• What devices do we use at Clove – August 2014

    By Jon , August 27, 2014 - Leave a comment

    Roughly every six months we let you know what devices the staff here at Clove use.

    We get to handle many different phones.  Many we sell, some we chose not to.  However you look at it many would argue that we have the pick of the bunch.

    Regretfully we can’t all just pick and chose a new phone as and when we want it, but we do get the benefit of testing handsets before we decide.

    Also whilst our staff may work with and sell the latest phones, it does not necessarily mean they are using them.

    So here is the list of devices some members of staff are using and their thoughts. What is interesting is how many of us actually hold onto handsets for many months, which may surprise some.

    So in no particular order, here is a list of what some of us use.

    Chris Love – LG G3

    LG_G3_Shine_Gold_Hands_OnI have recently changed my Smartphone to the LG G3 from the HTC One. I choose this mainly due to its large 5.5 inch screen, yet slim and stylish design. The LG UI allows some cleaver customisation and I like the Knock Code feature, where I can tap the screen in a simple sequence to turn on, but still have a level of security over this. Moving the buttons to the rear make this a very clean design and programming these as shortcuts for the camera is useful.

    The screen quality is excellent and due to its 2.5GHz quad core processor it is very fast in all applications, battery life is good, but not exceptional, however the wireless charging is a very convenient feature. Sound quality from the speaker is good, but having been used to the front facing speakers on the HTC One, not such a strong performer on this score.

    I am however overall very pleased with the G3 and think it is one of the most stylish Smartphones available at this time.

    Jon – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

    Back in February I had just switched to the Z1 Compact from the S4.  Some 6 months on I am on the whole still really pleased with it.

    sony-xperia-z1-compact-sny-xz1cI can hold and use it fairly comfortably in one hand, which for me is quite important.  Not too long after getting the Z1 Compact I handled the G2 Mini and was very taken with it.  I could have switched as it has a bigger screen in the same sized body and it feels softer in the hand thanks to the rounded edges.  LG have essentially managed to make better use of the form factor, but it does forgo some higher end specification and IP rating.

    The plastic on the back of the phone has scratched quite badly.  It is less obvious as it is white, but I do not use a case.  Inevitable to some extent but slightly annoying all the same.

    On occasions it can get quite hot.  Warm days are not helpful but if I have been using it for a prolonged period the heat is quite apparent.

    I have captured some great images, but sometimes missed some too as there has been a little lag on getting into the camera and taking the picture.

    Another slight frustration is the speaker on the bottom of the phone.  I have over the last 6 months increased the amount of video content I watch on the device and have found the speaker can easily become muffled by the way I position my hand when using it.

    I do tend to get a full day out of it.  Some days it can be more of a struggle, but the Compact is a reliable workhorse and one I really like and have no immediate desires to change.

    topic_iphone_3gsSharon -iPhone 3Gs

    Whilst Sharon has seen many smartphones over the years, she is more than happy with her iPhone 3Gs.

    Sharon uses it for texts, call and a bit of web browsing and it suits her down to the ground.  She finds it simple to use and is a nice balance of size and functionality as well as being big enough to be found in her handbag but small enough to fit in all her different sized ones.

    Lorraine – Sony Xperia M

    I have a Sony Xperia M which was given to me rather than chosen (she kept breaking all  the ones beforehand). All my previous phones had keyboards so I was unsure if I would like using this one. However, I quickly became accustomed to it and now actually prefer using a touch screen keyboard.

    Like Sharon, Lorraine’s primary uses are call’s texts and the occasional web browsing, but it suits her just fine.

    Josh – Sony Xperia Z Ultra (Hutchinson 3 Contract Offer)

    Back in February I had just picked up the Z Ultra in a cracking contract offer from 3. It was my first personal non-Nexus device in almost two years so was a bit of a change.

    Sony_Xperia_Z_Ultra-17_thumb.jpgSony’s interface is slick and close enough to basic Android to make the transition simple, although I’ve encountered a few bugs in my use that I never saw in stock Android. I get minimal use from the many added value apps as well, so there is a fair chunk of app storage space I’m losing there.

    The 6.4″ screen is huge and definitely took some getting used to. I expect most people wouldn’t be comfortable with it and it is continuously commented on more than half a year later!

