Free online photo & video backup

When was the last time you backed up your photos and videos from your phone or camera?

Are they stored on your PC?  Is this the only location?

Irrespective of your setup, you always should make sure you have at least 1, if not 2 backups of your most precious data and generally speaking photos and videos are for many the most important.

Backing up photos and videos can be a hassle and the space they take up can mean costly expense for hard drives or online storage.

We all love to get something for free and what I am about to explain to you is something you may or may not have come across before but believe me, it is hands down the BEST solution I have ever come across and value for money wise there is no competition.

The solution?

Google Photos

Irrespective of who you are, how many pictures and videos you take I seriously recommend you take a look at it. I really think you will see the benefit of taking a bit of time reading and understanding how it works, because it is immensely powerful.

Now I could write loads on this but there are a couple of other who have already done this and to be honest there is little I can really add.

I am sure there are lots of great reviews out there, but one of the best I have read is here by Android Police

The Verge & TechnoBuffalo have also put together videos that explains it all pretty well.

The key points to note is that:

  • The unlimited storage applies to photos taken on a camera with a resolution of 16 megapixels or below.
  • Larger files and even those at 16 megapixels or less are compressed, but there is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the compressed and original.
  • You can upload the original but you only get 15GB of free storage. If you need more than this you have to pay.
  • There is the web app, an app for Android, iOS, PC and Mac. They all sync so when you upload from one you can see it on another.
  • You can download and share files with ease.
  • There is lots of control over how when and where files are uploaded.

I uploaded over 50GB of photos and videos from my personal storage and have completed similar with work files.

I want to sum this up by saying I set this up for my mum who will admit technology baffles her. But she has been blown away how within seconds of capturing a picture on her phone it is now backed up on the web but also available to view on her iPad.  Previously I always had to backup her photos, but now she does it herself, but doing nothing!

So if you are interest head to or download it for Android devices here and iOS here.


Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review

Got what it takes to make a splash?

Sony_Xperia_M4_Aqua (20)Sony are a household name and over the last few years they have proven how their smartphones match the high standards we can expect of their brand, particularly with their flagship Z series.

The more entry level E and M series offer a lot for those who wish not to spend so much or do not require the ‘best’ specs but instead want something functional.

The M4 Aqua may look a little like a Z3 and is quite a surprise in what it offers but how does it fare in everyday use?

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hardware Specifications

The Aqua could be classed, as a ‘lite’ version of the Z3 with the following hardware features.

  • Android 5.0
  • 5” touchscreen display
  • 13 megapixel rear camera
  • 5 megapixel front camera
  • IP65/68 rated
  • 4G connectivity
  • 2 day battery life
  • Octa core processor

Want to see what you get in the box? Check out our unboxing video included below.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Buy Sony Xperia M4 Aqua


Whilst from a distance the matt silver rounded edges and gloss white finish may give the M4 Aqua that Z series look, in the hand it feels considerably cheaper but still retains a lot of strength and robust feel.

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The back panel sits ever so slightly proud breaking the smooth flow on the fingertips from the side to back of the handset.

At 140g and 7.3mm thick it still feels good in hand, better than a BlackBerry Leap I recently reviewed which has a similar price and specification.

The 5” display dominates the front, with a bezel running to the left and right side, whilst larger than one would like bezels to the top and bottom.

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What looks like stereo speaker grilles on the front are the main earpiece and main microphone.

The front facing camera, sensors and notification light sit just above the screen.

The right side of the handset is home to the omni-balanced designed power button which sits above the volume up and down key.  Lower still is the dedicated camera shutter button which will with a long press launch the camera.

On the bottom of the phone to the right is the loudspeaker and a microphone to the left.

The left side is home in the top corner to the microUSB port and the microSD card slot that sits under a cover.

The upper edge has a headphone jack next to a microphone, left of centre.Sony_Xperia_M4_Aqua (13)

Flipped over the M4 Aqua has that synonymous design of a Sony.  The rear camera and flash are in the upper right corner with the NFC portion of the back cover just below and in the centre.

The Sony logo adorns the middle and the Xperia brand the lower centre of the phone.

