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GoPro HERO5 - The Best Travel Campanion

Don't you just love to have a great camera with you on your travels so you can capture stunning photos and videos? In the past, this used to mean you had to carry around one or two heavy bulky cameras with big lenses. And in your bag, you would also have a laptop where to store the pics and videos and from where to share them online with friends, family and the rest of the world. Well, not anymore. These days all you really need is a smartphone and a great tiny action camera like the GoPro HERO5 Black.


The GoPro HERO5 Black impressed me with amazing results for video recording, as well as stills. It is the advanced version of Hero4 Black with added stabilization feature and improved resolution so that users can enjoy immersive recording on the go.

GoPro is undeniably one of the very best brands out there. GoPro cameras are synonymous with quality and dependability; they are rugged, and they are exceptionally well-suited for recording virtually all types of outdoor activities and recording in any and all weather conditions.

The GoPro HERO5 Black allows you to shoot astonishingly professional looking videos, even if you have absolutely no photography experience at all. In that respect, GoPro has successfully put professional video creation within reach of anyone and everyone.

The GoPro HERO5 Black comes with touch screen display and is designed with classic waterproof material so you can easily use it even for snorkeling or other underwater applications. Useful voice controls, improved audio capabilities, image stabilization and its GPS enabled controls make the GoPro HERO5 Black one of the best selection for any traveler. It is perfect for capturing memories during trekking, snorkeling, cycling or while getting lost on purpose through a new city.



Design

The HERO5 Black has a rectangular shape, is coated with a grippy material and the corners are rounded up to enhance the beauty of the product.

The HERO5 Black has a completely new design, along with a much-appreciated 2” touch screen which really makes life a lot easier. The touch screen makes it much easier to operate even for beginners, whereas on the other side its three-microphone system picks the surrounding sounds nicely.

It is also waterproof up to a depth of 33ft/10m without the need of any additional housing and works beautifully underwater.

If you are upgrading from an older model you might be happy to hear about its longer battery life. 

The GoPro HERO5 Black has clear Gorilla Glass covers over their lenses and you can take off the glass if you think it might be degrading your image.



Voice Control

In case you find yourself in a situation when you can't use your hands to control the camera, a new feature of the Hero5 Black is the voice control. And they do work!

Here are some commands that you could use:

GoPro turn off, GoPro Burst Mode, GoPro Photo Mode, GoPro Video Mode, GoPro Stop Time Lapse, GoPro Start Time Lapse, GoPro Shoot Burst, GoPro Stop Recording, GoPro Start Recording, GoPro Highlight, GoPro Take a Photo.

Photo and Video Quality

The GoPro HERO5 Black comes with an excellent video stabilization feature for 4k recording.

The new linear mode allows for better results with lesser barrel distortion.

You can use it with GPS tagged locations for all RAW and WDR photos.

If you travel in nature you might love to capture immersive natural beauty with its wide angle focus that leads to much better video quality.



The Apps

I mentioned earlier that all you need on your trip is a GoPro and a smartphone. Here is where the phone comes in handy. With Capture you can use your phone to preview and playback
shots, control your GoPro and share on the fly.

Quick helps analyze all video clips in a much more efficient manner so that the best collections can be extracted. It also helps users add creative effects and transitions to video clips. And you can sync the audio files easily to generate impressive beats for recorded videos.

After you return from your trip, you can also use the desktop version of Quick which contains all the above features but also has extended control functions, like enabling users to overlay the GPS data for extreme analysis of speed, G-force and other data fields.



Verdict

The GoPro HERO5 Black is the perfect choice if you're going whitewater rafting and you would like to capture the nail-biting ride on video, or if you are going on a skiing holiday and you want to record those exhilarating moments where you’re rocketing down the slopes. But also if you are just strolling through a city and want to capture the beauty of the architecture around you using the wide lens feature of the camera. The GoPro HERO5 Black allows you to do all this in style with built-in state-of-the-art wind noise reduction and image stabilization technology.
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How to Create Stunningly Smooth Videos with the Smooth-Q Gimbal

Gimbals have become my favorite camera accessories for any trip, as they add a professional touch to travel videos. They are the best tool to avoid shaky footage. But when I travel I want to have with me as little stuff as possible. 

