Sunday, 16 February 2014

5s fingerprint access is great

The 5s fingerprint access is so much more convenient than a pin code!! I've never counted how many times I enter a pin code on my mobile, but it's a lot. And having finger print access whilst still using a device with pin access is reinforcing just how handy fingerprint access is.

I used an iPhone 5 for several weeks and this is a totally different experience due to the convenience of the fingerprint access.

Around 2003 I used finger print recognition on the HP iPaq ODA (made by htc). It was a bit hit and miss- the 5s implementation is great, in part because it's built into the home key and you can use different fingers, depending on how you pick it up. Ideally, I'd like to be able to specify which apps don't need any id; which need fingerprint and any that night also need a pin code as well as fingerprint (eg eBay, or others that spend money).

There are apps on android that allow restricted access to selected apps, and the LG Flex supports a guest mode, the HTC a kids mode (not very good implementation) and things like the Nook tablet allow you to have multiple accounts on an android device (like Windows) - things are improving in terms of convenience and security!

For ease of access and convenience it's hard to beat the iPhone 5s. For heavier duty creation the g flex is great (despite it not having the sharpest screen)- now if only it had decent fingerprint access...

And if only the iPhone had the double tap and non shuffle on/off key (the iPhone 4s was better in that respect, as is LG's approach of having the on/off button where my index finger naturally rests when I pick you the phone!).

reporting a phone as lost sounds sensible - but can have unintended consrquences

A few weeks ago I thought I'd lost my LG G2. After looking for it I decided to ring Three to stop the sim card being used- in case someone found my phone and popped out the sim card. I was surprised when Three said they could block the phone as well- even though it wasn't a Three phone. Apparently the phone's IMEI number is sent to Three when used with a Three sim card- even if it's not a Three phone. I have 'lookout' installed which should do the same as apple's iphone tracking software- allowing me to remotely wipe and track my phone- however, despite being able to log into Lookout's site - it came up with an error when I tried to locate my phone (whenever I've tried the same thing with an iphone in the past it's worked perfectly, as did the Z1 compact preinstalled tracking software- it's something worth testing before you think you've lost your phone!). So, I rest all my passwords- gmail, hotmail, facebook ...   ...  and the next day I found my phone - and rang Three to stop my phone from being blocked (though I did have to get a new sim card). I carried on using my LG G2 happily on Three & O2.

Roll on a few weeks- I'm now using the LG Flex (gets better the more I use it!)- and so decided to sell my LG G2. I've used Phone Show Forum, eBay and Gumtree for selling/swapping phones. This time for speed and because I wanted to swap for something I went to a CEX store who offer £296 for a voucher for a G2 32gb simfree. They ran their own IMEI check and said they couldn't take my phone. It wasn't showing as stolen (I check IMEI numbers on - worth doing whenever you're looking at buying a seccond hand phone- if you can). However, because I'd contacted Three to block my handset for a day, it was showing on CEX's system as having been blocked in the past, even though it wasn't showing as blocked now. CEX's policy is, apparently, not to buy phones that have been blocked - at any time. So, now I can't sell it at CEX- though I can sell it at other stores, which don't give as good a price as CEX- c'est la vie.

Not all 4G is equal- and not all handsets will pick up 4G on all networks

I started picking up 4g (LTE) on Three last week (they're rolling it out at no extra cost to existing contracts). However, the speed for loading pages whilst fast for Three was noticeably slower than EE, certainly where I tried in London. However, given that I'm paying £16 a month for unlimited data, 600 mins talk time, 3000 texts and 3000 3-3 minutes I'm happy to have not so fast 4G for the price.

As I found, not all handsets support all 4G frequencies which means that some phones won't use the faster speeds (for example the iphone 5s works on O2's 4G but I've been told that the iphone 5 won't; my Korean LG Flex picks up 4G on EE & Three but not on Vodafone).

I'm using an LG flex as my main phone and the faster 4G speeds for browsing etc is very welcome. For a smaller phone like the iphone 5s or Z1 compact I wasn't that bothered about the faster speed as I don't use them for browsing as much (though the faster podcast download speed is handy).

