Author Archive: Emma Samuel

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By April 22, 2009 Read More →

Sanyo Xacti HD2000 Review

The Sanyo Xacti HD2000 is a recent upgrade from the HD1010. It looks similar, it feels similar. So what’s changed?


The Sanyo Xacti HD2000

What’s in the box?

  • Sanyo Xacti HD2000
  • DB-L50 Lithium-ion battery
  • AV Cables (Composite and component)
  • Lens Cap
  • Battery mains charger
  • Remote Control
  • HDMI Cable
  • Docking Station
  • USB Cable
  • Microphone Adaptor
  • USB Adaptor cable
  • Software CD-Rom
  • Manuals
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Soft, padded camera bag


    Have a look at Matt’s Sanyo Xacti HD2000 unboxing video for more.


    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 specification:


  • Zoom: 16x optical

  • Resolution: 5.31Mp (HD)

  • Definition: High

  • Scan method: interlaced & progressive

  • File type: MPEG-4

  • Image size: 1920×1080

  • Focus types: Continuous area AF, manual

  • Minimum illumination: 2lux

  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD screen

  • Interface: HDMI, component, S-video, composite

  • Formats: NTSC, PAL

  • Power: Li-Ion battery


  • Zoom: 10x optical

  • Resolution: 8Mp

  • Sensor size: 1/2.5in

  • Sensor type: CMOS

  • Image size: 3264×2448

  • File type: JPEG

  • Sensitivity: ISO50-3200

  • Storage: SD/SDHC

  • Focus types: 9 point AF, spot

  • Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity

  • Close focusing: 1cm-1m

  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot

  • Exposure compensation: /- 1.8EV in 1/3 step increments

  • Shutter speed: 1/2-1/1000sec

  • Flash: In-built

  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT colour screen

  • Interface: USB 2.0 via docking station (included)

  • Power: Li-Ion battery

  • Size: 112.6x90x54.5mm

  • Weight: 311g (inc. battery and card)


    Full specification can be found on the Sanyo Website



    Sanyo have adopted the pistol grip design again for the Xacti HD2000. It has a compact and robust feel to it with almost all of the controls at just a thumb’s reach away.



    The Lens – 10x optical zoom, focal range = 6.3-63.0mm (35mm equiv = 44.4mm-710mm), aperture = f/1.8-f/2.5, filter diameter = 40.5mm. The lens also has a built in neutral density filter.

    The Sensor – 1/2.5 inch CMOS

    The microphone and headphone sockets are located near the top of the pistol grip along with the infrared remote sensor.

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – front view



    The integrated flash is located on the top and has a button to manually activate it

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – top view


    Right side

    The right side of the pistol grip is the battery housing. Nothing else here!

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – right view


    Left side

    The flip out 2.7 inch LCD screen can be seen here in the closed position. The perforated section on the back of the LCD houses the inbuilt microphone and speaker.

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – left view


    The Screen

    The LCD screen flips open and can twist around 270 degrees. The switch you can see to the left of the screen is a menu type selector – switching between normal and simple.

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – opened view


    The controls

  • The top button changes between views/displays on the screen.
  • To the left is the up/down slider to control the zoom.
  • The centre of the controls is split in two. The left being the shutter release for capturing stills and the right to start and stop recording of video.
  • The right up/down slider switches between recording and playback modes.
  • At the bottom is the menu button.
  • On the pistol grip is the joystick for use within the menu screens. Pressing the joystick acts as the select/set button. When it is pressed in the normal recording mode it opens the ‘Instant review’ where pictures and videos taken can be reviewed
    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – controls view


    Pistol grip

    The SD card fits into the back of the pistol grip. At the bottom of the grip is a DC in socket for charging the camera.

    Sanyo Xacti HD2000 – grip view



  • Compact design
  • Pistol grip – easy to hold
  • Large range of resolutions for stills and video
  • 8MP still images and up to 12MP on the highest setting (interpolated)
  • 16x zoom for video
  • Stills can be taken during video capture



  • Low quality on low light images/video
  • Expensive


    Opening the box and emptying the contents would make you think that the Sanyo Xacti HD2000 is a complicated device as there is so much there! This is not the case! Once you’ve managed to get your head around all the cables, adaptors, remote, docking station, etc (or just ignore them for the moment) the device itself is quite strikingly simple!

    Conveniently the battery was already charged up (thanks Matt!), so when I flipped open the LCD screen the first feature of the camera came to light. It switches on and off with the opening and closing of the screen. The time it takes from being switched off to being ready to shoot is surprisingly fast. Without getting into the different settings, the basic functions of the camera are quite clear from the controls which are all a thumbs reach away. You can take still pictures, record video footage, playback the images and video.

    Looking into what features the Xacti HD2000 offers opens up a whole other chapter and I could go on and on about the different features.. but. I won’t. I’ll try and pick out the main highlights and lowlights. After that, I recommend that you have a look at Matt’s sample videos taken with the Xacti HD1010. I know it’s not the HD2000 but the features are pretty much the same so you may find the videos useful.

