Review : The Huawei Ascend Mate 7. A big phone on a small budget.

“Whow .. Thats a big phone !” “There is no way you can make phone calls with that !” “How do you fit that in your pocket”. If I got a penny for every time I have heard that remark in the past, it would have been enough to buy me my next phablet and still have spare change for parking. Yes … my name is Knightwise and I’m a Phablet Fan.  Discontent with small screens and cramped mobile interfaces I switched to the “larger kind” of smartphone a couple of years ago with the Galaxy Note 2… and afterwards the Note 3. The thing is I don’t see my “Phablet” as my phone. I see it as my personal communicator, that also allows me to do voice calls. It is the one single digital device I probably spend  most of my time on during the day.. So when Huawei asked me to review their “Ascend mate 7” (what’s in a name) it was not going to be easily impressed.
The thing is : Phablets are rapidly becoming the “high end” niche market of the smartphone industry. Where the ‘average Joe’ pays about 300 dollar for the “average Joe” smartphone with “Average Joe” specs .. the phablet market is usually reserved for the geek with higher system requirements (and a larger amount of cash to spend on his mobile device). Result ? Phones like the Galaxy note 4, the new Nexus 6 and the iPhone 6 plus  boast high resolutions , big screens, good specs and … high prices.  So what is there do to when you want a ping-pong table sized  smartphone, but you are on a midget-phone budget ?
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Enter the Huawei Ascent Mate 7 : A bigger phone for a smaller budget. With its 6 inch Hd Display (1920*1080) it has a smaller resolution that the Note 4 Samsung Phablet Flagship (or Aircraft carrier) and its Quad Core Cortex A15 1.8 ghz processor with 3Gb or ram are also not as heavy as the competition … but neither is its price. For 300 euro’s LESS then the 749 price point of the Note 4 .. you get a LOT of phone for what you pay for.
For one : Huawei’s spin on KitKat is a LOT cleaner then Samsung’s over cluttered ‘Touchwiz’ interface. Not having to lift an extra layer of graphic bloatware, makes the ascend preform remarkably well , despite its lighter processor. The phone is quite responsive when pinching swiping and zooming but lags a little bit when opening large apps like Linkedin. Huawei’s version of Android takes some getting used to (there is no app drawer) but comes with some nice little tweaks and handy features like Fingerprint unlocking and “Single handed operation”. Samsung might have these features too, but in touchwizz they are buried beneath a thick layer of clutter.
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What we really liked about the Mate 7 was its fingerprint sensor. Located on the BACK of the phone, its in a very natural position for when you want to use it to unlock the phone. As you hold the phone in your hand your index finger is automatically placed on the sensor and the phone unlocks. Additionally the sensor can be used to trigger the camera. The fact that its not a button but a touch sensitive surface makes that you don’t “nudge” the phone (and blur your pictures) as you are taking a snapshot. We liked this feature .. a lot !  Speaking of the camera , the 13 megapixel front facing camera is quite good (but is a little lacking in low light conditions).
The screen on the Mate 7 is not the brightest of the bunch. Its colors are bright and vivid but do not match the “over saturated blown up colors” of the competitors amoled screens. Personally I like this because the latter do make a picture from a funeral look like a page from a holiday catalog. The (replaceable) battery life is good, we managed to get about 1.5 days out of the battery with fairly heavy use which pleasantly surprised us.  The overall signal reception on the phone is good (Wifi and 4G) although it did drop a call on us twice as we got into the car.
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The look and feel of the Mate is good. Its a full metal jacket (We don’t know which metal, but it sure ain’t plastic) and the phone is well balanced. The bezel on the side of the screen is almost non existent giving the phone a premium look and feel.
So is it worth it ?  Yes ! If you want a maxi-sized phone with more then average specs on a medium sized budget, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is surely something you should take a serious look at. The only competitor we see on the horizon is the immensely popular (but also immensely scarce) Oneplus One. With the price of the Nexus 6 going into the same premium price range as Samsungs Galaxy Notes and the iPhone Six , the Huawei ascend mate 7 will get the geek-on-a-budget (or the geek who shops sensibly) a great bang for their buck.

