Reviews

By June 14, 2014 Read More →

HTC Desire 816 hands-on

htc-desire-816-en-slide-02Earlier this year, at MWC, HTC made a fairly queit announcement about two new devices that they were launching. They were the HTC Desire 816 and the HTC Desire 610.

Here we are taking a look at the Desire 816, this new smartphone offers a larger screen, that’s reaching phablet proportions, decent performance and features at at mid-range price.

With a design that certainly demonstrates that it’s from the same stable as the ever popular HTC One, the Desire 816 has top and bottom stereo speakers with built in amplifier, 13MP camera and 5MP front-facing selfie camera.

Check out the video below to see more of what the HTC Desire 816 has to offer:

 

 

 

HTC Desire 816 specification:

  • Nano SIM/Optional Dual SIM
  • Dimensions: 156.6 x 78.7 x 8 mm (6.17 x 3.10 x 0.31 in)
  • Weight: 165 g (5.82 oz)
  • Display: Super LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720 x 1280 pixels, 5.5 inches (~267 ppi pixel density)
  • HTC Sense UI v6
  • 3.5mm jack
  • microSD, up to 128 GB
  • Internal Memory: 8 GB, 1.5 GB RAM
  • HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
  • NFC
  • microUSB v2.0
  • Primary Camera: 13 MP, 4160 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p
  • Secondary Camera: 5 MP, 1080p
  • Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Qualcomm MSM8928 Snapdragon 400
  • Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7
  • Adreno 305
  • Accelerometer, proximity, compass
  • FM radio
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • Battery:Non-removable Li-Po 2600 mAh battery

 A photo lover’s dream. 13 megapixel main camera and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera ensure high-resolution pics from either side. Capture moving HD images with built-in editing and sharing tools, and combine results for multiple-angle views. Incredible design, massive 5.5” HD display, dual front-facing stereo speakers, customised real-time info feeds and a quad- core processor all make this one of the best value smartphones ever.

By June 1, 2014 Read More →

Kujali iPad Mini case review

c_ipad_case_006_kujali_largeLet’s be honest, phone and tablet cases are not the most exciting things (unless you’re the one making them!) and there are hundreds of manufacturers out there, each with a variety of designs. So it’s not often that we review cases and covers, it’s too subjective and there’s too many.

However, now and then we do make exceptions and here in the video below you’ll see the Kujali iPad Mini case. Not only is it an extremely well made case/cover, constructed from black leather, red suede and shock absorbant inner polyeurathane and silicone glove. It’s multimode with a wrist strap to boot.

But that’s not the only reason that this case got out attention. No. For every case that you buy from Kujali, they will donate a malaria net to a child in Africa. So buying one could literally save a life!

 

Check it out… 

 

 

You’re a style conscious passionate guy or gal who cares about what they buy. Someone like you needs a cover to match!

Well thank your lucky stars for the KUJALI Classic, a smart mini iPad cover that oozes class and sophistication. Inspired from Africa its lined with a super soft red suede interior, contrasting with a sleek black leather outer to make you stand out from the crowd.

 

Style, protection and function is what this little wonder is all about. With its fantastic shock absorbent silicone skin and PU shell protection, you will be relaxed when out and about with your beloved iPad mini, happily knowing that all four corners are completely covered in case of that accidental bump or drop. With integrated volume controls and dust plugs the silicone skin keeps your ipad mini scratch free and looking as good as new for years to come.

 

Pull together the front and back leather covers with the exterior strap closure and slide your hand into the soft suede integrated handstrap to comfortably hold your mini in one hand. Perfect for presenting at work or jumping back into your favourite book.

 

And when ready to unwind after a hard days work, pop open your KUJALI Classic to kick back your iPad mini into one of the indentations to give you the perfect angle for watching a film. When you’re done, the embedded magnets in the front cover will put your iPad mini to sleep and the integrated strap closure keeps it safely shut, ready for another exciting adventure tomorrow.

 

To top it off, for every protective iPad Mini cover you purchase KUJALI gives a mosquito net or life saving treatment to protect a child in Africa from malaria. Style never felt so good!
By May 31, 2014 Read More →

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ unboxing and hands-on

Lenovo-Yoga-Tablet-10-HD+Back in November of last year we reviewed the previous Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10, that had a 1280 x 800 pixel display but Lenovo have built upon that earlier model and have come up with the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+. This new version has a better than HD display with 1920 x 1200 pixels.

