Tuesday 23 April 2024

Baby Reindeer (2024)

Short 6-part (see update below) drama (half hour each) on Netflix about stalking, the true story of comedian Richard Gadd and what happened to him as he pursued his career whilst being hounded by a woman with mental health problems.

He admits that it was changed in some ways to make a show of it, but the bones of it are all true. It's a very well acted Brit drama and worth a watch.

Update Hang on, there's a 7th episode popped up! IMDb says there's 8. Sorry about that. Very odd as it all seemed to come to a neat conclusion at the end of 6... OK.

Now watched the 7th, which is a fairly moving epilogue really. Can't imagine what IMDb's claim for an 8th can be?! Anyway, all well worth a watch.

Saturday 20 April 2024

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Progress Report

Some fairly random thoughts regarding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 follow as I’ve never formally reviewed the device, rather dipped in and out with feature-coverage as I come across them, or problems as I find them, for discussion and further analysis by the good folks out there along for the journey. So here’s my current thinking, not in-depth reviewing…

The Flip5 folds flat for the first time in Samsung’s Flip-range! The front screen is (obviously) plastic, layered, ‘Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X’ with a substantial ‘crease’ but after a while, as usual, most of us have brains that will ignore it. Sometimes when swiping I am reminded, but a lot of swiping is done on the bottom or top of the screen, not top/bottom or bottom/top. It refreshes at 120Hz (if you like), has HDR10+ support and is very bright when cranked up (in auto) at 1750nits. It’s a rather large 6.7”, though that’s smaller than Moto’s Razr and others which are often now 6.9”. 1080p with 425ppi.

The cover screen is Super AMOLED, 3.4”, 720p at 306ppi. It’s got a ‘dogleg’ around the camera lenses and I found that anything other than Samsung’s own official TPU ‘case’ means that swipes up from the bottom-left are really difficult to execute. Especially with my big fingers. There’s GGV2 on the cover screen and back, which is encouraging - especially for those using the outside screen more than the inside one, now that it’s bigger, and the frame is reassuringly the tougher drop and scratch resistant Armour aluminium.

IPX8 means that it’s water resistant up to 1.5m for 30 min and no dust protection, but again, users are likely to be opening the phone less than ever before and you’d like to hope they won’t be using it as a spade to build sandcastles at the beach! As far as I can see, the protector on my screen is still in perfect condition and there’s no question of any damage to the ‘crease’. I know many people do report this being a problem but my family now have the Flip3, Flip4 and now Flip5 in regular use and all three are simply perfect.

The Samsung updates and software support is not quite the market-leading version that the S24-series gets, 7 years, along with Google, but at 4 OS updates (so Android 13-17) and 5 years of Security (so to Summer 2028), it really is enough - assuming the screen holds out that long!

The chipset flies through anything that I ask of it, SnapDragon 8 Gen 2, last year’s as it might be, and my unit has 512GB of storage, plenty (or indeed too much) for the huge majority of people (with UFS 4.0 supported) and the 8GB RAM doesn’t seem to be an issue (even if the unit supported DeX I still think 8GB is fine, based on tests with other phones, such as the S23). The baseline storage for the range is now 256GB, so nice to see 128GB being dropped, especially as most of the big players don’t even want a sniff of microSD now.

The stereo speakers are surprisingly good for playing audio/media, given that physics will clearly play a part. The ‘right’ one is ‘bottom’ firing and the ‘left’ being the ‘earpiece’ speaker. When it’s open, in landscape, it’s actually pretty good for stereo separation for watching film/video but when closed, clearly the speakers are very close to each other and one of them firing ‘inside’ the ‘shell’. Having said that, it’s perfectly usable even with the various cases I’ve tried. The quality is pretty good, supported by Dolby Atmos, and top volume seems decent enough too, for a physically compromised form. Much better than many - folding, flipping or not!

There’s no 3.5mm audio-out available but there is support for 32-bit/384kHz audio. Music played via the USB-C will clearly depend on the attached equipment and how good that is, but via Bluetooth 5.3, for which the same is true, sounds great to my ageing ears. No complaints with any of my 101 pairs of headphones, earphones and speakers that I have tried in tests here.

Connectivity by 5G seems good for data and voice - the latter making great use of the ‘flip’ form in terms of answering/ending phone calls by opening/closing the clam. It’s great fun, retro and practical.

WiFi works really well in my tests here with a range of routers and situations. It supports 6e for that and GPS seems to lock on well and keep a hold. NFC is a bit odd in that the aerial needs to be in the ‘bottom’ half of the phone and Google Pay only works if the phone is opened. Retraining needed for those of us who are expecting to present the top-back of the phone to the scanner, aerial usually being up-top somewhere alongside cameras.

As I mentioned above, there’s no DeX support here but there is USB-C 3.2 (OTG) with the switch thrown (for the first time with a flipping phone from Samsung) for HDMI-Out support. Which is a great addition over previous generations and enables some of us who prefer the cabled route to make more use of all that storage, to TV, monitor or whatever. It even works (in screen-echo mode) with my NexDock Touch here - and unlike Motorola’s Ready For, the touch-screen, audio passthrough and keyboard work as well! Landscape media can be switched on the fly but most of the time the UI is in portrait.

The side-mounted, capacitive fingerprint scanner is perfectly placed for open or closed use on the right, works flawlessly, first time, every time, and the face unlock supporting it means that the user is ready for action at lightning speed!

The battery is pretty good in my tests since I’ve had it here, though in various clinical tests online people are questioning it. It’s certainly longer-lasting than the slightly smaller battery in the Flip4, but then the Flip4 needed to be opened up for more tasks than the Flip5. In turn, the Flip3’s battery was worse again. So it’s steady progress, wings clipped by physics largely. It is a 3,700mAh unit which offers 25W charging, so not great, but gets half the battery full from flat in about half an hour. There’s 15W Qi and 4.5W reverse wireless in the mix, so options all-round, slow as they might be.

The main camera is a 12MP f/1.8 shooter with OIS and in support is a wide-angle 12MP f/2.2 unit. It can shoot 4K video at 60fps, 1080 at 240 and 720 at 960. There’s a 10MP f2.2 Selfie inside the clamshell. It has Samsung’s camera software of course and it’s very capable, limited only by the hardware they were able to squeeze into the small, folding, flipping body!

Like Pixels these days, a lot of the appeal of Samsung phones is in the evolving software, version by version, update by update, as the tech world is flooded with the buzz of AI this, AI that and AI the other! We try to keep up with what’s going on but don’t forget that Samsung has a flavour all of its own in the shape of OneUI, currently on v6.1, with all that comes with it - including the bells and whistles, depth of Good Lock modules and whatever can be baked in by these clever engineers, now, apparently, working squarely hand-in-hand with those from Google. There’s tons of stuff to cover in the software, so head for YouTube and take your pick from a million and one videos!

I’m more interested in the form factor, though. The Flip5 in the hand, in the pocket, is certainly dinky and I am finding that over time I am using the cover screen more and more. I sneak applications into the Good Lock cover screen module and before I realise, I’m out there using the phone a lot. The phone folded nestles nicely in my hand and by the use of pinky-finger and scrolling thumb it balances nicely. There are some applications which are a bit rubbish and you just have to open the phone up, but I’ve been surprised at how useful it has been of late, running those apps. Typing on the keyboard is fiddly of course and sometimes, with some apps, you simply can’t see the text input field when typing. So voice input is encouraged - which works very well in most instances.

Flex Mode is great! Yeah, yeah, I know, in reality it's of limited use (especially on the small Flip5 screen and not the bigger Fold5's) but it's just great tinkering fun. With the device sitting up looking at me, playing with a cursor using the Touchpad is wicked fun - and screenshots - and more usefully, probably, music controls in various Music Playing apps. Tent mode (so almost closed and forming a ‘v’ shape standing facing me) and playing/watching Music Video is one of my favourite uses for the Flip5. I often do this and love it. It's kinda nostalgic. Like using an iPod Classic. It's charming.

