Top Tech Gifts For Your Christmas Gift List

It’s finally the season for giving (and receiving)! Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen the release of a number of awesome tech gifts and gadgets that would look all too good under anyone’s Christmas tree. From the new Apple Watch Series 5 to the portable Instax Mini Camera, we’ve got the best of 2019’s tech Christmas gifts.

Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Finally, a gift all adults can appreciate. Whether you’re in need of time out from the kids or the office chatterbox won’t stop yapping, noise-cancelling headphones can give you the same amount of relaxation and peace than a full day at a luxury spa. Know someone who could do with some quiet? Be the ultimate Father Christmas and grab them a pair of noise-cancelling headphones from Superbalist for R699 or Takealot for R999.

Apple Airpods Pro

Although the new Apple Airpods Pro have not been released yet, there’s nothing like opening a belated Christmas present in January when money is tight! AirPods Pro have been designed to deliver Active Noise Cancellation for a better sound experience, transparency mode so you can hear your surroundings, for example, if you are needing to keep an ear on the kids. It also has a customisable fit for all-day comfort. Just like AirPods, AirPods Pro connect magically to your iPhone or Apple Watch.The new Airpods are expected to be released in January on My iStore for R3,999 which you can start pre-ordering now!

Apple Watch Series 5

We can’t get enough of the new Apple Watch Series 5 and it seems the feeling is mutual with over 2,000 5-star reviews on Google. Some of the features include access to over 60 million songs in the Apple Music library, Always-On Display (AOD), the coveted heart rate monitor, fall detection, exercise tracking, a Noise app that tells you when your surroundings are getting loud enough to affect your hearing, a Cycle Tracking app that helps women track their menstrual cycle and so much more.
You can shop the Apple Watch Series 5 for between R7,999 – R8,999 on My iStore.

Instax Mini Camera

Yes, anyone with a smartphone can take a photo, but who doesn’t miss the old days when you could physically touch your photos, frame them or put them on your fridge? We’re feeling nostalgic with the Instax Mini Camera that allows to take your photos and print them in real-time. The camera features an automatic light adjustment from day-to-night shots, a flash and is battery powered with two AA batteries. The only downfall with this gift is that you have to buy your film separately. Don’t despair! We’ve got you covered.
Shop your Instax Mini Camera on Superbalist for R1199 or on Takealot for R1,089. While you’re at it, grab your film on Suberbalist for R199.

Smartphone Cover from Skech Matrix

Skech Matrix’s shockproof smartphone covers have received 5-star reviews by its users on Google! Matrix is a super clear, ultra-tough case, engineered with a hard and soft shell fused together to absorb shock and resist impact. The case features a raised rim, button protection, and material that resists yellowing. Their BioCase range is also 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from natural materials.
You can shop your Skech Matrix cover for R499 from Takealot right here!

Apple TV annual subscription

All we can say is, if this isn’t on your Christmas gift list for either yourself or a loved one, you’re truly missing out! Apple TV is the latest release from Apple CEO Tim Cook and company, offering hundreds of movies, documentaries and series that can easily be utilised on your iPhone, iPad or smart TV. Apple has invested in releasing new shows and movies with award-winning directors and actors that you can’t find on any other streaming service.
It was released on 1 November 2019 in the US and 100 other countries, including South Africa for only R73 per month, or $4,99 depending on the exchange rate. Yes, that’s cheaper than Netflix and DStv (obviously)! Remember, in order to buy an Apple TV subscription, you’ll first need the Apple remote and the box that connects to your TV which you can buy from My iStore ranging from R2,999 – R3,999. Or, you could use it on your iPhone or iPad and you won’t need the additional hardware.

iPhone X from Phonetradr

Believe it or not, you can get a perfectly good iPhone X for 40% cheaper on Phonetradr.com than the selling price at the iStore! Ranging from R8,000 – R11,000 in either “Excellent” or “Brand New” condition.

The iPhone X features a 12MP dual camera for better photos, a big and colourful 5.8” Retina HD display, a faster and smarter A11 Bionic chip for better performance, and a new display feature without the established home screen button. With Phonetradr, we’ll also arrange delivery straight to your door. You’ll also get a 12-month warranty that covers you if anything goes wrong with the phone.

