Fitbit Versa review

FITBIT unveiled its latest smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa, in March, boasting of a new lightweight design, more personalisations and a battery life that’ll last for more than four days. 
The new device builds on the success of the Fitbit Ionic which was released in November last year and is positioned not as a replacement but as an alternative with slightly fewer tricks, such as lack of inbuilt GPS, but with a lower price point of £199.
Since its launch, we’ve been putting the watch through its paces on a daily basis to see how it compares not only to its predecessor but also other smartwatches in the market. Here’s what we think of it.
DesignWith the Versa, Fitbit hasn’t just updated the design of one of its previous or existing wearables like a lot of brands do in this space; it’s given it a completely new look.
One thing you’ll notice, though, is that it’s perhaps more Apple Watch-y than any of its previous releases, boasting what the health tech giant is calling a “Squircle” watchface design. Don’t worry, we’re cringing too. 

Despite its offensive design name, the Fitbit Versa is a much more handsome and friendly-looking watch than many of the firm’s previous devices, especially the Ionic, which we have to admit we weren’t the biggest fans of. In comparison, the Versa is pretty nondescript and thus harmless looking, ensuring your eyes are left to concentrate more on what’s happening on the display than around it.
The Versa isn’t only nice to look at, as it’s also one of the most comfortable smartwatches Fitbit has made thanks to its lighter weight. Fitbit claims its one of its lightest smartwatches on the market due to its ultra-thin, anodised aluminium case and slightly-tapered and angled design that has been built to fit small or large wrists. However, this lightweight design does make the Versa feel a little cheap.

As for the Versa’s display, it’s a vibrant, colourful touchscreen with a brightness up to 1,000 nits. This means that even in direct sunlight or underwater it’s easily visible, even when not turned up to the maximum brightness capacity. Touch commands also seem to be much improved over the Ionic, are now more fluid and uninterrupted.
Performance and battery lifeThe most important thing about a smartwatch isn’t just how it looks, but how it performs; and how long it lasts before you need to go out of your way to charge it again. Fitbit claims the Versa’s battery life is not quite as impressive as its bigger, more expensive sibling, and claims it’ll last four days rather than five. After using the watch for a good two weeks on and off, we were rather impressed that its stamina matched up pretty well with Fitbit’s claims.
As with any smartwatch, the total number of days you’ll get out of it is completely dependent on how many workouts you track throughout the week, if you keep it on at night time for sleep tracking, and if you have the brightness setting set to low or high.

Once it’s been fully charged and used for a full 24 hours, including two intense workouts and sleep tracking, the Versa was at a rather impressive 70 per cent capacity. After three full days, it was at just over 10 percent before finally dwindling to zero halfway through the third day.
As for actual device charging, Fitbit doesn’t opt for juicing its wearables via traditional microUSB, so if you’re travelling then the special Fitbit charger will need to make its way into your suitcase. It’s also worth noting the Versa’s proprietary charger comes with a clip-in dock (included), which makes it much easier to charge compared to the magnetic pin on the Ionic.
FeaturesTracking a workout with the Fitbit Versa is really easy and works in the exact same way as on the Ionic. Whether it’s running, cycling, swimming or HIIT that you want to track, there’s a dedicated option for this on the device’s Exercise app, accessible as the first option in the main menu carousel. This consists of Run, Bike, Swim, Treadmill, Weights, Interval Timer and Workout modes.
To track your run, for example, you’d simply select the Running tab from the Exercise option by swiping left from the home screen, then tap go and off you go.
During the exercise, the watch will display a selection of your vitals, which will differ depending on what exercise you’re tracking. For example, the running option will display distance and time, whereas the swimming option will display the lengths and meters swam alongside the time, and then the general workout option will show heart rate the calories burned. Many other tracking variables can also be seen, such as the current time, time taken, heart rate, etc by swiping left or right on the main display during the exercise tracking.

