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Category Archives: Mobile Phone Handset News

EE announces WIFI calling for its customers and 4G calls

Formerly Everything Everywhere, now just the 4G EE mobile network is launching a 4G voice calling feature, in addition to allowing its customers to use WIFI for calls.

The latter is coming this Autumn, offering EE’ers the ability to make high quality calls – higher than regular VoIP solutions – and through the standard way of calling on a phone, only over WIFI.

That feature also includes text messaging, which is ideal if you are in a poor reception area at home, but the WIFI signal is still strong.

4G calling will be available in 2015, and will be trialled out later this year.

The trial is said to expand data and voice coverage, to a previously unconnected part of rural Oxfordshire.

“Our WiFi calling capability will let customers make calls where they have access to WiFi but not to the mobile network.”, said Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE.

“The customer experience is seamless because it’s the same as making a network call and uses the normal call interface of the handset.”

“This is a major part of our strategy to invest in giving customers the ability to make a call wherever they are, and we’re confident that this service can make a big difference to people in homes and large offices across the country, especially in the most rural areas, that don’t have mobile coverage.”

Mobile Phone Review Roundup: Samsung Z, Motorola Moto E, Huawei Ascend P7, Sony Xperia M2, HTC Desire 610 and Nokia Lumia 630

Omio is rounding up all the mobile phone reviews over the past week from the major tech titles in the UK.

This is all in order to bring you an all-inclusive and encompassing view of the opinions, from the various handset reviewers.

 

Pocket-Lint

Hands-on: Samsung Z review

The Samsung Z is the company’s first Tizen smartphone that will be commercially available for the public to buy. And if successful, there are feelings that it could herald a new age for Samsung. So should Google be worried that it is about to lose its biggest Android partner? And is the operating system good enough to offer a viable alternative?

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First impressions

Samsung has confirmed that the Samsung Z will launch in Russia first, in Q3, and will then be rolled out to other territories if they are interested. There is no official confirmation on a US or UK release, and that strategy pretty much says it all.

Having spent some time with the new phone, our opinion is very much the same as most new devices that launch with a new operating system. The experience is a good one, but the lack of app support at present will put most people off.

What’s interesting from Samsung’s point of view however, is just as Nokia did, the company has created a viable alternative to Android that is good enough and solid enough to stand up on its own.

It will allow the company to flex its muscles against Google if it needs to, but like the later versions of Symbian, we suspect that while this will give Samsung the freedom to always have a backup plan, the ability to have an advantage over other operating systems without the support of thousands of developers is now not really a viable alternative to offer your customers.

That means that while we like the Samsung Z for its simplicity and clean approach, it doesn’t really have the depth offered by the Android, iOS and Windows Phone operating systems.

For the near future, it will continue to be an also ran rather than a strong alternative, but as Facebook always says, you have to start somewhere and then continue to always move forward.

For Samsung, the Samsung Z shows that Tizen is a good starting point, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes a contender. Read the full Hands-on: Samsung Z review on Pocket Lint.

– Checkout all the Samsung deals on OMIO today!

 

Stuff

Motorola Moto E review

There’s nothing like a £90 Motorola smartphone to make your full-price flagship seem less than essential.

The 4.3in Moto E does for sub-£100 smartphones exactly what last year’s Moto G did for sub-£150 smartphones. Namely, raising the bar, shaming under-powered budget rivals and worrying devices that cost three times as much.

It’s not perfect, but boy is the Moto E better than its just-as-cheap rivals. Unless 4G or a compact-rivalling phone cam are an absolute must, anyone on the lookout for a dirt-cheap device or second handset should be considering this smartphone.

moto-e-review-homescreen-1

MOTOROLA MOTO E VERDICT

If a £90 Nexus existed, it would look a lot like the Moto E. This isn’t just Android for the masses, it’s tidy, reliable, loveable Android for the masses.

No, it isn’t perfect. But considering we’re yet to meet a mobile device that is, this Moto is £90 (£80 on O2) well spent. Its main flaw is its camera, but until you get to around the £200 mark, almost every handset disappoints in this department – including Motorola’s own Moto G.

If you want 4G, the EE Kestrel comes in at just £10 more. If a HD screen is a must, the original Moto G is now selling just above the £100 mark too, if you’re lucky. Bigger screen? The 5.5in OnePlus One will do just nicely.

But if price is the be-all and end-all of your smartphone decision, forget all those other smartphones and just buy a Moto E.  Read the full Motorola Moto E review on Stuff.

– Checkout all the Motorola E deals on OMO today!

