Our thoughts on iPhone X

Our thoughts on iPhone X

iPhone X is an important step for Apple. Back in 2007 when the very first iPhone was released, it changed the smartphone market. Buttons largely became a thing of the past and the screens were suddenly an impressive 3.5 inches of pure 163 ppi glory. The design became the standard for the next generation of smartphones and, since then, other manufacturers have tried to find a way to imitate the iPhone visuals for familiarity while still adding their own design touches.

Since then, we have come a long way! iPhone has gotten bigger and better – that 3.5 inches has become 5.8 inches, and that 163 ppi has become a whopping 458 ppi. Storage has rocketed from a maximum of 16GB in 2007 to 256GB in 2017, and processor speeds are more powerful than many laptops. But fundamentally, gone is that button on the front, and instead we have an all-new design that turns the traditional iPhone look on its head. iPhone X, represents a step away from that well-known façade – but how does this latest iteration compare with its predecessors, and can we expect great things from Apple’s new model?

First thing’s first: The specs

Much has been made of the iPhone’s power, and while there are inevitably similarities between iPhone X and Apple’s other 2017 release, iPhone 8. The iPhone X does lead the way.

Display: 5.8” Super Retina HD display, 2436×1125 pixels at 458 ppi

Camera: 12MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4 aperture) cameras

Authentication: Face ID

Processor: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

Charging: Wireless charging

Capacity: 64GB or 256GB

The bits we love

It wouldn’t be a review of iPhone X if we didn’t comment on Face ID. Touch ID (using a fingerprint to unlock the device) has been part of the iPhone architecture since iPhone 5S back in 2013. The method of unlocking the phone worked largely seamlessly (except with the dreaded ice-cold fingers) from day one, and provided the device with authentication that meant there was a 1 in 50,000 chance of someone being able to access the device. Face ID (unlocking the device with a visual of your face) ramps that figure up to 1 in 1,000,000 by reading up to 30,000 dots on the face to check your identity. But how good is it?

While initial reports seemed to try anything to find the limitations of Face ID, our experience has been very good. Admittedly there have been times when a tired face first thing in the morning, in a dimly lit room and the cat half in view have left us resorting to putting in the passcode manually, but those instances have been few and far between. In fact, if anything there have been plenty of times when using Face ID has had its advantages over Touch ID. The cold finger issue is a thing of the past, and in cold weather we’ve been able to pull the phone out of our pocket then start using it easily.

It’s all made possible by that built in front-facing camera on the device that’s one of the big differentiators of the X over the 8. The camera, although slightly limited in its scope at the moment, undoubtedly has huge potential in the future. And as for that notch at the top of the display (created to house the camera) that has been much talked-about, after a couple of hours of usage, we barely noticed it was there.

Dog shot on iPhone X

It’s not just the front-facing camera that’s big news though. The rear camera on both iPhone X and iPhone 8 feels like a leap in terms of image quality. Apple have always been forward-thinking in terms of their approach to photography – Live Photos and Portrait Mode have both been great additions. During our tests, the camera performed incredibly well in various different lighting levels, including in Portrait Mode as well as with both still photography and video. Here are just a couple of examples of the photos we were able to get with the device.

Fireworks shot on iPhone X

The other big change compared to previous iPhones is the addition of wireless charging. It’s a feature that’s been tried on a number of mobile phones from other manufacturers in the past, and Apple have been using it on the Apple Watch for a couple of years. Now, iPhone users will be able to take over charging pads in Starbucks up and down the country.

But the real benefit is that by using wireless charging pads (expect Apple’s own AirPower in the new year) you’re able to charge multiple devices through a single cable – far more convenient and far fewer lightning cables lying around the house!

And what about Animojis?

Animojis were a headline feature during the Apple keynote – suddenly, moving poo emojis gave us the chance to step into our own Pixar movies and send abusive text messages in animated form – and there’s little denying that they were good fun initially. They work as expected and the emotion almost precisely mirrors the face you are making. However, admittedly, the novelty factor went quite quickly – mainly because for all the Animojis we were sending, we weren’t getting any back, so we’re sure if you have an arsenal of iPhone X-wielding friends you’ll get along just fine.

As mentioned above, it’s the potential of this technology which really stands out, and there are a number of games putting it to good (or rather quirky) use. Our favourite so far is Rainbrow which lets you control the app’s character using a combination of eyebrow raises and frowns. We look forward to slightly more productive uses of the tech, but for now we’re happy working on building rather impressive brow muscles.

