Review: Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen [Guest Post]

Review Moto G Third Generation

Three months with Motorola’s SIM-free smart-phone – £129 as at Dec 2015 – and one thing’s for sure: there’s no going back to contract phones filled with telecoms carriers’ bloat-ware crap.

With a fine, full HD screen, good performance, a pure, unsullied Android experience with automatic updates, it’s a reminder of Motorola’s place as a maker of quality handsets. Continue reading

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones) II

Image credit: Smartphone Collection,, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0Last time, we started looking at the various phone standards, trying to avoide ending up in acronym hell. We got as far as GSM, CDMA, Edo, HSPA+ and roaming. This time we move on to 4G, LTE and into the future.

While GSM and CDMA work using radio waves in a ‘traditional’ fashion; 4G works by means of an Internet Protocol (IP) network. The radio signals have to be translated into data packets for use on the network. This includes voice calls which use voice-over-IP. The fail-over for 4G is to switch back to a 2G or 3G network to make voice calls. Continue reading

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones)

Vector - Smartphone collection - CC 3.0You would think, by now, we’d have one global standard for mobile telecoms. But no. Depending on your country of residence, you may have a bewildering choice of cellphone standards. You want to buy a piece of technology to make your life better and easier: instead you end up in acronym hell.

In the UAE, for example, you can buy a phone to run on any network on the planet, using any protocol available. In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM networks; Sprint and Verizon are CDMA and don’t use SIM cards. So what should you get? And what’s the difference anyway? Continue reading

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tabletSamsung Galaxy Note 8.0 $380

A thin, light tablet that looks like a stretched out Galaxy S4 with a 1280×800, 8.0-inch screen that is good for a TFT, but not even close to a Nexus 7. Which makes $380 a hefty price tag for a device that’s so very 1998: calling all stylus-lovers, you too can tap away with a stylus like some ancient Greek scratching away on clay…

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a relatively new device from Samsung comes with a built-in stylus; so what’s not to love? Two things, really: the screen and the price. It’s and at $380, this thing charges a hefty price for the addition of a stylus. How’s your handwriting?

But if you can cope with, or ignore the stylus, the attraction of the Note 8.0 is Multi-Window. Gosh! It almost dragged me away from DesqView X. Fancy that: having two apps open side by side. Just imagine, a Web browser on the left and a notes app on the right. Continue reading

Review: Sony Xperia Z Tablet

Sony Xperia Z tabletSony Xperia Z Tablet $500
If you want a 10-inch tablet that’s light, waterproof (up to a point) and performs almost as well as an iPad, Sony’s Xperia Z may be it.

The 1920×1200 display may not be as good as the iPad’s Retina but it knocks spots off the competition. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2G B of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, and running Android 4.1, it is very capable, and, bought from Sony direct, has a bundled 8 GB micro SD card to for expanded storage.

Interestingly this one has an infrared emitter for controlling your TV, so we’re starting to see the convergence and the use of tablets as a domestic controller. Expect to operate your heating and microwave over Bluetooth soon. Continue reading

Review: Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini 2013Apple iPad Mini $330

We’ve been looking at the tablet market and all anyone’s commented so far is ‘what about the iPad?’ Well, here it is.

Apple more or less defines the tablet market – despite Bill Gates’ ahead-of-its’ time tablet in the ’90’s. Yes, Microsoft was there first, and we’ll look at the fight back, the Surface, next time.

For now, $100 more than a Nexus 7, gets an iPad Mini. Not the ‘maxi’ iPad with Retina Display that’s $500 for the base model. No, in this list, the Mini is much better value, although the $170 saving means you lose the iPad with larger Retina Display and A6X processor. The Mini uses an A5 processor in a much lighter and thinner device – 0.68 lbs (309g), which is slightly heavier than a Nexus 7, but has an inch more screen space. Continue reading