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Category Archives: smart phones

iPhone 5 Coming to Tesco Mobile: We Break Down The Costs

Tesco Mobile has released full pricing for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 today, with 12 month contracts on offer.

Unfortunately, Tesco Mobile is not taking iPhone 5 pre-orders, but will be stocking them in-store as well as online. Those of you who absolutely must have it as soon as its released may not wish to wait, but those with a bit of patience and an eye for a bargain may wish to keep these tariffs in mind…

Also bear in mind that if you havent pre-ordered already, you may be in for a few week’s wait as the iPhone 5′s record breaking preorder figures recently doubled that of the iPhone 4s, with 2million sold in 24 hours.

If you aren’t familiar with Tesco’s mobile venture, then you can be safe knowing it piggybacks onto O2′s network, and has made a name for itself providing some of the more competitive mobile contacts going.

Here at Omio we have collated the available tariffs including the TCO total cost of ownership, for the handset and contract, over the course of the agreement, with the lowest costing contracts generally involving a larger outlay for the cost of the handset. You can compare the figures to the cost of other carriers here.

 

In the meantime, feel free to browse and compare a wide range of iPhone deals on Omio’s Deals page.

 

 

 

UPDATE: LG Optimus G – LTE Quad Core Power On Its Way To UK?

UPDATED: We have just heard from a source at LG that it aims to release the Optimus G to the European market in Q1 2013, with more details to follow later this year.

Now that the UK has a genuine LTE network on the near horizon, courtesy of EE, we can finally start realistically looking at upcoming 4G handsets without wallowing in jealous network speed envy.

LG has now announced launch plans for their latest Android handset, the Optimus G, which will be something of a portable powerhouse. In addition to a Qualcomm quad-core Krait S4 processor for advanced multitasking, and a whopping 2GB of ram, LG will be throwing in a 13MP to capture all of your magic moments in full HD.

LG is really pushing its homegrown technological innovations with this one too, so expect to see an advanced battery solution, to keep you powered up for longer than ever, alongside a newly formulated super thin touch screen.

The Optimus G’s 4.7″ IPS Plus screen will have a resolution of 1280 x 768, meaning that it will handle 720p HD video with ease, although a 15:9 aspect screen will mean some bordering with HD video. This thin screen technology means that all this squeezes into a svelte 8.45mm body. The Optimus G’s is a mere 1mm thicker than the new iPhone 5.

The only real negative we can see is that it will run Ice Cream Sandwich (still?) out of the box, so don’t get your hopes up for the latest Android Jellybean just yet.

The Korean manufacturer is aiming to release the handset in LTE markets from this October. So LG and EE, if you’re listening, now that we have a lovely super fast 4G network on the way, maybe we can play with a full speed version of your latest and greatest?

We will bring you any pricing details on the Optimus G as we receive them, but in the meantime keep an eye on Omio’s deals page for great offers on LG handsets.

Sony Xperia T Free from £26 Per Month – Exclusive To Phones4U (For Now)

Phones4U, and their affiliates Dial-A-Phone have secured an exclusivity deal to stock Sony’s upcoming HD smartphone, the Xperia T, for now at least.

Free phone deals start from £26 per month, on Orange, with a mere 250MB data plan.  The best deal we can see however is this one, £28.50 on Orange Panther with 300 minutes, 3000 texts and a more substantial 1GB data plan!

This means fans who wish to buy the handset off-contract however, will have to wait until January 2013.

A source from Expansys, our favourite off-contract phone suppliers, have informed us that they have been unable to obtain stock of the upcoming Xperia T handset from Sony due to the time-limited exclusivity deal, but said that they will be trying their best to get hold of it as soon as possible.

Of the entire range from Sony, the Xperia T is the big daddy of the bunch, with a whopping 4.6″ HD 1280×720 screen and a magnificent 13MP camera as its unique selling point. Sony keeps things ticking along with a 1.5GHz Quallcomm MSM8260-A Dual Core processor, and the phone will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for now.

The massive 13MP camera builds on Sony’s previous experience, utilising their Exmor R image sensor to get the best out of low light situations.  This snapper is also ready to shoot within one second from sleep, making it easier than ever to capture the moment. Video capture will be upto 1080p and the handset is DLNA compatible, so you will be able to wirelessly beam video’s and pictures through to compatible home hardware. One Touch sharing of files and wireless payments will be a doddle thanks to the included NFC chip too.