Otherwise the design of this Yoga 10 is much the same as the other model. Both are still on sale and both are available with or without 3G capapbility. £299 for WiFi model, £329 for 3G model, it’s currently on sale from Lenovo.com and, from the first week of June, from Amazon, Currys/PC World and John Lewis.

 

 

Innovative Multimode Design

Yoga Tablet 10 HD+’s pioneering design places a battery cylinder and kickstand on the side of the device, shifting the center of gravity and opening up multiple usage modes: Hold, Tilt, and Stand.  In Hold mode, the weight of the device falls into your palm rather than your fingers, making it more comfortable for reading and browsing.  Lay it down into Tilt mode and you have a perfect viewing angle for typing or gaming. Flick the kickstand and rest it upright in Stand mode to comfortably watch videos, listen to music, or video-chat. 

Powerful Processing

Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400 1.6GHz processor combined with 2GB RAM gives the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ an incredible combination of high performance and power efficiency. Switch seamlessly between your favorite apps and enjoy amazing visuals whether you’re surfing online, streaming movies or playing the latest 3D games.

Epic Battery Life

Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ keeps going over the long haul with its off-the-charts battery life. Its triple-cell battery lasts up to 18 hours so you can go all day — and into the night — without recharging. The secret: Yoga Tablet’s unique, cylinder-shaped side chamber allows more room for battery storage — and more time between charges.

Ultra Sharp Visuals

The Yoga Tablet 10 HD+’s 10.1″ 20/20 Vision Full HD (1920 x 1200 resolution) display delivers sharper, more detailed images and high definition video with a 178° wide viewing angle. Plus, adaptive display technology auto-adjusts screen brightness and colors to match where you are, making reading more comfortable.

Immersive Audio

Unlike most tablets, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+’s speakers face front — toward you — rather than to the side our out the bottom. Combine that with Dolby® audio enhancement and you have a rich, immersive sound experience that’s perfect for watching videos or listening to music.

Optional Wireless Keyboard

Turn your Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ into a productivity machine with the optional Accutype keyboard, a stylish Bluetooth accessory that also serves as a cover for your device.

Front and Rear Cameras

The 8.0M rear and 1.6M front cameras let you take high-definition pictures and enjoy crisp, clear video chats.

Complete Connectivity Options

Optional 3G, integrated Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and GPS that even works offline keep you connected and make navigation easy.

Lenovo DOit Apps

Do more with your Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ with premium Lenovo Applications like SHAREit, which lets you share files quickly without network charges or a WiFi connection and SYNCit, which backs up and restores your contacts and SMS messages.

Micro SD storage

Expand the native 16GB or 32GB of eMMC storage with up to 64GB of micro-SD card storage support — perfect for transferring photos or storing large files like movies.

 

 

Lenovo Yoga Table 10 HD+ Specification

Processor
Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 400 quad core 1.6GHz MSM8228(3G) / APQ8028(Wi-Fi)
Operating System
Android OS, v4.3 Jelly Bean (Free upgrade to Android KitKat 4.4, shortly)
Sound
2x Front-facing speakers / Dolby® Audio / 3.5mm Jack
Memory
  • RAM: LP DDR2 2GB
  • ROM: 16GB
  • Micro SD up to 64GB
Battery
  • 9000mAh Li-ion, fixed
  • Up to 18 hours*
Dimensions (W x T x H)
(261mm) x (9.1mm – 3.0mm) x (180mm)
Weight
  • WiFi: 626g (1.38 lbs)
  • 3G : 628g (1.38 lbs)
Integrated Cameras
  • Rear: 8MP Auto-focus
  • Front: 1.6 MP HD Fixed-focus
Display
  • Size: 10.1” Full HD (1920 x 1200) IPS
  • Type: Capacitive touchscreen 10-Point multitouch
Color
Silver
SIM
Single, micro-SIM (3G model only)
Sensors
  • Accelerometer
  • e-Compass
  • Ambient Light
  • Hall
  • Vibration
Connectivity/Radios
  • 3G Network: WCDMA 900/2100MHz (3G model only)
  • 2G Network: GSM/EDGE 900/1800/1900MHz
  • Speed: HSPA+ 42Mbps(DL) / 5.76Mbps(UL)
  • Data: GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 4.0
  • Satellite, A-GPS
By May 27, 2014 Read More →

HP 14 Chromebook video review

hp-chromebook-14_4Gareth takes a quick look at HP’s larger Chromebook, the 14. Easily the best looking of the larger Chromebooks the 14 has a number of differences over the other Chromebooks on the market whilst delivering the same Chrome Operating System experience.

