Galaxy Watch back

Having had a Garmin watch for the best part of 4 weeks I’ve finally got my Samsung Galaxy Watch back from the warranty repair. The battery had failed quite spectacularly – draining from 100% to 0% in under 30 minutes, often getting very warm in the process. When I charged it, it would often get to 100% charge but the light on the charger would stay red.

Anyway, it’s now back and to be honest it feels nice. The Garmin was OK, but rather limited, especially the notifications section which would often deliver the same notifications repeatedly.

Yeah the battery life is the killer on the Samsung – a day at most, and the weight difference is rather noticeable with the Galaxy Watch being somewhat heavier than the Garmin, but to it’s credit I can charge it from the powershare feature on my phone.

I’m still going to keep the Garmin for a while, and I’ll see how it goes for the next few weeks before I decide whether to sell it.

It has to be said though, Samsung have the nicest platform. I still can’t get on with Android Wear.

The Galaxy Note 20. The first few days.

I didn’t make it totally obvious but I got a new phone on Tuesday. A Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Initial reactions?

The most obvious change from the Note 10 is the total 180 flip of the design. The buttons move from the left hand side of the chassis across to the right hand side. It didn’t take much getting used to and actually feels more natural. They aren’t as easy to catch for a start.

The s-pen moving to the left on the other hand is a really awkward change. As a right handed person I want to grab my pen with my right hand, but I have to twist awkwardly to do this. I’m sure I’ll adapt, but bad Samsung. Lefties will be loving it though.

One UI 2.5 is sweet. I never had much love for Samsung’s old UI (Touchwiz) but I adore how smooth One UI is, and with 2.5 we gain some really nice improvements. Samsung have stopped loading it down with useless clutter and now make meaningful changes to how it works.

Wireless DeX seems interesting. I’ve played with it a couple of times (I do use DeX a hell of a lot) and whilst it’s not great on our TV as the lag is about half a second (a 2014 Samsung model) it works much better on my Microsoft wireless display adaptor and has hardly any delay. I think it’ll come in most useful for my presentations. If I ever do any again with the current situation!

Now let’s get to the camera.

With COVID I’m not traveling and photographing in the same way so I’ve not really had chance to do much with the camera, but it does seem better than the old one. I did take a photo of woods yesterday with the 108mp mode turned on and it was “interesting”. From a distance the level of detail looks really good, but not amazing.

Zoomed in however the software has turned it into something slightly trippy and as if Google Dream has had a bit of influence.

I’m going to have a few more tries with the 108mp mode but I’m not exactly blown away with it.

On the other hand the general photography has yielded good results in both good and poor light.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts.

The final issue that a few people have noticed is battery life. I don’t have many anxieties myself, but I am a very battery anxious person. I keep my life on my phone and if the battery runs low I panic.

That said, the Note 20 even with the Exynos processor isn’t faring too badly. I know you could say we don’t get a good a deal in Europe as the USA gets, but we do get a base storage of 256 gig in place of the 128 base the USA gets.

The phone definitely runs warmer, and on my initial setup the phone wouldn’t charge because the processor was fully throttled up – the charger merely maintained the battery percentage – but other than that I haven’t really noticed much difference between the Note 10 and Note 20 in real world use.

So final thoughts?

Well it’s a nice little upgrade, and certainly with the cameras feels less iterative, but if you don’t care for the cameras and you like your note 10, stay where you are.

I got a new phone.

I was rather surprised to receive a notification on my phone saying I was entitled to an upgrade. It surprised me as I’ve only had my phone for 12 months!

Upon contacting my provider it was indeed correct! I can only assume that with the size of my monthly bills they want to keep me.

The decision was already made up – upgrading my Galaxy Note 10 to the Galaxy Note 20. Not much changed in the device, but being as much of a photography fan as I am I really fancied getting something with a real zoom lens and the increased size sensor (108 megapixel! Seriously).

Sure enough, the deal was done on Monday, I collected the new phone yesterday, and I’m now using it!

As for the photos? They’re amazing! This was my first night mode photo and it’s almost like daylight.

I also took a photo of Pip this morning. I asked him if he wanted a sosig.

And Bilbo.

So I’ve hardly done any photography yet, and with the current situation photography isn’t something I can really go out and do; but perhaps soon…

My "PC"

So, all you guys have a proper computer. Well, this is my daily driver.

The monitor is a 13″ ‘Thinlerain’ branded one from Amazon. It does HDMI over USB C and is also powered from the same USB C.

The keyboard is branded Jelly Comb. It has a trackpad which is actually not bad to use (although I prefer a mouse for long term use).

The monitor is driven by my Galaxy Note 9 running Samsung DeX. A platform I must say I rather like (if you learn to live with a couple of limitations).

The desktop wallpaper is from Amiga Workbench 1.3 – Amiga was a great platform in it’s day and I had Amigas for quite a few years.
All of the above packs into a neoprene case which means I can have a desktop experience wherever I am with minimal equipment.

The Old and the New

My new Galaxy Note 9 arrived.

