Sunday, 5 February 2012

Apple Ipad 2 Review

The Apple Ipad 2 is currently streets ahead of every tablet on the market, although companies like Blackberry and Samsung are catching up on the mobile phone front, they seem to have been left behind by this innovative device and lately we’ve been putting the I-Pad2 through it’s paces. We thought we’d write an initial review and give our opinion. The model we have is the 32 Gigabyte, wi-fi version in black. The Ipad2 comes in several versions, black or white, 16, 32 or 64 Gig and wi-fi or mobile. If you buy the mobile version you will need a contract to use it on the move. We opted for the wi-fi version simply because it’s cheaper and it can be tethered to a mobile phone for use on the move anyway and this is something we regularly do when taking the ipad 2 out and about.

Apple Ipad 2, the best tablet on the market today
The ipad 2 has a nice sized 9.7” display, it works pretty much the same way as an iphone with a touch screen that will rotate depending on which way it’s orientated. The graphics are superb and the dual core A5 chip and ios4 operating system help give us the most advanced tablet on the market.

Now technical details aside, what does the Ipad2 actually mean for us around the home?. Well the ipad2 comes equipped with front and rear cameras exactly the same as a smart phone. One of the most popular Ipad2 Apps is Skype. You can see where this is going?, with Skype installed you can literally sit on the couch hooked up to the wi-fi talking too and viewing a friend or family member at the other end and we’ve been doing just this with ours.

Apps are also available for You Tube , BBC I-Player and several other TV Stations enabling you to watch catch up or on demand TV whenever you want. You can sync films from your I-Tunes account too and for TV and film the ipad is just superb. Several newspapers have ipad apps too and our favourites are the Daily Mail and the Telegraph so our ipad2 doubles up as a newspaper on occasions too.

BBC I-Player on the I-Pad 2

The ipad2 comes with a built in ipod, there is a small ipod icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and simply touching this icon pulls up the music player, if you already have an ipod, as we do, you’ll recognise the screens instantly. We’ve already reviewed and ipod classic for the site so we won’t dwell on the music player, suffice to say it’s every bit as good as an ipod. One thing we haven’t seen yet is a docking station that will take an ipad2, all the ones we’ve seen so far are for an ipod but we are sure an ipad2 compatible docking station will be along if it hasn’t arrived already, just because we haven’t seen one yet doesn’t mean they aren’t available right?.

There are also icons for photos and you can store galleries and galleries of pictures on the ipad2. A mail icon gives instant access to your email, we set ours up to access our Google email account the same as we have on our smart phone and the ipad2 now provides us with one touch access to this. The default icon along the bottom of the screen is the safari web browser which brings us neatly to the internet itself. You can sit and browse the internet from the comfort of your chair or sofa and we’ve found the ipad2 excels when it comes to lounging on the sofa surfing!.

All the usual apps are there for the ipad 2, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, skype and many others, in fact there are so many apps available for the ipad 2 that you can literally do anything with it, and we mean anything!.

Setup is easy via the Ipad 2's Settings Menu

The ipad 2 plugs into your PC exactly the same way an ipod does and you can use the I-Tunes software to sync files from your PC onto your ipad 2, it really is exactly the same as putting songs on an ipod. Once hooked up to your wi-fi you also have access directly to the App Store so you don’t need to continually sync an ipad via your PC, apps can be done from the ipad itself.

Battery use on the ipad 2 is superb, you can get roughly 10 hours to a charge which is excellent, the unit comes complete with a charger and it will charge in just a few hours. Since we purchased ours we’ve used it for chatting to friends and family, banking, watching TV, reading a newspaper, playing games, updating Facebook and Twitter and general web surfing. We haven’t touched much on the games available for the ipad but suffice to say there are thousands of them, in fact there are probably more games available for the ipad than there is anything else.

Despite regularly doing all these things on our ipad2 we still feel like we’ve really only scratched the surface, there are all kinds of categories in the app store, books, business, education, entertainment, finance, lifestyle, navigation, music, photography, travel, sports, social networking and many more. This incredible little tablet is a must for any house hold, we promise, once you get your hands on one, your PC or laptop will virtually become redundant, the ipad2 really is that versatile and that good!.

Apple I-Pad 2, the top selling tablet and rightly so!

Leather Case. As with all expensive devices it pays to protect your purchase so some kind of case is a must in our view, if you shell out £400 - £600 for a device you really need to look after it!.

Screen Protector. Again being a touch screen device you want to keep the screen in tip top condition, just like screen protectors for your smart phone, they are also made for the ipad 2 as well, definitely worth having!.

