Category Archives: Matt Porter

Transcend DrivePro 230 – A superior dash-cam packed with features #gadgetroadtrip

It’s been a while since Paul and I ventured to Scotland and back in the Tesla Model S on our East West Road Trip. During the trip we had the opportunity to test lots of technology.

Transcend DrivePro 230 - A superior dash-cam packed with features #gadgetroadtrip
The Transcend DrivePro 230 was welcome addition on The East to West Road Trip last year.

It was particularly comforting to have the Drive Pro 230 in car camera along for the trip, providing us with the added comfort that should anything unpleasant happen during our 1200 mile trip, we would have full audio-video documentation to refer to.

Dash-cam’s have become an essential gadget for drivers over the last few years, providing evidence in road traffic accidents and thus being referred as an IEW or Independent Eye Witness by the Police, but also by providing additional features to make the drivers experience safer and legal.

The Transcend DrivePro 230 is as feature packed as any Dash-cam currently available currently. Aside from packing at Sony Exmor™ image sensor to capture 1920×1080 video at 30FPS which offers excellent lowlight video capture with the able assistance of the F/2.0 wide angle lens.

Attaching the camera to your windscreen using either suction or adhesive mounts. The camera also packs a GPS receiver and synchronises your geographical position to the video using Transcends PC, Mac and Phone Apps.

On the rear of the camera is a 2.4″ colour LCD screen and remote display is also possible via Wi-Fi to phone app. Obviously, this is targeted for use by passengers of the car.

The package comes with a very long MicroUSB to 12v car power adapter which charges the camera whilst driving and with the on-board battery, it can be configured to continue to monitor the car in ‘Parking Mode’. silently monitoring it’s field of view for movement and then recording this movement for later review.

Transcend DrivePro 230 with included 16GB MicroSD card
Transcend DrivePro 230 with included 16GB MicroSD card

Aside from the ‘quick record’ button, the camera also packs an emergency recording feature which also prevents overwriting of recorded video when the included 16GB MicroSD card fills up. In normal mode the camera records in chunks of video and gradually overwrites the oldest video files enabling continuous recording for as long as your journey takes.

Transcend DrivePro 230 - A superior dash-cam packed with features #gadgetroadtrip
Transcend DrivePro 230 – A superior dash-cam packed with features #gadgetroadtrip

Other safety features included are Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), driver fatigue alert and headlight warning system (when light conditions begin fail.

The camera also comes with speed warning settings which will audibly warn you when you exceed the set speed limits set within the camera.

Transcend DrivePro 230 Dash-cam Transcend DrivePro 230 Dash-camTranscend DrivePro 230 Dash-cam

This type of device demands simplicity of use, and the DrivePro 230 excels in this area. It simply is a ‘plug-in and go’ solution which aside from the obvious safety and legal comforts provides a vast amount of other features which make driving that little bit less stressful.

At around £136, the Transcend DrivePro 230 is excellent value for money, with a high quality device providing excellent video quality with an enormous amount of added features.

For more tech news, reviews and comment visit www.thegadgetman.org.uk

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

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The Gadget Man – Episode 106 – Unused Kitchen Gadgets

I chatted to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk this morning as part of a discussion about Kitchen Gadgets that have fallen out of use.

We have all bought something for the kitchen to help us cook or prepare food and consequently found that although useful, they end up sitting in a cupboard, in a draw or on top of a kitchen cabinet.

Listen into the audio stream to find out what I thought and how I placed my foot in my mouth at a well known shopping channel.

 

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Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept at Adastral Park

We are very lucky to share our premises with numerous high tech companies here at Adastral Park.

Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept
Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept – pictured at Adastral Park, UK.

A few weeks back it was the turn of Tech Mahindra to wow us in the form of the Pininfarina H2 Speed hydrogen concept car which was touring the country.

Marco Pintor - Sales Executive, Pininfarina S.p.A.
Marco Pintor – Sales Executive, Pininfarina S.p.A.

We were very pleased to spend some time chatting to the guys at both Pininfarina and Tech Mahindra on the day and gained some very interesting insights into this marketplace.

I spoke to Marco Pintor, Sales Executive at Pininfarina at length about the H2 Speed and how the challenge of powering a high performance vehicle with hydrogen, but retaining the traditional designs cues we have become accustomed to.

Sports car designers are faced with similar challenges when designing vehicles, they must be aerodynamic, light, appealing to the eye and evoke the ideals behind the vehicle. Thus, the H2 Speed’s body is constructed from carbon-fibre.