    The fact the this camera is relatively small and compact makes it really appealing and easy to carry about. The pistol grip design that Sanyo have decided to stick to seems to work well and the positioning of the controls is well thought out.


    For still photos the 8MP camera takes a decent picture in good lighting. It has a feature aptly named the ‘face chaser’ which, well… you can guess! This can detect up to 12 faces in the frame which is useful for getting your pictures as sharp as possible.

    The main issue I have with the camera is the low quality of images in low light situations. You can use the flash but I’m one of those people who hates using built in flashes. The light bounces straight off the subject giving a really unnatural look to the picture. So what can I do about that? The ISO (light sensitivity of the sensor) can be changed manually and can be set right up to 3200. I tried a few shots at different ISO levels but still not that thrilled about the camera in low light. The noise levels on the pictures are pretty bad (especially on the higher ISO settings.

    But, apart from the low lighting issue, it’s possible to take some good pictures with the camera and you can take advantage of the 10x optical zoom and handshake reduction/stabiliser setting


    Video recording is a breeze with Sanyo’s Xacti HD2000. As mentioned before, the controls are nicely positioned making it very easy to start and stop recording without too much movement when pressing the capture button. The video stabiliser helps with and handshaking and the zoom is a 16x advanced zoom. This is an upgrade from the 10x zoom on the Xacti HD1010.

    You can probably guess what I thought of video recording in low light!! Say no more!! In fact, I have to mention one thing though. There is no light/lamp for taking video in low light. Would have been a useful feature to include in this upgrade.

    Moving on! There are seven different video formats you can choose between and an additional setting to record voice only (the different formats can be seen in more detail on the Sanyo website). On the highest resolution (Full-HR 1920×1080 (60fps/24Mbps)) the video output is excellent. As you can imagine it take up a lot of memory though. Matt mentioned that he uses the HD1000 to record the unboxing videos and has it set to HD-SHQ 1280 x 720 (30 fps/9Mbps). You can see the quality in the unboxing videos is pretty good even though it’s at a lower setting.

    The most interesting video format is definitely the ‘Web’ format, or more commonly known as the slow motion format. It’s great fun to play about with an you can get some pretty amazing footage. Again, check Matt’s videos from the HD1010 as he’s got footage in there using this slow motion feature.

    One feature I really like is that you can take still pictures whilst recording video footage. This is definitely not a standard feature with camera/video camera devices.


    The Xacti HD2000 comes with a docking station where you can place the camera to charge, connect to a pc or connect to a TV. You can also charge the camera by plugging the charger straight into the bottom part of the grip so you don’t need to take the docking station with you if you don’t want to. There is also a remote control included that you can control the camera with and carry out almost all of the functions with from it.



    The CD ROM provided includes Nero 8 Essentials and Xacti Screen Capture 1. It also includes the instruction manual. (there is a hard copy one in the box too).

    The footage captured will play on recent versions of QuickTime, which most people already have installed on their PCs/Macs.



    The Xacti HD2000 has definitely impressed me. It’s compact and easy to use design makes it enjoyable to use and the quality is generally quite impressive (just don’t put me in any low light conditions!!)

    The fact that it’s just so simple to use makes it a great camera/video camera for anyone to use.

    The only thing that would really put anyone off would be the price. Whilst writing this review I checked out the price range that the Xacti HD2000 was selling for and it ranges from £400-£500. If you’re looking for a good camera to take still pictures with you could buy a pretty decent DSLR camera and even be given change from the money we’re taking about here.

    It’s a shame that the price is what’s letting this camera down as I did enjoy using it.



    Reviewed by: Emma

  • Posted in: Reviews
    By April 19, 2009 Read More →

    Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Review

    Nokia are have always been the big name when it comes to mobile phones. However, when it comes to mobile phone music devices they are relative chasers to Sony Ericsson and their well established and well received Walkman range. Nokia have responded with their own range of music style handsets known as XpressMusic already gracing the range is the fantastic 5800, 5300 and now the 5310. Certainly one of the cheaper devices in the range it begs the question, does 5310 meet the spec of what we have come to expect from budget devices and does it deliver in terms of meeting the prestige of Nokia?

    The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Phone

    What’s in the Box?

    • Nokia 5310 XpressMusic mobile phone
    • Battery BL-4CT (860mAh)
    • AC-3 Charger
    • HS-45 stereo headset with AD-57
    • CA-101 Micro USB cable
    • 2GB uSD card

    More information can be seen in Matt’s Nokia 5310 Unboxing Video



    • Dimensions: – 103.8 x 44.7 x 9.9 mm:
    • Weight: – 71g
    • Display: 240 x 320 pixels (2 inch)
    • Camera: – 2 mega-pixels
    • Music: – Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+, WMA
    • Network: – GSM: 900, 1800, 1900
    • Memory: – 30MB internal
    • FM Radio
    • Bluetooth 2.0
    • MicroSDHC memory card slot
    • 3.5 mm audio jack
    • Standard battery, Li-Ion 860 mAh



    As mentioned, the Nokia 5310 is a budget device. However, as for build quality, although the 5310 is light weight it doesn’t feel particularly flimsy.

