Archive for the ‘Lifestyle & Gadgets’ Category

Gifts, Home, How to, Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Throw a tasty indoor BBQ this winter with the Philips Avance Grill

By Gerald Lynch on October 22nd, 2012

Philips Avance Grill 01.JPGFancy throwing a rain-free indoor barbecue this winter? That’s exactly what the Avance Grill from Philips lets you do. A 2000W grill designed for use inside the house, but without scrimping on the juicy flavours that characterise a great outdoor barbecue, it’s great for cooking red meats, poultry and fish, as well as grilling veg too.Philips Avance Grill 02.JPGThough we at Brandish have their fingers on the fashion pulse, we weren’t in the queue when they started handing out Michelin Stars. But the Philips Avance Grill makes it simple for even amateur cooks to throw together a tasty meal. For starters, there’s just one control, a heat dial that lets you choose how hot you want the grill to get, with a handy indicator light that blinks off once the grill has warmed enough to cook on. Philips also throw in a simple cook book too, showing dozens of recipes that can be made simply by throwing all the ingredients in at once. It’s basically fool proof.

The Avance Grill’s secret weapon is its “Taste Infuser”, a small circular metal depository where you can pop in smoker chips. A packet of hickory chips come in the box, which when heated up in the compartment on the grill (and the glass lid has been shut in order to keep the smoke circulating around the meat) adds a sophisticated smoked taste to your dishes. A small well at the back of the grill can also be filled with water if you’re looking to steam meats, keeping steaks moist and fish from going too crisp.Philips Avance Grill 04.JPGCleaning the grill is easy too. The glass covering panel slides out, as does the cooking grill itself, exposing the heating conductors below. The Taste Infuser pops out of the grill, and there’s a run off tray underneath that collects excess oil (keeping meals pretty healthy too). All these can then be soaked in warm soapy water, with the cooking grill and glass panel washable in a dishwasher.

Even with our lack of cooking experience, we were able to knock up a load of tasty dishes for a gang of pals in just 30 minutes or so, including preparation and beer-sipping time. As well as a great BBQ alternative on a rainy day, we’d also say the Avance Grill is a great going away present for students who aren’t too comfortable in a kitchen, as it’s so easy to use.Philips Avance Grill 10.JPGThe Philips Avance Grill costs £120 and can be picked up from Argos and Homebase. Extra taste-infusing Smoker Chip packs in a handful of different flavours can be picked up for £7 from www.barbecook.com.



Brand Spotlight, Lifestyle & Gadgets

iPhone 5 helps Apple top CoolBrands survey

By Gerald Lynch on September 24th, 2012

iPhone-5-official-thumb-4.pngApple have topped the 2012/2013 CoolBrands survey, compiling which brands are seen as the most cool in the UK each year.

Cherry-picked by a group of key cultural influencers, including celebrities such as musician Carl Barat and DJ Rob da Bank, this year sees tech brands smashing the list, making up 45% of the top 20. Last year, tech brands accounted for just a quarter of the list.

Alongside Apple are tech companies including photography brand Nikon and audio/visual companies Bose and Bang & Olufsen.

So what’s turned tech from geek to chic? We’re putting it down to the Three A-s; accessibility, affordability and aspirational…ability.

Take an iPhone 5; it’s a top-end product, at the cutting edge of design, but you can walk down any highstreet and pick one up from multiple stores. It’s priced at a premium relative to its competitors, but not out of reach of the common man; having a glitzy new iPhone will still make you the envy of your mates without breaking the bank, while an Aston Martin remains the reserve of the super-rich. And the super-rich, in this austerity age of bogus bankers are a vilified gang that are about as cool as Chumbawamba at a Gary Glitter-themed karaoke night.

Free online services further back this up, with BBC iPlayer, Twitter and YouTube all making the top 20 cut.

It’s a sentiment that Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands Expert Council, mostly echoes:

“It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure. The presence of the online brands like BBC iPlayer, Twitter, YouTube and Skype are a great case in point.

“Perhaps, reflective of its lack of success since becoming a public company, Facebook has failed to join its peers in the top 20.”

For Facebook, it seems that overexposure has done it no cool-favours. When everyone and their dog uses a service, it reaches saturation point; taken for granted like a public transport system, but just as likely to irk and annoy.

