Apple Watch Series 4 at six months

Review, Tech

I picked up the series 4 Apple Watch at the end of September 2018 and now at a few weeks before 6 months with it I wanted to share my longer term testing thoughts.

I picked up the silver aluminium model, 44mm. I was going to treat myself with a stainless steel version but couldn’t justify spending almost double the price. It’s frustrating that Apple force cellular on the stainless now adding to the overall price. To change things up though I went for silver rather than my traditional space grey.

Durability

One thing to bear in mind here is that I’m on my second one due to warranty replacement. The issues I had was around heart rate tracking on a workout, it just couldn’t keep it locked. My new one is probably 3 months so not going to be a full view of the durability over the whole time period. Mine has held up well, shows no signs of wear on the body and the screen is scratch free. With the addition of a ceramic back it is also scratch free. I’ve had the original watch and series 2 and they both showed scratches on the back and the screen. In theory the screen is the same glass but in my experience it has held up better.

New screen size

The immediate thing you notice when trying on your new series 4. If you’re coming from a 42mm I didn’t notice any difference to the way it felt on my wrist but I did notice the increase in screen size in use. You quickly get used to it however and it’s not large enough to force an upgrade from a 42mm series 2 or 3 in my opinion. The new watch faces are ok but I haven’t really settled on them. It also makes the older ones worse, the rounded complications on the bottom don’t sit well with me and I end up having less data than on my series 2. I’m hoping we get a better range of options soon.

Speed

Wow, it’s a fast watch. Massive upgrade from my series 2, which felt laggy almost every time I used it. Having skipped series 3 it was the main reason I upgraded. There’s no lag in anything I’m doing even after 6 months of watchOS. I’m not seeing any need to upgrade this year based on the performance of the processor in the series 4.

Bands

The only new band I have is the white one that came with it. The good news though all of my old 42mm still work so it’s not been an expensive six months for me in terms of picking new ones up.

Is it worth upgrading?

From an original or series 2, yes. From a series 3 then no. I wouldn’t upgrade for the slightly bigger screen but I would for the performance gain, that’s if like me you use your watch every day.

If you are considering an upgrade or even a new purchase then get into a store and try both sizes. I went 44mm so that older bands wouldn’t go to waste and I think the size looks fine on me but with the old 38mm becoming 40mm maybe that would suit you best.

You might also want to shop around a bit as there may now be deals given we are around 6 months from an update and series 5 potentially. (And don’t forget you can trade in your old one directly with Apple).

A cheap iPad Pro case that’s good

Review, Tech

I’ve spent ages testing the Amazon cheap iPad cases over the years and finally found one that I can recommend.

This is the MoKo with integrated Smart Cover and shell back.

I was looking for something to protect my iPad after going through a few over the last few months or so. I wanted something that offered some protection to the back for when I put it in my bag. This one doesn’t add a lot of bulk and removes the need for carrying around my Smart Cover.

The only downside that I’ve encountered is that the Smart Cover is fixed so if you want to use your keyboard cover it’ll have to come off first. I’m going to look at getting one without the cover attached so that I can carry it with the keyboard.

An added advantage of the rear shell is I have somewhere to put my stickers so that I don’t lose them if the iPad needs to go in for servicing at any point.

So, a quick write up but there’s not really much more to say on this case. It’s cheap at £10.99 and offers you protection from everyday carry and knocks.

Totallee iPhone XS case review

Review, Tech

I’ve had a love hate relationship with cases for years and always end up using the iPhone naked but I might have found my perfect case (not quite, see my update at the end of this post). I’ve been aware of thin cases for a while and used the cheaper ones on Amazon on and off but always felt they lacked quality control or were slippery. I’ve also been aware of Totallee but they weren’t easily available in the UK. Well now they are on Amazon UK and I picked one up straight away.

