iPhone 5: Our giant (sortable!) tariff comparison table

The pre-order rush for the iPhone 5 has officially begun and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen all of the major UK networks announcing their new tariffs. We’ve put together the following tariff comparison tables to help you work out which network has the best deal for you. We’ll update these tables when we receive further data . If you find these tables helpful (don’t forget that you can click each heading to sort them) then please share this page.

Update: Sept 21 – o2 online prices added. Some strange  pricing as certain handset/plan combos are cheaper offline than online!

16GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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32 GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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64 GB iPhone 5 tariff table

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Please note that all information was correct at time of going to press. We will update these tables if and when we receive new data. If you spot a mistake or notice that a tariff has changed, then please let us know.

Apple’s iPhone 5: Tracking media (over) reaction

Another year rolls by and the media circus around Apple’s iPhone has once again rolled into. And I appreciate that I am just another clown squeezing into this impossibly small car. The predicitable pattern happens year in, year our. The press trawl through Apple’s bins sniffing for clues about what the next iPhone might be, baseless speculation reaches fever pitch and then inevitable disappointment from the pitchfork wielding corners of the internet sets in – lambasting Apple for not having better locks on their bins and complaining that after reading hundreds of pre-announcement rumour articles they are no surprises. It’s a cycle you can set your watch by.

Apple-iPhone-5

But behind they hype what about the actual phone? Well Apple have taken an amazingly popular, well-designed phone … and made it thinner, faster, with improve specifications and longer battery life. How dare they. I can’t believe they didn’t listen to AnonymousCommentBoy82 and hire him as CEO. Apple have a little bit of “damned if they do” about them – they were “too timid” to introduce bold but useless NFC (I have NFC enabled devices and they see very little action) but actual bold decisions such as moving away from the 30-pin dock connector were pilloried – even though there has been an inexorable move towards wireless audio and cloud storage.

So what did the pros make of the new iPhone. I didn’t get my invite in the mail (still waiting Tim) but a few of our peers in got to get a hands on with the new iPhone.

The main comment – Thin is in. T3 explain.

In the hand, the 112g iPhone 5 unquestionably feels lighter and thinner. The 7.6mm depth is impressive, considering that this smartphone is much more powerful than the iPhone 4S. However, while the aluminium/glass construction is gorgeous to look at, the reduction in weight also makes it feel less industrial and less sturdy. We’d take a lighter phone adorning our pocket any day, though.

Joshua Topolsky at the Verge concurs – this is a svelte device by anyone’s standards.

What’s most noticeable about the new device isn’t any of that, however; it’s how thin and light it is. The 7.6mm, 112-gram chassis is incredibly sleek, and exceptionally light… it feels almost too light in the hand. This isn’t just in comparison to the relatively heavy iPhone 4S — sure, the iPhone 5 may not be the thinnest phone out there as Apple claims — but this feels incredibly light against smartphones in general.

Darren Murph at Engadget was impressed by the incremental speed bump.

The new A6 chip, in typical Apple style, hasn’t revealed itself in terms of raw tech specs. But at a glance, it’s definitely quicker than the chip in the 4S. Much like the speed increases between the iPhone 4 and 4S (and before that, the iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS), they won’t take you by storm right away. But, use it for half an hour and you’ll have a hard time going back to a slower chip. The transitions are smoother, switching between apps is a bit quicker and everything just generally feels incrementally faster.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 start from 14 September. Our take (admittedly on a phone we’ve not touched or seen)? Ignore the braying comments online. If you like the iPhone and want more of the same, then this is clearly the phone for you. If there are fundamental problems you have with the iPhone (like it’s made by Apple) then there’s nothing to see here.

So, what’s new in the iPhone 5?

Today saw the launch of the highly anticipated Apple iPhone 5, which the Cupertino-based firm describes (ever so modestly) as, “the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone”. After months of speculation, rumour and outright link bait, we can now report on exactly what’s new in Apple’s latest device.

It’s bigger, but lighter

The iPhone 5 is billed as the thinnest, lightest and fastest iPhone ever. Although it’s nearly 9mm longer than the 4S, it’s actually the same width – which should make it feel similar when held. Thanks to new components, such as a nano-SIM (44% smaller than a micro-SIM), the iPhone 5 is just 7.6mm thick and weighs 112g, which is 20% lighter than the iPhone 4s.

New and improved screen

The extra 9mm in length helps accommodate the new 4-inch retina display. This new screen gives 18% more pixels than the 4S, resulting in a resolution of 1136×640. The saturation has been boosted by 44%, which helps to boost the depth of the display’s colours.

