Omio News Blog

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 OS rolls out

Microsoft owned mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has announced the Lumia Cyan update is being deployed to Nokia handsets running Windows Phone 8.

Coming with this update is Windows Phone 8.1: the new update to the Microsoft mobile phone platform.

This builds in the Action Center, with its one swipe access to settings and notifications on the phone.

There is also the introduction of a third column of live titles on the home screen, once only a feature of the phablet – Nokia’s Lumia 1520.

It will also have a swipe-esque WordFlow keyboard, plus the personal assistant, Cortana.

The latter will be available in the USA first of all, where it is due to arrive in the UK at a later date.

Microsoft has enhanced the camera experience, with better access to pics, editing them and sharing.

This OS also allows the installing of apps to a microSD card, where the phone supports it, and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio recording – in the 1520 and new, Nokia Lumia 930.

Microsoft Devices has said that it expects the update to be available to the full range of devices in the coming weeks, where it is starting with the 920 and 625 – in the UK.

Three brings free 0800 calling to SIMO

Numerical mobile phone network Three has brought in its free 0800 calling offer to its SIM Only plans, while introducing lower costs to other numbers.

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Those are the likes of numbers starting with 084 and 087, which are now capped at 5p a minute.

These changes were first introduced in Three’s pay monthly plans, mid-March.

The SIMO plans have a range of data allowances attached, with 500MB; 1GB; 2GB; 4GB and its famed, all-you-can-eat bundle.

These have voice packages with 200 minutes; 600 and unlimited minutes – which start at £7 for 12 month plans.

1 month plans start at £13 a month, with a 1GB data allowance, plus 600 minutes.

These all have an unlimited text message offering, no matter what tariff.

Tethering has been expanded to 4GB, on plans that support that offering – with this coming to handsets on contracts, next year.

“People want choice and control so they are able to enjoy their devices without worrying about bill shock. These SIM-only plans give them exactly that.”, said Three’s Marketing Director, Tom Malleschitz.

“They’ll also benefit from free 0800 numbers and with Feel At Home customers can use the internet and call and text home while in Australia, France, Italy, the USA and twelve other countries out of their UK allowance.”

Mobile Phone Review Roundup: Nokia Lumia 930 and OnePlus One

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

Nokia Lumia 930 review

Since Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phone hardware business there’s been some confusion about where things go from here. Take the Lumia 930, the top-spec Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone that we’ve been reviewing for the last few days: Microsoft has left the "Nokia" name absent from all its press materials, yet the Nokia name sits proudly on the phone’s rear.

Clearly we’re in a period of transition. But what’s in a name – and does it even really matter? Only time will tell. What we’re most interested in is how the Lumia 930 embodies the evolving nature of Windows Phone 8.1. It showcases the ever-strong Lumia hardware – which is better built than plenty of top-spec Android rivals – and, perhaps ignoring the Lumia 1020′s camera prowess, represents the most compelling Windows Phone package to date.

It’s been a long time coming though. After first seeing the handset in April, the release date slipped back to mid-July in the UK; while those in the US will never see the 930 in this particular format. What with LG, Samsung and HTC having already outed their respective Android phones and with Apple supposedly due to announce a bigger, bolder iPhone in September has Nokia (or Microsoft – take your pick) got the guts to stand out – or is it a phone and operating system combination still scrabbling to keep up with the pack?

Verdict

The Lumia 930 is as close as we’ve got to Windows Phone’s wow moment. But, in saying that, we’re still on the fence about whether it’s enough to lure new customers in.

We love the 5-inch Full HD screen, the camera good in decent light, and the solid build quality separates the device from all those plasticky competitors with removable back plates. It’s a touch on the thick size and is a large device overall, but we think the Lumia 930 gets away with it. We’re not sure about all the colour options though.

Now in version 8.1 the Windows Phone experience is also more complete than it’s ever been before. Although, in many respects, that just means it’s caught up with the competition – and if you’re a gamer then the lack of apps will still disappoint. There are still some fussy points in use too, but the lack of bloatware otherwise keeps the Lumia experience pure.

The Lumia 930 is big, bold and has touches of brilliance. As much as it wows, though, there’s still work to be done to truly set it apart from the competition. This is one that will divide the crowd, but is a device that can’t be ignored for its positives and its aspirations. Whether it can be so highly praised in two months’ time from now is another matter, but right now this is the best Windows Phone device that money can buy.

Check out all the Nokia Lumia 930 deals on OMIO today!

 

Stuff

OnePlus One review

The flagship killer. That’s how OnePlus – a fresh Chinese start-up that’s suddenly sprung out of nowhere – is pitching its debut £230 smartphone.

And boy, does it live up to that pitch.

Charging onto the smartphone scene under an ambitious ‘Never Settle’ banner, OnePlus has made a genuinely brilliant, genuinely disruptive device with a huge 5.5in screen, the best processing power currently available and kickass battery life. All for less than the price of a Nexus 5.

The sheer, almost-unbelievable value of the OnePlus One is impossible to resist. Pick up this smartphone just once and you will want to own one.

But there’s the rub: owning one right now is very tricky thanks to an invite-only ordering process. So just how far should you go to get yourself on the list?

ONEPLUS ONE VERDICT

To get one of the best smartphones on the planet, you don’t need £500 or £40 a month anymore. You just need a OnePlus One invite.

OnePlus tells us that as production ramps up, more invites will be sent out (to buyers and on forums) and a good, old-fashioned pre-order system set up. Letting gadget fans buy the device the proper way means the £230 One could well be the flagship killer that was promised. On supreme value alone, it deserves it.

If OnePlus decides to make a smaller smartphone in 2015, it might even put a few tech giants out of business. For now, the OnePlus One might be too big for some.

But it really does have ‘it’ – that combination of good design, reliable performance and value for money. The Nexus 5 has it, so does the smaller Moto G. But now the OnePlus One has surpassed both and takes its place as the king of the budget flagships. It’s perfect for early adopters, spec worshippers, tinkerers and anyone willing to take a gamble on an unknown – but utterly brilliant – gadget.

Check out all the mobile phone deals on OMIO today!

 

Trusted Reviews

Nokia Lumia 930

The Nokia Lumia 930 is the successor to the Lumia 925. It’s a high-end 5-inch screen Windows Phone, with a focus on camera technology. However, it’s not quite as camera-obsessed as the Lumia 1020, making it a slightly more accessible phone.

First Impressions

The Nokia Lumia 930 isn’t going to get camera geeks quite as excited as something like the Lumia 1020. But this seems like another Nokia success. A good-looking, part-metal design (although we’re not sure about the green), an impressive-sounding camera and the reliable Windows Phone software make this a phone to consider if you simply don’t want an Android.

We took a closer look the phone at its launch to find out if it deserves to head-up Nokia’s 2014 phone line-up

Check out all the Nokia Lumia 930 deals on OMIO today!

 

T3

OnePlus One review

The OnePlus One has caused quite a stir. It’s a phone that offers specs you’d normally have to pay £500 for, but you get the lot for £230.

It sounds too good to be true, but is it? There are a few problems holding it back, but the OnePlus One is a cracking phone for the most part.

OnePlus One: Verdict

The OnePlus One offers an awful lot of phone for not much money. In most respects, it’s the equal to phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2. And given it costs as little as £229, it’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

However, there are a few niggles – the dodgy 4G support being the most important one. The biggest problem in reality is quite how tricky these phones are to buy. In short supply and not available on shelves in the UK, you need to put some effort in to get hold of one.

Check out all the mobile phone deals on OMIO today!

Nokia Lumia 930 available 17th July, deals from £33 a month

Microsoft owned mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has unveiled that its new flagship Nokia Lumia 930 mobile phone will be available to buy on the 17th of July, from £33 a month.

Nokia Lumia 930 - hands-on pics (6)

Accompanying this, for the first two weeks, will be a gift bundle worth £130.

It contains an additional wireless charger for recharging on the go (plus the version in the retail box); the Nokia Bluetooth Mini MD-12 speaker, and a voucher for £20 of free apps from the Windows store.

Nokia has said its first high-end phone to run Microsofts’ Windows Phone 8.1 will be available with Vodafone, EE, Phones4U, O2, Carphone Warehouse, Tesco and Amazon.

These will be in the colours of bright orange, bright green and black – where Phones4u will exclusively be stocking the white edition.

This is for a phone that has a 5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 screen, with a 441 PPI and good outdoor readability, thanks to Nokia’s ClearBlack display tech.

It is powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

On the rear is a 20-megapixel camera, with optical image stabilisation and ZEISS optics.

There is also the SensorCore tech built-in, with its low-power motion sensor, aiding in tracking activities, with minimal power use.

Windows Phone 8.1 brings in the Action Centre notifications to the OS, along with the voice activated personal assistant Cortana - due to arrive at a later date.

Vodafone WorldTraveller launches, offering access to tariff allowances, around the world

Red logoed mobile phone network Vodafone has introduced a more far reaching version of its EuroTraveller add-on, called WorldTraveller, which allows its customers to call, text and use the Internet, around the world – as if they were the UK.

This Roaming bundle costs £5 a day, for use within the USA, India, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Ghana, Qatar and South Africa

It is available for pay monthly and business customers on certain price plans, where receiving calls and text messages are free.

To enable the service, Vodafoners can call 555 and are only charged for the days they use the service, and not for any other time.

EuroTraveller offers a similar setup, costing £2 a day, for use within the EU and other places.

That is for use within Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (inc Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France,  French West Indies, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy (inc Vatican City & San Marino), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Cyprus, Norway, Poland, Portugal (incl. Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Three offers a similar service to both of the above, under the name of Feel At Home. Unlike Vodafone, it is part and parcel of its plans, and is available at no extra charge.

Check out all the Vodafone deals on OMIO today!

Mobile Phone Review Roundup: Nokia Lumia 630, LG G3, LG G2 Mini and Sony Xperia E1

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

Nokia Lumia 630 review

The Nokia Lumia 630 is one of the last devices that will launch with the Nokia Lumia name now that Microsoft is at the helm. It’s also the Windows Phone attack on the affordable market, with a price tag of just £100 certain to capture attention.

As one of the first devices to arrive with Windows Phone 8.1 – a software update that addresses many of the shortcomings of Microsoft’s mobile platform – the Lumia 630 is built on solid foundations. But with rivals such as the Motorola Moto G offering plenty of budget wow in the Android camp, how does this perky Lumia handset hold up? We’ve been living with it to find out.

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Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 630 is something of a mixed bag. It’s cheap, cheerful and Nokia succeeds in delivering a bright and well built handset that’s ahead of many competitors’ plastic offerings. It also gives you the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system experience, as well as the latest additions from Lumia Cyan.

But we found the software experience can feel a little slow and, with our review device, a little buggy too. There are hardware compromises too, especially in the display, when pitched against rivals such as the Motorola Moto G.

Affordability is one of the things that starts to work against Nokia: with plenty of legacy devices, you could pick up a stronger Lumia device on contract that offers a better hardware experience without breaking the bank. That said, you can get the Nokia Lumia 630 from as little as £10 a month.

With Motorola dominating this market the Nokia Lumia 630 doesn’t feel quite like the budget shining star it’s designed to be. Read the full Nokia Lumia 630 review on Pocket Lint.

Check out all the Nokia Lumia 630 deals on OMIO today!

 

Reghardware

LG G3

LG is releasing its new G3 smartphone today. It’s a large device made slim and comfortable by clever design, and is distinguished by a mind-boggling screen, and a superb camera. It’s let down only by hardware buttons, which can be a challenge to locate with accuracy, and the software execution, which hasn’t really tamed Android or added much to it.

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The Reg Verdict

The LG G3 has its share of contradictions, such as its quad HD screen and a laser focusing camera coupled with a so-so Android reskin and basic photo shooting controls. And then there’s its appealing compactness, offset by those back buttons that are a bit Marmite. Yet there’s some sensible thinking here too, as the storage expansion and removable battery are must-haves for many. All in all, LG arrives with one of the year’s best phones – as long as you can get used to the controls. Read the full LG G3 review on The Register.

Check out all the LG G3 deals on OMIO today!

 

TechRadar

LG G2 Mini review

There has never been a better time to be shopping in the middle or low end of the smartphone market. Whereas a few years ago any device at this level would be very slow, have a tiny screen, a very poor camera and weak battery life, LG is once again proving with the G2 Mini that times have changed.

None of this is to say that the G2 Mini is an especially cheap smartphone, although at just over the £200 mark off contract it is hardly expensive. Motorola is doing amazing things with its Moto G and Nokia has the Lumia 630 both of which undercut the G2 Mini by a fair chunk.

Given LG’s standing as potentially the most innovative and improved manufacturer of 2013, the G2 Mini deserves a fair look despite its relatively high price compared to its peers.
LG has carried over the most unusual and unique aspects of the G2 into its lower end offering, most notably the buttons on the back. It is an unusual placement but does make sense given that they sit just where your fingers often are when holding the phone normally.