Temperature-Regulated Travel Mug

You’ve just made yourself a hot cup of coffee before checking the time. You’re late and you need to leave home for work! Travel mugs have long been a feature for those who love to travel or bring their beloved coffee wherever they go. Nowadays, travel mugs have gotten a little sleeker, a little smarter and little more environmentally friendly. This Steely travel mug from Yuppie Chef for R229 is triple-insulated, which means it can hold the heat of your coffee 3x more than a normal mug. It’s also cool because it looks like a stemless wine glass! The mug is made up by an extra thick stainless steel inner and outer layer with a copper lining in between. It’s also completely plastic-free!

Update your iPhone to iOS 13.1.3 to fix missed calls and other bugs

iOS 13.1.3

Your iPhone has an update and it’s got some major bug fixes!

If you’ve been getting missed calls, it’s because a bug from iOS 13.1.2 caused phone calls to skip the ringing step and go straight to voice mail. Well, iOS 13.1.3 is out which has fixed this issue and a few more…

– Bluetooth connectivity issues in some vehicles is no longer a problem. Connections for Bluetooth hearing aids and headsets have also improved.

– App launches for games in the Games Center have improved efficiency.

– If you weren’t receiving notifications on Apple Watch, this issue is resolved. Pairing issues with your Apple Watch have also been fixed.

– A bug where apps failed to download after iCloud backup has been fixed. The same goes for voice memos that did not download after iCloud backup.

– Finally, no more missing important meeting invites via the Mail app! The bug that caused this is fixed.

One thing Apple hasn’t fixed in the new update is battery efficiency – you’re still going to feel like your battery is draining faster than it should.

Still haven’t updated to iOS 13? We’ve reviewed the newest and coolest features. Take a look at it here!

Apple iOS 13 and 13.1: Features and Improvements

iOS 13

If iOS 12 was the carrot cake, iOS 13 is the buttercream icing on top. Well, that’s how the ever-hungry Phonetradr team would summarise Apple’s latest OS update, released globally on 20 September 2019. The bulk of the work of giving you an awesome iPhone experience has already been done, but now it’s time for iOS to curate the experience – and that’s what iOS 13 is all about. 

There are some new features – such as Dark Mode, the improved Photos app interface, and the new Apple Maps – that truly stand out against competitors who’ve tried to do similar things. Although not every new release is perfect, and may come with bugs, the Phonetradr team is excited to share in the new era of the iPhone.

Review summary:
– iOS 13’s top features

– Dark Mode
– Camera
– Apple Maps
– Personalised Memojis
– Performance
– Keyboard
– iOS 13’s most unique tools you need to use
– Volume HUD
– Double Tap to Undo
– Track Pad
– Silence Callers
– New Emergency SOS
– Low Data Mode
– Virtual Home Button
– OS downfalls and bugs
– 13.1 release, bug fixes and improvements
– Haptic Touch Usability
– Audio Sharing
– Larger Icons
– Bigger Emojis

Big Features To Look Forward To

Dark Mode
One of the coolest updates in iOS 13 is Dark Mode, a feature that switches on in low-light environments and at night. Dark Mode was one of the updates that Apple worked on the most, as it affects every single app on your iPhone, and basically gives your phone a mini renovation.  The areas on your screen that are usually white turn to black or dark grey, giving it a sleek, easy-to-adjust-to look that won’t hurt your eyes. 

You can schedule Dark Mode to turn on at a specific time, at sunset, or you can turn it on manually from the Control Centre. Those who like the darker side of life can actually enjoy Dark Mode full time – even first thing in the morning.

iOS 13 dark mode

New Tools in Camera & Photos
Everybody’s favourite iPhone feature is also getting a makeover with over 30 new editing tools for videos and photos. Unlike before, you can now edit your videos with more options and control including rotate, enhance and crop. The Verge has described the new editing tools as able to “put some third-party editing apps out of business”.  You can now view the original photo and the edited one side-by-side by tapping the image preview and you can toggle on and off the edits you’ve made to see the changes at a quick glance.

iOS 13 new camera roll interface

The interface of the Photos app has changed too. Apple has now created a curated library of your images put into time periods instead of a zoomed-out view of all of your photos collected over months or years. You can now search for photos on a specific date or month and all of the content shot during your search will be displayed.

iOS 13 new photo editing tools

A New and Improved Apple Maps
Although your iPhone comes with Google Maps already installed, Apple has created their own version called Apple Maps, who have described their new navigation system as being “built from the ground up” with real-world feature showing buildings. The app introduced real-time public transport, flight times, a collection of lists for your favourite places and, most excitingly, LookAround, a feature that allows you to explore cities in high-resolution 3D.

Personalised Memojis
Now you can irritate your friends on WhatsApp with personalised Memojis of your face and name! Yes – now you can share Memojis on third-party apps, Mail, and Messages. In fact, you can animate your name on WhatsApp and personalise your profile picture with a Memoji. The new Memojis allow for more detail on your face and head, including facial hair, headgear, makeup and piercings.

iOS 13 personalised memojis

Faster Performance, App Launches & Face ID
Once again, iOS is making your experience with your iPhone smoother, faster, and more seamless. Apple tested the app launches on a device with iOS 13 and a device with iOS 12.3 and found that the apps launched 2x faster. In addition, Face ID logins were also tested with the same controls and were found to be 30 percent faster on iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max.

Keyboard Improvements
This is where iOS 13 is not only smart but innovative and focused on efficiency. Quick Path is a new tool that allows you to swipe from letter to letter on your keyboard to construct words and sentences. You won’t even have to lift your finger! Quick Path is helpful when you only have one hand to type or if you need to respond quickly. 

Your cursor has also become a little faster and smarter. Move your cursor by simply picking it up and moving it to where you want it instead of struggling to drag-and-place like in iOS 12. Another cool keyboard feature: You know when you need to copy-and-paste a sentence in a text or email? Text selection is easier too. Simply tap and swipe on the text you need to select.

These are awesome. What about the truly unique features?

Apple has paid special attention to certain features that can easily be overlooked if you’re not looking for it.

Volume HUD
On the left side of your iPhone are your volume buttons for more or less volume. When a user presses these, the volume icon that pops up on the screen is now a slider. You can even use your fingers to slide it up or down instead of pressing the buttons on the side. The slicer icon is fresher, more subtle and modern than in iOS 12.

Tap, hold and edit
Undoing actions and editing texts or emails is faster and easier than ever. Simply tap and hold down three fingers on your screen and an editing menu will appear at the top of your screen. You can tap the “back” arrow to undo an action, or copy-and-paste pieces of text from other emails or documents. Deleted the wrong email? This feature comes in handy. The “back” arrow will return the email you deleted back to your inbox. Phew!

iOS 13 features

Track Pad
Now moving your cursor within a body of text is easier and more accurate. In iOS 13, your keyboard becomes a trackpad, which allows you to place the cursor more efficiently. Simply hold down the space bar and move your thumb around your keyboard. You will notice the cursor moves around the text wherever your thumb moves. Beforehand, you’d have to use your finger to drag the cursor to where you wanted it to be, which was sometimes difficult if your fingers were a little big or if you had hashtags in your text.

iOS 13 track pad

Silence Unknown Callers
This is going to be a game-changer for anyone who can’t stand getting calls from telemarketers, private numbers, robocalls, spammers and numbers you don’t have saved to your contacts list. Simply toggle ON this feature in your Settings and you’re done.
Go to Settings > Select “Phone” > Toggle ON “Silence Unknown Callers”

Emergency SOS: Call With Side Button
iOS 13 has introduced another feature for your safety. You can now automatically call loved ones and emergency services when this feature is toggled on. All you have to do is press the right-side button 5 times. You can do this while holding your phone in your pocket or bag, which is far more discreet. Beforehand, you’d have to hold both the left and right-side buttons to perform this action (which is still available).
Go to your “Health” app > Enter friends and emergency details > Tap “Done” > Hold down the right-side button > Press 5 times

Low Data Mode
This feature is especially awesome if you are travelling overseas with limited data or if you’re on a data plan that only gives you a couple of gigs a month OR if you’ve ever been slapped with an unexpected, massive bill. Your iPhone will actively work to ensure less data is being used by your phone’s apps.
Go to Settings > Select “Mobile Data” > Tap “Mobile Data Options” > Toggle ON “Low Data Mode”

Virtual Home Button
Since the release of the iPhone X, we said goodbye to the much-loved home button. Well, for those with the iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max or the iPhone 11 series who miss it, you can now have a virtual home button. It acts as a mini Control Centre where you can activate Siri or check notifications.

So, any downfalls to expect?

After about 5 days of playing around on our iPhones testing out various apps and processes under the new iOS 13, we can safely say that the update isn’t 100 percent perfect. On the odd occasion, some Phonetradr team members temporarily lost signal, while other members experienced sudden app closures while using their phone. Others’ screens froze for a second or two while being used as well. Also, if your WiFi isn’t well connected, the download could take hours as it is 2.2GB.

This is where iOS 13.1 comes in. As of 25 September, 2019 – only a few weeks after iOS 13 itself was released – 13.1 came in as the hero to save all of iOS 13’s discrepancies. Although there is plenty to gush over when it comes to iOS 13, it was not without its bugs. So what exactly did 13.1 change?

Major bug fixes
App crashes, jumpy scrolling through your Camera Roll, WiFi connectivity issues, screen freezing and other major bugs have been fixed for the most part on 13.1. Youtube reviewers like Zollotech have found more than 20 bug fixes throughout the iPhone.

Haptic Touch Usability
Haptic Touch was introduced with the iPhone X series, but the functionality of it has improved from iOS 13 to 13.1. When you apply pressure to an app on your screen, a short menu would always appear above the app icon, making it a little difficult for you to stretch your fingers. Now, the menu drops down below the app icon so that usability and mobility of your fingers is a little easier.

Audio Sharing
Apple reintroduced Audio Sharing in 13.1. To play music via wireless Apple devices like AirPods, all you need to do is hold the device next to the phone and it will connect and play. 

Icons Are Larger
iOS 13.1 has slightly larger icons, which are also bolded now, for improved visibility and usability. For example, if you are in your Camera Roll, the editing icons at the bottom of your screen are slightly bigger so that it’s easier to select.

Sharing your ETA
On Google Maps, you can now send your exact ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the person you are visiting. Needless to say, the ETA is a smarter, more accurate number than the usual, “I”m on my way!” Also, when sharing your ETA, your iPhone is able to pick up if your friend has iOS 13 or 13.1. If they don’t, the ETA will be sent via SMS. Pretty cool!

Emoji Improvements
Some of the more popular emojis like the heart eyes and the kissy face emoji have been brightened and the red hearts enlargened.

iPhone 11 & 11 Pro: Release Date, Features & Prices

iphone 11 and 11 pro

The tech world has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Apple iPhone’s latest flagship, the iPhone 11. However, what we didn’t know was that CEO Tim Cook had an entirely new series of smartphone planned that sees engineering and computational science come together like never before. On 10 September 2019, while streaming live at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Campus in San Fransisco, Cook and company revealed the new iPhone 11 and the revolutionary iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. 

iphone 11

iPhone 11

Display

The iPhone 11 comes with an advanced 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD Display that gives you more screen, more smartphone, and more of an experience when streaming or looking at photos. The resolution is a 1792 x 828 with 326 pixels per inch (ppi), with a contrast ratio of 1400:1 as well as improved brightness. The display also offers Tap-to-Touch, True Tone with millions of colours on your display for a more real-life look. The display, however, doesn’t support 3D Touch like the iPhone XR but it does feature Haptic Touch like the iPhone XR and XR Max. Haptic Touch feels the pressure from your finger when, for example, selecting the Camera app from the lock screen. The phone gives a haptic vibration just before the app opens.

Design

The new iPhone 11 is made out of glass and aluminium – the strongest ever in a smartphone as Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has described it. The phone’s water and dust resistance remain at IP68, however, it now allows you to submerge your phone in freshwater for up to two hours – 30 minutes more than the previous iPhone range. Overall, the durability of the phone is much stronger than the X range. New colours have been introduced as well: White, Black, Yellow, Red, Purple and Green.

Performance


Although Apple’s A12 chipset is still the leading performance chip in the world of smartphones, Tim and company have gone and done it again and surprised us all with the new A13 Bionic chip. This chip takes high performance and low energy-expenditure to a new level! The A13 chip makes your iPhone 11 20% faster than any other iPhone and graphics processing (GPU) is 40% faster than before.
How’s this possible, you ask? We had a similar thought. During the live launch, it was shown just how efficient the chip is. It only uses the most necessary parts of the chip to provide high performance and it’s this feature of the chip that lessens its energy consumption, allowing for longer battery life.

