Tag: Mobile

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S (Retro Views)

Posted by – November 30, 2016

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, and Arc before it, were both considered “ultra-slim” smartphones when introduced in 2011. A short 5 years later and look how far we’ve come… It looks particularly thin when photographed at an angle like this:

Xperia ArcPhoto: ePHOTOzine

The Arc S was considered a premium smartphone at the time, and was described as having a “huge” 4.2inch screen, as well as being described as “Very thin and lightweight” – at 8.7mm thick it was considered one of the slimmest. Yet even budget smartphones these days are this thin. The Arc S features a curved rear

Check out it’s specifications, and compare them to a new ultra-slim smartphone, the Moto Z:

Sony Xperia Arc S (LT18i) Moto Z
4.2inch screen (scratch resistant) 5.5inch screen (Gorilla Glass 4)
480×854 resolution QuadHD (1440×2560) resolution
8.7mm thin 5.2mm thin
1.4GHz (1-core) 2.15GHz (Quad-core, 2@2.15GHz, 2@1.6GHz)
512MB ram 4GB ram
320MB storage 32GB storage
1500mAh (removable) 2600mAh (non-removable)
8mp camera, f/2.4 13mp camera, f/1.8, with OIS
720p (30fps) video 4K (30fps) video
Android 2.3.4 (v4 available) Android 6 (v7 due soon)
£299 (RRP) £499 (RRP)

Does anyone else wonder if the “ultra-slim” Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S would survive a modern day toughness / bend test by JerryRigEverything? He tests a phones strength by checking how scratch resistant the screen is, how scratch resistant the back, camera lens, LEDs, and other buttons are. He also tests how resistant to burning the screen is – when did people start setting their screens on fire?

Inspired by JerryRigEverything:

WileyFox Swift 2, 2 Plus Vs Moto G (3rd Gen) Vs G4

Posted by – November 7, 2016

WileyFox Swift 2 Top

WileyFox has just introduced the second version(s) of the WileyFox Swift, the aptly named WileyFox Swift 2. But rather than just introduce one new smartphone, WileyFox are introducing the Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus.

This now means the new WileyFox phone range consists of the budget Spark / Spark+ / Spark X range, and the slightly less budget Swift / Swift 2 / Swift 2 Plus range.

WileyFox Swift 2 Bottom

Considering the introduction of the new WileyFox Swift 2 and the price it is introduced at, as well as the naming system used “2” and “2 Plus” we can quite confidently assume that WileyFox sees some of the main competition as the Moto G range of smartphones, with the new Swift 2 competing with the Moto G3*, G4, and G4 Plus. (*aka Moto G 3rd Gen)

Swift 2

Swift 2 Plus

Moto G3

Moto G4 (Plus)

Screen

5inch, 720p

5inch, 720p

5inch, 720p

5.5inch, 1080p

Ram

2/16GB

3/32GB

2/16GB

1/16GB (2/16GB Plus)

Camera

13mp

16mp f/2

13mp f/2

13mp (16mp f/2 on Plus)

Selfie

8mp

8mp

5mp

5mp

Battery

2700

2700

2470

3000

Fingerprint

Yes

Yes

No

No (Yes on Plus)

MicroSD

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

DualSIM

Yes

Yes

Option

Option

NFC

Yes

Yes

No

No

CPU

Octa 1.4GHz

Octa 1.4GHz

Quad 1.4GHz

Octa 1.5GHz

Fast Charge

Yes

Yes

No

No (Yes on Plus)

Body

Metal

Metal

Plastic

Plastic

USB

USB-C

USB-C

MicroUSB

MicroUSB

Gorilla Glass

3

3

3

3

Weight

158g

158g

155g

155g

Confusing Moto range: The fact that Moto will sell you a 1/8gb G3 or a 1/16gb G4 is disappointing, and the lower memory options cause confusion and disappointment for users. Some of the Moto G3 / G4 phones are dual-sim and some aren’t – again this causes confusion for buyers. The Moto G3 / 3rd Gen phone is the only smartphone in this range that is also waterproof.

The original WileyFox Swift offered you better than normal specifications at a budget price, but they also came with budget build quality (plastic body) and not much extra (apart from a removable battery). The introduction of the WileyFox Swift 2 introduces a more premium metal build quality and premium features such as NFC and fingerprint sensors, whilst keeping a relatively budget price. Unfortunately it also loses the removable battery.

Wileyfox Swift 2 Colours

WileyFox Swift 2 / 2 Plus Camera details:

2: *13mp 3.68mm, f/2 (EXIF) Samsung 3L8 ISOCELL, 1/3.06inch, 1.12um pixel size, PDAF
2 Plus: **16mp 3.4mm, f/2 (f/1.85 in EXIF) Samsung 3P3 ISOCELL, 1/3.1inch, 1.0um pixel size, PDAF

The Samsung ISOCELL sensors are designed to capture more light in each pixel, as well as reduce “cross-talk” which should result in slightly improved noise performance.