I’m still finding out more as I go, including the hookup with a Samsung Galaxy Watch for health tracking (and even Blood pressure - well, except currently in the USA apparently), integrating use with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and loads more. Nobody can deny that with joined-up thinking going on, Samsung does provide a playground with oodles of fun, productivity and functionality at every turn. Anyway, these have been some random thoughts - a kind of progress report really, having never actually ever done a formal review on the unit as such. Great fun and I continue to enjoy it.

Monday 15 April 2024

Purple Noon (1960)

On with the Patricia Highsmith Ripley adaptations then and this one is certainly different to The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) and the Netflix version in 2024, simply entitled Ripley. There’s a much more ‘European’ feel about it as the René Clément version here (originally Plein Soleil) is based around the French language with the action largely in Italy again. So we still have English-sounding names (although Dickie has been ousted for Philippe) and references to where the family have come from in the USA, Italian focus because that’s where it is, but when the core characters are talking to each other it’s in French!

It’s typically 1960’s ‘feeling’ in style, fashion and approach with actors looking like The Saint’s Simon Templar on the set of an episode of The Avengers or the like. People are polished with slick-back hair and I couldn’t help myself thinking of Roger Moore!

There are some differences from the other stories with various details adjusted giving it it’s own style. According to one review I read, Highsmith wasn’t very happy with the ending in Purple Noon as it wasn’t the same as the book (not that I’ve read it yet), and certainly different from the other two versions I’ve now seen, mentioned above. There’s lots of tension built up around the events, especially as the dark deeds come to the fore, but just in more of a ‘Hitchcock’ type way than we expect in more modern films and TV shows now.

There’s also pretty much no inference or suggestion regarding Tom’s sexuality as there are in the others (and I’m guessing, knowing Highsmith’s other work) or the book. In fact, in attempting to ‘take the place’ of Philippe/Dickie, that seems to also include here becoming the lover of Marge as well. Much of the rest of it is similar, though with much less time than the 8-episode Netflix version had to explore and dwell on details, patching things together seamlessly. Or even, to a large degree, The Talented Mr Ripley. But the style and production more than makes up for that and it doesn’t feel too rushed most of the time.

Alain Delon plays Tom and, as I say, he looks very much like The Saint! He does a grand, if less intense job than the one we see from Matt Dillon and especially Andrew Scott, but again, a style of the 1960’s French cinema - and his own. Tom’s ‘talent’ on show here is much more subdued as a feature, as we witness him, for example, having to work very hard to learn Philippe’s signature and not, as with the other adaptations, it being presented as a skill he just has. On display are the other ones however, being able to mimic people’s voices and forge documents - so again, a different emphasis and impact on the story.

Marie Laforêt plays Marge nicely, with a feel of Raquel Welch or perhaps more Gina Lollobrigida about her - again, reflecting the era and leading ladies. I do think that the sultry and suspicious Dakota Fanning pulls the job off best in the Netflix version, and even Gwyneth Paltrow, again, played differently, is ahead of Laforêt in The Talented Mr Ripley. But they are different approaches to the role, to be fair. Maurice Ronet plays Philippe and demonstrates very well the upper class spoiled-by-money, annoying character who one could argue gets what’s coming to him!

Much like the other versions, the cinematography and sets are very nicely organised, exploited and shot. Maybe it’s not such a hard job to at least make those kinds of locations look great, sun, sea, sand and ancient European cities, building and culture, but it is visually delightful with that kind of ramped-up colour palette we were used to back in the 60’s.

I still think that I prefer the 2024 Netflix version, followed by this one and The Talented Mr Ripley coming in last. I have one more (I think) to see before I put this (first book) to bed and that’s Wim Wenders’ 1977 shot at it with Dennis Hopper called The American Friend. Watch this space!

Sunday 14 April 2024

Hotel (2004)

Hotel is a short Austrian horror/mystery film, at the time of writing, available in full on YouTube or Artificial Eye DVD. It stars Franziska Weisz as Irene, a newly recruited desk clerk in a hotel in the back-end of nowhere, replacing Eva, her predecessor, who, it turns out, seems to be currently missing, disappeared without trace.

