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Rapscallion

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hero H7300 HD7 Pro Dual Sim, 27 Mar. 2012
For some time now I've been looking for a good, dual sim, Android phone with a large screen that will support 3G-2100Mhz as well as all the standard UK and foreign mobile phone networks. My wife and I frequently travel abroad, where we have to remove our UK sims. This is because when called from the UK, you have to pay for the privilege of receiving the call and this can get really expensive. With this phone we can have our Spanish "Hits Mobile" sim and a UK sim, on which you can leave a message to call the other number when you're abroad.

It's an unfortunate fact that our UK Service Providers don't advertise, the fact that there are good unlocked dual sim phones available and they don't provide them as they prefer you to be locked to their contract phones at an inflated prices. Dual-sim mobile phones have been available for some time from China and won't cost you the price of an iphone but can have nearly all the Android features needed to compete with one. Luckily they have just started to trickle into the country and this one was my choice.

In January of this year my wife and I bought two of the first Hero H7300 HD7 Pro phones to come into the country. They were supplied by Yooyel and bought through Amazon and we love them. Like many complex phones they have their little foibles and idiosyncrasies but none of these have been insurmountable problems. Basically the accessories are sub-standard but the phone is approaching "Excellent".

When we first received our phones we connected the supplied chargers only to find that you couldn't play with the phones whilst they were charging. I believe it's because the chargers supplied at that time were substandard and ill matched, causing the phones to flick from one screen to the next all by themselves, sometimes changing settings. To test out my theory, We bought two good 5v USB chargers from a local store and we haven't had a problem since. Both phones had the same problem, so it wasn't a faulty charger.

The supplied "Standard USB to Micro USB data lead" works but doesn't seem to push fully home into the phone. I bought a Samsung B2710 lead (available from Ebay for about £2.00) which fits like a glove. One side of the micro USB connecter (the one that fits the phone), is recessed so you always know which way round it should be and can connect it in the dark. We went on to purchase several more of these leads so that we could leave one in the car, one on the computer and another on a 5v mains charger beside the bed.

The headphones are again nothing special... they work but will be replaced when pocket money allows.

The 1900mAh battery charges quite quickly and we switch on. My first impression is that the MTK6573 processor is quick so I run the latest "Angry Birds" game to find the clarity and speed astonishing. Subsequently, I've watched several films on it and can't fault it. The capacitive screen is extremely sensitive and responds to the lightest of touches and the 4.3" screen gives you the feel of a small tablet.

The Android operating system on my phone is 2.3.5 and runs the SPB Shell 3D carousel app well 99% of the time, there's no faulting either screen or processor and the sheer size of the screen makes for easy operation. At times it likes to boot up with the Android screen but that's probably because I've loaded it with app's now.

Unfortunately at time of writing, Android 2.3.5 didn't support Skype video, however it's only a matter of time before this is rectified. When you install the latest version of Skype for Android, you will be asked if you want to install "Video Calling" and you should say NO, continue the installation and you will have the latest version of Skype but video free. It does however support Yahoo messenger video.

Connecting to wifi is easy and it automatically connects to free wifi zones when it finds them. Having the ability to use this as a portable wifi hub will come into it's own when abroad or away from home but I haven't tested it further that to check that it works.

The camera is advertised at 8mp and gives wonderful pictures in good light and the HD video capture is excellent, however it struggles a bit in low light. The double led flash is better than some for close up's and doubles up as quite an effective torch.

Should you be fussy about your time-keeping, please note that Android doesn't allow for automatic updating of your clock or legal reasons. It is possible to install an app to override this setting but it will invalidate your warranty. I am however quite satisfied with the accuracy of the clock and find the availability of numerous alarms very useful.

Satellite navigation is achieved using Google Maps and is good but not wonderful. I still use my Tomtom in the car but do use the phone's satnav when in town. The on board digital voice is somewhat annoying so I recommend downloading a voice app like " Amy from IVONA" as it's much easier on the ear.

As previously mentioned I have loaded my phone with Apps and as long as you go into Application Settings and move them to your micro SD card you shouldn't get any problems. I have a 32Gb card installed with loads of music, films and apps and still have 26Gb free. Shame it doesn't support DIVX but maybe that will come in the future.

When mobile, my phone sits alongside my TomTom 750 , connecting flawlessly and responding well to the voice command facility on the 750. "Phone Home" or "Phone a favourite".

The Auto Sync function is brilliant and always keeps my Google + Picasa and Diary updated with my netbook and home pc. I have another App that allows me to print more or less anything I want, be it a photo or Google Doc letter from this phone via any wifi network in the world to my printer within 3 minutes and the Hero H3700 HD7 Pro has no problem supporting these functions. The size of the 4.3" screen lends itself well to apps like Kindle reader and the "M" (a very well known newspaper) and a brilliant app.

People often complain of short battery life and I have to admit that if you are watching a film, cruising the internet and playing with your angry bird the level drops quickly, however if you do these things whilst connected to a charger there's no problem. By closing all your apps with "ES Task Manager" supplied, you will find that there's plenty of juice to last you through the day. By the way it's been discovered that the free version of "Angry Bird" will drain your battery even quicker, due to the fact, announced on Rogue Traders, week ending 23rd March, that this game collects info about you and your movements and transmits it over the internet. I would imagine that other games do the same thing. Apparently the paid version (with no adverts) doesn't do this.

As this phone is new to the UK, dedicated accessories are (at time of writing) difficult to find, the body of this phone is the same as that of the HTC HD7 which allows you to use most of that phones accessories. The Battery however has a different dimension and I am waiting to discover a larger capacity battery that fits, a 2300mAh battery would be great. The gel case fits snuggly and allows for the video stand.

This phone is a small computer with a phone attached and occasionally needs to be re-booted but I think that it's well worth the money and the minor inconveniences that we've encountered. I'm not going to talk about every feature of this phone but simply say that it does all it's advertised to do and can hold it's head high alongside other high spec phones. I am extremely happy with my choice and would recommend this phone to all my friends. Please note that this is obviously my personal opinion and the accessories may have changed by the time you get to read this.

Regards Rapscallion.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2012 7:52 AM BST


MAPLIN HYBRID RECHARGEABLE C BATTERY 3000mAh 2 PACK NEW
MAPLIN HYBRID RECHARGEABLE C BATTERY 3000mAh 2 PACK NEW

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong pictures for Items described, 23 Aug. 2011
Please be careful... the photo's shown are for "AA" and "AAA" batteries but the description is for Type "C" and that's what you'l get.


TomTom GO LIVE 750 Sat Nav
TomTom GO LIVE 750 Sat Nav

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TomTom 750, 21 May 2011
Hi, Like many people I have just been through the mill with regard to buying a new Satnav. For the past five years I've been happily using my TomTom Go 300 on a fairly old map but with so many advances in technology and the high price of maps, there comes a time (usually just after some birthday money comes your way) that you make the excuse to update and start searching for the best option.

It was April of 2011 when I started my search, the new go live range was in the shops but much to expensive for my pocket, ranging from £250 for the 1000 regional to £300 for the top of the range 1005 Europe. Someone had told me that the features available on this range had been reduced and that there isn't an SD card slot anymore, they do however sport a 4gb internal memory which is more than enough to take the latest maps and all those little extra's like voices and map colours, however the cost alone made me continue my research.

My wife had recently bought an XL Live IQ routes so I had a look at the spec and was surprised to find that it only has a 2GB internal memory and NO SD slot. Knowing that the latest map size is 2.23GB I started visiting various online TomTom forums where people, like me, were asking why this product was still being retailed with such a small internal memory and why they had "penny pinched" by removing the card slot.

The next thing I did was to visit the TomTom Outlet Store on their website. Here you're presented with a list refurbished satnav's at reduced prices and as I'm interested in driving down to the Med, I need something with Europe on it. I notice that the GO 50 range have a micro SD card slot which could get me out of problems in the future but only the 750 live has 2GB of internal memory (The 550 and 530 having 1GB onboard and a micro SD slot).

At this point I start investigating the TomTom GO 750 live and read everything I can on it. Its features are quite remarkable with Live services, voice control, hands free kit, HD traffic, Speed Camera's, map-share and an active dock which is sadly missing from the XL range. Every forum I go to say's it's a good buy but it comes with a warning. When you first connect it to TomTom Home Always perform a "Backup" first. I will go into this later.

I make my decision avoiding the Live range because of cost and the XL range because of no SD card slot and small internal memory. The Start range (and others) don't offer me what the 750 can so I place my order and count the days until it turns up.

The Post van arrived quite quickly and I had to temper my enthusiasm in my rush to check it out. After connecting it to my laptop and selecting Don't connect to computer ( because it charges faster ), I left it to charge for a couple of hours. Once fully charged the orange light next to the On/Off button turns green and I install it into my car for it's first test drive. Everything about this device impresses me. Firstly the Active docking system is so easy and my treasured new arrival clicked firmly into place. The verbal instructions are better, in that it reads out the road names (if they have any) and the onboard speaker is good and clear. You do have the option to use your hifi via a radio link or a hard wire but I prefer the onboard speaker , Live services work flawlessly giving me fuel prices, weather reports, HD Traffic, Safety Alerts and the Google search found all my little test questions... Fish and chips, cinema, supermarket.. and so on. Then you can set these as favourites and request to navigate to them verbally. In order to use the voice command, you first have to touch the microphone icon on the screen. This means that you need to mount the thing close to you, my windscreen is quite far forward so I need to mount it on the dash. Unfortunately it starts making errors when the radio's on but with my hifi volume control on the steering wheel, it's no effort to turn the sound down first. One nice little touch is that you can choose your own start up preferences, which, when switching on, will give you a screen of those destinations you go to frequently. One would think that you already know the way to work and to your daughters house but hey-ho... maybe you're approaching from another direction.

I'm lucky in that my car has it's own Bluetooth hands free system however the one in the 750 enables my wife to also speak hands free and we no longer have to keep swapping who's phone is connected to the car, depending on who's driving.

Ok... now comes the tricky bit... updating the map and initiating the Micro SD card. You cannot write to any old card and there is a procedure that you have to follow to enable it. For reasons of speed, the maximum size that this device will look at is 4GB. I am using an 8GB Class 6Transcend SDHC Micro card (because it was recommended) but only the first 4GB are looked at.

You are now going to connect to TomTom Home and you must first select "Backup" This is vital as if anything goes wrong you will lose your map and TomTom will say that it's software and therefore is not covered by the guarantee.

Before and I repeat... Before inserting any Micro SD cards, you must back up your TomTom using the "Back up and Restore" function on the second page of TomTom Home.

To initiate the Micro SD card, you must then disconnect the TomTom (I also powered down) insert the Micro SD card into the slot in the base of the 750, switch on and reconnect to TomTom Home. A box will appear asking which drive to use and although they are both indicated as Internal drives you should be able to identify which one by available memory (another good reason for using an 8GB card). Select the SD card to accept the download. This box then disappears and you must then initiate the Micro SD card by pressing "Restore". The map is then restored to the card and once done, your Micro SD card is fully functional.

You would think that the instructions above would be on the first page of the manual... but you would be wrong and although I was pre-warned with regard to backing it up (Thank God), I blindly inserted the micro SD card and searched for how to download my free map update. Eventually I clicked on [Tools] and [Use Latest Map Guarantee] I had selected the SD card for the target and after an hour long download I disconnected from the computer, rebooted and found that it locked up on the first screen. I looked at my 750 as a drive on my computer, to find that It had not downloaded to the card, the onboard memory was full and it had written something to the card but it might as well be empty as no amount of rebooting would solve the situation... By this time my mood could be described as " somewhat stressed" and after a large brandy, I reconnected to TomTom Home and performed a backup which got things working again, I then discovered that I still had problems as some functions would lock up so I did a factory reset which finally got things back to normal.

Several days went by before I had plucked up the nerve to try another map update but in the interim I discovered that I had not lost my free update as it was stored on my pc in :Documents\TomTom\Home\Download. Now... I find a link in TomTom Home which takes me to a page describing how to initiate the micro SD card. Anyway I follow these instructions as given above in the paragraph that starts "OK now comes the tricky bit" and all is well. I am now using the latest map.

Two weeks have passed and I am delighted with my 750 so I try to import my phone book to discover that this function is not available on my LG Viewty. The only way to do this is to once again connect to TomTom Home and, using your browser, [Start] [Computer][TomTom] and click on the fifth file down "Contacts". This will open the folder and you should look for a text file also called "contacts". If there isn't one (and there wasn't on mine), right click on an empty part of the page and select [New] [Text Document] and name it " Contacts". Clicking on this will open a notepad and your phone numbers can be entered in the following format.

"Tony","07736632691",M,"DEFAULT"
"Jane","0292460312",H,"DEFAULT"
"Boss","0123456789",W,"DEFAULT"

M = Mobile, H = Home and W = Work. Don't forget to save at the end.

Now when you select your [mobile phone] [Call][Phonebook Entry] icons on your 750 you will be presented with your phone book. You can also touch the "Microphone" icon on the screen and simply say "Call" This will again show your phone book and you can initiate the call by either saying the persons name or their list number. Apart from touching the screen once it is totally hands free.

This is a brilliant product but with poor documentation. If only TomTom would spend a little money and produce a comprehensive hand book.. however once you have mastered the above, I think you will agree that it's worth every penny.
Regards and safe driving
Rapscallion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2011 4:23 PM BST


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