The full CoolBrands 2012/13 top 20 is as follows:

1. Apple
2. YouTube
3. Aston Martin
4. Twitter
5. Google
6. BBC iPlayer
7. Glastonbury
8. Virgin Atlantic
9. Bang & Olufsen
10. Liberty
11. Sony
12. Bose
13. Häagen-Dazs
14. Selfridges
15. Ben & Jerry’s
16. Mercedes-Benz
17. Vogue
18. Skype
19. Nike
20. Nikon



features, Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Brandish guide to latest Amazon Kindles – Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD

By shinychris on September 7th, 2012

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By Becca Caddy, Shiny Shiny Editor

Last night Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled a number of highly anticipated new Kindle products and although they’d already been revealed in a US TV ad earlier in the week, the three new Kindle Fire tablets and Paperwhite eReader didn’t fail to impress us.

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the main announcements from Amazon:

Kindle Paperwhite

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The Kindle Paperwhite is an eReader with a capacitive touch display, which is totally different to standard black and white Kindles because it’s got a high resolution screen with 62% more pixels, 25% increased contrast, a 212 ppi display and a built-in light for reading in all kinds of conditions.

Jeff Bezos said at the event in California yesterday:

“Paperwhite is the Kindle we’ve always wanted to build — the technology didn’t exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it.”

The device has a pretty impressive 8 weeks battery life too, which Amazon claims will last even with the light on the whole time. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi (and free 3G connectivity in some areas), Whispersync technology that works for audio too and a new feature called Time to Read, which tells readers the amount of time it will take them to finish reading a certain chapter or a whole book based on reading speed.

The Paperwhite is 9.1mm thick and 7.5 ounces.

We’ve only got US details about the new Kindle Paperwhite for now, it’ll come in at $119 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is $179.

Kindle Fire HD

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This high-resolution iteration of the Kindle Fire comes in two new sizes, 8.9″ and 7″. The larger version has a 1920 X 1200 pixel resolution and the 7 inch model has a 1280 X 800 resolution.

Both devices have super durable Gorilla Glass with a laminated touchscreen that Amazon claims will reduce glare by 25%.

They also have stereo speaks and an HDMI port for connecting up to other devices.

The Kindle Fire HD also has two wi-fi antennas and Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology to improve internet speeds and connectivity. The bigger tablet can also be bought with 4G connectivity with a heftier price tag over in the US.

The 8.9″ tablet comes in at $299 / £159 and the smaller 7″ version is £159 for the 16GB version and £199 for the 32GB version.

Kindle Fire

The current Kindle Fire product has now been improved with all of the best features but with a faster process for 40% better performance, twice the amount of memory and a longer battery life too.

It’s been reduced to $159 / £129 too.

 



Lifestyle & Gadgets

Krups Barista EA 9000 is a coffee machine fit for James Bond

By Gerald Lynch on July 17th, 2012

 

For true coffee connoisseurs, getting the perfect morning pick-me-up can be a little tough. Unless you’re a fully trained barista or live near your favourite coffee house, you might struggle to get your first-thing coffee fix.

At a penny shy of £1300, the Krups Barista EA 9000, looking like the daddy of all home coffee machines, is on a mission to right this wrong. With a 4.3 inch touchscreen, integrated water filter system and the ability to make a wide range of ristrettos, espressos and coffees, it’s got enough smart features to turn the head of even a caffeine-craving James Bond.

An intelligent coffee machine, the Barita EA 9000 can store favourite drinks and blends, offering personalised choices for each member of the household. It’ll even keep a track of your favourite drink for different times of day, offering you perhaps an espresso in the morning and a cappuccino in the evening.

Unlike other coffee machines, there’s minimal maintenance with the EA 9000 too.  The steam nozzle (which on other machines is the first part to build up unsightly residue) automatically cleans itself, retreating back into the machine and tidying itself up so that you don’t have to get the scrubbing pad out after every cup.

Using a conical burr grinder, you should get the perfect ground-bean texture for each sort of coffee, with the top-loading bean bin good for an average of 12 coffees, depending on which beverage type you opt for the most.

If £1299.99 is a bit too steep an asking price for your morning blend, the full Krups range (including entry level models and accessories) is as follows:

Krups Automatic Espresso EA9000 – £1299.99
• Krups Automatic Espresso EA8320 – £799.99
• Krups Espresseria Automatic EA8260 – £699.99
• Krups Espresseria Automatic EA6930 – £549.99
• Krups Espresseria Automatic EA8005 – £399.99
• Krups Pump Espresso XP5240 – £199.99
• Krups Pump Espresso XP5210 – £149.99
• Krups Perfecto Pump Espresso – £149.99
• Krups Pro Aroma Filter Coffee Maker – £39.99
• Krups Burr Grinder – £39.99
• Krups Coffee Mill – £19.99
• Krups Automatic Milk Frother – £99.99

For more on the range, click here.

