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Monday, February 15, 2016

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO Series

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO Series



Samsung's massive range of tablets expands even further with the Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO Series, bringing a variety of powerful and high-resolution devices to market that push the boundaries of what tablets can do.
The biggest tablets come in at a whopping 12.2 inches, with a version of the TabPRO and NotePRO with 2560 x 1600 pixel displays, 8 megapixel primary and 2 megapixel secondary cameras, 3GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of flash memory plus a microSD slot, optional LTE and 3G support and Android 4.4. The main difference between the NotePRO and TabPRO is that the NotePRO comes with the "S Pen" stylus plus some stylus-based applications. Both devices come with free content valued at $700 for the US versions plus Samsung-specific applications such as KNOX and ChatON.

A more traditional size, the 10.1" Galaxy TabPRO includes most of the same specifications as the 12.2" version but has slightly less RAM at 2GB. With both the 12.2" and 10.1" tablets there are WiFi-only variants with an Exynos 5 octa-core CPU (comprising of four 1.9GHz cores and four 1.3GHz cores) or an LTE version with a 2.3GHZ quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

The smallest TabPRO is the 8.4" version, again with the same resolution display and camera as the bigger ones, although this only comes in a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU version with 2GB of RAM. But overall, these four devices are remarkably similar in specifications and the primary difference between them is the size.

Samsung say that these NotePRO and TabPRO devices will be available from Q1 2014 although no guidance was given on price, however these are high-end devices and we would expect them to be priced accordingly.

Samsung Galaxy TabPRO / NotePRO 12.1  
Available:
Q1 2014
Network:
GSM + UMTS + LTE (optional)
Data:
GPRS + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + + LTE
WiFi
Screen:
12.2" 1260 x 1600 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
2 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Large tablet
296 x 204 x 8.0mm / 732 to 753 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
32GB / 64GB
Memory card:
MicroSD
CPU:
1.9/1.3GHz octa-core or 2.3GHz quad-core
RAM:
3GB
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
Android 4.4
Battery life:
Not specified, 9500 mAh cell
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 
Available:
Q1 2014
Network:
GSM + UMTS + LTE (optional)
Data:
GPRS + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + + LTE
WiFi
Screen:
10.1" 1260 x 1600 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
2 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Full-size tablet
243 x 171 x 7.3mm / 469 to 477 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
16GB / 32GB
Memory card:
MicroSD
CPU:
1.9/1.3GHz octa-core or 2.3GHz quad-core
RAM:
2GB
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
Android 4.4
Battery life:
Not specified, 8220 mAh cell
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4  
Available:
Q1 2014
Network:
GSM + UMTS + LTE (optional)
Data:
GPRS + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + + LTE
WiFi
Screen:
10.1" 1260 x 1600 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
2 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Mid-sized tablet
129 x 219 x 7.2mm / 331 to 336 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
16GB / 32GB
Memory card:
MicroSD
CPU:
2.3GHz quad-core
RAM:
2GB
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
Android 4.4
Battery life:
Not specified, 4800 mAh cell

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus




The Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are Apple's latest generation of their iconic and influential smartphone line, only this time they take a break from the past and are much bigger devices. The Apple iPhone 6 has a 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixel display, the larger Apple iPhone 6 Plus comes with a 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixel screen which is roughly the same thing that most of the competition have.

Apps are meant to scale up to use the new screen resolutions, although really they would benefit from an overhaul from the developers if there are problems. The iPhone 6 Plus also fully supports landscape mode (something that is patchy on Android devices) which opens up a whole new set of possibilities. Or problems, depending on your point of view.

On the back of these is an 8 megapixel camera which is a bit humdrum these days, however Apple have now added optical image stabilisation (OIS) which Nokia have proved can really improve picture quality. Both models can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second, with a maximum frame capture rate of 240 fps. The front camera has also been improved in order to create better selfies, and it now includes a burst mode.



Physically, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are curved around the edges a bit like the early iPhones, but with design hints of the newer iPhones too. The design is unmistakably Apple, but it has evolved slightly to give the devices a fresher look. Underneath (as far as we can tell) the two devices are almost identical apart from the battery size.

One new feature is Apple Pay - Apple's take on a mobile contactless payment system. This uses the iPhone 6's built-in NFC capabilities, but Apple have combined with "Touch ID" which uses the built-in fingerprint scanner to verify the user,
and have  Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also added a chipset called "Secure Element" to keep your financial data encrypted. This sort of mobile payment system has been struggling to get a foothold, but Apple have several key retailers on board in the US (where the system will launch) and perhaps this is the push it needs.

