Electricpig » recommended http://www.electricpig.co.uk The only tech you need Thu, 22 Nov 2012 12:13:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Nokia C3 Touch and Type review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/12/20/nokia-c3-touch-and-type-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/12/20/nokia-c3-touch-and-type-review/#comments Mon, 20 Dec 2010 09:12:18 +0000 Phil Barker http://188.65.36.75/?p=108550 The Nokia C3 Touch and Type could be right up your street, if you’re after a candybar phone but fancy a touchscreen as well. With A stylish metal body, big, usable buttons and an affordable price tag, it’s also the perfect pressie for Christmas for the technophobe in your life. Read on for the full verdict in out Nokia C3 Touch and Type review.

In concept, the Nokia C3 Touch and Type seems suspiciously similar to the Nokia X3 Touch and Type. Both offer a 2.4-inch touchscreen display, a T9 hardware keypad, both run slightly modified versions of Symbian S40, and both offer similar features at a similar (low) price.

Build quality is incredibly slick for the price

It’s the Nokia C3 Touch and Type that we’d rather have though, and for a surprising amount of reasons. Near the top of the list is the build quality. Considering it’s an entry-level handset, the Nokia C3 Touch and Type offers excellent quality. The outer bezel is made out of metal, and there’s a stainless steel backplate as well, adding weight and a tactile feel. Compared to the plasticky Nokia X3 Touch and Type, it feels a lot more robust, although it is slightly thicker.

Check out our Best Nokia phone Top 5 now

The Nokia C3 Touch and Type offers another big reason for picking it over the X3, though – the size of the keyboard. The Nokia C3 Touch and Type offers some of the largest buttons we’ve seen on a mobile phone for quite a while – and even those with the fattest digits will get on just fine. In contrast, its sibling features an unusual keyboard layout, and some of the keys are compromised in size as a result.

The huge buttons make for some very speedy T9 typing

The 2.4-inch screen on the Nokia C3 Touch and Type is bright and sharp, and offers a great way of navigating the S40 OS. It’s not as responsive as the latest capacitive panels, but with text entry offered via the keyboard, it doesn’t have to be.

The Nokia C3 Touch and Type offers loads of features, easily matching high-end handsets of only a year or two ago. Along with 3G/HSDPA, it offers 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There’s a 5-Megapixel camera, providing sharp and decent snaps, and it also features an LED flash.

A perfect little PAYG phone for the undemanding

So long as you already know the limitations of Symbian S40 (no real multitasking, limited functionality apps), the only real negative with the Nokia C3 Touch and Type, is the lack of GPS. With the majority of new Nokia smartphones getting Ovi Maps with free turn by turn as standard, you’ll have to look elsewhere if you also want a satnav device.

Despite that, the Nokia C3 Touch and Type is one of the best Nokia feature phones currently on sale. At £99 on a Pay as You Go deal, or £159 SIM-free, it’s affordable, smart and packed with features. Of course, it’s worth stressing that at that price you can get an utterly fantastic touchscreen Android phone, the Orange San Francisco, on Pay As You Go as well. But they’re for two different audiences: the Nokia C3 Touch and Type is for the undemanding, who don’t want to load up with apps, and have something small and sturdy that never runs out of battery on them.

Unlike our previous favourite – the Nokia C5 – you’ll also get Wi-Fi, a 5-MP camera, support for 32GB microSD cards and the touchscreen display that makes everything a little more usable. The new king of the candybar feature phones? We think so.

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Google Nexus S review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/12/13/google-nexus-s-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/12/13/google-nexus-s-review/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 10:41:54 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=106944 The Google Nexus S Android phone is cutting it mighty fine for a 2010 launch, with deliveries only promised by the end of December. You can pre-order right now though, and we’ll be honest, you really, really should. Read on for our Google Nexus S review and find out why it’s the best Android phone ever.

It was clear to see when Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy S that it was bordering on greatness. That huge Android phone with a stunning Super AMOLED screen had all the hardware to be phone of the year: but the company’s (Decent) software skin over the top inevitably meant the phone would be some way off the cutting edge when it came to running the latest version of Android. Even now it’s on 2.2 rather than 2.3. So well done Samsung for teaming up with Google, to keep its fine hardware on the very cusp of the bleeding edge.

Build

From the back, the Google Nexus S is barely any different from the Samsung Galaxy S, bar the LED flash on the camera, right down to the hump at the bottom. Samsung’s cheap “Piano black” look from its Omnia Windows Mobile days is still very much on show, but this phone is so thin (10.8mm at its thickest point), it’s hard to begrudge it, especially when all the prerequisite ports have been placed so subtly. 3.5mm audio and a micro USB charging slot can be found on the bottom, while the lock button sits on the right hand side, and the volume rocker opposite it on the left.

Flipping it round, the first thing that struck us is the buttons are in an order we’re really not used to, with the back key on the left and the home icon on the far right. You get the feel for of quickly though, and they’re always responsive, unlike the buttons on the Nexus One. We also love how they black out with the screen – more so than the gimmicky cathode ray tube wipe when you lock the phone’s screen.

This feels just like a Galaxy S, and that's no bad thing

The front face is almost all black (save the front facing camera), and curved like the US version of the Galaxy S, the Samsung Fascinate. It’s very sleek, and it’s hard not to love. Sitting on a tabletop, it looks like a cross section of obsidian stone. The only thing missing is an LED for message alerts, which we would have preferred to a noise every single time we want to know when an email has landed.

Physically, the phone is very durable – we know because we accidentally dropped it on the concrete, and it survived without a scratch, much to our relief. We highly doubt an iPhone 4 or HTC Desire HD would have survived the same trip unscathed.

Of course, you only notice the biggest change when you turn on the Google Nexus S’ screen.

Screen

The screen is eye popping, and really the best on the market, Retina Display aisde perhaps

The Google Nexus S uses a 4-inch, WVGA Super AMOLED screen, just like the Galaxy S and Samsung Omnia 7, and it’s still first in class. For more on its positively unfair colour, broad viewing angles and excellent response, check out our first look in our Samsung Galaxy S review: Super AMOLED screen analysis.

What’s new is that said screen on the Google Nexus S is actually curved. No, seriously. Look it from the side and you’ll see it’s ever so slightly concave, dipping down slightly in the middle to supposedly match the contours of your face. Perhaps our jawbone is just too damn chiselled, but we didn’t notice any difference when making calls, but it certainly looks great. If the iPhone 4 is all hard lines and Dieter Rams functionality, the Google Nexus S looks like a Palm Pre when it’s just got out of the shower and hasn’t had a chance to put its keyboard on yet. We love the curves, and we think you will too.

It's like a banana. A sexy banana

Android 2.3

The Google Nexus S is the first phone to run the latest version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread, and it does so without any manufacturer’s software overlay marring the experience and delaying future updates. This is A Good Thing. This is the new reference phone, the one that (for a while at least) will get Google updates delivered to it first. And Honeycomb looks like it could be a big one, so that’s great news.

