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Lenovo Golden Warrior A8 Android smartphone. Announced Jul 2014. Features 5.0″ IPS LCD display, MT6592 chipset,
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Quick Overview
  • This Mobile runs on Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) powered with Octa-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A7.
  • This Mobile has 13 MP, AF and has 5 MP Secondary camera
  • This Mobile has 5.0 inches, 68.9 cm2 (~69.3% screen-to-body ratio) inches display IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors.
  • This Mobile has 16 GB, 2 GB RAM of internal memory.
  • This Mobile has Removable Li-Ion 2500 mAh battery
  • This Mobile has Mini-SIM sim
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GENERAL
2G Network GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900 - all versions
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100 - A806
4G Network LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800) - A806
Sim Mini-SIM
Status 2014, July
BODY
Dimensions 140.5 x 70.8 x 9 mm (5.53 x 2.79 x 0.35 in)
Weight 180 g (6.35 oz)
DISPLAY
Display Size 5.0 inches, 68.9 cm2 (~69.3% screen-to-body ratio)
SOUND
AlertTypes Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
LoudSpeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY
CardSlot microSD, up to 32 GB (dedicated slot)
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
DATA
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSPA, LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Blue Tooth 4.0, A2DP
USB FM radio
CAMERA
Camera Primary 13 MP, AF
Camera Features Dual-LED flash, panorama, HDR
CameraVideo 1080p@30fps
CameraSecondary 5 MP
FEATURES
OS Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
CPU Octa-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A7
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS
Colors Black, White
Others - MP4/H.264 player - MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player - Photo/video editor - Document viewer
BATTERY
Battery Removable Li-Ion 2500 mAh battery
MISC

Review: UPDATED: Moto X

Introduction, display and design

Update: Moto X continues to be one of the most stylish Android phones in 2015 and looks even better with Android Lollipop. Our review reflects that.

The Moto X name didn't changed in 2014, but rest assured, this updated Android smartphone packs enough new specs to deserve its own Moto X+1 or Moto X2 title.

With a larger screen, a better but not perfect camera, surprisingly useful first-party apps and, of course deeper customization, the original Moto Maker returns with a competitive price.

It's just $99 on-contract and on sale for as little as $1, or $499 (£419.99, AU$534). Don't let Motorola's low ball price fool you either. Like its low-key name, the Moto X 2014 has a deceptive asking price.

Motorola's flagship phone is slightly bigger in every sense, enough to make it one of the best Android premium phones next to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9. Though not groundbreaking like the curved Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or LG G Flex 2, it's still one of the most stylish phones in 2015, enough to be part of our best phones list.

Moto X 2014 review

Availability and price

The Moto X 2nd generation launched on September 16, 2014, but that was the AT&T release date in the US. It came out for Verizon on September 26. Both carriers sold the 16GB phone on-contract for $100 and 32GB version for $150.

On sale, it was reduced to $1 during the holidays by some retailers, and Motorola eventually followed suit on its Moto Maker website in December. The unlocked price begins at $399.

In the UK, the new Moto X GSM unlocked edition became available at the end of September for £420 through Motorola's official website. Bumping the internal storage from 16GB to 32GB takes it to £460.

Wood and leather adds to the price. Moto X 2014 with a premium back costs $425 and £439.99 for the 16GB version and $175 and £479.99 for the 32GB edition, based on the original pricing.

Android 5.0 Lollipop premiered with the Motorola-made Nexus 6 and has arrived soon after on Moto X, at least from some carriers. Both the unlocked version and Verizon variant benefitted from the upgrade right away, while AT&T customers with Moto X 2nd generation had to wait several months. The same may happen with Android 5.1 in the offing.

Nexus 6, by comparison, has the Android Lollipop from the get-go, a larger 6-inch screen, a camera with optical image stabilization, dual front-facing speakers and a bigger battery. But it's also much more expensive at $650 (£499) for the 32GB base model and it loses that one-handed appeal.

Display

There's more to the Moto X 2014 now that the display literally measures up to its competition. It's 5.2 inches, the same size as the new Sony Xperia Z3 and a hair larger than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.

That's up half an inch from last year's 4.7-inch Moto X, a size that Motorola left to the likes of Apple and its, by comparison, pint-sized iPhone 6 display.

With a little reach and large enough fingers, the new Moto X is still a one-handed phone that almost ventures into two-handed territory. Yet it doesn't compromise much on the display when compared to a phablet.

Moto X 2014 review

It's again protected by Corning Gorilla Glass with the same AMOLED technology behind it, but the 1080p Full HD resolution makes for a much crisper screen with 423 pixels per inch. You won't want to go back to the original's 720p and 316 ppi display specs, that's for sure.

This sharper display is put to the test as soon as the new Moto X is booted up thanks to the bright and colorful default wallpapers that Motorola included with the handset. It really sets the tone for this premium smartphone experience, especially next to the still 720p Moto G 2014.

Moto X 2014 review

It stands bezel-to-bezel with the Samsung Galaxy S5 in this regard, though it lacks the Super AMOLED display. In a few cases, we found the Moto X screen harder to read outdoors. But keep in mind that Motorola has made its smartphone much cheaper than anything in its class.

The Moto X 2014 makes up for its direct sunlight shortcomings with a better way to conserve battery life by default. The return of the extremely efficient Motorola Active Display means that waving your hand over the phone or taking it out of your pocket brings up the current time and simple notification icons in white. The rest of the screen remains off. The popular, always-on microphone is here as well, giving you a way to cut to the chase with voice commands.

Moto X 2014 review

Tapping an Active Display icon reveals more information about the notification, like the gist of your latest emails or Hangout messages. It's a great use of AMOLED's ability to selectively light up individual pixels and it sure beats an ambiguous blinking status light on a phone.

Design

An all-new aluminum metal frame means that Moto X 2nd generation is stronger than its predecessor, not just bigger than before. Plastic is no longer binding together Motorola's flagship device. It's closer to the build material of the iPhone 5S, sturdier than the pliable iPhone 6 Plus and, most importantly, doesn't feel as cheap as the metal-looking polycarbonate Samsung Galaxy S5.

What's surprising is that despite the Moto X's naturally larger size care of the 5.2-inch display, Motorola once again used tricks to minimize the overall dimensions, and it worked in its favor. For example, there's very little bezel around the edges and the soft buttons are on-screen, as opposed to the capacitive buttons used by Samsung devices.

Moto X 2014 review

This makes the Moto X 2014 roughly the same size as the Galaxy S5 and, remarkably, even the iPhone 6. Its official measurements are 2.9 in (72.4 mm) x 5.5 in (140.8 mm) with a sloped 0.2 in (3.8 mm) to 0.4 in (9.9 mm) curve.