 



Accessories, Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

Sci-fi chic hits the Kindle with “War of the Worlds” cover

By Gerald Lynch on July 13th, 2012

Amazon’s Kindle eReader; a great device but, when compared to the luscious artwork that goes into the front cover of ye olde paperback tome, it’s a bit fugly.

Enter Red5′s Run for Cover eReader case range. Seriously stylish re-imaginings of classic novel covers, you can wrap your Kindle up in a protective folio for keyboard-packing Amazon devices.

There are six different designs to chose from, including Frankenstein, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Dracula and Wuthering Heights. But our favourite has to be the sleeve based on H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Tapping into the retro feel of Penguin’s classics collection, it’s a sweet mix of menace and sci-fi chic.

And, if you’re one of the gazillion people currently blushing their way through 50 Shades of Grey, you can hide your Kindle vices behind the covers of a classic. You’ll look like a literary whizz, when in reality you’re getting your wordy porn kicks.

They’re cheap as chips at £9.95, and if you’re rocking a Kobo Keyboard eReader, they’ll fit that too. Click here to grab one.



Lifestyle & Gadgets

MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Apple’s most stylish computer yet?

By Gerald Lynch on June 12th, 2012

mabook-pro-retina-3-640.jpgreview-line.JPGApple are calling it “the most beautiful computer we’ve ever made”, and “a whole new vision for the notebook.” And they’d be right. Super-slim and super-powerful, Apple’s new MacBook is catwalk-thin and man-bag ready, letting you get some serious work done thanks to high-spec internals without having to let your inner geek crack through your chic exterior. Apple mean business with the new MacBook Pro, and they’re doing it with style. Here, we pick out the computer’s five best features.

review-line.JPGRetina Display

A Retina Display in a MacBook Pro, like those found in the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and new iPad was one of the most hotly rumoured features of Apple’s new machine’s prior to launch, and thankfully it’s made the cut.

The killer feature of the new MacBook Pros, it sees the screen running at a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1800, hitting 220 ppi, or 5,184,000 pixels. That’s four times the pixels of the last generation MacBook Pro. It’s also 3 million pixels more than you’d find in a full HD TV, and offers improved contrast ratios and viewing angles, as well as considerable less glare in direct sunlight meaning you can work in the garden without giving yourself a squinty-eyed headache.

Super-thin looks

Apple have put the MacBook Pro on a serious diet. The new model is just 0.71-inches thick, making it 25% thinner than the current Pro.  At 4.46 pounds, it’s the lightest MacBook Pro Apple have ever built too. It’s not the slimmest  laptop on the market (that accolade belongs, for the time being at least, to Acer’s Aspire S5), but it’s the best looking, and up there with the most powerful of Ultrabooks.
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Snazzy graphics

Thanks to the combination of an Intel Ivy Bridge Processor (with configurations starting at 2.3GHz quad-core i7s) and NVIDIA’s latest mobile discrete graphics chips, the latest MacBook Pro is the fastest, most graphically capable laptop Apple have ever put together. Ivy Bridge offers a 60% improvement over the last generation of Intel’s integrated graphics solutions, while the NVIDIA GT 650M graphics chip inside means that Retina-troubling gaming resolutions shouldn’t be out of reach. Indeed, at WWDC 2012 Apple showed off an enhanced version of Diablo III running at a Retina Display resolution, with touched up graphics to make the most of the higher ppi. Here’s hoping other developers follow sit with their games. 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 LRAM as standard helps too, meaning intensive multi-tasking and video editing applications should always run without a stutter.

Better Connectivity

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display may well be dropping the optical disc drive of previous models, but it’s adding some key new features too. Most notably are two USB 3.0 ports and a HDMI input, two connections that have been sorely missing from previous models. As well as that, you’re also getting an SD slot, two superfast Thunderbolt ports, the thinner new MagSafe 2 connection, a 720p Facetime HD webcam, dual mics, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Oh, and a headphone jack too.

SSD Storage

Hard Disk Drives will soon be going the way of the Dodo in favour of SSD drives, as employed by Apple here. And for good reason; they allows the machines to be much thinner and lighter, as well as booting up incredibly quickly and allowing for fast application loading times and speedy file transfers. And, with no moving parts, your data is better protected against shock and drop damage, which is great for clumsy types.



Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

WHICH SHOULD I BUY? – Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 4S?

By Gerald Lynch on May 4th, 2012

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There was a time when every self-respecting man about time worth his salt wouldn’t be caught dead with any smartphone other than an Apple iPhone. And though Apple keep on delivering the goods year-on-year with updates to the range, Android smartphones are now every bit as desirable. The new best-in-class model is Samsung’s Galaxy S3. Revealed at a glitzy launch event in London last night, Brandish’s pals over at Tech Digest went hands-on with the new smartphone to get all the juicy details. Is it better than the iPhone 4S, or should you steer clear of the Samsung Galaxy S3? Read on to find out which smartphone you should be spending your money on!

review-line.JPGDesign and Build Quality

iPhone 4S
Though it’s a rehashed version of the iPhone 4 (with the dreadful antenna issues all ironed out) it’s hard to fault the iPhone 4S design. Whether you grab it in black or white, the angular unibody design with chrome trim oozes style. It’s arguably hit the sweetspot for mobile-phone size at 115.2 mm x 58.66 mm x 9.3 mm too. It does however lack a HDMI-out port, pretty much a standard with high-end Android handsets these days, and it’s a little delicate, with its glass prone to shattering if dropped from even a modest height.

Galaxy S3
Thin at just 8.6mm and light at 133g, the Galaxy S3 feels great in the hand, and slips almost invisibly into a pocket. Available in Pebble Blue and Marble White, its curved edges are meant to conjure memories of nature. However, its plasticy “Hyperglaze” finish lacks that premium feel, and some may decide the Galaxy S3 is a little flimsy, albeit unfairly.

Winner – iPhone 4S
galaxy-s3-screens-iphone.jpg
Screen

iPhone 4S
The latest iPhone’s Retina Display is pretty much as good as it gets for mobile display technology right now. Measuring 3.5 inches diagonally, it uses LED backlit IPS TFT LCD technology to deliver images at a staggering 326ppi. What the screen lacks in size it more than makes up for in detail, with vibrant colours, lush brightness and deep blacks.

Galaxy S3
A 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD display sits on the front of the Galaxy S3 and it’s gorgeous. Though its extra size and resolution mean it “only” hits a 309ppi pixel density, to the naked eye that won’t make a difference. Vibrant and colourful, it dwarfs the iPhone 4S screen, which is a far less comfortable size to view videos on. Bigger, in this case at least, is better.

Winner – Galaxy S3

Processor

iPhone 4S
Apple’s 800Mhz dual-core A5 chip may sound a little dated in this age of quad-core mobile CPUs, but thanks to Apple’s careful marriage of software and hardware, you’ll never find the iPhone 4S being overly taxed. You’ll fly through menu screens, tap away at breathtaking polygonal-3D gaming apps and playback detailed HD video without a stutter.

Galaxy S3
Samsung have popped a quad-core 1.4Ghz Exynos processor in the Galaxy S3. And despite having to push more pixels than the iPhone 4S (and running off the sometimes temperamental Android OS) there wasn’t a stutter or hang to be seen. This is one powerful phone, best presented by the Pop Up Play feature that offers true picture-in-picture multitasking, offering windowed HD video playback. Impressive is an understatement.

Winner – Galaxy S3

Storage

iPhone 4S
Though Apple’s iPhone 4S doesn’t offer expandable storage, they at least offer three different configurations when it comes to size. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPhone 4S models are all available, with pricing rising appropriately. It’s a crafty tactic though, as those opting for more storage space have to pop money directly into Apple’s coffers, rather than picking up cheaper expandable storage elsewhere. With the iCloud back-up feature too you’ve got a little leeway with which to store files remotely too, though extensive cloud storage through Apple doesn’t come cheaply.

Galaxy S3
Samsung’s generous storage options make Apple look very cheap here. For starters, you’ve got the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB handset options. Add on to that the option of popping in as much as an extra 64GB from a microSD card. Then pile on top the 50GB of FREE Dropbox cloud storage that comes as standard with every Galaxy S3 purchase. There’s no competition here.

Winner – Galaxy S3
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Battery

iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S is said to have 200 hours worth of battery standby time, 8 hours talk time on 3G, 14 hours talk time on 2G, 6 hours 3G browsing, 9 hours Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video playback or 40 hours of audio playback. In reality however, you’re going to be juggling through all these tasks (at times simultaneously) throughout a day, meaning that you’re going to need to recharge that battery long before the day is done.

Galaxy S3
Samsung have popped in a whopping 2100mAh battery in the Galaxy S3. It sounds awesome, but remember there’s a massive screen to power, as well as a quad-core processor draining juice all the time. Touches like the Smart Stay tech should keep battery usage as low as possible, but we can’t pass judgement here till we’ve put the phone through its paces for a bit longer. We’ll call it a tie for now.

