Here's yet another case of "Japan gets all the nice things." Earlier today, local carrier au by KDDI announced its smartphone lineup for the summer, and the one that caught our attention was the new HTC J Butterfly (HTV31), which will no doubt be entering other markets as the Butterfly 3. With the centered 13-megapixel selfie camera and subtle front-side BoomSound stereo speakers, this new phone shares a similar face with the Desire Eye and the Desire 826; except its 5.2-inch screen has a much sharper Quad HD resolution. The familiar Duo Camera feature on the back (for bokeh plus filter effects) is here to stay, though for some bizarre reason, the secondary camera is placed below its 20.2-megapixel counterpart instead of above it, meaning you'll have to be more careful with where you place your index finger while holding the phone.
If you're looking for a phone with great specs that can be tossed around and survive a swim, Samsung's Galaxy S6 Active appears to be on the way. Both GSM Arena and trusted leaker @evleaks offered a glimpse of the forthcoming handset today, one that features an outer shell similar to last year's version. Like previous Active models, a trio of hardware buttons reside on the front, so don't expect the same fingerprint scanner found on both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. They do have to be waterproof, after all. Other than a look at both sides, details remain scarce besides save for word that the S6 Active packs a 3,500 mAh battery. If history is any indication, you can expect similar specs to the flagship while being both shock resistant and dustproof, as this handset will be built to withstand a bit more stress.
Mophie's cases are a popular choice for adding some extra minutes to your mobile device's battery life. While the company already had both charging and storage options for the iPhone 6, it how offers protection from water damage, too. The H2PROTM accessory not only packs in an additional 2,750 mAh battery, but it's waterproof as well. An IP-68 rated Otterbox-esque design also protects the handset from dirt and drops with easy access to those side-mounted controls and a mute switch. Worried about Touch ID? Mophie's scratch-resistant membrane that covers the screen will still allow you to leverage that feature. What's more, priority-charging tech makes sure your phone charges before the case when plugging in is unavoidable. If you're itchin' to snag one, the Mophie H2PROTM is available for pre-order now for $130 and it's schedule to ship later this month. Unfortunately, there's no word on an iPhone 6 Plus option just yet.
Some months ago I wrote up a review of this TouchAbility waterproof case. If I remember correctly I splashed it with water, got the hose-pipe on it and gave it some positive feedback.
However, it’s rare that reviewers get enough time to do a full-on test. Say, for example, I did a real-world test of the iPhone – I’d pretty much have to own it for several months to give you a full overview of how it works in my daily life. So, the hose-pipe test was good enough, but the TouchAbility case was still sat on a cupboard at home when I started packing for our holiday, and it was a real last-minute decision to throw it in the suitcase.
Luckily I did, as the case has rescued me from having a completely destroyed iPhone 5s which I’m reviewing at the moment. The iPhone 5s, which was loaned to me by the nice people at Vodafone, came out with me on holiday so that I could submerge myself into the iOS world and give it a proper full on test. I’ve used Android for so many years and, although I have an iPad, I’ve not used the iPhone itself as my daily driver for any real length of time.
As this phone doesn’t belong to me, I’ve been taking great care with it. I brought an Android phone to use when I went to the beach or sat near the pool. It worked well until, one day while swimming in the pool, I realised that my wallet was in my shorts. As I felt inside my pocket I suddenly became aware that it wasn’t my wallet, it was my Android phone. I’d been swimming for a good 30 minutes and, despite putting it in the baking 38 degree heat to dry (which it did quite quickly) it was a dead duck, showing just a white screen when I tried to power it up a few days later.
Out on the beach and around the pool, the iPhone started to become my one and only book-reader and camera. These are both risky areas to take phones, and I noticed at a local water park that some people had taken to using waterproof handsets like the Sony Xperia line. I decided to start using the TouchAbility waterproof case that I’d nearly forgotten about. Pretty instantly this proved its worth when we went for a long drive to a remote beach. I kept the phone with me just in case we got lost or had car trouble, and had put it in the case before setting out.
After a few hours at the beach I retrieved the phone to find that the case was absolutely covered in sand. Thanks to a few ice-lolly wrappers and sticking fizzy drinks, it also had a mixture of water, Fanta, Callipo ice-lolly wrappers and all sorts of other things. It was a state. The iPhone inside wasn’t. It was absolutely pristine when removed the phone later and, after a quick rinse of the case, it was ready to go again.
The case itself uses a rubbery plastic for the clear sections. It’s tricky to describe, but imagine those rain-covers for pushchairs and mix that in with some elastic and your there. It sticks to the screen of the phone, meaning that you can still use nearly all the functions. Sure, pressing the volume up / down keys in the side is a bit tricky and yes, if you have a phone with a power button on the side it’s not possible to turn it on. I managed to get to the top power key on the iPhone quite easily though thanks to the elasticity of the covering material.
The front and rear has the same look pretty much, although the rear has a frosted section and logo taking up half of it. Most cameras are at the top of phones, so you can still take shots and they’ll come out very well indeed thanks to the figure-hugging material.
To place your phone inside, just slide the bottom green lock, place your phone in, then close and slide the lock back on. It’ll ensure that the entire unit is sealed and held closed. There’s also a lanyard for attaching to your wrist or belt loop should you want to keep hold of the phone.
Back to my story though, and although I had started using the case on the iPhone I didn’t really want to test it more than the odd splash or drip. This is really as far as we pushed it in the earlier review, but one day in the pool it somehow ended up taking a dip into the deep end. All the way down, about 1.80m down. I dived down and used the floating lanyard to grab it, and this is when everything changed. It was fine. Absolutely fine. Not a drip of water, condensation or anything. The phone was fine, which should stop the guys at Vodafone invoicing me for a new one. Phew.
From then on I had a growing confidence in this particular case. Due to the rigid sides it was robust and, under water, I could still operate the screen. I recorded under water movies in the pool to help my son with his swimming technique, I took it to a water park, in the sea and even went paragliding with it (although I did have to smuggle it past the guy hooking me up, who told me that they wanted everything out of my pockets as things had got wet in the past). Here’s a video I shot in the pool just to prove it…
Honestly, some of the footage I filmed on my holiday would’ve never been possible without this case, as you have the confidence to take the phone anywhere. A simple trip to the beach ended up with me and the family paragliding and I took shots I’m going to keep forever up there.
The camera on the iPhone, as you’ll see in my upcoming review, is really rather fantastic. Great low-light shots, brilliant action images and great clear images throughout.
For £9.99 a case like this is a lot cheaper than an insurance claim too, because the excess is usually around £25 or so. It’s not just protecting your phone, it’s letting you capture moments that you wouldn’t have ever recorded without the protection. If you’re interested in getting one, head here.
Sony today have announced a new phone the M2 Aqua. No, this isn’t just a different colour version of the M2, but rather a waterproof version of the mid-range M2 handset.
Spec wise the new M2 Aqua is the same as the M2, a decent mid-range handset with a few small adjustments. Main specs are listed below:
Quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor
Android 4.4.2 KitKat on launch
4.8″ screen 540 x 960 pixels
8 Megapixel camera with LED flash
1080p video recording with HDR video
8GB internal memory with microSD support for 32GB
The main difference between the two handsets is the Aqua uses an IPS panel, like that found in the Z2 rather than the TFT LCD panel in the original M2 which should ensure better viewing angles and a better display. Due to the waterproofing the phone is marginally bigger, 140 x 72 x 8.6 mm compared to 139.7 x 71.1 x 8.6 mm for the original so users won’t notice it but may find some tight cases may not fit. Speaking of the waterproofing, the M2 Aqua is IP 65 and 68 rated, with Sony declaring it as the “world’s highest level of waterproofing available in a smartphone”. The rating means the Aqua is impervious to dust, low pressure water jets and can be submerged in up to 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes.
The phone will be available in black and white colours with release in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, for a mid-range price, at some point in the autumn.
Xperia™ M2 Aqua, the waterproof
• The world’s highest level of waterproofing available in a
smartphone2 at a price that suits everyone
• Snap incredible photos in and out of the water with a
stunning 8MP camera and Sony’s suite of creative Xperia
• Sony’s flagship experience in a premium design with
ultra-fast LTE and best-in-class processor performance for
better entertainment on the go
• World’s highest smartphone battery capacity in its category3
with long-lasting 2300mAh battery
• Best-in-class 4.8” qHD display, perfect for one-handed usage
19 August, 2014, London, UK – Sony Mobile Communications (“Sony
Mobile”) today introduces XperiaTM M2 Aqua, the first smartphone to bring
Sony’s popular waterproof technology to a mid-range price-point.
Featuring Sony’s signature OmniBalance design and a fantastic 8MP
camera, Xperia M2 Aqua not only brings waterproof technology to a new
tier of smartphones, it improves on that technology, offering the highest
waterproof rating (IP65/68) in a smartphone2
“Xperia M2 Aqua is a significant milestone in our product portfolio as we
bring yet another of our signature technologies to a new category of
smartphones,” says Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at
Sony Mobile. “The popularity of Xperia M2 showed us that there was a huge
demand for premium Sony features at an affordable price-point. Following
consumer feedback, we’ve now taken this a step further by bringing our
waterproof expertise to a mid-range smartphone for the first time with
Xperia M2 Aqua. It is a smartphone that lets customers take the best of
Sony technology and entertainment with them wherever they go – come
rain or shine – and we are excited to bring it to market.”
Japanese carrier KDDI has just announced a new HTC J Butterfly, a handset which resembles the HTC One in specs, but with features aimed at KDDI's home market. Like a lot of other Japanese devices, the 5-inch, full HD handset is waterproof in case you feel like taking fish photos. And to do so, the latest from HTC has brand new cameras: a 13-megapixel rear dual-camera model with a selfie-friendly 5-megapixel front shooter. That differs from the One M8's 4-megapixel Duo "Ultrapixel" camera. KDDI instead calls it a "Duo Effect" camera, with the secondary 2-megapixel module giving depth-of-field adjustment and other features. Filling out the spec sheet are a Snapdragon 801, 802.11ac WiFi, LTE-Advanced, 150Mbps 4g, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat, JBL audio profile (plus bundled earphones) and a Dot View case. All of that sounds pretty nice, but will it come to US shores? Hard to say, but the last J Butterfly model did eventually arrive as the Droid DNA (to Verizon), so we wouldn't be surprised to see the new model here too.
I know what you need. Waterproof earphones, that’s what you need. I’ve lost count of the times that my in-ear buds have got wet and broken…
OK so that’s never happened, but if you’ve hankering for a pair, these ODOYO EP900i earphones are available for £25 from Phones 4u. They’re “waterproof sport earphones” and, jokes aside, it actually means that you can listen to music underwater – up to a metre under! Go swimming or do other water sports while bopping away to the latest one from Ed Sheeran.
Just don’t ask me how you’re going to keep your phone dry if you plug these into that…
The headphones are also dustproof, shock proof and they’re freeze proof too.
Get some more details below. We couldn’t find these on the Phones 4u website, but they should be in store.
26th June 2014 – ODOYO, makers of high-tech earphones and portable electronic accessories, today announces the availability of its new EP900i Waterproof Sport earphones in the UK. Fully waterproof up to one metre, they are perfect for swimmers, water sports fanatics, outdoors enthusiasts and those who just love to keep fit while listening to the beat of their favourite tracks. The ODOYO EP900i earphones are available to buy now in black from Phones 4U for £25.
Durability and strength
For users who demand durability, comfort, long-lasting performance, and great sound quality the ODOYO waterproof earphones are ideal. Not only can the headphones keep the tunes pumping in the pool, they are also dustproof, freeze proof and shock proof making them ready to face the elements. Outside of the waves, the EP900i’s are built for long-lasting performance, as they’re sweat proof too.
Boost motivation with tunes on the go
According to research studies, listening to music while exercising can dramatically increase endurance. So, whether users want motivational tunes, or something a little more relaxed, the ODOYO earphones ensure all music sounds rounded and clear to exercise fans. Boasting high definition 10mm drivers and full ‘active’ ambient noise-cancellation, the EP900i’s in-ear design ensures users will never miss a beat.