The S5's width and height are 2.9 in (72.5 mm) x 5.5 in (142 mm) with a narrower overall depth of 0.3 in (8.1 mm). iPhone 6 is nearly as big: 2.64 in (67.0 mm) x 5.44 in (138.1 mm) x 0.27 in (6.9 mm). As much as I appreciate the iPhone's home button and Touch ID, it has half an inch less screen real estate to show for its almost-as-tall dimensions.

Moto X 2014 review

Moto X 2014 reviewMoto X's premium frame thins out along the corners, but forms a fairly thick bow shape at the center for a curved back. This leaves plenty of room for a top-center 3.5mm headphone jack, an adjacent nano-SIM card slot and bottom-placed micro USB port. Along the thinned-out sides, there's just enough depth for a volume rocker that's smooth and power button that's accented with ridges. This makes it easier to tell the two stainless steel buttons apart in your pocket.

Moto Maker returns with additional customizations to match the now-premium Moto X with even more personalization. Leather, for example, is now among the choices that can back your phone in one of four colors. It joins last year's four wood options and 17 plastic colors. Black or white fronts and 10 accent colors for the front-facing speaker grills and rear Motorola logo dimple round out the most pressing Moto Maker decisions.

Moto X 2014 review

Cradling the Moto X backed in soft leather is a delight, but it's also the most delicate material within Moto Maker. Yes, the Moto 360 smartwatch uses the same genuine leather sourced from Horween Leather Company, but the supple material bruised more easily in our pockets than on our wrists. That's what's great about Moto Maker, though. It's filled with more options than your standard one-size-fits-all smartphone in case that doesn't work for you.

Moto X weighs in at 144 grams vs last year's 139 grams. Considering the aluminum metal frame and 5.2-inch screen, that's a worthy trade-off. Of course, there are beefier specs too.

Specs, performance and interface

Moto X 2014's specs, like its larger display size, complement the fact that it's no longer the runt of the Android litter. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor is identical to the 2.5GHz quad-core chip that's found at the heart of the LTE-equipped Galaxy S5.

Moto X 2014 review

Motorola also answers Samsung's graphics performance with the same Adreno 330 GPU at 578 MHz and its memory with a healthy 2GB of RAM. The new Moto X isn't an also-ran when it comes to the most important specs. It's snappy performance backs this up even when all of our favorite apps, photos and video are clogging the internal storage.

There's a caveat: you can only fill up the Moto X so much because you won't find a micro SD card slot anywhere. Expandable storage isn't a part of the Moto X like it is on the Moto G 2014 and the earlier Moto G 4G model. You'll have to contend with the 16GB and Moto Maker-exclusive 32GB internal configurations.

Moto X 2014 review

Also missing is any sort of fingerprint sensor, heart rate monitor (not that you really need that) and waterproof seal. It doesn't measure up to the IP67 rating of many Android smartphones, so it's not water resistant up to 30 meters for an hour. Instead, it's just "splashproof." It's more than the leather back that's delicate in wet conditions.

Moto X did get the speakers right where others often fail. Its front-facing bottom grill projected music the right way - forward - not down at the ground, and its four microphones for voice calls and noise canceling reduced background noise to appropriate levels in all our test calls.

Interface and apps

Google may have sold Motorola to Lenovo, but the company is still dedicated to providing a pure Android experience that helps its phone contrast with devices from Samsung and HTC. You won't find TouchWiz or Sense changing the experience with a wonky overlay.

Moto X 2014 review

Moto X's Android KitKat 4.4 interface is much the same as last year save for the Google Now Launcher, a few fresh Motorola-branded apps and some carrier-loaded bloatware depending on your provider. Once again, the aforementioned Moto Display shows up when the display is off, providing a discreet and battery-saving method of peeking at notification icons.

Moto Assist takes driving seriously by reading text messages aloud while you're on the road. It also knows when to keep quiet without disruptive noises during meetings or when you're ready for bed. The next day, it wakes up when you wake up, according to your schedule.

Moto X review of apps for Verizon and ATT

Moto Actions takes advantage of the Moto X's IR emitters that resemble the sensor-spotted Amazon Fire Phone. The built-in app recognizes hand motions from all directions to turn on the Moto Active Display, silence calls and a snooze alarms with a simple wave. Just hop out of the shower and want to know the time? Look no further than Moto Actions. That's really convenient for a phone that's only splashproof.

Moto Voice builds upon Google Now by letting you change the always-listening voice prompt. Instead of the "Okay Google Now" command that seemed futuristic in 2013, the new Moto X lets you use custom phrases - everything from "You there Moto X?" to "Wake up buddy!" were among the Motorola-suggested examples. But I preferred the Motorola staffer / X-Men fan who used the prompt, "Okay Professor X" to get things started. And, again, unlike Siri, there's no need to hold down a button or have the phone plugged in to get the attention of Moto Voice.

Moto X 2014 review apps

Outside of the main Moto suite is Connect, a way to bridge the messaging gap between your Moto X smartphone and computer. It delivers text messages to a Chrome browser extension, though not as reliably as third-party apps like MightyText. I'm still hoping that Google one day brings SMS to Hangouts on a PC. Apple aced this with iMessages among its device owners two years ago and is further building upon it (by relaying all texts) with Mac OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. Connect is hopefully a stopover to something broader from Google.

Everything else about Motorola's Android KitKat 4.4 setup is untouched next to the Nexus 5, and for the most part, this pure interface is really appealing. It does mean that Google's quick settings for brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are buried behind one and two extra steps compared to what Samsung's pull-down menu. I really hate having to adjust the brightness outside with an swipe down, a poke at the left quick settings button, a stab in the dark at the brightness grid label and a feel for the brightness slider. Even with this, pure Android a lighter and cleaner alternative in all other cases.

Camera

Moto X 2014 can't pull off "premium" without a vastly improved camera considering last year's middling snapper. Motorola bumps the specs to 13 megapixels, up from the 10-megapixel rear camera that proved extremely inconsistent 12 months ago.

Moto X 2014 review

With a 13MP sensor that's identical to many of today's Android smartphones, the new Moto X took much sharper pictures than its predecessor. It also put the autofocus in the right place more times than not. That's not to say that its performance was flawless or as responsive as the speedier LG G3, but I walked away with higher-resolution photos and subjects in focus without the need to plead for retakes. It's a step in the right direction for Motorola.

