07 August 2016 ~ 3 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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26 April 2016 ~ 6 Comments

iPhone SE – New Old iPhone

iphone_se1

Apple just announced the iPhone SE and is billing it as the most powerful four-inch phone ever. Using the four-inch display and aluminium casing similar to the 2013 iPhone 5S, the company claims it took a “beloved design, then reinvented it from the inside out”.

The new phone is very similar to the 5S, but it has the power and performance of the new 6 series which makes for a very attractive overall package. Technical specifications are very similar to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus with a 64-bit A9 chip and an M9 motion co-processor which should give the same processing and graphics performance found in the flagship models. Photographic specifications are also the same with a 12 megapixel iSight camera capable of capturing 4K video. Live Photos is included in the SE package, which brings your still photos to life with sound and movement.

The new phones all share improved wireless specifications which give faster LTE and Wi-Fi. It is now possible to browse the web, download apps, and games, and stream video over 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE at higher speeds than on the iPhone 5S.

Techradar describes the iPhone SE in a review as “a simply brilliant palm-friendly phone”. It really is a very good phone, especially if you like a smaller and more manageable phone which sits comfortably in your hand (and even more so if you have a small hand, which can often struggle with the larger smartphones). And of course, the low price makes it the most affordable iPhone in the market.

The iPhone SE is a bold step by Apple to target a market niche ignored by Samsung, LG, and other Android smartphone manufacturers. Apple is offering consumers a premium small screen smartphone with the features and technical specifications found in its top models. The compact Android smartphones, by comparison, are all offered with downgraded features and low specifications. It’s a shame that, until now, there hasn’t been as much choice.

This might also have been somewhat shortsighted from the Android manufacturers; Apple confirms that the “compact” smartphone market is still very strong, particularly in China. More than thirty million four inch phones were sold by Apple last year which probably accounts for Apple’s reasoning behind the production of the iPhone SE. It is a well calculated gamble which we expect to pay large dividends for the company.

With a starting price of just £359, the new iPhone SE should prove to be another winner for Apple. What do you reckon?

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