Once you’ve ended your exercise by telling the Versa you’re done, you’ll get a workout summary. These little summaries are a great touch, giving you the lowdown on your performance as soon as you’ve finished. In our running session, for instance, the Versa workout summary told us what our maximum heart rate had been in beats per minute (BPM), alongside our average BPM during the whole exercise, the time it took to complete the workout as well as the distance travelled.
As with the display during exercise, this summary changes depending on the exercise you do. After a HIIT class, in which I’d chosen the standard “workout” option, we were told how many calories we’d burned as opposed to distance travelled and time taken. This is all viewable in the app, too, after you’ve synced your watch to your smartphone, alongside all the other variables, pictured side by side with any previous workouts you’ve done.

Another impressive capability for a wearable at this price point is the swim tracking. It works very well, and accurately tracks your laps in a pool, for instance, recognising when you’ve reached the other side and kicked off to start your next lap.
What really surprised us was that the Versa is able to offer clear on-screen recordings with its brightly-lit display as we swam. It isn’t easy to swipe between the different tracking variables during this mode though, as you can imagine, as the display doesn’t recognise finger taps so well underwater.
There’s also a nifty feature called Run Detect, which was also seen on the Ionic. It means the Versa is clever enough to know when you’re taking a break, and automatically stops and starts tracking a run, swim or cycle by sensing the status of your movement.  The other good news here is that this feature doesn’t come into play if you don’t want it. Choose a standard “workout” exercise from the list before beginning circuit training, for example, and it tracks your heart rate continuously until you tell it to stop. It works really well, meaning you can get on with the workout without checking the watch all the time and making sure it’s recording your movements accurately.

Then there’s sleep tracking, too, which while not exactly a fitness feature, still works in a similar manner. If you wear the Versa to bed, it will automatically track your sleep by recognising your inactivity, stillness and decreased heart rate. A summary of your sleep pattern will then be offered within the app after waking up; displaying how long you were asleep for in total, with this time split into either REM (rapid eye movement), light and deep sleep. This analysis is provided in an easy to understand manner and spits your results against an ideal target “benchmark” of someone the same sex and age as you. 
SoftwareThe Versa comes with Fitbit’s latest OS 2.0, which includes a new dashboard that provides a more simplified and intuitive view of your health and fitness data. This includes “Stats at a glance”, which allows you to see your daily and weekly health and fitness stats, historical activity, heart rate, and exercise summaries from your wrist by simply swiping up on the main display. 
The on-screen icons are displayed very well on the Versa and in a clean way so not to confuse users. One of our favourite features in the Versa software is that Fitbit has given the watch more customisation options than ever before. This, Fitbit said, is something it has realised its customers really want, so made it a bigger focus in the development of the Versa. 
You can customise your own watch faces to make the Versa look how you want it to, something we saw a bit of in the Ionic, but this time around there’s hundreds more different designs to choose from. You can also purchase third party clock faces, some of which are customisable right down to the text colour and arrangement of data.

First seen on the Ionic, the Fitbit Pay platform is available to use on the Versa, enabling you to use to the watch to buy stuff without your phone or wallet. We tried the feature in different stores and while it didn’t work in one, it did in the other four. The feature worked relatively well but it is a little fiddly, as it requires you to input a 4 digit pin before bringing up the contactless payment screen.

At the moment, the contactless payment feature doesn’t work with many banks in the UK yet, either, so we wouldn’t advise this being one of the main reasons why you buy the Versa. So far that list includes just Danske Bank and Starling Bank, so pretty limited. Fitbit has said it’s working to rectify this, though so it could change soon.
In shortWhile its feature set isn’t quite that of its bigger sibling the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa feels very much like the same watch but with a much more welcoming design. And let’s not forget that lower price of £100.
This is what made the Ionic somewhat difficult to recommend. Despite there being so many features, it was just a little too expensive compared to all the other wearable options out there.
Saying that, the Versa has completely changed the game for Fitbit at least, as you can now get your hands on some great fitness tracking features that all sync with the really well designed Fitbit app for much less than before. It’s essentially a really good option for those that really wanted the Ionic but thought it was just that bit too pricey to justify it the splurge.  
In the UK, the Fitbit Versa is available to buy for £199, with colour options of silver, black or rose gold as well as several watch strap colour combinations. 