Moto X 2014 review

The default camera app is simple and straightforward like last year, offering a tap-to-snap touchscreen shutter button, Auto HDR and Panorama. The controls are hidden to the left, while swiping right explores the gallery. What's interesting here is that Motorola's software tries to pick out the best pictures via its Highlight Reel functionality. It's not always perfect, but it does weed out blurry shots and handily group images for a quick comparison.

Moto X 2014 review

Keep in mind that Moto X's stripped-down manual focus and exposure options may make you leap for third-party alternatives in the Google Play Store, but Motorola's camera app is the only one that opens with two twists of a the wrist. Even if you don't use the default app all of the time, this shortcut makes for easy to capture photos in a minimal amount of time.

Moto X 2014 review

The 13-megapixel camera is accompanied by a unique-sounding ring flash, which essentially means the lens is flanked by two LED flash bulbs. The right and left lights do an admirable job brightening up subjects to balance shots, but approaching subjects too closely still results in overblown pictures.

Moto X 2014 review

When the Moto X gets things right colors temperature are oversaturated and pushed to the extreme on the equally saturated AMOLED. It's vibrate-looking, though not true to life in all cases. Selfies are best shot with the front-facing camera that's 2 megapixels and doesn't have a flash even if you want one.

Moto X 2014 review

Both cameras can shoot 1080p HD video, but only the rear-facing camera is capable of slow motion video at 120fps and Ultra HD video quality at 30fps. The pixels extend to 2160p, which means Motorola is now welcomed into the 4K smartphone capture club. Whether or not you really want to use up your limited internal storage for such video files is up to you.

Camera samples

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Moto X 2014 review

Battery life

The new Moto X has a 2300 mAh battery backing up its larger screen, which is bigger than the 2200mAh battery found in last year's model. That seems better on paper until you realize that the 5.2-inch screen requires more power throughout the day. Throughout our testing the new Moto X lasted us 24 hours with mixed use.

That's enough to plug it in at night without fail, but not as long-lasting as something like the Galaxy S5 with a 2800mAh battery. Motorola does benefit from the AMOLED Active Display because checking the time and notifications doesn't light up the entire screen. It also doesn't accidentally light up in this mode when face down or in a pocket.

Moto X 2014 review

The company's Moto 360 smartwatch has a significantly shorter battery life of less than a day and it's yet another thing to charge. However, also shored up our notification-checking addiction on the Moto X 2014 and ultimately helped the battery last even longer than 24 hours some days.

When battery life is critical, though, it's Samsung that swoops in with its Ultra Power Saving mode. It can be a real battery life-saver. Motorola's 10% is the same as its 90%. You also won't find a backward compatible micro USB 3.0 connection on the Moto X for faster charging and transfers, as seen in the Note 3 and S5.

Moto X 2014 review

Motorola does sell a Turbo Charger that can add an impressive eight hours of battery life in just 15 minutes thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology. Its ideal for juicing up during work breaks in the day and layovers at the airport, but it's not something you'll get out of the box.

It costs $35 (about £21, AU$40) through Motorola's Moto Maker store, unlike the Nexus 6 and Droid Turbo that come with the larger power brick.

Verdict

Moto X 2014's display size jumped half an inch, but the overall quality leapt a full foot from its also-ran origins. That's not to say that it was a terrible mid-range device the first time around. Motorola has just updated the design and specs enough to make it a high-end contender in 12 short months.

It takes on the "premium" label without sacrificing the low price point in most regions. In fact, the US price is actually a lot cheaper: $99 on contract, making it half the price of its leading competitors. SIM-free it's still a deal: $499 (£419.99, AU$534).

Moto X 2014 review

We liked

The 5.2-inch display gives us more screen real estate without verging on phablet territory. It's still a one-handed device for people with large enough fingers and coupled with the AMOLED Moto Active Display that we wish all smartphone manufacturers would blatantly copy already.

A metal frame makes it feel as good as the screen looks, while Moto Maker combinations now total in the thousands. The pure Android OS is thankfully only supplemented by Motorola's useful apps and the price makes it Android's hidden treasure. X truely does mark the spot.

Moto X 2014 review

We disliked

It's premium, but it's not without pitfalls. Moto X 2014 doesn't have a micro SD card slot, so you're either stuck with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. You can also forget about taking it in any sort of water. It's not IP67 waterproof like many other Androids so hold onto it tight.

Wait, don't hold onto it too tightly. That all-new premium leather back cost more, but bruised on us rather easily. The 13-megapixel rear camera takes better photos than before - not much of an accomplishment. We're still not convinced it'll ever take the shot we want every time.

New Moto X 2014 review

Final Verdict

Don't think that just because the Moto X 2014 name didn't get much of a change that the phone is just a basic specs bump. Motorola's new flagship smartphone proves that the reinvented company is listening to customer feedback with a bigger screen and aluminum metal frame, all for a price that's better than its competition. It only half-listened the requests for a superior camera and didn't pay attention to pleas for a micro SD slot.

The good news is that Motorola continuing with its popular Moto Maker customization policies. That means personalized backs including new soft leather and trim accents on the front and around the camera lense. And yet the firm doesn't tinker with the pure Android experience set forth by Google. The specs are more robust while the software stays minimal, the opposite of other Android phones out there. That's just the way Motorola rolls, and we rather enjoy it.

First reviewed: September 2014








Review: Updated: OnePlus One

Introduction

The Google Nexus 4, the Google Nexus 5, the Motorola Moto G, and now the OnePlus One; this 5.5-inch bolt from out of the blue (well, China) joins an exclusive list of smartphones that offer an awful lot of smartphone for not a lot of money.

But having used the OnePlus One, I'm wondering whether it needs to be placed in a category all of its own.

Here is a device that rivals the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 for raw specs, but at a cost of just £269, $349 (around AU$400). That's around half the price of those aforementioned big hitters.

Initially you were able to order a 16GB model for £229, $299, but that option now appears to have been removed, with just the 64GB version remaining.

The company has kept the OnePlus One relatively exclusive, though over the last few months it's opened the door slightly to non-invitees. Every Tuesday, the OnePlus One becomes available for 24 hours beginning at 8 am GMT. The door promptly closes afterward, but at least access is loosening up slightly.

Much of my early time with the OnePlus One was spent warily turning it around in my hands, like some kind of mysterious artefact of unknown origin, not quite ready to believe what was being promised of it. There has to be some compromise here, right?

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Well, yes there is. In fact, there are several. But it's staggering how small they seem when weighed against that double-take-inducing price tag.

An issue to get out of the way early on is the availability of this handset. OnePlus is started out with a slightly strange invite-only system, limiting the number of people who can order a handset.

