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    IFA Highlights


    James Norton

    As if it wasn't enough to find out that Microsoft has bought Nokia or that Google and Nestle have signed an agreement leading to the next version of Android being called KitKat and even a glimpse at the phone it might launch on with the "accidental" sighting of what may be the Nexus 5, we also had the start of IFA in Berlin, the biggest European tech conference of the year.

    Samsung, Sony and Asus have all displayed some new devices and here is a very quick rundown of some highlights for us.

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    Kicking things off were Sony with the launch of their next flagship device, the Xperia Z1. Following on from the Xperia Z, Sony have kept the basic design language the same but seriously upped the specs with a Snapdragon 800 SoC clocked at 2.2Ghz, 20.7 Megapixel camera, 2Gb RAM and 16Gb storage with micro-SD expansion. The screen is the same 5" that endowed the Z but this time it is a Sony TriLuminous display which will hopefully have better viewing angles and colour reproduction than the somewhat lacklustre TFT screen on the Z. Sony have kept the resolution the same at 1080x1920. The Z1 is as durable as any high end Sony device having an IP58 rating meaning it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes should you be so inclined. All this is wrapped in an aluminium frame with liberal use of polycarbonite too. Overall, the look is something like a blend of the Xperia Z and the Nokia (or should that be Microsoft) Lumia 925.

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    Sony also showed off their Smartwatch 2 again which is an improvement in every way on the previous version. It too is waterproof with an IP57 rating and has a distinctly Sony design incorporating the same large power button that we are seeing on devices like the Xperia Z and Z1.

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    Most interestingly of all though were the lens-style cameras as Sony calls them. Essentially, the QX10 and QX100 devices are the lens, battery and storage - via microSD card - from Sony cameras with WiFi and NFC built in to allow your mobile phone to act as a remote. In essence, you clip the lens onto the back of your phone and start shooting with your phone acting as the viewfinder. It is a very interesting concept and with the QX100 model containing the optical assembly from Sony's high end RX100 II camera, you should finally be able to get some great shots from your phone. Well, not really from your phone, but from this separate piece of kit you have to charge and carry around that isn't really a camera. Cynicism aside, it is great to see Sony experimenting like this.

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    It has become traditional to see the latest Samsung Galaxy Note at IFA and this year did not disappoint. The Note 3 is a fairly significant evolution of the previous members of Samsung's phablet phamily. It will be arriving in the UK with a Snapdragon 800 2.3Ghz system including 3Gb of RAM and 32Gb of storage all driving a 5.7" 1920x1080 full HD Super AMOLED screen. It will arrive with Android 4.3 skinned with TouchWiz and a whole host of enhanced abilities for the customary stylus. There is a 13 megapixel camera on the back which is also where you will find Samsung's new material and design choices. Yes, they have gone with a faux leather finish complete with stitching. Here at MoDaCo HQ we love innovation and quality. You will have to listen to the next episode of MoDaCo Mobile Week to find out if Samsung have managed either of those with their new plastics!

    GALAXY_Gear_thumb.jpg galaxy-gear-and-note-3_thumb.jpg

    As has been rumoured for a while, Samsung have announced the Galaxy Gear. With the Gear, Samsung are making a play for the wrist and to be sure you remember every moment of it, they have even included a camera! The wearable device - thankfully they are avoiding calling it a smartwatch - comes with a 1.63 inch square AMOLED display with a 320x320 pixel resolution, an 800Mhz Exynos processor, 512Mb RAM, 4Gb storage and a 315mAh battery. The camera is mounted on the watch strap and is a 1.9 megapixel unit. It will come in a variety of colours and with around 70 apps including fitness apps and obviously the ability to show your notifications.

    Samsung have made Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) a requirement for the Gear meaning that the only devices it will sync with today are the new Note 3 and their updated Note 10.1 tablet. Indeed, despite other devices having Bluetooth LE support, only Samsung Galaxy devices will sync with the Gear, limiting its initial appeal somewhat. The Galaxy S4 and S3 as well as the Note 2 will be updated soon according to Samsung. Despite this low energy requirement, the battery in the Gear is rated at only 25 hours, but hey, at least it's more than a day right?

