Tag: HTC

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

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

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.)

HTC One: Sound Demo Videos (Phones)

Posted by – March 30, 2013

The HTC One has dual (ie two) front facing (ie facing you when you’re looking at it) speakers, makes sense right? I mean, why have speakers on the back blasting sound away from you. (You often have to cup the speaker on the rear to bounce the sound back to you so you can hear it). The sound is by “Beats”. So I thought it would be good to show some videos of the sound output from the HTC One. Enjoy. (More after the break, where we’ve also got video playback).


More…

HTC One Screen… (Phones)

Posted by – March 28, 2013

HTC One

HTC One

The HTC One, has a simply stunning screen. It has a 4.7 inch, Full HD 1080p, 468 PPI (pixels per inch) screen. It looks great. Click the images to view super high res (18mp) photos of the phone’s screen.

HTC One

HTC One

Hi Res: HTC One X vs Samsung Galaxy S3

Posted by – October 13, 2012

HTC One X vs Samsung Galaxy S3
HTC One X vs Samsung Galaxy S3 screens, taken with the Nokia PureView 808. Click to view larger, then click again to view really high res version of the photo.

HTC Desire HD Review (Phones)

Posted by – November 10, 2010

HTC Desire HD

The HTC Desire HD. Let’s get the specs out of the way eh?

  • Processor: – Chipset: Qualcomm 8255 SnapDragon – Speed: 1Ghz
  • Battery: – Talk Time: 9 hrs – Standby Time: 490hrs – Capacity: 1230 mAh
  • Display: – 800 x 480 pixels/4.3″ – Touch Sensitive(Capacitive)
  • Camera: – 8 mega-pixels (auto-focus) – Digital Zoom – Dual LED Flash – Geo Tagging
  • Video: – Recording Resolution: HD (720p) – Recording Speed: 25fps – LED Video Light – Supported formats: MP4, 3GP, DivX, XviD – Video Streaming – YouTube
  • Music: – Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+, OGG & WMA – Dolby Digital Mobile – SRS WOW Surround Sound
  • Messaging: – SMS – MMS (with video) – E-mail (POP3, IMAP4, Exchange, GMail) – Twitter – Instant Messaging (Google Talk)
  • Memory: – 768MB (RAM) – 1.5GB (internal) – microSDHC (memory card)
  • Call Features: – Hands Free – Caller ID – Voice Dialling
  • Connectivity: – 2G: 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz (Quad-band) – 3G: 900/2100 (Dual-band) – WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) – HSDPA (14.4Mbps) – HSUPA (5.76 Mbps) – Bluetooth (2.1) – microUSB – 3.5mm Audio Connector
  • Navigation: – AGPS – Digital Compass – Google Maps
  • Sensors: – Accelerometer – Proximity Sensor – Light Sensor
  • Features: – Web Browser – Office Document Viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) – PDF Viewer – Flash 10 – DLNA Wireless Media Sharing
  • None of which tells you anything useful. Well, there are loads of things to talk bout with this phone so lets go.

    Screen

    It’s a 4.3 inch screen and it’s a bobby dazzler. Despite sounding massive it feels really natural in the hand. It’s noticably bigger than the iPhone but the weight and smooth contours make it easy to hold. The camera lens protrudes from the back a good few millimetres. I really thought that it would catch my palm and do my head in, but not at all. Ergonomically it’s a decent phone. Typing is tough with one hand unless you use the excellent, yet love it or hate it Swype. Swype lets you type with swipes, moving from one letter to the next without taking your finger off the screen. If it sounds weird it is at first, but now it’s a ‘how did I do without i?’ app for me. It’s predictive and lets you add to the dictionary. Provided you’re not typing nonsense words it is seldom wrong. There are no hard keys as such. They have been made in to touch sensitive buttons for Home, Menu, Back and Search. Gone completely is any trackball or trackpad. I don’t miss it.

    Apps look great on screen and the touch screen is unintrusive and useful. Call quality is good but the bundled hands free kit is predictably crap. Terrible sound and earphones that fall out of your ears.At the bottom are the SIM and Micro SD slots, with a hatch that slides off  so no need to turn the phone off or take the whole back off to remove either. Left side has a volume rocker, which can be hard to operate, rather irritatingly, and top left is power, again, irritating to access. Minor points but they do annoy me.