HP 14 Chromebook specification:

  • 14”, 200-nit display with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 20mm thin – 4.08 lbs / 1.85 kg.
  • Intel Celeron 1.4GHz  Processor
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • Full size HDMI Port
  • Bluetooth®4.0 Compatible

 

 

By May 21, 2014 Read More →

Android Excite Pure review

Toshiba-Excite-Pure1Toshiba are relatively new to the tablet market, but their recent offering of 3 new tablets, Excite Write, Excite Pro and Excite Pure, demonstrate that they’re more than capable of competing with the big hitters in the tablet market. The Excite Pure is the most affordable of the range, and in our opinion, the best model. The Excite Pro and Write are both excellent in their own right, but current pricing means they can’t compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. So what’s exciting about the Excite Pure? Read our review to find out.

 

Toshiba Excite Pure Basic Info:

  • 1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad Core (Cortex A9) Processor
  • 1GB Memory
  • 16GB Storage
  • 10.1″ WXGA (1280×800) Multitouch Display
  • 1.2 Megapixel Front Camera
  • NVIDIA Tegra Graphics
  • Micro-USB 2.00, Micro HDMI, MicroSD Card Slot, 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Android 4.2

 

Design:

The Excite Pure falls within the 10” category, measuring in at 10.3 x 7.0 x 0.4 inches. The design is sturdy and features a two-tone design – silver casing with a black border around the screen. The Pure features micro SD slot, meaning you can expand the 16GB storage to anywhere up to 128GB. Unfortunately the Excite Pure only features one front facing camera, meaning this isn’t the best tablet for budding photographers. At an additional cost, you can purchase a nifty Toshiba Bluetooth keyboard which also acts as a stand.

 

Display:

At 10 inches, the Excite Pure offers great screen quality and resolution. The Autobright display has ten-finger multitouch support and boasts a 1280 x 800 resolution. For the price it’s one of the better screens available – viewing HD content will never be an issue.

 

Graphics:

If you plan to play games on a micro tablet such as the Excite, you’ll be glad to hear that it can handle almost anything thrown at it. We were incredibly impressed by the quad-core Tegra 3 processor (1GB RAM) that managed to handle every game we tested, without issue. Benchmark test reveal that the Pure outperforms the Kindle Fire and Asus Transformer but lags slightly behind the likes of the Nexus 10 and Galaxy Tab. If you’re looking for something with a bit more power we recommend you go with something like the Excite Pro from Toshiba.co.uk.

 

Camera:

Our biggest issue with the Pure was the lack of a rear camera, that being said, it’s to be expected when Toshiba release three differently priced tablets. The Pure’s 1.2MP camera is more than adequate for a basic photo but you won’t be taking it out of the house to take pictures any time soon.

 

Battery Life:

If you’re looking for a reliable tablet that will hold its charge for an entire day, the Pure is more than up to the job. When compared against the other tablets, it may not be the longest lasting but it’s definitely up there.

 

Verdict:

We loved using the Excite Pure. For the money (£260) you’re getting a great piece of kit that is more than capable of doing your day-to-day tasks. It’s not often that we have been impressed by a tablet that isn’t from the big hitters in the industry.

 

 

Posted in: Reviews, Tablets
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By May 4, 2014 Read More →

Archos 79 Xenon review

Archos 79 Xenon reviewIt may look like an iPad Mini however the Archos 79 Xenon falls at the other end of the price spectrum. At £170 the Archos 79 Xenon is a good looking, good feeling Android tablet with a few eyebrow-raising specs.

This is one tablet to check out if you are looking for a cheap second option, one for the kids or family member who isn’t terribly fussy.