    The front of the device is fairly eventful with a decent sized keypad of which a D-Pad with central click button is located above. Either side of this are the menu quick launch keys and of course the two call buttons. A interesting feature of the device is that located on one of the two red strips running parallel with the screen and this is the music control keys which are well placed for quick and easy media management.

    Nokia 5310 – front view

    The right hand side of the device is home to a two way volume rocker and that is just about it.

    Nokia 5310 – right side view


    And, if you think you are going to be spoilt with buttons and controls on the left of the device I am afraid you may well be disappointed as the left side only features the very small input for Nokia’s new style propitiatory connection.

    Nokia 5310 – left side view


    The top of the device is more interesting in terms of connections and buttons, and for the top of a mobile device it’s actually fairly jam packed. From left to right there is a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack which allows you to use your favourite headphones with the 5310, a mini USB input is in the centre with the stand by key located next to this.

    Nokia 5310 – top view


    The 2 Mega pixel camera is located on the back of the 5310 however, there is no flash which although a disappointment is not something which is expected on a budget device such as the 5310.

    Nokia 5310 – back view



    • Ease of use
    • Good Connectivity


    • No Flash



    The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic may not be what you would describe as a stunning device but I certainly wouldn’t call it ugly, reminding me somewhat of the BenQ E72. The phone sticks to the tried and tested candy bar style design with two single red stripes running parallel to the screen. The device itself is a truly portable device, extremely slim line and lightweight, although as I mentioned the phone doesn’t feel flimsy it does feel a little plastic in the hand and lacks that feeling of quality however given the price that is easily forgiven.

    As I mentioned at the start of this review the closest competitor to Nokia’s XpressMusic range is of course Sony Ericsson’s Walkman range, a range which is very much respected in the mobile phone market. Besides the price the key things that stand out when glancing down the spec list include a 2 mega pixel camera, Bluetooth connectivity, up to 4GB storage to name but a few.

    The whole point of an slim line, lightweight device such as the 5310 is to make your pockets that bit lighter and replace that MP3 player and replace it with this device. As for storage, the 5310 comes boxed with a 2GB MicroSD. However, the device will support up to 4GB which is not fantastic but when given the price it does actually out do many MP3 players out there on the market. Transferring music files is a breeze as the 5310 supports MP3, MP4, AAC, eAAc+, and WMA music files as well as this the device supports album art which further enhances the overall experience of using the phone for its MP3 capabilities. The inclusion of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the device is very pleasing and sound quality is more than acceptable and offers surprising clarity compared to some other mobile devices I have used in the past. The phone also includes an FM radio which works as you may expect – like a radio.

    The 5310 comes packed with a 2 mega pixel camera which by today’s standards seems like a fairly modest addition, but for a device which is far more focused on the music side as appose to the photographic focus many devices are taking these days the 2 mega pixels are of a decent level. With the addition of a few basic editing and effect tools you are sure to get a few decent snaps from the 5310. Image quality is surprisingly good and I don’t imagine it will disappoint. The phone can also capture video but the quality is nothing to write home about.

    Navigating my way around the 5310 came with a learning curve of around 20 seconds, a smooth cover flow style icon navigation system is present on the main device screen allowing you to select the most popular applications such as camera, music players, radio, etc. A single click will take you to the phone’s familiar Nokia main menu with standard options such as the settings, organiser and contacts. An interesting addition to the menu is something known as PTT or ‘Push To Talk’. It is not commonly used here in the UK but is often used as a placement for texting in the US As I was unable to find a friend with PTT I was unable to use this feature but I have seen it in action and it is a nice addition should it ever really take off in the UK. The phone comes with the usual bundle of fun otherwise known as Snake III as well as a few other games including a fun little music guess game.

    Connectivity-wise the 5310 as I mentioned includes Bluetooth 2.0 and Micro USB 2.0 (Full Speed) which, lets face it, is not a dramatically impressive list, however, those purchasing this phone are not likely to be looking for features such as 3G or GPRS. The one word I would use to sum up the 5310 is ‘practical’. Its keyboard was by far one of the easiest I have used in a long time with no problems with big thumb syndrome, navigating around the phone is simple whether you are a seasoned Nokia user or a complete novice. The battery life is quoted at 300 hours standby, 18 hours music playback and around 5.4 hours talk time which is slightly below average but I didn’t find myself reaching for the charger or suffering any problems with the battery cutting out during the day.


    In conclusion the Nokia 5310 is a practical well thought out addition to the XpressMusic range which is showing real signs of improvement with each and every device released by the Finish mobile giants. It is certainly a phone to replace your low to mid range MP3 player but for the avid music fan 4GB is just not going to cut it when compared to the 16 or 32 GB devices available however a solid addition to the XpressMusic range at a great price, congratulations Nokia you are now officially in the mobile vs. mp3 player war.




