Dell XPS 13 review A kick ass Windows laptop.


After 5 years on the Mac platform for various reasons key among them productivity I decided to return to Windows.

Windows 10 in of it’s self is a total rethink from Microsoft, and when coupled with good hardware it really shines.

Enter stage left the Dell XPS 13 a sleek MacBook Air competitor.


The Dell XPS 13 here  on refered to as XPS is really well made. Dell has given this ultrabook a premium 2 tone feel that screems decadent. From the smooth carbon deck to the well spaced keyboard and even the aluminium body you’ll want to pull this stunner out wherever life takes you.

It’s nice to see finally a Windows OEM make a laptop that is as good as Apple’s hardware.


Starting at $1799 the XPS comes with a 6th generation I5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

The second level which is the one reviewed comes with a 6th generation I5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and doubles the storage to 256GB.

If you want a serious power house a none touch I7 version can be had for $2299.

Finally, if money is no object you can get the cream of the crop a machine with an I7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and large 512GB of storage for an eye watering $2999.

For most people the second version of the XPS should be fine and see you well into 2018. Unless you do video work or sound editing then by all means go for the highest model.

Hello Windows 10 and great hardware

This machine comes preinstalled with Windows 10 home 64-bitt. For the most part Windows 10 works well. Gone is the annoying Windows 8/8.1 start screen. In it’s place you have the start button reminiscent of the good old days of Windows XP and 7. Microsoft’s virtual assistant is on board so you can use your voice to set up meetings on your calendar etc.

Overall Windows 10 takes huge steps to correct the blunder that was 8/8.1.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Oh god yes! The combination of great hardware and fresh Windows 10 features makes this a no brainer.


5 stars.


Fantastic build, good battery life, Windows 10 works well.


Can get expensive.

A personal tech journey Why I switched back to Windows after more than 5 years.


Back in 2010 fresh out of high school I decided to give the  Mac a try.

I had heard some podcasts by David Woodbridge of Vision Australia, and having had the iPhone for about 6 months I went in head first.

The good stuff

There’s something to be said for being able to set up/take any Mac out of the box and get VoiceOver running. With no sighted assistance I was able to set up the Mac.

Within a couple of hours I had the  machine up and running. Over the next 2 weeks or so I listened to all of David’s podcasts and visited to get a feel for how things worked on the Mac.

Being a long time Windows user. One of the things I had to get use to was interacting with webpages and alike. Although Safari was great this interacting drove me crazy.

The PDF problem

Windows screen readers have always worked better when working with PDF content. JAWS and other screen readers allow one to get a feel for how documents are structured. Not so on the Mac. I have emailed Appple’s accessibility department to no avail. This is one of the main reasons I have come back to the Windows platform.

Recently a friend told me that Word for the Mac had become accessible, but it’s no where as good as the version on Windows.


I really hope the state of PDF accessibility changes. When and if that changes I might return to the Mac. Until then it’s Windows all the way.

iPhone 6s review. More of the same


” The only thing that has changed is everything”

That  seems to be the marketing pitch Apple has decided to hammer for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

It’s kind of a cliche  statement to make because if  you picked up one of these phones you’d be hard pressed to tell  it apart from last years 6 or 6 Plus.

The focus this time round is what’s on the inside that counts.


After the radical make over the iPhone got in 2014 nothing much changes here.

You still have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variance although this time there’s a new rose gold option that you can get if so desired.

The firm claimes that the smartphones are made of a tougher cover glass and strengthened 7000 aluminium the same type used in the Apple Watch sport.

So what’s actually changed?

New camera and live photos

For years the iPhone whilst taking great pictures was stuck with an 8MP rear snapper. That changes with the camera being upgraded to 12MP.

It can now also record 4K video.

A slight annoying hardware issue is that the lenze still sticks out from the casing.

Live photos is where the camera records 1.5 seconds of video before and after the shot. Think of those moving pictures in Harry potter.

Kind of cool but probs not reason enough to get the new phone.

The resulting footage can be shared with other Apple weelding friends.

Be warned that this feature does eat up storage. So if you plan to record lots of video or take live photos it would be best to forget about the 16GB model.

3D touch. Sort of like right click does for Windows and Mac OS X the screen of the iPhone lets you press harder to get options.

With a small press you can glance at your imbox in mail, compose a new Instagram post, update your status on Facebook and generally speed up all the things we do with our phones.

It’s a fantastic way of making the iOS experience that much smoother.

I expect will be seeing lots of app developers introduce this feature into apps soon enough.


The phone is powered by the new A9  CPU and 2GB of RAM. It’s scorchingly fast keeping up with whatever I did.

Software and hey siri

iOS 9 brings a hand full of advancements such as a smarter Siri,that is always listening in the 6s and 6s Plus   being able to run 2 apps side by side ( iPad Air 2 and above ) a much better notes app, and my favorite low power mode.

It’s more of a round off rather than introducing anything new. It runs like butter on the new hardware.

Even if an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus isn’t in your future the upgrade is worth it.

When it’s all said and done should you upgrade? That depends if you have an iPhone 5s or older don’t think just do it!

People that have the 6 it’s not so clear cut. If you can wangle your mobile provider to upgrade you with minimal fus then go for it. If not it won’t hurt to stay put for another year.