Thunderbolts and lightning!

One of the worst kept secrets about the iPhone 5 was the rumoured change to its connector. Unfortunately (for those with existing docks) we can now confirm that the 30-pin connector has indeed been replaced with a much smaller, all-digital, ‘Lightning’ connector which is also reversible – meaning you can insert it either way up. Apple have said that this new connector was necessary in order to produce the thinner and lighter form factor. A 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter is available for those who don’t wish to upgrade their existing accessories.

Faster inside and out

The iPhone 5 will support the new high-speed 4G service that’s being rolled out by Everything Everywhere (now ‘EE’) later this year, and by other networks in 2013. The new device also supports the 802.11n wireless standard, allowing for speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The iPhone’s new A6 processor is reported to be up to twice as fast as the previous A5 chip. It also offers greater graphics performance which will obviously appeal to those who enjoy playing games on their iPhone. The A6 is reported to be extremely power efficient, providing up to 8 hours of mobile browsing, although we’ve obviously not had a chance to verify this yet.

Better (and wider) photos

The iPhone 5’s new iSight rear-facing camera allows you to record 1080p HD video and comes complete with improved stabilisation to help prevent shaky footage. For regular pictures, the new camera provides 40% faster photo capture and better low-light performance. Another feature, which was previously handled by 3rd party apps, is the new panorama mode which sees the gyroscope and camera app work together to capture a seamless high-res panorama of up to 28 megapixels and up to 240 degrees.

Round-up of other changes

FaceTime can now be used over a mobile connection (rather than just Wi-Fi), although we’re unsure on which UK networks will provide support for this.

Apple have replaced the default Google Maps with their own app, which includes real-time traffic information and a new Flyover perspective, which enables you to explore areas from above with a photo-realistic, interactive 3D view.

There are also new EarPods, which the firm states have been ‘completely re-imagined from the sound up’. These should hopefully be more comfortable than their predecessors, whilst also providing better sound quality.

We’ll bring you further details and a full review in due course.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 attempts to take on the New iPad

Hoping to tap into a marketplace currently dominated by iPad 2 and soon to be dominated by the New iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is the successor to the original Galaxy Tab (which was released back in 2010) and holds the distinction of being the first Samsung tablet to run on the Android 4.0 operating system or Ice Cream Sandwich as it is known to its friends.

Galaxy-Tab-2

Designed with ease of use in mind, the Galaxy Tab 2 offers a variety of new and improved Android OS features, including embedded Google applications and the cutting edge Face Unlock program. Users also have a range of other features that they can benefit from, including an addition to the existing Hub range of music and games – the video hub which can be used to purchase and play movies. Further enhancing the user experience are applications such as S Suggest, which recommends widgets and apps, and an upgraded Touchwiz interface.

With the original Galaxy Tab being released over a year and a half ago, the Tab 2 takes advantage of the advances in technology, with a notably increased performance and response time. Available in 3G or WiFi versions, the Galaxy Tab 2 is set to go up against the might of Apple’s new iPad, a task which has been the downfall of many similar releases by the likes of HP, Blackberry and Motorola. Will the Galaxy Tab 2 be any different? Only time will tell.

Eyes down for the full tech-spec…

Processor – 1 GHz Dual-Core Processor
Display – 7” WSVGA(1024×600) PLS TFT
OS – Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera – 3 Megapixel
Video Playback & Recording – Full HD@30fps
Memory – 8/16/32GB User memory + 1GB (RAM)
Weight – 344g
Dimensions – 193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5 mm

For further information on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, please visit www.samsung.com.

Review: Maroo Otago Apple wireless keyboard case

Otago
I love typing with my iPad. I’m doing it right now. But even though I’m managing with the onscreen keyboard, I much, much prefer to get things down with a “physical” keyboard. My weapon of choice? The Apple Wireless keyboard. It’s a natural fit, sleek, lightweight and a delight to type with. But it’s also expensive and therefore should be guarded from the sharp, denting forces of the outside world. But a case … for a keyboard? Who would make such a thing? Enter Maroo with the Otago case.

“The Otago case was developed out of necessity,” said Michael Shaver, Senior Vice President at Maroo. “One of the members of the Maroo team loves his iPad, but found typing on the screen left his work error-ridden. His Apple wireless keyboard became indispensable to him, so he travelled with it everywhere. As experts in iPad protection, it became clear that it wasn’t just the tablet that was liable to knocks, drops and dirt. We developed the Apple wireless keyboard case to offer our customers the same high level of protection that they expect from Maroo’s premium collection of iPad cases.”