    Reviewed by: Nick

    Posted in: Reviews
    By April 12, 2009 Read More →

    Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-804 Review

    I am sure, like me, you have always been told to never judge a book by its cover, or in this case never judge a Bluetooth headset by its box. Well the later statement would be extremely difficult given the fantastically creative packaging for Nokia’s smallest ever headset – the BH-804. Packaging which will have gadget fans gleaming and environmentalists screaming.

    BH804_boxThe Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-804

    If you have not yet experienced the wonderful treasure chest of goodness otherwise known as the packaging yet let me direct you to Matt’s recent unboxing video.

    What’s in the box?

    • Nokia BH-804 Headset
    • Lanyard carrying strap
    • Additional rubber earpiece covers (x2)
    • Ear loop
    • Mains charger (micro USB connection)
    • Adaptor cap (to connect mains charger to the headset)
    • Desktop charging stand


    Nokia BH-804 Specification:

    • Dimensions: 42 x 13.6 x 6 mm
    • Weight: 7.2g
    • Operating keys: Answer/end/power
    • microUSB charging connector
    • Operating range (maximum): 10 m
    • Operating time (maximum): 4 h
    • Standby time (maximum): 150 h
    • Charging time (maximum): 1 h
    • Compatible Nokia chargers: Nokia Travel Charger AC-6/DC-6
    • Bluetooth 2.0 specification with EDR
    • Hands-Free (HFP) Profile 1.5 and Headset (HSP) Profile 1.1


    The headset.

    The headset comes in at 42 x 13.6 x 6 mm and just over 7g so not only is it the smallest but also one of the lightest I have ever seen.


    Personally I have never really been a fan of Bluetooth headsets. I can just about see their purpose but the thought of having a small tusk like item sticking out of my ear all the time is not an idea that has been particularly appealing. But, I have to say even I couldn’t help but be impressed by the BH-804, it is sleek, stylish, and surprisingly comfortable.

    The idea behind the size of the device is to give the wearer the impression that they are not wearing a headset at all and just enhance the experience of wearing one. For that reason it does come just as it is with no over ear loop attached. However, even after switching the different sized earphone covers around I still found myself reaching for the comfort and security of the bundled over ear loop.


    But, to take the grand total of good old fashioned clichés in this review to two. ‘beauty is only skin deep’. However, I am pleased to announce that the BH-804 does not disappoint on substance. Sound quality is fantastic and although I have limited experience of Bluetooth headsets I have sampled a few in the past, none of which compare quality-wise to the BH-804. This increased sound quality I imagine is largely due to the enhanced audio quality with digital signal processing (DSP) which is used for background noise cancelation which, I have to say although it is not as effective as being locked in a chamber of silence it does do the job cutting out the most obvious and somewhat distracting sounds of the world. I experienced little to no muffling and clarity was excellent with no need to sound like a broken record demanding everything be repeated through miscommunication.

    The device is simple to use with just two buttons to get your head around and connecting the headset to your Bluetooth enabled mobile device is as simple as well connecting a Bluetooth headset to a Bluetooth enabled device in other words ‘simple’.

    The device comes with a claim of 150 hours standby and around 4 hours talk time which is more than acceptable and should leave with few problems. As for charging the device, this is handled via micro USB either through the simple USB charger or via the included desk dock and Nokia claim just 1 hours charge should be sufficient to fulfil the above stated battery life.

    The Nokia BH-804 headset – docked



    Overall, the Nokia BH-804 is an extremely accomplished item. It is sleek, sexy and stylish, and although Bluetooth headsets are very much something you either love or hate, if you are in the love bracket, the BH-804 is certainly worth a look to give you that polished look of sophistication on the move.



    Reviewed by: Nick

    Posted in: Reviews
    By April 6, 2009 Read More →

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte Review

    The Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte certainly looks the part, it certainly feels the part, and a quick glance at the phones spec list it certainly seems to tick a number of boxes however as soon as the price tag is discovered the 8800 suddenly has a lot more to live up to and certainly some extra weight on its 150g shoulders.


    The Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte

    What’s in the box?

  • Nokia 8800 Arte Carbon
  • Battery BL-4U
  • Chrger AC-6
  • Data Cable CA-101
  • Carry Case CP-212
  • Desk Stand DT-19
  • Bluetooth Headset BH-803
  • User guide
  • Software CD
  • 8800 Arte Carbon Story Booklet
  • Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte Specification:

  • GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • UMTS 2100
  • Dimensions: 109 x 45.6 x 14.6 mm, 65 cc
  • Weight: 150 g
  • 240 x 320 pixels, 2.0 inches OLED Display
  • MP3 support
  • Speakerphone
  • 4GB internal memory
  • GPRS: Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
  • EDGE: Class 10, 236.8 kbps
  • 3G: 384 kbps
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • microUSB OTG
  • Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus
  • Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML
  • Java: MIDP 2.1
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1000 mAh (BL-4U)


    As I mentioned the 8800 certainly looks every inch a well built, high quality device with some real weight behind it. However, as I also mentioned £1000 is a huge price to pay for a mobile phone so lets have a look around the 8800 and see if the device can match the price tag.

