• Turn your Sunday afternoon walk into a hi-tech treasure hunt

    by  • March 29, 2015 • 0 Comments

    What is Geocaching | Geocaching.com | Girl-about-TechEver wondered what geocaching is? Well my good friend, Home Shopping Spy Alice, and her fiancé Al (or Al Squared, as they are affectionately known) happen to be quite the experts in it. In fact, they even got engaged on a geocaching expedition. Anyway, Alice has kindly offered to share her knowledge with us! Enjoy!

    What is Geocaching? Think of it as a real-world outdoor treasure hunt for the digital generation. Website Geocaching.com has been set up so you can locate and track down containers that have been hidden around the world by Geocache members using GPS on your smartphone or tablet. The containers, known as a ‘caches’, are typically small, waterproof boxes containing a logbook (with pen or pencil) and ‘treasure’ – usually toys or trinkets of little value. There are thousands in the UK alone and over two million hidden worldwide.

    How do I play? Register online at geocaching.com for a free basic membership. Visit the ‘Hide and Seek a Cache’ page and enter the postcode of where you want to hunt for a cache. Choose any cache from the list and click on its name. You will find the co-ordinates along with details, clues and a difficulty rating. Enter the co-ordinates into your GPS device and off you go – just remember to take your fully charged phone or tablet with you!

    Where are all the caches located? It’s common for Geocachers to hide caches in a spot that means something to them or a place that reflects a special interest. Locations can vary from a local park or side of the street to a great viewpoint, the end of a long country walk or even underwater.

    What do I do when I find a cache? First, look around you before you retrieve a cache. You don’t want anyone else to discover it, especially non-geocachers! Open it up, and sign the logbook that’s left inside and leave a message. If you remember, try to log your experience online, too, at geocaching.com. Geocaching box | Geocaching.com | Girl About Tech

    You will find a fun array of trinkets in different caches, but if you take something, always replace it with something so there is treasure for the next person to find. Try to trade up if you can, never leave anything perishable and keep treasure family-friendly.

    When you’re done, put the cache back in exactly the same spot as you found it, even if you think you have found a better hiding place.

    Is geocaching safe? Yes! But make sure you let someone where you are going, have a phone with you (and keep checking the signal) in case you get into any trouble or lost, and if you’ve driven to a nearby spot, note where you have parked so you can find your way back to the car.

    It is also worth taking the right gear for the weather, water and spare batteries or a portable charger for your device.

    How do I hide a cache? Before you hide your first cache, it’s a good idea to find some in your area. That way, you’ll understand what works and what makes a good cache hiding place. For example, think of a reason for bringing people to a certain spot.

    Make sure you place your cache at least a tenth of a mile away from any other caches and choose a container that is durable and waterproof – don’t forget to fill it with a logbook (go to shop.geocaching.com for retailers), pencil and gift.

    Get accurate coordinates, then note of the size of your cache, how rough the terrain is, how hard you think it will be to find and a helpful hint, and log them all online. After it’s been submitted, your cache will be reviewed tocheck if it fits within the guidelines before being published.

    Remember to use your common sense when hiding caches: they should never be buried and, if on private land, you will have to ask teh owner’s permission. Also, don’t design your cache so it might be confused for something more dangerous, like a bomb.

    To learn more, visit geocaching.com/play.

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    These smart scales will make you a better baker!

    by  • March 27, 2015 • 0 Comments

    DROP BLUETOOTH KITCHEN SCALES | girlabouttech.comI love baking, but when it comes to an Ideal Home bake-off, I’m usually outclassed by Emma Jackson’s Victoria sponge, Sophie Thrower’s exceedingly moist lemon drizzle cake or Tara Elarte’s showstopping salted caramel chocolate cake.

    Actually, make that was outclassed, because now I’ve found a secret weapon, this set of Drop kitchen scales, controlled with the Drop Kitchen recipe app.DROP BLUETOOTH KITCHEN SCALES IPAD | girlabouttech.comDrop promises to spell an end to #bakingfails by guiding you through every one of its hundreds of included recipes, step by step. To use them, first pair the Drp Smart Scales with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth – the app is currently only available for iOS devices, so I’m hoping there’s an Android version in the pipeline.

    Now you could just use it as a standalone scale – the measurements to the nearest gram will appear big on your tablet or phone screen and it’s easy to switch between units (grams, ounces, kg) and you can reset it to zero if you want to weight within a mixing bowl and add ingredients one on top of the next.

