Monday 6 May 2019

Samsung J4+ Review... A Mid Range Offering With A Big Screen

My daughter was in need of a new phone and she insisted on a Samsung and preferred a gold one. So after looking around saw the Samsung J4+. This is a mid-range handset with a premium look, that retails, SIM-free, at around £160 on launch.

Featuring a 6” screen, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage and 3300 mAh battery it packs a punch for its price.

As well as that it comes with Android Oreo - and is due to be updated to Pie - a 13 megapixel camera and 5 megapixel front camera which even has a front flash. It has a MicroSD slot and 3.5mm headphone socket, but uses microUSB instead of the newer USB-C.

This phone isn’t going to be up to heavy gaming - but it isn’t marketed for that. The quad-core processor and Adreno 308 GPU is more than enough for everyday use and average games. This is aimed at the social media generation, the communicators, the picture takers and Snapchat fans.

Its large screen obviously makes it a large phone at 161.4mm x 76.9mm, but it doesn’t feel chunky and is only 7.9mm thick. My daughter has the gold version - also available in black, pink or blue. The colour refers to the back and side edges, the front of all of them are black.

The back of it however is a finger print magnet, within minutes of handling the phone it was covered in smudges and marks.

For a mid priced phone the screen is very impressive. 720 x 1480 pixels on a 6" display offers a very crisp view.

The left side has the volume buttons as well as the SIM and MicroSD card tray/slots. The right side has the power button and speaker. Yes, the speaker is on the side. It sounds odd but it makes better sense than on the back (which can be muffled when laid down), but I prefer mine on the front.

The J4+ runs Android Oreo 8.1 overlaid with the Samsung Experience - the newer name for TouchWiz. The system runs fast and there are a lot of fans of the Samsung interface but I prefer stock Android without the cutesy bright interface.

The cameras perform well, the 13 megapixel camera takes great pictures, that only suffer in very low light and the 5 megapixel front camera works excellent for its intended purpose - selfies and video calls.

It has a huge 3300 mAh battery gives it enough power for nearly two days - and it could be pushed more with light use.

Overall, I have - and my daughter has - been impressed with this offering from Samsung. It is a great looking phone and runs super smooth. Anything we have run on it, loads and operates with no lag or feeling sluggish (not that you should expect it to for a new phone).

It is difficult to write a review for phones these days, as they all do the same and in fairness all do it very well. Unless there is a feature not up to standard or a design that isn’t to your liking, then a phone is going to please you.

With that in mind, the Samsung J4+ is a great mid priced handset with a great feature set, decent power, great battery and nothing bad to say about it and if you like the Samsung Experience you will enjoy this phone.

If you are wanting a big phone to keep up with your followers all day and pose for selfies then you will like this phone.

Written by Simon Royal. Follow me at

Friday 3 May 2019

Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Review

I’m a fan of notifications on my wrist, most other features of smart watches and bands are just superfluous to me. I was a big Pebble fan before they went bust, then moved to a Microsoft Band and recently needed another replacement - so I was recommended a Xiaomi Mi Band 3.

The Mi Band is a small device. The body of the device ‘the capsule’ comes out of the strap for charging and changing the strap. I like this idea as a lot of bands have fixed straps meaning when the strap breaks the device is useless.

It charges via a special USB cable, taking only two hours from flat to full.

The Mi Band has a 128x80 mono OLED touch screen, which although is quite small has a good resolution for reading small text - however sunlight legibility isn’t fantastic. The screen doesn’t always stay on but the raise-to-wake feature means just lifting your wrist and the screen comes on.

It is controlled via swiping in different directions on the screen and pressing the menu indentation. The menu is easy to use and gives you access to notifications, steps, heart rate, weather, treadmill as well as stop watch, find device, screen settings and factory reset.

All this is linked to your smartphone via bluetooth and the Mi Fit app. This syncs your activity and can show your progress daily, weekly or monthly. The app further controls your profile as well notification settings.

Notifications for me are the main reason for using such a device, and the Mi Band 3 excels at this. They can be read on the small screen easily, and via the menu you can go back and read the last 5 notifications.

The 110mAh battery might not sound huge but depending on use it should reach between 3 and 20 days on a single charge. The mono screen that isn't on all the time helps with battery life. I have managed 4 days on a charge, so I am not sure if I am a heavy user or I have something turned on I don’t need.

Thats the main technical side out of the way. How does it feel? The rubberised strap is very comfortable and the weight of the device often makes you forget you are wearing a band. The strap loops in to one end and is fastened with a snap fix.

The overall build quality feels excellent.

After a few weeks use I have been very impressed. It is close to the simplicity of the original Pebble, but with the added bonus of a touch screen. The Mi Band 3 is an excellent device and at under £30 you cant go wrong with it.

For further reading and another owners review check out Replacing A Pebble 2 With A Xiaomi Mi Band 3.

Written by Simon Royal. Follow me at