WileyFox Spark, Spark+ and Spark X

Posted by – September 27, 2016

Wileyfox Spark Range

WileyFox, known for high value, good specification smartphones in the UK, such as the highly popular WileyFox Swift, has recently introduced three new budget smartphones, starting with the:

WileyFox Spark – £89 Budget (lower spec than Swift)
8mp rear, 8mp front cameras
1GB ram, 8gb memory (going to be slow and fill up quickly)
5inch HD (1280×720) screen
1.3GHz quad-core
Dual sim, MicroSD slot
Cyanogen 13 (Android 6)
2200mAh battery (removable)
143 x 70.4 x 8.65mm
134.5g weight

If you have the choice between the Swift and the Spark, the Swift would be a better choice, as the 8GB leaves a very small amount of memory for use.

WileyFox Spark + – £119 Budget (V similar spec to Swift)
13mp rear, 8mp front cameras
2GB ram, 16gb memory
5inch HD (1280×720) screen
1.3GHz quad-core
Dual sim, MicroSD slot
Cyanogen 13 (Android 6)
2200mAh battery (removable)
143 x 70.4 x 8.65mm
134.5g weight

Improved “Selfie” camera, faster processor, lower rating battery, thinner.

WileyFox Spark X – £129 Budget with large screen (Similar spec to Swift)
13mp rear, 8mp front cameras
2GB ram, 16gb memory
5.5inch HD (1280×720) screen
1.3GHz quad-core
Dual sim, MicroSD slot
Cyanogen 13 (Android 6)
3000mAh battery (removable)
154.35 x 78.6 x 8.75mm
162.9g weight

Features a larger screen, and bigger battery.

 

 

Lenovo K5 Vs WileyFox Swift Vs Moto G3

Posted by – May 24, 2016

So, there’s a new value smartphone on the market, replacing the entry level Moto G (the original Moto G was £129, and since then every new Moto G has been better, but also pushed up the price, particularly if you want 2GB/16GB, which pushes the price up to £160-£170), so Lenovo, owners of Moto, have now released a new “entry level” smartphone, the Lenovo K5, priced at around £129.

Lets see how it compares to some of the other entry level smartphones… We’ve recently been impressed by the WileyFox Swift, particularly when it’s been on offer for £99 instead of the usual £129. Perhaps the Lenovo K5 will also be be offered for bargain prices. Anyway, lets see how they compare, and we’ll also compare it to the Moto G3, which is available for around £129 – if you opt for the 1GB/8GB version…

Lenovo K5 (*Vibe K5) WileyFox Swift 4G Moto G (3rd Gen), WP
13mp camera
LED flash
5mp selfie camera
FullHD video
5inch screen (HD)
1.4GHz Octacore CPU (Cortex-A53)
2GB / 16GB built-in
MicroSD slot
Dual SIM (Optional)
Removable 2750mAh battery
142mm x 71mm x 8mm
142g
Available in white, black etc
13mp f/2.5 camera, Samsung BSI
Dual LED flash
5mp selfie camera
FullHD video recording
5inch screen, HD, Gorilla Glass 3
1.2GHz Quadcore (Snapdragon 410, 64-bit)
2GB / 16GB built in
MicroSD slot
Dual SIM slots
Removable 2500mAh battery
141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
135g
Available in black or white
13mp f/2.0 camera
Dual LED flash
5mp selfie camera
FullHD video
5inch screen, HD, Gorilla Glass 3
1.4GHz Quadcore CPU (Snapdragon 410)
1GB / 8GB built in (or 2GB/16GB)
MicroSD
Single SIM slot
2470 mAh battery
142.1mm x 72.4mm x 11.6mm
155g
Available in multiple colours

We’ve also compared the WileyFox Swift 4G with the BLU Life Mark 4G as well if you want another option.

BLU Life Mark 4G Vs WileyFox Swift 4G

Posted by – May 9, 2016

You might be thinking about the WileyFox Swift, or the BLU Life Mark 4G, as both phones feature a 5inch screen, and good specifications for the price (both on offer for around £99 on Amazon UK). Lets have a look at how they compare:

We recently had a look at the WileyFox Swift, and have been impressed by the smartphone, considering the price and features available, and the BLU Life Mark 4G could be a competitor.