Winner – Tie

Software and Apps

iPhone 4S
Apple say there’s an app for everything, and with the iOS App Store, that’s pretty much true. With over 500,000 different apps available in Apple’s store, there’s pretty much an app to cater for every potential need. From fitness to finance, arts to archaeology, you name it, there’s a shed load of apps for every possible niche. Gaming in particular is well served on the iPhone, with it more than a match for handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita these days. Just check out Infinity Blade 2 if you need convincing.

The iPhone 4S also features the much-publicised Siri voice control app. With it, you can search the web, set calendar reminder, dictate emails and much more with just your voice alone. In the US it’s a fully-featured service that has a giant database of details on local businesses and events. In the UK, it’s far less comprehensive in terms of what it can do, making it a bit of a novelty for the time being.

As for the iOS operating system itself, it’s incredibly easy to use and looks beautiful. It pretty much invented the grid-based app layout that everything from the Xbox 360 to Roku entertainment players have ripped off since. It is also however incredibly limited in terms of customisation, and if you’re a tinkerer who likes to get under the hood of his device and tweak every property and potential UI layout, it’s not a patch on Android.

Galaxy S3
The Galaxy S3 runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich. When it comes to apps, Android just can’t compete with iOS. For starters there are fewer apps available, and they tend to be uniformly less visually appealing than similar ones available on the Apple App Store.

Likewise, Android is a far less user-friendly OS, but what it lacks in dummy-proofing, it excels with customisation options. You can make your Android look and act pretty much however you want it to, freely adding widgets and personal touches throughout the device.

Samsung have also gone a long way to stamping their own touches into the software of the phone too. As well as the aforementioned Pop Up Play feature, there’s superfast data sharing over NFC with S Beam, intelligent facial recognition and photo tagging capabilities, eye-tracking screen dimming tech called Smart Stay and their own Siri rival called S Voice.

Winner – iPhone 4S
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Camera and Video Recording

iPhone 4S
Though its megapixel count of 8 isn’t any higher than the majority of top-tier smartphones the iPhone 4S’s imaging systems consistently deliver stunning results. Using a lens with an aperture of f/2.4, and combining that with clever HDR and Macro software, you get excellent still image results almost every time. A super-fast shutter speed that lets you snap multiple images directly after each other sweetens the deal, as do the many superb photography apps on the App Store. However, you can’t tweak sensitivity settings like white balance and exposure, which may irk pro photographers.

1080p video recording with anti-shake functionality likewise returns brilliant results on the iPhone 4S, with the iMovie app letting you make a few simple edits on the go.

Galaxy S3
Samsung’s top-tier smartphone camera seems every bit as good as the iPhones. Again, it’s an 8MP offering, with impressive start up speeds of 990ms, and the ability to fire off 3.3 photos a second. A 20 in a row, six photos per second, burst mode also features, alongside Best Shot, which takes 8 pictures and picks out the best based on framing, lighting and blur, as well as elements such as open or closed eyes on the subject.

Then there are the facial recognition features. Snap a friend, tag them in one photo, and every subsequent picture you take of them in the future should automatically be tagged accurately by the handset. Groups of people appearing in the same shots can also have group tags associated with them, making organising large photo libraries incredibly easy. Images can quickly be shared via email or social networks using this feature too.

Elsewhere, more standard features like High Dynamic Range (HDR), panorama, Smile Shot and Beauty Modes are onboard too, as well as plenty of manual settings for things like Exposure values.

Though we spent less time with it, 1080p video recording is also onboard. Just like the S2 before it, the results from our early tests looked a real treat, with video stabilisation options working superbly. Up front, a 1.9MP camera for video calling and shooting 720p video is also available.

Winner – Tie

Price

iPhone 4S
Unlocked, the iPhone 4S in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes cost £499, £599 and £699 respectively.

Galaxy S3
We’re still waiting for official pricing for the Galaxy S3, but if the Galaxy S2 was anything to go by, expect premium pricing. The S2 started at around £500 SIM-Free too depending on retailer, so we’d imagine things to be similar with the Galaxy S3.

