Will Chromecast kill off MHL & SlimPort?

Will we still need cables or will Chromecast negate this need?

Google_ChromecastJust over 12 months ago, Google released Chromecast.

What is Chromecast I hear you ask?

Google describe it as “a thumb-sized media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Set it up with a simple mobile app, then send your favourite online shows, movies, music and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.”

So what it essentially allows you to do is make your HDMI enabled monitor or TV a little smarter.

An app on your smartphone communicates via WiFi with the Chromecast and thanks to apps on the Chromecast you could get added functionality on your big screen.

Google_Chromecast1So for example;  the YouTube video or Netflix rental you used to watch on the smartphone can now be watched on the big screen.  Your smartphone could then be used as aremote control for that content where applicable and you could also do other things on your phone whilst the content was still being streamed on the big screen.  This is particularly helpful if you are watching a movie but not paying too much attention as you complete emails and text message replies on your phone.

How this actually works is the Chromecast acts independently, thanks to the software wizardry.  Essentially when you tell your device to ‘cast’ the content to the Chromecast, it goes off online and pulls the content from the location itself, thus the phone is not needed for the most part and you can then multi-task.


Over the last 12 months, the number of apps and functionality has increased.

The most recent update is the ability on selected devices to now cast your device screen to the TV.  Where once you could only play select content back, you can now play back anything on your mobile device screen.

Whilst this is limited at the time of writing to select devices, this will grow as updates roll out to other handsets.

What this means now is that all content on your smartphone appears on the TV once you have asked it to be cast.

So, imagine you are sat on the sofa.  You are looking at some photos on your phone.  You go into the Chromecast app on the phone, select to cast your screen and now everything you see on the phone display is mirrored on the TV.  Others in the phone can see those photos.


This is just one such example, but there are many others, including using it for a business presentation, an app demonstration and more.

All sounds great and all this from a little adapter that plugs into the back of your HDMI enabled screen for just £30.


However many smartphones do also have MHL or SlimPort capabilities built into them and I can not help but think such functionality of the Chromecast will reduce the need or reliance on MHL and SlimPort technology.

what do I need to use MHL

Both have the potential to be more reliable because they require cable connections and can support up to 4K video, whereas Chromecast relies on wireless and outputs currently at a maximum of 1080p.

That said, the cables cost money and the price of the Chromecast is similar.  The setup time of each is similar too.

The downside to Chromecast is that it is currently limited to 1080p, (it is going to be some time before 4K becomes mainstream) and that it uses the 2.4GHz wireless frequency rather than offering an option for 5GHz.

Whilst I am sold into the Google ecosystem, the Chromecast does rely on you having an Android smartphone and wishing to purchase the Chromecast.

SlimPort and MHL whilst primarily seen in Android devices is capable of being integrated into other hardware so it is potentially more versatile.


With many Android devices, as standard home and app tray screen do not orient in landscape which is the natural orientation for a larger display such as a TV.  Apps like Apex launcher and others help, but Google needs to add this functionality to make the screen casting really useful.

Only time will tell whether Chromecast will become the thing to own rather than MHL or SlimPort, but I know from owning and using it personally it is a very powerful product that has a real potential and it is exciting to see how this will develop over time.  I imagine version 2 will be even better.

What do you think about this? Which one is best and will win long term?

Google Nexus 7 32GB – Now £225

275x175_Nexus 7 2013We currently have an offer running where the Google Nexus 5 is £50 cheaper than the official Google Play store price for the 32GB variant in either Black or White (more on that here).

In line with this offer, we have now reduced the price of the 32GB Nexus 7.  Whilst not quite such a significant difference, you can save £14 over the official Play Store price.

Why not get yourself equipped with a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 5 and you will have a great combination, a smartphone and a tablet.

For more information or to save yourself a few pounds on the Nexus 7, just click here and order yours today.

Sony Xperia E1 Pros & Cons

A quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Xperia E1.

With the arrival of the Moto G towards the end of 2013, the entry-level and low to mid-range space for smartphones has become more squeezed than ever.

