New Year – New Gear (Part II) : Helmet – Arai X4 Detour

The official line from Arai pretty much says it all…

Adventure, grand touring or off road, no matter the riding conditions, the Tour-X4 motorcycle helmet is ready for anything. The Tour-X4 has a complete new outer shell. Redesigned to be tougher, stronger and stiffer than ever. As the Tour-X4 may be used under extreme conditions, the ventilation system has been redeveloped for maximum efficiency. The new Facial Contour System (FCS) offers more support and comfort to the lower jaw and creates a tighter fit. For an even better personal fit, there is a removable 5 mm surface foam layer on the cheek pads and temple pad from the headliner. Wear the Tour-X4 with or without peak, with or without visor and combinations of these two. The large visor opening offers plenty of room for motocross-style goggles when riding without visor.

The spec listing is as follows :

Read moreNew Year – New Gear (Part II) : Helmet – Arai X4 Detour

Apple Watch Sport UnBoxing

Apple Watch Sport 42mm UnBoxing Review

Being one of the customers who didn’t preorder a watch I had to wait until the instore reservation and pickup service started. I was a bit more clued in for this than I was for the preorder so on Day One I reserved an Apple Watch Sport, with a silver bezel and blue strap. I went down to the Apple Store in Belfast, where for the first time I was met with little to no enthusiasm and it seemed like a chore for me to be trying on a Watch. So removing this first poor customer service experience from the equation I tried on an Apple Watch Sport, with the Space Grey bezel and realised I had made a mistake in the watch I ordered. There was allegedly no watches to swap my reservation out with, and I would just have to try again when the reservations opened if I wanted a Space Grey 42mm watch. That was the explanation I was given however it was muffled by sighs and grunts from the sales person. I deliberately have not used the title Apple Genius, because this person was more like a bored TV Sales person, not at all what I have come accustomed to from the Apple Store in my many years of being a customer. Anyway that’s all I have to or need to say on that. I went back home and at 6am the following morning tried out for a reservation of the 42mm Space Grey Apple Watch Sport and low and behold it was available. There must have been a late night or very early morning stock delivery, as my collection appointment the following night was for 20:30 hrs to 21:00 hrs and the store closed at 21:00 hrs. I scheduled in for collection the later that afternoon, went in, collected it and thankfully was met by the usual impeccable customer service from the Genius who helped me out this time. I get it, sometimes people have a bad day, and thats fine, all is forgiven, we’ll put it down as a bad day. So I got home, did my usual unboxing gallery and have been playing with it for the last 10 days (ish). Thoughts and Opinions :

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Casio G-Shock Bluetooth GBA400-1AER UnBoxing

G-Shock GBA400-1AER Bluetooth Watch UnBoxing Review

With Smart Watches taking over the world, is there a place for a non smart watch?

Absolutely!  Of course there is, many people have no interest in a Smart Watch, many people would rather speed £500 on a wrist watch over a smart watch.  Others need the functions of a standard watch more than a Smart Watch.  Me, for example I wear G-Shocks, for their rugged strength, and I like how they look.  I can wear it to work and not even slightly worry about it, same goes for being out on the bike, no weather will phase it, nor me, and if pulling a long a long weekend, or a full day I don’t need to worry about my watch’s battery.  I don’t need to worry about damaging it, because let’s be honest if the watch breaks, there’s a good chance my arm is broken with it!

However when browsing I noticed the G-Shock ‘Smart’ Watch at a bargain price of £90 GBP, when the RRP is £180, that was easily enough to tempt me, so it was ordered and arrived the next day.

Basically it is a G-Shock with everything you expect in the rugged strength and chunky looks, with the added bonus of Bluetooth 4.0.  There is an app for iOS (and Android) which pairs to the watch, which when you activate and from there the app can control the time settings and the music on your smart device, whether that be song selection or volume.

So its smart settings are basic, time setting and music control. that’s all there will ever be, but that’s fine, not too many people will need or want more from a G-Shock, but it is a nice feature set, it adds to the G-Shock experience, and at a reasonable price it is a bargain.

The battery is touted as lasting for 2 years when using the Bluetooth Features for 2 hours a day, obviously the more or less you use the more or less the battery will be affected.  Also it doesn’t remain parked indefinitely.  In an attempt to preserve battery the BT connection will disconnect after 2 hours of non use.  Some people like this, others hate it, for me I am reasonably indifferent, pairing the watch and a phone back up is very easy and quick, so it doesn’t bother me at all.

