Archive for June 18th, 2009

By June 18, 2009 Read More →

HTC Touch Pro2 hits Orange and Vodafone Business shops

image The latest hot device from HTC, the Touch Pro2 which we recently reviewed is starting to pop up in the business section of Orange and Vodafone sites. Normally it doesn’t take too long before it appears in the consumer side of things

You can fine all the information below for both networks.

Orange Business

Vodafone Business

Posted in: Phones
By June 18, 2009 Read More →

O2 announces plans for iPhone 3G S launch

image O2 today announced that Apple’s new iPhone OS 3.0 software is now available through iTunes. This new software is free to all existing iPhone customers, offering over 100 new features. For iPhone 3G customers this includes the much anticipated MMS and also internet tethering (using your iPhone as a modem – available from 19 June).

Apple’s new iPhone 3G S handset will go on general sale from 8.02am on Friday 19 June in O2, Apple and Carphone Warehouse retail stores*.

The iPhone 3G S will be available from free on a variety of 18 and 24 month Pay Monthly tariffs with unlimited UK web browsing** on the O2 network and Wi-Fi. It will also be available on Pay & Go with unlimited UK web browsing and Wi-Fi for the first 12 months, allowing customers to take advantage of the latest iPhone device.

2G iPhone customer can still take advantage of the iPhone OS 3.0 software updated, however some features like MMS and Internet Tethering are not available.

“The iPhone continues to be a phenomenal device with over a million O2 customers owning one. The combination of the new software update available to all and the new range of iPhone 3G S devices allows us to continue to differentiate O2 in the marketplace.” said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK. “

Posted in: Phones
By June 18, 2009 Read More →

LG Viewty Smart Review

With another fairly major phone release happening on Friday, the all-new LG Viewty Smart (LG Viewty II) needs to be pretty special just to lift it above the waves created by the 3GS and the Pre.

The LG Viewty Smart

The LG Viewty Smart

The ten second review:

Device – LG Viewty Smark (aka LG Viewty II)

Cost – £369.99 (Inc V.A.T) SIM Free

Summary – A slim powerful handset with good screen and excellent 8MP Camera.

Best of – Sensitive touch-screen, 8MP digital camera with flash, DivX and Dolby support.

Worst of – User interface has some quirks.

What’s in the box?

You can view Matt’s LG Viewty Smart unboxing video, but to recap:

  • LG Viewty Smart phone
  • Userguide
  • AC Charger
  • Handsfree wired kit, with inline remote
  • USB datacable
  • GC900 Software Kit with quickstart guide

LG VIEWTY Smart specification:

  • Dimensions: 108.9 x 56.1 x 12.4mm
  • Weight: 102g
  • Battery:
    – Talk Time: 4 hrs
    – Standby Time: 350 hrs
    – Capacity: 1000 mAh
  • Display:
    – 800 x 400 pixels/3 inch
    – Touch Sensitive
    – Haptic Feedback
  • Network:
    – GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
    – WCDMA: 900/1900/2100 (Tri-Band)
    – HSDPA (7.2Mbps)
  • Camera:
    – 8 mega-pixels (auto-focus)
    – Digital Zoom
    – LED Flash
    – Schneider-Kreuznach Lens
    – Image Stabilization
    – Geo Tagging
    – Smile Shutter
    – Multiple Face Detection
    – Panorama Shot
    – Continuous Shot
  • Video:
    – Hi-Resolution VGA Video Recording (DVD Quality)
    – 120fps Slow Motion Video
    – Supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264, H.263, DivX, XviD & WMV
    – Video Streaming
  • Music:
    – Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+ & WMA
    – Windows Media Player Sync
  • Messaging:
    – SMS
    – MMS (with video)
    – E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4)
  • Memory:
    – Phone Book (1000)
    – Dialled Calls (40)
    – Missed Calls (40)
    – Received Calls (40)
    – 1.5GB (internal)
    – microSDHC (external)
  • Call Features:
    – Hands Free
    – Caller ID
  • Connectivity:
    – Bluetooth (2.0)
    – Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
  • Navigation:
    – AGPS
    – Google Maps
  • Features:
    – Accelerometer
    – Office Document Viewer (Word, Excel & PowerPoint)
    – PDF Document Viewer
    – TV Out

 

General

The Viewty smart is very similar in style to its older brother, but LG have really gone to town in updating the look and feel both of the software, and the styling of the hardware. The front of the device borrows the iPhone’s almost blank panel – though the screen is slightly recessed. A LG logo sits above the screen, and the main speaker above that. A chrome silver bar completes the top edge, but does not function as a button. A similar silver bar at the bottom of the front panel DOES act as a button – and seems to function similar to the iPhone home button. Put simply – it generally takes you back to the main menu.