It’s possible to get some very capable mobile handsets without parting with much cash. Many of the bigger name manufacturers such as Sony are a touch more expensive than lesser known names; the amount is small but proportionally significant, so how do you weigh them all against each other?

The best thing to do is set a maximum budget then look at what each handset in that range can do well and what it can’t. Here we provide an overview of the Sony Xperia E1 to help out with any decisions you might be making.



  • Design - Sony are well known for delivering well built and aesthetically pleasing products. The Xperia E1 is no exception, despite the low price tag it gets the look and feel just right. The branding and ‘Omni-Balance’ design, with the power button directly in the centre of the right side, clearly marks the phone as a Sony and has a similar soft-touch feel that the comparable Moto range does.
  • Sony Xperia UI - Not everyone is keen on manufacturers adding skins to Android, although the general consensus is that Sony’s is the best. Rather than go mad and completely change the look and feel of Android like Samsung’s TouchWiz, Sony’s Xperia UI is lightweight and actually offers some welcome additions to the user experience such as simplifying adding shortcuts, widgets and themes for your homescreens.
  • Sony Apps - Alongside the Xperia UI comes some added value in the form of Sony’s own app ecosystem. Of course you’ll have to sign up to make the most of Sony’s music or movie portals, however they are among the best in the industry. As well as these streaming services you get the inclusion of the newest Walkman app. The once ubiquitous portable music player may now have been relegated to the status of ‘app’, yet it is one of the best personal music programs you can have installed.
  • Walkman button - It probably won’t be seen on their more expensive devices, although it’s a nice touch at the cheaper end of the scale. It differentiates the E1 from other cheap phones and continues the Walkman brand a little bit longer, which isn’t a bad thing. As well as opening the Walkman app, the button acts similarly to those on hands-free kits, allowing you to pause and resume tracks with single presses, or skip with a quick double-tap.
  • Price - One of the reasons you’re likely looking at the Xperia E1 in the first place is price. If you can pick up the E1 from a network (with the purchase of some credit) it may push the price down well under £100, however the SIM free open-market price is still very reasonable at the £100 mark


  • Memory - The E1 has twofold issues for memory unfortunately. First of all the 4GB storage, which isn’t a dealbreaker considering it is the norm for phones of this price. You will definitely have to app manage, but  remember there’s an SD card slot for data, music and pictures. The bigger issue is the RAM. At 512 MB the E1 does suffer from a touch of slowdown not seen in the likes of the Moto E or G. It doesn’t ruin the phone but it does make multitasking a bit more of a chore.
  • Screen - The 4 inch sizing may have been standard a couple of years ago but now seems very small even for an entry-level handset. At 480 x 800, the resolution isn’t all that hot either. It’s passable for sure and delivers decent enough colours when reviewing back pictures or playing games, however it is outshone quite noticeably by most other phones. The cheaper construction on the top layer plastic is also a haven for little nicks and scratches that will accumulate relatively quickly without due care – there’s no Gorilla Glass here.
  • Camera – It won’t be a deal-breaker for everyone, especially if you barely take any pictures, however a 3 MP camera just doesn’t cut it any more. This resolution isn’t terrible, pictures still have passable detail, however the other downside is a complete lack of autofocus. You have to get everything absolutely still and at the right range before taking the shot as there is no room for error, also close ups are practically impossible.



Overall the Xperia E1 is a very good attempt at making a low budget phone, however it is outdone in most areas by the Motorola Moto E. Sony add some extra value with their Android skin and apps; if you have an account with these services then these might sway you or even be useful for sharing with another.

If you find yourself browsing in a retail store looking for a cheap phone, it may be available for a very good price locked to a network. In this case the flaws may be outweighed by the deal on the table. Otherwise for a pure, simple Android experience purchased SIM free, it’s difficult to recommend the E1 in the face of its competition.

The Sony Xperia E1 is available to buy SIM free and never locked from the Clove retail site for £104.99 (£87.49 ex-VAT).