Pininfarina
The timeless Pininfarina badge
Pininfarina H2 Speed
Pininfarina H2 Speed

Propulsion is provided by the GreenGT Full Power Hydrogen powering 2 synchronous electric motors giving the equivalent of 500 horsepower. Energy is provided from 2 stacks of PEMFC Fuel Cells with a combined 210kW of energy.

Pininfarina H2 Speed
Pininfarina H2 Speed

Power is applied directly to the rear wheels at a ratio of 1:6.3, as we many other alternative fuel cars, there is no clutch, differential of gear changing necessary, just immediate maximum torque, traction is controlled by torque vectoring.

Fuel is stored in two side mounted Hydrogen storage tanks either side of the cockpit with a combined tank capacity of 6.1 kg, with a pressue of 700 bars. Refuelling times are estimated at around 3 mins. Further energy is recovered from the braking system at 400V and a capacity of 20Ah.

Pininfarina H2 SpeedEmissions are simply air and water from the exhaust system, there is ZERO pollution from the vehicle.

So, how does this stack up in peformance? Pretty well it would seem! Th H2 is capable of a 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds,  a standing quarter mile in 11 seconds and a top speed of around 186 mph.

Sergio Farina with the Testarossa
Sergio Farina with the Testarossa

Pininfarina have been styling automobiles for over 86 years, for manufactures such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Peugeot and of course Ferrari with the benchmarks of design of the Testarossa and Dino.

Now they find themselves in the 21st Century producing leading edge design and technology for a new breed or race cars. The future is looking very bright for both Pininfarina and their owner Tech Mahindra.

Currently, the H2 Speed is priced at around $2 million dollars and aimed at a very particular marketplace. We should however look forward to this amazing technology finding it’s way to our vehicles in the near future.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB Military Grade Rugged Portable Hard Drive

Following on from our Tesla Road Trip, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review one of the great pieces of equipment we were able to take with us on the trip.

SP Armor A65 1TB reviewed by Matt Porter We had planned to travel some 1200 or so miles from Ness Point to Ardnamurchan Point (and back again) in an electric car, part of the adventure was to try and document the trip. We planned to document the trip using a variety of equipment from Smartphones, stabilised cameras to 4K Drones.

We would likely be presented with many gigabytes of footage and it was therefore imperative that we had a durable solution for data backup and somewhere to copy footage and imagery taken during the trip.

Our rugged backup solution was indeed a Silicon Power Armor A65 portable 1TB hard drive with it’s shockproof and waterproof housing that gives it military grade protection, to U.S Military MIL-STD-810G 516.6 Procedure IV and IP67 Standard for dust and water ingress.

SP Armor A65 1TB reviewed by Matt PorterOut of the box, the SP Armor A65, comes with a rubberised casing and IP67 sealed USB 3.0 Socket. IP67 means the device components are sealed from dust and immersion in water up to a meter deep for 30 minutes. The USB 3.0 cable is a full sized male connector at each end, this makes connection to a PC or Laptop very easy as the cable works in either direction. The case also had a slot for either securing the cable to the drive or as a belt clip.

SP Armor A65 1TB reviewed by Matt PorterInside of the heavily protected three layered case lies a Silcon Power 1TB 2.5″ Hard Disk with 1 Terabyte of storage, our brief tests for performance showed  a very decent Blackmagic Disk Speed Test score of 71/70. The drive was used extensively both before, during and after the trip and became our ‘go to’ hard disk for the trip.

Included with the drive is Silcon Power’s HDD Lock Utility which runs on MS Windows. This allows you to encrypt all the data stored on the device to give a greater level of security for users

We tested the device for use when we were using both drones and laptops in the field and the added resilience of the device gave us a greater degree of confidence that our data would remain safe even in the most extreme circumstances. It was also used to backup our laptop during the journey.

If you travel often and need the convenience of a simple to connect device that is both rugged and secure, the SP Armor A65 is most certainly worth the investment and can be purchased from the link to the left.

 

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Orbitsound ONE P70W – Connected Speaker Review with All-in-one Airsound, Subwoofer, Wi-Fi and more!

