iPhone 11 Pro Apple leather case thoughts

Review

I’ve been using the black leather case now for over a week and to my surprise it’s stayed on most of this time. I’ve taken it off a few times and I think I now prefer the grip it adds.

Now it’s had a week to develop some patina and grip to the texture it’s actually pretty great. I originally started with yellow but after seeing how dirty it was going to patina I decided on the black. I think it blends in with the darker toned iPhone 11 models really well.

The buttons are easy to use and open bottom means I’m not frustrated with plugging cables into my iPhone.

I think it is on the pricey side but in terms of quality it’s up there with the best third party cases I’ve tested.

Do you use the leather case?

Why I stopped using Dark Sky

apps, Tech

I used to love this app but over the last year I’ve stopped using it.

Here’s my main reason why. I don’t live in New York… when I load the app it gets my location but since iOS 12 the widget has been broken for me. This is my main use of the app and I can no longer trust it.

I’ve no idea why the widget is broken, I’ve seen this across multiple devices so isn’t my iOS being broken.

Anyone else?

Another broken PS4 Pro

Gaming

I’ve just shipped my PS4 Pro for the second time within 15 months back to Amazon to claim on the extended warranty I purchased back in 2016. It’s the second time I’ve had the same issue with the WiFi breaking down. I did a lot of testing and it seems like this one is having the same problem as before. It was apparently fixed last year but it’s gone again. I didn’t have these issues with PS4 so I’m wondering if it’s a PS4 Pro issue or just my luck 😀

I’m starting to doubt the long term reliability of the PS4 Pro but will have to see what happens if I get it back.

iPhone 11 Pro review

Review, Tech

I’m almost three weeks into living with the iPhone 11 Pro now so thought I’d do one of my mini reviews. Before the announcement I was convinced that I’d be keeping my XS for another year but as soon as I saw all of the camera improvements I was sold. For me the number one reason to upgrade is the camera. It’s my main camera and I want the best shots I can afford that comes with me everywhere.

The camera improvements on top of the amazing battery life has me sold on the 11 Pro being the best upgrade I’ve encountered.

Design

The front is the familiar notched design of the X but the sides and back feel all new. I have the midnight green and the sides feel like they have some grip thanks to the colour coating. My previous silver XS didn’t have this and it felt slippery on the sides.

The design on the back might be my favourite iPhone. When you see it in photos it’s easy to make fun of but seeing it in person is a different thing. I prefer it to the two camera layout that we’ve seen on previous models. The textured glass feels great in hand and now doesn’t slip off sofa arms! On that camera layout for me I preferred getting a darker iPhone this year because I feel it blends into the phone better.

I don’t normally use cases but picked up the black leather one from Apple. It feels great and I think looks awesome on the midnight green. I doubt it’ll stay on all year but for now I’m using it.

Oh and I noticed it had a little more heft to it over the XS, which I’m fine with. It gave us more battery and a better camera so I’m all good with that.

I obviously haven’t tested the new durability claims but if you’re spending this much on a phone please get Apple Care +.

Battery

This is the first upgrade when I’ve noticed a considerable improvement with the battery. Even on days when I’ve been on a walk, listened to podcasts and even taking photo and video I’m going 24 hours between charges. I’m yet to go on holiday with it and really push it but I’m confident I won’t need a battery case.

Lack of USB-C

Not something I thought I’d be writing but having used my Nintendo Switch over the last year and using my 12″ MacBook it would be nice to be able to use the same charger rather than hunt out my lightning one. Not something that I feel is a big detractor but something I feel needs to come in the next couple of years.

Camera

Wow, what a great camera upgrade. Even against the XS it’s a big step up. I can now see how bad the smart HDR was handling skin tones when I compare to the shots I’m getting on my 11 Pro. Shots of my family outdoors look sharper and more natural and indoors is something else. I take a lot of photos around the house and the new low light improvements are stunning. It’s also been great at taking shots of the stars when I’ve used it on a tripod.

(Thanks Matt Birchler for the edit).

Shots outdoors are brighter and closer to what I saw with my own eyes (this is straight, no edits).