LG G3 Comparison Sheets & Videos

The LG G3 launched last month and was met with praise from critics across the industry. With an incredible 2K screen never before seen on a major brand handset and innovative new laser auto-focussing camera technology, the G3 is certainly a sight to be seen.

How does it stack up against the competition though? Samsung, HTC and Sony have all released their 2014 flagships before the G3, plus there are still last year’s devices lurking in the background at very attractive prices considering their specifications.

There’s no denying the G3 is in incredible piece of kit, one that anyone would be pleased to own. If you’d like to know how it holds up against its closest rivals on paper, then follow the break for a list of comparison sheets; click on them to open the full size images. We also have a few videos, also available on our YouTube channel, which will be added to as we complete more.

You can order an LG G3 from Clove for just £492 (£410 ex-VAT), with free WCD-100 wireless charging plate while stocks last.

LG G3 vs. Google Nexus 5

Google’s low cost powerhouse is actually manufactured by LG so this comparison is more relevant than it first seems. The Nexus 5 is approaching a year old now but still delivers emphatically considering the price tag.



[Read more...]

Cat B25 – Now back in Stock

Cat B25Yes, the headline is correct the Cat B25 is now back in stock and available for instant dispatch.

This tough and compact phone is able to deal with anything you throw at it.  It is water and dust proof with a protection rating of IP67. In fact it can stay under water to a depth of 1 metre for a full 30 mins.  This means that it is a phone you can rely, and due to its durability (withstand drops of up to 1.8 metres) you don’t have to worry about it while you are hard at work.

The battery life is remarkable as you can keep communicating with your friends and work colleagues for up to 9.5 hours.  While the standby time is equally good with it being a healthy up to 13 days.  Making it a phone which you can use without having to constantly being worried about charging it.

Specification Highlights

  • Tough, ruggedized exterior
  • Talk-time of 9.5 hours
  • Drop-proof up to 1.8 metres
  • Impervious to dust
  • Waterproof to 1m for up to 30 minutes
  • GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • Bluetooth 2.1

The Cat B25 is available for just £76.80 and you can place order HERE.

Motorola Moto E – as Google intended

androidlogo.jpg‘Stock Android’ is a phrase that gets thrown about a lot, often without really stopping to think too hard about whether it’s a good thing or not.

Google’s version of Android is now a very capable operating system for powering mobile devices. It has a distinctive interface and ‘feel’, as well as providing a very large number of features ‘baked-in’ that have been added to over the years and may not have originally been available.

Many manufacturers have taken to adding their own interface layer on top of Google’s Android. From Samsung’s TouchWiz to HTC’s Sense, these ‘skins’ add a number of extra features and customise the layout and interface to make an experience unique to each device.

This process can be a real improvement; building on existing features and adding new ones, whilst providing key selling points for manufacturers. However it can also seriously hamper performance on less capable devices.

Motorola_Moto_E_black_and_WhiteFor phones like the Moto E, which cut their specification as low as possible while still being able to provide a decent experience, adding much extra becomes a burden on speed and storage space. Motorola make a couple of tiny background tweaks for registration purposes and install a couple of useful apps, otherwise though what you get is 100% Google. Not surprising when until recently they were a Google company.

A phone like the Moto E probably couldn’t have existed before Android 4.3, when Google made big changes to make sure the system ran properly on lower-tier hardware. Now we can see that the basic Android experience you find on a phone for £99, is comparable to one five times the price.

If all you require are the basics of modern technology done well, the Moto E once again reminds us that you don’t always need more.

Nokia Lumia 930 bundle returns – Free wireless kit worth £130

If you have been following the Nokia Lumia 930 launch, then you may have seen that things have not gone completely smoothly with the bundles on offer and the claim process. We realise this and are learning from it as well as passing feedback to Nokia.

However, the good news is the bundle is back and will run up until the 31st July. Therefore you can now purchase the Nokia Lumia 930 with a free kit worth £130.