All I would say in summary is that this is a G-Shock with a Smart features, it isn’t a smart watch.  Don’t expect text, email notifications, for some reason Casio have dropped this feature which they do have on other watches, this is a watch to control your music, if that is something you would benefit from then this is definitely the G-Shock for you.  If not the RRP of £180 opens up a massive range of other G-Shock watches for you so have a good browse around.  Oh and at £90 this is an absolute bargain!

G-Shock GBA400-1AER Bluetooth 4.0 UnBoxing Gallery :

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21/05/2015 Riut Bag – Safer Urban Travel

Riot Bag Backpack

So I was lucky enough to see the Riut Bag at the Gadget Show Live 2015, and I was very impressed. A simple but brilliant concept, a bag made for travellers that makes the stuff inside safer. How? By having no zips on the outside, so unlucky pick pockets, opportunistic thieves and other general scum, this bag makes your pathetic little lives that little bit harder.

I think what makes this even cooler is the fact that it is a successful Kickstarter Campaign, an invention by someone with an idea, who pitched it to the world and the world said yes!

So there we have it a great concept, now how does the inventor make us want one, well she makes it desirable by making it good looking and even more desirable by making it practicable.

And this is the feature list the inventor has packed into one back pack that makes it practicable…

RiutBag specifications

– No outer zips, they are all against your back
– 20 litre capacity, weight 1.06kg
– Holds up to 15 inch laptop: 16.14 inch or 41 cm diagonal measurement across outer laptop case
– Invisible strap lengths
– Waterproof material: base and outer shell
– Sturdy handle and hook for hanging
– Hidden ticket pocket in each strap
– Foam lined throughout for comfort and protection
– Water bottle holders: up to 750ml capacity
– Adjustable chest strap
– One model available
– One colour available

Read more21/05/2015 Riut Bag – Safer Urban Travel

Apple iPod Classic (7th Generation) 160 GB Unboxing

Apple Certified Refurbished iPod Classic 7th Generation 160 GB

As I am sure you are no doubt well aware Apple discontinued their iPod Classic Range towards the end of 2014 siting lack of component parts as the main reason.  Since that announcement the price of any remaining iPod Classics shot through the roof so much so that a poor condition example would have easily fetched more than the cost of a brand new item when they were readily available.  Mint in box / Sealed examples often fetched more than £1000 as Apple fans and annoying overly rich hipsters grasped out to shady resellers and greedy ba£$%!ds on the likes of gumtree who hoovered up all remaining stock and put these ridiculous price tags on the items!

This trend has now taken a turn for the better and Apple have begun to regularly issue Refurbished Items on their official Store priced at a bargain £162 GBP.  The eBay traders are now having to wise up with their prices, but forget them, get yourself over to Apple and pick one up where you will benefit from 1 years Apple Warranty and the option of upgrading the warranty with AppleCare, which co-incidently I picked up on eBay for a mere £15 GBP.

The Refurb items will sell out quickly so have a look on your choosen AppStore for an app called ‘RefurbMe’ with this you can set up alerts to push to your phone the second new items come on the Refurb Store.  In the UK this is normally around 2300 – 0100 hrs so expect a late night / early morning bing and be prepared to get ordering straight away.

I am not going to even bother with the likes of a review for the iPod, it is an icon and needs no introduction, just know that this beast holds so much music you’ll never listen to it all and it even plays videos.  Oh and this is the old 30 PIN connector so hopefully you haven’t chucked out all of you old tech just because the lightning adapter appeared!

This article was written on 29/04/2015 and at this point Apple were regularly releasing Refurb’d iPod Classics on the UK Certified Refurbished Store.  I placed my order on 02/04/2015 and they have come back into stock approximately 4 times since then.  Obviously this could cease at any point without warning and let’s be honest it will stop sooner rather than later as I doubt many are returned and refurbished on the grand scale of things, so if you are interested in one get an alert set up and be ready to Click on Buy asap!

iPod Classic (7th Generation) 160GB Certified Refurbished Unboxing Gallery :

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TomTom Rider V5 Unboxing Gallery :

Having recently purchased a TomTom Rider V5 as my sat nav solution for my motorbike I became very aware that whilst browsing for the product it was hard enough to find out exactly what came in the box. To level the playing field a little I have made the following Unboxing Gallery. And just to be sure, to be sure, that any perspective buyer is completely aware of what comes in the box the contents are as follows :

TomTom Rider (V5) Sat Nav
Ram Mounting Kit (Non locking) for Mounting on bars (includes rubber to protect bars)
EU & UK Plug Options (For Wall Charging)
TomTom Rider Charging Dock & Mount (For on bike charging)
TomTom Rider Mounting Base Plate (&mounting screws, washers and bolts)
TomTom Wall Charger
TomTom Rider Wairing Kit for Hard Wiring to the Battery (see my next posting for how to hardwire to the CanBus system on a BMW Motorcycle)
USB Lead (For Syncing, Map Updating and Charging)
Documenation

At this stage I have had no real use of the satnav but when I do I will update with any thoughts and a short review. As I have already stated I will be commencing some Motorcycle VLogging Soon, so I may well cover the sat nav on one such journey.

