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Archive for the ‘Mobile Phones’ Category

Spec Ops: iPhone 6 Plus vs Nexus 6 vs OnePlus One vs Note 4

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

In this article, we’re going to consider how the biggest phablets of the year stack up. We’ll be looking at three Android smartphones – the Nexus 6, Note 4 and OnePlus One - in addition to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. Let’s begin!

Display

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
5.96 inches 5.7 inches 5.5 inches 5.5 inches
2560 x 1440 2560 x 1440 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
493 ppi 515 ppi 401 ppi 401 ppi

It seems only natural to start with the defining feature of these phones: their displays. Each one comes with a display greater than 5.5 inches across the diagonal, putting them firmly in phablet (phone / tablet hybrid) territory. The One and 6 Plus are the smaller pair, while the Note 4 and Nexus 6 are closer to the tablet end of the scale. Despite their greater size, the higher resolution 1440p displays of the Note and Nexus grant them denser screens, which should make text and images appear more crisply.

Display technologies are also important; the Nexus 6 and Note 4 use AMOLED while the OnePlus One and iPhone 6 Plus are using IPS LCD displays. AMOLED is traditionally more power-efficient and has more vibrant colours, while IPS LCD tends to be more colour accurate with better viewing angles. Each display used here is high-end though, and so these differences are minimised.

Ultimately, there’s little here to differentiate these phones from each other; rather it depends what size you’re most comfortable with. We’ll get more into that with our next item – dimensions.

Winner: Tied

Dimensions, Weight and Materials

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
159 x 83 x 10.1mm 154 x 79 x 8.5mm 153 x 76 x 8.9mm 158 x 78 x 7.1mm
184 grams 176 grams 162 grams 172 grams
Metal-framed plastic Metal-framed plastic Metal-framed plastic Metal

Given the differing screen sizes, we have surprisingly close results when it comes to dimensions. The Note 4 comes out barely ahead, thanks to fitting a 5.7-inch screen in dimensions close to the 5.5-inch OnePlus One. The iPhone 6 Plus is the outlier here, with a very wide and tall body for its screen size. Despite this, it pulls something back with a svelte 7.1mm thickness.

Each phone is constructed better than many of its peers and predecessors; the Note 4′s metal frame is a big improvement over the all-plastic body of the Note 3, for instance. When it comes to durability and in-hand feel, the sandstone back and metal frame of the OnePlus One give it the edge in the my eyes, with the iPhone 6 Plus’ fragile but gorgeous metal body close behind.

Winner: OnePlus One

Internals: CPU, RAM, Storage

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
Snapdragon 805
quad-core 2.7GHz
Snapdragon 805
quad-core 2.7GHz
Snapdragon 801
quad-core 2.5GHz
Apple A8
dual-core 1.4GHz
3GB RAM 3GB RAM 3GB RAM 1GB RAM
32/64GB 32GB + microSD 16/64GB 16/64/128GB

When it comes to raw power, the two most recent Android phones – the Nexus 6 and Note 4 – have the edge. Their Snapdragon 805 chipsets provide an excess of CPU and GPU horsepower, just ahead of the OnePlus One’s older Snapdragon 801 chip. The iPhone 6 Plus seems outgunned here, but the Apple A8 chipset is surprisingly good for its clock speed, and offers similar performance to the 801 in many benchmarks.

Where the Apple handset really falls behind is in RAM, offering only 1GB compared to the 3GB of its rivals. This has a very noticeable effect, as you can only keep a couple of apps open at a time. Go back to an app you had open a few minutes ago, and you’ll have to launch it from scratch. Having to reload tabs in Safari every time you go back to the app gets old really fast. Conversely, these Android handsets can keep apps ready to go in the background for ages, saving your position in the app and saving you time and data.

When it comes to storage, the 6 Plus’ default 16GB loadout is quite limiting, and the jump to 64GB is expensive. The OnePlus One avoids this with a cheap jump to 64GB, while the Note 4 and Nexus 6 start with 32GB of storage onboard (and the Note 4 can add more storage cheaply with microSD).