I'm sure I noticed battery life going down faster on 4g- though subjective (I've been told that battery drain will be higher with 4g as coverage is patchy, so retaining the signal drains power faster).

Some 4g comparisons:  

Saturday, 15 February 2014

IPhone 5s, a pleasure to use

I picked up an iPhone 5s today. I'd almost forgotten how seamless the iPhone experience can be compared to most android phones. The double press of the home key to get the audio controls; the flick up in an app to get to the main settings and most of all being able to use my finger print rather than have to use a pin is great. Audio quality is very good, not htc, but on headphones better than most top end android phones. Camera is consistently good across a range of situations, and being able to use a phone easily in one hand is refreshing (and it's light at 112g).
Having to carry two phones, this is a great partner phone to use alongside the LG g flex.

(And I prefer the 5s over the z1 compact, due to weight, width and easier to get to the apps etc I need. However, I do miss the double tap to turn on/off and the on/off button on the back of the phone!).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Lg g flex fully replaces my g2, HTC one, note 3

After a few weeks, the g flex has pushed out the g2, HTC one and note 3 as my main phone-and tablet.

Ignore the fuss about flexible screen, self healing case- the main advantages of this are the screen size and the feel of the phone in my hand, helped by the curve, button on the back and features that make this useable one handed(!) though usually two handed. Together with a long lasting battery this is great for browsing, editing, games, watching video, using for navigation (bright screen helps enormously)... and it feels very sturdy (doesn't need cosseting, like some devices).

It's not perfect- the screen is sharp enough for me to read with, but I'd have preferred more sharpness and the white that it displays so well in photos could be available on all screens (by east of comparison it's better than the note 2 and Samsung Mega). Also, the sound quality whilst better than most isn't htc quality.

Now I need to clear out a cupboard of phones!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Best audio quality on a phone

I've been having a last listen to my trusty htc one (one of the android devices I've held onto for the longest). Listening to audible, to some Bach and to some Fatboy Slim I'm struck by just how much better the audio quality is compared to any other phone I've used (including over the past 12 months the Sony z1 compact, lg g flex, note 3, lg g2, Samsung s4, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, nexus 5, ...).

Monday, 3 February 2014

Lg flex battery life

I've been using my g flex all day for emails, writing notes, calendar and note browsing and music. At 5.40pm it's showing 66% charge (charged overnight and started using at 7am). Typically by this stage my old s4 would have run out; htc one about 25% left, note 3 about 30%).
In part this might be because the double tap makes it very easy to turn off when the phone is on the table and I'm not taking notes.

My favorite device for a long time!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sony compact z1 first impressions

A friend's given me his Z1 compact to try for the weekend- my first impressions:

  • Nice one handed size- though feels surprisingly heavy compared to the iPhone 5 (137 vs 112grams), and the extra width and depth of the Sony makes it a bit less comfortable to hold one handed than the iPhone 5, 4s or HTC One mini.
  • The display is nice and sharp. It might not have the highest dpi but it's more than good enough.
  • Good external speaker (loud enough to use around the house)
  • Dedicated camera button (though you have to press in the right way to get it to work)
  • The waterproofing is great - especially in the weather we're having at the moment.
  • Camera seems decent- though I had a couple of funny colours come out in low light
  • Feels sturdy
  • Battery life, especially in stamina mode is impressive.
  • It's a dust magnet - front and back. 
  • Audio on headphones could be louder (though quality is good)

Would have been interesting to have had these specs in an iPhone 4s shell.  but as a small, solid, decent spec'ed phone/audio/camera/quick email tool that can withstand the elements it's great.

I've loaded Nova launcher- I prefer it having 5  rows and 5 columns (leaves an extra column when using 4x1 widgets) and removing text from under most of the app icons.

As I handed back the z1 compact, I was left thinking that if I wasn't wedded to android, the iPhone 5 (or 4s) would be a better one handed phone- more comfortable to hold, lighter, and functions seen easier to access one handed. However, as an android user this is excellent. The external speaker was a nice surprise, though on headphones a bit lacking compared to the HTC one, and even the iPhone. Battery life is great, and the next time I want to use my phone in the pouring rain I'll miss the peace of mind of a waterproof phone!