It would be great to have just an interchangeable gimbal for both my iPhone and my GoPro. This is how I came across the new Smooth-Q from Zhiyun. I found out that it can be used with both smartphones and action cameras. More importantly, it has a price tag of only 1/3 of DJI Osmo Mobile, so I had to check it out.


Making videos used to imply the use of tripods, sliders, jibs, hand-held rigs and gimbals, and of course big professional cameras. For a traveler or even a travel blogger, they were simply unpractical for any trip. But phone cameras have become better and better over the years and with the right app, the video settings can be controlled manually. Add to it a great gimbal and you are ready to go.



Design


The Smooth Q is a 3-axis hand-held gimbal that is specifically designed to work with the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy series and other phones that are between 4.7 and 6 inches big and up to 220g heavy. The Zhiyun Tech Smooth Q weighs only 450g and is made from plastic which makes it very light, but still steady in your hand while walking or even running.

Smooth-Q is splash proof and works under extreme temperatures, up to 45℃ and -15℃. The control panel provides a flat joystick to control the head, a camera photo/video mode switch, video Rec/Stop button and zoom controls.

The smartphone can easily be attached to the gimbal and doesn’t require a complicated setup. All you need to do is mount the phone either horizontally or vertically and then press the ON button and the 3-axis gimbal will automatically adjust the position and angle of the smartphone. 

There is no need to balance the gimbal manually, just insert your phone and Smooth Q will balance electronically. All three axis can be controlled manually as well as automatically by pushing the gimbal's joystick.



Battery


Zhiyun Smooth Q holds a built-in 26650 Li-ion battery which will give you an amazing 12 hours of use time on one single charge. A USB port at the bottom of the grip supports 5V/2A power output,so you can charge your smartphone or your camera while shooting. On the side of the gimbal, you’ll find a micro USB port to charge Smooth Q or power it with a power bank.


Pan / Tilt / Roll – Angle


Pan axis allows 360° unlimited rotation, tilt axis moves -135° to +185° and roll axis allows +/-30° movement.




Shooting Modes


You can use Smooth Q to stabilize your smartphone horizontally or vertically, which is great for Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat.


Mounting


You can mount Smooth Q on a tripod as a 1/4″ standard photo thread is integrated at the bottom.

Zhiyun Smooth Q is available in black, grey, gold and rose.

The App


These days all gadgets come with an app. So does the Smooth Q. But it is not just a half-baked app. The ZY Play app is actually useful and provides you with extra control over the shooting modes. 

When using it on your smartphone you can enable special features like object tracking or face tracking. Select an object on your screen, which will be tracked during a movement and the gimbal’s head will follow automatically. 

You can also zoom in and out, by just the touch of a button. It supports panorama mode and time-lapse mode by connecting to the app and it has a quick focus adjustment. In the near future, the app will support video editing, filters, and a sharing platform for YouTube and Facebook.



Verdict


I recommend this especially for vloggers but also for travelers who want to capture some quick but professional looking shots of their vacation. The Smooth Q is a great and affordable choice when it comes to mobile filmmaking. The Smooth Q does a great job in combination with your smartphone and even your GoPro, if you buy a separate adaptor.

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Exploring the Best Cities in Europe

When it comes to traveling, the continent of Europe offers a great range of delights. Whether you are looking for traditional areas harking back to bygone eras, modern cities, or an area that provides the best of both worlds, there is no shortage of options. With a growing number of budget airline routes and affordable accommodation, exploring the best cities in Europe is easier than ever before. It is good to have an idea of what you want from a European holiday before you start booking flights and accommodation.