Winners: Nexus 6 and Note 4

Battery Life

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
3220 mAh 3220 mAh 3100 mAh 2915 mAh
24hr talk-time 20hr talk-time 20hr talk-time 24hr talk-time

One advantage to going with a phablet is that you can fit a giant battery inside. These phones’ batteries average over 3,000 mAh, granting the ability to talk for nearly a full day. Using the giant display reduces these figures somewhat, but with mixed usage you’re still looking at one or two full days of use between recharges. The iPhone 6 Plus is particularly impressive, with 24 hours of talk time from the smallest battery in the field.

Winner: iPhone 6 Plus

Camera

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
13-megapixel
OIS, dual-LED flash
16-megapixel
OIS, LED flash
13-megapixel
dual-LED flash
8-megapixel
OIS, dual-LED flash
2160p30
1080p60
2160p30
1080p60
2160p30
1080p60
720p120
1080p60
720p240
2-megapixel 3.7-megapixel 5-megapixel 1.2-megapixel

While Android manufacturers have been chasing the spec sheets with higher megapixel counts, Apple has been focusing on image quality. The 6 Plus is their best effort yet, and takes fantastic pictures compared to other smartphones. Still, the higher megapixel counts of these Android phones do allow for better results in well-lit conditions like landscape shots. Ultimately though, the 6 Plus takes better pictures. The only disappointment is the front-facing camera, which at 1.2-megapixels is behind the competition.

When it comes to videos, it’s a little closer. Each Android phone shown here boasts 4K 30fps video recording, while the iPhone 6 Plus has excellent 240fps slow motion video at 720p. The slow motion video seems more useful than 4K, so once again the edge goes to the iPhone.

Winner: iPhone 6 Plus

Connectivity

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
10-band LTE 9-band LTE 7-band LTE 20-band LTE
WiFi ac
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
WiFi ac
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
WiFi ac
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
WiFi ac
Bluetooth 4.0
NFC (Apple Pay)

Connectivity is an interesting area. On the one hand, the iPhone 6 Plus has twice as many LTE bands as most of its competitors, making it much more likely you’ll find your favourite carrier is supported. Conversely, the Android phablets have a slightly later version of Bluetooth – 4.1 – which includes better coexistence with LTE signals, smarter connectivity and direct data transfers between Bluetooth accessories. The Android representatives also include NFC, which can be used for a range of purposes like transferring files, reading ads or contactless payments, while the iPhone 6 Plus only uses NFC for Apple’s own contactless payment system.

Winner: iPhone 6 Plus

Software and features

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
Android 5
Stock
Android 4.4
TouchWiz
Android 4.4
CyanogenMod 11S
iOS 8.1
Stock
Water-resistant
Wireless charging
Stereo front speakers
S-Pen stylus
Removable battery
Multi-window
Fingerprint sensor
Tap-to-wake
Optional soft buttons
Touch ID
Continuity

Features are probably the hardest aspect of a phone to reduce down to a simple comparison, but at least you can see the features that each manufacturer wants to highlight (that we haven’t touched on already). Each phone has its strong points: the Nexus 6 has a strong hardware design with water resistance, wireless charging and stereo front-facing speakers, while the OnePlus One focuses more on software features like tap-to-wake and optional soft buttons. The iPhone 6 Plus’ Touch ID is the best implementation of a fingerprint sensor thus far, while Continuity allows the phone to work well with Mac computers. The Note 4 is probably the feature king though, with the S-Pen and some unique multi-tasking / multi-window features that make good use of the large screen.

When it comes to software, it’s a matter of preference. iOS 8.1 lacks the depth and customisation of Android, particularly compared to the CyanogenMod build on the OnePlus One, but does many things well and looks beautiful. iOS also boasts the larger app store, and more apps appear exclusively here than on Android. Conversely, many apps are just off-limits on iOS – you can’t get a torrent client, emulators or any content which Apple finds offensive or overly political.