    Performance

    Lightning fast apps, switching, animations and functions make this phone a joy to use. However, the big issue. Battery life. When I started using this phone I was horrified at it’s 6-7b hour standby time. I thought it was faulty at first until I did some research, and here is how you get 30-40 hours out of it.

    • Accounts sync. I had a total of 11 accounts  syncing, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, News, Weather, Stocks etc. They set themselves to sync every 15 minutes by default. Massive drain. I killed all bar the Google and Facebook accounts. Google updates every 2 hours and Facebook daily. This alone extended the life to a days’ use.
    • Install a task killer, kill all tasks that do not need to be running. This makes a huge difference.
    • Get rid of pointless apps. They are usually badly written and drain power. Apps like this are the price of the more open Android market, as opposed to Apple’s ‘Dolphin’s Butt’ approach.

    There are other optional steps that I took.

    • I rooted the phone using VISIONary, a free app that needs no restart and doesn’t flash the phone.
    • Installed Titanium Backup free and  deleted all the crapware that came with it. I dumped a load of pointless widgets, HTC bloatware apps that offered wallpapers etc and, astoundingly, there are two bundled Twitter apps with the phone, the official Twitter app and the HTC one called Peep. I use the far superior Tweetdeck so I have no use for those, off they went. A factory reset puts all of this back on the phone so you need not worry about that.
    • After this run the phone as normal for ten days, then drain it completely and calibrate the battery.

    My battery clocks in at 30-40 hours business use now so it can be done, Don’t believe the propaganda. I am the sort to plug my phone in whenever possible anyway, always have been. It’s hardly Apple’s ‘It just works’ appeal but I like Android for playing with it so I’m not bothered, you might be.

    Running widgets, particularly live feeds will drain it but it’s nothing to worry about.

    Media

    Music is well played, no skips etc but you’ll need decent headphones as cheap ones sound tinny. The screen is perfect for iPlayer/YouTube and the playback is very good indeed. Sharp, vibrant and well-balanced with intuitive controls. YouTube lets you sign in to a different account from the phone which is a useful idea. Photos look crisp and sharp too. Flipping between landscape and portrait is snappy and works perfectly. The music app displays album art and controls music whilst the phone is locked without having accidental presses. Clever. You can install different ones if you like, notably Tune Wiki, but I see no need. There is some sort of Dolby sound thing going on here, but I have to be honest, in my experience the rule is spend a few quid and it sounds good. This phone doesn’t convince me otherwise. It sounds good, but if I am supposed to notice some sort of sound revelation, sorry. It sounds good provided you don’t use a terrible bit rate on MP3 files.

    Navigation

    Google Maps and Navigation is there. It works snappily and the voice search is brilliant. No complaints. With it being a cloud based app there’s nothing new here that isn’t on other phones. What is new is HTC’s proprietary Locations application. It has several features. Free maps and mapping but navigation is a premium feature. Unless you’re a heavy user then navigation is free with Google. If you use it daily then buy the premium as Vodafone only give you a measly 750 MB data plan. I think this is taking the proverbial a little now. One gigabyte is not a huge amount so it’s clear they’re looking to squeeze a few pounds out of us on data.

    Fortunately, the free element of Locations is offline mapping. No data usage, but sadly the database of locations is absolutely hopeless. It’s empty compared to Google Maps and as far as I can see it does not accept postcode searches. They had better update that pronto. If you search then every space sees a lag as it tries to match what you just typed. That is extremely irritating and a flaw that needs to be addressed. However, most of the time, if you give it the data it will find what you need. If so, then the maps have 2D and 3D views – very nice indeed – and they work with the compass so that the map turns wherever you are pointing it. No more walking for a bit to see which way you should be going. Very nice feature and one iPhone has had for ages. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Google haven’t  done it  with maps. Locations also does general keyword shops. You can select whatever category of place you want, e.g. pubs, and find the ones in the area along with ratings and reviews. This is very good and means no worries about using your data up on Google Maps. As an aside, as these apps move to the cloud then networks need to be fairer on data allowances. I would happily compromise on say, mapping and browsing only, no downloads or streaming, in exchange for unlimited 3G data. I think that is a better way to keep everyone happy. No nasty surprises in our bills and the networks don’t have to worry about media streaming brining 3G networks to their knees. I am sympathetic as the traffic on 3G has exploded since iPhone changed things, but then they’ve had three years to beef up their infrastructure. If they keep this up it will stink of profiteering. Having expensive data tariffs on always-online devices is a gun to the head scenario in my opinion.