So what should you expect? Well the black, flip-top case offers two typing positions (both of which are quite comfortable for desk typing) with corner straps to hold the folio open or shut. But the Otago also contains Maroo’s patent-pending Safe Guard (SG) Bumper Technology -which not only protects the keyboard when it is dropped, but also protects the corners of the device. This is the same Bumper Technology found in their remarkably robust iPad cases so your keyboard is in good hands.

The Otago’s lining is made of soft, non-scratch material tightly encases the keyboard, keeping out dust and debris while it is being transported in a bag. With high-quality, textured leather to the exterior, the case is also protected from scrapes and spills. If you take your wireless keyboard on the road you might want to look into one. Although it is worth bearing in mind it costs almost as much as buying a new keyboard.

Pricing and Availability: The Otago from Maroo retails at £54.99. It is available from www.amazon.co.uk.

iPhone 4S review of reviews

Never can there have been such a emotion-fuelled product launch as with the iPhone 4S, what with the rawer-than-raw passing of the man that made it all possible in the first place, and the moans and gripes of the Apple geekosphere about how it’s not really a new iPhone and how they are now going to have to wait another year to get that gloaty new-phone feeling.

This is all being the case it was vital that Apple delivered the goods with their upgrade of the 4, and in general it seems they have.  Below we are going to take you through the best bits of the best reviews of the new Apple icon, and let you work out for yourself whether it’s time to upgrade.

iPhone-4S

Appearance

Much has been made of the fact the 4S is just an upgrade of the 4, and thisismynext has this to say:

‘there isn’t anything notable about the exterior of the iPhone 4S in comparison with the company’s previous flagship phone. Really, if you’ve ever seen an iPhone 4 or even looked at photos, you will have a crystal clear idea of what this phone is like.’

It does add the caveat, however, that ‘Compared with most (if not all) of its Android competition, this industrial design looms tall.’

Hardware Improvements

iPhone 4 owners may be able to update the features on their phone to 4S standard with the free i0S 5 upgrade available, but Apple doesn’t just want you to do that. It wants you to spend your hard earned on the brand spanking new!  Is it worth it though?  T3 seems to think so when it says ‘Apple has built its best phone to date’ and that ‘apps launch quicker, web pages load faster, multi-tasking is more fluid.’

Much has been made of the dodgy antennae that was the 4’s principle bugbear.  If the 4S truly wants to define itself as a model in its own right, it needs to see that these problems are fixed and, thankfully this seems to be the case with the antennae being moved to the same place as on the CDMA iPhone 4. Engadget says this should mean that ‘the iPhone 4S can now intelligently and instantly switch between those exterior antennas, in real-time, even while you’re in the middle of a call.’  They say it lives up to this promise when ‘in testing a Vodafone 4S against a 4 we found the 4S to be consistently one bar higher, and did a far better job of holding on to 3G data.’

Siri

The big ace up the sleeve of the 4S is the Siri program, which is what we might term a digital media assistant. Thisismynext describes it thus:

Utilizing a combination of voice recognition, logic processing, and text-to-speech, the software can interpret requests and follow conversations. Through Siri, you can use natural language to get directions, send text messages, schedule reminders or appointments, get suggestions on where to eat, and lots more. Not only does Siri understand what you’re saying to it, it understands the context in which you’re saying it — so for instance, if you try and schedule a meeting on top of another meeting, Siri will warn you and ask if you’d like to change the time of your new appointment, and it’ll listen as you tell it a new time.

Of course, the problem with something like Siri is that it can be seen as more of a gimmick than an essential, especially when it’s the first edition of the program and as such is probably not yet at reaching its full potential.  However, despite this Daring Fireball was pretty effusive with its praise and said:

The best sign I can think of regarding Siri’s practical utility: after a week of using this test iPhone 4S, yesterday, while using my regular iPhone 4, without thinking I held down the home button to create a new reminder for myself, and when the old Voice Control interface appeared, my mind went blank for a few seconds while I pondered what went wrong. I missed Siri already.

I wouldn’t say I can’t live without Siri. But I can say that I don’t want to.

Processor/ Battery Business

Numbers alert!  Pocket-lint give all the rundown of the boomf under the bonnet with:

The Apple A5 chip has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor clocked at 1GHz. On the graphics front, it’s an upgrade to a dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and there’s, again, 512MB of RAM in support. According to Apple, what this means in real terms is a chip that has a CPU twice as powerful as its predecessor and a GPU that can work seven times harder.

