Wednesday 27 January 2010

Orange SPV M3100 Review - on O2 Network (HTC Hermes)

After my sagas with iPhones on Orange and O2 networks I recently obtained an Orange SPV M3100 handset which (fairly obviously) was locked to the Orange network. Thanks to some HTC Hermes/SPV M3100 online tools courtesy of I was able to unlock the phone to use any SIM card in it and am now using it on the O2 Network. This wasn't immediately straightforward as unlike with the Nokia E71 I tried last week O2 were unable to update the phone with mobile internet settings presumably as this handset was never supplied for use on the O2 network.

Unfortunately the O2 website doesn't seem to provide these details or make them easy to find but thanks to website FileSaveAs I found the settings to update the phone from the Orange defaults and get internet working.

Despite the phone being over 4 years old I am actually finding it a very nice device to use and far more friendly and easy to configure than the Nokia E71. In fact with a few minor niggles apart it compares extremely well to the Apple iPhone for usability.Clearly it is a much larger, thicker, heavier phone than the iPhone but as a mobile internet device and phone it hits all the right buttons! In addition the battery life is far better than the iPhone.

Nokia E71 compared to iPhone Review

Coming Soon - review of Nokia E71 smartphone compared to iPhone and Orange SPV

More info on Review of Nokia E71 Mobile phone

The Nokia  E71 is a smartphone from Nokia that has many advanced features such as push email and applications from the Nokia Ovi store. This is a consumer review based on a Nokia E71 handset that I was using on the O2 network in the UK. Unfortunately compared to the Apple iPhone 3Gs it does not perform as well and is far less user friendly to setup and use.
I work in IT so am familiar with software development and use. Configuring the Nokia E71 to use for email and basic functions was extremely tricky and even trying to use the manual to identify settings was not intuitive by any means.
The iPhone in comparision is a doddle to setup as all menus are very clear with easy to understand headings. Some of the Nokia E71 menus are very confusing, especially the tab menus which are not easy to see initially. Much of the problem with the Nokia E71 menu system seems to be due to the Symbian S60 operating system which is also used on other Nokia phones such as the Nokia 6120 that have similar issues with their menus.
Having come from an iPhone the mouse/scroll pad was quite clumsy to use for screen navigation and many presses were needed to move around the screen.

Saturday 9 January 2010

iPhone 3GS Missed Calls/Phone not ringing/Calls go to Voicemail despite full signal

Further to my post yesterday about the iPhone 3GS calls going to directly to voicemail without the phone ringing despite the phone showing a good signal I have now done some more testing myself to check how this works and why it might be happening. My findings are as follows:

1) If your iPhone is using an app that connects to the internet AND your phone is connected to 2g (o or E symbols) then all calls will go direct to voicemail for the duration of your connection to the web. Once you close the application then the phone will ring again.

2) You may have no knowledge of these calls happening unless the person leaves a message. The iPhone 3Gs does not show any record of the calls being received.

3) If your iPhone is using 3G then you can receive calls as well as using the internet at the same time.

Despite this scenario being denied by O2 iPhone support who should know better (they claimed that a phone call will always interrupt a data call - my testing proves this is not the case) and lots of reports across the web show that EDGE/GPRS connections do not support voice and data at the same time.

Other people have also reported this with the iPhone and experienced similar problems with the signal being much worse on the iPhone than other handsets.

Friday 8 January 2010

Orange iPhone 3GS Missed Calls/Calls Straight to Voicemail / O2 iPhone Full strength signal

I've read many reports that people with the O2 iphone or Orange iphone have found that calls are going direct to voicemail when they are in an area with full or very high strength network signal.

It appears that what is happening is that when the iphone is connected to the network in 2G mode (GPRS/EDGE) it is only able to handle either a voice call OR a data call but not both together. So when your phone connects to check your email,Facebook status, Ebay app updates etc it is then not able to receive calls. As this is happening in the background you have no real way of knowing what you phone is doing unless you are watching it all the time. And as the 2G network is so much slower than 3G it means the data connection will take that much longer and therefore mean you are out of contact for an even longer period of time.

This only happens when the phone connects on 2G (GPRS/EDGE) not with 3G connections which can handle both voice and data connections at the same time.

Monday 4 January 2010

iPhone 3GS Comparison - Orange compared to O2 for signal and reception problems

The iPhone saga continues! I have now had my O2 iPhone 3GS for 3 days and am finding some rather interesting differences between the Orange iPhone and O2 iPhone; I have also been able to check signal strength for the iPhone and standard handset on O2.

1) O2 seems to use a different algorithm for switching between 2G and 3G compared to Orange. I found with Orange that the iPhone 3GS would try to maintain a 3G signal for as long as possible even if it dropped to 1 bar. The O2 version seems to be rather different and mainly appears to be sticking to the 2G GPRS network that has full coverage even if a low 3G signal exists. 3G signal only tends to appear if it is 4 or 5 bars strength. It is possible that this is a design consequence of O2 having lower claimed 3G coverage than Orange.

2) Battery seems to be used much faster on iPhone O2 than Orange. An 8 hour day connected to 2G (GPRS) took the battery from 100% down to 20%. This didn't happen with Orange iPhone which implies it either has better power management unless the O2 iPhone possibly has a faulty battery.

3) Testing the O2 Sim in a standard Nokia handset showed that a 3 bar 3G signal existed at the testing location. When the O2 sim was replaced in the iPhone it showed only 1 bar and immediately switched to GPRS 2G network. This would tend to backup other reports across the internet that show the iPhone doesn't  hold a mobile signal as well as other phones.

4) You cannot receive calls when your iPhone is connected to the 2G network using the internet - the call will go straight to voicemail.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Nokia 1661 Review - Consumer field test of the Nokia 1661 Mobile Phone

Whilst waiting for my mobile number to be ported to my new iPhone I needed a temporary phone on Pay as You Go to ensure my number was retained. The cheapest option was a Nokia 1661 for the princely sum of £10.

Review of Nokia 1661 mobile phone

For such a cheap price the phone is an absolute bargain. It is very slim and light and has incredible battery life. Obviously for such a low price there are some compromises - this is primarily the keypad which isn't very sensitive but for a basic phone - for phoning and texting people it is probably the best value out there. It uses a standard Nokia charger so can be easily recharged should the need arise, although with a battery life estimated to be 20 days this won't be needed very often!! In 7 days of use the charge has dropped to around 60% which seems exceptional - the iPhone needs charging every day!

More info on Mobile Phone Reviews - iPhone, Nokia, Orange