Huawei’s flash sale of their new flagship phone, the Honor 7, results in a two-minute sellout
Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei has sold 200,000 Honor 7 models in just two minutes, averaging 1,667 sales per second during an online flash sale.
The new flagship handset boasts a 1080p 5.2-inch display, 64-bit Kirin 2.2GHz octa-core processor, 20.7MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, 3GB RAM and microSD support.
The 16GB version sold for around £210, the middle dual-SIM version for around £230 and the 64GB version went for around £260. This is excellent value for the specs you get so it’s little wonder that the Honor 7s were snapped up so quickly and we imagine it will get similar results when it comes to Europe soon.
Archos’ latest budget device is light in weight but heavy on quality
Archos has been around for 17 years, but it was only in 2013 that it expanded into the smartphone market, generally hovering around the £100-£150 price bracket. The 50 Oxygen+ is at the top of its list in terms of specs and price, taking it right into Moto G and Asus ZenFone 5 territory. Low-price phones is an increasingly key battleground and manufacturers are having to pull the stops out on all devices, including the bargain basement ones.
The spec sheet on the 50 Oxygen+ is pretty impressive. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a nippy 1.4Ghz octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor. It packs 1280 x 720 pixels into the 5-inch HD screen at 294ppi and the colours are rich and deep, for an enjoyable user experience.
It comes with 1GB RAM and a reasonable 16GB storage, expandable to 64GB via the microSD slot. This is fairly standard for handsets in this price range and the lack of pre-installed bloatware means that well over 12GB of that memory is still available out of the box.
Asus’ latest ZenFone looks to excel on value, but can the Intel-powered newcomer deliver on quality, too?
Asus’ latest assault on the Android phone comes via the ZenFone 2, the successor to the ZenFone 4, 5 and 6. The previous generation devices had 4-, 5- and 6-inch screens, hence the names. The ZenFone 2 has two different screen sizes, with 5-inch and 5.5-inch variants available.
Confused yet? The variations don’t stop there – both 720p and 1080p resolution screens are offered, storage on the devices varies between 16GB and 64GB, RAM is either 2GB or 4GB and there are two different versions of the Intel Atom processor available. The phone is single SIM in some markets and dual SIM in others. Asus certainly doesn’t make choosing easy!
Our review device is at the higher end of the range, with a full HD screen, 32GB storage and the 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z3560 rather than the quicker 2.3GHz Z3580. The stand-out item on the spec sheet for this phone is definitely the 4GB RAM, which should mean applications virtually never get swapped out of memory. At a time where some flagships are still being shipped with 2GB RAM, this is a pretty significant feature for what is, even at its very highest specification, a mid-range device.
The Idol 3 is the most advanced Alcatel OneTouch phone yet, but is it worth the £200 price tag?
Alcatel OneTouch is slowly building up a reputation as a solid, reliable low-end phone manufacturer. Ranges such as the Pixi and Idol are unspectacular but solidly built and not that pricey. However, the Idol 3 seems to have broken the mould somewhat, breaking through the £200 barrier and firmly into mid-range territory where it comes up against the likes of the ZTE Blade S6 and the Asus Zenfone 2. This is exulted company indeed so Alcatel would have to pull out all the stops to compete.
Alcatel OneTouch has brought out two versions, one with a 4.7-inch screen and the other with a 5.5-inch screen. We tested the 4.7-inch version, which has slightly inferior specs to its bigger brother in all areas apart from the rear-facing camera.
However, the spec sheet reads pretty well. The 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is gutsy and runs everything in double quick time. We never felt we were hanging around for anything, whether games or web pages. We ran a handful of common apps at the same time and didn’t notice any slowdown, so that’s a very big tick for the Idol 3. The screen is an impressive 312ppi and it felt crisp and clear when watching videos, pictures or browsing the web.
At just £54.99, the Karbonn A5S is one of the cheapest smartphones out there, but what is the real cost?
Indian smartphone manufacturer Karbonn has been trying to carve a niche for itself as a low-cost mobile provider for people who just need something simple for basic tasks. The Karbonn A5S is currently available in the UK for the bargain price of just £54.99, but be aware that this really is a bargain basement phone.
The spec sheet makes for very average reading. It runs on Android KitKat 4.4.2, houses a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has a 1,400mAh battery and its 4-inch screen measures just 480×800 pixels at 233ppi. The rear camera takes 5MP snaps while the front camera is a paltry 0.3MP. Sometimes phones with limited specs and a low price point have the ability to surprise you with hidden reserves of quality, like the Alcatel One Touch Idol Mini or Huawei Ascend Y300, but it is hard to find here.
Right from the off it’s sluggish, taking some time to transfer between pages and screens while managing just a single task. Trying to play a game or surf the web seems too much for the dual-core processor to handle at times, with performance rapidly becoming limited.
Styluses at the ready, Google Handwriting Input offers an alternative to the default keyboard
Despite the wide range of customisable keyboards available to Android users, typing into your touchscreen using your thumbs is still an imperfect way to send a message. There is help at hand though, as Google has released an app that converts your handwriting into text and can be used for everything from texting to inputting web addresses.
It works with a stylus or your fi nger and can be handy for people who find typing out messages a little bit too fiddly. There have been a fair few apps that have tried this, but Google Handwriting Input stands apart from them due to its recognition of even the worst handwriting. Using the same technology as the recent Android Wear update, this app can also recognise hand-drawn emoji.
Read onto find out how to activate Google Handwriting Input, use it in your everyday life, and deactivate it if you want to switch back to traditional typing for a period of time.