Olloclip Quick Flip Case Review

Olloflip-Case

I love my olloclip but I also love my iPhone not being smashed into a million pieces so I often cover it with a protective case. Like an overprotective ex-lover this gets in the way of my love for my olloclip as I often have to pop one off to pop the other on (if you’re lost in this simile, don’t worry so am I).

The clever folks at olloclip know this is the case and have come up with a great compromise – the olloclip Quick Flip case.
The Quick Flip has a special hinge that reveals a corner of the iPhone where you can pop on the olloclip. My immediate concern was that the hinge would snap off within minutes of being in my bag, but the robust construction and clever design make this unlikely.

Even cleverer, the corner that flips over becomes a trigger for the shutter release (the volume up button) so you take much more stable photos, reducing camera shake.

The olloclip Quick-Flip case is made of polycarbonate material and as a case it’s functional and merely ok – I’ve a range of amazingly well designed cases to chose from. But the ability to quickly step into the world of more creative photography is worth the sacrifice.

The included Pro-Photo Adapter has two standard tripod mounts and a cold shoe for attaching photographic accessories such as tripods, video lights or microphones. There’s even a special adapter, which allows the olloclip case to be used with the iPod Touch 5th generation.

The olloclip Quick-Flip case for the iPhone 4/4S and 5 comes in white or translucent black and retails for £39.99. The olloclip 3-in-1 quick-connect lens for the iPhone 4/4S currently retails for £59.99 and olloclip 3-in-1 quick-connect lens for the iPhone 5 is available on the market for only £69.99. The olloclip Quick-Flip case and olloclip 3-in-1 lens can be purchased individually or as a bundle at olloclip.com and through major retailers including Apple, Best Buy and Target.

Wahoo RFLKT: Second Screening on Two Wheels

Wahoo-RLFKT

I’m an avid cyclist, so I’m constantly on the look out for great tech that can make my life better. We even published a handy guide. So I was delighted to get my hands on the RFLKT iPhone bike computer – a cycling computer that harnesses the power of your smartphone (provided your smartphone is an iPhone).

Slightly larger than a regular cycling computer (the case reminded me of a mini-DV), the Wahoo RFLKT is incredibly easy to set up as you just hit a button and it pairs with most cycling apps on your phone. It’s also very easy to install – either in an ostentatious fashion on your handlebars or in a discreet gentlemanly manner on your stem (using rubber bands!). Both are quick and effortless but if you live in an crime ridden city you’ll need to carry the metal removal key around with you. It’s hard to casually remove RFLKT without the key which should deter the casual thief, so gauge the motivation levels of your local larcenists as you park.

The RFLKT wirelessly receives all app data and ride information from the iPhone via low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology. My iPhone battery is unreliable to the point where I don’t leave the house without back-up power and want to set the ring tone to “Why Does It Always Drain On Me?” but riding around all day with RFLKT (playing MGMT) didn’t have any significant impact on battery life. The RFLKT runs on a single coin-cell battery which should hold out for a year.

RFLKT reflects your iPhone screen so you can operate your favourite iPhone cycling app, switch between screens, start or stop intervals and even control iPhone functionality such as music playback, while your iPhone remains safely out of sight. There’s even a little light for when you’re riding at night.

I have a perennial problem with apps such as this in that I listen to music through Spotify or the Podcasting app so every time I hit the music playback album iTunes would kick in. That’s a minor gripe. And because I’m spoilt I really wanted this to be a touch screen – I kept swiping at the screen – even though many cyclists wear gloves making this a stupid idea. A clock face would have been nice – but not essential.

The app relies on your iPhone’s GPS for data, making it accurate overall but leading to wild jumps at times – the occasional glance at the screen will make it seem like you’re breaking the speed limit. You can plug RFLKT into Wahoo’s wider eco-system of accessories- they have a heart strap monitor and cadence sensor if you really want to drill down on data. But if you’re a little less hardcore the RFLKT is an excellent entry point into cycling metrics.

The Wahoo RFLKT is priced at £119.99 and is available from the end of June from the Apple store, and www.wahoofitness.com.

Best iPhone Photo and Video Accessories

RotoLight-iPhone-

As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. And more often than not these days that will be your smartphone. Pretty much all modern smartphones have great cameras. That’s a given. And there are a range of amazing apps out there on all OSs to enhance your photography, as well as a range of retro filters if you value pretension and inauthenticity. What gives iPhone users the edge is the wonderful 3rd party ecosystem of accessories that help you take your photography and film making closer and closer to a professional standard.

Rotolight OWLE
I shouldn’t have to say this but lighting is one of the most important elements of recording visuals. You’d be shocked at how often people forget and you wind up with terrible, terrible looking footage or images that are either too bright or too dark. The OWLE HD VIDEO KIT for iPhone 4/4S adds some serious clout to your mobile cinematography. It comes with the award winning Rotolight RL48-B HD LED Ring light and a range of filters so you can create perfect soft fill-in light. This alone is a great addition but the OWLE also includes a custom 37mm wide angle / macro lens, high quality 180 degrees adjustable Vericorder microphone and tripod mount threading on all 4 corners so it’s the most versatile high-end tool on the list.

When I spoke to Rotolight at the Gadget Show they promised an iPhone 5 version was coming. Still no word on when.

£215.99
Find out more: Rotolight

Joby GripTight GorillaPod
Joby-Gorillapod-GripTight

Shaking hand syndrome ruins so many videos and almost every photo I’ve take would have been better had I used a tripod. Hence the Joby GripTight GorillaPod – a tripod and clamp system that helpful works with most modern smartphones and folds up neatly into your bag when not in use. I have one in my bag right now. And obviously the upside of the GorillaPod is that it’s not just a regular tripod and seems at times almost infinitely versatile – you can manipulate the legs into numerous combinations that enable you to capture more exciting shots.

£25
Find out more: Joby

olloClip

OlloClip

The olloClip is an old favourite and one of the earliest to the iPhone lens game. The pocket sized, high quality three in one lens, including a Fish Eye, Wide Angle and Macro lens, simply pops on to the edge of your phone. However, this does mean that olloClip does not play nicely with iPhone cases, and it does feel a little exposed at times filming with an iPhone in its naked state. The fisheye lens captures approximately a 180° field-of-view, the wide-angle lens nearly doubles the iPhone’s normal field of view and the macro lens applies roughly a 10X magnification.

Find out more: OlloClip
£69.99

mobislyer

MobiSlyder

Sadly for videographers only the mobislyder allows you to take smooth tracking shots that can breath life into your cinematography. The mobislyder is developed by the world’s No. 1 camera slider company, Glidetrack, so it’s has some fairly substantial clout behind it. It’s incredibly sturdy, with an articulated mount and there are all sorts of amazing shots you can pull off once you have one (there’s also the incredible temptation to go a bit overboard).

http://vimeo.com/31045367#

Fortunately the mobislyder is compatible with all sorts of hand-held camera devices, including the iPhones, Android, compact cameras, small DSLR cameras and small camcorders.

Find out more: MobiSlyder
£75

Optrix iPhone XD5: Rough and tumble smartphone action

Since it’s fourth iteration the iPhone has long been my camera of choice when it comes to being on my person at all times and rough and ready snaps. And as the lenses and technology behind them get progressively better its become less of a “that’s a good picture for an iPhone” and more “that’s a good picture”. As the video images are also pretty stunning. The Apple accessories ecosystem is never slow to notice a trend and there are a plethora of amazing add-ons to enhance your videography and photography. I’ve seem camera dollies, steadycams, lighting systems and microphones. But what if you live life to the max?

optrix

The Optrix XD5, is perfect for lovers of rugged action sports, and provides a wide-angle camera case for iPhone 5. Much like the popular GoPro range of cameras the XD5 is carefully encased to so you can capture great footage of you bungee jumping, skiing, skateboarding or BMXing. And much like the smash hit GoPro range of cameras the XD5 will not smash when hit (I hope you appreciate the effort I put into these puns) capable of withstanding all conditions, including earth shattering drops and drenching downpours.

The XD5 incorporates a door to access charging connectors and headphone jack, has an interchangeable lens system and can be easily removed from the mounting system.

