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Review,

Trove Slim Wallet Review

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I recently discovered Trove, an awesome slim wallet, on a French lifestyle blog, thanks to Kurt Grava. It’s slightly ironic seeing as Trove is a British product designed and fabricated in Melton Mowbray.

After watching the presentation video, I slowly but surely fell in love with the product and the idea of a minimalist wallet.

The idea came to life in August 2014 as the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising just under 200% of the original £12,500 goal.

Trove is a highly customisable and stylish slim wallet, designed to carry your cards, cash and keys. They offer over 20 different colour schemes and if that’s not enough, you can even design your own or add a monogram.

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I decided to get in touch with the creator, and after asking a few questions I was sure that I wanted one. Two days later I had a brand new Trove just begging to be used.

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I could instantly feel that Trove is a quality product made with high grade materials such as Tuscan leather and woven Italian elastic to name a couple.

The wallet consists of three separate compartments and is reversible allowing it to be attached to a belt or to hold various other objects.

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My favourite feature has to be the hidden storage pocket where I like to keep my ‘spare’ SIM cards, I generally forget them when going abroad and Trove makes sure I always have them to hand.

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My hardest decision when using Trove was choosing which cards to keep and which ones I would leave at home, because although the wallet can easily hold upwards of 10 cards, I wanted to minimise my wallet.

You may remember I recently reviewed Curve, which actually made my transition to Trove a lot more bearable as I had access to all my cards in one.

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I ended up with just 4 cards in total, my bank debit card, my Mondo and Curve cards which I am currently testing and my driver’s licence. I don’t generally use cash so I don’t need any space for that and my keys I keep separate.

I have used Trove for over a week now and I can’t stop showing it off to my friends and family. It really does feel great and doesn’t show any signs of stretching or losing its colour.

Trove is available on trove.cc starting at £30, there is now 24 colour combinations to choose from or you can design your own on which for £5 more you can add a personalised five letter monogram.

Use the code PIFI2016 during checkout for 10% off your order.

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed the article then why not share on Twitter or Facebook with the links just below.

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Featured, Review,

Curve – One Card To Rule Them All

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Let me introduce you to Curve, a smart new bank card aiming to change the way you spend money.

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Curve is able to combine an unlimited amount of bank cards into one physical payment card, managed by a secure application on iOS, with an Android version in the works.

Not only does Curve make life easier for your wallet, it also lets you use your cards abroad with no hidden fees or exorbitant exchange rates, and adds a layer of security by never revealing your original card numbers to merchants.

How it works

Curve is, above all else, very financially interesting even if you have a single bank card. The card itself is a MasterCard® prepaid card, which when linked to your original bank cards via the iOS app, allows you to use your cards anywhere in the world – minus the transaction fees and high exchange rates.

Most UK banks will generally include a ‘load’ on top of the exchange rate, usually of 3%. On top of this, each transaction will include a % fee of around 2.5% with a £2 minimum. Curve, on the other hand, uses the MasterCard wholesale rate (generally the best exchange rate possible) with an additional 1% and are very transparent about it.

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The only fixed fee Curve impose is for International ATM withdrawals, however you shouldn’t need to use that with such great transaction exchange rates.

Another bonus of the Curve card is payments with Chip & PIN, Mag Stripe and Contactless all being supported. This means that if you attach an American Express card, you are able to use it anywhere that VISA or MasterCard are accepted.

*It’s important to note that Curve does not effect your ability to accumulate loyalty points, bonuses or cashback.*

Usage

Curves’ iOS application is pivotal to the usage of their card, yet very simple to use. Users can add new and remove existing cards, choose the next payment card, view the latest transaction of each card and receive notifications each time the card is used.

Curve Cards & Notifications

Every time the Curve card is used, you will be ‘’’instantly’’’ alerted by a notification on your mobile device informing you of the amount and location of the transaction.