It's so the startup firm can keep on top of production, but means you'll have to hunt around for an invite - or try your luck with a 24 hour pre-order session the firm appears to be doing every now and then.

OnePlus will only ship the One to 16 countries, so if you're not in one of the following you're pretty much out of luck. Those countries are; Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Usually when a cheap smartphone boasts specifications that bloody the noses of the big boys, it's the design that suffers. It's far harder to make a solid, stylish, and hard-wearing mobile device than it is to throw in the latest off-the-shelf chip from Qualcomm.

OnePlus One

However the OnePlus One is a pleasure to hold and to use. Okay, so it lacks the HTC One M8's gorgeous metallic sheen, and you won't turn any heads when you take it out of your pocket like you would with a golden iPhone 5S. But show me the phone that does.

The OnePlus One nevertheless feels great in the hand. It's primarily made up of a quality matte plastic shell that extends around the back and sides of the device. This isn't a unibody construction, and this rear panel can be removed for customisation purposes, but it's firmly fixed in place with minimal creaking or flexing.

There's a metal-effect plastic rim that separates this rear cover from the glass front, which cheapens the effect ever-so-slightly, but it's thin and unadorned. It does mean that the aforementioned glass frontage appears to stand out rather than melding into the body of the phone, but it's not an unpleasant effect.

OnePlus One

All in all, it looks and feels like something of a cross between the Nexus 5 and the Nokia Lumia 1520.

The OnePlus One is not a particularly slim or light device, but then nor is it an absolute brick. At 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm, its dimensions make it only slightly larger than the LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2, the latter of which has a smaller 5.2-inch screen. What's more, the OnePlus One is three grams lighter than the Sony at 160g.

Of course, this is still a monster of a phone when you compare it to older or smaller devices. I always thought of my trusty old HTC One X as a bit of a beast, but the 4.7-inch phone feels positively dainty next to the OnePlus One. Meanwhile my iPhone 5S looked like a (rich) child's toy when held next to it.

OnePlus One

I've mentioned it a few times now, but the OnePlus One's 5.5-inch display really is quite the specimen. At 5.5-inches it's bigger than both the One M8's and Galaxy S5's, though it has the same 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution. Admittedly that makes it a little less pixel-dense, but with 401ppi I defy anyone to call it anything but sharp.

If you're thinking that OnePlus may have cut corners with the quality of this display, then think again. It's an IPS display, which means it's sharp and accurate even when viewed from an angle, and it's made by JDI, the company responsible for the One M8's excellent screen.

The default brightness seems a little weak, but crank it up and you'll get a picture that truly pops, with impressively deep blacks.

Badlands

Perhaps the best illustration of this is to boot up the gorgeous Badlands game with its inky-black silhouettes layered over detailed amber backgrounds.

It hasn't been plain sailing for the OnePlus One's display though, with a few users taking to the web complaining of a "yellow hue" at the bottom of the screen. OnePlus sent TechRadar two handsets, and having used both I can either that neither have suffered from this issue.

Around the back of the OnePlus One is the vaguely oblong black camera element that houses the lens and dual-LED flash. This has been allowed to jut out slightly, its flat surface peeking above the curved shell. I quite liked the effect, especially in concert with the funky OnePlus One logo situated below.

OnePlus One

OnePlus has housed a tiny pair of stereo speakers on the bottom edge of the device - as held in portrait view - with two telltale rows of machined holes either side of the microUSB port.

Button placement is strong, with the power key situated two thirds of the way up on the right hand side and the elongated volume rocker opposite on the left hand side.

This is ideal for a device as large as the OnePlus One, as they always fall under a thumb or finger, whereas a top-mounted button would have required some finger contortion to reach single-handed.

OnePlus One

OnePlus has also included permanent capacitive hardware keys underneath the screen, which proves to be a mixed blessing. There's a menu key, a home key, and a back-up key in that order. I found it very hard to see these keys, particularly in daylight, as they don't light up very much at all.

They're also mapped a little oddly by default, with multitasking set to an awkward double-tap of the home button.

On the plus side, you don't have to use these keys at all, and you can also remap the keys to your liking. We'll discuss the OnePlus One's impressive customisation potential in greater detail over the next few sections.

OnePlus One

Just about the only glaring weakness of the OnePlus One's external design comes in the form of its SIM tray. It looks to be made of a cheaper, rougher form of plastic, and I found the access hole to be an absolute pig to use with my iPhone tool (which I had to use as the OnePlus didn't come in its packaging).

Indeed, it seems as if this SIM accessibility was a problem for whoever used the phone before me, as the hole had a tatty and worn look to it, like it had been hand-drilled with a Black and Decker and a cheap drill bit.

This is the only external sign that you're dealing with a new manufacturer's first attempt at a high-quality smartphone.

Key features

I'm always interested to learn which processor is powering a new smartphone, but the truth is that it rarely matters all that much. Modern multi-core processors are all capable of running the latest operating systems, multitasking, 3D gaming, HD video and more without breaking a sweat.

But in the OnePlus One's case, the processor type truly is a noteworthy spec. It's a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801.

Homescreen OnePlus One

That's remarkable not so much for the performance it produces (which we'll discuss in the next section), but because it's the very top end chip in the Qualcomm roster.

Just to reinforce that point, it's the exact same chip that can be found powering the Samsung Galaxy S5, one of the most capable, and expensive, phones on the market.

We've never seen a device that provides truly class-leading performance for just £270/$350 before. It's simply unheard of. Even though Google doesn't bother with things like profit margins on its hardware, it still had to charge to £300 when it released the Nexus 5 with (at the time) top-end hardware.

The other key feature of the OnePlus One is its operating system. Again, we'll go into the precise details of this in the next section, but the very fact that the OnePlus One runs on CyanogenMod is reason enough for special mention here.

Based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, CyanogenMod 11 is a popular open source custom firmware project that modifies and opens out Google's operating system. It's several steps beyond the usual heavy-handed manufacturer skin we're used to getting, and it's perfect for you tinkering sorts.

Homescreen OnePlus One

CyanogenMod is all about giving the power of customisation to the end user rather than forcing them to put up with excessive bloatware and a restrictive interface.

Previously you had to root your Android phone in order to install CyanogenMod - a relatively tricky and risky proposition only really suited to those with a little technical knowhow (and an expired warranty). The OnePlus One is the first ever phone to ship with CyanogenMod as the default OS.

I'm one of the first to complain when yet another Android phone ships with a nonstandard take on the Android OS, as they're invariably inferior to stock Android. But CyanogenMod is different. It feels a bit like Android in God mode, with a level of unprecedented granular control that's there if you want it.

