23 March 2015 ~ 7 Comments

Top 5 smartphones March 2015

top 5 smartphones feb 2015

Everyone knows about the latest and greatest superpowered smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Apple iPhone 5S and the HTC One M8. They pack in the latest technology and the most features and are really at the cutting edge of modern industrial design. However, despite the high performance, they have a price tag to match.

Not everyone can afford £1000+ on a new mobile phone and commitment to a contract of two years or more. Furthermore, anyone following technology knows that early adopters pay over the odds and sometimes even subsidise other consumers for the right to boast that they a device at the bleeding edge of tech.

Smarter customers often look for bargains instead of obsessing over the very best. By going for a phone that’s a generation or two behind the curve, you not only get a product with amazing performance but you also save a lot of money. Simply, it’s the best way to maximise the bang for your buck. And it’s pretty clear that nowadays, even a phone that came out two years ago offers a blisteringly fast user experience, the same solid build quality and more features than you’d probably ever use. If you want better value for money, you can still get amazing performance – after all, most phones today offer better tech specs than laptops and digital cameras from just a few years ago.

We now have bargain smartphones available that refuse to compromise on performance. Today we’re rounding up the top five phones that offer the best value. These handsets are all less than half the price of a new Galaxy S5 or iPhone 5S but still keep up with the latest games and apps. In our opinion, they are easily the best value for money smartphones you can currently get. Have a look for yourself!

Sony Xperia Z2

Was £559.99 Now only £309.99

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Boasting a well-proportioned 5.2-inch 1080p display and a beautiful form-factor, the new Sony Xperia Z2 is a stunning choice. It claims 18 hours of talktime and a massive month of standby as well as one of the best-specced cameras going – a 20.7 megapixel monster with a 4K video capture and a huge sensor for the crispest photos and gorgeous depth of field with its F2.0 aperture.

Believe it or not, but this phone is also rated to be submersed underwater for half an hour with its IP55/IP58 rating. Our favourite aspect of this phone is the phenomenal battery life which is usually something we whine and drone about for other smartphones. Not only does it look great but it’s got plenty of power backing it up. While the included headphones are, as usual, uniformly crap, overall it’s an incredible handset for any money and with a bloat-free OS and the stunning display, the Z2 excels.

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Motorola Moto G

Only £169.99

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This second-generation Motorola Moto G offers incredible value compared to its rivals. Where else can you get this much phone for so little money?

And don’t think you’ll be skimping on specs or quality – it has an 8 megapixel camera and a brilliantly-clear 5-inch HD display all powered by the Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU running at 1.2 Ghz.

Hardly any crapware, Gorilla Glass screen, great build-quality, a decent battery and – best of all – dual SIM! Hurrah! For the price, surely this is still the best bargain around?

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HTC One M8

Was £532.00 Now only £379.99

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Most people are familiar with the HTC One line by now but if you’re not, check out the design of this phone which just oozes quality and class. The HTC One M8 has a 5-inch display with practically no bezel running at 1080p resolution and a 4 megapixel camera which includes HTC’s “Duo” multi-layer feature.

The speakers sound great and have more than enough punch especially for such a small device. Which, by the way, we have to praise again for its build quality as well as its sleek all-metal body and eye-catching curves. Battery life is merely better than average but that doesn’t stop this being one of the fastest and overall best handsets currently available.

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Google Nexus 6

Was 499.99 Only £490.00

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Google Nexus does it again. The all new 6-inch model is manufactured by Motorola and features a quad-HD display, dual stereo speakers and an amazing 13 megapixel camera.

It really looks and feels like a premium product and it’s a real treat to have stock Android Lollipop without gimmicky features and mountains of bloat.

Sure, the form factor may not be for everyone with the 6-inch screen just a tad too big for those with smaller hands, but it’s a sensational phone. Battery life impresses as does the screen and all aspects of the hardware due to the exceptional build quality. What’s not to like about easily one of the best phones on the market?

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LG G3

Only £329.00

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Wow! That’s what most people say when they see the LG G3 handset in person. The edge-to-edge 5.5” screen is not only a near-perfect size but it really does pop. Not content with just a premium screen, this offers an industry-leading quad-HD beast stuffed with pixels at a density of a might 538ppi. You won’t believe how crisp it is.

