Get ready for SuperMHL with up to 8K video transfer

Look to the future with 8K video

SuperMHL 1We have all become used to the benefits of MHL connections.  They have made it convenient to connect your portable device to a TV screen, and view your content without hassles, which has liberated all of us.

The fact that you could also potentially charge your mobile device while there was a connection to your TV screen made it the ideal plug and play solution.

Over the last few years the MHL consortium has been gradually evolving the specification, improving its capabilities. Up until recently version 3.0 was the best available with it offering the ability to transfer up to 4K video at 30 fps with high quality audio.  It also provided support for connection of up to 4 displays to a single device.

If you would like to find out a bit more about MHL then see our earlier post What is MHL?

The MHL consortium has however released a new specification which brings with it some major improvements.  The most staggering of these improvements is the ability to transfer 8K video at an incredible 120 fps.  Now that is looking to the future, most of us are still getting our heads around 4K video. But it is exciting technology is moving at such an incredible pace.

So besides the headline 8K video capacities what does SuperMHL offer us?  The answer is a great deal.  Firstly they have introduced support for the USB Type-C connector which is full reversible.  So you will no longer have to worry about orientation of your cable when inserting it.

There is also now 40 Watts of power charging, which is a major improvement on the pervious standard, expanding the possibilities for connecting and powering more equipment within your living room.

Multiply display support is further enhanced with the ability to connect up to 8 displays, when connecting to a single device.  There is also backward compatibility with the previous MHL specifications (MHL 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0).

SuperMHL 2

 

Below is a list of all the other features and benefits of SuperMHL

  • Deep colour support, up to 48-bit colour depth
  • Wider colour gamut to view content the way filmmakers intended via BT.2020
  • High-Dynamic Range (HDR) support to strike the perfect balance of bright spectral highlights along with shadow details
  • Enhanced audio for immersive surround sound including Dolby Atmos®, DTS:X™, 3D audio, and an audio-only mode
  • Single remote control for multiple MHL devices (TV, AVR, Blu-ray player, STB)

It will take a little while for this new specification to filter into new products, and of course we do need 8K screens to take full advantage of it.  But it shows the way that technology is moving and what will soon be possible in the living room of the future.

So don’t worry about 4K video, lets all be looking to the future which is 8K (just give it a few years).

High-Resolution Audio

High-Resoultion audio 1

Is High-Resolution Audio the Future?

We have recently seen a new attempt to improve the sound quality of the music we all enjoy listening to.  This comes under the banner of ‘Hi-Res audio’, which is looking to improve all aspects of music playback.

Sony is the driving force behind this new initiative and branding, but the idea of improving the music we listen to is also being looked into by other big names including LG and Samsung, along with many smaller companies.  In the case of the smaller companies, these tend to be audio specialists who manufacturer high-end audio components.

All of these companies have the common goal of aiming to improve the consumer’s audio experience whether they listening to classical, heavy metal or somewhere in between.

The term for this type of higher quality music is “High-Resolution Audio”.

For more, read on after the break.

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Nokia Lumia 735 Review

Nokia_Lumia_735 (1)Nokia has gone though many changes at the moment relation to how Microsoft is using the name as we discussed in the recent Nokia Lumia 830 review.  Like that review we will be looking at one of the recent products to come out of Nokia the Lumia 735.

With these most recent releases Nokia appears to have separated their smart phone products into two sections premium and standard.  The Nokia Lumia 930 and 830 are the premium products.   While the Lumia 735, 635, 630 and 520 are standard ones.  As you can probably guess the Nokia Lumia 735 has the best specification of the standard products.  In fact its specification is very similar to the one included with the Lumia 830.

The main difference between the premium and standard products is the look and feel of them.  So we will start the review by looking at this aspect of the Lumia 735.

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Nokia Lumia 830 Review

Introduction

Nokia_Lumia_830_Hands_On (1)We are now entering some interesting times with Nokia following Microsoft’s acquisition last year.  This obviously wasn’t a normal purchasing of a company, but clearly Microsoft has obtained the Lumia brand along with some other assets and the license to use the Nokia brand on their phone.    All of this doesn’t appear to stop Nokia from being in the process of releasing a new tablet.

In fact Microsoft is now starting to releasing phones which no longer carry the Nokia branding.  This shows that they don’t wish to carry on with the status quo, and want to distance themselves from it.  We are however going to look at one of the phones which came out of the Nokia/Microsoft alliance the Nokia Lumia 830.  As most of you are aware this phone has been available for a few months now, but this has given us a chance to put together a proper review having used it for some time.

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BlackBerry Passport Now Available for Order

BlackBerry PassportWe have all been waiting a long time for the BlackBerry Passport, as there has been a huge amount of tantalising information released over the last few months.  The good news is that you can now order this innovative BlackBerry product, with first stock being available from the 29th September.  BlackBerry has shown that they can again produce interesting products with the Passport including many new features we haven’t seen before.

There is the overall design which like the name indicates is about the size of a passport.  With this form factor, it has given BlackBerry the ability to include a 4.5″ display which unusually for a smart phones is square and has a corresponding 1440 x 1440 resolution.  This makes reading documents and browsing the Internet easier, as there is more room available making each line longer.

