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Category Archives: Mobile Phone Feature

Top five cases for the Apple iPhone 5

Once you get hold of a new Apple iPhone 5 the next major concern is keeping it safe from scratches and bumps. Though the iPhone was released sometime ago, new cases for it are frequently being released .  Whether you want a minimal case to show off your iPhone’s design or a case that protects your phone completely, you have a good selection available. We have listed five of the best cases, for your viewing pleasure.

Scosche kickBACK sport-900-100

Scosche kickBACK sport p5
Scosche has tailored the cover with a strong polycarbonate exterior, which gives the device full protection without sacrificing its look. The rubber interior can also reduce the impact of a fall, in absorbing the shock. An integrated kickstand has been included, for you to enjoy watching videos at your leisure. Its superior design allows the user to use the phone, without any hindrance.

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Griffin Animal Parade Case
For those users who are looking for a cute yet strong case for their favorite device, the Griffin Animal Parade case will be a good pick. The tough silicon cover, with its adjoining rimed edges, will keep the device safe from bumps, along with protecting the screen. The case doesn’t irritate by obstructing the ports or display, while guarding that precious display. With no doubt, this animal case will give an altogether new smart look.

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Casemate’s Sling
An amazing cover by Casemate, the Sling is for all the hardcore fashion freaks out there. It would be definitely a cool option, especially for girls, who go for bright dainty colours. It is a featherweight two-piece case, made of silicone and polycarbonate, ensures full protection of the mobile. Though a delicate choice, the stunning smooth finish and breathtaking colours add more beauty to the phone. Take our word for it; you could make your friends envious with the captivating look of Casemate’s iPhone 5 value case Olo Sling.

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Reveal case for iPhone 5
As its name suggests, it completely reveals the beauty of your device and at the same time, guaranteeing full protection. The strong one-piece polycarbonate case has thin rubber edges, to reduce any unexpected impact. Its super slim design doesn’t add much to your iPhone5’s overall thickness, if you could neglect the few added millimetres.

SmartFlex Card for iPhone 5

SmartFlex Card Case for iPhone5
Truly a smart case for your iPhone! The Smart Flex cases offers a convenient slot for carrying cards, while protecting your phone. The sleek and chic design could hold anyone’s eye, as you hold the phone. The buttons are also given a rubberized covering to absorb shocks. It is worth noting that the slots can safely hold up to three cards, which you could easily take out with a gentle thumb push.

This is a guest post by Mary Roberta, on behalf of Case Mate.

Top mobile phone tariff add-ons for your late summer holiday

The traditional holiday season has now come to an end, many of us are thinking about a late summer getaway. Omio is looking into ways for you save money, on using your mobile phone abroad.

We are rounding up what each mobile phone network offers as a holiday addition to its tariffs, to avoid that nasty bill shock, upon your return. These add-ons are not only ideal for a holiday, but also for those travelling for a long periods of time outside the UK. Perhaps, for those taking a gap year between college and university.

O2

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O2 pre-empted the need for a holiday-orientated addition to its tariffs, back in May this year. It launched O2 Travel, which came with a tag line of “use your mobile worry free when abroad”.

This allows people travelling within Europe to have a 25MB roaming data allowance, for £1.99 a day. A low-cost calling feature accompanies it. There is a one-off charge of 50p for connecting a call – where the following minutes are then taken of the tariff’s minute allowance.

This will save on the high cost of data roaming for updating or reading social networking sites, along with calling phone numbers either locally or even back in the UK.

The scheme started in July and is available as an add-on to monthly, and business customers. People on O2 Pay and Go can also use the bolt-on, excluding BlackBerry users. Unfortunately, only the mobile broadband feature is available to them and international calls start at 28p a minute and 7p, to receive them.

O2 Travel is available for use in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Monaco, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Vatican, San Marino, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Users of the mobile phone network are still supported outside the above, and in over 200 countries. The cost for using the handset in those different places varies.

Vodafone

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In June, Vodafone announced a similar add-on to O2, under the moniker of EuroTraveller. Pay monthly and business customers can use all the benefits of their tariffs while travelling in Europe, for £3 a day. This means that whatever minutes, text message bundle and data allowance Vodafone customers have – they can use on holiday, without incurring any additional fees.