I’d always loved my iPhone 5C and have been after something that gave me that look and feel. This case gets me 80% of the way there. It’s thin, adds hardly any bulk and apart from the metal buttons looks like it’s part of the iPhone. It feels in hand just like my 5C did, that’s if you go for the jet white or black finish.

All ports and switches are easily accessed and I haven’t experienced any issues with wireless charging.

I’m not brave enough to drop test my iPhone XS but looking at the protection prospects it should be ok from low level drops and will definitely protect it from scratches.

I love the feel of the iPhone without a case but it’s so slippery with the glass back. Sometimes it’ll even come off the wireless charger overnight or fall of a sofa. This adds a nice texture for both holding and keeping it put where you leave it.

UPDATE (15th Jan 2019)

It’s broken so I’ve done an Amazon return, another thin case problem as with the cheaper cases out there. Can’t recommend unless you NEVER take the case off.

UPDATE (4th Feb 2019)

I used the Totallee 2 year warranty to make a claim and got a new one posted out to me, great customer service.

Amazon link.

Marvel Avengers Infinity War Otterbox iPhone XS case

Review, Tech

Took a while to get here from the states but I’ve had through the Otterbox Marvel series case. This is the Symmetry series of cases but with an Infinity War flavour, which I’m loving.

These cases are a little bulkier than an Apple silicone but offers much more protection.

The only slight downside to the bulk is it’s a little harder to use the swiping up gesture on the X series but the width for me makes typing easier.

If you’re into Marvel or like style of case I recommend picking one up before they are discontinued.

I even did a little video.

Otterbox Symmetry (Star Wars edition) for iPhone XS review

Review, Star Wars, Tech

I’ve never been a fan of big cases and to be honest never really looked at an Otterbox but when I saw the Star Wars edition whilst searching on Amazon I was intrigued. I read up, watched a few videos and decided to give one a go. They looked to be more minimal than their usual heavy duty cases so as a day to day case looked doable for me.

The presentation is good and all materials appear to be recyclable, which is great to see.

The case itself has a large outer shell with a impact protected inner one that is a softer rubber. The case is quite stiff when you first use it but once I’d taken it on and off a few times seemed easier. Oh quick word of warning, if you’re looking for an included screen protector then it doesn’t have one. This isn’t a knock on the case but just be aware.

The design I went for was R2 and Leia but there are other designs available including Vader and BB-8.

Although a bit thicker than the Apple silicone case it’s not too bad for a protective case. I find the Apple silicone case texture to be horrible to hold after a while, no such problems here. It’s a softer material so won’t get that sticky feeling I hate so much. It also doesn’t collected lint and slips easily into your pocket. There’s enough grip to let is sit on sofa cushions etc. This is one of the reasons I’m not using my XS ‘naked’ it feels great in the hand but not for sitting down places.

All the buttons are easily pressed and have a satisfying click to them.

Ports are all accessible and wireless charging is fine.

Value for money wise it’s around £35, which is on the expensive side but a lot better value than the official Apple ones. I noticed though that the Star Wars ones are more expensive so if that’s not your bag just pick up a standard Symmetry one. They do them in loads of different colours.

So overall I didn’t think I’d like a more heavy duty case but otterbox have really done a great job of balancing protection with a more minimal design and come up with a good compromise.

Amazon Link. (All associate revenue goes towards the purchase of stuff to review for the site).

Elago Slim Fit for iPhone XS review

Review, Tech

I used to test a lot cases on my blog but fallen off the wagon with settling on Apple cases. I thought it was about time I picked up some third party cases and let you know what I thought.

First up is the Elago Slim Fit.

This case is a plastic shell that snaps onto the back of your iPhone. It has coverage on all of the buttons and leaves them with the pretty much the same nice click as before.

It’s very minimal and doesn’t add a lot of bulk.

The main downside for me is the slippery finish they have used. It’s a light matte finish but leaves it hard to hang onto. This kind of defeats the object of having a case in the first place.

This is a case to avoid.

The best screen protector for the iPhone XS

Review

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.