Archos 79 Xenon review specification:

Processor

  • A7 Quad-Core 1.2GHz

Memory

  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • 8GB Flash
  • Expandable to 64GB

Software

  • Operating system: Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Google Maps,
  • Google Maps Navigation (beta)

Display

  • 7.85″ IPS TFT Multi Touch
  • Resolution: 1024 x 768

Multimedia

  • Supported Digital Video Formats: MPEG-4,AVI,H.264
  • Audio: Microphone, stereo speakers
  • Supported Digital Audio Formats: MP3,WAV,OGG,FLAC,Vorbis,PCM,ADPCM

Networking

  • Cellular Technology 3G
  • Cellular Protocols HSPA
  • Wireless Connectivity Bluetooth,Wi-Fi

Power Supply

  • Lithium polymer Battery

Dimensions

  • Width 13.4 cm
  • Depth 0.8 cm
  • Height 20 cm
  • Weight 320 g

Interfaces

  • 1 x microSD
  • 1 x SIM card
  • 1 x headphones
  • 1 x Micro-USB

 

Archos 79 Xenon review video:

Go online anywhere with the ARCHOS 79 Xenon – specially designed for an on-the-go experience with both 3G and WiFi. Un-Sim-locked it accepts any 3G Sim card and has no provider restrictions.
The ARCHOS 79 Xenon features a powerful Quad-core processor and runs Android Jelly Bean with complete access to Google Play and all the Google Mobile Applications.

NB: This Archos 79 Xenon review is the first of our new video-review format. There’s a bit of work to be done yet but let us know what you think!

By March 7, 2014 Read More →

Sony Xperia Tablet Z Review

xperia-tablet-zSince their split from Ericsson in 2011 Sony have battled hard to achieve a status they once owned in the mobile arena. 2013 has been a very successful year for Sony after releasing an array of satisfactory phones using a lot of the alphabet for their names they came across their most successful at the end of the alphabet. The letter ‘z’. The Z phone was followed on by the successful Z1.

Sony announced their Xperia tablet Z in January 2013 and released it in May 2013, still currently priced between £349.99 and £379.99 its main competition lies with the iPad air. At the time of this press release it was to be the lightest 10inch tablet around, feeling threatened by a lighter product Apple rushed production for the iPad air. The difference in weight is minimal; the Sony tablet Z weighs 495g the iPad air weighs 469g compared to the heavier and bulkier iPad 4 weighing a massive 652g.

By February 19, 2014 Read More →

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

Z UltraYou may have seen the review that I did for the “regular sized” Sony Xperia Z1 a short time ago and if not I suggest you take a few minutes to read that review as most of it is true of the Z Ultra but in a super-sized way.

Sony Xperia Z1 review

If you haven’t seen the unboxing Matt did you might want to check it out as it will give you some idea of the size and scale of the Z Ultra.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing video

 

By February 16, 2014 Read More →

Motorola Moto G Review

front copyHere we are again with another review of an exciting new device, the Motorola Moto G. This phones has had a lot of press recently and it has even been suggested that this is the bargain of the decade by some. The phone is the Motorola’s second successful smartphone behind their hugely successful Moto X in the USA, soon to be here in the UK too.

So with this much excitement for a product how does it fair in everyday life?

Well to find out the answer then please do read on, make sure to check out the hands on video of this Moto G Beta device from Matt.

 

Product Specifications:

  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • CDMA 800 / 1900 – CDMA version
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • CDMA2000 1xEV-DO – CDMA version
  • Micro-SIM
  • Dimensions: 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm
  • Weight: 143 g
  • Display: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Internal Memory:  8/16 GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, LE
  • MicroUSB v2.0, USB Host
  • Primary Camera: 5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama, 720p@30fps, stereo sound rec.
  • Secondary Camera: 1.3 MP
  • Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
  • Adreno 305
  • Accelerometer, proximity, compass
  • FM radio
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 2070 mAh battery

 

10 Second Review:

  • Product: Motorola Moto G
  • Price: from as little as £119.99 +top up on pay as you go and from £149.99 Sim free. Contracts begin at £11 also.
  • Summary: This little phone is unbelievable value for money, so much so that I haven’t used my own Nexus 5 during the week that I’ve been using this device! A must buy!
  • Best Of: Display for the price, performance is great, size, upgraded to KitKat on day one!
  • Worst of: Camera could be a little better, non-removable battery is a pain and lack of MicroSD support and also there’s no NFC or 4G.
  • Buy from: www.phones4u.co.uk and www.clove.co.uk and many more…
  • Also Consider: At this price point there’s nothing more to consider but if your budget can stretch then I would say the Nexus 5 or Samsung galaxy s3/4 minis.