Within the application, every transaction from every card is easily available via a neatly arranged screen accessed by the top right menu button. Selecting a transaction makes it possible to add a label, take a photo of the receipt and/or add notes to for future reference.

Curve Transactions

It is also possible to export a CSV of every transaction which can be imported to spreadsheets or anywhere else you may need them such as accounting software.

Although it is impossible to view the original card details once they have been added to the app, I would love to see extra security features such as TouchID included in future updates.

Curve is currently available (limited to 10,000 beta testers) in two editions; a Blue ’standard’ model and a Black ‘plus’ edition which includes early access to future features and double Curve rewards, a loyalty initiative planned for this summer.

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The Blue card is available for £35 whilst the Black comes in at £75, these are however one-off fees and the card is guaranteed for 3 years and will be replaced if lost or stolen.

Curve requires no batteries! We do think we’ll have improved the card after three years’ use, so we’ll ship you a new one for free then.

In you are interested in Curve, use the code vTdV2 at checkout and we will both receive £10 as soon as the card is used for the first time.

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If after all you still have some questions about curve then check out the Curve website and Frequently Asked Questions. Otherwise leave your question in the comments section below and I will do my best to find the answer, or if you like you can always get in contact via the contact page or on Twitter.

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Review, Tutorial,

TripMode Review : Save Your Mobile Data

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I’m currently on holiday somewhere in Spain and the best european data option my UK mobile operator can provide is the O2 Travel bolt-on. For £1.99 a day, I get access to “unlimited” data abroad, however only 50MB in 3G at which point I get limited to 2G, better known as GPRS with speeds at around 5kb/s.

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Review,

Dicota Active Backpack Review

This weekend I was in London with French blogger Bob Jouy, and it was the perfect opportunity to test a few products that I had saved for a ‘rainy’ day. First up we have the Active Backpack from Dicota.

Dicota are an international company that supply all kinds of quality bags, cases and accessories but we all know that I’m only interested in the ones that hold laptops and other devices.

Premium Backpack with Sport Design

What initially drew my attention to the bag was the sporty look with blue accent zippers, and when I saw all the pockets inside for laptops, batteries, headphones, cables, etc I was sold.

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The multitude of pockets in the front pouch come in different combinations of sizes with cable management tabs to keep things tidy.

There is even two more pockets on the front face of the active backpack which I guess will be primarily used for easy-access items or other small accessories.

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Computers, tablets and other large flat devices can be stored in the hidden notebook compartment on the rear of the backpack, as you can see below I had no trouble fitting in an iPad Pro with a Macbook.

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A lot of people would not notice the security pocket invisibly sewn into the breathable rear padding, ideal for important items and documents i.e. Keys and Passport.

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I see the active backpack as a great plane companion, it includes compression straps on either side to reduce the size of the bag and generous elastic side pockets for bottles, umbrellas or other open access items.

I’m very confident that the backpack is padded enough to adequately protect any of the expensive items you might consider taking on your travels.

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Comfort

I mentioned at the beginning of the article that I used this backpack while walking around London all weekend, and I can honestly say that it was very comfortable.

Generally, after extended use of a backpack, I suffer from a few problems such as shoulder cramps, a sweaty back and red marks from rubbing. I am yet to suffer any of these problems using the Dicota Active Backpack.

I believe it is down to the comfortable padded shoulder straps and ergonomic back cushioning that I didn’t experience any discomfort.

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Functionality before beauty

All in all I think that the Dicota Active Backpack is a great looking bag complimented by its functionality and protection.

The bag is made from a lightweight, hard wearing polyester with a lifetime guarantee just in case you had any doubts.

You can buy the Dicota Active Backpack on Amazon for £48.52 in the blue colour as seen above, or £50.10 for the Magenta model.

Thanks for reading and sharing if you appreciated the article, leave a comment below if you have any questions or give me a shout on Twitter.