 Ipad to HDMI Converter. You can also plug your ipad 2 into your TV via a HDMI Converter and a HDMI Lead, this is ideal for playing games or watching programmes off the internet, some of these ipad to hdmi converters also have a usb socket on them too so you can transfer pictures direct from a digital camera.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cheap Phone Bill With A Giff Gaff Simcard

You only have to turn on the TV news to realize how much debt people are in these days. It looks like a lot of people have been living beyond their means and cash is tight for just about everybody.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to cut back, as most of us are, then quite often one of the first things you look at is your mobile phone bill or contract. Sniffing out a new mobile phone deal is often difficult but we managed to do that recently when we stumbled across Giff Gaff.
Giff Gaff is a PAYG mobile phone operator, they use the o2 network and they certainly provide the cheapest PAYG mobile phone deals we've seen so far!.
In order to use Giff Gaff you simply need an unlocked mobile phone, just order a Giff Gaff simcard by registering with them, you can register here, and follow their simple instructions to get yourself started.

The neatly packed Giff Gaff Simcard, it's so easy to use!

The goody bags they offer are excellent value for money, they have a £5 goody bag which lasts a month, for £5 you get 60 UK minutes and 300 UK texts for the month, this amount of texts and minutes will cost you £10 on any other PAYG mobile phone deal!. Data usage with a £5 goody bag is extra but only costs 20p with a limit of 20 Megabytes of data per day, again very favorable when you think that Vodafone charge 50p per day for theirs!. One thing you do have to be aware of with data usage is that it's for your mobile phone only and doesn't include 'tethered devices' like laptops or ipads.

The Giff Gaff £5 Goody Bag

The £10 goody bags are actually better than most mobile phone contracts!, for £10 per month you get 250 UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and unlimited internet, again the internet is for your phone only and doesn't include tethered devices but what a deal that is!, unlimited texts and internet for £10 per month on Pay As You Go!.

The Giff Gaff £10 Goody Bag

The £15 goody bags offer the same unlimited UK texts and internet as the £10 goody bag, the only difference is the extra UK minutes you get, this is bumped up to a whopping 400 UK minutes.

The Giff Gaff £15 Goody Bag

So there you have it, we particularly like the £10 goody bag, unlimited texts and internet for this price is amazing value for money and with no contract ties its an absolute winner for cutting your mobile phone bill to a reasonable price.
Order your Giff Gaff simcard today by clicking here, you won't be disappointed.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Samsung Galaxy-S I9000

The Samsung Galaxy-S I9000 has been around for a while now, powered by the superb android operating system, this was the first smart phone to really challenge the I-Phone.
The Samsung Galaxy and the android operating system have certainly given the I-Phone a run for its money, of the top selling mobile phones in the UK recently, the top 4 were all android handsets with the I-phone coming in at a lowly 5th place. The Samsung Galaxy is one of the phones that is currently out selling the I-phone.

Samsung Galaxy-S I9000, a top selling mobile phone

The Galaxy-S is actually a higher spec phone than the I-Phone and the 4” Armoled screen makes it ideal for mobile internet and email use. We found the handset very easy to use and navigate around. Making phone calls, accessing contact lists, sending email and browsing the web are all available at the push of a button once you’ve got a Galaxy set up properly. The camera is very easy to use too and a neat feature is the easy access you get to Google’s Picassa Web Albums, this allows you to easily download galleries of your pictures to your mobile phone.

The key to getting the most out of an android phone is the apps. Like the I-Phone, the Galaxy really comes into it’s own when you pick the right apps for your phone. For instance, our review model is now loaded with Facebook , Twitter, Google Email, Yahoo Email, Hotmail, BBC News Feed, Sky News Feed and several free games which are all available on the Android Market website. There is actually an app installed on every android phone that automatically takes you to the Android Market site were you can download paid and free apps and carry out any updates to apps you may already have. A year or two ago the I-Phone had a massive advantage when it came to app availability but these days, everything you can get for an I-phone, you can get for an Android Phone too. Maps and Navigation aids are superb for Android and like most phones these days the music player is easily accessible and a pleasure to use.

Android Market opens up a world of Apps for the Galaxy

Being such a powerful phone the Samsung Galaxy is quite a beast when it comes to power usage, the phone is powered with a 1500mA battery and it will need charging regularly if you use it heavily. For everyday texting we found a charge every 4 to 5 days was enough to keep the phone running but if you have the screen and the internet on a lot it can need charging daily. This shouldn’t be a problem for most people, it charges in a few hours and can easily be done at home or in the car via a car charger. Apart from the heavy battery usage we think the Samsung Galaxy is a superb phone and to be honest, the I-phone is just as battery intensive so we don’t see this as a disadvantage against other phones. Most smart phones are actually powerful mini computers so heavy battery usage should be expected from all of them really.