Comfort in exercise
Designed to be comfortable, the headphones come with three sizes of proprietary ear tips, and a TPE cord ensures safety and flexibility when on the move. A travel bag is included for convenient storage and mobility and there is also a handy mic on the cord so calls can be taken with ease.
The ODOYO EP900i earphones are available for £25.00 in Phones 4U stores now.
Benchmarking programs are quite handy for people like me and also for manufacturers, allowing you to see how a device compares to other devices. Although sometimes people do make the mistake of being connected to the Internet and accidentally uploading the device details. Which for a non announced device is a little awkward.
Well once again another manufacturer has made that mistake and another device has been revealed. This time though it’s the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active.
The GFXBench benchmark database shows various things about this new device, which as expected will be slightly lower spec than the Galaxy S5. Here is what has been revealed.
Costs will be cut so that they can add a higher level of water and dust proof. Keeping the cost lower or close to the existing Galaxy S5. It might even get announced in June at the next unpacked event. Design wise nothing has been revealed yet, but I’d expect a more rugged design like last year. Which to be honest I preferred over the Galaxy S4.
Cat (who, incidentally, have a rather massive presence about 2 miles from here), asked me to “properly test” their Cat B15 smartphone I decided to put it through what I thought was the ultimate test. I gave it to my son and, after explaining that it was a “special phone”, I let him drop it in the bath and generally muck around with it. The results of that test can be seen here but…
.. the people at Cat went one stage further. They decided to get 600 of the B15 smartphones, line them up, then drive a blinkin’ great digger thing all over them. I’m talking 4 tonnes of honking great machinery rolling over the screens. Agghh.. the humanity!
So, if you’re after a tough smartphone that can survive getting dropped on the ground, dropped in water and generally abused, spend about £220 on one of these. They’re available from Amazon and many other SIM-free retailers. It runs Android 4.1 and has a 4″ screen with wet finger tracking, plus it’s dustproof, scratch resistant and can be dunked under a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. Here’s that last claim being put to the test in a way by my son..
Whilst that was quite possibly the worst title for a review I could’ve come up with, the product itself is much better.
First up, let’s have a look at the key selling points on this Bluetooth Splash Speaker. It’s available from Gizoo for £34.95 and, as the name has probably already revealed, is waterproof. It’s also got a 3W output and charges with the very same microUSB port you use for your phone.
A flap at the bottom covers the charging point and 3.5mm aux cable, which you can use if Bluetooth isn’t your thing. Doing that isn’t ideal if you want to be waterproof though, as it’ll open up the innards to the elements.
Out of the box it’s got a pretty distinctive tyre-tread outer design. The two treads are like something from a toy car that my son would use but there’s a good quality rubberised feel to them.
Bluetooth setup is easy enough and it sets up a Bluetooth 3.0 connection via the normal method after powering it on. Just hit the power button, it’ll bleep and flash a tiny LED inside the speaker and that’s pretty much your queue to initiate the Bluetooth setup on your phone. No PIN numbers to worry about, it just pairs and – once done – it’ll remember for next time.
The sound quality is very good, and I can testify to the volume after my son had it cranked up full blast while we were driving through our village. The people waiting at the bus stop could hear it well enough, so I’d say that was a success, even if the music in question was this..
That tough rubber exterior gave me more than enough confidence for my son to play with it and, likewise the buttons on top were both chunky and easy to use. Power, phone call, volume up and volume down.
It measures in at 8.5 by 8.5 by 4.5cm so is really easy to carry around. The rubberised sides and strong construction were definitely reassuring.
A long rubber strap is added to the top left of the speaker and means that you can hang this off your shower or belt without having to worry about getting it wet. Stick your phone somewhere dry and let this get splashed instead. Here’s a video showing the speaker getting soaked…
The sound quality was very good indeed, and I actually found the audio didn’t really need adjusting via any software equaliser – bass and treble were punchy enough and came through clearly without clashing.
The battery inside lasts about 4 hours and, although I wouldn’t want to dunk this completely under water, it survived getting rained on and a few test showers too.
Don’t forget that you can also use it as your hands-free device too, so you can make and receive calls whilst in the pool, on the beach or in the bath, if that’s where you like to do your business.