Testing the Logitech Crayon

ipad, Review, Tech

I’m using my iPad Mini full time these days and finally picked up a second Pencil. This time I went for the Logitech Crayon, at £59 for my uses it seemed the best option. First impressions are it feels lighter, it’s more comfortable to use (than Pencil 1) and less slippery.

I’ve just used Noteability to sketch out a few ideas and seems great so me so far. I’ll update once I’ve had it for a few weeks.

Hyper grape sports loop with Stainless Steel Apple Watch (review and gallery)

Apple Watch, Review, Tech

Not seen many images of this band on the stainless steel Apple Watch.

These Nike sports loop are the most comfy Apple Watch bands in my opinion. They don’t get sticky if you’re working out or it’s the summer and they have loads of adjustment.

As with most bands they might seem expensive getting them from Apple but in my testing against third party ones they last a lot longer.

iPad Mini 5 review

Review, Tech

Being on my second go with an iPad Mini 5 after having returned one previously I feel that the break without one has given me a fresh perspective. I’ve got enough experience with it now to write up a review.

The model I picked up was the 256GB in silver and I also picked up the £45 Smart Cover. It’s a tad expensive but my favourite accessory for giving the screen some protection when it’s being carried around. The reason I went 256 over 64 was that I wanted to incorporate it into my photography so didn’t want iCloud Photo Library to be constantly swapping images on and off my iPad.

The design is as it’s been since launch and in my opinion it’s great. Keeping this form factor meant the costs are reduced and as I’ve mentioned before not having FaceId is a bonus for me.

When comparing to our family 2nd generation Mini both the performance increase and screen are the most noticeable. The speed is on par with the latest iPhone XS and the screen now has True Tone and is glued to the glass so there are no gaps. This model is going to be on the latest iOS for at least 4 years so buying it to keep a while is definitely viable. It’s what I’ll be doing with mine now it can run the latest iOS.

Another win for me with the latest iPad Mini is pencil support. I use the original Apple Pencil every day with my larger Pro and being able to use the same pencil here was a big positive for me.

I use the Mini alongside my 10.5” Pro but I found I use it more. In fact it’s become my number 1 device to use around the house and on the go. I’ve pretty much replaced all my in house use of my iPhone with it and if I want to pop out I’ll take the Mini to catch up on a comic book or do some writing.

I wrote this review using it, in portrait two thumb typing.

If you’re after a kindle alternative or want a portable iPad that packs performance then you can’t go wrong with the 5th generation iPad Mini. It’s not just a device for kids but anyone that uses iOS and wants something more portable. I absolutely love it and at the moment my favourite product Apple has released this year.

iPhone XS mid term review

Review, Tech

I tend to write about my hardware when I get it and at the half way point in the year. I like to do this to see how my feelings have changed over time and see how it’s holding up to the daily wear and tear. For this post I’ll be looking at my silver 256GB iPhone XS.

Durability

I’m on my second XS (read about that in a later section) so the wear and tear will be less than if I’d used it since the launch version I had.

I don’t use a case day to day so as expected my stainless steel band shows scratches. I don’t mind this, in fact I like the worn in look. They’re only really there if you look closely but overall the construction that Apple went with for with the X models seems to hold up.

The screen shows some light scratches but nothing that bothers me. The back glass has a few deeper scratches but on the silver model you can’t see them easily and again they don’t bother me.

I did drop my last one onto concrete and although the corner had a scratch the glass held up fine.

Camera

The camera has been good this year a definite step up from the X, especially in low light.

I can’t make my mind up on smart HDR but tend to leave it on. I found especially when comparing to the Pixel 3a they were over brightened to my eyes but with some editing you can get really great shots. The camera is the only reason I upgraded last year and I’m pleased that I did it for the outlay. Remember I sold my X for a good amount so moving to the XS cost me a couple of hundred pounds. This was worth it for me to get the improved camera.

Any replacements?

I tend to get the Apple curse and need replacements, I always get Apple Care+. I’m on my second XS currently, the first being replaced due to the SIM tray keeping working it’s way out all by itself. This was sorted easily over the phone with Apple shipping a replacement.

Performance over time

The only lag I’ve found is when I take a picture then go to look at it. I see a slight delay in rendering the image. I’m not sure if this is iOS or my processor but it’s something I’ve noticed on and off over the last year.

Battery life

Battery life has been fine, I wouldn’t say any better or worse than my X or 7 before that. I get through a day fine but as I’m home based I don’t tend to need to worry about it. I do make sure though that background app refresh is turned off for almost everything.

FaceId

I’ve come to accept that we aren’t getting TouchId back so embraced FaceId this year and on the whole it’s fine. I do get frustrated when I’m in sunlight outside with a hat and sunglasses on and it works maybe half the time.

My major niggle

Is a software one. I’ve written about this before but I’ve been calling my emergency contact a lot from my pocket with the XS. I’ve got an open radar with Apple on this one and need to give them some system info to look into it. I’m hoping working with Apple I can help influence getting it fixed.

Overall thoughts

I’m glad I upgraded to the silver XS, I like the colour and the camera. It’s holding up fine and I’m not feeling the need to change it.

Reviewing your stuff

Review, Tech

I’ve not normally actively reached out for review units and apps but in light of testing the Pixel 3a it reminded me how much I like to play with new stuff. If you have a product be it an app, device or accessory please drop me a note via my contact page and I’d love to take a look.

Google Pixel 3a case review

Review

I’m not a huge fan of cases but the fabric finish of the official Google case hooked me in.

I picked up two colors

  • Fog
  • Seascape

Unboxing these is fine, good to see the packing almost all recycling friendly.

The inside of the case is soft microfiber that will keep your Pixel in top condition.

We then have plastic buttons with the same colour accents as the phones.

There are cutouts for the camera and fingerprint reader.

The only downside with this case is that hole for the fingerprint reader. It’s actually deeper than it needs to be and not big enough. I’ve come to like swiping down on the reader to show notifications. This is tricky with the case on. It’s also not so comfortable to unlock.

For £35 it’s not a bad price for these cases, I really like the fabric finish and maybe it’ll soften over time. It’s going to offer drop protection and protect the screen as it has a raised lip on the front.

iPhone XS screen vs Google Pixel 3a

Review, Tech

Switching back and forth between the iPhone and Pixel I was struck with how much narrower the Pixel felt to me when going back to my XS.

Now here’s the Pixel 3a

They are both great displays to my eyes but the aspect ratio of the Pixel and on visual inspection with the 5.8″ of the iPhone, the iPhone is both wider and taller. For me this makes it more comfortable to type on.

What helps Android though for me here is the fact I have a swipe keyboard so I’m not tapping keys but still I prefer the screen real estate of the iPhone XS over the Pixel for general day to day comfort.

Colour wise they both looks excellent to my eyes and I’m not seeing the price difference.

You can’t go wrong with the Pixel 3a at £399 for the quality of the OLED it’s packing in my opinion.