In truth, Android 2.3 is only a modest upgrade, so Froyo Android phone owners can breathe easy. For now. Google iterates Android often, and frankly, only HTC is improving upon it and worth waiting around for. Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson have consistently ruined phones with their software skins, so the future proofing option alone is reason enough to go with the Google Nexus S.

The big changes in Android 2.3 visible to the user are a revamped UI, and some new apps and features which can’t really be used just yet. The new look green and black notification bar, which ditches the dropshow for a 2D vibe, is much nicer to look at, and reminds us of the latest dashboard update for the Xbox 360, oddly.

Android 2.3 isn't all that different - the point is, it's smooth and unadulterated

Dig a bit deeper and another welcome change has been included: a more fleshed out task manager. It’s a longstanding myth about Android that task manager apps improve battery life – they don’t, unless they’re being used to kill specific, badly coded apps. Now, you can see what those are, and kill them. So, everybody can stop using this virtual snake oil now.

There are also some new features, like integrated internet SIP calling in Contacts, and NFC support for wireless purchasing and data transfer. We weren’t able to test these unfortunately, but we can see both becoming increasingly useful as time goes on. Transport for London, when can we use our Google Nexus S as a travelcard?

It’s worth noting that we did have one odd crash while testing the Google Nexus S: signal simply vanished for an hour at one point. We had another phone on the same network right next to it with full bars, and it returned once we restarted the Nexus S

Under the bonnet, other changes include better support for games developers, and support for new video codecs such as WebM. But really, the big deal is that Android 2.3 is pristine and untarnished. This is what Google intended, at the fasts speed possible. Apps will run on this. It’s peace of mind you’re buying into here. Unless of course, you don’t like Android: Google’s UI changes are only evolutionary, and it still feels muddled compared to iOS. But hey, you get better notifications, so!

Keyboard

The keyboard now actually works. Huzzah! Unfortunately, Swype isn't included as with the Galaxy S

Great news! The stock Android keyboard isn’t rubbish anymore. Previously one of Android’s biggest failings and certainly the worst aspect of the Nexus One, you can now actually pick up a snappy pace on it in both portrait and landscape. There isn’t quite the sense of space that the Samsung Omnia 7, which sports the same screen, provides, and it’s still not as nippy as Motoblur’s on screen QWERTY but with the excellent autocorrect, proper punctuation is still swift. There’s no optical trackpad but the new cursor drag is accurate and we found we didn’t need it very much. The long press to activate cut and paste is still too unhelpfully long.

Camera

We’re sorry to say that the Google Nexus S’s most disappointing aspect is its camera. The five megapixel camera takes unspectacular, washy images without any of the clarity we were hoping for. Even more surprisingly, you’re restricted to VGA video recording – that’s right, no 720p HD for you. Oh, and notifications aren’t automatically silenced while recording, as you can hear in the clip below.

Considering the Samsung Galaxy S shoots stunning HD video, we’re left a bit baffled by this, and can only hope this will be amended in the next update.

Performance

The hardware under the bonnet is blindingly fast: a 1GHz CPU and untampered Android result in an incredibly speedy experience. Oddly, the browser in Android 2.3 doesn’t seem to have been fully optimised, and pinch to zoom doesn’t look entirely fluid (though is always fast). This is the only real visible chink in the armour.

The only other issue we could raise is that the amount of RAM (512MB) is less than that on the HTC Desire HD. You’d really struggle to notice this though, as we never managed to slow it down no matter how many apps we had suspended in one time.

Call quality on the Google Nexus S was superb, and the speakerphone is too, provided you don’t cover the grill on the top left with your finger by accident. Much more of a relief however is that the battery life is reasonable too.

Unlike the HTC Desire HD, we haven’t struggled to get through a day with the Google Nexus S on full blast, account syncing, dabbling on WiFi and GPS now and again, and playing lots and lots of Angry Birds Seasons. The 1,500mAh battery still doesn’t give the runtime of a Dell Streak, but it will be more than enough 29 days out of 30 each month. On a day of heavy use, non-stop, we managed to drain the battery after 12 hours of use, where a HTC Desire would last eight or nine.

For those concerned about GPS issues, Samsung appears to have ironed these out once and for all. On the route across central London we know the Samsung Galaxy S dropped signal on, the Google Nexus S held its location and data all the way.

Finally, a word about the internal storage. There’s 16GB of space to stuff with songs, videos and photos, but no microSD slot. There’s also 1GB of space for apps, up from a paltry 200MB on the Google Nexus One.

Verdict

You want this

The Google Nexus One was a great phone, flawed by limited app storage, dodgy physical buttons and a native Android keyboard that lagged behind the competition. The Google Nexus S has none of those problems: its hardware is top notch, it’s seriously futureproofed, and with Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse backing it in the UK, looks like it has a much more viable business model than Google’s last attempt.

In short: The Google Nexus S is the best Android phone yet, by some considerable distance. Rip up or revise your Christmas list right now.

The Google Nexus S has made our Top 5 lists of essential smartphones, Android phones and Samsung phones, as well as best gadgets of 2010, which is why we’ve given it our Recommended rosette. Check out more Top 5s here and find out more about how they work with our Top 5 guarantee.

We got our readers to test out the Google Nexus S. See what Electricpig fans think of it in our reader inquisition!

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Nokia N8 review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/11/15/nokia-n8-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/11/15/nokia-n8-review/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 11:36:22 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=100848 There’s no doubt the Nokia N8 marks the beginning of a sea change for Espoo. Nokia is slowly, surely, starting to gather up all the mojo it’s slopped all over the floor in the years since the Nokia N95, and that fightback begins with the combination of Symbian 3 and the Nokia N8, the company’s highest spec smartphone yet. How does it handle? We’ve been putting it through its paces and have the answers for you, here in our Nokia N8 review.

If the iPhone is the ultimate smartphone pushed through by the driving force of one man, the Nokia N8 feels very much like it was made by committee – all sorts of great features have been thrown in, but ultimately they don’t gel together to make something quite so compelling and usable.

Build

The Nokia N8 is very durable, though prone to smudging

We can’t say the Nokia N8 is as much of a looker as the iPhone 4 or HTC Legend, but it is beautiful, in a utilitarian sort of way. It’s not too thick (113.5x59x12.9mm), firm, and between its metal casing and Gorilla Glass screen, doesn’t feel like it’ll shatter at all easily. We’re actually starting to like Nokia’s move to put the SIM card slot on the side, rather than inside, of the phone, and the power button and 3.5mm audio slot on the top are intuitively placed. It’s unfortunate that the home button just below the screen is on an incline, and sunk low into the surface, making it tricky to press at first, but you soon get used to this. We also can’t complain about the option to bolster 16GB of storage with a microSD card of your own, easily inserted on the side.

The 12 megapixel camera gives the Nokia N8 a raised band around the middle, which is definitely the weakpoint. It drags, on tables, and given there’s no lens shutter, this can feel a bit alarming. But given the superb quality of the camera, we suspect many will be more than willing to accept this added bulk.

Screen

The screen on the Nokia is reasonable – as with the panel on the Nokia N97, it’s a 3.5-inch, 640×360 resolution screen. On paper, that puts it behind the curve compared to most modern 800×480 screens on smartphones today, but the Nokia N8′s ace in the hole is that it’s an AMOLED panel, offering deep, rich colour – and unless you’re Samsung (who makes them), most manufacturers are struggling to source them right now, so kudos to Nokia on that front.

The Nokia N8's display is vivid, if not especially sharp

Would we prefer it to have been sharper? Yes, but the rich colour makes up for it for the most part. Videos still look great, and it’s only when surfing the web that you really notice the difference. It’s also capacitive, rather than resistive, so pinch to zoom multitouch gestures work fine, and you won’t have to use the edge of your fingernails to activate anything as with so many frustrating Nokia touchscreen phones.

Add ons

The Nokia N8 comes with a couple of handy extra hardware features worthy of not.e The ability to accept USB storage as well as act on it is neat, but we can’t realistically see ourselves using it that much. What we do like however, is the HDMI slot on the Nokia N8.

The HDMI slot is great, and the bundled adaptor is very welcome

Nokia isn’t the first to introduce this (We’ve seen several Android phones with the feature), but we think the Nokia N8 is the phone that’s going to set a trend with it. Where others have tripped up by forgetting to include a mini HDMI cable, Nokia actually includes an adapter in the box. Screen output isn’t restricted to the gallery app (Cough Dell Streak cough), but simply a mirror image of the Nokia N8′s screen. While BBC iPlayer is too low res to be enjoyable on an HDTV, locally stored clips and the ones you’ve filmed yourself look phenomenal, and playing Angry Birds on a flatscreen telly is the most fun we’ve had in a long time. We can honestly see us making use of the feature, especially once the Nokia N8 gets a good UPnP app.

Camera

The camera on the Nokia N8 is nothing short of sensational. It’s true that it gives the handset an unwelcome width around the sensor, but that twelve megapixel sensor not only shoots at a resolution high enough to crank off large prints, but for possibly the first time with a phone, they’re good enough that you’ll want to. Low light shots came out impressively noise resistant, the xenon flash doesn’t blow out subjects and there are plenty of settings to get your teeth into. Make no mistake, the Nokia N8 is the best cameraphone. Ever.

Just as good is the Nokia N8′s 720p video recording. As you can see in the clip above, while it doesn’t autofocus well like the iPhone 4 or HTC HD7, we’ve seen little as sharp and smooth filmed on a phone before.

Check out the best Nokia N8 deals now

Software

There is an elephant in the room however – or whatever large animal that hails from Finland. Symbian.

For the uninitiated, Symbian is the leading smartphone operating system in the world by phones shipped, but in the form used on Nokia’s touchscreen phones, Symbian S60 5th edition, it also happens to be a joke. Ugly UI, janky screens, dull apps on the Ovi Store – it just didn’t deserve attention in a world where iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and even webOS exist.

Symbian 3 multitasks with aplomb, but there are still some annoying drawbacks

Enter Symbian 3, the new version Nokia is hoping will get it back in the software game. It’s faster, yes, it’s cleaner yes, but delve too far and you’ll still stumble over the skeletons of the S60 UI. For one, the keyboard still takes up far too much of the screen in both portrait and landscape, so you can only see a few lines of text at a time. Secondly, those horrible white screens you got at random when launching an app or tilting the screen? Yeah, they’re still there, and they’re more jarring than ever. We also suffered some major outages from time to time when launching the browser. We’re also puzzled by Nokia’s decision to make screen swipes through the three homescreens activate after you finish the gesture – it just makes Symbian look laggy, when it’s not.

Nokia still hasn't figured out how to make a great touchscreen keyboard, sadly

It’s incredibly irritating because, Symbian is at its core immensely powerful. The Angry Birds demo that comes installed runs absolutely flawlessly with perfect pinch to zoom gestures, and 3D games look stunning.

We’re pleased to say however that one of the best traits of Symbian remains: its power consumption, or lack thereof. The Nokia N8 beats every other flagship phone for battery life, including the BlackBerry Torch, by a country mile. We consistently got two or three days heavy use out of it before needing to recharge, rather than the less than one day we’ve had to grow use to with Android.

Verdict

The Nokia N8 is a wonderfully built, functional smartphone with a killer camera, and Nokia loyalists will lap up its extra features and sheer durability. We would advise you check out what apps are on offer over at the Ovi Store website before slapping down: the shelves are by no means sparse, but they’re not spillling into the aisles either, so look to see if your essentials are there.

But compared to the iPhone and growing number of super charged Android phones on the scene, the software still isn’t enough to attract converts. We can’t help feel that Symbian 3 is still letting the side down a tad, and that this superb hardware would be better off mixed with MeeGo instead. One thing’s for sure: we can’t wait to see the Nokia E7 and rumoured N9.

The Nokia N8 has topped our Best Nokia phone Top 5 list, which is why we’ve given it our Recommended rosette. Check out more Top 5s here and find out more about how they work with our Top 5 guarantee.

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HTC Desire HD review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/10/28/htc-desire-hd-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/10/28/htc-desire-hd-review/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 09:29:09 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=97545 The HTC Desire HD. Where to begin? While the phone has only been official for a month, it’s a smartphone that gadget obsessives have been waiting on for much longer. Ever since the 4.3-in HTC HD2 stunned us a year ago by challenging our notions of how big a screen should be, we’ve been waiting for the Taiwanese trendsetter to serve up an equivalent sized handset, packed with Android, instead of the dreadful, crashy Windows Mobile.

The Americans got one in the Summer in the HTC Evo 4G, and now, at long last, British fans are getting one in the HTC Desire HD. Is it the iPhone 4 trumper we’ve been hoping for? Find out with our full HTC Desire HD review.

Build

There’s no denying the beauty of the HTC Desire HD. Other than the iPhone 4 and HTC Legend, there has never been a better looking phone. HTC makes a phone that’s all screen like no one else, and the unibody matte, purplish teflon makes it much less smudge prone than the very similar HTC HD7. It’s incredibly sturdy, with curves in all the right places, and more than ever, we’re convinced four inch screens and above are the way forward.

The Desire HD is sturdy, with great ergonomics. We can't put it down.

If we have to stop ogling the HTC Desire HD for a second and act a bit more rationally, we do have a few complaints with the logistics of the handset. There are two separate removable panels on the back, one for the battery and one for the SIM slot and microSD storage, which can get a tad confusing. You might not touch them all that often but the enclosed area in which the battery sits does salt the earth a little bit, likely ruling out third party batteries with greater capacities – of which the HTC Desire HD is in need. More on that later.