One point I feel I must raise at this stage is that with the supplied mounting kit the use of a locking kit (approx £55) is a must unless you are very disciplined in removing the sat nav each and every time you are getting off the bike. With the system supplied with the device it could be taken off your bike within 5 seconds with no trouble. It could easily be gone during a quick stop at the ATM or whilst paying for fuel. There are many other mounting systems available that will give a little more security for a quick stop but be prepared to take your kit with you for any stop that is going to be more than a few minutes or when the bike is out of eyeshot. These devices are so expensive and so appealing to scumbag thieves that you have to be aware they are vulnerable and should never be left unattended.

Enjoy your exploration!

TomTom Rider V5 UnBoxing Gallery :

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Otterbox Preserver for iPhone 5s UnBoxing and Video Water Testing

Otterbox Logo

I am always on the search for the ultimate phone case, and with my work and hobbies of riding a motorcycle I require something tough, something that will stand up to the elements and most importantly something that will keep my phone in absolute pristine condition!  Bulk doesn’t bother me and in recent times my favourite case has been the Otterbox Armor.  I had it for my iPhone 5, and it took me from the fine shores of Northern Ireland to the finer shores of Florida.  It took me through every theme park and thunderstorm Florida could offer and it never missed a beat.  Admittedly it was a beast of a case, but I was fine with that.  Nothing was beating it.

Since then and getting an iPhone 5s I have been looking for the same thing.  I have tried many cases since then, most recently was the Tech 21 Special Ops Combat case.  And to be fair to it, it is a crackin’ case!  It felt strong, I trusted it, the only thing it lacked was water resistance and it blocked the fingerprint sensor.  And let’s be honest it is the finger print sensor on a iPhone 5s that differentiates it from a 5.  You have a 5s and you’ll want to be able to use your finger print sensor or at least show it off on occasion.

So now that Otterbox has bought LifeProof and the designs boffins have started working together the inevitable outcome is the Otterbox Preserver.

Anyone who had a Lifeproof Fre case will instantly recognise the Preserver, the similarities are everywhere from the look to the feel, although the preserver feels stiffer, more rigid and just a little bit tougher.  These are all good things, that result in a sleek package.  If you are used to the Armor case this one will feel truly insignificant.

Now I am not one to torture test my phone or a case, plenty of others do that.  I buy a case to prevent my phone being tortured but it is good to know what you are playing with and the stats that the preserver boasts are as follows :

– Two-piece case with snap assembly for easy installation

– Internal foam cushions device and holds it in place inside the caseIncludes an adjustable lanyard for convenient carrying and tethering

– Waterproof: fully submergible up to 6.6 ft. (2 m) for 30 minutes (IP-X8)

– Drop proof: protects device from drops up to 6.6 ft. (2 m)

– Dust proof: blocks entry of dust and debris particles (IP-6X)

Read moreOtterbox Preserver for iPhone 5s UnBoxing and Video Water Testing

Nokia Lumia 920 UnBoxing

I’m not completely new to Nokia Lumia phones nor the Windows Phone OS, having owned a Lumia 620 previously.  As a complete and utter Mac fanatic and convert I have to say the Windows Phone OS is exceptional.  Yes there are a few holes in the app market, but these are more ‘wants’ than ‘necessities’ and as every week passes these holes are getting filled in.  There is now very little that I can’t do on WP that I really see as an immediate must, except for the Sky Go App.  Come on Microsoft and Sky, Windows Phone users need Sky Go!

I previously did a simple guide for getting started on WP8, you can find that here : http://tbni.blog/2013/05/27/windows-phone-8-getting-started-tips-tricks/

Also to touch quickly on the built in Nokia Apps, firstly the Sat Nav Software is simply great.  Last year it took me all across Florida without a single hitch, and it frequently takes me round roads over here, that the rest of the developed world would maybe, on a good day, consider as a track!  Believe me, a Sat Nav working well over here is no mean feat!

