Splash ! Ahhaaa! It’s a Bluetooth speaker

Whilst that was quite possibly the worst title for a review I could’ve come up with, the product itself is much better.
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First up, let’s have a look at the key selling points on this Bluetooth Splash Speaker. It’s available from Gizoo for £34.95 and, as the name has probably already revealed, is waterproof. It’s also got a 3W output and charges with the very same microUSB port you use for your phone.

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A flap at the bottom covers the charging point and 3.5mm aux cable, which you can use if Bluetooth isn’t your thing. Doing that isn’t ideal if you want to be waterproof though, as it’ll open up the innards to the elements.
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Out of the box it’s got a pretty distinctive tyre-tread outer design. The two treads are like something from a toy car that my son would use but there’s a good quality rubberised feel to them.

Bluetooth setup is easy enough and it sets up a Bluetooth 3.0 connection via the normal method after powering it on. Just hit the power button, it’ll bleep and flash a tiny LED inside the speaker and that’s pretty much your queue to initiate the Bluetooth setup on your phone. No PIN numbers to worry about, it just pairs and – once done – it’ll remember for next time.

The sound quality is very good, and I can testify to the volume after my son had it cranked up full blast while we were driving through our village. The people waiting at the bus stop could hear it well enough, so I’d say that was a success, even if the music in question was this..

That tough rubber exterior gave me more than enough confidence for my son to play with it and, likewise the buttons on top were both chunky and easy to use. Power, phone call, volume up and volume down.
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It measures in at 8.5 by 8.5 by 4.5cm so is really easy to carry around. The rubberised sides and strong construction were definitely reassuring.

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A long rubber strap is added to the top left of the speaker and means that you can hang this off your shower or belt without having to worry about getting it wet. Stick your phone somewhere dry and let this get splashed instead. Here’s a video showing the speaker getting soaked…

The sound quality was very good indeed, and I actually found the audio didn’t really need adjusting via any software equaliser – bass and treble were punchy enough and came through clearly without clashing.

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The battery inside lasts about 4 hours and, although I wouldn’t want to dunk this completely under water, it survived getting rained on and a few test showers too.

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Don’t forget that you can also use it as your hands-free device too, so you can make and receive calls whilst in the pool, on the beach or in the bath, if that’s where you like to do your business.

Thanks to Gizoo for the loan of the Splash Speaker, which is available for £34.95.

Splash ! Ahhaaa! It’s a Bluetooth speaker is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

HOYO wants to get you wet while you fondle your phone

Well that’s my New Years Resolution busted. I promised myself that I wouldn’t post another random Kickstarter project, but heck, I’ve lasted 21 days. :)

First though, a bit of a back-story. Mobile World Congress kicks off next month and, in my opinion, it’s more difficult than ever for a phone to make a really big impact.

Smartphones are now at a point where they’re really, really good. We’ve got excellent cameras, fast processors, brilliant connectivity and bags of storage. Battery life still needs a massive improvement, but apart from that it’s becoming harder to find that “edge” which will make your device stand out from the crowd.

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This year I’m expecting to see a lot more devices which work with smartphones making the headlines. We’ve already seen smartwatches, but it’s difficult to see just how popular they’ll become. Now, for me, is the time for accessory manufacturers to really shine so – in Barcelona a month from now – I’m expecting to see a lot of really interesting connected gadgets and accessories that’ll make your smartphone do more.

It kinda leads me to this, the HOYO. They’re after £25,000 to get the project off the ground and the guy behind it – George Sheety – is based here in London. It’s a product designed for people who really can’t leave their smartphone alone – not even when they’re soaping themselves up in the shower.

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It’s a waterproof pouch which, unlike normal waterproof cases, is easy to slide your phone into. There’s a few different designs, including a version which will sit inside your shower curtain or one that’ll sit next to your shower with a handy screw-cap to make the pouch waterproof quickly.

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It’ll let you keep an eye on your connected baby-monitor, watch videos, listen to online radio, browse the net or… err.. perhaps engage in a video call, if that’s your thing.

There’s a promotional video for the HOYO below, in which you’ll see some people making phone calls and singing along to YouTube videos whilst sponging themselves off. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

* Warning. Slightly irritating people in the shower.

What next? A phone holder for your toilet?

You can support the HOYO project here and you’ll get rewarded too..

Early supporters contributing £12 or more can choose to receive either one HOYO shower curtain kit or one HOYO wall kit and early supporters contributing £15 or more will receive a HOYO set that can be used either on a shower curtain or on the wall.

After the early bird specials are taken, supporters can give £15 or more to choose either one HOYO shower curtain kit or one HOYO wall kit. Supporters giving £18 or more receive one HOYO set that can be used either on a shower curtain or on the wall while supporters giving £30 or more receive the home set, which are two HOYO sets for use both in the shower and on the wall. Shipping in the United States and the United Kingdom is free.

Get more information within the press release below or on the Kickstarter site. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide what you’d like to do with your smartphone while you’re showering yourself down.

HOYO wants to get you wet while you fondle your phone is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

TouchAbility Waterproof Cases – Reviewed

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We’ve already reviewed their gloves and now we’ve got the TouchAbility waterproof cases. These will let you protect your phone from the elements while you tweet live from the pool.

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The first is a soft-plastic “bag case” which costs £7.99 and I’ve got to point something out..

..you’ve seen them too haven’t you? People who take their phones out in the rain or on bike rides, but they use… a food bag.

This soft case isn’t one of those, but the top part acts a lot like the resealable bags. The clips one the upper section ensure that the resealable section is pressed shut precisely and it becomes completely waterproof.

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Take it out the box, pop your phone in the top….
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Then close the clips on the top to seal the case shut…
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..and you’re done.

This is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and many other handsets than and less than 5″ tall. Definitely measure your device first as some devices – like the Galaxy S3 or S4 – don’t fit. It also comes with a neck strap, something which is ideal for swimming. For most though, these waterproof pouches are great for joggers, cyclists and those wanting to use their phone in the rain without fear or the handset exploding.

This soft one is made from a flexible PVC and, luckily for me, it’s clear on both the front and rear (I got it in the wrong way around). Slot it in, close the clasps on the top and the device is still usable. It’s available in black or white and is available for £7.99. It’ll work up to 3 metres, which is pretty flipping good actually.

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The second case we have today is this hard case for £9.99. It’s dirt proof, water resistant, snow proof and offers scratch protection. Again it’ll work with phones up to 5″ and works up to 3 metres underwater. If you’re going camping or to the beach this is again an ideal solution. This time it’s a flexible yet hard case and it’s made from silicone, which really does a good job of clinging to the handset.

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It’s really easy to slot your phone in – perhaps easier than the soft version where you need to push the phone down inside from the top opening. It’s just a matter of removing the retaining clip and opening up the case like a book, then you pop your phone in, close it down and replace the retaining clip. It again has a neck strap and again you can use every part of the phone whilst the cover is on, although the power button on top was a little tricky to reach with both cases.

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Here’s a video to show the cases in action. I decided not to just splash the handsets, but to seriously DRENCH them to test the cases ;)

Overall

Well, as you can see above, the phone I used in the test survived the hosepipe test and both cases performed perfectly when submerged. The soft case was, at times, a little tricky to use because the phone had to be pushed in from the opening at the top and then pulled back out again in the same manner. I can only equate it to that moment when you try and fit your sandwiches in one of those sandwich bags. Sure, they’ll fit, but there’s a certain amount of wiggling and jiggling. That said, I did like the clips at the top which certainly made sealing the device a simple task.

The hard case was extremely easy to use, and I liked how the material clung – almost like cling-film – to the screen on the device. It was just a matter of removing that bottom clip, opening the case, dropping in your phone and then sliding the clip back up. Simple, easy and quick.

Both did their job perfectly and I was able to use the phone and most of the functions (I couldn’t press any buttons on the side of the phone). If you do have a handset which is awoken by a press of a power button on the top of the device then you may have to pop open the hard case to press that (I could just about do it on the soft case), but if you’re headed out for a fishing trip, a boating holiday, day at the beach or you’re walking around in the rain I’d definitely recommend both. If you can afford it, go for the slightly-more-expensive hard case in my opinion though as it’s so easy to just get going.

