Removing the back of a phone used for some to be essential in order to get access to the battery, now a lot of phones come sealed so batteries cannot be changed. This phone from Archos arrived without a back as the last reviewers cat had stolen/eaten/hidden it. But as it only performed a fashion role it is not essential; however I would not like to meet that reviewer’s cat on a dark night.
Without the cosmetic back you get more information on what button does what and how to insert SIM or Micro SD Card and the case is still sealed. It is 15.2x7.5x.7cm and weighs 186grams. The viewable screen is 12x6.8cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5½ inches. While there are Android 7 phones out there I have yet to handle one so this Marshmallow offering is the latest Android 6 to have come my way.
Having recently told you about the larger Xperia XZ here a chance to put the smaller sibling through its paces, like the larger offering both were supplied by Vodafone and with this I got the chance to check their coverage not only in England but also Scotland.
Travelling back from Glasgow by train recently I was able to keep in touch all the way back mostly via 4G with around 15% of 3G coverage and a couple of times it was down to ‘E’ in the more remote parts of the Lake District. It is 12.7x6.4x1cm and weighs 135grams. My unit was shiny black – normally a minus point as it shows all the finger marks – but this seemed to hide most quite well apart from on the screen. The viewable screen is 10x5.
If all you want from a Notebook is to be able to collect your emails and browse the WWW then something like this should high up your wish list, nowadays it is possible to work off line with Chromebooks so word processing and dare I say it games are possible when not online.
The Asus Chromebook C202SA measures 29x20x2cm and weighs 1182g. It has a tiny pattern on front and back with the edges in a blue rubber material, the back has a slim rubber strip at the front and a chunky one at the back which means there is a slight tilt when in use rather like a conventional keyboard on a PC. The viewable screen is 25.7x14.7cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.6inches the standard screen resolution is 1366x768.
Adding to its range of smartphones, Wileyfox has introduced a new member of its Swift 2 family.
Following the launch of its Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus smartphones a couple of months ago, Wileyfox has introduced a third member of the family with the Swift 2 X. As with the earlier offerings, Wileyfox has adopted the approach of melding together aspects of London-based design concepts with best-in-class Chinese manufacturing using tier one components and the Popular Android software supplemented with some additional tweaks.
A tablet that comes with a keyboard, when the keyboard is attached then Hotspots become available so while out and about you can get 3G and even 4G coverage. When detached from the keyboard it’s a tablet that can take advantage of Wi-Fi wherever you are.
The Alcatel Plus 10 measures 26x14.4x1.5cm the tablet itself is 8mm thick and the total weight is 816 grams with the keyboard attached the keyboard being 362 grams of the total weight. On the left side of the keyboard is a USB port and on the right side a micro USB port as well as a micro SD slot. The keyboard has 67 keys and on a 1cm strip behind the keyboard are three LEDs and a 3G/4G toggle. Both the left and right side of the keyboard have a 1cm strip clear.
I never saw the first version of this mid-range SmartPhone, I was not even aware they had entry level phones in fact what I knew about this company before the launch in London I could have written on the back of a small postage stamp.
The Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus has a silver grey back and sides with a black face. It measures 14x7x.7cm and weighs 162 grams. The diagonal imperial screen measurement is 5inches. The screen resolution is 1280x720 the whole unit has a two year warranty. This can be increased by a year to three years with a £14.99 fee that includes screen replacement so if you tend to drop or regularly mistreat your phone it could be a good investment.
Continuing with its tag line of “For The Brave”, Huawei has released the next product in its popular Honor series.
Huawei has been busy of late with various new releases featuring both Huawei and Honor For The Brave brands. Hot on the heals of the launch, held in Munich, of the Mate 9 model with its dual lens featured reviewing recently on this site, the focus switched to a new flagship offering from the Honor brand.
I think of Doro for home phones and basic mobiles for those with hearing and sight problems. While they have released a SmartPhone previously I never got to see it. This was shown at their Xmas In July event but only arrived with me in November.
The Doro 8030 Android SmartPhone measures 14.6x7x.9cm and weighs 141 grams. The viewable screen is 10x5.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 4½ inches. Start-up is 51 seconds and shutdown is 14 seconds. Even though this is chunky in comparison to most standard SmartPhones it does feel solid in the hand. Going around the outside finds the charge point on the right side with a dedicated camera button towards the base of the right side.
Over the years I have looked at a good number of phones from the French company Archos. Here I think I have received their first rugged phone. This is still a normal phone in other ways but it is able to stand up the odd drop or three.
The Archos 50 Spahir measures 14.2x7.2x1cm and weighs 219grams. Rather than being the perfect oblong the corners are shaved off at perfect 45 degree angles. This is a dual SIM phone with SIM 1 being capable of 4G, SIM 2 3G but instead of two SIMs you could have a single SIM –SIM 1 - and a micro SD CARD. Going around the outside the right side has a volume rocker and below this the on/off button.
This phone has no curves and for some that maybe in vogue, but I am no fashion guru. After Apple and Samsung perhaps the best known brand is Sony and this offering is the latest one from them to come across my desk courtesy of Vodafone.
The Sony Xperia XZ measures 14.5x7.2x.8cm and weighs 159grams. Top right on the rear is the camera and just below this the LED flash. The right side has a large on/off button in silver grey. Below this in the same colour as its surround is the volume rocker and even lower a dedicated camera button. The bottom has a USB 3.1 port for charging. Towards the top of the left side is a covered slot which takes the Nano SIM and any micro SD card you use this is stated to be up to 256GB.
Adding to its range of smartphone handsets, Huawei has released the Mate 9.
Featuring a 5.9-inch full high density touch screen, this Mate 9 has a high-precision unibody, aluminium metal frame that has been finished with a soft sandblasted texture. With dimensions of 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm (H x W x D) and weighing 196g (including the non-replaceable 4,000 mAh battery), the Mate 9 is available in a choice of colours including Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Mocha Brown and Black plus the Champagne Gold of my review model.
Do children spend too much time using a mobile device? Amazon believes it has a solution for this problem with a tablet and software managed by parents.
In an apparent effort to integrate, and influence, every aspect of home life, Amazon has developed a version of its Fire tablet specifically for the younger members of the family. This Amazon offering combines a standard 7-inch Fire tablet with a removable child-proof bumper frame in either blue or pink plus a one-year subscription to appropriate content that has been graded for specific age groups. This product goes by the title of Fire Kids Edition.
At the recent launch of two new smartphones, the Swift 2 and the Swift 2 Plus, Wileyfox let slip, either by accident or design, details of a third phone, the Swift 2 X.
Wileyfox is a little known brand that has sold over half million phones across many countries in western Europe. Design responsibility is in the UK and, like many others, is manufactured in China.Its phones are currently available over the web rather than over the counter these phones are unlocked allowing the user to have a choice of networks.
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.