WileyFox Swift 4G
13mp main camera, f/2.5, Samsung BSI CMOS
Dual LED flash
5mp selfie camera
FullHD video recording (rear and front camera)
5inch screen, 1280×720 (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
1.2GHz Quadcore (Snapdragon 410, 64-bit)
2GB / 16GB built in
MicroSD slot
Dual SIM slots
Removable 2500mAh battery
141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
135g
Available in black or white

Bundled with USB cable, screen protector, battery, and very little else.
BLU Life Mark 4G
13mp f/2.0 aperture main camera
LED-flash (single)
5mp selfie camera
FullHD video
5inch screen, 1280×720
1.3GHz Quadcore (MediaTek 6735)
2GB / 16GB built in
MicroSD slot
Dual SIM slot
2300mAh battery (Removable)
142.4mm x 72mm x 9.5mm
150g
Grey, White or Gold
Fingerprint sensor
Bundled with case, screen protector, USB, battery, charger, ear buds.

Looking at the specifications of both phones, they are quite closely matched in a number of ways, and the BLU Life Mark also offers a Fingerprint sensor for additional security, however the battery life is likely to be quite poor due to the lower battery rating. The Blue Life Mark is also larger and heavier, and it’s not clear what kind of protection is built in to the screen, with the WileyFox Swift offering Gorilla Glass 3.

WileyFox Swift Quick Review

Posted by – March 9, 2016

WileyFox Swift Back

The WileyFox Swift is made by a UK company, WileyFox, who currently sell two models, the Swift is the entry level model, priced at around £130 (Cashback offer between 1st March – 25th March 2016), with the higher spec model, the Storm, priced at around £200. The Swift runs Cyanogen OS (currently 12.1.1), a user developed version of Android (currently 5.1.1).

WileyFox Swift Camera View

The WileyFox Swift, as a “budget” Android smartphone is competing with a number of other models, but offers an impressive range of features and specifications, considering the price point.

WileyFox Swift Key Features:

  • 13mp main camera, Samsung BSI CMOS sensor, Dual-flash
  • 5mp selfie camera
  • FullHD video recording (rear and front camera)
  • 5inch screen, 1280×720 (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
  • 1.2GHz Quadcore (Snapdragon 410, 64-bit)
  • 2GB / 16GB built in
  • MicroSD slot
  • Dual SIM slots
  • Removable 2500mAh battery
  • 141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
  • Available in black or white

WileyFox Swift

Alternatives include the following:

  • Moto G (3rd Gen): 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 1GB/8GB, 1.4ghz quadcore, 2470mAh, 155g, 11.6mm, £130
  • WileyFox Swift: 5inch, 13mp f/2.5 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.2ghz quadcore, 2500mAh, 135g, 9.3mm, £130
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime: 5inch, 8mp f/2.2 cam, 8GB, 1.2ghz quadcore, 2600mAh, 156g, 8.6mm,£130
  • Lenovo K5: 5inch, 13mp cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.4ghz quadcore, 2750mAh, 142g, 8mm, £130
  • BLU Life Mark 4G: 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.3ghz quadcore, 2300mAh, 150g, 9.5mm, £105
  • Huawei P8 lite: 5inch, 13mp f/2.0 cam, 2GB/16GB, 1.2ghz octacore, 2200mAh, 131g, 7.7mm, £139

To get the Moto G (3rd Gen) to match the memory provided with the Swift as standard you have to go for the £159 version, and other smartphones at this price point often compromise on other features, including a lower resolution camera, or a lower amount of storage space.

WileyFox-Swift Screen

The screen features a 720×1280 resolution, and the brightness can be adjusted easily. It’s quite bright on default settings, and seemed to be set so that it didn’t automatically adjust itself depending on the surrounding conditions (which was frustrating at first), and this was quickly resolved by finding the right settings.

The WileyFox Swift is reasonably quick and responsive, and the GPS and Sat-Nav features work well in real time, making it a suitable alternative to a dedicated SatNav device. Some budget smartphones, such as the Honor Holly (a £90 Android smartphone) can struggle, and seem a little slower in comparison. The Swift does not seem to have any problems playing back videos smoothly.

Battery life should last a day in theory, although it will also depend on how you use the phone, and we found that listening to music on the train with earbuds seems to drain the battery very quickly. Perhaps due to the phone regularly losing mobile phone signal going through tunnels. You could get a spare battery as the phone battery can be removed and replaced, or you could take a USB charger with you, and there are plenty of portable chargers available for not much money.