Winner: Note 4

Accessories

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
39 products 140 products 27 products 221 products

When it comes to accessories, Apple have enjoyed a healthy advantage almost since the first iPhone. With only a couple of models to choose from, accessory makers can be assured of a big market for each item they produce. The biggest Android models enjoy similar popularity, but the Nexus 6 and OnePlus One are not as well supported.

Winner: iPhone 6 Plus

Price

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
£529 ($649) - 32GB
£569 ($699) - 64GB
£575 ($749) - 32GB £229 ($299) – 16GB
£269 ($349) - 64GB
£619 ($749) - 16GB
£699 ($849) - 64GB
£789 ($949) - 128GB

When it comes to price, the OnePlus One is the least expensive and the iPhone 6 Plus is the most. The iPhone 6 Plus also puts the highest premium on additional storage, with the next tier costing an extra £80 compared to £40 for the Nexus 6 and OnePlus One. The Note 4 has only one storage option, but does come with a microSD card slot which allows even less expensive storage upgrades.

Nexus 6 prices are based on announced US prices and previous UK conversions, including VAT, and should be reasonably accurate.

Winner: OnePlus One

Overall

Nexus 6 Note 4 OnePlus One iPhone 6 Plus
1 win 2 wins 2 wins 4 wins

As it stands, the iPhone 6 Plus seems the best phone in more categories than its peers, taking home victories in battery life, camera, connectivity and accessories. The Note 4 won in hardware and features, while the OnePlus got the nod for dimensions / materials and price. The Nexus 6 took only one win in terms of hardware, which it shared with the Note.

Ultimately though, each of these four phones is a viable choice. The Nexus 6 offers bleeding edge specifications with the latest version of stock Android; the Note 4 is the feature-king with an improved design and good hardware; the OnePlus One has a great in-hand feel and is so inexpensive; the iPhone 6 Plus has an awesome camera and battery life, and enjoys a strong app and accessory ecosystem.

I hope this breakdown has made your choice easier. Let us know which one you’d pick in the comments below, or share your questions. Thanks for checking out the article and have a good week!

Google Nexus 6 coming SIM-free to Mobile Fun

Friday, October 17th, 2014

The Google Nexus 6 is the latest smartphone from Google. As the name suggests, this is a handset with a larger screen than the Nexus 5 – we’re up to 5.9 inches. The phone is an enlarged version of Motorola’s well-received Moto X 2014, with the same metal frame, dual front-facing speakers and even the Moto back dimple. We’ll be getting the Nexus 6 sim-free and unlocked, so let’s take a closer look at what makes it tick.

Design

If you’ve seen the Moto X that was released earlier this year, then the Nexus 6 will seem very familiar to you. The phone is dominated with a massive 5.9-inch display, running at 2560×1440 resolution to ensure pin-sharp text and images. Above and below the display we have front-facing speakers, which provide a louder and better directed sound than the traditional downward or backward firing speakers. There’s a metal trim around the edge to provide a more premium feel, and other Moto X elements like the circular flash ring and dimpled logo make a reappearance too.

Hardware

Internally, the Nexus 6 comes with the very latest in mobile technology. The phone’s Snapdragon 805 processor is faster and more power-efficient than both the Snapdragon 800 and 801 that was used in phones earlier this year, and this is backed with 2GB RAM and 32 or 64GB of internal storage. A 3220mAh battery is also present, which should provide day-long battery life with moderate use. We’ve got a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel unit up front; both reasonable specifications that should provide pretty good imaging capabilities.

Software

The Nexus 6 runs the very latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. The new OS boasts a large visual redesign for Android, with a new ‘Material Design’ that promotes bold colours, realistic animations and a unified experience across a range of platforms and device sizes. There’s plenty going in the background too, with new notification controls, a battery saving mode, multiple accounts, security settings and more than 5,000 new APIs for developers to use.