The verdict

Let’s get one thing straight – we love the iPhone X. It’s refreshing to see iPhone stripped right back, with a new look, new functionality, and plenty of new software features not available on other phones. The device’s size does feel unusual at first, and one-handed use can be a bit of a push (mainly when reaching for the Control Centre), but as with the Plus size when that first launched, it’s a learning curve that’s soon overcome. The rear camera is a stand-out feature that shows Apple’s dedication to photography, while the front camera has huge potential.

As for the inner workings – well, we’ve said little about them, but that’s largely because they work perfectly. The device works as smooth as ever, with the latest processor perfectly prepped to handle the complex functionality that has been built into iOS 11. Apple have played a good hand by creating a device that breaks the mould while still feeling familiar to earlier models. It remains to be seen if this becomes the standard for the next ten years – we firmly believe it will.

To find out more about the specs of iPhone X or to buy now, take a look at the Jigsaw24 store, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.

Review roundup: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Review roundup: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Canon is looking to hit another home run as it comes back for round two with the EOS-1D X Mark II. It looks impressive on paper, but how do the camera buffs think it holds up? 

When it comes down to numbers, 1D X Mark II is a winner. Offering 14 fps shooting, and breakneck 16 fps when shooting in live view mode, it’s definitely up there as one of the highest resolution DSLRs available. Numbers aren’t everything, but this camera certainly isn’t lacking substance.

Design

We’re big fans of the 1D X Mark II, even down to the way it looks. It’s a fairly hefty bit of tech, and while its size may deter those after something smaller, the 1D X Mark II delivers in almost every way, more than making up for its size.

Pocket-lint.com said: “if you’re looking for something small then, well, this isn’t going to fit the brief. Having just reviewed the mid-range Canon 80D, the 1D X II is a whole different beast… despite the size everything falls to place in the hand well, catering for both portrait and landscape orientation thanks to dual controls.”

Tech Radar said: “the EOS-1D X [Mark II] feels almost identical to the 1D X. Both cameras are heavy and solid-feeling, with the characteristic ‘battery bulge’ in the base doubling up as a vertical grip for portrait format shooting. This has been revised for the Mark II with a deeper grip for a more secure hold.”

Autofocus

When it comes to autofocus, the 1D X Mark II packs a punch. Although it may initially appear similar to the autofocus system found in the previous model, Mark II delivers on a variety of upgrades and tweaks that set it apart from the last generation. While still operating on a 61-point system, the new Ai Servo III+ tracking system allows the camera to more accurately predict tracking movement.

Pocket Lint said: “all 61-points are sensitive to f/8 – which will be handy if you’re using a 2x converter and are forced to use a smaller aperture (21 of these AF points are cross-type to said sensitivity). You can choose to utilise all points or cross-type only in selection, with 1-point, 5-point group, 9-point group, centre/left/right areas and full 61-point arrays being available using the dedicated focus type button and M-fn button.”

canon_eos_1d_x_mark_ii_1220852 435

Resolution

This camera is fast, that’s for sure. When 16 frames per second isn’t enough for you, the Mark II’s 4K Frame Grab feature means you can capture 8.8 megapixel JPEG images at a whopping 60fps.  

ephotozine said: “The 1D X Mark II offers a wide range of 4K video recording options, as well as high-speed FullHD video, and the video capabilities of this Digital SLR are the best you will find in a consumer level interchangeable lens camera, better than most other cameras, with the ability to record full CINE resolution 4K video at 60/50fps, whilst others only offer 4K video at 30/25/24fps.” They called it the fastest shooting full-frame camera available.

Backwards compatibility

Canon’s latest offering may come at a price, but don’t worry, your kit and accessories from the last iteration will still work with the Mark II.

Digital Photography review said: “As well as offering familiar ergonomics, the camera offers a good degree of backwards compatibility. For example, the Mark II uses a new battery, the LP-E19 but is still able to make use of the LP-E4 batteries used by its predecessor.”

4K video

Making the big jump to one of the latest video standards, the EOS-1D X Mark II also introduces 4K video, which was lacking in the previous model. As mentioned above, the Mark II is capable of shooting beautiful 4K video at 60fps.

Tech Radar said: “the 1D X Mark II doesn’t just shoot 4K at 30fps, it can shoot it at 60fps too. That requires serious processing power and it means you can record smooth 2x slow motion footage at 4K resolution. Interestingly, the Mark II shoots ‘real’ 4 at 4,096 x 2,160 pixels, rather than the slightly smaller UHD format most other cameras refer to generically as ‘4K’.”

You can pre-order the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II here and receive a free SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO CFastT 2.0 memory card . For everything else, call 03332 400 888, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24.