Around the site of the hotel during the film, the police are interviewing the staff about it and even dredging the hotel’s pond/lake for any signs of a body. But it’s never spoken openly about by the odd-ball collection of characters who sullenly run the hotel, lurk around corners, indulge in ritualistic behaviours and generally remain tight-lipped and dour.

Then there’s the mystery surrounding a local cave where a bunch of hikers had mysteriously disappeared some years ago and the ancient legend of some witch or other from the local woods, who Irene is given a brief introduction to the story regarding during her brief, cold induction. The induction in which a creepy under-manager leads her through basement corridors where lights time out if a person lingers too long and with a door that shouldn’t be opened, if one knows what’s good for one!

She asks if she can use the hotel pool out of hours instead of running for exercise, which is reluctantly granted by another of the glum employees who looks like she has a huge amount to hide. And so on. And that’s the main thrust of the film really. It’s staged as a horror, but almost all of the so-called horror is about suspense, darkness, the spooky cave, strange fumblings with local people and suggestions of what might be. What might have happened to Eva, whether Irene is trapped with the same fate awaiting, or whether whatever it is, is going to happen to her as well!

It’s very slow-paced for most of the length of the film but shot so as to squeeze every drop of atmosphere out of the building itself - by use of lighting, angles, dark corridors - and similarly spooky locations out and around the hotel. Irene is presented as pretty much the same dour, glum character as those around her, so she seems to fit in well. She decidedly lacks personality and humour or flair - I don’t think anyone as much as smiles throughout the whole 1 hour 17 minute runtime!

Anyway, it’s clearly an interesting project from director/writer Jessica Hausner, which is worth a watch. In German with subtitles on YouTube, so grab it while you can. Try not to nod off, but instead accept the above and consume the spooky atmosphere as you wonder what, if anything, is to become of poor Irene, thrown into the middle of this dark, gloomy situation.

Friday 12 April 2024

Perfect Days (2023)

This Wim Wenders (Paris, Taxas, The American Friend) film is a moving and beautifully created character study depicting the everyday life of a toilet cleaner in Tokyo! We follow his endlessly mundane daily routine, which he executes with very few words, injected with a small handful of encounters with other characters.

Our middle-aged janitor is Hirayama, played to perfection by Koji Yakusho (Babel, Memoirs of a Geisha), going about his work from morning routine in his house, where he lives alone, tending to his plants, preparing for his day in the same way each day, executing it in similar fashion, eating his same lunch on the same park bench, taking his laundry to the laundrette on his day off each week, waiting for it to finish whilst eating the same meal in the same bar - we are given to believe that he's a victim of OCD (almost) throughout, via his exacting, repetitive behaviours and simple life, forming the character study. But before you nod off, should you not be able to get alongside and appreciate the acting and see where it's going, there's more.

The film is an ode to Japanese culture, societal attitudes and beautiful Tokyo whilst drilling down to show us where and how the ordinary, working folk live. The mundane job which he has, he executes with more of the exacting standards. We stay with him as he cleans and cleans, taking pride in his role, until his face can be seen in the porcelain - and even as he whips out a mirror to clean the places eyes cannot routinely see.

He has a colleague, a youngster with a more modern outlook, lazy and care-free. He sits around most of the time and is more interested in hooking up with a young girl in the mix. He's Takashi, played by Tokio Emoto and she, Aya, played by Aoi Yamada, and their part in the film also brings some comic moments in contrast to the simple and contemplative Hirayama. He's taken in by the pair of them easily as they introduce much of the great music to proceedings, mostly 1970's songs, headed by Lou Reed's Perfect Day (fitting nicely in with the film's title and theme).

The music is super throughout and there's even time to reflect on traditional vs new as discussions are held about compact cassette tapes. They even visit a backstreet record shop at one point where it is clear that old music formats are coming back, regardless of the fact that the comic youngsters don't even know which way the tape goes into the player! Hang about for the credits, too as a reflective and poignant solo piano tinkers out Perfect Day again, beautifully.

Next up, amidst the ongoing routines, is his sister's teenage daughter who turns up on his doorstep and expects to stay with him, which she does for a few days, and asks to go to work with him. She's fallen out with mum and we get a little insight at this point as to the very different lives Hirayama and his sister have and suggestions that their father has abused him in the past. This is a passing reference, very moving whilst it lingers, but on we go to the next encounter. This, with the lady who runs the bar, her sick ex-husband and a reflective exchange on the riverside between them.

