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Mobile Phones

  • MTN Steppa 2 review: many steps behind

    2014 was the year of the budget Android phone, right? It sure seems like it. Whether that’s thanks to OS’s popularity, or the dropping prices of budget hardware we’re not quite sure, but adoption rates of smartphones in general are firmly on the up. With Africa a main target for manufacturers’ budget devices, the likes of telecommunications companies are also getting in on the act, releasing their own branded phones to markets across the world. Here in South Africa, we’ve already seen Vodacom’s Smart Kicka trying to fill a gap in the market. I’ve tested the little phone and found it...

  • BlackBerry offers up to $550 off when trading in iPhone for Passport

    Fancy this for a (post) Black Friday deal? BlackBerry — as if it hasn’t launched a large enough offensive this year — will offer iPhone users up to US$550 in a trade in deal to swap their Apple machine for a Passport. It sounds good right? If you haven’t read our review, shame on you, but we think the Passport is probably one of the best phones released this year. With its brilliant display, innovative design and BlackBerry OS 10.3, it’s quite possibly the break-though handheld device of the year. And that’s from a company that was struggling to stay afloat...

  • Windows Phone 8 devices will get Windows 10 upgrade, Microsoft reveals

    It’s official — Satya Nadella wasn’t bluffing when he said that Windows 10 will be the OS for all future Microsoft devices. Replying to a tweet from a curious consumer, the company revealed that all current devices running Windows Phone 8 will be bumped up to Windows 10 in the future. Huzzah! Microsoft clearly doesn’t want to upset the masses again with a misplaced OS move, desktop or mobile. Remember how upset Windows Phone 7 users were when they couldn’t upgrade to the then benchmark Windows Phone 8? This was mainly due to more than the company’s smugness, nevertheless, customers don’t...

  • Huawei South Africa launches Ascend Mate7 and Ascend G7 smartphones

    While Huawei isn’t considered an established household brand in South Africa yet, the company isn’t hurting its chances at all. Last night, the Shenzhen outfit unveiled its beautiful Ascend Mate7 phablet and Ascend G7 smartphone, two devices that’ll likely take it to the Samsungs, LGs and Apples of this world come 2015. Considering that the last flagship update to the Ascend line came a good few years ago, this is a much needed refresh and my, what a refresh it is. These devices were announced at IFA 2014, but this was the first time South African media were able to...

  • LG G3 wins the Android Lollipop update race, company claims

    The LG G3 has become one of the Korean brand’s best handsets in a long while, with its 4K screen and ultra responsive hardware, but its about to get an extra dose of special. Although LG has been mum on Android Lollipop recently, the company has now announced that its lucky G3 patrons will be able to upgrade to the latest edition of Android before anyone else. Starting in Poland (we’re not sure why, either), this week’s eastern European rollout will “be followed by other key markets in the near future.” Hopefully this includes South Africa too in the coming...

  • LG G3 Beat review: just above average

    Think of LG as the anti-Samsung. It’s making good strides with the mobile phone market and doesn’t tend to waste billions on flashy advertising. A few years back, it was virtually unheard of in the portable device market, but it remained the go-to company for home appliances. But it fought back with the incredible LG G2 and G3, two of the best Android phones in the recent years. With great screens, competitive pricing and slick interfaces, LG’s new batch of phones sold well and was generally embraced by the smartphone-hungry market. And now we have the mini-G3, the LG G3...

  • LG Liger F490L leaked, features company’s first NUCLUN eight-core processor

    When a company gives a phone the selfsame codename as a tiger’s and lion’s offspring, you know that device promises to be unique, over-the-top or damn-right impressive. The LG Liger F490L ticks all of these boxes, if a recent leak by Chinese site blogofmobile is to be believed. As if the Nexus 6 or LG G3 wasn’t enough, LG plans to unveil a 5.9″ monster, the first to sport the company’s Odin NUCLUN octa-core processor. That’s eight cores, or more specifically, four running at 1.2GHz and another four clocked at 1.5GHz. Samsung’s bigLITTLE architecture also adopts the same approach, so...

  • HTC’s Desire Eye shoots 13MP selfies from front-facing snapper

    HTC’s Desire Eye (a definite selfie-related pun is lurking somewhere in that moniker) is the company’s latest handset, but unlike any other before it. Sporting a 13MP camera up front above the screen, it’s sole purpose in life is to take cute pictures of new haircuts and cheeky pouts. Gone is the puny VGA resolution video calling cameras we’ve all grown accustomed to, and in is a sensor large enough to keep a moderately annoying Instagram user entertained for hours. It’s seemingly the largest sensor we’ve seen on a front-facing camera to date, and it’s physically enormous too. Interestingly, it’s not...

  • Vertu Aster: the $9100 snake-skin Android smartphone for poor rich people

    Although Apple will stake a claim in making gorgeous premium-level phones for its adoring customers, it can’t hold a candle to British-based manufacturer Vertu. You know, the company that builds phones covered in snake skin? Speaking of which, the company’s new Aster is its latest mid-range offering, setting buyers back a cool US$9100. Okay, so not that mid-range then, but the quality of design and internals is second to none. Built mostly from spaceship-grade hardened titanium and sporting a 117 carat Sapphire screen up front, the phone seems virtually unbreakable — that’s peace of mind should the owner act upon a...

  • LG Wine Smart reintroduces the smart flip-phone for the elderly

    We’re all for using old technology in novel ways, like when Apple rediscovered NFC or when the Xbox One allowed for HDMI pass-through — two brilliant happenings. What we’re not so keen on are companies that revive old technologies just because the newer technology is too much for older folk. Don’t understand? Take LG’s latest 2007-inspired handset for the elderly. We’re not sure why it’s presented in the archaic flip phone format, but the “Wine Smart” is primarily for those who think touchscreens are too sensitive and cumbersome. Featuring oversized buttons, larger icons on-screen (bonkers considering the resolution on the tiny...

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