For a complete list of Xperia T offers, check our deal page HERE.

iPhone 5 on the 4G EE Network, should you pre-order yet?

The iPhone 5 was announced yesterday with a little less flourish that we were used to from Apple in previous years, nevertheless, interest for the latest and greatest iPhone is at an all time high, with many to be hanging on the phone on Friday 14th September, as pre-orders are taken on the big networks.

One of the touted features of the iPhone 5 will be 4G LTE compatibility, giving it super fast unto 100mbps data speeds. Only the EE network (formerly Everything Everywhere) has announced LTE so far for iPhone 5, so we asked an EE representative if they would be offering pre-orders tomorrow morning.

“No” 

but added that

“Orange and T-Mobile will be taking pre-orders from 08:01 tomorrow morning. We’ll be making it as easy as possible for T-Mobile and Orange customers to move to EE if they want to benefit from superfast 4G, when EE launches in the coming weeks.”

So it would appear that if you are an existing or potential T-Mobile or Orange customer, and you pre-register interest with either of them, you stand the best chance of using the handset at its maximum potential on 4G as a transfer or upgrade path will be in place for either of the existing EE companies. Bear in mind though, we’re pretty sure that contracts on the new 4G network will be higher than usual 3G contracts. Something to bear in mind when budgetting. 

Customers can register their interest in EE at www.ee.co.uk, and we’ll be announcing pricing and availability for all 4G devices in due course.”

So, how fast will your iPhone 5 be?

Whilst EE will offer upto 100mbps 4G LTE, O2, Vodafone and 3 do offer what is known as Dual Carrier or DC HSDPA, which doubles the 3G speed, from 21mbps, to a maximum 42mbps where available.

DC HSDPA is more 3.5G than 4G, a stop gap measure, until the official bandwidth auctions for 4G next year. However, the bands up for auction, the 800MHz and 2600Mhz spectrum, will not be supported by this current variant of the iPhone 5 which only supports the 1800MHz spectrum. Whether Apple will release a new variant in the UK when these future networks go live, is yet to be seen.

For now though it would seem that only Orange and T-Mobile customers, or those buying a phone off contract of course, will be able to get the fastest speeds from their new shiny handset.

Those who aren’t interested in Apple’s iPhone 5 will be happy to know that the soon to arrive superfast network will be releasing a 4G version of the mighty Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One XL, the Huewai Ascend P1 LTE, and for fans of Windows Phone, the upcoming Nokia Lumia 820 and 920.

Register interest at www.ee.co.uk and keep an eye on Omio’s deals page for more offers…

ZTE Grand X Unveiled – Tegra 2 Gaming Phone For £190

Chinese manufacturer ZTE have announced the release of the ‘Grand X’ in partnership with Nvidia, Phones4U and Virgin Media UK. Their flagship gaming and entertainment oriented Android smartphone will be onsale at an eye popping £190 on Pay As You Go, and free on contract.

The 4.3” qHD touchscreen handset is run by a Tegra 2 chipset, a dual-core 1gHz CPU with Nvidia’s ultra low power 8 core graphics processor, allowing vivid console quality graphics on a mobile device. Nvidia’s own ‘TegraZone’ app-portal will allow you to download graphically enhanced versions of existing and exclusive games, for a slight premium.

In an move to lure the youthful gaming market, ZTE have enlisted the support of East London’s very own Professor Green.  During a video-presentation the chirpy rapper only needed one word to sum up the Grand X… “Cool!”.

The Grand X comes loaded with the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and unlike many mobile manufacturers, ZTE have been kind enough to leave the OS alone. This appeared to be a clean Android build, as found on Google’s Nexus handsets, so should satisfy the purists.

Our first impressions of it was that it was slightly on the chubby side, but felt solid.  The handset performed admirably, without any hint of slowdown and apps loaded super-fast. The screen was bright too, and although we only got to use it in a darkened room, we will put it through its paces in a range of conditions in an upcoming review.

Notable absences are DLNA, so no streaming to HDTV’s and no NFC, although these are technologies that haven’t really taken off as yet. The onboard memory is limited to 4GB too, so you’ll have to stump up if you want to expand it with a microSD (upto 32GB). 512MB of RAM also seems on the low side, we’ll see if this has any noticeable effects in a later review.

If you fancy getting your hands on one, ZTE will be introducing the ‘Grand Xperience’ to the public between now and the 11th September at Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, close to the Olympic site and under the watchful billboards of official London 2012 mobile sponsor, Samsung.

So, the ZTE Grand X, big on gaming and small on price, will be available from August 2012, free on a 2 year £24p/m contract with Virgin Mobile, or £189 on PAYG.

Phones4U will also be stocking this model online and on the high streets. More information on their deals to follow.

iOS 6 – New Maps, Facebook Integration, Updated Siri & More

Monday’s World Wide Developers Conference, or WWDC offered a number of new refreshes to Apple’s hardware lineup, including a new premium MacBook Pro with a drool inducing (as well as wallet burning) 2880×1800 ‘retina display’, and incremental additions to the Macbook Air lineup. Those hoping to get a look at the upcoming iPhone 5 (or iPhone 6 depending on how you count) handset were left disappointed by its absence, although as a developer’s conference it was always going to be about the upcoming iOS software. The new iPhone will get its own launch event later this year.

iOS 6 will be released around September/October this year, most likely at the same time as the new iPhone handset. Apple will also be supporting iPhone handsets going all the way back to the 3GS. iPod Touch, iPad2 and New iPad will also have invites to the party, although original iPad owners will be left high and dry unfortunately.

Apple have developed a new maps system to rival the recently announced Google Maps 3D. The new maps app will allow users to view major built up areas in texture mapped 3D glory. Fans of turn by turn navigation will also be happy to hear that Apple will be teaming up with Tom Tom to provide spoken turn by turn navigation.

Facebook will be now integrated seamlessly into iOS 6, much in the same way that Twitter was for iOS 5. This feature has long been a standard feature on Android phones, but nevertheless, any iPhone users with at least a mild Facebook habit will find this immensely timesaving. You will also be able to ‘like’ music movies and apps directly from the iTunes store as well as share pictures and links directly from the OS.

Call handling will also be given a makeover, so if you are busy when someone phones you, you will be able to not only send a set response, you can also set a location aware reminder to call them back when you leave work for example. A ‘do not disturb’ mode will also silence all alerts, both from apps and people.

Further evidence of the integration of mobile and desktop was made clear with the ability to link your phone number and your email address across phone, pad and desktop, allowing you to take calls from your Apple laptop for example.

Facetime has been let off the leash and will now be useable over the 3G network too, not just when you’re tied to a WIFI signal. 3G performance could well be shaky in all but the most favourable of reception areas, and it will eat your data plan for breakfast.

Email will have some new features, such as a VIP inbox, where friends, family and business colleagues can take preference over the mounds of spam and site alerts that we’re so used to. The ability to insert images and videos directly into email (at last) will be available, so no more navigating through the gallery.

Siri will be receiving an update as well. The virtual assistant will be available to New iPad users as well as the iPhone 4S and will be able to tap into a number of online services like Rotten Tomatoes,  to bring you relevant information.

Film fans will be able to ask Siri about films by actors or genres, and the relevant information will be returned allowing you to read reviews, see top film lists by actors and view showings and book cinema tickets through online outlets. Siri has also become something of a sports fan and was demoed reeling off stats about Major League and NFL players on request.  We’re hoping that by the time the update reaches these fair isles, that he will have brushed up on his Premier League football stats too!

So plenty to look forward to for existing as well as upgrading iPhone and iPad users. Many of the functions that other phone users have taken for granted will make a late appearance, although they will of course be delivered with Apple’s usual flare and attention to detail.

The removal of Google from the core of the OS signals the final split of Google and Apple stemming from their fierce competition in the mobile OS market. Apple is new to the area of mapping, and it is essential that they nail the Maps app, as it is one of the core functions of the modern smartphone.

Stay tuned to Omio for news on the upcoming iPhone, or grab yourself a bargain on a current handset, via Omio’s Deals page.

New iPhone Case Leak: Larger Screen, Unibody Metal Casing, New Mini Dock Port?