The sensors are still small, with small pixel sizes, and it’s still very rare for budget smartphones to feature optical image stabilisation. Even some premium smartphones such as the Xperia XZ and Google Pixel / XL use electronic image stabilisation rather than optical.

We’ll add more information when we have it.

WileyFox Spark X Quick Review

Posted by – October 22, 2016

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

The WileyFox Spark X is the “top of the range” budget phone from WileyFox. Priced at £139 – just £10 more than the RRP as the original WileyFox Swift, it now has a larger 5.5inch screen, bigger battery, and updated selfie camera.

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

AnTuTu Benchmark gives it a score of: 31,676, (3D: 3268, UX: 12243, CPU: 11703, RAM: 4462) so gaming is not going to be a strong point. (As a comparison the Samsung Galaxy S5 scored 60,380, and the new Sony Xperia XZ scored: 136,989)

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – Dual sim slots, and a MicroSD slot.

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – Speaker grill is copper / orange

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – 13mp camera on the back

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – Removable back and removable battery

The phone doesn’t really feel like a budget smartphone, but ever since the Moto G, and subsequent models the quality of budget smartphones has improved massively.

The phone is solid, and has a number of stylish touches, such as a coppery chrome surround, a copper speaker grill at the front, as well as a copper fox logo on the back, there’s also a copper surround around the camera lens on the back.

(Compared to the current Moto G, the Moto G4, the Moto G4 is around £160, has a FullHD 5.5inch screen, 8-core processor, 16GB, a 13mp, f/2.0 camera, is waterproof and scores an Antutu Benchmark score of: 46,614 – Source)

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – 3000mAh battery

The screen looks good, and the screen is bright, and it’s not really obvious that the screen is a 1280×720 resolution.  The phone comes with a pre-fitted protective film, although it’s quite thin, so not going to protect it from drops.

In use, the phone is responsive, and does a good job with all the things I’ve used it for. Youtube, Facebook, etc.

The default keyboard is reasonable, but doesn’t have the numbers on a separate line, which is a shame, as a 5.5inch screen is easily big enough to accommodate this. Personally I use SwiftKey, and switch on the number row.

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – Rear speaker grill

The phone has a decent speaker.

Lets go over the main specifications compared to the WileyFox Swift, with the Spark X on the left, and the Swift on the right:

WileyFox Spark X WileyFox Swift
13mp f/2.8 main camera (Samsung, 4mm)
8mp selfie camera
5.5inch screen 1280×720 (IPS, 2.5d Dragontrail glass)
1.3GHz Quadcore (Mediatek 6735, 64-bit)
Removable 3000mAh battery
154.35 x 78.6 x 8.75mm (thinner)
162.9g (with battery)
Black
13mp f/2.5 main camera, Samsung BSI CMOS, Dual-flash
5mp selfie camera
5inch screen, 1280×720 (Gorilla Glass 3)
1.2GHz Quadcore (Snapdragon 410, 64-bit)
Removable 2500mAh battery
141.15mm x 71mm x 9.37mm
135g
Available in black or white
Same: FullHD video recording (rear and front camera)
Same: 2GB / 16GB built in
Same: MicroSD slot
Same: Dual SIM slots

Sat-nav using Google Maps works reasonably well (not perfect, but good enough), the speaker is loud enough. Call quality is reasonably good.

WileyFox Spark X

WileyFox Spark X – Close up of camera, top headphone socket

Camera – When recording video (FullHD, 30fps) you can take FullHD resolution photos at the same time. The camera app has auto, steady photo, night, HDR shooting modes. Panoramic as well.

WileyFox Spark X Aston Martin Photo

WileyFox Spark X Aston Martin Photo

Unboxing video:

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.

 

 

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.

Nokia N8 and Nokia PureView 808 Camera Phone Reviews

Posted by – July 30, 2012

DigiCamReview has reviewed the 12 megapixel Nokia N8 after using it for 18 months, while ePHOTOzine has reviewed the 41 megapixel Nokia PureView 808. Both camera phones run Symbian, and feature Carl Zeiss lenses, and Xenon flash – which helps massively in low light situations. Here’s what ePHOTOzine had to say about the 41 megapixel Nokia PureView 808:

“Looking at the detail resolved in these images, it shows more detail than 24 megapixel APS-C Digital SLRs, and provides very similar levels of detail to the 36 megapixel Nikon D800, albeit with more noise visible in the image.”

Nokia PureView 808 Sample Photos

Posted by – May 26, 2012

Nokia PureView 808 WhiteePHOTOzine has published sample photos from the new 41 megapixel Nokia PureView 808 – Nokia’s flagship cameraphone, it features a Carl Zeiss f/2.4 equivalent to 26mm when taking 16:9 photos or 28mm when shooting 4:3 aspect photos. The phone features a 4inch touch screen, 16GB of memory, HDMI out, ISO50 to ISO1600, and lossless zoom, for example you can use 3x zoom when in the 5 megapixel mode, or 4x zoom when recording full HD videos. AllAboutSymbian has published their first impressions, including comment on where it fits in with regards to Symbian and the transition from Symbian to Windows by Nokia.