
Well, only a short update here. I am still wearing my LG G Watch that I got last year and have only needed to replace the strap as the original failed on me. Easily done though and it is performing well apart from the following: –
- Charging when it sits on the docking station. Sometimes does not charge overnight and I find it has not been pushed in fully or has just not done it?
- I have replaced the charging cable and repositioned the charging base to try and help and I still get the fear that it won’t charge overnight.
Other than this it is a great piece of kit and I missed it when I had no strap until my new one arrived and was fitted. It is so convenient for all sorts of apps that allow walking info and all messages coming in to be quickly reviewed. The phone can be muted from the watch and this saves taking it out my pocket in my jacket. Talking and sending a text quickly from the watch is another great feature. No, it is well worth a look and I think I will be looking at the next generation of these devices to see what they are building into them as it can only improve and get better.
Thought I would just pop this in at the bottom, I still haven’t gone up to Windows 10 as there still seem to be some major issues floating around with it.
I hope that gives you a flavour of my devices and how they are developing and improving with updates and patches etc.
What are you using and how do you use them? For business, pleasure or both?
Well, hi again folks, just thought I would pop by and give an update on my usage of the Nexus 5X as per my previous post. Seen here.
Well, the general usage has been Ok with no real major issues that have caused much of a problem. So comparing it to my usage of the Nexus 5 over the last two years, there has been nothing I have had to cope with that is out there, so to speak.
The one problem I have encountered and only on one occasion was that the rear camera refused to focus and was making lovely clicking noises whilst trying to do this. I did the usual research online to find that I was not alone and others had experienced this problem as well. I had restarted the phone and the issue has gone and I have never experienced it again. But very puzzling with an online mix of, get a replacement to don’t worry if restarting it has cured it all will be fine. I have decided to monitor and see if it reoccurs and if it does a replacement would be in order I feel.
Battery life can also be an issue and I have noticed that it is not as good as my Nexus 5 and that had a reputation of battery burn. So again recharging when at my desk and then just keeping an eye on it as the day progresses when I am out and about.
I did get a charging pack a year or so ago that allows me to charge my tablet and phone when out and about. Again I had to buy a USB C cable for this as it did not have one.
The other thing I found whilst researching online about the Nexus 5X was that the power charger supplied maybe issuing a charge all the time and may not be stopping when the device does not ask for any. This is called intelligent charging and in some cases the Nexus 5X charger doesn’t act intelligently. I haven’t tested this out in any way as I am not sure how to at this stage. The video I watched online was a chap that does this for a living and had built kit to test these out and asked you to check your own one. Of course, most people won’t be able to.
Conclusion at this stage
My conclusion at this stage, which is still early days of usage is that I am happy with the phone and the amount I can get done, the most useful thing is the fingerprint scanner for the very pickup and unlock facility. Negative on this however, would be putting the phone away in my pocket and accidently touching the sensor on the rear and unlocking the phone to put it in my pocket. Done that a few times. Not a good thing.
Other than that, a good phone, at a great price when I bought it and will hopefully keep me going for a while.
Will try and do some features on the camera and other functions as I encounter their usage.
So it seems my love affair with Google’s Nexus range hasn’t been too badly damaged by the Nexus 9 experience, largely due to my painless daily use of a Nexus 5 phone for a good few years now. Like all good things that has now come to an end; it’s time for a change to ensure I get the full use of Android Nougat when it’s launched later this year. With that in mind, I decided to bite the bullet and get a Nexus 5X – after all, it seems the next sensible step after my great experiences with the Nexus 5.
Granted, it has been out for a while now (and I did wait for the price to drop) but a sale made it too good to pass up, so I purchased it. The plan being that the 5X, along with my sim only package on Three, will keep me going for a while now (unless someone wants me to test drive a phone for them?).
What is the Nexus 5X?
Seems a reasonable question for any of you who have not heard of it before. It is the second five-inch handset from Google and LG, and has much-upgraded hardware over the original Nexus 5, as well as some nice built in extras (including a fingerprint reader and one of the best camera’s to be found in a mobile handset).
LG Nexus 5X hardware specifications
|Operating System||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
FHD (1920×1080) LCD at 423 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Fingerprint- and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
1.55 μm pixels
IR laser-assisted autofocus
4K (30fps) video capture
120 fps slow motion video capture
Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash
1.4 μm pixels
|Processors||Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Processor, 1.8GHz hexa-core 64-bit
Adreno 418 GPU
|Memory & Storage||RAM: 2GB LPDDR3
Internal storage: 16GB or 32GB
|Dimensions||147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm|
Ambient light sensor
Android Context Hub
|Ports||Micro USB Type-C
3.5 mm audio jack
Single Nano SIM slot
|Other||LED notification light|
The phone came nicely presented in a box with sliding sleeve that, once removed, let you remove the lid and expose the contents as per the cover photo.
The box contained the phone, USB C charger and cable, a small tool to remove sim port cover, and the usual quick start leaflets etc. The handset has a very nice feel in the hand, and the weight is Ok. Side by side, the screen appears to be larger height wise than my old Nexus 5, but the width looks very similar.
Moving data across
This is always the time-consuming part, but it’s not anywhere near as bad as it used to be. With the use of a Google account, and your data being backed up online in various guises, it is now a much easier process when it comes to re-establishing a phone, or setting up a new one.
I choose the option on setup to transfer account information from a previous device. Following the onscreen instructions, I simply touched the back of the devices together and the transfer started. In a short time the account and then all the apps and setting came across to the new handset.
I still had to do some final tweaking in various apps to allow them to update on the new device, as well as some minor setup on the device itself, before I transferred the music and files I wanted across to my new device from my old one. But that was it, the phone was running and Bob’s your uncle. (Well I did have an Uncle Bob.)
Out of the box, the phone updated the Operating system – getting all the security fixes it had missed while it was hibernating. So here we are, after around 40 minutes for account transfer and updates, with a handset that’s ready to go.
How has the last 5 days been?
I have been using it for around 5 days at the time of writing, and here are my initial thoughts and experiences.
First of all, I must say I am impressed, it is great to use and feels great in the hand – I have it in a new case for extra protection. My biggest issue, if I had one, would be the USB C charging scenario – it sounds great and gives fast charging. Sadly the cable supplied with the phone has USB C at both ends and does not plug into my ANKER charging hub, it only plugs into the charger that came with the phone. I can’t even use it at my laptop to charge via a USB port. This is a bit of a nuisance and needs to be addressed – it has required me to purchase a separate cable with USB C at the phone end and a standard USB plug at the other. I will now need a few of these for the car and other areas I charge the phone a lot, leading to extra costs.
My other issue is no QI charging. I have a pad in my lounge that I used to drop my Nexus 5 onto and it charged. At my desk, I had a stand that I placed my Nexus 5 into and it charged. Sadly now neither of them can be used. Why drop this great way of charging a device? It was very easy and meant there was no need to fumble about with cables. It seemed like the future, and yet it has been now taken out of the equation again.
The phone use itself is similar to the Nexus 5, in my day to day use the battery doesn’t seem much improved – I am still charging each night for the next day’s use. Screen seems sharper, and I am impressed by the fingerprint unlock – this means I can pick the phone up with either hand and it can be instantly unlocked with the touch of finger. The camera delivers very clear pictures, and the video allows for slow motion and delivers a nice clear picture as well.
I’ll be back!
Had to fit in a terminator quote somewhere. I will be back over the next few weeks with my findings as I use it for work and social purposes. But so far so good. Just need Google to sort the Nexus Tablet range out and I’ll be a happy chappy again.
I thought I had finished with my last post about the Nexus 9, but I decided to sign up for the Google Beta testing of the new Android N on the N9.
So, I duly signed up and downloaded the update, with the occasional warning about it being unstable and not a finished product. Hey, I felt the N9 was running so poorly anyway that it couldn’t get any worse.
I was wrong!
I was very wrong and it can and has gotten worse. N downloaded and installed an optimised. All the standard stuff we have now become familiar with when upgrading or installing Android.
I had previously mentioned the various problems I was having with the N9 in my previous reviews and had suggested you give it a wide berth. My opinion is still the same.
So what has got worse?
Well, where do I start? Seriously, all looked well and the minor changes to layout were there and all seemed Ok.
Now, after using it for a few slow, very slow weeks, some apps are unstable and not happy at all and crash with an on-screen message asking if I want to close or wait.
The screen changes orientation at will and then logs out of the desktop and you have to log in again. This is so annoying when you are not even touching it and watching a video and when you log in again it has closed it down.
Battery life seems to be very poor and remember it was not good before this improvement.
I am a fan
I think Google could do so much better here and have lost the plot on the N9 and the Pixel C is too heavily priced at present taking away from the ethos that was there when I bought my N7 way back. Low price and highest spec on the market. Come on Google get the focus back to the users and the loyal fan base and get Nexus range back on track and support the people who are supporting you.
So, as far as going up the alphabet, I am sure that Android N will be great when launched and I am only experiencing the bugs that will be ironed out before it does. I do operate very mobile in my business and private usage just now and feel slightly out on a limb on which device to purchase next. One that has raw Android and is cost effective.
I am all for Google and their Nexus range of products, my Nexus 5 is one, if not the best phone I have used. The Nexus 7 2013 version tablet I had was excellent with superb battery life and did everything and more than I needed it to do.
However, as previously mentioned, I purchased the Nexus 9 and gave you some tasters in my previous two posts.
I have now been using it for an extended period and here is my last summary for you to look over.
Easier to type and handle and view information
Battery life is just not good, less than a few hours of constant usage and it is down by 40 percent or less. The main culprit it tells me is the screen. I have it set to automatic brightness and the slider at about a third. Not good, as my Nexus 7 lasted for two days, yes you read that correctly two days.
The Nexus 9 seems to load slowly and then the screen periodically freezes and seems to be performing some task in the background as all the hardware then freezes. Power button won’t even switch it off unless you hold it in for a prolonged period.
To summarise it, I would not recommend purchasing the Nexus 9 as it just does to live up to what it claims and as a business owner that uses it constantly for communication and work, it is just not doing what I would like in a manner that makes it a piece of hardware I can recommend…..
Google, if you are reading this you need to sharpen your game here and get a tablet out there that people will be happier with and that can take off with business users as well as the general public. A sad day for my Google and Android revolution……………
What are your thoughts?
Have now been using the Nexus 9 for a few weeks now and it was to replace my Nexus 7 2013 model.
First impressions is that it is obviously larger with the 8.9 inch screen. I got the 16 GB model the same Storage I used in the Nexus 7. No issues there. Speed seems OK and it upgraded itself within a day of getting it to Marshmallow the latest version of Android.
Here are the specs for the Nexus 9
Display 8.9inch screen
Resolution 2048 X 1536 pixels, 288 pixels per inch (PPI)
Processor 2.3 GHz
Ram 2 GB
Rear camera 8-megapixel, flash – yes
Front Camera 1.6 – megapixel
Battery Capacity 6700mAh
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
So how does it compare with all my daily work tasks?
I use my Nexus every day for work tasks and handle all my social media feeds and emails. As well as typing up documents and accessing the cloud and Internet. I mean I REALLY use it from morning until night it is at my side and always on hand for all the various activities that I do throughout my working and leisure day.
The Nexus 7 handled all this and I never had an issue with performance and battery life. I do run a good number of apps and have multiple desktops. Which is why I find using a tablet computer so useful.
The Nexus 9 has handled all the work loading, but the main things that are different are: –
- Battery life is less than good. It lasts less than a day, where my Nexus 7 lasted up to two days. The screen being larger seems to burn all the battery power. I have drained it down and recharged it to try and recondition the battery. It hasn’t helped. I find myself charging it during the day and every night. This is not so good and some online trawling of the net suggests that others are finding a similar thing. The upgrade to Marshmallow was supposed to help this but in fact I have noticed no improvement.
- The screen sometimes also is sluggish and doesn’t respond. Not sure what is causing this.
It is larger to carry but the pay-out is the better display and larger screen to display data and show clients what I want them to see.
- It also has no QI charging, which I got into with my Nexus 7. Place it on a pad and off it goes and charges up, no fiddling with connectors anymore. Then they drop it. No fast charge either. Which I did not have with my Nexus 7 but hoped it might be a standard for Nexus devices. But seemingly not with HTC as they produced the Nexus 9 and my Nexus 7 was ASUS. Come on Google get it together.
I am going to continue using it and see how things go. If a cure or fix comes out for the battery life this would be great. So Google if you are reading this what you are up to and what can be done? Get in contact.
What about you guys?
How do you go mobile as they say and is the move to Phablet phones taking away the market for tablet computers? The sales statistics suggest that the sales of tablets has dropped due to phones becoming larger and I have met a few associates who have gotten rid of their tablet computers as their phones are large enough for them to do all they want to do.