Pricing and availability

Google have yet to confirm UK pricing and availability, but the phone is expected to cost slightly more than the previous Nexus 5. The phone should be available next month. For live pricing and availability, please check the product pages linked below:

We’ll also have a wide range of cases and accessories for the Nexus 6. Earlier today, we showed you Spigen cases for the new phone.

Conclusion

That’s all for now! Be sure to let us know what you think of the Nexus 6 in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun or on Facebook at Love Your Mobile. Thanks for checking out the article and have a good weekend!

SIM-free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 LTE available now

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 - Grey    SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 - Grey

Samsung have continued to offer some of the most popular Android phones – from their high-end Galaxy S5 and Note 4 models to lower and mid-range phones. It’s from this value end of the spectrum that today’s featured phone comes: the Galaxy Ace 4 LTE. This phone costs only £150, but offers good hardware, a recent version of Android and a sturdy design. The Galaxy Ace 4 LTE is available sim-free from Mobile Fun, so let’s take a look at what you get for the money.

Design

The Ace 4 has a simple but effective design, consistent with Samsung’s past efforts. The plastic frame is light and durable, and allows for a microSD card slot to easily add extra storage space. The front of the phone is dominated by a 4-inch 480p display, with a VGA front-facing camera above. There’s a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera on the back as well, flanked with a flash module and the phone’s speaker. The phone is fairly thin and light, at 11mm and 131 grams.

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 - Grey

Hardware

Inside, the Ace 4 has reasonable specifications. That includes a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD) and a 1500mAh removable battery. In terms of connectivity, we’re looking at 4 LTE, WiFi N, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS (w/ A-GPS and GLONASS) and FM radio.

Software

The Ace 4 comes with Android 4.4.2 on board, with Samsung’s familar TouchWiz UI on top. While most of the crazy features from the Galaxy S5 haven’t made the jump to the Ace 4, very few of them were legitimately useful anyway so that’s no bad thing.

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 - Grey    SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 - Grey

Conclusion

That’s all for now folks! Be sure to let us know what you think of the phone, and check out the SIM-free Galaxy Ace 4 product page for more information or to place your order. You can also find a full range of Galaxy Ace 4 accessories right here.Thanks for checking out the article and have a good week ahead!

Google Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 announced

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Today Google announced two new Nexus devices: the Nexus 6 smartphone and the Nexus 9 tablet. Both devices will debut with Android 5.0 Lollipop later this month – which includes a new look called Material Design, a battery-saving mode and thousands of new features for app developers. Let’s take a closer look at the two new Nexus devices Google have revealed.

Google Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 is the latest flagship Google phone, and is made by Motorola. It’s essentially an enlarged version of Motorola’s latest Moto X smartphone, with the same rounded design, metal trim, circular flash ring and a dimpled Motorola logo on the rear. There are even dual front-facing speakers – a new feature for a Nexus phone. The phone will be available in white and blue varieties.

The Nexus 6′s most noticeable feature is its 5.9-inch 2560 x 1440 display, which is significantly bigger than that of the Nexus 5. Internally, the Nexus 6 is impressive too. The phone comes with a Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of internal storage and a sizeable 3220 mAh battery. The camera situation seems reasonable, with a 2-megapixel unit on the front and a 13-megapixel shooter on the back.

The Nexus 6 will go on pre-order on October 29th, with in-store availability coming in early November. You’ll be able to order from Google’s Play Store, third-party retailers or the Three and O2 networks. UK pricing has yet to be announced for the smartphone, but in the United States we’re looking at a minimum price of $649 for the 32GB version – a higher than previous Nexus devices. The 64GB version will cost $699.

We’ll be supporting the new smartphone with a full range of Nexus 6 accessories. We’ve already launched a range of FlexiShield Nexus 6 cases, and we’ll be following up with several Nexus 6 chargers, car holders, screen protectors and many other categories.