Apple did announce an iPhone upgrade program in which one can get the new phone every year for a  bace cost of $32. Sadly it’s only valid in the US.

Here’s hoping it makes it to Australia waters.


With a new camera, improved inards, 3D touch, and the best version of iOS this years iPhones are the best smartphones money can buy but it sure will hurt your pocket book.


Nice  design, 3D touch is exciting, silky smooth UI, outstanding camera, the best mobile software.


Very  expensive, design hasn’t changed, 16GB isn’t enough.

Apple Watch review


As Tim Cook’s first product since the iPad the showing of the Apple Watch was a bid deal. I remember after the keynote wondering who would by the Apple Watch? ( It’s clear that Apple has another great product on it’s hands even if it’s a little rough at present).


The Watch is very well made indeed. From  the Digetal Crown to the bands it’s clear that Apple designers thought really hard about the finish of this product.

The Watch is available  in 3 models Watch sport, Watch, and for those who have obscene amounts of cash there’s the Watch addition in gold or rose gold.

The bands look great as well, from the black classic band to the sport band. This product is much about fashion as it’s about technology.

Twist the crown

With a product this small Apple had to come up with a method of input that wouldn’t obstruct the screen. Enter the Digetal Crown besides that there’s only one other button on the product it’s called the friends button and is used to contact you’re closest friends.

The Crown acts like the home button on the iPhone. Press it once to display the apps on you’re Watch. You can also spin the Crown to see recently used apps.

The Crown is and excellent way to make use of the small screen. Just another example of how much detail has gone into this product.

A note on accessibility

Blind users of Apple Watch will appreciate that VoiceOver is available letting a blind person use the features of the Watch. Well done to Apple for allowing us to be able to use this product.


The Watch runs Watch OS which is at 1.1 at the time of writing. For the most part it’s okay, but I would love for the Watch to be able to do more things without the iPhone. ( Something Apple is planning with the release of 2.0 of the software.)


Most  of the software developers are still building apps to work with the Watch. Some of my favorites so far include Uber, Trip View, Pandora, and the Twitter app.

Facebook and some other big softwar vendors still haven’t made it to the Watch. As time goes on I expect this to change. However at present quality apps are not many.


When the keynote ended I wasn’t sure about the Watch. But after   a couple of hours I like it really like it. Very excited to see what the future will bring for the software.

If you can stomach the price do get one and try out a slice of the future.

Starting at 499 AUD


Great design, great bands, future is bright.


Growing pains, not enough good apps, can get expensive.

Beats by Dr . Dre studio Headphones reviewed

It’s not always easy to get excited about a pair of headphones at $400 AU, these headphones are definitely not for those looking for a bargain.

What are they?

The Beats by Dr . Dre are a luxury high-end pair of headphones designed for people who want to get every bit of sound from there tunes.


The Beats by Dr . Dre are a sweet looking set of headphones. Coming in your choice of silver, black, red, and gold you will most definitely turn heads when wearing these headphones.

Sound quality is nothing to scoff at, their appeal as eye Candy  is undeniable. For audio enthusiasts and professional DJs    like myself the Beats Studio headphones are a must.

The Beats by Dr . Dre may not be all about style, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at them. If you wear these headphones in public, you will turn heads. The thick and padded glossy black headband descends seemingly seamlessly into the circles that hold each ear cup, which are oblong and padded in a leatherette material that is obscenely cushy. They also swivel slightly in their support in order to provide a comfortable fit.

Of course, a pair of headphones maybe gorgeous but if they don’t perform then your wasting your money.

luckily,  this is not the case with the Beats Studio which offered an exceptionally–one might say  shockingly –crisp response. Maybe I’m pigeonholing here, but I expected Dr . Dre’s headphones to be excessively heavy on the low end. That’s not to say there’s no bass–it does thumb–but the these ‘phones are nicely warm and balanced in the mids and truly impressive in their delivery of high-end detail.

At no point did I suffer through the muddiness that can ail bass-heavy headphones.  The genres that really shine are electronic, dance, pop, hard rock, and hip-hop, although other genres are also very good for the most part.

No matter what the music, be forewarned that these headphones have fair amount of sound leakage, so your listening experience won’t be entirely private.

I’m happy to report however, that the Beats Studio headphones strike a good balance between the world outside and your music thanks to ANC ( active noise cancellation technology).

Conclusions and final thoughts

The Beats Studio headphones by Dr . Dre are a wonderful investment for anyone who is blind and serious about there sound.

If you DJ, are into sound engineering, or just want to drop some swag on some nice looking headphones that offer form and functionality in a sleek package then the Beats by Dr Dre . Studio headphones are for you.


lovely industrial design, insanely comfortable, well-made, compatible with most of today’s popular devices.


If your put off by the price of these headphones your probably not the target audience for Dr Dre . anyway. Look elsewhere. As they say you do get what you pay for.


5 stars outstanding.


compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 3gS, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad air, iPad Mini ) original model) iPod touch 5th generation, the Apple Mac, and all Windows PCs with a Standard 3.5 millimetre headphone jack.

Editor’s note

This review was contributed to by Jasmine France from