Over the last year, HTC has solved any issues we had with the touch sensitive (or not, as was the case on the Google Nexus One) buttons on its phones, and the row on the HTC Desire HD were never less than responsive. The screen itself however can’t compare to that of Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels on the Galaxy S and Samsung Omnia 7, but still appears to offer slightly richer colour than the poor display on the HTC HD7. It feels like just enough to keep up with most competitors – and the sheer size of the WVGA panel will more than make amends for the colour it produces. While Samsung continues to call dibs on its AMOLED displays, there’s probably not a great deal HTC can do about this.

The screen on the Desire HD is by no means trailblazing, but we love the space

The screen is however responsive, and more to the point, unbelievably roomy. It just gives you enough space to really race across the screen, whether you’re typing on the excellent HTC keyboard or playing games. Sure, its vast size means it’s technically much less pixel dense than the iPhone 4 and its Retina Display, but who cares when it means you never miss a key stroke on the excellent HTC Sense on screen keyboard? Better visibility in direct sunlight too makes up for the rather average viewing angles.

Check out the best HTC Desire HD deals now

There are a few differences between the build of the HTC Desire HD and HTC HD7 beyond a logo re-position and different touch sensitive buttons however. The HD7 has a 5MP camera, plus a shutter button on the side, and a kickstand on the back. The HTC Desire HD meanwhile has an 8MP sensor, no physical camera button and no kickstand, and a more purple hue in keeping with the design of the original Desire. It’s just a shade thicker as well, but it makes no difference in the grand scheme of things, and it’ll still slide easily into any pocket.

The HTC Desire HD and HD7 are close relatives, but the latter is much more prone to smudges

The camera on the HTC Desire HD meanwhile still isn’t setting trends, even though the sensor is now up to eight megapixels. It’s good enough for your phone, but won’t replace a compact like the Nokia N8 genuinely can, with mediocre indoor performance, over white LED flash and occasionally washy colours. The 720p HD video meanwhile is pretty smooth and rich, although autofocus didn’t seem to be up to scratch with the HTC HD7, oddly, as you can see in the clip below.

One strange thing we did notice is that the HTC Desire HD tended to crash when we played back our recordings in the gallery. It’s mildly disconcerting, but the footage is there if you want to stick it on your computer or YouTube. Onto the software!

Android 2.2 with HTC Sense

HTC Sense, the social networking skinned theme HTC drapes on top of Android, isn’t new, and for the most part little has changed compared to a HTC Desire. Useful features like Flash 10.1 support and mobile hotpot creation for instant WiFi are back, and the basic seven screen layout of Sense on Android is still in operation. In fact, for the full skinny on the features Android 2.2 brings, head on over to our HTC Desire Froyo review (Short answer: it’s easy, friendly and excellent).

Leap home screen skipping is one of the standard features in HTC Sense, and it's very convenient for widget obsessives

Sense on the HTC Desire HD is slightly tweaked however, with some welcome UI tweaks and extra apps. You’ll notice this straight away the first time you pull down the Android notification bar: it now shows recent apps to make task switching easier, as well as whatever music you have playing. The former is a great touch, the latter a bit iffy since it can vanish when you get a phone call. We’d also like to see the connectivity bar in here, like Samsung provides on the Galaxy S, but this isn’t a major issue.

One excellent addition is universal search, by way of the Search Anywhere app, which rifles through everything from contacts and music tracks to even messages in the Twitter Peep app. It’s not any better than what you’ll find on webOS or BlackBerry 6, but you’ll be glad it’s there from time to time.

We’re sorry to say however that HTC’s DLNA media streaming app, Connected Media, really is a disappointment. In short, we simply couldn’t get it to work with either a PS3 or an Xbox 360, on a network where we’ve never had any troubles doing the same with Samsung and Acer Android phones. Of course you can use a third party app like Twonky if you need it so it’s not the end of days, but it’s still disappointing to see HTC shipping the HTC Desire HD with an app that crashed regularly and never worked.

We found Connected Media wasn't quite so...connected

Much more interesting is the Locations app that comes preloaded, with cached maps so you don’t need to rely on a data signal to look up where you are, as with Google Maps Navigation. It’s fast, and instantly renders when you pinch to zoom, but realistically you’ll only ever need it in an emergency since Google Maps’ auto suggestions and free turn by turn direction are vastly more useful when 3G is present. Free maps for foreign countries are definitely handy too on your jollies, but it’s difficult to recommend the £5.99 subscription for turn by turn when free or pay once Google and CoPilot have the satnav app market on Android wrapped up.

Check out our Best Android phone Top 5 now

Truth be told, HTC’s Sense cloud services aren’t of massive interest if you’re an Android expert. Its phone tracking feature is great should you lose the HTC Desire HD, but you can achieve the same security with any Android phone for free using Prey. Still, if it helps more people retrieve their smartphone because it’s easy to activate, we’re all for it – there’s no denying the HTC Desire HD could make you a mugging target, being so large and lovely and all. HTC Sense location sharing between other people with new HTC Sense phones on the other hand is pretty pointless: why not just use Google Latitude instead? We did like the new options to skin the HTC Sense panes, letting you add new themes instead of just wallpapers, and you can download more of these from HTC’s online hub, which is helpful.

We did notice a few other unfortunate bugs during our time with the HTC Desire HD. The notification bar occasionally got stuck (quickly solved by tapping the homescreen button), and a shade more annoyingly, the browser locked up and crashed a couple of times. Neither needed a restart, BlackBerry style, so we can overlook these, particularly if you prefer to use Skyfire or Dolphin Browser HD as your browser of choice anyway.

Performance

None of those bugs should detract from the fact that Froyo on the HTC Desire HD ran stunningly, blazingly fast. Between its 2nd gen 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 768MB of RAM, you’ll frankly struggle to trip this phone up, save for the bugs we mentioned. Games look glorious, videos run smoothly (though HTC’s limited format support means you should install the excellent and free RockPlayer) and even Flash 10.1 doesn’t stumble. It’s almost a pity that the HTC Desire HD doesn’t have an HDMI port like its cousin the Evo 4G: with the right apps, we’d actually prefer to have this plugged into our telly than the new Apple TV.

Bugs aside, the browser is exteremly fast

All of this comes at a cost though: the battery life. Ever since launch, we’ve been fretting about the 1230mAh battery powering the HTC Desire HD, especially with little option to replace it with a bigger one. The HTC Desire has notoriously bad battery life, and we hate to say it, but so does the HTC Desire HD. With 3G on and multiple accounts whirring away grabbing updates on the regs, we did get through a day with about 10 percent battery remaining – we fielded maybe 20 minutes of calls, 20 minutes of music and 15 minutes of trying to make the DLNA app work and failing.