There are subtle tweaks to the interface, but they're almost always tasteful and thoughtful rather than simply change for change's sake.

One obvious example is something we hinted at in the previous section. If you're not enamoured of the OnePlus One's fixed capacitive keys (as I'm not), or hardware keys in general, you can deactivate them and revert to the standard Android software solution.

This means that back, home, and multitasking keys occupy the bottom section of the screen, sliding out of view where appropriate.

On Screen Buttons OnePlus One

After all this overwhelming positivity, I feel I should point out a rather surprising omission. While OnePlus has gotten things almost perfect on the spec front, the OnePlus One is a little lacking when it comes to storage.

You get 64GB of internal capacity here, of which around 4GB or so is required for the system and OS. You should have more than enough storage, but it's worth noting there's no microSD slot.

It's one technical area in which the OnePlus One falls short of its pricier rivals. Given that the device has evidently been pitched with Android enthusiasts in mind, we're more than a little baffled at its exclusion.

The other set back for the OnePlus is its 4G connectivity. While it does arrive with 4G capabilities, in the UK you'll only be able to take advantage of the superfast connection on two networks - O2 and Three.

That means if you're on EE or Vodafone you'll be stuck with 3G speeds, which is a bit annoying. The reason for this is the LTE chip only supports a selection of frequencies, so coverage will vary from country to country.

Interface and Performance

The OnePlus One's CyanogenMod software is, by it very definition, an amateur effort. But don't let that fool you.

It has significantly fuller-features and is more polished than the vast majority of Android-based skins I deal with from top handset manufacturers.

Notification Settings

At a base level that's because Android has been allowed to shine through bright and clear. CyanogenMod's developers and custodians evidently realise that Google's OS is already a thoroughly refined and pleasant-to-use operating system, and that layering a bulky UI on top of it isn't just unnecessary - it's downright detrimental to the experience.

Pick up the OnePlus One and briefly browse through its home screens and app menu, and you won't notice a massive difference from the stock Android experience found on the Nexus 5. And that's a good thing.

There's that familiar dual drop-down menu set-up that enables to you access your latest notifications and a settings shortcut menu with a directed swipe. There's also a familiar multitasking menu that offers thumbnail shortcuts to the most recently accessed apps.

The default lock screen is a little different and, in dropping Android's radial app shortcut system, a little less useful to boot. But once again, you can change that back in the settings menu.

It's in the settings menu where CyanogenMod really shows its hand. You can tweak everything, from the function of the hardware buttons to the colour, pulse, and purpose of the notification light.

Lockscreen OnePlus One

You can customise the hue, saturation, contrast and intensity of the display, change the nature of the pulldown notification menus, and switch to a different default font.

This level of customisation is never thrust in your face, and it never confuses the OnePlus One's day-to-day usability. It's all just there, tucked away in the bowels of the OS, ready to be discovered or ignored as you see fit.

Oh, and credit must go to yet another manufacturer implementing a double-tap to wake system. On such a large phone without a physical home button, it's a massive plus.

On the slightly negative side, I found that the OnePlus One's gesture shortcuts, which initiate certain functions by drawing patterns on the screen, were a little too easy to set off inadvertently.

On a couple of occasions I found that Google Music started playing my most recent track whilst putting the phone in my pocket or laying it down. This is done with a two-fingered downwards swipe, which seemed to be a little too easy to do during normal handling.

Settings menu

The same thing happened with the torch app, which flicks the camera flash on when you draw a 'V' shape on the screen. Again, it's easy to activate by mistake.

As is the case with most software features here, though, these two gesture shortcuts (along with the ability to jump to the camera app by drawing a circle) can be turned off in the settings menu if you find them to be over-responsive.

If you're not a fan of the style you can always switch the look and feel of the UI via the Themes Showcase app, where you'll be able to download a variety of paid-for and free themes.

The OnePlus One already comes with a second, slightly more colourful, theme installed which you can switch to in the settings menu. If you don't want everything to change you can select aspects to tweak in the interface including backgrounds, fonts, sound packs and app icons.

Because CyanogenMod has left the Android UI relatively unmolested, it feels extremely fast. And with that Snapdragon 801 CPU on board, backed by a generous 3GB of RAM, it is fast.

In my GeekBench 3 tests, the average multi-core score was 3050, which is a little higher than both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, both of which run on the same chip, but with only 2GB of RAM compared to the OnePlus One's 3GB.

Those impressive performance figures are shown in general use too. Everything moves along smoothly, whether you're gliding between home screens, watching HD videos, or surfing the web.

On the latter point, booting up the full TechRadar site took just six seconds. That's everything, including adverts, fully loaded up. Your average Android phone would take around ten seconds to achieve that.

Battery life and the essentials

If you're fearing that the OnePlus One's battery might be the thing to trip it up, you'll be pleasantly surprised. This is a phone with some stamina.

It's easy to see why. At 3100mAh, the OnePlus One's battery unit is more capacious than the LG G3 (3000mAh), Samsung Galaxy S5 (2800mAh) and HTC One M8 (2600mAh), and it only just trails behind the Sony Xperia Z2 (3200mAh).

Back off OnePlus One

It's a shame that you can't replace the battery, especially given that the rear cover is removable (with some effort). However, most people will simply be happy that they can venture out for a full day without worrying about being away from a plug socket for too long.

Sure enough, our standard HD video test yielded some strong results. Running a 90 minute 720p video with the screen brightness cranked right up left 83 percent left in the tank on average.

That's better than the One M8 and roughly the same as the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S - two of the previous strong performers in this particular test.

Battery OnePlus One

In general usage, I was able to get a day and half out of the phone. That involved watching a couple of brief HD videos, playing a couple of games, dealing with a number of emails and SMS messages, and plenty of fiddling with the phone's options and menus - all with the screen brightness at its top setting.

I left it on in Airplane mode overnight during my testing period, which seemed to drain the battery by three or four percent come morning time.

It's a good job the OnePlus One has such strong battery life as standard, because CyangoenMod is yet to implement a battery saver mode. Such energy-sipping settings have become the norm on other Android skins, so it's a little odd that it's been omitted from this "everything but the kitchen sink" effort.

Of course, you can take the appropriate steps manually, such as switching off Wi-Fi, lowering screen brightness, and switching off push notifications. But a simple shortcut would have been appreciated here.

The essentials

Calling OnePlus One

During our initial review one area in which OnePlus appeared to have taken its eye off the ball with the OnePlus One was in its most basic function. Thankfully things have improved since then with a series of software updates.

Signal strength was strong enough during my test period and call quality has significantly improved. Speaker volume has been adjusted so you can now actually hear the person on the other end of the line.