TouchAbility Waterproof Soft Case (£7.99)TouchAbility Hard Case (£9.99)

TouchAbility Waterproof Cases – Reviewed is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

Underwater for more than three months, Nokia Lumia continues to work

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Drop your phone in a lake and, well, you’re pretty much stuffed. However, Roger Nilsson found his Nokia Lumia again some three and a bit months later.

There it was, jammed between two rocks at low tide. Roger snapped a picture of it and sent his story to the Nokia Sweden Facebook page. He tells us that…

I took it home and started to clean it as best I could, (there were) shells and sh*t on (the) display, green goo around the entire phone and some other stuff. (I) let it dry on a radiator and then I put the charger cable in..

Imagine my surprise when it boots up as usual! Everything works just like before, the camera is great, battery life is two days and so on.

Now, this is a phone which isn’t sold as being waterproof, and to retrieve if after so long then have it work perfectly – well, that’s something quite surprising indeed.
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Underwater for more than three months, Nokia Lumia continues to work is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

Dirty, topless, exposed and wet? Don’t worry, you’re safe

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Coorrr… Topless and exposed. Yes, it’s a phone case. This one is from a company called Dog and Bone cases, and it’s apparently a world-first topless waterproof rugged mobile phone case with an exposed touch screen. There’s even a patent pending on the waterproof technology that basically uses dual sealing beads running the full perimeter of the phone to ensure that you’re protected against moisture even with your screen exposed. Clever stuff.

It’s waterproof, shockproof, dirtproof and snowproof. You can buy the Wetsuit cover and have a nose around their site, but it’s for the iPhone 5 only at the moment. That said, they do have other cases in their range for other handsets too.

Dog & Bone Founder and Director, Mr Lee Ranchod tells us that..

The patent pending mobile phone membrane system is a smart solution to the muchcomplained-about problem of touch screen sensitivity with front enclosed waterproof cases. Too often we have heard iPhone users complain they are re-typing letters or sending nonsensical text messages because the film covering their phone’s screen is interfering.

What often happens is the film over the screen front creates a ripple effect, which not only looks less attractive, but can impact on the touch screen sensitivity of the phone.

WIth nothing impeding the front screen of the Dog& Bone Wetsuit case, users can enjoy a sleeker looking product and optimum touch screen sensitivity all the time for a long lasting time.

We’ve got a stack of pictures in the gallery below..

WETSUIT Electric Blue WETSUIT Electric Orange WETSUIT Sea Breeze(1) WETSUIT Sea Breeze WETSUIT White Lime Back

Dirty, topless, exposed and wet? Don’t worry, you’re safe is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

My time with the Sony Xperia Z

The Sony Xperia Z, to the masses it has been eclipsed by the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, to me it is the next logical step in my hunt to find my ideal “next generation” device. By next generation I mean compared to my Galaxy Note II.

Over the past few months I’ve got my hands on both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I’ve got a a bit of a taste for 1080p screens. Everything just seems sharper and clearer on these new fancy screens. So as the Xperia Z has a 1080p screen I just had to give it a go.

When the Xperia Z arrived I was surprised, surprised at really how well made and good looking a device it was. Design stands for a lot these days, you’ll use your phone in public at some point and at that point someone will be judging you if you’ve got a funky old Alcatel or something. The Xperia Z really does look nice, the glass sections really give it a premium look and feel, once you’ve polished off the fingerprints anyway.

Check out the gallery of shots below.

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In Use

In use the Xperia Z is a great device, it has adequate internal storage and also the option to expand with a MicroSD card.

Sony have installed a lot of software on the Xperia Z, not only do you have their launcher you also get a slew of their apps as well. In total there are 22 extra apps installed out of the box. These extra apps aren’t all bad though the camera app, gallery app, dialler, music player are all really nicely designed apps, they don’t really add much to the functionality but they look nice. Talking of nice looking software, the Xperia Z has all of the themes that the other Xperias have so you can change the core colouring of the Android UI.
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During my time with the Xperia Z the Android 4.2.2 update appeared OTA, this gave it lockscreen widgets which meant you can add widgets to your lockscreen.

