Friday, 10 April 2015

[Review] MI In-ear Headphones.

Xiaomi turned 5 recently and we have seen no shortage of hardware coming from them nowadays.
Xiaomi even made it to the Guinness Book of records whilst celebrating their 5 year anniversary by selling 2.11 Million smartphones during a 24hr period.
Androidistica was fortunate enough to get hold of a pair of the "MI In-ear Headphones" for review.
Now, as usual the packaging is nice when it's Mi-made.
Recyclable box wrapper and inside the minimalistic packaging approach as we have seen before .
Neat and tidy.
Inside the cardboard wrapper we find the printed instructions on how to use these gems.
Behind the plastic casing we see the earbuds, volume control and micro stereo plug.
The cord itself is wrapped around a rubbery cord spool-kind-of-thing.
Once unwrapped the cord measures 123 cm from plug-end to top of the earbuds.
Enough lenght if you ask me.
Earbuds are diamond cut aluminium and the stereoplug itself is goldplated.
The cord itself is wrapped in kevlar fabric material which propably extends the lifetime of the cable preventing wear and tear from normal usage from bends and unintended pulls & jerks.
The control-piece in the middle is also aluminium and the three buttons (Increase/Decrease Volume, Pause/Play/Answer Call) are plastic.
Inside the little plastic case we have rubberplugs in three different sizes:
Small, Medium and Large.
The ones already fitted are medium sized.
Build quality is premium here.
Not the cheap gas-station plastic you get when buying headphones for half a dollar.
Xiaomi does build good equipment, there is no doubt about their self-awareness to provide consumers with good products.

Headphones ,controlpiece and plug. Replacable small,medium and large sized plugs in the background.

So there's the part where the build quality was covered .
What about the sound then ?
Well-performed is the expression here.
The metal composite diaphragm and dual-damping system performs well, delivering a good and accurate sound picture.
Catch the details here.
Distinctive lows and clear highs.
As for  interacting , the earphones were tested on a Nexus 6 and the volume controls, play/pause and microphone works without any quirks.

Androidistica recommends warmly  anyone to get these.
Even if you rock and apple device although the volume up/down controls are not supported.

A big whopping high-five to Tabletkungen for providing the review opportunity.

Friday, 3 April 2015

[Coming up] Jide Remix Ultra Tablet.

You might have heard about the three ex-Googlers teaming up and providing us with a Ultra tablet called Jide Remix.
The announcement made on Kickstarter last week caused quite a stir and also triggered a couple of scams on Indiegogo .
The Jide Remix Ultra tablet is aimed on productivity and entertainment.
Being Android powered and coming with a physical keyboard and kickstand one realizes that there are not many competitors on that specific market segment.
Jide recons one should not only provide the software but also good hardware.
Teaming up with Foxconn for the hardware parts produces a promising result.
Jide Team announced the Kickstarter for a mere 39$ per device for the first 200 backers, with a condition to have backers "Use the stuffing out of it".
So whats the fuzz about then ?

Looking at the hardware:

  • Weigh :890g
  • 11,6 Full HD IPS 10 Point touch screen.
  • 1920x1080p
  • Nvidia Tegra 4+1 A15 Processor 1,81 Ghz
  • GPU Tegra GPU Geforce ULP 72
  • Wifi 2,4/5 Ghz 
  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 64 GB eMMC internal storage
  • Expandable microSD card slot supporting 128GB 
  • Micro USB and also Adapter for USB to micro USB included.
  • Full size keyboard with touchpad and magnetic connector, also doubling as a screen cover.
  • Kickstand with 40/80 degree angles.

...and much much more of course.

Then theres the Remix OS of course , giving life to this hardware .
Supporting multi window mode, a customized taskbar and what appears to be a device for productivity and entertainment the Jide Remix Ultra Tablet will claim its own ground out there.
And looking at the already done and published reviews there will propably not be any shortcomings to the promises made by the Jide Team.

Here's a few links to look further at regarding this device :

The Kickstarter is still open until 24th of April. (Official Jide Campaign)
Facebook page. (Official Jide page)
Google + Community page. (Fanpage)
Reddit link. (Yes, even reddit)
Liliputing review of the Jide Remix. ( Dig it..)

So, as you might have already figured out , even Androidistica will put together some kind of post once the device arrives in May.
Stay tuned easterbunnies and we will meet again.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

[Review] Yubikey.Unlocking your the future.

The Dilemma:
Increasing numbers in identity theft and online frauds are no longer breaking news, it's a part of the everyday news all over the world unfortunately.
Securing your own private data , your small business economic or securing access to your enterprise network is a challenge for humanity one might say without overstating anything.
Password managers, certificates and SSL secured communications are really becoming a de-facto part of every kind of infrastructure these days, even in the privacy of your own domain.

