It’s been a long time since we posted one of these on the blog and post Christmas we decided it was high time to put out an update. Team members have come and gone since the last update in 2009 and I found it quite interesting to have a quick read over what we considered to be top of the range (for some of us at least) devices about 2 and a half years ago!
Choosing a new phone is quite a personal decision, especially considering that you may be using it for quite some time and we are often asked what we personally use. The Clove team use a variety of devices both personally and as part of day to day testing, so sharing our experiences of all of them is one way of making sure we keep up to date and can give informed opinions.
Working for a company with all of the newest devices available on the shelf can be a great bonus if you’re a technophile, the ability to take a demo of a new unit or operating system is something most consumers don’t really have. The other side of that coin though is in becoming very critical, making a final decision all that much harder to make with all sorts of extra information and mixed reviews pouring in from various sources.
The ages and requirements of the team vary quite a bit and so it is no surprise that there is still quite a wide array of devices being used by all of us when comparing to 2009. So read on to have a look at what’s in some of our hands right now…
Chris Love (2009 – HTC Touch Pro) The man at the top, Chris pretty much has his pick of anything he wants from the stock rooms and so wouldn’t be without a top-end handset. Today he can be seen with a Samsung Galaxy S3, probably our best selling device of last year and the natural upgrade from his previous Galaxy S2. A fan of the TouchWiz UI, Chris finds the S3 to be just the right blend of screen size, productivity and multimedia performance to meet his needs.
Jon (2009 – HTC Touch Diamond) Jon is also currently using a Samsung Galaxy S3, although it is a departure from his previous Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Jon agrees that the mix of power and performance from the S3 is what it makes it one of the best smartphones available on the market, even now after about 8 months since release. He does point out that the camera and general ‘feel’ of the phone in the hand are not as good as his previous experiences with Sony, however as a trade-off for business productivity, the S3 is the clear winner.
Richard (2009 – HTC S740) Our returns manager, Richard has the insider information and most hands-on time with the majority of the devices we sell. He currently uses a Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo. He likes the medium size form factor, not being a fan of large phones and says that the camera, at 8 megapixels, was one of the best available when the device was new. He is also a fan of Sony build quality and in his words: “sees Sony’s come back less than other devices”. His Neo is getting on a bit now and has some scratches to the screen; Richard hasn’t decided on a new device but is likely to stick to the Sony range for similar reasons to before, so will likely look through the available Sony Xperia devices and pick one out at the right mix of performance and price for him.
Wardy (2009 – Samsung Tocco Ultra) Although no longer working in the Clove offices, Wardy is still very much part of the team. Before heading out the door, Wardy was using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. When asked he said that he wanted to have the “full Android experience”. Part of the Galaxy range he was confident of Samsung’s quality and reports to have always had a slick and easy time in using the Nexus, whilst being free to have complete control of the device, install whatever he wanted and get the latest updates free from manufacturer restriction.
Colin (2009 – Psion!) Colin was (and still is) a long time Psion devotee, a testament to the incredibly high quality of their devices. He still uses a Psion at home for the diary and calendar and also as a general backup but has now upgraded the phone in his pocket to an HTC Sensation XE. Although not having owned an HTC device previously he had admired the quality of both hardware and software for some time. Unfortunately the Sensation XE was not everything he had expected. Whilst he agrees HTC Sense is a user friendly UI, the Sensation range was prone to some issues with dropping calls and crashing / rebooting. Having had his device repaired and exchanged more than once, Colin has lost some faith in the HTC brand. Although the newer One series from HTC has now addressed these problems, Colin will be moving to another manufacturer for his next device.
Lorraine – Motorola FLIPOUT A quirky device with a unique form factor, Lorraine chose the FLIPOUT due to the physical keyboard and also the small size. She finds the keyboard fantastic for texting and with small hands, the small keys are not a problem! (We actually sold a lot of these to Japanese customers when it was new, looking back the ‘quirkiness’ and size were probably big factors in this). The FLIPOUT is a few years old now and having taken a few knocks, Lorraine is thinking of getting something new soon. Only really using her phone for texting and calls and preferring a small size, something like the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is a good budget option in an era when physical keyboards are almost impossible to find.
Zack – Motorola RAZR MAXX Previously running with a BlackBerry which he found to be clunky and difficult to use, Zack wanted to move back to something similar to his favourite phone, the immensely popular HTC Desire. Not needing the absolute top of the range, Zack finds the Motorola RAZR MAXX to be a great mid range phone with a screen large and high quality enough to enjoy some downtime with games or surfing the web and all the other features such as the camera, web browser and email integration working seamlessly. It might not be the biggest or fastest but it does have an excellent battery life and does everything he needs while still looks like a high end quality handset.
Josh – LG Nexus 4 It might have taken constant refreshing of the Google Play store just before Christmas but I managed to get my hands on the still rare Nexus 4. A significant upgrade from my old HTC Wildfire S, there was a lot of decision making to be done before deciding on the Nexus 4. I wanted something much larger and capable of playing some decent games as well as not being prone to slowing down and crashing as my old device had done when the memory was being stretched to its limits. Having used HTC for some time I was tempted by the One X but also interested in moving to the new Windows Phone 8 and trying the 8X. In the end it was the combination of price and raw performance that sent me to the Nexus 4 and I haven’t looked back since. Android 4.2 flows like silk sheets and I haven’t experienced even a hint of lag in a month of use and customisation options are fantastic. My only gripe is the lack of expandable storage and being stuck at 16 GB; it’s nothing major but it would have been nice have the option of more.
Charlie – iPhone 4S The newest member of the Clove team, Charlie is working part time with us whilst at university. The only iPhone user in the office, Charlie has some good and bad points about his 4S. As a Mac user, he enjoys the simplicity of syncing the calendar, apps, notes and other features between his home computer and his phone. He also finds iOS to be incredibly easy to use, something Apple have consistently marketed their devices as being. He does however find the battery life to be very poor. Charlie didn’t have a huge amount of knowledge about other phones before coming to Clove and admits that he didn’t realise the limitations of an iPhone when compared to other phones, purely because he hadn’t experienced other systems. If he was to upgrade soon then he says he would likely purchase a high end Android device, however he would want to be sure about how well he could integrate it with his Mac and research the available applications and devices first.