The tone of the film slides neatly into a reflective, considered one at this point as our central character reevaluates his life, the people around him and the impact that their similarly ordinary existences and problems have on his view of the world, life's meaning and value. It's a time where Yakusho is able to flex his talent too as he displays a range of emotions, glances and facial expressions which leave no place for words - there's no need.

The film is about change and modernisation, traditional values and cultural norms as they appear to drifting away, Hirayama symbolic of the latter and many younger members of the cast, who all do terrific jobs, bringing on the former. But it also speaks about the potential for bridge-building between the two and the characters from each side blend and warm to the other.

There's no doubt that Yakusho carries the film from start to finish and it can be enjoyed simply for his acting, or certainly that and the thoughtful and interesting cinematography throughout. Yes, subtitles as you'd expect with a Japanese film, but actually, there's not a huge amount of dialogue anyway. It's a wonderful piece of cinema which is highly recommended.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

X (2022) and Pearl (2022)

Two films in the same year from director/writer Ti West (and for the second, star of both, Mia Goth pen in hand). Two films which are actually very different and leap back in time to, for X, 1979 and then for Pearl (who is the old woman in X), 1918. Pearl is played in both films by a heavily made-up Goth (in X) between her scenes as twenty-something porn-star Maxine, and as-is for Pearl the teenager in Pearl! Keeping up?!

Back to 1979 then and a group of young filmmakers rent a pretty run-down building from an elderly couple (Pearl and her husband) who also live on the same Texas site, in a bigger house, across the way. The team are making porno-flicks and after convincing the elderly couple that they are about something different, they get on with shooting their films.

Pearl and her husband stumble into the truth about what they are filming, however, and this is the point at which things turn sinister and the film becomes an all-but teen-slasher flick, which in time-honoured fashion, leads the viewer through much gore, violence and nastiness as they get bumped off one by one in various different ways! And this is what makes the film stylish, fun and engaging really. The sex they are filming becomes a bit of a side-issue as the audience is encouraged to focus more on the dark deeds!

Pretty much all of the film is based in and around the isolated house and farmyard, where all the deeds take place. The actors (and director) are clearly have lots of fun with this, but we also get some insight into each of the characters, their leanings, prejudices, liberation - and how far they can pushed before they become very different people, often defying their traits! Jenna Ortega is a good example of this as the ‘sound’ person in amongst all this for the flicks, apparently prudish and reserved, until pushed and challenged.

There’s lots of good tension at certain times during the film as the audience is kept on their toes, wondering what on earth is coming around the next corner. The actors do well in depicting themselves as friendly, likeable characters, with a seedy task at hand, but we’re encouraged to warm to them from the start, whatever we think about what they’re doing there! It’s all shot very nicely, creating an almost retro slasher-flick feel to it (indeed from the 70’s) and is glorious fun throughout.

And then we come to Pearl, which is very different, and, as I say, depicts the young life in 1918 of the old woman in X. Pearl lives on (I think) the same farm with her mum, who goes out of her way to oppress and stamp on her ambitions, and disabled dad. She is married but her husband is away fighting in WWI, so she’s left to help run the farm and look after dad. Pearl moons about the place dreaming of becoming a performer on stage, without, realistically, much hope.

Played by Goth, she is depicted throughout this film as a complete fruit-loop, presumably paving the way for the nasty old sinister woman in X later on, but also a sadly troubled soul who really doesn’t have much grasp on reality and lives in a dreamworld. The whole film is centred around her and forms something of a character study, crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s for what’s to come later.

In many ways, it’s a bit of a slow-burner compared to X but that doesn’t mean to say that it’s bereft of the early inklings of Pearl’s violent leanings as we are served up some nasty deeds (between her cutesy talking to farm animals behaviour), just not in quite the same slasher-flick way as X.

