Posts tagged cable
Docks are designed to allow you to sync and charge your phone while it is sat upright on your desk or bedside table. This one (showing off my very dusty iPhone!) is from Mobile Fun.
The dock is good for charging and syncing your phone with your computer, as well as plugging into the mains to charge quicker. It comes with a fairly short lighting to USB cable (also black – it’s long enough to go from the floor to my desk) which is useful, but not the USB mains adapter. The dock is small and actually looks great in glossy black – it has a non-slip base and has a good weight to it.
I’m impressed with how sturdy my phone is when sat in the dock. I worry about things like this being unstable or a bit precarious, and as a result breaking either the lightning connector or connection inside my phone. But this is very solid and my phone clips on very positively and doesn’t wobble around at all. Good.
I’ve now got this sat on my desk at work – my phone can charge and I can see the screen, there’s also no chance it’ll get accidentally swiped off my desk or lost under a pile of papers (not that I ever have massive piles of papers on my desk – if I can’t see the table there’s a good chance I’m stressed!). I can’t decide whether it’s most useful there or at the computer at home, I might need to buy another one. Thankfully they are a lower price than the official Apple ones at £21.95.
You can get a range of iPhone 5 docks from Mobile Fun.
One of the problems with upgrading to the iPhone 5 or the new iPad is that because Apple changed to their new lightning connection, using old accessories requires new cables or adapters (or new accessories entirely).
Whether you believe lightning is genuinely better (faster, smaller, etc) or that it’s just an exercise to make our old accessories defunct, the fact remains the same for all, and it makes upgrading to a new Apple product more expensive than simply the price on the ticket. Whether it’s a sound dock, a car charger, or the extra cable you bought so you had one at home and at work, it all adds up.
It’s taken a few months, but “fake” lightning cables and adapters are now available to us. Mobile Fun sent me one of their lightning to USB cables to try out. It retails at just over half the price of the Apple genuine one (£11.97 instead of £19.95) and so represents a significant saving, but I was very interested to see if the quality was there.
The cable itself is very slightly shorter than the genuine Apple one I got with my iPhone 5 – 104cm vs 106cm, so not enough to make a real difference (unless you really need that extra two cm!). The plastic coated cable is (again, very slightly) thicker, and the casing for the connections at either end is more bulky and feels cheaper. The lightning connection itself looks a bit different – it’s not as smooth or refined, again seems more cheaply made. The below photo shows the genuine Apple cable on the right, and the copy on the left.
But the proof is in the using… and I can confirm that it works. I used this cable with no problems to charge my phone from the computer and using the mains adapter, and synced my phone with iTunes too and it didn’t complain. I also checked it worked with LincsGeek’s iPad (my pad is an old iPad 2, and it does feel old I have to say!) and it’s fine there too. It is perfect to keep plugged into the computer for charging/syncing, leaving the one that came with my phone for in the office.
I admit I would generally rather by the real thing when it comes to my tech, but there is nothing wrong as far as I can tell with this cable and why spend £20 when you can spend £12 and still have the same functionality. For something like a cable and similar accessories then copies like this one make so much sense. I’ll let you know how it holds up compared to my Apple one after a year of use!
Update 27th January
Since writing this review I have realised that while this lightening cable does work for both charging and data exchange, most of the time it only works one way around. One of the good things about the new Apple lightening connector is that it is not supposed to matter which way in you put it – there is no right way. But this cable only seems to work if you get the cable in the “right way round”. I say most of the time as on occasion it does work both ways, it’s very strange. This could of course be this particular cable rather than a problem with all of them, but I thought I would put a note here to tell you. The cable is still very useful, and I am continuing to use it.
Here’s another in-ear headphones review for you – this time Bass Buds classic in the limited edition white colour, complete with Swarovski crystals and memory foam earbuds.
One of the things to remember about headphones is that you need to get a good fit in order to get good sound. A good fit also means less noise leakage. Bass Buds come with a plethora of earbuds to sort that out for you – with these I got a set of white ones, a set of black ones, and a set of memory foam ones. You just swap over to the ones that work for your ears best; think comfort and size. I have the middle-sized memory foam buds on now and they are comfortable and fit well. With the small white ones on they were getting a bit uncomfortable after an hour or so, but the memory foam ones work much better for me. I also now find the noise leakage is a lot less, which my colleagues in the office must prefer!
