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Archive for the ‘Mobile Phones’ Category

Samsung release Galaxy Alpha infographic

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Samsung have prepared an infographic to show off the style and features of their new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The Korean chaebol highlight the phone’s 6.7mm aluminium frame and low 120 grams. If you’re looking for a powerful and classy smartphone, then give this infographic a look. As a reminder, you can buy the sim-free Galaxy Alpha directly from us, and of course we have a wide range of Galaxy Alpha accessories to outfit your new smartphone to the max.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus: which should you choose?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

 

Last week Apple unveiled their new iPhone… or should I say their new iPhones. For the first time, it’s possible to get a new iPhone in two different sizes: the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. While the choice is no doubt appreciated by many, for others it’s an unprecedented conundrum–which should you buy? This article seeks to answer that question.

Design

So first things first–from a design perspective, these phones are identical. Both offer an aluminium construction, with bands of plastic separating the top and bottom caps from the main body of the phone. The only difference is that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is bigger than the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 6 Plus is way bigger than the iPhone 5.

That means if you’re used to the size of previous iPhone, you’re going to be more comfortable with the iPhone 6. All things considered, the iPhone 6 should be the ‘default’ choice chosen by most people, and best supported by accessory makers.

Left to right: iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C

Specifications

When you look at the phones more closely, not too many more differences are apparent beyond the size of their screens and bodies. I’ve highlighted the differences in the table below:

DISPLAY 4.7-inch 1334×750 5.5-inch 1920×1080
CPU Apple A8 1.4GHz dual-core Apple A8 1.4GHz dual-core
RAM 1GB 1GB
STORAGE 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB
NETWORK 20-band LTE 20-band LTE
WIRELESS Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi ac Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi ac
NFC Apple Pay only Apple Pay only
BATTERY 250 h standby, 14 h 3G 384 h standby, 24 h 3G
CAMERA 8MP dual-LED, 1.2MP 8MP dual-LED w/ OIS, 1.2MP
SIZE 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm
WEIGHT 129g 172g
OS iOS 8 iOS 8
COST £539 £639

 

So beyond the different screens, sizes and weights, there are precisely two hardware differences. First, the iPhone 6 Plus has a larger battery, allowing it to last a little longer – particularly when the screen is off. Secondly, the camera has optical image stabilisation. The OIS works to counteract hand shake, allowing you to take less blurry photos–but it’s worth noting it’ll do nothing for capturing fast-moving subjects, like sportspeople and children.

So given these differences, there are three immediate kinds of people that might want the iPhone 6 Plus over the ‘default’ iPhone 6.

1. Fans of massive Android phones like the Note 4 or LG G3
2. Frequent iPhone photographers looking for the best hardware
3. People who need that extra boost in battery power

Tradeoffs

Of course, in these latter two cases there’s a trade-off: you’re getting a massive iPhone which weighs more and is harder to use with one hand – particularly if those hands are smaller than average.

Apple have anticipated this issue, and have made some changes to the hardware and to iOS 8 to (partially) alleviate it. Firstly, the lock button is now on the right hand side of the phone instead of the top (on both new models). They’ve also made a ‘reachability’ gesture: tap the home button twice to have the screen move down towards your fingers, allowing you to reach controls at the top of the phone more easily.

A tablet replacement

Even with these in place, you’re getting an iPhone that’s feels closer to the iPad Mini than to the original iPhone. In fact, when you compare an iPad Mini and an iPhone 6 Plus playing videos, the usable screen size is surprisingly close because the iPad Mini uses only the middle portion of its 4:3 display to show 16:9 videos.

Left to right: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini

The similarities with a small tablet don’t stop there. Apple have also adopted the iPad’s split view for many landscape-mode iPhone 6 Plus apps. That means you’ll get an additional pane on the left or right, showing you more information at a glance than you’d find on the iPhone 6 or 5 version.

That makes for an iPhone 6 Plus that can replace both phone and tablet–and maybe even your laptop too. If you’re tired of carrying around multiple devices, then the 6 Plus could be ideal.

The final choice

I think, all things considered, the iPhone 6 will appeal to more people than the 6 Plus. A jump from 4 to 4.7 inches is already substantial; a further jump to 5.5 is almost too much. Of course, if you’re coming from the Android ecosystem, you may already be used to phones in that kind of region, and the 6 Plus becomes more appealing.

Otherwise, the advantages of the 6 Plus–longer battery life, a slightly better camera–are well balanced by the inherent clumsiness of using a larger phone, despite Apple’s best efforts. If you are a keen photographer, or you need a boost in battery life desperately, then the iPhone 6 Plus can make sense. For everyone else, the iPhone 6 is the better choice.

Signing off

Which iPhone are you choosing? Let me know in the comments below, or speak to us on social media. We’re @mobilefun on Twitter and Love Your Mobile on Facebook.

