Clove’s top 10 smartphones of August 2014

Where has the time gone? It is the middle of summer here in the UK and everyone is using their photos to snap pictures of beaches, planes, far flung destinations and family members enjoying themselves.

August tends to be a quiet month in the mobile industry as people wind down after a busy few months and prepare for the run up to that big day in December….(yes we are already thinking about this).

Although things may be calming down that has not stopped a battle emerging for a space in the top 10 smartphones this month.

We have a new addition in the form of the Nokia Lumia 930 and a few movements amongst other strong contenders.

So after a bit of discussion, we have come up with the list below.

Please do remember that this list is our top 10 based on our preferences, feelings, sales and customer feedback.  Others may have a very different opinion on what makes their top 10.

If you have any questions then contact us on sales@clove.co.uk or by phoning +441202552936 and we will happily help.

 

Motorola Moto E Front_small10. Motorola Moto E

A less featured Moto G but below with £100 price point the Moto E brings great value performance and features to the mass market. Dual core processor, 5 megapixel camera and 3G connectivity.

It might not be all that inspiring in terms of design but it offers what the majority of us will need for communicating on the go and there are interchangeable covers for that added personalisation.

Like the Moto G the E offers all round value but does away with the added power and features that not everyone needs.  As an upgrade from a feature-phone this is a good example of a first smartphone.

Buy Motorola Moto E HERE


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Motorola are doing everything right

The iconic brand fell out of favour, but has risen as a bastion of the budget market and the Google way

There was a time when a Motorola phone was something of a status symbol among the fashion conscious. In the long-ago times before the modern age of smartphones, feature phones could call, text and take pictures. They also played Snake!

Over the years features were added; having a phone that could download and rock a polyphonic version of Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler was the epitome of cool at one point when I was at school.

After that you could store your own .mp3s on memory cards and eventually cameras appeared that didn’t make everyone look like a pixelated Donkey Kong. If you were lucky you might even have had a rudimentary data services connection dependent on the plan you paid for with your network.

In this world there was little to differentiate phones by raw specifications, so it was mostly down to design and advertising that got one in your hands after leaving the store.

This was where Motorola excelled against the competition; Sony Ericsson were generally feature-filled and cool but expensive, Nokia were reliable but boring and everyone else (Siemens, Panasonic, Samsung) just seemed to be ticking boxes.

Hello Moto

Motorola V525 Vodafone

Portable, stylish, the full-colour V525 got me through several school years

Motorola were fun. They were accessible and enjoyable. They arguably dominated both the clamshell and flip-phone eras and once the impossibly thin Razr was unleashed on the world, they became sexy.

Whether or not they financially won out against Nokia’s onslaught of releases could be debated from month to month sales and is really a moot point. The Finnish company was constantly trying to recreate the widespread appeal of the early 32/3310, whereas Motorola just kept making cool happen.

The ‘Hello Moto’ slogan was instantly recognisable and even briefly became part of the everyday lexicon in the same way as ‘Wassup!‘ or other advertising driven sound bites.

Motorola did everything required to put a phone in the hands of every demographic from teenagers to grandparents.

This isn’t surprising when you remember that Motorola were a company at the dawn of mobile infrastructure. Much of Motorola’s own technology underpinned the very existence of early mobile networks. In short they always had the hardware and ability to produce the most functional devices. They were then able to invest time in producing the best consumer products.

Late to the smart party

Motorola FLIPOUT

Who remembers the FLIPOUT? The Japanese market loved it but not many others.

The second half of the 00′s and the rise of the modern smartphone saw a considerable drop in Motorola’s consumer fortunes. Whilst their other departments continued to operate successfully, the mobile handset division failed to innovate and keep up with the consumer trends.

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 and kickstarted a surge in consumer popularity for a previously niche category, Motorola were as late in responding as everyone else.