Underneath, both these iPhones are now 64-bit devices, running on the new Apple A8 processor. There's also a new motion coprocessor, the M8, which helps to take the load off the main CPU. The operating system has also been upgraded to iOS 8 which should run apps faster, with an emphasis on gaming abilities using a new iOS technology called "With Metal". The iPhone 6 comes with 16GB, 64GB or an impressive 128GB of onboard storage.



Apple say that the battery life is better (which in part will be because the battery can be bigger) with a 25% improvement with the iPhone 6 and a whopping 100% improvement with the iPhone 6 Plus. Even with the longer battery life, the iPhone 6 comes in at just 6.9mm thick and the 6 Plus is 7.1mm.
It is clear that these two devices are an enormous improvement over the lacklustre iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The relatively small screen sizes of those earlier iPhones was giving the competition a significant advantage, but now the iPhone should have a greater appeal. But perhaps it would have been better if the iPhone 6 had been launched last year instead of the warmed-over iPhone 5 models.

Both devices will start to ship from September 19th onwards in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France and some other countries. In the US, the base model is the 16GB iPhone 6 at $199 when taken with a new two-year contract, the most expensive is the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus which is $399 with the new contract. The price differential between the Plus and the smaller iPhone 6 is $100, as is each step-up of storage. Apple say that they are aiming for these phones to be available in 115 countries by the end of the year. Available colours are gold, silver and space gray.
Apple iPhone 6  
Available:
September 2014
Network:
GSM + UMTS (3G) + DC-HSDPA + LTE
CDMA (option)
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ +  LTE + WiFi
Screen:
4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
1.2 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium smartphone
138 x 67 x 6.9mm / 129 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
16 / 64 / 128GB
Memory card:
None
CPU:
Apple A8
RAM:
Not specified
Java:
No
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
iOS 8
Battery life:
14 hours talk / 10 days standby (3G)
Apple iPhone 6 Plus  
Available:
September 2014
Network:
GSM + UMTS (3G) + DC-HSDPA + LTE
CDMA (option)
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ +  LTE + WiFi
Screen:
5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
1.2 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium smartphone
158 x 78 x 7.1mm / 172 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
16 / 64 / 128GB
Memory card:
None
CPU:
Apple A8
RAM:
Not specified
Java:
No
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
iOS 8
Battery life:
24 hours talk / 16 days standby (3G)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

HTC Desire C

HTC Desire C




The HTC Desire C is a low-cost Android 4.0 smartphone that should be hitting retailers from June onwards.

Don't get too excited by the name - the Desire C is not a replacement for the Desire S but it can perhaps be considered to be an upgrade of the Wildfire S instead, and it sits a little below the HTC One V in HTC's product range.

 HTC Desire C The main features are a 3.5" 320 x 480 pixel (HVGA) display, a 5 megapixel camera plus all the usual Android features such as 3.5G support, WiFi and Bluetooth. An NFC version of the Desire C will also be available.

Inside is a pretty modest 600 MHz processor coupled with 512MB of RAM, which is enough for an entry-level phone but a bit puny for something bearing the "Desire" name. The Desire C has a 1230 mAh battery, measures 107 x 61 x 12mm and weighs just 98 grams

The Desire C will be widely available on several different mobile networks. T-Mobile in the UK say that the phone should be available from June onwards for £169.99 on prepay or free on a 24-month £15.50 contract, so expect competitors to be broadly the same.

HTC Desire C  
Available:
June 2012
Network:
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 900 / 2100
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi
Screen:
3.5" 320 x 480 pixels
Camera:
5 megapixels
Size:
Compact tablet smartphone
107 x 61 x 12mm / 98 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes
Memory card:
MicroSD
Infra-red:
No
Polyphonic:
Yes
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 4.0
Battery life:
Not specified (1230 mAh cell)

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini





The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a superlative smartphone, and is easily on of the very best on the market. One drawback is that it is also a very large smartphone.. so a more compact version may well have some market appeal for those customers who are put off by the large size of the S4 and want something more compact.

So, you might expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini to be a Galaxy S4 device with a smaller screen, but it isn't. Like the disappointing Galaxy S III Mini before it, the S4 Mini is a completely different handset which really only shares with the S4 the things that every other Samsung Android smartphone does.

The most obvious difference is the screen, dropping from the 5.0" panel in the S4 to a more pocket-friendly 4.3" display on the Mini. However, the Mini's pixel count is just one quarter of that on the S4 with a much less sharp display resolution. But there's a lot more than just the display - inside the processor has been downgraded from a 1.9GHz quad-core CPU to a 1.7GHz dual-core one, RAM is down from 2GB to 1.5GB, internal storage is just 8GB compared with a minimum of 16GB of the S4 and the Mini's primary camera is an 8 megapixel one compared to 13 on the S4.