It is always particularly interesting to test technology that has been developed by leaders in their particular sector, so I was very excited about visiting Orbitsound in London to have a demonstration of their ONE P70W Speakers.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManOrbitsound was founded by Ted Fletcher, the inventor of Airsound™ technology. Ted has been working for many years as a  musician, audio engineer, electronics designer and studio designer, to give the listener a more realistic, more immersive sound experience. These years of experience in the industry led to the release in 2017 of the Orbitsound ONE P70, the worlds first multi-orientation speaker, meaning regardless of where you stand, it sound remains the same.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget Man
The controls for the Orbitsound ONE P70W are found at the side of the speaker

The P70W is designed in such as way that it can be shelf or wall-mounted. It has a narrow design (700mm wide x 173mm deep x 77mm high), this allows for comfortably mounting below a flat screen television or on a wall as a ‘party’ speaker. It’s built from wood and steel and can be purchased in matte black, bambo or bone white weighing in a 5.1kg.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManSound is provided by two (front and top) 2″ ‘Orbitsound MK4 drivers’, a Sub-bass low-profile 5.25″ driver and 2X2 Airsound Orbitsound MK4 drivers. By positioning the main speakers both front and top mean that sound production is maintains regardless of how the speaker mounted.

Connectivity is provided by Bluetooth, Optical cable, 3.5mm stereo jack and the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi feature is the most impressive as it allows streaming of audio from a variety of sources without the loss of quality associated with Bluetooth, effectively allowing for uncompressed playback of music. It also allows for multi-speaker / multi-room playback with perfectly synchronised sound and zero delay. This is achieved by using the Orbitsound Smartphone app (Android and iOS) which supports streaming providers and internet radio stations and allows you to ‘group’ sets of speakers to create one virtual speaker. When I was given a demonstration of this at the Orbitsound offices, 3 separate speakers, both wall and shelf mounted were grouped together using the app. I was then asked to close my eyes to try and decide where I thought the sound was coming from. It was unearthly as it sounded like it was coming out of thin air, very impressive!

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget Man
The Orbitsound App running on Android. Streaming from Tunein

The app currently supports TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Tidal, Napster, Apple Music (iOS only) and of course your own device stored music. If you are absolutely focused on using other services such as Google Play Music or Amazon, then you can of course stream using Bluetooth. I used the speak in conjunction with my Amazon Dot, as well as my iMac and Xperia XZ Premium, all worked flawlessly.

I was also able to connect the speaker to my Freesat HD box using the supplied optical cable. This worked great, although the Freesat box had a bug with Netflix which meant it would only broadcast Dolby sound. This was a simple configuration on the Freesat box and all was working again.

The speaker comes with very nicely designed remote control and you can also use you own remote control using the speakers ‘learning mode’. I was able to control the speaker using my TV remote within a couple of seconds of setup.

The people at Orbitsound definitely had the environment in mind when they designed the P70W as it is built to power-down  components that aren’t used, but power up instantly when required.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManQuite a bit of thought has gone into small details on the P70W with the inclusion of reversible LED information display and Orbitsound badge. This might seem small things but they count as you really wouldn’t want to be showing off your new speaker to friends and have the badge upside down. integrated wall mounting and 200mm VESA bosses and bolts are included to allow you to get going straightaway with unnecessary visits to AV stores to buy mounting kits. There is also a protective sleeve for the speaker, to protect it when not in use.

The speaker also comes with a standard power cord, aux cable, quick-start guide and safety and warranty information, all packaged up in a very smart box. The useful inclusion of a carry handle was helpful too, as I carried a demonstration unit to the train station.

The Orbitsound P70W feels like a speaker that can fit many needs, be that as a Sound-bar for your TV, a party speaker for gatherings of people and the facility to extend your listening experience to multiple speakers. The smart design of the speakers means that it they would sit very comfortably in a professional or public environment. The whole family has really enjoy the quality and versatility of the speaker and we’ll be sad to see it go.

At £399, the Orbitsound P70W is great value for buyers looking for a richer smoother sound regardless of their position in the room.

Sakura from Yum Asia review – Perfect Rice Every Time!

It’s always nice to try out gadgets that appeal to both me and my wife Vanessa, and it was particularly exciting to receive a Yum Asia Sakura Rice Cooker to review.

When I was contacted by Yum Asia to ask if I wanted to review the one of their Rice Cookers, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew that Vanessa would be interested in what a rice cooker would bring to the kitchen and how it might improve rice dishes (Not that they aren’t already superb!).