    However, I’d want to pick from one of the hundreds of recipes – how about some chocolate peanut butter brownies, for example? You’ll see a pretty photo of what you’re about to bake, along with a summary. This lists the skill level (easy, advanced, etc), the time it will take to prepare, the time it will take to cook, all the tools you’ll need, plus the ingredients and how many people it will serve.

    If you’d like to change the scale of the recipe – for example, because you need a sponge that feeds 16 not 8, or because you only have a certain amount of flour in the cupboard, the app can do the calculations for you.DROP BLUETOOTH KITCHEN SCALES FOCACCIA | girlabouttech.comI especially like that you can tap on any ingredient before you start cooking and weigh out how much you have of it. If it’s not enough, hit the Scale Recipe button, and the measurements of all the other ingredients update proportionally. Clever eh?

    Missing an ingredient? An iminent update will also allow Drop to suggest a substitute.

    Anyway, on to the baking. Hit Start Recipe and preheat your oven to the suggested temperature. You can then go through each instruction, and watch a video in case you are unsure of what you should be doing – it goes as far as showing you how to grease a muffin tin, so it really is foolproof.

    DROP BLUETOOTH KITCHEN SCALES WEIGHING INGREDIENTS | girlabouttech.comWhen you’re adding ingredients, as you hit your target the value on screen goes green, and automatically moves on to the following step, so you can add the next ingredient as quickly as you want to.

    Ready to put your cakes in the oven? Remember to press the Bake button on screen, as the app has a countdown timer that will alert you when they’re ready to come out again.

    You don’t even have to worry about tapping your tablet or phone screen with floury fingers, as there’s an option to scroll through the instructions by pressing an easy-clean silicone button on the scale itself.

    The Drop Smart Scales cost £79.95 (the app is free to dowload) and are available at Device.

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    Whisk assessment! The Magimix processor gets a bakeover

    by  • March 24, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Patissier Multifunction food processor | Magimix | girlabouttech.comWatch out kMix and KitchenAid – Magimix has just come up with its answer to the stand mixer. The Patissier Multifunction has been specially developed for baking, so while it’s still capable of traditional processor functions such as slicing, grating and blending, the addition of a 4.9ltr stainless steel bowl apparently makes it possible to produce perfect meringues, bread and pastry every time.

    Given ‘Queen of Cake’ Mary Berry is partial to whipping up a sponge in a food processor, the Patissier is definitely worth consideration. And while it’s pricier and not quite as pretty as its aforementioned mixing rivals, it is more versatile and will take up less space on your countertop. Touché!

    One argument against using a processor for cakes is that they don’t incorporate enough air into the batter, which will lead to them coming out of the oven flat as a pancake. But Magimix promises that a special smooth blade ‘effortlessly kneads pastry and bread as well as aerating sponge mixtures for light and fluffy cakes’. Le Patissier food processor pink | Magimix | girlabouttech.comThe Patissier also comes with whisks for whipping up cream and egg whites, as well as standard processor attachments and the excellent BlenderMix, which can be used to make soups and smoothies. It’s even quieter than other Magimix models thanks to its larger, commercial grade induction motor, which has a 30-year guarantee.

    I saw it in action this week at the Cookery School at Little Portland Street, and Bake Off star Cat Dresser was able to whizz up pastry and bread dough in less than 30 seconds thanks to the Patissier’s ‘dynamic kneading’ action. I also made delicious carrot cupcakes in under five minutes!

    The Patissier Mulitfunction will be available exclusively at John Lewis from March 25th, in the delicious-sounding Vanille (cream) or Framboise (raspberry pink), plus red, black and satin (chrome). It then arrives at leading department stores from September onwards, priced £500 for the colours and £520 for the satin model.

    Of course, if you’d prefer a stand mixer, I can suggest a few great ones, including this ingenious folding design from Morphy Richards that’s great if you don’t have much cupboard space!

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    Spooky! This speaker knows what you want to listen to

    by  • March 22, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Cone wireless speaker | Aether | Girl About TechDon’t be alarmed, but this speaker thinks for itself.

    I don’t think it’s quite ready to take over the world just yet, but Aether’s Cone can take over the role of DJ in your home. That’s because, unlike your other half *rolls eyes* it’s really good at learning what you like.

