Archive for 2007

By December 31, 2007 Read More →

HeroCraft announces Revival for PDA & Smartphones

HeroCraft announces the forthcoming release of the long-awaited game Revival for PDA & Smartphones. Here is there press release:

Revival is a turn-based military strategy game in the tradition of the world-famous game title, “Civilization”. The player will have to explore continents, direct battles on land and sea, build towns, develop science and uphold the economy of his empire.

Great events take place in the world of Revival: grand empires are created; highly developed states collapse in a flash, science degrades and rises again, brutal wars never end, great wealth is created in the millions but can be lost just as easily… The eternal struggle for power is the mark of this world, and only the best ones will be blessed with absolute rule. Unconquerable general or inborn diplomat? Talented economist or crafty politician? You choose your path to glory in the world of Revival.

The detailed information about the game, including screenshots and trailer is available on the HeroCraft PDA site – http://smart.herocraft.com/revival.

Game features:

  • The game is designed in the best traditions of Civilization
  • Realistic strategic game play – turn-based tactics, resource quarrying, founding towns, upgrading buildings, land and sea battles, and even the units will gather experience!
  • Modern economical model: you can buy and sell everything
  • Immense game space: 7 planets, 27 continents
  • The scenario campaign consists of 13 missions which will take not less than 40 hours to complete
  • Very detailed tutorial with an amusing and humorous mentor.
  • Excellent artificial intelligence, adjustable difficulty levels and even allows you to battle against 7 simultaneous non-player opponents
  • Stupendously funny music
  • Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Apps & Games
    By December 30, 2007 Read More →

    Astraware Annual Hogmanay Party

    Join Astraware for their Annual Hogmanay Party and save on a range of great games!

    Astraware would like to invite you to their Annual Hogmanay Party sale which starts today – 31st December 2007 – and runs until midnight PST on 11th January 2008!

    Each day during this New Year celebration, one or two games will be offered with huge discounts. With a wide range of action, adventure, word games, puzzles, strategy and card games to choose from, there’s certain to be something for everyone. Each offer lasts for just 24 hours, changing at midnight, so make sure to check back for the new offer each day!

    The first game in the Annual Hogmanay Party on Monday 31st December is the beautiful puzzler Glyph for just $9.95. To grab this, or any of the great Hogmanay offers, head over to http://www.astraware.com/promo/hogmanay08.

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: News
    By December 29, 2007 Read More →

    Bargain devices at eXpansys

    eXpansys have just started their device clearance sale and there are some real bargains to be had. The Toshiba Portege G500 + FREE 512MB Card can be found for just £149.95 and the UBiQUiO 501 just £199.95.

    There are lots of other mobile phones, UMPC’s and other gadgets on sale so well worth a look!

    Posted By: Matt

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    Posted in: News
    By December 28, 2007 Read More →

    Asus Eee PC with added HSDPA

    I’m sure that most of you will be aware of the excellent Asus Eee PC and it’s certainly no secret that I’m a big fan of the device, so much so that I bought one for myself and one for Tracy.

    However, the one thing missing from the Eee PC is 3G/HSDPA which means that you have to rely upon WiFi hotspots or use an external USB modem to get true mobile connectivity.

    Asus Eee PC with HSDPA
    Asus Eee PC with HSDPA

    Fear not though, thanks to the clever chap over at JKKMobile you can perform a fairly simple hack and fit a USB HSDPA modem internally! Definitely worth checking out his step-by-step guide!

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Phones
    By December 27, 2007 Read More →

    Samsung i640 coming soon to Vodafone

    The new Samsung i640 has just appeared on the Vodafone UK website and is now listed as ‘coming soon’.

    Samsung i640
    Samsung i640

    I’m quite a fan of the Samsung smartphones having had an i600 and an i620 so I am expecting good things from the i640 – I hope to bring you a review very soon!

    The Samsung i640v Vodafone live! device with Windows Mobile 6 device is great for messaging and email with its QWERTY Keyboard. The large high quality screen and 3G HSDPA (broadband speeds) makes it a great device for browsing Vodafone Mobile Internet, it also features a 2 megapixel camera, bluetooth, video calling and memory expandability (up to 4Gb MicroSD). You are always ready to go with the spare battery and battery charging station included.

    Posted by: Mark

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    Posted in: News
    By December 26, 2007 Read More →

    What did you get for Christmas?

    I thought this might be a fun post, where you can tell us all what you got for Christmas and if it’s any good!

    Tracy bought me a new Digital SLR camera – a Canon EOS-40D and I have to say it’s amazing! What a vast improvement over my already excellent 400D!

    So why not use the comment section below and tell us what you got for Christmas!?

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Editorial
    By December 25, 2007 Read More →

    Christmas wishes!

    Tracy and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or Chanuka, Eid, seasons greetings).

    I’d like to thank everyone that’s contributed towards the site throughout the year and to all of you that come to the site, read our articles helped out other readers.

    Special thanks to Clove Technology, eXpansys and Devicewire who’s continued support and regular supply of devices has helped to make tracyandmatt.co.uk the site it is today.

    We will be making a few changes in 2008, which I hope you’ll enjoy, but you can expect more reviews, videos and news. We’re also developing some partnerships with other manufacturers/distributors and hope to be able offer reviews on a wider range of products.

    If there is anything specific you would like to see on the site or if you have any comments/suggestions then please do drop me a line.

    I’ll still be posting news as and when anything comes up over the Christmas period so I’ll try not to get too drunk!

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: News
    By December 24, 2007 Read More →

    Christmas Competition (number 4)

    Here is the final in our series of four Christmas competitions.

    In association with our friends from Polaroid we are giving you a chance to win one of their brand new 20″ Widescreen LCD TV’s! The model you can win has only just been released, so new that we don’t even know the model number yet!!

    Polaroid 20" LCD TV
    Polaroid 20″ LCD TV

    To enter, you simply have to find the answer to our competition question below. Once you have the answer come back and submit it to us using our Feedback Form – remember to give us your name and email address with your entry. We’ll choose a winner at random on the 9th January 2008 and will accept entries up to the 8th January, you’ve got plenty of time to enter. One entry per person please, we’ll only accept entries via our feedback form.

    Competition question: (Making you work harder this time!) What movie plays on the 42 inch Definia on the official Polaroid site?

    Enter the other competitions here: Competition 1, Competition 2, Competition 3.

    Good luck!

    Posted By: Matt

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    Posted in: Competitions
    By December 23, 2007 Read More →

    HTC S730 review

    So the QWERTY candybar returns.

    INTRODUCTION

    This is another BIG device for HTC. Perhaps not to the same scale as the TyTN II or the Touch series – but it’s got to be number 3 in line. It sounds too good to be true really – a candybar phone, a large QWERTY keyboard and the still new Windows Mobile 6, with decent connectivity via 3G.

    HTC S730

    HTC S730

    What’s in the Box?

    HTC have really got their act together when it comes to presentation and style. I’ve got a lot of respect for HTC. Having had the very first SPV phone, it’s amazing to see how quickly they’ve almost become a household name alongside Samsung, Nokia and the rest. If I mention HTC – people actually know what I’m talking about now!

    HTC’s massive expansion of their brand has been helped by good quality stylish handsets, which they now try to push into the packaging as well. It’s a very appleish box, some might say it’s even better than apple – but if you’ve seen Matt’s unboxing video – you’ll know its a very good effort from HTC.

    Inside you’ll find:

    • HTC S730
    • 1050mAh battery
    • Mains Charger
    • CD-Rom with ActiveSync etc.
    • USB Sync/Charge Cable
    • Handsfree headset/headphones
    • Manual
    • Warranty Card
    HTC S730 box

    HTC S730 box

    HTC S730 specification:

    • Windows Mobile 6 Standard (Smartphone)
    • 400Mhz ARM1136EJ-S CPU
    • ROM: 256MB ; RAM: 64MB SDRAM
    • 2.4″ TFT LCD 240 x 320
    • Quad-Band HSDPA/UMTS
    • WiFi: 802.11b/g
    • 2.0 Megapixel main camera
    • Bluetooth version 2.0
    • 1050mAh Lithium Ion battery
    • MicroSD card slot
    • 22-key fixed phone keypad
    • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
    • 50mm x 100mm x 19mm
    • 120 grams

    GENERAL

    At 51×105.8×19.4mm it’s not the smallest of phones on offer, and although perfectly acceptable in other areas, its “fatness” is a bit cumbersome when sat in a pocket. Of course that’s the price you have to pay for the slide out keyboard – although I’m not sure why the S730 is actually even fatter than the S710?!

    On the front, the large display sits recessed slightly from the plastic shell, with a VGA forward facing camera above it to the right, and the speaker + indication lights combo common to most HTC devices.