Being IP rated, the M4 is safe for a swim in fresh water up to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes.  It does to resist dust pretty well too.  Just be aware the microSD card slot cover needs to be closed.  Do not worry about the microUSB or headphone jack, these are specially protected.

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If you want to be blown away with immersive colours and super sharp visuals then this is not the screen to do that.  It is however perfectly functional for what the vast majority of us want to do on a mobile device.

Measuring 5” on the diagonal the screen has a 720 x 1280 resolution which equates to a pixel per inch count just under 300.

If you do like to consume a bit of media on the go, the large screen makes this ideal.

The backlight is manually or automatically adjustable and you can even fine-tune the white balance if you choose and smart backlight control can keep the screen on rather than switching off if the phone is detected as being in the hand.

And whilst this is more linked to software, you can now orient the home screen in landscape mode, where for too long homescreens have been stuck in portrait mode.

The display is scratch resistant, but there is no branded Gorilla Glass here.  Keys, coins, knocks and bumps should be resisted.

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The octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM keep the M4 ticking along quite nicely.

Installed out of the box is the new fresher looking Android 5.0

Sony have added customisation to the software, so it is not pure Android.

Additions include amongst others, an Album, Movies, Walkman and Xperia Lounge and PlayStation as this is a certified device.

AVG comes for free as does an office suite so you can work safely from the moment the device is set up.

Standard Google services from maps, to YouTube to Gmail are all present and there is an FM radio too.

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Organise the look and feel of your home screens by changing the wallpapers, layout and more.  You can too group items into folders and change the layout of the app drawer.

A new setting allows you to change the home screen to landscape orientation if you like.  This is very useful as many still orient in portrait.

Of the 8GB of internal memory under 3GB is available out of the box which is quite limiting.  The good news is apps can be moved to the microSD card if you have one installed and more memory hungry content like images and video can be saved here too.

Whether adding your works email account or your social media accounts it is all really simple.

The pull down notification shade gives access to key settings and you can edit some of these as well as add multiple users accounts.  So, if you hand the phone to the kids, select the different user profile to avoid them racking up bills or sending odd messages and more!

You can add Facebook, Twitter and corporate exchange accounts too.

With a Google account you can access the Google Play Store and download the apps of your choice whether they be free or paid for.

‘Simple Home’ is an option which can be enabled for simplicity, through choice if you would like it, but also works well for those struggling with sight or mobility ion the fingers. It makes icons considerably larger and makes the interface bolder and arguably easier to interact with if smartphones and modern technology are not so natural to you.

Click to view slideshow.

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WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, microUSB, microSD and more, the vast majority of connection requirements you could need are present.

The networks speak of 4G, the M4 has it.

Our internet providers boast great speeds over WiFi, the M4 has it.

The microUSB port is uncovered on the left side, not the ideal location, the bottom would have been better, but no port cover to comply with the IP rating makes it easy to use and ultimately practical.

There is no USB hosting for easy on the go file transfer or MHL support (what is MHL?) for sharing your screen, but Miracast is present, so you can do this without wires if you prefer.  Within a few seconds wirelessly share images and media with a TV.

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Unlike many phones that have the loudspeaker mounted on the rear, the M4 Aqua’s is on the bottom.

There is quite a high likelihood it can become muffled when held in portrait or landscape mode, but you can easily adjust your grip to avoid such.

Reasonably loud and appearing to manage ok on most sounds it is better than I thought it would be and at a level it really should be for this type of device.

Compare to an HTC One M series and the difference is noticeable, the M4 Aqua has not got what it takes, but it is better than the Xcover 3 from Samsung, if you happen to be comparing the two.

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It pains me to say that the image results are not great on the M4 Aqua.

They are better than many, but not where they should be based on Sony’s camera expertise.

I am not big into selfies, as the sample images will clearly demonstrate, but the 5 megapixel camera on the front did an ok job.

Whilst not all about megapixels, the 13 on the rear coupled with Sony’s Exmor RS for mobile should have done a considerably better job.