Winner – Tie

review-line.JPGOverall Winner – Samsung Galaxy S3

There’s not much in it, and the Apple faithful will likely see nothing that will make them change their ways, but our first impressions of the Galaxy S3 suggest it may be the best smartphone on the market today. A great camera, superb screen and innovative software features show Samsung have really pushed the boat out with the Galaxy S3. If the price proves right, and the battery is up to scratch, we could have a new smartphone king on our hands. Remember though, the iPhone 4S is based on a design (that of the iPhone 4) that is now a couple of years old. With the iPhone 5 launch almost certainly looming, the tables could turn yet again very quickly…

review-line.JPG



Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

Should I buy a new iPad 3? Dissecting the hype behind Apple’s latest tablet

By Gerald Lynch on March 16th, 2012

Launching three new versions of their swanky iPad tablet in as many years, chances are you’re already pretty familiar with the Apple gadget that’s leading the charge for a whole new era of mobile computing. You may even have one already, swiping through your iPad to read this very post. How meta!

Today, Apple unleash a brand new version of the iPad, with queues wrapping around the block outside many an Apple retail store, and the entire online pre-order stock already snapped up until April.

So what’s so special about the new iPad 3? Is it worth your money if you haven’t already got a tablet, and is it a worthy upgrade if you’ve already got an original iPad or iPad 2? Scroll down for our gut reaction on the new generation device’s key improvements, and the areas we feel it’s still lacking in.

5 things that are great about the new iPad

    1. The Retina Display: Apple’s new iPad packs in brand new screen technology, similar to the super-high resolution display found in their iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S mobile phones. Still 9.7 inches in size, the Retina Display has a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. That adds up to 3.1 million pixels, approximately 1 million more than you’d see on an average 1080p HD TV. In other words, high-res images look as close to printed pictures as they possibly can, text is more readable than ever, and individual pixels are practically indistinguishable.
    2. Faster A5X processor: Claiming to be 4x faster than their Nvidia rivals, the new chip inside the latest iPad should allow for superior performance across all apps, and allow for more graphically intense games to feature too. If developers get their act together, it shouldn’t be too big a gap between the quality of PS3, Xbox 360 and iPad games now.
    3. Better camera: After putting a dismal camera into the iPad 2, the new iPad finally has a decent imaging system. The “iSight” camera can take 5MP stills and capture 1080p video, which should lead to some very nice results when paired with the new iPhoto image editing app and the updated iMovie video editing app.
    4. 4G mobile connectivity: If you’re a reader in the US, the new iPad is now compatible with superfast LTE mobile broadband, which will make downloading larger apps or streaming video on the go a speedy joy.
    5. Price: Despite all the new features, the new iPad retains the same pricing structure as the last generation. So for just £399, you can walk away today with the basic 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad 3. If you’ve been saving up for an iPad 2, jumping straight up to the new iPad 3 won’t cost you any extra notes.

5 reasons not to care about the new iPad

  1. 4G doesn’t work yet in the UK: With Ofcom still divvying up the new 4G spectrum in the UK, it’s going to be likely more than a year (at the very earliest) before the 4G standard is widely available in the UK. The new iPad will still be faster over mobile internet than older generations thanks to an improved antenna system, but the incredible speeds that 4G allows for will be out of reach to those in Blighty.
  2. It’s thicker and heavier than last years model: It’s only a slight difference, near invisible to the naked eye, but the new iPad is bulkier than the iPad 2. Using the Wi-Fi models as an example, the iPad 2 is 8.8 mm thick and weighs 600 grammes. The new iPad Wi-Fi only by comparison measures 9.4 mm thick and weighs 650 grammes. It’s not a massive difference, but will be noticeable to those used to the svelte lines of the iPad 2.
  3. The iPad 2 is now way cheaper: While the new iPad is reasonably priced at £399, if you’re not fussed about the new features, the iPad 2 now sits attractively at £329 for the basic model, brand new. Second hand iPad 2′s will likely be drastically cheaper again than that price too.
  4. No Siri: With the iPhone 4S Apple introduced the voice controlled personal assistant feature Siri, which can help manage your calendar, find directions, take notes and search the apps and media stored on your device, as well as a ton of other cool features, just by speaking to it. The iPad 3 gets voice dictation. Seems a bit of a let down, and perhaps even a little cheap on Apple’s behalf if they’re withholding this for a future generation of the tablet. Which leads onto our next point…
  5. Apple almost certainly have something EVEN better lined up: Just prior to the iPad 3 launch, rumours were shooting around the web that Apple were going to be squeezing in new cutting-edge touchscreen technology into the new iPad. Apparently in talks with a company called Senseg who specialise in displays that react to touch differently depending on what’s displayed onscreen, it turned out not to make the cut for the final product. But knowing Apple, it’s likely that the Senseg technology, along with a host of other improvements, are being held back for future updates to their tablet, as they drip feed new features in with each successive update to the device, encouraging existing owners to splash more cash with an upgrade.