    Directly below the screen, we find the main phone keypad taking up nearly every centimetre of the remaining space. Although snug, the keypad is easy to use. The keys are close together, but large in size and texting seems to be fairly easy. The Send and End keys are in a slightly unusual place – being to the left and right of the main number pad area, but again, it doesn’t have any adverse effect on usability. The two softkeys are located immediately above the Home and Back keys, in a layout that really pays tribute to the very early HTC smartphones. Between these 4 keys is the 5 way direction pad. No rocker or jog wheel here – just a flat system which is simple to operate.

    HTC S730 keypad

    HTC S730 keypad

    Sliding the front of the phone to the left produces the full QWERTY keyboard – and the phone switches to landscape mode. The keyboard is very similar to HTC’s other QWERTY devices, although the keys are raised slightly and feel more rubbery in texture. The very useful Caps and Fn mode lamps are above the keyboard, as well as two more soft keys (for use in landscape mode).

    HTC S730 keyboard

    HTC S730 keyboard

    The bottom of the phone is standard HTC kit really – enhanced mini standard USB socket, and a lanyard loop for phone charms (Shudder) or to connect to a key ring or similar.

    HTC S730 bottom

    HTC S730 bottom

    On the right hand side is the camera button – used to both activate the camera application, and take shots. There is also a microSD slot with rubber seal. The card slot mechanism is fairly well recessed away from the edge of the phone so it is quite difficult at times to remove and insert the tiny microSD cards.

    HTC S730 right side

    HTC S730 right side

    The left hand side contains the volume control buttons, and a dedicated button for the comm. manager – almost a requirement of WiFi phones.

    HTC S730 left side

    HTC S730 left side

    To the top of the phone, where there is a well defined power button – quick press for the quick menu, hold to turn off/on.

    HTC S730 top

    HTC S730 top

    Finally on the back of the phone we find the 2mp camera, with mirror area and a speaker grille. There is no flash with this handset.

    HTC S730 back

    HTC S730 back

    Just a final note about the side of the phone – because of the separation required, there is a little gap between the “front” and “back” of the phone. It’s a necessity but for the image conscious, it’s worth noting.

    HTC S730 with keyboard open

    HTC S730 with keyboard open

    SOFTWARE

    Let’s take a quick look through the start menu then – but don’t expect many surprises from the vanilla WM6 – this is HTC after all. Internet Explorer is there, so is Windows Media Player, and the usual array of productivity built in apps such as Tasks, Calendar and Contacts.

    Phone tools, including Call History and Messaging are on the first page as well, which is completed with the Settings app and Office Mobile – yep Office is there too!

    On the second page of the start menu – more common Microsoft stuff with Games and Accessories subfolders, Voice Notes and the built in Pictures and Videos tool. Connectivity in the form of ActiveSync and Internet sharing appears too, and the page is completed with Windows Live and Messenger, and Adobe Reader LE.

    Things get interesting on the 3rd page though – HTC have gone to town, especially in the music area. An ‘Audio Booster” app provides fairly basic Graphic Equaliser style functionality for the earphones. The HTC Audio Manager seen elsewhere is there too, and “MP3 Trimmer” which cuts out silence from the beginning and end of files – useful to get the most from your storage space.

    Bluetooth Explorer is also available on the device – something missing from the early HTC phones and a very welcome addition. Internet add-ons, eJava and Flash Lite are also shown here, along with more predicable links to the Camera, Comm. Manager and File Explorer.

    The 4th and final page is pretty tedious stuff – links to quick notes, speed dial setup, streaming media and Task Manager. The link to the Video Recorder is also here, along with something called “HTC Debug Tools” – I suspect this will go missing before it hits stores!

    Highlights:

    • QWERTY Keyboard on a candybar: Lets face it – no one else bothers with this form factor so good on HTC for making not only a success of the S710 – but on providing a worthy upgrade as well.
    • HTC Xt9: This, along with the Touch Dual (review soon!) are the first devices I’ve used with the new style T9 input on HTC phones. Weirdly there are a few differences between the devices – and the S730 comes out on top in every aspect. The T9 input is so good – for speed, its sometimes faster then the qwerty keyboard
    • WiFi: WiFi in a phone: very good thing.

    Lowlights:

    • Poor slider mechanism. Bit disappointing this one really – the phone feels robust, but the slide mechanism is rather loose – both when opening and closing, and when actually closed. It’s a shame because it renders the “unlock on open” function useless really – since I’ve found the phone sometimes opens itself in the pocket. This is a demo unit though so could have been subjected to some abuse by previous reviewers.
    • Battery life: Not great in my experience here. WiFi turned off, Bluetooth off, just a few data calls, GSM calls and a lot of texts, and it was well down by the end of the day.
    • General speed of the device: Maybe I was expecting too much, but the phone certainly isn’t the quickest in the world. Even its USP – the sliding keyboard suffers, and the screen doesn’t switch to landscape as quickly as I’d have liked.