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    Asus showed off the Fonepad 7 and seemed to launch the Fonepad Note 6 FHD all over again. The Fonepad 7 seems to be a follow-up to a MoDaCo favourite, the Asus FonePad (the one with no numbers or letters after its name) which Paul reviewed earlier in the year. It has a 7" 1280x800 pixel resolution screen, runs on an Intel Atom Z2560 1.6Ghz system and has a 5 megapixel camera.

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    The Fonepad Note 6 FHD is a very poorly named but excitingly specified phablet which has a 6" Super IPS+ 1080p full HD screen, runs on the Intel Atom Z2580 dual core 2Ghz chipset and is far more phone than tablet. It also comes with a stylus, hence the Note part of the name. The camera is an 8 megapixel example and for a phone, it has a nice big 3200mAh battery. The Atom Z2580 chipset though is by far the most interesting part and should provide outstanding performance with good battery life. Hopefully we will be able to offer a full review of this very interesting device soon.

    This is just a quick look at a few of the most interesting happenings at IFA. Make sure you check out the MoDaCo Mobile Week podcast at http://www.modaco.com/podcasts next week for far more on all these products and more.

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    Yeah... the IFA was disappointing for me. The Sony smartwatch still looks like a toy to me (I have the old one and I never wore it; in the pictures it looked better, but the device itself looks like a child toy). The Samsung Gear looks better (at least in pics), but with a battery life of less than 1 day it's a big no-no for me.

    And I'm tired of paying premium prices for phones and getting screwed one year later, when they decide that the phone is too old and won't receive Android updates anymore...

    So bye bye Sony&Samsung, hello noname Chinese manufacturers (or Xiaomi :)...).

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    • Hi All, Have I got a deal for you. Please see bundle for sale below. First Housekeeping: All devices are originally owned by me All devices are imported All devices are unlocked Warranty is held with seller if it's every needed All devices are Mint/Excellent condition All have have a case and screen protector since they have been taken out of the box. Lot's of extra cases and screen protectors included. All with original box and contents I am selling the following: Zenfone 5 Colour - Silver Memory - 4GB/64GB Global Version with Google Play Smartisan R1 Colour - Black Memory - 8GB/128GB Chinese ROM - Google Play easy to install from Smartisan App Store 360 N7 Colour - Grey Memory - 6GB/128GB Global Version with Google Play Chinese ROM - Google Play easy to install from the within the Phone ROM itself. There is an option I paid £1200 for all of the above so I am discounting pretty heavily.  As a Bonus I will be throwing in a Lemfo Lem7 4G smartwatch for Free. Photos are here - Photo's I don't want to break up the bundle so selling as is. I have a very good reputation with selling devices across multiple groups so please feel free to ask around. Cheers Brendan  
    • I have won this item as a prize in an online Facebook competition directly from Nokia but I do not really need it. 
        