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Reviewing Samsungs UD970 4k Display.

When Samsung offered us the chance to review the UD970 we didn’t have to think about it for long. Getting ones hands on a 4k monitor to gawk at was something we wanted to try out since the very moment Samsung presented the model at IFA in Berlin this year.

“Spec-porn”

The UD970 comes in a box .. a BIG box .. a box that is usually reserved for big things like snow plows, space shuttles and big tv’s. Granted , it would have been a bad idea to ship the 31.5 inch display in a paper bag .. So the big box was a good idea. The difference between the UD970 and a Snow plow is the fact that the former has a much higher resolution.  Where classic TV screens of this size have to find their limit at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 (Full HD) the UD970 goes almost up to infinity .. But not beyond. A 4k resolution of 3840 by 2016 means that ‘theoretically’ the screen real estate of a 31 inch 4K display is about the same as a 62 inch TV screen .. on a theoretical full HD resolution.  And it still fits on your desk (but it might not fit in your budget)

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We thought that we would be confronted with a behemoth of a box where you need to puzzle apart 24 pieces of styrofoam , but the UD970 is nicely packaged and taking it out we noticed the very simple and elegant design .  A stable base, slim neck and thin bezel mark the fact that this monitor not only shines in resolution, but also in design. When inspecting the ports we noticed that this monitor can also ROTATE !  Spontaneous hallucinations of ‘Triple screen portrait monitor setups’ flooded our mind .. But there would be limitations in our budget .. and the number of pixels both a graphics card and the human mind can handle … Without melting down in a puddle of high resolution 4k blubber.

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“Hooking it up”

Speaking of puddles .. getting this baby to work was a little bit of a challenge. We hooked it up to the latest and greatest 15 inch Macbook pro (with its high end graphics card) to see just how OK , 4K was … We had some trouble. Hooking it up to the Tunderbold display port with an HDMI adapter ( the UD970 has HDMI, Display port and classic DVI ports) we were disappointed that the maximum resolution we got was a mere 1600 by 900 (according to our Mac). This made the screen look bad. Fuzzy images and obese fonts .. not something we liked. Things got better after we hooked the display straight to our HMDI port .. The result was like staring into oblivion .. ‘Double-HD’ on this 31 inch display is massive .. So massive its hard to comprehend .. there is SO MUCH ROOM on your screen. Opening up ANY document to full-screen will be a thing of the past. The amount of screen real estate will have you working with tiled windows all the time since you can place so many of them. You will need to “crane your neck” from time to time since you need to cover the full 31 inches of screen right in front of your nose.

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“Not your average holiday catalogue”

The colours and crispness of the screen is very very good for a Samsung display. Where the Oled displays of their smartphones and tablets have over saturated colours and brightness (That make an obituary look like a summer holiday magazine) Samsung has “toned down” the “WHOOOW” factor to resemble something that is more toned towards reality. The matt display, high resolution, thin bezel and slick design give this screen the potential to match or even outclass Apple’s expensive cinema display line.

“Dinero mucho baby ? “

We haven’t received and official price yet but at the rumored 2000 dollars pricerange this screen is going to be outside the budget range of the average user. The high resolution does require a hefty graphics card (Even our Mac had some trouble) but what you get in return is pretty slick. We shipped the display back to Samsung with mixed feelings .. After getting used to it , i’m pretty sure I would miss the display if I had to miss it .. But I would also miss the car I had to sell in order to get the money to BUY the UD970 in the first place. This display is something for the high end users (or the ones without girlfriends who live in their parents basement). That way they can watch their own My Little Pony marathon on a massive display .. with crisp colors, sharp text, lots of ports and a slim base.

Now excuse us as we drudge back to our 14 inch CRT display with a maximum resolution of 640×480 and watch the world in 8-bit.

Link : The UD970

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Bike-wise Kickstarter Kicks (By Matthew Deboysere)

Biweekly I go through Kickstarter and try to find some interesting projects that you just must back. I have backed 21 projects since February 2011. My strategy is simple: I just cruise through the pages until I find something I like. Sometimes I search for keywords. Earlier this week for example I tried “bike”. I am someone who never takes a bus and doesn’t have his driver’s license, so whenever I need to be somewhere, I go by bike. And I like to pimp my modern stallion with all these exclusive gadgets I find on Kickstarter.

