Phones

By November 8, 2016 Read More →

iPhone 7 case Shoot Out

img_5389Recently we received a selection of cases for the iPhone 7 and since I have been dubbed the sites’ “iPhone guy”, it fell to me to discover the merits of each. The sample that arrived was the Cygnett Urban Wallet, the x-doria Revel and the gear4 Soho. Cases are a very subjective item, so this will be entirely based on my opinion. If I was to part with my hard earned pennies on one of these, which one would I choose? Time for a head to head shootout methinks.

Presentation

All 3 arrived in rather swanky packaging, with slide out trays, flip up cover and magnets galore. There was plenty of information clearly displayed and all conveyed a sense of quality. No real winner so far. I’m not sure how I feel about extravagant packaging. On one hand, it adds confidence that you are getting a quality product, but on the other, saving a few quid on a more functional box could drop the price.

Design

I love the idea of the Cygnett. It’s a walled design, but the actual case is held in the wallet with magnets, meaning that you have the option of running your phone in a simple case if you were mounting the case in your car for example and then simply clip it into the wallet for pocket carry. I love the versatility of it. Once in the wallet, the lap is held closed with another magnet.

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The x-doria is a sleek and simple case. It’s constructed of a translucent rubbery plastic and has very useful rubberised grippy panels down each side for traction in sweaty mitts. The Revel offers a number of colours and pictures on the case so you can pick the one most applicable to you. t fits very snugly on the phone so t doesn’t alter the profile too much.

The gear4 Soho is again a fairly simple design with a clear plastic backing and a rubberised surround.  Gear4 claim that the case meets military drop standards of 3m/9ft and I could believe it. The case fits the phone well and there is a good amount of squishiness (apologies for getting too technical) which would certainly help absorb impacts.

Picking holes

Whilst I love the idea of a removable wallet, the magnets on the Cygnett aren’t super strong and I would be concerned that they are the only thing holding my precious phone in place. The actual case offers little in the way of protection. It looks pretty but the sides do not sit proud of the screen so there is no protective bezel and no impact defence when it’s outside the wallet.

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The x-doria is simple in design so offers a sort of midway point between protection and low profile. There is a slight raised bezel, but it’s so small that if you have a glass screen protector, it will sit flush. The grippy surround definitely adds to the traction, but it is very rigid and, given how tightly this case fits, there is little impact protection.

The gear4 has a transparent case and we all know what that means. After a while, it’s going to look like frosted glass as it shows every scuff and scratch. Also if you are in the habit of tucking the odd item behind the case – password notes, emergency cash, metal panels for magnetic mounts, etc forget it. and finally, whilst offering the best protection of the 3, it’s also the chunkiest.

So who gets my cash?

This is actually quite a tough decision as, despite my nitpicking, I do actually like all 3 of these cases. So this comes purely down to personal preference. I think I will have to discount the Cygnett simply because of the confidence, or lack thereof. I’m sure my phone would be more than safe in it, but I just can’t get passed the thought that its al just held together with some small magnets and that’s asking a fair bit of trust.

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I really like the x-doria. I wasn’t familiar with the Californian based company, but I checked their site and some of their other cases look really impressive particularly their more rugged ones. The Revel I got is blue with a picture of a Husky on it, which is nice if you are into Huskies, but It doesn’t do much for me personally. Now if the Revel (minus the husky) were to fit into the Cygnett wallet (and they made the magnets stronger), that could be really something appealing.

My personal tastes run towards the more protective cases and gear4 Soho, whilst it doesn’t appear as a rugged case, certainly inspires some confidence. Add a decent screen protector and you are good to go. As the winner, I carried this case in my pocket for a couple of weeks and was actually surprised to note that the transparent plastic has held up rather well and looks almost good as new. Yes, the fact that you can see the metal plate which I use to attach it to the (super strong) magnetic holder in my car is visible, but it’s a black panel on a black phone, so it’s not a deal breaker.

So the winner for me is the gear4 Soho. It’s certainly not perfect, but in this shootout, it came closest to the bullseye.

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By October 31, 2016 Read More →

Archos Diamond Selfie Review

archos-55-diamond-selfieWith superior build quality the Archos Diamond Selfie is marred by a couple of little concerns, however, these can easily be ironed out by a software update. It has to be said that once you pick up the Archos diamond selfie it’s difficult not to fall in love with it. The all metal surround and the black glass really give off a real, premium feel. Certainly there is a lot of weight and heft to the device, however, you will quickly notice just how slippery the device is, especially on a cold day.