The Sakura is an 8-cup capacity rice cooker which makes enough to feed up to 8 people. It has a very modern look with oriental influences. Cooking white rice alone takes between 30 – 40 minutes, which a faster ‘Quick’ mode of 26 minutes. Brown rice takes longer at 62 minutes.

As well as cooking rice, the Sakura can also be used to steam foods, make soup, cook porridge and also bake cakes, yoghurts and tahdig. These take a variety of cooking times, all handled by the device.

Yum Asia Secura - reviewed by Matt PorterThe control panel on the front of the rice cooker is Korean designed and motouch (touch sensitive), it’s very clear and easy to use. The product manual also gives clear instructions on the use of the cooker. Making different foods is as simple as correctly measuring the ingredients and selecting the right setting on the control-panel. It’s very simple to use and gave great results.

The lid of the cooker is strong and locks closed solidly. There is also a steam vent built in to release pressure during cooking. Everything is removeable for cleaning.

Yum Asia Secura - reviewed by Matt PorterInside the cooker is a removeable ceramic coated bowl with easy lift handles. On the side of the bowl are indicators which detail the rice portions and level of water required for perfect rice. The included measuring cup is used to ensure the correct amount of rice is always used.

Once all your ingredients are added and the correct cooking mode is selected, you simply press ‘Start’ and everything clicks into action.
The rice is cooked using a 7 phase method which are, preheat, absorb water, heating, boiling, braising, absorb water again and keep-warm. Interestingly, the Keep-Warm function can operate for up to 24 hours! So, very busy people can set the rice cooker going before bed and come home from work the next day and have perfect rice. It is just as good as preparing porridge ready for the next morning too.

Yum Asia Secura - reviewed by Matt PorterThe cooking of the rice is done in such a way that heat is dispersed throughout the inside of the device and radiated downwards from the lid, Yum Asia call this ‘3D heating technology’.
Also included with the cooker is a steaming basket, measuring cup, non-stick rice spatula and soup ladle. Everything is packaged in an sturdy box.

Both Vanessa and myself found the use of the rice cooker to be very easy. The instructions were straightforward and using the correct measurements meant that the resulting rice was both delicious and fluffy. Preparation was easy and it is very important to rinse the rice thoroughly beforehand to get the best results.

We have filmed the entire process and will be uploading this soon to demonstrate how simple it really was. Keep an eye on our Youtube Channel.

I have never considered a rice cooker before, but having used it and having found out that there is precious little additional work required to cook the rice using this method, but for superior results, we both think it is a brilliant addition to a kitchen.

Yum Asia Secura - reviewed by Matt PorterThe Sakura from Yum Asia can be purchased directly through their dedicated website.

You can visit their site here or by clicking the image to the left.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Review – The Super Slow Motion, 3D Capture, HDR Video, Smartphone #gadgetroadtrip

In the lead up to the East West Road Trip in October I was looking for a smartphone to enable me to document the trip both with photographs and video and was particularly keen to live stream the video where possible. 

Initially I was looking to live-stream the trip using a 360° camera, unfortunately this didn’t come off and I was faced with a last-minute race to find an alternative literally 2 days before we were departing! 

Fortunately, I was offered the Sony Xperia XZ1 phone with 30gb of data from EE. This solved by data anxiety problems immediately and having used Sony Xperia devices in the past, I was confident they would step up to the plate with image and video quality. 

Sony are an extremely well-established tech companies, in fact for many years they were ‘the’ tech company of choice and it’s no secret the mobile phone market is dominated by two other big tech brands, so I was interested to see how the XZ1 would differentiate itself in an ultra-competitive industry. 

Out of the box, the Sony XZ1 is a sleek, smooth, black device, with Gorilla Glass 5 front facing glass and deep black aluminium at the back, a departure from the super-sized XZ Premium from earlier in the year which was covered from and rear in glass.  With dimensions of 5.83″ x 2.87″ with a thickness of 7.4mm, this is not the most gigantic handset and its smooth edges make it comfortable to hold, although it is very smooth, so hold on tight! Aside from black, the device is also available in Moonlit Blue, Warm Silver and Venus Pink, so plenty of choice. 

The phone is preloaded with the Google Android™ O (or Oreo) operating system and Sony have been very sensitive by not trashing the ideals of the OS by avoiding in the addition of their own ‘enhancements’ in the most part. 