    The front of the device has a fairly small screen certainly smaller than recent phones Nokia have put out such as the 5800 however as this is not a touch screen device this can be expected.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – Front view


    Seen below on the front of the device is the multi directional navigation D pad with a selection push button in the centre and either side of this are four soft keys for call control and menu quick start.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – Keypad view


    The 8800 is of course a slider with a difference, whereas many sliders have the screen sitting on-top of the keypad the 8800’s keypad is housed in the bottom of the device meaning the phone can remain clean and portable when closed while keeping the thickness of the device down when open.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – Opened view

    The 8800 Carbon Arte is a very clean device with very little to no buttons cluttering either side apart from the two battery cover release push buttons meaning it looks as well built as it feels.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – left side view


    With no buttons to speak of it makes the sides of the device very difficult to talk about so rather than doing so I will allow you to admire the 8800’s beauty for yourself.


    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – right side view

    The standby button Is the only real key on any of the four sides of the Carbon Arte and it I wont patronise you in telling you what its function is.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – Top view


    The back of the 8800 continues the clean theme of the phone with the camera lens housed in centralised square housing and below this is a silver Nokia logo sitting perfectly against that carbon battery cover.

    Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – back view


      • Superb Build Quality

      • Design


        • Price

        • Lack of features



        The 8800 Carbon Arte from Nokia is certainly the most expensive I have and probably ever will have the privilege of using, however when you are told the price your initial reaction is likely to be one of great anticipation for a device which is feature filled to the brim with built in lasers and a switch will will instantly launch a nuclear attack on the nearest unsuspecting nation, OK maybe I am exaggerating a little buy you would certainly expect some pretty decent features from a device of this price.


        The explanation and justification of the 8800 Carbon Arte price is its build quality and exceptional feat of technological engineering and this I cannot knock the device looks fantastic, extremely stylish in its design and is incredibly well built, these are all things that are reflected in the weight of the device, as Matt said in his un-boxing of the phone when you hear of things such as carbon etc. used in the construction of a product you instantly assume it will be not only sleek but also lightweight however at just over 150g this is not really the case for the 8800, its weight though is not something that should be held against it as it further enhances the feeling of quality.
        One thing that impressed me when I reviewed the 5800 was not just the device but also the things included in the box it felt like Nokia had thought of everything, and the same applies for the 8800, the contents of the box you can find at the start of this review but one thing that is slightly different to be included with a device is the blue tooth headset. The headset doesn’t feel like a last minute addition and a case of chuck the last few budget headsets we have left in the box it is a quality headset, sound quality is great and fits comfortably in the ear.

        Bluetooth Headset BH-803

        As I mentioned earlier the phone features a 3 Mega pixel camera the quality of which I felt was actually fairly poor, and certainly worse than some other mobiles I have used with similar spec devices. Another disappointment of the 8800’s camera is that no flash is included in any form which does make photography in different levels of light that much more difficult.

        As for the storing of your photos as well as multimedia such as video and music the 8800 has an in-built memory of 4GB with no room for additional storage via storage card. Watching videos and listening to music is not something you are likely to use the 8800 for seeing as there is no headphone jack and the only connection is via a mini USB.

        Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte – bottom view


        If you do manage to retreat to your safe haven from background noise and distractions you will find that the 8800 offers great sound quality and clarity. One downside to watching videos and or using the phone itself is it becomes useless in direct sunlight, something I experienced several times during the past week of surprisingly pleasant spring sunshine.
        Connectivity of the 8800 is unsurprisingly agreeable with Bluetooth 2.0, 3G, Edge, GPRS to name a few, I have no complaints about using them however I have to mention that the phone keypad is not altogether the most efficient I have used and this did affect things such as browsing. The phones connectivity is at an acceptable level as I mentioned however for a device of this price I suppose I was expecting something a little more groundbreaking or earth shattering but I’m afraid the 8800 doesn’t deliver this but it does keep you connected which is most important.

        A phone is an item you are going to be using every day you own it so it has to be easy and enjoyable to do so, that is why in my reviews I always try to let you know what the phone is like when using it for simple or more complicated daily tasks. One problem I found throughout my time with the device was that they keys do at times feel a little small and I often found myself accidently pushing two keys at once a problem I feel is largely due to the keys sloping design. Provided you are not standing in direct sun light and manage to get over the awkwardness of the keys navigation through menus is simple it uses the standard Nokia menus which I am sure may of you are familiar with, however, if not it certainly doesn’t take long to get use to. It seems amazing that I have managed to get this far into a review of a mobile phone without actually mentioning what the phone is like to use as well just that a phone, it is so often taken for granted now but I have used devices in the past with poor sound quality when in a call. However, I am pleased to report that the 8800 has great sound clarity I experienced no problems with muffling and the same goes for when using speaker phone. Battery life is stated to be around 300 hours standby by a mere 3 ½ talk time which I think is pretty poor and I did have problems with the battery life in terms of several charges in just a few days.