Dropped calls did not feature during my review time with the OnePlus One, and post-software upgrade I had no complainants from those on the other end of the line.

I did find that the OnePlus One could be a little sluggish reconnecting to a network after losing signal - such as when going through a tunnel - but it isn't a real problem and only occurred from time to time.

Otherwise, the calling experience is pretty much classic Android 4.4 KitKat, with the same crisp Phone and People apps.

The same goes for messaging, with both the default Messaging app and Google Hangouts present. Once you've updated the latter, you'll be given the opportunity to make it your primary messaging app, which allows you to merge your SMS messages with Google's instant messaging service.

Hangouts Emoji

It's flashier, but not necessarily more streamlined, so it's nice to have the option of the two.

CyanogenMod has wisely stuck with Google's own keyboard here, which offers intelligent words suggestions and a Swype-like joined-up-typing system alongside an intuitive layout.

It's everything you need from a modern smartphone keyboard, though as always with Android, other options are available on the Google Play Store.

One input method that didn't seem to work well at all was the OnePlus One's voice wakeup system. Similar to the Motorola Moto X, you can wake the phone with a spoken command - in this case "Hey Snapdragon."

Here you can set which app or function you want to boot into, whether that's the default Google Now search, the camera, or anything else you can think of.

Keyboard OnePlus One

Unlike the Moto X, however, it doesn't work very well.

Even at the voice training stage, I struggled to get the three ticks necessary for the OnePlus One to learn my voice. I tried speaking from a variety of distances, in a variety of quiet locations, and using various enunciations of the key words. But I couldn't get through the training process without repeated retries.

Once completed, the phone wouldn't respond to my commands. However it did, on several occasions, wake up to a random sound.

One time seemed to be when I'd made an extended hissing sound (I forget why), and another was when the phone was sat next to my laptop while I was silently typing out this review. Very strange, especially when you consider that saying "OK Google" and conducting a voice search from within Google Now seems to work pretty well here.

I've already mentioned that web browsing on the OnePlus One is an extremely zippy experience, and it's also a pleasant one thanks to that 5.5-inch 1080p display. You'll still need to do a bit of panning and zooming on content-rich web pages, but not nearly so much as on, say, the iPhone 5S.

Camera

There's good news and there's bad news when it comes to the OnePlus One's camera. The bad news is that it doesn't take as good pictures as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Nokia Lumia 1520.

The good news is that it's a £269/$349 phone, remember? And when compared to something equivalent like the Nexus 5 or the Motorola Moto X, it takes very decent pictures indeed.

Those two mid-range champs utilise 8MP and 10MP snappers respectively, whereas the OnePlus One boasts a 13MP unit.

Its Sony Exmor BSI images sensor and f/2.0 aperture also knocks the Nexus 5 (which is arguably the OnePlus One's most direct rival) camera out cold.

Of course, the proof of the camera is in the taking, and my test photos showed up a reasonably capable camera.

Camera

There are annoyances in basic usage, such as the positioning of the lens right at the top of the device, which means you have to hold it in a slightly unnatural pincer grip if you're to avoid getting your fingers in the shot on landscape snaps.

I also picked up on a general sense of sluggishness between pressing the shutter key and the OnePlus One's camera taking the snap, which seems to be attributed to a slightly ponderous auto-focus system.

But the results are quite pleasant. Images taken in good light were sharp, with fairly accurate colours. When focusing on nearby objects, they really tended to pop with detail against the defocused background.

Even daytime indoors shots were decent enough, avoiding that excessively murky and desaturated look that you find on many lesser smartphone cameras.

There's a reasonably effective HDR mode too, though there's a familiar sense of falseness to the resulting pictures, and one or two strange marks on areas of extreme brightness.

Camera Interface OnePlus One

CyanogenMod has its own custom camera interface, and it's pretty intuitive. In particular there's a nice mode select system that involves swiping up and down on the main viewfinder, which is how you select HDR. Alongside this and the default Auto, which should have you covered for most situations between them, there are 10 additional shooting modes.

These range from Smart Scene, which appears to actively switch to the appropriate scene for the current conditions (if it detects a lot of movement or low light, for example), to the self explanatory Steady Shot, and through to commonly used filters like Aqua and Sepia.

Camera HDR OnePlus One

You also get three permanent shooting control circles along the right hand side of the screen - one for pictures, another for video, and a third dedicated control for panoramic shots.

Along the left hand side you have four additional controls. One switches to the 5MP front camera, while another is for flash control. A third provides branching manual settings menus for things such as white balance, a timer, and additional shooting modes.

There's also a settings control here if you want to delve into image sharpness, ISO settings, burst modes and touch focus duration.

Camera Settings OnePlus One

It's not quite the dauntingly comprehensive camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy S5, but then again nor is it the overly simplistic stock Android effort found on the Nexus 5.

Video is 1080p Full HD, as you might expect. It's pretty crisp and smooth, though the sound pick-up seemed a little harsh. Playback of that sound seemed to be pushed entirely through a single sound channel, another issue that will hopefully be fixed in a future software update.

Sample images

OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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OnePlus One

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Media

With the level of hardware that the OnePlus One has at its disposal, you'd expect it to be a decent media player. It doesn't disappoint.

Whether you're watching 1080p video, streaming your new favourite album, or playing a GPU-stretching game the OnePlus One handles it all with almost dismissive ease.

Google Play OnePlus One

That's not to say that OnePlus or Cyanogen has added any particularly noteworthy media bells and whistles here. But that's because Android is already perfectly well stocked for such things.

At the heart of the experience is the Google Play Store, which forms the brightly hued hub from which you can purchase movies, TV shows, MP3 tracks, ebooks, comic books, and games.

A while ago Google broke this Google Play Store down into its constituent pieces for convenience purposes, so you get separate Play Movies, Play Books, Play Newsstand, and Play Music apps alongside the main app store.

Google Music, of course, goes well beyond being a simple MP3 store. Sign up to Google Play Music All Access and you'll get a Spotify-like unlimited music streaming service.

There are tens of thousands of tracks to choose from, and you can even download albums to your device to save on data costs, or to ensure uninterrupted playback.

Even without signing up to the All Access service, you can upload 20,000 tracks from your own physical music collection to Google's servers, enabling cloud-based playback on any device.

Google Music OnePlus One

I mention this because Google Music is the default music app on the OnePlus One, just as it for the Nexus 5. It's very good at what it does, too, offering a quick and intuitive interface that shows off high definition album art without feeling cluttered.