For example, a pay monthly customer using Vodafone EuroTraveller can make three 10 minute calls, send 10 text messages back to the UK and use 5MB of mobile Internet and pay £3 (plus the UK price plan). This would previously cost more than £17, on Vodafone’s old roaming prices.

Vodafone customers can opt into the scheme by dialling 5555. This cost includes VAT and will only be charged when in used abroad. The benefits also extend to receiving calls and text messages, as they are free, just as they would be in the UK.

The EuroTraveller add-on can be used in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Cyprus (exc. Northern Cyprus), Czech, Republic, Denmark (inc. Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France, French West Indies, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece. Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy,(inc. San Marino and Vatican City), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (inc. Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (inc. Balearic Islands and Canary Islands), Sweden and Switzerland.

Three

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Three launched its Euro Internet pass, in June. It allows its pay monthly customers to access the Internet from their mobile phones, outside the UK, for £5 a day. It stops users worrying about how much a bill is being run up, when they tweet, tag, browse, upload, search or use Google, while on holiday.

There isn’t any calling or text message features to this, only unlimited mobile Internet use. The Internet is one of those things that you can use without realising how much time has passed and how much it has cost. Therefore, this is a worthy add-on to have on holiday.

The bolt-on has been designed for just browsing, so video streaming might not be as good as it is in the UK and tethering isn’t included.

Three customers wishing to use the service abroad just need to open their mobile browser at http://mobile.three.co.uk/europass. It does revolve around UK time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what the time it is back home.

The Euro Internet Pass can be used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Balearic & Canary Islands), Sweden, Vatican City, Monaco.

Orange

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Orange has a 3-in-1 bundle for travelling abroad, which is a calling, text message and a roaming data allowance – for both monthly and PAYG customers. This starts with a 30MB limit for £3 a day or £20 for 30 days, for use within Europe. The weekly deal includes 50 minutes and 100 text messages, to use over the seven days. The data allowance can be increased to 150MB for £50, and 500MB costs £150.

This can be used with the following countries: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe (inc St Barthelemy and St Martin), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (inc Azores and Madeira), Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Satellite, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (inc. Canary and Balearic Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City (Italy)

Orange has also launched a range of applications for the real-time monitoring of a phone abroad, under the name of Travel Angel. It is available for Android, BlackBerry and Apple devices. This detects whatever country it’s being used in and if there isn’t a roaming bundle, it can recommend one that can be instantly bought. Alerts can also be set, to inform when a pre-set threshold is approaching.

Outside the EU, the 3-in-1 bundle starts at £6 a day for 30MB and reaches £15 – depending on the country. The 30 day, 30MB begins at £20 and climbs to £40. A 150MB data allowance is priced at £75 and hits £125, while 500MB cost £175 and reaches £400.

T-Mobile

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T-Mobile launched its Internet & Broadband Travel Booster add-on, in June. This is a roaming data allowance for use abroad. It is designed for both mobile phones and also dongles, on consumer and business tariffs.

Costs start at £1 for 3MB, which lasts for 30 days – or until it is reached. This limit can be increased to 10MB, for £2.50 or 50MB costs £10: for use in Europe. The fee is added to the monthly bill, or deducted from any pay as you go credit.

The Internet & Broadband Travel Booster can be used in Azores, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Reunion and Vatican City.

Outside Europe, the price starts at £5 for 3MB and reaches £25. 10MB starts at £10 and hits the ceiling at £75, while £37.50 will get you 20MB and that price stretches to £140 – depending where you are in the world.

Mobile Phone Review Round Up: HTC Evo 3D, Blackberry Bold 9900, Samsung Galaxy SII, Orange Stockholm, LG Ego WiFi, Samsung Tocco Icon

TechRadar

HTC Evo 3D review

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Verdict

A decent contender for the best 3D phone crown, but this can’t quite make it to the top spot. The idea has potential, but it’s not as good for overall smartphone use as the Samsung Galaxy S2.

- Check out all the HTC Evo 3D deals at OMIO today!

 

Blackberry Bold 9900

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Verdict

It’s hard not to recommend the Bold 9900, because here we have a fantastic piece of kit that we can confidently describe as RIM’s best BlackBerry to date. That’s saying something, because the manufacturer has pumped out some cracking handsets over the years.

Yes, we’re dismayed by the lack of a decent camera and slightly disappointed about the web browsing experience, but all of this is irrelevant if you’re just buying this as a messaging device, which many people will. And if email is your bag, you can’t do any better.