        Overall I feel that my conclusion would be very different if at this point I could tell you that the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte comes with all the features and functions listed in the review and cost only £250 however I can’t and for that reason you may be understandably disappointed with the 8800, but as I kept reminding myself the 8800 is not about having a great camera or music player it is a masterpiece of design and technological engineering it feels every bit as good as it looks, it is the ultimate status symbol in the world of Mobile phones and is a true object of beauty which you could say would be more suited to the Tate modern than the shelf of your local carphone warehouse.


        Reviewed by: Nick

        Posted in: Reviews
        By April 5, 2009 Read More →

        INQ INQ1 review

        The INQ1 is excusive to 3 and was released in the UK in November of last year. A much more affordable phone, aimed at the younger generation, the INQ1 is being sold as “The Social Mobile” with fast access to Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and free Skype-to-Skype calls.


        The INQ INQ1 – exclusive to 3

        What’s in the box?

        • INQ1 handset
        • Battery
        • Instruction cards
        • Software CD
        • Warranty and safety booklets
        • USB – mini USB sync cable
        • UK Wall charger (mini USB connection)
        • Stereo Headphones/handsfree (mini USB connection)

        Check out Tracy’s unboxing video for more information


        • UMTS 2100
        • Bluetooth
        • microSDHC card support (up to 16GB)
        • 3G, HSDPA
        • USB 2.0
        • 3.0 Megapixel camera
        • 2.2" 240 x 320 pixel LCD screen
        • 47.6 x 14.4 x 97 mm
        • 100 grams
        • SMS, MMS, E-mail, Instant Messaging, IM
        • Integrated Facebook, Skype, Windows Live Messenger and email applications



        Front – 2.2″ display, right and left soft keys, D Pad, Menu button, clear button, ‘call’ and ‘hang up’ buttons (the phone is powered on/off using the red ‘hang up’ button)


        INQ1 front view

        Keypad – A good size standard phone keypad (T9 input for text)


        INQ1 keypad view

        Left side – Mini USB socket for pc connection and charging the phone. The speaker is also located on the left side.


        INQ1 left side view


        Right side – Right convenience key which is set as default as the camera soft key, Switcher menu selector button, Up/down rocker volume control buttons (also used as zoom with the camera function)


        INQ right side view


        Bottom – Not much here. just the microphone.INQ1_bottom

        INQ bottom view

        Back – The back cover encloses the battery, micro SD card, sim card and 3MP camera.


        INQ1 back view


        • Easy access to Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and free Skype-to-Skype calls
        • Facebook integration with phonebook
        • Simple to use
        • Carousel quick app menu
        • Widgets
        • compact design
        • lightweight


        • Screen is too small
        • No camera flash
        • No self portrait mirror for camera
        • Difficult to access the micro SD card
        • Position of the speaker – muffled when holding the phone
        • no 3.5mm stereo earphone plug


        OK, first impressions of the phone. From the pictures on 3’s website the INQ1 looked pretty cheap and nasty if I’m being honest. But, when I received the handset from Matt I was nicely surprised. Definitely a lot better looking in real life and feels pretty sturdy and well made.

        The packaging of the phone definitely suggests the type of market that the INQ1 is aiming for. The bright colours of the box and instruction cards with colourful illustrations on the back of each card tell you that it’s aimed at the younger generation.


        There’s nothing out of the ordinary with the INQ1 that would really convince me to buy it. The handset seems quite plain and simple. That’s not necessarily and bad thing. It’s just too plain for me. (I like my gadgets as you might have guessed!) You can probably tell I wasn’t blown away with this handset, but strangely enough, the lowlights I have to share with you aren’t that drastic. Maybe I should just get these over with now.

        • The screen seems a bit to small for the applications the phone offers, such as, Facebook. It’s still readable though, and pictures can be viewed pretty clearly.
        • No flash for the camera. Low light picture taking can be tricky! There is night mode however, but a flash would be of more use.
        • No self portrait mirror. Tracy mentioned this in her unboxing video – and I agree. This is strange as it’s supposed to be a ‘social networking phone’.
        • A 3.5mm stereo headphone plug would have been a good idea but never mind.
        • It’s very fiddly when dealing with the micro SD card. Mainly when trying to take it out. You also have to the the battery out to get at it.
        • and finally, the speaker. This can easily be muffled by your hand because of the location of it.

        OK, lowlights over. I’m going to stop being negative about this phone now as it really does have quite a lot to offer.


        Because of the simple and plain design of the phone it is very easy to use. The carousel menu on the home screen is controlled buy the dedicated switcher button on the right side of the handset. This is for quick access to your most used applications and you can add applications and websites to the carousel as well.

        You can also show widgets on your home screen (up to three at a time). Some examples of the widgets on offer are, Yahoo weather, Google search and RSS feeds.