Sound quality wise, once I found a decent fit, these do product a clear sound. Before the good fit I found them a bit rubbish really – noisy, crackly, overly bassy and not really any good for the kinds of music I listen to. Thankfully, with the memory foam ear buds in they became much better. They are still very bassy, but it is clear. Over the last week or so I’ve used them for hours, and they have become better with time too. They’re still not what I would consider a really top quality sound – there are elements in tracks I can’t hear and I don’t like how some tracks sound. Where they are great is listening to the radio or the television – where pin point quality isn’t as important but clarity is vital. Bearing in mind that these currently retail for £35, they do live up to the expectations I might give that price bracket – definitely superior to the headphones you get with an iPod, but not as good as a decent set of Sennheisers or Klipsch in ear phones.
I often moan about cables. It doesn’t matter how neatly you wind up a headphone cable, it will always tangle up. Apparently this is to do with probability and the number of ways the cable can be – literally 100s of ways it can be tangled but just the one untangled (thanks BBC Science Club!). Anyway, Bass Buds have a “anti-tangle” cable that is double wrapped to make it durable. I wouldn’t say that my cable has remained completely tangle-free, but it certainly hasn’t got knotted or been too difficult to sort out. The little (actually it’s quite large, too big really) storage bag helps keep these nicely too, and at least means the headphones don’t get all tangled with everything else in my handbag!
The in-line control and microphone means you can use your phone and music player without taking it out of your pocket. It works fine with my iPhone – I can answer calls and have a conversation as well as start, stop, skip etc music tracks, and even use voice control. That’s great when out walking, there’s no need to take my phone out of my pocket or bag to use it, especially important when the weather is a bit rubbish. It does really lack a volume control though, I would find that very useful.
You can get Bass Buds in a really wide range of colours, and the fashion range come with Swarovski elements in the ear pieces. Much more subtle than the Quarkie headphones I reviewed, they do give a feminine charm to them – who doesn’t like sparkles?!
These fairly low cost headphones (currently £35) have an okay sound quality and with all the earbuds you get you’re sure to find a decent fit. The in line control is useful but lacking volume, and the simple shape and sparkly crystals make them a fashionable gadget.
The nice people at Bass Buds have given me a £5 off code to share with Splodz Blogz readers, which makes these perfectly affordable and a great idea for a Christmas present. Order from www.bassbuds.co.uk and use code BB38468 to get the discount.
How easy is it to steal a bicycle?
It’s a doddle. Especially when people ignore what is happening. In this experiment by Avon and Somerset Police, not only did passers-by fail to challenge the thief while the crime was being committed, but no-one reported the crime afterwards either.
As someone who has had their bicycle stolen I don’t know whether to be surprised or not.
I’m not sure if I’d challenge a thief committing a crime like this at the time – I think I’d shout at them from where I was, I’d be afraid to run up to them to challenge them physically. But I would at least report the crime to the Police as quickly as possible, and have done this in the past. If the Police don’t know they can’t do anything about it.
My advice? Use a D-Lock.
Lincolnshire Police say they have never had a bicycle theft reported where a D-Lock had been used to secure the bike. Cable locks, however thick (or expensive) can generally be cut with bolt cutters – and as proved by Avon and Somerset Police, thieves are free to wander around carrying heavy duty bolt cutters that go through them like butter.
I was sent the metal version of the product which has a really nice look to it – sleek and quite small, it didn’t clutter up my desk on its own, and when it had various cables in it looked neat and functional.
The top part has five grippy rubber fingers with gaps to hold onto your various cables – and you can fit more than one cable in each slot if you have loads of wires to organise. The base is nicely shaped with a grippy bottom so it doesn’t slide across the table.
This cute little thing is very handy. I have a couple of cables permanently plugged into my computer but not always in use, and I’m forever having to fish them out from behind the desk. Having those cables stored in this means I no longer have to get under the desk to find them, and keeps my desk nice and tidy as I like it.
Some of these desk products can be tacky and not very useful in the long run, but this one is a keeper… it looks good and fulfils a function that was definitely needed. It could perhaps have a bit more weight to it, but it works well and looks the part.