The goodNice lightweight design, customisable, relatively low price for the feature set.
The badBattery life not as good as Ionic.
The uglyA little cheap feeling.
Bartender’s Score 8/10

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Watch SpaceX launch NASA’s new planet-hunting satellite here – TechCrunch

It’s almost time for SpaceX to launch NASA’s TESS, a space telescope that will search for exoplants across nearly the entire night sky. The launch has been delayed more than once already: originally scheduled for March 20, it slipped to April 16 (Monday), then some minor issues pushed it to today — at 3:51 PM Pacific time, to be precise. You can watch the launch live below.
TESS, which stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is basically a giant wide-angle camera (four of them, actually) that will snap pictures of the night sky from a wide, eccentric and never before tried orbit.
The technique it will use is fundamentally the same as that employed by NASA’s long-running and highly successful Kepler mission. When distant plants pass between us and their star, it causes a momentary decrease in that star’s brightness. TESS will monitor thousands of stars simultaneously for such “transits,” watching a single section of sky for a month straight before moving on to another.
By two years, it will have imaged 85 percent of the sky — hundreds of times the area Kepler observed, and on completely different stars: brighter ones that should yield more data.
TESS, which is about the size of a small car, will launch on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage of the rocket by having it land on a drone ship, and the nose cone will, hopefully, get a gentle parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic, where it too can be retrieved.
The feed below should go live 15 minutes before launch, or at about 3:35.

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Facebook is testing a way to let people watch video premieres in Facebook Live

Although the ability to publish pre-recorded video to Facebook Live has been an option for some time, it’s required the use of third-party programs like OBS and Wirecast. Now, Facebook is testing a feature called Premieres, which will let creators publish already-made videos to Facebook Live, as reported today by Engadget.
While there isn’t much information on Premieres yet, it appears to be angled toward content like movie trailers, Facebook Watch shows, and music videos, and it would come with Facebook Live functions like chat. Essentially, it’s a way for publishers to bring the experience of a television premiere or film trailer drop to Facebook, allowing people to experience a new video together in real time. “We’re testing this now with a group of diverse video creators, publishers, and shows,” Facebook’s Fidji Simo tells Deadline. “And we’ll be rolling this out more broadly soon.”
The ability to natively publish pre-recorded content would certainly make sense for Facebook, which has been expanding its stable of original series. Facebook recently ordered a dramedy series starring Avengers: Infinity War star Elizabeth Olsen, as well as a 10-episode fairy tale horror series called Sacred Lies. It’s reported that the company plans on spending up to $1 billion on original TV in 2018. The Verge has reached out to Facebook for comment on how exactly Premieres differs from the existing tools that let creators publish pre-recorded video to its Live platform.
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Fernando Tatis had the greatest half-inning in MLB history

