Funny thing, fashion
I picked up my Dell Streak 5 dead cheap cos the idea of a phone that big or a tablet that small was frankly laughable at the time. Shame it was so difficult to upgrade the OS, mind you...
How we all laughed when Samsung launched the Galaxy Note toward the end of 2011. Who could possibly want a phone with a 5.3-inch screen? It turned out rather a lot of people did, and the unqualified success of the 4.8-inch Galaxy S III and 5.6-inch Galaxy Note 2 proved that what many punters want is a phone with a really, really …
Phones were getting smaller, but the Nokia smartphones were getting bigger.
People waving their tiny phones about like a little thong compared to my granny-pants of a device, laughing at the space taken up by mine.
Now everyone wants a massive phone and think they are cool.
I'm a trend setter, but just too ahead of my time.
quote: "Everyone thought it was large. Now, as you say, everyone wants a brick."
Actually, what they want is a massive screen; what they will put up with to have one is a big phone (as long as it is light). If they can make a 3" phone with a fold-out 7" screen it'll outsell everything, IMO.
I'm thinking that Asus should do a companion PadPhone with a smaller phone (3"ish) and a 7" plugin (plugout?) screen... I can see a lot of people accepting that as a viable tradeoff of easy to carry phone vs decent screen size when you want it. The phablet equivalent of the laptop docking station and 23" monitor ;)
I have a variant of the Kogan Agora, the Star N9770. Slight differences are JB 4.1.1, not ICS, 3200 mAh battery rather than 2000 mAh (two batteries supplied in the box) and allegedly an 8MP camera (although there is some confusion on this point). As with the Agora, it is SIM free and dual SIM slot (1 slot is 3G, the other GSM only)
I find it runs perfectly well, and can do a whole day with all the bells and whistles turned on, and about 3 days if you shut everything down (data / wifi / BT / screen illumination all off)
Build quality is no worse than some other more expensive phones I've owned (SGS & Pre I'm looking at you), and the bonus of an extra battery and a integrated battery cover & microfibre front screen cover as well as a separate battery cover, means that I don't even have to buy a case for it.
Shipping was 9 days from order to door delivery, no import duty or extra delivery charges. Same price as the Kogan.
GPS is prone to dropping or taking a while to acquire a lock, but then my SGS was no better and it cost 3 times as much. I use the GSM slot with a network SIM and have Samba data only SIM running in the other slot. Therefore I have a free source of unlimited 3G data and a cheap voice contract in the other slot.
What's not to like?
Frankly, I think the lack of dual SIM device on the market is evidence that device availability is driven by network operators rather than client demand, so I'm going to watch that device very carefully.
At that price I may just get one to play with - the shiny stuff is insanely expensive in comparison.
Having said that, there are some pretty interesting devices coming onto the market so very happy with the article as both an overview and an update :)
I'm also keeping my eyes out on something like the Yuntab P500. If it turns out as good as it looks, I might be able to ditch ("gently retire") my P990. I had an old Cect P168 but it would only have one active SIM at a time, and suffered an accident involving water and quite a lot of quicksand-type mud.
Don't know if you'll get it, but my Note 1 just did an update that gave it split screen (also the very, very handy feature that it can tell when you are reading the screen, so doesn't keep turning it off). I know that the SGSII update didn't get the split screen though, so you'll have to wait and see.
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I was just thinking, what we need here is for a total dickwad to post something entirely unrelated to any of the phones in this article and not even related to the category they fall into.
And reliably enough, there's Eadon.
While you're here, perhaps you could drop into http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/27/mastercard_masterpass_drives_into_mobile_payments/ and make a "joke" about how those new Mastercard and Visa "payments" don't make you "pay" remotely as much as using Windows! Ho ho fucking ho.
I have a enough trouble using a Galaxy S2 with one hand. My thumb barely reaches the other side of the screen and often bumps the back button.
Unfortunate that the PadFone 2 is even bigger, otherwise it would be perfect solution. I'd like to have something the size of (or smaller than) a Nexus S, but powerful enough to drive the 10" tablet when plugged in.