If you want this as a media player, it’s definitely adequate and performs well – but given the smaller screen size, it’s only really going to be used for music over video.

The Bold 9900 is certainly bold in its ambition. It may fail in some places, but in the most part, it really impresses. We can see this one shipping by the bucketload, especially compared to the keyboard-less Torch 9860, as it ticks all the normal boxes and adds in a premium chassis to boot.

- Check out all the BlackBerry Bold 9900 deals at OMIO today!

Cnet.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S2 review


Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S2 crams a gorgeous display, lightning-fast processor and powerful camera into one of the slimmest, lightest smart phones we’ve ever had the pleasure to hold. The Android operating system could be more user-friendly, but it’s never felt faster.

- Check out all the Samsung Galaxy S2 deals at OMIO today!

 

Orange Stockholm review

Stockholm

Conclusion
The Orange Stockholm is pretty standard fare as budget Android smart phones go. Its specs are nothing to get excited about and some of the Orange apps are lamentable, but you probably won’t be overly concerned with such criticisms if you’re seeking an Android handset for less than £100.

Although the Stockholm offers a solid route into Android, we’d still advise you to consider the likes of the Vodafone Smart and Samsung Galaxy Mini before handing over your cash. If you’re not fussed about Android, then you may also wish to consider the Stockholm’s Qwerty-packing sibling, the Orange Rio 2.

- Check out all the Orange Stockholm deals at OMIO today!

 

Mojo Chat review

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Conclusion
The Mojo Chat is clearly aimed at younger users. But, while it’s fine for texting and making calls, the rest of the phone’s functionality is so half-baked that most kids will want to happy slap it into oblivion. When you consider that there are proper Android smart phones out there for around £50 to £80, the Mojo Chat seems even more pointless.

If you really crave a Qwerty keyboard on a budget, we recommend you save up a little longer and opt for something better, like the Orange Rio 2 or LG Optimus Chat.

- Check out all the Mojo Chat deals at OMIO today!

LG S310 review

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Conclusion
It’s testament to how good the LG S310 looks that we had colleagues passing by our desk and assuming it was a new and expensive smart phone. Despite the low price point, LG has crafted a seriously attractive handset. Its thin and elegant frame is likely to turn heads.

Slightly less appealing are the average screen, low internal memor, and lack of 3G connectivity. Even these faults, however, are balanced out somewhat by the solid battery life and easy to understand menu system — not to mention the bargain price tag.

As a phone for a youngster or an elderly family member who is new to all this mobile malarkey, the LG S310 is highly recommended. It leapfrogs over other budget phones like the Nokia 2220 Slide and Motorola Moto WX295 to become one of the best (and most attractive) phones you can buy for under £50.

- Check out all the LG S310 deals at OMIO today!

Trusted Reviews

LG Ego WiFi review

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Verdict

With 3G, Wi-Fi and a touchscreen, the LG Ego appears to have everything more expensive smartphones offer. But it doesn’t. The small resistive touchscreen makes navigation frustrating and the feature phone operating system rules-out the additional levels of customisation and app-based exploits available to Android smartphone users. A year or two ago, the LG Ego would have made a lot of sense, but now it’s way behind the pack.

- Check out all the LG Ego deals at OMIO today!

 

Samsung Galaxy Pro GT-B7510

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Verdict
Despite some plus points, such as its relatively low price tag, we couldn’t help feeling that the Samsung Galaxy Pro is a bit of a disappointment. The screen and keyboard are the two areas you need to get right on a messaging device and Samsung just hasn’t managed to do that here. Also, Android just feels awkward to use on a landscape device such as this. Still, if you’re determined to get a messaging phone that runs Android, we’d advise you to check out the HTC ChaCha instead.

- Check out all Samsung Galaxy Pro deals at OMIO today!

Samsung Tocco Icon

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Verdict

The Samsung Tocco Icon looks better than many of its price rivals, but in spite of pumping Wi-Fi into this latest model, the Tocco series is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Its price is perilously close to that of perfectly good low-end smartphones, and when the capacitive touchscreen isn’t much fun to use in operation here, we suggest you seriously consider one of those models. Unless the Tocco’s shiny black ‘n’ silver look already has you transfixed.

- Check out all the Samsung Tocco Icon deals at OMIO today!

Reghardware

Samsung Galaxy Fit Android smartphone

Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Fit is a low-end Android with a poor screen and underpowered processor, but just about redeems itself with a decent camera.