    GPS signal acquisition is lightning fast and as accurate as I have ever seen. Any thing like maps or navigation looks brilliant on that 4.3 inch screen.

    Location services on this work really well. I know there are real concerns regarding privacy but I am all over location services like a fat kid on cake. I love them and can’t wait until they gain wider acceptance. Why, for example, can’t 20 Foursquare check-ins at a restaurant equal a free meal? There is an opportunity to make money here, and hopefully the right sort of thinkers will drive this. Foursquare is a great idea, but the app on here needs refining. It works fine, but searches can often be slow and it’s a little  buggy. Not the phone’s fault, but a thought. Facebook works well and includes Places. Tweetdeck (or Peep/Twitter if you prefer) all permit location updates in tweets and geotagging photos os available too. This phone will stretch the possibilities for locatoin applications. It has the capability and the screen to be extraordinarily useful. We just need some original thinking from developers for apps and services. Bring it on.

    Camera

    The camera is 8 megapixels, twin LED flash and shoots HD video at 720p.

    Here is a sample video from bonfire night:

    Pretty good, I am sure you’ll agree. A couple of stills from the same night:

    The OS is the bang up to date Android 2.2, smooth and fast. There is a vast array of sharing options, Twitter, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Mail, YouTube. Uploads are a couple of taps and go just fine.

    Internet and Mail

    Gmail on this is great, push updates and notifications. The mail client works well with loads of options, including a unified inbox for all accounts. Nice touch. The browser works very well with smooth panning, zooming and pinching there, and in the rest of the apps too. Google search and voice search integrates brilliantly, giving local results for the device and net results too. I did install Firefox beta but for a beta release it has some terrible bugs, notably being the capitalising of the first letters of passwords, meaning you type it, then your full password, then go back and delete the capital. It’s easily fixed but that is a real balls up for something of Firefox’s standards. Quick look up works when you highlight text, you get the usual cut and paste options. The menu also gives ‘Quick Look Up’ as an option so you can get web and Wikipedia results for the highlighted text. Very good idea.Bookmarks are tiles and multiple pages are supported. plus map links and so forth open the relevant app rather than viewing in browser. Perfect touch there.

    Software

    The market now allows auto-update and update all for installed apps. It restricts that by forcing manual update if application permissions have changed. That stops developers sneaking in data mining and sharing that you did not originally agree to. Thank you Google. The market is simple to browse and the app selection is huge. Not quite up with Apple and there is a fair amount of crapware in there, but there are some great pieces of software. Be wary that quality control is non-existent, which gives app developers freedom but also allows more seedy tactics like apps that are just there to serve ads, thus generating cash, and apps that don’t work properly. Read comments before installing.

    Review: T-Mobile G2 Touch (HTC Hero)

    Posted by – November 24, 2009

    It was time to renew my mobile phone contract (well, actually my partner’s contract this time – she gets the hand-me-downs) and after my experience with Android using the HTC Magic this phone was only ever going to be Android again. I did not want a slide-out keyboard so my options were either the HTC Tattoo or this. Given the better camera and less chunky design I was sold on the G2 Touch very easily.

    For anyone interested I quickly flicked through YouTube and dug up this promotional video:

    On with my review now.

    First Impressions

    I have the black version, which is nice. In the box is the phone, headphones/hands free kit, battery, 2GB microSD card which is already loaded in to the phone, and a charger. The charger is nifty because the plug has a USB port meaning that a separate USB cable is not necessary – a nice saving, plus, I don’t know anyone who is ever stuck for a USB cable. They are everywhere, breeding like wire coat hangers. Picking it up for the first time felt good. It has a nice weight and it balances well in the hand. When I powered it up I went through the rigmarole of setting up my Google account, email and suchlike. I then immediately installed all the applications I had on my Magic. The performance of the G2 in doing so was better than the Magic, faster and smoother.

    The screen is simply gorgeous – absolutely pin sharp and clear. I began to customise the phone and discovered what a superb interface it has.

    Here you can see the screen. The wallpaper is customisable and you can have different ones for the lock screen and the open screen. What you can see here is the clock widget (one of 12 different clock widgets preloaded) and several shortcuts. The screen is one of seven fully customisable screens that are available with a swipe. It is set up so that the home key takes you to the ‘middle’ of the seven and obviously there are three screens either side, accessed via a swipe. Each screen has sixteen slots where application shortcuts or folders can be dragged, or widgets can be installed. Widgets vary in shape and size but as a rule you can install either a single full screen widget, two half screen widgets or four panel style widgets. The G2 comes preloaded with both Android widgets and HTC widgets. The Android widgets are functional but the HTC ones look way better. Currently pinned to my screens are the following:

  • Screen 1: (left most screen) Full screen weather widget
  • Screen 2: Twitter widget
  • Screen 3: People list (a neat widget that lets you add your frequently dialled contacts to a scrolling list – very cool)
  • Screen 4: (Home) shortcuts to my 16 most often used applications
  • Screen 5: Calendar widget and Google search widget
  • Screen 6: Photo album widget (allows you to scroll through your pics without opening the gallery application
  • Screen 7: TuneWiki widget
  • Installing these widgets makes the phone extremely user friendly and not only beats scrolling through the applications menu, but also the widgets such as Twitter, Facebook, music etc are live, real time widgets. As an Apple lover it pains me to say it, but sorry boys, this kicks the ass out of the iPhone interface. For my most frequently used applications it is often one tap, no opening of the application necessary. This is the most user friendly phone I have ever had in this respect. I think Android has an image issue as it is thought of as geeky because anyone who used this phone would think twice about iPhone. I never say never, but for my money Apple need to do something revolutionary to get my business back.

    The phone has, aside from the touch screen, 6 keys and a rocker button for volume. Red and green phone buttons with the expected functions, home, menu which accesses setting in all applications and another rocker key that is both back and opens a search field, again in all applications. They are all easily accessible and responsive. The on screen keyboard is easy to use. Typing is comfortable (I have large goalkeeper hands) and there is an excellent predictive text and spelling engine which also learns any new words typed – a nice touch that has been a glaring omission in previous phones, occasionally making me want to launch them skyward.

    Applications

    The first thing I did with the applications was open the browser. It’s the standard Android browser with interface add ons courtesy of HTC. It’s lighting fast, loads pages smoothly and never crashes. Panning is smooth with no lags or dragging frames. I then discovered it allows tapping, zooming and pinching iPhone stye. Result! This makes it Safari’s equal, and better for two reasons: it supports Flash, and functions can be adapted to applications, for example, if you tap a podcast feed link it will invite you to choose a default application to open it, either browser or whatever client you install. You can choose not to set a default and to just choose an application this one time too. After that I opened the albums application, where photos and video are accessed. Visual media look stunning on this screen, really beautiful. The interface allows you to scroll through photos or videos by swiping, and to view you simply tap. Excellent. Smooth, responsive and no lag. Bookmarks are viewed visually as thumbnails, and this can be exported to the home screen as a bookmarks widget. One up for Android.

    I then started to rummage around through various applications and I then noticed something we all enjoy: freebies! The phone is shipped with a Twitter client called Peep. Quick Office and a PDF Reader, all preloaded. This is very pleasing and I suspect it was done not only to sell phones, but also to showcase the interface and widget live feeds. Many users would not automatically install these applications so adding them gives a good reason to create widgets which showcases the phone’s power.

    Peep is a fully functional Twitter client supporting photo uploads, geotagging, retweeting and the widget is a live feed pinned on the home screen. It looks great, is slick in Twitter’s native black and cyan and can be customised for notifications.

    Perfect.

    Media

    Finally, a HTC phone with a standard 3.5 MM headphone jack! This is a revelation as the phone has no EQ, meaning that a decent set of headphones is a prerequisite for anything other than passing media usage. I plugged n my Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones and I found an extremely satisfying, bassy, full sound. This works for me as I always set EQ’s to bass boost anyway, but for hardened audiophiles the lack of an EQ may grate a little. The fact that the sound is good means that those who aren’t too worried should be more than happy with the sonic output of the G2. The excellent quality is borne out when listening to podcasts and viewing YouTube too, so clearly there is decent hardware onboard. I use TuneWiki for music, an application I recently reviewed. In terms of audio it is no different to the onboard application, but it integrates Last FM and Shoutcast radio plus a lyric stream and album art as well as the ability t
    o post updates to Facebook and Twitter saying you love/hate the current tune (or a custom message). The album art looks gorgeous on the screen and playback is smooth, no skips or lag at all.