The Archos Diamond Selfie has some of the best specs we have seen in a phone from Archos and that are very competitive for the price bracket too.

  • Display – 5.50-inch 1920 x 1080 (FHD) IPS, Full lamination
  • Processor – Qualcomm MSM8937, Octa-core Cortex-A53 1.4 GHz
  • Front Camera – 8-megapixel
  • Resolution – 1080×1920 pixels
  • RAM – 4GB DDR3
  • OS – Android 6.0
  • Storage – 64GB + Micro SD card, up to 128GB
  • Rear Camera – 16-megapixel
  • Battery Capacity – 3000mAh Li-ion, Quick Charge

Looking around the device on the top there are two slits for the antennas and a 3.5-millimetre headphone jack.

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On the right-hand side lies a volume rocker the power button and another antenna slit.

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At the bottom are some fool speaker grills, that we will get back to those later, a microphone hole and a micro USB charger slot. Again some antenna slits.

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On the left-hand side is only has an indentation for the micro SD and SIM card tray. This is where we come to one of the first problems with the phone. This tray is not flush with the device you can feel it move ever so slightly every time you run your finger over it. Your fingernail will stop at the slight protrusion at the hole for the sim ejector tool. The tray itself fits two cards, a microSD or Micro SIM in one and a Nano SIM in the other.

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The back is entirely black glass and finger print city. At the top are the camera and the LED flash. Midway down there is a fingerprint reader and towards the bottom a whole for the speaker. Yes, the speaker is on the back of the device despite the two grills either side of the micro USB connector.

The screen is almost perfect, it’s beautiful, bright, responsive, and efficient. Archos have added an extra button to the screen buttons toward the bottom of the screen. This button removes the onscreen buttons to maximise the screen resolution.

The battery life of the device is quite impressive. Having used it for a few days as my main device I noticed that I was finishing the day with around 40% left, perhaps I don’t have as many apps installed on this as I do with my Nexus 6P, however, having it finish the day with a good bit more than I usually have, is quite impressive.

Android itself runs perfectly smoothly on this device there is very little in the way of additions from Archos. Aside from a couple of applications that they have added, that are not required to be installed during the initial setup. However, there has been a button added to the interface of the Task Manager. A small, ugly button, off centre, to speed up your device the closes all of the applications.

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As it turns out these grills at the bottom are purely cosmetic, the speaker is situated on the back of the device. Whilst this is hardly a problem, or a flaw, it just opens a little concern as to why there would be grills at the bottom, did the device have to be reworked at a later stage in development for reason?

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As this phone is called a Selfie, you would expect there to be an impressive experience with the photos front facing camera. In truth the camera works well, however, the added features in the beautification mode mean that camera’s on-screen preview run at around 15 frames per second, and in low-level light, the preview is around 2 frames per second. I can only hope this device has an early version of the selfie software and retail will see an update.

Flip the camera round the to the rear camera and you have 120 frames per seconds on the preview and it looks gorgeously smooth, the exact opposite of the front facing camera.

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The shots are crisp and attractive. There is little in the way of compression, and honestly, this camera turns out to be one of the better cameras on the marker for the money, Archos have done some great work here. As you can see from the gallery below the colour mix is impressive and the clarity is never questionable.

So what is wrong with the Archos Diamond Selfie? Not that much, to be entirely honest. The phone is retailing for around £200 and what you are getting is amazing. Certainly, you can notice where some of the cutbacks have been made. The lack of precision on the sim card tray, no support for the 5Ghz wifi spectrum, the weight. However, what it does have it is hard to find in that price range, a decent stills camera, a beautiful screen, 64gb of expandable storage and a speedy performance. I really like this phone and I am prepared to admit that I honestly wondered why I paid more than double for a Nexus 6P.

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By October 27, 2016 Read More →

Give Your Phone a Christmas Jumper This Year with FLAVR’s quirky cases

unspecifiedFLAVR, the new lifestyle brand from global mobile accessories and connected devices specialist, STRAX GmbH, today launches its brand new festive range of comedy Christmas jumper themed phones cases for iPhone 5/5SE, 6/6S, 7, 7 Plus and Galaxy 7 and 7 Edge. The new cases are available from £9.99 at Carphone Warehouse.

Christmas jumpers have increased in popularity over the last few years with more and more people sporting them on nights out or at work in the festive season. Usually the rule is the more extreme the design, the better. Now that need not just apply to the jumper with FLAVR’s new Christmas cases where the design is so bad, it’s good!

