Motorola Moto E – stay up to date

Android_4.4_KitKatThe Android operating system updates very quickly. Google have a schedule that they stick to fairly well, delivering regular functional updates and major revisions on a decent cycle too.

For a lot of phones on the market though, it can take some time for these updates to filter down from Google’s headquarters, through their manufacturer’s development teams and finally on to your phone.

This is often down to making sure the new features work well with the manufacturer changes to Android, or to ensure the phone’s hardware is capable.

Not so with the Motorola Moto E. This budget handset sticks to Google’s newest design principles like glue. With the newest Android 4.4 KitKat installed from the get go, the Moto E delivers all the modern features expected from today’s mobile devices.

Android now has devices like the Moto E firmly in its crosshairs, with much of Google’s work in the last few years focussing on ensuring less powerful handsets can still deliver an excellent experience. Cheap is certainly no longer for chumps.

Add to this the almost complete lack of additional software or tweaks to the Android system by Motorola. This means that when new updates to Android are made public, be they small bug fixes or huge version updates such as the touted ‘L’ expected to go public later this year, they should find their way to your Moto E very soon after release.

The Motorola Moto E is available from Clove for just £99 (£82.50 ex VAT) off-contract and SIM free.

USB wall sockets – Simple & superb

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREIt is often the simple solutions in life that make the biggest difference.

The 2 way UK power socket with 2 USB ports is one such example in my opinion.

I have the pleasure of seeing some great and really poor examples of technical innovations and this for me is up there with some of the best.

No it does not do anything particularly new, but what it does do is take 2 very important things in most peoples lives and puts it in a package that is very convenient.

As the name and image implies, this product is designed to replace an existing 2 socket faceplate you may have in your home. By replacing your existing faceplate, you get 2 3 pin sockets like you had but now two USB sockets for connecting your gadgets too.

2 Way UK Power Socket With 2 USB Ports
If you are anything like me, you will have a few devices that require power regularly, be it a smartphone, a smartwatch, a tablet, maybe a fitness product amongst others. That is just myself. My girlfriend has a similar array of tech. If you have children they too may have a couple of devices as well.

I personally have a charger in the kitchen and in the bedroom as for me these are the two most logical places. Whilst 70% of the time my phone is charged at night by my bed, there are times where an extra charge during the day is necessary and this is often completed in my kitchen.

I have a 4 gang extension running of a dual socket in my bedroom, because I have an alarm clock, bedside lamp, a shaver, electric toothbrush, phone charger all connected.

By now you get the picture of where I am going and the problem. There are cables everywhere.

The 2 way socket with USB ports does not reduce the number of devices that need charging but the way that they are charged and potentially doing away with an extension lead and making the whole solution a little safer.

Suitable only for use within the UK, the process of installation is very simple.

  • First turn of the mains power within your home.
Before

Before

  • Unscrew the existing faceplate.
During

During

  • Disconnect the live, earth and neutral wires.
During

During

  • Reconnect these in the appropriate place on the new faceplate.

Print

  • Screw in the new faceplate (fixings supplied).
After

After

  • Turn the power on.

This process takes less than 5 minutes really.

I have now replaced 3 sockets in my home, 1 in the kitchen and 1 either side of the bed. I am pleased to say they work just as advertised and I am pleased and even my girlfriend is (believe me that is a compliment to this product),

The USB sockets offer up to 2 Amps each, if the current exceeds this they will shut off.

When two USB cables are connected the power is split between the two, but the socket will only draw what is required.

When the USB cable is disconnected, the transformer shuts down and the power is not supplied to the socket.

At £20 they could be considered an expensive solution, but really for the tidiness and convenience they bring they really pay for themselves. Of course you need only replace one or a few in your home.

Now I am sure you have some queries about the technical and safety side of the socket. Let me give you the facts.

  • The faceplate can be attached to any standard backbox with a minimum depth of 25mm.
  • It is BE & CE approved.
  • The USB ports are rated up to 2 Amps.
  • USB socket draws only required power.
  • USB socket switches off when no USB cable is connected.
  • Surge & spike protected

Currently the faceplate is only available in white, there may soon be other colour options but no confirmed arrival date on these.

I personally feel that this is a great product and having shared on social media it would seem others think the same and some have already installed such.

This is one new ‘toy’ or ‘gadget’ that anyone in your home (including visitors) can seek benefit from. What more justification do you need?

You can order yours today by purchasing now from Clove.

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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.

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Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

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Conclusion

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).

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.

Lumia_930_Offer

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

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.

Motorola Moto E – stay connected

motorola-logoModern smartphones are about so much more than simply talking to each other. Once upon a time all that mattered was having signal to send a text or leave a message. In time new features crept in that simply had to be had; I remember sending my mates small pixelated pictures over infrared in the playground, on a mid-range Motorola clamshell of the day.

A number of features are simply expected to be in today’s handsets, although it is incredible to think about just how much technology is sitting in a phone that costs no more than £99.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 200 processor takes care of a number of key connectivity concerns by itself, taking away much of the hard work of ensuring these features work properly. The Moto E has 3G capabilities and whilst you won’t be connecting to a 4G LTE network with it (leave that to the Moto G 4G if you’re interested in high speed for low cost), you can take advantage of 21 Mbps HSDPA speeds if available from your network provider.

Of course as already mentioned it’s not all about mobile connections. As expected, the Moto E can connect to Wi-Fi networks and also make use of new additions such as Wi-Fi direct for creating ad-hoc connections to other phones and devices.

Alongside this is the most up-to-date version of Bluetooth. With version 4.0, the Moto E can take advantage of low power connections to a slew of accessories that have been released in the last year. Traditional equipment such as speakers and headsets now benefit from extended use, as well as the new generation of wearables including smart watches and fitness trackers.

GPS is almost taken for granted now, yet not too long ago even a basic standalone driving aid would have cost you as much as this entire smartphone. Assisted by a network connection, the built-in Google Maps is a competent positioning and route-planning  piece of software, plus you can always add to it with a branded, more feature-filled app from the likes of TomTom, Garmin or CoPilot.

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