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After the “Better Bicycle Bell, made in the USA”, which I received two months ago and is really loud – although nobody cares, stupid tourists – I ordered the Zondo Firefly Bag. I ride my bike during nights a lot and sometimes I just don’t feel safe. During the weekend there are a lot of drunk people behind their steering wheel and I tend to ride near the beach because cars aren’t allowed there. But with the Zondo, I have a compact and really cool looking backpack which you can use for casual riding or for professional use. It has a pocket which can hold your bladder bag in case you need to take a pee on your bike – no thanks – and it has a switch that lights up a strip on the front side of the bag.

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The Zondo will be made in the United Kingdom and only costs you 40 GBP if you want it in any colour you like. If you want the basic blue one, then they ask you to pledge 30 GBP, which is actually a great bargain. The problem is that they just reached the 50 percent mark, and they only have 18 days to go. It’s not a product that a lot of people need, because mostly bicycle lights should suffice, but if you want to feel more safe – and need a new cool rucksack, then this is something to go for. 

Another interesting bicycle project on Kickstarter is the Fietsklik line of transportation accessories. The Dutch people of Fietsklik have invented The Click that goes over your bicycle rack. It needs some basic mounting, but once you’ve found the right spot you can click some awesome accessories on it. As a miniature wargaming enthusiast, I have a large backpack with all my figurines ready to go, but I also have a big crate with other stuff that I usually need. So I am particularly looking forward to the Crate. You slide it on the Click, push it locked and turn the key to secure it. It can hold all your groceries and even a big crate of beer! They have tested it for several years and it looks really legit – although we will never forget we are paying to support an idea, not to buy a product. Sometimes they fail. But I feel confident about this one.

The people at Fietsklik also want to launch three types of bags that you can attach to the Click easily. The Click allows you to attach three accessories at the same time – two bags and the Crate – but also is looking into a child seat. They have finished the prototype and are looking into getting it checked and certified. You can pledge to get one, but you will receive the seat only at least in April 2015. All the other accessories will launch in July 2014.

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If you pledge 99 USD, you will receive the Click and the Crate, which is an awesome deal. The crate also can be folded up to be more compact and has an extendable handle and wheels. Ideally you will shop with your Crate and mount it quickly on the back of your bike. Cool! Need more space? It will cost you 149 USD but you will receive the Click and two accessories of your choice. That can be two crates, or two bags, or one of each. And for 199 USD you will receive the Click and the Crate, and can choose two bags. If you’re quick, there are still some early birds available. Fietsklik has already surpassed their target. They are at 150 percent right now. It’s a solid investment if you need easy transporting on your bicycle and hate tying several bags on your steering wheel.

Links.

 Matthew Deboysere is a video game journalist for several Belgian media. Is the co-founder of G.Mag, a free digital gaming magazine, but left for a new adventure. Previously wrote for GUNK and 9lives. Loves video games with a great story that reduces him to tears. And cat videos.

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kw705 : Reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Gear

Its Go-go-gadget review time again as we get our greedy little geek hands on the latest gadgets from Samsung. We do an in depth review of their new Phablet the “Note 3” and turn ourselves into Michael Knight (from Knightrider .. remember ?) as we slap on the worlds most advanced smart watch : The Galaxy Gear.

Shownotes

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Reviewing the Huawei Ascend Mate.

I remember a scene in the movie “Zoolander” where the main character played by Ben Stiller, a vain spoiled male model, gets a call on his cellphone. He answers the call and starts talking into this insanely little phone that he holds to his ear, a nearly invisible device pinched between his thumb and index finger. The scene is funny because it deals with the popular trend in the phone industry of the late 90’s to make devices smaller and smaller.

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The device I’m reviewing today is clearly not an offspring of that trend. The Huawei Ascend Mate is probably one of the largest cellphones on the market today. At a whopping 6.1 inch, it is even larger than the already bulky Galaxy Note 2 that is currently my ‘communication device’ of choice. Before we dive into the distinctions between a “phone” and a “communicator” … lets just take a closer look at the Ascend Mate.

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The Specs

The screen of the Ascend Mate covers almost the entire surface of the 6.1 inch phone device. With a resolution of 1280 by 720 (at 241 pixels per inch) it is amazingly bright and has a realistic colour spectrum. What I found appealing is its visibility in bright sunlight. Unlike the note 2 (Whose screen is also quite bright but is terrible to use in bright sunlight) the Mate manages to give you a “good look” at whatever is on your screen, no matter if the twin suns of Tantooine are setting right behind your back. But the one thing that does stand out is the fact that the colours are very “natural” and that is surely a bonus.

The Mate comes with a front and rear facing camera with a respective resolution of 8 and 1 Megapixel. Both camera’s deliver good pictures (we tested them both outside and inside) and the flash LED’s are bright enough signal the Rusky’s on the international space station.

Battery life on the Mate is quite good considered the sheer size of the screen. The downside is that the battery is not replaceable (You can’t even remove the back cover of the Mate, Sim and memory slots are on the side). We managed a day of extensive use and still had a couple of jolts left at sunset.

The Ascend Mate comes with an adapted version of Android 4.1 (not 4.2) where Huawei decided to pre-populate your phone with most of the apps you need. All the apps are nicely organised in folders (For example : There is a GOOGLE folder with most of not ALL google apps in the Market place) and this is surely a bonus. Every phone manufacturer needs to give their software experience an added value. Some build skins, but Huawei decided to be your personal shopper in the Marketplace and pre-load your phone with all the “standard” apps that you might need. I like this, because then you are no longer dependant on the manufacturer to upload their ‘in-house’ apps, you just depend on the core developers. The interface of the Mate is sliiiiightly different to “stock” Android, but this is hardly noticeable. This lean and mean approach gives the Mate the speedy swifty feel it needs and surely adds to the pleasure of its user. The culprit to blame here would be its 1.5 Gigaherz processor and its 2 gigs of ram.

This is no phone for Tinkerbell

Like the previous Huawei phone we tested, the Mate feels like a well finished product.. One downside we have are the plastic ‘latches’ that cover the phone’s sim and SD card slots : They might break off in the long run. When we first took the phone in our hands we expected it to be bulky and hard to handle. Guess what : Its NOT . The Mate’s size is well proportioned and its internal weight distribution is well balanced. Using the phone in both portrait and landscape mode is a breeze. We compared it to using the Galaxy Note 2 and the latter does not win that Phablet prizefight. Although larger, the Mate is surprisingly more easy to hold and handle then the slightly smaller Note2. However, single handed operation is not an option and two hands are required to type and hold the phone at the same time. So this brings us to the question : Is this a phone at all ?

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The Huawei Mate is the Nokia Communicator of the modern Phablets.

We hate the word “Phablets”. It hints toward a mutational subset of mutant devices that are too small to be a tablet and to large to be a phone. At 6.1 inch across the Note2 is surely a “Phablet”. Slightly to large for a phone, slightly to small for a tablet. With the addition of just a measly 0.6 inch (compared to the Note 2) the Huawei Mate slides into the Sub-Tablet category and does it brilliantly. Well balanced in weight distribution, having a crisp screen, a nice interface and decent battery life the Huawei Mate is the perfect companion for those who want both a phone and a tablet but do not have the cash to buy both. Yes : It looks dorky when you get a phone call …  but so what ? How many phone calls to the younger generation still make every day ? Its all Texting, Twitter, Facebook and the likes these days. A real time ‘audio only’ conversation is something that is becoming scarce for Teens anyway.

So Geeks : Should you get one ?

