Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: March 2011

Review: Plantronics Voyager PRO UC v2 Bluetooth Headset

The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset is one device that has certainly seen its value boosted by the boom in smartphones, a powerful accessory geared towards business folks on the move.

Sporting a subtle black and silver design along with a range of features including synchronisation with multiple devices and remote music playback controls, this headset is definitely more substance over extroverted style, also enabling users to quickly pair with two devices simultaneously.

The headset offers a behind-the-ear fit, with an adjustable arm extending forward with the microphone attached. Whilst the design might look subtle and basic, the headset doesn’t lack in functionality, offering designated call answer/end and volume buttons.

There is also the ability to start and stop the playback of music from the paired device, using dedicated volume buttons.

Weighing in at just 17 grams – as well as owing to the flexible rubber fit – this device sits very comfortably and securely on the ear over long periods of time, and although it might feel a little odd for new users at first, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it after a while!

The fit is easily adjustable with the alternative inner-ear pieces included, to maximise comfort. One great feature of this headset is the ability of the microphone arm to rotate and allow it to fit onto either ear, a feature the cheaper headsets may lack.

The device claims to cut out up to 80% of background noise through dual-microphone technology, and while the sound is not as clear as using a phone by the traditional means, it’s almost as good, especially in noisy environments.

The ringer volume can come through rather quietly and be drowned out by environment noise, but conversations from either end are very clear with an ample range of volume. The only issue we picked up on was if you are wandering about with your phone in your pocket, this can seem to cause the headset to cut out occasionally every few seconds.

Whether this is a one off for our demo unit or it affects all headsets, it’s still a major flaw – especially for a product with a sizable recommended retail price of approximately £80 – you’d expect this to be one of the ideal scenarios for users.

By commanding this price tag it’s safe to say this is one for the business user rather than the casual. This is reflected in poor quality of the music playback, something which is possibly unfair to criticise it for, since it doesn’t really fit the purpose of the device.

Despite these points the device offers a lot of freedom to those who like to wander round the office while they chat, with a generous Bluetooth range, we found to be still usable at 10 metres away from the phone.

On the whole the gadget fits the bill excellently – with up to 6 hours talk time and 5 days standby, it offers almost an entire working day’s worth of chat, and up to a working week’s worth of power. If you’re an iPhone user, it’ll even display the battery life on screen for you too.

If you’re after a decent hands-free way to stay in touch on the go, the Voyager Pro UC is well worth a look. It’s quick and easy to pair over Bluetooth, packs in plenty of control for a modest 4 buttons, and – despite the sole flaw we found – is fantastically comfortable and reliable.

Samsung Galaxy Apollo – Special Pay Monthly Offer on T-Mobile!

The Samsung Galaxy Apollo was released in July last year to an impressed public due to its high spec at a low cost. Running on Android and with full 3G and Wi-Fi capability, the Apollo runs everything you would expect from a smartphone in 2011.

Its capacitive touchscreen is a delight to use and the 3.15 MP camera is able to take impressive pictures, though the lack of a flash does let it down somewhat.

For all those looking for an affordable smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Apollo may be just what your looking for, and with T-Mobile offering the phone for free for £10.21/month with 100 texts & 100 minutes, now is the perfect time to get yours.

Click here to see the latest Samsung Galaxy Apollo deals!

T-Mobile Pulse Mini: Now Available For Under £30 on Pay As You Go!

Owning a smartphone used to either involve signing up for a long contract and handing over a large chunk of money every month, or shelling out hundreds of pounds upfront then opting for a SIM Only Deal.

How times have changed, T-Mobile are now offering the Pulse Mini for £29.99 when you buy a £10 Top Up!

This delightful little phone runs on Android and has a 3.15MP camera and full access to the Android Market.

The T-Mobile Pulse Mini also comes pre-loaded with Goggle Maps, which combined with the phones GPS capabilities, means you never need to get lost again.

Whilst it is never going to compete with the iPhones and HTC Desire HDs of this world, the Pulse Mini offers a bag load of functionality for less than a seventeenth of the price of an iPhone 4!! Click here to see T-Mobile Pulse Mini Deals.

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY – Pre-Orders Now Available on Tesco Phone Shop!

