Archive for August, 2006

By August 12, 2006 Read More →

Orange SPV M3100 Upgrade prices

Since posting my SPV M3100 REVIEW yesterday I’ve noticed that a number of people have arrived here having searched for ‘how to get m3100 on upgrade’ and ‘orange spv m3100 prices’. I’ve also had a lot of email messages asking how much you should pay for the M3100 on upgrade or as a new connection.

M3100 Upgrade

It doesn’t look like there is a set price that people are being charged for the upgrade. Certainly it will depend on the tariff that you are on and your average monthly spend, however, talking to other people about their upgrade experiences it would seem that they are being charged whatever Orange think they can get away with!

I thought it would be a good idea to share information in one place. So here is what I have been told so far and if you have any information to share with the rest of us please post a comment!

  • My friend that has an Orange corporate account got his M3100 as a free upgrade. He does however spend a lot of money with Orange.

  • ‘James’ got his M3100 for just £4.99 on his existing £25 pm contract and didn’t have to pay an upgrade fee.

  • ‘Simon’ had to pay £49 for an upgrade despite being on a high tier tariff.

  • Finally, Paul Evans paid a whopping £250 for his upgrade on the low end ‘Dolphin’ Tariff. I’d speak to Orange again Paul if I were you!

  • We have been told that the M3100 is not available to buy ‘off line’ at this time. Stocks of this new device have been said to be very low.

  • The conversation I had with my Orange Business account manager was an interesting one. I was told point blank that the M3100 would not be released for at least another few weeks. I then pointed out to the guy that I was actually calling him from a friends M3100 that I had borrowed. He went rather quiet and promised to call me back. About an hour later he called to say that there had been a mistake at that the M3100 was not showing on their regular ‘Merlin(?)’ system as they were trying to keep it a ‘secret’ so that they ‘didn’t sell out too quickly’! – Hmm Interesting!

    Please share your experiences with others folks!

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 11, 2006 Read More →

    Orange SPV M3100 Review (Part 1)

    EDIT: More photos added!

    INTRO

    It’s been a long time since I have seen so much interest and excitement about a new handset release. In fact I didn’t think I would see this kind of ‘mobile euphoria’ again.

    Before the MoDaCo summer event I wondered what all the fuss was about. Several people said to me that they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the HTC Hermes. I even joked that I was surprised that so many people were interested in a device that sounded like a sexually transmitted disease!

    During the MoDaCo summer event held at Orange’s office in Paddington I finally had a chance to play with their version of the HTC Hermes, the Orange SPV M3100.

    Main M3100 Photo

    Just looking at the device you know it’s going to be a bit special. The dark case design works exceptionally well. The black case with silver-grey buttons is a welcome departure from the recent all silver devices. The shiny gun-metal colour strip around the top, bottom and right of the screen really set it off.

    Even with the limited time I was able to use the demo device I knew that it would be the phone that would replace my ageing, and failing, HTC Wizard. I could now see what all the fuss was about!

    Since then I have been regularly pestering contacts at Orange, asking (begging) for a device to review before release and asking all sorts of questions. Most of which have understandably been answered with ‘Orange are unable to comment on devices that have not been officially announced’.

    Finally, after weeks of nagging I got nowhere and so borrowed an M3100 from someone else!

    This review will be pretty short by my normal standards due to the time constraints placed upon me as the SPV M3100 is just a loaner but if/when Orange send me my own M3100 I’ll update and expand upon!

    Packaging (What’s in the Box)

    I must say that upon arrival even the box seemed impressive!

    Orange SPV M3100 Box Contents

    In the box you’ll find the usual accessories – The charger, case, manual, headphones, spare stylus etc. You don’t get a docking station though, just a sync/charge cable.

    Orange SPV M3100 Case

    Despite the Orange M3100 having a strange looking USB socket the sync cable is a regular Mini-USB. Good news that we’ll all be able to use existing cables and car chargers. This was one thing that concerned me when I first saw the device.

    No supplied memory card!

