Smartphone applications have transformed the way we live our lives in the UK. From the way we communicate to the way we navigate, from the way we shop to the way we entertain ourselves, apps have become intertwined in many of our daily activities.
According to Google, the average Brit now has 29 apps installed on their smartphone. Some of the most popular apps have even become household names: apps such as Instagram, Hailo, RunKeeper and WhatsApp now enjoy widespread brand recognition.
With apps becoming more central to our lives, it’s important to consider them when buying your next smartphone. In particular, application compatibility can make a huge difference to your smartphone experience. In this guide, we’ll cover five important app considerations when choosing your next smartphone. More...
Buy an Xperia Z Ultra from Expansys and you’ll receive a free SmartWatch 2 worth £159.99. It’s the perfect companion to the world’s slimmest Full HD phone (6.4mm) as you can control your phablet from your wrist.
Rather than fetching for your 6.4-inch Z Ultra nestled in your bag, a quick glance at your SmartWatch 2 shows you the information you need. Technically the third smart watch made by Sony (1, 2 and who could forget this glamorous iteration?), highlights of the gadget includes:
Compatible with any smartphone/tablet Android 4.0 or later
Dust and water resistant; (IP57 rating, 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter)
Up to 4 days battery life (96 hours)
NFC enabled/connects via Bluetooth
1.6-inch transreflective touch display (readable in sunlight)
Tonnes of apps to download from, the Google Play store
The iconic Xperia power button that sits proudly on the Xperia Z, Z1 and Z Ultra was inspired by the crown on watches (the part that winds the clock) so it fits well on the SmartWatch 2. The 24mm straps are changeable so you can adapit it to fit your style. Sony offer colourful yellow and pink silicon straps or more sophisticated brown and black leather.
The Xperia Z Ultra is available from Expansys with 0% finance (£48.60/month).
The Nokia Lumia 625 is perfect for those looking for a smartphone on a budget and its now even more value for money with Nokia offering a free cover worth £17.99. It boasts a big 4.7-inch display, its 4G enabled and it has Nokia’s superb offline turn-by-turn navigation. Follow the 5 steps below to make your claim.
Sign up for a Nokia account or sign in with your existing Nokia account to register for the offer. Register between 11th September and 31st December 2013.
3.Claim your free cover
Once you’ve created or signed into your Nokia account, please fill the form in with your name, contact details, address, preferred colour of shell and IMEI number. The IMEI can be found on the side of the box your phone comes in.
4.Nokia will verify your information
When you register your purchase, Nokia automatically verify the information you provided
5.Your free Cover will be sent to you
Sit back and enjoy using your new Lumia 625, your free gift will be sent within 28 days.
Whenever someone mentions buying a new mobile phone, the first thing that often comes to mind is expensive contracts and lengthy periods locked into the same contract. By avoiding a few common pitfalls and making smarter decisions about your next mobile phone, you can become a mighty mobile adventurer rather than an annoying sidekick. Get your smartphone at the right price and it’ll be a great investment that saves you money across all parts of your daily life.
In this article, we take a look at five ways to save money and to get the most out of your mobile phone. More...
Last year’s IFA show in Berlin brought us quite a few drool worthy high tech pieces. Namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Camera and the Bond inspired Sony Xperia T, as well as a slew of innovative Windows 8 and WP8 ATIV devices that marked the beginning of a wonderful partnership between Samsung and Microsoft.
This year’s global innovations show is set to be another tech bonanza. HTC, Acer, Archos, Samsung and Sony are all set to unveil their new phablets, tablets and smartphones. Samsung and Sony have already announced their pre-IFA events, which will be happening a few days before the official start of the show, in order to give more momentum for their flagships of this upcoming year. IFA 2013 is taking place from Friday 6th September – Wednesday 11th September; follow us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or checking our Insight blog. Here’s our run down of what to expect. You can pre-order and check out all the latest gadgets on our IFA 2013 web page.
Rumors concerning a Samsung smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, have been ticking louder and louder by the minute and we’re certain it will be unveiled at the event. Beating Apple’s rumored smartwatch to the race it will go up against the Sony SmartWatch 2 and COOKOO watch in the growing wearable tech market. Supposedly the watch will feature a 1.67-inch AMOLED display but, contrary to certain rumors, it won’t be flexible. 1GB of RAM and a Exynos dual-core CPU (clocking in at 1.5GHz) powers the smartwatch, whilst Bluetooth, NFC connectivity and a 2MP camera are all rumored to feature. There has also been talk of a web browser, email and phone call apps but nothing has been confirmed.
According to Venture Beats this is an image of the Samsung Galaxy Gear - we'll have to wait until IFA to know for certain
The new Galaxy Note III will supposedly feature a large 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, a quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU or the Exynos 5 Octa, (most likely depending on region) and a massive of 3GB RAM. In terms of the camera, a 13MP rear sensor with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) as well as a front camera for video chatting is expected. The latest version of Android 4.3 will surely be completed by Samsung’s Nature UX 2 user interface. Being 2013, we’re expecting nothing short of 4G connectivity, as well as a nice little dose of NFC.
Next up is Sony and their new 5-inch Full HD flagship codenamed the Honami. Pictures of it have been leaked on the web but the specs remain a mystery. Supposedly it boasts a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, an incredible 20.7 MP camera, a 3000 mAh battery, and runs Android 4.2 OS. If all of the above turns out to be accurate, waiting for the Z1 Honami will definitely be worth it.
Following the mini trend of flagship handsets (HTC One mini, Galaxy S3 mini), a mini version of the Honami is also looking to take its share of the spotlight. It has a slightly smaller (but still big) 4.3-inch display, the same CPU/RAM and a slightly smaller 2,400 mAh battery.
The Sony Lens G is another product that will allegedly be announced in Berlin next week. It’s a high definition camera lens for mobile devices which can also be used as a stand-alone digital camera. Featuring a sensor, CPU and an SD card slot it will enable you to drastically improve your mobile photos, as well as offer you the option to use it as a separate camera.
LG beat everyone to the curve by announcing its LG G2 smartphone a few weeks ago instead of waiting for IFA. This enables LG to give a little more stage time their new tablet – the LG G Pad 8.3. It’s an 8.3-inch slate with a full HD display (1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution), 2GB of RAM and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor. It’s just 8.3mm thick and weighs 338g so it’s going to be ideal for on the move. Expect it to reach European markets in the last three months of 2013.
The new LG G Pad is taking on the iPad mini and Google Nexus 7
Acer carry on their blazing pace by showing their new 6 inch phablet - the Acer Liquid S2 at IFA 2013. According to the Taiwanese manufacturer, it’s the world’s first smartphone that can record 4K video – a format 4 times as detailed as high definition. The new Acer Liquid E2 Duo and Acer Liquid S1 Duo are both available from Expansys.
A member of our EXPANSYS geek squad will be at IFA making sure we’re up to date with the best of the latest the tech world has to offer. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, as well as our EXPANSYS blog. You can pre-order and check out all the latest gadgets on our IFA 2013 web page.
The new Sony Xperia M packs plenty of clever features for a £199.99 smartphone. It's available from Expansys now in black or white.
Xperia M Specs:
1GB RAM/1GHz Dual Core Qualcomm processor
4GB internal memory/microSD, up to 32GB
Android Jelly Bean OS (4.1)
5MP camera, dedicated shutter button
1,750mAh battery, STAMINA mode
The design details from the Xperia Z flagship are worked into the M’s sleek skeleton frame (115g). The precision crafted aluminium buttons and the iconic power crown (inspired by the dial on wrist watches) add a touch of quality. It has an OmniBalance which means it looks symmetrical from all angles and the gentle arch on the back helps it feel comfortable in your hand. There’s also a handy illuminating light at the bottom of the display to indicate any incoming calls, Facebook notifications, SMS messages etc. that you can customise.
A hearty 1GB of RAM - rather unusual for a mid-range smartphone – gives the Xperia M a slick user experience. Its runs Android Jelly Bean (4.1) out of the box and a dual-core Qualcom processor clocks 1GHz. There’s 4GB of internal memory plus a microSD slot for an extra 32GB.
Press the dedicated camera button to quickly boot up the excellent 5MP rear camera in under one second. This can take HDR images (High Dynamic Range) and record HD video (720p)thanks to the Exmor RS lens sensor. It has an LED flash and 4 x zoom as well.
A premium 4-inch display is just the right size for everyday functionality and immersive entertainment. The screen has a pixel density of 245 (480 x 854) and supports multitouch (up to 4 fingers). To top it off, it’s layered with scratch-resistant glass.
The Xperia M is NFC enabled so sharing content is easy with friends. Touch once onto NFC equipped headphones, headset or speakers like the Sony BTV5 (demoed in the video below) and play your music, no need to plug in a cable or pair manually via Bluetooth.
The Xperia M is a mid-range smartphone that punches above its weight and price tag. Flagship devices that cost twice as much boast the same features. The low price point means the M goes up against the Nokia Lumia 620 but deciding between them will come down to your preference of Windows Phone 8 or Android Jelly Bean operating systems.
Get all the information you need about your football club with the 1st4Fans app. It’s a free download from the Windows Store and there are over 154 teams to choose from including Premier League, Championship and even MLS clubs.
App at a glance:
Consolidates your team news from sources around the web
See upcoming fixtures and results
Live scores and match updates
Read fellow fan opinions
Live league table to check where your team are
The 1st4Fans app has an elegant and fast user interface that syntheses various pieces of information from around the web. You can browse articles written from various news sources (Goal.com, TEAMTalk, Guardian etc.) and read fellow fans opinions about your team. Check live scores, upcoming fixtures, results and the league tables. You Designed for Windows Phone 8, the app utilises the Live Tiles so you can get up to date information of your football club at a glance.
Developed and published by Ranyart Systems, 1st4Fans is the top rated Sports app on Windows Phone, the top rated free app overall and won the Best Sports App Award 2012 (beating ESPN); there's only one football app you need for your Lumia this season!
A Nokia update called Amber is rolling out for all Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones. “Exact delivery timings will vary by region”, but the update should reach your handset by the end of September. For details on how to update your Nokia Lumia please visit their support page.
Amber features and tricks at a glance:
Better camera performance – improved ISO for Lumia 920
Nokia Smart Camera, Nokia Video Trimmer, Nokia Video Upload - apps will now be available in the Store for your Lumia
Nokia Pro Camera – Lumia 920, Lumia 925 and Lumia 928 only
Glance Screen – not for Lumia 520 or Lumia 625
Blacklist feature – block unwanted phone calls or SMS messages
Double tap the screen to unlock your phone
Flip your Lumia over to mute incoming phone calls
Improved Xbox Music and Internet Explorer
Storage Check – see what’s using your phones memory
The camera on your Lumia will be able to take sharper photos thanks to improved image processing with the Amber update. Smarter algorithms produce “better noise reduction, colour reproduction, exposure control and autofocus”, and this is for every Nokia Lumia. The Lumia 920 in particular gets a greater ISO range with the Amber update. It’s now capable of ISO 800 – 3200 for even better low light performance (it was 100 – 800). For tips on how to utilise the ISO on the 920 click here.
Nokia Smart Camera will be available from the Store after downloading Amber to your phone. This app has Best Shot, Action Shot, Motion Focus, Remove Moving Object and Change Faces under one interface. Best Shot allows you to pick the best photo from a burst of ten, Motion Focus gives the illusion of super-fast movement, Change Faces allows you to get everyone looking their best in group photos, Action Shot adds a cool movement effect to photos and Remove Moving Object, well no prizes for guessing what that does. Please note the Smart Camera’s performance is relative to the capabilities of your Lumia; burst mode takes just seven pictures not ten on the Lumia 520, 620 and 720.
The Nokia Pro Camera feature that debuted on the Lumia 1020 is now available on the Lumia 920, 925 and 928 (928 is exclusive to Verizon). It takes your Lumia photography to the next level due to its on-screen controls (details on Pro Camera here).
Nokia Pro Camera will be made available on the Lumia 920 & 925 with the Amber update
Nokia Video Trimmer and Nokia Video Upload will both be available from the Store as well when you’ve downloaded the Amber update. As their names suggest, the apps help you trim videos easily and share your videos with friends.
Looking at the time is one of the biggest drains on smartphone batteries. This is what Nokia Glance Screen intends to resolve; it constantly shows the clock, battery status and when the phone is silent on the Lumia display – even when the phone is locked. This stops you milking the battery by booting up the display; activate the feature under the Display and Touch option in Settings. Unfortunately, this is unavailable for Lumia 520 and Lumia 625 as they have low display memory.
Vital information is displayed with Nokia Glance Screen
Pestered by telephone sale calls? Once the Amber update is installed you can block them and their SMS messages with the Blacklist feature. Long-tap on their number in the phone tile menu and you’ll be offered the option to “block number”.
Other extras include being able to silence an incoming phone calls by flipping over your Lumia and unlocking your screen by double tapping the screen. You’ll be able to manage your media easier with the Storage Check app, it shows clearly how much memory is taken by what apps, files etc. Nokia’s Here Mapping service, Xbox Music and Internet Explorer will also be updated with the Amber download.
Click here to see the full Nokia Lumia range at Expansys.
Xperia Diagnostics is a free app developed to assist users with troubleshooting their Xperia smartphone or Tablet hardware and to help diagnose any issues that may occur. It lets you run tests on your device to better understand its hardware and software functions. It also provides useful information such as model name, Android version and software version.
Have a look at the video below for a short demonstration on how the app works.
The third iteration of Samsung’s now famous Galaxy Note phablet/smartphone is most likely looking at a starring role at Samsung’s next “Unpacked” event, which is happening on September 4th, at 7 PM ahead of the annual IFA show in Berlin.
Now, let us refresh your memory with a few Samsung Galaxy Note III rumors, just in case you’ve been living under a Wi-Fi free rock or you’ve just recently returned from your holiday and are still catching up on your high tech reading.
When it comes to the Note III, several different screen sized have been thrown in the mix, including a very happy rumor that we might get three different sized Note III’s. If such talk is to be believed, you’ll have the option to choose between a 5.5-inch, 5.7-inch and a 6-inch version of the popular phablet. Other buzz suggests we’re looking at a single 5.7-inch AMOLED display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU or an eight-core Exynos 5 Octo processor, along with a pretty generous 3GB of RAM. We’re also thinking the latest Note will feature the most recent version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an improved version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and a powerful battery that will make sure you get the most out of this new smartphone powerhouse.
Design wise, we don’t think the Note III will differ much from the rest of the Galaxy range and Samsung’s bestseller, the Samsung Galaxy S4. We’re expecting the trademark plastic cover with curved edges and a metallic finish. Of course, we’ll also be getting the customary S-Pen stylus and hopefully at least a 13 MP camera sensor. 4G LTE is also expected along with NFC.
We don't know about you but if rumors are to be believed we're surely going to be looking at another impressive piece of hardware from Samsung. Mark your calendars, ready, set, go!
P.S. Just in case the Note III rumors alone aren't enough to get you excited for IFA, the buzz surrounding a certain Samsung Gear smartwatch is getting louder and louder.