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26
Feb

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 hands-on preview: The ghost of the Note 7 lives on in this tablet


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This svelte tablet is not only a performer, but it comes bundled with the software tricks and S Pen that made its phablet predecessor so popular.

I always say that the last great, fully-featured Android tablet was Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 because it fulfilled all the right criteria: it was stylish, thin, extremely light and came equipped with a vibrant Super AMOLED display that was really quite perfect for binge watching video.

That was nearly two years ago. Now we have the Galaxy Tab S3, Samsung’s third-generation premium tablet. It’s heftier, comes with an S Pen, and is covered in a premium glass finish that hearkens back to the Note 7 release that went terribly, terribly wrong. In this way, Samsung keeps its design prowess lingering on, as if to remind us that it’s still innovating. And that’s what the Tab S3 is anyway, right? A holdover launch to keep us salivating until the next eventual Galaxy smartphone release?

Let’s get acquainted with Samsung’s latest big tablet.

Galaxy Tab S3 Hands-on video

We have yet to spend too much time with the Galaxy Tab S3, but if you want to see it in action we have a great preview video for your enjoyment. Watch above, then read on for further impressions of the new tablet!

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Galaxy Tab S3 Specs

Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat
Display 9.7-inch Super AMOLED, 2048×1536
Processor Snapdragon 820Quad Core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz
Storage 32GB (U.S.)
Expandable microSD card
RAM 4GB
Rear Camera 13MP, Auto-focus, Flash
Front Camera 5MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, USB Type-C 3.1, GPSLTE (optional)
Charging USB-C
Battery 6000mAhFast charging
Water resistance No
Input S Pen4096-levcel pressure sensitivity
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 237.3 x 169 x 6 mm
Weight 429g (Wi-Fi)434g (LTE)
Colors Silver, black

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Galaxy Tab S3 Fundamentals

As far as premium Android tablets go, the Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the first truly worthy competitors against the iPad. Too bad it’s like three years too late, though. Seriously, where have Android manufacturers been? We saw an influx of plastic tablets hit the market (and one decent metal one) in the last couple of years, but none carried the kind of design aesthetic that would compel someone looking for a premium tablet to look for an Android-based one.

The Tab S3 brings Samsung’s tablets up to speed with its phones.

The Galaxy Tab S3 is pretty compelling, though, enough that you might even warrant its version of Android over what Google offers with the Pixel C. Remember how the Note 7 made you feel? Like cradling a metal-and-glass laden work of art? This doesn’t feel exactly like that, but it’s close enough that you’ll be reminded of the kind of design that Samsung is capable of. It’s got a few of the phablet’s famed bells and whistles, too, like a fingerprint sensor built into the physical home button on the front of the device, and an S Pen, which comes in the box though it’s not attached to the device in any way. It looks different, too, but we’ll get to that in a second.

These are the magnetic pins that connect to the Tab S3’s optional keyboard.

The Tab S3 features a physical home button and capacitive navigation buttons.

The Tab S3’s optional keyboard.

The Tab S3 will be available in two colors: silver and black. You can choose to equip it with an attachable keyboard, which binds to the Tab S3 with magnets. It’s sort of awkward to mount the keyboard, but once you have it on there it pairs nicely with the tablet hardware. I am still not convinced that something like this can be a worthy replacement for a laptop, though, just like I wasn’t convinced by the Pixel C, or the iPad Pro for that matter. But since the Galaxy Tab S3 comes with an S Pen in tow, there is an element of productivity that’s part of its identity, which is why you might want the keyboard.

There’s plenty of appropriate hardware for entertainment here, too.

Samsung equipped its new tablet with the appropriate hardware for entertainment, too. In addition to its 9.7-inch QXGA Super AMOLED display, which Samsung boasts is the “first tablet to be HDR ready,” the Tab S3 is equipped with quad speakers tuned by AKG. There are two speakers on the top and two on the bottom, and all four are equipped with an auto calibration feature that adjusts the direction of the sound based on the orientation of the tablet. The Tab S3 is indeed louder than its predecessors, too, and though you won’t want to blast music with this thing, you can prop it up in front of a bunch of kids to entrance ’em with whatever they haven’t already seen on Netflix. (Actually, you might want to avoid the kids when you learn the Tab S3 is not water resistant like its smartphone counterparts.)

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Galaxy Tab S3 S Pen

The S Pen is back and though its original host has retired to rehab, it’s reinvented itself as a thicker, almost crayon-like peripheral capable of doing truly wonderful things. On the Tab S3, those things include the same actions you may have seen exhibited on the Galaxy Note 7 when it was around, like the Air Command launcher with shortcuts to oft-used tasks. These tasks are fully customizable, but by default they feature shortcuts to specific features previously reserved for the Note series of devices, including Smart select and Screen write. The Tab S3 has the same quick Screen write feature when the screen is off, too, just like its Note brethren.

I’m happy to see that Samsung revived the idea of bundling in its impressive, effective S Pen with its tablets.

I’m happy to see that Samsung revived the idea of bundling in its impressive, effective S Pen with one of its tablet models, but it’s a bummer there’s no way to actually dock the stylus. Unlike the Note 10.1 tablet launched three years back, the S Pen that comes with the Tab S3 requires its own … pencil pouch? Or something like that if you’re planning to bring it with you on the go. Once you feel the realistic drag of the S Pen on the Tab S3’s screen, though, you may not think of is as such a burden. The thicker pen is also better for prolonged stylus use, which is what Samsung hopes to encourage.