 

TechRadar

Huawei Ascend P7 review

Huawei talked it up big time at the launch event for the Ascend P7, suggesting its newest phone is a premium model that’s lighter, thinner, faster, better and more exciting than the thin/light/fast/good high-end smartphones offered by the more established competition.

It’s certainly an expensive one from the budget maker, coming with an EU RRP of €449 (around £370, $625, AU$690).

Actual contract costs and a UK, US and Australia street prices are yet to be set for the P7, but that relatively high official unlocked price tag sets up Huawei for a fight with the likes of Apple, HTC, Samsung and Sony for the flagship smartphone connoisseur cash.

Huawei’s offering a 5-inch display running at the full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920, with the in-house (not-Qualcomm) 1.8GHz quad-core processor running things down in the boiler room beside the same 2GB of RAM we see in most of today’s top-drawer smartphones – and 4G LTE support for use with speedy SIMs.

Huawei’s been pretty bold with its Android customisations once again, sticking its Emotion UI on top of the Ascend P7′s Android 4.4.2 KitKat software, a system that removes the standard Android app drawer and replaces it with an iOS-style emphasis on the Home screen.

Huawei’s also trying to appropriate the word "selfie" as its own, stuffing an 8MP front-facing camera into the Ascend P7 for the ultimate in self wrinkle capture, combining this with a 13MP main sensor supplied by Sony around the back

p7-hands-10-900-100

Verdict

The Huawei Ascend P7 is a solid phone across the board, but doesn’t excel beyond the competition in any particular area.

The camera’s not quite as punchy as the units in the high-end Nokias and the iPhone 5S or even Samsung’s top Galaxys, the chassis isn’t as impressive as the HTC One M8, the price not as low as the Nexus 5, the overall experience not quite as smooth as… loads of other phones.

The only real unique feature here is the class-leading 8MP front-facing "selfie" camera and its tidy custom software, which is indeed quite a bonus for people who like the look of their own faces or use their phones for serious amounts of video chatting.

As for the Ascend P7 as a whole, it’s a classic jack-of-all-trades. Nice enough, thin and light and with a bravely different take on Android that veers into iOS clone territory, but without any headline reasons to make it your next phone.

If it was £100 cheaper, had a larger battery or some other amazing key feature not found elsewhere, it’d be brilliant. As such, the Huawei Ascend P7 is simply… quite good. Read the full Huawei Ascend P7 review on TechRadar.

– Checkout all the Huawei deals on OMIO today!

 

Trusted Reviews

Sony Xperia M2 review

The Sony Xperia M2 is a mid-range phone, the 2014 update to last year’s Xperia M. It shares its look with the much more expensive Xperia Z2, but cuts back on the flashy materials and specs in order to come in at around £200 SIM-free, or just £150 from EE.

In several respects it’s not as good as the 4G version of the Moto G, and it does feels like you’re paying a little bit for the Sony badge in this case. But if a fairly large screen is a must, the Xperia M2 is a good mid-range option.

xperia-m2-35

Verdict

The Sony Xperia M2 screen is disappointing but the software, the design and the camera are all decent for the price, making it a top 4G buy if you’re willing to shop around. Read the full Sony Xperia M2 review on Trusted Reviews.

– Checkout all the Sony Xperia M2 deals on OMIO today!

 

T3

HTC Desire 610 review

This mid-range smartie packs 4G, NFC and BoomSound speakers. Is that enough to beat the competition? Find out in our HTC Desire 610 review.

HTC is launching an all-out assault on the mid-range smartphone market right now – hot on the heels of the HTC Desire 816 comes this, the HTC Desire 610.

With its 4.7-inch screen and sub-£250 price tag, it’s taking aim at the likes of the Google Nexus 5 and the OnePlus One. But how does it stack up?

xl_HTC-Desire-610-lead

HTC Desire 610: Verdict

The HTC Desire 610 is a solid all-round effort. It’s well put together, has a big screen, and is fast enough for basic tasks. There are much cheaper alternatives, though, like the Motorola Moto E and Nokia Lumia 630, so you really have to weigh up how much you need extras like a big screen, LTE and 4G. Read the full HTC Desire 610 review on T3.

– Checkout all the HTC Desire 610 deals on OMIO today!

 

uSwitch

Motorola Moto E review

If you thought Motorola couldn’t make a more affordable handset than the well received Moto G, think again. The Moto E is a stripped-down model that costs just £90.

Compromises have to be made, of course. But is it still worth your money?

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Verdict

It might lack some features, but the only real competition at this price is from its predecessor, the Motorola Moto G.