    It works by giving you free access to Rdio’s library of over 30 million songs, over 25,000 podcasts from Stitcher, plus thousands of internet radio stations.

    After you set it up (you’ll need a computer, or a smartphone or tablet loaded with Aether’s app), it will start streaming music from these sources.

    To jump to a similar song, turn the large dial surrounding the speaker face a little to the right. To play something completely different, give Cone a bigger spin. Eventually it will learn what you like so you’ll hardly have to touch it at all – it can also pick up nuances in your behaviour, so it will notice if you like listening to news based radio stations when you wake up, and thrash metal when you get home from work. Like we all do…Cone wireless speaker in copper | Aether | Girl About TechEven more amazingly, if you know what you want to hear, ask out loud and Cone will play it. Just press the button middle and request any song, artist, radio station or podcast that it can access.

    But that’s not all – as Cone has just become available with Bluetooth and multi-room streaming. The former means you can now stream the music stored on your phone, tablet or computer, and listen without having to worry about a WiFi connection. Since the rechargeable battery can power it for eight hours, you could even take it outside.Cone wireless speaker in white | Aether | Girl About TechYou can also link several together and either play the same perfect song in every room, or send different sounds to different parts of the house – it’s up to you. You just have download the Aether mobile app, available for both iOS and Android to set up, and then you can control the music throughout the house from whatever Cone you’re nearest to at the time.

    Don’t worry if you already own a Cone, as the multi-room and Bluetooth functions are going to be added to your existing speaker via a firmware upgrade. This will download automatically over the internet when you’re not using your Cone to enjoy music, podcasts or radio.Cone wireless speaker in kitchen | Aether | Girl About TechFor more details and to purchase a Cone, £350, in either my favourite black/copper finish as seen above, or the chic white/silver combo, visit Selfridges or the Aether website.

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    These built-in ovens are straight out of Mad Men

    by  • March 20, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Smeg retro black appliances | Girl About Tech
    Smeg may just have solved one of the biggest kitchen appliance dilemmas ever. You know the one – do I choose a range cooker because it looks cool, or plump for a built-in oven because it takes up less space and has lots of snazzy features?

    Smeg’s new built-in Victoria range features a multi-function single oven, a double oven and a combination microwave, and they are all GORGEOUS!

    Victoria retro double oven | Smeg | Girl About TechThe AA-rated DOSF6920 double oven comes in black and cream. Its huge 70ltr main oven has an efficient Circulaire fan that allows you to cook different foods on the five different cooking levels without the flavours mingling. It also has 10 cooking functions, including 20 automatic programmes, defrosting and a proving mode for dough. Above it, the 36-litre auxillary oven can be used for conventional cooking and grilling.

    The interiors are lined with easy-clean enamel, and the glass in the doors is removable for cleaning, too. And the price? Around £819.

    Victoria retro single oven | Smeg | Girl About TechThere are two built-in single ovens in the range. The SF6922 60cm Victoria traditional multifunction oven, has a generous 65-litre capacity, a Circulaire fan, and an upper and lower element that gives similar results to rotisserie. Special functions include pre-heating, defrost by time, defrost by weight, rising and Sabbath.

    What really blew me away though, is that a pizza stone is included in the price. Use it with the pizza cooking function, and you can stone-bake a margherita in four minutes. Beat that Dominos!

    The SF6922 measures H58.8cm x W59.7cm x D54.8mm and costs around £579.

    Pay a bit more for its doppelganger, the SFP6925, and you also get pyrolytic cleaning – in case you’re not familiar that raises the oven temperature to around 500 degrees C to  burn up all the grease and nastiness inside, so all you have to do is sweep the ash out afterwards.

    Like the non-pyro version, it comes in four colours – black, cream, white and stainless steel – but has a slightly higher price tag of £629.

    Victoria retro 60cm hob | Smeg | Girl About TechOf course, if you love the oven, you’ll probably want a hob to match, so Smeg has two gas models, the 60cm four-burner SR964 (£229) and 70cm five-burner SR975 (£299).

    Both have heavy-duty cast iron pan stands and all the modern-day features you’d expect from a gas hob, such as automatic electronic ignition, safety valves and the option to adapt them for use with LPG.

    Victoria retro 70cm gas hob | Smeg | Girl About TechAll of these appliances will be available shortly, having been launched at the Ideal Home Show today, and there is talk of compact 45cm ovens and cooker hoods being added to the range later in the year. If you’re keen to get your hands on them, visit the Smeg website for details of your nearest stockist.

