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.

Please Note: product shots and sample photos to follow shortly. 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.

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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).

Please Note: Product shots and sample camera photos to follow shortly.

Sony_Xperia_Z3_Compact_BlackRoughly 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 affliction 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?

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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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Android Wear 60 Second Review

Android_Wear1

Running on the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, Android Wear is Google’s operating system for wearable technology.

Based on Google Now, the card style interface of Android Wear is becoming increasingly popular with ever increasing capabilities thanks to the add on extras made by developers.

Android Wear is in its infancy at the time of writing, but that does not mean it is not capable or one to invest in.

I recently reviewed the LG G Watch running Android Wear (you can read it here), but in the interest of keeping things separate, here is my review of the Android Wear OS on its own, independent of hardware.

To make it a bit easier, I have reduced it to just 60 seconds, focusing on the positives and the negatives.

Nokia Lumia 930 60 Second Review

Nokia_Lumia_930_Hands_OnaSpoiler alert!

In my review of the Nokia Lumia 930 I concluded “There is no denying that the Nokia Lumia 930 is one of the best examples of a smartphone today. It is in my book the best example of a Windows Phone.

Whilst the conclusion is very positive, there is without doubt some negatives.

Watch the following 60 second review video to see what are the overall positives and negatives of this smartphone and help make your decision on whether it is right for you or not.

LG G Watch 60 Second Review

LG_G_WatchfEarlier this week I published a full review of the LG G Watch and the Android Wear software found on it.

The G Watch is the next generation of Smartwatch that is capable of becoming quite something given time for apps and android wear extensions to become available.

If you missed the review you can read  it here.

If you are short of time or want to know only about the watch itself rather than the software so much, why not take a look at the following video which summaries the main positives and negatives in 60 seconds.

Android Wear & LG G Watch Review

LG_G_WatchThe ‘Smartwatch’ is not a particularly new concept but within the last few months the hardware and software that make up such a product have taken a radical step forward.

Samsung and Sony have been pushing the market along with their versions but the availability of ‘Android Wear’ from Google has helped take the smartwatch concept from something that a ‘geek’ may wear to something that anyone on the street may consider as an option.

To date, I have personally never really desired a smartwatch, I have not feel the need for one.  Android Wear naturally sparked a little desire in me being an avid Android user and seeing the real value of Google Now.  The thought of key notifications on your wrist just makes sense from a time saving perspective.

At the time of writing there are 2 Android Wear enabled devices on the market: the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live.  The much talked about Motorola Moto 360 has yet to be launched.

For the last 6 weeks I have been using the G Watch.  I have left it this long to post a review as Android Wear is an evolving product and I felt it necessary to see how such a product would really fit into my everyday life.

After a few weeks of use I can honestly say that my opinion is changing on smartwatches and if you read on you will find out why.

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Triggertrap Review

TTriggertrapriggertrap; this is a super handy and easy tool for your camera that not only makes a photographer’s life a lot easier, but also gives anyone that owns a DSLR the chance to create some professional looking pictures and time lapses!

It’s basically a very technical camera shutter remote, controlled by your phone.

It consists of a cable with a little block in the middle, one end goes in to your camera into the remote port, the other, in the headphone jack of your phone. So obviously you’re going to need to download the trigger trap app on your android or iOS phone for this to work!

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Nokia Lumia 930 Review

The best Windows Phone right now.

Nokia_Lumia_930_Hands_OnbIt has been some time since I have extensively used a Windows Phone device. I tried and failed to fall in love with the OS because whilst appealing, it lacked much of what I wanted or what I had already.

I am still an avid Android user at heart, sold into the Google ecosystem, but change is good and Nokia or should I say Microsoft have made a big play of the Lumia 930 and what Windows Phone 8.1 has to offer.

Many Windows Phone users have very positive experiences and only good things to say and what cannot ever be knocked are the statements that Nokia make with their hardware.

The Lumia 920 burst onto the scene quite some time ago, the 925 and many others have arrived with only the 1020 and 1520 perhaps getting the attention they deserved. The 930 looks set to make a similar impact that the 920. So what is my opinion on it? Read on to find out.

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