By the time Google released a ready made operating system to challenge iOS and Motorola found their feet again in 2009, there were new and improved players in the game. HTC had already placed themselves as manufacturers of high quality devices and Samsung were laying the groundwork for a war with Apple that they continue to fight.

The DROID range saw some commercial success in the USA although deals in place meant sales were restricted through particular carriers. Rebranded as the Milestone this handset didn’t fare well in other markets such as the UK.

Throughout the following few years Motorola released decent handsets that were continuously middle-of-the-road yet never stole any limelight from the ‘flagship’ devices. The Flipout, Atrix and Defy are all examples of well received smartphones with interesting hooks that unfortunately sold poorly.

A Google Company

motorola-logoEventually Motorola split in early 2011, continuing as the enterprise focussed Motorola Solutions and spinning off the mobile division into the autonomous Motorola Mobility. The new Mobility was responsible for some of the handsets mentioned earlier and later that year Google picked up the company for a whopping $12.5 billion.

The jury’s out on whether Google got their money’s worth but what can’t be denied is they turned the floundering phone manufacturer fortunes around.

The first Google influenced device out of the door was the Moto X which was received to critical acclaim across the board. Issues with supply in the USA aside, the Moto X was a success, enough for Motorola to briefly make the handset available in Europe to supplement their wider range.

Made to last. Priced for all.

Motorola_Moto_G_4G_Black_WhiteFollowing the Moto X into global markets was the Moto G and more recently the Moto E. What every one of these phones has in common is twofold.

First of all they seem quite basic on the surface; the designs are simple and other than the X’s ‘always listening’ voice-recognition, almost nothing in the way of added features or software tweaks for enhanced user experience or whatever else the marketing team want to call it.

Secondly, Motorola pushed the limits of price to breaking point on all 3 phones, whilst including a practically pure Android installation. Each handset is currently unmatched for price and specification, with Android 4.4 KitKat running either as standard or via update.

With Google’s influence there is almost no customisation of Android either, so this range of devices gets updates very quickly and remain an example to the rest of the industry.

In the last 6 months, when asked, I’ve personally advised a number of friends and family to pick up a Moto G almost without pause. I’ve also seen some of my acquaintances extolling the value for money it offers without any of my usual interference. My keen eye for all things phone has also spotted a number ‘in the wild’ when out and about.

Even without the expensive, glossy marketing campaigns of times past, it looks like Motorola are again capturing the imagination of a good number of consumers.

Lettin ‘em go to Lenovo

So what’s next for Motorola? Earlier this year, Google sold the company off to the Chinese manufacturer Lenovo. Well known in the personal computing space, Lenovo will surely be looking to break into Western mobile markets the same way as they have done with notebooks. To do that they will need more than their relatively unknown mobile offerings so far.

Google must have got their worth out of Motorola to deem the sale to Lenovo good business. Maybe Motorola Mobility’s much speculated-upon patent portfolio has been put to enough work. Or perhaps part of Google’s plan was simply to get some high-quality handsets out there, if only to show their sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows such as Samsung how they want things done when it comes to Android.

We will continue to see Google’s influence at Motorola continue this year. The Moto G 4G has already updated one of last year’s runaway successes to applause and there may yet be more to come from this generation and lifecycle before Lenovo’s projects are begun.

Lenovo logoLenovo as a brand are already synonymous with delivering respectable performance at a consumer friendly price. Just browse your local PC World and a number of laptops on the shelf will not only bear their name, but also be walking out the door in the arms of parents and students in droves.

The new Motorola business model established by the Moto G and E in particular are exactly what has made Lenovo successful in notebooks. If they handle Motorola properly, we could well continue to see a range of capable Motorola smartphones breaking the boundaries of expected price.

Considering the industry consensus is Lenovo got Motorola for a very good price, they may also be willing to pump a bit more money into the company to increase advertising budgets or manufacturing numbers.

If this happens then the times when everyone and his mate had a Motorola could very easily be coming back soon enough.

Hello Moto.