 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini There are a few similarities - both the S4 and some models of S4 Mini support LTE and NFC, have GLONASS support as well as GPS and they both run Android 4.2.2. All the other features you'd find on the S4 Mini are basically the same thing that every other Android handset has.

There are a few different versions available, one version of the S4 Mini will support various LTE bands, there will be a non-4G HSPA+ version and also an S4 Mini with dual-SIM capabilities. At 125 x 61 x 8.9mm and weighs 108 grams, the Mini weighs about 25% less and has a 20% smaller footprint than the S4. The Galaxy S4 Mini is a typical Samsung device to look at, a combination of smart but somewhat uninspiring design.

If you buy one of these assuming that it really is a "mini" version of the S4 then you are likely to be very disappointed. However, if you are looking for a decent midrange smartphone then the S4 Mini looks like a reasonable choice, but then are a stack of other very similar Android handsets on the market too.

Samsung didn't say exactly when the Galaxy S4 Mini will be available, but we'd expect it to be available in the shops before you can say "cynical marketing exercise". No guidance on pricing was given, but our guess is that the S4 Mini will retail for about €300 to €350 SIM-free.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini  
Available:
2013
Network:
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
LTE (various bands)
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ + WiFi
+ LTE (optional)
Screen:
4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
1.9 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium smartphone
125 x 61 x 8.9mm / 107 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes (4.0)
Internal memory:
8GB
Memory card:
MicroSD
CPU:
1.7GHz dual-core
RAM:
1.5GB
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes (plus GLONASS)
OS:
Android 4.2.2.
Battery life:
Not specified (1900 mAh cell)

Samsung Galaxy S Advance

Samsung Galaxy S Advance




While the rumour mill is awash with speculation about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung have in the mean time announced the Samsung Galaxy S Advance.

Don't get excited by the name. Samsung have broken their own very new naming convention by giving the high-end "S" designation to an upper-midrange handset. The Galaxy S Advance is one step down from the existing Galaxy R, which you would think would earn it the name of "Galaxy M", but apparently not.. but it is very much a straight upgrade to the original Galaxy S handset, which perhaps explains the name.

 Samsung Galaxy S Advance So, although it's a very much cheaper relative of the Galaxy S II and Galaxy R, the Galaxy S Advance is still a pretty decent handset and is still better then most Android devices in use today. There's a 4.0" 480 x 800 pixel AMOLED display, a dual-core 1GHz CPU combined with 768MB of RAM, a 5 megapixel camera on the back plus a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front, and the Galaxy S Advance runs Android 2.3.

Internal flash memory is either 8 or 16GB and it also comes with a microSD slot. All the usual features are here, including GPS, WiFi and 3.5G support plus a few Samsung specific software add-ons on top of the usual Android application base. Inside is a large 1500 mAh battery, and the whole package weighs 120 grams and measures 123 x 63 x 9.7mm.

The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is a pretty good handset, burdened with a stupid name thought up by somebody in the marketing department. Think of it as the Samsung Galaxy M instead. Samsung say that this smartphone should be available from February in Russia and will then be rolled out in most other regions worldwide.

Samsung Galaxy S Advance
Available:
Q1 2012
Network:
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi
Screen:
4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
Camera:
5 megapixels (main)
1.3 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium tablet smartphone
123 x 63 x 10mm / 120 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes
Memory card:
MicroSD
Infra-red:
No
Polyphonic:
Yes
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 2.3
Battery life:
Not specified (1500mAh cell)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

HTC One S

HTC One S




The HTC One S is one of three randomly named models forming part of the new "HTC One" series of smartphones, including the One X and One V. You wouldn't guess that the One S is actually the middle of the range from the "S" at the end of the name, but it is.

This smartphone sits very much in Samsung Galaxy S II territory, featuring a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM with 16GB of internal flash memory, a 4.3" 540 x 960 pixel display, 8 megapixel primary camera with 1080p HD video recording plus a secondary 1.3 megapixel unit on the front and the Android 4.0 operating system.

Like the other two HTC One handsets, the One S has a dedicated imaging chip, Beats Audio and all the other features that come with an Android smartphone including GPS, WiFi, 3.5G support and Bluetooth.

Despite the powerful and up-to-date specifications, the HTC One S is rather unexciting to look at and is unlikely to impress your friends. However, the combination of Android 4.0 and a powerful feature set should make this a very good handset to use, even if it does seem rather dull at first.