Optrix introduced the first rugged action cases for the iPhone 4/4S and these new models are leaner, lighter and stronger, with a higher waterproof rating of up to 15 feet.

And it’s not just insurance against clumsiness. The XD5 has a three layer, all glass, wide- angle lens, which is part of a wider interchangeable lens system. The kit includes the ultra-rugged main housing, iPhone 5 sled, 2 mounts (curved and flat) and a quick release rail system so your photography can be as adventurous as you are.

Optrix has also launched a series of video recording apps allowing users to lay speed, g-force, lap-time and more right onto their videos.

The XD5 is available for pre order now at £89.95 to include delivery and will ship the second week in February 2013 from www.Xeniahd.com

YPlan: Do something different tonight

“What are you up to tonight?”
That can be a difficult question at any time of year, but trapped in the hinterland between Christmas and New Year it can be especially difficult to answer. There are those of us that run their social lives with military precision, carefully co-ordinating between engagements, gigs, performances and so forth. If you prefer to embrace chaos, or simply want to revitalise your free time then there’s a great new app that wants to help you hang out – YPlan.

yPlan
yPlan

YPlan is a social iPhone app that benefits from attention to detail and laser-like focus. Firing it up reveals a series of last-minute London offers. Already some of your faces are wrinkling in total disinterest. “iPhone“ and “London” are already two self-interested groupings and the overlap between the two is potentially unbearable. However the app is interesting beyond its immediate target group.

YPlan’s curators work with a range of event organisers. Apparently very few events sell out so there are always a number of interesting last minute ticket deals available. YPlan are able to use their highly marketable target demographic – iPhone users in London – to wangle a number of discounts. The app is very much a curated list – rather than “something for everyone” there are 7/8 events given the special YPlan stamp of approval. They tend to focus on the cool and unusual – you don’t need to be told that Les Mis is playing in town – but you might not know about the pop up screening of Elf, independent production of Much Ado About Nothing or Rickshaw Racing Derby. You can book simply and easily from within the app with two taps and easily choose various events to share or favourite. Best of all there are no hidden charges.

YPlan’s focus makes it fun; the random nature of events presented gives a lovely “rolling the die” feeling and the app is beautifully designed in a way more apps should take note of. Nothing needs explaining, it can easily navigated and you never have to go too deep into the menu system to get what you want. It even tells me how long it takes to walk where I want to go.

Even if you don’t live in London (more cities are promised) it’s worth checking out YPlan for a glimpse at the future of going out. Out now on the App Store.

Swissvoice makes a stand for retro calling

With retro styling all the rage, quirky mobile accessory company Swissvoice has revived the old faithful landline look with this pair of Bluetooth stations.

ePure-Swissvoice

The catchy-titled BH01u and BH01i may look like something plucked from the office desk of a 1970s mime artist but they’re actually fully-integrated Bluetooth units that sync with your mobile, PC or tablet for hands-free calling, music streaming and iPhone Siri compatibility. If you really can’t bear to prise yourself away from your iPhone, in addition to a standard universal connector, the BH01i features a convenient retractable dock which charges up your Apple talkie-box and doubles as a convenient stand for video calling.

They may be rocking a touch of retro chic, but these docking stations are packed with advanced Bluetooth, to connect with two Bluetooth-enabled mobiles at the same time. While this may swerve charging, docking, even streaming squabbles, it knows how to play fair and will automatically favour the last phone it linked to (you’ll have to agree to take turns amongst yourselves!)

If you’re sceptical about the voice quality of some of the more tinny Bluetooth stations / kits which give the game away to the caller that they might not have your full attention, the HD Voice feature with noise reduction should give you a bit of extra cover!

To activate Siri, a capability currently exclusive to Swissvoice, just hold down the phone icon. If you don’t have an iPhone, it won’t transform your smartphone into a piece of Apple kit but it will trigger voice-activated dialling instead.

If the design of these docks has got you a bit misty-eyed, why not pick up the receiver and relive the days when your phone calls were restricted to a three-yard (yes I’ve gone imperial) radius of the telephone point. Or just use the chance to free up your smartphone and twiddle with your apps / diary / email instead.