The Solution?
There are many answers to this dilemma. One of these solutions could be the Yubikey.
FIDO U2F Security Key and YubiKey NEO

So what does these Yubikeys do ?
Yubikey provides One Time Passwords that are unique, non-replicable for webservices , computer logons, disk encryption, applications just to mention a few.
Additionaly , Google unveiled support for Fido UF2 Security Key Support in 2014.
So Yubikey can be used to keep your Gmail account secure with the 2-way authentication support and your Google Apps can also be secured the same way.

Now, what is this One Time Password - sorcery we are talking about ?
Simply put,quoting Yubico's own phrasing:

"The YubiKey is a second authentication method based on a unique physical token which cannot be duplicated or recorded, providing a credential based on something only an authorized user possesses. Used with a standard username and password, the YubiKey provides a strong, two-factor authentication to any site, service or application."

Passwords generated by the Yubikey are unique, never the same thanks to the 44-character, one use, secure, 128-bit encrypted Public ID and Password generated each time it's used.
Near impossible to spoof.
For a more detailed description of OTP, head over to this excellent post.

There you have it, but that's just the beginning really.
Behind that sleek look of the outer design lies functionality  making the  Yubikey quite unique.
To begin with , there is no battery ,which means no need to worry about power.
No moving parts at all actually.
Drivers for installing the device ?
Not needed since the Yubikey emulates a standard keyboard once plugged in to a USB port of your Windows based PC, Linux powered geek-station or your Macbook.
No platforms forgotten here !
And there is more, NFC for those who need it which expands the platform range into Android devices as well. 

We have only scratched the surface of the universe of Yubikey, and it goes without saying we will see more of Yubico as a company in the future and Androidistica is looking forward to it.

Yubico has been around since 2007, working on making authentication more secure and they have not forgotten the open source part of life, on the contrary.
At Yubico Developers you get a all that's needed for a good start if you are about to start developing your own personalised solutions for secure access with Yubikeys.

Yubico is truly a pioneer company supporting the UF2 Security standard and being able to bring this into Google domains, including Google Chrome is a good pointer of Yubico being on the right track.

Stina Ehrensvard summarizes it good in her post :
"Now is the time to reclaim the Internet. To all of us who own it and to all of us who are constantly re-creating it: Let’s not let the fraudsters limit the potential of what the Internet is and can be!"
Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and Founder

Saturday, 31 January 2015

[Review] Rubberized USB Cable With Self-Locking System (Micro USB)

Smart things are good , easily adopted and not bulky.
GMYLE has got just that in their:
'Rubberized USB Cable With Self-Locking System (Mirco USB)'.
Ever been asked by a friend or colleague if you got one of those "USB Cables" to lend for charging their smartphone or transfer some files to or from their PC?
I have, and a rummage through the drawers has been a follow-up action on that particular quesstion.
No more.
GMYLE's USB Cable comes along as conveniently as your home keys, USB stick or anything you attach it to.
Whoah! There's that cable again! Awesome!
In the box you get the rubberized USB Cable.
And it's quite smart. 
You just push both sides of that plastic holder with the ring and out pops the cable!
As you can see in the image above it's really no bulky "carry-along" . 
Very nice addition to anyones daily life , carrying a smartphone along.
Looking at the price, the convenience and design we are looking at a winner.
No doubt, this will simplify life.

A snow-filled truckload of warm thanks to GMYLE for having Androidistica once again try out their products.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

[Review] OBDLink MX Wi-Fi

We have now had a look at the OBDLink MX Wi-Fi, which is the successor model of the OBDlink LX Bluetooth scanner reviewed earlier here on the Androidistica blog.
The key differences in this beefed up model are that it connects to your device via Wi-Fi instead of via Bluetooth as the LX model does, also there is added support for all Apple iOS devices and the Single-Wire CAN (GMLAN) and Medium-Speed CAN (MS-CAN) protocols which enables owners of select Ford and GM car models to remotely, from your device, start the engine, lock and unlock doors and honk the horn of your car if need be, perhaps an efficient way to keep nosy bypassers at a safe distance from your precious vehicle while it is parked outside your favourite diner.
Similar to the LX model , the MX comes bundled with apps for both android and iOS , and a license key for the Windows software ,OBDwiz.

Packaging and first impression.
The MX WiFi comes in a neat see-through box with all the necessary information printed on the box.
Getting inside the box was frustration free , no wrap rages or bleeding finger incidents occurred during unpacking .

Inside the box
Once opened , the box revealed the MX Wi-Fi device, and separate quick start guides for all the three supported platforms. The Windows guide contains the license key for the included OBDwiz software and a download link while the iOS and android guides also contain WiFi setup instructions and links to downloadable apps.

Getting the device up and running was quite easy , as with the LX model.
The WPA2 key is printed on a sticker on the side of the MX , and should be noted down before installation since it will be difficult to read while the MX is plugged in.
Once plugged in to the OBD 2 socket , The MX immediately started up the ADHOC Wi-Fi network and allowed connecting with my android phone, using the WPA2 key noted down earlier.
It is also possible to configure the MX WiFi to join an already existing WIFI network if needed, the MX has a built in web configuration page for this purpose.