 

Pictures of a new iPhone have leaked online and are currently doing the rounds on the blogosphere. 9TO5Mac were the first to call it, producing images via sources in Apple’s supply chain of the rear casing, front glass and the internal frame that supports gubbins like the home button, earpiece and camera.

As rumoured, the pictures show a unibody back-plate and siding made from a single piece of metal, with a white or black trim. The dimensions of the phone are the same width as current models, but longer to accomodate a larger screen, suggested at around 4inches. This  would have a screen ratio of close to 16:9 as opposed to the 4:3 ratio of the current model, thus being able to display movies optimally. The unibody metal back reveals a thinner profile as expected.

The docking port on the bottom is smaller, which would spell ‘sayonara’ to the now ten year old 30pin connector as suspected. This will no doubt bring a tear to the eye of anyone with an expensive speaker dock, or a well-loved collection of always-handy charging cables. The speaker and microphone grills are subsequently redesigned and larger, supporting hints that Apple are improving the speaker performance. The 3.5mm headphone jack seems to have also moved to the bottom of the handset, whilst the front plate shows an iSight camera directly centre above the earpiece.

As usual, the hype surrounding an upcoming release from Apple can and will reach sci-fi levels of speculation, so feel free to take any leaks with a healthy pillar of salt. However, the images do seem to confirm a number of widely suspected rumours surrounding the upcoming iPhone. Meanwhile, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference rolls around on June 11th, where we should see some more juicy information on iOS 6, and possibly some hints towards a new handset for a release in the Autumn.

Oh, and whilst we’re speculating, my money’s on it being called simply the New iPhone (in line with Apple’s New iPad).  Whilst the iPhone 4S wasn’t the iPhone 5 as many imagined it would be, it was still the 5th generation iPhone, which would make the new handset the iPhone 6. Confused? Yeah, exactly… New iPhone would eliminate any confusion, bring consistency to Apple’s product suite, and sound less like another terrible Saw sequel.

Of course, feel free to offer some of your own speculations/fanboy flame-bait in the comments section below…

Flipboard App Leaks: Flipping Great News Available To All Android Users

 

We were pleasantly surprised at the recent Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2012 event to see the innovative newsreader app Flipboard running on the Samsung Galaxy S3

Flipboard allows you to add RSS, Facebook and Twitter feeds into a bright tiled layout, and flick up and down to ‘flip’ rather than scroll through pages, making navigation a breeze.  It also looks great, folding the page in half as it flips, and especially making Twitter posts with images more visually presentable.

It was a great app to show off the S3′s huge 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED screen, and something of a talking point. Up until now this has been exclusive to, and an office favourite on our iOS devices. Whilst an Android release was rumoured as imminent, it was announced as a Galaxy S3 exclusive at the event, at least initially.

Now a version of the app has turned up online via the forum XDADevelopers.com after user Falcho reported that he had simply extracted the program file from a review handset using AirDroid.

The app is currently working perfectly on a number of Android handsets, not just the latest ones, even the original Samsung Galaxy S gets some love,  meaning that you don’t have to upgrade just yet, to get a piece of the flipping pie.

Installation is as easy as dropping the .apk file into the handset’s internal memory (it won’t work fully from the SD card) and in the phone’s security settings, enabling the ‘Allow installation of non-Market apps’.

In addition to this, the same user has managed to upload the S Voice app, so Samsung Android users will also have a chance to try the Galaxy S3′s voice control functionality.  We’re not nearly as excited about this as Flipboard though, an app that actually improves the user experience rather than frustrates it.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous and wonder what all the fuss is about, head over to XDAdevelopers for more details.

For more details on Android handsets, including the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S3, check out Omio’s deals page.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 Announced: Free On T-Mobile From £15.50 Per Month

RIM have announced an upgrade to their popular and affordable Curve range of handsets.  The BlackBerry Curve 9320 will have all the core functionality of that users have come to expect, although offer no real surprises.

Being an entry level classic BlackBerry, the focus here leans towards function and affordability over spec-sheet.  We have the usual 2.4″ screen and QWERTY keypad. Push Email, Facebook and Twitter integration via apps is present and accounted for, whilst the BBM service for instant, always-on communication now has it’s own button for easy access.