Well : If you want to live on the socially-acceptable cutting edge and carry around a ‘communicator’ instead of a phone : Get one ! At around 300 euros the price is way below the ‘premium priced’ products of both Apple and Samsung and it still gets you a very cool device. The one thing you need to ‘click’ in your brain is the concept of ‘ a phone ‘. Just like the Nokia Communicator, the Mate is a “communications device” that enables you to connect to to your digital lifestyle and not to an Party Chat conference call from the 80’s. Forget concepts like “sliding it into your back pocket” or “making a quick phone call”  The Mate is the lovechild between your Smartphone and your iPad making both pretty much obsolete once you have the Mate. Its not light, It does not fit in your back pocket, it does not have a 6 day battery life .. but neither does your tablet. This is not a phone, its an advanced digital communication device that provides you with connectivity, content, computational power and entertainment… and you can also use it to call your nan.

Links : Find out more about the Mate at Huawei’s official page

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Review : The Netatmo : your cross-platform weather station.

So have you ever wondered what the humidity level is like in your living room ? Or how far the temperature drops outside during the night. Would you like to know the decibel level in your house during the night or the overall air quality ?  It might not seem essential information you CANNOT live without but its just a small selection of the information offered by the Netatmo weather station.  

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Now some say that weather stations are for old uncles with bushy nose hair who like to smoke a pipe, drive a volvo and quote Carl Sagan during birthday parties. Who tell you (while using dramatic gestures) that the amount of hectopascal pressure is ..”Too damn high” for the time of year.  

And lets face it .. as an information junkie having access to this kind of information is just too cool to pass up. But you’re not a creepy uncle (yet) and surely lack the bushy nose hair .. and you are a geek .. So what do you do.

169 euro’s later you might find yourself the proud owner of the Netatmo weather station. Forget old school weather station contraptions that are bolted to the outside of mouldy cabins in the woods. These 2 battery powered cylindrical devices (one for the inside and on for outside) have sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, Decibel levels, Air quality and more. Nice if you are “in the room” but with the wifi hookup you can access this info anywhere you go.

A very easy setup process lets you setup an account with Netatmo and install their mobile application on your favorite Android or IOS Tablet or smartphone to access your weather station from anywhere.

I must be honest : At first we thought .. What are we gonna DO with this ? But the fact that you can access the “real time” indoor and outdoor weather stats on your portable device ANYWHERE is pretty darn cool. But the real fun starts when you start looking at the “logs” of all the sensory information collected by the Netatmo.  Instead of just “sayin” the weather was good the last week, you can just whip up your phone and show off a very detailed graph of the moisture level in your garden over the last 23 days.

The power of the Netatmo lies in its well designed apps for the IOS and Android platform. Though the sensory range of the Netatmo is “limited’ ( We find that a Geiger counter would be a nice geeky addition) the total package is pretty cool. The sound meter is great but may give you the accidental ability to find out what weeknights your parents have sex. Whether you will be using your Netatmo on a daily basis once the gadget-factor wears of is something that we don’t know but it sure is cool to play with.

At a 169 Euro’s for the basic set (additional outside modules available) the Netatmo is not cheap but if weather stations are your thing , this is one of the best geek-friendly ones you can get.  With its high build quality, pretty design and perfect app execution the Netatmo never ‘rains on your parade’ .

Buy the Netatmo on their website HERE.

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49 Euros for the Pyrus Mini ebook reader : Totally worth it.

Books : Some like the smell of paper, the sounds of gentle footfalls in the hushed silence of libraries, some like flipping though pages and the rustling sound of paper turning in  the night … I’m not one of those persons. To be honest : I’ve been reading digital books since the beginning of this century.  From devices as primitive as the Palm to my much beloved Sony PRS-505 I am proud to say that I only read about 2 paper books in the last 12 years. My latest device of choice on which I have devoured many a book was my iPad mini. ( I had ‘loaned’ my Sony eBook reader to my 86 year old gran .. and she’ll never ever give it back).  But where the iPad mini shines in the dark (its active screen is great for reading in the bedroom) it gleams in sunlight (its reflective glass is terrible for outside reading).  So with my holiday coming up and plenty of reading to do .. I thought I would try out something new.

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It was in fact Niejana who pointed out the Trekstor Pyrus Mini on our last visit to our favourite geek-friendly store in Aachen. Three  things immediately made me fall in love with the device : The size (It reminds me of my trusty Palm devices) The color and texture (It has this rubbery enclosure thats a dark blue) and its price : 49 euro’s !  I mean : What could go wrong for 49 euro’s ?  