You can actually charge up the handset and take it with you for more mobile conversations or to stream music, radio or podcasts from your mobile phone or tablet. Talking of music, the docks have two adequate high-definition two-watt speakers, which fade in / out automatically in favour of incoming / outgoing calls. So you never need sit in silence again! Swissvoice promises to take you back to the roots of telephony, but it’s packed with enough present-day technology to make sure you’re not left in the dark.

The BH01i (with iPhone doc) £149.99 RRP, BH01u (universal charging point )£129.99 from Amazon.

iPhone 5: Our giant (sortable!) tariff comparison table

The pre-order rush for the iPhone 5 has officially begun and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen all of the major UK networks announcing their new tariffs. We’ve put together the following tariff comparison tables to help you work out which network has the best deal for you. We’ll update these tables when we receive further data . If you find these tables helpful (don’t forget that you can click each heading to sort them) then please share this page.

Update: Sept 21 – o2 online prices added. Some strange  pricing as certain handset/plan combos are cheaper offline than online!

16GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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32 GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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64 GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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Please note that all information was correct at time of going to press. We will update these tables if and when we receive new data. If you spot a mistake or notice that a tariff has changed, then please let us know.

So, what’s new in the iPhone 5?

Today saw the launch of the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 5, which the Cupertino-based firm describes (ever so modestly) as, “the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone”. After months of speculation, rumour and outright link bait, we can now report on exactly what’s new in Apple’s latest device.

It’s bigger, but lighter

The iPhone 5 is billed as the thinnest, lightest and fastest iPhone ever. Although it’s nearly 9mm longer than the 4S, it’s actually the same width – which should make it feel similar when held. Thanks to new components, such as a nano-SIM (44% smaller than a micro-SIM), the iPhone 5 is just 7.6mm thick and weighs 112g, which is 20% lighter than the iPhone 4s.

New and improved screen

The extra 9mm in length helps accommodate the new 4-inch retina display. This new screen gives 18% more pixels than the 4S, resulting in a resolution of 1136×640. The saturation has been boosted by 44%, which helps to boost the depth of the display’s colours.

Thunderbolts and lightning!

One of the worst kept secrets about the iPhone 5 was the rumoured change to its connector. Unfortunately (for those with existing docks) we can now confirm that the 30-pin connector has indeed been replaced with a much smaller, all-digital, ‘Lightning’ connector which is also reversible – meaning you can insert it either way up. Apple have said that this new connector was necessary in order to produce the thinner and lighter form factor. A 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter is available for those who don’t wish to upgrade their existing accessories.

Faster inside and out

The iPhone 5 will support the new high-speed 4G service that’s being rolled out by Everything Everywhere (now ‘EE’) later this year, and by other networks in 2013. The new device also supports the 802.11n wireless standard, allowing for speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The iPhone’s new A6 processor is reported to be up to twice as fast as the previous A5 chip. It also offers greater graphics performance which will obviously appeal to those who enjoy playing games on their iPhone. The A6 is reported to be extremely power efficient, providing up to 8 hours of mobile browsing, although we’ve obviously not had a chance to verify this yet.

Better (and wider) photos

The iPhone 5’s new iSight rear-facing camera allows you to record 1080p HD video and comes complete with improved stabilisation to help prevent shaky footage. For regular pictures, the new camera provides 40% faster photo capture and better low-light performance. Another feature, which was previously handled by 3rd party apps, is the new panorama mode which sees the gyroscope and camera app work together to capture a seamless high-res panorama of up to 28 megapixels and up to 240 degrees.

Round-up of other changes

FaceTime can now be used over a mobile connection (rather than just Wi-Fi), although we’re unsure on which UK networks will provide support for this.

Apple have replaced the default Google Maps with their own app, which includes real-time traffic information and a new Flyover perspective, which enables you to explore areas from above with a photo-realistic, interactive 3D view.

There are also new EarPods, which the firm states have been ‘completely re-imagined from the sound up’. These should hopefully be more comfortable than their predecessors, whilst also providing better sound quality.

We’ll bring you further details and a full review in due course.