It's been worked into the CyanogenMod interface well, too. When playing a track, the default lock screen features a shortcut widget for playing, pausing, and skipping tracks, along with artfully blurred background album artwork that expands and sharpens as you complete the unlock gesture.

There's also the typical widget present in the notification menu from the homescreen, meaning you're never far away from your music on the OnePlus One.

When it comes to playing back your own video content, you can choose to do so through either Google's own Photos app or CyanogenMod's Gallery app. Google's effort is cleaner and less fussy, but the other option is perfectly decent.

The latter also includes additional audio effect options when playing video back. You can boost the bass or add a 3D effect, though I didn't pick up on any discernible difference from my own test samples.

No matter - the sound quality through a decent set of headphones is exemplary. It's rich, detailed, and with ample bass. Just don't rely on the OnePlus One's external speakers for watching movies or gaming, as they're weak, raspy, and they lack stereo separation.

Video Auido Effects OnePlus One

Speaking of gaming, this is one of the best Android phones I've ever used for the task. That 5.5-inch 1080p display shows off everything with optimal clarity, which is especially evident on vibrant 2D games like Plants vs Zombies 2, Rayman Fiesta Run, and Badlands.

Crucially, the screen finds a sweet spot between visual fidelity and control. Take a complex multiplayer first person shooter like Blitz Brigade. The OnePlus One's display is large enough and sharp enough to minimise the effect of your two thumbs getting in the way, but is small enough that you can wield the device and reach the touchscreen inputs comfortably.

Blitz Brigade OnePlus One

And of course, such demanding 3D games run well here, thanks to the OnePlus One's Snapdragon 801 CPU and 3GB of RAM. The handset does run very hot when it's put under strain by advanced games, but that's not uncommon.

The Competition

Google Nexus 5

Google's flagship smartphone is arguably the OnePlus One's main rival in terms of offering high(ish)end specs for a sub-£300 price.

Unfortunately for the Nexus 5, it's both more expensive and less capable than this upstart rival. What once looked like a complete bargain at £299 now looks a little overpriced.

OnePlus One competitor Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 is still a great phone, but its Snapdragon 800 is a little older and less capable than the OnePlus One's Snapdragon 801, it's got a third less RAM, and its 8MP camera is inferior to the OnePlus One's 13MP unit.

Just about the only thing going in the Nexus 5's favour here is that its stock Android OS is a little more solid and consistent, and will be among the first to be upgraded to the next version. But then you also miss out on CyanogenMod's unique tweaks and modifications.

Motorola Moto X

Another phone that offers a highclass Android experience for not an awful lot of money, the Moto X can be had for less than £300 these days. The trouble is, it's still more expensive than the OnePlus One, and it's significantly less capable - at least on paper.

The Moto X runs on an ageing dualcore Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, sports a smaller 720p display (though some will find that more manageable), and comes with a mediocre 10MP camera.

OnePlus One competitor Moto X

Of course, the Moto X was never about the raw specs. Instead, it's a classy phone that feels great in the hands and gets the most out of its modest specs. It also benefits from some truly useful and innovative Motorola software enhancements.

It's these differences in approach that arguably make the Moto X a better alternative pick than the directly comparable Nexus 5.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Here's another premium large-screen smartphone that undercuts its high-end rivals on price while offering plenty of standout features.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 runs on Windows Phone 8.1, a slick and heavily stylised mobile OS. It's really the only other choice for those bored of Android and iOS, but it sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to the heavily tweakable CyanogenMod found on the OnePlus One.

OnePlus One competitor Nokia Lumia 1520

As a handset the 1520 is very capable indeed, with a gorgeous 6-inch 1080p display (even larger than the OnePlus One) and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, the slight inferiority of which is irrelevant thanks to that efficient Microsoft OS.

Crucially for some, the Nokia Lumia 1520 has a much better 20MP camera. Having said all that, the deciding factor could be price, with the Lumia 1520 still more expensive.

Verdict

Where did this come from? Samsung, HTC, Sony, and even Google will be asking the very same question of the OnePlus One, we suspect.

The way it takes on the very cream of the Android crop whilst charging less than half the price makes it a bargain of near Motorola Moto G proportions.

We liked

The OnePlus One has got one of the fastest processors in the business backed by a hugely generous allotment of RAM, which means that it's a seriously impressive performer.

That performance is helped by the CyanogenMod firmware, which takes the speed and intuitiveness of stock Android and adds a load of customisation options to the settings menu, should you wish to tinker.

Then there's the 5.5-inch 1080p display, which shows everything off as clearly as you could hope for and all for a frankly unbelievable £269, $349 (about AU$400).

We disliked

For all the OnePlus One's high-end specs, it arguably suffers the most from the omission of a simple little microSD slot. Lack of storage is the one bottleneck here, while some will find the lack of a removable battery equally frustrating.

Then there are the little input inconsistencies that we hope can be fixed with a software update or two, such as a flawed voice control system and oversensitive gesture shortcuts.

Verdict

The OnePlus One's performance-to-price ratio is one of the most impressive we've ever seen in a smartphone, offering Samsung Galaxy S5 performance for half the price.

We'd almost call it the Motorola Moto G of the high-end Android world, but for a few small but significant flaws that interfere with everyday usability.

Still, if you're after a truly top end phone that can be customised to the Nth degree, and you don't mind accepting a few rough patches as part of the package, we can't see a better - or cheaper - alternative.

First reviewed: May 2014








Build 2015: Continuum for Windows 10 for phones puts a PC in your pocket

At Build 2015, Microsoft showed off a new feature for Windows 10 for phones called Continuum. Similar to how Continuum works on tablets and 2-in-1 hybrids to scale between touch and desktop experiences, Continuum for phones will turn your Windows 10 smartphone into a very personal PC.

With Continuum for Windows 10 for phones, once a user plugs in a keyboard, mouse and monitor - a KVM - apps on your phone will scale up to not only fit the larger external display, but also provide for a desktop experience.

Continuum for Phones

Essentially this means that the single-pane view of Outlook Mail on Windows 10 for phone will now show up in a more productive three-pane view on an external monitor. This allows you to quickly triage your emails without having to hit frequently hit the back button to switch between your list of emails and viewing the content of a specific email.

Scaling up

Once the phone is plugged in, a familiar Start menu with Live Tiles will appear on the bottom left of the screen. For users on Windows 10 on the desktop, this interface brings a lot of continuity to how Windows will look on a PC and on a phone connected to an external display.

Continuum with Start Menu

With Excel, rather than a blown-up, touch-optimized view that you would see natively on Windows Phone, once a monitor is attached, users will see a more productive view of their Excel content, similar to how Excel 2016 would look on the PC.