Six days out of seven, this will be enough, but if you’re hoping for the HTC Desire HD to provide you with entertainment on a long train journey, you better hope said train has plugs as even a bit of surfing and one TV show can put a major dint in your juice supply. The company seriously needs to address this issue with its design in future: it’s pushing up against the boundaries of acceptability right now. HTC: it’s OK to make your phones a little thicker to make them last a full day, you know.

Call quality was passable on the HTC Desire HD, but nothing to worry the likes of the Motorola Milestone. The speakerphone is rather robotic and scratchy, which is something of a shame from the company that brought us the booming HTC Touch Pro 2, but it’s enough for casual use in the kitchen, and we didn’t have any alarming reception issues.

Verdict

The HTC Desire HD puts the company right back in the game

Should you buy a HTC Desire HD? We can’t honestly say that it brings anything new to Android which will win iPhone converts over, but you know what? That’s no longer an issue: Android’s here to stay, and if you know you like it, you certainly are going to love the HTC Desire HD. We’d also recommend it over any Windows Phone 7 handset right now unless you’re so technophobic someone is making you read this at gunpoint: Android 2.2 is so much more feature packed and polished than the debutante Windows Phone 7.

Once again though, as with the Sophie’s choice between HTC HD7 and Samsung Omnia 7, we’re forced to pick between design flair and screen. We’re going to stick it out with the Galaxy S until that promising Froyo update hits, but in the meantime, we wouldn’t blame you for backing HTC, its looks and smart extra features instead.

The HTC Desire HD has made a clean sweep of our Top 5s, including Best smartphone, Best Android phone, Best HTC phone and best gadget of 2010, which is why we’ve given it our Recommended rosette. Check out more Top 5s here and find out more about how they work with our Top 5 guarantee.

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Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/29/toshiba-portege-r700-laptop-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/29/toshiba-portege-r700-laptop-review/#comments Wed, 29 Sep 2010 10:25:01 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=91459 The Toshiba Portege R700 was almost overlooked back at Toshiba’s June press conference, outflanked in the attention seeking stakes as it was by two other oddball mobile machines (The Libretto and Android AC100). It’s a shame really, as the Toshiba Portege R700 is by far the most impressive of the trio – so much so that we’re not hesitating to give it the full five stars. Read on to find out why in our full Toshiba Portege R700 review.


Read the rest of our Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review
Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review: Build
Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review: Performance and battery

If you can shake off the shiny shiny syndrome for a second and tear yourself away from the dual touchscreen Libretto W100 or Android AC100, we strongly urge you to take a look at the Toshiba Portege R700 if you’re on the hunt for a new laptop. At least on the Windows side of the fence, it’s the best 13-inch laptop money can buy.

There are quite a few different SKUs for the Toshiba Portege R700 available in the UK (You can see the full list here), but prices start at £629 for a model with an Intel Core i3-350M processor and 2GB of RAM, stretching up to £1,299 for a model with a 128GB SSD, Core i7 CPU and 3G connectivity, but the review sample we were sent was the £899 model with a 2.4GHz Core i5 chip, 320GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM, and it’s by far the most impressive of a spate of “ultra portable” machines we’ve seen over the last year and a half, simply because Toshiba doesn’t appear to have made any sacrifices for the size and cost.

On the build front, the Toshiba Portege R700 wows. The plastic casing has a brushed metal-type finish, and is a world away from the smeary cheap efforts from the likes of Acer and Asus you see floating around at the bottom end of the price range. This is a laptop you could happily pull out to takes notes in a lecture hall or a boardroom (And the security features like face and fingerprint recognition will certainly please the suits out there).

The 13.3-inch screen on the Toshiba Portege R700 has respectable viewing angles and is more than ample for checking out 720p HD YouTube videos, while the chiclet keyboard will let you crank out words at high speed, particularly if you prefer low set style island keys as we do. And frankly, the connectivity on the Toshiba Portege R700 is astounding, and it puts both larger netbooks and the MacBook Air to shame. It’s not so much thicker than Apple’s slim laptop, and yet it manages to fit in two USB ports, eSATA, a VGA connection, SD card slot, Ethernet, audio, an HDMI socket and even (optionally) a DVD drive and 3G SIM card slot.

But more than anything, it’s the size and weight of the Toshiba Portege R700 that has us smitten. Our model weighs just 1.38kg, while some top in at just 1.28kg: you can quite happily lift it by a corner between finger and thumb. And despite this, the six-cell battery still runs for a more than acceptable amount of time. We got a good five hours of real world use out of it, with Wi-Fi on, music streaming and surfing the web and typing.

Check out our Best laptop Top 5 here

That’s nowhere near the eight hours of claimed battery life (We can only assume Toshiba played a brief game of Minesweeper then turned on the screensaver to get that much) but considering the Toshiba Portege R700 is fueled by a full Intel Core chip rather than a piddly ultra low voltage processor, this is still an exceptional runtime. You’d struggle to actually get more done with an Intel Atom netbook with an 8 hour battery life anyway, considering how much loading time you’d have to sit through trying to do more than just open Paint.

Performance was superb for the role Toshiba Portege R700 aims to play: productivity applications, general oddjobs and streaming even HD video at a pinch. Integrated Intel graphics mean this isn’t really a gamer’s machine, but that’s not who this machine is targeted at: if you turn your nose up at 2GB of RAM, the chances you don’t need just a more powerful laptop, but a bigger one too.

How to choose: Best laptop

For this size, and this price, the Toshiba Portege R700 represents absurdly good value, and we’re struggling to see where any sort of compromise has been made. You can hook it up to any monitor or TV with ease, and with a USB port on either side, you won’t have that awkward situation where wider memory sticks or peripherals crush up against each other when plugged in.

For anyone looking for a desktop replacement the whole family can use, the Toshiba Portege R700 is a perhaps a bit too underpowered, and more obviously, too small. But for individual use, whether as a student or on business, if you ever plan on taking your next laptop out of the house regularly, the Toshiba Portege R700 really should be at the top of your list.

The decision comes down to this: are you a Mac or PC? For the best value ultra portable on the former, go for the plastic MacBook. If you know you’re in the Microsoft camp, you need the Toshiba Portege R700, no question about it.

The Toshiba Portege R700 has made our best laptop and best PC laptop Top 5 lists, which is why we’ve given it our Recommended rosette. Check out more Top 5s here and find out more about how they work with our Top 5 guarantee.

Read the rest of our Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review
Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review: Build
Toshiba Portege R700 laptop review: Performance and battery

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Toshiba AC100 review: Android 2.1 http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/15/toshiba-ac100-review-android-2-1/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/15/toshiba-ac100-review-android-2-1/#comments Wed, 15 Sep 2010 08:44:30 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=88875 Ever used an Android phone? You’ll know how to get around the Toshiba AC100 then. Toshiba has given it its own skin (with the biggest addition of a cursor – though you can turn it off) but the basics are still the same. You get five homescreens to slap shortcuts, folders and widgets on, and you can bring up a full app menu, or the menu options within apps with a rich click of the trackpad. But does it work well on this uncommon form factor? Find out in the software section of our Toshiba AC100 review right here.