Google Nexus 9

Google worked with HTC to produce their latest tablet, the Nexus 9. The Nexus 9 is quite unusual for an Android tablet, with a 4:3 aspect ratio display that mimics Apple’s line of iPad tablets. The 8.9-inch 2048×1536 display is flanked by dual front-facing BoomSound speakers, and set within a metal frame.

The Nexus 9 is being launched alongside a keyboard attachment, which magnetically attaches to the metal frame to produce a laptop-like form factor. This provides a way to be productive on the go, and makes the Nexus 9 a competitor to Microsoft’s line of Surface tablets.

The tablet is one of the first devices to debut with Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chipset; it’s also the first 64-bit processor to be used in a Nexus product. This is backed with 2GB RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage (with optional LTE in the 32GB variety) and a battery good for about 9 hours of solid use.

The Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order on October 17th – this Friday. It’ll ship in November. Once again, UK prices have not been announced, but the Nexus 9 will cost $399 in the United States for the 16GB model without LTE. The 32GB and LTE 32GB versions will cost $479 and $599, respectively.

We’ll also have a load of Nexus 9 accessories, which includes protective items like Nexus 9 cases and screen protectors, alongside more general items like chargers, docks and so forth. We’ll have more accessories to announce over the coming days and weeks!

Conclusion

Thanks for checking out our coverage of Google’s Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 tablets! We’ll have plenty of accessories and other news to release soon, so please stay tuned!

HTC announce Desire Eye: killer selfies, water resistance and strong hardware

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Selfies are an important social currency on Twitter and other networks, so it’s no surprise to see phone makers produce new selfie-focussed phone designs. Today HTC announced their effort, the Desire Eye. It combines a massive 13-megapixel front-facing camera with a beautiful, water-resistant design and strong internals. Let’s take a closer look.

The selfie master

The Desire Eye comes with the largest front-facing camera on a smartphone, with a 13-megapixel sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 28mm focal length, autofocus, dual LED flash and 1080p video recording. All of this tech should add up to one of the best-looking front-facing cameras ever: just the thing for social media butterflies.

HTC are making use of that upgraded hardware with some new camera modes. You can take photos with the front and rear cameras simultaneously or merge your face with another person’s face to create a combined ‘mutant’ selfie. You can take selfies or record video with your voice; there’s also an automatic selfie mode that takes a picture once your phone is still and your face is in the right place.

Beautiful and water-resistant

The Desire Eye comes in a double-shot polycarbonate body, which is available in two-tone white/red or blue/navy colourways. The 5.2-inch display makes the phone a little larger than the One M8, but it is 1.35mm thinner and weighs 154 grams. The body is water resistant thanks to internal gaskets and short protection, with an IPX7 rating. That means it should be able to withstand immersion in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes, all without the annoying flaps that come with most water-resistant phones.

Surprisingly capable mid-ranger

Internally, the Desire Eye has much of the same hardware as their flagship One M8. You’ll find a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage plus microSD and a 5.2-inch 1080p display. The only differences are a smaller battery for the Eye (2400mAh vs 2600mah) and no Duo camera on the back (instead we have a standard 13-megapixel unit).

In terms of software, we’re looking at a near-identical loadout (apart from those unique selfie features mentioned earlier). That includes Android 4.4 Kit Kat and HTC’s Sense 6 UI.

The most desirable Desire for some time

The Desire Eye looks like a really strong phone on paper; it’ll be interesting to see the first reviews and impressions come in. The phone is scheduled to be released in October, and should cost around the same as the One E8 – around £350 sim-free.

Here at Mobile Fun, we’ll be providing a wide range of HTC Desire Eye accessories – including cases, chargers and other necessities. We’ll have more details on these in the weeks ahead.

Are you tempted by the Desire Eye’s selfie credentials and other strong features? Let me know in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.

Index of Mobile Phones