Ruth's Reviews - Summer 17 - Fascinating Tech Magazine Archivee

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Ruth's Reviews - Summer 17

Archived Issues > Summer 2017 Issue

Welcome to Ruth's Reviews

Our chief reviewer Ruth is back and kicks off with a bit of a justified rant about a face care product from Neutrogena. 

On a more positive note she looks at a fabulous STM backpack, a chromebook, and a really nice smart watch. Finally she goes all sporty with the Jabra Elite headphones.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Acne Mask
This mask claims that if you wear it 10 minutes a day it will reduce acne. It costs £59.99 RRP and you then find you have to pay a further £14.99 a month for the power pack. So understandably at this point I feel conned. But it clearly says 30 on it and every session reduces by one. (Editors Note The Neutrogena website does now note that you will need o buy additional packs)

The mask which you fit by placing on a pair of sunglasses then you turn on the lights and in theory you can multitask but in practical reality it is so bright that you might as well give up trying to do anything else.

The lights shine in red and blue to help clear the acne and heal the skin. 

There did not seem to be that many lights but they were bright and I am no expert on how many lights you need.
Personally for me…I did not notice a reduction in acne.

I think any parent who buys this is going to feel annoyed that they have signed up to a bill of £15 a month to keep their teen happy. Personally I get it takes time to get results but would have preferred so see some better evidence of progress.

The lack of a rechargeable battery for the power pack seems to be very environmentally unfriendly and disappointing in that it is focussed more on profit than clear skin.
Winner of our first TrulyDisappointing Award

STM  Trestle backpack

This is a slim dark grey backpack designed to hold a 13 inch PC. It has a pocket for a tablet too. It has space for paperwork. A space at the front for pens keys etc. A nice small pocket on the back is handy for a phone or similar.

It has an integrated luggage strap for hooking it onto a wheeled suitcase.

It is well padded and would protect the laptop well against drops.

It is not a big laptop bag but it is good as a lightweight one. I managed to pack up for a night travelling light no problem. I took it to an exam and I’ve used it to carry the works laptop all quite comfortably.

Its straps are well padded and it is comfortable to carry.

You should also attach the STM recovery tag which can help if your bag is lost.

It is a well organised bag and I like this and to be honest I don’t want to send it back. Most the conference laptop bags I pick up are lacking in padding where this has extra padding on the corners.

HIghly recommended 

Acer Chromebook C731T

This is a lightweight computer with a low price point. It is aimed at youngsters so good as a starter PC. Available to commercial and education customers.  It is lightweight and rugged which is useful when in the hands of children. It is a textured plastic which make it easier to maintain your grip.

Significantly it runs Googles Chromebook OS not Windows.

It is good for browsing so useful for homework and research. It is instantly on and has good battery life.

It however does rely on connectivity so works best either in the home hooked up to wi-fi or where you are confident of coffee shop or hotel connectivity.

It is limited though if you take it off the network. It does not have built in apps so that can be a factor to consider. 

It can download google chrome apps but not android apps. So you can download office etc.  but you are relying on the online versions. It wasn’t obvious to me how you could access any documents offline.

Very much targeted as schools the fanless design will really help keep the noise down in a full classroom.

It has a decent IPS 1366x768 touchscreen, which vividness belies its resolution.  The drop resistance and spill proof keyboard should also go down well with schools .
Price approx. £220

11.5 inch ChromeBook
Can withstand drops from 48 inches and has a spill resistant keyboard.
1.6GHz Intel Celeron Dual
4GB Memory
16 or 33 GB Emmc for storage
720P Webcam
Bluetooth 4
Stereo Speakers and Microphone
2 x USB 3
HDMI Output
Headphone Jack
12 hour battery life
Fanless Operation.
180 degree Hinge
SD Card slot.

Overall a device well suited for its target market.

Huawei Watch 2 (Android Wear)

The first thing you notice is that this is huge. I have small wrists and despite the size this is actually comfortable to wear which is unusual.

The link to the phone (android in my case but it does support iPhones) was quick and easy and then off to the play store to download  the Huawei’s wear app. It also links with Huawei Health so your step count is dealt with.

Once you are set up there is a microphone built into the phone so just say Hello Google and ask away. So yes voice control is cool. In comes a call you can take a choice here if the settings on the watch are set up one way it will let you know you have a call and tell you to answer on the phone. However if you are set up right then you can answer the call on the phone. There is no headphone point so you call will be on loud speaker but can save digging in your bag to hunt for the phone. It uses bluetooth to synch but there are options that have a sim card in your watch (ours was WiFi only).

One neat trick, a feature of all Android Wear 2 devices, is that if you leave your phone at home and it is connected to the internet then if your watch has already been paired to the WiFi in your office any notifications on your phone at home will still appear on your watch in the office.

It is monitoring your heart rate and it can show this depending on the watch face chosen.

Click the bottom button and you get all the fitness options, run, cardio fat burning, and training plan.  If you click run it will locate your GPS to locate and track you. Handy as what you want to focus on is your run not the tech. Click what looks like a play button and it starts tracking. There are also  treadmill options .

It was frustrating to try and get it to make a call using voice dialling. It failed to find the relevant contact.

Overall a good add on to your phone with a variety of watchfaces to choose from. It would be nice to see some more feminine option in terms of styling.

Editor's Note: the first Huawei Watch won our TrulyFascinatingAward this came close but whilst it has sevral improvements in technology over the first watch, notably the inclusion of NFC for Android Pay, we felt it had lost something in style over the first model and also the competition have caught up. It is still a highly recommended device.

Jabra Elite sports headphones

These start with some impressive packaging that gives a feeling of luxury. It is a really big box for two small headphones. There are wireless headphones so my first concern was how well they would stay in when moving. They come with “wings” that you fit over them to achieve the best fit. The smaller  “wings” are a little easy to detach but the others were fine. Did I mention these are truly cordless there isn't even a cord between the earpieces.

These are designed to synch through Bluetooth and use the Jabra Elite sports app.

On starting you are required to jump up and down to calibrate the headphones and to run a fixed distance so they can calibrate your cadence.

The headphones also read your heart rate and included is a VO2 test app. This was puzzling at first until you realise that is only counts time when your heart is in the right zone.

The app provides a workout program having assessed your fitness to recommend how you can improve your fitness. You select the days that you want to work out and the app provides a recommended workouts for you to follow to improve fitness. Each workout is assessed to see if this is improving your fitness, maintaining your fitness or assesses if your fitness is deteriorating.

The only problem that can be a bit annoying at times is the loss of heartrate. That I would recommend is tweaked so that the monitoring is better. It is unclear why the heartrate is lost so easily but if you are trying the VO2 test and it loses the heart rate then you end up with a longer test and the result may not be quite as accurate.

They last approx. two hours but you can place them back in the case and they recharge twice so overall you are looking at about 6 hours.

They are fine in quieter environments but could actually cut out more sound when you are chatting on the go. Noisy traffic can challenge but that is not to say they are bad. There needs to be a balance between hearing for safety and cutting out enough you can easily hear the call. You will hear the call no problem but personally I’d prefer a bit more of a sound reduction. They have a listen through facility so that you can press that to hear the outside world.

They have options for running/walking outside and detecting GPS but also options for using a treadmill too. The exercise though does not stop there with cycling options too. Then if you select a workout you will get one and if you think you’ll just sit around the headphones detect if you are moving. So if this says say sit ups it only counts the proper ones you do in its view. The instructions are easy to follow and you just press your way to the next option which includes counted 30 second rests.

Battery life is reasonable at around 4 hours and they come with a recharger box with its own battery that allows them to be topped up for up to another 9 hours on the move.

Overall this is very comprehensive experience when you combine the app with the headphones and would achieve some good results.

Highly Recommended for fitness headphones due to the app back up.



Garry follows up on last issues Energenie and Wolet reviews. He also looks at some fantastic Edifier Speakers

Ruth is back this issue and looks at the Huawei Watch 2, Acer Chromebook and a great STM Bag

A Video Editing review special, a Virtual space visit and a special day out with Acer
Peter harnesses the Sun's energy
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