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Archive for the ‘Mobile Phones’ Category

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!

Pro Tip: Don’t buy a phone or smartwatch until September

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The beginning of September is looking like a massively busy period, as the IFA trade show kicks off and almost every major mobile company has an event planned. Scores of smartphones and smartwatches will be announced here, and most will start shipping later in the month.

For this reason, right now is the worst possible time to buy a phone or smartwatch–wait until these releases are out of the way, and then reap the benefits of lower prices or newer devices on the market in late September and October.

Don’t believe me? Just have a look at what’s coming in September:

Smartphones*

Samsung are releasing the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy Note 4. Motorola are releasing the Moto X+1 and Moto G2. Sony are releasing the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact. Nokia are releasing the Nokia Lumia 530, 730 and 830. HTC are releasing the One M8 with Windows and the J Butterfly. Chinese companies Meizu and Huawei are releasing the MX4 and Ascend Mate 7, respectively. Sharp are releasing the Aquous Crystal. Most importantly of all, Apple are releasing at least one new iPhone, the iPhone 6.

Smartwatches

September looks equally busy for smartwatches. Motorola are the biggest confirmed players here, with the eagerly anticipated Moto 360 set to launch. ASUS and LG have also teased new smartwatches for IFA, while Sony are rumoured to also be showing a watch at the event. Apple are the wildcard here–it’s not known if they’ll announce the iWatch at their September 9th event, but if they do then it’ll be massive.

Press Events

Here’s a breakdown of all announced or heavily rumoured events:

September 2nd

Meizu (MX4)

September 3rd

Samsung (Galaxy Note 4)
Sony (Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z3 Tablet Compact, SmartWatch 3)
ASUS (smartwatch)

September 4th

Motorola (Moto X+1, G2, 360)
Nokia (Lumia 730, 830)
Huawei (Ascend Mate 7)

September 9th

Apple (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Air)

Signing off

September is going to be an awesome time for mobile fans, and there’s only one way to ruin it: by purchasing a smartphone or smartwatch just before its successor is announced. Wait if you can, and you’ll find cheaper smartphones or newer models in a matter of weeks. My recommendation? iPhone 6 or Galaxy Note 4. But don’t decide now – there will be a lot of excellent choices in the weeks to come!

*Not all of these phones will see European releases – the One M8 with Windows and Aquous Crystal have been announced for US markets. The J Butterfly and Aquous Crystal are launching in Japan. The MX4 and Ascend Mate 7 will launch in China. Still, it’s possible to import these phones.

SIM-free Samsung Galaxy Alpha coming soon to Mobile Fun

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The Galaxy Alpha is the latest Samsung handset, and the very first to use their new metal design language. We’ll have the handset in stock, sim-free and unlocked, very soon. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the next big thing from Samsung.

Design

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Alpha 32GB - Black    SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Alpha 32GB - White

The Galaxy Alpha sports an interesting look, with a chamfered metal frame with Samsung’s typical plastic front and back. The back cover feels similar to the Galaxy S5, with that dimpled look. The overall look is somewhere between the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S, and it’s a huge improvement over the purely plastic designs we’ve seen from Samsung in the past.

The phone is incredibly skinny too, measuring just 6.7mm – about a millimetre thinner than the iPhone 5S – and weighs about the same, despite a much larger 4.7-inch 720p display.

The phone comes in four colour variations: dazzling white, charcoal black, sleek silver and frosted gold and scuba blue. Knowing Samsung, we’ll see additional colours if the phone proves a success.

Hardware

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Alpha 32GB - Gold    SIM Free Samsung Galaxy Alpha 32GB - Blue

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha with a nice hardware specification; not quite at the top of the pile like the Galaxy S5, but still perfectly respectable for a mid to high-end device.

The heart of the phone is its Exynos 5430 octa-core processor, which is the first mobile SoC built on a 20nm process. The CPU uses around 25% less power than before, while also including a new audio co-processor. The new CPU is powerful too, scoring higher marks than the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8 in the AnTuTu benchmark.

The CPU is backed with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, although there’s no microSD card slot to add more. A 12-megapixel rear camera and 2.1-megapixel front-facer are also included. Everything runs off a 1860mAh battery, thanks to the more efficient CPU.

Software

The Galaxy Alpha will come with the latest version of Android to be fully released, which is 4.4 KitKat. An upgrade to Android 4.5 L seems a given, judging by Samsung’s past record in upgrading their mid-range and high-end handsets.

The phone will run the same TouchWiz UI as the Galaxy S5, with a number of nifty features added on top of the stock Android experience. You’ll get the ability to run two apps side-by-side, a comprehensive camera app loaded with modes and more Samsung apps than you can shake a stick at. The built-in fingerprint sensor is another nice feature, allowing you to sign into your phone with a (careful) touch of your finger.

It’s a strong selection, and while some might prefer a cleaner experience, if you’re looking for features then you can’t do much better than Samsung’s latest.

Summary

The Galaxy Alpha looks to be a surprisingly capable phone, and one of the best looking handsets that Samsung have ever released.

