Friday, 11 April 2014

[Review] Leef Access

USB OTG devices can really make a difference in anybodys life .
As you might have noticed there are plenty of devices to choose from ranging from the HDMI docking devices to USB Flash drives and now we have another excellent implementation of USB OTG to admire upon.
Leef has made it again one might say.
At the end of March Leef announced the Leef Access, a micro SD card reader designed for Android devices.
(Nexus owners let me hear you go WOOOOO!)
Yes, Google has shown some evidence on restricting users write access to external SD cards as a concept in Android 4.2.2 versions breaking a tradition that has always been there for any smartphone or tablet owner.
At least owners of those models where an external SD card can be added.
Now every Nexus 7 owner for instance can easily watch that movie they happen to have on a Micro SD card on their vacation or travelling with the help of Leef Access.
As you can see in the pictures it sizes up as a lightweighted pretty little usable device.
No configuration is needed, just make sure you have a device that has support for USB OTG and a supporting operating system on top and you are good to go!.

As you can see in the image below, there is another slot besides the card reader slot.
A compartment slot for a carry-along microSD Card.
So you can carry your spare microSD card inside the Leef Access.
Design is good as always when Leef is doing their business, a small LED shows activity while  flashing calmly Build feels solid and the micro USB connector is steady as a rock where it's attached.
Did we tell you the Leef Access is waterproof and dustproof.
It's a done deal ladies and gentlemen, Leef has done a winner once again.
Thumbs up for Leef Access, yet another genious desing from the Leef Technology team.

A wild guess is that we will see the Leef Bridge and Leef Access merged in the near future.

Monday, 7 April 2014

[Upcoming] Leef Access review.

The folks over at Leef announced a Micro SD card reader for Android devices called the "Leef Access"
Stay tuned for a Hands-on review of this genious little device.

Friday, 21 March 2014

[Review] Polar H7 Heart rate sensor

Now what on earth is this?
Androidistica doing heart rate sensor reviews now??
Yes, as you might have noticed in earlier posts we're looking into the booming wearables market where android compatibility is happening.
As is the case with Polar H7.
In the package we get an elastic adjustable strap, the actual H7 sensor and a multilingual manual booklet.
Included in the H7 is also the battery doing all the sensoring of your heartrate.
To fully enjoy the H7 you need the app that goes with it,Polar Beat, although it might be compatible with other apps too , this review was dont with the original app.
Available for both iOS and Android devices this is where the magic starts happening.

The H7 sensor is fitted just below solar plexus via the strap, which has to be moisted with water to enable the "circuit" to be closed. (It's all in the manual)
You then attach the H7 with two buttons onto the strap on your chest.
Start the Polar Beat app on your smartphone and heart rate stats are shown on your screen.
You can choose between a variety of workout types, GPS enabled running , cykling and others,see below for screenshots from the Polar Beat app)

For this review the H7 was worn while doing some cykling outdoors and a gym pass with barbell.
Wearing a strap over your lower chest feels odd at first, at least in our part of the world where we still have late winter/early spring and a bundle of clothes to prevent freezing when outdoors.
This means a few layers of clothes ontop of the H7 sensor.
Not the most comfortable feeling but this is surely a question of getting used to wearing the H7.

The other part of the review was done in a gym.
Doing barbell excerices worked pretty good.
Only once did the H7 get dislocated from one of its attching buttons due to the fact that i lowered the barbell in front of me knocking the sensor.
The strap sat where it was placed originally , firm and in place for the whole workout.
The Polar Beat app presented the results in high detail and the design is intinuitive.
It's easy to see where your peak heart rate has been with beats per minute displayed and an estimate of calories burned.
Pretty standard stuff for any workout data gathering in other words.

Countdown when starting a workout.

Remember to pair your H7 before working out.

Select your chosen workout.

A nice option, you dont need to create an account to be able to use Polar Beat.

Main screen of Polar Beat.

Summary screen.

Set your targets.

In app purchases.
The Polar H7 really a serious piece of workout equipment.
Solid casing, exchangable battery and good attachment strap shows build quality and durability in the hardware department.
After each workout you just rinse the strap in water and hang it to dry.
The Polar Beat app works as intended too.
Personally i think the In-app purchases for extended capabilities could be left out and included in the app itself.
The price for each upgrade is 22 SEK which is not a lot of money but a demo option would have been nice just to make sure you can test the upgrades before doing a purchase of them.
All in all the H7 Heart rate sensor is a worthy workout partner if you are into keeping up with your heart rate stats .
Compatibility with a number of devices is also in place as you can see in the the list below:
H7 compatibility list :
iPad (3rd & 4th generation)
iPad mini
iPhone 4S
iPhone 5
iPhone 5C
iPhone 5S
iPod touch (5th generation)
Samsung Galaxy S3 with Android 4.3 or later
Samsung Galaxy S4 with Android 4.3 or later
Samsung Galaxy Note II with Android 4.3 or later
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.3 or later
LG Nexus 5 with Android 4.3 or later

A big bunch of sunny thanks to the Polar team for having Androidistica doing this review.

