Welcome To Gadgets Tested

Gadgets Tested is a new blog dedicated to bringing the most extensive and relevant product information to you - the all important consumer!

I am here to review the tech, show the consumer, and test to death the latest technology, including mobile phones, MP3 players and even some miscellaneous gear such as outdoor gadgets, gaming gear and musical equipment.

I am currently working with Samsung UK Electronics on their Mob!ler scheme - Special thanks go out to the team!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

RIM/Blackberry - Make or Break time...

After witnessing quite a lot of attention pointed towards Blackberry 10 devices I decided to have a look for myself, and I must say, though not massively original, the designs of the Z10 and Q10 are quite stunning - my personal favourite being the seemingly less-popular Q10 which sports Blackberry's unbeatable physical qwerty keyboard. BB10 seems to have gesture-controls at the core and everything seems to be so much smoother with that oh-so graceful yet industrial interface... Check out the video below from engadget and judge for yourself!

It looks like 2013 is make or break year for two giants (Windows Phone and Blackberry) whom are battling in the shadows of Android and Apple for that much-needed runner-up slot, and with Ubuntu mobile breaking out, who knows what will happen!

I have owned several Blackberry devices myself, but always find the range of apps rather limiting - thus making Android my obvious weapon of choice... Will Blackberry win my (and many others') heart this year?

You never know!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

So the price-war continues...

After stumbling across this pocket-friendly Android Tablet in my local supermarket I thought of it as my duty to inform my loyal readers... Of course, you do get only what you pay for, so to speak, but Acer's new B-series Tablet comes out of the box with Android Jellybean OS, decent resolution, responsive display and the comfort of knowing the majority of the apps worth having come free off Google Play Store. Lagging slightly in the RAM department at 512mb but 'serious users' aren't the target audience from the impressions I get.


Check out the Acer Iconia B1, for £99 (99USD in The states as my sources tell me) selling practically everywhere! Google Play Music, Google NOW, Amazon Kindle features? Meet your new commuting partner :)


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Introduction to the iPhone 5

Unless you missed it, the iPhone 5 was made official. As you all know I am not a fan of Apple products, but take a look for yourself - the introduction to iPhone 5 video (embedded) really does speak volumes about what went into the design of the 'all new' iPhone. From the new Camera features, to network capabilities, and of course, the A6 chip - we have yet another non-surprisingly massive amount of buzz around Apple, take a look...

I am now left with the question, 'who dares follow Apple now?' - will Google be releasing an Apple killing Nexus handset? Will another manufacturer make a handset worthy of such a buzz at launch, ever? Feel free to add your say below... 


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 in-depth Review

I cannot remember the last time I was this excited about getting my hands on a new mobile phone – the day the Galaxy S3 was released I told myself I would wait a while for a price drop before buying one, but by the 72 hour mark I could not control myself, I had to have one.

The Samsung Galaxy S series of mobile phones have been around now since around mid 2010, and they really made an impact on the market, with good reason. Combining innovative, open-source software with hardware specs previously unheard of in the cellular market, then encouraging consumers to modify, and even 'hack' their devices – Samsung knew they were on to something good, but I don't believe for a second that anyone expected the global phenomenon we are witnessing today.

Unleashing the beast

I would be lying to you all if I was to tell you I made it all the way home without tearing into the box to play with my new phone, it would be rude not to! I had signed into Google Play, downloaded Twitter and told the world about my purchase before I'd even left the shop!

Opening the box I was once again very impressed by the efficiency of Samsung, everything seemed to fill the space of the tiny box so perfectly, that not even the most seasoned Tetris master could manage to replace everything and fully close the box fully (without breaking a sweat).

Within two minutes whilst still standing in the Bolton Branch of my network carrier, I had installed my 32GB Micro SD, new Micro SIM, closed the casing and was ready to admire the new beautifully curvy side of Samsung which I had never seen before.

Impressions on appearance & feel

The first thing I noticed about this phone, is that the build just feels so solid, every curve seems to have been crafted to be easy on both the eye and on the hand. The 'layers', of the battery cover, the bezel, and the edges of the screen are so precisely flush, it is obvious that physical quality is a running theme with this device.