        As mentioned, phone has Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Skype integrated into the workings of the phone in a very mobile friendly format. “Integrated how exactly?” I hear you ask! Well, from the very basic and easy and instant access from the menu (their own shortcut icons) right down to the messages inbox and even the phonebook. Your contacts from these applications can be merged into your phonebook and the options menu has been tailored to include making calls, chatting and even ‘poking’ the selected contact using these applications. It also pulls the data to your phonebook so profile pictures from Facebook show against the contacts on your phone.

        Windows Live Messenger is easy to use. A QWERTY keyboard may be what some would have liked on the phone, but as long as you are comfortable with typing with T9 I think that the standard phone keypad still does the trick. If it really bothers you that INQ didn’t put a QWERTY keyboard on the phone just keep your eyes and ears open. apparently INQ have said that a QWERTY keyboard version is on the cards!

        You can switch between applications with out logging out which is a nice touch. Means a lot less hassle and navigation through the phone is faster.

        The web browser isn’t anything special. Does the job it’s supposed to! Just hindered by the small screen but.. oh, sorry, being negative again!

        There’s a dedicated ‘Feeds’ section which comes in handy for keeping up to date with the latest news from your favourite websites.

        The music and video players are pretty average. Again, they do what they’re supposed to do so nothing much to say about them. The camera is a 3.2 MP one and takes pretty good pictures in well lit situations. These photos can then be easily uploaded to Facebook of course!

        Call quality on the phone is clear. Had a few instances of people not being able to hear me or vice versa, but I think this is to do with 3’s coverage in my area rather than the phone’s performance.

        A small addition to the other features is that you can connect it to your laptop using the USB cable and the phone becomes a plug and play USB modem (using its 3G connection).



        The concept of the INQ1 is that it is a social networking phone that is integrated with Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Skype. But, most of all, compared to the smartphones on the market that can access these apps too, the INQ1 is much more affordable.

        It’s simple in its design and easy to use. It performs well, is well made and robust for the price.

        I think the phone is worth the price that’s being offered and there’s really not too much wrong with this phone. Maybe just a bit to basic for the gadget/smartphone fans out there!


        Reviewed by: Emma

        Posted in: Reviews
        By March 29, 2009 Read More →

        Blackberry Storm 9500 Review

        This is the first Blackberry touch screen handset from RIM. At a glance it looks fantastic, but can it compete with the iPhone?

        The Storm 9500 is exclusive to Vodafone here in the UK – You can see what Vodafone have to say about it by clicking here.

        storm_angled_right The Blackberry Storm 9500


        What’s in the box?

        • RIM Blackberry Storm 9500

        • Battery

        • Quick guide manual

        • Mains charger (UK/US/EU)

        • Stereo headset/handsfree

        • 1GB Micro SD card

        • Pouch case

        • Data cable

        • Screen cleaning cloth

        Check out Matt’s Blackberry Storm 9500 unboxing video


          • Dimensions: 112.5 x 62.2 x 13.95 mm

          • Weight: 155g

          • Battery Capacity: 1400 mAh

          • Display: 480 x 360 pixels/3.25 inch

          • Network: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band), WCDMA: 2100 HSDPA (Single-Band)

          • Camera: 3.2 mega-pixels (auto-focus)

          • Video: Video Recording supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264 & H.263

          • Music: Supported formats: MP3, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+ & WMA

          • Messaging: SMS, MMS (with video),  E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange, BlackBerry), Instant Messaging

          • Memory: 1GB (internal)

          • microSDHC (external)

          • microUSB

          • 3.5mm Audio Connector

          • Bluetooth (2.0)

          • Navigation: AGPS, BlackBerry Maps


          The Blackberry Storm 9500 looks impressive with its large 3.25 inch screen. It seems quite striking after looking at previous Blackberry phones with their QWERTY keypads that take up much of the handset.

          Front – 3.25 inch SurePress touch screen, ‘call’ and ‘hang up’ buttons, menu button and back button. (The ‘hang up’ button is also the power button)


          Blackberry Storm 9500 front view


          Top – on the top of the handset are 2 buttons. From the picture below, the left side is a mute button and the right side is a keypad lock.


          Blackberry Storm 9500 top view


          Bottom – There’s not much on the bottom of the handset except for the microphone


          Blackberry Storm 9500 bottom view


          Right side – Right convenience key which is set as default as the camera soft key, Volume control buttons (also used as zoom with the camera function) and 3.2mm stereo headphone socket


          Blackberry Storm 9500 right side view


          Left side – Left convenience key which is set as default as the voice command soft key, Micro USB socket used for USB connection and charging the phone.


          Blackberry Storm 9500 left side view


          Back – The speaker is located near the bottom of the handest (left side of the picture below). The back cover encloses the battery, sim card and micro SD card. The 3.2 MP camera and flash can also be seen here.