    After this long though it’s actually very difficult to adjust to smaller sizes. The real estate is great for games, videos and browsing, although phone calls are tricky and one handed use is practically out of the question.

    Luckily I don’t take many actual calls so I’ve managed to hold off the somewhat pricey SBH52 handset accessory which was looking tempting.

    I expect I’ll keep the Ultra for a good while longer yet, although I reckon I’ll find it awkward to use a smaller phone if there is nothing similar on the market next year.

    Motorola Moto GChris Ward – Motorola Moto G

    I started using the moto g as a temporary replacement for my Nexus 4 after it smashed. Having been very impressed with the moto g, though, I have decided to keep it on a longer term basis. Im always torn between the convenience of a large screen and the portability of a smaller device, but the moto g feels great in the hand and — especially coming from the Nexus — the battery life if outstanding. I am tempted by a device with a more powerful camera, but will look at a smaller phone such as the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact which can accommodate both a relatively small screen and a good camera.

    SonyXperiaSP.jpgRichard Bennett – Sony Xperia SP

    I have now had my Sony Xperia SP for a while, and to be honest I was getting a bit bored with it. Everything was the same and I was seriously thinking about upgrading soon. Sony however finally released the 4.3 update approximately a month ago.

    This had the affect that most of the apps on my phone had to receive an update, to make the compatible. This suddenly gave my SP a new lease of life, as I was able to take advantage of newer apps. One thing I have especially enjoyed is installing some of the Xperia themes which were previously not available to me.

    So for the moment I will hold off from my update and see what is available later on this year.

    Christopher Spackman – Google Nexus 5

    I’ve used a wide range of devices from HTC, Sony and Samsung but I always end up going back to a Nexus device. Whilst Sony and HTC make some very high quality products it’s the simplicity that I miss and of course getting all those funky updates before they trickle down to others. As devices have got more and more powerful their prices have also jumped but if you bag a Nexus device, you’ll be getting good quality specs at a very pocket friendly price.

    The newer range of the Motorola devices have though tempted me a few times, I know though that I’ll be back with a trusted Nexus in no time at all. I do enjoy looking at what the likes of Sony come up with and I have to say that my ideal phone would be a Lumia 930 but a Nexus version.


    Constantly challenging opinions and looking for new opportunities, Jon develops the product ranges and business activities and very much strives to maintaining growth and taking Clove in to the future. Never knowing when to stop, he spends a lot of time coming up with ideas. When he does relax, however, he can be found out in the forest walking his Dog, down the pub or enjoying food at local restaurants.


  • I have an Xperia Z Ultra and still get comments on its size. It’s rooted and unlocked bootloader, and I was able to install 4.4.4, there’s a program called xperifirm that will scan Sony’s servers and find updates for you: you don’t need unlocked bootloader to use any files thus downloaded.

    Wife has an Xperia SP, is quite happy with it, £95 unlocked off eBay. A Z1 compact would have been preferred but she doesn’t look after her stuff, and that would have been more than twice the price.

    • Interesting Paul, I’ve been toying with rooting my Z Ultra for a couple of months but not looked into it in any depth yet.
      I expect I’ll do it sometime soon although I’ve got a lot to back up apps wise.
      Any tips from you experience with the Ultra? Launcher choice? Never bothered rooting / installing ROMs before on my own phones although I’m confident enough to understand and follow the procedures

      • Hi Josh,
        If you do decide to unlock bootloader, check out how to back up the DRM keys in the TA partition first, it’s vital.
        I think it’s possible to root without doing that now.

        The things I want root for are
        Titanium backup
        Xposed framework + app settings
        Removing bloat
        Overriding permissions on apps
        Running full Linux command set
        Fixing the kitkat sd card write issue

        I haven’t actually changed any of the Sony skin, still using stock launcher!
        You’d not know phone was rooted except for the supersu app!

        • Ah brilliant cheers Paul. Yes it’s the root access and writing apps to SD I was mostly interested in.
          I play a fair amount of games which eats into storage and there’s a number of emulators and backup utilities I’d like to tryout that need root access – Titanium is one of them.
          I helped a friend root his dying Galaxy Note (the original one) last year and install a stable CyanogenMod onto it (was like he bought a new phone) so I’ve got an overall idea of Android permissions etc. but not a recent working knowledge.
          I’m sure I’ll hunt something down on XDA relevant to the Ultra. A project for a couple weeks time I think 🙂

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