I was in a real rush to get my hands on this phone so I had no choice but to go for the white model (which really is not such a bad thing). The phone has a bit of weight to it, considering how slim it is, which to me is re-assurance in build quality, on the front there is one physical button which is the home key, which doubles as a task manager, the phone earpiece (call speaker), a 1.9mp camera sensor, a proximity sensor, and hidden away towards the top left is the long-awaited LED notification indicator. The left of the device has the volume rocker key, the right holds just the standby key, at the top of the phone is a standard 3.5mm stereo headset jack and what appears to be a secondary microphone, and the bottom has the primary microphone and the micro USB charging/data cable port. The rear of the phone at a glance is a clean, white, minimalistic design, in which I particularly admire the symmetrical placement of the camera flash, lens and speaker grill. On closer inspection I feel 'Marble white' is neither descriptive nor flattering enough to represent the awesome finish of the casing on this phone, there is an 'oil slick' effect that emerges and gives off a deeper 'texture' which I'm hoping is just the icing on the cake – As at this point I haven't even turned the phone on yet!

First boot-up

With an impressive initial boot-up, showing the first sign of life from the LED indicator I went from standstill to actively downloading apps in what seemed like only a couple of minutes, and I had made my first Tweet/Facebook status update within approximately 5 minutes. The phone comes preloaded with android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and an upgrade to Jellybean 4.1 is expected in the coming weeks.

Let's slow things down a little here...

Once I got home and had downloaded the essential apps I took a little time to have a closer look at the screen, and core functionality. The first thing to really impress me was just how clear the image quality of the phone is, the 1280x720 HD Super AMOLED display really does the TouchWiz interface great justice – I now believe TouchWiz is no longer trailing behind the worthy HTC Sense UI, but has now closed the gap and is possibly overtaking HTC at the UI face-off.

I took the time to have a go at getting along with some of the pre-installed apps, particularly 'Flipboard', which I was surprised to see here. Everything does run seemingly flawlessly on this phone, and needless to say I have stuck with Flipboard which seems to be a lightweight alternative to Google Currents and my social apps for a quick read.

Testing the inbuilt speaker's capabilities with classical, dubstep and heavy metal I was impressed by the clarity at high volumes, when I say high volume, this phone dows get loud. Plugging in your best pair of headphones is a much better experience though, I personally use Monster Lil' Jamz which are extremely high quality in-ear headphones, the Samsung Galaxy S3 provides generous music volume and various EQ and reverberation options to suit everyone's taste.

Taking the phone out to show-off I found the easiest way to impress was the video functionality, the sample video is so crisp, and then to have the option to be watching a video whilst scrolling through Facebook is a great surprise for most!

Another addition to Samsungs growing ensemble of exclusive apps is the S-Voice app which can be accessed anywhere with a quick double-tap of the home key, whilst I don't think it's a Siri-Killer yet, I do like the ease, and versitility of the app.

One week in

After using the S3 as my primary device for one week I found the battery is rather impressive – my phone is rarely sat in my pocket for more than five minutes at a time, I am a Google addict and read news articles frequently throughout the day, with an average of 12 text messages sent/recieved, over an hour of articles read online, 3 youtube videos, 15 minutes of phone calls, a good 20 emails read and 20 minutes playing games per day I would be left with about 10% battery life by bed time, though I am still using an MP3 player for my commute as opposed to using the phone's media player, which could have tipped the phone to the dreaded final red bar of battery!

Though I haven't used this phone as my primary music player, the media player suite is just awesome. The video player seems to recognise every type of codec I have thrown at it and once again the crisp display plays a huge part in the WOW! Factor. I particularly like the option to browse by folder rather than ID3 tags in the music player, which just simplifies the entire experience.

Texting and sending emails seems to be natural on this device, there was literally no 'gettting used to it' period, it was full-speed from the word go, though I do miss Swype I am having literally no problems at all!

The camera was a little strange at first, a number of times I thought I had not pressed the shutter due to the lightning fast response, my only fear now is that I may never be able to live with shutter delay on any other device! Now I am used to it, the camera is great, the 8MP sensor really captures rich images with no need for re-takes. For video recording I feel the greatest advantage is the size and quality of the screen which makes watching over the video you just captured not just easy, but a pleasure.