Clove’s top 10 smartphones of July 2014

It seems like only 5 minutes ago that we were talking about CES, but now into the 7th month of the year we are nearer the next CES than the last!  Time flies hey!

It is safe to say that now all the major players have released their flagship handsets, the G3 from LG was the last to the party here.

Last it might have been but by no means lacking was it, making quite an entrance with the quad HD display.

The updated Motorola Moto G has too made quite an entrance, selling better than expected and offering 4G for well under the £200 price point.

The choice of which smartphone to go for has never been so great. Various models in various memory sizes and in various colours often with a mini counterpart. Which device to go for will be your choice, but  if you ever need any assistance then then we are always willing to advise here at Clove.

Contact us on sales@clove.co.uk or by phoning +441202552936.

We do too have a range of full device reviews here.

Please do remember that this list is our top 10 based on our preferences, feelings, sales and customer feedback.  Others may have a very different opinion on what makes their top 10.


10. LG G2 Mini

LG G2 Mini

Falling dfown the list, the G2 Mini lacks the wow factor of so many other device, but it is no slouch and will make a very lovely handset for anyone who takes the plunge.  I still feel that this is more comfortable in the hand than the Z1 Compact.

It has a 4.7″ display which is a nice size, not too big or too small.

The resolution of the screen and the slight inbalance of the camera results mean that the G2 Mini doesn’t have quite what it takes to compete with the best but a strong contender it is none the less.

Witht he winning form factor from the original G2 the rear mounted button configuration I think works better on the smaller G2 Mini.

Now available for less than £350 the G2 seems to have dropped off the radar for many in the tech circles but it is still an exceptionally powerful product.

It is snappy and looks the part with some nice UI features.

Buy LG G2 Mini HERE.

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Motorola Moto G V LG G2 Mini Spec Comparison

LG G2 Mini V Motorola Moto G

The Moto G is the undisputed king of smartphones when it comes to value for money.  It offers a lot for the money.

The G2 Mini is a very capable handset though too and may offer something a little more for some users depending on your requirement.

We have put the specs side by side in a graphic for you to easily compare.

Click the image below to be taken through to the full specification comparison.

If you would prefer, you can watch the animated version of this below.

Motorola Moto G 4G – Now in stock

Motorola_Moto_G_4GaI will keep this post quite short and sweet.

The new Motorola Moto G, now with 4G is in stock.

Ther other addition over the original Moto G is a microSD memory card slot.

Key features include:

  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 1.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 4.5 inch HD 720p capacitive touchscreen
  • 5 MP camera with autofocus & flash
  • 1.3 MP front facing camera
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8GB internal memory
  • 4G
  • MicroSD memory card slot
  • FM Radio
  • Interchangeable coloured backplates and cases (sold separately)

Available for £159 including VAT, you can order your SIM free Moto G 4G here.

Motorola Moto X V LG G2 Mini Spec Comparison

LG G2 Mini V Motorola Moto X

The Moto X may no longer be available, but you might be an owner of one and considering a replacement.

The LG G2 Mini has some comparable features so we have put together a a detailed specification comparison for you to look at.

Click the image below to be taken through to the full comparison or click play on the video below that if you would prefer to view and animated version.

Moto G 4G due week commencing June 23rd

Motorola’s popular budget phone gets an update in time for Summer.

Motorola_Moto_G_4G_Black_WhiteThe original Moto G launched last year to great critical acclaim, considerably lowering the barrier to entry for a high quality device.

Since then Motorola have seen fit to disrupt the market again with the even cheaper, yet still highly functional Moto E.

Now to complement this range, the original G is being updated to include 2 new features. The clue is in the name for the first improvement – 4G capabilities. With 4G rolling out at an increasing rate in the UK, more and more mid range handsets have been adding support. This now makes the new Moto G 4G one of the cheapest and most functional 4G capable devices on the market.