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Galaxy Tab S3 Final thoughts

In terms of both design and functionality, the Tab S3 is a valid of reminder of what Samsung is capable of, and that’s manufacturing an attractive, well-made device that’s equipped with all the right stuff, including the capacitive S Pen stylus, a great high-resolution display, and stereo speakers that turn the tablet into a veritable little entertainment system. Its biggest selling point will be whether it releases for the right price, however. If Samsung can transform the Tab S3 into an attainable alternative to what’s being concocted in Cupertino, maybe consumers can be swayed. Or maybe they can’t, because is anyone really buying tablets anymore?

26
Feb

Samsung’s new Gear VR includes Oculus gesture controller


New 2017 model Gear VR comes with new battery-powered touch controller.

Samsung has announced an updated Gear VR headset and controller combo at its Mobile World Congress press conference in Barcelona, Spain. The new 2017 Gear VR comes with a Daydream-style controller that allows for touch input, as well as pointing and dragging, tilting and shooting within the virtual world.

The headset itself looks near identical to the previous Gear VR, released alongside the Note 7 in late 2016, right down to the optics of the lenses and the dimensions and weight. Like that model, the new Gear VR supports the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 edge, S6 edge+ and Note 5.

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So it’s the controller that’s the big deal here, enabling new experiences in Samsung’s VR platform. As well as the touchpad mentioned, you’ll get a trigger button, alongside home, back and volume keys, and magnetic, accelerometer and gryo sensors. It’s powered by AAA batteries, which will last 40 days based on an average of 2 hours use per day.

What’s more, it’s surely no coincidence that a new Gear VR is landing just a month or so out from the expected Galaxy S8 launch. Samsung points out that it’ll work with supported USB Type-C devices, of which there aren’t any right now.

Samsung Gear VR

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  • Gear VR review
  • The Best games for Samsung Gear VR
  • Inside Samsung’s Gear VR web browser
  • Gear VR vs. Google Cardboard

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26
Feb

Nokia 5 preview: Pure Android, all metal, completely affordable


Nokia has announced a trio of global smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With the Nokia 6 leading the charge, and the Nokia 3 bringing up the rear, it’s the Nokia 5 that sits in the middle. 

Priced at just €189, it’s a fully-fledged Android smartphone with a full-metal body at bargain basement prices. Nokia’s strategy here is clear: it’s not to take down the flagship phones from Samsung or Google, it’s to cut into the affordable end of the market with something that appears to offer great value. 

Nokia 5 preview: Design and build

  • 149.7 x 72.5 x 8.05-8.55mm
  • Full metal body
  • Gorilla Glass display 

One of the family traits for Nokia’s new Android handsets is that they all start life as a block of aluminium. They are machined from this block, rather than stamped, the aim being to ensure that they are durable and solid. This is the same sort of message we get from the likes of Apple or HTC and that feeling of solidity is apparent as soon as you get your hands on this phone.

Pocket-lint

It’s similar to the Nokia 6, but it’s more rounded in the corners and around the sides, with a seamless meeting of the glass of the display and the metal of the body. Nokia said that it avoided using a plastic flange around the display that some manufacturers do, resulting in a tighter result. 

For us this design isn’t as well executed as the Nokia 6 which feels like the better phone. It has a slightly curved back and sized at 5.2-inches, the Nokia 5 nestles down into your hand nicely.

You’ll notice the 3.5mm headphone socket, which is a great convenience feature for those who don’t want to worry about sourcing a new set of headphones, but the older Micro-USB connection on the bottom might appear a little dated in 2017.

Pocket-lint

Available in a range of colours spanning blue, silver, black and copper, the Nokia 5 is well build, especially for the price being asked of it.

  • Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia

Nokia 5 preview: Hardware and display

  • 5.2-inch, 1280 x 720 pixels, 282ppi, IPS LCD
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage + microSD
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Fingerprint scanner 

The hardware readout for the Nokia 5 reveals its position and starts to fit the price point. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset only gets 2GB RAM, but Nokia said this was because the 720p display didn’t need the 3 or 4GB of RAM that’s now more common. 

The Snapdragon 430 processor is fairly common on entry- and mid-range phones and while it won’t compete with the likes of the Snapdragon 821 you’ll find in some of the latest flagship devices, it will be fine for daily tasks like managing your email and keeping you connected on your social networks. Where you’re likely to feel the shortcoming is on things like gaming and more intensive tasks, like video capture.

Pocket-lint

The display is getting into the lower resolutions at 720p and at 5.2-inches, it’s not as glorious as the full HD display of the Nokia 6; it’s bright and colourful, but with the pixel density dropping to 282ppi, it’s getting to the stage where it’s noticeably losing sharpness. 

At this price, that might be acceptable, however, and in the time we’ve spend with the phone we’ve not had the chance to see how it performs in bright outdoor sunlight. 

We’ve also not had the chance to assess the performance of the battery. The 3000mAh sounds generous, however, giving the screen resolution and hardware that it’s powering. There likelihood is that this phone will offer pretty good endurance as a result.

Pocket-lint

Again, this is something we’ll need to test, closer to the phone’s launch in Q2. One of the other interesting details is that the Nokia 5 offers dual SIM, as well as microSD.

Nokia 5 preview: Cameras ahoy!

  • Rear: 13-megapixel, 1.12µm pixels, f/2.0, phase detection AF
  • Front: 8-megapixel, 1.12µm pixels, f/2.0, autofocus

The rear camera steps down on the Nokia 5 from the 16-megapixels of the Nokia 6 to 13-megapixels. The number itself doesn’t really matter – some of the best cameras on 2016’s smartphones were rated at 12-megapixels – but what we don’t see here is any hook into Nokia’s camera heritage. 

There’s no talk of PureView or Zeiss lenses, instead this is more of a basic offering. We’ve not had the chance to test the performance, but it seems to offer the standard range of features. Nokia has included its own camera app, which is the only change it makes to stock Android.

Pocket-lint

The front facing camera on the Nokia 5 is the same as both the Nokia 6 and the Nokia 3, so it looks like fun-time wide-angle selfies are the order of the day. This is also and autofocus front facing camera, so you should be looking sharp when you shoot yourself.

Nokia 5 preview: Android Nougat software

  • Unsullied Android Nougat
  • Monthly security updates

When it comes to the software there’s good news: Nokia is not going to be tinkering with Android. There will be no bloatware, no icon changes and no added service, it’s just pure Android Nougat. 

The devices we’ve picture here are pre-release software, but we spotted some interesting details, like Google Assistant and round icons, like the Google Pixel. Nokia told us the aim was to be as close to the Pixel’s software experience as possible, using Google’s services. 

That also extends to offering monthly security updates, as the assurance that new Android features would quickly be integrated. We’ve heard such promises before and they don’t always ring true, but this is the cleanest Android version we’ve seen outside of a Nexus or Pixel device. 

Exactly how the software runs on this hardware we can’t yet deduce, but apart from a tweaked camera app, this is pure Android all the way. 

First Impressions

Nokia’s strategy is to offer a selection of affordable Android smartphones, carrying that Nokia name and giving you a no compromise design and build. That’s been achieved and although we don’t think that the Nokia 5 is as good looking as the Nokia 6, there’s no denying that it feels solid – it’s an impressive phone for the asking price.

On the hardware front things are starting to dip a little low however. The real judge of how well this balance has been managed will come down to how well this phone runs day to day. From the brief time we’ve spent with it that’s difficult to judge. 

The Nokia 5 will be available for €189, with local pricing and availability still to be confirmed.

26
Feb

Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia


The Nokia 6 launched in China, breaking records for pre-orders and instantly putting HMD Global on the back foot. With demand outstripping supply, you could say the Nokia 6 got off to a solid start as a JD.com exclusive.

As guardians of the Nokia brand in phones, HMD faces a challenge: resurrecting one of mobile phone’s icons, without becoming generic. It’s perhaps ironic, then, that there’s little about the Nokia 6 that makes it stand-out from other Android phones. 

It’s a pure Android experience, it follows many of the norms for smartphone design that we’re seeing across the board and the specs don’t elevate this smartphone to be anything special. Yet there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Nokia’s new handset. Perhaps it’s nostalgia, perhaps HMD has just got it right. 

Nokia 6 preview: Design

  • 154 x 75.8 x 7.85-8.4mm
  • Solid 6000 series aluminium build
  • Sculpted Gorilla Glass

Nokia’s biggest selling point is build. When the Nokia 6 first launched, it was perhaps surprising that HMD put so much emphasis on the manufacturing process. This is the sort of language that Apple or HTC uses for its smartphones that cost more than double, but craftsmanship has become the new smartphone trend.

Pocket-lint

The Nokia 6 starts life as a solid block of aluminium. So serious is HMD about this process, that it was the first thing that we were handed when we sat down with Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer at HMD, and Florian Seiche, president of HMD, to meet the new phones. There’s no stamping of sheet metal: this phone is machined from a solid block of 6000 series aluminium, anodised and polished, as Sarvikas said, to “go beyond the specification.” 

The result is a phone that feels very solid. Metal phones aren’t anything new and they are even plentiful in the mid-range from the likes of Huawei. But the Nokia 6 doesn’t feel like it is metal to tick a box on a spec sheet, it feels like it’s been built to last. Durability is an important factor, it seems, in carrying Nokia smartphones to a new level. 

The Nokia 6 is slim, but has a slightly curved back to help this 5.5-inch phone settle into your hand. The glass of the display flows into the edges for an almost seamless finish, but the exposed diamond cut chamfer that meets it is deliberately evident to again hammer home the message of solidity.

Pocket-lint

The Nokia 6 might not have the immediate sex appeal of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, it’s perhaps not as iconically designed as the iPhone 7, but there’s huge value in that understated Nokia branding on the rear. Avoiding the plastics and the colours that typified the Lumia family, this new Nokia identity helps throw off the spectre of the Windows Phone past. 

While the “tempered blue” colour will remind you of that old 3310 that you loved, the real story is about the Arte Black special edition (pictured here). This carries a glossy black finish, aping the iPhone 7’s Jet Black. This special edition phone has a more lustworthy finish, even if it adds some €60 to the asking price. When the regular Nokia 6 costs just €229, that’s a price we suspect many will be happy to pay. 

Nokia 6 preview: Display and hardware

  • 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 403ppi, IPS LCD
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD
  • Art Black gets 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
  • 3000mAh battery, Micro-USB

Sitting atop the Nokia 6 is a 5.5-inch full HD display. This is where the mid-range story really starts, as the 6 offers a 1920 x 1080 pixel display. That might not offer the detail that you’ll find crammed into the likes of many flagships, but form what we’ve seen, this is a great display. 

We’ve not had the chance to really put it through its tests in a range of environments, but at first glance it’s bright and vibrant, with Nokia saying its rated at 450 nits.

Pocket-lint

The core hardware also tells a mid-range story. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset sits at the heart of this phone, with 3GB RAM in the regular model, or 4GB RAM in the Art Black special edition. The Snapdragon 400 series chipsets are a common feature of mid-range handsets and in many cases provide plenty of power for a smooth day-to-day experience.

We’ve not had the chance to fully assess the power and performance, but we know from previous devices that things like social media, browsing and email crunching will be perfectly fast. Limitations are likely to come in on some games, video capture and other power hungry tasks.

The positive point is usually that these chipsets are less power hungry than some of the top-tier models, so the 3000mAh battery should put in a respectable performance, although we’re sure that there will be some who question why the Nokia 6 doesn’t step up a level, at least to match the Moto G4’s Snapdragon 617.

One of the features that’s perhaps missing is USB Type-C: this phone carries the older Micro-USB connection, but it does have a 3.5 socket for your headphones, along with claims of being able to produce Dolby Atmos audio, something we’ll need to investigate further.

Pocket-lint

Nokia 6 preview: Cameras

  • Back: 16-megapixel, 1µm pixels, f/2.0, phase detection AF
  • Front: 8-megapixel, 1.12µm pixels, f/2.0, wide angle autofocus camera 

Nokia is known for its cameras. From the 808 PureView to the Lumia 1020, camera power was at the forefront. There were big sensors offering crop zooming, optical image stabilisation and Zeiss lenses. Nokia became synonymous with quality camera offerings. 

We’ve not had the chance to fully test the new camera on the Nokia 6, but you may have to temper your excitement a little when it comes to the camera. In paper, at least, this is a fairly standard offering, eschewing some of those previous highlights. There’s no premium lens branding and the pixels themselves (at 1µm) are rather small compared to some 1.5µm rivals.

Pocket-lint

Without testing the camera, however, there’s no telling how it performs. The camera app is the one thing on the software side that Nokia has changed, making a few tweaks, but on first glance, it all appears to be fairly standard stuff.

The front camera is an 8-megapixel sensor and interestingly it offers autofocus, which is a little more advanced than many fixed focus offerings. This should lead to nice sharp selfies from this wide-angle lens, but again, it needs a good testing before we can really call out the Nokia 6 on camera performance. 

Nokia 6 preview: Unsullied Android Nougat

  • Android Nougat
  • No bloatware
  • Monthly security updates

When it comes to software, many will be happy to hear that Nokia isn’t following the party line with its Android phones. Many are bundling in apps and services, reworking menus and changing a whole load of features, but Nokia is doing nothing.

We’ve mentioned the camera app, but that’s the only change that Nokia will be making to the software experience. “We’re happy with what Google is doing,” says Sarvikas and we’re fans of that experience. There’s no blaming the manufacturer for destroying the experience though software: the Nokia 6 is designed to be as close to the Google Pixel, that pure Android experience, as it can be.

Pocket-lint

The phones that we photographed weren’t final software, but we were happy to discover a lot of features familiar from the Pixel. We were invited to sign into Google Assistant, there’s pop-up app shortcuts and otherwise a Nougat experience that’s unsullied. Whether or not the Pixel launcher ends up on this phone remains to be seen, but we like the purity.

Nokia has also promised that that means monthly security updates as you get on Pixel phones and it should mean a rapid turn around on updates. We’ll wait to see what happens on that front: Motorola made the same promise and that hasn’t always rung true. 

First Impressions

The Nokia 6 isn’t a flagship phone and that will disappoint many who wanted Nokia to come out swinging and take the fight to the big Android brands. At the same time, Nokia is following a strategy that it attempted with the Lumia brand: it’s going mass market, punching into the cheaper segment with a quality product. It’s lower level Sony and Samsung phones that should be worried, because Nokia has the product and the brand to make this a success. 

Like the Moto G series, Nokia’s new phones – the 6, 5 and 3 – present options for those who can’t afford to spend €700 on the latest flagship. The aim, it seems, is to capture this section of the global market, and we’re told that this is a starting point, suggesting the rumoured Nokia 8 could still be a going concern. 

There’s a lot for us to still discover about the Nokia 6: the camera, the performance and the battery life are important elements we can’t yet judge. Whether this phone has the grunt to take on the Moto G is the real question, something we’ll investigate closer to launch.

The Nokia 6 is launching globally, available in Q2. Local prices are still to be determined.

26
Feb

Nokia 3310 vs Nokia 3310: What’s the difference 17 years on?


Nokia has announced the Nokia 3310 at Mobile World Congress 2017. Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right, the Nokia 3310 is back from the dead, 17 years later. The iconic phone that was originally launched in 2000 has now been updated. As Nokia looks to launch a new range of Android smartphones, the only phone that people are talking about is this retro wonder, the Nokia 3310. 

But how does the new 3310 compare to the old?

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Design and build

  • 2000: 113 x 48 x 22mm, 133g
  • 2017: 115.6 x 51 x 12.8mm, 79.6g

Thin is definitely in as the 3310 has been on a crash diet. Nearly half the weight and thickness, but slightly taller and wider. But it’s not just about the weight: the new Nokia 3310 isn’t the chunky monkey that the original version was.

Gone are the squared corners, giving way to softer curves that makes the Nokia 3310 all the more comfortable to hold. At the same time, the profile of the new phone lacks the crude muscularity of the 2000 version. In the year 2000 Putin was elected; in 2017 Trump was elected. Go figure.

The Nokia 3310 is still plastic, but it’s now glossy in red or yellow, or matt in blue or grey. The original was usually blue, but often seen in that grey colour like a bowl of gruel. The 2017 Nokia 3310 has a removable back cover, so you can change it, or to access the battery. The 2000 3310 had Xpress-On covers, sold on every street corner (mostly fake and ill-fitting), meaning limitless customisation. 

On a serious note, the button layout across the middle of the new 3310 is entirely different, less linear, but still rather basic.

  • This is the new Nokia 3310

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Display

  • 2000: 1.5-inch, 84 x 48 pixels, 65ppi, monochrome LCD
  • 2017: 2.4-inch, 240 x 320 pixels, 167ppi, colour LCD 

The original Nokia 3310 had a glorious 1.5-inch display that was monochrome. It was just about enough to read SMS messages, make out the numbers you tapped and play Snake. It was flat, offering great contrast, simple and to the point. 

The new Nokia 3310 has a huge (by comparison) display at 2.4-inches, stretching over the top half of the phone and curving away to the top. It’s also now colour, so the experience is rather different. The new Nokia 3310 is more like feature phones of the mid-2000s, rather than the pure monochrome glory of the original. 

The new display also has polarising layer to aid sunlight visibility. 

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Connectivity

  • 2000: Dual band GSM 900/1800MHz
  • 2017: Dual band GMS 900/1800MHz, Micro-USB, Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack, microSD, FM radio 

In 2000 there were few connections. On the base of the phone was the DC input to charge the phone, but there was no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi, no nothing. 

Fortunately the new Nokia 3310 has moved with the times a bit more. There’s Bluetooth to connect to a headset or your car, there’s Micro-USB for charging – so no need for that bulky charger – the option for microSD to expand the storage, 3.5mm headphone socket to listen to music or the FM radio. 

Neither phone offers 3G though, this is strictly 2G all the way, so it’s a phone for talking and texting.

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Camera

  • 2000: Why would you need a camera on a phone?
  • 2017: 2-megapixel with LED flash 

In 2000 the notion of having a camera on a phone was slightly alien. Why would you need one? There were no social networks, the selfie didn’t exist and you’d never have been able to share it anyway. Ok, so Friends Reunited launched in June 2000, but really?

In 2017, most phones are judged by their cameras. It’s the central feature for many, replacing the cheap compact camera segment with social networks killing the notion of printing photos and making albums.

The new 3310 has a 2MP camera, but we suspect the experience is not going to be worth it. Stick to your iPhone.

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Battery

  • 2000: 900mAh removable battery, 55 hours standby, 2.5 hours talk time
  • 2017: 1200mAh removable battery, 31 days standby time, 22 hours talk time

The thing that the original 3310 was known for was battery life. In those days, of course, you weren’t playing Pokemon Go, snapping Insta selfies, hailing Ubers and streaming Spotify music. You just got the occasional message from a friend, or placed a few calls to arrange a night out. But the battery didn’t last forever, it just lasted days.

The new Nokia 3310 battery does almost last forever. With 31 days of standby, you’ll be hard pushed to drain this battery. This is a phone you can probably go away with for a week and not need to worry about the charger.

  • Mobile World Congress 2017: Nokia, Sony, Huawei, smartphones and more

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Snake

  • 2000: It was awesome
  • 2017: It really isn’t 

Snake was the iconic game of the 3310 and other Nokia phones. Eating apples while sitting on the toilet was about as much fun as anyone had in those days. And fun it was. Snake didn’t need to be any better, it was basic, but it worked.

The 2017 version of Snake isn’t the same thing. It’s been reworked by Gameloft, it’s full colour, smoothly animated and it seems, well, boring. It lack the retro charm of the original, that simple throwback wonderment of that old Snake game. 

Nokia 3310 vs 3310: Price

  • 2000: £129.99
  • 2017: €49

Phones used to be a lot more expensive. The Nokia 3310 was one of the more affordable at £129.99, and for many it was the first mobile phone they had, bringing freedom of communication away from landlines.

In 2017 you get a lot of phone for £129.99.  You can get a full-featured entry-level smartphone for that money, so it’s no surprise that the new 3310 is only €49. That’s almost disposable, it’s probably less that you’ll spend on a night out.

The old Nokia 3310 is available on eBay for around £20 refurbished, the new model will be widely available.

26
Feb

Nokia targets affordable Android with Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 smartphones


Nokia has announced a trio of phones as the company looks to re-establish itself as a force on the global smartphone stage. 

The company, now operating under license of new Finnish company HMD Global, has revealed a collection of Android handsets, bringing the Nokia 6 – first launched in China in January 2017 – to the rest of the world along with smaller Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 smartphones. 

All the new phones run Android and rather than altering or adding to Google’s platform, Nokia is keeping it pure and simple. There is no pre-loaded bloatware, there is no duplication or addition of extra services – it’s just Android Nougat through-and-through, as you might find on a Nexus or Pixel handset.

Nokia’s aim isn’t to take on flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G6, but to cut into the affordable end of the market and dominate it. The Nokia 6 is €229, the Nokia 5 is €189 and the Nokia 3 is €139, aggressively priced and reasonably specced.

  • Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia

At those prices, these devices are designed to appeal to the huge section of the market that’s buying phones in the €100-300 segment, dominated by devices like the Moto G series, and Nokia has always had a huge stronghold in feature phones in many countries which may now be tempted by its new smartphones. 

The specs step down accordingly as you move through the phones, from the 5.5-inch Nokia 6, down to 5.2-inches and finally to 5-inches. The specs drop accordingly, with mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipsets in the 6 and 5 handsets, but dropping to a MediaTek 6737 for the Nokia 3.

The darling of the collection is the Nokia 6 Arte Black, a special edition handset that bumps the specs (with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage), but costs €299 and comes in a gloss black finish, rather like the Jet Black iPhone 7. 

What all the handsets have in common is that they all start as a solid block of aluminium, machined out to form the handsets. The Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 have a full metal body, offering a high quality of build, which the Nokia 3, the baby of the family, keeps that metal core, but puts a polycarbonate shell on the rear. 

Our first impressions of these phones reveal that they are well built, they have great bright displays and the unfettered Android interface is a welcome relief compared to many of the bloated alternatives. 

The Nokia 6, 5 and 3 will all be launching in Q2, local pricing and availability is still to be confirmed.

Nokia has also announced a new Nokia 3310, a homage to the cult phone of 2000.

  • This is the new Nokia 3310
26
Feb

Nokia 6 vs Nokia 5 vs Nokia 3: What’s the difference?


Nokia has announced three Android devices as the company begins its fight back into smartphones. Announced at Mobile World Congress 2017, the line-up includes the Nokia 6 which launched in China earlier in 2017, and new Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 models slipping in below.

These aren’t designed to take on flagship phones like the HTC 10 or Samsung Galaxy S7, these are designed to cut into the belly of Android, offering quality phones to those in the €100-300 price bracket and doing so while still offering quality. 

Here’s how the specs of these phones break down. Here’s exactly what the difference is.

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 3: Design and build

  • Nokia 6 is the largest, Nokia 3 the smallest
  • All are machined from aluminium, 3 has a polycarbonate back
  • All have Gorilla Glass displays 

The Nokia 6 is the largest of the new family with 154 x 75.8 x 7.85-8.4mm dimensions; the Nokia 5 is 149.7 x 72.5 x 8.05-8.55mm; Nokia 3 is 143.4 x 71.4 x 8.48mm.

All three phones start life as a solid block of 6000 series aluminium and are machined from this block. The Nokia 6 and Nokia 6 have a full metal body, while the Nokia 3 gets a metal core with a polycarbonate back added. 

The Nokia 6 is the most sophisticated of the bunch, the Nokia 5 comes in a little rounder; the Nokia 3 loses some of the premium feel by opting for that plastic finish, but it still feels fairly solid. 

All have Gorilla Glass protecting the display. All are available in a range of colours, but the Nokia 6 also offers an Arte Black special edition.

  • Nokia 6 goes global with glorious Arte Black special edition

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 3: Display

  • Nokia 6 is only full HD model
  • Nokia 6 is largest, Nokia 3 the smallest

The displays on the Nokia models are a fairly predictable stepped positioning. The Nokia 6 has a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixels, 403ppi. The Nokia 5 has a 5.2-inch 1280 x 720 pixel display, 282ppi. Nokia 3 has a 5-inch 1280 x 1080 pixel display, 284ppi. 

All these are the same IPS LCD and they all appear to be bright and vibrant. The Nokia 5 is perhaps the weakest, sitting in the middle, bettered by the Nokia 6 both in terms of resolution and size. The Nokia 3 retains the HD resolution at 5-inches, which although a little low, fits its budget pricing. 

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 3: Hardware

  • Nokia 6 and Nokia 5 offer Snapdragon 430
  • Nokia 6 gets most RAM and storage
  • Nokia 6 and 5 have fingerprint scanners
  • All have microSD support

The Nokia 6 and the Nokia 5 are fairly closely matched, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset. Nowever, the 6 has the most RAM with 3GB (and 4GB on Arte Black) and the most storage at 32GB (64GB for Arte Black).

The Nokia 3 is powered by the MediaTek 6737 chipset with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage; the Nokia 5 also has 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. All the Nokia phones offer microSD card support to expand storage. 

The Nokia 6 and the Nokia 5 both have a fingerprint scanner on the front, which the Nokia 3 misses out on.

All the phones offer Micro-USB for charging and a 3.5mm headphone socket.

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 3: Software

  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • No bloatware 

There’s no difference in the software offering across these phones. All will be running pure Android Nougat and Nokia is promising the latest version of the software, with the benefit of monthly security updates.

There will be no pre-loaded applications or bloatware, which will be something of a relief. The only change that’s made to stock Android is the camera app.

  • This is the new Nokia 3310

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 3: Cameras

  • 16MP camera on Nokia 6
  • 13MP camera on Nokia 5
  • All get 8-megapixel front camera

The Nokia 6 has a 16-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus, f/2.0, with 1µm pixels. It also has a dual tone LED flash.