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    Interior designers will love this Ruark radio

    by  • March 17, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Osborne & Little Melo radio | Ruark Audio | Girl About TechNot since salt met caramel have two such wondrous things come together to create something even more fabulous – let me present the limited-edition R1 DAB radio from Ruark Audio, finished in Osborne & Little’s brand-new Melo print.

    Sorry, it’s very easy to get carried away with how good this radio looks, but let’s focus on the practical for a moment, as this super-portable package takes some beating, specs wise.

    The current R1 is the third generation of Ruark’s multi-award winning design, and boasts amazing sound, Bluetooth connectivity (so you can also use it as a speaker), a clear OLED display, and the easy-to-use Rotodial control at the top.

    Osborne Little R1 radio | Ruark Audio | Girl About TechYou can listen to DAB or FM channels, so you get the best of both worlds – that’s the simple automatic tuning, interference-free sound and wider choice of stations that digital radio provides, and the superior audio quality you get with a strong FM signal. The R1 also carries the new Digital Tick Mark, which ensures any radio you buy is futureproof and will be able to receive updated DAB+ stations when they are eventually introduced in the UK.

    There are also 20 presets on board the R1 – for 10 DAB and 10 FM stations – and a dual alarm, so you can wake up to your favourite DJs at different times on weekdays and at the weekend. Osborne & Little Melo DAB radio | Ruark Audio | Girl About TechBut what makes it truly desirable is its covering of Osborne & Little’s Melo print. Taken from the company’s Spring/Summer 2015 wallpaper collection, Melo is named after a small pearl, hence the glimmering detail. Ruark has chosen a blue-grey shade for the radio, but the paper also comes in two more earthy colourways – be warned, though, if you do decide you want matching walls you’d better have deep pockets, as Melo costs £86 for a 10-metre roll.

    The Osborne & Little R1 DAB/FM radio will be available from John Lewis from the end of April, priced at £200.

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    Trend alert! Tech out your kitchen in copper

    by  • March 13, 2015 • 0 Comments

    COUNTRY KITCHEN WITH COPPER ACCESSORIES | IDEAL HOME | girlabouttech.comCopper is one of the oldest materials known to man, yet it’s a big trend in the interiors world, with everything from lighting to dining chairs and now appliances and gadgets being fashioned from it, or made to mimic it!

    Copper’s warmth makes it a super-appropriate finish for the room that’s so often described as the heart of the household. Its rich tones look great in combination with reclaimed wood, giving a ‘rough-luxe’ look and glamour that’s easy to live with.

    I’ve picked out my favourite gadgets and appliances with a copper finish – they’re perfect for giving your cosy country kitchen a sophisticated twist!Copper gadgets and appliances | girlabouttech.comClockwise from the top: Goodmans Canvas DAB Radio, £29.99, Amazon; Gorenje RF60309 fridge freezer in Royal Coffee, £649.99, The Co-Operative Electrical Shop; Delonghi Distinta jug kettle, £99.95, John Lewis; Frends Layla headphones, £140, Avenue 32; Dualit NewGen 4-slice toaster, £199.95, John Lewis; KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer, £549, Selfridges; SF750RA Cortina 60cm built-in oven, £699, Smeg

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    Dyson reinvents the cordless vacuum cleaner… again!

    by  • March 10, 2015 • 0 Comments

    DYSON V6 FLUFFY HANDHELD VACUUM CLEANER | girlabouttech.comAs more of us ditch the big clean for the ‘little and often’ approach – that is, vacuuming just the high-traffic areas regularly and the rest when we’ve got the time and energy – perhaps it makes sense that we also swap our mammoth upright or cylinder vacuum for a lightweight ‘stick’ cleaner.

    Dyson certainly thinks so, today launching five new lean, mean, dust-grabbing machines that you won’t struggle to haul up the stairs or out to the car. My personal favourite is the Dyson V6 Fluffy, which, with its clever roller head and strong suction, offers a genuine alternative to mains powered cleaners.

    Not since Henry and Hetty has a vacuum cleaner had such an adorable name…. but that’s not all that makes Fluffy stand out from the crowd. Its cleaning head is intriguing – instead of the traditional strips of bristles, it has a full-width roller covered with a soft nylon material and rows of carbon fibre filaments.DYSON V6 FLUFFY STICK VACUUM CLEANER | girlabouttech.com

    As you can see, it looks a bit like a paint roller, but the science behind it is that the  bristles sweep everything into the path of suction, while the softer parts pick up dust before sending it all up towards the bin – and all without any static from pulling dirt back to the floor.

