Nexus 4 case review

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

rearth case for nexus 4

As well as the Qi Universal Charging Pad that Mobile Fun sent me (reviewed yesterday here), they were also kind enough to send me a case for my Nexus 4. One of the main reasons for this was to see whether or not the case would have any effect on the capabilities of the charging pad, and I’m pleased to say it performed without any issues with the case on. In fact, the Nexus 4 was never charged on the charging pad without the case.

The case provides a good all round protection to the phone. For the sides, it’s a little like a bumper case, but made of a stiffer material that feels nice and strong around the device, and the back of the phone (slightly prone to damage) is also protected with a clear cover allowing you to still see the rear of the phone.

One little thing that’s not mentioned on the Mobile Fun website is that you can customise the case. If you have a picture or design that is slightly smaller than the back of the case, the case comes with a sticky sheet that can be used to attach the picture inside the back of the case to be displayed.

I also like the way the front of the case is slightly proud of the phone’s screen offering protection against scratches when laid face down. Actually, there are also little lugs that ensure the back is equally protected when face up. The case has cutouts for the sockets (microphone, USB, headphones) at the top and bottom, small missing sections in the back for the speaker and the camera, whilst the power and volume buttons are protected, but the new buttons built into the bumper around the edge work just as well as the original buttons.

Generally, I found it a very nice case, that did not seem to add a lot of bulk to the device, especially given how much protection it offers. At £14.95 I also think it’s a very good price. Of course, Mobile Fun have a whole range of cases for the Nexus 4 available here.

Just like the wireless charging pad, the Nexus 4 case has performed without any issues, and I thank Mobile Fun for offering the case alongside the charging pad for review.

Disclaimer: Although Mobile Fun provided the case, they had no editorial input into this article.


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Wireless Charger review

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Qi charging pad

Mobile Fun contacted me and asked me if was interested in looking at one of their wireless charging pads, the Qi wireless charging pad. This arrived the next day, and I put it into immediate service to see how well it worked. Using my Nexus 4, it has faultlessly charged on a regular basis without any issues.

The charging pad is clever enough to work out that the phone is charged, and will automatically shut off; this caused a small moment of concern when I first got it, as the Nexus 4 was already sufficiently charged that the pad appeared to do nothing. I find letting the Nexus 4 run down and then placing on the pad to be the best way (and sometimes turning the phone on, or at least using it just before is beneficial; without that, it seems to take the phone and pad a few seconds to spot each other, and that can means I would often stand there for a while until the charging light came on. By using the phone (or at least turning it on) just before always seem to start the charging faster.

My only other concern with the pad is something I’ve seen in the comments on the Mobile Fun website; the blue charging light doesn’t look too bad in the daytime, but at night is capable of lighting a room quite well, so this may not be to everyone’s liking. Personally, when charging has been necessary overnight, it’s actually not proved to be a problem, but it is something to be aware of.

The Qi Universal Charging Pad currently costs £29.99 from the Mobile Fun website (see here for a link to their devices), which is a good price for me. As the device is a Qi compatible charging device, it will work with a whole range of devices, including the Nokia Lumia devices with built in charging, or with charging backs fitted.

Thanks to Mobile Fun for providing the charging pad for review.

Disclaimer: Although Mobile Fun provided the charging pad, they had no editorial input into this article.


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Review: DODOcase from Mobile Fun

Friday, May 24th, 2013

A few weeks ago, Mobile Fun suggested that I try a different case for my Nexus 7, and they kindly offered a DODOcase for the review. Mobile Fun stock a whole range of Nexus 7 Cases, so at the higher end of the price range (£24.95), I was interested to see what this case offers.

I’ve been using the case now for a couple of weeks, and do you know what; it’s a very nice case. As with many cases (except, as I understand it, ironically the official Asus cases) all cases have a little magnet in them to allow the Nexus 7 to automatically turn on and off the screen as the case opens and closes, and this is no exception. The case also features an elastic strap to hold the case closed, which seems to work really well. My previous case wrapped around to the back and had a magnetic type clasp, but I’ve not had any issues with this new style.

My previous case also had a tri-fold front panel to give the ability to be folded up iPad-style to allow the device to be stood up (though at a very shallow angle); the DODOcase has a different approach, and one that I have found even better; a little plastic clasp on the elastic strap can be used to make the case stay open, and ensures it is at a good angle. So far, this has never failed to work, and seems a really neat way of allowing the Nexus 7 to stand up.

The Nexus 7 is held in the case with 3 adhesive strips, which although very strong, aren’t so strong the Nexus 7 can’t be removed (equally, the Nexus 7 has never fallen out of my case). It gives a much neater case than others I’ve seen, and still allows access to the 4 Pogo pins on the side, which many cases don’t in reality; I don’t have the official Nexus 7 Dock to be able to confirm whether or not you can use the stand with the case still on, but this issue affects most cases. The hard cover (front and back) is made (according to the information included) using the same techniques that bookbinders use, and the quality shows through.

This is a very functional, yet pretty case. My only concern with the case is that the speaker slot on the rear is facing into the case, but I’ve yet to have any major problems with that.

The case costs £24.95 from Mobile Fun, and they sell it in Black or Purple; in terms of combining aesthetics with protection, I think this case is one of the best value cases out there, but if you are not convinced, it’s still well worth looking at their range of Nexus 7 Cases to find something that does suit.

Disclaimer: Although Mobile Fun provided the case, they had no editorial input into this article.

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Smart Cover case for Nexus 7

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

I picked up a Google Nexus 7 Tablet a few weeks ago, and I knew straight away I wanted a case to protect it. I also wanted a case that featured a “Smart Cover” facility; ie the ability to auto wake / auto sleep as the cover opened and closed (although not advertised with this feature, it was discovered the Nexus 7 had the support built into the hardware, and ever since, many of the 3rd party case suppliers have been supporting the feature).

So, Amazon was a logical choice (mainly for ease of purchase and keen pricing), and I selected this particular case as above; it acts as a Smart Cover case, but also can fold up to create a small stand for the tablet (it uses landscape, which the stock launcher doesn’t support, so look at purchasing Ultimate Rotation Control from the Play Store too, and setting it on Force Auto).  The case provides protection around the back of the tablet (the tablet clicks into the back panel) and the cover works well. This particular Amazon seller provides this Nexus 7 Case with a screen protector (currently untested) and stylus (tested and functional, and very similar to the iPad cheap stylus you can pick up).

At £8 (price may vary) including shipping, I thought the Nexus 7 Case was good value; the case arrived within a couple of days, so I assume this is a UK seller too, and the choice of colours allows you to select one to match other devices or simply select black.


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HTC Updates from MWC

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

HTC Legend

HTC have released 2 very exciting Android phones this week; the HTC Legend (above) and the HTC Desire.  HTC have released some information about the devices here, but in summary:

The HTC Legend is made from a single aluminium block, features a 3.2″ AMOLED screen with an optical joystick.

The HTC Desire features a 3.7″ AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera, and is, in essence, very similar to the Google Nexus One, although it lacks the dual-mic noise cancelling feature of the Google phone.

One of the new UI features that HTC will add to both devices is the new “HTC Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all of your social communication including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into one organised flow of updates. This simple aggregation makes it easier than ever to focus on what friends are doing as well as to view the images and links that they share.  In addition to Friend Stream, people can be organised into specific social circles, such as groups of friends, colleagues or any other way that makes sense.”

In terms of availability, the HTC Desire should be available on Orange in April, and on T-Mobile on 26th March.  If you can’t wait for this, T-Mobile have just released the T-Mobile Pulse Mini on PAYG for £99.99, which is a very low price point for an Android device.  When I met up with 3UK a few weeks back, they talked about having the Hero replacement by June, and I do wonder whether they will be carrying the HTC Legend.

In other news, HTC have confirmed that the Android 2.1 update for the Hero will become available in March 2010 (although network operator versions may take a little longer), and have also apparently stated that the HTC Magic will not be receiving this update.  The Hero update will include the new enhanced Sense features mentioned above.