Monday, 17 March 2014

[Upcoming] Hands-on with the Polar H7 Heart rate sensor and Polar Beat App.

Polar has got a line of products measuring your physical activities .

Androidistica will make a test and review of their H7 Heart rate sensor with accompanying app Polar Beat.

Don't touch that dial.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

[Heads-up] Wearables are coming.

2014 will go into history as the year of wearables in some way.

As you might already know Androidistica took the Shine for a spin earlier this year but there's more to come.

Some wearable devices will fail miserably while others will shine like bright diamonds.
There are a lot of wearables out there and it's already a jungle for the uninitiated as is the world of laptops ,tablets and smartphones today.

Androidistica will try to help you .
During 2014 the effort is to gather wearable device reviews for you to help make up your mind regarding which are good and if there are those that are dud.
Keep your eyes peeled on this space because the wearables are coming wether you like it or not.
Manufacturers of wearables to look up in the meantime:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

[News] We are spring ?

As the Sochi Winter Olympics continue with excitement and achievements the wonders of the world continue by throwing seasons around like never before.
In Scandinavia past few days have promise of spring attached to the sunny weather and the absence of snow.
Rest assured Androidistica is still out there , checking for news and things to review to enlighten and amuse you readers .

This week has brought some news to the Samsung Galaxy Series owners by a statement from Samsung and the upgrade paths to Android 4.4.2.
Apparently there are several devices in mind for the Kitkat upgrade as seen on Androidcentral:

"Galaxy Note® 3, Galaxy Note® II, Galaxy S® 4, Galaxy S® 4 mini™, Galaxy S® 4 Active™, Galaxy S® 4 zoom™, Galaxy S® III, Galaxy S® III mini™, Galaxy Mega®, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note® 8.0, Galaxy Tab® 3, Galaxy Note® 10.1, Galaxy Note® 10.1 2014 Edition."
As a sidenote the above devices are for the US market but being a global company these news certainly raises the hopes for "the rest of the world" to receive the update as well.
Rollout begins in the US today.

Stay tuned for updates on this topic.

Friday, 7 February 2014

[Review] Shine

Before the time of internet, in the beginning of the industrial revolution men and women did not need much exercise as we look at excercise today.
There was hardly a need to count calories or steps for the working class as labour work was a part of everyday life back then .
We live in a different time now.
Office work, smart machines and computers are doing the heavy lifting for us today.
Now, this is not a tearful nostalgia trip to the olde times so fret not.

What Androidistica is reviewing today is one of those wearable gadgets that keep track of how little or how much you have moved .
It even tracks how you sleep .
We are of course talking about 'Shine' from Misfit Wearables.
Coming in a luxurious package we have this little button - like tracker eager to keep track of our everyday momentum and nocturnal activites.
There's an app in Google Play for the Shine as well.
In the app you register for a free account,  do your initial sync over bluetooth and you are all set to go.

We have everything we need in the kit as you can see in the image above:
Top left is the magnetic clasp, on the right we have the tool to open the Shine with and on the bottom we have the Shine taken a part with the included battery.

The battery is said to last for 5-6 months if you dont spend all the juice on playing party tricks on your friends with the shine.
Party tricks ?
Yes, the shine is a interactive activity tracker.
Once activated with the battery in place and synced with your Android phone or tablet the Shine can be interoperated with .
One tap on it displays your daily progress towards your goals, which you set in the app. (Number of steps you intend to take during the following 24 hour period.
The result is beatifully displayed via small LEDs placed on the circular edge of the shine. See it as a percentage piechart.
Two taps displays the time, also lighting up the LEDs, one for the hour of day and two more for the minutes.
Tap three times and the Shine goes into nocturnal mode, tracking your sleep.
The result of your sleep can be seen in the app once synced up in the morning by you .
(Deep sleep and total sleep hours displayed.)

So how does it run conclusionwise then ?

Beatifully designed: with a high quality feel, a combination of a chromed metal edge and plastic the Shine breathes craftmanship and quality-awareness.
Options are available to wear the Shine as a neclace or on a wristband.
Lightweight: you easily forget wearing it since there really is no weight at all to the Shine.
Easy to get started with: downloading the app, putting the shine together and sync did not take more than 10 minutes.
Multi-function: Being water resistant , motion tracking while outdoor or asleep you can really keep track of your activities and calories burned.

Weak Bluetooth Signal:  Syncing failed some times , you have to keep the Shine really close to your phone to get it to sync. The app acting slow too, not sure if this was due to the syncing signal being weak or the app itself not being at an optimal release level yet. IOS got their Shine app with graphs and statistical data wich is "to be released " in the Android version.
The Syncing issue is being worked at according to Misfit Wearables, so this is most likely to be fixed in future releases of the App.
Motion tracking missing steps ?: At test runs made with the Shine ,outside walking with a friend who had GPS tracking Runkeeper while walking the same distance the data did not match with the Shine. 
According to Misfit wearables, most people are not too interested in counting steps. Hence the Shine counts activitiy via Points instead. Measuring overall activity instead.

Androidistica sends humbled thanks to Misfit Wearables for the reveiw opportunity.