- Check out all the Samsung Galaxy Fit deals at OMIO today!

Three announces the Apple iPad is available on a contract from today

Three is now selling the Apple iPad, from £199 on a £25 monthly tariff with a 15GB data allowance.

Three has joined both T-Mobile and Orange in selling the iPad from today onwards, at the same prices as the two parts of Everything Everywhere – only with a 15GB Internet browsing limit, instead of the 2GB that Orange and T-Mobile allow.

All three mobile phone networks have the Apple iPads at the same cost of £199 for the 16GB version, £249 for the 32GB model and £349 for the 16GB version with Apple selling the same 16GB for £529.

Three’s data allowance is clearly much higher than Orange and T-Mobile’s, for the same price and on the same tariff cost, which can be used at any time where 1GB of the 2GB EverythingEverywhere web surfing bundle can only be used in off-peak hours.

Check out the full range of Apple iPad deals at OMIO

Google Nexus One vs. HTC Desire Comparison: Battle of the Flagship Android Phones!

With Google’s first mobile phone appearing for registration on Vodafone’s site, we thought that we would take a closer look at the features of the Nexus One and see how close it really is to the HTC Desire, the Taiwanese manufacturer’s own competition for the title of top Android device…

The results may surprise you, with the two top-end blowers sharing a lot more than Google’s open source operating system. However, with HTC’s own Sense user interface and Google’s suite of bespoke applications, there is still more than a few differences between the two.

Join us as we explore them using Omio’s mobile comparison tool!

Size:

These two phones definitely share more than a little DNA, with the Desire and the Nexus One both created by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. They certainly look like it too, sharing an almost identical tapered rectangular form factor, burnished with metallic accents.

The front of the two is almost identical in looks, but this is where the lion’s share of physical differences lie.

Both waste very little real estate with their slender yet substantial dimensions, yet the Desire is the larger device by the slimmest of margins with a 0.2mm wider and 0.4mm deeper form factor.

When plonked side by side the difference may be negligible, and the Desire arguably uses that space well, but the Nexus One is indeed the smaller beast of the two.

Winner: Google Nexus One

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Weight:

The more luxurious build of the HTC Desire also adds a few pounds as the contender’s metal frame tips the scales at 135g whilst the Nexus One trips the light fantastic at a mere 130g.

The Desire is incidentally the exact same weight as the 32GB model of the iPhone 3GS so…yeah, impress someone at a party with that factoid!

Winner: Google Nexus One

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Screen:

Both sport identical 3.7-inch capacitive touch displays, with all of the multi-touch, proximity and tilt-sensitive sensors we’ve come to expect from high-end handsets.

The Nexus One sports four virtual menu keys beneath the display, with a navigation trackball that screams old-school BlackBerry. The HTC Desire one-ups the Google phone with physical keys flanking a whizzy optical trackpad, essentially a teeny tiny camera that tracks thumb movements.

However, it’s what appears on the screen that counts in this round, and HTC’s Sense user interface is nothing short of a revelation. A complete overhaul of Android, Sense offers quick, intuitive movements around the most frequently used features, and a genuinely enjoyable phone experience.

The Nexus One does indeed ship with the latest Eclair build of Google’s mobile operating system, making it all feel snappy and responsive, but it simply feels barren and workmanlike to use when pitted against the gorgeous menus of the Desire.

Whilst the screen is the same, the accoutrements that adorn it and aid navigation are a darn sight better on the HTC Desire. Definitely a contentious one, but we think it takes this round back from the Google-branded Nexus One.

Winner: HTC Desire

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Camera:

Another photo finish. The camera on both devices is a 5-megapixel affair, with autofocus, an LED flash and digital zoom. The Desire seems to streak ahead when it comes to video capture, offering a solid 30 frames per second at D1 quality. The Nexus One only has D1 recording at a minimum of 20 frames per second – how embarrassing!

Yeah, the camera is pretty much identical. Both are great, and more than functional as a smartphone add-0n.

Winner: Draw

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Battery:

The battery may have a longer stand-by time on the Desire (340 vs. 290 hours), but the Nexus One streaks ahead in terms of talk time, boasting a massive 10 hours on 2G versus 6 hours and 40 minutes on the HTC device. Juice in the tank, or power on the move? The choice is there…

Winner: Draw

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Memory:

Another sly tweak under the hood for the Desire here, as HTC cranks up their own device with an extra few MB of RAM – 572MB against the Nexus One’s 512MB.