ADX-Bluetooth-Speaker-1
Review,

ADX Bluetooth Speaker Review

I realised two weeks ago that I have only reviewed one Bluetooth speaker on the blog so far, so it was a happy coincidence that ADX (Audio Dynamix) got in contact last week to ask if I would like to review their latest unit, the Ultimate Edition 3.

X05-UE3 – Ultimate Edition 3

I won’t delve in to the technical specs of this specific device, there are better qualified people for that but I will say that I can’t fault the sound that comes out of this device.

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The device is made from a smooth silver aluminium with a rubber base and back, a metal grill up front and a plastic carry handle that folds away nicely.

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On the top you’ll find all the function buttons of the device, in addition to the standard play/pause, skip/back, on/off and volume buttons you will find an equaliser button that enhances bass, midrange and treble frequencies.

I was amazed at how the equaliser actually made the music sound better, with no noticeable distortion.

One frustrating problem I did find with the device is that the buttons are very black, as demonstrated in the photo above, and it is very difficult to see the button icons.

I really struggled to see which buttons I was pressing but this should be an easy fix for ADX.

Cable Management

It’s not a known fact, but devices without Bluetooth capabilities still exist and in these cases it’s nice to have a jack cable hanging around.

ADX decided to tackle this problem by including a ~40cm audio cable built into the back of the device, it also comes in handy when running low on power and you want to avoid using Bluetooth.

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The device otherwise includes a 2600mAh lithium polymer battery that claims approximately 10 hours Bluetooth playtime from a single charge, I have found that this varies depending on the sound volume.

A full recharge of the device takes a few hours via the micro USB cable provided.

Connectivity

A new CSR8635 Bluetooth version 4.0 chip makes pairing really simple, after turning the speaker on, the LED on top blinked orange meaning it was ready to pair.

I found and paired with ‘X05-UE3’ in my iPhone Bluetooth menu, the connection was nearly instant.

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I was happy to find that there was absolutely no noticeable lag between the phone and the speaker, actions on both devices, such as skipping a song, were executed instantly over Bluetooth.

ADX claim that the Bluetooth connection should stay strong up to about 20m but naturally indoors and through walls I found it to be significantly less, but that was to be expected.

I’m sure that outside the range will increase, but its cold and I don’t feel like stepping out.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like this speaker, there are a few improvements that could be made but to be honest there is no ‘perfect’ speaker on the market at the moment.

I have been generally impressed by the sound quality of the speaker, especially the preset equaliser and I will be adding the device to my Christmas 2015 Gift Guide.

You can find the speaker on Amazon for £44.99, in either blue or grey.

If there’s anything I’ve missed then just leave your question in the comment section below or give me a shout on Twitter.

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Review,

Trivia Night Apple TV Game Review

Yesterday, out of the blue, Michael Park offered me a free code on Twitter for the Trivia Night app on the Apple TV, and after playing it last night with a couple of friends I really wanted to present it to you.

I would like to make it clear that Michael didn’t ask for a review or rating in return for the code, this presentation is my thanks and endorsement for sharing his game with me. 

Freelance Developer

I was rather intrigued about this unexpected offer on Twitter and I decided to do a little research on the author of the tweet, it turns out that Michael is a freelance iOS developer working out of Glasgow, Scotland.

I then checked out his Twitter profile and as of last night he is offering more codes for the game so make sure to send him a quick tweet and you may get one, if not enter my competition at the end of the article to win one of 3 codes to download the game for free.

Trivia Night with Friends

When some friends came round last night, we opened the game on the Apple TV and were met with a splash screen offering to Start Playing, toggle the sound and contact Support.

We chose to play and on the next screen, we were met by simple guide, instructing us to download the Trivia Night Companion app on our iOS devices, turn on the WiFi and follow the instructions on the device.

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Trivia Night uses the Apple Software called Bonjour, it is zeroconf networking and doesn’t require the devices to be connected to the host WiFi network to play the game.