Links

Signing off

Thanks for checking out the article and the phone! Be sure to let us know if you’re going to pick up the Galaxy Alpha, or tell us why not! You can reach us in the comments below, or on Twitter @mobilefun.

The Nexus returns: Nexus 6 “Shamu” rumour roundup

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

After nearly a year of radio silence, it now seems likely that Google will release a new Nexus smartphone in the coming months. That smartphone will be called the Google Nexus 6, and it may be the last of its kind.

Before we get into the rumour roundup proper, let’s take a step back and see why the Nexus program was started in the first place – and how it’s evolved since its inception.

A potted history of the Nexus program

The Nexus program began in 2010, with the Nexus One smartphone. It was designed to allow Google to present an pure example of their Android operating system, unmarred by modifications by third-party manufacturers, allowing these partners to better make the next generation of Android devices.

With the release of the Nexus 4 in 2012, Google offered another benefit: leading-edge hardware at a near-cost price. That made the Nexus 4 a firm favourite with Android enthusiasts, who recommended the handset to their friends and family as a good way to get into Android. The Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus 5 smartphone continued this trend, offering an excellent hardware package at a very reasonable price. Both devices sold well, even while supplies remained tight and advertising minimal.

The success of Google’s Nexus program paved the way for two things: low cost smartphones running pure un-skinned Android, like the Motorola Moto G, and Google Play Edition devices, which were conversions of existing flagship phones to run Google’s stock OS.

While these new additions were appreciated by enthusiasts (and their audience of more mainstream users), no new Nexus devices were released after the Nexus 5 in 2013. Rumours began to appear about a new program, Android Silver, in which Google would run considerable ad campaigns in exchange for greater control of Android running on their partners’ flagship devices. It sounded like the days of good value Nexus devices was at an end, to be replaced only by high-end examples.

For the first half of 2014, this was our reality – it didn’t look like any new Nexus devices were coming. But as July has turned into August, a new series of leaks and clues has emerged, suggesting the release of at least one more Nexus device is on the horizon.

Nexus 6 rumour roundup

Here’s what we know so far. The next Nexus will be made by Motorola, and is known under the Shamu codename – an aquatic theme reflected by the entire Nexus series (e.g. Grouper, Hammerhead, Mako).

If the information leaked so far is accurate, the phone is set to be the largest Nexus device yet made, with a 5.2-inch screen at a industry-leading 2560 x 1440 resolution. The phone looks impressive internally as well, with a next-generation Snapdragon 805 quad-processor at its heart backed with an Adreno 420 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. A 13-megapixel camera sits on the rear of the device, while a 2.1-megapixel front-facer completes the imaging arrangements.

Of course, a Nexus phone wouldn’t be complete without a new, pure version of Android, and that’s exactly what we find here. The phone has been recorded as running Android L, which is currently available as a developer preview for the latest released Nexus phone, the Nexus 5.

The Nexus 6 is likely to be released this autumn alongside Android L. September seems the earliest potential date, but a release in October or even November is also possible. The Nexus 5 was released in November 2013, so releasing before a year has elapsed would seem an obvious target… not to mention a release in time for the Christmas rush.

The Nexus 6 looks like an exciting return for the Nexus program, particularly if Google are able to keep the price down to their usual Nexus levels. If the Nexus program is dying, best that it goes out with a bang.

Signing off

We’ll continue to bring you more Nexus 6 news as it becomes available, and of course we’ll have a full range of cases and accessories for the phone once it is announced or leaked more fully.

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know if you’re planning to pick up the Nexus 6.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha announced: the first metal Samsung phone

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Samsung announced the Galaxy Alpha today, their first phone to use their new metal design language. The phone looks like a cross between the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, with a large screen, 6.7mm thick chamfered metal frame and dimpled plastic removable back.

It’s pretty impressive inside as well. There’s a 4.7″ display, a 12-megapixel camera, 1860mAh battery and a quad or octa-core Samsung Exynos processor. The phone has a few downsides compared to the more expensive Galaxy S5 flagship though, including no removable storage (although 32 GB of internal space is provided standard), no waterproofing and a 720p screen.

For the most part though, the Galaxy Alpha looks like a better phone than the S5. While the metal used here doesn’t make for as good a design as the iPhone 5S or the HTC One M8. Still, it’s a step in the right direction for Samsung, who have pledged to use new and higher quality materials in a drive to turn around their flagging sales figures in the past few months.

We’ll have a full range of cases and covers for the Galaxy Alpha. It’ll be important to prevent scratches on that new metal section, so we forsee small and tight-fitting covers to be a popular item. In addition to cases, we’ll also try to provide a good level of accessories for the new Galaxy Alpha phone.

The sim-free Galaxy Alpha is available for pre-order at Mobile Fun now, with an expected release date of September and a price of £499.

We’ll announce cases and other accessories for the device as we add them to our store, so stay tuned to the Mobile Fun blog. You can hear about new articles and accessories via our Twitter (@mobilefun) or Facebook (Love Your Mobile). Thanks for checking out the blog and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Index of Mobile Phones