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With designs to appeal to everyone such as the “I want to believe” case (For X-Files fans), the “Selfie Elfie” case, the “Do the Dab” case and the “Jingle Balls case”, the new FLAVR range is sure to cause amusement amongst friends and colleagues.

For the more reserved who still want to get involved in the festive spirit, there are also a number of patterned designs to match their chosen jumper shown below. All of the range will be packaged in the shape of a stocking or Christmas card to make the perfect pre-Christmas or secret Santa Gift.

The FLAVR Christmas jumper cases are available from £9.99 from Carphone Warehouse and will also be available online in November from http://www.shopflavr.com/

Posted in: Accessories, Phones
By October 5, 2016 Read More →

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL in a nutshell

download-4Most are saying farewell to the Nexus brand however I’m not committed to that mindset, as with Indiana Jones and Red Dwarf, never say never. The Pixel phone is the new phone on the block. A pair of super high-end offerings with price tags at one particular end of the spectrum. There was a lot of speculation and excitement right up until the announcement itself and then the controversy started.

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On the one hand, there was nothing along the lines of the recent Apple controversy. Google are not reinventing the wheel with the Pixel, it’s just another phone line with specs you would expect from any other high-end phone. There is a distinctive look that some, including myself, are not 100% on. There is a camera with some bold statements and, given the demonstration material, impressive results. However, many of the features of the Pixel’s announcement were down to the apps themselves, Google Assistant, Duo and Drive.

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Under the polished glass, the Pixel has a 5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display, not a Quad HD. Unlike the Pixel XL’s larger 5.5-inch AMOLED Quad HD display. A quad-core Snapdragon 821 chipsets (2x 2.15Ghz / 2x 1.6 GHz,) the first of its type in the US and the UK. Backed by 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM keeps things lightening fast. The Pixel has a 2,770mAh whilst the Pixel XL’s  sits at 3,450mAh.

On the back is a little imprint fingerprint sensor, nothing particularly special by today’s standards. However, above this is the 12.3MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus sensor with a 1.55µm pixel size, at the same number of pixels, bigger pixels in a camera sensor means more area for light to strike the sensor, larger pixel sensors meaning you will have more accurate color and luminance in each pixel. Helping Google outline this are independent researchers at DxOMark judging this as the best you’ll find in a smartphone. The front sees a 8 MP, f/2.0, 1/3.2″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and every “ahem” and wink Google peppered into the presentation was accompanied by a little groan from myself.

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Three colours are to be made available and the naming system is quite cute. Quite Black, Really Blue and Very Silver.

Much of the Pixels launch was taken up by the Google Assistant demonstration. This can’t be considered a backbone of the Pixel as most Android users will be able to take advantage of the service once rocking Nougat. Assistant is a complex app, integrated with most of Google’s services to provide you with itineraries, news, search results and suggestions through a casual conversation. Assistant keeps track of your searches and preferences to cater better results as you use it.

The pricing is the same as the iPhone, a 32GB Pixel is £599 and a 128GB is £699. Whereas the Pixel XL is £719 for the 32GB, and £819 for the 128GB.

https://store.google.com/product/pixel_phone

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By September 20, 2016 Read More →

iPhone 7 Unboxing

vlcsnap-00042Apple has done it again. A new phone, a new controversy and new feels and emotions for the Apple Die-Hards.

Paul takes a look at his iPhone 7 in this unboxing and set-up.

Colours: Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, Jet Black
Display: 4.7in (1334×750, 326ppi) Retina HD Display
Processor: Apple A10 Fusion, M10 motion co-processor
Storage: 32GB/128GB/256GB
Cameras: 12Mp wide-angle camera, f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, OIS, six-element lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash, 4K video; 7Mp FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC (for Apple Pay); A-GPS, GLONASS
Software: iOS 10
Dimensions: 67.1×7.1×138.3mm
Weight: 138g
Other: IP67 dust- and waterproof; Touch ID fingerprint sensor

 

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By September 16, 2016 Read More →

Alcatel idol 4 offers vr for £189

img1_4ALCATEL is proud to announce its premium IDOL 4 and VR is available from John Lewis for £189. Building on the success of its trend-setting IDOL 3, the uniquely designed IDOL 4 smartphone takes everything up a notch with an innovative Boom Key, a first step into Virtual Reality and a sophisticated multimedia experience.

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BOOM ME UP! The Boom Key Delivers Augmented Experience

Boom my camera: Instantly takes photos on standby mode; pressing and holding the button puts the camera into burst mode to take photos in quick succession.

Boom my gallery: Artistically shuffles the photos in the gallery as a photo collage or a short slideshow for instant sharing.

Boom my videos: Generates immediate, surprising effects in existing videos, such as replaying the previous one second of the video three times, or changing the playback speed. When a user is recording a video, pressing the Boom Key immediately broadcasts the video live.

Boom my music: Enhances the bass, volume and clarity of the sound. When watching movies in speaker mode, users are treated to an immersive experience with surround sound.

Boom my game: Asphalt fans will love how the Boom Key amps up their play by releasing the Nitro and boosting the car speed. It also boosts the audio experience by increasing the volume and adding spatial sound reproduction.

Boom my view: Creates a more intense 3D effect (parallax UI effect) for the launcher and a stunning live weather display as part of the homescreen.

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Discover Virtual Reality

The IDOL 4’s innovative packaging design transforms into a pair of virtual reality goggles which, when combined with the smartphone, becomes the portal for users to enter the world of immersive 360-degree viewing and gaming. Virtual reality content such as videos and games can be downloaded onto the device from the Onetouch VR Hub, a built-in app to easily access saved virtual reality content, or apps like Littlstar.

By September 14, 2016 Read More →

Is the HTC Desire 10 Pro arriving on September 20th?

2016-09-14We are still a few announcements shy of the end of the year, however, HTC is pushing a September 20 announcement by releasing teaser videos of an upcoming device. The latest video shows a fingerprint sensor in the middle of the back, in what has become the favourite place for fingerprint sensors in recent times. The hashtag #BeEdgier seems to hint that perhaps there is something unusual about the device’s edges, perhaps curves or and edge to edge screen.

The device is most likely going to be a new Desire device. It looks a lot like the leaked Desire 10 Pro, which features a large camera on the rear and gold accents on a black body. Top tipster. @evleaks, tweeted a leak revealing the device as the Desire 10 Pro, and one can see, quite faintly the circular fingerprint sensor. However, there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about the sides for the Desire 10 Pro to be edgy.

This has been a great quarter for the mid-range device and it’s going to be a tough battle for HTC, however, at this point, it’s really just down to price.

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By September 12, 2016 Read More →

X-Doria’s Protective iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Cases

X-Doria, a leading manufacturer of fashion-forward accessories, is introducing five stylish case collections to outfit and protect the new iPhone. The collection consists of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus cases, each designed with distinct aesthetics that appeal to various personalities and styles with the added protection of a raised front lip to keep the screen off tables and other flat surfaces.

Defense Gear is a full body, no bulk case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, with four materials infused together for military grade drop protection, including a scientifically proven DropShield™ edge lining that hardens on impact. Defense Gear combines DropShield™ technology with hard polycarbonate, TPU and anodized aluminum. The case is engineered with enhanced corners and a 0.1 inch thick frame that provides dual layer protection and shields all angles of your device. The Defense Gear case can withstand drops from up to 6’6”. Available colors include: Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. Available for £24.99 on XDoriaLife.com for iPhone 7 or XDoriaLife.com for iPhone 7 Plus.

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X-Doria’s Defense Lux for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus brings together refined luxury and durability to create the ultimate protective case. Defense Lux features a simple snap-on construction, engineered with a soft inner rubber layer, impact resistant polycarbonate backing, and machined with an aluminum outer frame. The aluminum outer frame protects the perimeter of the iPhone, while inside, the soft rubber wraps around the phone protecting it from up to 6’6” drops on concrete, exceeding military drop test standards – MIL-STD-810G.  For a sophisticated look, the case is available in luxurious faux carbon fibre, soft leather, canvas or microfibre rear panel. Available for £29.99 on XDoriaLife.com for iPhone 7 or XDoriaLife.com for iPhone 7 Plus.

The Revel series of quirky cool snap on cases for the iPhone 7 are designed with a raised bezel edge to protect the screen from surface scratches and a wraparound reinforced rubber bumper that extends across the top and bottom edges to ensure the phone is protected edge-to-edge. Revel also protects the volume and lock buttons with a grip rubber bumper. There are twelve different images to select from including Pug, Panda, Husky, Fox, Bear, Lion, Blue Future and Chrome Web. Available for £19.99 on XDoriaLife.com for iPhone 7.

For more information on X-Doria’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus case collection, please visit XdoriaLife.com.