The white or lighter colours are over exposed against the strong dark colours. Some shots are better, I found in more shaded environments but still with plenty of light, but the consistency of shot left me a little unsure.

In the picture of the pub (shown below) the building looks washed out against the sky and is generally a bit weak.

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Now in the M4’s defence I shot these in Superior Auto mode rather than playing around with the settings in manual mode. Why?  Well if I gave this to my mum, my auntie or most of my friends, this is exactly how they would use it.  Fiddling with controls is not what they want.

I think many of the issues can be resolved in software updates.

There are though many other reasons to like the camera.  Countless options for having fun on the camera from creating a photo with sound, to AR effects, to creative effects to vines not to mention the vast array of downloadable additions, many of which are free.  As far as out of the box, have fun camera apps go, the M4 Aqua ranks quite highly.

Sample Shots.

Click to view slideshow.

Video can be recorded in full HD, there is the option to zoom in when recording, but it is not all that smooth, even when using the volume controls. You can capture a photo whilst recording video as well as pause and recommence recording in a single clip.

Sample video.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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A moderately sized 2400mAh battery keeps the M4 Aqua going for up to 2 days (subject to usage).

There are a lot of battery saving options on Sony phones, STAMINA mode being the most useful and will help even the more power hungry through a long day away from power.  Moderate users will get 2 days out of it, I have, but I was generally getting 1.5 days.

Force of habit has me charge a phone most nights as a matter of course.

Lighter users or those willing to really test the battery could probably get a lot longer out of it.  Plunge yourself into ‘Ultra STAMINA mode’ and who knows how long you will get, but you do sacrifice a lot of features, so is there much point unless you are lost in woods?! If you are, good news it will go on for a long time!

What is so refreshing is that ‘you’ remain in control.  Lots of power saving modes, but you decide what happens and if there are exceptions etc.

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Just shy of £230 including VAT, the M4 Aqua is between the cheap but very functional handsets that come in at around £150 and a fraction below the likes of the Honor 6 that offers a lot for £250.

Quite rightly it is positioned above the Motorola Moto G’s and is justifiably £150 cheaper than the premium Z3 from Sony.

Samsung’s Xcover is a little cheaper, coming in at under £200 but the M4 offers a bit more from the camera and software in my opinion.

Ultimately the decision of what price you are prepared to pay and what value you will get from it will be a personal one.  Should you have any reservations at this price point of being cheated, think again.  For £200 now you are easily getting what were once justifiable of a £300 phone.

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On one hand the M4 Aqua offers so much, but on the other, for me the camera ended up disappointing me a little and taking the edge of what is otherwise a great device.
The good news is that software updates will improve this and that I can live with.

I may have a slight favouritism for Sony being a Z3 Compact user but having used so many devices I can say openly that the M4 Aqua is a solid product.

Compare it to the sub £100 phones and you can easily see the improvements.  Put it next to an iPhone 5s, 6 or high end Samsung or even a Sony and you can see why they charge the premium.

Sitting in the middle it has benefits and compromises depending on what your viewpoint is.

IP rated, no fiddly port covers, the latest version of Android, 4G, a 5” screen, 2 day battery life and cameras with some real potential, you could do a lot worse.

Buy Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

The post Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Review appeared first on Clove Technology's Blog.

via Clove Technology’s Blog » Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 Review

Xcover_3_ReviewHere in the UK, depending on what piece of news you read on which day will depend on what story we are fed.  On one hand we are a nation that are less active, and on the other we have an increasing number of people taking up more sports and activities outdoors.

Whatever the ‘real’ situation, the Xcover 3 from Samsung is aimed at the later, those who need a phone for the outdoors.

Offering a level of ‘ruggedness’ in a phone that is not all that unattractive, is the 3rd generation of the Xcover family suitable for those who work and play in the outdoors. Read on or watch our video review to find out.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hardware Specifications

The Xcover 3 boasts the following hardware specifications:

  • IP67 rating – can be immersed in 1m of water for 30 minutes
  • Mil Spec 810G – will survive drops onto concrete from a height over 1.2 meters
  • Google Android operating system with access to the popular Google Play Store and other Google services
  • 4.5” touchscreen display
  • 4G connectivity
  • 8GB internal memory
  • MicroSD memory card slot
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • 2200mAh user removable battery
  • 24 month warranty

As the specs suggest this is not an outright flagship phone, this is a practical solution to a need.  If you want the ‘best’ mobile gaming or multitasking device the Xcover 3 is not it.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3


The design ethos with Xcover devices has been to offer a blend of rugged features whilst retaining the traditional smartphone look and appeal.  The Xcover 3 is no exception.

At quick glance and it looks like a regular smartphone, but when you pay a little more attention to it there are subtle design tweaks that work for the environments in which it is expected to be used.

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Whilst there can often be a stereotype for rugged phones, the key target audiences are those that work and relax in outdoors or tougher environments.  Whether you are a plumber, an outdoors sports coach, a white water rafter or an avid walker the Xcover 3 has been designed with you in mind. If you need something really tough, look at the RugGear range of phones.

First of the key design tweaks are the three physical buttons on the front of the device.  Easy to touch and interact with even when the phone is wet or muddy.

Samsung_Galaxy_Xcover_3_Hands_On (5)Of course the front is home to the 4.5” touchscreen, front facing camera, various sensors and earpiece too.

The edges of the phone are made from a tough and resilient plastic that has grooves etched into it for a more grippy texture.  The same goes for the rear cover.

Often the most vulnerable, the corners of the device have a little extra thickness that protects the screen a little more should it be dropped.

All of the buttons on the device are raised.  On the right is the power key whilst the left if home to the volume up and down key and a programmable ‘Xcover’ key.

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It is worth noting here that the Xcover key can be programme to do different things with a short or long press.  Out of the box the flash illuminates to be used as a torch on a short press and the camera activated on a long press.  The only downside is you need to unlock the screen to take advantage which is a bit of a disappointment.

The top of the phone is home to the headphone jack, whilst the bottom is where the microUSB port is for charging the phone along with a microphone.

Under the removable back cover is the battery compartment which is home to a removable 2200mAh battery and there is the microSIM and microSD card slot.

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On the inside of the back cover is a rubber strip which forms a seal around these components when closed to stop any water ingression.

Also present on the rear is a camera, flash and loudspeaker. A slightly larger bezel and slight lift in the back cover housing help protect these parts.

A small and easy to miss addition is the lanyard attachment on the left side of the phone, which is certainly more desired by some in this market.

It is also worth noting that there is no LED notification light.

Part of the whole design is the water resistance.  Drop the handset in freshwater up to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes and it will survive.  Do not worry that the headphone jack and microUSB port are exposed, they are coated and protected against the elements.

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If the Xcover 3 was to find its way into salt water or other liquids it may survive but these have not been tested and things like salt can be corrosive.  Thus do give it a good wash should it come into contact with salt water or similar.

Overall, in hand it feels solid and whilst not the best feeling when dry, when wet the plastics are much better than a glass alternative might be.


At 4.5” the screen is on the smaller side of the scale really when you compare it to many phones available now.

That said, I think it is ideally sized, not too big but large enough to be practical, and allow the phone to be used in one hand.

Samsung_Galaxy_Xcover_3_Screenshot (24)The resolution is a little disappointing at 480 x 800 which equates to a pixels per inch count of a mediocre 207.  Whilst images and other content are perhaps not as sharp and vibrant, the positive effect is on the battery life.

If you are reading a map, using a compass or navigation app, or crunching some figures on the calculator, the screen is perfectly adequate for this.

You can change the brightness of the screen, but not automatically, it has to be done manually.  There is however an optional ‘outdoor mode’ which boosts the screens backlight for greater visibility.

There is also the option for increased screen sensitivity.  This means should you be wearing gloves, but still wish to interact with the screen you can do so, although thick gloves can make it a bit fiddly.  Sony’s simple home with bigger on screen icons would work well in this instance, problem is, this is not a Sony.


Out of the box, Android version 4.4.4 is loaded onto the Xcover 3.