The phone packs a very bright 5.2″ TRILUMINOS™ display driven by BRAVIA® TV technology given HDR compatible playback X-Reality™ producing 138% of standard display colour spectrum, the companies experience in the display market really comes through. The display is noticeably brighter and colour more natural that other phone displays and playing HDR video from YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Prime is incredible. X-Reality™ intelligently removes noise and from videos produces exquisite results, it really is impressive. Some people would criticise the use of a Full HD screen HDR screen instead of the perceived standard of UHD and above, but I would beg to differ, having tried both UHD and 4K mobile devices, I see no real benefits, even when using VR Goggles. 

The beating heart inside of the device is provided by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Processor, positioning the phone in the same bracket at the competition. In addition, storage comes as 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of super-fast UFS internal memory with support for an addition of a up to 256GB micro SDXC. It’s pleasing that support for additional memory has been included with the phone, although it’s quite fiddly adding and removing both Sim card and SD cards with the phone, but on the plus side it’s very accessible. It should be noted that around 9.5GB is used up by preinstalled firmware and applications. 

Click here to Buy the Sony Xperia XZ1 via Amazon

The phone is powered by a 2700 mAh battery, featuring Smart Stamina 3.0 and Qnovo Adaptive Charging which prolongs the life of the battery by ensuring it is charged quickly and safely with the addition of  Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0.  I’ve come across battery charge management in the past with electric cars and particularly the Tesla Model S, this too allows for quick charging, but upon reaching around 80% full, charging speed is tapered off to ensure the lifetime of the battery. Sony does a similar job with the Xperia XZ1 by intelligently noting owners charge habits and adjusting the charge rate of the phone if for instance you are sleeping and don’t begin using your phone until 7.15am. It is also possible to use the phone to charge other devices using an Android OTG adapter, but in fairness mobile phone battery is at such a premium that use of it for anything other than for the phone itself is rare. 

With normal use the phone easily provides a days use with something left over at the end and this will be using all of the phones features, even some of the cooler ones which I will talk about later. Charging is provided by a Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 charger and USB Type C socket. 

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewed by Matt Porter - The Gadget ManMoving on the the front and rear cameras, Sony has yet again infused the phone with their high quality optics and sensors. The rear facing 9MP Motion Eye™ camera with 1/ 2.3” Exmor RS™ with 1.22μm pixel pitch. The lens is a 25 mm wide G Lens F2.0. Sony again use their own BIONZ™ for mobile image-processing engine to give superb results. There’s a ton of features such as Predictive Capture (motion / smile), Autofocus burst, x8 Digital Zoom, HDR Photo, 0.6 sec Quick Launch & Capture, Predictive Hybrid Autofocus, Anti-distortion shutter, Triple image sensing technology, SteadyShot™ with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stablisation) and 4K recording at 30fps. 

However, the ‘pièce de résistance’ is the inclusion of a 960 fps Super slow motion video capture. This is achieved by the inclusion of addition hardware installed directly into the camera sensor in the form of hyper fast dynamic memory which allows for raw footage to be saved directly into the sensor and then drip feed and standard speed back to the standard hardware. Due to the colossal amount of power required to pulling 960 frames per second, the sensor only actually captures .18 of a second at 720hd, stretching it to around 6 seconds of footage.

 

This is called Motion Eye technology and personally I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops for the future, because it’s really impressive. As expected, you need bags of light to capture at this speed, so it works best outside in daylight, I also noticed light flicker in my office due to the refresh  rate of our lights. Normal lighting does not cause his problem though. 

The front facing camera is a saner 13MP 1/ 3.06”  Exmor RS™ for mobile image sensor with 22mm wide angle lens at F2.0, again Sony includes it’s proprietary SteadyShot™ 5-axis stablization technology. 

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewed by Matt Porter - The Gadget ManThere is one simply AMAZING feature included with the XZ1 which is the 3D Capture mode. This uses software developed by Sony, utilising both processor and camera to allow you to 3D scan objects, share them and even have them 3D printed. It takes a little practice and Sony actively limit the modes available to give you time to get used to simple scans until you are ready to scan ‘freehand’. My initial results were ok, but I soon became adept in scanning some great objects, from peoples’ faces, heads, food and any other object I could think of. This is a tipping point in this industry, no longer do you need super expensive scanners and solutions, you can now use your Sony Xperia XZ1 (and now XZ Premium) to scan 3d objects. It truly is incredible. 