It takes a little time to get used to the buttons being on the back, but after a few days I found it quite natural to use them. I don’t particularly find they offer an improved experience over well-placed buttons on the side of a phone, but they are not a hindrance either.

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Final verdict

Ultimately it is hard to recommend the G2 Mini over something like the Motorola Moto G, which has a superior screen, similar performance and very good battery life. Only the camera on the LG device is clearly better.

This doesn’t tell the whole story though, as the G2 Mini is a very nice device to use and has a compelling overall proposition. It just lacks a few key refinements and could do with either packing a higher resolution screen or a lower price to really be a standout device. Read the full LG G2 Mini review on TechRadar.

Check out all the LG G2 mini deals on OMIO today!

 

Trusted Reviews

Sony Xperia E1 review

The Sony Xperia E1 is a small, affordable Android phone that makes sense for people who want to steer clear of expensive contracts. Selling for around £70, it would also make a good first smartphone for younger folk.

In several respects it’s a good deal. However, the Motorola Moto E is significantly better and only £10 more expensive, and there are some added performance issues here.

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Verdict

The Sony Xperia E1 is a decent value entry-level Android phone, but hardware compromises matched with some performance and stability issues mean you can get better for under £80. Read the full Sony Xperia E1 review on Trusted Reviews.

Check out all the Sony Xperia E1 deals on OMIO today!

Free Netflix now available on Vodafone

Red logoed mobile phone network Vodafone is now offering free access to Netflix, for its new 4G customers.

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This follows the announcement of the popular TV episodes and movie streaming service coming to the network.

New Red 4G customers on contracts starting from £26, can now opt for free Netflix access for the period of six months.

This account is accessible on two separate devices, where if you are already a Netflix user and would like the service – Vodafone will reimburse you the amount.

Netflix joins Spotify Premium and Sky Sports Mobile, as options for Vodafone’s entertainment packages.

These are a part of its 4G tariffs, with 4GB, 7GB and 10GB data allowances – that have recently seen a data limit increase, from 3GB, 5GB and 9GB.

“When we launched our 4G service 10 months ago, we knew that 4G speed wasn’t the only thing our customers wanted.  They wanted a reason to use 4G – which is why we provide them with the best possible content from the best possible partners.”, said Cindy Rose, Consumer Director for Vodafone UK.

“Building on our Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile TV offers, we are delighted to now be able to offer customers the brilliant content offered by Netflix on both smartphones and tablets.”

“And with extra data on our 4G Red, Red L and Red XL plans, customers have yet another reason to choose Vodafone 4G.”

Check out all Vodafone deals on OMIO today!

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini unveiled, with fingerprint and heart rate scanner

South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has announced the smaller version of its flagship mobile phone, the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini – with features brought in from the higher-end handset.

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Just like its larger counterpart, it has fingerprint recognition, along with its heart rate sensor, located at the rear.

A rear that matches the perforated look of the Galaxy S5, and with its waterproof and dust-tight nature (IP67 rating).

This is all with a smaller design and screen, with the latter coming in at 4.5-inches and with an HD resolution of 1,280 x 720 (Super AMOLED).

Powering it is a quad-core 1.4GHz processor, with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, plus support for 64GB microSD cards.

The back also has an 8-megapixel camera, with an LED flash, while the front boasts a 2.1MP snapper.

There are also other functions brought across from the S5, such as the Ultra Power Saving mode for extending the 2,100mAh battery.

Samsung has said the Android 4.4 KitKat run Galaxy S5 mini will be arriving soon, in the colour choices of charcoal black, shimmery white, electric blue and copper gold.

“As with our previous ‘mini’ devices, this latest incarnation combines the iconic design and essential features of the Galaxy S5 with a sleek and compact body.” said Ines Van Gennip, Marketing Director at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland.

“A larger screen might not work for everyone, so the Galaxy S5 mini is great for anyone after a smartphone that they can more easily slip into their pocket or bag.”

Mobile Phone Review Roundup: LG G3

Omio is rounding up all the LG G3 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.

 

TechRadar

LG G3 review

With the LG G3, we’re seeing a brand release a phone ahead of time in order to grab a foothold in an industry that could be spiralling away from its grasp.

It’s an odd thing to say considering we’re talking about a manufacturer that launched one of the critically acclaimed phones of 2013, with the LG G2 impressing far more than most expected.

