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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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.

Google_Chromecast_Apps

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.

Google_Chromecast_TV

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.

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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.

MHL_Slimport

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.

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.

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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.

Win an Archos 45 Helium smartphone

Archos_Smart_Home_HeliumBuy an Archos Smart Home from Clove and leave a review on our site before the 31st August 2014 and you will be entered into a draw to win an Archos 45 Helium smartphone.

The Archos Smart Home is a powerful yet cost effective solution to make your home more powerful and allow you to remain connected when away. See what it offers you by watching the video below.

If you have already purchased a Smart Home from Clove, or you do so before the 31st August, all you need do is leave a review on the Smart Home product page (here) and you will be automatically entered into a draw to win an Archos 45 Helium smartphone. Full terms and conditions below.

The 45 Helium is a great value smartphone that offers the following features for just £145 including VAT.

  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • 1.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 400
  • 4.5″ 854 x 480 (WVGA) IPS LCD screen
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 GB storage
  • Micro SD support up to 64 GB
  • 4G LTE compatible ( 800 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 )
  • 5 MP camera
  • 135 x 67 x 9.75 mm
  • 1700 mAh battery

For more information on the Helium please click here.

Terms & Conditions

  • Offer valid to any customer who purchases an Archos Smart Home from Clove before August 31st 2014.
  • A review must be left on the site to qualify.
  • A winner will be chosen at random from all customers who purchased an Archos Smart Home and left a review.
  • Clove’s decision is final.
  • Clove reserve the right to remove the offer at any time or substitute the prize with something else of equivalent value.
  • Prize will be dispatched within 28 working days of the offer ending.

MicroUSB To Magnetic Connector Adapter – Now in stock

magneticadapterWe let you know earlier this month that we would be selling a handy accessory for Sony Xperia smartphones.

A couple of weeks on and these are now in stock.

Available in Black or White for £10+VAT, these little adapters connect to a microUSB cable and then magnetise to your magnetic charging port on your compatible Sony Xperia smartphone.

No need to put your phone in a dock or open the sometimes fiddly port covers.

To find out more and to order one or two for yourself, please click here.

MicroUSB_Magnetic_Connector

Sony Xperia Z2 WCR12 Wireless Charging Cover – Discontinued

Sony_WCR12_Wireless_Charging_CovercFor many the thought of adding wireless charging to their Sony Xperia Z2 was a dream come true.

This was promised in the form of the Sony WCR12 due to be available in Black and White.

Sony have now confirmed that this product will not be coming to market, despite earlier confirmations.

This is disappointing for you no doubt, we empathise with you. It would have been a great addition to a superb handset.

No word has been given on the exact reason as to why it will not be coming but we will not be able to ship you one now or in the future.

If you had ordered from us, you will have received an email with further instructions.

LG G3 Languages

The smartphones that we sell here at Clove come SIM free and unlocked for use on all major networks and are too of UK origin.

This means that the default language is English.

However you may have a preference to communicate in another language.  The following screenshots show you what language options for the menus and keyboards are available on the Lg G3.

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LG G3 – Simplified UI

LG_G3_Simplified_UILG have made a concious effort to make the user interface on the new G3 that little bit more intuitive, cleaner and simpler to get to grips with.

Their goal was to design an interface that was simple and allowed users to concentrate on the contents itself with unnecessary graphics removed.

Looking at the image above you can see how the icons have developed from what they were on the left to what they now are on the G3 on the right.

Using more mature colours, key apps are colour coded so you know exactly which app you are in by the colour.

Time has been spent too on finding the right typeface so that information is clear and crisp on screen.

To better understand the theory behind the changes and the new graphic user interface, the short promotional video from LG below,  explains it all very well.

CAT B15Q Tough Smartphone 60 Second Review

Cat_B15Q_Hands_On_ReviewiThe CAT B15Q is a tough phone designed for tough environments.

Drop it, get it wet, immerse in sand, cover it in dust, mud and more and it will still work.

This is thanks to an IP and military rating that makes the B15Q perfect for industry.

Here are the positive and negatives in just 60 seconds.

For a more detailed view and opinion on the device, you can read our review here, or watch our full video review below.

If you want to buy a SIM free handset you can purchase it here for £216.67+VAT.

 

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