Archive for Reviews

Review: Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap for iPhone 4S

 

 

Walking, running, cycling or general fitness have always been an on again/ off again, but mostly off again, type of affair for me. While I have been going gangbusters with my latest effort, I enlisted the help of a new friend to keep me motivated. My iPhone and an application called RunKeeper. Read more

The new iPad, first impressions

iBrothers today grabbed a couple of new iPads to replace an iPad2 and an original iPad. While specifications are all good and fine, we thought it would be worth sharing our own impressions for people considering an upgrade to the new iPad. Read more

Telstra USB 4G Pre-Paid modem Review

Update: Additional speedtests have been included.

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Ah mobile broadband. We love you so but we hate paying the megabucks for the experience, (especially when we are currently paying the megabucks for your previously fastest experience on contract) so it was with much jubilation that Telstra announced yesterday the release of their first 4G Pre-Paid modem. At $129.00 with 3GB of data to use in the first 30 days, it pretty much echoes Telstra’s previous Pre-Paid offerings. Read more

Telstra USB 4G Review

Well it finally happened. iBrothers managed to get it’s hands on Telstra’s latest mobile broadband offering, the Telstra USB 4G. With it’s ability to access Telstra’s 4G LTE network, the first in Australia, the device promises broadband speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps, a massive increase over mobile broadband offerings from Vodafone and Optus where the theoretical maximum is around 7Mbps.

To access these speeds you will need to be in a 4G area. Have a look at Telstra’s coverage maps to determine if 4G is available in your area. The modem will still work in Telstra’s HSPA+ coverage areas as well as 3G enabled areas should you find yourself not in a 4G covered area. The modem has two LEDs which, depending on colour, indicates if you are in a 4G or 3G area – two blue LEDs mean 3G where blue and green indicates 4G. Read more

Telstra Ultimate Broadband USB review

Update: Our Telstra 4G USB review is up
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As mentioned in our review of the Telstra Ultimate Broadband Wi-Fi, iBrothers had initially requested a Wi-Fi unit from Telstra but was instead sent the USB version. It seems to be a pretty easy mistake to make as we found that about a week ago, we had a similar issue talking to Telstra shop store staff and found that they too got confused between the two products.

Of course, we are presently armed with the Ultimate Broadband USB modem so of course we are going to take a look at how it performs on Telstra’s HSPA+ Dual Carrier network. Read more

Telstra Bigpond Ultimate Broadband Wi-Fi review

Update: Telstra have announced their new 4G LTE mobile WiFi Hotspot

Update: Our Telstra 4G USB review is up
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iBrothers likes it’s mobile broadband – no, we REALLY like our mobile broadband. It’s there when we are stuck in traffic and need directions, when we are looking for a decent coffee in an unknown area, conducting emergency remote support on the road, enabling us to share photos instantly at the birth of our children …  So when we hear about improvements to speed and performance being offered from Mobile Broadband, you know we are going to be all over it.

Enter Bigpond’s latest offering, the Ultimate Mobile Broadband WI-FI. Using Telstra’s next G network, the device promises download speeds up to 20Mbps and upload speeds up to 3Mbps. These speeds are a considerable jump from the current offerings of any other carrier. The modem itself is a Sierra Aircard 753S and while the website claims theoretical speeds up to 42Mbps, Telstra is stating the speeds to be around half that. The unit supports frequencies of UMTS 850/1900/2100 MHz, comes with wireless N connectivity and an internal GPS. More information can be found in the links at the end of this review. Read more

Make your smartphone smarter with FREE Turn-by-turn navigation software

With just about every smartphone on the market these days; from the $188 unlocked Huawei Sonic to a high end iPhone or HTC Sensation, you are more than likely to find it sporting an internal GPS. While the GPS functionality is used for more than just navigation (at iBrothers, finding a decent coffee in an unknown location is impossible without a GPS based social networking app) turn-by-turn navigation is still considered the most useful application of this technology. Turn-by-turn navigation of course requires an app and the good news is that the choice available keeps on growing.

The list of features for each application vary considerably. Aside from simple turn-by-turn navigation, vendors have been looking to add other functionality to give their product an advantage over their competitors. Buying a GPS device or app can give you some interesting things such as speed camera locations, multipoint routing, school zone warnings, text-to-speach, custom or celebrity voices and navigate to photo just to name a few. While some apps continually download the maps they need live, some have have the map data built into the application with the benefit of off-line usage (no need for a data connection). The trade off is that the application weighs in at about 200 to 400MB and vary in price from $19 MetroView (Map data provided by PMSA) to $80 for TomTom (Map data provided by Sensis)

What I am looking at today is two free options on the market suitable for the occasional user that while basic in their offering, work extremely well and above all are FREE! Read more

“Are we there yet?” A road trip with an Android smartphone

Most people I know would peg me as a bit of an “Apple fanboy” and I’ll be the first to admit, for the most part I really do like Apple products. I love the design of the hardware, software and their simplicity in flow and usability while still being able to accomplish all my needs.

Prior to the iPhone I had a problem. A “mobile phone addiction”. It was like a drug and for more than 10 years, I found myself upgrading every 6-12 months to get the latest and greatest phone on the market. That was until the iPhone 3G launched in Australia.

Being a phone junkie and already well equipped with the Mac/ iPod combination, I lusted over the iPhone ever since Steve Jobs unveiled it back in 2007. It was sexy and different, and totally blew away my Windows Mobile something or other I had at the time. I have been a proud iPhone owner of the iPhone 3G, 3Gs and 4, upgrading contracts for every revision.

Even with the satisfaction of my iPhone, Android based smartphones had also entered the market and the inner geek in me was intrigued. The first offerings though had no pinch-to-zoom, no real enticing application market and very limited availability of handsets in Australia which tended to stay my hand from my wallet. It wasn’t until Telstra and HTC released the Desire with 2.1 (Éclair) that I felt the platform appeared mature enough to be a contender for my hard earned cash when next I upgraded my mobile phone. With the Desire’s launch, a number of friends started to move away from either their iPhone 3G or from their other feature phones. While tempted, I chose to hold out for the iPhone 4.

Lately more and more people have joined the chorus of those hyping the Android platform. This, along with the work we are doing at iBrothers, aggravated the tech itch. The talk of “open”, “rebellion” and the choice of multiple manufactures started to get the better of me. At this stage, I was already using the iPhone 4 and I couldn’t really afford to take the punt on a second smartphone, but like an addict I couldn’t help myself and (on a budget of course) I managed to pull some strings and I chose the HTC Wildfire. The cheapest Android device and the time but meeting all the requirements for a full Android experience, it was even one of the first Android devices to ship with “Flash” preinstalled. The Wildfire was the little brother of the HTC Desire, just with slower CPU, less memory and smaller display. Read more

Telstra, Optus & Vodafone Compared: Mobile Broadband SpeedTest

At iBrothers, we have generally stuck with Telstra when it comes to both mobile phone coverage as well as mobile broadband. The reason for this is that Telstra’s Next G network is supposedly the best of all providers for speed as well as coverage. Of late however, we have been noticing that, at times, the speeds we were getting from Telstra seemed to be slower. Coupled with anecdotal evidence from customers and family of similar issues, we decided it was time to conduct some actual real world tests of our own. Read more

Are all USB drives created equal?

Considering USB flash drives have been with us for some time, you would not be alone thinking that one USB flash drive is pretty much as good as another.

For the most part, price seems to distinguish USB drives in capacity (commonly 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 & 64GB) and build quality/ design (titanium vs plastic or super large vs tiny and discrete or “unique”).

What many people don’t take into account is that speed is also often a factor when it comes to USB drives.
Read more