WileyFox-Swift Camera

The camera – it’s quite good, with a 13mp sensor, and f/2.5 aperture, and it’s certainly reasonable, although with no optical image stabilisation, and not an especially fast aperture compared to some smartphones, low-light photography can be tricky. I’d prefer it if the camera increased the ISO speed, with additional noise, rather than having a blurry photo (and low noise). (The Honor Holly is good at increasing the ISO speed, giving you a sharp but noisy image, and features an 8mp f/2.0 camera). The camera does feature twin LEDs, which can help with close subjects in low light.

I was unimpressed by the built in camera app and have switched to using Google’s photo app. There are a good range of options and shooting modes using this app, including photo sphere, panorama, lens blur, camera and video, as well as HDR.

Overall – For the price it’s very difficult to find an Android smartphone with a better specification, without compromising on something. The simple fact is, that at this price, you get a highly capable Android smartphone with a decent screen, relatively stylish looks, a good enough camera, and 2GB/16GB memory, which means you can get a good number of apps and music on without the smartphone feeling slow. For the more advanced user, or for someone who uses the camera a lot, in a variety of situations, the slow-ish aperture and poor low-light performance will most likely have you looking at other smartphones pretty quickly.

Pros: Price, specification, design, 2GB/16GB built in, reasonable 13mp camera, 5inch screen, fairly quick, good GPS performance with Satnav, light and slim.

Cons: As a UK only mobile phone, the availability of spare parts, accessories, or repair by 3rd parties may be more difficult compared to a main brand that is sold Worldwide. Camera and battery life could be better, but are fairly reasonable considering the price. Generic looks on the screen side.

Waterproof Tough Android Smart Phones

Posted by – March 8, 2016

If you’re looking for a tough, rugged, waterproof, or water-resistant smartphone, then there’s a reasonable choice of Android phones, here’s a list of them, including some key details, as well as links to reviews:

2015:
Sony Xperia Z5, 5.2″ screen, IP65/68, about £400, Reviews: ePHOTOzine.
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, 4.6″ screen, IP65/68, about £320, Reviews: theVerge.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, 5.5″ 4K screen, IP65/68, about £550, Reviews: CNET.
Sony Xpera Z3+ (AKA Z4), 5.2″ screen, about £300, Reviews: PhoneArena.
Sony Xpera M5, 5″ screen, between £300-£360, Reviews: AndroidPit.
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, 5″ screen, about £155, Reviews: CNET.
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3, 4.5″ screen, budget-ish, IP67, £150, User reviews: GSMArena.
Moto G (3rd Gen), 5″, 13mp, 1m WP, IPX7, from £130, Reviews: ePHOTOzine.

US: Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
US: Samsung Galaxy S5 Active and Sport
US: Huawei Honor 3, 4.7″, budget, IP57.

Nb. IP ratings, first digit dust protection ie: IP6 = Totally dust protected, second digit water protection, eg: IP68 = Protected against prolonged submersion in water. More details here.

2014:
HTC Desire EYE, 5.2″ fullHD screen, 13mp, (f/2.2 22mm front, f/2.0 28mm rear), 1m wp, Reviews: TrustedReviews.
Samsung Galaxy S5, 5.1″ fullHD screen, 16mp camera, dust and wp, Reviews: ePHOTOzine.
Sony Xperia Z3, 5.2″ fullHD screen, 20.7mp camera, IP65/68 (dust and wp), Reviews: Engadget.
Sony Xperia Z3 compact, 4.6″ 1280x720p screen, 20.7mp camera, IP65/68 (dust and wp), Reviews: KYM.
Sony Xperia Z2, 5.2″ fullHD screen, 20.7mp camera, IP55, IP58 (dust and wp), Reviews: Engadget.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, 4.3″ 720p screen, 20.7mp camera, f/2.0 lens, IP55/58 (dust and wp), Reviews: GSMArena.
Sony Xpera M2 Aqua, 4.8″ (960×540) screen, 8mp camera, IP65/68 (dust and 1.5m wp), Reviews: Wired.
Cat S50 (4G), 4.7″ (720p) screen, 8mp camera, dust (IP67),  drop and 1m wp, Reviews: Clove.
Cat B15Q, 4″ screen, 5mp camera, dust (IP67), drop, and wp, Reviews: CNET.

2013:
Sony Xperia Z1, 5″ fullHD screen, 20.7mp camera, £270, Reviews: ExpertReviews.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra, 6.4″ fullHD screen, 8mp camera, IP55/58 (dust and wp), £199-239, Reviews: Pocket-Lint.
Sony Xperia Z, 5″ fullHD screen, 13mp camera, Reviews: ePHOTOzine.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, 5″ fullHD screen, 8mp camera, Reviews: PCAdvisor.
Cat B15 (discontinued), 4″ screen, Reviews: TrustedReviews.

Available in the UK 2012:
Motorola DEFY, 2010, 3.7″, 512mb, 800mhz, 5mp, 2.1-2.2 S/H: ~£75, Reviews: TrustedReviews
Motorola DEFY Plus / +, 2011, 3.7″, 512mb, 1ghz, 5mp, 2.3, ~£195, Reviews: ExpertReviews
Motorola DEFY Mini, 2012, 3.2″ low res, 512mb, 600mhz, 3mp, 2.3, ~£79, Reviews: CNET
Sony Xperia Go, 2012, 3.5″ low res, 512mb/8gb, DC 1ghz, 5mp, 2.3-4.0, ~£150, Reviews: RegHardware
Sony Xperia Acro S, 2012, 4.3″ high res, 1gb/16gb, DC 1.5ghz, 12mp, 4.0, ~£270, Reviews: GSMArena
Sony Xperia Active, 2011, 3″ low res, 512mb, 1ghz, 5mp, 2.3, ~£150, Reviews: Pocket-Lint
JCB Pro Smart, 2012, 3.2″ low res, 256mb, 800mhz, 5mp, ~£279, Reviews: ExpertReviews

Not currently available in the UK:
Motorola DEFY XT, 2012, 3.7″, 512mb, 1ghz, 2.3
Samsung Rugby Smart (i847), 2012, Reviews: Engadget
Casio G’zOne, Japan and US only.

Note: wp = waterproof, fullHD = 1920×1080, hi-res = 720p (1280×720), low-res = 320×480, if not stated, then “standard” resolution: 800×480

The Huawei Ascend G300 (u8815) Phone Quick Review

Posted by – December 28, 2013

The Huawei Ascend G300 (model number u8815)

The phone has an impressive specific for the price, available for 99 ish pounds online (or much less second hand) without the need of top up. You can even get 30 pounds off if you search hotukdeals or moneysavingexpert making it better than last years San Francisco, and many would say the San Francisco 2.

Features

  • 1ghz CPU
  • 4inch screen WVGA capacitove touchscreen, corning gorilla glass
  • 10.5mm thin
  • Android 2.3.6, upgradable to ICS 4 (officially)
  • 5mp camera with flash (LED)
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS (agps)
  • Proximity light sensor

iPlayer works ! Yay

Huawei Ascend g300

It looks a lot like one of the early iPhones with rounded corners and the same or similar tiny bit of Silver and black. Although the corners are white plastic and while it takes away from the simple design it should provide additional protection if dropped. Even the position of the on / off, lock button, is in the same place as the iPhone lock button.

The home, back and menu buttons are flush with the screen and glow a bright white. And look good, With the whole overall look and design of the phone giving it all much more premium feel that the 99 pounds would suggest possible. Although the silver on the back of the phone does scratch easily.

The stock install comes with a few Vodafone apps pre-installed but these aren’t excessive and thankfully the theme is left alone without horrible branded colours and wallpaper *cough* San Francisco.

It includes a 5mp AF camera with single LED “flash” light. Outdoors in good light the camera can take decent photos.

Theme Park works well although it can take a while to become smooth.

WordPress doesn’t seem totally happy in Android. Making editing and formatting a little difficult.

HTC One Mini Screen and Sample Photos (Phones)

Posted by – August 26, 2013

HTC One Mini Homescreen

The HTC One Mini is the latest smartphone from HTC, with a smaller 4.3inch screen, it’s a great size phone, the screen is great, and the phone is fast, responsive and feels great. It’s got the same 4 megapixel sensor as the HTC One, and the bright f/2.0 lens, but the Mini doesn’t feature optical image stabilisation, whereas the HTC One does. It should still provide great low light images, but won’t be as good as those with optical image stabilisation, like the HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020.

HTC One Mini

It’s got a dual core processor, 1GB memory, 4.3 inch 720p screen, 1.6mp front camera, Android 4.2.2, HTC Sense 5.0, plus stereo beats audio. Its got 16GB of built in memory, however you can’t upgrade this as there is no microSD slot, although they do give you loads of Dropbox storage for free if you set it up on the phone.

HTC One Mini Porsche Sample Photo

The camera takes some decent photos, although at only 4 megapixels, detail isn’t as good as you as other higher resolution camera phones. However for the most part 4 megapixels should be plenty for sharing on Facebook and other social network sites.

HTC One Mini Porsche Sample Photo

Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T Ultrabook Review

Posted by – July 23, 2013

Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T

If you’ve seen any of my previous posts on here about netbooks/laptops etc, I much prefer the idea of a compact laptop with low power processors and decent specifications, rather than a powerful or top-end “netbook”. There seems a lot of cross-over, but my ideal laptop is actually called an “ultrabook” – most cost over £800 new, but a number of recent models, such as the Samsung Series 5 NP530 are available for around £500 new.

The Toshiba Satellite z830-10T is an ultra book that was launched a couple of years ago in late 2011 – a similar age to my Alienware M11x – and had a price of around £800. But is now available second hand for around £250, from ebay, which is where I got mine from. (I also didn’t want a brand new laptop, as I prefer Windows 7 to 8). The Toshiba Satellite Z830 has been replaced by the Toshiba Satellite Z930 (Amazon).

The Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T in a nutshell:

It has an Intel i3 1.4ghz dual core processor, 4gb of RAM (you can upgrade to 6Gb by replacing the 2gb DDR3 stick with a 4gb DDR3 stick for around £30!), 128gb SSD (which the Samsung Series 5 NP530 doesn’t feature), a 13.3″ matt screen, and a backlit keyboard. It’s thin, really thin, and really light at 1.1kg. It also promises around 8hours of battery life, however this will vary greatly on how much you use some of the more intensive battery drains, such as a bright screen, and the backlit keyboard.

Things that are important to me in a laptop: Screen. Keyboard. Battery life. Noise (and speakers). Performance. Size and weight. Warranty*.

So starting with the screen: It’s a 13.3inch screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution. So pretty standard for a small <14″ laptop. The screen is thin / slightly flexible / although it doesn’t seem as flimsy as the previous ultra compact laptop I tried, the Toshiba Portege R500. Viewing angles are better than I was expecting after reading some reviews of the Z830T. Also better than the Toshiba R500.

Toshiba Satellite Z830 Keyboard Lights

The keyboard: It’s backlit, when the lights are switched on, however you can’t see the function labels – as just the letters glow. It can be set to switch on for 15 seconds, then automatically time out when you don’t use the keyboard for 15seconds. I managed 61wpm with 1 mistake on an online typing speed test. The touchpad has a button above it so you can switch it off and on.

Battery lifeThis site says they got 7 hours from it. But how will it perform now that the laptop is over a year old?* It seems to get around 5 to 6 hours but you will get better or worse battery life depending on how bright you have the screen and what you are doing with it. There is a Toshiba Eco Utility app, this will bring power usage down to 7-11w by dimming the screen, keyboard and other things.

Noise: When the fan is off, the laptop is silent. Watching iPlayer for 20+ minutes fullscreen didn’t cause the fan to start. However, there are times when the fan does kick in, particularly in the summer, and it can get quite loud. There are a large number of seemingly unnecessary Toshiba apps that like to auto start and live in the taskbar next to the clock.

Speakers: Stereo speakers and “Dolby Advanced Audio” – at 50, playing iPlayer it’s loud enough for watching in the living room. (The screen is also bright enough and viewing angles are pretty decent). CPU usage was around 14-21% running iPlayer.

Toshiba Satellite Z830 Touchpad

Performance: Windows 7 (64bit) scores: Processor: 5.2, RAM (DDR3): 5.9, Graphics: 5.4, Gaming graphics: 6.1, Hard drive (SSD): 6.6.

Size and weight: This has become increasingly important for me, as I’ve traveled to various countries, and regularly traveled across Britain, with numerous trips down to London. This has made the Alienware M11x seem like a rather fat, chunky, and HEAVY laptop, making a rucksack/backpack feel very heavy for walking around, or just getting from one part of London to another on the tube.

Toshiba Satellite Z830 USB3

It’s thin, really thin… and doesn’t weigh much at all, just over 1Kg , this makes it fit neatly into you bag without adding too much weight.

W x D x H : 316.0 x 227.0 x 8.3 (front) / 15.9 (rear) mm
Weight : starting at 1.12 kg (does it weigh more if you put more ram in or a larger hard drive? or put stickers on it?)

Warranty: *On checking the Toshiba warranty information, the laptop shipped Mar 2013, so is around 15 months old, and came with a 1yr warranty. Which is debatable, as all products shipped in the UK/European union should be fit for purpose, with companies such as Dell now providing as standard a 2yr consumer warranty (but not for business purchases, go figure).

Other stuff that I like: USB3.0 port. SD card slot (essential). HDMI port, and two standard USB ports at the back.

Overall: The Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T is a stylish, compact laptop, with good performance, and it doesn’t weigh much or compromise too much on features or design. The matt screen is so much more pleasant to use than a reflective gloss screen, and a backlit keyboard is extremely useful in dim lit environments. The speakers are very good, the keyboard is quite good to type on and perhaps the biggest complaint I would have is the noise of the fan when it does kick in. However, for the price it is available for second hand, it is an excellent buy.

Full Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T specifications. (Toshiba)

Nokia Lumia 925 Screen (Phones)

Posted by – July 6, 2013

Nokia Lumia 925 Homescreen

The Nokia Lumia 925 is Nokia’s current flagship mobile phone, and features a Pureview camera, with an 8.7 megapixel BSI sensor, optical image stabilisation, a Carl Zeiss lens, twin LED flash, and more. The screen is a 4.5inch AMOLED touch screen, with 1280×768 resolution, and is very clear, bright, and colourful. Above is the Windows Phone home screen, with “tiles” and below is the screen saver / lock screen which has used one of my photos as the image (taken with a different camera).

DSC00011

HTC One SmartPhone Review (Phones)

Posted by – April 17, 2013

HTC One Home screen

The HTC One is HTC’s “flagship” devices with specs that impress, an “ultrapixel” camera, bright lens, optical image stabilisation, 32gb, a great 4.7inch full HD screen, and a thin, stylish aluminium / plastic body, it certainly looks good, and has a modern stylish interface, with the OS based on the latest version of Android v4.1.2 (HTC Sense 5.0).

HTC One rear

The speakers are good, as we’ve shown in our videos previously, however they lack bass as they still have to conform to the logic and limitations of the physical world. IE. you can’t get a lot of bass out of a tiny set of speakers. And they are quite tiny, well they have to be, otherwise they wouldn’t fit in the 9.3mm thick mobile phone.

HTC One Screen Close

One of the most impressive things about the HTC One, other than the design, and the excellent screen, and the sound, (okay there are many impressive things), but one thing that stands out, is just how smooth the operating system and apps are on the phone. They are fast, respond quickly, and smoothly when you drag tabs in Chrome for example. Web browsing on the phone looks great with the high resolution screen, and it’s a shame when sites force you to view the mobile friendly version.

HTC One Camera and LED

The HTC One’s home screens, with the impressive facebook/twitter home page, look modern and stylish and respond quickly, and make the Sony Xperia Z’s home screens (and icon design) look dated in comparison. The “highlights” page can let you see the latest content from facebook/twitter/calendar/zoe share/TV and feels like you’re using a really useful app. The HTC TV app lets you set your favourite programs and get reminders about whats on TV each day.

HTC One Top

Other cool things worth mentioning: Wide-angle front facing camera. 28mm f/2.0 rear camera (4mp), LED works quite well (for an LED).

HTC One USB

Negatives: Software third menu button – there is nowhere for the third menu button, so you have to rely on the app or phone giving you access to this, and this doesn’t always happen. Seems a strange design feature to leave out an important button, and in some apps this takes up screen space while it displays the button on screen.

HTC One Beats Audio Logo

Another negative is the delay in the HTC One coming to market – which may be due to manufacturing problems – the device we had, had a number of tiny cracks or lines in the white plastic body of the phone that fits in between the aluminium parts. We’re guessing that this is due to this being from an early production phone, and hopefully this won’t be seen in ones being sold to consumers.

HTC One Screen

While the Ultrapixel camera will give you much better low light photographs than the majority of other smartphones (such as the Nokia 808, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 etc), due to it having a 4 megapixel sensor, f/2.0 lens and optical image stabilisation, it means that you are limited to a 4 megapixel camera. Which in good light is quite low resolution – particularly when other smartphones offer 8 or 13 megapixels (or even 41mp in the case of the Nokia Pureview 808) – and while these other cameras have crammed a lot of pixels into a small sensor, in bright sunny conditions they should be able to produce decent, sharp, detailed photos.

HTC One

Overall, while the HTC One makes an excellent smartphone with a speedy responsive screen that looks great, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying it for the camera alone, unless you take the majority of your photos in low-light. And then if you do, then aren’t you likely to get better results from a digital camera with a real flash? If you just want a great smartphone with an awesome screen, great speakers built in, and stylish design, and aren’t too fussed about the camera, then the HTC One would make a great choice. I certainly loved using it, and will definitely miss it when I have to send it back! (Photos of the HTC One taken with the Canon EOS 700D and 18-55 STM lens, you can click them to view full size.)