 

General:

Atop the Moto G is a little hole which is the second microphone and next to that is the 3.5mm jack.

 top

 

 

The left has nothing but smooth plastic.

Moto G Left

On the right is where you will find the power button and quite a small up/down volume rocker.Moto G Right

 

 

The bottom of the device is where the MicroUSB charging port is placed, this incidentally is the place that you have to try your best to remove the back cover, and it’s very difficult! There’s also the microphone for use during voice calls. The Sim Card slot is beneath the back cover also.

Moto G Bottom 

 

On the back is the 5 megapixel autofocus camera with single LED flash as well as the external loud speaker…note the word loud for later in the review. There is also an indented Motorola logo underneath the flash.

Finally on the front of the phone is the ear speaker at the top with the LED notification light hidden away next to it along with your usual sensors too. Underneath these is the 4.5 inch 720p HD display and as this device uses basically a ‘vanilla’ Android 4.4 there are no physical or capacitive buttons on the device itself as they are in the software as you will see soon.


 

Review:

I will start this review by talking about the slightly surprising sale of Motorola by Google to Lenovo of all companies! When I read the news I was very surprised and my initial thoughts were based around the epic success of both the Moto X and Moto G and whether this success would continue under new ownership, only time will tell on that front I suppose. For now though let’s concentrate on the here and now and talk about the simply brilliant Moto G.

 

Hardware:

As always with my reviews I like to concentrate first on whether the devices are well built and also whether they look desirable from a consumer point of view, and although the device that I had for review was a slightly battered beta model I was very impressed, firstly by the way the phone looked but second to that was the great build quality which if I’m honest wasn’t expected at this price point. Yes it is cheap plastic but what do you expect for as little as £119.99?! I felt that the phone felt very sturdy although why Motorola decided to put in a completely pointless removable back cover is really beyond me, there are two reasons for removing this, the first is to access the Sim card slot and the second is definitely aimed at the younger generation as it allows you to swap out the back cover for different colours and types of flip case. To see what I mean here’s the link to the site where you can buy these cases just for you to see the various colour options: http://www.clove.co.uk/accessories/motorola/moto-g/cases-covers

 

Software:

When I received the Moto G in the post and turned it on for the first time the software installed was Android 4.3 jelly bean but literally an hour after switching it on an awesome notification popped up saying that 4.4 KitKat was now available for download! So I downloaded this immediately and here’s the proof:

Moto G 4.4Moto G Kit-Kat

 

 

As I have used the phone for 99% of the time with 4.4 Kit-Kat I can’t comment on any aesthetic changes to the OS or what is added or removed from it so I will simply speak about my experience using the updated software.

In comparison to my own Google Nexus 5 running 4.4.2 the software for the Moto g is almost identical, in fact the only real difference I found was that the default messaging application wasn’t Hangouts. So the fact that the software is almost unchanged from that on the nexus devices is a real plus for adopters of this device as you are getting a reasonably fast and extremely user friendly phone for a bargain price.

So without further ado I shall now show the interface to simply give those who’ve not seen 4.4 before a glimpse at what to expect.

First of all here is the lock screen which has the lock screen widget feature as well, I spoke about this in depth in my review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Moto G Lock Screen

Next up we have the home screens, which are set up exactly as you would expect, there are five customizable panels with the ability to add widgets and shortcuts etc…the biggest difference between the Moto G software and the completely vanilla Nexus 5 software is the way in which you add widgets and shortcuts to the screens. On the nexus 5 you simply tap and hold anywhere on an empty home screen and a nice menu featuring shortcuts, widgets, and wallpapers appears, whereas on the Moto you have to open the app drawer and select the widgets icon at the top, then drag and drop to your screens, this is the way you did this in the vanilla android 4.2 as well if I remember correctly. It’s just a tad strange that Motorola wouldn’t add the new feature, especially considering the fact that at the time of release they were still owned by Google. Anyway here are my home screens that I used during testing:

