While top of the range SmartPhones are in the middle hundreds there are a few ‘more basic’ offerings often with older operating systems that are available for say £50. So what can you expect to get for well under one hundred pounds?
One such is the Obi MVI which looks a little different simply because the top is flat and the base is curved. It has – like some other phones – a skin over the Android 5.1.1 operating system their offering is called Cyanogen. It is a little different in that all the Apps are displays in groups under the initial letter so in a way you can move quicker to what you want.
Not a name I had heard of until shortly after the launch of the Huawei P9 when I found out this was a sister company, so when I received an invite to a breakfast briefing I accepted, I am not keen on rush hour travel at my age and when the venue is nowhere near a tube station even less and worse still it was held on a day when your umbrella was as much use to keep you dry as a colander.
The Honor 5C measures 14.5x7x.7cm and weights 156grams. The back is brushed aluminium and while the front is black it’s not over shiny so your fingermarks are not that pronounced. The curved edges make the phone feel comfortable in the hand. The right side has the volume rocker and on/off button. The base has the speakers and between them a mini USB for charging. The left side has entry point for SIM and micro SD card and finally the top has 3.5mm port for headphones.
A 5 inch SmartPhone from Archos called 50 Power, it looks like many other phones but your secret is that it is sold SIM free and costs somewhat less than a lot of equivalent phones; it can be either a single SIM or dual SIM phone.
This Archos Android Phone 50 Power measures 14.5x7x.7cm and it weighs 147grams. So let’s start by explaining the one or two SIMs the back is non removable so the battery cannot be replaced by the end user. Using the supplied pin type device press on the hole in the upper right side of the case to revel the SIM carrier, SIM one goes further in while you can then put SIM 2 at 90 degrees or if you prefer a Micro SD card.
Tablet prices are falling which I am sure everyone knows. The £49 being asked by Amazon for their latest 7" Fire sets a new low price for what is a very powerful Android tablet. So what if anything is not included in this latest offering?
The Android Fire 7" tablet measures 19x11.2x1cm and weighs 312grams. It has a shiny black front which has the nasty side effect of showing fingermarks and the back comes in a choice of colours I must keep telling myself that mine is magenta and not shocking pink. All the buttons and connections are on the top, headphone/earbud socket, volume rocker, pinhole microphone and on/off button. The back has its camera top left and its internal speaker bottom left. The viewable screen is 15.5x8.
It was a rainy day in London as I made my way to find out more about the latest Honor handset.
Following the launch of the Huawei Honor 5X, the next product on the cab rank is the Honor 5C handset. This particular model is available in a choice of gold, silver or grey with the latter being the colour of my review sample. This handset, aimed at the young and courageous, has a price tag of £149 on a PAYG basis via sources such as Amazon, Ebuyer, Expansys and Honor’s own online store at vMail.eu.
Like many companies, Amazon holds a Christmas in July event for journalists in order to promote products such as the Fire Tablet forming the basis for this review.
Along with the multitude of third-party products on offer from its Aladdin’s Cave of delights, sometimes known as its catalogue, Amazon has a number of its own brand offerings. One such brand is that of the company’s Fire tablets with the 7-inch model currently being one of the company’s favourite products of the year according to its own literature.
The P9 is an excellent camera and phone, look back and you will find two reviews of it on this site, however launched at the same time – but not immediately available - is the P9 Plus which was stated to cost £100 more so what exactly does the extra get you.
It is a little larger at 15x7.5cm and weights 20grams more. Neither of which you would probably notice unless you have the two units side by side. What you may notice is that the viewable screen has a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.5inches again that bit larger. Strangely there are less colour choices but quite by chance the review unit was the same colour as my own P9 with the exception of the on/off button that has a red hue around it.
Adding to its own brand range of handsets, Vodafone has released the Smart platinum 7 smartphone.
Ten years ago, in 2006, Vodafone took the decision to develop its own brand of handsets appealing to the more economically priced market sector. The first such device was a 3G clamshell handset christened the Vodafone 710. Since then Vodafone Devices have racked up sales of 85 million units. Aiming to add to this impressive figure is the latest Vodafone Device which is the Smart platinum 7 which Vodafone believes will answer the consumer’s need for a 4G+ smartphone.
A PAYG offering from Vodafone, this 5inch screen offering seems almost small by some recent items that have passed over my desk but it means it fits easily in a pocket and can be held easily in the palm of your hand for ease of use.
It is 14x7x.7cm and weights 135grams. The viewable screen is 11x6.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 5inches. Going round the outside has a volume rocker on the right with the on/off button below it. The base has a tiny slit speaker as well as a micro USB socket for charging. The left side is clear and the top has a 3.5mm socket for headphones/earbuds and beside it a pin hole microphone.
Adding to its range of budget smartphone offerings, Vodafone has released its Smart Ultra 7 model.