4.7″ iPhone 6 and 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus announced: bigger, faster, smarter

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Today Apple unveiled their new iPhones, ending months of rumours and speculation. As expected, two models debuted, both far larger than their predecessors. One model measures 4.7 inches, while the other spans a phablet-sized 5.5 inches. The new iPhones include a faster processor, contactless NFC payments, an improved camera and many other upgrades. Let’s take a closer look at what was announced.

Design

The most notable difference between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6 is undoubtedly that of size. The display of the iPhone 5S measured just four inches across the diagonal, but the iPhone 6 is available with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen. That’s a massive jump for Apple, who just two years ago were shipping a flagship phone with a 3.5-inch screen.

Apple are including a one-handed mode to alleviate some of the ergonomic downsides of these larger displays. The larger height and width of the iPhone has also allowed Apple to shrink the thickness of the iPhone. It’s now 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for the iPhone 6 Plus, while maintaining the same weight. The larger size is cleverly considered by Apple, who have added a ‘reachability’ gesture which moves the screen down so you can reach the top buttons.

Size isn’t the only difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. The new phones also include a noticeably thicker border between the caps on top and bottom and the main rear panel. These are intended to improve reception, giving signals a place to escape the metal body. Other details include a lock button on the right hand side instead of the top, a circular flash and a camera lens that protrudes from the chassis.

Specifications

One of the biggest new features of the iPhone 6 is contactless payments through a scheme called ApplePay. Like some bank cards in the UK, the NFC chip built into the phone allow you to pay for purchase in stores with a tap onto a point-of-sale terminal. The feature is safeguarded through the TouchID fingerprint sensor and a Secure Element. Apple have partnered with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for contactless payments, which appears in a upgraded Passbook iOS app.

The iPhone 6 will include a higher resolution 1334 x 750 pixel IPS display, which as mentioned earlier measures 4.7 inches. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, has a 1920 x 1080p screen at 5.5 inches. Inside either phone, you’ll find a new Apple A8 64-bit processor, 1 GB of RAM and at least 16GB of internal storage (up to 128GB). The whole thing is powered with a 1810mAh battery – small by Android standards, but enough for Apple to claim the same battery life as ever.

There’s an upgraded 8-megapixel camera on the rear, and a 2-megapixel camera up front for all your selfie needs. The iPhone 6 Plus also boasts optical image stabilisation, which allow the camera to operate at slower shutter speeds without being affected by shaking.

Features

One of the biggest new features of the iPhone 6 is its contactless payments system, called Apple Pay. Like some bank cards in the UK, the NFC chip built into the phone allow you to pay for purchase in stores with a tap onto a point-of-sale terminal. The feature is safeguarded through the TouchID fingerprint sensor. Apple have partnered with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for contactless payments, which appears in a upgraded Passbook iOS app.

The iPhone 6 launches with iOS 8, with includes a lot of new features that bridge the feature gap between iOS and Android. Messages now includes multimedia content, third-party keyboards are now possible, and Apple have built a fitness app called Health which interfaces with iPhone sensors and the iWatch. More Android-like features include improved notifications (which can now be actioned directly from their dropdown menu or the lock screen) and widgets (in the notification center).

Accessories

The iPhone has always enjoyed a wide range of third-party accessories, and the iPhone 6 is no different. We’ve already begun to add both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus accessories to our virtual shelves, and we’ll add dozens if not hundreds of additional accessories over the next few weeks. These range from cases and covers to chargers, in-car accessories like car chargers and car holders, battery packs, desk stands and screen protectors.

Most people will pick up at least one iPhone 6 cover for their new phone, and we’ll be well covered here. The iPhone 6 cases section of our shop already includes nearly 100 items, and will only grow from there. There are slightly fewer iPhone 6 Plus cases available, but these too will grow in number. Expect cases from all the biggest names, including OtterBox, LifeProof, Spigen, Moshi, Zenus, Belkin and many more.

UK price and release date

The iPhone 6 will go on pre-order from Friday, and the full launch will be on September 19th. The iPhone remains a premium handset, and as such will command a full price point when purchased sim-free. The 4.7-inch model comes in at £539, while the 5.5-inch model is slightly more expensive at £619. Of course, the iPhone 6 will also been available on contract.

Conclusion

So – the iPhone 6 has finally been announced! I’m excited to see the public and critical reception to the new phone, so please leave me your comments and impressions below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun or on Facebook at Love Your Mobile.

5 smartphones worth upgrading for

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Last month, I advised that you wait until September to pick up a new phone as so many new models were being announced. Now September has arrived, so I’m going to show you five of the most promising new smartphones. All of these phones will go on sale in the coming weeks, so if your contract is up or you’re looking to buy a new smartphone sim-free, these are the ones to look out for.

5. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

What it is: A smaller version of Sony’s flagship Z3 smartphone.

