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29 January 2016 ~ 1 Comment

Could the UK see Samsung Galaxy S7 before April?


The much-anticipated premium smartphone offering from Samsung, the Galaxy S7, might be available in the UK by April, following its anticipated release in the United States on 11th March. Another date doing the rounds on the rumour mill is 4th March for the US launch. However, some sources are claiming that the UK might see it as early as the 11th March.

As with previous launches, it is expected that Samsung will announce four new handsets, the Galaxy S7, S7 Plus, S7 Edge and S7 Plus. It seems likely that the S7 screen size and screen resolution will not change as the current 5.1-inch display is considered an optimal size and resolution for standard smartphones and screens. What will be new is a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, imitating the latest offering from Apple in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

Expected new features on the phones include fast charging via the USB Type-C port, an upgraded camera and wireless charging. The S7 will possibly have expanded storage made possible with the addition of microSD support and this might allow additional storage of up to 128GB. An interesting speculation is that the S7 front camera resolution will be 12 or 16 megapixels while the front camera will drop from 12 to 5 megapixels. It is assumed that this change is to allow more light in on a camera where resolution is not the primary consideration. Rumours persist of a camera with 12 megapixel and f/1.7 aperture to enable better low light photography which would be fantastic.

The operating system will be Google’s Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), which is the latest version. It is possible that the S7 will be IP67 certified (dust and water resistant) like the Galaxy S5.

To ensure that the S7 meets the demands of power-hungry consumers it is possible that the new phone will feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. This should make for a very fast phone which will hopefully be coupled with an improved battery management system which will mean better battery life.

What will the new Galaxy S7 cost in the UK? At this stage pricing is pure speculation but it would be safe to assume a starting price of around £600 SIM-free. Not a bargain at the price, but decent value for money and squarely in competition with the new iPhone 6S. Buyers looking for a phone in this category will be hard pressed to make a choice between the two – although the consensus seems to favour the current Galaxy S6 as a better all-round phone.

13 January 2016 ~ 3 Comments

Are TPO’s new plans the best yet?

sim only tpo

Charitable virtual mobile network, The People’s Operator, have launched a stunning new range of SIM-only plans for 2016. Available as a range of bundles we’ve compared them to some of the alternatives and it’s pretty clear they are some of the best deals currently available and maybe ever in the UK market.

So far this year, TPO have been signing up new customers at a ridiculous rate. And they’re not planning on slowing down – not content with offering such cheap deals, they’re also pulling out all the stops with an exclusive 50% off special offer for your first month. Here’s the current options available:

tpo plans

As you can see, these bundles are shockingly good value. For example, if you pay just £7.50, you will get a mighty 1000 inclusive minutes as well as 3GB of mobile data and completely unlimited text messages.

If you’ve only got £5 to spend, you still get a hell of a lot. TPO’s cheapest bundle includes unlimited SMS, 300 minutes of voice calls and a whole 1GB of mobile internet.

Ordering a SIM is completely free and you can get started in moments. You even get to keep your existing phone number very simply.

Here are some of the benefits TPO advertise for their SIM-only offerings:

tpo benefits

Are these the best offers currently available? Do you know of any superior SIM-only plans currently available? And would you consider joining TPO for these deals?

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11 January 2016 ~ 2 Comments

Is the OnePlus X poised for UK success?

one plus x

Smartphones are one of the most competitive market segments in consumer goods. It is no easy task to introduce a new range of devices into this market, and succeed. There are so many factors which influence buyer decisions. Although shoppers are still fiercely price conscious, technical features, design and that elusive element – branding – determine the final purchase.

According to Tech Advisor, “The OnePlus X is the best value smartphone of the year.”

Selling in the UK for £199 (the Onyx model) and £269 (for the Ceramic version), it has view rivals which offer similar features and specifications at these prices. For example, the Motorola Moto G (3rd generation) has good specifications at £159 but cannot match the design and build quality of the OnePlus X. The closest rival is the Nexus 5X, but it costs 50% more and this confirms the excellent value offered by the Chinese handset.

The OnePlus X has a superior design in a compact package with excellent software and a quality 5” 1080p Active Matrix OLED screen. The phone is available in Onyx -black glass on a metal bezel – which gives the phone a premium feel normally reserved for much more expensive handsets. There is also a limited edition Ceramic edition which is crafted in a process totalling 25 days. The ceramic is fire baked up to 2,700°F for more than 28 hours before cooling for two full days. Scratch-resistant with a hardness of 8.5H on the Mohs scale, the ceramic model has no peers, even at twice the price.

A 13 megapixel rear camera combined with an f/2.2 aperture and an 8 megapixel front camera will meet most users’ needs with Auto, HDR or Clear Image modes. Good performance is provided by the reliable Snapdragon 801 processor with Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The OnePlus X supports two nano SIMs with one card slot providing optional expandable storage, allowing a maximum capacity up to 128GB.

The OnePlus X is not perfect and the battery life and camera could be better but at this price it has no equals. This smartphone may deservedly become one of the best sellers of 2016.