    The manual covers the basics of getting the phone up and running and explains how to use activesync and email but it is quite lightweight and misses out key things, such as WiFi, completely. Other than that it’s pretty much the standard Orange offering, not that most people will read it!

    Orange SPV M3100 Hardware

    • Connectivity: Quad Band, UMTS, Edge, GPRS, HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g
    • Processor: 400MHz Samsung stacked CPU
    • Camera: 2.1 Megapixels with Flash
    • Display: 240×320 pixel 2.8″ 65,000 Colour TFT
    • Keyboard: Slide out QWERTY keyboard, similar to HTC Universal, one Video Cam (front)
    • Form Factor: Similar size as HTC Wizard, also side Slide QWERTY
    • Memory: 64mb RAM + 128mb flash ROM
    • Power + Battery: Removable and rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer, Typical capacity: 1350 mAh, Standby time: Up to 200 hours for GSM; 180 ~ 250 hours for UMTS, Talk time (Screen off): 4 ~ 5 hours for GSM; 2 ~ 4 hours for UMTS
    • Memory Card: External MicroSD Slot

    The M3100 looks similar to the HTC Wizard variants. The joypad (which is a 5 way) is similar to that found on the SPV M600 and is surrounded by 6 other keys. In addition to the Make and End Call and the 2 soft keys there is a Windows Key and an OK key. These were missing from the Wizard devices. Also included above the display are the usual Email and Internet buttons. Finally there is a button just below the screen which serves as the video call key.

    There is also a camera on the front of the device. This is a low resolution camera used for video calls.

    General

    At 112 x 58 x 22mm the Orange M3100 is slightly bigger than the HTC Wizard that I have been using for the past 9 months. That said, the case design is squarer than the Wizard which makes the M3100 feel smaller in the hand. In terms of weight the 10g difference between the Wizard and the M3100 isn’t noticeable!

    Orange SPV M3100 On its Box

    Orange SPV M3100 vs M5000

    On the left side of the device, in another break from the norm, the volume slider has been replaced by a scroll wheel. This is pretty similar to the wheel you find on Blackberry’s.
    You’ll also find another OK button and the voice command button here. Below these buttons is the MicroSD card slot.

    On the right there are buttons for power, Comm Manager and the Camera.

    You wont find a 2.5 or 3.5mm headphone socket on the bottom of the SPV M3100. Instead HTC have opted to use a proprietary USB socket for the headphones. More on this later.

    M3100 Bottom

    The SIM card sits neatly under the battery as you would expect. The battery has a slightly higher capacity than the Wizard at 1350mah, compared to the 1200mah in the Wizard. Orange claim that the battery is good for 6 days on standby. In practice the combination of calls and data usage led to me having to charge it after about 2 days – about the same as the Wizard.

    M3100 Underside

    Screen

    The screen on the M3100 is the same as you would find on the M600 or Wizard type devices. The resolution is 240 x 320. The backlight seems a little brighter than the M600 but still suffers from a slight yellow cast.

    A lot of people have reported screen alignment problems with the HTC TyTN. I was a little worried that the M3100 would have the same problem, especially as the main reason I wanted to get rid of my Wizard was that I had to realign the screen on it about twice a day! In the few days that I’ve had the M3100 on loan I’m pleased to report that I have seen no such problems.

    Keyboard

    The keyboard on the M3100 is similar in design to the M5000 although it has fewer keys, there isn’t a dedicated row of number keys but numbers are accessed through a shift function on other keys.

    Orange M3100 Keyboard

    In practice the keyboard is much easier to use than the keyboard on the Wizard. The keys are bigger and feel much more positive in their action.

    WiFi

    I’ve never been a big WiFi user but was keen to see if the 802.11g connection speed made much difference or if the device itself was slower than the network.

    I have been quite impressed with the speed of the WiFi and the signal strength seems very good, I can pick up the WiFi signal from a house a few doors away where the Wizard could not. Speed is also good, streaming MP3’s and videos from a desktop PC without a problem.