Back to the plot and Pearl bumps into a chap who is working as a director who sees his opportunity for a bit of a wriggle in the sack in exchange for providing her with some door-opening opportunities to mould her dream in entertainment. She gets an audition to perform on the stage which he leads her to believe she’s going to do well with, but she flunks it, is destroyed by the outcome - especially when the chappie, having had his way with her, unceremoniously dumps her. This is the point at which Pearl is pushed over the edge and starts to develop behaviours more consistent with her part in X.

The cinematography is great, again, but this is certainly of a different ilk and during the first half of the film seems more like some kind of Wizard of Oz tale, very slow, as Pearl’s character’s background is built for us. Thrills await in the second half as it shifts up a gear! It’s certainly worth watching to enjoy Mia Goth’s performance (in both films) but also for much more besides. Part of me wishes I’d watched them the other way around, but they stand alone too. Great fun and very enjoyable. Recommended.

Initial Thoughts: Motorola Edge 40 Neo

This now arrived and won't update to Android 14, for love nor money(!) even though the Edge 30 Neo has already got it. Odd. It arrived on Android 13, so should get the two updates up to and including A15. (To the right is a photo of the phone, armed with a 3rd party Qi Charger coil which I've not had to use for some time!)

It also has the 50% bluetooth volume bug (thus disproving that for the Edge 30 Ultra it was to do with Android 14) which I guess will not be fixed anytime soon. It's that switch in developer settings which doesn't work - Disable absolute volume. Usually when the switch is thrown, you can actively hear the change. For this device (and the ME30U) it does nothing. The community's forums are up in arms of course, while the other 98% of users probably haven't even noticed! Update the Edge 30 Ultra seems to have self-fixed this now (but not with this phone yet), so hopefully all those disgruntled users are finding the same!

No Qi Charging is bugging me a bit (especially when the 30 Neo had it) but the (same) included 68W brick in the box (50% from flat in 15 minutes and 100% in about 45 minutes) goes some way to offset that. I suppose. The battery is an odd one, too. The newer model has had the battery capacity hiked to 5000mAh from 4020mAh but GSMArena were not impressed with its performance. One of our MeWe Group members thinks that there is certainly an issue with the 5G aerial hunting and has had better results with manually switching to 4G. In previous tests, the 30 Neo battery performs superby, so tests ongoing here.

The speakers are the same, great ones which are on the Edge 30 Neo. Loud, decent quality, Dolby Atmos to tinker with, no need for Wavelet here!

It has the styling of the Edge 30 Ultra, so curved edges, unlike the Edge 30 Neo which has a flat screen. I like both. Curves are classy, flat is practical. I didn’t choose the Peach Fuzz Pantone colour, but actually I really like it! Dare I say it’s a bit ‘teen girlie’ without being lynched, but I guess most reading this would go for the Black, Soothing Sea or Caneel Bay over it. And it’s got that Pantone ‘scent’ in the box, too! Like some kind of perfume. Not sure which demographic that’s going to appeal to.

There’s a rigid case in the box, too, colour-matched, which is apparently made of 100%-plant and the box is eco-friendly too. It does have IP6/8 water/dust, which is a step up from the nano-coating of internals fiddlesticks. So that's good.

The 1080p, 144Hz, pOLED screen (presumably made by LG still) is fabulous. The same one as most Moto phones. Super-bright (1300nits peak), colourful, great angles. No complaints and puts many flagships’ efforts to shame. I’d rather that it was the same 6.28” version on the 30 Neo, but with the curved edges, it defies to some degree it’s 6.55” hike.

The MediaTek Dimensity 7030, 6nm, is different from the 30 Neo’s SnapDragon 695, 6nm, but from what I preliminarily read, it’s more than comparable in tests and I notice no slow-down anywhere in the same kind of way. Well, maybe when under heavy load, updating 100+ apps or copying files over, but no different really from the 30 Neo. No gaming tried yet.

There’s no microSD, like the 30 Neo, but unlike the latter, the 40 Neo does have readily-available higher capacity/RAM models in the west. There was a 256GB version of the 30 Neo, but I never saw it on sale anywhere - even on Lenovorola’s websites. This one is 256GB/12GB which is oodles better than the 30 Neo’s 128GB/6GB of course.