The Moto E’s camera is a bit of a letdown, and it’s not going to be the gamer’s phone of choice. But if it’s a straight no-frills smartphone you’re after, and you’re on a tight budget, it’s definitely worth a look. Read the full Motorola Moto E review on uSwitch.

– Checkout all the Motorola E deals on OMO today!

 

Nokia Lumia 630 review

The Nokia Lumia 630 is one of the most affordable smartphones around right now – it costs just £90, putting it neck and neck with the Android-powered Motorola Moto E.

So what do you get for your money? Let’s take a look.

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Verdict

The Lumia 630 is great value for money. It has its compromises, but then for £90 you’ve got to expect that.

The Moto E is the better buy, with more apps and faster performance. But if you want a slightly bigger screen and are a fan of the Windows Phone OS, the Lumia 630 is a fantastic buy.

– Checkout all the Nokia Lumia 630 deals on OMIO today!

Sony Xperia T3 unveiled with 5.3-inch screen and 7mm thinness

Formerly Sony Ericsson, now Sony Mobile, has announced a new large screen mobile, boasting a 5.3-inch screen, with new premium materials and a thin design – in the Sony Xperia T3.

Sony Xperia T3

It is said to come in at just 7mm thin, even with its large HD 1,280 x 720 TRILUMINOS ISP display, back with the mobile with BRAVIA Engine 2.

These top-notch materials come in the form of its stainless steel frame, which doubles as an antenna – weighing in at 148 grams.

The rear sports an 8-megapixel camera, with tech from the cyber-shot range, in the Exmor RS for mobile.

Powering it is a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, with 1GB of RAM; 8GB of internal storage and support for 32GB microSD cards.

Android 4.4 KitKat OS runs the device, with features found on other Sony phones.

These are the likes of social live; AR effect; Timeshift burst; creative effects and portrait retouch.

“Xperia T3 has been crafted with attention to detail for those who know how to
appreciate distinctive design in their everyday life.”
, said Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications.

“The T3 is packed with the latest beautiful technology from Sony – including leading digital imaging expertise and a vivid HD display – all within a stylish, stainless steel frame.”

“The combination of this beautiful technology and the premium design ensures the T3 immediately stands apart from the competition,”.

Sony has said the Xperia T3 will be due out in July, globally.

EE 4G network available in 200 towns and cities

Formerly Everything Everywhere, now just EE has announced the 200th place to access its 4G network – Rhyl, in North Wales.

This is in addition to 4G EE being available in 13 new towns, from today onwards.

These are said to be Armadale, Bishop Auckland, Brighouse, Cumbernauld, Hamilton, Kirkintilloch, Larne, Newry, Peterlee, Staines, Stockton-on-Tees, Rhyl and Washington.

This now amounts to 72 per cent of the UK population, where to qualify as a connected town – it has to have 80 per cent 4G EE coverage.

“Today we switch on our 200th 4G town just 18 months after pioneering the service in the UK.”, said CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee.

“We now have over 2 million customers using superfast 4G. That’s the fastest rollout and uptake of any technology in Britain, and means that the UK’s mobile digital infrastructure is now ahead of many other nations. We’re proud to have been the driving force that made that happen, but we won’t stop there.”

“Our continued drive to deliver 4G to more of the UK means that our customers have access to by far the biggest network in the country. Hitting this landmark highlights that 4G from EE is available wherever people need it – at home, at work, or enjoying the sunshine on the beach in Rhyl, our 200th town.”

Omio has mobile phone deals with EE starting at £13.99 a month, with the likes of the Nokia Lumia 625, Samsung Ace 3, BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia SP and HTC One mini.

These are on a tariff with a 500MB data allowance, 500 minutes and unlimited texts.

OnePlus One mobile phone launched, with specs to rival S5, M8 and Z2 – at half the price

Global technology startup OnePlus has launched its inaugural mobile phone – the OnePlus One – with specs similar to the HTC One (M8), Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, only at a fraction of the price.

OnePlus One

It is made by Oppo and comes with a 5.5-inch, full high definition, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 178 degree display, with a 401 ppi.

That is larger than the current spate of flagship phones from HTC, Samsung and Sony.

Powering it is a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, with 3GB of RAM; 16 or 64GB of internal storage, with no support for microSD cards.

There is also a Sony 13-megapixel rear camera, capable of 4K video recording, and the front, sports a 5MP snapper.

That is the same model of CPU found in the aforementioned phones, where all but the M8 has that level of videoing.

Running the One is CyanogenMod 11S, based on Android 4.4 KitKat, with limitless customisations from a new theme engine – where you can mix and match from thousands of themes.

The 4G OnePlus One will initially be available in 16GB silk white for £229, or in 64GB sandstone grey for £269 – on the 25th of April.

OnePlus has also said the first 100 OnePlus Ones will be available through OnePlus Phone Smash, for $1 – in exchange for the smashing of their current phone.

“By paying attention to the smallest details, taking a holistic approach to product design, and working with the best partners such as Cyanogen Inc. and Qualcomm Technologies”, said Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus

we have been able to create the greatest day to day user experience in a smartphone without compromise,”

Mobile Phone Review Roundup: Sony Xperia Z2

Omio is rounding up all the Sony Xperia Z2 reviews over the past week from the major tech titles in the UK.

This is all in order to bring you an all-inclusive and encompassing view of the opinions, from the various handset reviewers.

 

Stuff

Sony Xperia Z2 review

Smartphones are all about compromises. Squeezing a hi-res screen, compact-level camera and huge battery into something the size of a Kit-Kat isn’t easy. Usually, something has to give.

Unless, it seems, you’re Sony. The Xperia Z2 makes almost zero compromises – on screen, sound, camera or battery life. So it’s perfect, right? Well, it’s close. It turns out this 5.2in slab of metal and glass won’t even compromise its stunning design for something as important as the size and shape of human hands.

The Z2 oozes quality, then. It just isn’t always the most practical choice.

sony-xperia-z2-review-homescreen

SONY XPERIA Z2 VERDICT

So, while it might not be for the Reddit-obsessed, constantly connected, live-to-social-network geek, it’s ideal for the person for whom quality is the only measure that counts. If you have the time and inclination to show this Sony some love, it will return it in spades.  

One thing’s for certain – if Sony can stay true to its ‘better not bigger’ tagline, the rumoured Sony Z2 Compact is going to be one seriously impressive smartphone. Read the full Sony Xperia Z2 review on Stuff.

– Check out all the Sony Xperia Z2 deals on OMIO today!

 

TechRadar

Sony Xperia Z2 review

So here I am, it’s a little over 12 months since the Xperia Z hit selves and I’m checking out the third iteration of the Japanese firm’s flagship series, the Sony Xperia Z2.

While the timing may be a little odd, you’ve almost got to look past the Xperia Z1 completely, the Xperia Z2 is a flagship smartphone in its own right and it heralds the next generation for Sony.

It builds on its predecessors with an improved screen, increased power under the hood and a slightly more compact chassis.

There’s no question that the Xperia Z2 will be going head to head with the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Nokia Lumia 930 this year – and with that in mind it’s got its work cut out.

Sony’s had some trouble getting the Xperia Z2 into stores, missing its original early April release and thus giving an upper hand to the HTC and Samsung, although units are trickling through.

XperiaZ2-HandsOn-14-900-100

Verdict

The main issue I have with the Sony Xperia Z2 is there’s nothing to really get excited about. It’s a great all rounder, but there’s no curve ball to keep things interesting.

When I’ve forked out top dollar for the next generation of smartphone I want to be able to stride into the pub and blow my mates away with some amazing features.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has its amazing screen, heart monitor and fingerprint scanner while the HTC One M8 has a superb design and the Duo Camera setup. Yet the Xperia Z2 has no headlining feature which makes it stand out.

Its premium design nudges it ahead of the Galaxy S5, while its highly capable camera beats the One M8 hands down. If you’re looking for an all round top performer (4K video issues aside) the Xperia Z2 is a great jack of all trades. Just don’t expect it to do anything out of the ordinary. Read the full Sony Xperia Z2 review on TechRadar.

– Check out all the Sony Xperia Z2 deals on OMIO today!

 

Trusted Reviews

Sony Xperia Z2 review

The Sony Xperia Z2 is Sony’s top Android phone for 2014. It is the company’s alternative to phones like the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and the iPhone 5S.

It has a lot to prove, especially as its predecessor the Xperia Z1 was only released six months earlier. This new model is not a huge upgrade, and we have some issues with the design and hardware. However, a strong screen, good camera and great battery life make it a solid choice for those on top-end contracts, or with deep pockets.

sony-xperia-z2-2

Verdict

The Xperia Z2 is a great phone in most respects. It has a very good camera and outlasts the competition without compromising the experience. However, it is a bit awkward to use at times and gets hotter than the other top phones when under strain. Read the full Sony Xperia Z2 review on Trusted Reviews.

– Check out all the Sony Xperia Z2 deals on OMIO today!

Three: 4G network going live, start of March

Numerical mobile phone network Three has demoed to it us its 4G network at an in-house meeting, where we asked the PR Manager (consumer) at 3, do you have a particular date in mind for the 4G network to go live?

This is off the back of its last official message, which states “customers with a compatible device able to access 4G at no extra cost by the end of Q1 2014″.

Ali Lubbock, responded -

“It is live

“At the moment, it is done by a special SIM”

“Which won’t be the case, later”

“This is only, so we can control it”

“I have one of those SIMs; if I walk outside, I get a 4G signal”

“It is up and running, and I can use it”

“We are in the progress of finalising, and then migrating all the customers over”

“They will not have to go into a shop to change the contract”

“They will just get a software/network upgrade on their phone”

“And when they are in a 4G area, it will just work”

“If I was going to be safe, in those initial cities, it will be up and running, by the start of March”

Those initial places are quoted to be London, Reading, Birmingham and Manchester; stay tuned for more on the briefing – including a video demo of 4G in action, on Three.

Sony Xperia Z1 replacement pictures leak, set for Mobile World Congress 2014

Formerly Sony Ericsson, now Sony Mobile, has allegedly seen photos appear online of its rumoured 2014 flagship mobile phone.

Sony D6503 - 1

This could be the successor to the Sony Xperia Z1, which sports a 20.7-megapixel camera.

Our lead, and end images, are of the supposedly named Sony D6503, according to its source.

That was a user in the popular handset modding forum, XDA-DEVELOPERS, as reported by Xperia Blog.

The title notes it has a thinner bezel, around the display, than the current Sony Xperia Z1.

That suggests, with the overall form factor remaining the same, a larger screen has been used in the mobile.

This is a stated to be 5.2-inches; a slight update to the FHD 5-inch variant, found in both the Xperia Z and Z1.

Other minor changes are mentioned to be around the speakers, USB and lanyard placement.

The former, appears to be just three holes, while the charging port is on the left and latter, is on the same side.

Apart from those, it’s business as usual, although its poster has promised screen shots of the user interface, which is bound to have seen some changes, knowing how Sony likes to tinker.

Omio believes this could be unveiled at MWC, at the end of February, along with a number of its competitors’ products; stay tuned for more.

Sony D6503 - 2
– Check out all the Sony mobile deals on OMIO today!

Motorola: we are in active conversations with our partners, about the 32GB Moto X

Google owned company Motorola has spoken to us about a second top-tier Moto X mobile phone, with increased storage.

Omio put to Mark Notton, Head of European Product Management Google Android Devices at Motorola Mobility – will the 32GB version be coming to the UK, in light of the fact that only the 16GB will be available at launch.

He replied -”We are launching with the 16GB”

“I wouldn’t rule out 32, but we don’t have any immediate plans to deliver that”

Later, James Soames, Marketing Director, of Motorola, said:

“We are in active conversations with our partners, about 32GB”

“The idea is, with Google services, so intrinsically built into this device, and other services, not just from Google – people are using cloud services, more and more”

“Paying a premium, to get more local storage, isn’t so important”

It is unusual Motorola didn’t launch the 32GB at the same time as the 16GB, as both the 8GB and double that amount were available, from the get go, with the Moto G.

We believe this might come as an exclusive to a retail partner, in the same way as Phones 4u will exclusively stock the white version.

Motorola: there’s nothing stopping us including quad-core processors in the X8 mobile computing platform

Google owned company Motorola sat down with Omio at its recent Motorola Moto X mobile phone launch in the UK, where we asked about possible expansions to its X8 mobile computing platform.

We asked if the X8 platform could be expanded to a quad-core CPU? This is away from the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which it is currently using.

Mark Notton, Head of European Product Management Google Android Devices at Motorola Mobility, replied:

“There is nothing stopping us doing that”

“The architecture of this particular device (Moto X) is around 2+4+2 (2 AP, 2 GPU, 1 contextual and 1 natural language)”

“There is nothing stopping us using the same philosophy, and having more AP (application processor)”

This is in light of the move for Motorola to release its Moto X in the UK, with a dual-core 1.7GHz processor – running a flagship device.

That is when its budget Moto G mobile phone ships with a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU, which is said to boot applications faster than the Samsung Galaxy S4, among other devices.

It carries a SIM free cost of £159 for the 16GB model, while the same storage capacity on the Moto X is priced at £380.

That is a large cost discrepancy, for a device that is essentially slower than the Moto G, but almost costs two and a half times its price – with a slightly larger, slightly better screen.