I must say I don't understand that. Surely the point of having a phone with a tablet to slot into is that all the big stuff can be handled by the tablet screen. Which allows you to make the phone a bit smaller. I still make more calls than I use data, so I want a phone that's comfortable to hold up to my ear for long periods while I try to solve ridiculous engineering problems with guys on noisy building sites. It's good to shout...
Whilst I don't have any problems with the Note 1 (I can easily reach across the screen, but don't - if I used it one-handed it would be damaged or lost by now!), I do like the idea of a phone small enough to go on a belt-holster without too much overhang that can be docked with a 7" or 10" screen for other use. I'm keeping an eye on this format for the replacement of the Note when it becomes necessary.
I quite like the idea of a dumbphone, perhaps with all the smartphone internals, but maybe just the radios. This then docks with a tablet - which has the screen, and whatever bits don't fit in the phone.
I'd like it to be a Motorola RAZR V3 shaped, clamshell phone with at least the radios and GPS, which can do email, calendar and contact synching with MS Exchange plus some combination of CardDAV/IMAP/EAS/CalDAV to deal with my personal stuff. Link that to a relatively dumb tablet or phablet sized thingy to do the pretty-pretty, handle media content, web-surfing and maybe act as the map screen - and I'd be very happy indeed.
Or maybe the tablet should be the boss, and the phone merely the dumb terminal. I'm not quite sure the best way to make it work, but the problem with modern smartphones is that they're getting worse as phones, as they become better mobile computers.
Maybe this is just me having a problem, as apparently data usage is rapidly overtaking voice calling. But for work, my phone gets much more call usage than data - and that's still true for our road-warriors as well. It's dead useful to have my emails on it, but if I could have a WiFi hotspot mode on a dumbphone, I'd be very tempted to abandon smartphones as a bad job. If only the manufacturers didn't seem to have murdered the flip-phone, even though it's the most ergonomically sensible shape for a mobile phone.
Those 2 RAZRs, despite their several faults, were the nicest phones I've ever used. I abandoned the smartphone in about 2004 (having had a Sony Ericsson P800), and went back to dumphone and Filofax, then replaced with a tablet. I've now had an HTC Wildfire, Nokia Lumia 710 and an iPhone 5, and there are still many times I think I'd be better with a dumbphone that could do email, a Filofax and paper maps.
The physical format of the v3i was as close to perfect as I've ever had a clamshell. Mechanics as well as design dimensions were *just* right. All it needed was (a) a non-shiny keyboard and (b) a decent OS and it would have been perfect, also because it could go for days on a *removable* battery. Which reminds me, I better buy a new battery for mine before they can no longer be bought.
It also had another good thing: the top display. It was far more discrete than your smartphone popping up a window over the screen lock and announcing to the world that ex no2 is calling..
If someone would buy that specific design and put a better OS in it I would buy it immediately.
I've probably got a spare somewhere. When I got the V3i, I gave the old V3 to friends, who had it stolen from them in Nigeria. I would have gone back to the V3i, in despair at not being able to find a decent replacement, but unfortunately my 2 year old nephew found it - and it's gone to join the choir invisible.
It was just so pleasant to hold in the hand, the speaker covered your ear, and the mic was near your mouth - so the call quality was naturally good. Plus it fitted in your pocket perfectly and you couldn't accidentally press any buttons, them being covered up. With modern tech you could probably get Android and a 3" screen on one, which would be enough for email, and some apps - with all the heavy lifting left to a second device.
The little screen on the outside of the flip could then be eInk.
What a sad pair we are, reminiscing about phones past! But this is the one I think of with affection. My old Motorola MicroTac and green-screen Nokias had great battery life (the MicroTac should have - it was still a half-brick!), and the Sony Ericsson P800 was fun for being such a brilliant try at being a smartphone, but the V3 was such a great combination of being good-looking and functional. It was a pleasure to hold.
I'll shut up now.
Frankly very few users have any use for them. Unless you're storing tens of gigabytes of music or video on your phone and don't want to/can't juggle it around from a pc or over a network, there really isn't any need. So manufacturers prefer to save the space for more battery.
For me the formula is quite simple - no external storage, no sale. I don't carry lots (my phone doesn't even have any music on it), but I want to separate my data from the machine just in case of failure. (Yes, everything is backed up, but I'm old-fashioned enough to want to be able to remove my data from the machine easily).