The cameras are comparable and fine for the likes of me(!), retaining the very-close-up so-called Macro facility of the 30 Neo, even better than the other Moto phones in the range, closer, making use of that wide-angle lens. There’s a 50MP f/1.8, OIS (30 Neo had 64MP f1.8, OIS) main shooter and 13MP f/2.2, wide-angle (which was the same). Unlike the 30 Neo, it can shoot 4K video at 30fps. The best on the 30 Neo was 1080p@120fps. The 32MP f/2.4 selfie shooter is the same, but again it’s hiked up for 4K video.

Connectivity is good in my tests with a WiFi hike from 5 to 6e, for those who can take advantage, Bluetooth 5.4 from 5.1, GPS, NFC, the usual standards - but the USB-C port is dropped to v2 from v3.1 with the 30 Neo. Not that there was any HDMI-Out support for the older model anyway, so I guess the switch had not been thrown for that by Moto.

They both have the full Ready For suite (wireless, not cable, obviously) and it works like a charm with any device, Windows PC, Roku TV here, Android Tablets - whatever you want to hook up.

The same under-display optical fingerprint scanner is used for biometrics with both phones which works well, supported by a very efficient (if less secure) Face Unlock.

It’s a very nice phone for a very good price, for those who can live with the slightly curved screen, Moto’s lacklustre approach to updates and no wireless charging or HDMI-Out. For the price these are now (especially ‘second hand’ and a year on) it seems churlish to complain about anything really, but rather to focus on the envelope-pushing (for the price) and aggressive positioning that Lenovorola are chasing. If it only lasts a couple of years (before handing on to a family member, out of OS-update support) then one could argue that it’s a good financial strategy on the part of the user.

For me, armed with the previous year’s model, Qi Charging and all, even without some of the above-mentioned advantages of the 40 Neo over it, it’s a hard choice. I guess it being on Android 14 as final update might swing me towards the newer model.

Anyway, I shall do a proper review in time once I’ve had more time with it and hopefully Moto fix that really annoying, almost deal-breaking, bluetooth volume bug. But now, of course, I'm lusting over an Edge 50-series phone - it's relentless!

Edge 40 Neo vs Edge 30 Neo thanks to GSMArena
Edge 40 Neo (vs Edge 30 Neo) Specs
2023, September (October 22)
159.6 x 72 x 7.9mm (152.9 x 71.2 x 7.8mm)
170g (155g)
Gorilla Glass 3 front (glass unspecified)
Plastic frame (same)
Plastic back (same)
Nano-SIM, eSIM or Dual SIM (no eSIM)
IP68 (splash and dust)
P-OLED (same)
144Hz (120Hz)
HDR10+ (???)
1300nits, peak (???)
6.55" (6.28")
1080p (same)
20:9 (same)
402ppi (419ppi)
Android 13-15 (12-14)
MediaTek Dimensity 7030, 6nm (SD695 5G, 6nm)
No microSD (same)
128GB 8GB RAM (128GB 6GB)
256GB 8GB RAM (128GB 8GB)
256GB 12GB RAM (256GB 8GB)
50MP f/1.8, OIS (64MP f1.8, OIS)
13MP f/2.2, wide-angle (same)
4K@30fps, 1080p@240fps (no 4K, 1080p@120fps)
Selfie 32MP f/2.4, 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps (same)
Stereo speakers (same)
No 3.5mm (same)
Wi-Fi 6e (5)
Bluetooth 5.4, A2DP, LE (Bluetooth 5.1, A2DP, LE, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive)
GPS (same)
NFC (same)
USB-C 2.0, OTG (3.1)
Under display, optical FPS (Same)
Wireless Ready For (same)
5000mAh (4020)
68W wired charging (same)
None (5W wireless)
Black, Soothing Sea, Caneel Bay, Peach Fuzz (Very Peri, Black Onyx, Ice Palace, Aqua Foam)

Monday 1 April 2024

PodHubUK Podcasts for the Month of March 2024

  ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 791 - Insider
Saturday 2nd March
Joe Hickey joins Steve and I this week as we catch up with him on all sorts from Samsung, Sony, Pixel, Surface Duo and even Meta-Specs! Apps of the Week, Bygone Beauties and plenty more available now in the usual places.

