The best screen protector for the iPhone XS

I’ve been testing a number of screen protectors for the iPhone XS over the last couple of weeks and have come to the decision on which is best.

I picked a number of cheapish tempered glass ones on Amazon through to the Belkin gorilla glass version available at Apple stores.

First off I found tempered glass ones such as the ESR brand on Amazon to be generally terrible. They fit poorly and have a negative affect on the touch sensitivity of your screen. If you can live with this pick any of the tempered ones, they are all the same.

The best one I’ve tested and therefore my recommendation is the Belkin Invisiglass Ultra. I’ve included my Amazon link (any kick back I get goes into product reviews or paying for hosting costs) but I actually got it at the Apple Store. I paid my £29.95 and the staff fitted it for me. I’d recommend this, it’s at no extra cost and comes out perfectly. The touch sensitivity isn’t any different and the glass feels like glass, not slippery like the cheap Amazon ones.

I’ll update on long term durability over the coming months.

Apple Watch Series 4 review

I’ve been using the series 4 since launch so feel I’ve had enough time to write up some thoughts on using it compared to the series 2 it replaces. I went for the 44mm in silver, it’s the aluminium non cellular version.

Luckily all my 42mm bands fit fine so I’m good on that front. So coming from an existing watch you’ll be ok band wise.

I also picked up Apple Care + because I smashed my series 0 and it came in handy back then saving me a load of cash to buy a new one. Quick note on this, I had to call Apple to sort mine out as there was a bug for some people that bought the series 4 + Apple Care on day one. Mine showed that I hadn’t purchased it even though I had the order receipt. A quick call to Apple sorted this out.

I almost got stainless steel this time around but couldn’t stomach the extra money, especially when I had no intention of using cellular. With the creep up in Apple prices over the last few years I wanted to spend as little as I could to upgrade.

Size

Coming from a 42mm I naturally went for the 44mm. This is because I wanted the biggest screen available and also to make sure my bands fitted. On my wrist I feel it’s looks fine, in use it doesn’t feel any different to the 42mm.

The screen is just stunning on the series 4. The extra real estate makes tapping so much easier. I didn’t feel the series 2 was cramped until I tried this new one and couldn’t go back. I actually find myself using apps on my watch more than I ever have in the past. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I could play a game or view images but in day to day use it’s a lot easier on my (ageing) eyes!

As with most reviewers I’d love to see an always on low power display mode to show me the time.

Watch faces

There are a couple more watch faces to choose from, both provide a good amount of complications but I find myself still wanting more. Already spoke about at length on various blogs including this one by Marco Arment they are actually quite hard to read. I’ve found myself settling on modular so I can see the time quickly. I really do feel that it’s time to open up the ecosystem to third party watch faces.

The one above in particular looks amazing but when you use it day to day it’s hard to quickly see the time and it blows your eye balls out when you check the time in the middle of the night, make sure you use the black options for the dials.

Performance

Wow, it’s how the Apple Watch should have been all along. Technology has caught up with expectations. No more lag when tapping to start a workout or switching watch faces. It just does everything when you want it to. I’ve experienced no lag in anything I’m doing. I can’t vouch for series 3 but coming from a series 2 it’s such a big leap for me.

As with the screen it makes the Series 4 a joy to use and I find myself using more apps.

Should you upgrade?

You rarely have to update every year, especially a watch but for the series 4 I’m making an exception. If you have some spare cash or can sell your existing watch it’s a no brainier to update to a series 4. The screen and performance improvements alone makes the Apple Watch experience more enjoyable, therefore a must buy for fans of the watchOS.

Tip: if you’re looking to get one for Christmas, order now. They are always pushed to back end of November.

Nomad Modern Leather Strap review

I’ve had mixed experiences with third party watch bands for my Apple Watch and therefore kept with Apple ones. After browsing leather cases on Instagram (as you do!) I spotted a nice leather band for Apple Watch. On inspection it was by Nomad. I did a quick search on Amazon and saw the modern strap was reduced in price so thought I’d give it a test.

The packaging and presentation was everything I’d expect from a high end brand. Well packaged and a good use of cardboard. The only thing I’d mention is that the strap is quite tightly secured so you end up marking it getting it out. This isn’t a problem, remember leather will pick up marks very easily.

First impressions was the lightness of the band and the quality of the build.

You can see the workmanship in the product, it’s all very precisely cut and any stitching is clean and straight.

The lugs used are well designed and give the watch a little more bulk.

On first use it’s stiff, this is leather though. It’ll soften up and after a few days of use it had already started to do this.

After a week of use I ultimately decided that as good as this strap is leather isn’t for me. I find that it didn’t give my skin any breathing room and became a bit sticky, especially when used in exercise.

I’d gotten used to my leather loop (which is thinner and more flexible) or a sports loop.

So if you’re into leather bands then this is a strap that should be top of your list offering great value for money and quality. If like me you’re on the fence about leather straps then looks elsewhere.

Link to Amazon listing

The thinnest iPhone X case

I’m not a huge fan of cases but when I do use one it has to be minimal. I’ve used the iPhone X both naked and in an Apple silicone case but I’ve found one that might suit all of your minimal lovers.

I’m talking about the Tozo PP Ultra Thin. It’s only .35mm thick and covers the entire phone, leaving small openings for the ports. What I like about it is that it obviously adds very little bulk but adds grip. It also adds some plastic around the camera bump so adds some protection to the camera glass, although being sapphire it’s going to be hard to scratch the glass anyway.

I find the glass back of the X to be pretty grippy anyway but it’s the sides that I find slippery.

Drop protection should be fine for the back and sides stopping dings but (like any case) drop it face down and you’ll break the front glass. I still recommend Apple Care + to everyone with an X given the cost to repair.

One major downside is though if you want to take it off again it can be tricky, I managed to break mine when I took it off but if you are careful it’ll be fine.

Buy it here: TOZO® for iPhone X Case, PP Ultra Thin [0.35mm] World's Thinest Protect Hard Case for iPhone 10 / X [ Semi-transparent ] Lightweight [Matte Black]

The Dark Tower, thoughts on the film

I finally got around to watching The Dark Tower yesterday, not having any knowledge of the books. I know about the popularity of them and been encouraged to read but never had the time. I also know that the movie has been a little panned, especially from fans of the book.

For me overall I mostly enjoyed it, not a film of the year by any stretch of the imagination but for something to let me switch my brain off for a bit it was fine. I’m also glad I didn’t spend over £40 watching it at the cinema and only spent £9.99 getting it via 4K iTunes.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

First off I enjoyed The Gunslinger character and Idris Elba’s acting was solid as usual. They seemed to CG most of the stunts, which was a little disappointing and it wasn’t as slick as a lot of modern CG. The baddie played by Matthew McConaughey wasn’t really that menacing and just felt lifeless and dull to me. They also relied on CG for his end scene, again not done that well.

It just doesn’t feel like it had a big enough budget, brought production time or commitment from it’s backers.

I liked the premise of the movie, bright kids being picked up by the baddies henchman to be brought into his world in a bid to find the one that can bring down the Dark Tower (don’t want to spoil it too much for you).

Problem is, even though I don’t know the books I can’t see how 8 books fit into a 1.5hr movie. I don’t know how it even got signed off.

If this had an established director, a big budget and at least 3 films it might have served fans of the book. As it stands I feel it doesn’t serve either fans of the book or the general public looking for an interesting film.

I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it at the cinema and can only recommend watching it if it’s £10 or less or on a streaming service for free.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Visual Dictionary

With every new Star Wars movie I’ve gotten into the habit of buying two books

  • The visual dictionary
  • The art of Star Wars

I enjoyed both books for The Force Awakens so picked up The Visual Dictionary on Amazon for £11.99.

These books are a great reference if you want to know a bit more about the characters, vehicles, weapons and worlds. The great part about them is that they show characters that appeared in the background and smaller parts. One that I was keen on was the commander of the dreadnought at the beginning of the movie.

They are full of rich images showing costume design and details that you just can’t get from watching the movie alone. For each of the images you’ll find accompanying text descriptions showing details of a costume or item in a scene.

One difference with TLJ (The Last Jedi) vs TFA (The Force Awakens) is it doesn’t seem so rich, it’s also thinner. I’m not sure if that’s because we know more of the characters or there’s less background stuff going on.

A larger portion of the book is around the casino based planet, a lower point of the movie for me. So, apart from reading about a few characters flipped straight past (it’s a bit prequel for me).

So, at £11.99 it’s on the expensive side. Wait until after Christmas and pick up when it gets to £5.99 or less.