Read the rest of our Toshiba AC100 review
Toshiba AC100 review: Android laptop tested
Toshiba AC100 review: Build and battery

Let’s get this clear from the get go: the Toshiba AC100 runs Android 2.1, but it does not run the Google apps you’ll find on most Android smartphones. That’s because they’re not open source, and Google isn’t down with them appearing on large screen laptop devices – yet anyway.

Now, this may not be an issue for some. The bundled Mail app on the Toshiba AC100 works well enough, and it’s still easy to wirelessly sync Exchange and Gmail contacts. Most of Google Maps renders in any Android browser (Except for StreetView), and well, why would you use a 10.1-inch machine as a satnav? Where are you going to put it, on your dash? How big is your car? Can we have it?

How to choose the best laptop: Read our guide here!

But the lack of Android Market access is a real pain, and very nearly the Toshiba AC100’s downfall. The lack of this app means that you won’t be able to download plenty of other ones – you’ll have to scavenge for them on the sparsely stocked Camingo Market, or on Android freeware sites. This is going to leave Android novices baffled – if you count yourself as one, the Toshiba AC100 is almost certainly not for you.

And even if you do manage to install an app, it may not play nice with the Toshiba AC100’s screen size and various drives. Skyfire for instance worked just fine for loading basic web pages, but steadfast refused to convert Flash videos on the fly as it will on a smartphone. And third party media players like RockPlayer and mVideo Player just wouldn’t open anything, no matter what we tried.

The Toshiba AC100’s software saving grace however is its overall speed and power consumption. It boots up post haste and snaps out of sleep in under a second. Web pages – so long as there’s no flash – load completely, and incredibly quickly. The time it takes to turn on the Toshiba AC100 and load the homepage of your favourite site (Hi!) or newspaper is much shorter than when trying to do the same thing on a Wintel netbook. And though you can’t multitask with document windows side by side, a taskbar button on the keyboard means you can still juggle programs easily – and without the cost of a Microsoft Office licence too. And it’ll run and run: despite its slim size, the Toshiba AC100 runs for a full six hours on a charge.

Media playback is impressive too, and should keep most happy. The standard Gallery app opens your usual MP4s, as well as XviD/AVI files, while the Toshiba Media Player lets you pull media off your home server – and considering how easy it is to hook up to a HDTV with an HDMI cable, it could act as a useful media streamer in the lounge when you get home too.

Check out our Best laptop Top 5 here!

The software is not without its flaws however, and if you stray beyond checking your email and surfing the web, you’ll notice the frayed edges. The three way menu that pops up is a tad confusing. Toshiba’s social networking homescreen widget wouldn’t refresh, leaving us looking at the same tweet all day. The preloaded SingleClick Connect app which ought to be useful (Easy remote connection to your home network) wouldn’t let us log in or even create an account.

And most bizarre of all, Toshiba’s hidden the stock (and excellent) Android browser. It’s not in the app menus, and the preloaded Opera icon on the homescreen makes it clear how Toshiba sees you surfing. But you can still launch the standard browser from the search bar – which again, if you don’t know Android inside out, is going to lead to much head scratching.

Still, if you’re an avid Dropbox user (Trust us, you’ll want to install this essential syncing app if you buy) who needs to check email and edit documents on the move, the Toshiba AC100’s Android 2.1 software makes it a great companion computer.

Read the rest of our Toshiba AC100 review
Toshiba AC100 review: Android laptop tested
Toshiba AC100 review: Build and battery

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PlayStation Move review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/01/playstation-move-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/01/playstation-move-review/#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 14:00:24 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=86044 The PlayStation Move goes on sale this month, and Kinect for Xbox 360 aside, we’ve never been quite so excited about what at first glance is merely a controller. But make no mistake, Sony’s selling it as much more than that: it’s trying to pitch the PlayStation Move almost as a new console release in itself, so drastically different are its motion controls and paradigms from the DualShock 3 PS3 gamepad you know and love. Does it live up to the hype? Should you flog your Wii on eBay for one? We’ve got all the answers for you here in our full PlayStation Move review.


Read the rest of our PlayStation Move review
PlayStation Move review: Build
PlayStation Move review: Wii beater?

Kung Fu Rider for PlayStation Move review
Sports Champions for PlayStation Move review
Start The Party! for PlayStation Move review

Allow us to allay some of your fears you might have had about the PlayStation Move: it works. We were put off by our first play with Ubisoft’s Racket Sports a few months ago, but after testing the finished product extensively, we’re convinced Ubisoft’s sloppy game was to blame. The PlayStation Move is incredibly accurate, using its collection of sensors to chart your exact space in three dimensions (yup, depth as well), rather than just vague movements relative to where you were previously (what the Wii is only capable of).

It’s the closest we’ve seen to 1:1 in motion control gaming so far, and when you find a game that uses the tech properly (Table tennis in Sports Champions, for instance), will really make you marvel at its potential. Navigating the XMB menus with the PlayStation Move with just a wave beats the Wii’s irritating menu cursor any day, and the PlayStation Eye camera maps objects on to the wand with impressive accuracy – there’s all sorts of augmented reality potential in the combination.

Build wise, the PlayStation Move is fantastic, and totally in keeping with Sony’s controller design ethos. It’s bigger than a Wii Remote but lighter, and feels just like you were holding the DualShock, in the same way the Wii remote and nunchuk still somehow manages to make you feel like you’re holding an N64 or GameCube controller. The plastic is sturdy, and the large Move button on the front and trigger on the back help you navigate games and the XMB very easily. The illuminated squishy ball on the top is childish but brilliant, and the colour coordination makes it very easy to know which wand to use. The only design issue we had was with the Select and Start button positioning: set in to either side, they require some serious effort to get at without long nails.

Check out our best PS3 games Top 5 here!

Set up meanwhile is incredibly easy: it really is a case of plug and play. If you were concerned about calibration issues with the PlayStation Move, you’ll be pleased to know it’s not as big an issue as you might have feared. Because the PlayStation Move tracks your position precisely, it does require calibration at the start of many a mini game or level, achieved by pointing the Move controller at the camera. But once you realise what each game requires, it’s easy to go through the motions in under a second – it’ll keep up.

There is unfortunately, one large and glaring problem with the PlayStation Move right now, and it’s not the price: we happen to think for the tech you’re getting, Sony’s priced the whole set up pretty reasonably (£34.99 per wand, plus £24.99 for the Eye camera, or £49.99 as a bundle – the Navigation controller is sold separately, and we weren’t able to test it for this review). No, it’s the feeble launch games that make the PlayStation Move a weak investment right now.

You can read about all three launch games for the PlayStation Move, Sports Champions, Start The Party! and Kung Fu Rider in their upcoming individual reviews, but even at a lower than usual £25 RRP, none are worth the money. Sports Champions is a decent but unimaginative knock off of Wii Sports/Sports Resort, with only table tennis really standing out of the six events available. Start The Party! is a heinous crime, and only the out and out insane Kung Fu Rider hints at any complexity with the controls, but even its replay value is limited.

This is not to say that the PlayStation Move is bad, or indeed that there aren’t even any promising games coming up for it. Far from it: we’re looking forward to integration in golf games and Heavy Rain, and the scope for revitalising the real time strategy genre on consoles with its accuracy is incredibly exciting (Can anyone say Starcraft 2 for PS3?). But for anyone who bought a four hundred quid PS3 on launch, and well versed in legendary games like Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted 2 or Fallout 3, right now there’s nothing ready for the PlayStation Move that will keep your interest for more than the space of a rental. And you wouldn’t want to buy all the gear just for that.

Unless you’re a hardcore gamer with kids of your own you’d like to entertain, this is one to watch for the timebeing, but keep a very close eye on it.

The PlayStation Move has made our Top 5 Best PS3 accessories list, earning the coveted Recommended seal from our gadget experts. Find out more about our Top 5s.

Read the rest of our PlayStation Move review
PlayStation Move review: Build
PlayStation Move review: Wii beater?

Kung Fu Rider for PlayStation Move review
Sports Champions for PlayStation Move review
Start The Party! for PlayStation Move review

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Sony NX503 LCD TV review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/08/10/sony-nx503-lcd-tv-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/08/10/sony-nx503-lcd-tv-review/#comments Tue, 10 Aug 2010 09:14:13 +0000 James Holland http://188.65.36.75/?p=82276 The Sony NX503 is the first of the Japanese super-firm’s “monolithic design” TVs to fall into our hands, and boy is it a beauty. It’s more than a pretty face too, with networking, next-gen picture processing and Freeview HD tucked away inside its slick shell. Read on, and get the skinny in our full Sony NX503 review.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Sony NX503 series is its lightness. Prizing it from its box, even if you plump for a 40-inch screen like the one we reviewed, is easy.

An included stand lets you rotate Sony’s huge slab of entertainment tech, although its slightly curved rectangular design is the first hint that this is a mid-range LCD TV, rather than a top of the range set. More expensive Sony Bravia TVs featuring the monolithic design come with a new metallic stand, letting the TV “lean” into their vertical orientation gracefully. Meanwhile the NX503’s table-top holder looks a little cheap, and it’s a shame.

Similarly, while the Sony NX503 looks great from the front, it’s a tubby little fella, owing mainly to its fluorescent backlight, as opposed to LED.

Those niggles aside, however, this is a drop dead gorgeous television. Sony’s LCD panel extends from edge to edge, with almost no bezel in sight. Its glass frontage might reflect annoyingly in direct light, but position it correctly and your peepers are in for a treat.

High definition programmes sparkle with colour and clarity. The fast-moving action of Top Gear positively sizzled across the screen, and even standard definition shows fed from Virgin Media or Freeview seemed sharp and glistening. That’s due to the Sony Bravia Engine 3 humming away inside, upscaling SD pictures, alongside Live Colour processing technology to squeeze the very best out of pictures.

No matter what we fed the NX503, its picture performance knocked our socks off. Blacks, intensified by the glossy glass screen and edge-to-edge LCD display, are deep and rich. It is, for the price, a jaw-dropping screen.

Flick Freeview HD into action, and that stunning performance continues. Sony’s EPG is slick and smooth, while images are unsurprisingly eye-tingling.

Buy the Sony NX503 now!

And so we turn our Sony NX503 review to its networking abilities. That is, after all, what the N in Sony NX503 stands for.

The Sony NX503 is a TV capable of hooking up to your computer and broadband connection using DLNA. It’s all navigated using Sony’s XrossMediaBar – an interface that’ll be instantly familiar to PS3 or PSP owners. Bravia Internet TV is included, although we’re yet to be wowed by the content on offer. YouTube in the living room hasn’t tempted us in before via Apple TV, Blu-ray players or several games consoles, and we’re not about to have our interest piqued now.

DLNA is a handy addition though, even if the Sony NX503 lacks built-in Wi-Fi. Sure, you can add a dongle to connect wirelessly, but since the NX503 only has one USB socket, you’ll lose the ability to plug in any storage to play back DivX, JPEG or MP3 files on the big screen.

As a networked TV therefore, the Sony NX503 loses points for its “either or” approach to sucking up media. Either you plug in a cumbersome ethernet cable (and suffer all the necessary furniture moving, router shifting and head-scratching that involves) or you slot in a Wi-Fi adapter and lose the ability to simply play back media files locally.

Overall, however, we’re taken with the Sony NX503. Its a mid-priced TV that produces truly spectacular pictures, no matter which TV provider you have hooked up at home. Its envy-inducing design is smarter than most TVs, and the lack of a metallic stand will, realistically, never be noticed by your less tech-savvy mates.

Balancing value, price, features and design this is one of 2010’s very best TVs, and with few caveats one that deserves to share your lounge.

We love the Sony NX503 so much, it’s earned a place in our Top 5 Best LCD TV list. Find out more about our Top 5s.

The

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Nokia C3 review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/07/01/nokia-c3-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/07/01/nokia-c3-review/#comments Thu, 01 Jul 2010 08:45:30 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=76449 The Nokia C3 might have been the lowliest of a trio of Symbian messaging phones the Finns outed earlier this year, but it was certainly the one that caught our interest. Looks like a BlackBerry right? It very nearly is, and for a mere £80 on Pay As You Go, too. Read on and find out what we made of it in our full Nokia C3 review.


Read the rest of our Nokia C3 review now
Nokia C3 review: Symbian S40
Nokia C3 review: Build and keyboard

While mobile makers are gunning for the high end of the phone market with triumphs like the iPhone 4 and armoured tanks like the Samsung Galaxy S, the budget end of the market is just as competitive. While INQ’s Chat 3G phone and the Samsung Genio Slide held top spots in our hearts for their top notch messaging skills at a knockdown price, the Nokia C3 kicks it with them, and for a full twenty quid less.

At a glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Nokia C3 had fallen straight out of Nokia’s expensive Eseries of business smartphones for the email obsessed. It’s certainly got the looks to match them, from an easy on the 2.4-inch screen to a firm back case, and a backlit keyboard and a 3.5mm audio slot on the top for plugging in your own headphones.

Nokia’s performed a little bait and switch though, as inside the Nokia C3 are low end parts that help keep the price down. There’s no 3G, just Wi-Fi for kicking it in hotspots, and the two megapixel camera has no flash. Most apparent though is the operating system: it runs Symbian S40, the limited, low power software Nokia’s been using on its tiniest, cheapest phones for years, rather than the more powerful and customisable S60 on its smartphones.

As that QWERTY keyboard makes clear though, the Nokia C3 is a phone for messaging obsessives, and none of these compromises will really get in the way of chatting, texting, emailing and calling – to the point where you might wonder what real benefits a BlackBerry will get you for so much more.

That’s down to Nokia whittling down and ticking off all the right boxes. Even though you can’t even multitask with Symbian S40, it’s still easy to open or leaf through your Facebook and Twitter streams straight from the homescreen, and email and instant messaging through popular services like GTalk or integrated right in too. That’s just about every box ticked for someone who wants a cheap way to keep an eye on their friends, rather than someone who needs a handset that’ll run on the corporate enterprise network.

Some of these core features work better than others, admittedly: the Twitter app for the Nokia C3 is all but unusable if you follow more than a handful of people, and there are some puzzling UI flaws that we dig deeper into in the Symbian S40 section of our Nokia C3 review.

But that QWERTY keyboard’s so good, that anytime you lose waiting for Symbian to load is more than made up for by the speed at which you can type. We were firing off texts at speeds we simply couldn’t reach on a phone of the same price with a 0-9 keypad, and this alone should appease alot of people with designs on a BlackBerry, but without the funds to cough up for BlackBerry Internet Service every month. And in the process, you get a handset with excellent battery life that can run for days on end without the need to top up. RIM can’t say that about any of its pricey emailers.

The Nokia C3 isn’t going to satisfy businessmen looking to cut back in harsh times, nor will it do for older teens who want BlackBerry Messenger above all else. But for Facebook obsessed tweens and those who want nothing more than a reasonably sized screen for texting, it’s perfect.

Review sample supplied by Vodafone

Read the rest of our Nokia C3 review now
Nokia C3 review: Symbian S40
Nokia C3 review: Build and keyboard

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Samsung Galaxy S review http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/06/25/samsung-galaxy-s-review/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/06/25/samsung-galaxy-s-review/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 16:38:53 +0000 Ben Sillis http://188.65.36.75/?p=75816 The Samsung Galaxy S has been long overdue. While Apple and now even HTC have a sterling rep for smartphone software, the South Korean giant’s trump card is its ultra hot hardware. That’s been missing from the company’s Android line up for the last year, but this phone changes that, and puts it right back at the front of the smartphone pack. See what we mean in our full Samsung Galaxy S review.


Read the rest of our Samsung Galaxy S review
Samsung Galaxy S review: Android 2.1
Samsung Galaxy S review: Super AMOLED screen
Samsung Galaxy S review: Build and battery

Samsung Galaxy S review: Ultimate buyer’s guide

While we’ve had to make do with mediocre Android efforts like the Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Portal until now, Sammy has finally pulled out just about all the stops with the Samsung Galaxy S, a phone that’s every bit as powerful as the Dell Streak, and as consumer friendly as a HTC Desire.

We say just about, as Sammy has still failed with the casing of the phone. The Samsung Galaxy S’ build is by no means unpleasant, but it is uninspiring. To its credit, it is very slim – under a centimetre – and the slight ridge at one end is barely noticeable in day to day use. But while we lavished praise on the new look Samsung Wave, the Samsung Galaxy S falls back on Sammy’s traditional cheap plastic look with clacky buttons you can hear vibrate after they’ve been pushed, and worse, it’s shaped like a slightly broader iPhone 3G. Not iPhone 4, mind, but a two year old iPhone 3G.

Check out the best deals on the Samsung Galaxy S here!

Most of these issues fade away however once you turn the Samsung Galaxy S on. This is the only phone with a screen that can possibly match the iPhone 4’s astounding Retina Display. It’s large, sharp (WVGA), and a Super AMOLED panel (A more expensive technology than LCD but one capable of producing rich, vivid colours), and the biggest one we’ve ever seen on a phone. Websites, apps and videos look fantastic and multitouch pinch to zoom gestures work on pictures and webpages without a hitch.

Android 2.1 meanwhile runs like a dream. At a glance, the Samsung Galaxy S appears to be running stock Android, but Samsung’s skinned it, and for once, come up with a cracker of a phone that uses a TouchWiz UI. The homescreen layout has barely changed, and the menu icons are straight out of the iPhone OS (right down to the little notification numbers that appear in the corner), but the neat little options we loved in Bada on the Samsung Wave are here too: the drop down notification tray now lets you toggle Wi-Fi and sound profile, and even gives you track control when music is playing.

When you’ve got full signal, pages and Google Maps just plop into view on the Samsung Galaxy S instantaneously, and you’ll be able to get around at speed thanks to an excellent on screen keyboard too (There’s even the option to use Swype text input, which some people swear by). But just as welcome are the extra features Samsung’s bunged in on top of those Android supports natively.

We’re not just talking about the option to link your Facebook and Gmail contacts easily, in the same way you do on the Wave, or those neat twists to the notification tray. Samsung’s extra media support will please those with large digitial music and video collections. Instead of basic H.264/MP4 support, the Samsung Galaxy S opens just about every video format you can throw at it, including MKV, and DivX/Xvid AVIs, which should please Android’s more hardcore audience. Not only that, but it’ll stream them over DLNA too, so you can watch a movie on the way home, then watch it on your TV – it worked without a hitch streaming to our Sony PS3.

Want a bargain Samsung Galaxy S tariff? Check out the top options here!

Combine this with everything Samsung has stuffed under the bonnet of the Samsung Galaxy S (TV-out support, a five megapixel camera that takes excellent 720p HD videos and up to 16GB of internal storage alongside a microSD slot), and what you’re looking at is one of the most powerful multimedia smartphones ever, and certainly the best phone Samsung has ever crafted.

That’s not to say we didn’t spot a few hitches. The GPS signal strength on the Samsung Galaxy S is not the strongest we’ve seen. And for some reason, Android Market downloads would fail more than they completed, when tested over Wi-Fi, 3G and 2G on two different networks – though Samsung says this isn’t a widespread issue, and since the unit we tested last month didn’t have this glitch, we’re inclined to believe them. Still, this and the plasticky build are the only things that should hold you back, and we think the power of the Samsung Galaxy S will more than make up for it.

We don’t have the HTC Evo 4G here in the UK, HTC’s great slab of an Android smartphone available in the US. The Samsung Galaxy S should easily sate anyone longing for the form factor, and if you know the iPhone 4 and its closed environment aren’t for you, the Samsung Galaxy S almost certainly is.

Looking for a Samsung Galaxy S on contract? Then visit www.phones4u.co.uk

Read the rest of our Samsung Galaxy S review
Samsung Galaxy S review: Android 2.1
Samsung Galaxy S review: Super AMOLED screen
Samsung Galaxy S review: Build and battery

Samsung Galaxy S review: Ultimate buyer’s guide

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