At 12.4mm, it’s pretty slim, and a 3-inch 800×480 screen looks pretty tasty. However since the phoen is 56mm wide and 109mm long, a large frame/bezel makes the screen look pretty small.

LG Viewty Smart front view

LG Viewty Smart front view

 

There isn’t really a definate bottom edge to the phone, but you will find the microphone vent. The bottom edge curves immediately into the main silver back which, like the original Viewty, looks like a standard LG digital compact camera. I quite like the effect, and helps to view the Viewty (sorry) as a serious imaging device, as well as a phone. Looking face on, in a landscape fashion, the LG logo sits to the top-left, and lens system to the top-right. A very small LED flash is located to the bottom-right of the lens, and the camera-style is finished off with logos to the bottom left, including Div-x and dolby (err..).

LG Viewty Smart bottom view 
LG Viewty Smart bottom view

 

LG Viewty Smart back view

LG Viewty Smart back view

 

Moving to the right hand side, back in ‘portrait’, you’ll find from top to bottom, the data/headset port, protected by a plastic cover, an up/down rocker switch and finally the camera focus/capture button.

LG Viewty Smart right side

LG Viewty Smart right side

 

On the left hand side, there is a micro-sd slot for external storage – protected by a plastic cover – but ‘hotswappable’, and a strange button which took a while to figure out. It appears its a quick access to the ‘multitasking’ menu – which lets you quickly switch between different open applications, or close them all down with one press.

LG Viewty Smart left side

LG Viewty Smart left side

 

Finally the top of the device, hardly defined like the bottom panel, is home to the Power switch, which doubles as the keylock as well.

LG Viewty Smart top view

LG Viewty Smart top view

 

The software itself is a nice effort from LG, brightly coloured screens and a ‘cube’ system that probably owes a lot to HTC’s efforts elsewhere!

Highlights:

  • Sharp Screen
  • Lightweight
  • 8mp Camera

Lowlights:

  • Small screen in a large bezel
  • Minor UI niggles

 

Review

Clearly when you glance at the the Viewty Smart specsheet, you are immediately drawn to the massive 8mp camera. Obviously megapixels do not make a great camera, but from the few samples I’ve taken, it does seem a high quality lens, and the picture quality does seem pretty impressive. We don’t normally include sample photos in our reviews – but I’ll have a word with Matt and see if we can get some uploaded later in the week.

Moving to the phone itself, and surprisingly in the middle of nowhere in which I live, the Viewty managed to get, and hold, a far better signal than any of my recent review devices, or my trusty N95.

Tapping out a text was extremely hard work in portrait mode, but a breeze in landscape. The keyboard appears to work on “key-up” rather like the iPhone, and also shows you the button pressed while the ‘key’ is depressed. While the portrait version is too cramped, turning to landscape feels just about spot on. Tactile feedback in the form of a short buzz also helps to aid touch typing, although that’s never gonna be easy on a touchscreen.

The S-Class interface serves its purpose well enough, and is helped by one of the best touchscreen’s I’ve seen on an LG device. Its extremely sensitive, and the software seems able to cope well. Although it certainly isn’t as slick as Apple’s mobile O/S, and possibly that found on the Palm Pre, its better than most of the other ‘iPhone beaters’. The most annoying aspect of these devices have been the slow sluggish menus and features. The viewty doesn’t completely fix this, but its got closer than anything else.

Rather annoying LG have stuck to their guns and unhelpfully provided a completely non-standard headphone port. Considering this phone, rightly or wrongly, will be compared to many other ‘fashion’ phones, as well as music-orientated devices, it seems a massive faux pas to set such a limitation. You can plug your earphones into the remote control section of the handsfree kit – which doubles as an 3.5” adaptor, but in my experience, and a quick straw poll, people don’t tend to carry these with the phone in most cases. I thought device manufacturers had finally got the message with standards, but clearly not. Despite this, the music player software is decent enough, and sound quality is pretty good. It’s important to note that this is an all round phone, not a specialist music device like those from Nokia or Sony Erikkson, but none the less, it manages to cram in most of the features you’d find on these devices.

With so many upmarket features on a slightly cheaper handset, you might be waiting for the performance issues, but in reality these isn’t much to state. It’s a lot faster than the original Viewty, but then that been out a long long time now – and used (another) LG o/s. Maybe a better benchmark would be more recent S-Class devices such as the Arena. To sum up? It’s faster than the lot, both in the menus and the apps. The camera functionality is much better with the extra power.

Memory or lack of it will be an issue for some, and others will love the micro-SD slot which gives you the freedom to pick and choose your specs. 1.5gb is a little paltry though, just a few albums and yours snaps should be enough to see you searching for a micro-SD card!

As stated earlier the handset has built in Div-X support, and numerous other formats which cover most bases. Playback is smooth and the screen is high quality, if possibly a little bit small for movie watching or longer vids.

viewty_angled_left

 

Conclusion

LG are getting pretty good at phones. It’s hard to forget they are still a relative newcomer. The original Viewty and its off-spring have been close to being decent devices, but always had a few issues. The Viewty Smart is a massive upgrade on the original, and LGs other S-class devices, with a fantastic camera and an all-round feature list which will keep most users happy.

I’d like to see more memory built in, but I’m also aware many people much prefer the freedom of a micro-SD slot, so I can’t knock it too much for that reason alone. I enjoyed using the device and the landscape keyboard is a marked improvement over previous LG attempts – although appears to have borrowed heavily from apple. There are a few UI issues in places, and it will be well worth keeping the device firmware up-to-date should LG see fit to correct them.

It’s unfair to compare mid-range devices such as this with the high-end, high-spec lot, but its testament to the quality of the Viewty Smart that we try to. A nice improvement, and a great mid-range price for a decent handset.

 

Review by: Mark

[ Post Tags: LG Viewty Smart, LG, unboxing video, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Reviews
By June 18, 2009 Read More →

Panasonic announces DivX portable Blu-ray player

Well if this gadget doesn’t fall in to the ‘I want one of those’ category I don’t know what does! In the press release we received last night, DivX and Panasonic jointly announced the worlds first DivX certified portable Blu-ray player. Now personally I love watching films on Blu-ray so I definitely want to get my hands on one of these to review!

DivX, Inc. and Panasonic Corporation today announced the launch of the world’s first DivX Certified® portable Blu-ray Disc player. Available now in the United States, Canada, France and Australia, and soon in the rest of the world, the portable Panasonic DMP-B15 joins Panasonic’s growing list of DivX Certified stand alone Blu-ray players, enabling consumers to enjoy DivX videos when they are at home or on the go.

The DMP-B15 incorporates the DivX Certified LSI “UniPhier®” integrated multimedia chip platform for high-quality DivX video playback and possesses all the functionality of Panasonic’s stand alone Blu-ray players, including extensive visual, audio and network features. Its portability is enhanced by DivX compression technology which enables over six hours of high-quality DivX video to fit on just one DVD without sacrificing visual quality. The DMP-B15 can also be connected to an HDTV or used as a stand alone Blu-ray disc player.

“As the pioneer in the development of DVD and Blu-ray technologies, we are pleased to bring the first portable Blu-ray player to market with DivX Certified video playback,” said Kazuhiko Nakamura, Group Manager of Product Technology, Video Business Unit, Network Business Group, Panasonic AVC Networks Company, Panasonic Corporation. “DivX Certification enables us to offer added value to our customer base by enhancing their viewing experience and providing them with true portability of their high-quality DivX videos on innovative Panasonic products.”

A wide range of Panasonic products have received DivX Certification, with portable and stand alone Blu-ray players being the most recent additions to a list that includes HDTVs, DVD players, and in-car players. “The Blu-ray Disc player market is significant and growing, accounting for 9 percent of the total stand alone player market in 2009, up from just over 5 percent in 2008,” said Sheri Greenspan, senior consumer analyst for iSuppli Corp.

“This is truly a landmark product that will fuel the growth of the Blu-ray market and extend the reach of our high-quality DivX video ecosystem,” said Kevin Hell, Chief Executive Officer of DivX, Inc. “New products, such as this one, enable consumers to enjoy the DivX video experience seamlessly, anytime, anywhere. We look forward to expanding our business relationship with Panasonic as they continue to innovate and develop the latest in consumer electronics.”

Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous testing program to ensure a high-quality DivX media experience, including reliable video creation and playback, interoperability with other DivX Certified devices and the visual quality users expect from DivX.

For more information about Panasonic visit http://www.panasonic.com.
For more information about DivX video, visit www.divx.com.

 

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: TV & Home Cinema