Powermat invited us down to have a play with their latest range of lovely new wireless charging accessories. When it was first released, Powermat’s range of wireless charging gizmos magical on paper, but with a slightly chunky range of cases needed to make the device work, I (and others) had a few reservations.
This year however, thin is in and the 2010 range was decidedly svelte. The iPhone 4 and Blackberry cases were pretty much the same size as conventional cases – with the added benefit of wireless charging obviously.
The iPhone 4 came with a little cradle you could throw your phone onto, holding it in place whilst filling it with juice. Like previous generations of Powermat it makes a little whirring noise when you engage it. Unlike previous generations of Powermat there was no “mute” button, which was a mild irritant. Then again, in normal use you would only put it down to charge once so it’s not that big of a deal.
The case adds very little bulk to the iPhone or Blackberry. The Nokia Powermat solution however, is nothing short of magic – replacing the battery and battery cover with a Powermat supplied version means the device is exactly the same size but can charge wirelessly.
Outside of phones there was the PowerCube – a small white device with a variety off attachments for micro-USB, mini-USB, Nintendo DS and other battery-charged electronics that extended the wireless charging love-in to all.
Obviously, Powermat would like to work with manufacturers at the design stage to build Powermat technology straight in to devices from the get-go, eliminating the need for cases – and making cutting down on cable-clutter. In terms of Phones, wireless syncing of data would also be incredible. Until that day however, the current Powermat range is interesting.
With prices ranging from low to reasonable for a decent phone case and some wireless charging voodoo, the Powermat range is definitely worth checking out.
Nokia World – it sounds a bit like a theme park for mobile phone enthusiasts. Which is what it is – just remove the roller-coasters and people selling candy floss, and add in the fun of playing with unreleased mobiles and Nokia representatives touting their wares.
At this year’s event, the company unveiled three new mobiles – the E7, C7 and C6. If you’d like to know if these phones can reverse Nokia’s downward spiral, help them gain a foothold in the smartphone market and stop them being Apple and Google’s whipping-boy, read below for the internet’s opinion on the new handsets.
The E7: Smart for Businesses Nokia’s current flagship mobile, the E7, is primarily aimed at business users. That’s why it has got Microsoft Exchange support for e-mail and a full QWERTY keyboard. Khidr Suleman at V3 considers the QWERTY offering, “easily … one of the best physical Qwerty keypads on the market. Letters are large and well spaced but not to a point where fingers or thumbs have to be stretched.”
“The kick slide [on the keyboard] a little hit and miss. It’s hard to get your fingers in the precise position to push it up in one sweep, although this could be a fault of the prototype E7 we examined, rather than the eventual, finished design. We sure hope so.”
Still, the new operating system seems to run brilliantly on the premium handset. Rob Coppinger of The Inquirer sings its praises, stating that “the new Symbian^3 OS … has the three homepages and an editor allowing you to change what is on each. Swiping from homepage to homepage is fluid as was accessing music files and other content.”
Which is perfect, because there are so many types of media supported that good file-browsing is essential. Ionut Arghire at Softopedia sums up the features nicely:
“Its multimedia capabilities expand with support for H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, H.263, Real Video 10, ON2 VP6, Flash video and MP3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, WMA, AMR-WB- AMB-NB, DRM support WM DRM, OMA DRM 2.0. The connectivity options of this handset include WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, HSDPA, Micro-USB 2.0, TV out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, as well as GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID positioning features.”
Luckily, Nokia have developed a new screen technology to show-off these media options. When Know Your Mobile compared it to the HD Desire, they proudly announced “the Nokia E7’s screen is much larger – 4-inches in total and with Nokia’s ClearBlack Display technology, it’s crystal clear with much richer colours. Winner? Nokia E7 because the screen is MASSIVE!”
C7 – Personal Media Consumption “Running under the new Symbian^3 operating system, the Nokia C7 comes with high end features, packed inside a device that measures only 10.5mm thick” – Ionut Arghire. What features, you ask? “The new mobile phone includes an 8-megapixel photo snapper with HD video recording capabilities, as well as a 3.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen display”.
The 8-megapixel camera and HD video recording are also found on the business-orientated E7 – and just like the E7, they’re disappointingly fixed-focused. The 3.5″ display means there is plenty of screen to play with, however. And it features the same ClearBlack technology as the E7. “Resolution-wise, the Nokia C7 isn’t the best of the bunch at 360×640 pixels, [but] it’s seamless and you really can’t see any pixels unless you look so close it’s uncomfortable and gives you eye ball ache,” says Clare Hopping.
C6 – People who can’t afford a C7 The C6 is Nokia’s entry level smartphone – and unfortunately, it seems like you can tell. Unlike the praise garnished on the new operating system when used on the other handsets, PC World viewed it less favourably, saying that they had “no solid verdict on Symbian^3”.
Despite being a lower resolution than the other phones (640×360), the beautiful ClearBlack screen is still pulling in the applause: “That screen’s pretty dazzling thanks to AMOLED and ClearBlack tech” explain Stuff.TV.“ClearBlack’s a Nokia-ism, but the brag of decent contrast isn’t an empty boast here. As you can see.”
It’s also got “an 8MP one on the back and a secondary camera on the front, for video calling. One of the most important features of the new smartphone,”Ionut Arghire attests.
Conclusion The biggest winner here is Nokia’s new screen technology. It has been received with universal praise across all the product lines. The new Symbian operating system also seems to be doing well – at least on the E7 and C7 phones. Perhaps you can’t really judge it on the C6, which has an underpowered processor and not as much memory as the other two handsets. The neat features, such as the many homescreens and widgets, have also received plenty of praise.
The biggest problem however, is that Nokia still seem to be unclear on its product lines. Why include video chat on the low-end C6 and not the premium E7? Now whatever they choose, customers will have to sacrifice some functionality. Hopefully the success of the N8 – Nokia’s incoming super phone (which also doesn’t have a front-facing camera) will knock this debate out of the water. Hopefully.
UPDATE: We were pleased to be informed that all of the new handsets have a front-facing camera, as explained on Nokia’s product specification page. Perhaps it’s a testament to Nokia’s seamless design that a lot of reviewers (including ourselves) didn’t pick up on the glaringly obvious lenses mounted on the front of the phones.