    YouTube playback is excellent, with the 3.5 G connection making it very fast indeed, loading videos within a second or two. Video playback is again, smooth, no lag and an excellent frame rate. Uploading to YouTube is massively improved. The Magic permitted only one minute of footage to be uploaded, whereas the G2 allows the full 2 GB/ten minutes allowance per video. The video resolution on recordings is such that they will only ever look home made, but that’s more than enough for any mobile phone filmmaker. Videos can also be shared through your Google account, email and, by installing Qik or PixelPipe, practically every hosting service around. The video camera, as with the camera, struggles massively in poor or low light, often returning unusable footage in areas poorly lit. There is no flash or light in the phone to supplement the camera.

    Camera

    The camera is a 5 mega pixel, automatic zoom affair. It has no flash so well lit or daylight areas are as far as it goes really. Rather than tell you, below is a Picasa slideshow of the results it produces. It is the most random collection of images ever, but I went for all kinds of objects on all kinds of surfaces. I also did it in a hurry, so you might see a little shake-blur, wonkiness etc. I figure this all adds to the review. Click it to see the full size images.

    click for full size images

    There is so much to this phone that I could go on and on talking about it. It has ‘wowed’ me far more than iPhone ever did. Streaming applications such as Beebplayer (BBC iPlayer application) and internet radio streams work perfectly, as does photo editing software such as Picsay Lite and the superb, and free, Photoshop mobile. The Footprints application takes geotagged photos and links them to your maps in Google Maps, meaning you can take a tour of your photos through Maps, or have photos flag up when you pass/travel to locations you (or anyone else in your Google network) have already geotagged. This is similar to iPhoto on Mac, but this is mobile. This is one of the reasons that the cloud computing model is, I think, going to revolutionise computing, and in particular mobile computing. Also bundled are all the usual Google applications like Talk, Voice, Gmail etc. It is a testament to how far Android has already come that these excellent applications now look to be standard features, usurped in a review by the really flashy, slick stuff on board. Photos can be shared through Picasa, Facebook, Flickr, Peep (Twitter) – all of which are integrated in to the phone as baseline functions, meaning that no application is necessary to use the function, it’s practically a part of the OS, as well as any other applications you install, plus email and IM applications. This phone is connected via WiFi, 3G, 3.5G (HSDPA, up to 7 mbps – very impressive), Bluetooth, GPS (which has a pinpoint accuracy when tracking and locating) and is a media and Internet powerhouse, fully connected and connectable with all the major location services catered to such as Maps, My Tracks, Google Sky Map. It’s all there and it’s executed in what it is safe to call the best Android phone to date.

    And did I mention it makes and takes calls and texts as well? Very well it does too…

    Android music apps: Droidify and Last.FM

    Posted by – August 19, 2009

    Android sports two music and Internet radio applications. Droidify is a client for accessing Spotify and it sucks because it either does not recognise my password or it crashes every time. Sort it out Spotify. I am a fan but this is just not good enough.

    Last.FM works very well. It has a neat interface with options to listen to your library, recommended music or create a station as well as search. Some of the recommendations are real gems – artists and bands who don’t have a prayer in the regular music press or with the big labels. Perhaps that’s why the industry is so frightened of these apps. After all, the last thing they want is an open marketplace for original content when the same old crap will do. If you’re a fan of anything remotely unusual or alternative then this free app is a gem. I am sure Droidify would be another good freebie if the bloody thing worked.

    I will definitely be buying music as a result of hearing it on Last.FM. Buffering time on 3G is under ten seconds and the audio quality is good, at least 192KBPS I would guess. There isn’t much to say about this really, except it does exactly what it says on the tin, and very well too. Keep it up fellas. Spotify had better shape up pronto.

    Android applications: Beebplayer

    Posted by – August 14, 2009

    If you are an Android user then one of the first things you should do is download Beebplayer from the Android Marketplace. It accesses BBC iPlayer over WiFi AND 3G and also allows you to stream live broadcasts. Check out the quick demo video: