Below you can find our latest smartphone reviews. Nearly all of the devices reviewed below are also available to buy on the Clove website. We do our best to review as much of our product range as possible so that we can give customers good advice about which device is best suited to them. We welcome discussion and feedback so please feel free to leave a comment on any blog post.

CAT S50 60 Second Review

Cat_S50_B15Q (5)Once ‘tough phones’ were unsightly and only the really serious had such.

Over time technology and design as well as attitudes have begun to change and the ‘rugged phone’ is becoming increasingly more popular.

There are some variances between these tougher handsets that exist.  There are those that are water resistant and those real tough handsets that are water resistant and drop tested.

The S50, is a handset that falls into the latter category.

It might not be the most attractive when you compare it to the Apple, Samsung and Sony solutions but can they fall 1.8 meters onto concrete multiple times and still leave to tell the tale?

The S50 is also rather surprising with some of the headline features which include amongst others:

  • Android 4.4 (KitKat) operating system
  • 4.7” IPS HD capacitive touch screen with Gorilla Glass and wet finger tracking
  • IP67 Water and Dustproof
  • Military 810G rated
  • 8MP camera with LED Flash and HD video recording
  • 4G
  • Qi wireless charging

You can read and watch our full review HERE.  However, if you are short of time, why not view the following video which will run through the highs and lows in just 60 seconds

Keen to make the S50 your next companion?  You can purchase one from Clove here.

BlackBerry Passport Review

BlackBerry_Passport_Hands_On (2)BlackBerry are a household name when it comes to smartphones.  The business users will know the appeal of their email system and teens will know all about BBM; but BlackBerry is a name that many have fallen out of love with over the last few years.

A few questionable commercial decisions let the competition convert users.

However, the Canadian firm are at the start of a new and more focused era and they return with the BlackBerry Passport and aim to win back the hearts of many.

The corporate/business user is at the heart of their current plans, but does the Passport have something for all, and is it a sign of things to come?

Hardware Specifications

The Passport is an out and out powerhouse and is designed to impress.  Key hardware features include:

  • 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
  • 3450mAh battery
  • Video out via slimport

I will talk about the design shortly but it is clear from this hardware that it has what it takes to compete with Android or iOS equivalents.

There has always been a lot of talk about BlackBerry and how they compare to the Apple and Samsung devices but the Passport is proof that they are not as behind as some may think.  The hardware is different, as is the software, but there is a lot on offer and you should not write it off until you have heard and seen more.

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Sony Xperia Z3 60 Second Review

Sony Xperia Z3 CopperFor many, our lifestyles are very busy so if you can save a few minutes then that is a bonus.

In the following video we provide you with the key positives and negatives of the Sony Xperia Z3 in around 60 seconds.

The Z3 is the 4th iteration of the flagship  handset and is arguably the best yet. But if you are an existing Z user, is it worth an upgrade?

If you want to read the full review, you can do so by clicking here, or the full video review is shown below.

The Z3 can be purchased from Clove for £515 including VAT. Just click here.

Doro Liberto 820 Review

Doro_Liberto_820 (9)Smartphones can do more than ever before and for many they have replaced our computers.

For anyone who has grown up and used computers over the last 20 years it may feel like second nature. However, put your elderly relative in front of a PC and their feelings and experience may be quite different.

For a generation less au fait with such, a smartphone may be appealing in terms of capability but daunting in terms of everyday use.

Swedish firm Doro aim to put mobile technology in the hands of the elderly or those less able, and give them the capability and functionality modern phones bring.

The Liberto 820 is their latest and best example of this.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 60 Second Review

Sony Xperia Z3 CompactIf you are short of time but want to know all the positives and negatives of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, then you could do a lot worse than watching the following video.

In around 60 seconds we give you the highs and lows of the device having spent a couple of weeks with it.

If you want to read the full review, you can do so by clicking here, or the full video review is shown below.

The Z3 Compact has been an extremely popular device and it has only been on the market for a couple of weeks.  For just £349 inclusive of VAT you can order one in Black, White or Red here.

CAT S50 Review

Should the S50 be your new Toughphone?

Cat_S50_B15Q (14)When you hear the word CAT, you first thought is probably a four legged fluffy friend, but the next thing you probably think of is big yellow diggers, construction equipment and all things related to the building trade.

Whilst I do not blame you for thinking about the household pet, we are actually referring to the latter. The CAT brand is at home in construction but over the last couple of years CAT have branched out into the mobile space, producing phones that fit the needs of your builder, plumber or groundworker amongst others. They are essentially designed to be tough and reliable.

These devices might fit the needs of many, but put one next to an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy and there is an obvious difference in looks.

Their B15Q is the best attempt yet and is still a very good solution, but there is now something new. A more premium, more stylish, yet still rugged CAT phone: the CAT S50.

The S50 has been designed from the ground up to be more visually appealing and more capable, yet retain the rugged nature that CAT equipment and phones have become synonymous for.

On first glance, the S50 looks like a B15Q that has been run over by a road roller, perhaps a little harsh, but only said because it is significantly thinner and wider.

Let’s take a look in a bit more depth at the S50 and see what it has to offer. Check out our video review below or continue reading for the full written review.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Review

Should you upgrade to the Sony Xperia Z3?

This is our review of the SIM Free Sony Xperia Z3, which we have available to order here on the Clove website. We are currently offering an accessory bundle with the handset worth £40.

SIM free Sony xperia z3

In the world of smartphones the name Sony Xperia is as strong as it ever has been thanks to the consistently well performing devices that the Japanese firm have been producing over recent years.

The Z3 is the newest addition to the family that launches only six months after the Z2.

The Sony flagships are being upgraded at pretty much double the speed of competing devices, which shows Sony’s determination to make a stand in the mobile space.

It is all too easy to become frustrated that a new model is out, but Sony themselves expect most potential Z3 customers to be those already using a Sony Xperia Z or Z1, rather than the Z2 and of course they hope that you will be looking to switch from your current Samsung, Apple or HTC device if you have one.

Whilst there is nothing stopping you upgrading from the Z2, the Z3 is less of a significant upgrade and more of a slight refresh.

What does the refresh bring? Read on to find out or watch our video review below. 

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Review

We go hands-on with Sony’s latest Compact smartphone

This is our review of the SIM Free Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which we have available to order on the Clove website here at the fantastic price of just £290.83 (£349 inc. VAT).

Update 14th October: the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact accessory bundle offer will be ending very soon. More info here

Sony_Xperia_Z3_Compact_Black

Roughly six months ago Sony launched a new breed of smartphone into the market.  A smartphone that many desired but never really existed; but Sony took a bold step that has ultimately paid off for them.

The Xperia Z1 Compact was and still is as powerful as the Sony Xperia Z1 on which it was based, but had a smaller display to make the overall handset more user friendly, but did not want to sacrifice memory and processing power; which was too often the case with other ‘mini’ or ‘compact’ models.

Whilst I like to keep reviews as balanced as possible I do have a personal affinity with the Z1 Compact.  It is my device of choice and I could not be happier.

The problem with the Z1 Compact was that it was released at the same time as the Z2, but was based on the previous Z1, in theory out of sync with Sony’s range.

With the launch of the Z3 comes the launch of the Z3 Compact to keep the 2 in line with each other and much closer matched in terms of specification.

The differences between the Z3 and Z3 Compact are:

  • The compact has 2GB RAM rather than 3GB
  • The display is a 4.6” 720p IPS panel as opposed to the 5.2” 1080p
  • The battery is 2600mAh as opposed to 3100mAh
  • It is 8.6mm thick and 129g compared to the Z3 at 7.3mm thick and 152g

In comparison to the Z1 Compact:

  • 2.5GHz processor compared to the 2.2GHz quad-core of the Z1C
  • 4.6” 720P display rather than a 4.3”
  • 2600mAh battery rather than 2300mAh
  • 8.6mm thick and 129 grams rather than 9.5mm thick and 137g
  • Stereo speakers
  • Softer edges on the Z3 Compact

So with less than a year between the two how does the latest model stack up? Find out in our video review below or keep reading for the full written review.

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Nokia Lumia 930 60 Second Review

Nokia_Lumia_930_Hands_OncThe Nokia Lumia 930 has been available to buy for a few weeks now.  It might not be eveyones cup of tea with the bright colour options and Windows Phone platform, but we have already seen some very positive feedback here at Clove from customers already using the device.

We have put together a full written review and video here, but below is a video that gives you the positives and negatives of the 930 in just 60 seconds.

Hit play to find out what they are.

Jabra Solemate Max – Social Jukebox

Jabra’s big daddy portable speaker isn’t cheap at £249, but it packs a powerful punch.

We don’t spend all our days at Clove playing with smartphones you know. Sometimes we get to play with speakers and other toys too! It’s a little outside the standard product range for Clove, however Jabra are an established audio brand whose products have always sold in decent numbers as accessories. With this in mind I took the plunge with their newest – and largest – portable speaker, the Solemate Max.

Design

Jabra_Solemate_Max_02First up is looks; when you’re spending over £200 on a piece of kit, you want it to look the part. The Solemate Max is somewhat chalk and cheese in this respect, with a grey rubber casing dominated by the perforated silver speaker grille that stretches round the whole unit. There are also flashes of yellow in the handle, controls, lettering and a yellow 3.5mm cable.

The style won’t be to everyone’s tastes (what is?), with the overall look being similar to a larger Pure radio model. It conforms to modern trends, inoffensive with a splash of neutral colour, although would struggle to fit in with traditional décor.

At around 3 kilos the unit is surprisingly heavy. It remains portable, however I wouldn’t want to be carrying it too far in any one trip. This is definitely more of a unit that can be easily moved from room to room, or from car boot to beach, rather than kept in your bag every day.

SolemateMax_gallery_02The controls reside on the top of the Max, seamlessly covered in the same rubberised surface material as the rest of the speaker. They have a responsive ‘click’ and the soft touch finish is pleasing, whilst also being easy to wipe down and clean. Several ports adorn the far end of speaker, opposing the chunky handle to the left side, providing a number of connectivity options. Here is where you’ll also find the NFC tag for one-touch pairing with compatible devices.

Finally the base of the device is ribbed like a boot sole to avoid sliding around and features the unit’s logo. There’s also a quite neatly cut groove and sockets for storing the included 3.5mm audio cable, perfect for connecting to devices without Bluetooth or computers/laptops/screens with audio output.

All said the Solemate Max has a functional and simple design, almost understated in some ways. If it wasn’t for a 2014 RedDot Design Award I would say it’s a style that’s not trying to win awards; possibly the best compliment a product designer can hear!

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