Secondly is the inclusion of a micro SD card slot. Whilst a minor addition it is a very welcome one, allowing you to store far more pictures, music & video. This addition means that the new Moto G 4G will only have one memory variant, the base storage is confirmed at 8GB.

We are now expecting first stock of the new Moto G 4G during next week, commencing the 23rd. The price is set at £159, place an order or register your interest on our retail site today.

clove-moto-g-4g-retail

Clove’s top 10 smartphones of June 2014

June marks the start of the true summer months for us here in the UK.  With that in mind the phones we own will likely be subject to lots of pictures from family days out.

The flagship phones are all here and available to buy, with the exception of the LG G3, which has just been announced and due to begin shipping in July. Initial impressions are good and we expect that there will be tough competition for those devices already on sale.

The choice of which smartphone to go for has never been so great. Various models in various memory sizes and in various colours often with a mini counterpart. Which device to go for will be your choice, but  if you ever need any assistance then then we are always willing to advise here at Clove.

Contact us on sales@clove.co.uk or by phoning +441202552936.

We do too have a range of full device reviews here.

Please do remember that this list is our top 10 based on our preferences, feelings, sales and customer feedback.  Others may have a very different opinion on what makes their top 10.

10.Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Note series has won the hearts of many and strikes as the intelligent elder in the line of mobile products available today.

Whilst big in hand, its profile is such that it really does feel smaller and more comfortable in the hand than one would expect.

Samsung have done away with the plastic back in place, is a faux leather back plate. It will not meet everyone’s desires, but we think it is an improvement on the Note devices of past.

The big screen, big specs and functionality make this the must have device for selected users. The S-Pen gives functionality that will potentially make this a make or break for many.  If you are into your drawing but like the idea of being digital, this could be a great solution.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Note 3 HERE.

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The Moto G and Moto E bring modern technology to the masses. This is why you should buy one. 

Motorola’s battle for the budget conscious.

motorola-banner-clove

Just about 3 and a half years ago I was blown away by a smartphone. It had a 4.3 inch screen at 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi), an 8 megapixel camera and an impressive 1GHz processor (single-core of course). This phone was the HTC Desire HD, a handset at the peak of the day’s mobile technology. That incredible specification was yours for the comparatively cheap price of £415.

Way back then, when new Android version numbers began with a 2, buying a smartphone on a budget was an absolute minefield. There was nothing better than that previous specification and paying any less than a couple of hundred quid meant you were almost certainly saddled with a phone that had minimal storage and working memory, a tiny low resolution screen and a camera that made everyone look like Mario from the 80′s.

The ever onward march of technology continues though and in accordance with Moore’s law, we now find ourselves with handheld computers capable of demolishing the flagship giants of just a few years past. Today the entry-level Motorola Moto E could go blow for blow with the old king of the castle that once wowed me, and come out on top, for less than £100.

Forget ‘cheap’, budget phones are now ‘economical’

motorola-logoSome people got burned by smartphones a few years ago. Low cost models that looked appealing on cheaper tariffs often failed to perform well. Similar to buying lower grade laptops and desktop computers, the corners cut to save costs often resulted in a lacklustre experience not long after purchase and difficulties in using the phone further down the line.

Quite rightly these bad experiences have made may approach this category with caution.

Rest assured these days are long past and right now has never been a better time to get hold of a cost effective smartphone. With advancements in mobile processors, screen technology and the drop in cost of memory, the cheapest smartphones available today are more than capable of providing a high quality and enriching experience.

The word ‘cheap’ brings with it bad connotations such as poor build quality and underperforming components. A better word is ‘economical’. Motorola’s Moto E & G smartphones have shown that a known brand can bring well designed, feature-filled smartphones, which are built to last, at a price unthinkable not too long ago.

Changing expectations

moto-g-clove-croppedSmartphones don’t have the wow factor of a few years ago. When the market was building, it only took small improvements and relatively minor new features to impress. In today’s world though, even if you don’t own one, pretty much everyone has seen a smartphone and has a decent idea of what they can do.