Moto G Home Screen1Moto G Home Screen22014-01-29 02.09.442014-01-29 02.09.582014-01-29 02.10.28

 

We also have the customary app drawers which expand with the more things that you download, the difference you will notice here as I mentioned earlier is the fact that there is a ‘widgets’ button on screen which is very different from that on the Nexus devices:

2014-01-29 02.10.352014-01-29 02.10.42

 

 

 

On the home screens whenever you like you can swipe down from the top to bring down the notification pane which also has some quick settings to choose from with a press of the button at the top right, you can also swipe down from the top of the display with two fingers and the quick menu comes straight up, I use this every day on my own Nexus 5 as it’s great and so simple to use, unlike that on the Samsung Galaxy devices or even the new LG G2 which just look too scrambled and cramped to work well enough. Anyway here is an image of that notification pane for you guys:

2014-01-29 09.59.152014-01-29 09.59.08

 

 

 

Speaking of settings, on the Moto G they are just as easy to use as the nexus devices and there isn’t much of anything new in the 4.4 update compared to the 4.3 that it shipped with but for those of you who haven’t seen what they look like and which settings are available to change etc here’s a screenshot for you:

2014-01-29 09.59.232014-01-29 09.59.532014-01-29 10.00.082014-01-29 10.00.16

 

Browser:

Moving onto the key factors about this device now and first I would like to mention the internet browser performance from Google Chrome.

Since Google integrated Chrome into their operating system the browser has improved to become in my opinion the best browser on the market as it offers great flexibility for users, just the other day I had twenty two pages open at once! Anyway that’s beside the point, the browser is brilliant to use on the Moto G, this is possibly due to a combination of the snappy quad-core processor along with the great 720P 4.5 inch display but I enjoyed using this device for my browsing needs just as much as my Nexus 5 and prefer it to my previous devices such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and I think the reason is simply because it feels so great in the hand so it just makes it so simple to browse for long periods of time.

The images below won’t be anything new to most of you guys but I thought I would show them to you anyway as is customary with my reviews:

2014-01-29 10.05.002014-01-29 10.05.222014-01-29 10.05.54

 

 

E-Mail:

I thought in this review that I would talk briefly about the e-mail as you’ve heard most of it before to be honest.

There are again two stock e-mail applications, the G-Mail and normal E-mail apps and both of them perform to about the same standard as on my Nexus 5 which can only be a good thing, images are crisp and text is easy to read with the only bug bear being the fact that e-mails render zoomed in by default and this is the same on my Nexus 5 too so it’s not phone specific.

Here they are for you:

2014-01-29 10.01.452014-01-29 10.02.092014-01-29 10.02.212014-01-29 10.02.492014-01-29 10.02.592014-01-29 10.03.21

 

 

Motorola Applications:

Pre-installed on the Moto G are a few helpful software additions from Motorola that really cannot be ever considered to be ‘bloatware’ there is one application called Moto Assist and this is a superb little application that allows the user to simply switch off the communication side of the device for specific things such as in the middle of a meeting or during sleep.

Here is the app set-up process in action:

2014-01-22 22.52.002014-01-22 22.52.10

 

And here is the rest of the application interface for you, you will notice a very simple to use app that does what it says on the tin, it blocks incoming calls during the hours that you set unless you choose to tick the option for it to accept a call if the same number calls twice or more, all of the app’s features worked seamlessly for me when I tested this out, including the ‘Auto reply’ feature which allows you to set a pre-defined message to send to the person who called last, a little like the call back feature build into Android’s phone app.

 

2014-01-22 22.52.262014-01-22 22.52.342014-01-22 22.52.512014-01-22 22.53.252014-01-22 22.53.442014-01-22 22.54.30

 

The one other thing that Motorola has included in the package deal is a really good help section whereby if the user asks the feature how to use a certain aspect of the phone it will scour the web and find the answers for you, it works great too so for those who have yet to venture into the smartphone market then this device at the amazing price point with this great help section will do the trick very nicely.

Here it is in action:

2014-01-29 10.00.342014-01-29 10.00.52

 

Motorola Keyboard:

I’ve named this section ‘Motorola Keyboard’ because, the Moto G’s keyboard looks at first to be the stock Google keyboard from the Nexus devices and that which you can now download from the Play store, but when I began to use it for the first time I noticed a slight difference from what I am currently used to, so I went ahead and checked the input settings and low and behold the keyboard is lacking the simply fantastic ‘Swype’ function!