Dublin is great for a party atmosphere



Anyone looking to enjoy a party atmosphere in Europe will find that Dublin in the Republic of Ireland is an excellent choice of destination. The Temple Bar area is the hub of lively nightlife, countless bars, and a chance to socialize and party with some of the friendliest people in the continent. A trip to the Guinness factory is a great way to spend an afternoon, with the Gravity Bar offering stunning views of the city. People looking for a sense of Ireland’s history should visit Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). And if you want to just chill for the day, the Dublin Botanical Garden is the perfect place.


Glasgow and Manchester are lively destinations


While many people cite the capital, Edinburgh, as the number one city to visit in Scotland, Glasgow is by far the more interesting and cosmopolitan destination. The Merchant City, just off the iconic George Square, is a fantastic place to stay, offering accommodation among some of the finest bars and restaurants. Glasgow is a sociable city that thrives on music and sport. Why not check out a gig in venues such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut or Nice N Sleazy? If you want to see what gets hearts racing in Glasgow, pay a visit to Celtic Park, home of one of the most famous and celebrated soccer teams in the country.

In England, you can never go wrong with a trip to London, but Manchester is well worth checking out. The city’s history is tied in with the Industrial Revolution, but Manchester is a thriving modern city. The Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see for any tourist or traveler in the area. In the Salford Quays dockyards, you can find the Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry cultural center. The world-famous Old Trafford stadium, home of Manchester United, is nearby and has a museum and tour.


Munich offers a huge range of museums



For those travelers venturing to mainland Europe, Germany is a country that has an interesting history and some major cities that offer everything that a tourist could ever want. Berlin is perhaps the most vibrant and exciting city in the country, but for the most authentic German experience, Munich is the city to visit. You’ll find a wide range of Munich rentals in central locations, and no matter what budget you have, there is sure to be something that appeals to you or suits your finances. With more than 80 museums in Munich, the city is ideal for tourists. The Münchner Residenz (Munich Residence) museum is well worth exploring. There are three tours inside the building, each encompassing different parts of German history and life, and the surrounding areas of the museum are also welcoming. If you visit Munich in the winter months, there is an attractive festive market to enjoy at this site.


Barcelona has stunning architecture


Spain is another nation that greatly appeals to tourists. Art lovers and fashionistas will appreciate Madrid, with Picasso’s Guernica, on display in the Museo Reina Sofía, being a highlight. For those looking for stunning architecture and cultured nightlife, Barcelona is likely to be the ideal destination. The heart of Catalonia displays the work of Antoni Gaudí with great pride, with Sagrada Família being his most famous building. Work is still being undertaken, long after Gaudi’s passing in 1926, and this building is one of the must-see attractions in the whole of Europe. There are many great examples of Gaudí’s work in Barcelona, with Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera, being a slightly-overlooked gem in Europe.

If you had infinite time and money, you could spend the rest of your days exploring the major cities of Europe, all of which have their own unique charm and style. Rome is a city that has retained so much of its traditional charm, with the Coliseum remaining a hugely attractive tourist attraction. Paris is still the city that is associated with love, and couples flock to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe every single day. With so many stunning European cities to enjoy, the hardest task may be deciding which city you should visit next.

Photos by Lali Masriera and Roman Boed via Flickr Creative Commons
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Advice for Booking a Package Holiday

Following an extraordinary couple of years with high-profile incidents in destinations across the globe, including terrorist attacks in Tunisia and Turkey and flight restrictions to Egypt, Brits are changing the way they holiday and are opting for more familiar destinations that are perhaps perceived as being safer. In uncertain times, people are booking package holidays for the support, protection and convenience they offer. In fact, ABTA highlights that 53% of the population opted for a package holiday in 2016 - a 10% increase compared to just five years earlier in 2011.

With so many people relying on tour operators for their holidays, JMW’s Personal Injury solicitors think it is important to share some advice on what to expect when booking a holiday through a tour operator, and how far their responsibilities stretch if you were to find yourself involved in an accident.



What is a tour operator?


A tour operator is a company that specialises in delivering package holidays, usually sold through a travel agent or via the internet, such as TUI (Thomson) and Thomas Cook. Typically, a tour operator will organise the tour and travel aspects of your holiday, selling individual components together in a bundle. For example, return flights to/from the destination, airport transfer to/from the hotel and a stay in a hotel. Extras might include sightseeing excursions or trips to popular attractions.

Expectations of a tour operator


When you go on a package holiday, there is always the risk that your expectations of a tour operator will not match their actual responsibilities in the event of you suffering injury or illness. A survey carried out by JMW asked 676 respondents what support they would expect to receive from a tour operator should they be injured on a package holiday. The following answers were given:

● 76% thought they would help with travel arrangements, such as an early flight home
● 75% thought they would help with getting medical assistance
● 63% thought they would help to contact relatives or loved ones
● 61% thought they would provide assistance with insurance matters

These statistics show that the vast majority of holidaymakers assume their tour operator will go to significant lengths to help them during an emergency. But do these match up with the legal responsibilities of a tour operator?

The legal responsibilities of tour operators


In order to understand what the legal responsibilities of a tour operator are, we must first look at the legal definition of a package holiday, as tour operators adhere to this definition when observing their obligations to customers.

According to the Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tour Regulations 1992, a “package” is defined as a pre-arranged combination of at least two components of a holiday (such as transport, accommodation and other ancillary services accounting for a proportion of the package) are set at an inclusive price, covering a period of more than 24 hours or overnight accommodation. A deal might not therefore, be defined as a package if components can be sold separately at the same price. However, people who book a holiday have the right to expect the package that they paid for, so being aware of what is included in the package is very important.

Despite providing the package a holidaymaker has paid for, tour operators have no strict liability, meaning should you be involved in an accident abroad, it is up to you to prove the tour operator breached their duty of care towards you. For example, if you slip on a wet floor in a hotel, you must provide evidence that appropriate measures weren’t taken to ensure your safety. As foreign countries do not have to follow English safety regulations, tour operators are not necessarily obliged to ensure they comply with them and instead are simply obliged to comply with local laws. This means that it comes down to you again to prove that an injury was caused due to a breach of the local legislation.

It may seem impossible to make a successful claim against a tour operator, however this is where dealing with a skilled and experienced lawyer can help. Remember, a tour operator can be responsible for an injury or illness if the incident happened either at the hotel complex or as part of an activity provided as part of the package holiday (e.g. during a flight, an airport transfer or on board a cruise ship) and a skilled lawyer will help you to prove their role in your injury or illness.

If the accident happens in the above circumstances, it would be expected that a tour operator will take care of you in the immediate aftermath of an injury, i.e. assist you with making travel arrangements, contacting family and dealing with insurance matters. This is because it is the tour operator’s responsibility to protect customers through the services they provide.

Chris Sutton, partner and travel claims expert from JMW, comments: “Tour operators should be more transparent about what their obligations to their customers are, and what customers can expect from them by way of assistance if they do encounter problems abroad. Customers put a great deal of trust and faith in their tour operators and this is something that rightfully should be rewarded, or at the very least, respected.

“However, the reality that has been reported back to me from my clients who have been injured whilst abroad suggests their good will is rarely reciprocated. There are very onerous duties placed on claimants to demonstrate that a tour operator has been negligent in their responsibility to paying customers who, very often, spend most of their year looking forward to making a holiday getaway.

“My goal is always to ensure that someone who is injured through no fault of their own is provided with everything they need to get back on track, and the appropriate means to do this. I feel strongly that tour operators should meet this obligation too, and step up to take care of their customers.”

What to do if you’re injured on holiday


Taking out travel insurance prior to your trip can make life that little bit easier should you be injured while on holiday. It gives you added security should you be involved in an accident and will help to ease any issues you may face if your tour operator fails to provide you with adequate support.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident abroad, there are certain steps you should take:

● Ensure you receive suitable medical attention immediately
● Report the accident to the tour operator as soon as possible
● If the place where the incident happened has an accident book, be sure to record the events accurately and request a copy
● Keep a record of as much information as possible:
○ Request a copy of the medical report, doctor’s report and accident notes
○ Keep receipts of any medical charges incurred
○ Take photographs of your injuries and the cause of the accident
○ Take note of the scene of the incident
○ Take down the names and addresses of any witnesses

Hopefully, you won’t suffer any illnesses or injuries whilst you’re abroad, however if you do, law firms, such as JMW, offer a specialist claims service to holidaymakers, designed to help them make a full recovery. 