After years of speculation (and a creepy ad during this year’s Superbowl) Sony unveiled their Xperia PLAY at Mobile World Congress this year and it is now available to Pre Order from Tesco ahead of its release on 1st April. Tesco are offering 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500Mb data allowance for £30/month on a 24 month contract and are also throwing in 1000 clubcard points as well. Check out the £30 Xperia PLAY deal here.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread and comes pre-installed with 6 games including FIFA 10 and Sims 3. Alongside the impressive gaming experience you would expect from any Playstation product, the Xperia PLAY has all the features you would expect from a top of the range smartphone including a 5MP camera, MicroSD card slot that can take cards up to 32Gb and access to all the apps in the Android Marketplace.

As well as being able to pre order the Xperia PLAY through Tesco, fans have the chance to win a phone everyday until its launch through Sony Ericsson UK’s Facebook competition.  The lucky winners will get their hands on 10 of the first phones off the production line so keep your eye on the Tesco website on 27th March for more information on how to win.

UK iPad 2 prices made public

Apple’s updated tablet costs have officially been converted to pounds sterling, with prices starting from £399 for the 16GB WIFI only iPad 2.

The iPad 2 comes with a new design that is 33 per cent thinner and up to 15 per cent lighter than the original iPad, with the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen that runs from a new dual-core A5 processor with two cameras – a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime, along with a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video.

Apple turfed out the USA costs of the iPad 2 when they announced the new tablet on March 2nd. These are $499, $599 and $699 for the 16, 32 and 64GB WIFI only models. The 3G and WIFI version came in at $629, $729 and $829 – all for the same capacities.

Apple’s iPad 2 in the UK costs £399, £479 and £559 for the 16, 32 and 64 WIFI only, with the 3G and WIFI models coming in at £499, £579 and £659.

Check out all the Apple iPad deals at OMIO today!

Accessory Review: Get Into The Wireless Groove With Supertooth Buddy and Supertooth Disco

One of the lesser-spotted gadgets amongst the tablets and touchscreen mobiles at Mobile World Congress 2011 was the Supertooth Buddy, a bold and beautiful hands-free kit powered by Bluetooth connectivity.

Sporting a simplistic oval design, festooned with large buttons and a huge clip on the rear, the Supertooth Buddy may look somewhat budget, but boasts a wealth of connectivity features within its ample frame.

The Supertooth Buddy is able to pair with a mobile via Bluetooth, enabling hands-free in car reception of calls, whilst the massive clip enables the device to just nestle on a rear-view mirror and be ready for action – removing the need for fiddly installation.

The robust Buddy can actually be synced to two mobile devices at once, meaning that any calls coming in can be answered with a quick tap of the large ‘call answer/end’ button, whilst additional features like rejecting calls or voice-dialling all capable on the ‘main’ handset.

The other keys to adjust volume and turn the device off on the Supertooth Buddy are equally large, making it easy to activate without taking eyes off the road. With the plethora of touchscreen driven hands-free devices on the market, it was refreshing to flail in the Buddy’s general direction upon getting a call and hit the green button on the face.

Whilst the active range is around 10 meters, it’s more than enough for the Supertooth Buddy to produce decent sound quality from the soft mic within the confines of a vehicle, but we did find that it needed occasional coaxing to auto-pair with a device, despite being equipped with Bluetooth v2.1.

The reported anti-echo and noise cancelling functionality did not seem to be wildly improving the audio quality, but they are great additional features to in-car calling when on a noisy motorway.

Bluetooth pairing is indeed as much of a chore as ever, with the ever-present issues of holding down buttons for discoverability (yes, that’s a word), entering pin codes and waiting for intermittent blinking lights all present and correct on the Buddy. Fortunately, it’s a one-time only deal, and the handset remembers its connection with your phone(s) after a few calls.

The Buddy certainly lasted near to the 20 hours touted when it comes to talktime, with scant need to pop it out of the car and charge via microUSB. It definitely lasted most of the review period without running out of juice.

With a price tag of around £40, the Supertooth Buddy is a great device, belying its basic form factor with above-average audio functionality and all manner of decent hands-free features.

Whether getting work done or just chatting on the go, the Supertooth Buddy keeps things simple where it counts – installation and everyday use – whilst offering an ideal in-car accompaniment to your mobile phone.

Supertooth Disco – Whilst the Supertooth Buddy might offer great wireless connectivity for the journey, the Supertooth Disco is the ideal party-starter at your destination.

This meaty speaker can hook up with any Bluetooth A2DP compatible device, enabling stereo music to be streamed via supported mobiles or computers as well as by connecting an MP3 player directly to the Disco.

This beast boasts a whopping 28 watts of power – a first for a wireless Bluetooth speaker – and it largely lives up to the promise of an aural assault in the flesh.

