Devices – May 2014

Huawei are getting a reputation for releasing a cheap handset every six months and this month I will be taking a look at the Huawei Ascend Y530. The Chinese technology giant are starting to make a name for themselves in the UK so it will be interesting to see what the £110 device can bring to our shores. Sony has been pushing their mobiles heavily during the past eighteen months and have produced a couple of products that have made waves. This month we take a look at their new Xperia Z2 Tablet which has been raising some eyebrows throughout the industry.

Huawei Ascend Y530

The competition is getting pretty fierce at the cheap end of the smartphone market and the £110 Y530 has a lot to contend with. Nokia, Motorola and Sony have all released budget friendly devices in the last twelve months and many manufacturers seem to be able to squeeze more and more technology into these phones, whilst keeping them cheap, than ever before.

The Y530 only comes with 4GB of internal storage which is a bit of a swindle straight off the bat as you will find yourself forking out for a microSD card (up to 32GB) before you have even used it. The other big negative is no 4G capability, but it’s hard to grumble at this for the price.

Right, on to the positives! It comes running Android 4.3 which is a well established version of the OS. However, it remains unclear if the newer KitKat 4.4 version will be available for the device in the future. The screen comes in at 4.5 inches and is slightly below par when it comes to the benchmarks but most people won’t notice that for everyday use. For basic use this device is up to the task, unfortunately if you use a lot of apps or like whizzing between tasks you will notice a lag.

Battery life was better than expected and would go the whole day on one charge with moderate use. As smartphones become that extra appendage to a lot of people battery life is so important to do well. The 5MP was good enough but most business users won’t be fussed by this.

Where this phone really falls down is its design. It really does feel cheap (funny that) and plastic. It is disappointing considering some of its competitors do quite well here. It’s hard to find positives for a £110 phone but the one thing that may spur employers to provide phones like this one is not many people are going to waste their time doing anything but work on it! If you have a little more to spend then there are better options out there. In all, a decent entry level device.



Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

When the Xperia Tablet Z was unveiled about twelve months ago it marked the start of something special for Sony. They managed to produce a fabulous device which would hold its own against even the biggest manufacturers out there. There has been a lot of excitement for the Z2 tablet which comes with a 10.1 inch screen. Its price point suggests it is well and truly competing at the top end of the market. They start at £399 for the 16GB model and £449 for a 32GB version.

When looking at the screen the depth of colours is fantastic and when looking straight on at the device you can be easily fooled into thinking it is chunkier than it is. The Xperia Z2 is water and dust resistant but unfortunately the sides don’t seem to be resistant to the scratches and bumps it would receive in everyday life.

The tablet is running Android KitKat 4.4.2 which is the latest OS version but Sony’s custom UI is slowly morphing into a pleasurable experience. They seem to have simplified where appropriate and left plus points of the native software in place untouched. When it comes to battery life Sony is up there with the best of them despite using essentially the same battery as in the previous version. Instead of beefing up the battery Sony have decided to tackle the problem by using the latest Snapdragon processor which are renowned for their battery efficiency.

The standout feature in my eyes is the keyboard. Sony has developed their own custom keyboard which will pass some users by as being ‘the standard’. It’s not, and for someone that uses a lot of different tablets all the time I can tell you it is impressive and will ensure your frustrations are kept at bay when typing those long emails day in day out.

This is really a great effort by Sony to try and capture some of the tablet market. Unfortunately I fear the whole exercise will be short lived as a new wave of Samsung and Apple devices are set to be announced later in the year. If there is even moderate improvement in those new releases then Sony could be left trailing the pack for another year.


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine