GoPro Hero 8 Review: 2020

Today I’ll be reviewing the GoPro Hero 8 Black.

 

I’ve been using the GoPro for the last few weeks and have been testing out all its features in video and photo-taking.

 

So today, I’ll be giving you guys some insight into what the Hero 8 does well and some of its downfalls.

 

Before we get started though, I also made a YouTube Video reviewing the GoPro which you can check out down below if you prefer video.

 

Contents

Design Voice Controls
Features Video
GoPro Colour Profile Livestreaming
Microphone Cons
Menu System / Presets Conclusion


Design

Design-wise the Hero 8 has a small pocketable form factor with a grippy textured body. The lens is quite large in comparison and a microphone is positioned right beneath.

GoPro Hero 8

On the side of the camera, you have the mode button to switch between time-lapse, video and camera modes, and a long press will power the camera on and off. 

 

There's an additional microphone right beside the mode switch to pick up more sound.

 

The other side has a detachable battery door, which pops off quite easily, and inside is the battery, SD card slot, and USB C port. 

 

 

Underneath is 2 mounting fingers which make it easy to attach to the wide range of GoPro accessories. The main ones I used were the helmet mount, and chesty for mountain bike riding, running and hiking but there's so many too chose from.

 

I also used the chesty mount on my dog who is a medium-sized dog, he's a Staffy so it’s well suited for medium to larger breeds but not so well suited for smaller breeds.

 

Once the mountings are extended they uncover a speaker used to playback the audio from the footage which is reasonably loud given its size.

 

gopro hero 8 speaker

 

The touch screen on the rear is responsive and has a clear display to show what's in the frame for each shot.

 

gopro hero 8 touch screen

 

On top there's a large button for recording and taking photos which I found to be reasonably easy to operate whilst holding onto the camera with a single hand.

 

To test how long the battery lasted, I did a battery rundown test with the camera set to continuous recording at 4k60 fps, with high bit rate recording at 100mbps, GPS and wireless-enabled. 

 

The 1200 milliamp hour battery lasted 50 minutes before completely running flat, which I guess is to be expected given the micro size. The hottest the camera got in that time was just 32 degrees celcius.

 

In case you owned previous models of GoPro, those batteries are all compatible with the Hero8 but some features aren’t available such as Hypersmooth stabilization set to boost and a few other features.

 

You could squeeze some extra time out of the batteries by disabling the GPS and wireless connection, turning off the recording lights and changing the settings to completely power down the GoPro when you switch it off,  because even if you do power it down you might not think it but it’s still using battery. 

 

This is because it’s by default set to standby to quickly power on and be ready for the next shot or video,  so all these little things will get some extra run time out of the battery but if your out shooting for a full day I would take back up batteries with you.

Features

 

Onto the Hero 8 features now with Hypersmooth definitely being a standout, it removes shakiness out of the footage eliminating the need for a gimbal when recording video.

 

I found out of the four stabilization settings, Hypersmooth set to “ON” worked well whilst only applying a 10% crop to the frame, which isn’t much at all and still allowed me to get everything I wanted into the shot.  

 

I took some footage side by side with stabilization turned on and off to give you an idea of the difference it makes when you're doing any kind of action sports.

 

This is where the Hero 8 really performs well, eliminating the need for any extra stabilization equipment, letting you focus more on capturing the kind of video you want.

 

The second most noteworthy feature is Timewarp, which allows you to record a time-lapse in 4k resolution and switch to real-time mid-way through recording.

You are able to do this by simply by tapping on the screen which slows the time-lapse down to realtime, to return to time-lapse mode you just tap the screen again recording speeds up.

 

I found this to be useful if you really want to highlight certain parts of time-lapse if your walking around, instead of just capturing one scene like in normal time-lapses it gives you a lot more flexibility.

 

There are also 4x digital lenses to capture the best view of what your up to, including a super wide 16mm lens, Wide 16-34mm, Linear 19-39mm, and narrow 27mm. 

 

For me, keeping it on Superview which uses the wider lense is great for action sports and point of view perspectives, capturing both the activity and some scenery into the shot, giving it a better overall look.

 

People forget that GoPro actually started out as solely a camera that took pictures, with no capability for video. Improvements have been made in photo taking as well. It isn’t as powerful as some of the flagship smartphone cameras, which is kind of odd to consider.

 

With a 12 megapixel camera which when coupled with the SuperPhoto preset really enhances images with more detail and sharpness when taking photos with HDR it removes motion blur, so both of these presets turn out some really nice images.

art mural on building

 

There is also the ability to shoot in RAW which any serious photographers out there will love for the extra flexibility it provides in post. These images were shot in RAW to give you an idea of how you can enhance them using Photoshop to allow you to give the image your own personal touch and look you were going for.

GoPro Hero 8 RAW photo

above: RAW unedited photo

RAW photo GoPro Hero 8

above: photo after edit

LiveBurst is another feature that is similar to what you get on your smartphone where you take a lot of images in a very short amount of time.

 

It takes 90 images in a 3-second short video, recording 1.5 seconds before the shutter button is pressed and 1.5 seconds after. This makes it easy to scrub through each frame and pick out the perfect shot you want or share a 3-second video clip in 4k resolution.

 

Another time-lapse mode available is Night Lapse,  I had it recording whilst digging up the backyard for a good hour to make some veggie patches. It captured everything quite well and even caught the sunrise in the background.

 

GoPro Colour Profile

When shooting videos I was impressed with GoPros color profile. It's close to representing what the eye sees and especially in well-lit conditions when the camera's sensor is getting a lot of light.

example of gopro colour profile

above: Screenshot from Video shot with GoPro Colour profile

 

The sky looks vibrant, trees and grass, and even people's skin tone was close to spot on, overall the image has a nice graded look to it. Most serious video creators though will want to use the flat shooting profile to have that extra flexibility in post, similar to shooting photos in RAW.

 

For most users though, GoPro Colour will do fine. 

 

Microphone

 

The internal microphone picks up decent quality audio, but I did find that even though they say the wind noise reduction is there I had it set to auto and still noticed quite a bit of wind noise getting through when mountain biking.

 

Another point to keep in mind is that when using the Timewarp feature slowing down to real-time there was no audio being recorded which isn’t great if you’ve decided to capture a special moment mid time-lapse that the audio is an important part of.

 

Who knows maybe with a firmware update they could make the microphone work during a time warp when switching to real-time.

Menu System / Presets

 

Navigating the menu system to change settings on the camera was really easy, within just a few taps you can change video settings, switch between time-lapse and photo, and the display itself is easy to see and responsive. 

 

One of the main problems previously for a lot of people who owned GoPros had was knowing what settings to adjust for different video shooting situations. 

 

On the Hero 8 they’ve made it super easy by creating 4 pre-made movie shooting presets that make it really easy to just choose a preset and point and shoot.

 

In particular, I found the Activity preset was well suited for action sports and any kind of activity where you are moving around a lot.

 

It also extends the time you can shoot using a resolution of 2.7k 60fps instead of 4k, so, smaller file sizes. The other 3 presets include Standard 1080p 60, Slo-Mo 1080p in 240 frames a second which is a lot of fun, and a more Cinematic shot in 4k 30.

 

If there's one thing I would change about the presets though, it would be the ability to change the names of custom presets you make.

 

Yes, there is a long list of names to choose from, but sometimes you want slight variations of an already named preset, and it would be really convenient to name them individually so they’re easy to find without having to dig through each preset menu.

 

Voice Controls

 

Voice control is a handy feature and supports a total of 14 different commands.

My experience with this was the picture, video and time-lapse ones worked reliably but it was a little hit and miss. Some didn’t work at all, so it pays to check the picture was taken or it’s started recording.

 

If your hands are full though or you're in a precarious place trying to take a photo, I can see how these would come in handy. The standard start and stop recording or take a picture worked pretty consistently though.

 

Video

 

The Hero 8 Black will record up to 4k 60fps at it’s maximum quality however Hypersmooth Boost stabilization is unavailable at this setting, it is however available in 4k30.

 

There is also the option to record with a bit rate of 100mbps which is great for capturing the highest possible detail, but there is a slight trade-off of larger file sizes.

 

If you want the best possible quality footage then recording with a flat color profile and low sharpness will give you a completely different looking video after editing in post.

 

For those underwater diving enthusiasts out there, the Hero 8 can go down to a depth of 10m, any deeper than that though and you’ll want to use the enclosure accessory which allows for a total depth of up to 60m.

 

Live Streaming: YouTube, Facebook Live

 

You can also live-stream to YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch not Instagram though as it’s not yet been enabled on the platform.

 

Cons

 

So far I’ve covered all the features and great parts of the camera but there are also some downsides.

 

The battery door for one is definitely not ideal, the door actually detaches super easily, and to remove the battery there is this little plastic tab that seems too basic for this camera.

 

It would of been better I think if they incorporated the same design as you would see in a DSLR where theres a small spring and latch that locks the battery in place and you simply move it aside to release the battery which brings me to the location of the SD card.

 

You can’t physically remove the SD card without first removing the battery and even then you will want to have pretty good dexterity in your fingers to release it from the card bay.

 

I feel like this could have been positioned somewhere a little more user friendly instead of having to remove the battery completely to gain access to it.

 

The menu system did freeze up on me a few times which left me having to power down the camera and restart it. 

 

I also had a few instances while shooting in burst mode at 12 megapixels where the camera completely froze after taking the shots. Which again I could only get around by powering it down and turning it back on again, and the images hadn’t processed or saved to the SD card which was kind of disappointing.

 

My only concerns with this camera are how unprotected the lens is and rear LCD though there are screen and lens protectors available you can also subscribe to GoPro plus for $5 a month which gives you a maximum of 2 replacement cameras per year if anything happens to it in that time.

 

If you want to keep the lens damage free I would either invest in the screen protector kit ($20) or for another $80 you can get an enclosure called a Super Suite (links down below).

 

Conclusion

 

Apart from those couple of points, the GoPro Hero 8 performed really well for what I was using it for. The lens captures a sharp image and the higher bit rate for recording in both 2.7k and 4k makes it an ideal pocketable action camera.

 

The GoPro audio and light mods available make it a lightweight option for vloggers too, so it’s well worth considering if you're looking for a super lightweight setup for vlogging.

 

All in all, this is definitely an impressive little camera for taking traveling or on an adventure, with some powerful features that will serve anyone looking to up their video game, and still be able to take really nice images. 

 

The thing to consider is if it serves a purpose between a larger DSLR camera and your smartphone. 

 

I think for action sports or outdoor activities it definitely has a place, smartphones definitely burn through battery shooting in 4k though and DSLRs can run a much higher price. You definitely need to carry extra batteries on board if you are out for a full day of shooting with the GoPro however.

 

What makes the GoPro so good is its the small form factor. GoPro is pretty well known for having a rugged build and the quality of video and images they can produce are impressive.

 

I can definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a super small pocketable camera to take traveling. It’s also perfect for recording some interesting point of view shots in whatever sport your into without having to worry about shakiness in the footage.

 

There will be a link to the GoPro Hero8 along with some of the accessories I used to film below.

 

Amazon Links GoPro Hero 8

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/2AWlVVu (Australia)

(PAID LINK)https://amzn.to/3gT7TmN (US)

Chesty Accessory

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/2CsoWgF (Australia) (PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/3iU9z17 (US)

Helmet mount

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/2Zku0fM (Australia)

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/2C3UklG (US)

Enclosure (Super Suit)

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/2OuOrAN (Australia)

(PAID LINK) https://amzn.to/32igRWq (US)

Lens protector kit https://gopro.com/en/au/shop/mounts-a…

How to build a 4k video editing PC in 2020

Intro

This is a step by step guide here to building a 4k editing PC in 2020 on a budget. Featuring the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU, today we’re going to get started by going over the hardware installation, basically assembling the PC. Then moving on to downloading and installing the drivers and finally seeing how it performs.

My goal here was to build a 4k editing work station, without wasting money on unnecessary components. After testing it, and editing a video for YouTube it held up well!

Jump to a section

The Parts

Setting up/ Things you’ll need

CPU Installation

CPU Cooler Installation

Memory Installation

Prepping the Case

Motherboard Installation

Power Supply Installation

Front Panel Connectors

Fans

Hard Drives and SSDs

Power Cables

Graphics Card Installation

Cable Management

Conclusion

 

Setting up/ Things you’ll need

Tools needed are a magnetic parts tray, a knife, pair of side cutters, needle nose pliers, thermal compound, cable ties, and  a size 1 and size 2 Philips head screwdriver.

 

Set up anti static workspace

Open up power supply, flip switch to off position, plug it in to ground chassis.

To remove any static electricity built up in your body you simply place your hand on the power supply.

corsair 500 watt power supply unit

Another way to prevent static electricity is to not build a PC in a carpeted room stick to a wooden or tiled floor but if you can’t help that setting up a static safe work environment is the next best call.

Clear some space in work area

Next start with your mother board.

Goal: build a 4k editing work station, without wasting money on unnecessary components.

Next start with your mother board. After unpackaging the motherboard go ahead and set the I.O. shield aside for later on.

Use the motherboard box as a test bench, it keeps debris away from the board that might be on your work surface. It’s also an alternative to one of those anti-static mats you can buy.

motherboard box test bench

CPU Installation

 

For this build, the CPU I chose was the  AMD ryzen 5 2600. It has 6 cores which is enough to handle 4k editing. Its base clock speed is 3.4GHz and can boost up to  3.9Ghz.

amd ryzen 5 2600 CPU

Time to install it.

Step 1

Take your CPU out of it’s packaging and take not of the golden triangle on the lower left side of the CPU. 

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU golden triangle mark

This triangle lines up with the triangle on the processor socket. Turn the CPU to match the 2 triangles up.

Gigabyte B450 gaming AM4 Socket triangle marker

Step 2

Lift the Metal arm on the CPU socket out and all the way up, lower the processor into the socket.

 

It shouldn’t take any force to drop in if it does the orientation is incorrect or the metal arm hasn’t been raised. Once it’s dropped into place lower the metal arm back down and now the CPU is installed.

 

Memory Installation

For our memory I’ve gone with a nice low latency DDR4 3000 kit from Corsair. I went with 16gigs of ram in an 8gig by 2 configuration. This allows for dual channel operation for better performance and gives us plenty of expansion for the future so I can go up to 32gigs with no problems.

corsair ddr4 3000mhz vengance lpx memory

 

Start by pulling back the tabs for the ram slot this motherboard both sides will pull back but some more modern boards you can only pull back one of the two.

When lining up the memory carefully check the position of the notch, in order for it to fit in the slot correctly. 

line it up and then push firmly on both sides until you hear a click on each end.

 

SSD installation

Nows it’s time to install the N.2 SSD I’m using a 250Gig 970 from Samsung but the instructions are the same regardless.

samsung 970 ssd

 

First find the N.2 slot on your motherboard, hold the SSD up against it to see which mounting post is going to be suitable.

This one is already in the right position to suit this SSD so all we need to do is remove the screw and set it aside on the magnetic tray so we don’t lose it.

You won’t need a lot of force when installing your SSD hand tight is just fine. As for the drive itself, it installs just like laptop memory.

So you go up at an angle, push it into the slot and then just hold it down in place while you're screwing it in.

SSD install

Something to watch out for here guys is that while most computer screws are size 2 Philips these are usually size 1s. So you're probably going to need to change your bit before you finish installing.

CPU cooling installation

Now lets turn our attention to cooling, AMD processors come with a heat sink in the box and also come from the factory with thermal compound already applied, which ensures proper heat transfer to keep your CPU cool.

wraith CPU cooler

First remove the brackets that came already fitted to the motherboard the cooler screws directly to the motherboard so you won't need these. The backing plate won’t be removed we will use this to screw the cooler into so it can stay in place.

remove brackets B450

When you're fitting the heat sink first make sure that where the cable is coming out is somewhat close to the CPU fan connector on the motherboard.

 

The screws are spring-loaded so you do need to apply some pressure as you're screwing them in to get started on the thread.

installing CPU cooler

I recommend getting all 4 started then tightening down evenly so that there is equal pressure onto the CPU you don’t won’t uneven contact so tighten them down until they’re firm.

 

 As your going it pays to package back up the boxes and put them aside away from your work area to keep it nice and tidy, it saves you having to do a big clean up at the end.

 

Preparing case

NZXT H510i case

I went with the NZXT 510 mid tower case because it has nice cable management options, a glass side panel which is going back in the box to keep it scratch-free until the build is done.

You can see inside the case here is a pretty standard layout there is a bottom mounted power supply, standard ATX layout and then an exhaust fan out the back.

 

As I’m removing screws from the case to keep them safe I’m putting them in this magnetic parts tray, you can write on the tray itself if you aren’t going to remember where they went or alternatively you can use zip lock backs with labels to do the same.

 

 

Motherboard Installation

Now it’s time to install the motherboard, to do that, we’re going to need to install the I.O shield first.

 

Do a test fit of the IO shield over the ports on the motherboard before you install it to make sure it’s got enough clearance, otherwise they can stick into the ports and short them out which we definitely don’t want to happen.

 

Now we install it into the back of the case by lining it up, then pressing on each corner.

 

The last thing we need to check, is if the correct standoffs are installed inside the case.

This one is good it’s actually got the 9 standard ATX ones pre-installed including one of these handy locator stand off  that will hold the board in place for you while your screwing in the rest of them.

 

Because this is a micro ATX mother board we’ll be removing these outside 2 standoffs and the middle one needs to move in 1 hole to correctly line up with the mounting holes in the motherboard. To do that, grab some long nose pliers and unscrew the 2 standoffs to re-position the middle one

^Before^

case stand offs

^After^

Be careful to check the standoffs before installing your motherboard because if you’ve got an extra standoff scratching along the back of your board, it can actually cut these traces, destroying your motherboard, which won’t be covered under warranty.

 

To double-check this you just pick up the board, handle it by the edges, plastic connectors or back plates. I really like holding onto the CPU cooler because assuming you’ve got one with a decent mounting mechanism, that’s a really really secure handhold for it.

 

As you lower in the board, I like to have it at about a 10 to 15-degree angle as I’m sliding it towards the back of the case, that prevents us from scraping the back of the board along with any standoffs that might or might not be in the right spots.

B450 gigabyte motherboard install

 

Now that we’ve re-positioned the motherboard we’re going to use that little locating standoff to hold it in place and look through every hole and make sure that we can see exactly the right number of standoffs that we were expecting to see. You might need the torch on your phone if you're having trouble seeing the standoffs.

 

I can see that each mounting hole has a corresponding standoff so we can go ahead and screw the board in. 

 

Motherboard screws and any additional screws and standoffs are all included in the hardware that comes with your case. We’re going to be using the 6/32 button head screws.

 

If you're even not sure that you’ve got the right screw, you can always just hand thread one in, and as long as it goes easily, you’ll know that you're not going to cross-thread it.

 

Don’t over-tighten these if you can help it, once you start to meet resistance give it another 1/8th of a turn, that's it. Now, look at that! It's in!

 

Power Supply Installation

corsair 550 watt power supply

Now since were done handling most of the ESD sensitive components of our build, we can go ahead and install our power supply now.

Power Cables

Before mounting it were going to plug in the cables first to make it easier. Were going to be using the CPU power cable, the VGA power cable to power the Graphics card, and finally the cable with the 24 pin plug that will hook up to the motherboard.

power supply cables

 

I’m going to go fan side down because this case has lots of space on the underside to draw in fresh air, prevent placing your PC on carpeted floors because there is little if any air flow to keep it cool!

 

Now as we're putting it in we can just place it down, push towards the motherboard and then slide into the back of the case, then using the            6-32 x 4 screws to secure the power supply.

power supply installation

 

Although it seems like there's a lot of cables you can put them in 3 main groups. The cables from the power supply that powers motherboard and graphics card, the case cables which connect the ports and buttons on the top of the case to the motherboard and the fan cables which connect to the motherboard also.

 

Front Panel Connectors

It's best here to check the motherboard manual, it gives you clear instructions on were each pin needs to be installed.

The B450 motherboard has a splitter cable that divides the pins up into individual connectors, so you really need to manual to see which pin goes were.

Fan Connectors

There is one fan connector near the PCI 16x slot which is a good place to run the wire down from the top to connect one of the case fans.

nzxt case fan connector

nzxt case fan connector

The other connector is located next to the RAM slots.

Plug Cables into the motherboard

We’ll connect the case cables first. If your not sure where the cables go the motherboard manual is great for reference here. For this motherboard the USB 3 cable will plugin as sown in the picture below, the HD Audio cable is near the same area of the motherboard.

usb 3.0 connection

HD audio cable connection

 

This main power cable connects to the motherboard, and the clip corresponds to the little clip on the side there.

24 pin motherboard connection

Next up we’ve got our 8 pin EPS connector, you can tell the difference between this one and an 8 pin PCIE express connector in a couple of ways.

 

One is that if it splits apart it will split into 4 and 4 instead of 6 and 2 and the second way is that many PCIE Express connectors actually have the gap betwee 2 of the pins bridged, here you can tell theres still a little gap because it’s a 6 + 2.

 

Also they helpfully label them, CPU. So this one goes right up the top, again lining the clip up with the hook and I found the best way to cable manage this one is to run it out the back of the case.

CPU power connector

For PCI Express the type of cables your going to use will depend on your graphics card, I’m using a GTX 1660 that has 8 pin power connector.

Cable Management

It’s fairly standard to find disposable cable ties in the packaging for your power supply or your case or both, but if you want to secure larger wires together I would recommend getting some of these velcro ties.

velcro ties wire management

 

This case include loops for wire management and is really convenienct when you're trying to build a PC.

 

To achieve a decent cable management job your main focus is to make sure that no wires are crossing over each other and that they are flat against the case, if they aren't flat you will have a lot of trouble refitting the rear case panel.

pc cable management

 

Graphics card installation

Next up is the graphics card installation, we will start by taking out the second and third from the top PCI slot covers that sit below the 16X slot were the graphics card will be mounted. There's a single screw that holds in each slot cover, remove these with the number 2 size Philips head screwdriver.

picture of PCI slot covers

 

You also need to loosen 2 screws holding a sliding plat near the PCI slots and move it outward in order to fit the graphics card in.

Most graphics cards have a double-wide I.O. plate that accommodates extra ports and larger coolers needed by more power cards.

 

Now we can prepare the slot by moving the tab back, to allow the card to be fitted.

I found it easier to line up the IO first and checked it was aligned at the rear of the case, making sure the tabs are inside the case instead of outside otherwise they won’t go in.

Once it looks aligned switch back to this side and look down through the gaps you’ll notice the holes, that confirms it’s in the right spot and finally check to make sure the back tab on the card is seated correctly.

 

Push down with even pressure until you hear a click and that’s it! If the tab locks back into place, which it seems that it has then it’s installed, lets go ahead and install the screws to secure it to the case. 

Refit the slot cover screws now to secure the graphics card to the case.

securing graphics card to case

Now we’ll go ahead and connect the PCI Express connector to power the card.

Now that we’ve got this installed we’re close to booting it up for the first time.

BOOT UP

Plugin the power cable and switch the power supply on.

We’ll plug in our monitor, keyboard, wireless adapter for the mouse and keyboard and we’re ready to push the power button.

Upon first start hitting the delete key repeatedly will enter the BIOS to see if all the components are showing and here we can change our memory speed because as standard it will default to a slower speed.

bios screen

Once at the BIOS screen Open Advanced Memory Settings amd straight away you can see the memory frequency is only running at 2100 Mhz to change it to our faster rated speed select Extreme Memory Profile or XMP and Select Profile 1.

Extreme memory profile 1

Straight away you can see the speed has changed to 3000 Mhz so all theres left to do is save and exit and from there install windows. 

Windows Install

I’ve created a Windows boot USB drive to installed and also purchased a copy of Windows. When it loads into windows setup you enter the product key if you have a licensed version and just follow the prompts to install windows.

 

Once Windows is installed and your connected to the network we then need to install the drivers for motherboard, LAN ethernet, AUDIO, Graphics card and in this case I’ll be using a wireless USB adapter so I’ll be needing drivers for that as well. This motherboard doesn’t come with a wireless card standard so that’s the reason for going with the USB wireless option here.

 

You can download each driver from the manufacturers' website and just save them to your desktop, then unzip each folder and load the setup and complete each install procedure which is pretty straight forward especially if you chose the express install option.

*links to manufacturers websites*

https://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx

https://www.asus.com/my/support/Download-Center/

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/B450-Gaming-X-rev-10#kf

 

I went with this Wi-Fi Adaptor by ASUS that is able to handle 4k streaming and is a good alternative to a Wifi card you have to install to the motherboard. It just plugs straight into a usb port and now that we have our driver installed we can connect it straight to the WiFi network.

 

To stress-test the CPU I’m just running it through a render of Cinebench R20 to see how it performs, I was pretty happy with the score it got and the great thing about Cinebench is you can compare the score once you're done with other PC builds online.

cinebench r20 test

I also edited this video on this PC as well and was impressed with how it handles 4k footage both scrubbing through the timeline and overall workflow was pretty great.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this guide! all parts are listed below. leave a comment if you have any questions or have built a PC as well and what your favourite parts of the build were.

The Parts

Links to all the parts used in the build

Buy AMD 2600 CPU On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/3eEQA8q

Buy Gigabyte B450M Pro4 Motherboard On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/38b3992

Buy CORSAIR 2 x 8GB RAM On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/3i56dYH

Buy Samsung 970 SSD 250GB On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/3eBTXg1

Buy GigabyteGTX 1660 6G Graphics Card On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/382XvWl

Buy NZXT H510i On US Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/2VhrswE

Buy CORSAIR 550w PSU On Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/2NtUWTT

Buy ASUS Nano wireless usb hub On US Amazon (PAID LINK): https://amzn.to/3g0ktA3

 

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How to replace the battery: Mid 2012 Macbook Pro 13inch

Hey guys Will here, today I'm going to go through the process on how to replace the battery on a 2012 MacBook Air.

The batteries died on this one it won't work unless it's plugged in all the time, it also needs to be cleaned out there's a lot of dust and dirt that's built up inside, it hasn't been serviced in a long time so we'll be going through that process as well.

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Battery Removal

Cleaning

Battery Installation

Battery Calibration

Tools Required

The tools and consumables you'll need are a T5 sized Torx screwdriver, P5 pentalobe screwdriver and a can of compressed air, along with a set of rubber gloves, paper towel and windex.

T5 Torx screwdriver P5 Pentalobe screwdriver
tools needed
consumables needed

Before we get started, power down the MacBook, close the display, and lay it on a soft surface top-side down.

topside down view

Battery Removal

Step 1

Use a p5 pentalobe driver to remove 10 screws securing the lower case. There will be two 9 millimeter screws and eight 2.6 millimeter screws. Take note of were the longer screws came out of so you can put them back in the right places.

10x screws for lower case. Use P5 pentalobe screw driver

 

Step 2

Wedge your fingers between the display and the lower case and pull upward to pop the lower case off the air.

macbook air 13 inch mid 2012 lower case removal
wedge fingers between case to remove

Remove the lower case and set it aside.

Cleaning

Next up is cleaning, using the compressed air can, spray off any dirt or debris that's built up inside and pay special attention to the fan assembly.

can compressed air
use compressed air to clean off dust and dirt

This is where a lot of dust and dirt accumulates so getting this as clean as possible is probably your main focus. A good way to clean the fan assembly is to spin it by hand and use the compress air to blow out the dust that has accumulated inside of it.

Also clean the fins on the rear cover which allow air to flow into the fan and onto the logic board. It's important you get this clean so use the compressed air to blow out any dust that's build up inside these fins.

Spray some windex on some paper towel next and wipe the inside of the rear cover, you can see the rubber stripping inside, this is what sits over the top of the batteries so make sure this is really clean before you put it back together.

Step 3

Now that we've finished cleaning inside it's time to remove the battery. Grab the clear plastic pull tab attached to the battery connector and pull it toward the front edge of the air to disconnect the battery from the logic board.

Be careful not to lift upward on the connector as you disconnect it.

pull tab to release battery plug and cable

Step 4

Remove the following five screws. There'll be three 6.3 millimetre t5 tort screws and two 2.4 millimetre t5 tori screws.

macbook pro 13 inch mid 2012 battery mounting screws
battery mounting screws to remove

Before removing the battery be sure not to squeeze or touch the exposed lithium polymer cells.

Lift the battery from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.

New Battery Installation

Step 1

When you re-install the battery line the cable up with the connector, this makes it a lot easier to fit and once it's all the home you can then line the battery up with it's mounting holes.

macbook pro 13 inch mid 2012 battery installation
line battery plug up with connector to make it easier when installing new battery assembly

Step 2

Now re-install the battery mounting screws, the three longer screws go in the top three holes and the shorter ones in the bottom holes.

When installing the new battery, if there is a thin plastic film on your replacement battery do not attempt to remove it, it is glued on and protects the battery back while it's inside the MacBook.

Step 3

Re-install the lower case using 10 screws keeping in mind where the two longer screws are situated.

Calibration

If you're installing a new battery, it's important to calibrate it after you've installed it. The calibration process is as follows.

Step 1

You start by charging it to 100% and keep charging it for at least two more hours.

Step 2

Then unplug it and use it normally to drain the battery. When you see the low battery warning, save your work, keep your laptop on until it goes to sleep due to low battery.

Step 3

Wait at least 5 hours and then charge your laptop uninterrupted to 100% and this will calibrate the battery so you get the most life out of it moving forward.

So that's all from me, if you guys enjoyed this post make sure to leave a comment.

How to solder: Best Tips

Today I'm going to be showing you how to solder wires together. Soldering is an essential skill for anyone working with electronics, and knowing how to solder properly can be invaluable.

I also made a video about how to solder which you can see on YouTube below:

Solder is a metal alloy with a low melting point used to join wires together. When you solder you're not melting the metal you're soldering to, you're heating both pieces of metal up to allow the solder to flow between them.

It's important to note that soldering is a durable electrical connection in this case and not a strong mechanical one. If you're soldering wires together, or other components, the strain shouldn't be on the solder joint.

These are the tools and consumables you need to solder correctly:

soldering tools

-Soldering iron

-Flux

-Solder

-Heatshrink

-Wire strippers

-Heat gun or Hair dryer

-Safety glasses

-Set of helping hands

-Wet sponge

-Dielectric grease

Links to the tools mentioned are at the end of the post so you can find them easily.

These are two alternative soldering irons if you're working remotely and don't have access to power, a cordless soldering iron

milwaukee soldering iron

Butane gas powered soldering iron

gas soldering iron

Before we get started let's take a look at a few safety considerations when soldering.

It's important to wear safety glasses when you're soldering to protect your eyes from spatter or excess solder.

The tip of the soldering iron is very hot so make sure you don't rest it on anything flammable and be careful to not make contact with your skin.

Keep any flammable items like gas cans, or fuel away from you whilst soldering as well.

Some solder contains lead so make sure you work in a well-ventilated space, outside or set up a fan next to your workspace.

After your finished soldering, lean your workspace and wash your hands especially before eating food.

With these safety precautions in mind, its time to begin soldering and soldering is simple to do. What makes it so simple, is using the right selection of tools and the correct solder.

Solder has three main types. Leaded solder, lead-free solder, and silver solder.

3 types of electrical solder

Silver solder should not be used due to its acid core. Over time the acid will eat away the plastic insulation on the wire and cause problems in the wiring.

The 2 options for electrical solder are leaded and lead-free. Lead-free has a higher melting point so your soldering iron has to be hotter, and it's more responsible to use environmentally.

Leaded solder has a lower melting point and is easier to solder with, I use it for all soldering jobs on cars and anything else.

I use 60/40 resin core solder which works the best due to the resin cleaning the wires of surface oils and contaminants before the solder surrounds the wire and it also prevents oxidization until it cools off.

You might have an unlabelled roll of solder at home and you're unsure if its lead or lead-free.

A quick test is to do two balls of solder on metal and see if the finish is a matte grey or shiny silver. Shiny silver means its lead solder and matte grey is lead free. So that's a quick test you can do.

lead solder lead free solder

I already mentioned that I like using resin core solder because the resin protects the wires from oxidisation but I like to go one step further and use a rosin paste flux which is another level of protection from oxidisation.

When you heat up metals like the wire ends your going to solder, or even your soldering iron, as the unprotected surface heats up, oxides form and coat the copper, making it really difficult to solder.

The last tool you need to solder is a soldering iron. There are a couple of options here a corded electric one, a cordless electric one like the Milwaukee or a gas soldering iron shown above.

The corded soldering iron station is good for hobbyists that don't need to be off-site and will easily solder smaller gauge wires and components on circuit boards due to its fine point tip. This iron is 48 watts and works great.

soldering iron station

This gas-powered soldering iron is a great portable option and low cost.

It has an in-built igniter but you will need to carry with you a can of butane gas to operate it.

I prefer the third option of an electric cordless soldering iron, this one has an output of 90 watts and heats up quickly. It can handle thicker gauge wire like this

heavy automotive wire

You can change the tip over if you need to solder circuit board components.

Now that you know what tools are required, I'll be showing you in 5 easy steps, how to solder and going into each step in detail:

soldering in 5 steps

  1. Start by stripping the wires back
  2. Slide on the heatshrink
  3. Splice the wires together
  4. Solder wires
  5. Shrink heat tubing

Step 1

The first step is to strip the insulation off both wires to connect. Simply insert the wire into the pliers and use them to quickly remove insulation. Strip the same amount from each wire to make them easier to join.

stripping wire

If you accidentally break the strands of wire when stripping the insulation, cut the remaining wire strands and start again. If you don't it will cause extra resistance in the wire and therefore heat which can cause the wire to melt and even present a fire risk if the circuit fuse does not blow.

With the wires stripped, it's time for step 2, adding the heat shrink.

Step 2

When it comes to selecting the size of heat shrink, pick the one that barely fits over the wire so that when it comes time to shrink it, there will be a tight seal over the solder joint and wire. Heat shrink tubing shrinks to half its diameter, this should help with picking the correct size.

choosing heat shrink size

Use a piece of heat shrink long enough to cover the exposed wires and part of the insulation. Move the heat shrink far enough away from where you'll be soldering so that it doesn't shrink for the heat generated soldering the wires.

Step 3

Now for the third step, we're going to connect the wires using a linemans splice also taught by NASA to its astronauts. Start by making sure you have enough wire stripped and twist the wire strands tight.

Cross one wire over the other to make an X and wind one wire tightly around the other for at least 3 turns, repeat this on the other side.

splice

Make sure there are no stray bits of wire sticking up that could poke through the heat shrink, all the strands should be flush.

linemans splice

Next, attach your wire to a “helping hands” to keep the wire steady.

helping hands

Add the rosin flux around the wire splice to prepare the wires to be clean when the heat is applied and make the solder flow into the wires when it's added.

adding flux to wires

Then turn your soldering iron on to pre-heat it to the correct temperature. Once it's up to temperature use a damp sponge to clean the tip.

Next we are going to tin the tip of the soldering iron, to do that just add a few dabs of solder and wipe the tip on your damp sponge leaving a thin layer of solder on the tip. The soldering iron is now tinned and ready for soldering. Always clean the tip on your sponge after soldering to prolong the life of the tip.

Step 4

It's now time to solder the wires. Before the copper wires will take solder they need to be heated up. Position the tip of the soldering iron underneath the wires and add a small dab of solder to the tip.

soldering wires

 

This process is quite fast, as the solder melts and heat is ut into the wire it's now ready to accept solder into the joint. Feed the solder directly into the top of the wires and let it wick through the strands.

You don't need to add heaps of solder to the point were its forming blobs, just enough to cover all the strands of wire and fill all gaps in the joint. Once you have added enough solder, remove the soldering iron to let the joint cool. When it's cooling down try not to move it around as this can cause cracks and air gaps in the joint so your joint wont last as long.

After your finished with your soldering iron, with the tip still hot, carefully wipe the tip clean against the sponge. Once the solder has completely cooled, which usually takes about a minute, inspect the solder joint.

Your looking for complete coverage of the joint with solder, the outline of the wires visible is good and you don't want any large globs with exposed copper still visible if this is the case, try again.

This joint looks like a good soldered connect so now it's time for our final step, insulating the wire.

good solder joint

Step 5

To make this connection last a long time and make it waterproof, apply dielectric grease around the solder joint. Then slide the heat shrink over it.

dialectric grease over solder joint

Next apply heat to shrink the tubing with a heat gun or hairdryer, starting in the middle and working outwards. Dielectric grease prevents moisture and insulates the solder joint extending the life of the connection.

add heat shrink

Simply wipe off the excess grease that is pushed out from the heat shrink and you now have a good waterproof connection.

heat shrink solder connection

A very common mistake I have seen over the years is a cold solder joints. This occurs when not enough heat is applied to the joint when it's soldered and instead of adding solder directly to the wire, it's dripped on to the wires like this.

cold solder

To make sure you never have a cold solder joint, always hold the soldering iron beneath the wires and add solder to the wire itself. That way you know the connection is the best quality and you can visually confirm it is too before moving on.

So now you know how to solder, practice on some wires until you have mastered it and leave me a comment letting me know what you have repaired or installed using soldering.

The products I used in this process are all linked below so you can find them quickly and easily.

If you use soldering on a project your working on, follow me on Instagram or Facebook and send me a picture of your work.

Please leave a comment if you found this helpful, or have used soldering on a project of yours!

You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook as well, send me a picture of your solder work I would love to see it.

-Will

Links to tools and materials used:

disclaimer: all the links below are Amazon Affiliate links. These links support my blog and if you purchase through them (at no extra cost to you) I receive a small commission.

Solder: https://amzn.to/2Rc0ELF

Rosin Flux: http://amzn.to/2bVPzMB

Soldering Iron Electric Cordless: https://amzn.to/36C8aG1

Soldering Iron Gas: https://amzn.to/35Faw5r

Soldering Iron Electric: https://amzn.to/37MWws0

Automatic Strippers: https://amzn.to/2QCjOv5

Dielectric Grease: https://amzn.to/30aPH0U

Rosin Flux: https://amzn.to/37NwKDV

Helping Hands: https://amzn.to/35DqjSk

Heat Shrink Kit: https://amzn.to/2T8AyeL

Heat Gun: https://amzn.to/2QAwHFD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Change Your Oil (Ultimate Guide)

Today I'm going to be sharing with you exactly how to change the oil in your car or truck. This ultimate guide is for complete beginners who have never been taught or shown how to change the oil in their car. This ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know.

I also made a video explaining every step in detail which you can see below:

To start with let's look at the tools you're going to need to carry out an oil change.

tools needed to change your oil
image by Will Lawson

Tools

-breaker bar

-socket set

-funnel

-oil catch can

-oil filter pliers

Parts & Consumables

-Oil Filter

-Engine oil

-Sump plug washer kit

-1x can of brake and parts cleaner

-protective nitrile gloves

-shop wipes

All the tools used in this guide today will be included in the links at the end of this post so you can find them for your self if you need them. If you have any questions about anything in this guide please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer all of them.

You can use the guide in your local auto parts store to find the correct type of oil and filter for your car as seen in this video otherwise you can use either of the online resources linked below:

https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/filter-selector.html (US) filter guide

https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/oil-selector (US) oil guide

https://www.rycofilters.com.au/ (Australia) filter guide

https://www.penriteoil.com.au/lube-guide (Australia) oil guide

Step 1 Raise Vehicle

Once you have everything you need you will need to raise the vehicle.

To raise the vehicle safely I recommend watching the process in my video below.

time-stamped 4:35 through to 7:15

Once you have the vehicle raised and secured on stands don't forget to shake the vehicle to make sure it's safe and reposition the jack under the chassis as an added safety measure.

Step 2 Drain Oil & Replace Filter

Next step, drain the oil. To locate the oil drain pan watch the video below and proceed to unscrew the drain plug using the correct size socket and ratchet, or breaker bar if it's really tight!

Don't forget to position your oil catch can or drain tray underneath before proceeding to catch the old oil.

time-stamp 7:30 – 10:20

Next replace the washer for the oil drain plug before refitting it to the oil drain pan on the engine, this is important to make sure there is a good seal and you won't have to worry about it leaking before your next service.

Sometimes the washer can get a little stuck, the video below shows how to remove the washer if it is.

time-stamp: 10:22 – 12:58

Once the oil has drained and the drain plug is re-fitted the oil filter must be changed. To do this use the pliers to remove the old oil filter by latching onto the filter and rotating it counter-clockwise. You might be able to remove it by hand but over time the filter tightens between services.

Watch below to see how this is down in detail:

time-stamp: 12:58 – 16:02

Step 3 Re-fill Oil

 

Next, refill the engine with oil using the funnel mentioned at the start of the post. To make sure you are putting oil into the right place, the video below shows exactly where it needs to go.

time-stamp: 16:12 – 17:44

 

After filling it with engine oil the level must be checked. To do this you must raise the vehicle up, remove the stands and lower it down onto the ground. The reason it needs to be back on the ground is to ensure the engine is not uneven and level.

To see how to jack the vehicle up again safely, watch the video below.

time-stamp: 17:52 – 18:55

Ensure the car is out of gear and in neutral, then proceed to start the engine.

Let the engine run for 5 minutes before shutting it down.

After waiting 10 minutes for the oil to settle in the engine, recheck the engine oil level by removing the dipstick (has a yellow handle) and is located in the engine bay.

Remove the dipstick, wipe clean the end, and re-insert it all the way until it stops. Remove the dipstick and look to see where the engine oil level is sitting.

It should be on the full mark as shown in the image below.

dipstick
image by Will Lawson

If the level is too low, gradually top up the engine oil, re-checking as you go.

If you over fill the engine oil by more than 500ml, drain out the excess oil until you have the correct level. More than 500ml can cause engine damage and seals to leak, so make sure this is right.

When you have the level right, make sure the oil cap is screwed back on, and close the bonnet. Have a look underneath to make sure there was no leaks from the work you have done and if not you are all finished.

I hope this ultimate guide to changing your oil has been helpful, if you have any questions leave them in a comment below and I will answer every single one of them.

Links to tools, parts and consumables used in this guide:

Semi Synthetic Oil I Recommend (AU): https://bit.ly/2rujd4J

Synthetic Oil I Recommend for Cars(US): https://amzn.to/2PtYA0t

Oil Filters I Used (AU):https://amzn.to/2RBPB00 suits Mazda Bt50 2011 2.5litre Diesel

Oil Filter I Recommend (US):https://amzn.to/38mOJSF

Tools I used: Copper Gasket: https://amzn.to/2RAZPxG

Pliers (multi grip):https://amzn.to/2LTiYY7

(optional) Oil Filter Pliers: https://amzn.to/2sa0LhS

Oil Drain Pan: https://amzn.to/2YxeNpP

Socket Set: https://amzn.to/347gFGQ

Breaker Bar: https://amzn.to/36nUyxl

Funnel: https://amzn.to/2Rz0L5t

Jack: https://amzn.to/2RBiSYt

Jack Stands: https://amzn.to/2LFs0aZ

Motorola Razr 2019 review and impressions

razr flip phone motorola
Screenshot: Will Lawson, www.motorola.com/us/products/razr

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Motorolas new release of the re-imagined razr flip phone and everyone has been excited about it especially the tech reviewers who got to attend the launch party.

According to multiple sources the lighting was pretty terrible at the event for taking video of the new smart phone but other than that the overall first impressions of the phone was somewhat mixed.

The form factor of this smart phone is really pushing the boundaries of innovation, it's the only re-designed flip phone in the smart phone market and they have done a really thoughtful job of the design.

razr flip phone motorola
Screenshot: Will Lawson, www.motorola.com/us/products/razr

Time will tell if the hinged design holds up like Motorola claims it will but the fact that it's a flip phone at all brings a sense of nostalgia for people who had one of the older flip phones back in the day, lets face it, it's pretty awesome.

One of the more exciting features of the Razr is the night vision shooting, and a few people have tested just how well it works and the results have been quite impressive.

A lot of people take photos whilst out on the town or with friends so it makes a lot of sense to include this stand out feature in a smart phone. It's not something a lot of smart phone companies have thought to address though, Motorola being the leader on that front.

razr flip phone motorola
Screenshot: Will Lawson, www.motorola.com/us/products/razr

The price is well, up there at $1500 but I think a lot of it has to do with the innovation they have put into the Razr. The size of the Razr when it's folded away is half that of other smart phones on the market and for some, this will be the literal best part of its design.

It has a satisfyingly soft snap shut from top to bottom without any visible gap between the screen and with this genius design they have come up with a solution that the Samsung galaxy fold and other foldable phones are yet to discover, with no gap it just looks much more clean.

The screen is a plastic OLED display, so time will tell if it holds up without getting completely destroyed, the verdict is still out on this.

razr flip phone motorola
Screenshot: Will Lawson, www.motorola.com/us/products/razr

How does it fold Flat?

There is a cavity that keeps the looped portion of the screen locked in place. With a very small gap between the display and hinge but it's hidden so you don't have to look at it.

How tall is the Razr? How does it feel in the hand?

One handed use is really good on the Razr with the apps situated near the base of the screen to make it easier for this purpose. The 6.2-inch display is some what tall yet narrow and has a 2142×876 pixel resolution.

Is it a suitable pocket companion?

Slides right into jean pockets, jackets and is surprisingly compact.

Smaller coin pockets might be a little bit more challenging but I would bet that it does.

razr flip phone motorola
Screenshot: Will Lawson, www.motorola.com/us/products/razr

Is there an external screen similar to the Fold?

The Razr has a smaller 2.7-inch display that is external when the phone is closed away meant for showing notifications, the time, alerts, and basic phone status information like battery life and signal.

Why does it have a massive chin at the base of the phone?

Housing a number of important components to the Razr the chin holds within it the vibration motor, GPS and Wifi modules, as well as the optical fingerprint reader.

Also, it acts as like a handle almost for you to grab a hold of whilst you're consuming content.

Is the open to talk nostalgia still there?

Yes you can flip it open to answer a call, you can put it on speaker and have it closed as long as speaker phone is enabled, video calling or have Bluetooth initiated.

You can also control your music with the phone closed via the outer screen which is handy as well.

 

What's it like to consume content on?

Landscape mode is best for watching movies and content on the Razr, Motorola named the screen a Cinemavision display which is 21:9 aspect ratio.

I'll be looking forward to getting more hands on with it though to see if it handles all type of video content from YouTube, to Netflix and others.

Are the cameras easy to use and how well do they perform?

The exterior display houses a 16-megapixel camera just below it which will likely be what you use a majority of the time for selfies and higher quality images.

In addition to this there is a 5-megapixel camera when you unfold the Razr which is likely to be used for video calling. No wide angle lens but there is Night Vision mode for taking photos when you're out on the town and it performs very well in low light conditions.

 

Specifications:

Operating System:Android™ 9 Pie
Memory (RAM) 6 GB
Main Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, octa-core, 2.2 GHz
Internal Storage: 128 GB
Sensors: Fingerprint reader, Accelerometer, Magnetometer (compass), Gyro, Proximity, Ambient Light, GPS, Ultrasonics

Battery

Battery Size

2510 mAh, non-removable

Charging

15W TurboPower charging**


Display

Main Display

Flex View:
6.2” foldable pOLED,
HD (2142 x 876p),
21:9 Cinemavision

External Display

Quick View:
2.7” gOLED,
600 x 800p,
4:3 aspect ratio


Design

Dimensions

Unfolded: 72 x 172 x 6.9mm
Folded: 72 x 94 x 14mm

Weight

205g

Water Protection

Splash-proof with water resistant nanocoating


Colours: Noir Black


Audio

Speakers

Bottom-ported speaker

Microphones

4 mics

FM Radio

No


Connectivity

Networks + Bands

LTE: B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B13, B20, B28, B66
UMTS: B1, B2, B5, B8
CDMA: BC0, BC1
GSM: B2, B3, B5, B8

SIM Card

eSim

Ports

USB 3.0 (Type C) reversible connector

Bluetooth® Technology

Bluetooth® 5.0

NFC

Yes

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band 2.4 & 5GHz, hotspot

 

 

 

Top 10 Smart Watches To Gift In 2019

Below is a selection of the top 10 smartwatches to gift in 2019.

With Christmas coming up and black Friday deals right around the corner, you might want to consider a smartwatch for your loved one or family member who loves a wrist watch mixed with the latest tech.

These smartwatches were selected from some of the best selling and most popular on Amazon and other online retailers.

Enjoy!

1.Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch

samsung gear s3
Screenshot: Will Lawson, Amazon

Price: $239.98 (at time of writing) Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smart watch has been incredibly popular in 2019 and had some really nice features that make it a great gift for 2019.

You can pay for coffee or any items in shops that accept pay wave with Samsung Pay available on the watch itself.

The S3 comes with built in GPS to track your activity and workout to make it easier to share your location.

Works with Bluetooth capable smartphones: Compatible with iPhone 5  with iOS 9 and above as well as Android OS 4.4 and later with 1.5G RAM as minimum.

“always on” watch face with steel bezels that when rotated will switch between apps and notifications on the smart watch.

You can make and receive calls over bluetooth connectivity with your phone as well as texting. Water resistant up to 1.5 meters, dust proof and can withstand extreme temperatures.

2. Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch (46mm)

samsung galaxy smartwatch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, https://www.amazon.com/

Current Price: $299.00 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smartwatch tracks your exercise has bluetooth connect and a battery life that will last you days without needing to be recharge

Included in Box: Galaxy Watch, Additional Strap(Large and Small included), Wireless charging Dock, Travel Adapter, Quick Start Guide, User Manual

Compatibility: Yes

Connectivity: Yes

Smart Notification: Yes

Customisable Watch faces: Yes

Samsung Health Fitness Tracking: Yes

Swim Ready (50m submerge): Yes

Water Resistant (10m submerge): Yes

Built in Speakers/Microphone: Yes

Samsung Pay: Yes

Face Size: 46mm (round) Yes

Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

3. Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch (42mm)

samsung galaxy smartwatch 42mm
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $299.80 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This is almost identical to the 46mm Samsung Galaxy watch but has a smaller 42mm watch face.

Colours available are midnight black, rose gold and silver.

Designed/Built To Last

The Galaxy Watch has gone through military-grade durability testing in activities such as swimming, drops from 4.9 feet, extreme temperatures, dust, and shocks/vibration also low pressure/high altitude.

The glass is strong and scratch resistance with Gorilla Glass DX+ that stops the display from getting too badly scratched.

4. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Fossil smartwatch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $295.00 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

The Fossil smartwatch features some really amazing tech packed into this watch.

I especially like the fact that it has auto brightness when in direct sunlight so you can still see notifications and the obvious date and time.

You can swim with this watch no problems at all, it has a magnetic charger that clips on the back of the watch for seamless charging and one of the best features I love is the silent notifications.

It has Google integration so you can ask your Google assistant all the obvious queries throughout the day and works well with Google payments to make your on the go purchases easier.

Built in GPS means you don't have to have your phone with you when you're working out or moving about your day it will keep track of your activity.

It charges up to 80% in under an hour and has 8Gigabytes of internal storage for third party apps you want on your phone.

Lastly it works with both IOS and Android phones and is powered by a Google Operating system.

 

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

samsung galaxy watch active
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $160.00 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smart watch is great for tracking your workouts with the functionality to recognise up to 39 different styles of workouts.

It monitors how well you sleep and stress levels throughout the day the kind of data that can really help you keep track of your overall health.

It syncs with both Android and iOS phones and if you buy the non-international version you can use Samsung Pay with it as well.

Just like the other Samsung smart watches it has great build quality that is held to military standards with dust and water resistance.

 

6. Fossil Men's Gen 4 Explorist HR Stainless Steel

fossil mens gen 4 explorist smart watch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price : $185  Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smart watch is optimised to work with Google, being your own personal assistant on your wrist.

You can track your heart rate, distance with its built in GPS, swim laps with its swim proof design and pay for your groceries with Google Pay.

It has a classic design but sports some modern features such as a built in flash light, receive app notifications, make calls with its in built microphone and customise the look of the watch face.

The battery life is said to last 24 hours and an additional 2 days in low power mode.

The magnetic charger takes just under an hour to charge 80% which is impressive and it has interchangeable bands to sport a different design if you so please.

7. Fossil Men's Collider HR

Fossil Men's Collider HR
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $215 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

The Collider has a hybrid smart watch design with in built heart rate sensor with mechanical hands over the top of a digital display mixing analog and digital designs.

This watch has an impressive 2 week battery life (yes that's right) so you don't need to worry about recharging it all that often like so many other smart watches.

The Fossil Collider is more of a classic time piece with modern features like sleep tracking, activity tracking, and the ability to receive notifications from your phone, show calendar alerts, control music all from the face of your smart watch.

Works with both Android and iOS devices seamlessly.

8. Fossil Men's Nate Stainless Steel Hybrid Smartwatch

fossil stainless steel smart watch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

 

Current Price: $171 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smart watch has a coin cell battery meaning you don't need to recharge it at all only having to replace the coin cell battery every 12 months.

You can receive notifications such as calls, texts and social interactions.

It changes time zones automatically meaning if you travel a lot you don't have to worry about changing the time.

As you move it tracks your steps, distance and estimated calories burned.

Other nice features are sleep tracking, water resistant up to 50m and silent notifications such as vibration mode.

It works with Android and iOS phones and you can easily download the companion app to set exercise goals and sleep quality goals as well.

9.Garmin Vívoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch

garmin vivoactive 3 smartwatch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $149.99 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This smart watch is for the exercise enthusiast with 15 pre-loaded apps to cater for all different types of  exercise: yoga, swimming, running, strength training and more.

You can completely personalise the look of the watch face with heaps of different faces available to download to make it unique to you.

The battery life is up to 7 days in smart watch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode, and it has a 1.3 inch display.

You can see all of your usual notifications from your smart phone and even track your stress levels throughout the day.

10. Fossil Men's Sport Smartwatch

fossil mens sport smartwatch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, amazon.com

Current Price: $275 Click Here to Buy on Amazon

This sport version of the Fossil smartwatch is 40% lighter than other aluminium models of Fossil watches and retains all the great features of the Fossil smart watch Range.

Heart rate tracking, Google Assistant, swim proof, and you receive all the notifications you choose to have coming in from your smart phone.

The battery life is 24 hours plus 2 extra days on low power mode and similar to other models it recharges 80% in just under 1 hour.

I think one of the best features of this watch is the weight saving and would be a great gift for anyone who wants a watch that is lightweight, has all the features you would expect from a smartwatch and can be reliable.

If you enjoyed this selection of 10 of the best smartwatches to give in 2019 make sure and share it with your friends on social and leave a comment down below which one was your favourite, or was it not on the list? let me know!

 

 

 

The 16-inch MacBook Pro: Pre-Orders Now Available

 

macbook pro 16 inch
Screenshot: Will Lawson, https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/

Apple has recently made the launch of the new 16-inch MacBook pro legitimate. It boasts a larger display, improved keyboard, and they are saying farewell to the butterfly or rather failfly keyboard.

You can pre-order right now from Apple with the laptop expected to be in store by weeks end. If you want yours ASAP ordering through Apple will get it to you faster, with other retailers not stocking the 16-inch Pro until later down the track.

So the question on a lot of Apple enthusiasts minds is “should I get one?” the answer well, I would wait until the reviews and go from there.

The 16-inch is set to replace the 15-inch model which are priced the same but the value is WAY more with a larger screen size and “Magic” keyboard.

macbook pro 16
Screenshot: Will Lawson, https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/

Now the spec sheet for the entry-level $2,399 model:

2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor

16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory

AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory

512GB SSD storage

16-inch Retina display with True Tone technology

500 nits brightness

Touch Bar and Touch ID

Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless

Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology

720p FaceTime HD camera

Reverting back to the 15-inch MacBooks spec, you get twice as much power from the new GPU and double the storage for exactly the same price (well done Apple)

Additionally there is the new and improved keyboard, and slightly larger screen, the processor however remains the same generation as before.

 Specs for the step-up $2,799 model:

2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor

16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory

AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory

1TB SSD storage

16-inch Retina display with True Tone technology

500 nits brightness

Touch Bar and Touch ID

Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless

Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology

720p FaceTime HD camera

macbook pro 16
Screenshot: Will Lawson, https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/

The insane part about this laptop is you can configure the storage up to 8TB! The cost will follow of course but standard it comes with 1TB still double the previous model though which is welcomed.

The same option is available for the graphics card configurable up to 8GB of GDDR6 memory.

Same as before though the processor remains unchanged from the 15-inch model.

With more power comes more weight in this case an extra 7 percent to 1.95kg and it has put on a little size physically as well with a 5 percent thicker frame coming it at 16.3mm to allow for the re-designed cooling system, larger battery and to prevent the throttling issues the last model encountered.

It didn't come with a flashy keynote product launch like so many new Apple product releases do, they just seemed to have addressed and fixed a lot of the issues the touch bar models were having like the keyboard and throttling and have just taken action with a drop in upgrade which is really awesome, well done again Apple.

2017 13″ MacBook Pro Review: Great For Video Editing?

Welcome to my review of the 2017 13″ MacBook Pro. After using the laptop for a few months I found some features I really enjoyed and some I wish they had gone without.

Overall though, like any Apple product it really is well-designed and a real pleasure to use as a daily driver.

I also did a video review of the MacBook pro which you can check out below:

Build Quality

Right out of the box you can tell by the build quality that it’s an Apple product it has a solid aluminium body and really nicely defined edges.

As it is with a majority of Apple products people don’t mind spending extra due to just how good the design and  build quality is.

 

Cost

This is the base model here which runs for around $1500 Aussie dollars and so far it’s been reliable and a pleasure to use.

I edit my videos on a Mac and I’ve had iphones over the years that have all been great and this MacBook Pro is no different I really enjoy the Apple ecosystem and how well the devices work not just standalone but together as well.

I.O. (ports)

One of the largest drawbacks of choosing a MacBook over other laptops out there is number of ports or lack there of.

So there's 2 USB type -C ports on the far left.  You can charge in either one and that's all there is so yes you’ll need to buy some dongles. 

macbook pro io

Especially if you need to download video files from an SD card or plug in a USB type A device like  an external hard drive.

MacBook Pros are really well suited for on the go video editing because they have the power to handle any kind of video software with no problems at all.

Final Cut Pro has it’s benefits because it’s so well optimised for Mac OS but personally I use Adobe Premiere and haven’t had any issues.

Hardware

The keyboard has butterfly series two switches that have a very low key travel and definitely take some getting used to if you’re coming from a mechanical keyboard or any other keyboard really.

I found the keyboard really easy to use and it felt comfortable after hours of typing, the keys have a nice tactile feel to them.

macbook pro keyboard

The speaker setup is a big improvement on previous models with stereo speakers that boast a high dynamic range. 

I noticed a huge improvement in sound quality when comparing it with my older  MacBook air.

Having only two USB C ports is somewhat limiting especially for content creators. 

I would much prefer an SD card slot  and one USBC port with an additional USB type A port.

Just like the move to wireless head phones the same is happening for laptops with fewer ports.

That’s fine it just means you need additional dongles but I would prefer as an apple user to have them in built in the laptop as so many other people have voiced their preference for this too.

I find it interesting that the MacBook pro has kept the headphone jack though on the right-hand side but 

quite a number of Apple phones from the i-phone 7 onward don’t have a head phone jack at all.

Hard Drive storage is fairly limited on the base model with 128 gigs which might not be enough for most people especially if you have a lot of video files you like to keep on your computer.

This is where you’ll likely need an external hard drive or usb storage to solve this problem because upgrading to the 256 gig model MacBook will cost you $300 dollars more.

macbook pro touch pad

The track pad on the other hand is one of the stand out features of the MacBook pro and it’s one of the best track pads available on a laptop right now.

It’s really smooth and the haptic engine gives it a mechanical feel even though it’s design is quite simplistic with a single piece of glass situated on top of a motor.

It’s one of the most responsive track pads I’ve come across.

Battery Life

Battery life is impressive with up to 10 hours wireless web browsing and movie playback time. 

Keeping the screen brightness set at around 50% should see you out the whole day without needing to recharge, which is excellent.

There is a 54.5 watt hour lithium polymer battery built in and the charging cable is a 61W USB C Cable connected to a Power Adapter.

macbook pro battery information

A minor downside to this charging setup is that if you trip over the cable for whatever reason you end up with the laptop on the floor and possibly damaged.

I would much prefer the mag safe cable setup that the older MacBooks had.