In fact, the overall industrial design is lush from all angles with a lightweight metallic body and a fingerprint-free matt finish. We love the fact it has a removable battery and the 13 megapixel laser-focussed camera is a joy to use and produces exquisite shots.

There’s a reason this is the flagship phone from LG and that’s because it’s quality in every respect. Treat yourself!

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16 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Android Lollipop and Nexus 6 unveiled

nexus 6

Google have officially revealed that the name for the new version of Android 5.0 will be “lollipop”. Previously codenamed Android “L”, the latest release continues the alphabetical naming scheme and Google have comfirmed that the coding is completely finished unlike previously-seen developer previews.

Android Lollipop replaces the current version of Android which is KitKat 4.4. It’s hard to believe but it’s now a year old having been originally released back in October 2013. There isn’t too much to get excited about with the main new features being a built-in battery saver mode and multiple accounts/profiles for guests. It also will feature Google’s new “material design” as well as the ability to unlock your device securely over Bluetooth.

Here at MNC, we’re looking forward to trying the finished version out. Google have announced that it will be rolled out onto their Nexus devices over coming weeks. We also can’t wait to see what independent developers do with Android 5.0 and hope to see it being featured in some custom ROMs as soon as possible.

Speaking on the Nexus devices, Google also confirmed the details of their new Nexus 9 Android tablet as well as the massive Nexus 6 phablet that had been codenamed “Shamu”. Both will be out for preorder shortly.

The official price for the Nexus 6 in the UK hasn’t been released yet. But it will cost $649 for the 32GB version or $699 for the 64GB version in the US. We predict the initial cost to be around £525 for the smaller version and over £550 for the 64GB model.

Like its predecessor, the Nexus 5, Google’s new flagship phone is made by Motorola. In fact, it looks very similar to their Moto X handset, only bigger and better.

Most of the tech industry’s predictions about the specs have turned out to be correct. But the performance of this is going to be gargantuan. It comes with a Snapdragon 805 SOC offering a quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450 processor. Its lightning-fast speed will be supplemented by the Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

One thing you can be sure of is that the Nexus 6 is going be huge with a massive 6″ quad HD display (5.96″ to be precise) dominating the front of the phone. This is running at a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and offers a stunning 493 ppi.

iphone 6 plus nexus 6 size comparison

Many people have suggested that the Nexus 6 is far too big for a phone. But we produced the following scale mock-up to compares its size to the new iPhone 6 Plus. You can see that although the 6 Plus only has a 5.5″ display, it’s only negligibly smaller than the Nexus 6 and should feel roughly the same in the hand.

In fact, they are almost identically sized with the iPhone 5 Plus coming in with a height of 158.1mm compared to the Nexus 6’s 159.26mm. The new Google phone is only 10.06mm thick (we’d prefer thicker with a better battery) and weighs about the same as the iPhone at 184g.

The main reason it fits so much more into a similar-size package isn’t because the iPhone has a thicker bezel. In fact, the main reason why the iPhone suffers a much smaller screen is mainly because Apple haven’t moved onto contextual on-screen buttons yet and since the gimmicky Touch ID home key takes up so much space. However, despite being comparable in size, there’s no denying the Nexus 6 is huge by any standard and many will not find this acceptable instead choosing to stick with the older Nexus 5.

We’re super excited about 13 megapixel camera which now comes with a f/2.0 aperture lens. Although you won’t get the sort of creamy paper-thin depth of field you can expect with a larger sensor, it’s going to look great and importantly perform better in low light conditions and at higher video framerates (especially coupled with OIS). Of course the built in panorama and HDR software is getting better all the time and it also has a dual led ring flash. Best of all it can record amazing 4K video at full 30fps but the front-facing camera is only 2 megapixels.

Other features include dual speakers and finally, finally, a half-decent-sized battery and quicker charging. Google claim the 3220mAh cell will last up to 250 hours standby or 10 hours of mobile data/video playback with a talk time of about a day. Sadly there’s still no expandable memory slot – Google, you make us sad 🙁

What do you think about these new announcements? What features are you most looking forward to in Android Lollipop? And is the Nexus 6 too big for you or do you prefer a smaller handset (which)? Let us know in the comments below.

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