Continuum for Windows 10 for phones

"Here, you'll see Excel running on the phone," said Joe Belfiore, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, during the demo. "But [it] looks the same as on the PC."

Given the larger display and more screen real estate of an external monitor, Excel doesn't need to show large cells that are typically displayed on the phone for a finger-friendly UI. Instead, Excel could display more cells so you can see more of your data at a quick glance without having to constantly scroll. This experience is like a desktop.

Microsoft credits its Universal apps for this desktop experience. "It's the same code," Belfiore said when talking about how PowerPoint looks the same on his display that's connected to a Windows 10 Lumia over HDMI as on the screen of a PC or Surface Pro 3.

A PC in your pocket

For enterprise road warriors, this approach is beneficial in that it could allow users to even leave behind a laptop to do quick computing work without sacrificing the user experience.

This is also useful for those who work with sensitive information. Instead of having to use a public workstation or a shared computer when traveling, business users have access to their data and content on their own device. With Windows 10 for phone, it's like having a laptop in your pocket with apps that can scale to fit larger screen sizes when attached to a monitor, TV or projector.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oi1B9fjVs4

In developing markets where people may not have access to a traditional PC, this solution brings a PC experience in a much cheaper, portable form factor.

"Individuals can be as productive on the phone if they can't buy a full PC," Belfiore said of the experience. "With Continuum for phones, we believe any phone can be your PC."

Scalable Universal apps

The idea of scalable Universal apps has been done before with competing iOS and Android operating systems, but with limitations that make apps less useful at scaling on those platforms than on Windows 10 for phones.

For example, on the iPhone 6 Plus, turning the phone into landscape mode would give users access to a multi-pane view. However, Apple limits this experience to the larger iPhone 6 Plus and it isn't available to the smaller iPhone 6, meaning users must choose between portability and utility.

Additionally, connecting the iPhone 6 Plus to an external display doesn't allow apps to show more on the larger screen. Users get a mirrored version of their screen, so Excel for iOS in landscape mode on the iPhone 6 Plus looks the same as it does on the phone as on the monitor. With Windows 10 for phones, once connected to a display, Excel for Windows 10 for phones looks just like Excel 2016 for PCs and desktops, bringing additional utility to the end users.








Updated: Samsung Galaxy S6 release date: where can I get it?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is official, and it's sporting a fancy metal unibody and glass front and rear - it's quite possibly the best looking Galaxy ever, but perhaps the Galaxy S6 Edge has just stolen that title.

In terms of the Samsung Galaxy S6 release date it'll be available on April 10 in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB variants, but pre-orders are now open.

Samsung

You can now pre-order your Samsung Galaxy S6 online or in one of the firm's dedicated stores, but only in its 32GB capacity.

If you're in the market for the 64GB or 128GB Galaxy S6 you'll have to wait, and Samsung hasn't provided a date or price for these models just yet.

You've got the choice of four colours (black, white, gold, blue), although only the black, white and gold can currently be pre-ordered with blue "TBC".

The 32GB model is £599.99 SIM-free, with the black and white versions landing in hands on April 9, while the gold handset arrives a few days later on April 17.

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone has the Samsung Galaxy S6 up for pre-order too, and there's the choice of picking it up on contract or SIM free.

Available in black, white or gold the 32GB Galaxy S6 is priced at £599.99, the 64GB version will see you part with £659.99 while the 128GB comes in at a wallet trembling £739.99.

Meanwhile on contract you'll be able to choose tariffs from O2, Vodafone and EE - with the first two offering tariffs which require no upfront charge.

Pre-order the Galaxy S6 from Carphone Warehouse and you'll get a free wireless charger (worth £39.99) thrown in to sweeten the deal.

O2

On O2 if you pre-order the Galaxy S6 the bubbly network will throw in a free Fitbit Charge for good measure, with the black and white 32GB models arriving on April 10.

If you fancy the 64GB version the black model will be available from April 17, while the white and gold options will arrive from May 1, along with the gold 32GB Galaxy S6. Anyone looking for the 128GB model will be out of luck, as it's not available for pre-order.

The headline tariff here is a two year contract at £38 per month with a £99.99 upfront charge, unlimited texts and minutes and 2GB of data, but there are 12 different options to choose from in total.

EE

You can also pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S6 via EE, with the 4G-centric network recommending its £43.49 per month two year deal with a £49.99 upfront cost for the 32GB handset and 4GB of data.

Only the 32GB and 64GB models are available (in black, white and gold) for pre-order here, with the former sporting a 21 day expected delivering and the latter 28 days.

There are 20 pay monthly plans to choose from in total, but there are all pretty pricey so you may want to shop around.

Vodafone

Pre-orders for the Galaxy S6 are also up and running at Vodafone, and you can bag yourself a 32GB, 64GB or 128GB model - there's no restrictions here.

There's a choice of 3G and 4G contracts, as well as 12 and 24 month plans, although we'd say you're best going for a two year, 4G tariff.

Take our advice and one of your options is a free Galaxy S6 at £48.50 per month with unlimited minutes and texts, 7GB of data and your choice of a 24 month NowTV, Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV subscription.

Three

Three will also be stocking the Samsung Galaxy S6 on 24 month contracts with the added benefit of being able to use your phone abroad in 16 countries with no extra cost.

Pre-orders open from March 21 for both the 32GB and 64GB versions with an upfront cost of £49.

The 32GB version is available with all you can eat data for £47 a month, 2GB of data for £42 a month or 1GB for £39 a month.

Meanwhile the 64GB version is a little extra at £43 for the 1GB, £46 for the 2GB or £51 a month for the all you can eat data package.

giffgaff

The community drive network will also be ranging the Galaxy S6 in its three storage variants and in gold, white and black. Sign up online to be kept up to date.

Tesco Mobile

Over on Tesco Mobile you'll be able to bag yourself a free Samsung Galaxy S6 on a range of tariffs, the cheapest of which is a not too shabby price of £36 per month for two years.

You'll get 1000 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB of data for your monthly outlay. There's no pre-order option at the moment, with Tesco only allowing you to pre-register your interest for now. You'll be able to buy the S6 from April 7.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media has confirmed the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be available from its stores and online from April 10.

Online retailers

The SIM-free pre-order price for the Galaxy S6 over at MobileFun is £599 for the 32GB model - saving you a whole 99p over Samsung's retail price.

Meanwhile over on Unlocked-Mobiles the Galaxy S6 is priced slightly lower at £549.98, although you can still only register you interest for now.

Clove also has a holding page for the Galaxy S6, but again all you can do is register your interest for now.


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