The HTC One S measures 131 x 65 x 7.8mm and weighs 120 grams, making this HTC's slimmest handset to date. Inside is a relatively large 1650 mAh battery, and it's worth noting that the One S takes microSIM cards only. If you can contain your excitement, the HTC One S should be available from Q2 2012 onwards.

HTC One S 
Available:
Q2 2012
Network:
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 2100
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi
Screen:
4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
1.3 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium large tablet smartphone
131 x 65 x 8mm / 120 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes
Memory card:
No (16GB internal)
Infra-red:
No
Polyphonic:
Yes
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 4.0
Battery life:
Not specified (1650 mAh cell)

LG Optimus L Series II

LG Optimus L Series II




LG's range of "looks expensive but isn't" Optimus L Series of smartphones was something of a success last year, shipping 10 million units worldwide. Time marches on however, so LG have refreshed the range with the LG Optimus L Series II.

Three phones have been announced, starting with the release of the LG Optimus L7 II which has a 4.3" 480 x 800 pixel display, an 8 megapixel primary camera plus a 0.3 megapixel secondary one, a 1GHz CPU with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage plus a microSD slot, a large 2460 mAh battery and all the usual features you'd expect from an Android 4.1 smartphone.

 LG Optimus L Series II The L7 II will be available in dual-SIM form in Russia this week, we don't know about other regions yet, however it does seem that there will be single-SIM and dual-SIM variants. We don't know how much the L7 will cost, but we would expect it to be in the €200 to €250 region.



Also in the range is the LG Optimus L5 II with a 4.0" 480 x 800 pixel display and 1700 mAh battery, and the LG Optimus L3 II with a 3.2" 320 x 240 pixel panel and a 1540 mAh battery. More details of these will be announced at a later date.

LG say that these new handsets feature "Seamless Layout, Laser Cut Contour, Radiant Rear Design and Smart LED Lighting", although at first glance they look a bit dull. Perhaps they are the sort of devices that look better in your hand than in a photograph.

There are a bunch of LG software enhancements on top, but because these are Android 4.1 devices then you can download thousands of apps and widgets to make your phone your own. As long as LG can keep the price of these handsets down, then they should be able to shift quite a lot of these to customers with a modest amount of cash who want something that looks nice.

LG Optimus L7 II  
Available:
Q1 2013
Network:
GSM + UMTS
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi
Screen:
4.3" 480 x 800 pixels
Camera:
8.0 megapixels (main)
0.3 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium tablet smartphone
122 x 67 x 9.7mm
Bluetooth:
Yes
Internal memory:
4GB
Memory card:
MicroSD
CPU:
1GHz dual-core
RAM:
768MB
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 4.1
Battery life:
Not specified (2460 mAh cell)

LG Optimus TrueHD LTE

LG Optimus TrueHD LTE




There has been a lot of interest in LTE 4G devices in the US in recent months, but as LTE networks are still very rare in Europe then that interest has not transferred across the pond. So, the LG Optimus TrueHD LTE is a pretty rare device, an LTE capable smartphone heading to Europe.. well, Germany at least. It supports HSPA+ as well as LTE, and this gives much wider coverage on top of the fledgling 4G networks.

As you can probably guess, the LG Optimus TrueHD LTE comes with an HD display, in this case a 4.5" 720 x 1280 pixel panel. On the back is an 8 megapixel camera with a 1.3 megapixel video calling camera on the front. Inside is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM, 2GB of available internal flash memory plus a 16GB microSD card.



There's a large 1830 mAh battery inside the TrueHD, and the handset measures 134 x 68 x 10.5mm and weighs 135 grams. Other than a slightly interesting textured back, the TrueHD is a pretty dull slabby phone available only in black.. this is not a device that will turn heads in terms of physical design, although we suspect that the large IPS display might be very impressive to look at.

Disappointingly, the TrueHD LTE only runs Android 2.3, and there's really no excuse for that now that Android 4.0 has been around for a while, although we assume that there's some sort of upgrade path planned. Still, it will do everything that every other Android phone does, and it will do it very quickly.

We don't know when the TrueHD LTE will hit the shops or how much it will cost, although our best guess is that it will retail for slightly under €400 whenever it comes to market.

LG Optimus TrueHD LTE
Available:
2012
Network:
GSM + UMTS + LTE
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS + HSPA+ + LTE + WiFi
Screen:
4.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
Camera:
8 megapixels (main)
1.3 megapixels (sub)
Size:
Medium/large tablet smartphone
134 x 68 x 10mm / 135 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes
Memory card:
MicroSD
Infra-red:
No
Polyphonic:
Yes
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 2.3
Battery life:
Not specified (1830 mAh cell)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sony Xperia GX and Xperia SX

Sony Xperia GX and Xperia SX




A pair of smartphones heading exclusively to the Japanese market, the Sony Xperia GX and Sony Xperia SX are the first "Sony" branded Android smartphones to be sold in their own home market.