Posted in: Accessories, News, Phones
By September 10, 2016 Read More →

GEAR4 launches new line of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus cases with D3O® technology

GEAR4, one of the UK’s largest consumer mobile accessory brands, today launches its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus case range, featuring D3O – the most advanced shock absorbing technology for enhanced impact protection. The Piccadilly, Carnaby, Oxford and Soho cases, relating to GEAR4’s British roots, combine modern forms and materials to deliver the ultimate combination of sleek protection.

The D3O® impact technology used in the cases is the same material found in American football helmets, combat uniforms and protective gear worn by pro athletes (including Usain Bolt) and extreme sportsmen, such as Olympic ski teams. D3O® has a unique molecular structure; in standard conditions, the molecules flow freely allowing the material to remain soft and flexible, but on impact lock together to absorb and dissipate the impact energy, which means your device stays safe when dropped. GEAR4 are the first to use an injection moulded grade of D3O® technology to deliver increased impact protection per cubic millimetre than other leading materials.

GEAR4 designers combined this unique technology with designs that enhance the elegant form of the iPhone to deliver an unprecedented level of protection while still honouring the design of the device itself. All of the new GEAR4 cases for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available at GEAR4.com and Carphone Warehouse.

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The Piccadilly

The Piccadilly case is the perfect choice if you desire protection but want your phone to remain as close to the original look as possible. Offering the world’s first Metallic D3O® technology to perfectly colour match your iPhone, GEAR4 designers have perfectly tuned the colour match to appear as an extension of your phone whilst offering the best protection possible. GEAR4 is the first case brand to use INJECTABLE D3O®, delivering more impact protection per cubic millimetre than other leading materials. These ultra-slim, ultra-modern, ultra-protective cases can make an impact and still blend with contemporary life.

Piccadilly is scratch-protected with UV coating and offers easy access to all ports. Available in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Black for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

RRP £29.99 (Images available here)

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The Mayfair

A nod to modern luxury, the Mayfair is made from beautifully crafted genuine fine leather for an extra touch of extravagance. The ideal choice for blending business and leisure, the Mayfair features the same integrated D3O® technology to protect your device while preserving it’s simple, chic look.

Mayfair is scratch-resistant and available in black or brown leather, featuring slim fitting protection.

RRP £39.99 (Images available here)

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The Soho     

Make a sleek statement with Soho’s transparent case and Apple colour-matched D3O® technology for protection that honours the original design of the iPhone. Featuring a TPU bumper, the Soho comes in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Black. It is available for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

RRP £34.99 (Images available here)

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The Carnaby

A new design for the iPhone 7, the Carnaby offers protection without the bulk and features a mesh of colour matched D3O® on the back to add further protection, with style.

It is also available for iPhone 7 Plus, and both cases are scratch resistant. Available in Gold, Rose Gold and Silver.

RRP £34.99 (Images available here)

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The Oxford Bookcase

GEAR4’s multi-tasker, the Oxford mobile wallet features slots for credit cards and also a convenient stand for viewing videos in landscape. It’s unique clip closure design keeps your valuables safe. Function doesn’t compromise form on the Oxford, as it features the same D3O® smart material that offers the highest performance impact protection.

The Oxford comes in Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Black. It is also available for iPhone 7 Plus.

RRP £34.99 (Images available here)

 

All GEAR4 cases for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available at www.gear4.com.

By September 1, 2016 Read More →

Huawei debuts the Nova, Nova Plus and MediaPad M3 tablet

gsmarena_015Huawei unveiled the Nova and Nova Plus at IFA today alongside a 8.4-inch MediaPad M3 tablet. Rather than throwing all their wares into another couple of devices Huawei have wisely settled the  Nova and Nova Plus in the mid-range arena, offering an 8MP front camera and a 12MP rear shooter (16MP on the Nova Plus) with large 1.25 μm pixel size.

 

The Nova takes some design flourishes from the Nexus 6P, looking like a little brother. A 5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display covers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 12MP camera, 8MP front facer, USB-C conneciton and a handsome 3025mAh battery. The larger Nova Plus mirrors much of the Nova save for a larger 5.5-inch Full HD display, a 16MP rear camera and even handsomer 3340mAh battery. Huawei’s impressive fingerprint sensors rule the day, and EMUI 4.1 atop of Android 6.0 Marshmallow keeps things moving.

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The MediaPad M3 tablet offers generous 8.4-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 950 SoC that we recently saw in the Honor 8, 8MP front and rear cameras, 4GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB or storage and a 5100mAh battery. Again EMUI 4.1 covers Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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The Nova will be priced at €399. The Nova Plus sits at €429 and the MediaPad M3 ranges from €349 to €449 depending on storage and LTE options

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