I am still using this phone as my primary device and will be sticking with it for the forseeable future as I cannot see another device offering anything anywhere close to the experience I am offered by the S3. The device is built solid, reliably, and the battery is just about the best performer out of all rival smartphones to date.

This is just the beginning too, as we saw with both predecessors of this model, all we are waiting for now is for the app developers to catch up and really make the most of the technology here. I recommend this phone to anyone who wants a phone that doesn't only outperform all other devices, but one that has more power than it knows what to do with. We are going to see some great apps in the coming months and the Galaxy S3 is ready for even the most demanding software.

With the Dawn of Android Jellybean expect big things to come.

Make up your own mind.

Any questions please comment below or find me on twitter @virtuoso666


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The New Galaxy: First impressions.

Unless you’ve been sitting in a cave with your eyes tightly shut and your fingers in your ears you may have heard that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has well and truly arrived, being confirmed as the most pre-ordered device in history, was it worth the hype?

Whilst only having had a brief play with the handset (thanks to the nice people of the O2 store in Bolton) I managed to find answers to most of the ponderings which were keeping me from putting in a pre-order myself! Here goes;

Q: Is it as fast as Samsung led us to believe?

A: As far as performance goes, this device really seems to fly, where it really performs is the multi-tasking capabilities. The pop-up video player is just unreal, where it at first feels like a novelty, I can see it being a really useful tool.
Short answer: Yes.

Q: The device has been described as ‘cheap’ in terms of feel, is this true?

A: Honestly, I wouldn’t say the phone feels cheap at all, it has a good solid feel, no creaky battery door or flimsy frame, though the phone is lightweight, when has this ever been a problem? Though if you were to compare this handset to the likes of the HTC One X, there is a dramatic difference in weight and build solidity.
Short answer: Not really, unless you own a HTC.

Q: Is the display up to standard?

A: The first thing I noticed about the display was the colours were just so natural, not so intense, and the resolution is complementary to this. Upon watching some demonstration videos in the video library this screen can really impress.

Short answer: Ooohh Yes.

Q: Why should I get one?

A: I would advise the Smartphone user of 2012 to go for the Galaxy S3 for the same reason I would advise the consumer of 2011 to get the Galaxy S2 – our communication is evolving, and our software is growing to cater for our needs. In reflection of last year’s release, right now the Samsung Galaxy S3 has every bit of power and more to handle what Android has to offer in the near future, and will continue to lead and inspire in the market this year.

Short answer: You know it’s right.

When I get a chance to put the phone through its paces I will answer some more FAQ’s  covering gaming capabilities, battery life and more...


ChatOn: Worth a natter??

For the first time in a long time I have felt actually excited about a concept for a non-discriminative social messaging service – for those who aren’t in the know yet, ChatOn is a Samsung developed social app actually designed to bring people together regardless of the manufacturer of their mobile handset. ChatOn is a unified, all singing, all dancing messaging app which has a number of familiar features such as group chat, 1:1 chat and photo messaging, but then adds some tweaked features for custom messages such as hand writing etc...

Of course we could all think of one or two services out there which claim to provide ‘all for one, one for all’ chat, but the problem is none of them seem to have overtaken iChat or the mighty BBM – which specifically encourage consumers to stick to specific handsets. What I’m getting at is We need someone to take the oar and bring us together in chat!!

Personally I have been using ChatOn for a week or so, after encouraging my sister and two colleagues to give the platform a try – two using HTC Android handsets and one using a Blackberry device, and after two nights of intense use and seemingly more casual messaging over the last few days here is some feedback;

‘’It’s pretty good, I don’t see much a difference from how I usually use BBM’’.

‘’I like it, but I’d prefer it if more people I knew were on it...’’

I was happy to hear the first comment from a confessed BBM addict as this told me one thing, it told me the app not only works, but it works well cross-platform, nothing dramatically phasing and this leaves potential. As for the second I guess it should take a strong will and word of mouth to fix that problem!

I am not a heavy user of specific messaging applications and confess the last IM service I used was MSN a number of years ago, but I can really see myself using ChatOn more as I get more people using it as their primary messaging service, below are my own ratings based on the last few days of use.

Ease of use 5/5
Innovation 3/5
Popularity 2/5
User interface 5/5
Fun factor 4/5

I sincerely recommend giving this app a try as I feel it is well made, and is definitely as fun as you make it. GET IT!!