Apple started this unwelcome trend not only to buy ludicrously expensive RAM in upgrading, but forcing you to buy more storage on the iCloud, which pleases the Carriers with increased data usage with streaming. ( thus justifying their promotion of Apple phones @ its un subsidies high margin price).
The nice thing* about no micro-SD card is that it lets the device have a unified storage space. Which means there's none of this "running low on storage space" when you've still got 23 GB left on the SD card, if (like me) you installed the Humble Android Bundle (10 games, >1.5 GB of APKs).
This is why Nexus devices don't do SD.
* if you're an OS
Wholly arbitrary but in my book screen < 5.0" = phone, 5.0 - 6,.5" = phablet, 6.5"+ = tablet
so the HTC One and recently announced Asus FonePad didn't make the cut by dint of being too small and too big respectively.
of course that doesn't explain what the PadFone is doing here, but I make no claim top consistency.
"Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - The successor to the device that started all this large-screen silliness,"
Come on, Reg, let's not try to re-invent history. The Dell Streak 5 (I still have mine, along with a Note and a Note 2) was the brave foray into this market.
Yes, they didn't fully support it, and lost faith in the product somewhere along the way, but let's give credit where credit's due.
and IP54-rated resistance to dust and water
Very impressive, but that still only adds up to 30 seconds of baby-proofing, what with their incredible knack of:
a) working out where your phone is, even when it's hidden from view
b) being able to drool into the most water-sensitive port of your device.
Why - in a room full of toys, slides and teddies - are your electronics the things they want to stuff into their mouths the most? And how do they know to start with the most expensive/useful one first? It's uncanny.
Just as with the original Note, a lot of people are joking about how stupid and pointless having an 8" tablet with a built in phone is going to be. To me it only seems smart to approach from both sides to see if there is a sweet spot in the screen size. I just wish they would redo the H:W ratio, something like 1.414:1 just feels right.
Vodafone tell me I can upgrade my contract, get a new phone and pay less if I sign up now :-)
but can't just cut to a cheaper contract for a few more months.
I was looking at the Note2, a lot of the time I could do with a bigger screen, but I just can't see it working in my trouser pockets. I was out in Seoul last summer working with some of the engineers from another part of Samsung, they'd found the same thing, they'd bought Notes in the winter when everyone had their coats and jackets and the Note worked brilliantly for them. Then come the summer and all the guys started to find problems with just where to carry one. The women still thought they were great, drop into all but the tiniest of handbags. (don't ask what the women their thought of the idea of men with handbags).
Anyway I'm glad I waited, the Asus looks like a really interesting device.
I think I'm going to start to need a tablet in a couple of months time. Now what I really need is them to combine this with a Transformer so I can use it as a phone, a tablet and as a netbook, all in one device, that would probably be the ideal, at least till someone develops on NumptyScrub's idea of a tiny phone with a giant screen.
All phones are a compromise, and I just don't want to compromise :-(
This all reminds me of scatter-gun marketing.
Let's just make gadgets in all possible sizes and maybe we will hit it big.
Personally, anything bigger than an iPhone5 (fill in your favourite small handset here) is problematic as a phone, and if I am going to drag something out of the bag that requires a bigger surface area, then ca. 10" seems to hit the mark.
Someone here called the iPad mini "crap". Well, I played with one and they are an excellent shot at the smaller footprint market. I wish my larger device was as light as the mini (it probably will be in some future iteration).
I know it's not available here yet (if at all) but the K900 Ideaphone looks quite sexy with it's Intel innards, 5.5" screen, 400ppi and Lenovo's trademark tank-like build quality. It even had the same 13mp Exmor sensor as the SXZ!
The only question is the dual core CPU.
It's also a shame that only Samsung have nailed the wacom-style input. It's something I really like using on my Note.
The Blackberry Z10 can sort of be used as a desktop. It's got HDMI out, and you can pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with it. You get a mouse cursor and everything. Plug it into a TV or monitor, et voila; a desktop machine.
BB's Docs To Go aren't the complete Office package (simple edits of Word, Excel and PowerPoints), but it's free with the device. That, plus the very good email system and you've got a fairly useful thing.
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