Should I buy a new iPad?

If you’ve been waiting to jump onto the tablet bandwagon, the new iPad is easily the most advanced offering out on the market, and, backed by the superb App Store and intuitive iOS user interface, it’s the slickest and easiest to use too. The screen looks great, it’s faster than its predecessor’s and it’s no more expensive than earlier versions.

If however you have an iPad 2, it’s a little more difficult to say. Without 4G connectivity in the UK, the new iPad isn’t quite as impressive as it could be, and unless you’re really into gaming or image/video editing, the new camera and screen upgrades wont mean that much to you. Also,  if you’ve never owned a tablet before, and are strapped for cash, the iPad 2 is now available from a number of retailers and second-hand stores for a really great price.

Overall though, we’d say grab the new iPad if you can afford to. The screen really is a revelation in our opinion, and you’ll be the envy of your mates with your shiny new tech toy.



Brand Spotlight, Celeb style, Collaborations, features, Lifestyle & Gadgets, Trends

Spencer Hart collaborate with Samsung

By Laura on January 1st, 2012

A few weeks ago we were invited to one of our favourite Savile Row tailors, Spencer Hart, to learn about their recent collaboration with Samsung.

The collaboration involves integrating mobile technology into the traditional craft of Savile Row design and lifestyle tailoring. To be perfectly honest I was a bit skeptical at first, but as soon as I saw how the tailors were able to use the Samsung Galaxy Note, all doubts disappeared.

The Samsung Galaxy Note features the S Pen – and advanced pen-input technology combined with a full touch 5.3” HD Super AMOLED screen for sketching, editing documents or annotating images. Spencer Hart founder Nick Hart is using this technology to complement the traditional tools of tailoring for measuring up clients and showcasing different fabrics, fits and designs.

We had a chance to speak to Nick Hart about the collaboration. He explained how it is changing the way they work stating: “In our world we spend time with our clients to make sure everything is perfect and there’s a huge amount of detail we need to record to create clothing that’s tailor-made to them. When you work with high profile people things need to be done quickly and you’ve got to be flexible – using this new technology will make us more efficient as a business and allow more time for creativity.

“And of course it’s not just for work. I travel a lot and I’m always looking for new ideas. The Galaxy Note means I can capture inspiration while on the move, through images, memos and sketches, and share them instantly with colleagues, suppliers and even clients!”

The Samsung Galaxy Note devices is now being used in store at the Spencer Hart flagship at 62/64 Brook Street, London.



features, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Introducing Saint craft lager

By Laura on November 16th, 2011

A few weeks ago, The Saint Brewing Co sent Brandish one of the very first bottles of their new lager – Saint.
The Saint Brewing Co, has spent two years developing Saint, and it has definitely paid off. It is a wonderful tasting lower-carbonated lager, with distinct sharp citrus taste, floral and soft fruit notes.

The Saint Brewing Co hails from Manchester and are making a name for themselves as a leader in the craft lager revival.

Independently made in small batches, Saint has developed a lager that brings contemporary style to craft brewing. Combine their unique process with high quality ingredients, and you get the fresh tasting, light bodied and easy to drink Saint.

Steve Wilkinson, head brew master for Saint said, “For too long the lager market’s been dominated by a dated range of continental brands, all of which taste pretty much the same: overly bitter and gassy. Saint’s something different, something new: light, fresh and, best of all, genuinely British.”

This is probably one of the best lagers we have had in a long time, so can’t wait for it to be available in bars nationwide in January.



Lifestyle & Gadgets

Puttluck: The first ever iPhone app to feature a live competition with prizes

By Laura on August 10th, 2011

Everyone loves a good game of golf, but lets face it not all of us have the time or money to hit the green.
So what if you could play a game and even win real prizes, all in the comfort of your own home?
That is the very idea behind our new favourite app Puttluck.

The app uses the gyroscopic abilities of the iPhone 4, allowing the game to emulates putting. In other words it is like the Wii, only for your phone. The game features a nine-hole course with a variety of increasingly difficult putts and two difficulty levels.

In addition Puttluck is about to launch their third competition of 2011, in conjunction with The PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, Georgia. Taking place from 11th August to 14th August 2011, participants have the chance to win £500 worth of Black Widow golf goodies including everything from grips, cleats, and tees.

The object of the game is for players complete the nine hole course with the lowest score in the quickest time possible. The players’ score and time are recorded and this will determine the overall winner. The score on each hole is added together, giving a grand total after the nine holes have been played. As players complete the nine holes scores will be posted onto the live leader board within the Game Centre, allowing all competitors from across the globe to monitor who is in the lead. Competitors can play the nine holes and post as many scores as they like during the tournament, so get practicing.

