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Mobile Phones

  • Cheap and plastic, but look! A Facebook button!

    Orange, the goliath telco that’s spreading across Africa and Eastern Europe like a giant ginger rash, is pushing Alcatel's plastic-tastic One Touch Android phones into emerging markets. They're cheap – in the US$130 range – and come as touch screens (bash screens?) and qwerty messaging phones, all running Android Froyo. The dedicated “F”acebook key is a bit of a rage in low-end phones at the moment, proving that there's nothing a marketer won't do to create faux differentiation. What is interesting is that Orange is giving customers that plump for these handsets low tariffs, with unlimited Facebook access (no extra...

  • Review: The Xperia Neo, shiny like a Chinese stereo

    Looking for a midrange smartphone, want Android, don’t want to shell out iPhone prices? Look no further than the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo. Just don’t look at it too closely: sleek and modern lines, but with chrome accents that wouldn't look amiss on a 1995 Panasony clock radio. Deeply flawed, but also deeply functional - good value for money, but could be better. Now that the high end of the smartphone market is pretty much locked in a Galaxy vs iPhone vs Motorola neck-and-neck, the ding-dong battle is to crack the midrange smartphone racket. And it's all Android, here. This...

  • Review: Motorola Atrix – Still kicking ass 8 months on

    You could see this piece from two perspectives. It could be a belated review of the Motorola Atrix. Belated because, as the Atrix is permeating its final markets and we’re sending back our review units, the Atrix 2 is announced. Out with old, in with the new, right? Or, you could see it as a timely piece that could offer some useful buyer’s advice. The latter perspective stems from the likelihood of a reduced price on the original Atrix, which is actually not that far behind it’s newer, genetically gifted brother. The Motorola Atrix Looking past the swagger it derives from its Transformer-like...

  • The Motorola Droid RAZR: Launching a new legacy

    A mere one week after it was announced in the US, Motorola Mobility launched the spectacular Droid RAZR in South Africa last night. This made it just the sixth country in the world to get the RAZR. Vice President and General Manager of International Retail Distribution, Spiros Nikolakopoulos and Megan Nicholas, Country Director for Motorola Mobility South Africa showed off the Droid RAZR. There's no getting around it, the RAZR is one lustworthy...

  • Samsung Omnia 7: It’s not about the phone

    I have to admit, I had low expectations for this phone. I’m an iPhone nut and very few phones have managed to beat or come in anywhere near the JesusPhone. But the Omnia 7 was amazing. Or let me clarify -- its operating system, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, was amazing. The case around it, the Samsung part of the phone, was a bit average. I’m not going to devote too much time to the case, except to say I found it a bit too big and a bit too ordinary. The aesthetics, the design of the phone in general, was rather average....

  • Review: A little Xperia Ray of sunshine

    In a world of increasingly samey Android phones, Sony Ericsson drops the Xperia Ray. It’s pretty hard to make a mobile phone eye-catching or even desirable. Sure, the Jesus phone is attractive enough, but the Xperia Ray makes you want to pick it up and fondle it suggestively. It’s also pleasantly functional -- after a disastrous fling with Microsoft and Winpho, the Andoid-based phones in the Xperia range are pretty good. This phone is really small, and really powerful. If you’re hip and connected, and by hip I mean really, really hip, so hip that any bulge in your skinny...

  • Review: Nokia E6 nips and tucks and botoxes

    The Nokia E6 business-oriented smartphone sports Symbian Anna, the latest (and probably one of the last) iterations of Nokia’s storied Symbian mobile phone operating system, now turfed out to the gentle ministrations of Accenture’s minions. It’s more or less the same qwerty-keyboarded small-screened messenger-type smartphone that’s been a solid partner to millions, not radically changed since its debut as the E71 way back when. You’d think by now it would be well nigh perfect. Not ever more flawed. Let’s start with what Nokia has got right. It is still an incredible piece of mobile phone – flawless fabrication and assembly of...

  • Samsung simplifies mobe monikers

    Samsung will be renaming its Galaxy range of smartphones which had become more than a little confusing. From now on, the Galaxy phones will fall into one of four classes: "S" for Super Smart -- these devices represents the very best mobile phone Samsung currently offers, such as the Galaxy S II. "R" for Royal or Refined -- these devices represent a combination of speed and power, combined with the added productivity of...

  • Cheap, cheerful, cheap — Samsung Gio smartish-phone

    Samsung has its Galaxy S II at the top of the smartphone pile, and a bunch of entry level smartphone cheapies, including the Galaxy Ace, Fit, mini and Gio. That’s a lot of phones. Confused much? Don’t be, the B-list Galaxy phones are basically variations on the same entry level touch-screen smartphone phone, nipped and tucked to match different demographics in the orgy of product niching that makes the marketing folks think they’re earning their salaries.   The US$240 Galaxy Gio is aimed at the student about-to-start working market, the Fit at the young just-started working, the Ace at the young professional....

  • A throwaway smartphone – Sony Ericsson Xperia X8

    Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia X8. A big name for a candybar-sized smartphone that will barely register in your hands (note: have gorilla-sized paws, but even so). This teeny, tiny Android phone is a ‘starter’ smartphone - it comes with all the features you would expect from its grownup counterparts (like the Xperia X10), but at a lower price-point. It comes with a selection of colourful back-plates, clearly marking it a phone for the "fun" side of the market. Getting around With a three-inch 320x480 screen you aren't getting much viewing space for your cash, and the phone feels rather cramped as...