Samsung_Galaxy_Xcover_3_Screenshot (25)As is standard with Samsung Galaxy devices there is a level of customisation over and above what is known as stock Android.

This customisation is not as heavy as it is on many other devices and of the 8GB of internal storage around 4.6GB is available.  Of course you can expand this with the microSD memory card slot.

Many speak of Android 5.0 and no doubt in time the Xcover 3 will receive this update (no dates at time of writing) but it is not required.  There is everything that is necessary to be functional.  The Xcover 3 is aimed more at that avenue.

Add and remove different home screens, add app shortcuts and widgets.  Re-organise the app drawer to your liking, download more apps and change the shortcuts available in the notification shade, all of what I would consider are basic desires of smartphone customisation are present. You can create folders of apps on the home screen too.

Additions do include a file manager, Galaxy Apps and My Galaxy, which is minimal when it comes to Samsung’s added extras in the software.

The pre-installed Google services are simple to connect to and for existing Google users, a simple sign in and you can be up and running within a matter of minutes.

Easily add other accounts from different services, be it a Microsoft Exchange Server email account or your social media logins, all is part and parcel of the Galaxy Xcover.

Download free or paid for apps from Google Play Store and much more.

So whether you need to use the Xcover 3 for work purposes to write a document or record results when out in the field, or to find the nearest bridleway when out walking or to take calls and reply to customer emails when on a construction site, then the Xcover 3 can do all of this.

Click to view slideshow.


Within the UK, there is a lot of talk about 4G, so when purchasing your next smartphone it is worth ensuring it has 4G so even if you do not take advantage of such now, the device is future proofed, especially as you are likely to be using this for 18-24 months.

Thankfully this is present here, along with 3G and 2G of course.

WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and GLONASS are all present too.

Use the microUSB connection for charging and connecting to a computer and the 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting up headphones or other audio products.

If you need to share files take advantage of the USB hosting option which is supported.  Connect a USB memory stick (cable adapter required) and copy files to and from the phone.

NFC is also available should you like to use this.  Particularly useful in some commercial applications and for saving effort on repetitive tasks you may complete on a phone each day.

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Inevitably with a rear mounted speaker the sound can feel a bit directional and not as immersive as those with front facing solutions.

As the majority of phones still have rear speakers, the Xcover is not exactly doing anything different.
To get any reasonable volume, I had to set the speaker to half power, anything below and I could barely hear it.  Whack it up to full volume and the sound is much more audible but there is evidence of strain and a lot of reverberation through the back cover.

At about 80-90% on the volume scale is where the sound performed best and was loud enough.

I did not have the opportunity to test it on a construction site, but my guess would be that you would be struggling to really hear if you had it on loudspeaker and thus a wired headset or Bluetooth option would be best.

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I have mixed feelings on the camera as a whole.

On the positive side the camera app is pretty well featured with a number of different options for stills and videos. Different modes from auto, to sport to panorama.

Control the flash, the focus, the exposure, ISO and white balance.  Use the volume key as a zoom control and even have grid lines.

Click to view slideshow.

In good natural light, you can even get a depth of field to shots and be a little artistic, although there are limits.

The camera can struggle to focus on occasions and take some time to capture images.  This is particularly noticeable in dark conditions.

I took a picture in a pitch black garage and the camera took 3-4 seconds to capture the image, although the result was not all that bad.

Even in better lit conditions, I did have to touch to focus as the camera seemed to struggle sometimes.

To the resulting images then.  Low light images are ok with more noise as is to be expected.

Well lit shots have much better results but some colours are oversaturated and lighter colours like white and yellow can blow out and be overexposed.

If I had to sum the results up it would be satisfactory.

Some shots from the camera.

Click to view slideshow.

Sample video footage.

Watch this video on YouTube.


Samsung_Galaxy_Xcover_3_Screenshot (30)At 2200mAh the battery on the Xcover is neither small or large but it is perfectly functional.  I was happily getting through a day, 8am – 10pm without the absolute need to charge it.

This was with light usage to be honest and more intensive applications such as GPS navigating will have a detrimental effect.