Camera


Now, for what everyone’s been waiting for! The iPhone 11 camera has some epic features that are going to take your selfie game to a new level. The dual camera now simultaneously utilises a 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultra-wide lens to give you 4x more in your shot. Now, the camera also offers a 120-degree field of view, which opens up your lens to bigger, wider photos.
Colour comes to life in the new iPhone 11 camera as well: Tone mapping is used to highlight the best parts of the image based on the amount of light in the photo. Portrait Mode’s studio lighting option has also been improved so that you can take professional “studio looking” photos. Night Mode has taken a leap into the future in the iPhone 11 and comes on automatically when shooting in the dark. It reduces motion and blur so that your night shots are clearer than ever – even without the flash.
Your selfies are now better than ever: The front-facing camera has been upgraded from 10-megapixels in the X range to 12-megapixels in the iPhone 11 and the camera also offers 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom.

iphone 11 camera

Video

Creating a “cinematic experience” rather than “taking a video” is a more justifiable way to describe the video features on the iPhone 11. Whether you’re in a moving car or running while filming, the new cinematic stabilisation feature makes your videos look like they were taken with a movie-level camera. Video is shot in 4K at 60 frames per second (fps) and automatically films using the ultra-wide lens for more content.
Apple also announced a new feature called QuickTake: If you’re in photo mode and would like to quickly shoot a video, simply hold down the shutter button in Photo and it’ll automatically begin recording a video.
Another awesome feature for video? Slofies. Yes, that’s slow-motion selfies. You can now take videos in slow motion in the selfie mode! We bet Instagram models the world over are super excited about this one…

Battery

When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 11 takes the cake. It lasts 1 hour longer than the iPhone XR, supports up to 17 hours of video playback, 10 hours of video streaming, 65 hours of audio playback.

iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max

When science, mathematics, professional photography, engineering and a passion for using tech to improve one’s life come together, you get the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Apple unveiled this top-secret project at the end of its live launch, and it is safe to say that it took the audience by surprise. Cook describes is as “the most powerful smartphone ever made for professionals” and the first-ever iPhone to be labelled “Pro”. Want to know more?

iphone 11 pro and pro max

Design

The very best engineering went into creating the most durable smartphone in the world. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are made of surgical-grade stainless steel with a matte PVD finish for fewer fingerprint marks. The glass used in the Pro’s chassis comes from a single sheet of glass that has been pressurised to be able to maintain even the hardest of falls.

Display

The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max offer Super Retina XDR OLED displays, with the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro offering a 2426 x 1125 resolution and a whopping 6.5-inch Pro Max offering a 2688 x 1242 resolution. Both models have a whopping 2 million: 1 contrast ratio and 800 nits max brightness, as opposed to the iPhone 11’s 625 nits max brightness. True Tone is included for matching the white balance of the display to the ambient lighting in the room to make it easier on the eyes, as is wide colour for more vivid, true-to-life colours.

Camera

The biggest upgrade from the iPhone 11 to the Pro and Pro Max is the camera. Hold onto your desks because it’s a mouthful. Not only does the Pro range include a 12-megapixel telephoto lens that the iPhone 11 does not have making the Pro’s system a triple-lens camera, but it also debuts a new feature called Deep Fusion. The triple-lens camera system takes nine photos in split seconds before, during and after you’ve actually tapped the shutter button. The device’s neural engine then analyses the images and finishes by providing the best version using the various light sources, colours, and angles. During the live launch, Deep Fusion was described as “computational photography mad science” and we agree.

iphone 11 pro and pro max camera

Because of the added telephoto lens, your photos get 40% more light and a larger f/2.0 aperture. The Pro models support 2x optical zoom and higher 10x digital zoom. The actual camera interface has revolutionised how much we can fit in one photo from a smartphone: You can now include scenery from outside the bounds of the camera frame using the ultra-wide camera if desired.

iphone 11 pro camera

Video

Film making and editing on a professional level are now possible on a smartphone. Video is recorded in 4K, up to 60 frames per second (fps). The new iOS 13 comes with new apps that allow filmmakers to record multiple people at once time using the three unique cameras.

iphone 11 pro video

All three of the new iPhones will come with the highly anticipated iOS 13 and will be released in the US on 30 September 2019. South African customers will most likely get it a month or so later.

Prices and release dates for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max:

The iPhone 11 series is landing in South Africa on 27 September 2019, available at the iStore and local retailers.

iPhone 11 64GB – R14,999
iPhone 11 128GB – R16,999
iPhone 11 256GB – R18,999

iPhone 11 Pro 64GB – R21,999
iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB – R23,999