Both these devices are LTE capable, the GX is the bigger handset with a 4.6" display, the SX sports a more conventional 3.7" screen size.

Of these, the Xperia GX is the most interesting handset. Sporting a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, a 13 megapixel camera with HD video recording and Exmor R technology, 16GB of internal flash storage and Android 4.0 ICS out of the box, this is a big, powerful beast. The GX has a nod to the Xperia Arc with an elegant curved design that makes it stand out from normal slabby offerings. Sony don't specify the resolution of the screen, other than to say that it is a "Reality  Sony Xperia SX Display", although we imagine that it is a 1280 x 720 pixel panel. There's an HDMI port too, and with the high resolution HD display then this should be a pretty capable device when it comes to playback on the big screen.



The Xperia SX is billed as the world's lightest LTE smartphone, coming in at just 95 grams. There's a 3.7" display of unknown resolution on the front (perhaps 480 x 854 pixels), an 8 megapixel camera on the back, 8GB of internal flash storage and again a 1.5GHz dual core CPU.

Both devices integrate with Sony's online content services and include all the features that previous Sony Ericsson phones shipped with. They'll also do everything that every other Android phone will do, with the distinct advantage that they will ship with Android 4.0 out of the box rather than as an upgrade.

These handsets will ship in Japan only during the summer, but the GX in particular offers a tantalising glimpse of what might be a future flagship phone for the worldwide market.

Sony Xperia Sola

Sony Xperia Sola




Another addition to Sony's new line of Xperia "NXP" handsets, the Sony Xperia Sola looks like a straightforward mid-market smartphone, but it has one interesting and unique feature with the screen that we will come to later.

Fitting in between the Xperia P and Xperia U, the seemingly randomly-named Xperia Sola has a 3.7" 480 x 854 pixel display, a 1GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash (5GB is user accessible) plus a microSD slot, a 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording and fast capture (but no mention of a front-facing camera), an FM radio, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and 3.5G support plus all the usual Android features.

Out of the box the Xperia Sola will run Android 2.3 with an upgrade to Android 4.0 promised shortly during the summer. This is a bit annoying as (in our view) manufacturers should really be shipping with 4.0, rather than forcing users to do a major upgrade just after the have received the phone.

Sony have included all the usual Xperia add-ons with the Xperia Sola, and because this is a Sony then users have access to Sony's own content network for music, videos and games.

The unique selling point with the Xperia Sola is the display, which allows a user to "float" their finger above the screen while browsing which acts like a cursor. When the correct link is selected, the user just taps the screen. This sounds like an interesting idea, because web browsing can be tricky even on a big screen phone. The display also uses BRAVIA technology for improved image quality and has scratch resistant glass.



 Sony Xperia Sola One other interesting feature is the use of NFC SmartTags to alter the behaviour of the phone. The default configuration for these is "bedroom" which turns on the alarm and mutes the ringer and "living room" that turns on WiFi and loads the news and weather. You can reconfigure the tags if you like, or you can buy other tags for tags for other applications.

The Sony Xperia Sola is a relatively lightweight device, coming in at 107 grams and measuring 116 x 59 x 9.9mm. Inside is a 1320 mAh battery quoted as giving up to 5 hours talktime and over 19 days standby time, although as ever actually using your Android phone will drain the battery more quickly.

The floating cursor feature and the NFC SmartTags raise the Xperia Sola from being a dull mass-market smartphone to something a bit more interesting. And although the Sola lacks the stunning looks of some other devices in the new Sony Xperia range, it is still quite a smart device that will be available in black, white or red colours.

Sony say that the Xperia Sola should be available during Q2 2012. No guidance was given on price, but we would expect the Sola to retail for between €300 to €350 SIM-free at launch.

Sony Xperia Sola  
Available:
Q2 2012
Network:
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Data:
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi
Screen:
3.7" 480 x 854 pixels
Camera:
5 megapixels
Size:
Medium tablet smartphone
116 x 59 x 10mm / 107 grams
Bluetooth:
Yes
Memory card:
MicroSD (8GB internal)
Infra-red:
No
Polyphonic:
Yes
Java:
Optional
GPS:
Yes
OS:
Android 2.3 (Android 4.0 promised)
Battery life:
5 hours talk / 19 days standby (3G)
 
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