    Couple that with suction to rival a corded vacuum and batteries that can power 20 minutes of continuous cleaning with no drop off, and you may well wonder whether your old upright is trembling in the cleaning cupboard.

    The Dyson V6 Fluffy costs £399 and is joined by four other models in the range. The two ‘below’ the Fluffy are the standard V6, £299, which has a motorised brush head that can clean both carpets and hard floors, and the V6 Animal, £349, with its wider head for better coverage and a mini motorised tool for removing pet hair and ground-in dirt.

    Sitting above the Fluffy, there’s Dyson’s V6 Total Clean, 429. It has a direct-drive cleaner head with 75% more brush-bar power than the V6 Animal, Fluffy’s soft roller head, and a mini motorised tool.

    Finally, the V6 Absolute comes with two heads – a direct drive cleaner head with 150% more brush bar power than the V6 Animal and a hard floor cleaner head that’s designed to pick up fine dust and debris. It also comes with that mini pet tool, and costs £429.

    All five vacuum cleaners, including the V6 Fluffy are available from Dyson.co.uk

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    Apple Watch: 6 things you need to know

    by  • March 10, 2015 • 0 Comments

    APPLE WATCH | girlabouttech.com1. Prices range from £299 up to £13,500, and the new Apple Watch comes in three different models and two different sizes, 38mm and 42mm.

    The most affordable are the Apple Watch Sport designs with their aluminium casing and rubberised spots straps available in five colours – white, blue, green, pink and black.

    I personally would opt for one of the 20 Apple Watches, which start from £479. They have stainless steel casings and a wide choice of straps – I like the simple Modern Buckles in Pink, Blue, Brown and Black, and there are also classic black or steel link bracelets.

    A lot of fuss has already been made about the high price tag of the eight Apple Watch Edition designs, which can cost between £8,000 and £13,500. They come with a choice of rose or yellow gold cases and various straps. I say, if you have the money to spend on a watch that will be obsolete in a year or two, that’s your choice. Also, there’s a reason Apple have run a 12-page advertising spread in this month’s Vogue. I personally will be sticking to the regular Apple Watch, thanks very much…

    2. It allows you to take calls, send messages and access apps without reaching for your iPhone. However, you will need to sync it with an iPhone 5 or 6 first, using Bluetooth.

    Answer calls by tapping on the screen and then speaking into the built-in microphone, and reply texts by dictating them to the Watch. There’s even a smart Handoff feature that lets you start composing a message on your Apple Watch and finish it off on your iPhone – handy should you want to attach an image, for example.

    Your Watch alerts you to calls, messages and more through visual cues, sounds and vibrations, and you’ll be able to control it with a tap or longer press on the touchscreen (it can tell the difference), or with the ‘digital crown’ on the right-hand side. This dial lets you scroll up and down, zoom in and out and navigate through the screens.

    3. You can customise the Watch by choosing from 11 face options, including the analogue-inspired Chronograph, the information-rich Modular, the animated butterflies and jellyfish of the Motion face, and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

    You can choose to show extra info such as diary events, the time the sun sets or your daily fitness stats here, too, and if that’s not enough, make use of the Glances feature that’s activated when you swipe up on the watch face. This could show the weather forecast, your current location on a map or the music you’re listening to – complete with sing lyrics if you fancy a singalong!APPLE WATCH SPORT | girlabouttech.com4. Thousands of apps will be available for it but they’ll be stripped down versions to make the small-screen experience as simple as possible. You can scroll through the latest posts on Instagram and Twitter, hail a cab from Uber, display the boarding card for your next flight and even pay for things using the NFC based Apple Pay system when it eventually comes to the UK.

    5. It charges wirelessly, with a battery life of ‘up to 18 hours.’ So provided you get at least six hours sleep, it should last you through the day, but you will have to charge it EVERY night. Apple says that in reality, your Watch will be good for around ’90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth.’APPLE WATCH MILANESE LOOP | girlabouttech.comThat process is made a bit easier by its wireless charging system, which works through a ‘magnetic inductive connection’ – or a bit like an induction hob, really. Apple’s MagSafe clasp fixes itself to the back of your Watch magnetically, and this is attached to a USB cable that you then plug into your wall charger as usual.

