Category: Features

Fitness tracker inaccuracy. Storm in a teacup.

I was pretty puzzled by the Which? investigation into fitness trackers last week. With the London Marathon happening today, they decided to run a check on the trackers, which can record your distance, pace, heart-rate and location. Some 118 trackers were tested over a marathon distance – 26.2 …

I hope your password is better than 123456

If you stop and think about your online presence, just think how many different sites and apps you log into on a daily basis – each needing a unique username and password. Let’s be honest, most of us use a username that’s also our email address, so for …

The Android Bike Computer – On test

A few days ago I used lots of cable-tie to strap the ultra-small Unihertz Atom smartphone to my bike. You can have a look at the rather rudimentary fixings here or get up-close with the Atom in my earlier story. Yes, there’s a proper bike mount for this …

Buying a reconditioned iPhone and saving money. My story..

Yes, an iPhone. Wait though, let me explain. 🙂 I’ve always pushed back on giving my son a phone, but this year he’s heading to high school and will be travelling further, plus all his mates now communicate via Facetime, WhatsApp or text. He’s used an Android tablet …

An Android bike computer

Remember my overview of the Unihertz Atom? It’s a tiny Android phone which has all the features of a normal smartphone, just with a smaller screen and a very rugged appearance. Available on Amazon for £219.99, you can also get this bike mount for £12.99 to rig it …

An afternoon with a Tesla Model X

I was very lucky today that, thanks to David Wildman of Btekt, I was able to spend the afternoon with a Tesla Model X in stunning blue. The car is a true technological marvel, and it’s fair to say that I was very impressed with all the gadgetry and …

My gaming history

I remember, when I was a kid, a time before a “console” was even a thing. At Christmas I remember playing records. Proper records. Big vinyl double-albums with pictures of all the bands and singers. It was great. I even had my own record player. Then, one day, …

5 Other things you can do with Android

Mention Android and people will usually think about phones, right? Well, wait, because Android can do a lot more than just run a phone. In the past we’ve run some random features surrounding this, but I figured it was time to collate everything into one article. So, if …

Wait, you’re still using the standard SMS app? Time to change!

Most people, if they haven’t already switched to something like WhatsApp, will still be using the standard text messaging app on their Android phone. This is a bit pants for a number of reasons. First, if you want to send picture messages (MMS) then it’ll cost you a …

We’re in the EU but “Bill Shock” continues..

As Britain limps in disarray towards a badly-handled Brexit, we still have a few more months being part of the EU. It means that we can fly to France, Spain, Germany, Cyprus, Greece or Sweden and make calls, text or browse just like we were back in the …

A totally solar-powered server. The conclusion.

I’ll be straight with you. I’ve had a long career in IT. I’ve done some proper geeky things in my time, including having an old server in my garage running VMware. That means that I can run a stack of machines, test things out and generally be a …

So many network operators! How do I choose?

There’s still a sizeable majority of people out there that, by default, tend to choose one of the “big four” UK operators. Sure, there’s reasons for looking just at EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. You’ll get added benefits like WiFi calling and, because they’re big companies and you’re …

Random strange shed project. Day 4

OK, a quick update on this geeky shed insanity then. Basically, I grabbed an old solar charger and wanted to know if there was enough daylight coming through my shed window to keep an Android phone alive constantly. I’ve detailed the various stages in Day 1, Day 2 …

Random strange shed project. Day 3

A man’s shed should never be questioned. My “man den” was originally supposed to be the garage, but that’s filled with all manner of stuff and I struggle to even walk through it at times. Apparently we “need” everything in there, even though I don’t know what half …

Random strange shed project. Day 2

I didn’t have a great deal of time last night so here’s a very quick update on the weird solar-powered shed / phone project. If you read the first post then you’ll know that I basically want to create some sort of home server which isn’t powered by …

Mobile phones. We’re becoming addicts without morals.

Earlier in the year I posted this feature about how we’re effectively living our lives through and behind a mobile screen now. It’s something that I saw on holiday too and, if I still had the photos (and hadn’t smashed my phone to bits), I’d show you some …

Random strange shed project. Day 1

Publishing this in the middle of IFA is just insane really. If I was one of those click-bait websites, I’d add this to the site at some point in the next couple of weeks, but.. Nah, can’t be bothered. So, off the back of my rather epic ultra-cheap …

My kitchen radio setup

I mentioned in a post yesterday about my kitchen radio setup. Many years ago, before DAB was ever really a “thing”, I got an internet radio because the choice of FM stations was a bit bland. Now, we’ve got smartphones that can get on-demand content, live radio and …

NOW AVAILABLE. Fortnite for Android. We go in! (VIDEO)

I know. I didn’t believe it either. Head straight to the video if you want the quick hit. So, this evening, as I was busy typing up details of the Galaxy Note9 launch, my son happened to say… Hey, Dad, you do know that Fortnite is available on …

Update on Three UK Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality has been a big topic of discussion when it comes to data, and how it can be used one way or another by customers. Here in the UK, Three and Vodafone were spoken to by regulator Ofcom on certain restrictions when it came to roaming, or …

Escape the upgrade cycle. Ditch the contract.

