Category Archives: Hardware

Betron YSM1000 Earphones Headphones review

betron

I chose these headphones after seeing the good reviews on here, they seemed to be good quality and have the features that I need. However, I am returning these after a couple of days. Whilst they are indeed well built and have excellent sound, and work fine with my Windows Phone, they are simply not confortable to wear for even a short time. I really wanted to like these, they are a good price and I have been looking for a quality set of earphones that does not break the bank, but unfortunately this is not the right set.

I’ll start with the good points:

  • Excellent sound – I could hear parts of music I could not with Senheiser CX300 or CX500.
  • Seem sturdy, thick cable, nice carry case
  • Call button works great with Windows Phone, and Cortana!
  • Includes lots of different types of silicone tips, including memory foam ones
  • Colour coded bands, so you can easily tell which is left and right.
  • 2 year warranty – my Senheiser always seem to last just over 1 year and the one ear dies. So these are good value.

Bad:

  • Extremely unconfortable. Despite trying nearly all of the tips, they are basically too long and too heavy. This means that they don’t stay in your ear well, and you are always pushing them back in. Not only that, but they have quite sharp edges at the front, so these dig into your ear and hurst after a few minutes.
  • Extremely noisy in the wind. Due to the large design, if it is windy they somehow seem to amplify the wind as if the outside is a microphone – all you can hear is wind, and none of the music you are playing. Forget about making a phone call.
  • Flashy, rather over the top look – shiny gold and black is not for everyone.
  • Due to their length, you could not wear these in bed or lying down.

So overall, good sound and quality, but an ergonomic disaster. Not recommended for this reason. 2 out of 5 overall.

2-out-of-5-stars

The Nokia Lumia 2520 value proposition

Update: Turns out that this was indeed a good deal, John Lewis have now put the 2520 up to £399 again!

So it looks like the price reduction in the UK for the Lumia 2520 is permanent on the John Lewes site. I have attempted to compare 3 similarly specced tablets with 32GB of storage, and all with 4G LTE, this being one of my main requirements. I also tried to add in some Samsung Android tablets, but they are such a confusing mess of similar products (Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 3 10.1), and some even come with different types of CPU, which then affects whether or not 4G is available. I gave up in the end.

So we are left with 3 decent devices, the Kindle HDX, the Lumia 2520 and the iPad air. The Kindle has a smaller screen but benefits from low weight, however once you specify 32GB of storage, 4G and no ads version, the price really mounts up. The iPad as everyone knows is reassuringly expensive. Note that I have no considered the Surface 2 LTE as this is not yet available in the UK.

TabletKindle Fire HDX 8.9Nokia Lumia 2520Apple iPad Air
Storage32GB32GB32GB
SD slotNo Ads versionYesNo
RAM2GB2GB1GB
CPU2.2GHz quad-core2.2GHz quad-core1.4GHz dual-core A7
Screen8.9"10.1"9.7"
Pixel density339218264
4G/3G4G LTE4G LTE4G LTE
Price£449.00£299.95£579.00
Weight384g615g478g
NotesNo Ads versionIncludes Office

What seems amazing is that the Nokia is £150 cheaper than the nearest rival if you want a 4G large current gen tablet. Not only that, it includes Office which would require a £75 a year subscription on iPad, albeit that is a touch version. Most people are already invested in an ecosystem, so this probably doesn’t make that much difference, but to me this is pretty amazing value. The Nokia is a damned fine device and for this price is very tempting, if you can handle the lack of apps in the store. It is also the only device with expandable storage.

Microsoft Wedge Mouse review

The Microsoft Wedge Mouse is an interesting mouse for sure. The first thing you notice is that the thing is tiny, if you have big hands, basically you can forget about using it. Here are a couple of pictures of it next to a Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse 5000 and the old faithful so you can appreciate the size:

WP_000430

WP_000431

Ergonomically you might think this thing would be a disaster. And you would probably be right – I have average size hands, but it doesn’t feel that good to hold. An hour of fallout 3 and my hand was hurting. Having said that I did 2 full days of work with no issues, because there I am mostly typing and using the mouse less. So it is OK for occasional use, but I would not recommend it for prolonged periods of mouse activity.

I really wanted to like this device, it ticked a lot of boxes for me:

  • It is very portable – small and light, ideal to complement my small notebook and keep travelling weight down.
  • It uses 1 AA battery, so I only need to carry 1 spare.
  • Bluetrack technology – excellent tracking and nice and accurate. Much better than my Bluetooth mouse 5000.
  • Generally it looks nice and has a quality feel.
  • It does vertical and horizontal scrolling, made for Windows 8 apps and start screen, although Horizontal scrolling doesn’t work in normal desktop apps – e.g. Microsoft Expression Design. I miss this feature with a normal mouse.

However, there are some crucial flaws with the device that meant I just couldn’t live with it. My major issues with this device are:

  • It frequently left clicks when you mean to right click. This happens when a finger is (lightly) resting on the left button. You try to right click, but for some reason it left clicks. This is the first deal breaker for me. Just try playing Minesweeper on Windows 8 on the largest screen – it doesn’t work, you will loose because of this mouse. This is pretty fundamental functionality for a mouse, left and right click.
  • You cannot right click and left click at the same time. This doesn’t sound like much of an issue until you come across a situation when you need to do both. For instance a game where you zoom with right click, and shoot with left. You can no longer play the game.
  • It’s too small and too damned awkward.
  • It doesn’t support Windows 8 gestures. No multi touch, no pinch to zoom, no charms etc.

So unfortunately it is back to the shop for this mouse. I’ll wait for another one which actually works….