Interview: Apple Mac Pro one year on, with Sanjiv Sathiah

Interview: Apple Mac Pro one year on, with Sanjiv Sathiah

It’s hard to believe Apple’s Mac Pro is now a year old, having been first unveiled at last year’s WWDC. With the new Mac Pro now working its way onto desktops across the creative industries, we caught up with Sanjiv Sathiah, news editor at MacNN.com and Electronista (and devoted Apple fan!) to find out his thoughts on the mighty Mac Pro a year down the line, and why it still reminds him of a Sith Lord…

It’s been a while now since you originally reviewed the Mac Pro for Electronista/MacNN. Have your opinions changed at all?

“Like all Apple enthusiasts who first saw the new Mac Pro teased at last year’s WWDC, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. It radically reimagines workstation computing in a way that no one else but Apple could have delivered. I’m just as excited about it today as I was the day I saw it; it really is an amazing piece of technology.

“For me, it is an embodiment of the Apple design and engineering philosophy. If you look at previous Mac Pros, it’s like Apple just instantly jumped ahead a decade in terms of workstation design. It is the ultimate in refinement, stripping away everything that could be considered non-essential, leaving behind only exactly what is needed to power professional workflows right now.

“The new Mac Pro is a stripped down and lean machine, designed for both speed and heavy lifting. There is not a single component that could be considered a bottleneck, with optimal bandwidth a key consideration right throughout its system architecture. It really is a joy to use, and of course, it looks simply stunning.”

What’s the general reception been like with staff at Electronista/MacNN?

“Like me, I think everyone in the team loves what it has to offer the Apple power user. It is the most expandable Mac Pro yet, but at the same time it is just 1/8 the size of the previous generation and also manages to be substantially more powerful across the board. Some of the team miss the chassis space of the older model, but this was not always fully utilised by Mac Pro owners in the past.”

Has uptake among professionals and consumers matched your initial thoughts?

“I haven’t seen any official sales figures that break out Mac Pro sales on their own. However, Apple’s Mac revenue was up in the last quarter year-on-year by 5%, and it seems likely that the new Mac Pro played some role in that.

“The fact that it took Apple over six months for supply to catch up with demand shows that it has been hugely successful. Some of that was due to pent-up demand, no doubt, as a new model was overdue. But, it would seem that the wait was well and truly worth it.”

Are there any specific tasks that you think have seen the best performance uplifts since the upgrade?

“The new Mac Pro has incredible CPU, RAM, GPU, storage and connectivity bandwidth. Even the entry-level model fitted with quad-core Intel Xeon E5 CPU and dual-AMD FirePro D300 GPUs offers serious computing power.

“You have to remember that the new Mac Pro is optimised to utilise both the CPU in combination with the GPUs for computational processes in a number of OpenCL-compatible professional applications like Final Cut Pro among many others. The GPUs alone provide between 4-7 teraflops of processing power, depending on model configuration.

“Mac OS X’s support for OpenCL benefits users in all types of pro applications, including those using 3D intensive modelling CAD applications, through to realtime 4K movie editing, photo editing and music making. Scientific applications also benefit tremendously from the new Mac Pros. I use Logic Pro a lot and have enjoyed nothing but smooth sailing since upgrading to the Mac Pro myself.”

And have you seen any particularly clever Mac Pro setups or uses?

“I have seen one hooked up to six Thunderbolt displays, which was cool. The potential is definitely there for some incredible setups thanks to the six Thunderbolt 2 ports that Apple has built into the device. With the daisy-chaining capability of Thunderbolt, you could actually hook in another 30 Thunderbolt utilities in addition to the six Thunderbolt displays, which is pretty wild.”

What about that design? Still love it?

“Oh yeah; it is the coolest-looking computer I’ve seen in a long time. It reminds me of Darth Vader in the way that its case lifts away to reveal its inner workings. Very Sith indeed. I’m looking forward to seeing the same polished anodised Space Grey finish applied to some other products from Apple – perhaps it might appear on the rumoured MacBook Air redesign…?”

Are there any accessories you definitely recommend?

“Yes actually. While I can’t wait for Apple to release its own Thunderbolt 2 displays, LG has made an outstanding Thunderbolt 2-equipped QHD IPS UltraWide monitor. The 34UM95 is 34-inches on the diagonal and is packed with 3440×1440 pixels for a total of nearly 5 million pixels. It’s impressive and makes for a nice companion to the Mac Pro.”

What improvements, if any, could you see Apple still make to the Mac Pro?

