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We thought the Moto G was the best Android deal EVER when it launched last month at around £130, now it can be bought for just £99 from Tesco Direct. It’s in stock at the time of writing, but unless Tesco has five million of them in its warehouse, it surely won’t stay in stock for long.

We didn’t get around to reviewing the Moto G, but have been using it as our “main” phone since launch. It’s awesome in all areas apart from one — the camera. If you can live with its fairly blotchy 5megapixel output, everything else is fantastic. The battery life is a particular highlight, as we’re getting two days normal use out of most charges. A game-changer on many levels.

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As well as smashing the 8GB Moto G model down to £99, Tesco has also reduced the price of the 16GB G-Unit, which can be bought direct for £129. Amazing. Best emergency/spare/replacement/child/wife/dad/dog phone EVER.

UPDATE:
It’s a PAYG model that will be locked to Tesco Mobile (AKA O2), so will require unlocking if you plan on using it with another network.

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Possibly the most IMPORTANT Sega game of them all has just arrived on Google Play, with the Android version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 now yours in return for £2.18. It ought to be a cracker too, as it uses the same engine that powered the stunning version of Sonic CD, plus this “remastered” release also includes the long-lost Hidden Palace Zone, a level removed from the original Mega Drive game late in development and subsequently pulled out of the code by hackers.

Here it is. We get some sort of funny sick/excited/aroused feeling from looking at the bonus round:

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“Don’t let Tails ge-et any of the rings” are the words to the bonus round song, we believe. Looks great. Was great. Probably still is great even allowing for touch controls. Get it here.

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It’s here. The apocalypse. The Angry Birds franchise has turned itself into a driving games, offering what the mobile developer calls “downhill racing” in Angry Birds Go! It sees Rovio use its mega-franchise to shift physical merchandise Skylanders style, thanks to selling a range of Telepods alongside it that can be used to switch characters in the game.

Angry Birds Go! is free to download, although we suspect there just might be one or two adverts and in-app purchases in the thing to make it worth their while. Get it here and see if you can stand it.

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We’re planning on giving it at least two minutes of play before leaping to a snap judgement.

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Rumours that LG were planning to “pull a Nexus” and launch its G Pad 8.3 as the Nexus 8 were a little wide of the mark, BUT… LG is about to sell an unskinned “vanilla” Android Google Play Edition version of its 8.3-inch tablet direct through Google’s store. And considering that LG’s software customisations were one of the big minus points of the G Pad 8.3, that’s a very good thing.

Specs are pretty impressive, with the device containing a 1.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the 8.3-inch display running and 1920 x 1200 resolution, 2GB of RAM and dual cameras (5MP and 1.3MP).

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Rather sadly, as with the Google Play Edition devices from Samsung and HTC, this one’s only been confirmed for a US launch at this moment in time. But here’s the thing from LG all the same as we’re hopeful and keen on securing an extra inch at some point in the future:

LG ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER GOOGLE PLAY EDITION TABLET

LG G Pad 8.3 First Android Open Source Project Tablet Running Android 4.4 KitKat

SEOUL, Dec. 11, 2013 — The LG G Pad 8.3 from LG Electronics (LG) will be the first device ever to be designated a Google Play Edition tablet. Google’s first Android Open Source Project (AOSP) tablet will feature the latest Android operating system, Android™ 4.4, KitKat. The LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition reference device will be available for purchase starting today in the United States on Google Play™.


With the perfect combination of KitKat’s Full-screen Immersive mode and LG’s stunning 1920 x 1200 WUXGA Full HD IPS display, this special edition of LG G Pad 8.3 offers an optimal viewing experience. Apps can utilize every pixel on the G Pad 8.3 screen to create full-bleed UIs reaching edge to edge. With the ability to hide the system UI such as the status bar and navigation bar, this feature is ideal for rich visual content such as photos, videos, maps, books and games.

“LG’s working relationship with Google has always been strong and our collaboration on the first-ever Google Play Edition tablet is proof of that commitment,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “The LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition is a device with hardware and software that has been optimized for a truly consumer-friendly experience. There’s nothing else like it out there in the marketplace.”

The LG G Pad 8.3 was designed based on insights from consumers resulting in a compact, modern-looking device accentuating sleek lines and subtle curves for comfortable holding with one hand. The powerful 1.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 600 CPU and 4,600mAh battery provide both performance and long-life between charges.

The LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition will be available in glossy Indigo Black for USD 349.99. Availability in other countries has not yet been determined at this time.

Key Specifications:
• Processor: 1.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 600 Processor
• Operating System: Android™ 4.4, KitKat
• Display: 8.3-inch Full HD IPS WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixels / 273 ppi)
• Memory: 16GB eMMC
• RAM: 2GB LPDDR2
• Camera: Rear 5.0MP / Front 1.3MP
• Battery: 4,600mAh
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi
• Size: 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3mm
• Weight: 338g
• Colors: Indigo Black

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Get your sleeping bag out and start queuing outside your nearest Aldi, as it’s about to launch a super-cheap tablet in the form of the Lifetab. Just £79 gets you one from its heaped aisles, with the Medion-made device offering 8GB of storage capacity, a 7-inch display and a claimed four-hour battery life.

It may be a big winner too, with the Lifetab E7316 powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, putting it roughly on a par with the more expensive Hudl — although the 1024 x 600 resolution display is a key weakness here.