So what is different and why did I see the need to change?

That’s an easy one, there are some unbelievable deals about at the moment on the 920 handset, I was able to sell my 620 for about £4 less than I bought it for and a few notes later I had upgraded to the 920.  The differences are basically, everything is bigger and better.  Bigger, better screen, more RAM, faster processor, more storage, much much better camera.

The full Specs of the phone for the technically gifted can be found here : http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_lumia_920-4967.php

Which leads me to my next point, the camera on the Nokia Lumia 920 is outstanding.  (The gallery images were not taken with it by the way – say no more!)  And with each and every update Nokia and WP8 are throwing out it just keeps getting better.  The latest rendition of this Nokia Camera App can be found here : http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/store/app/nokia-camera/bfd2d954-12da-415c-ad99-69a20f101e04

With the Nokia Camera App you are not far off the power of a basic DSLr!  With setting from Auto to Manual, Portrait to Sports, the need for a Point ‘N Shoot is quickly diminishing!  Another quality app that has been released by Nokia for the higher end Lumia range is called ‘Refocus’ and with simply touch gestures true depth of field imaging has been brought – live time – to the mobile phone camera system.  A quick preview and demo of ‘ReFocus’ can be seen here : https://refocus.nokia.com

With such a brilliant Sat Nav and Camera system on the 920 it has to be a contender to replace your sat nav in your car alone, and at similar money for a decent sat nag, and with the benefit of it being phone as well as a great camera the benefits are certainly becoming more obvious!

Finally, with Nokia MixRadio you have a massive catalogue of music to take with you, stream and enjoy for FREE!  Yep another brilliant free app in the Nokia Suite, and the details of it are here : http://www.nokia.com/gb-en/apps/app/mixradio/

Of course there has to be a problem right?  Yep unfortunately so.  And it is common with all smart phones.  The battery.  When Sat Naving, photographing and streaming the Lumia goes through a battery as quick as a hungry baby with a bottle.  Same can be said for many other phones of course, but it is a point to be wary off.  If long battery life is a necessity for you, you may need to look else where, or at least at a USB car charger and spare lead, or a battery pack, hell there are that many options I’m sure you’ll be grand!

Nokia Lumia 920 UnBoxing Gallery :

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Turtle Beach Ear Force Shadow UnBoxing

I have never been one for earphones whilst gaming, however the guys that are say that there is simply no comparison to gaming with a decent set of ‘cans’ as opposed to a television speaker set up or a basic 2.1 system. Then when you start to move into good 5.1 systems you may be unfortunate enough then that your house, or worse your neighbours’ house starts to shake when stuff starts exploding on screen. It is this point that a good gaming head set starts to come into its own.

For me I have taken the plunge with a mid range set of headphones, namely ‘Turtle Beach Ear Force Shawdow.’ I have been on the lookout for such a set of headphones for a while but was always put off by the price tag. When these came up in a recent flash sale that was effectively saying, ‘Here you go chum, take these and male a small donation to our store,’ it was simply impossible to say no! (Oh and they are PS4 compatible!)

Here is what Turtle Beach have to say about this set. At the time of writing the price is £79.99 GBP.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Shadow

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10 Second Game Review : Infamous 2

What the hell you may be asking!  And rightly so Infamous 2 was released in 2011 after all!

However I purchased it on release and it sat in its cellophane wrapper until a couple of days ago.  I thought with the now imminent release of Infamous : Second Son I needed to catch up before I dove into the newest Next Gen instalment of this huge City Platformer / Action / Shooter / RP (I think it is officially classed as a Third Person Action Game.

The basic plot is WITHOUT SPOILERS is that you take on the role of Cole McGrath, Empire City has been destroyed in a huge blast, you and Zeke have moved to New Marais, however the Beast is coming and he is ripping up the entire Eastern Seaboard.  You must stop him!

This game is huge, there is a good 12 hours in playing through the story and much much more in playing the side missions.  You make decisions whether Cole becomes a hero to humanity or a Villian to rival the worst of them is entirely in your hands.  People will worship or fear you, and it is your actions or even lack of actions that will determine which way the crowd sways.

Visually New Marais is stunning, all the visuals are, the textures in the electricity and buildings will leave you wondering what we are going to get in the PS4 game.  The story is compelling and interesting, made even more so as it is you who is steering the action in a particular direction.

The only question that now remains is are you good or evil?

Play it, enjoy it and salivate at the thought of the impending Infamous : Second Son!