    6. The Watch tracks your activity, which it feeds back to the excellent new Apple Health app on your iPhone. The built-in heart rate monitor, combined with an accelerometer, GPS and Wi-Fi, will record everything from gentle movement to strenuous exercise, your calories burned and even how often you stand up throughout the day – and be warned, if you’ve been sat down for too long, your Watch will give you a ticking off and tell your to move around more!

    Oh, and did I mention it tells the time? You can pre-order Apple Watch from 10th April, and it will be available from April 24th.

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    Rangemaster makes its millionth range cooker

    by  • March 8, 2015 • 1 Comment

    I do love a good factory tour – but you know it’s going to be extra special when the and local mayor and MP turn up. You see, Wednesday wasn’t any ordinary day at Rangemaster‘s Leamington Spa HQ, as its 1,000,000th cooker rolled off the production line… GOLD NEXUS RANGE COOKER | RANGEMASTER | girlabouttech.comOf course, there was cake to celebrate, being cut here by Mayor John Knight alongside Aga Rangemaster Chief Exec William McGrath and some of the Rangemaster staff.

    MILLIONTH RANGE COOKER | RANGEMASTER | girlabouttech.comRange cookers have been made on this Leamington Spa site since 1830, when Sidney Flavel crafted the first at what was then the Eagle foundry. He’d realised that cooking over open fires was impractical, since there was no control over the temperature and food was often spoilt by soot and fumes. THE ORIGINAL KITCHENER RANGE COOKER | FLAVEL | girlabouttech.com

    Sidney then came up with the Kitchener, which now takes pride of place at the entrance to the Leamington Spa factory. Powered by solid fuel and designed to be positioned in a fireplace, it worked by creating isolated heat sources in the ovens and on the hotplates, where the temperatures could be controlled, while still heating the room. Not surprisingly, it was a massive hit, winning the prestigious Gold Medal at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851.

    Today’s cookers have been scaled down somewhat, but I think they’re no less beautiful. See if you can guess which models are being made here. I’ll give you a clue – the factory also makes cookers for Rangemaster’s sister brand, Falcon…THE RANGEMASTER ASSEMBLY LINE | girlabouttech.com

    INSIDE THE RANGEMASTER FACTORY | FINAL CHECKS | girlabouttech.comCan you see the golden ticket tucked under the pan supports of the finished ovens? Well in true Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style, if you happen to buy an oven that was made on the 4th March, you’ll win one of a range of prizes including factory tours, an extended warranty or Rangemaster cookware.

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    Microsoft Lumia 640 XL – the big phone for small budgets

    by  • March 6, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Microsoft Lumia 640 XL | Smartphones | girlabouttech.comIf anyone deserves a special Friday high five this week, it’s Microsoft for realising not everyone has £500-plus to spend on a smartphone, but would still like a half-decent handset.

    Priced at just EUR219 for the 4G/LTE version (so around £159 when I do the ‘math-sssssss’) but crammed full of loveliness, its freshly announced Lumia 640 XL Windows Phone has the potential to be a mighty player when it’s launched later this month, not least because of its 5.7inch HD screen.Microsoft Lumia 640 XL orange | Smartphones | girlabouttech.comThe new phone will run Windows 8.1, with its intuitive system of Live Tiles that show updates like your Facebook ‘wall’ and news headlines without you having to open up any apps. You’ll also be able to upgrade it to the new Windows 10 service when it becomes available later this year, and benefit from new apps for Microsoft Office, Mail, Calendar and Photos, plus an improved version of its excellent (and really quite funny) Cortona personal assistant.

    All-day battery life is also promised, as is a top-quality 13MP back camera with a posh a Carl Zeiss lens (trust me, this is a good thing), a more basic front camera, and a choice of colours – matt cyan, orange, black or white, plus a glossy white. Sure, they’re ‘fun’ as opposed to ‘chic’ shades, but I think they have a certain Lego-brick charm.

    You also get a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which lets you access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote on your phone as well as on one PC or Mac and one tablet. I also gives you a hefty 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and 60 free minutes of Skype Unlimited Worldwide calling every month. All of which make it a great work phone, too.

    Big, cheap, user-friendly Windows Phone interface… what’s not to love? I can’t wait to get my hands on the Nokia 640 XL.

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