Here’s a shot of the office in low light.

Something a bit closer indoors.

Wide angle vertical shot and in general the wide angle has been fun although I’m not using it as much now I’m a few weeks in. I can see it coming in useful when I’m looking to take some landscapes though.

Performance

I’m not noticing a lot of lag anywhere but iOS 13 does stutter in a few places. I find it lags a little on the share sheet UI but I’m putting that down to software not hardware. This new A13 processor will be good for years. For me reviewing an iPhone performance is hard, even on the SE I was using before getting the 11 Pro felt good on iOS 13. Apple do a great job of making sure old hardware is supported for years so in day to day most users will most likely not notice a difference.

Vs the iPhone 11

I had a play with an 11 in store and love the yellow finish. I think it’s a great phone with much of what’s great about the 11 Pro. What tipped me over the edge to get the Pro wasn’t the OLED screen but the telephoto lens that I literally use every day. I know if I had picked up an 11 I’d be cursing the lack of telephoto on a daily basis. I haven’t picked one up to test as it would be both bad for the environment and a waste of Apple staff time with my returning it but from everything I’ve read both the wide angle and night mode are on par with the 11 Pro so you won’t be missing anything. If you can live without a telephoto then get the 11 (in 128GB).

Overall impressions

I’m glad I updated this year, it’s the biggest leap in improvements that I can remember year on year and I haven’t thought once about returning it. The only thing that bothers me is that the Pro starts at 64GB, which I feel isn’t acceptable in 2019. It’s a blatant way to up sell people to the 256GB and make more money. I’m really hoping that this gets removed next year on the higher end and it starts at 128GB, which will sell like hot cakes.

So I think you can tell I’m pretty impressed with the 11 Pro and if you buy an iPhone for the camera then this is an upgrade you won’t be disappointed with.

(Review written and edited on the iPhone 11 Pro).

PSNOW review

Gaming

PlayStation appear to be marketing PSNOW a bit stronger recently so I signed up for a week trial but ultimately decided not to keep it, here’s why.

Game selection

Whilst the library has grown I just didn’t see enough depth to justify a subscription. There are some absolute classics like the Uncharted series and God of War but I just didn’t see enough titles that would keep me hooked. I had fun with some games I wouldn’t have picked up new like WWE or Dirt 4 but I used the service like a way to demo a game rather than play. I’ll give it 6 months and test again on this front to see if the game catalogue has improved.

Steaming quality

This very much depended on the type of game. I have fairly good broadband at around 60 down and 30 up and the test showed it was compatible with the service. On playing slower games it was fine but I noticed a significant drop in quality if I needed quick reactions or it was something with high end graphics. Uncharted 4, one of my favourite games of all time looked blocky at times and took me away from the immersive game it is when played in full resolution.

Value for money

At £50 a year, the price of one game I think if offers a good value for money if you have an amazing broadband setup and are ok with the catalogue. For me I’ll carry on buying my games in physical form as I don’t think I’d enjoy it long term with my broadband speed.

Why Apple News+ didn’t make it past the free trial

apps, Tech

Apple News+ launched here in the UK this month and I didn’t keep it past the free trial, here’s why.

Supporting magazines is something I did 10 years ago by having annual subscriptions to several UK based ones. Since moving to reading on smaller blogs and finding new voices that I trusted I stopped reading them. It wasn’t so much the money saved but the fact I get up to date information and more details about the various niches I’m into.

Using Apple News+ was a nice change going back to the magazine format but two things were a problem. The first was reading a magazine wasn’t the best experience. I’m not sure if this is Apple or the publisher but I found navigating to be cumbersome. I also missed interactive experiences. For a guitar magazine they often have tablature you can follow along with but none of this has been enabled in this electronic format so they are useless.

Secondly I felt like I was being marketed at constantly, I have no interest in lifestyle or gossip magazines but I found it annoying to see these being peddled to me every time I went in to read my guitar magazines. This also cluttered up my Apple News app showing me articles from the magazines in my news feed!

So between seeing content I have no interest in and a format that publishers don’t appear to be embracing I’ll keep my £9.99 a month.