Those UK based customers who previously ordered the 930, but the bundle offer had ended, you can now claim for your bundle.

Do be aware, this offer is valid only for UK customers and to receive your bundle you need to claim yours at http://lumia930offer.co.uk/.

If however you struggle to claim at http://lumia930offer.co.uk/ Clove will ensure a bundle is sent to you as soon as possible.

So, there is not all that long left to purchase a qualifying device, but you can do so here at Clove. The devices are SIM free and designed for use with all major networks. They are available in Black, Orange and Green.

Cat B15Q & B100 now with FREE trend safety sunglasses

Cat GlassesIf you now order either a Cat B15Q or B100 from Clove Technology you will receive a FREE set of Cat Trend Safety sunglasses.  Like the phones, these are robust being suitable for use when you are working on a job and giving you the protection you need to use tools safely.

They are anti-scratch, anti-fog and have adjustable lenses, so your vision is not impaired when using them. Comfort is important when using any safety glasses, catered for here by the built-in ventilation system, along with the flex temples and integrated cushioning system, ensuring they are comfortable and easy to use.

Both the Cat B15Q and B100 are great tough phones which are compact and can withstand more punishment than your average phone.  They are water and dust proof  with an IP67 rating, and can withstand drops of up to 1.8 meters on to concrete.  This means they will be able to deal with a typical building site, or being used outside.

To take advantage of this offer by purchasing  one of the following:

Cat B15Q Touch Phone - £234 inc VAT

Cat B100 Touch Phone – £104.40 inc VAT

Withings Pulse O2, Blood Pressure Monitor & Smart Body Analyser Reviewed

WithingsI have been a keen user of the Fitbit activity tracker which I have used for the last 2 years, so I was very keen to try out and review the new trackers from Withings.

They have a good track history in this area having had scales and activity trackers before, but we are about to look at their latest equipment, namely the Pulse O2 tracker, their blood pressure monitor and the smart body analyzer.

I will use these together and give you my thoughts and progress over the next couple of weeks.

So on day one, the first thing that impresses me is the quality of the packaging, which immediately creates the impression of a quality product. There are clear quick set up guides to take you through the basics as well.

The first process apart from inserting the batteries is to get the Withings Health App, which is available at the play store downloaded onto your smartphone.

Once installed, this will ask for some basic profile details such as name, gender, date of birth etc. You can share your health dashboard and link to other well-known fitness apps such as run keeper and my fitness pal. The dropdown menu will then allow you to add devices, in this case the Pulse O2, the Smart Body Analyzer and the Blood Pressure monitor. You can also have more than one user, so it means the whole family can have their health monitored.

Pulse O2

So let’s start with the Pulse O2, which can track your steps, calorie burn, distance and elevation (why elevation you ask? Well this will track how many flights of stairs you have climbed, a great motivator to take the stairs rather than the lift!)

The Pulse O2 is small and stylish and you can opt to place it in your pocket, clip to a belt or wear it on your wrist with the wrist strap which is included.

The display is very clear in normal lighting conditions, but not as easy to read outside and I would say not quite as good as the fitbit on this aspect.

Where is does score points is that it can also monitor both your heart rate and oxygen saturation levels, by placing your finger on the sensor on the back.  The heart rate reading was easy to obtain and this is the one you will be more interested in anyway, the o2 level however I found a little more difficult to get reading from.

It can also monitor the quality of your sleep by checking your movements at night. On the positive side, I think it did this better that the fitbit, but I think you need to be careful about how much you read into the given figures. I for example can be awake at night, but would still not move very much, so it reported my sleep as better than it really was. This is not a fault of the Pulse O2 simply, be aware of your own sleep movements to see how helpful this can be. If you run this over a period of days you will build up a good pattern of information which can help understand how you may be able to sleep better. I found I woke at particular times and other factors such as room temperature and alcohol would, affect the quality of my sleep.

They key to the Pulse O2, or indeed any fitness tracker is its ability to clearly report this information and look to motivate you and the Pulse O2 does this very well, with clear info within the app, motivating messages and prompts and the ability to link with other friends to see how you are performing against them.

They key to this, which I find works very well, is it makes you consider walking that extra distance to meet your daily targets (I set mine at 10,000 steps). Also for me I like the challenge of trying to beat my longest walk, the most steps in a week etc and this can only improve your fitness.


Blood Pressure Monitor

The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor looks a well-engineered product, with a stylish design. It is designed to take a reading from your arm, which is generally regarded as being more accurate that a reading from a wrist monitor. Set up is really simple, as you add the device via the Withings App on your smartphone and press the one button to pair. From then on it is even easier to use. You simply slip on the cuff and turn it on and it will automatically launch the app, press the button and the reading is taken. You can schedule it to remind you to take a reading on set dates as well. The results are clearly displayed on a graph with colour feedback, based on the World Health’s Organisation’s official standards. Heart Rate is also monitored and recorded.

This is really a simple and efficient way of monitoring your blood pressure and many would suggest it gives more realistic readings than those taken at your doctors or hospital, because you are able to take it calmly.

Withings Smart Body Analyser

Black-2-Wireless_Scale_Black_front_kgThe Smart Body Analyser is a sophisticated weight scale which will give further information about your general well-being as it monitors weight, body fat, fat mass, heart rate and air quality. Like all Withings products I have reviewed, the packaging and design are of high quality and the setup is very simply with quick linking to the app. It will then automatically recognise the user (you can of course have more than one, so you can use it for all the family). It will connect via your Wi-Fi and transmit the information immediately back to your Smartphone. It has a sensor to ensure you are positioned correctly and I found the results to be accurate (if a little disappointing that I was not losing enough weight!)


The combination of all these products makes for fully integrated health monitoring as you have a joined up approach to monitoring your health.

The Withings App, which was updated during my testing, is very clear and easy to use giving you all the information at a glance.

The main benefit of this is it encourages you to make slight amendments to your daily routine, to perhaps walk to work, take the stairs, miss that cake and be more aware of your blood pressure and what affects it. There are many similar devices available but these are some of the best made and work seamlessly together. They are expensive, but this is worth it for the design and I can strongly recommend them.

Motorola Moto E – feels ‘just right’

Motorola_Moto_E_black_and_WhiteDesigning a smartphone must be a tricky business. Which materials should be used? What screen technology is high quality and appeals to as many customers as possible? Should I call the dark grey case charcoal or dusk?

Smartphones are available in a huge array of shapes and sizes, from Sony’s monstrous Xperia Z Ultra to LG’s bendy G Flex. No one product is going to satisfy everyone’s wants and desires, however generally aiming to please as many as possible is a good starting point.

Out of the box the Moto E isn’t likely to turn heads too quickly. It’s quite an understated little phone that gets by without causing a fuss, although I’m sure there was a lot of thought that went into making it appear so simple.

A phone that’s trying to have mass market appeal can’t take risks with its appearance. Much like a family-friendly celebrity at an awards ceremony, the Moto E needs to dress up well without rocking the boat. In short Motorola’s design team have succeeded in this task with the pleasantly cheerful Moto E.

The 4.3 inch screen is large enough to not look out of place against other new and more expensive devices, whilst the surrounding casing is suitably chunky. Without the super-thin stylings of flagship phones you’re under no pretense that the Moto E is trying to be something it’s not, whilst it stops well short of looking ugly and wasteful with excess bezel and casing.

There’s a happy medium with the Moto E that makes it fine to hold without being worried about dropping or damaging it, as you would an expensive top-tier device. There’s still room for the odd touch of difference too. The shallow recess on the back that contains the ‘M’ logo sits just where one of your fingers rests when holding the phone.

The perfectly curved, removable back cover also has a lovely matte finish to provide a lot more grip and warmth than a purely flat or gloss cover would provide. Finally the classic choices of black or white (no silly names) for initial colours mark the Moto E out as a no-nonsense bit of kit.