Adding to its range of Smart Ultra handsets, Vodafone has released its Smart Ultra 7 model with the promise of bringing speed, power and performance to the user. With dimensions of 152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68 mm and a weight of 150g, this handset has a 5.5-inch full HD IPS (Plane to Line Switching) screen surrounded by a black bezel that is considerably wider at the top and bottom than the sides.
With dimensions of 143 x 69 x 7.7 mm (H x W x D) and weighing 152g, the Xperia X is Sony’s latest entry into the rather overcrowded smartphone market sector.
The Sony Xperia X handset is currently available in a choice of colours. The user can select from models coloured White, Graphite Black, Lime, Gold and Rose Gold. My review sample is the Graphite Black model. The Sony Xperia X’s metallic casing is dominated by a 5-inch screen that is capable of displaying Full HD 1080p resolution with bright clearly visible content in different lighting conditions.
I have already outlined the ‘phone’ part of this latest offering from Huawei on the 18th April. At the time I said I would tell you about the cameras when I had more time to study them. So here goes the camera are very good as they are made by Leica.
Perhaps if you think of this as a camera first and everything a phone does for you second then that gives you an idea of what it can do. Very early on I took a picture of the local lake and right at the top of the image was a branch of a tree that spread almost by mistake into the picture, every nodule of the bark of the branch showed up and although the lake a fountain and the wildlife on the lake were clear and sharp I still remember that branch.
This is definitely a case of company action negating a review.
Not only does Vodafone offer users a vast range of mobile devices from the industry’s leading manufacturers but it also has its own brand of handsets. The Vodafone own branded handsets form the Smart range of products.
Aimed at the budget sector of the mobile market, and currently it is available for around £74, the Archos 70b Helium has been released under the banner of “Entertainment your way”.
While some might regard the Archos 70b Helium as a bulky smartphone, I tend to feel that its size pushes it more into the phablet (a word that I do not find all that appealing) classification. This smartphone on steroids has dimensions of 188 x 108 x 9.9mm (H x W x D) which means that this unit is far too large for my usual phone pocket.
This is an Android phone so everything should be the same as every other phone? However LG have never been one to conform, I remember their white phone of many years ago. Here there are no buttons on the phones sides.
The Leon from LG has one button just above the centre middle of the back. Sorry if this is not a new feature but sometime ago LG stopped sending out review units so the only way I have to review such items is via people like Vodafone. This is not the largest of phones at 12.7x6.5x.8cm and it weighs 138grams. The viewable screen is 9.8x5.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4½ inches. Both sides are clear the base has mini USB for charging and the top has 3.
Early last summer I attended a Google launch I have already told you about Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. Here is a Chrome phone running Android Marshmallow (Android 6) – also launched at that event - from Nexus part of Google but made by Huawei and this one is from Vodafone, follow that, good.
The Huawei Nexus 6P measures 13.8x7.7x.7cm and weighs 177grams. The viewable screen is 12.6x7cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.8inches. On the right side are the on/off button and below that the volume rocker. On the base the USB 3.1 power connection. The left side towards the top is where your Nano SIM is inserted. The top has a 3.5mm socket for headphones.
Designed by Huawei, the P9 smartphone comes with a couple of “Firsts” that might appeal to purchasers.
Following the company’s recently established practice of alternately switching between the release of a premium and more budget orientated model, the latest offering to appear from Huawei is the company’s high-end P9 smartphone product. Released with more than a touch of the style I have come to expect from Huawei, the P9 has been created in collaboration with Leica Camera AG. The result is the first-time appearance of a distinctive dual-lens camera smartphone.
Having recently divested itself of some of its product line up, Sony can now put more effort into offerings such as its Smartphone catalogue.
The Xperia Z5 is the latest addition to Sony’s range of smartphones to be available from Vodafone. This particular model has dimensions of 146 x 72 x 7.3mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at 154g. Featuring a 5.2-inch screen with 1080p resolution, the Xperia Z5 is available in a range of colour schemes including White, Gold, Green, Pink and, as in the case of my review unit, Graphite Black.
This is a large 5.5inch screen Android phone that comes with Dual SIM it has 8GB of memory and a Quad Core Processor so as it also has a 13MP camera with LED flash it may well tick all the boxes for a lot of people.
The Archos 55 Platinum measures 15x7.5x.7cm the last figure at the edges but the rear camera does protrude slightly, it weighs 162grams. The viewable screen is 12x6.7cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.5 inches. This is a 4G phone but the only available micro SIM at the time that I had was a 3G one, however I have no complaints about the speed of data transfer.
I attended the launch in a packed venue that if you were at the back or standing you needed binoculars to see the stage. It lasted close to two hours and the first 45 minutes was solely on the phones cameras ability it is produced in conjunction with Leica.
In this review I will talk about the phone and in a few weeks after longer use I will focus on its cameras. Of course a lot of comparisons were made to Samsung and Apple and of course this is larger/smaller faster better but once beyond all that what have you got a very thin phone, the cameras do not go outside the case so no rubbing in your pocket. It has what is called a 5.2inch 1080p screen. On the right side is the on/off button together with the volume rocker. The connection is USB 3.