Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2018 iPad Pro

Ipadpro11 spacegray 2up us en screen 1Apple iPad’s are curious devices; they started out as novelties, became marginal productivity tools for content consumption and have been trying (unsuccessfully) as content creation devices.


The first generation iPad Pro’s attempted to do that with the Apple Pencil and keyboard folio, but it really felt like a hack / first gen product. The device was basically a bigger, more powerful iPad.


That can’t be said for the 2018 iPad Pro. Available in two sizes, the current generation iPad Pro’s are actually really useful devices, smashing content consumption requirements, and meeting most (but not all) content creation requirements.


The device is extremely powerful, seems to have enough memory/storage and seems to handle almost anything you throw at it without slowing down. Probably the most fundamental change to the device is the switch from lightning to USB-C. Not only does this bring the iPad Pro line in step with the MacBook Pro line (notebook and iPad), but it also sets the scene for an iPhone Pro. Whatever that may be.


Its a great device; highly recommended. And if you’re going to buy it, don’t bother with the smaller one. The bigger one has a significantly bigger screen than the standard iPad, but is only marginally bigger in carrying it around.


PS. The pencil is a gimmick. Don’t bother.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless

Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless 9I have an admitted headphone fetish.


I did end up selling the very good B&W PX headphones; they were good from an audio quality perspective, but just too heavy for their primary use, long-haul flights.


I decided to stick with the slightly dated Bose QC35’s; while the Sony WH-1000XM3’s seem to be the new king of the hill, the difference doesn’t seem to justify the price tag.


But I did end up buying a pair of Beyerdynamic Aventho (wireless). While the software app is a bit buggy, the audio quality out of these headphones is simply sublime. I really enjoyed the sound out of the T51i’s that I have, and the Aventho’s don’t disappoint.


They’re definitely a good pair of cans!


Gigsky eSIM

GigSky website logo2I have used Gigsky’s eSIM product on an iPhone Max XS, and can truly say it works exactly as advertised.


This is truly a no-brainer if you travel and/or are time/convenience-conscious when travelling. This product isn’t for the “is this the absolute cheapest way to get cellular data overseas” crowd, or the “I’m overseas for weeks on end” crowd either; those crowds would be put of the roughly 50% premium on local rates that you’re paying, and the inability to make/receive calls on a local number.


But if neither of those things are important to you, its a winner!


iPhone XS Max

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Another year, another iPhone. This time, the XS (Max). The biggest, best, yada yada iPhone Apple has ever made.


With the obligatory cheesy movie from Johnny Ive describing the amazing build process.


Except this one has one massive technical feature that does, indeed, make it different from the other iPhones. It supports eSIM, and amazingly, in China is available as a physical dual-SIM version.


While I did think about trying to get hold of the China physical dual-SIM version, I decided against it because I wasn’t sure what bloatware / backdoor was on the device thanks to the large Chinese market that Apple would be desperate to tap into.


So I got the local eSIM version from my carrier, and other than being bigger, I didn’t really notice much difference. Except when I travelled.


I managed to test the eSIM functionality using a company called Gigsky, in San Francisco, Thailand and Hong Kong. And other than paying a premium for the service from Gigsky, it worked perfectly and better than advertised! Buy the second data-only eSIM for the country you wish to use it, “download” it, and hey presto, 2nd SIM!


Coverage was adequate (not brilliant), and speeds were average to ok. But better than roaming rates, better than hunting for a local SIM and a device to carry it and infinitely more convenient to literally do nothing but switch your phone on! Awesome.


Punchline : if you travel, get an iPhone XS / XR. Otherwise, don’t waste your time and skip this version.