Still able to provide 10 hours of non-stop tunes when not wired up to the mains, the Supertooth Disco’s imposing design sees the entire range of controls positioned around its central volume dial.

Once synced up to the music – another symphony of searching for devices and flashing red and blue lights – then all aspects of the host device can be handled directly from the Disco.

Skip tracks, crank up the volume and pause the tunes (with a tiny bit of lag), all with the mobile as far as a good 15-20 meters away but in a direct line of sight. A couple of walls was good enough to sever the connection between the Supertooth Disco and our office iPhone 4, but it’ll be more than good enough for orchestrating a beach party.

One of the buttons radiating out from the dial is for ‘bass’. One word of advice – do not turn this button off, lest you wish even the most grimy of tunes to become a toothless ditty. A weighty stereo experience becomes a tinny mess without this button activated, and turning up the volume only serves to make the Supertooth Disco sound worse.

With the bass button rocking, the gravity of bass-heavy tunes can reverberate a room with the Supertooth Disco, without the decline of audio quality in the top end that wireless transmission and a portable speaker system might suggest.

Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of” lost none of its angsty rasp and deep guitars through the Disco, whilst the strings, rhymes and orchestral lilt of Lupe Fiasco’s “All Black Everything” was equally audible above the snapping drum loops.

At a affordable price of around £80, the 10.2 x 35.6 x 10.2 cm Supertooth Disco becomes eminently more portable thanks to a slick supplied carry case, whilst the impressive audio quality and wireless simplicity makes it a must-have in your car boot, whilst the Buddy chills out on your sun-visor.

Both great examples of Bluetooth devices having practical implications beyond the headset, and both great examples of overblown design without any compromise on essential features.

The Supertooth Buddy and Supertooth Disco are both available now from, here and here.

Applications for the Windows Phone 7 hits a new height

Microsoft’s Windows Maketplace has just reached 9,000 items, made up from applications and games and there’s still 100 apps being submitted each and every day.

There’s more than 32,000 developers writing these apps, where the software tools have been downloaded more than a million times to date with cut and paste just being rolled out to the new version as well.

When the mobile Windows Phone 7 software store launched for the platform there was only 445 apps, where this huge increase is down to the uptake from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG manufactured handsets.

Check out the latest Windows Phone 7 deals at OMIO today!

Low cost music Nokia mobile phone launches


Nokia’s new X1-00 handset has one of the loudest speakers, longest battery lifes and lowest costs of any of their devices around today.

X1-00 comes with a 128×160 screen, with a built FM radio, an MP3 player along with three dedicated music buttons and a loud speaker that can actually shake window frames.

The mobile’s operating system is one of the older Symbian Series 30 that delivers to the whole phone a whopping 61 hours of battery life on standby, or over two and a half days between charges.

There’s even five different address books on the Nokia mobile that allows for multiple people to share the phone.

Nokia’s X1-00 is coming to a store near you in April with a cost of just £30 or 34 Euros, making this idea for the real budget, prepay or youth market.

Check out all of the Nokia deals on OMIO today.

T-Mobile Sale: 30% Off Sony Ericsson and Samsung Prepay Handsets, Today Only!

T-Mobile has launched a 30% sale on all of its pay as you go Sony Ericsson and Samsung handsets, starting from today!

Customers who buy one of the selected phones on sale will receive a 30% discount on the retail price. Free mobile internet is also available with some handsets, for a limited period.

Customers can choose from a selection of smartphones, including the popular Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro, Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 and Samsung Monte.

Sony Ericsson recently debuted its Sony Ericsson Xperia Play – nicknamed the PlayStation phone – with slide-out gaming controls with the classic shape-festooned controller buttons.

The T-Mobile sale ends at 10pm tonight, check out the full range of T-Mobile prepay deals here.

Unlimited downloading comes to pay as you go on Three

Black line logoThree has taken the training wheels off their £15 a month prepay tariff, by allowing their customers to download as much as they want with no limits whatsoever.

This comes only a few months after Three took the data cap off their One Plan and offered for the first time on any network a truly unlimited data allowance, on a 24-month contract.

Three’s pay as go All On One deal is a rolling 30-day price plan that also comes with 300 minutes, along with a 3,000 text message allowance – with mobile broadband that no longer needs monitoring.

No other mobile phone network offers anything like this in the UK, where some have even started to tighten their belts by reducing data limits and Three are even set to bring out in 21Mbps HSPA+ this summertime.

Check out all the Three mobile phone and device deals at OMIO!