Tech Addicts Podcast
A Wooden Satellite
Sunday 3rd March
Gareth and I are back once again with a weekend tipple of tech tinctures! Tips on decrypting Audible books with Libation, concerns about Voyager 1's failing communications, wooden satellites, mass-produced 1TB microSD cards, affordable smartphones, innovative wearables and oodles more! Now available in the usual places, so do join us.

Projector Room
Episode 158 - Deep Dune Fear
Wednesday 6th March
Allan, Gareth and 
are back again with our usual fortnightly roundup of all things film, cinema and TV. This time we treat on Sean Connery, experience a Deep Fear of crap shark films, flop around with Asteroids, play in the Dunes with Seven Sisters and think about The Evil That Men Do! Loads of chatter as always, remembering those passed and a selection of stuff Coming Soon.

Whatever Works
Episode 203 - Cheap Glasses for Mince Pies!
Saturday 9th March
Aidan and I are back
again to bring you a toe-warming glimpse of Whatever Works in our world and yours! As usual, much fun and merriment as we go about the task unravelling the goodies. Watch out for the 50p pee saved by TravelJohn, kneeling on the saddle, tinkling the ivories of a magic piano, popping corn and napkins - and oodles more!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 792 - OS Choice and Marriage
Saturday 9th March
Scott Brady joins Steve and I again this week to chat with us about all things phone. OnePlus gets a look-in amongst Garmin and Latercase. We're Robin Razer to pay Linda and even knit music creation apps into the mix too. All good stuff, so stop by and join us for an hour.

Phones Show Chat
Episode 793 - iPhone Landmark and Pixel Mystery
Saturday 16th March
Steve and I are joined once more by Mark Ellis this week as the pair of them bang on about Apple while I make the tea! We do get to Android too, with plenty of Samsung, Nothing Phone (2a), Lenovorola, Sony and Pixel. Plus, Normobs and PIM!

Tech Addicts Podcast
To be sure, to be sure...
Sunday 17th March
Gareth and I host a St Patrick's Day Pod and discuss Voyager 1's latest "poke" from NASA and its minimal computer capacity, LocalSend - a cross-platform file-sharing tool, a dive into Linux, Samsung's new phones, a potential TikTok ban, the latest in wearables, AI advancements and of course bargain tech deals! Make your Sunday whole again and join us!

Projector Room
Episode 159 - Damsel Desperation
Wednesday 20th March
Allan, Gareth and 
are here again with our thoughts on what we've been watching lately in film, cinema and TV. The Zone of Interest here is broad as we join The Deer Hunter in the House of Ninjas, witness The Gentlemen fighting fire-breathing dragons in the Bad Country with Alice and Jack - and loads more besides!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 794 - Envision's AI Provision
Saturday 23rd March
Steve Nutt joins Steve and I this week as we delve into Accessibility again and find out about the clever AI tools now available for people with sight impairments and beyond. Loads of other stuff as always including Steve's Top 5 phones, I'm hot on updates from Moto and Sony - as well a sound Marshall addition to the house!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 795 - Three Pixel Folds Walk Into a Bar...
Saturday 30th March
Mr Folding Phone himself, Shane Craig joins Steve and I this week to chat about Android (of course) folding phones! For 'tis his speciality! We mainly focus on the Pixel Fold but there's also some Samsung and OnePlus talk in the mix.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Yaw Wanna Hear This!
Sunday 31st March
Gareth and I are back with our fortnightly roundup of all things tech. We cane Google News, consider Windows' Image Viewers, dubiously dribble on our Mechanical Retro Keyboards whilst making room for a Copilot key, hope for a new Moto Ultra, take our seat for a wild spin, turn our old Kindle into a clock/weather station, lust over bargains and oodles more!

The Podcasts
PodHubUK - Phones Show Chat - The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - Tech Addicts

Abigail (2024)

A bunch of lowly hoods are brought together in the typical nobody-knows-each-other style, not supposedly sharing anything about themselves, ...