    REVIEW

    Firstly I’d like to clear something up (or try): To the best of my knowledge, the retail HTC S730 will NOT have GPS. However, as this is a test ROM (remember the HTC Debug Folder)… there is a little app called HTCGPSTest, which most definitely finds something on COM4. The signal is terrible (I didn’t manage to get a fix), but it does search for satellites.

    Having looked into this, it seems that the final retail units will 100% NOT have GPS Enabled. Whether this means the chip will be removed – I’m not sure. Whether the clever chaps over at XDA-Developers will be able to make it work – I’m not sure. And finally – will it be any use even if they do manage to enable it? – guess what – I’m not sure. Nice and clear then!

    So to the device then…

    It’s pretty good. The QWERTY keys are hard to get used to at first – and also seem quite stiff at first, especially compared to my older TyTN, but if this helps them to remain working beyond six months it’ll be a welcome improvement!

    The S710 is a tough act to follow I guess, having both WiFi and a QWERTY keyboard already. Luckily HTC have replaced and upgraded the CPU, added extra memory and provided a shiny new OS. Oh and 3G/HSDPA as well! A decent upgrade specification wise then but in terms of design, not much has changed. It’s a little more chunky than the S710, which I put down to the added hardware.

    The S730 is not overly large – certainly not when you take into account the feature set – but phones should be getting smaller right? The QWERTY keyboard has had some minor adjustments and improvements, and despite what you might, think having seen the photos above, the full stop button location isn’t as annoying as it appears.

    HTC S730 vs HTC Touch Dual

    HTC S730 vs HTC Touch Dual

    In general, you have to give credit to HTC for the constant software improvements and tweaks. Things like the HTC Home screen and new Xt9 input style might seem minor – but they are the only company who seem to be willing to improve the WM6 OS.

    As I mentioned above, the slider feel pretty flaky in general and a bit too loose for my liking. It clicks into place well when opening, but at other times is very ‘floppy’. A shame – and I’m not sure how this compares to the S710?

    There’s not much else to complain about though – bar a few random phone issues which I’ll put down to the test ROM. The size is forgotten when you realise the power you have in what is, in the smartphone world, a small form factor. Just to continue the size theme a little more – compared to the N95, its not too dissimilar.

    Oddly, in my opinion, HTC have seemingly tried to turn the S730 into a music phone. I get this from the multitude of audio enhancements and applications in the ROM, but I’d say this phone would be better suited to business users. Send texts with the keypad, reply to emails with the keyboard. I’m just not sure the youth will ditch the iPod for this phone. We shall see.

    CONCLUSION

    It’s a good phone. There were too many niggly pre-production buglets about to do a full scale review, but it’s a great improvement over an already impressive S710.
    The styling is very reminiscent of the early SPV units sold on Orange around Europe. In my view, that’s not too bad a thing – ‘old skool’ sells after all.

    The keyboard size is fantastic, and for it to be in such a small chassis is great news for any market they try to sell the unit in to.

    Apologies for the slightly shorter review – it’s Christmas and I need to get drunk but the HTC S730 is definitely recommended!

    Don’t forget, you can win an HTC S730 in our Christmas Comptition!

    Review by: Mark

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    Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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    By December 22, 2007 Read More →

    Christmas Competition (number 3)

    Here is the third in our series of four Christmas competitions.

    Here you can win one of two Oregon Scientific Radio-Controlled Alarm Clocks with Digital Tuning AM/FM Radio and Barometer courtesy of our friends over a Clove Technology.

    To enter, you simply have to head on over to the Clove Technology website to find the answer to our competition question below. Once you have the answer come back and submit it to us using our Feedback Form – remember to give us your name and email address with your entry. We’ll choose a winner at random on the 9th January 2008 and will accept entries up to the 8th January, you’ve got plenty of time to enter. One entry per person please, we’ll only accept entries via our feedback form.

    Competition question: What operating system does the ASUS Eee PC 701 4GB have preinstalled?

    There will be one more competition for you to enter on Christmas Eve so come back then to enter, it’s going to be a good one!!

    Enter the other competitions here: Competition 1, Competition 2, Competition 4.

    Good luck!

    Posted By: Matt

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    Posted in: Competitions
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