Your emails: a quiet Apple event, washed out selfies and more

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Friday’s arrived and that means we’ve once again trawled the emails from our excellent readers to find and answer your burning questions about tech. 

Make sure to check back every Friday lunchtime for our letters to the Editor. And get involved by sending your emails to – we’ll feature the best on this very page at the end of each week.

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Phoning it in

For all the hype from Apple, the Apple Event seemed a pretty quiet show to be honest. It was over pretty quickly and the biggest announcement was the iPhone 11’s new cameras. Even the Apple Watch 5 was really the Apple Watch 4 with a new always-on screen. Considering the event was branded ‘by innovation only’, I thought we might have seen more… innovation?

— David Taylor

If there’s one sure thing about an Apple event, it’s that everyone gets worked up, in advance, about what turns out to be a set of incremental updates – the impact of which can’t be determined in advance. It’s been this way for years. At the end of the day, Apple is just another very large corporation, albeit with excellent PR, and very large corporations tend to be remarkably conservative nine-tenths of the time. Perhaps we all need to be less excitable ahead of these events, rather than expecting Apple to be more innovative?

Zen master

I read your review of the Zenbook UX434FL model and was highly impressed with what you discussed about it. I was near to buying the i5 variant of this one but got to know about HP Pavilion x360 dh0125tx that was launched the same day in India. 

Now the specifications of both are similar along with their price I can get at my place. I just got confused again after a month of locking down to Asus. It would be a great help if you could really help me out with this, especially if the 10th generation is really an advantage over an 8th generation model.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

— Ashutosh Vaish

It’s tricky as we haven’t reviewed the HP Pavilion you mention, so we can only really advise you based on what we thought of Zenbook. It’s a good laptop albeit different in nature to the Pavilion (which has a flippable screen unlike the Zenbook). Also, in the UK, the Asus is more expensive. Our advice is: buy the laptop you need rather than the laptop you want.

Sony vs Sony

Thank you for the very useful comparison of the Sony a6600 vs. the a6500

You might have pointed out that the older model has some very definite advantages over the newer a6600, including:

  • Much larger buffer (231 JPG vs. 99; 110 RAW vs. 46).  A key point for action shooters.
  • Built-in flash.  One less extra item and one less expense.
  • Panorama mode.

Now if only the a6600 had 4K/60p video… a seemingly inexplicable omission.

— David Rearwin

I’m glad you found the comparison useful, and thanks for letting us know!

Washed out selfies

I know I’m a little bit late but concerning your Huawei P20 Lite review I was wondering if it had come to your attention that the selfie cam takes unusually bright and contrastless pictures. The worst is when you’re in broad daylight, there’s almost nothing of the background left. I noticed this phenomenon also in other Honor and Huawei phones. Plus the bokeh effect don’t work right because it doesn’t separate fore- from background properly.

It’s strange that this almost never comes across in any reviews – I only found a few topics in several blogs where users complain.

— Jurgen Eckert

Huawei’s front facing cameras are a weakness across their range, so it’s not surprising the selfie camera performance at the bottom end of the range is poor. We’ll be more careful to mention it in future, though.

Fire and forget

I have just finished reading your review of the Kindle Fire HD10. I own an older version of the tablet and I am wondering if it is worth buying the new version. 

My problem (question) is this: has Amazon fixed the problem with the SD card? My Kindle has had a continuing problem with recognizing the SD card. I have removed and re-installed the card numerous times with no success. I have replaced the card. The only thing that works is resetting the device (by holding down the power button for 40 seconds, etc.) and it will work just fine, for maybe a few months. Then I’m back to ‘SD card not found’. 

I enjoy my Kindle very much, I have a lot of content and would like to upgrade, but if this problem hasn’t been addressed I won’t be buying another Kindle. I have read a number of reviews very much like yours and nobody even mentions the SD card problem. Is my Kindle the only one that experiences this? Did I get a defective device? Should I have asked for a replacement or refund?

My Kindle is about 3 years old, I don’t expect that Amazon is going to make good on this after so much time. If they have fixed the problem, great. If not, then screw them. Maybe I’ll buy a Samsung.

— Christopher C. Cox

We’ve seen a number of reports online about faulty SD cards, but it’s hard to tell how big an issue it is compared to the number of Kindles sold. Your best bet would have been to ask for a replacement at the time of purchase. 

Probably the reason pressing the on/off for 40 sec works for a few months, is that is how you update the Kindle’s software. So it’s not a surprise that doing this has an effect.

Aside from that, the HD 10 is fine if you want the biggest screen but if you want the cheapest option, the Fire HD 8 is worth a look too.

Go away

I bought a Surface Go and can say it is the worst tablet I bought. I did not buy the keyboard. Sometimes when I’m on Facebook I cannot see what I am writing as the keyboard covers it.

Also on Facebook, I want to go into Groups and quite often it says the link is not working. When I want to look at comments, it does not take me into comments but into another area. Whether this is a Microsoft problem I do not know.

— Jo Crawford

This sounds more like an issue with the software than the tablet. As the Go is a Windows 10 device, Facebook should work fine. If you aren’t running the Facebook app, it might be worth installing it. If you are using it via the Web, consider using a different browser, like Google Chrome, as we’ve heard there can be problems with Microsoft’s built-in browser.

Moto, gee

Just wondered if the reviewer was getting commission for this advert for the Moto G7?! In a review supposedly about the Sony 10, the Moto G7 and G7+ was mentioned favourably no less than 16 times. 

The name of the phone actually being reviewed was only used 28 times in total – and for 5 or so of those 28, the reviewer got the name of the phone wrong. Is ‘sony 10’ really so hard to remember? 

I understand that the comparison with the G7 has been repeatedly drawn in an attempt to benchmark the Sony 10 against the phone you perceive to be the current best in class, but since most readers have no hands on experience with either phone, the comparison is lost and somewhat meaningless. 

The review comes across as an undercover ad for the G7. If that’s what it is, it should say so. 

Other than those small issues, good job, thanks!

— May

Well, the reason we reference the Moto G7 range is because for a long time, it was indeed our best budget phone. While our readers might not have experience of multiple competing phones, we do. You can’t blame us for really liking some products over others and saying so, because we want you to have the best stuff, too. So no, the reviewer didn’t get a commission – we absolutely don’t work that way around here – he was just, as you suggest, comparing it against one of the best phones in its weight division.

NAD accuracy

I read your review of the NAD M10 and found it very thorough and comprehensive. The last section comparing it with the Naim Atom was particularly spot on and useful, as I was struggling to choose between the two. I was appreciative for having read your review which gave me the product review I needed. The 5-stars ranking you gave was such a strong boost that I decided to buy an M10, though the price is rather costly as you also acknowledged.

Nevertheless, after I bought my M10, I realised that quite contrary to what your review says, it DOES NOT support DSD files! I got extremely surprised as I cannot imagine it be the case, because it is clearly and explicitly said in your review that M10 supports DSD files, and DSD support is so common nowadays that even a $100 machine can handle them. 

To avoid other viewers from repeating my frustrations or getting misled, please consider supplementing or updating your review.

— Roy Leung

Hi Roy, I’ve posted a shortened version of your letter above, so you can see we’re looking into the issues you’ve raised. Our AV Editor is on vacation at the moment until the 23rd September, so as soon as he’s back we’ll respond to you properly. Sorry about that.

That’s it for another week. Thanks again to all the people who emailed in and keep emailing in to continue the conversation.

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