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Truphone release new Android client

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Truphone v3 on Android

Truphone have released v3.0 of their Android client, which now offers Wi-Fi calling, so as well as other Truphone users, you can also call Skype and Google Talk users free of charge.  The Tru Friends feature allows you to see whether your Truphone contacts are online.  Also, Truphone have improved the IM facilities for all the platforms they support (Skype, Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo, MSN and even Twitter).

There are a couple of gotchas though; you’ll need to uninstall the old version first, and Truphone are currently only supporting HTC devices (G1, Magic, Hero), but they are planning support for the Motorola Milestone and the new Google Nexus One soon.


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Google Nexus One coming to other UK networks?

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Google Nexus One

Talk Android are reporting that representatives of both T-Mobile and 3UK have indicated that they are hoping to be able to carry the Google Nexus One in the future too.  One thing that does seem to be becoming clear though, the phone may not be available for sale in the shops in the UK any time soon.  In the same way you can buy an Amazon Kindle from the US, and get it shipped to the UK, it looks like Google will be handling the sale of this phone for the time being, and if you buy it from them, you can either pay for a SIM-free version, or you can buy the subsidised version, which they will then ship out to you.  Whether the Vodafone SIM ships direct is not clear, and there’s no word on whether upgrades will be available either.

Having said all that, getting other networks onboard will be key for Google’s long term plans, and T-Mobile and 3UK are obvious networks, both offering Android phones which they are happy to heavily promote.  I wonder if Vodafone will have an exclusive for a month (or 3) and then these other networks will be able to sell it too…

Rumours are also around that it may be possible to purchase the Nexus One from Google with a Vodafone SIM sooner than “Spring 2010” implies, with a possibility it may even be within the next month.


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Google announces Nexus One, and VodaFone are bringing it to Europe

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Google Nexus One

Whereas 2009 seemed to be the year every smartphone was exclusively with O2, it appears 2010 maybe Vodafone‘s year, as they currently have the exclusive on the Nokia E72, will be selling the iPhone 3G (and iPhone 3GS) within a couple of weeks, and they have announced they will be the network to bring the brand new Google Nexus One Android phone to Europe. Google have said:

“Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features dynamic noise suppression from Audience, Inc., a large 3.7″ OLED display for deep contrast and brilliant colors and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset for blazing speeds. Running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.”

The full tech specs include:

Size and weight

  • Height: 119mm
  • Width: 59.8mm
  • Depth: 11.5mm
  • Weight: 130 grams w/battery

Display

  • 3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen
  • 800 x 480 pixels
  • 100,000:1 typical contrast ratio
  • 1ms typical response rate

Camera & Flash

  • 5 megapixels
  • Autofocus from 6cm to infinity
  • 2X digital zoom
  • LED flash
  • User can include location of photos from phone’s AGPS receiver
  • Video captured at 720×480 pixels at 20 frames per second or higher, depending on lighting conditions

Cellular & Wireless

  • UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900)
  • HSDPA 7.2Mbps
  • HSUPA 2Mbps
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • A2DP stereo Bluetooth

Power and battery

  • Removable 1400 mAH battery
  • Charges at 480mA from USB, at 980mA from supplied charger

Talk time

  • Up to 10 hours on 2G
  • Up to 7 hours on 3G

Standby time

  • Up to 290 hours on 2G Up to 250 hours on 3G

Internet use

  • Up to 5 hours on 3G
  • Up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi

Video playback

  • Up to 7 hours

Audio playback

  • Up to 20 hours

Processor

  • Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz

Operating system

  • Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)

Capacity

  • 512MB Flash
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB Micro SD Card (Expandable to 32 GB)

Location

  • Assisted global positioning system (AGPS) receiver
  • Cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning
  • Digital compass
  • Accelerometer

This is an interesting development, if only because Google are happy to either sell the phone subsidised (currently on T-Mobile in the US, but Vodafone will be coming for European support in “Spring 2010”), or you can buy it unsubsidised (and unlocked) for $529, and you can even have up to 2 lines of text engraved on the back (although along with many engraved Apple products, this does limit your ability to send the phone back unless it’s faulty).

Expect to start seeing these phones in the UK very shortly…


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