The app is available for download here in the iTunes store for 59p.



Competitions And Promotions, features, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Competition: Break Free from traffic with a brand new GO LIVE 820 TomTom SatNav

By Laura on July 28th, 2011

We have teamed up with our friends over at TomTom to help you break free from traffic by giving you the chance to win a brand new GO LIVE 820 satnav!

TomTom recently commissioned a study to find out more about the psychological effect of traffic on drivers. They discovered that it’s not just a massive pain, but can actually increase stress levels. In fact women suffered an 8.7% increase in stress from driving in traffic, whilst men suffered a staggering increase of 60%. The report went on to suggest that long term exposure to traffic related stress could potentially become hazardous to your health.

TomTom kindly wants to help one of our readers break free from traffic by offering you the chance to win a new GO LIVE 820.The device comes complete with TomTom’s HD traffic service, providing updates every two minutes to help drivers steer clear of delays. In fact it delivers accurate traffic information seven times quicker than any other provider and gives you speed camera warnings, weather reports and information obtained via Local Search with Google.

To celebrate the launch of the GO LIVE 820, TomTom have recruited a host of UK celebrities including John Cleese, Chris Kamara, Scott Mills, and Ronan O’Gara to provide a little comic relief around the stresses of being stuck in traffic.

So if you would like have a chance of winning a GO LIVE 820 device worth £199.99, visit and
‘Like’ the official TomTom Facebook page, watch the John Cleese video and answer the
following question in the comments section below:

What three items does John Cleese take out of his glove compartment?

a) Bunny ears, rubber gloves and a CD
b) Sun glasses, a tennis ball and a CD
c) A sandwich, a bowler hat and a CD

(Competition closes on Thursday 25th August 2011. Only UK fans will be eligible to win the prize. Winner will be picked at random.)



features, health, Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

Skate For Cancer takes on France

By Laura on June 2nd, 2011

Skate for Cancer (S4C) was started by Rob Dyer after he lost a number of important people including his mother to Cancer. Anyone who has ever met Rob will tell you that he is a truly inspirational individual who turned something very tragic into a source of inspiration, dedicating himself to raising awareness of cancer amongst young people.

In 2004, S4C was formed as a project that would see him and his crew skate across North America, building awareness and raising money to fight cancer. Since then he has now skateboarded across North America, New Zealand and Australia. Next up he will be tacking France

S4C is about “inspiring youth and building a community of informed people who were hyped on getting involved and making healthy choices that prevented contracting the disease in the first place. Rob always understood the importance of medical research, but felt that his purpose was to focus more on the preventative lifestyle decisions that are often ignored by many charities. Instead of concentrating on collecting money for research, Rob preferred to inspire people…”

Rob is an amazing individual who proves on a daily basis just how much one can achieve with a little bit of passion. To follow his journey as he prepares to for his Skate across France you can check out his blog here.



Entertainment, iPhone App, Lifestyle & Gadgets

Augmented reality race game launched for the AR.Drone

By Laura on May 17th, 2011

Parrot have just announced AR.Race a cool new game for the AR.Drone.

The AR Drone, in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out is a remote controlled quadrotor helicopter with built in wifi and 2 cameras – controlled via the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. Parrot, have now launched a free racing game on the app store that will allow 1-4 pilots to challenge each other on the same circuit bring users a whole new experience.

Five game levels are available, with or without the use of the inflatable items which include a 2 pylons with a finishing line and a donut. Check out some of the pictures of the game in action in the gallery.

The game will be available for free on the App Store from 7 June

AR.Race

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Picture 2 of 3



Lifestyle & Gadgets, Watches

Casio launched Formula 1 predictor game on Facebook

By Laura on May 17th, 2011

Formula 1 fan? Then make sure you check out the Facebook game Casio lauched last month. Users have to try and predict specific race times from each Grand Prix for the chance to winning various prizes, including a VIP trip to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Casio EDIFICE watches and more.

Each week, you are asked to ‘Guess the Time’ of the driver in pole position and the fastest lap time of Casio’s Formula 1 partner Red Bull Racing. Users will be entered into a draw every week they play.

players who guess either time correctly get to go on a tour of the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes, and the users who come closest each week overall will win one of Casio’s latest EDIFICE watches.

I have had a chance to check out the EDIFICE watch… and trust me they are pretty awesome. You can check out the game here.




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