The display is not the only innovation as BlackBerry has made some changes to the keyboard with it now being a 3-row QWERTY layout.  This is more like a typical keyboard and BlackBerry has said with practice this will make user more efficient at writing emails and editing documents.  There is also the ability to use more features via a touch interface, so you can navigate around the Internet and interact with documents without taking your fingers away from the keyboard.

BlackBerry Passport_2BlackBerry Assistant provides users with the ability to interact with their Passport using their voice.  This makes it easy to use features like the calendar, phone and emails when you are in a rush.  It also adapts to your voice over time making it more reliable at understanding your commands.  If you thought that BlackBerry Assistant would have only a limited number of commands then you will enjoy the fact that you can use many of the features of the Passport with it.

This phone is also no slouch as BlackBerry has chosen to include a powerful 2.2GHz quad-core processor and a generous 3GB of RAM.  So your apps are as fast as possible and you can multi-task efficiently.  There is also 32 GB of internal storage and the ability to use up to 128GB microSD cards, giving you plenty of storage for all your apps, movies and photos.

To make sure you can use the Internet as fast as possible when you need to get information quickly BlackBerry has included 4G LTE connectivity.  So you will be able to browse the web and download apps faster that your would have thought possible.

Check out the other key features of the BlackBerry Passport

  • BlackBerry 10.3 OS
  • 2.2 GHz Quad-core processor
  • 4.5” extra wide LCD display
  • 3 row QWERTY keyboard
  • Use the keyboard as a touchpad
  • BlackBerry Assistant
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • 13MP camera with OIS

The BlackBerry Passport will be available for £485 including VAT.  Click here for further details and ordering.  

Nokia Lumia 735 and 830 now available for pre-order

Nokia Lumia 830_6If you were thinking of purchasing either the Nokia Lumia 830 or the Nokia Lumia 735 you will be glad to hear that we now have pricing and availability of these products.  We are expecting first stock of both products for the 2nd October, so there is not long to wait now.  All colours will be available at launch giving you the choice of either smart phone in black, green or orange.  So you can choose the colour which best reflects your own personal style.

Both of these smart phones have Windows 8.1 offering you the latest benefits and features of this platform.

Just to remind you here are some of the highlight features.

Nokia Lumia 830

  • Windows Phone 8.1
  • 5” TrueColour IPS Display
  • 10 MP Pureview Camera
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
  • Internal storage 16GB
  • Free Cloud Storage 15GB
  • Wireless Charging (Qi Standard)

Nokia Lumia 735

  • Windows Phone 8.1
  • 4.7” HD display
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 6.7 MP rear camera with Zeiss optics
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
  • Internal storage 8GB
  • Free Cloud Storage 15GB
  • Wireless Charging (Qi Standard)

These smart phones will be available at the following prices.  Click on the links below to order, or read more information.

The Nokia Lumia 830 – £250 + VAT (£300 inc)

The Nokia Lumia 735 – £183.33 + VAT (£220 inc)

Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone – Battery Life

Cat B15Q dustWith many recent smart phones it is difficult to get a full days usage out of them.  The days when you could charge your phone once a week seem behind us, but the Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone has better battery life than most.

Cat has given the B15Q a large 2000 mAh battery which means you have talk time of up to 16 hours.  This means it should get you through an entire day of talking without any worry about running out of power and having your call cut off part way through.

You can also take advantage of the many features available with the Cat B15Q such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth without having to constantly keep turning them off to save power.  There by restricting your usage of the phone.  Making the smart phone better able to fulfil your requirements and giving you a better experience while using it.

Being able to keep talking for 16 hours is not something most of us will do within a typically day.  It does however give a good sign of the battery efficiency the Cat B15Q has.  Most of us however occasionally make phone call and do a bit of web browsing in a typical day.

The rest of the time the smart phone is in standby and it is good to know the Cat B15Q can stay in this mode for up to 21 days.   Keeping you away from your charger for longer and removing the constant need to charge the phone.

Check out the Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone.

Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone – Android 4.4 KitKat

Cat B15Q rightTraditionally smartphones which have a rugged design use older versions of operating systems.  An older example of this was when you could buy a rugged phone with Windows 6.5 installed, long after it disappeared from general consumer phones.

This is due to companies often having update schedules, as well as using bespoke software which needs testing to make sure of compatibility with multiple systems. There are also costs implications with moving to a new OS which typical consumer devices do not have to worry about.

It is therefore refreshing that we have seen a different approach from Cat, in that they are offering the latest version of Android with the B15Q Tough Smartphone.

The first rugged phone with Android 4.4

4.4 KitKat provides many benefits and improvements over earlier versions of Android, making the Cat B15Q an interesting product for anyone looking for a modern, rugged smartphone.

So what are the improvements with Android 4.4 and how do they enhance the B15Q?

A feature you may have heard about is “OK Google”.  With it you can perform searches, send text messages, get directions and access many other abilities of your phone by simply using your voice.  This means that if your hands are dirty and you don’t want to touch the screen, you can still access many of its functions. All you have to do to activate this voice control is say “Ok Google”, just as the name implies.

There is also enhanced caller ID which retrieves information from local listings within Google Maps. This can be great for helping you know who those unrecognized numbers are, giving you the option to take the call, or ignore it as necessary.

All of your communication is now consolidated into one place, bringing together your SMS, MMS video calls and Google Hangouts chat messages. This means you no longer have to hunt around for messages you know you received, but can’t quite recall from which service. This makes it easier to follow all communications between friends, clients and yourself.  Also if you chat with certain people more often, your Cat B15Q will automatically sort your contacts and rank these based on popularity making them easier to find.

Cat B15Q dustIf you ever need to create documents quickly you will welcome the integration of QuickOffice. This is now pre-installed on the Cat B15Q and enables you to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, whether you have used Microsoft Office or Google Docs to create them.

These are just some of the features which show how having Android 4.4 KitKat improves the capabilities of the Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone, giving you the ability to do more, quickly and efficiently.

Check out the Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone, currently available from Clove for £234 (£195 ex-VAT), with FREE Cat Safety Glasses while stocks last.

Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone – Robust Design

Cat B15Q water dropThe Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone is a smart phone which is more robust and resistant to drops and water than your typical consumer ones.

This is due to it having a IP67 Rating and adhering to Military Standard 810G, but what exactly does this mean?

Firstly we will look at the IP rating the full name of which is International Protection rating, it is also sometimes referred as the Ingress Protection rating.  This name gives you a clue about the benefit of this feature.  It assess the product’s ability to resist solid and liquid entering the internal electrical components.  In fact the numbers deal with each aspect of the protection rating, the first deals with the solid particle ingress and the second refers to the ability to resist liquids.

Each has a scale, in the case of the solid particles this has a range of 0-6, with the lowest being not protection and  highest being dust tight (no ingress).  The liquid protection similarly has a range in this case 0-8, with the lowest again being no protection and the highest providing continuous immersion to a specific depth.   In between both there are various steps of improvement in the protection rating the product is able to offer.

Below is a list of the various protection rating, so you know how good the level provided with the Cat B15Q is.

Protection against Ingress of solid objects

  • 0 – No Protection
  • 1 – Protected against solid objects of 50 mm and greater
  • 2 – Protected against solid objects of 12.5 mm and greater
  • 3 – Protected against solid objects of 2.5 mm and greater
  • 4 – Protected against solid objects of 1 mm and greater
  • 5 – Dust-protected (no harmful ingress)
  • 6 – Dust-tight (no ingress)

Protection against liquids

  • 0 – No Protection
  • 1 – Protected against vertically falling water
  • 2 – Protected against vertically falling water when enclosure tilted up to 15 degrees
  • 3 – Protected against water spray vertically at an angle up to 60 degrees
  • 4 – Protected against splashing water
  • 5 – Protected against water jets from any direction
  • 6 – Protected against powerful water jets
  • 7 – Protected against the effects of temporary immersion in water
  • 8 – Protected against the effects of continuous immersion in water (to a specified depth)

Cat B15Q desertMilitary standard 810G, which the Cat B15Q adheres to is the latest update to a series of tests approved by the United States Department of Defence for equipment.  These tests emphasize the conditions which equipment is likely to meet during typical service life.

This means that products need to withstand variations in temperature, humidity, shock and many other conditions.  It is however up to the manufacturer of commercial products to confirm how they test them, as there is no third-party organisation or agency which monitors this compliance.

In the case of the Cat B15Q it testing has confirmed this product is able to withstand shock and drops,  along with temperature changes.  The testing has verified it is able to drops of up to 1.8 metres (5 foot 11 inches) on to concrete.  While you can use it in any temperature between -20 C and up to 55 C, which should satisfy most people’s needs and requirements.

This all means the Cat B15Q is able to deal withstand far more punishment than typical smart phones.  So you can take it on to a building site, drop it into a puddle of water and meet rain without worrying about it.

The Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone is the ideal phone for any trade people, or anyone who needs to use one within a harsh environment.

Check out the Cat B15Q Tough Smartphone and see what it can do for you.

Nokia Lumia 530 Now in Stock

Nokia-530-messaging-HomescreenIf you were thinking about purchasing the Nokia Lumia 530 you will enjoy to hearing it is now in stock.  All colours are available, so if you want it in green, orange, or dark grey we will be able to fulfil your order.

This phone is Nokia’s budget smart phone, but you get lots of features and benefits, the main one being Windows 8.1.  This is the latest version of the Microsoft’s Phone operating system and it brings with it many advantages. This includes the new “Action Centre”, the ability to add folders to your Home screen, an improved on-screen keyboard and plus many others.

To give you a reminder we included the specification below which you will agree is great for under £100.

  • Windows Phone 8.1
  • 1.2Ghz quad-core processor
  • 4″ display (854 x 480)
  • 5MP camera
  • 4GB internal storage
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

The Nokia Lumia 530 is now available for £99 inc VAT

Update we can now offer the green and dark grey versions of the Nokia Lumia 530 at just £90 inc VAT.  Giving you a further discount on this competitively priced smart phone.