09 May 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Samsung S8 Pros and Cons

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is not cheap. It is one of the most expensive phones on the market. However, as soon as you start using the phone you know that it is in a different class. It probably has the best screen on the market today. It is clear, sharp, and has a stunning colour resolution. The entire package just works incredibly well, although there are a few flaws which we will discuss later.

According to Gareth Beavis of Techradar “Biometric issues aside, the Galaxy S8 is a brilliant phone“.

It is the premier phone which stands apart from all the top offerings from other manufacturers as a unique and special smartphone. It is very good looking and the phone merges into a single integrated whole without any extraneous or visually discordant elements. The curves on the edge are more subtle that on the Galaxy S7 Edge and it is an extremely comfortable phone to use.

However, there is one exception to this: the placement of the fingerprint-reading Home button which is located on the back, next to the camera. The placement is an obvious design compromise and it is not a good compromise. Most reviewers of this phone are unanimous in their disapproval of the physical position of the fingerprint sensor. In our experience too, it is a complete pain and an inexcusable one too.

We found that it is hard to reach, high up on the back of the phone, it is too small so it often does not recognise the fingerprint when used and often leads to smudging of the camera lens which is right alongside the sensor. As a result, many are using the iris scanner as an easier to use alternative to the fingerprint scanner.

The other irritation offered by the S8 is the integrated Samsung Bixby Personal Assistant which is an Apple Siri wanna-be, but at this stage is not delivering what Google and Apple provide with their personal smartphone assistants. There is a dedicated button to launch Bixby, which indicates that Samsung is determined to make this product work well, but at this stage, it is not really there yet. At the moment, it’s a waste of a physical button.

As one would expect, the S8 has a full-house of top features. These include the superb 5.8 inch quad HD Infinity Display, 4:gb; of RAM and 64GB storage which is expandable to 256GB with the addition of a microSD card. As with previous models, the battery life is good although not spectacular but wireless and quick charging is available. The excellent rear and front cameras are 12 and 8 megapixel, which both delivers exceptional images.

With a starting price of £689.99, the new Samsung Galaxy S8 is the only choice, at the moment, for the buyer who wants the best.

Would you buy the S8?

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07 August 2016 ~ 4 Comments

Top 5 Dumb Phones



Smartphones, with a plethora of high-tech features, are seen by many as the ultimate tools for communication in a modern “connected” era. The truth is that we have become slaves to the devices which were meant to free us from static desk based communication.

Earlier this year, actor Eddie Redmaine, replaced his iPhone for an analogue handset so that he could, as he put it, live “in the moment”.

“I tried switching back to a simple, old-fashioned handset in place of a smartphone. It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours. The deluge of emails was constant and I found myself trying to keep up in real time, at the expense of living in the moment.”

Research seems to confirm that the “always on” culture, which is largely based on our reliance on smartphones, is making us more anxious and unhappy.

In this article we look at the ten best dumbphones you could consider if you wish to ditch your smartphone and start living in the moment.

CAT B30

Only £74.00

The CAT B30 from construction industry giants CAT is a no-nonsense waterproof phone which will survive the toughest environments.

The specifications are very basic with 3G connectivity, a 2MP camera, MP3/MP4 playback and a safety flashlight. This is the phone for the outdoor adventurer or construction worker.

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Nokia 515

Only £149.99

If battery life is what you want, then the Nokia 515 is the perfect choice.

It has an impressive 33-day battery life. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera, dual SIM and has a MicroSD slot that can take up to 32GB.

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Doro Secure 580

Only £94.99

The Doro Secure 580 is designed for the older user who requires simplicity in design and functionality above all else.

It has four speed dial keys and an assistance button that links with the phone’s GPS to alert people where you are.

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Nokia 216

Only £29.99

The budget beating Nokia 216 has a battery life of 24 days – the equivalent of 18 hours of talking or 47 hours of music. It has some basic internet features and, although the low resolution 320 x 240 display will limit what you can do online, it is hard to beat the £29.99 price tag.

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Samsung E1270

Only £79.84

Samsung has always offered reliable and functional phones, and the Samsung E1270 flip-phone is an excellent choice if you are looking for basic text messaging, phone calls and the luxury of FM radio.

You will also have Sudoku for your leisure time and 11 hours of talk time.

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NoPhone ZERO

Finally – and officially not part of our Top 5 – if you really feel a strong desire to live off the cell phone grid you might be interested in the $5 NoPhone ZERO. It’s not actually a phone – it’s a plastic rectangle brick.

The official description from the manufacturers is that the NoPhone ZERO features no buttons, no logos and most importantly no phone. Running costs are also zero.

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03 May 2016 ~ 3 Comments

Huawei takes on Apple and Samsung with release of P9 Plus

huawei_p9

Top smartphone manufacturers are being forced to deliver increasingly unique and exciting features in order to differentiate their premium offerings. For example, the Galaxy Edge has a wrap-around screen and the iPhone has a reputation for delivering stunning photographs but the differences are becoming blurred as the phones are all offering very similar features. Huawei are now boldly delivering the new P9 – a phone which is definitely distinctive and completely different. With an innovative twin camera from Leica, one of the world’s best camera makers, they have created a lot of positive feedback from critics and users alike.

What makes the new offering from Huawei so unique is the setup of the dual cameras. Other manufacturers such as LG also offer a dual camera setup, but the P9 is different since it combines the data from both its rear sensors to create its 12 megapixel photographs. One camera shoots in colour while the other is designed solely for black and white pictures.

Michael Sykes, senior European product manager for Huawei, said: “If you let in more light you have better low-light capability, but you also get higher contrast ratios in black and white photography, so you can have really sharp and crisp black and white photos, and you can add depth information”.

The phone is also very attractive with a 5.2” 1080p display which runs almost to the edge of the phone. In spite of the large screen, the P9 is still thinner than the iPhone 6S. With 3GB of RAM and an 8-core processor, the phone has enough performance to meet most needs. The P9 comes in 32 and 64GB versions but includes a microSD slot so it is possible to add an extra 128GB of storage.

The ground-breaking design of the twin camera and the collaboration with German camera-maker Leica is seen by many analysts as an excellent strategic initiative by Huawei which could see the company establish itself as a premium brand and a serious player in the smartphone market. Huawei has shown significant growth in the last year giving it third place in terms of market share and the fastest rise in sales of any of the major brands.

If you are in the market for a premium smartphone, and you want the best camera phone currently available, then the P9 is probably your best choice at the moment. The P9 is expected to sell for around £450 in the UK.

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