Let’s take some time to remember the night Fernando Tatis set a record that will never be broken
Fernando Tatis was an excellent, exciting, young player in 1999. This is, perhaps, the most important piece of context to the story of his two grand slams in the same inning. Back then, he was the future of the Cardinals, and considering that Mark McGwire was going to be around forever, the future was bright indeed. When tasked to choose any third baseman in baseball for the upcoming decade, Rob Neyer chose Tatis.
It turns out that Tatis wouldn’t be the best third baseman on the Cardinals within two years. He floated away, left the game, and drifted back to the Mets for a surprising renaissance toward the end of the decade, but the once-likely stardom wasn’t to be.
He’ll have to be satisfied with one of the most amazing and unlikely baseball feats of all-time. Which is a pretty nifty consolation prize.
Consider that only 13 players in baseball history have hit two grand slams in one game. Anthony Rizzo, a slugger who was healthy all year and hit in the middle of a potent lineup, had only 27 plate appearances with the bases loaded for the entire 2017 season. The opportunities to hit two grand slams in the same inning just aren’t going to be there for most people. It’s not only possible for players to have a 20-year career without getting two at-bats with the bases loaded in the same inning, it’s overwhelmingly likely.
Tatis got those at-bats, and he slugged two grand slams. He hit a home run in 5.3 percent of his plate appearances that season, which meant the odds of him hitting two home runs in that inning were already close to .3 percent. Now factor in the odds of his teammates loading the bases ahead of him twice … then, uh, divide by the odds of any pitcher stinking that hard, and … uh, add the reciprocal of an entire lineup not making three outs in the time it takes to load the bases twice and get the same guy up with a chance to hit a grand slam … you have to account for the lousy defense, too … wait, let me take off my socks and start over.
The point is that this is an unbreakable record. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t require an eon of baseball to be played, like Cal Ripken’s consecutive games streak. It can happen tonight in any of the games played. It could happen tomorrow, the next day … anyone can tie the record, really.
But they won’t. Which is why we have come here today to celebrate Fernando Danged Tatis, who definitely did that baseball thing we still talk about today. It will never stop being hard to comprehend.
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Gennady Golovkin to fight Vanes Martirosyan on 5 May in Los Angeles | Sport

Gennady Golovkin’s plans for Cinco de Mayo weekend are finally set, even if it’s not the against the opponent or in the city he wanted.
The unbeaten WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion will defend his titles against Vanes Martirosyan on 5 May at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), the crowd-pleasing Kazakh knockout artist, had originally been slated to fight Canelo Álvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a rematch of their September blockbuster, which ended in a controversial split draw.
But the Mexican star pulled out of the highly anticipated bout after failing two drug tests in February, forcing Golovkin’s team to scramble to find a replacement opponent.

“Vanes Martirosyan is now the most important fight of my career. He has my respect and I am training hard to defend my titles against him,” Golovkin said in a release. “I am happy to be back on HBO and fighting at StubHub Center because they have great boxing fans. I will give my fans another big drama show.”
By taking a relatively low-risk fight with Martirosyan, who has not fought in two years and who lost his last outing, Golovkin risks being stripped his IBF title by failing to take a bout with the organization’s mandatory challenger: Russia’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs).
Golovkin has said he hopes to fight Álvarez in September, provided the Mexican’s temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission has been lifted by then. Their first fight sold 1.3m pay-per-views in the United States and generated a live gave of more than $27m, the third-highest in boxing history.
More to follow.

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Harrison Phillips may not be a 1st-round pick, but he will make a defense better

Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White says there’s always an important role to play for a defensive tackle who’s strong AF like Stanford’s Phillips.
No need in beating around the bush, so I will start by saying that I see Harrison Phillips as an early down defensive lineman in the NFL with not a whole lot of value on passing downs. As such, I wouldn’t take him in the first round.
That’s just my philosophy. It goes for any defensive line prospect who can’t rush the passer on third down. I felt the same way about Andrew Billings when he came out in fact.
That doesn’t mean Phillips won’t have a good career. No matter where any of the guys I break down ultimately get drafted, I believe that my evaluation of their college tape and projection of how they will play in the pros is what matters the most. After all, it’s not where you start but where you finish when it comes to playing in the NFL.
The same goes for Phillips who did some really good things as a run defender, and who has the potential to get some decent pass rushes on early downs, regardless.
So let me get into the things I believe Phillips did do well in college and how I think it will project on the next level.
Phillips is strong AF.
At least when it comes to his upper body.
I didn’t need him lifting 225 pounds 42 times at the combine for me to know that, but it certainly was confirmation of what I saw on tape.
Stanford primarily used Phillips at nose tackle in one form or another. A lot of plays he would be head up on the center, while on other plays he would line up somewhere in either A gap. Just in case you weren’t aware, those are the prime alignments to end up getting double teamed.
Phillips was able to consistently shoot his hands inside and and bench press one blocker off of him which allowed him to hold up well most of the time when the second offensive lineman came in to try to finish him off.
Being able to keep one guy at bay also allowed Philips to expand and make plays once the other blocker slid off him to try to block someone on the second level.
When Phillips did find himself singled up, he was able to knock the center or guard back into the backfield when they tried to base block him or reach block him. That often led to him either making a tackle himself for a short gain or forcing the running back to cut back to Phillips’ teammates.
The real fun, however, came when opposing offenses tried to run counter plays and had either the center or the guard who wasn’t pulling try to single block Phillips on a down block.

Phillips may not be a world class sprinter, but he has a few things going for him on those counter plays.
One, he obviously understands blocking schemes and can recognize them very quickly.

Two, he also had really good technique coordinating his footwork, side stepping the blocker with swim moves that freed him up to pursue the runner at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Finally, Phillips is kinda quick in short areas. He appeared to catch quite a few of those interior offensive linemen off guard in the four games that I watched.

As someone who really appreciates defensive linemen who win with technique, watching Phillips play the run was quite entertaining at times.
He also had a serious knack for getting in on the play when the ball was run in his immediate area.
I can’t even tell you how many times I had to re-watch one of his plays because he would be engaged with a blocker and it would look like Phillips had no chance to get to the runner only to see Phillips escape off the block and reach out to make the play.

All together in four games Phillips notched four tackles for a loss along with 27 other tackles which is damned impressive for a guy who played as much nose tackle as he did.
As a pass rusher, Phillips’ skills and technique kind of mirrored what he did against the run.
When he committed to a bull rush he was able to use his impressive upper body strength to get most blockers knocked back into the quarterback’s lap pretty good if he was singled up.
He was also able to beat offensive linemen with quick finesse moves where he used the same kind of side-step and swim move to get several clean wins.
The problem was that even when Phillips got those clean wins he still wasn’t usually able to either take the quarterback down or effect the throw.
It’s not like Phillips had a lot of clean wins rushing the passer in the first place, but when he did have a chance to take down a quarterback it often didn’t end well.

That is was led me to my conclusion that Phillips probably won’t be a third-down pass rusher in the league.
It’s not like Phillips had a lot of good pass rush opportunities anyway since he lined up so much as the nose tackle, but to be a legit pass rusher he needed to convert more of those one-on-one wins.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t and that’s how he ended up with only a half a sack and two pressures in the games I watched.
So you have a guy who can get a good push against the run or the pass, who wins with really good technique, who has a knack for making tackles in his immediate vicinity, but who is also limited as an athlete and has a hard time getting to the quarterback.
That doesn’t exactly scream first round pick, does it?
But that’s ok!
Every team needs guys who can play the hell out of the run on first and second downs, especially a guy who may be able to hold the point and sneak in a good pass rush from time to time as well.
Phillips could play all across the defensive line in a base 3-4 on early downs from a five technique to a zero nose. He would also make a fine nose tackle in a 4-3 as well. Because his technique is so good, he is ready to play right away.
So while I wouldn’t spend a first round pick on Harrison Phillips, I still think he definitely has the potential to have a fine career as a run stopper in the NFL. If your team drafts him in the second round or later I don’t think you will ever complain about it provided he is able to stay healthy.

Since I don’t have access to all-22 for college football games I use the next best thing for my draft profiles and go to Draft Breakdown where they post the TV copy of a bunch of top prospects’ games already cut up and ready to go. This time Draft Breakdown only had three of Harrison Phillip’s games from last season on their website, so I had to use Google to find one more. For the purposes of this breakdown I watched Phillips play against USC, Washington, Cal and Notre Dame. Those represented the second, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth games on Stanford’s schedule last season, respectively.

