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.)

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

Falter – by the band: Rounds (Music)

Posted by – February 9, 2013


Out now on Blind Colour via iTunes: itunes
Amazon: Amazon UK
12 inch vinyl available via www.blindcolour.com and http://rounds.bandcamp.com/
Follow Rounds on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rounds1234
http://soundcloud.com/rounds

Huawei Ascend G300 (U8815) Gets Ice Cream Sandwich

Posted by – December 14, 2012

Users of the Huawei Ascend G300 (U8815) phone on Vodafone in the UK can now upgrade to Android 4.0.3 – Ice Cream Sandwich – online, even with the standard Vodafone mobile phone (without any need for custom roms or unlocking or rooting the phone) as Vodafone has now provided the official update. This should make the G300 one of the cheapest phones available in the UK with ICS.

Must have apps for Windows Phone / Symbian (Phones)

Posted by – December 5, 2012

Recent events have led me to use both Nokia’s latest phone and operating systems (Symbian on the Nokia PureView 808), as well as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system on the Nokia Lumia 920.

As most people tend to have the same uses for mobile phones, such as twitter, camera, torch, music, etc, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of the “must have” apps for the platforms, and show what the most similar apps are on both platforms. If you want to add the Apple versions, please get in touch, or leave it in the comments, and I’ll add to this list. For android versions, have a look at this list.

Must have app Nokia Version Windows Phone Version
Barcode (QRcode) scanner UPCode Barcode Wallet (scanner and storage) / Scan
Last.fm Scrobbler* Mobbler Last.fm App
Twitter client Gravity (£8 – Well worth the money) Twitter / Seesmic
Torch App QTorch Flashlight with LED / Flashlight XT
Spirit Level Level Touch Another Level / Level
Battery Meter Nokia Battery Monitor (Ovi) Battery Level (suprisingly not built in!)
Panoramic Photo Nokia Panorama (N8 – unlimited shots?) Ztitch+ / Panorama (Nokia)
Keyboard entry Swype N/A
Photo Editor Nokia Photo Editor (Built in) Creative Studio (by Nokia for Lumia)
Phone Tracker Phonelocator Periodic Find my phone – built in, in settings
Screenshot “Best ScreenSnap 2.0” (link, or here) Built in (WP8) Press power and windows key together
Navigation Nokia Maps (Built in) Nokia Maps (Built in)
Navigation Customisation Own Voice (record your own voice)
WIFI Internet Sharing JoikuSpot Tethering / Portable Hotspot (Built in, settings, internet sharing)
Location information Here and Now (Built in) TripAdvisor (included)
Location aware profiles Nokia Situation (betalabs)
Camera based location info Nokia Point and Find (betalabs) Nokia City Lens
Task Management Task Manager (Built in, S^3)
GPS Based Sports Tracking Nokia Sports Tracker Runtastic / Endomondo Sports Tracker
Podcast Support Built into Music Player / Podcatcher (link) Built into the store
Alt. Music Players TuneWiki (link) Nokia Music, Last.fm, TuneWiki

* Can replace this with Spotify if you have an account as Spotify is available for both. Shazam / Soundhound is also recommended.

Recommended Nokia Lumia Photo apps: PhotoBeamer, CinemaGraph, SmartShoot
3rd Party Photo apps: Lomogram, Fantasia Painter Free,
eReader: Nokia Lumia: Nokia Reading, Amazon Kindle. Weather: Weather (by The Weather Channel)
Transport stuff: thetrainline.com (both), Tube Map (WP)

Find new / more apps for Symbian / Windows Phone / Nokia on, Nokia Betalabs (apps), recommended apps for Symbian on MobileRnR