The Nokia 5 gets the dual tone LED flash, but drops down to a 13-megapixel sensor, keeping the phase detection AF, f/2.0 and growing the pixels to 1.12µm.

The Nokia 3 settles for an 8-megapixel camera, with f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels and flash.

All the Nokia phones have an 8-megapixel front camera, which offers autofocus, 1.12µm pixels, f/2.0 and has a wide angle to capture your selfies. 

As we said, all offer a custom app, the only change the Nokia mades to the Android interface.

  • Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia

Nokia 6 vs 5 vs 4: Price

  • Nokia 6 is the most expensive
  • Nokia 3 is the cheapest

The Nokia 6 will cost you €229 in its regular form. Opt for the Arte Black edition and you’ll be asked to part with a little more at €299, for which you get that glossy black finish, more RAM and more storage. 

The Nokia 5 will cost you €189. 

The Nokia 3 will cost €139.

26
Feb

Nokia 6 goes global with glorious Arte Black special edition


The Nokia 6 was launched in China as Nokia’s first Android phone under the new HMD company; pre-orders amounted to 1.3 million in the first 4 days, and it sold out almost instantly in China, leaving HMD playing catch-up.

Now comes the turn of the rest of the world as the Nokia 6 leads the charge globally. This isn’t a flagship handset, this isn’t aiming to take down the Samsung Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7, this is designed to cut into the lower segment of the Android market at a price that’s difficult to ignore. 

The Nokia 6, launched as a global device at Mobile World Congress 2017, is joined by the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3, as part of the three-pronged strategy to Nokia smartphones back on the agenda and into the hands of the mass market.

Pocket-lint

Mid-range specs are the order of the day, but as Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer at HMD told us, it “goes beyond the specification.”

The aim is to offer superb quality in a device that’s affordable to many. As such, the Nokia 6 is hewn from a solid block of aluminium before being anodised and polished. There’s sculpted Gorilla Glass to the front sitting atop the 5.5-inch display.

In terms of power, you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset and 3GB RAM, paired with 32GB of storage. That’s a small step down over the Chinese version, but Nokia has also introduced an Arte Black special edition handset that restores those figures to 4GB/64GB. That’s the one you want. 

So it’s a full HD display and a mid-range chipset, but you do get microSD card support in a dual tray, so it could be dual SIM if you wish.

Pocket-lint

There’s a 16-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera. There’s no Zeiss branding or PureView chatter sadly, so we’re yet to see how this camera really performs. 

It’s all topped off with a 3000mAh battery. 

Importantly, Nokia isn’t pre-loading anything into this phone except for the camera app. There’s absolutely zero bloatware. This is pure Android Nougat, with Google Assistant. It’s as close to the Pixel as you’ll find on a phone. 

Tempted? You should be, as the Nokia 6 will be hitting store in Q2 for just €229 for the regular edition (3GB RAM, 32GB storage). The special edition Arte Black version (pictured here), is only a little more at €299.

Local pricing and exact release date are yet to be confirmed, but pre-orders open today.

  • Nokia 6: Specs, release date and everything you need to know
26
Feb

This is the new Nokia 3310


Nokia, true to rumours, has launched a new version of the iconic Nokia 3310. As the company sets out to reintroduce the world to Nokia smartphones, almost all the attention at Mobile World Congress 2017 has been on this retro-fantastic phone.

Except it isn’t quite as retro as you might want it to be. The Nokia 3310, originally launched in 2000, has a reputation for being indestructible, for offering battery life that seemed to never end, and being all the phone you could ever want.

Fast-forward 17 years and you’re looking at a slimmer 3310 with a softer design. It’s still a dumb phone. Its functionality is basic: this isn’t a smartphone in disguise, but never the less, riding on a wave of nostalgia, the Nokia 3310 is the phone that everyone is talking about.

Pocket-lint

Rather than stick to that old chunky design with Xpress-On covers, the new Nokia 3310 slims down. It loses the angular corners for a softer curvy look. The format is basically the same – screen top half, T9 keyboard below, but a change to the buttons in a waistband loses something of the iconic look. 

This is a slimmer phone at 12.8mm, but it’s perfectly pocketable. Compared to modern smartphones, the Nokia 3310 almost gets lost in your pocket. But there’s no real chance of you getting lost in that display, unless you’ve forgotten how to navigate the Series 30+ user interface.

  • Nokia 3310 vs Nokia 3310: What’s the difference 17 years on?

There’s no touchscreen here, so it’s down to clicking through those icons on the 2.40-inch 240 x 320 resolution display. It’s now colour too, adding a little lift, but at the same time losing the real charm of that old mono display. The same applies to the Snake game that’s preloaded: it’s Snake, but it’s not the Snake you remember and it’s not the Snake you want.

Pocket-lint

If you’re expecting this phone to be hiding secret powers, it isn’t. This isn’t a modern reworking, this is a reissued and updated old phone. There’s no Wi-Fi, there’s no 3G, it’s a dual-band 2.5G handset, designed for talking and texting.

There’s some functionality on offer, like Bluetooth so you could use a headset and there’s also a 3.5mm headphone socket with support for microSD cards, so we dare say it might make for an adequate music player, albeit with no streaming music in sight. 

There’s no opportunity to sync your contacts from Google, so you’d have to import them manually, like you did in the old days. You’ll probably find the 2-megapixel camera is slow and you’ll have no way to share those pictures, so you’ll it’s unlikely to get a lot of use.