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What Is Google Home? Everything You Need To Know [User Guide]

Paul Briden

18/04/2018 – 1:33pm

Confused about what Google Home is and what it can do? We're here to help

While the smart speaker market is reportedly booming, it is fair to say that the tech is still young and there are plenty of people out there who don’t know what it’s all about – or even that smart speakers are a thing.
You might have heard someone mention Google Home in passing, or seen an ad for it, and be wondering about it – that’s what this article is for; to fill in the blanks about what Google Home is and why you might be interested.
What Is Google Home?
Google Home is really many things, but first and foremost it’s a series of speakers. There are, at present, three models in the range:

Google Home
Google Home Mini
Google Home Max

I’ll go over how each of these are different in a moment. First of all though, it’s important to understand that Google Home speakers are not just speakers; they’re SMART Speakers.
What do I mean by this? Well the other thing that Google Home “is” – as well as being a set of hardware – is a software ecosystem driven by artificial intelligence (AI) which is plugged right into the internet, and which leverages Google’s vast library of search data to make use of said worldwide web.
What Can Google Home Do?
Think of it being a bit like the Google search on your web browser – you can type anything into that and it’ll bring up a boat-load of relevant information. The difference is Google Home is voice activated and will speak back the information to you.
But wait, there’s more…
As well as being connected to the web and offering search functionality, Google Home is also integrated with Google’s suite of applications and services; that means your calendar, Gmail, Chromecast, Google Play Music and so on.  On top of this it plugs in to other third-party applications – such as Spotify, for example – so you’re not just restricted to streaming music through Google’s own platform.
So what can you actually do with Google Home? You can tell it to stream music, use it as a calculator, and ask it for various facts and bits of information it can pull from the web – – like, who holds the record for the longest spacewalk, for ert_main_wide_image/public/2017/10/google_home_review.jpg?itok=KxqQJRyc” alt=”” />

The Google Home Mini is much smaller and more discrete. It has all the same functionality as the vanilla Google Home, but is much, much cheaper at £49. However, you do sacrifice in audio quality, as the dinky size doesn’t allow for high-end speaker hardware.

Otherwise, the Max has the same functionality as its stablemates, however, the better audio hardware comes at a higher price.
Still weighing up a Google Home speaker? Check out the links below:

How To Connect SONOS To Google Home
20 Amazing Things Google Home Can Do For You Right Now

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Is Huawei ready to throw in the towel on the US market?

It’s hard to break a country where the government sees you as a security threat

Huawei is the third largest phone manufacturer on the planet, but that position on the podium might be as good as it gets. While the Chinese giant has had huge success in Asia and some breakthrough in Europe, the USA has been a tough nut to crack – and now it’s become a virtually impossible one.
The writing was on the wall back in February, when the FBI highlighted Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, and AT&T backed out of a deal to sell Huawei phones on its network. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 to ban federal funds from being spent with companies that are deemed a threat to national security, making an uphill struggle look even more ert_main_wide_image/public/2018/04/huawei_leaving_american_market.jpg?itok=ZoKynstT” alt=””/>

As if that weren’t evidence enough of admitting defeat, the New York Times also reports of comments made by deputy chairman Eric Xu, who told Huawei’s annual analyst meeting: “Some things cannot change their course according to our wishes. With some things, when you let them go, you actually feel more at ease.”
At the end of 2017, Huawei had around 10% of the global smartphone market share, behind Samsung (18.4%) and Apple (19.2%). Accepting that 325 million Americans will never own a Huawei handset is a bitter pill to swallow, but with a globe half-full perspective, that does leave some 7.3 billion others who could one day be persuaded – especially if they continue to make handsets as brilliant as the P20 Pro.

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Is Huawei ready to throw in the towel on the US market?

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Billingham Hadley Small Pro Review

Mac users, the all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Windows users, the all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

The latest in Billingham’s Hadley camera bag range is the Hadley Small Pro. Designed for smaller cameras, such as compact system cameras, rangefinders and mid-sized DSLRs, the bag is available in six different colour combinations.
Made in England at Billingham’s factory in the West Midlands, UK, the bag is crafted from rugged, weather-resistant materials including durable canvas and comes with a five year manufacturer’s warranty.
At the time of writing, the Hadley Small Pro retails for around £200.
Ease of Use

The Hadley Small Pro has a classic and stylish look, with six different colour combinations to suit your own personal preferences. We have been supplied with the Sage FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather combination for the purposes of this review, which is deep green colour with brown leather detailing.
Depending on the colour variation you go for, the bag will either be made from colour-fast FibreNyte material, or durable canvas. Both of these are hard-wearing textiles which are bonded to Stormblock material – two layers of fabric fused with butyl rubber for a high level of weather resistance. The composition of the materials means that Stormblock never requires “reproofing” and remains water-resistant for its lifetime.

On the top of the bag is stiff, padded handle which is reinforced with leather on the underside to make it comfortable to hold and secure. The handle feels extremely solid and secure, with the leather detailing on either side of the handles giving an attractive look.
At the back of the bag you’ll find a small pocket which is secured with a water-repellant zip. This is ideal for smaller items, such as memory cards or filters, a mobile phone, or if you’re using it as a holiday / travel bag you could use it for your passport and travel documents. A new addition to the bag is a strap which allows you to slot the bag over the handle of your suitcase, for easy transportation around train stations, airports and the likes. As the strap is very close to the rear pocket, it’s important to make sure you’re actually putting your items into the pocket and not slipping it through the strap and onto the floor.

On the front of the bag are two small pockets, which again are useful for smaller items, including memory cards and similar accessories. You could even fit smaller, pancake type lenses for mirrorless cameras in these pockets, too. The pockets are secured with brass studs which require some effort to open – this helps to make the pockets feel secure from potential pickpockets as you’re walking around with the bag, especially as the bag’s top flap goes over the top of the pockets. Underneath the right-hand pocket flap, you’ll see a label with the unique serial number of your bag.
The top flap itself is secured by sliding brass fixings into leather straps, which can then be pulled upwards to “lock” into place. Although designed to be opened with one hand, these again can be quite tricky to open quickly when on the move – the leather is likely to soften with age though and become more malleable and quicker to open. If you need regular, repeated access to your camera gear, it’s worth leaving them in the “unlocked” position – just be careful if you’re walking with your camera bag in a busy location. The famous Billingham logo is also found on the top flap, embossed into leather.

Completely covering the bag’s interior, the top flap does an excellent job of keeping the elements away from your gear. For added protection, when you open the bag you’ll see that there’s a second padded top flap which you’ll need to move out of the way to access your camera and lenses. The entirety of the bag’s insert is removable, meaning you can use the bag as a standard day bag or piece of luggage if you need to.
Within the insert you’ll find two removable and/or reposition able vertical dividers. These have velcro at the sides so you can place them in the exact places you need to match the size and shape of your camera and/or lenses. In addition there are two smaller dividers included which you can use for stacking lenses.

The bag is not designed with a specific system in mind, but we have been using it with a variety of different options, including the Canon EOS M50 and the Panasonic GX9. With relatively small cameras such as this, you’ll probably find that you can happily accommodate the camera plus at least three additional lenses, depending on the type of lenses you have. For larger cameras, for example entry-level DLSRs, it’s likely you’ll be able to fit a camera with a lens attached, plus one additional prime or small lens. This bag is intended more as a day-to-day carry around bag, rather than something which you can use to fit all of your gear in at once.
For carrying the bag over your shoulder, there is an adjustable, shuttle-woven polyester strap. This can be shortened and lengthened to suit your requirements – at its longest it’s also suitable to be used as a cross body strap for extra security and a more comfortable wear for long periods of time. The strap is also completely detachable if you want to use the bag either with a different strap or entirely strapless.

It may seem like quite an expensive proposition to pay £200 for a relatively small camera bag, but, considering the high-quality construction and durability of the bag, it can also be thought of as good value for money – especially with a five year manufacturer warranty to give you peace of mind.
The Hadley Small Pro may not be all that appealing to DSLR users with lots of lenses, but if you’re either somebody who has one DSLR and one other lens you like to use regularly, or a compact system camera with a range of small lenses, the Hadley Small Pro is the ideal day bag.
Street photographers and travel photographers may find it particularly appealing, especially with the cross-body strap and one-handed access to the interior pouch. Being able to adjust and remove the interior to meet your needs also makes it very user-friendly, too.

Ratings (out of 5)




Value for money

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