But that was months ago, and LG has realised that with Samsung, Sony and HTC all bringing out far superior models it can’t wait until later in the year to catch up, so it’s tried to race to the front of the pack with a previously-unseen step forward in screen technology.

If you need more evidence that this is a phone that LG has accelerated to launch, check out the changes it’s made: removable battery, microSD slot, metallic frame and new, mature interface; in short, everything that was wrong with last year’s model in the eyes of many.

So with that in mind, is the LG G3 the perfect smartphone?

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Verdict

The LG G3 is a great smartphone – like its predecessor, if you’re after power and precision, perhaps over design and form, then this is a winner.

The camera and battery combo is sure to win some hearts, and the improved user interface both will attract new users and give relief to those that were put off by the clutter on the G2.

However, I think something was lost in design in making the backplate removable – I feel that unibody designs just feel better in the hand thanks to being more solid, and I miss that from the G2.

The plastic / metal doesn’t feel great in the hand either, and the dimensions are very much small phablet than big smartphone, which you’ll need to take into consideration if you’re thinking of buying the LG G3.

If that doesn’t bother you then the G3 is a really impressive, very accomplished smartphone that drops the gimmicks to create one of the most powerful and impressive handsets you can buy right now. Read the full LG G3 review on TechRadar.

Check out all the LG G3 deals on OMIO today!

 

Trusted Reviews

LG G3 review

LG is among the last companies to release its flagship phone for 2014. It needs to play catch-up.

It aims to do this with the LG G3, a phone with an excellent 5.5-inch QHD screen and laser-focusing camera. Not only has LG caught up, in some cases it has surpassed the competition.

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Verdict

The LG G3 is LG’s best phone yet. The screen is special but we’d have been happy for a 1080p display and better battery life. However the LG G3 has no real weaknesses, it’s an all-round great phone. Read the full LG G3 review on Trusted Reviews.

Check out all the LG G3 deals on OMIO today!

 

T3

LG G3 review

Last year, LG created the G2 with a big screen, striking design and a bunch of innovations. Now, with the G3, LG aims to change things again with a display that’s unprecedentedly high resolution, a striking new OS design and a great camera – with laser-guided autofocus no less. Is this the most advanced phone yet? Read on.

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LG G3: Verdict

So is this the perfect phone? It’s certainly the most powerful on the market at the moment and like Samsung did with the Galaxy S5, LG has focused on the basics rather than chucking exotic extra hardware features in for their own sake.

Apart of course from that attention-grabbing laser. And it’s a real pleasure to use the G3. Its size will be the clincher, though. Your mitts will decide whether it’s a great development in rightfully big-scale technology or else an absurdly oversized whale. Read the full LG G3 review on T3.

Check out all the LG G3 deals on OMIO today!

 

uSwitch

LG G3 review

Another week, another flagship phone claiming to be the best.

LG’s effort does pack some genuinely new tech though, including the highest-resolution screen money can buy – on these shores, anyway – and a laser-guided camera.

All of which sounds great on paper. But how does it fare in practice?

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Verdict

The G3 improves on the G2 in pretty much every way. It’s faster, bigger, sharper, and takes better pictures.

Looks like the race to be this year’s top smartphone just got even more interesting… Read the full LG G3 review on uSwitch.

Check out all the LG G3 deals on OMIO today!

Tesco Mobile now offering free Blinkbox music

Popular high-street grocery store mobile phone arm, Tesco Mobile, has made public it is offering free music to its customers – for the summer.

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This is for people upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2 mobile phones.

Tesco’s promotion is now running, until the 20th of July – where those customers are given three months of free Blinkbox music.

It offers thousands of tracks, with themed stations and exclusive playlists. Those are from the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, and even Kylie.

The partnership comes off the back of the success of the Blinkbox movie collaboration with Tesco.

Contracts that qualify for the deal all come with a 1GB data allowance, 750 minutes and a 5,000 text message bundle – starting from £32.50 a month, for the Sony Xperia Z2 and HTC One M8.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is priced at £33 a month, where they are all based on tariffs that offer 4G at no extra cost.

“With the World Cup and wonderful weather on our doorstep the summer playlist is a vital addition to ensuring maximum fun in the sun.”, commented Simon Groves, Chief Marketing Officer of Tesco Mobile.

“Our customers loved it when we teamed up with Blinkbox movies so this time we’re joining forces to give away free music all summer long with some of the best selling smartphones around.”