The Pyrus has a 4.3 inch 800 by 600 Pixel E-Ink display. It has 2 gigabytes of onboard storage that you can extend by shoving in a micro SD card. There is no Wifi, Bluetooth or 3G connection. Just some buttons to navigate pages and adjust things like character size and the language of the interface.   In the end this device is horribly horribly simple .. and that is just brilliant !  The Micro Usb connector is used for charging and adding titles to the onboard memory and since the screen is pretty small .. the battery time will last you quite a while. It can read all popular formats (it does have a hard time with large PDF’s) but can not read .mobi (Epub is fine though).

But aside from the price, the one thing I love  more about this gadget is that its so small, thin and light that you can just slide it into your coat pocket and whip it out anywhere without having to bother with lids and casings and having enough room on the bus to read your book. At the size of a smartphone it might appear to small to read on, but the variable character sizing does make up for that. The screen has a very good contrast ratio and not a micron of ‘glare’.  

Sure its not as robust as some of the ebook readers out there, sure it does not have all of the functionality of a Kindle or a Fire .. But for 49 euro’s this is the “paperback novel cousin” to the “hardcover collection” ebook reader that you can find on the market today I’m NOT afraid to use it, loose it, break it or get mugged for it. It just lets me read my favourite collection of Justin Bierbers Fanfic .. anywhere.

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7 things you need to know about the Huawei W1.

The one thing more obscure than the Huawei brand name is probably the knowledge on how to pronounce it. From a western tongue twisting Hoo-Ya-Wey to a mandarin tinted ‘Waah-Weej’ it becomes clear that this Chinese technological behemoth still has some marketing to do in the western world. (If only to end the bickering on how to pronounce it). However : Huawei speaks not to us in fancy commercials on tv (or a pronunciation lesson on Youtube) Huawei speaks to us with their range of products. Where the company used to be but a shady side-brand that would manufacture for other brands and suppliers, they now step into the limelight and present themselves as one of the major runners up to give Apple, Sony, Nokia and Samsung something to worry about at night. Its not because Huawei is not on every billboard that they don’t make decent products : The Huawei W1 we had in our hands is the puddings proof.

Specs.

The Ascend W1 is a “Windows Phone”. A four inch IPS display with a resolution of 480 by 800 and a Qualcomm dual core snapdragon 1.2 gigahertz processor. It comes with 4 gigabyte of onboard storage, the ability to pimp said storage with an SD card and it has 512 megabytes of ram. It has a 5 megapixel front facing camera and a rear facing camera with VGA resolution. There is of course wifi, Bluetooth, 3g (no lte) and you can even call other people on the phone with it. To give you a frame of reference : we compare the device against Nokias Lumia 620 which is a little more “abundant” in these regions.

1. Look and feel. The W1 is a rectangular black slate, just like every phone on the market today. But with that being said, what you do notice right of the bat, is that its fairly thin, light but well balanced, and offers an ‘edge’ over the Nokia Lumia when it comes to screen protection. With that I mean that the screen has a little “border” around it that keeps it from scratching when you place the phone upside down. (Where the Nokia comes with the “glass on top” design). The back of the W1 is slightly rubberized giving an awkward but nice sensation of having something ‘tough’ in your hand while being elegant at the same time. The “thinner” body of the W1 feels nicer to hold that the slightly more bulky 620 with its sharper edges. Design-wise the W1 is not going be in the Louvre anytime soon, but both in your pocket and your hand it feels nice

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The rubberized back of the W1 against the slightly thicker back of the 620.

 

2. Speed.

We put both the Nokia 620 and the W1 side by side and launched the browser, the phone application, the store and played with the tiles. The 620 is slightly smoother when it comes to scrolling through your tiles, but on opening applications .. the W1 wins. In all honesty its a top-gear style photo finish to see the difference but applications do pop up a fraction of a second faster on the W1 then on its Scandinavian counterpart.

3. Screen.

Although the W1 comes with a nice 480 by 800 Ips display, the brightness and color resilience is not that awesome. With both devices on auto-brightness, the W1’s colors were slightly duller then the Nokias. These are things you notice ( and perhaps only notice) during comparisons but they are there nonetheless. Screen brightness and color depth help you use your phone outdoor and read emails comfortably instead of peering at your smartphone like a pensioner.

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The W1 and the 620 side by side.

4.Camera.

Well, we will let the results speak for themselves here. The W1 takes some more time to focus and shoot, so snapping that picture of “The Flash” changing his underwear might be problematic.

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“We love coffee” shot by the W1

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The same shot with the Lumia 620.

5.Battery

Because of the “longer” shape of the phone, Huawei managed to cram in a larger battery into the phone, resulting in a fairly good +1 day battery life.

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The W1 (bottom) and the 620 (top)

6.Apps

If there is such a thing as “Stock Windows Phone” .. The W1 has it. No extra “Nokia Apps” , no added “ Samsung Store” Just plain Windows phone and the Windows phone store. This might be the one place where Huawei chooses a different strategy than its competitors, opting out of using “branded software” as a selling point. This is a tricky bargain as the Windows App ecosphere still needs to grow and gain maturity. But for those of you who know where to look for your apps, or can live without Nokia’s City lens and Gps software (which is in all honesty, excellent) the W1 is the perfect platform to start.

7.Price

The Nokia Lumia 620 is sold at about 215 euro’s in stores, where the W1 eats only 179 one-euro coins out of your account. When we look at what you get for this price : its not bad, not bad at all. As an “entry phone” for the Windows Phone market this is a surprisingly good “bang for your buck” phone. Ok, its no iPhone 5, its no Nokia 920 .. but in the end it comes down to what you need. If the form factor is OK for you and you prefer a practical little smartphone to an over-pimped sub-tablet .. The W1 is perfect for you.  The question that you want to ask yourself is : Do I want to spend the extra 35 euro’s on a Nokia ? Is the fact that Nokia offers up some stock apps like navigation and the “city lens” worth that extra money ? Or am I a geek who knows the ways of the force and kind find my own apps in the store ?  

Conclusion.

We like the W1. Its a decent entry model phone with a fairly good screen, a fairly fast processor, a fairly good camera and a very good price. This phone is either for the geek on a budget who knows where to find the right apps, or for my mum in law, who just needs to do some basic stock functions like email, Facebook, texting and calling. The W1 is not a cheap disappointing up-sell tool: It holds its value in the market being Huawei’s step up to bigger things .. both for the consumer as for the company.

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New Zoogue smartcase adds and “edge” of security to your iPad.

We have previously talked about the ZOOGUE range of iPad and iPhone cases on Knightwise.com, so when Tim and his crew came out with a new version of their ZOOGUE Smartcase for iPad we were tempted to give the new case a try. This time we decided to give Knightwise.com Lab rat “Fiddler” a crack at their new toy.

 Zoogue

Fiddler is an avid user of his iPad3 and has used Apple’s standard magnetic cover in combination with a hard-shell transparent cover for the back of his iPad. A couple of coffee-spills and a near catastrophic drop later, Fiddler was ready to try a new case.

 The new edition of the Smartcase has “The edge”. And I mean that in a literal way. The one flaw of the pervious version of the Smartcase was that there was an insufficient “edge protection” of the iPad. When the Zoogue Case would have an unscheduled appointment with gravity, there was a risk that the iPad’s “unprotected” corner would take the brunt of the fall. After hearing the suggestions from their users (and the sounds of breaking glass) Zoogue redesigned their new Smartcase. The new case now boasts a wider edge, allowing the iPad to “Sag” a little during an accidental fall, without hitting the pavement right away. The upside is that this gives the iPad some extra protection, the downside is that it makes the case even wider.

 In all the new Smartcase is a welcome upgrade to the previous design and adds an “edge of security” to the otherwise versatile product Zoogue has to offer. At 49.99 it is not the cheapest nor the thinnest case on the market but it does bring the same high quality and ease of use to your tablet experience.

Links. http://www.zoogue.com/

 

 

 

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