This to most people wouldn’t be a problem at all but for me it kind of is, this is because I have become accustomed to using the function on many of my recent phones and find that it is a more efficient way of typing anything from a text to even this review which I am currently typing up on my Nexus 5 for a short time while I am out. There is of course a very simple solution to the lack of Swype support, download SwifKey but admittedly on my high horse I am simply saying that the function should be there in the first place.

Screenshot_2013-12-19-14-04-22.pngScreenshot_2013-12-19-14-04-31.png

 

Camera/Video Camera:

The cameras on most of the high end smartphones or ‘Flagships’ are vastly becoming a real thing of beauty, particularly when you take a glance at the likes of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its incredibly good 41 megapixel sensor or even the HTC One, One Mini and One Max with their Ultrapixel technology, but today we aren’t talking about a high end devices amazing camera but we are talking about a simple run of the mill 5 megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash on the Moto G.

How does it perform? Well in short, quite well really, It was never going to be amazing but it certainly isn’t bad by any means, some of the photos i will show you are in my opinion at least pretty good, at least good enough to have as your Facebook background image or something to that effect.

I tested the camera in a variety of locations and situations with different lighting conditions too (this is England after all!) And for a phone that you can pick up for just £119 I would say the images are quite good indeed, but first I would like to show you the pretty cool camera interface, there aren’t many settings to choose from here, which I think is why it does looks so nice but there is a HDR mode, slow motion video mode and also a Panorama mode. Take a look below:

 Screenshot_2013-12-20-23-53-13.png Screenshot_2013-12-20-23-58-55.png Screenshot_2013-12-20-23-59-01.png Screenshot_2013-12-20-23-59-23.png Screenshot_2013-12-21-00-02-03.png Screenshot_2013-12-21-00-01-55.png

 

Now we move onto the actual photographs that I’ve taken with the above camera, unfortunately I wasn’t ever in a position to use the slow motion video function so I am unable to comment on that but I did manage to use the panorama mode and I can tell you that it’s not great, the images didn’t stitch together properly so the images were never really worth keeping I’m afraid to say guys, plus I am unable to show you any sunshine because while I had the phone there wasn’t a single day in which we had any where I live.

Here are some of the images I did take for you, all three of them were taken with HDR switched on but the one of the Labrador was in very low light indoors using the LED flash.

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There is also the ability to shoot 720p video footage within the same camera application, I would say that the video quality is ok but it’s nothing to shout home about but then again it’s not supposed to be as this is of course a lower end device. I would say that it does perform well enough to capture those great moments in life but to watch on a big screen it leaves a little to be desired.

Here is the footage for you:

http://youtu.be/7FxU036LJu8

 

Motorola’s gallery app is quite different to the stock android 4.4 app and is even now available to download as a separate app from the play store for other users. Before i talk about why it’s different I will show it to you:

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It’s the aesthetic touches that I like about this app, the fact that it lays the photos out for you with different sizes of square looks nice, plus it is just so easy to find images within the app as there are three sections, these are the main camera roll, timeline which lays out your photos in chronological order and then there’s albums too. It works almost exactly the same as any other gallery app to be honest, every photo that you take goes immediately into the camera roll but also into the applicable album be it a screenshot or an instagram upload.

Media:

Media consumption on the Moto G isn’t difficult at all, in fact it’s just as easy to pick this little device up as it is an iPad etc because the screen although 720p is pretty darn good for videos, particularly YouTube which is to be honest mainly what I watch on a smartphone due to having all many of other devices to watch TV and movies on. The only problem that I found with watching YouTube videos was the battery life which wasn’t at all good, I only watched three five minute videos in one go from 100% and the battery was down at 71%…so i think you will agree this isn’t brilliant? But watching the videos was a nice experience indeed.

