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Virgin Media goes Android crazy – Android handsets arrive in force on Virgin Media

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Hot on the heels of the recently launched LG InTouch Max, Virgin Media has secured a range of new Android™ handsets for customers looking for the best in mobile entertainment and browsing on the move. With thousands of apps, widgets and games, handsets based on Google’s Android phone operating system have been taking the UK by storm and Virgin Media has secured some of the latest and greatest to date.

Virgin Media first introduced its customers to the world of Android by launching the popular LG InTouch Max. Just out on Virgin Media is the hot new Samsung Galaxy Portal on a range of exceptionally compelling tariffs. In the coming weeks, the sleek and high-spec HTC Desire will also join the Virgin Media network as well as Sony Ericsson’s flagship Android handset, the Xperia X10.

With these new high-end data-enabled smartphones, Virgin Media customers will now be able to enjoy some of the best of the mobile web, all neatly brought together by Google’s Android operating system. From Twitter to navigation, music to mobile video, there’s an Android handset for every taste on Virgin Media this spring, with extra special benefits for existing customers of Virgin Media’s home services.

The LG InTouch Max The LG InTouch Max is an Android powered and Wi-Fi enabled handset which can automatically link onto all your favourite social networking sites so you can stay in touch with everyone and access the ever-growing world of applications. It also comes with an easy-to-use touch-screen and slide out 5-line QWERTY keyboard.

Available now on a range of pay monthly tariffs, including free on a £22 per month tariff (250 minutes, Unlimited texts plus Unlimited mobile internet)

Samsung Galaxy Portal

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The Samsung Galaxy Portal comes with GPS capabilities, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and is just 13.2mm thick. Featuring a 3.2inch screen and a 3.2 megapixel camera, it’s perfect for using the ‘augmented-reality’ app, Layar. By simply pointing the new Samsung Galaxy Portal phone in any direction, Layar’s visual search engine will show you the exact location of loads of exciting places, from new bars and clubs to cash machines and train stations.

Available now on a range of pay monthly tariffs, including free on a £22 per month tariff (250 minutes, Unlimited texts plus Unlimited mobile internet)

HTC Desire The HTC Desire is a powerful, sleek touch-screen handset, boasting a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor that provides an ultra-responsive experience with a rich and colourful display through its 3.7inch AMOLED screen.
The HTC Desire also has a 5 megapixel camera with auto focus and high-quality video recording capabilities. Staying in touch through social networks is a joy with built-in apps for Twitter and Facebook, as well as HTC’s Friend Stream app that consolidates all your social network updates into one place. The handset also comes with the latest Android 2.1 operating system as well as HTC Sense, HTC’s unique design philosophy that delivers a mobile experience that is focused squarely on the user.

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Due to launch in April on a range of compelling tariffs

Introducing signature applications like Mediascape™ and Timescape™, the XperiaX10lets you organise everything in your phone in an intuitive way. Timescape manages all your interactions with contacts in one place, with the ability to browse through conversations on Facebook, Twitter, emails, texts and more all through a simple timeline. Mediascape is the smart way to get all the music, photos and videos you want from your favourite friends and artists, all displayed in high-quality on its impressive 4inch touch screen.

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HTC Evo 4G

Introduction 

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If you liked the HD2 or the Droid Incredible, you will most likely want to get your hands on the HTC Evo 4G. This is a fairly large phone, but it includes quite a few features and the specifications are impressive. Many people were more than excited to see how this 4G phone was going to perform and most of them weren’t disappointed by the results. This is one of the best Android Smartphones around, but you don’t have to take my word for it: just take a look at the features.

Design

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The HTC Evo 4G comes with a 4.3 inch WVGA capacitive touch screen. The 800 x 480 resolution and very large screen are great for watching movies directly from your smart phone, but fitting the phone into your pocket won’t be easy. At 4.8 inches in height, 2.6 inches in width and 0.5 inches in depth, this phone will cause some size problems. However, it manages to get away with it thanks to the fact that it is quite thin, even if it weighs 6 ounces. If you don’t like large phones, you might want to look for something else, because the Evo is one of the bulkiest phones around.

A great design feature is the stand placed on the back of the phone. You can release it easily and place the phone on any flat surface if you want to watch a movie without holding it in your hands. From a distance, the design is quite simple and attractive. The phone is thin, there are only four buttons on the bottom side, the screen is very large, and the HTC logo is discreet. You will also notice the volume controls on the right side, the power button, the microUSB port, the HDMI port and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Features

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In the performance department, there is little to complain about. The HTC Evo 4G runs on a Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and with 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of memory on a microSD that comes in the package. You will have to expand your memory to 32 GB if you plan on recording 720p videos or if you want to watch movies directly from the phone. The Evo runs on HTC Sense, a slightly more advanced version than the one used on the Droid Incredible and the HTC Legend.

This is the first WiMAX smartphone to be released in the United States, so you shouldn’t be surprised by its very high download speed. When you go online, it can reach speeds of up to 12Mbps, but only if you are connected to a 4G network. If you plan on buying this phone only because it offers massive download speeds, you should check if your area actually has 4G coverage. If not, the phone will automatically switch back to 3G, which is still fast, but not as fast as it could be.

This phone comes with two cameras, one on the front, and one of the back. The 8-megapixel camera is quite useful since it comes with a dual LED flash that is perfect for taking pictures in any conditions. This camera is similar to that from the Droid Incredible, especially when it comes to the quality of night pictures. Every snapshot you take will look great on the phone, but once you copy it to your computer, you might notice some defects. This might be a problem for some people and we would have preferred a 6 megapixel camera that offers high quality photos instead of a 8 megapixel one that can’t live up to the expectations. For video calls, you will be able to use the 1.3 megapixel camera from the front of the phone, but this feature is not available at the moment.

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You can use this phone to record 720p HD videos, but the quality won’t be exceptional. However, thanks to the HDMI connector, you can plug your phone into your TV and play the videos at higher quality. DivX and H.264 is not available for now, but you can watch most of the movies you have on your computer without any problems. The speakers are powerful, there is plenty of space, and the video quality is impressive for videos that weren’t recorded on the phone itself.

Browsing the internet is easier than most people might expect, thanks to the large screen. Once you turn the phone into landscape mode, hitting the keys is quite easy, so you won’t have any problems when writing an email or a text message.

Flash Lite 3.1 is supported, so online streaming should be a breeze with the Evo 4G. YouTube videos are crystal clear and they will load quite rapidly if you have a decent subscription or 4G coverage.

Pros and Cons

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The HTC Evo 4G is a great phone when it comes to internet browsing or using it as an entertainment center. You can watch YouTube videos or movies at very high quality and even the 720p can offer reasonable video quality. The 4.3-inch screen is massive and it works great for watching movies. The Android system proves to be effective once again and you can easily browse the internet or use demanding apps like Office. However, there are a few problems.

You will have to carry your charger around if you want to use this phone as a music or movie player because the battery will run out in under 3 hours. If you plan on taking many pictures and you expect the highest quality possible, you might want to search for another phone, because the 8 megapixel camera won’t live up to your expectations.

Conclusion

In the end, the HTC Evo 4G is one of the best smartphones around when it comes to performance and download speed. Those who are interested in browsing the internet and watching movies will surely enjoy the advantages offered by the 4.3-inch screen and 4G connection. If you can get pass the minor problems, this might be the phone for you.