      I am offering you the WHITE watch/tracker, never used as it is still Brad New In Sealed Box (unopened and sealed, as can be seen in the pictures below) alongside the original receipt (in electronic form for warranty purposes) for a very reasonable price considering its brand new condition (almost half price compared to the retail price). The warranty from the manufactures is 2 years. My partner has this same watch and is great, has a long lasting battery of 8 months and is the best looking fitness tracker you can find nowadays. It would fit well a man or a woman. Connectivity via Bluetooth low energy with Android (5.0 and higher) and IOS (8.0 and higher). It tracks your steps, distance, calories, running*, swimming* (Water resistant up to 165 feet deep) and sleep cycles* (* = automatically detected). A great feature that I love is the silent alarm (by vibration) so that my partner's alarm goes off without bothering me at all O:) Full details, specifications, compatibility, etc of this item can be seen at http://health.nokia.com/uk/en/steel and you can watch a short video review in YouTube Price stated above now includes RMSD postage. If local collection was possible (Northwich, North West)  I would take £5 off the price shown to reflect savings on postage costs. Payment via BACS; Monzo.me or Revolut Transfer (See below) unless local collection, where cash in hand is a possibility. With Monzo.me money is sent instantly, with no fees for the sender or the receiver; you don’t need to create an account to send money via Monzo.me; and can use any card for the payment. My monzo.me address is https://monzo.me/jesusgarciatorre For payment using Revolut, simply ask me for a request of payment link Rev.me. Payment in crypto also welcome. Ask me if interested %) Even though I live in Northwich I travel frequently back and forth to Warrington / Manchester / Leeds areas so, I could potentially deliver in person given the right location / conditions so don't be afraid to ask. Feel free to contact me via private message for any queries you may have. Please be aware this is also being advertised on eBay and other sites, so it may become unavailable at any time. Thanks for watching 🙂
    • Regular readers will know that I love a good bargain and love a good freebie even more! Your phone is a great tool for getting free or discounted stuff when you're out and about, so here's some of our favourite apps and how you can use them to save money! If there's any we've missed but you use, let us know.    Wuntu Wuntu is the loyalty application for Three customers. It has some great deals such as free Costa Coffees, discount food at Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge, free sweets and much more. Deals typically arrive at 8:30 am on a Wednesday, so you want to be checking the app then as some offers are limited in number. If you're not a Three customer, pick up a 3 PAYG SIM to get started. You can pick them up for 99p in most supermarkets or for free from the Three website. You'll need an unlocked or dual SIM phone to activate of course, but once you've set up the app, you can take the SIM back out. Since you're getting cool free stuff from 3, it might be nice to give a little back by topping up or using as your secondary network. O2 Priority O2's Priority is similar to Wuntu but it was 'the original' app of this type. As with Wuntu deals come and go, but the headline offer from Priority is a free Caffe Nero drink every Tuesday! As an added bonus, you still get a free loyalty stamp in the Nero app and even large size drinks are covered. Nice! The best offers tend to be around 'occasions' (chocolates for mothers day, for example) but it's worth having installed and checking in frequently. As with Wuntu, pick up a cheap SIM or get one free from the O2 website. Note that O2's policy has changed recently, and Priority can only be activated using SIM cards with credit, so it's going to cost you 10 quid to get up and running (that's the minimum top up). It's probably worth it though, you could make that back in less than a month in free coffees alone. Again, you'll need an unlocked or dual SIM phone and you don't need to keep the SIM in it post activation. Curve Now for something completely different. Curve is a debit card that aggregates all your other cards. It works like this - sign up to Curve, get your free card in the post, install the app, associate all your other cards and you're ready to go. You can spend out and about with the contactless card and choose which one it maps to instantly in the app. Paid for something on the wrong card? You can use the 'back in time' feature to change it post-payment. The app has a reward card built in where you can earn credit by spending at certain merchants or by referring friends. There are lots of other features such as purchase insights, instant card lock, super cheap currency exchange, fee free cash withdrawal from credit cards and much more. Google Pay support will be coming soon too, which will really make it amazing. I love Curve and use it all the time. You can order your free card via the Curve app and even better, if you use the referral code 'TBXZH' you'll get a free fiver on your reward card. Free money! Quidco Quidco is one of the two major 'cashback' players in the UK. If you ever buy anything online, you should always check Quidco and its rival TopCashback to see if cashback is available. The way it works is like this - you start at the cashback site, sign in, complete your purchase and then you receive a percentage of your purchase back as 'credit' (this varies per merchant and is listed on the cashback site). This can then be withdrawn when it reaches a certain threshold to your bank account or to gift vouchers for other merchants with a percentage bonus. It works really well and is absolutely a no-brainer, as you're going