    As I said earlier, the manual doesn’t cover the use of WiFi at all well. Perhaps Orange think that if you know what it is you should be able to set it up. Setup was pretty easy but it would be nice to see this covered in more detail in the manual, especially if you had connectivity issues.

    Camera

    Again I’m not a big user of phone cameras, typically they are pretty poor and the ‘flash’ leaves a lot to be desired.

    The 2 mega-pixel camera on the M3100 is pretty decent for a phone based camera but certainly wont replace your digital compact camera.

    The front mounted camera on the M3100 is a low resolution (0.3mp I believe) digital camera which is used exclusively for video calling, although I’m sure that some clever individual will find a way to use this in other software.

    As a user of MSN Messenger it would be nice to see MSN Mobile support the front facing camera. However MSN Messenger isn’t even included with the M3100. If you want to use IM you’ll have to opt for a third party application like Agile Messenger.

    Battery

    The battery in the M3100 is nothing special. It has a higher capacity than that found in the Wizard but it’s only around a 10% increase. I’d say that the claimed talk and standby times really are pushing the phrase ‘Under Optimum Conditions’ to the limit though and it would seem that the days of having two batteries bundled with a device are long gone!

    M3100 Battery

    Performance

    I really noticed the difference in performance over other devices that I have used. The 400mhz Samsung processor copes very well with most things that you throw at it. Listening to MP3’s while browsing the internet really isn’t a problem for it.

    Another place where you notice the performance difference is when you are switching the screen between portrait and landscape when you open and close the keyboard. On the M5000 and the HTC Wizard for example switching could take a few seconds sometimes whereas the M3100 switches instantly every single time.

    The M3100 also benefits from the larger 128mb of onboard rom. There were lots of issues with earlier devices that had only 64mb. Take the M500 for example, it really did seem a strange decision on Orange’s part to ship their version on the Jam with only 64mb as you would have thought the cost saving would be minimal. The lack or memory meant that the M500 was, and still is, plagued by call handling issues, especially when handling multiple calls. Fortunately I’ve not experienced any of these issues on the M3100.

    As a phone the SPV M3100 performs very well. The in-call sound quality is very good which is probably due to the larger earpiece. People that I have spoken to have also said that the quality is good at the other end.

    M3100 Open

    Software

    Software wise there isn’t really anything new or exciting to play with. The installed applications are the usual WM5 fare.

    One thing I did notice about the M3100 is that the PhonePad input method is now missing! I think this is going to upset a fair few people!

    However it does ship with the new AKU2.3 Rom installed which has some bug fixes over AKU2 and incorporates stereo audio over Bluetooth support.

    Conclusion

    So far the Orange M3100 really is looking like being a winner. I’m sure that it will be successful both as a business and a consumer phone.

    The keyboard improvements make it a pleasure to use. It’s small enough to be a device you can carry every day yet large enough to be practical to use.

    The Orange SPV M3100 is definitely the best Mobile Device that I have owned to date. I would recommend it to anyone. Now we just need some decent data tariffs, especially a sensibly priced all you can eat package and HSDPA. I can’t wait to see that in action!

    See Part 2 of the review.

    I’d like to say a big ‘thank you!’ to Paul Evans and Jeremy Bown for the additional Pics.

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones, Reviews
    Tags: , ,
    By August 10, 2006 Read More →

    Will the SPV M3100 have alignment issues?

    If you are looking for the M3100 review it’s HERE

    We are seeing lots of reports from people that have purchased the HTC TyTN (HTC Hermes) having all sorts of problems with touchscreen alignment.

    HTC TyTN

    We know this isn’t a new issue as such, several other models of HTC devices have suffered from this issue. My own HTC Wizard device suffers from this and Tracy’s Prophet has had it a few times.

    It has been suggested that only early batches of the TyTN are affected by the problem. We now know that the problem is caused, not by software but by a hardware problem. It would seem that the “rubber gasket” on the right side between the frame and touch screen is a little bit thicker and creates extra pressure on the screen which makes the touch screen read incorrectly.

    We are all hoping that the SPV M3100, once released by Orange, will not be affected by this problem. The case design of the Orange M3100 is slightly different to that of the HTC TyTN so its possible that the gasket will not be the same anyway.

    There have been rumours circulating the web and various chat rooms that the reason that SPV M3100 has not yet been released by Orange is that they wish to carry out additional product testing where the screen is concerned and this is what led to the delay in the launch of the Dutch M3100. I don’t think we’ll ever find out if this is true though!

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, HTC Oxygen, C100, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 9, 2006 Read More →

    Orange M3100 price wrong?

    If you are looking for the Orange SPV M3100 review it’s HERE

    The price that Orange have listed the M3100 on their site at could be wrong.

    Having seen the SPV M3100 appear on the Orange site last night I thought I would try and find out from Orange when the official release would be.

    I made a couple of calls to Orange business customer services this morning and was told initially that the M3100 did not exist and was the SPV a Samsung phone?

    Finally I got to talk to someone that knew all about the SPV M3100. They were able to look at for it on their new price list but told me that the price they had listed internally was differnt to the one on the website by nearly £100! This would put the actual price of the M3100 at £250 which to be honest does sound more realistic.

    I will attempt to get confimation on this over the next day or so!

    EDIT: I’ve had a number of people contact me to say that they too paid £250 for their new M3100 on pre-order!

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, HTC Oxygen, C100, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 8, 2006 Read More →

    Orange now have Prices for the M3100

    Pleased as ever to bring you the latest news, we thought you might like to know that Orange have now updated their Pay Monthly offering on the SPV M3100 and have priced the device at £150.

    Orange M3100 Price

    Orange are not taking any upgrade orders for the phone, they say you have to wait a couple of days. The phone is currently only available to new customers. Grr!

    For those of you that are interested , the manual for the phone is available here.

    Many thanks to Ross for the heads up!

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, HTC Oxygen, C100, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 7, 2006 Read More →

    M3100 Mini USB Compatible

    In an earlier post we reported that the Orange M3100 (HTC Hermes) and the Orange C100 (HTC Oxygen) had proprietary USB connectors

    Having had the chance to play with an HTC TyTN, which is a Hermes variant, over the weekend I can confirm that although the USB connector is proprietary and looks rather bizarre, a standard mini USB cable/connector will work with these devices. In fact the usb sync/charge cables provided in the box is a standard mini USB one.

    Hermes USB Connector

    So why the unusual USB socket on these devices? Well what escaped my attention the first time I played with the SPV M3100 was the lack of headphone socket. As it turns out HTC have integrated the headphone connection onto their new USB socket. The result is that you have no choice but to use the headphones that come with the devices. Needless to say the bundled headphones are terrible!

    Hopefully it wont be too long before someone starts manufacturing adapters so that we can use standard headphones with these devices.

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, Tracy & Matt, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTN, HTC Oxygen, C100, SPV, Orange SPV M3100]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 6, 2006 Read More →

    Where is the Dutch M3100?

    Many of you will recall that I reported the release of the Orange M3100 in the Netherlands was due on the 4th August. Well, either someone is having a laugh with me or else really screwed up becasue it’s nowhere to be seen! :S

    Orange M3100 Close-up

    Could this be down to a delay with the launch? Certainly there have been a large number of people reporting issues with the HTC TyTn (HTC Hermes) screen alignment which has plagued a number of other HTC devices in the past (See Post on Wizard Screen Problem). Anything to do with the lack of SPV M3100 in NL?

    Other sources have suggested that the M3100 will be officially announced in the UK within the coming week. Lets hope so, as I really want one of these toys!