A nice inclusion is the Ultra Power Saving mode which can save power by minimising the home screen layout and limiting the number of usable apps.  It also provides a guide of how much time is left in the battery.

This is particularly useful if you have drained the battery on a long hike, but wish to keep the phone operational for any emergencies.

All this said, I think Samsung could have afforded to increase the thickness of the phone slightly to accomodate a bit of a bigger battery for peace of mind.  Although the low price of external batteries does mean carrying a battery bank could just be the answer.

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Sold SIM free at Clove for £189 inclusive of VAT, the Xcover 3 is not a bank busting price.

With many popular handsets at the moment hitting around the £150 price point, this is not far above for what offers some more valuable extras.

Without doubt there are more powerful smartphones available at this price but do they suit your needs?

Get hold of an aftermarket case that offers more protection or water resistance could be an option for some, but these do not always come cheap and how practical are they really?

Sony’s M4 Aqua is probably one of the closest alternatives.  At about £40 more expensive but not drop tested, the M4 offers a larger screen and better camera features primarily so this could be worth the extra spend.

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The Xcover 3 certainly has features and a performance that is perfectly adequate for what I would consider to be the average user.

If you are into photography on the go though or rely on the camera, I would question if the Xcover 3 is best for this, I would be looking at the M4 Aqua.

Tradespersons who may think this suitable for them may want to consider the volume of background noise they generally encounter when making calls and if you use power draining features when away from power a battery bank might be a requirement.

Whilst I do not think it will win any awards for innovation or value for money, nor will everyone be using one of these, you cannot really fault it considering what you get, a 24 month warranty and the peace of mind it is built by a reputable brand.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3

The post Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 Review appeared first on Clove Technology's Blog.

via Clove Technology’s Blog » Reviews

Sony Xperia E4 Review

Sony_Xperia_E4 (18)It is all very well having great features on a phone, but it is no good if you need to be tied to a wall because the battery does not last very long.

The E4 from Sony is capable of offering up to 2 days battery life even with a large 5” touchscreen display.

Retailing for £99 inclusive of VAT when purchased SIM free, the E4 is at the budget end of the smartphone scale.

The good news is that today technology has moved on so much that budget need not mean cheap, nasty and poor performing products, in fact the Xperia E4 is far from it.

Continue reading

Parrot RNB6 Android Auto & Apple CarPlay has MHL

Parrot the consumer electronics company has today unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Parrot RNB6 which is an after-market infotainment system.


What makes this so special is that it has a 7 inch touchscreen and runs Google’s Android operating system.  Think of it like a glorified Android tablet docked in your car.

But it gets better, as well as being like a tablet, it is also capable of running Google’s new Android Auto and Apple CarPlay making connection to your mobile device and interaction with you in vehicle entertainment system very different to what we currently have today.

Apart from the fact that you can connect via Bluetooth to make hands free calls, and the fact that it uses the standard 2-DIN plugs, making installation very easy, there are loads of other great features.

Take a look at the following image and notice all the various connections.


The system can connect to your vehicles on-board diagnostics(OBD2) but does too have USB, ethernet, HDMI and MHL included.

MHL is of particular interest to me.  Whilst the Android OS and the Google’s Android Auto are great, the fact you will be able to (with the appropriate device and cable) just mirror your smartphones screen is a big bonus.

For me and perhaps for yourself, you are familiar with the setup and location of shortcuts on your phone, so if you can mirror this in your car and not need to learn a new solution it makes it much easier in terms of day to day usage.

Your phone is doing all the processing, the screen is just a bigger interface for it.

I am keen to see what this actually works like when they are available for general purchase.

Source: Slashgear

My first unboxing video

Back in the dark ages, 2008 to be precise I setup the Clove Technology YouTube Channel.

Video was not quite such a thing then, but it slowly grew and in what seems like a lifetime ago, (but is was only March 2011) I completed my first ever smartphone unboxing.  The phone in question was the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

I cringe when I watch it back now, but the phone I unboxed was a personally favourite.

Now, in 2014 unboxing a phone is second nature and the Clove channel has in excess of 17.5 million views.  But for those who want a laugh!