This may not sound like a lot, but the extra few megabytes count when running multiple applications, loading software or simply keeping navigation silky smooth.

The HTC Desire does scrimp when it comes to storage however, coming out of the box with mere microSD card support for up to 32GB whilst Google are generous enough to spring for a 4GB card.

With 8GB cards doing the rounds for less than £20, it’s easy for the Desire to speed up and overtake the Nexus One’s memory banks.

Winner: HTC Desire

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Connectivity:

Whilst the Android powerhouses are neck and neck when it comes to the essentials – GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G and the like – the Desire is a great device when it comes to keeping in touch.

Social media widgets form a large part of HTC Sense, with ‘Peep’ giving users a handle on the Twitterverse, whilst Footprints enables geo-tagging for images and FriendStream presents a thread of recent status updates from Facebook, MySpace and others. The Nexus One uses the impressive selection of wares that Android has to offer, whilst the Desire does all that and more.

When it comes to browsing, the Google Nexus One has a great display but the Desire trumps it once again by offering support for graphically intensive sites running Adobe Flash.

Whilst Flash sites have varying degrees of functionality on the Desire, it is one of the very few phones available that can run it at all…

Winner: HTC Desire

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Media:

Beginning to sound like a broken record, but HTC have really tarted up the Desire to be an attractive Nexus One alternative! Dolby Mobile enhancement support makes for a richer audio experience on the HTC phone, and the addition of a stereo FM radio complete with RDS leaves the Nexus One with just static…

The Nexus One cuts through that chatter with active noise cancellation – a great addition both in terms of connectivity as well as media – and that 4GB of included memory comes in handy when taking tunes on the road.

Both have the Android Market to download applications from as well as the wonder of streaming music (thanks to Spotify), and as such media support proves another tight round for the Google-powered duo…but ultimately the Desire wins thanks to the FM radio and support for a few of the more obscure video formats.

Winner: HTC Desire

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Verdict:

Not really the fairest of fights when one manufacturer makes both phones… HTC gave the search giant what they wanted in the Nexus One – a market leading Android device that would showcase the best that the platform could offer.

Problem is, they just went ahead and made a phone of their own that was a little bit better. The Desire matches the Nexus One almost exactly in terms of raw hardware, and then proceeds to excel past the Google smartphone in every department. HTC Sense is just the beautiful and intuitive icing on a delicious smartphone cake…leaving the Nexus One powerful on paper but relatively soulless.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has managed to become a great company in their own right, coming out from under the shadow of their former clients to create game changing devices such as the HTC Touch Diamond.

It is little wonder that HTC are in the sights of Apple’s lawyers, with them producing phones as good as the Desire they have every chance of taking a shot at the iPhone’s dominant position…

HTC Legend Review Impressions: Android’s Poster Child

Well, we’ve had HTC’s new metal marvel in our hands for a couple of days now, so we thought we’d sum up our time spent so far with the Android-powered HTC Legend.

In short…wow. We’ve never had so much interest and sheer excitement surround any other handset that has graced Omio Towers, and the response to the Legend’s gorgeous aluminium chassis, Sense UI and speedy processor has been overwhelmingly positive judging by the constant steam of inquisitive colleagues visiting our desk.

Let’s break it down a little to see what the fuss is about, shall we?

Form factor

From the moment the Legend landed on our doorstep, the first thing we remarked upon taking it out of the package was just how luxurious it looked. Amidst a flock of recent devices that have found difficulty in justifying their smartphone price tag - the X6, for example – the angular design, heft and sheer quality of workmanship in the HTC Legend was a real sight to behold.

Hewn from a single piece of aluminium, the Legend truly evokes the same sense of quality and luxury the original iPhone held over the competition, mirroring Apple’s iconic device with a metallic body merging alongside dark plastic accents for all of the connectivity gubbins to lay in.

The form factor deviates little from the HTC Hero‘s striking profile, with a ‘chin’ causing the bottom of the device to jut out at a slight angle.