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, MoDaCo, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes, HTC TyTn]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 5, 2006 Read More →

    Review of Sony DCR-HC35 Handycam

    [color=#6200aa]Matt bought me the Sony Handycam DCR-HC35 for my birthday this year and as I have now had it a couple of months I thought I would write a review of it. [/color]

    Sony DCR-HC35

    [color=#6200aa]The Camera is very small and light, and has been easy to use. But I will come back to those things later. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]In the box you get: [/color]

  • [color=#6200aa]The DCR HC35 Camera [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Handycam station [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]AC-L25 AC Adapter [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]AV Cable Stereo AV [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Lens Cap [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]NP-FP30 Rechargeable Battery Pack [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Picture Package Editing Software [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]USB Cable [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]USB Driver [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]Wireless Remote Commander RMT-830 [/color]
  • [color=#6200aa]The first thing you need to do when you get the camera is charge the battery – for this you have two options you can either put it in its docking station or you plug the charger into the camera direct. The battery that is supplied with the Camera takes less than two hours to charge. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The only thing that is a bit annoying is you do not get any tapes in the box – so if you buy this remember to pick up a pack of tapes at the same time! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Once the battery was charged and I had a tape I picked the camera up and started using it without looking at the instruction book at all – it is that easy to use! The camera runs through a quick set up which just involves entering the date and time and then you can start using it. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]It has as ‘Easy’ button on it for first timers to use but I didn’t find this necessary at all as it is easy enough to use anyway. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]The viewing screen flips out and also swivels up to 180 degrees and has a touch screen facilities for using the menus. It also has record and zoom buttons next to the viewing screen. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have used the camera at several dog agility shows to video my friends and it is so lightweight that it is easy to carry around and I have really nice footage of this fast moving sport! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have since bought an extra battery and a carry case to keep it all in! But although I have bought another battery I have not used it until I have run out of battery and needed to change and I have used it quite a bit in one day! Although I think that when we go to Florida that may well change! [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]I have also installed the software on my PC and copied it on to there so at some point in the future I can edit it or put it onto DVD. The software supplied is very basic and if you are into editing you may wish to look at different software. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]You are also supplied with a cable for viewing on a TV and this can be plugged into the camera direct or to the docking station. The video I took looked great on a large screen. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]As well as video the camera does take still photos. [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Overall I think this camera is excellent – I can’t fault it! I love my birthday present! 😀 [/color]

    [color=#6200aa]Tracy [/color]

    [Technorati tag(s): Sony, Video Camera, digital camera, Camcorder]

    Posted in: Cameras
    By August 4, 2006 Read More →

    M3100 ‘Coming Soon’ on Orange site

    Progress! Had a look at Orange’s UK website this morning and found the SPV M3100 has appeared in their ‘coming soon’ section.

    Orange M3100 Coming Soon

    No official release date or prices yet but it is a step in the right direction. Lets hope that the actual release date is ‘soon’!

    QUOTE:[color=#f1670b] The ORANGE SPV M3100 is more than a state of the art 3G phone. It is really an indispensable pocket computer. Once you have lived with it for a while, you will wonder how you ever did without it.[/color]

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, Tracy & Matt, Orange, M3100, HTC Hermes]

    Posted in: Phones
    By August 3, 2006 Read More →

    PocketPC Walkie Talkie

    Want to turn your PocketPC device in to a walkie talkie? Well now you can with 4Talk.

    4Talk Logo

    4Talk is the easy way to turn your Pocket PC into a two way communication device suitable for short range transmissions. Pair two or more Pocket PC’s to create a mini walkie talkie network, or use it in conjunction with your PC to create a continuous surveillance or baby monitoring device.

    4Talk can be used on any local area network using direct cable, Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth, although the later is obviously very short range. As long as your network is configured and your device has an IP address you can use 4Talk.

  • Get both PC and PPC versions.
  • 16 independent channels
  • Emergency channel
  • Microphone Lock Facility
  • Instantly see who’s online and what channel
  • Full Duplex Mode (for headsets).
  • Custom Key Configuration
  • Variable Sound Quality
  • Morse / Beep button
  • Signal Strength Meter
  • Not sure whether or not it’s worth the £4.95 price tag, especially as you’ll have to buy two copies to use it. Also there is no Smartphone version listed.

    Matt

    [Technorati tag(s): smartphone, Pocket PC, Tracy & Matt, Orange, walkie talkie]

    Posted in: Apps & Games