As for music I wasn’t impress at all with this aspect of the phone, the external loud speaker is quite loud but its pretty rubbish by all accounts, it just sounds very distorted which in turn makes listening to music difficult. Listening to the same tracks using my Beats by Dre headphones wasn’t much better to be honest, again it’s very loud but the quality is terrible. There are a set of audio settings that would suit a higher end device better than this one because they are pretty good. There are settings for both the loud speaker and headphones, there are some pre set options and also a custom option where you can choose the levels of the bass and such to what suits you. You will see all of the aforementioned settings in more detail in the screenshots below, I haven’t chosen to show you guys the music player due to the fact that I didn’t really use it as I use Spotify for all of my music consumption these days, plus because the music quality wasn’t brilliant.

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Battery Life and Performance:

Onto the last small section of my review now, I will begin with the battery life and say that as long as you aren’t watching a lot of videos on the device then the battery life is actually decent, It definitely lasts the whole day on a single charge but even if the battery does deteriorate at all during the day it charges really quickly so a quick top up isn’t out of the question which is a great thing these days.

The performance of the phone was a real surprise for me as at this price point you usually get single core or dual-core processors but with the Moto G we’ve got a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, yes its a low powered one but in practice it performs superbly allowing me to play all manor of games such as the Simpsons tapped out, Real racing 3 and more without any lag whatsoever, I’ve been very impressed by what this phone can do during the relatively short time I’ve used it for and i would even go as far as saying that I would have it a secondary device that I take everywhere with me.

I did a couple of benchmark tests to get a gauge of just how well the phone performs from a technological perspective, you will be surprised what difference a year can make in the smartphone world as this phone performed at a higher standard than last years Nexus 4! Unreal to think that phone was a flagship device. I used Quadrant Standard and Antutu and the results are below for you:

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Conclusion:

I have really enjoyed reviewing the Moto G as it has really surprised me by just how brilliant it is, and at £119 for the 8GB version it has to be considered a must buy for tech fans or people who are still looking to venture into the smartphone market for the first time, this would be an unbelievable first phone for someone.

It has it’s flaws yes but so does every smartphone to date, they are either too heavy or too large, not powerful enough etc but we still love them and that’s the point that I want to make here…I fell in love with the Moto G while reviewing it, I literally didn’t use my Nexus 5 much at all, only for the odd e-mail here or a text message there as everything I did be it YouTube or web browsing I did it on the Moto G.

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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By February 15, 2014 Read More →

Sony ACX-2 Case for DSC-QX10/QX100 and Xperia Z1

ACX2-2Having recently acquired a Sony Xperia Z1 for myself and already owning a DSC-QX10 Lens I decided to get myself a case for the Z1 which would allow me to attach the lens to the camera without the need to use the slightly chunky mount that comes with the QX10.

Sony now produce cases that will allow their two lenses to the Xperia Z, Z1 and Z Ultra in black and white finishes. The price for the Z1 is quite expensive for what is (without the lens attachment) quite a basic case at £25 from the Sony website.

http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras-cases-covers-straps/spa-acx2

I decided to give it the case a try anyway and when I received it I was quite pleased to note that the case actually solved one of my criticisms of the Z1 and Z Ultra, namely the glass construction and slim profile make both devices very slippery.

The fit of the case onto the Z1 is, as you would expect from an official accessory, perfect and the lens attaches quickly and effortlessly. I was really impressed and decided that the Z1 with the case would be my every day device for my week long holiday overseas.

ACX2-2a

The ease of attaching the lens to the phone made this my goto camera for the whole holiday and I found that i did not take my DSLR out of the safe once on the whole trip.

The case did have one major downside however! You may have noticed that the photos of the case and camera that I have shown so far are taken from the Sony website. The reason for this is that on the second day of my trip, whilst sitting and having lunch I heard a “crack” noise from my pocket. Upon inspecting the case, two corners had broken off and there was a crack down the back of the case.

IMG_20140213_200657

A quick web search reveled this to be a fairly common occurrence and that the normal response upon contacting Sony is to be offered a refund rather than an exchange.

I managed to baby the case through the rest of the holiday but I will not be seeking a refund and I will, in fact, be purchasing a second one.

The reason for this strange course of action is that during my research into the cracking problem, I discovered that many people have successfully removed the camera connection from the case and have attached it to an alternative case which is more durable. This is my plan as well and if I’m successful I will post up the results.

Here are some shots of the damage to the case and how the camera looks when it is attached. It is an exceptionally good idea that was let down by the execution.

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Posted in: Cameras, Phones, Reviews
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