Pocket-lint

All of which might give the 3310 limited life beyond the immediate novelty value, or as an emergency phone. Priced at €49, if all you need is to make phone calls and send those messages, it might be all the phone you need. 

But the thing that this new Nokia 3310 really rams home is just how precious nostalgia is. Look back through those rose-tinted spectacles and remember just how simple and wonderful life was, because we’re not sure we’re ready to send our phone back to the limited functionality of those those days.

26
Feb

Huawei Watch 2 preview: Fitness first for smartwatch sequel


When Huawei launched its original Watch in the UK it was in association with GQ, the men’s lifestyle brand. The Chinese maker’s desire to push its fashion-forward smartwatch to an image conscious crowd was clear. Thing is, the Watch, despite its glitzy image from afar, simply felt too chunky to wear and lacked all the mod cons when it came to features.

It’s no surprise that Huawei is back for round two with the Huawei Watch 2, but the approach has changed: the new wearable comes in Classic and Sport varieties, with the focus being a little more fitness-forward than before.

We got the briefly handle both versions of the Watch 2 ahead of the official unveil at the Huawei conference at Mobile World Congress 2017 to see if they’re the Android Wear 2.0 devices to desire.

Huawei Watch 2 review: Design and features

  • Classic and Sport options
  • 45mm diameter
  • 1.2in round screen
  • 18mm standard band

What we always did like about the original Huawei Watch was its round display. There was none of the “black bar” nonsense slicing through the bottom of it, like with the Moto 360, for a truly round appearance. That carries through into the Watch 2: with a 1.2inch, 390-pixel square resolution panel leading the way.

Pocket-lint

The obvious difference, as we outlined at the beginning, is that the Watch 2 comes in Class and Sport flavours. The former comes with a leather strap, in grey or black, and looks suave in its stainless steel finish; the latter device comes with a sports strap, its plastic shell dressed in orange, and looks altogether more budget for it – it’s the one for the runners out there.

The strap is flexible, but we’re not sure why it’s only available in orange. The clasps on the underside ought to mean other options are available – it’s the same quick-release, 18mm standard strap mechanism as per the original Watch – but you’ll still be stuck with the orange main shell finish with the Sport version.

Huawei Watch 2 review: Fitness focus

  • GPS tracking
  • IP68 weather-resistant
  • 4G option (for Sport)
  • Built-in heart-rate sensor

Both the devices, however, are fitness focused: their ‘Fat-burning’ and ‘Cardio run’ exercise modes are focused on exactly what they say, with the built-in heart-rate sensor acting as the main measure for fitness. We hope it’s more accurate this time around, as we didn’t get on with the one in the original Watch that well.

Pocket-lint

Key to the Watch 2 is its meatier specification. With GPS on board you needn’t faff about with a phone to record your exercise, which was a major criticism of the original device. The Sport will also come in an optional 4G flavour for on-the-go mobile connectivity (the Classic doesn’t offer this). Both offer 2GB internal storage so you can listen to music – the 4G connection of the Sport will mean you can install relevant Android Wear apps for live streaming too.

The modes focus on calories burned, speed, step frequency/cadence and heart-rate, which can be viewed in real-time, plus shown in training reports after. Such reports, we were shown, can plug into your personal training plan, so you can create your own targets, calculate recovery time, training affect (TE, as Huawei calls it) and VO2 max. It’s all rather detailed and all rather sporty.

Huawei Watch 2 review: Software and battery

  • Android Wear 2.0
  • NFC built-in (Android Pay)
  • Two-button design (no crown control)
  • 420mAh battery capacity

Android Wear 2.0 is making inroads in 2017; the latest version of Google’s wearable operating system adds more accessible methods of control – with the inclusion of rotational crown-based operation being one obvious new interaction.

But not with the Watch 2. For some reason Huawei has opted for a two-button design, positioned on the right side, to make selections when not using the touchscreen. There’s no rotational crown like with the LG Watch Style. More bizarre is that the Classics two buttons both rotate – but doing so does nothing (and Huawei couldn’t tell us why). Early product, we suspect, so will be interested to see how this evolves.

Pocket-lint

The big deal about Android Wear 2.0 is the ability to add individual apps, so we expect both Watch 2 devices will be highly personalisable. There’s also Google Assistant for voice control, plus built-in NFC means Android Pay will be available this time around from the off.

In terms of longevity the on-board battery will last for 11-hours when being used non-stop with GPS and heart-rate tracking, so it’s marathon-ready. Huawei expects two days of life for normal users, including exercise sessions, or three days for the non-4G version.

There’s also a special ‘More’ mode which simplifies the device to display only time and step-tracking, with other features disabled, which can last for 26-days. Wear it how you will.

First Impressions

Huawei has been sensible with its Watch 2 choices. The boost in features means its potentially perfect for runners or smartwatch seeking fans alike, with Android Wear 2.0 allowing far greater control and personalisation without digging in quite as deep as, say, an Apple Watch.

The key thing that will either make of break it, however, is how it feels to wear for longer periods of time. The fully round screen and style are on point, but the chunky design, once again, be the point that presses the wrong button for people. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Huawei Watch 2 has no official price or release date just yet. We’ll be updating this preview with the latest information from Huawei’s press conference at Mobile World Congress 2017.

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