As soon as each user had connected and chosen a name, it was time to choose the points target (10, 20 or 30 points) and start the game.

The game would first randomly choose a player to pick a category, of which 3 questions would be asked before randomly choosing another player.

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Unfortunately Darryl wasn’t very good at Geography.

For each question, 4 possible answers would be shown on-screen and on the companion app where each player would have a limited amount of time to select an answer.

As each person answers the question, the dot above their name at the bottom of the screen becomes a circle.

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During each round of 3 questions, the point score would be kept secret until the end of the round at which point the points are tallied up before the next round. The game comes to an end when somebody attains the point target.

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I’m winning!

Positives and Pitfalls

I liked that the game has not been over developed, there is no need for accounts, logins or profiles which make it approachable and family friendly.

Trivia Night also uses very simple neutral colours which don’t overpower or distract the user away from the gameplay.

That being said, there are a few features I would love to see included in the next versions of the game, such as the possibility of playing with friends on Apple TV’s over the internet, maybe using a unique code that is communicated between the two parties to ‘link’ the games.

Another idea would be to select a level of difficulty and/or category at the beginning of each game, making it a lot more child friendly and allowing people to compete in specific categories.

Last but not least, when two people reach the points target on the same question, the game is a tie and it would nice to see the winner be decided with a tie breaker.

Future

I am speaking with Michael on Twitter and would like to think that user feedback has a positive influence on his work and this game, and I look forward to seeing future versions of this very fun game.

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You can download the Trivia Night companion iOS app for free and search for ‘Trivia Night‘ on the Apple TV App Store, available for £1.49.

Enter below for your chance to win 1 of 3 redemption codes to download the Trivia Night game for free on your Apple TV. Competition closes on 15th November at midnight and winners will be drawn on the 16th.

Trivia Night Code Giveaway

Thanks for sharing if you enjoyed the article, let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this or give me a shout on Twitter.

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Review,

Native Union Apple Watch Docks Review

If you’re in the market for an Apple Watch Dock then have a look at these two models from Native Union, they’ve certainly won a place on my beside table and office desk.

Native Union are a French born company, and they kindly sent me the DOCK and ANCHOR to review and share with you guys, lets take a look.

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DOCK

Native Union’s ‘DOCK for Apple Watch’ is the more expensive of the two models at £49.99, it’s the first Apple Watch dock I know of that is compatible with the Watch in portrait and horizontal (Nightstand) mode.

The DOCK is very easy to assemble, it is delivered as two parts which connect with a strong magnet once the Apple Watch charger has been installed.

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This enables the cylinder part to rotate, the Apple Watch can then be turned to be displayed at any angle.

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Turning the DOCK at any time will enable the Nightstand mode on the Apple Watch, the Watch effectively becomes a bedside alarm clock, touching the screen will display the time, date and battery percentage.

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Anchor

A second, cheaper option is also sold by Native Union, the auto-logically named Anchor literally anchors the Apple Watch charger to wherever you want it to stay.

Generally if you place the standard Apple Watch charger on a table not attached to an Apple Watch, it will move or is easily knocked, whereas the ANCHOR weighs the charger down and keeps it still.

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The ANCHOR is also delivered as two parts, a zinc alloy top and a non-slip silicon base, they simply pull apart to allow the Apple Watch charger to be installed before pushing back together.

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One inconvenience of using the ANCHOR is that it’s not compatible with the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet Straps, but you could still use the DOCK.

Simplicity

In many ways the docks are much like Apple products, they are simple, considered and beautiful at the same time, however they primarily emphasise the beauty of the products they’re designed for.

Both products are made out of high quality materials, when unboxing the DOCK I was actually shocked at how good the silicone base felt.

Native Union also design cables, cases and speakers all of which can be found on their website

The DOCK for Apple Watch is available on Amazon for £49.99 and the Anchor for £24.99.

Thanks as always for sharing the article, make sure to let me know what you think on Twitter or in the comments section below.