Why it’s worth it: The Z3 Compact is a calculated reaction to the trend of ever-larger flagship phones. Unlike most ‘mini’ phones, the Z3 Compact is just as powerful as its full-size brother, offering top-notch internals and an excellent camera. The body looks and feels high-end too, with a gorgeous squared off glass look that’s also waterproof. If you want a reasonably-sized phone without settling for 2012-era specifications, the Z3 Compact is a good shout.

Read more about the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact or see Xperia Z3 Compact accessories.

4. Nokia Lumia 830

What it is: Microsoft’s self-described affordable flagship Windows Phone.

Why it’s worth it: High-end Nokia Lumia phones come with great PureView cameras, beautiful bodies and the slick Windows Phone OS. The Lumia 830 is Microsoft’s attempt to bring these features down to the middle range of the market, and includes a 10-megapixel PureView OIS camera, wireless charging and a svelte premium body wrought from polycarbonate and aluminium. If you’d like an introduction or an update to the world of Windows Phone, the 830 is just the ticket.

Read more about the Nokia Lumia 830 or see Lumia 830 accessories.

3. Samsung Galaxy Alpha

What it is: Samsung’s best looking phone, designed to compete with the iPhone 6.

Why it’s worth it: Samsung have made plasticky phones for years, but that’s slowly beginning to change. The Galaxy Alpha is their first attempt at a new design language, and comes clad with a chamfered aluminium frame that measures just 6.7mm thick. It looks a little like an iPhone, and comes with specs to match the upcoming iPhone 6. That includes a 4.7-inch 720p display, 32 GB non-removable storage and a 12-megapixel camera.

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Alpha or see Galaxy Alpha accessories.

2. iPhone 6

What it is: The next iPhone, aka the best selling phone worldwide in Q4 2014.

Why it’s worth it: The iPhone 6 is the first properly large iPhone. Two years ago Apple first made the jump to four inches, and now they’re going all the way up to 4.7… and later, 5.5 inches. That means more screen real estate, more readable text and bigger movies and games. The iPhone 6 also includes NFC for the first time – for contactless payments – and the latest and greatest Apple A8 processor.

Read more about the Apple iPhone 6 or see iPhone 6 accessories or iPhone 6 Plus accessories.

1. Motorola Moto X

The original Moto X was a critical darling, with a highly customisable and classy design and clever software features that people actually used… but it lost the spec war, and sales didn’t meet expectations because of that. Now the second-generation Moto X is here, and now it’s firing on all cylinders. The new X has a new metal frame that looks great (and it’s still fully customisable, even including wood and leather backs). It’s got those great features (voice controls and battery saving over clean Android. Maybe most importantly, it’s got leading specs as well: a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, latest Snapdragon 801 processor and good 13-megapixel camera. The Verge have already called it the best Android smartphone, and from what I’ve seen I’m inclined to agree.

Read more about the Motorola Moto X or see Moto X (second gen) accessories.

Conclusion

Of course, there are probably more than five smartphones that are worth considering. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which will probably sell millions of units, is a great choice for anyone that really wants a big screen or stylus support. The One M8 remains a paragon of industrial design several months after its release. The Sharp Aquous Crystal won’t see a UK release date, but does look futuristic and gorgeous. And of course, the second-generation Motorola Moto G looks set to be a big success with an incredible amount of performance and features for the price… but this is a top 5, not a top 10 or a top 20.

What do you think of the selections? Got any questions? Let me know in the comments below, or speak to us on Twitter @mobilefun!

LG announce L Fino and L Bello mid-range phones

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

This week LG added a couple new mid-range phones to their arsenal, the L Fino and the L Bello. The phones, which are set to be announced formally at IFA 2014 in Berlin, are intended as “first smartphones” for teenagers or those in emerging markets. They include some features which have proved popular on the LG G3, such as rear-mounted buttons and minimal front bezels. Some software elements have also made it over, most notably the “Knock Code” feature that allows you to unlock the phone by tapping your pattern on the screen, forgoing the need to tap the rear-mounted buttons to wake the phone.

In terms of specifications, both phones are pretty reasonable. The Fino is the smaller and less powerful of the two, with a 4.5-inch 480×800 display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 4 GB of internal storage. The Bello is marginally better equipped, with a 5-inch 480×854 screen, 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of internal storage. Both phones share 1 GB of RAM, 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras, 3G connectivity and Android 4.4.2 on board.

The phones look to be well-supported with accessories as well. QuickCircle cases, like those for the LG G3, will be available. If you’re not familiar with them, these are flip cases with a circular window cut into the front cover. The window allows you to touch and control the screen beneath, as well as let you read status and notifications without needing to open the cover. You can see the time, answer or reject calls, and even run QuickCircle-specific games in the window. We’ll have more details on both LG L Fino and LG L Bello accessories and their availability in the days to come.

What do you think of the LG L Fino and L Bello? Let us know in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for checking out the article and have a good weekend!

Index of Mobile Phones