There are a phenomenal amount of features on a Samsung Galaxy-S I9000, far too many to mention in one review, suffice to say this is one of the top handsets currently available in the mobile phone market. You will find elsewhere on this site a page called ‘Cut Your Mobile Phone Bill’, on this page we recommend using a small provider called Giff Gaff, they use the o2 network and they provide some great PAYG deals. We recommend a £10 Giff Gaff Goody Bag for use with a Samsung Galaxy, this package gives unlimited internet usage and unlimited texts as well as 250 UK minutes for £10 per month with no contract. We think this is the cheapest deal available for a mobile phone user and the reason we recommend it is for the unlimited internet, this enables you to get the absolute best out of your android handset, it will not only enable you to use Facebook, Twitter or email on the move, it also allows you to do things that use a lot of data, things like watching You Tube or the BBC I-player, both of which are really good with the Galaxy’s massive screen.

In conclusion, we think the Samsung Galaxy-S I9000 is a superb phone, coupled with a Sim that gives unlimited internet usage and texts, we think you have a complete package easily equal to anything that’s on the market today, all you have to do is download the apps that suit your lifestyle and tailor your handset to suit your own needs, superb!.

Protective Case. As usual all phones have extras, we don’t think we’ve ever had a mobile phone and not bought a case for it, our preference is leather as its tough and durable but there are plenty of other types out there, if you’re going to spend several hundred pounds on a handset then it needs treating with respect and protecting as best as you can.

Protect your phone with a decent case

Screen Protector. All smart phones have touch screen technology, swiping and tapping a screen on a regular basis eventually produces wear and tear and screen protectors are so cheap, once in place they work superbly well and they will keep your screen in tip top condition, definitely another ‘must’ for any smart phone user.

Battery. You never know when you’ll need a spare!

In Car Charger. Always worth having if you own any smart phone!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ipod Classic 120 Gb

When we first thought of making the 3g mobile phones blog, it didn't take us long to work out that we didn't just have to review mobile phones and even though the site is in its very early stages, we quickly decided to include 'other tech'. The most obvious thing to review first was our beloved 120 Gigabyte Ipod Classic.

120 Gb I-Pod Classic

We know the ipod has evolved a bit recently, the touch screen technology used in the apple iphone has now been applied to the ipod in the shape of the ipod touch. The trouble is we think a mobile phone or an ipod is really a bit small for playing games and rather than have an ipod touch, we'd rather go out and buy a Nintendo DS Lite!. To us, an ipod is a music player that carries everything recording you own and then some!.

We now have a 160 Gb ipod classic available but this particular 120 Gb model we are reviewing has more than enough memory for us, even with our whole music collection and 27 full movies we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to using up the massive amount of memory this ipod classic has, in fact there are still a massive 93 Gigabytes of memory left and that's with everything we own on it!.

Even with everything we own installed the ipod classic is empty!

The ipod itself is a nice, slim and very stylish looking piece of kit, ours is a black model so it has a dark front with a silver chrome back with the famous apple logo right in the middle. The front of the ipod has a 2.5 inch screen and the all important click wheel which allows you to navigate round the ipods menu.

In order to get things on and off your ipod you have to install itunes, you can get the latest version of itunes from the official apple website and once installed, getting your mp3 collection onto your ipod is really easy. You simply drag and drop the tracks you want into itunes and then 'sync' your ipod. Syncing your ipod transfers all your music tracks onto the ipod and after that, any changes you make will reflect on your ipod next time you sync so adding or removing mp3 tracks is easy.

 Navigating round the ipod is really easy too, in order to access the menu's just press 'menu' on the click wheel and it comes up, to cycle through the various menu's just rotate your finger around the wheel and the ipod will scroll up or down to wherever you want it to go then click the middle to enter into the next menu or feature.

The main menu of the Ipod classic

 The music player section of the ipod is excellent, you can view your music by artist, composer, genre or by album when selecting tracks, another favorite of ours is the cover flow, which allows you to flip through your tracks and see the album covers. The sound from an ipod is really crisp and the standard ipod headphones are great if you're on the move. One other handy feature is the 'hold' switch which is located at the top opposite where your headphones plug in, using the hold switch will lock your ipod so it will carry on repeating or shuffling tracks whilst it's in your pocket, effectively it 'locks' the click wheel in case it's accidently pressed. If you find you're not happy with the quality of you're mp3 track you will find a graphic equalizer in the settings menu so changing the sound is also very easy.