Sony Xperia XZ1 reviewed by Matt Porter - The Gadget ManSony has chosen to stick with traditional Xperia design, this means that the trend of big screens and no bezels isn’t a feature of this phone, instead the phone packs stereo speakers at top and bottom of the phone which in landscape mode gives supreme stereo sound, making use of the Qualcomm® aptX™ HD audio features, the phone can ‘upscale’ lower quality audio to a near uncompressed sound when streaming across Bluetooth. There are a host of other features such as High-Resolution Audio, DSEE HX™, LDAC, Digital Noise Cancelling, Clear Audio+,  S-Force Front Surround, Stereo Recording and Sony’s Virtual Phones technology. The speaker volume has also been increased by 50% over previous models. 

Gaming wise, the phone is going to be able to handle pretty much everything thrown at it at the moment due to it’s highest end spec, but also included is PS4 integration using Remote Play. this allows you to connect to your own PS4 remotely and play your installed games, you can even pair a PS4 gamepad if that appeals. 

The phone retails at £599 off contract, but at the time of writing there are some pretty appealing deals including some nice add-ons, but in the UK you are still looking above £50 per month for two years and more if you want better data allowance. 

Sony Xperia XZ1 Review by Matt PorterAlthough the XZ1 doesn’t pack the 4K display of the XZ Premium, the screen is quite possibly richer, especially in HDR mode, the sound it great and performance very very quick. In a world where it is perceived we only have two choices, Sony have yet again produced a solid handset capable of sitting amongst the best. 

I did end up streaming a fair amount using the Sony Xperia XZ1 during and after the trip and found it to be a very capable device and coupled with an effectively limitless amount of data, it worked well.

On a side note, EE’s 4G network is very impressive and we were able to live stream both through Glencoe and arriving at Ardnamurchan, they pretty much had us covered.

Matt Porter 

The Gadget Man 

 

DJI Mavic Pro – Review – A drone so stable it appears frozen in time #gadgetroadtrip

I have been flying drones for the last 18 months, specifically DJI drones. It’s no secret that DJI have cornered the drone market from beginner to corporate use. From simply aerial photography to flying cell towers, DJI seem to have it all.

As part of our recent Gadget Man Road Trip from Ness Point to Ardnamurchan, we took along a DJI Mavic Pro and Osmo+, in this review I’m going to be talking about the Mavic Pro.

Click here to buy the Mavic Pro

The first thing you notice immediately upon taking the drone out of it’s box is that it is absolutely tiny! The rotor blades and arms all fold very neatly into themselves, giving it the appearance of a sleeping bat. Nature has almost always proved to be the most efficient designer and it seems that DJI has taken quite many queues when designing the folding mechanism. Having the Mavic fold so gracefully means that it doesn’t take up a great deal of space and setting up is very quick, there’s no need to fixing rotor blades as they come fixed to the craft, so looking for that photographic moment is generally not lost as box to air time is very quick.

The drone is flown using a very neat controller that connects to your mobile device using USB. Aside from using the phone, the controller also displays important information on a LED display which makes read information in bright sunlight very easy. Operation of the drone is achieved via DJI’s own DJI Go4 software or using 3rd parties such as Litchi. It was supremely simple to operate the drone and its incredible stability gives you a very confident edge when flying.

DJI have placed the 4k camera and sensor at the front of the aircraft, doing away with the underslung designs preceding it. By doing this means that even quick acceleration doesn’t cause the rotors to obscure the display which is an all to common problem with most drones. The camera has a clear plastic dome which is easily removed to allow for clearer footage with less glare. The quality of the footage is jaw dropping! We weren’t massively lucky with the weather especially in Scotland, but we were still able to produce some amazing footage all the same, even in grey skies.

The Mavic can take still 12MP photos as well as video and can also be controlled by gestures and there is also a Wi-Fi mode with less features.

Stability wise, the Mavic Pro is awesome. As well as GPS and Glonass stabilisation, the drone also uses down facing stabilisation using additional cameras. By referencing the ground, the drone can hover almost stock-still in the sky, it’s quite unnerving to see. It also packs collision avoidance cameras too which is great when flying near to trees.

Flight times are excellent being more than 25 minutes and the drone is noticeably quieter than other aircraft I have used. Sport mode gives even greater performance and allows you to swoop around the sky with easer.

DJI have included their Geofencing software or NFZ (No fly zone) features on the drone which avoid it being flown in areas that are either illegal or dangerous such as near to airports or stadiums. This is a great inclusion which hopefully will help drones to gain a better reputation in the UK press.