          Blackberry Storm 9500 back view




          • Large 3.25" high resolution screen – great quality
          • 3G connection
          • 3.2MP camera with auto focus
          • Rotating display
          • SurePress touch screen


          • SurePress touch screen (yes, I have put this as a highlight too. You’ll need to read on to see why!)
          • No WIFI
          • Touchscreen QWERTY keyboard can be difficult to use
          • The size of the handset is a bit on the large side


          The Blackberry Storm 9500 is definitely a great looking phone, and the screen size and resolution is a definite highlight. The casing is black and chrome plastic and the back battery cover is brushed metal which gives it a classy, professional look.

          Before I had even switched it on I found the handset rather cumbersome due to the larger size and weight. But, that’s just my personal opinion of course. I’m sure some people with bigger hands than me won’t find this an issue.


          Once switched on the first thing that grabbed my attention was the brilliant display. Very sharp and erm, well. big! The inbuilt accelerometer rotates the display depending on the position of the handset. It rotates both the the left and right which I guess will be quite handy for left-handed users. Unfortunately I found that the accelerometer was a bit slow to respond at times.

          The SurePress technology included in the Storm gives a spring-like effect or physical button-like effect when pressing on the screen. The idea of this I think is great. It’s designed to eliminate any type of confusion between navigating and confirming/selecting. For example, navigating through the menu – you highlight what you want to select but touching the screen. You can see if you’re on the correct icon before pressing the screen to actually select your option. The best part is that whilst on a call you are unlikely to accidentally select any options on the screen with your face!

          Now, I seem to be raving about the SurePress technology here but you may have noticed that I have also placed this a lowlight. The reason for this is that because the whole screen is designed to be clicked it does actually move. This makes the handset feel a bit flimsy and surprisingly makes it feel a bit cheap. Shame really.

          The sound quality during calls is clear and the microphone filters out background noise quite well. The numeric keypad for dialling is huge! Very user friendly! There is also the option to use numbers stored on the sim card as well as the phone’s memory.


          Moving on. 3G!!! Ok, this doesn’t actually make a big difference for me but from browsing forums many people much prefer 3G to EDGE technology as 3G is faster. Other Blackberry handsets seem to all use the EDGE network connection so the Storm using 3G seems to be a good selling point.

          Then there’s the WIFI. or lack of in this case. I’m not really sure of the reasons for this. It’s been suggested that the carriers want users to use their mobile broadband network and that’s the reason there’s no WIFI. Anyway, this is a definite lowlight for me.

          The software and general setup is almost identical to that of the Blackberry Bold, Curve and others. The obvious difference being the integration of a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. When the phone is held in a normal upright position it is a 20 key SureType QWERTY keyboard (which can be set to multitap), and when it is rotated either onto its right or left side a full QWERTY keyboard is presented. The Storm 9500 also supports the copy and paste function which can com in handy.

          For messaging, SMS, MMS, Email, and Instant Messaging are supported. Multiple email accounts can be added and the inboxes can all be kept separate. Push email also alerts of new emails in each account.

          Blackberry’s built in web browser looks great on the large screen but navigation using the touch screen takes a lot of getting used to. There’s a bit of a wait sometimes while scripts are loading which seems to be a bit of a common theme though the Blackberry range.

          Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be opened and edited with the built in viewers. The full version of the Office application would need to be purchased in order create files.

          Other applications include a memo pad, a Task application, a calculator, and password keeper. Maps software which works with the GPS function is also included

          The music player is capable of playing MP3, AAC, and WMA files and the built in speaker on the back of the handset gives surprisingly good quality sound.

          The 3.2MP camera produces quite impressive images. The colours are great and the auto focus comes in handy. Unfortunately the quality lessens when the image is enlarged which can only be expected as 3.2MP in the (if you’ll excuse the pun) bigger picture is not that great. I found the video camera quality pretty poor. Especially in lower light. The colours seemed to change whilst filming as if the camera was trying to correct the white balance, but this ended up producing ‘off’ colours.

          A clever addition to this touchscreen smart phone is the magnetic strips in the pouch. When the handset is placed in the pouch the magnetic sensor (which I’m guessing is in the back of the phone hence the metallic back cover) senses the magnet in the pouch which in turn switches off the display and locks the keys. This is an energy saving feature of the phone.



          The Blackberry Storm 9500 was a strange device to review! I seem to have had many positive points written out, yet if I’m honest, I just didn’t seem to like it!

          Just seemed a bit to bulky for me. It sometimes seemed a bit sluggish in its performance and I although I got used to the touchscreen QWERTY keyboard I just couldn’t type as fast as I could on actual buttons for making so many mistakes!

          The Storm 9500 definitely looks great and the screen quality is brilliant. The SurePress screen is a brilliant idea but you’ll either love it or hate it. Unfortunately it’s not my cup of tea.

          No WIFI. I missed it. But, that’s personal preference I guess. Just as well Vodafone’s network coverage didn’t let me down.

          There are many people out there who say that the Storm 9500 is a huge competitor to the IPhone. You’ll just have to see for yourself!


          Reviewed by: Emma

          Posted in: Reviews