For those looking at the latest and greatest smartphones, there will always be new features & technology to justify the top flight price tags for the likes of  Samsung, HTC and Sony’s more expensive products.

In contrast though, more and more common consumers are looking to work out the best value for money. If a 20 megapixel camera, suite of office and productivity applications or chassis made from a single piece of machined aluminium don’t interest you, then getting the best basic functionality for the money spent is probably your priority.

A shift in focus

This new type of customer is exactly where Motorola are now aiming at impressing. With the critically acclaimed Moto X now discontinued in the UK, Motorola’s product range has been trimmed (at least for a few months) to just the Moto E and Moto G. The G was a runaway success in the entry-level category last year and the Moto E has brought the best of this concept down to just £99 including VAT.

This is a truly disruptive price that changes the market at this level. For a standard user the Moto E does pretty much everything you could require from a smartphone at a price unthinkable just a few years ago. If you want to join the smartphone club and experience apps, Internet connectivity and social media on the move, the Moto E is the best high-quality device available at a pocket-friendly price.

The new Moto G 4G, available mid June, ups the price a little bit to £159. Included for this raise is support for high speed 4G connectivity for those that can access it, and a micro SD memory card that was missing on the old G. You also get a quad-core processor and more base storage, perfect if you want to try out some new games!

Break the contract and go SIM free

moto-e-clove-croppedMost handsets on the high street have typically been sold with a subsidy; the network provider sells you a service and provides the phone with a big discount. This system is great if you want the latest hardware and can’t afford the £500+ price tag in one go.

More recently though, most mobile operators have begun offering good value for money ‘SIM only’ deals, where you can receive the same service or better at a drastically reduced price. The only difference is you don’t get a phone included.

With the rise of highly capable budget smartphones such as the Moto E & G, SIM only deals are more attractive than ever. Depending on your current contract, you might save yourself upwards of £20 a month switching to SIM only. You also generally get the option of being able to cancel at any time with only a month’s notice.

With a Moto E costing only £100, changing your contract and going SIM free could pay for itself in just a few months. Even new Pay As You Go deals with data included are very cost effective.

Moto 360 Design Face-Off

Submit a watch face to Google+ for your chance to win a Moto 360 this Summer.

moto-360-no-faceMotorola are gearing up to shake the world of wearables this Summer with the Moto 360; the first Smartwatch with both a circular screen and to be powered by the new Android Wear OS.

Details on the 360′s specifications are being kept tightly under wraps, although we know from promotional material surrounding Android Wear that the OS will lean heavily on the hugely updated Google Now system.

As well as providing the usual push notifications and basic apps of current smartwatches, Google Now’s continuing integration with both the standard Android OS and Android Wear should allow the 360 to provide intelligent updates throughout the day based on your location, environment, usage patterns and contacts.

Motorola Face-Off Competition

Announced last week, Motorola have opened a competition on Google+ to design a watch face. The winner will receive a brand new Moto 360 at launch and 9 runners up will receive a $50 (USD) Google Play voucher each.

To enter the competition you will first need to join the Moto 360 Design Face-Off community on Google+. After this you must then download an official template to start your design. The templates and complete rules can be found on this Google Drive folder.

Once your design is complete then you can upload it to the Post Submissions Here” thread on the community page.

Eligible entries are restricted to persons legally residing in the 50 United States and District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada (excluding Quebec), and United Kingdom age 18 and over. The official terms and conditions of the competition are available to view in the associated Google Drive folder linked to above.

Register your interest

In the meantime, you can register your interest for the Moto 360 on our retail product page. We will be updating this page with details on the 360 as the product develops and opening pre-orders as soon as official pricing and release information are available.

Buy Moto 360 | Clove Technology

This competition is run solely by Motorola Mobility LLC. and their registered promoter(s). Clove Technology are not affiliated with the competition and are only advertising its scope and means of entry.

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