Cnet goes on to say that the new A5 chip means that Apple have promised a battery life of ‘8 hours of talk time over 3G, 14 hours over 2G, 6 hours of browsing over 3G, 9 hours via Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback, and 40 hours of music playback,’ though whether or not the reality of that is going to be different than the promise, only time will tell.

Camera

Positive reaction to the camera runs throughout each review, with Cnet saying that ‘the iPhone 4’s 5-megapixel camera was already great, but it’s about to get better. The iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, f/2.4 aperture lens, and a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that allows 73 percent more light than the previous sensor.’   Thisismynext then carries on where they left off with the most unreserved praise of all: ‘The iPhone 4S took some of the nicest, cleanest photos I’ve ever seen from a mobile device. If you’ve ever thought about using a phone as a replacement for your point-and-shoot, feel free to start taking that concept seriously.’

Conclusion

As you might expect, reviews have been unanimously positive, but slightly backed up with a sense of caution and/or regret that it isn’t that much of a change from the iPhone 4.  Engadget says: ‘if your contract happens to be up and you want an iPhone and you haven’t already jumped on the iPhone 4 then yes, this is the one you want,but goes on to add ‘if you’re mid-contract or haven’t quite yet been wooed by all that iOS has to offer, we’d recommend sitting this one out. The iPhone 4S does everything better than the iPhone 4, but it simply doesn’t do anything substantially different.

Thisismynext continues in a similar vein when with: ‘The iPhone 4S is a great device for some, but what if you’re thinking of upgrading from an iPhone 4? That’s a tougher call. The phone is faster, to be sure, and has an amazing camera. And of course, you can’t get Siri unless you have a 4S… but I just don’t know if any of those reasons are compelling enough to convince previous buyers to upgrade.’  Saying that, they do go on to finish their review with ‘the iPhone 4S is pretty damn cool.’

http://www.t3.com/reviews/iphone-4s-review

http://daringfireball.net/2011/10/iphone_4s

http://thisismynext.com/2011/10/11/iphone-4s-review/

http://www.pocket-lint.com/iphone+4

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/14/iphone-4s-review/

Review round-up: MacBook Air (mid 2011) models

MacBook-Air

The 11 and 13 inch MacBook Air were released last week to much fanfare, and had us Apple addicts trampling over our Grandmas graves in an attempt to get all the gossip on whether we should be upgrading and/or switching from the Pro. Reviews of the new release are spread across the internet like an oddly pleasant rash, and rather than making you wade through them all, we’ve collected the best bits from the best ones here:

Regarding the Air’s specifications…

Cnet says:

“The cheapest model offers 64GB of flash storage, a dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics card. If you’re willing to stump up £1,020, you can get a version with 128GB of flash storage.”

The 13 inch version, reviewed on the same website is a slight step up in terms of performance with:

“1.7GHz Intel Core i5 chip and 256GB of flash storage… You can add a 1.8GHz Core i7 chip for an extra £100. You can also get the 13-inch model with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 chip and 128GB of flash storage for £1,100.”

Regarding Thunderbolt…

Much has been made of the new Intel Thunderbolt port added to these updates, a major factor in increased performance , with T3 saying that it can

“Carry video as well as being a super-fast data channel. Capable of handling up to 10Gbps in both directions, it’s around 12 times as fast as a FireWire 800 port and over 20 times quicker than USB 2.0. Mini DisplayPort screens can be plugged straight into a Thunderbolt port, and using adapters, you can also connect DVI, VGA and HDMI screens.”

The speed of the Thunderbolt port is clearly a huge bonus for the 11 inch version with its low levels of storage, enabling swiftly transfer of data to external hard drives as and when (almost certainly) necessary.

On the display…

The 11 inch version has a 1366x 768 pixel resolution. Of this model, The Telegraph says:

“The screen is great: high quality, bright and sharp. It’s better than anything you’d find on a netbook and easily bears comparison with Apple’s larger laptops.”  They also go on to say how well the 11inch syncs up with Lion, the latest version of OS X, with “the new Air really highlights some of Lion’s features. Full-screen apps, for example, were surely designed with the 11” Air in mind.”

Of the 13 inch screen Cnet was overwhelmingly positive:

“The 13-inch screen is as gorgeous as the rest of the Air. It has an impressive 1,440×900-pixel native resolution and is almost as bright as the sun. Reading small text on Web pages is perfectly pleasant and sitting back in a comfortable armchair to watch high-definition video is a total joy.” It also lauds the return of the backlit keyboard, as do other reviews, and its “ambient light sensor [that] detects visibility is poor, and lights up the keyboard for easy typing.”

On the performance…

Pocket-Lint, reviewing a 13 inch 1.8 GHz model says:

“Unless you’ve bought a brand new MacBook Pro in the last couple of months, chances are this will be faster than older models and that’s an impressive feat given the MacBook Air 2010 model which many felt made you give up performance for that thin design.”

Cnet, looking at the 11 inch wasn’t quite so effusive in its praise:

“When we ran the Xbench benchmark test, the Air scored 123.50, which is pretty average… [and] despite having a dedicated GPU, the Air’s graphics performance isn’t up to much… Don’t expect this machine to handle games well.”  It did, however, add this caveat: of “On paper, then, the Air’s performance isn’t great. Anecdotally, however, we never found the Air to be sluggish. Swooping around OS X and opening software all proved reasonably swift and, most importantly, high-definition video played really smoothly, with only very occasional stutter.”

In conclusion…

As with any Apple, gadget or sexual persuasion, whether or not you’re going to get on with an Air comes down to a matter of preference.  Their weight is a winner (1.06kg for 11inch, 1.35kg for 13),  the thinness (0.68 inches) mind-boggling to those of us that can remember our Dad’s Acer 10 years ago and reception across all reviews was positive (at least 4/5 for each model).

It seems that if you want to be using a lot of Final Cut and similarly demanding programs you might still want to stick with the Pro but, according to pocket-lint, “rather than the Pro being the only option for those that want speed, the MacBook Air is now a laptop that gives you speed, style, and slinkiness in one package. The days of having to be penalised for wanting something ultra portable are over.”   Similarly, T3 vaunted its ability to not just be a supplementary machine, adding “over the years it has grown in power until today, it’s more than powerful enough to use as your main machine. It’s not cheap, but Apple computers never are, and given the quality it’s far from overpriced.”

CU Exposed: V-Moda, be.ez and MagicWand

Latest Gadgets were invited to CU exposed, a small but perfectly formed gadget expo in the heart of London. Here are a few highlights:

Headphones can be worn out so fast, if you blink, you miss it. Many people put their loose headphones in their bag and this is a big source of damage as they clash with keys and get squashed by everything else in your bag. I have ruined many headphones doing just that. If you are on the lookout for quality in-ear headphones, take a look at V-MODA Remix remote. We got the chance to try them out. And a chance to watch CEO Val Moda try breaking his space-ages Crossfade LPs in half.

V-Moda

The dynamic driver gives you clarity while BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) isolates outside noise while giving you a deep bass sound. The integrated three button remote allows full control over answering calls and your music library. The wires of headphones can get damaged as casing can split showing the live wire and you kiss goodbye to your headphones (it happened to me). Well, not with the V-MODA Remix Remote as it has Kevlar reinforced cables. They come with sport hooks so I took them running and was quite impressed that they were secure and did not fall out once. Available in Apple retail stores from £89.95.

I-luv-Paris

So you have a spanking new iPad2 right? Now you need something to put it in. Now I love Paris. I love the soft, hot croissants, the fashion and la Tour Eiffel. Now you can give your iPad a parisian feel with the LA robe I LOV PARIS. The first you notice is the intricate and amazing design on the sleeve designed by Parisian designer Mathieu Rivière. It has signature shape-memory so it springss back to its natural shape. Sot padding inside keeps your precious safe. There are three, one to suit any taste. There is Blue Morning for the boys, Montmartre in a pink and SweetKiss in purple. Each design depicts a different aspect of Parisian life. The designs includes images of romance, cafes and unique metro stations. You can get the range in different sizes for iPad, MacBook, MacBook air and MacBook Pro. Available now from Amazon.

Something we saw which is unique is the MagicWand by Mac only manufacturers, Twelve South. So what is so magic about the MagicWand? It connects your Apple Magic Trackpad to the Apple Wireless Keyboard creating one single input device. Left-handed? Do not worry. It can be added to right or left side of the keyboard. Now here is the big plus for Photoshop users and other creative applications. Attach the trackpad to the opposite side to your mouse and voila, you can use two hands. Swipe, pinch and gesture on the trackpad and use the mouse for more precise actions like drawing. The MagicWand attaches in a few quick steps. Ta da!!