Storage wise the Xperia Z comes with about 11GB free out of the box and it also has a MicroSD slot, the MicroSD slot is probably best used for music and pictures. The sound quality with a decent pair of headphones is really really good. I’d be really happy to use this as my main music player.

A few other parts of the software impressed me, the notification area has customisable toggles. Yes it’s been done before but it’s nice to see another manufacturers take on it.
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The launcher is quite functional as well, along with themes and widgets you can really make your device your own.
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Camera

The camera is good, in the right conditions. I found it reacted badly to being pointed at the sun and some low light shots were a bit noisy. In decent light I got some really nice photos.

The camera software has allsorts of extra options, including HDR mode and some scenes and filters. The Xperia Z camera app has a mode called “Superior auto” which is like an intelligent mode setting that looks at what your attempting to photograph and adjusts various settings to suit. So if you’re trying to take a photo of a flower or a dirty keyboard it will adjust to macro mode, it also adjusts for landscapes, night mode, documents, backlight, portrait mode and no doubt some other modes I’ve not found. It really is useful having the camera decide what’s best, although there is still a normal mode that allows you to change everything yourself.

With a little bit of time spent getting used to the settings etc you can negate any initial problems with the camera with the auto mode. I really liked the camera in the end.

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Waterproof

The whole waterproof and dustproof thing about the Xperia Z at first seemed like a great idea but it soon started to grate a little. Mainly down to the port covers.

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The port covers are necessary to charge the device, remove the SIM card or the Micro SD card or to just plug headphones in. Yes they are an essential part of the device but having to fiddle around each time you wanted to charge the device got quite annoying. If the Xperia Z had Qi wireless charging then it wouldn’t be that much of a problem as you wouldn’t need to undo the port cover. Put the Xperia Z in a case and it becomes nigh on impossible to open the port covers at all.

There is always a but!

The Xperia Z is a great phone…. But there is one thing that sort of puts a dampener on it and that’s the screen. Straight on the screen is pretty good, it’s really really and crisp and colourful thanks to the 1080p display. But look at it from any other angle and you’re left wondering what’s happening. If the screen is showing something white at the same time it’s almost unreadable. It made leaving the phone on my desk and just switching it on now and again to check for emails quite difficult. As I had to pick the phone up and hold it straight on to my head.

Conclusion

The Xperia Z is a great phone, with great software, great hardware and a great design that is just lagging behind the competition thanks to a poor choice of screen. If I hadn’t recently used the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 I would probably not have noticed.

Lastly a big thanks to Vodafone for lending me the Xperia Z, you can get the Xperia Z from them here.

My time with the Sony Xperia Z is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

Sony announces the SmartWatch 2

 

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The whole idea of  a SmartWatch seems like a great one, I have never got one myself, I feel I should do, it’s just something that just holds me back. This morning Sony have announced their third generation SmartWatch and maybe this will be the one for me.

Stefan K Persson, Head of Companion Products at Sony Mobile Communications had the following to say about SmartWatches and their competitors.

“Sony is the proud leader in the smartwatch market** since introducing our first Bluetooth watch in 2007,”

“Competitors are only now launching first generation devices, while we are already launching a 3rd generation device with all the insight gained from over half a million customers combined with Sony’s wealth of technology expertise to create the best ever smartwatch experience.”

“The future of wearable devices is incredibly bright with analyst research predicting 41 million ‘smart’ watches will be sold by 2016,” continues Persson. “We have over 200 unique apps dedicated for Sony SmartWatch with over one million downloads to date and we are continuing to work with our strong developer network to deliver ever more compelling smartwatch experiences.” 

If you’re unsure of what a SmartWatch is Sony have highlighted the main features of their watch.

Download a host of SmartWatch apps and experience a range of unique functions – many of which can even be enjoyed without ever needing to reach for your phone:

  • Handle your calls by a simple touch of your wrist
  • Take a photo remotely from your SmartWatch, using a smart camera app
  • Control your presentations remotely using Presentation Pal
  • Taking a run or on the bike? Select a mapping app on SmartWatch to check your route with a quick glance at your wrist
  • Read previously downloaded e-mails when not connected to your phone
  • Use lifestyle apps like Runtastic to map and instantly track your fitness activities on the go
  • Quickly and easily adjust the tracks and volume on your music player, without ever taking your phone from your pocket
  • SmartWatch 2 is also both sleek and reassuringly robust thanks to its water and dust resistant design, giving you the freedom to enjoy it on the beach or simply on the go – come rain or shine.

Not that a watch can have many specifications but here they are

  • Screen brightness (sunlight readable)
  • Longest battery life for a smartwatch* (battery level indicator shows low battery warning)
  • Water-resistant (IP57)
  • Easy setup (NFC pairing and connecting)
  • Standalone watch functionality
  • Standard micro USB cable for charging
  • User interface similar to Android UI so it is more intuitive
  • Bigger screen with higher resolution (1.6 inch, 220 x 176 pixels)
  • High quality materials (aluminium body and stainless steel wristband)
  • Extended compatibility (works with most Android phones)
  • Swappable wristbands – personalise with any standard 24mm strap
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This watch actually does look nice and being waterproof as well would be useful. No price yet and availability is September.

Sony announces the SmartWatch 2 is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

LG invites you to splash around with Optimus GJ, a water-resistant phone for Taiwan

LG invites you to splash around with Optimus GJ, a waterresistant phone for Taiwan

Come next month, NTT DoCoMo users won't be the only ones to benefit from a water-resistant version of the Optimus G. Similar to the L-01E for Japan, LG has introduced the Optimus GJ for Taiwan, which carries IPX7 certification that allows for worry-free immersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. The Optimus GJ also carries IPX5 certification for protection against dust particles. Dubbed the E975W, the smartphone is by and large a thicker version of the Optimus G (E975). This means you'll find a 4.7-inch, 1,280 x 720 True HD IPS display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, a 13MP primary / 1.3MP front-facing camera setup, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and Android 4.1.2. Unlike the original Optimus G, the Optimus GJ wields a larger 2,280mAh battery and a red backing, but also lacks NFC functionality. You can expect it to hit the market next month in Taiwan, where it'll sell for NT$17,990 ($600). Hit up the source link to find additional views of the of the Optimus G -- it seems that LG has thrown a bit of a pool party to celebrate its announcement.

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Via: Pocket-lint

Source: ePrice (translated), Engadget Chinese

Sony Xperia ZR – The Xperia Z’s little brother

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We like the Xperia Z here at CoolSmartphone towers, it looks gorgeous and performs just as well. Dan had one for a while and wrote about it here, we were all jealous.

What if you had small hands and struggled with the screen size though? Well Sony has though of that (for some reason)! Introducing the Xperia ZR, the 4.6″ variant of Sony’s flagship device.

Apart from being a pretty rapid MG, the ZR is also now a waterproof smartphone. Rocking all the same hardware, this new device will perform just as well as it’s big brother just with a smaller (and lower resolution) display. Sony also assure us that it complies with IP55 and IP58 standards for waterproofing which is apparently better than the bigger Z.

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Hit up the press release below for the full run down. Is this the start of phones getting smaller rather than bigger?? (Nope)

Source – Sony Mobile Blog


Sony Xperia ZR – The Xperia Z’s little brother is original content from Coolsmartphone.com

Sony Xperia ZR announced, allows underwater photography down to five feet of depth (video)

Sony's ratcheted up its water-resistant device tech a notch with the launch of the Xperia ZR, a new 4.6-inch, 720p Android smartphone that's waterproof to 1.5 meters (5 feet). Sony boasts that its new device will let you film your snorkeling adventures in full HD quality, with HDR in both video or 13-megapixel stills thanks to the Exmor RS image sensor -- there's also a dedicated camera button like the one on the Xperia ZL. The handset packs a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GH CPU, 2GB RAM, LTE, NFC, Sony's Walkman album and movie apps and a notable OptiContrast OLED screen with Bravia tech to reduce glare "even in bright sunlight." There's no word yet on pricing or availability, but as soon as we hear more, we'll try to prep you ahead of that next beach-bound holiday. Meanwhile, you can check the galleries, PR and video after the break for more.

Update: As Xperia Blog found out, the Xperia ZR is actually the international version of Japan's upcoming Xperia A SO-04E -- the one we saw popping up in the FCC database.

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Source: Sony (Facebook)