Photo by brianfagan via Flickr Creative Commons
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Jabra’s Elite Sport Buds - True Wireless - True Freedom

As a traveler, I like to indulge and eat a lot of the local food. In the same time, I try to stay fit and not gain weight. I might not have access to a gym while on the road, so I have to find other solutions, like running in a park or on a beach. And this brings me to the Jabra’s Elite Sport. This is the year of the truly wireless headphones. Jabra’s Sport line has caught my attention, especially the Jabra’s Elite Sport Buds. What makes the Elite Sport impressive is that they combine the tracking function with a pure wireless experience that is just about perfect. I am not kidding.



Design and Features

Let’s talk about the fit first. With six different types of ear covers, you are bound to find the fit for yourself. The rubber earbuds, which come in varying sizes to fit your ears, are a great help. So is the rubber lining wrapping around the edges of the otherwise plastic case, preventing any contact with your skin from being a jarring experience.

I used the medium foam tips. The Sport Elite, can stay in your ears for ages. Well, for the 3 hours that you have a charge. That’s long enough for a 21km run for many people! Impressive. However, it also comes with a charging case that holds another 2 additional full charges, and it charges them up fast. So while they are designed for working out, you can totally use them as regular earbuds if you want to. I love the case. Not only that it will keep my buds secure during my travels, but it also has a quality feel to it.


These are not regular earbuds. Yes, calls are crystal clear for both you and the caller and music sounds great. The no-wires aspect works perfectly. Until people get used to truly wireless buds, they might think that you are mad, talking to yourself. Still, the focus here is fitness. I have to say that the Jabra Sport Elite stay in your ears during workouts, nice and secure. I did fast walking, running, and some jumping and they did not fall out.


The heart-rate sensor picks up your heart rate through your ear and there's an initial delay of about 5-10 seconds before it picks up what seems to me an accurate measurement.

There's a hear-through feature that allows more ambient noise to enter your ears, a good safety feature for runners who want to hear traffic noise. It also comes handy when I simply want to talk to someone in the street without removing the headphones.

The device itself is waterproof up to the IP67 standard, which is good enough for the occasional rainy day out. This also makes them sweat proof. So, no worries there.


The Elite Sport buds do NOT use a small USB charging port, so there is no need for rubber stoppers to keep water and sweat out. I find this an important improvement. Instead, the Elite Sport is charged through a separate case that is connected to a power source via a USB port. Just remember to bring the case along on your travels, because it also acts as a standalone battery that can juice up the earphones, say, on a plane or a train.



The App

That fitness aspect requires Jabra’s Sport app. When you first pair up, as with the other Jabra Sport headsets, you will want to do so via the app, not your phone settings. The app has been improved on since I last tried it, with your heart rate right on the dashboard at all times. Oh, and setting up takes no more than ten minutes, as you need to set some baselines. Just another reminder that this is not a casual device, but a commitment.



You can also use the headphones with your favorite iOS and Android running and fitness apps, including Endomondo, RunKeeper, MapMy Fitness, Runtastic, and Strava, but I prefer Jabra's own training-management app called Jabra Sport Life. It gives you in-ear coaching and great feedback.



Verdict

For me, the main selling points are still the great fit and solid build, something I come to expect from Jabra, after using the Jabra Sport Pulse. They were among the first to come up with Bluetooth earphones for workouts more than five years ago in the Elite Sport. They have delivered another excellent companion for a run, a bike ride or a day at the gym, but also great headphones for my travels.

Jabra’s Elite Sport Buds are for someone who wants to be able to not just listen to music on great waterproof, wireless headphones, but also use them to track their fitness. If that is you, then these are perfect.


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