Onboard is an MP3 player with FM radio for music on the move, plus a 3MP camera with LED Flash for capturing moments when something bigger is out of reach.

GPS maps, and internet access also round off the ‘smart’ functionality, whilst global 3G compatibility, 512mb onboard with 32GB microSD storage and a good sized 1450mAh battery will mean that the Curve 9320 will travel well abroad too.

The Curve 9320 will run the latest version of BlackBerry OS 7.1, although it is unlikely that this will be upgradeable to the upcoming BlackBerry 10, which seems to be more geared towards touch-screen handsets.

T-Mobile are the first to announce availability of the 9320, offering it free from £15.50 p/m on a 24month contract.

This will net you 100mins call time, unlimited texts (flexible booster) and 250MB of data.

Alternatively they are also offering the handset off-contract for £149.99, making it a cheap and chirpy communicator, or a functional second handset.

Keep an eye on Omio’s deals page for offers on the BlackBerry Curve 9320 from other networks as they emerge.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Launch: UK Release Date Set For May 30th

Samsung finally revealed the hotly anticipated Galaxy S3 yesterday evening, in a multi million pound launch event at London’s Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

The handset runs the latest version of Android 4.0.4 on its 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos processor with 1GB of RAM. 

The screen is an impressive 4.8-inch 720p Super HD AMOLED screen, which, whilst big has a thin bezel around it, so is perfectly holdable.

Figures like that would usually have us reaching for the charger, but the new processor is said to be much more power efficient, and the battery is a whopping 2100mAh, which is roughly 30% more powerful than the rival quad-core HTC One X.

The rear camera is 8MP and super-fast, taking 3.3 still shots per second, and 1080p video. 

The front camera is a surprise at 1.9MP, which is larger than expected, but maybe necessary for facial tracking. The S3 will be able to tell if you are looking at it and stay on if you are reading something, rather than dim the screen on a timer as is the norm.

The Galaxy S3 was given a more rounded appearence than the S2, opting for natural curves and soft edges.

Samsung have said they were inspired by nature when desiging the handset, which explains why we were serenaded by whale noises and birdsong during the build up.  The handset was demoed in two colours, pebble blue and ceramic white, for business and pleasure respectively.

Samsung also described the phone as being ‘designed for humans’ focussing on the social sharing features of the handset.  ‘S Beam’ is a close proximity file sharing feature that uses NFC and wifi to send files between handsets.

Facial recognition software will also allow users to instantly share photo’s with people in their contact list immediately. 

‘S Voice’ brings an air of Siri to the precedings, allowing users to look insane whilst talking to no-one.

You may be able to wake the phone from sleep with a voice command, but we always found the wake button much quicker. Hopefully local search facilities will be enabled upon release, (something Apple have still failed to do here in Europe) and bring this functionality out of novelty status.

The S3 will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, with this expandable upto a further 64GB with the addition of a micro SDXC card.

Users will also be given 50GB of Dropbox cloud storage free for two years, which should see through a 24month contract.

The Galaxy S3 will be released as a 3G HDSPA+ version on May 29th in Europe, with a 4G LTE version following in countries lucky enough to have super-fast mobile broadband, in June of this year.

The Korean tech giants were keen to play down the numbers and the launch focussed on what the phone could do rather than boast about specifications or previous succeses. Of course, they could have boasted had they wished…

Figures released recently by London firm Strategy Analytics revealed that Samsung held 30% of the smartphone market, beating Apple’s 24%.

Samsung also accounted for 24.5% of the global mobile handset market, passing Nokia, who have been on a downward slide of late.

UK Retailers are currently rubbing their hands in anticipation of the May 29th launch, as the Galaxy S2 sold like hotcakes.

Some information lacking from the launch event was any solid details on pricing. However, retailers will be keen to start pre-sales so expect full details soon.

We expect the handset to be offered on contract from the £35 per month mark, with the upfront cost varying depending on which model you plump for. Those who wish to buy the phone outright rather than tie into a lengthy contract should expect prices starting around £500.

We will of course be sure to bring you any deatils of availability and pricing as soon as we find out.  Sign up for alerts about the Samsung Galaxy S3 on our deals page, or keep tuned to Omio for more news.