to earn money on things you'd be buying anyway! Sign up at the Quidco website and you'll earn £5 straight away, refer friends and family and you can earn free credit too. Quidco ClickSnap Quidco ClickSnap is a Quidco specific service designed for use in-store. It has its own app, but shares the account with the main Quidco site. ClickSnap works by showing you a list of offers at the main supermarkets. A recent one was 'get a free bar of Galaxy chocolate' for example. In order to redeem, you buy the item at the designated supermarket, snap a picture of the receipt, upload it in the app then the cost is returned to you as credit. This works particularly well as often the credited amount is more than what you actually paid (if, for example, the item was on a special offer), so you can get the goods and end up in profit! Sign up at the Quidco website in the same way as above. TopCashBack TopCashBack is a Quidco rival and works in exactly the same way. It has its own Clicksnap like service (although it doesn't have a dedicated app for this) and quite often offers differ between the two services - it's worth being signed up to both. Sign up at the TopCashBack website and try and remember to use it! Vouchercloud Now for something a little bit different. VoucherCloud is all about saving money, although the app does occasionally have freebies too. Codes are broken down into categories and also displayed on a map so you can spot local deals. Alerting functionality is available, although I've found this to be a bit of a battery drain. Vouchercloud is particularly good for discounts on restaurants, although you need to be careful as many deals don't apply at the weekend. There is also a 'competitions' section. 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If you can validate your educational status with a school / college / uni email address, you can activate Unidays and receive discounts and promotions both online and in physical stores. The list of merchants is pretty extensive, so it's definitely worth doing, Student Beans Student Beans is very similar to Unidays but has a slightly different list of merchants, so it is worth installing both. Freebies are rare in these apps, but discounts are pretty healthy, particularly in the stores in which young people like to shop, so whether you're installing for yourself or for your kids, the app is worth having to hand, Airtime Rewards Airtime Rewards is a new concept which works because it's zero effort yet potentially saves a bit of money. Upon signup, the app will confirm which mobile network you are on, whether you are on a contract or PAYG and then link to your debit or credit cards. 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After installation. the app will pop up optional surveys about places you've been, demographically relevant merchants etc. and after completing them, you will earn a small amount of play credit. The surveys are very easy, very short and non-intrusive - it's a great way to gradually build credit for your next Play Store purchase. Barclays Premier Rewards OK, so this isn't for everyone, but if you happen to bank with Barclays and your household income is eligible for a Barclays Premier Banking account, then consider switching and installing the app. Doing so will net you a host of benefits including a free Patisserie Valerie hot drink every day (!), free entry to English Heritage sites, discounts at a whole host of restaurants and much more. HotUKDeals I suspect nearly everybody is aware of HotUKDeals, but just in case, the site is an hot, UK based, deal aggregator, as the name suggests! It's dangerous, as there's plenty of scope for picking up 'bargains' that you don't really need, but if you're planning to buy something specific you can use its alerting functionality to let you know if a deal crops up. The app is pretty nice for browsing offers too. Google Pay Finally, Google Pay. While Google Pay won't really save you much money or offer you much in the way of freebies, it doesn't occasionally pop up a deal and is a winner when it comes to convenience if you a) have a NFC enabled phone and b) your bank is supported. One way you can earn is by referring friends - you'll both earn £20 credit when they sign up. Follow this link and enter code '' for your own signup bonus. 🙂 Zeek Zeek is a really cool site for buying and selling gift cards. From a bargain hunting perspective it's most of interest for buying cards and the discounts can be considerable. As an added bonus, you can save further on Zeek cards by going via TopCashback! Even better, when you sign up using this link you'll get £5 back from them when you make your first purchase!
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    • I am selling my Garmin Vivosport HR GPS tracker. Bought to review on 15th April 2018 from Amazon, so receipt available if needed. Mint. With box and contents. More info -Smart activity tracker (tracks steps, floors climbed, calories burned, intensity minutes and sleep) with wrist-based heart rate monitoring and GPS - Always-on colour Garmin Chroma Display and slim, sporty design that is safe for swimming and showering - Includes fitness monitoring, such as VO2 max and fitness age estimate, plus all-day stress tracking and relaxation-based breathing timer - GPS-enabled activities include walking, running and biking plus cardio, strength training and more; Case material: fiber-reinforced polymer; Strap material: silicone - Connected features include smart notifications, music controls, LiveTrack, automatic software updates and more £90 delivered , payment via bacs.  Contact here or twitter @gavinfabiani or gavinfabl at gmail dotty com Video here https://gavinsgadgets.com/2018/04/22/garmin-vivosport-unboxing-first-impressions-vs-fitbit-versa-garmin-vivofit-4/   
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