You never had to worry about this issue, instead the cable would just come straight off and no harm done to your laptop.

If you’re doing video editing the battery life is cut in half to around five to six hours at least with the base model.

Models with the touch bar have  one to two hours more battery life for video editing.

Performance

Performance of the MacBook Pro is descent, this is the i5 based model with 8 gigs of RAM

It performs well against similar laptops in the price range including the HP Spectre and Dell XPS 13

The fan for the MacBook pro really only turns on during video editing or video calling with extra processes running in the background

General use is pretty much silent you don’t hear it kick inWhilst web browsing for example.

Click Here to check out the MacBook Pro 2017 13″ base model

Touch Bar Is It Worth It?

A question on a lot of peoples minds is about the touch bar add-on and if its worth the extra money.

After comparing the touch bar models in an Apple store I have to admit the OLED screen is a nice addition but other than that I don’t see it as being all that viable.

It wasn’t incredibly  versatile and you can really only use it if you’re looking directly down onto the keyboard so it’s not practical if you’re laying down whilst using it.

It did have some shortcuts for apple apps in particular but for the extra $300 dollars I don’t think it’s worth it.

Video Camera

I was a little disappointed with the front facing camera for face-time and video calling. 

It’s only a 720p camera and the video quality is sub par.

macbook pro camera image
image taken from 720p camera on MacBook Pro

Microphone

The audio however was decent due to the two in built microphones it has.

When you’re paying this much for a laptop the least Apple could do is include a 1080p camera but that’s just my opinion.

Pros

-The Retina display is really nice with bright vibrant colours and accurate colour reproduction,

-Keyboard is comfortable use, and the  track pad is one of the best I’ve seen on a laptop

-The speakers are high quality especially when comparing it to older models.

-The battery life is impressive as well, having all day use for general tasks and four to five hours of video editing. 

Cons

-The camera

-price

-number of ports

-charging cable setup

Conclusion

Despite paying around $1500 for this device I think the good outweighs the bad with this MacBook. 

It’s a really well designed laptop, it’s functional and practical for video editing.

A perfect candidate for someone who travels a lot, or needs a super portable laptop that can handle anything you throw at it.

Now don’t get me wrong, this type of laptop isn’t for everyone. 

If you're a student and only use a laptop for typing up documents and emailing you can pick up a cheap laptop to do that no problems at all. 

This laptop really isn’t well suited for college because of its high price tag.

For people like myself who sometimes need to edit outside of the studio this makes a great setup. 

There will be a link to the MacBook Pro in the description below so you can check out the different models and prices to see what kind of system will suite you overall.

If you’re not sure about some of the points I’ve mentioned that could be considered drawbacks I encourage you to go to your local Apple store and test one out for yourself.

Play around with the operating system and if you’re coming from a windows setup you can get a feel for the mac operating system.

Or you might be like some people I know who run windows on a Mac through parallels or virtually.

You also get a chance to see the build quality which is in and of its own makes it worth the Apple tax.

Be sure to leave me a comment below with questions or what setup you're currently running.

Stay tuned in for more tech reviews in the future.

Click Here to check out the MacBook Pro 2017 13″ base model

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links that allow you to find the items mentioned in this article and support the website at no cost to you. While this website may earn minimal sums when the reader uses the links, the reader is in NO WAY obligated to use these links. Thank you for your support!

Q32 Sound Peats True Wireless Headphones: Only $58 ?

Q32 Sound Peats True Wireless Headphones: Only $58 ?

Today I’ll be looking at the SoundPeats Q32 true wireless headphones.

The model with the 2600mAh case retails at just $58 and if you guys are
interested there will be a link below.

When I first checked these out I was a little skeptical of the cost but it had
so many good reviews I thought I’d test them out for myself and for just $58
lets see what you get.

Contents:

Accessories Included                                      Specs                                       Conclusion
Look & Feel                                                         Battery
Weight/Build Quality                                     Sound Quality
Controls                                                               Price
I also did a video review of these which you can check out below!

Accessories Included

Included is a short micro usb cable for charging that plugs into the front of the case.
There is also 3 different sizes of ear buds to make sure you get the right fit for your ear there’s an instruction manual and the case with the ear buds side.
q32 soundpeats true wireless ear buds box contents

Look & Feel

Theres a lot of wireless ear buds that stick out of your ear and look kind of odd but these don’t suffer from that at all, they’re really easy to forget about when you're wearing them.

Especially if you're exercising you can hardly notice them after a while if you're on a run or working out.

Weight/Build Quality

The ear buds and case are made from plastic making them super light weight weighing in at under 5 grams.

Weight/Build Quality

You really appreciate just how light they are when you're wearing them.

soundpeats q32 true wireless ear buds wearing them
wearing ear buds
I like how these fit really well in the ear and don’t stick out too much when you have them in, they’re really low profile and hard to notice when they’re in your ears.

Controls

On the ear buds there are buttons on each one that allows you to make changes to music

while you're on the go, there’s track skipping, volume up and down, play, pause, answer calls  and even voice assistant activation for your smart phone too.

Theres small led lights on the ear buds too that let you know when they are charging, turned

on and other functions if you need to reset them  or configure them from mono to stereo modes.
q32 soundpeats true wireless ear buds photo
ear buds

Specs

– Bluetooth 5.0 technology built in
-IPS4 rated (splash proof)
-3 to 4 hour battery life
-in built microphone for talking on the phone
-Charges in 2 hours
-weight 4.7grams
-Stereo and Mono mode capable
-voice assistant activation to smartphone
q32 soundpeats true wireless case
charging case

Battery

The battery life is 4 hours of play time and the case itself will charge them when they are inside it because it has a 2600mah battery built in.

You can get 18-20 full charges out of the case itself so in total about 55 hours of play time before you have to plug it into an outlet to recharge which is great.

I found that 4 hours of battery life was enough time to listen to music while working out, watching a movie or listening to a podcast.

Most people don’t listen for that long in one sitting. If you keep them in the case they pick up enough charge for when you need them next.

To charge them you simply put them back inside their case marked which side they are.

They have this satisfying magnetic click to lock them in place so they can’t move around or fall out.
q32 soundpeats true wireless charging case
charging case setup

 

Sound Quality

For just $58 dollars these have really impressed me, there was no noticeable lag whilst watching youtube and that’s fantastic given the price point,

because other more expensive wireless ear buds have noticeable lag.

Lag really  isn’t fun when your trying to enjoy content.

But what about sound quality?

At first didn’t think they would be anything special my expectations were pretty low after listening to them I was pretty shocked at just how decent they actually are.

The clarity is there and the bass is decent but not over whelming. Vocals and mid range sound good too.

For the sound quality these could easily be over 100 dollars and I would have no issues paying that.

When you're wearing these they have a slight noise cancelling effect as well which makes it more of an immersive listening experience.

It’s not the same as wearing over ear headphones but it definitely does make a difference.

The maximum range these have is up to 10metres or 33 feet that’s with no obstacles in the way

I personally found that I could walk pretty much into any room of the house and still pick up the audio from the device these were connected to.

Price

The Q32 Soundpeats true wireless ear buds are currently $58 on Amazon

this comes with the 2300mah charging case there are also cheaper options

of the same ear buds if you're on a really tight budget.

55 hrs play time

AU$58.99 Q32 Soundpeats true wireless ear buds https://amzn.to/32JRlH7 Amazon AU –affiliate link
35 hrs play time

AU$40.99 Q32 Soundpeats true wireless ear buds
https://amzn.to/2N4Cws6 Amazon AU –affiliate link
15 hrs play time

AU$37.99 Q32 Soundpeats true wireless ear buds https://amzn.to/32JRlH7 Amazon AU –affiliate link

 

24 hrs play time, improved mic, smart touch controls, IPX5 water resistant
US 37.99 https://amzn.to/2ohXUlm Amazon US – affiliate link

35 hrs play time
US 35.99 https://amzn.to/2N6dRn3 Amazon US – affiliate link

15 hrs play time
US 29.99 https://amzn.to/2pQCts8 Amazon US – affiliate link

Conclusion

Approved!

All in all for $58 dollars, and going into this with low expectations of the quality these were going to produce I didn’t expect the results I had at all.

Every part of these kept impressing me and I really didn’t think they would be as good as they turned out to be.

This is a really easy recommendation because they speak for themselves,

A great gift for anyone looking for a set of truly wireless ear buds and especially if you’re on a budget these are perfect for that.

So the low cost, bluetooth 5.0, 4 hour battery life, light weight design ,

up to 55 hours play time before you have to recharge the case

and quality sound…

make this a great contender for one of the best low cost wireless ear buds right now.

Well that wraps up my review of SoundPeats Q32 wireless ear buds

Thanks for checking out this post, make sure to return for more tech videos in the future and if you enjoyed this leave a comment below.