Apple ipod classic music menu

 The settings menu controls a lot of other functions too, you can even customize your main ipod menu from here, choosing which menu's you want to see when you switch your ipod on. Other stuff like backlight, volume limit, brightness, shuffle, date/time are amongst some of the other functions you can access via the settings menu.
The 2.5 inch screen on the ipod is a little small for watching films, we have a few movies on this ipod but watching them is hard work, we usually watch a film whilst away from home on camping trips. Once settled down in a sleeping bag we can watch a film on an ipod but the fact that the screen is only 2.5 inches means you literally have to focus your eyes on the screen and it's not easy to do this continually for the best part of 2 hours!. We find watching half an hour or so than pausing the film to rest the eyes for a few minutes and maybe stretch a little is the best way to watch an ipod movie. Just like our music, putting films on an ipod is very easy, just drag and drop your film into the movies section of itunes and it will go onto your ipod when you 'sync' it. A word of warning though, films have to be in the right format to play on an ipod and ours are all mp4's.

I-Tunes software, just drag and drop your files and sync!

 You can also store photographs on your ipod and last but not least there is a podcasts section. Itunes has an extensive podcast library and although you have to buy a lot of them, quite a few are free. Our favorites are the free comedy podcasts and we always have one or two stored in our podcast section for when we're bored.
The ipod classic is a great multimedia package but it really excels itself when it comes to music, it's and absolute giant of a music player and you'll never be able to completely fill it with songs, it's not just a portable music player though, movies, podcasts and limited games make it a great little entertainment package and if you haven't got one, where have you been!.

The ipod has an amazing amount of extra's, being a sleek and stylish looking piece of kit the first thing it benefits from is a protective case. We always go for a Leather Case because it offers more protection than any other.

Protective leather case for an ipod classic

 Ipod Docking Station. An ipod docking station is really useful, not only is an ipod good for being on the move, docking stations have made them useful around the house. We use a Chronos Idock which is actually a DAB Radio that has an Idock located on the top of it. With a docking station in the house the ipod becomes you're home hi-fi system and this is now our preferred way of listening to music at home.

Ipod I-Trip. The I-Trip is a cracking little device that enables you to listen to your ipod in the car, it's an fm transmitter that plugs into the charging socket on the bottom of your ipod, when in the car you can tune your car radio into the signal and listen to your ipod whilst driving, like the ipod docking station, the i-trip gives your ipod an extra dimension, don't leave home without it!.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Blackberry Storm 2 9520

Well we finally managed to get our hands on a Blackberry Storm 2 9520 handset to review, we picked the phone up as an unwanted contract upgrade from Ebay. The phone was locked to Vodafone when we bought it but it seems Vodafone don't like people to have top of the range 3g handsets on PAYG!. After being told we had to have a contract to get internet access with Blackberry Vodafone we promptly unlocked our Blackberry to use on any network and switched to our favorite Orange Dolphin pay as you go simcard

 Having dumped Vodafone in favor of Orange we quickly had our Blackberry Storm 2 up and running and we must say this phone is a real stunner. From the moment we opened the packaging we could see the Storm 2 had class. The two-tone black handset looks stunning and it's easy to see why the Blackberry Storm 2 9520 is winning lots of people over.

Blackberry Storm 2 9520, a classy looking mobile phone

Looks aren't everything and we wanted to know just what this Blackberry Storm had in the way of features compared to other top class mobile phones. The first thing we looked at was the phones navigation, we like things to be easily accessible and being a touch screen phone we found the Storm 2 to be nice and easy to navigate around. Features like messages, sms, contacts, internet, phone and music can all be accessed by clicking the correct icon on the phones first page. These first 8 icons combined with the touch screen make using the Blackberry Storm 2 very easy. For example, to make a call you simply click the 'phone' icon and you are presented with 3 choices, you can access the call log, your contacts or the dialing pad, we found the dial pad and contacts very easy to use and phoning someone up is as easy on the Blackberry Storm 2 as it is on any other phone, if not easier!.

Blackberry Storm 2 Dial Pad makes phone calls easy

SMS and MMS messages were also easy with the option to call up a keyboard rather than enter text messages in the traditional manner. Messages are saved in the phone under each persons name and when you click their name, any texts you've sent and received from that person appear together just like a chat window on a program like messenger, we liked this feature as it makes it easy to see what texts you last sent or received off a particular person.The most important button on the Blackberry Storm 2 9520 is what people call the 'berry' button. This button is the key to navigating round this phone. Pressing the berry button brings up the phones full menu which gives access to everything from setting the phone up for Wi-Fi to changing ring tones and generally customizing your phone. From the main 'berry' menu you can access all the phones inner workings as well as any apps or games that you decide to install. You can also access a massive list of help files that are very useful if you've just bought one of these phones!.

Blackberry Storm, the 'berry' button is second left along the bottom

The Blackberry Storm 2 comes with 2gig of memory which to us isn't quite enough, bearing in mind you might want to store pictures, movies and music on your Blackberry we really think they could have put 8gig in from the start, specially when competitors like Apple have I-Phones that come in 8, 16 and 32gig already. This is only a minor gripe as the Storm 2 has a slot for a memory card and we promptly bought an 8 Gig Micro SD Card off Ebay and expanded ours to take a much larger music collection.

Blackberry Storm 2 Battery, Simcard and 8gig memory card

The camera on the Blackberry Storm 2 was a little disappointing, we've been used to a 5 megapixel Nokia N95 that produced great pictures and to go backwards to a 3 megapixel camera on a phone that is more advanced just doesn't seem right. Then again, the camera on the I-Phone isn't much good either and what the Blackberry lacks in it's camera, it makes up for in other areas.
Following our trouble with Vodafone we were looking forward to trying out the browser on the Blackberry Storm 2, with a built in touch screen keyboard and the tilting screen we were expecting internet browsing to be a lot easier than most mobile phones and we weren't disappointed!. Browsing the web with a Blackberry Storm must be as easy as you can get on a mobile phone. With the phone in the 'landscape' position you get to see more of a webpage and you can simply put your finger on the screen and move around a web page with ease. Entering information like login details for a website is easy when using the touch screen keyboard and whilst it's a bit more fiddling than using a laptop, it's a lot easier to browse with than the majority of mobile phones.

Blackberry Storm 2 Web Browser in Landscape Mode, the touch screen keyboard can be hidden to show more of a webpage

One feature of the Blackberry Storm we haven't mentioned yet is the push-pull email. This is a key feature of Blackberry phones, not only does it give you email on the move, either via Blackberry or set up with MSN or Yahoo, it is necessary to install apps from the Blackberry website as they send you a download link to your email address in order to install an application. Blackberry have been very clever with this as it generally means you have to be locked into a contract to take advantage of this email feature. All is not lost however, it is little known that most mobile phone service providers will provide push-pull email for a small fee. Our favorite provider Orange provides a Blackberry Orange email facility for £5 per month on PAYG, the push-pull email on your Blackberry will work as long as you keep a minimum level of £5 credit in your phone so you don't actually have to lock yourself into a Blackberry contract to enjoy the benefit of the Blackberry email facility.
In conclusion, the Blackberry Storm 2 9520 is an excellent phone. The camera is not as good as a Nokia but better than an I-Phone, the push-pull email makes it a very good choice for a business user or someone who uses email as their primary form of communication. The internet is very easy to use and with an extra memory card installed you'll have more than enough memory for your multi media. The phone itself is one of the best looking handsets you'll ever see, it's a classy looking phone and it is certainly worth considering if you're in the market for a new mobile phone.

Blackberry Storm 2 Battery. There are a few ways to charge a mobile phone on the move, a car charger or a wind up charger being the obvious ones. Here at 3G Mobile Phones we actually like to have a spare battery as we like our weekends away. Having a spare is always handy and you can find them cheaper on Ebay.

Blackberry Storm 2 Battery, it's always worth having a spare!

Blackberry Storm 2 Leather Case. Mobile Phones are very easy items to scratch and damage, no matter what phone we have we always have a protective case for it and for this Blackberry we bought a Pdair designer leather case. It's perfect for a Blackberry Storm 2 and we can carry our phone round easily without fear of damage.

PDair Leather Case for the Blackberry Storm 2

Bluetooth Dongle. As well as Wi-Fi, the Blackberry Storm also has bluetooth and a bluetooth dongle for your PC is always useful to have.

Blackberry Storm 2 Car Charger. The alternative to having a spare battery, a car charger can keep your Blackberry Storm 2 going if you're out and about, not our preferred method but worth having for emergencies.

Headphones. With an 8gig memory card installed and a pair of headphones, I doubt you'll need to take your Ipod with you!.

This useful youtube video shows you exactly how to enter an unlock code for a Blackberry Storm 2 9520

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