Good drones don’t come cheap and DJI have positioned the Mavic Pro in the higher price bracket, however you are getting an exceedingly good aircraft for the money. I tested the ‘Combo Kit’ which comes with drone, 2 batteries, car charger, 3pin charger, controller, 16GB MicroSD and leather carry case, this comes in at around £1200, however there are deals without the added extras which bring the price under £950.

 

Look out for Black Friday deals which bring the price down even further

Matt Porter

The Gadget Man

 

 

We’ve donated to British Red Cross

Red Cross Donation
Red Cross Donation

A little over a month has passed since we arrived back from the Scotland and as promised, we have donated the remains of our Gadget Road Trip fund to British Red Cross.

This afternoon, I transferred the remaining balance of £42.32 from our Monzo Card to the British Red Cross charity and thus rendered the account empty.

I was personally extremely upset by the Grenfell Tower disaster earlier this year, which I know also affected Paul. The British Red Cross were on the ground there immediately after it happened and provided much need assistance to the poor families that had lost their loved ones, their homes and everything they owned in a matter of minutes. It is because of this, that I wanted to donate to this charity. Since Grenfell, other disasters have continued to affect the people of our planet and the British Red Cross have continued to provide much needed support for these people who have lost absolutely everything they own and still lack the basics of clean water, electricity and food. If you would like to continue to help them, you can also donate via this link

Thank you so much again to the following people and organisations for their kind donations of funds or services!

XSItems Ltd
ACPlus
Favorite Fried Chicken
Free Reign Internet
Coderus
Gavin Dadd
Patrick Lohan
Jackie Robinson
Ian Brown
Olive Porter
Sandra Grilli
Callum McGilvery.

We wouldn’t have been able to feed ourselves during the trip and have something soft to sleep on. Thank you again.

Thanks also to Hillcroft Park in Ullswater for allowing us to stay at their lodgings for two nights (They will be featuring in the upcoming sitcom ‘Home from Home’ with Johnny Vegas, so keep an eye out!) and Far View Bed & Breakfast in Kilchoan (I won’t forget little Gracie exclaiming “My wellington boots fell over!!” as I took her and her dad on a little test drive).

 

 

Dell 27 Monitor S2718D – Stunning HDR Video with Tiny Bezels

A few weeks ago during a review of the Dell Latitude 7480 Notebook, I was also able to test and review the Dell S2718D 27” Inch QHD HDR Monitor and I was pleasantly surprised.

I tend to use a lot of graphics intensive software for editing aerial and tech review video and images. It’s very important that the equipment I use when producing this content displays colours correctly and due to the extended hours I spend in front of a computer screen, it’s important that I use high quality equipment to reduce eye strain and headaches.

Right from the start, it was plainly obvious that this screen was going to tick these boxes and more.

The monitor itself is ultra-thin in both depth and outer bezel, which uses Dell’s InfinityEdge technology, boasting a QHD 2560 x 1440 HDR screen with 1000:1 contrast and LED backlight technology. The LED backlights are what makes these screens so thin because rather than have a large dedicated backlight, instead each pixel is lit separately by very tiny LEDs, this makes for very bright and very very thin screens with excellent 178 degree viewing angles. The screen also uses IPS (or In-Plane Switching Technology) which is the same as found in most mobile phone and tablet screen.

Aside from the tiny bezels and super thin design, the killer feature of the screen is support for HDR or High Dynamic Range colour, which produces some of the finest results I have seen on a screen of this size. The results can be seen on HDR supported content of which there is now lots available on Amazon Video, Netflix and on dedicated YouTube channels. Seeing is really believing on when watch HDR video and it gives a more lifelike deeper colour production which can look fabulous.

Connectivity is provided in spades with Power connector, HDMI, USB Type C, Security-lock slot ,USB downstream and Audio line-out. This is more that enough for a desktop PC or as an additional screen for a laptop (which I used it for). The quality is superb and allows for flexibility and adjustment of the screen to be made easily.
The screen looks great and would happily sit alongside a PC or indeed an Apple device. Due to the very narrow InfinityEdge bezel, doubling up on monitors sitting next to each other would work very well indeed, with very little in the way of distracting black bars separating the two.

If you are looking to watch HDR movies or HDR games on your PC, this Dell monitor is a no brainer at a very reasonable £499 from your local electronics outlet or click the to the left to be redirected to Amazon.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man