The MX Wi-Fi was tested using the included OBDlink app ,but it is possible to connect via WiFi to the adapter using other third party Android apps such as Torque and DashCommand.
The OBDlink App supports detecting and resetting ECU trouble codes as well as customizing and setting up gauges of your liking into dashboard views.
In addition ,is also supports logging of your mileage and fuel consumption and sharing the logs and maps with trip data from your phone or tablet.
The source information for the app to produce graphs and gauges consists of a customizable blend of your android device's accelerometer , GPS and the ECU PID data pulled from your car.
The refresh rates of the displayed gauges are really fast ,as promised by the manufacturer ,the values are seemingly updated in real time.The responsiveness can clearly be proven by checking the fuel consumption while accelerating , the built in display in my car was dragging behind with a second compared to the OBDlink gauge's display.

All in all this is an impressive gadget , which should be in every toolbox of a any car mechanic or car enthusiast , considering the support of most car makes and models on the market including support of the CAN protocols used to remote control some of the GM / Ford cars.
The list price of $119.95 might seem steep compared to other OBD adapters on the market , but the cross compatibility between car brands ,and the amount of supported devices and platforms and a three year warranty helps with softening the blow.

More information and specs:

Monday, 19 January 2015

[Review] GMYLE Bookcase Vintage for Nexus 6

It's time for another Nexus 6 case review, this time the case is coming from GMYLE.
Bookcases can be practical in many ways.
You can bring your vital credit card, drivers license and your library card with you if you like.
If you have a a foldable stand in the case it adds even more usability , providing you with a hands-free option for viewing videos, pictures or reading while eating breakfast for instance.
All this is accomplished in the Bookcase Vintage for Nexus 6.

Fold it, watch it.

Cards on the left, phone on the right.

Nicely rested

Bookcase makes sense, book-like view.

Backside of the bookcase.

Plastic case cutouts for power and volume button accomplished.

Non intrusive plastic holder.

No obstructions here. Carry on..
The Bookcase Vintage holds your Nexus 6 inside the case via a hard plastic holder,with a snug fit.
This case is not a slim one, but neither is the Nexus 6.
Build quality is solid, no creaking from the plastic  holder and all stiching is without loose strings on the faux-leather case giving your Nexus 6 a classy look.
One colleague of mine asked me if i brough the bible to work, funny guy !
Protection-wise this case provides with some protection for drops, unless the case unfolds mid-air and your Nexus 6 lands face first.
A leather strap of some sort would have been nice to keep the package together.
All in all the Bookcase Vintage for Nexus 6 is a decent one with some room for improvement.
Looking at the pricing there is no reason to complain.
GMYLE offers you quite a lot for a small prize here.
If you are looking to add some classic vintage style to your Nexus 6, this is the case to go for.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

[Review] Dbrand Nexus 6 Skin.

DBRAND have made a name in smartphone customisation via their "Skins".
Now what is a Dbrand-Skin ?
Well, it's a collaboration together with M3, where Dbrand has developed skins to be applied to your smartphone , macbook, tablet ,gaming console of choice or your wearable.
And results are smashingly beautiful.
There is a level of protection to the surface of the unit where the skin is applied although it's not an impact protection but rather scratch-protection and a level of swagger via the beauty of the different variations available in terms of appearance.
Those of us who are weary applying other than snap-on cases can get good instructions via the videos Dbrand offers .
Mahogany being todays flavour.

Notice the structure of the skin, very lifelike to wood.

Structure on the glue-side of the skin.

And so it begins...

Dbrand is my name, skins my game!
Dbrand skins give a whole new feel to the Nexus 6 device.
The number of available flavours are many, ranging from carbon, metal , leather to wood structures.
For this review only backpiece was tested but i imagine brining a front skin only adds beauty to your chosen device.
Applying the skin was a 5-minute job really thanks to the great instructional video provided by Dbrand.
Challenge lying in getting the skin to position correctly over the microphone gap but as you get many attempts you only need to keep trying until you are there.
There are no downsides on Dbrand skins.
For this review a particular inspection was done to see if the skin leaves a lot of glue residue on the device after removing the skin.
No glue was left on the Nexus 6 after removing the skin which is a big plus.
Not that you will want to remove the skin after finally getting it there, but as a reviewer one tries to find facts you readers might enjoy.

All in all, Dbrand has got their game together here.
Expanding into gaming consoles is a step forward while making awesome stuff for our smartphones , tablets and wearables.
Androidistica can gladly recommend anyone to get a Dbrand skin for their device.
Their website for ordering skins is working well, giving you a preview of what your device will look like with various flavours of skins.
Customisation en masse!

A winter warm high-five to the folks at Dbrand for having Androidistica testshoot their skin for Nexus 6 !