My 18 month Galaxy Note 8 has served me very well and is a device I very much love, but a few features of the Galaxy Note 9 really sold it to me.

  • Bigger battery – less battery anxiety.
  • Bluetooth stylus – great for selfies
  • Dockless DeX – I use DeX loads!

I’ve noticed the bigger battery, although mostly because it takes a hell of a lot longer to charge. As for the DeX – that’s amazing. I’ve already ordered more cables. Actually the biggest annoyance with the DeX docks is actually having to remove your case to dock the phones – a little extra length on the USB C port would have stopped this being a problem.

So far, I love it. It really does feel like the Note 8 perfected.

As for the Galaxy Watch I also got, again, I love it. It’s the same as my old one, but smaller.

It seems to look more like a regular watch on my wrist, unlike the 46mm version which looks too big. This is more like the old Galaxy Gear 2 which I loved so much. The only downside is the battery life is nowhere near as good, but that isn’t helped by this one being 4G, so not only have I taken the battery hit from the smaller battery, but also from the 4G radio.

In other news, Jake got his first PVC jeans after I persuaded him… He’s the type of person who will really carry the look well.

Yet again… ASOS.

A Sartorial Post

Everyone’s doing these photo things… I thought I’d join in.

This is an outfit I’ve worn out a couple of times. It sort of mixes up looks and adds a bit of alternative in.

The photos on the right are details of the back pocket – yes they look like leather jeans, but actually they’re dress trousers. The back jetted pocket confirms that. They’re from BoohooMAN if you’re interested. Search “Faux Leather Trousers”. For pvc they aren’t actually too sweaty.

The middle photo is of my belt buckle. Those of you who are fans of Bones will know that.

The bottom is a nod to my nerdish leanings – my Galaxy Watch. I do love my smartwatch, although unusually, I prefer Tizen to Android. Android wear is a little too broken, plus the battery life even on the best models is still dismal.

I really need to blog more.

It amuses me that whilst I’m always ready to tweet or post on Facebook or Instagram, I often neglect my blog.

Is it because the platform isn’t particularly nice to work on? well no, actually. WordPress is very easy to update when needed; and unlike some of the other platforms it is good because you can format your posts and decide where the photos are going to be, how they look, and you can even mix video in.

I suppose it’s because, unlike Twitter; Instagram and Facebook, a blog is somewhat like shouting into an empty room. WordPress, whilst one of the world’s biggest community platforms is a massive collection of personal blogs with very little recommendation of “blogs you might like” or “people to follow”. Most of your friends aren’t there, and the cross-blog community is really not good.

The final problem for me, though, is that most of the likes you get on your posts are from “promote your blog” marketing spammers who quite clearly promote your blog by sharing “promote your blog” posts on other people’s blogs and creating clickbots to try and harvest visits. Indeed, I suspect 65% of my meagre following is indeed just clickbots.

I suppose there’s a magic formula to being that person with all the reads, and I definitely don’t fit the criteria, so here is a picture of me using my new laptop table with my Tab S4, whilst a small Tortoiseshell cat hides underneath thus preventing me from actually straightening my legs. You will notice I am wearing a Horace goes Skiing t-shirt.

One port to rule them all?

So after purchasing my new tablet (Tab S3 in case you missed it) I have now headed another step down the road to being totally USB C sufficient.

USB C is the new de-facto charging standard which if rumours are correct might even be coming to Apple devices (yes, I know, Apple using a global standard rather than making their own) but then Apple did adopt Qi charging so perhaps they’ve realised that being exclusive is hurting customers?

It’s great to see USB C on my phone, tablet, Nintendo Switch, and one of my 360 cameras.

So I suppose the next step is to now get the other end of the cable to be USB C so the charger and power bricks support the standard?

Well here’s my new power brick…

Note the single USB C socket on the end. This can be used to both charge the brick, and to charge other devices (as is the nature of USB C), and amusingly, when the device you plug into this brick recognises it, it offers the choice to charge the phone from the brick, or charge the brick from the phone. Quaint.

I think we’re a few years away from the one port to rule them all, but with its flexibility, ability to send video, data and power the USB C port might be the answer.

Of new tablets and stuff…

So, on Friday I saw a Galaxy Tab S3 in CeX (a chain of tech second hand shops). It was over £100 less than the full price in Currys and was actually in A1 condition. Not the 4G variant, but I can always tether to satisfy that problem.

I decided to take the plunge as my Lenovo Yogabook really wasn’t working for me. Funky as it is to look at, the Yogabook running Android Nougat is actually pretty piss poor. No window mode support, just split screen; and to add insult to injury the OS is buggy and has been abandoned by Lenovo so will never be fixed or updated. The styles implementation is lacklustre to say the least and borders on gimmicky. I hardly ever found myself grabbing the stylus as it was so bad!

Enter the Tab S3 – a very capable tablet created by Samsung who, whilst I won’t say are perfect, are much better at keeping their flagship devices running for a somewhat longer time with updates.

The Yogabook was traded in and the money used to buy a keyboard case (from Argos as CeX didn’t have any in).

Yes. It’s so much better!