Slightly less pronounced that the jawline of its forebear, the practicality of the chin is to offer the optical trackpad (another upgrade on the Hero, which sported a trackball) and four physical keys a better angle of use whilst viewing the Legend’s beautiful touch display…

Cosmetically similar but poles apart from the Hero in its construction, the sturdy HTC Legend draws looks from technophiles and fashionistas in equal measure as another bold design decision from the Taiwanese phone maker is pulled off with aplomb.


Features

All this attention and we haven’t even turned it on! Well, the Legend has a screen lock key in exactly the same position as the iPhone, nestling at the top of the device yet eluding the many people (ourselves included!) that took it for a spin…

A single press and the Legend’s rich 3.2-inch AMOLED display sparks into life, presenting a bright and vivid lock screen that is still unmistakably Android with the familiar taskbar at it’s height.

A brisk downward swipe reveals the latest iteration of HTC’s ‘Sense’ user interface, an overlay that cut it’s teeth on Windows Mobile and has since blossomed into a mobile experience on a myriad of platforms.

The large clock dominates the screen’s real estate, whilst the visually arresting weather app cycles through its ever-entertaining animation to reflect conditions outside. An flurry of virtual leaves skitter across the screen, drawing coos of excitement from slightly jealous iPhone owners at a home screen with a tad more dynamism…

HTC’s makeover extends across the multiple homescreens that Android offers, each now home to a unique widget that offers easy access to e-mail, bookmarks, messaging and the now obligatory thread of updates from your favourite social networking sites (here dubbed ‘FriendStream’).

The menus and widgets are useful and visually appealing in equal measure, are completely customisable and also lots quicker to flit between than on the Hero, thanks to a 600Mhz processor under the bonnet and the latest version of Android behind the wheel.

A colleague who almost immediately dismissed the previous Android phone to grace our doors – the Motorola Milestone – as sluggish and uninspired was duly amazed at the agile Legend, multitasking between programs without a break in pace and loading up web pages – Flash and all – with little trouble.

Indeed, the slick user interface does become part of the furniture after a while, you almost forget how impressive the Legend is at keeping up with tapping out a draft e-mail, browsing  the web in another tab and checking recent tweets, all whilst streaming music from Spotify in the background barely freezing up for a second.

That being said, the various widgets do often need a little kick to remind them to refresh and update every so often, whilst a few of the them do have a bit of an over-reliance on the Android ‘menu’ key to bring up functionality that could have easily been on the standard layout, but these are quite minor gripes here…

Another impressive demonstration of the Legend (and Sense UI, for that matter) is the ‘leap’ or ‘helicopter’ view – a quick pinch from any screen immediately zooming out to show all seven homescreens at a glance, and allowing you to jump to another location on the device at a moment’s notice. A great touch.

The Sense user interface is chock full of those great touches, the little things that you wish other manufacturers would think of offering as standard, but usually reserved for the really expensive ones.

Reducing the ringer when the phone is picked up, easy access to favourite contacts, the vastly different custom themes for work, play, and travel, automatic FM radio station scanning upon first boot, a 3.5mm audio jack that is happy to receive all comers and a micro USB slot for charging…it’s all the little touches that have a cumulative positive effect and make us like the Legend a heck of a lot!


Connectivity

Straight out of the gate Android sees you right with Google Maps, Gmail and a great suite of calling and threaded messaging functionality. What we didn’t expect was the leaps and bounds taken in the Android browser. It works quickly and easily, the virtual keyboard well spaced for typing in URLs and boasting support for Flash 10.1, but with some sites definitely looking better than others.

Heavy.com was fairly hard work for the Legend, whilst Flash gaming havens like Newgrounds proved a stumbling block. However, the impressive way that text based sites are automagically reformatted to fit within the width of the screen was nothing short of wonderful.

The browser almost removes the necessity to go landscape by sorting the text from any site into a neat single column of readable text.

No scrolling left to right to scan each sentence, just a great bit of intuitive re-arranging by the browser does all the hard work. It often makes for a more comfy reading experience than the iPhone for text-heavy sites, loading quicker over both wi-fi and 3G in many instances.

The calling and messaging stuff is probably where HTC have tinkered the least, offering a bespoke Twitter client in HTC Peep, but leaving the calls and threaded messaging largely up to Android 2.1. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

The Android Market is still only as good as the apps allow it to be, but is starting to fill out with some decent stuff as Google now point users in the right direction a little better with easier search functionality and a better organised layout.

The Legend’s internal memory is a meagre 100MB but can be beefed by microSD cards of up to 16GB, a bit of a necessity as the 5-megapixel snapper won’t even take a photo unless there’s a bit of extra memory onboard!

Thankfully, the camera is worth the effort as it sports a handy flash and is a decent enough replacement for the average digital, although not quite a dedicated SLR.

The Legend’s battery life as to be expected from an always-on device of this nature, we’re getting a day’s worth of use but are absolutely thrashing it, to be honest.

Wi-fi, Spotify, Flash-heavy web browsing, nosy individuals flicking and poking at it almost constantly…it’s certainly getting a proper workout and yet has 20% or so left at the end of a day.


Early verdict

There’s still a bit of stress testing with one or two things before a full review, but we are way past kicking the tyres and having a look around this beast, and we think it’s amazing.

The Legend’s stunning looks will have the masses flocking to an Android device like never before, whilst the Sense user interface will keep them interested.

HTC have managed to make a phone that encapsulates that sexiness, that reassuringly expensive smartphone feel that has been sorely lacking from iPhone contenders – and pretenders – since the release of the 3GS.

It’s not a million miles away from the HTC Hero, I guess the Legend is more of a refinement of existing technology in the same way that luxury modders Brabus take a regular Mercedes and give it an extra level of desirability – and oomph – for the elite few.

In this case, those elite few are the lucky Vodafone customers that will be able to snap the HTC Legend up come April, as this metallic masterpiece is a network exclusive.

Judging by how much we’ve enjoyed this phone so far, there’ll be a long waiting list…

Jump the queue by signing up for HTC Legend deals alerts, we’ll let you know as soon as it becomes available!

LG GW620 Intouch Max vs. Samsung Galaxy Portal

Samsung Galaxy Portal vs. LG InTouch Max

One unavoidable trend at this year’s Mobile World Congress was sharp rise in Android phones on offer. it seems manufacturers are all piling in now with handsets that run on Google’s open-source operating system.

So, we thought we would line up two currently available Android phones, to see how they measured up to each other:

The LG GW620 InTouch Max and the Samsung Galaxy Portal both run on Android “Cupcake” (v1.5) and promise a host of multi-tasking smartphone functionality.

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Size:

Samsung’s Galaxy Portal is a slightly taller and wider yet thinner handset than the LG.

Marks go to LG however for squeezing a full QWERTY in the body of the GW620 however.

Winner: LG GW620

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Weight:

At 139g the LG GW620 is a full 15g heavier than the slender Samsung Galaxy portal.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Portal

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Screen:

The Samsung’s 3.2” touchscreen has the edge over LG’s 3.0” screen, plus the Samsung’s capacitive technology feels more responsive than the LG’s resistive screen.

In terms of display the Galaxy Portal lives up to it’s name, blowing the LG out of the water with it’s 16 million colours to the LG’s 256k.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Portal

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Camera:

The Samsung’s 3 mega pixel auto-focus camera is a pretty basic effort and the omission of a flash makes it useless for taking low-light and night-time snaps.

Meanwhile the GW620’s 5 million pixel camera shines with 2560 x 1920 pixel resolution and a bright LED flash.

Both cameras are capable of video at 30 frames per seconds, so this round hinges all on the camera’s photographic capability….

Winner: LG GW620 InTouch Max

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Battery:

The LG might have a decent battery life of almost 8 hours 3G talktime and 600 hours standby, but the Samsung thrashes it with an epic 12 hours and 650 hours of standby time.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Portal

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Memory:

There’s not much on it between the LG and Samsung when it comes to memory:

Both handsets have slots for expanding the memory via microCD card slots upto a very healthy maximum of 32GB.

However, the LG and Samsung do differ slightly on internal memory – the Galaxy Portal comes with 180 MB, while the LG is slightly less well equipped with just 150MB.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Portal

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Connectivity:

Both phones come equally equipped with a full array of features to keep you connected- Assisted GPS, Wi-Fi, and enhanced 3G.

Winner: Draw

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Media:

Both phones house MP3 players and 3.5mm jacks as standard, so no messing about with any proprietary-headphone nonsense, and their DivX media players allow you to catch up with movie files.

The Samsung’s more refined screen makes viewing images on the move a lot more joyful though and by comparision the LG is clearly more of an organisational tool– with a document editor (Word,Excel, PDF) and Powerpoint support.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Portal

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Verdict:

Specs wise, there is precious little between these two handsets and for basic telephony they perform very similarly. Yet there are some obvious differences on which a comparison hinges:

LG have sacrificed some good looks and screen specs to include their QWERTY, so side-by-side, the Samsung looks and feel sleeker.

So, deciding between these two Android phones really rides on whether you feel the need for a QWERTY.

Overall though we suspect that the Samsung’s Galaxy Portal’s comfortable fit, prolonged battery life and ability to render gorgeous images on the move is much more in-tune with how people use their phones and therefore more likely to secure it broader appeal.

Infographic: iPhone Kickstarts Touchscreen Revolution

Arguably the most noticeable trend in mobile phones over the last two years has been the rise of the touchscreen interface.

Ever since Apple released iPhone in November 2007, other manufacturers have sought to compete by producing more and more touchphones of their own.

Even masters of the QWERTY keypad, Research In Motion have started making touchscreen phones with their Blackberry Storm series (which incidentally spreads its wings and becomes available on one more network, T-Mobile, next month)

We decided to conduct a study of our own records and in doing so unearthed some interesting stats, which we then illustrated in a War of the Worlds style.

(A few too many sci-fi b-movies this January, perhaps?)


Now, we know that LG were the first to pioneer the touchscreen with the Viewty and Prada models, but the influence of Apple’s iPhone is hard to deny: just take one look at LG’s S-class interface and you can deny that it’s a dead ringer for the iconic device.

Nokia Announce Ovi Maps For The Masses!

This morning Nokia launched their free map and navigation service, Ovi Maps, which offers free 2D or 3D turn-by-turn navigation for both driving and pedestrian routes! The service looks so good that many saying this it could even challenge stand-alone sat nav services.



Together with mapping firm Navteq, which Nokia have owned since 2007, Nokia have deployed a hybrid technology that ensures minimal data usage whilst enabling the use of Ovi Maps both online and offline.

Furthermore, Ovi Maps opens up the whole world of context-related services including location-aware social networking.

For instance, drivers will be able to hear traffic information, plus the location of speed cameras and scenic routes. Pedestrians will be able to easily locate shortcuts whilst accessing information from partners such as Facebook, Time Out and Michelin Restaurants.

Launching the service, Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s Executive Vice President, described this as “a giant mash up environment.”


Currently 10 of Nokia’s Symbian-based Nokia devices are hooked up to the service, including the popular N97 Mini while all subsequent GPS-enabled phones will be ready to use the service out-of-the-box.

Nokia estimates that there are already 84 million handsets that can use the service, once they have downloaded the application from the Ovi Store.

Just how many of those handsets are still in circulation is unclear but the scale of the proposition is undeniably vast:

Ovi Maps is now available in over 46 countries, and features full voice activation in 74 different languages.

Ovi Maps elevates Symbian and puts Nokia on a par with Android Map Navigation, but on more phones… and cheaper too.

By comparison, Android map applications are only available on a few top-end handsets, and Google has indicated that the Nexus One’s voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation won’t be available in the UK.

Nokia were also keen to emphasise that while there were some obvious benefits to consumers, third party developers now had a huge incentive to get on board with creating context related applications on the Symbian platform.

Mention of the Nokia N900 was conspicuous in its absence, but when we brought it up Nokia said that they would soon follow with a version compatible with the N900′s mighty Maemo OS.



Trend Alert! Mobile Phone Projectors

While most people at CES were busy gawping at 3D televisions and huge flatscreen TVs, reports on tiny 2D tech were catching our eye:

‘Pico’ projectors that fit in mobile phones!


Last week at CES, LG were demonstrating a prototype integrated phone projector and were saying that we could expect models to hit the market later in 2010.

Haven’t we heard this before though? Samsung announce the i740 at WMC 09, but when it failed to materialize in UK stores, presentation-giving business persons up and down the country sighed a sad sigh.

Meanwhile in the US however, LG have launched a mobile projector mobile phone and projector (getting close!), complete with funny commercials that co-incided with the release of James Cameron’s Avatar.

Bearing in mind the battery drainage, it’s unlikely you’ll be enjoying full length movies from your mobile anytime soon however expect much hilarity amongst friends through impromptu / inappropriate slide shows.

So, projector phones seem just around the corner then. I expect our sci-fi dreams of 3D mobile projections are a few more years off, still…

CES 2015 perhaps?

Source: Rueters / Digital Trends