“My list of grievances with the Mac Pro is very short. I simply wish that for all its incredible connectivity, Apple had included an SD card slot in the machine, even if people can still connect a camera to it over USB. Some users might have preferred six USB 3.0 slots and just four Thunderbolt 2 ports. Other than that, for me, it is absolutely perfect.

“I think Apple has ticked all the right boxes with the new Mac Pro. It is a bandwidth beast. If you need a machine that will crunch through processor intensive tasks, the Mac Pro exists for that very purpose. It’s perfect for prosumers too, who might do quite a bit of general computing as well. And although the AMD GPUs are optimised for parallel processing tasks, they still perform really well for a bit of Mac gaming in your downtime – each of the GPUs in even the entry-level model has more grunt than the latest Xbox One or PS4.”

So can you see Mac Pro on many Christmas lists this year?

“Absolutely. And the Jigsaw24 Mac Pro configurator is a great place to start when looking to build your dream machine!”

– You can read Sanjiv’s full review of the Mac Pro for Electronista/MacNN here.

Jigsaw24 Mac Pro configurator

Want to know more about Apple’s Mac Pro? Email sales@Jigsaw24.com or call 03332 409 306. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
By

Wacom Intuos Pro 2013 Special Edition unboxing and first look video

Wacom Intuos Pro 2013 Special Edition unboxing and first look video

Following the release of the new Wacom Intuos Pro graphics tablet range earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before unboxing videos started to pop up all over the internet – particularly with the launch of the oh-so-shiny Special Edition version, which features a sleek, metallic finish. Our favourite video, though, has to be by our friend over at Geekanoids.

Take a look below, and don’t forget to give us a call on 03332 409 306 or visit www.Jigsaw24.com to get your hands on your own Intuos Pro.

Head on over to www.YouTube.com/Geekanoids to see more tech videos.

Buy now from Jigsaw24

 

App review: Adobe Ideas

App review: Adobe Ideas

After getting our hands on Photoshop Touch for iPad a while back, we decided it was time to revisit the Adobe mobile app range. This time, we put Adobe Ideas in the hands of our Senior Designer, Paul. Adobe Ideas is a great little tool for putting together rough vector-based drawings on iPad, so we asked Paul to tell us what he thinks!

“While we’ll always have a fondness for pen and paper, there’s no denying that iPad gives designers and artists a freedom to experiment with ideas like never before. That’s where Adobe Ideas comes into play. It lets you create freeform vector illustrations absolutely anywhere (anywhere you have your iPad, that is…). And while it’s not without its limitations, we’ve got to say we love it!

“The app itself is very easy to use, and there’s very little learning time needed to be able to get cracking. While I hadn’t really used any of the Adobe iPad apps before, I didn’t find it difficult to pick up the user interface – mainly because it was based on the functionality you expect from iPad. To give you an idea of how it works, the video below summarises the new features:

“From the get-go, I loved the drawing tools available within the app. You get both pressure and stroke control, so you can be quite expressive in the drawings you put together. That might sound like a basic thing, but it gives it an advantage over a lot of the alternative drawing apps out there. I’ve only had the opportunity to use my fingers to draw in the app, but I’d quite like to have a go with a stylus to see the level of control that you can achieve!

“There are also nice touches for filling in block colour; the fill tool works as you would expect, but you can also draw a closed shape then tap and hold within that shape to apply a colour. This could be taken from one of your colour themes – a great feature that allows you to create a colour palette from another drawing or an imported photo.

“Another bonus Adobe Ideas has over a lot of the competition is the layering. You can have up to 10 layers in your drawings, which you can scale or change the opacity of. It’s also really easy to flip, rotate and reorder layers, and as you’d expect those layers make it far easier to edit the drawing once it has been transferred to Illustrator.

“The navigation of designs itself is an easy process. Adobe Ideas puts the iPad’s multitouch functionality to full use. As well as being able to manipulate layers and make it acceptable for adults to do finger painting, you can use the standard pinch to zoom gesture to get into the finer details of your work.

“If you don’t have a Wacom then this really opens up options in terms of creating beautifully flowing type strokes. You can use the pen or brush tool to hand draw and then take it into Illustrator to apply to other artwork. This doesn’t just apply to type but any hand drawn element you need.

“One thing I would say is that you’ll need to ensure you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account if you want to get the most from Ideas! While you can use the app to do drawings regardless, an account will be needed if you want to import to Illustator to continue working.”

Adobe Ideas is available from the App Store for free. Visit the App Store here to download it, or get in touch with us to find out more about the Adobe Creative workflow and about making the move to Adobe Creative Cloud. Call us on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com.