Come. Come here. Get close to the screen. I need to tell you a secret. If you’re using a mobile phone right now, and you’re on a contract, listen up. I’m guessing that you’re probably paying £40, £50, maybe more per month. Right? Why are you doing that? …

IPTV – Streaming from an Android box. Part 1

OK, let’s be honest. After all, it’s an open secret really. People don’t really purchase those Android TV boxes just so they can watch local media, do they? Sure, they can install TV and on-demand TV apps from the likes of BBC, Netflix, NOW TV and others. That’ll …

Another frightening scam call

Months ago I wrote a story after receiving a scam call on my mobile. The call came from a UK landline number and featured a computerised voice telling me that my home was under CCTV surveillance. It also stated that the Inland Revenue were starting proceedings against me. …

Crowdville – Earn in your spare time

I’m sure we’ve all heard about crowdsourcing. Many of you will have no doubt seen our coverage of Kickstarter projects, where your money is needed to get a product or idea off the ground. However, let me introduce you to something a bit different, and something where you …

Foobot – The Air Breathing Friend

For the past two weeks, I have been reviewing the Foobot, which is the brainchild of Luxembourg based company, Airboxlab, the CEO Jacques Touillon, who wanted to help his eldest child in his fight against asthma and after looking without success for a device to fight this invisible …

Battery – 1%. Stressed much?

Does this sight make you nervous? I came across some interesting information when I was out in Paris the other day. Apparently one of the things that we smartphone users stress about most is our battery life.  Now, I am no behavioural therapist, but I decided to do …

Wake up. We’ve all been played.

Like it hate it, the Daily Mail website is one of the largest in the planet. Take a look at Wikipedia and you suddenly realise just how large it is. It’s massive. Absolutely massive. There’s separate home pages for the UK, USA, India and Australia. It’s therefore geared …

Feature – Internet slow? WiFi and data speeds explained

If you’ve got a standard ADSL connection then, even if you’re sitting next to the telephone exchange, you’re not going to get much more than 20 Mbps on ADSL2+. You’ll be connected via some copper wire hanging off telegraph poles or in trunking under footpaths. Here in the …

Feature – My makeshift office / exercise bike

I write this whilst cycling. Yes, actually cycling. It might seem a little mad, and yes, it would be if I was actually moving, but I am instead sitting on an exercise bike in my garage. In truth I’ve had this particular exercise bike for a while now. …

#MWC18 – Have we reached a plateau ?

A number of years ago, I questioned whether mobile phones had stopped evolving. This year, at Mobile World Congress, I think it’s happened. I think we’ve reached a plateau. A point where phones really aren’t going to make any huge leaps any more. Way back when I started …

Honor 9 vs Honor 9 Lite – The camera test… and a rant

I’m properly intrigued by these two phones. The Honor 9 has been in my pocket for many months now and I think it’s a brilliant handset. It’s £349.99 from the official UK store. The newly-announced Honor 9 Lite, on the right here, has an arguably better screen and …

Goodbye then. It’s all over.

We’ve surfed this wave for years. We’ve gone from the very early days, covering Windows-powered SPV phones, Smartphone 2002 handsets and Pocket PC’s. Now we’re plugged into the modern, fast and ultra-clever smartphones of today. But I’m worried.. We now live in a world where a colossal 9 …

People are still using their phones at the wheel

Here in the UK you can get in a lot of trouble for having a phone in your hand whilst driving. You risk getting 6 points on your licence, which is half-way to a driving ban for most people. If you passed your driving test in the last …

My VPN setup. Update!

About this time last year I posted an article about how I setup my VPN. Merely mentioning “VPN” is probably going to scare a few people. It sounds complicated and, to some, it’s a technically advanced and confusing thing to tackle. However, it really isn’t that bad, and …

Scammers. Why fighting them isn’t exactly straightforward.

This morning I received a call from 0207 1754592. As I usually do with calls, I tend to screen unknown numbers. On my voicemail, this message was left. It’s been fired through a text-to-speech system and you can listen to it here… It’s a horrible scam. There’s a …

Whatever happened to KAZAM?

Last night I was chatting to someone about Gionee. We saw them at Mobile World Congress a few years back. They do some very nice phones, but you won’t often see them on the streets of the UK. They have a decent presence in places like India, Thailand, …

Want to use Strava? Don’t get an Honor or Huawei handset

Over the years I’ve grown to love the Huawei and Honor handsets. Right now I have the Honor 9 and it’s a fantastic device for the money. Great camera, great performance and great looks. Love it, I really do. Trouble is, there’s one thing it won’t do. For …

Doogee Mix 2 – Unboxing !

Right, here’s what you need to know. You can pop over to Banggood and get one of these for £155.13. For your money you’re going to get a 5.99″ 1080×2160 Full HD screen (18:9) with a 403 ppi pixel density. You’re also going to get a dual 16 …

The Razer Phone has arrived. Here is our unboxing

We have had something very special arrive at Coolsmartphone Towers today. At least, it’s something that I have been looking forward to for a few weeks. Today we’ve got one of the boldest new phones to come out this year (IMHO). Yes, it’s the Razer Phone! You’re obviously …