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Still, bloody good value for £80. Check out the full specs over at Aldi. It goes on sale at this price over the weekend.

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Retro specialist DotEmu has another Triple-A classic up on Google Play today, with Double Dragon Trilogy now available for the upfront price of £2.69. For that you get Double Dragon, Double Dragon 2: The Revenge and Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone, which have been enhanced with new control schemes and difficulty settings to take into account the poor motor skills and complete lack of dedication displayed by today’s so-called gamers.

Here it is:

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Google Play Games leaderboard support is in, plus there are local Bluetooth options for two-player link games. DotEmu has earned our trust thanks to releasing awesome Android versions of Raiden and R-Type, so we say GO FOR IT if you’re the slightest bit tempted. It’s here.

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Publisher Namco Bandai has sent us the below image, which comes from new mobile racing title Ridge Racer: Slipstream. Despite never being as good as Daytona USA or Sega Rally, Ridge Racer’s a huge “proper console” franchise, so its appearance on Android and iOS is a pretty big deal.

There’s a trailer of Ridge Racer: Slipstream in action over on YouTube — and here’s the first image:

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Nothing’s been said about prices or freemium models. We hope it’s just some money upfront with none of that grinding nonsense. We’re too old to grind, both in real life and video games. Here’s the thing with some more stuff about the modes and cars:

RIDGE RACER™ SLIPSTREAM SET TO DRIFT ONTO THE APP STORE AND GOOGLE PLAY THIS DECEMBER

Details: Long Running Racing Video Game Franchise Celebrates 20th Anniversary with New High-End Mobile Title

Leading video game developer and publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., creator of PAC-MAN™, Tekken™ and SoulCalibur™, today announced that Ridge Racer™ Slipstream, the new mobile game in the Ridge Racer franchise, is coming to the App Store and Google Play this December. Bringing the series’ popular racing and drifting mechanics to a new racing engine for mobile and tablet devices, Ridge Racer Slipstream endeavors to raise the bar for one of the longest existing racing video game franchises.


Showcasing a brand new racing engine specifically developed for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, as well as Android smartphones and tablets, Ridge Racer Slipstream features numerous gameplay modes, challenging races and tracks, as well as amped up music. In addition to 20 unique racing tracks (10 tracks driven forward and backward, staying true to the franchise’s history), the game incorporates tons of vehicle mods allowing players to create their own dream machine. Players can also look forward to regularly-scheduled content in future updates, including an upcoming multiplayer mode.

Other highlights will include:

· The ability to personalize 12 unique vehicles with a variety of colors, rims, body kits and vinyls for more than 300 customization possibilities.

· A full-featured Career Mode and three different race types in Arcade Mode (Regular / Quick / Knockout Races).

· 108 different racing competitions across 6 Grand Prix Series – all in beautiful, high definition locations.

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HTC has announced a slight hardware revision of its popular HTC One model, revealing plans to launch a version with a removable back cover that houses two SIM card slot and that longed-for old legacy of smartphones of yesteryear — a microSD card slot for increased onboard storage.

HTC says it’s launching this new model to target the business world, but with that SD card slot we think it might appeal to the tough Android crowd members for whom the lack of memory expansion was the HTC One’s only flaw.

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If you want it and can get your boss to pay for it, the HTC One Dual SIM can be pre-ordered direct from HTC for nigh-on £500, plus HTC says it’s negotiating with some UK networks to get it stocked on contracts soon.

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HTC has decided that the standard edition HTC One simply isn’t luxurious enough for today’s conspicuous consumers, announcing that a gold version of the top-spec Android phone will arrive in the UK in time for your wildly optimistic Christmas present lists. It’s the same phone. But in a sort of golden colour. That’s our expert analysis. We’ve been doing this for four years, you know.

HTC says Phones 4U, Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone are the places that’ll be receiving this gift from the Taiwanese smartphone kings this Christmas. Here it is:

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And here’s the thing:

HTC ONE® RECEIVES GOLDEN MAKEOVER FOR CHRISTMAS

The world’s best smartphone, now in Gold arrives in the UK

London, UK, 25th November, 2013 — HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today unveiled its award-winning HTC One flagship model in a sophisticated new colour. Available in the UK and building on the existing colour portfolio of Silver, Black, Blue and Red, the new HTC One in Gold packs the power and acclaimed features of this premium model into a brushed body with black accents that oozes luxury and style.

Philip Blair, President EMEA commented, “Building on the all metal design of the HTC One, and the recent success of the HTC 18 carat gold MOBO phone, we are excited to have developed our own gold device, offering yet more choice to consumers”.

The HTC One has won international recognition for its stunning design. With its striking brushed finish and metal unibody design, the latest shade makes gold the glamorous colour of the festive season and a must-have for starting 2014 in style.

This latest addition to the family comes with all of the features of the HTC One, including HTC Zoe, HTC BlinkFeed and HTC BoomSound, and will be available to buy through Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone.

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Samsung has just announced the existence of the Galaxy Grand 2, a 5.25-inch phone powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core chipset. The immediate obvious downside here for us to POUNCE UPON is the display resolution, which is 1280×720 — historically pretty decent, but likely to be less than perfect when viewed on a display of that size.

The phone’s also a halfway house in terms of RAM, offering a middle-of-the-road 1.5GB for apps and games to use. Again, pretty decent, but it’s clear Samsung doesn’t want to undercut its own Note series by making an alternative that’s too good…

Here’s the thing and one of Samsung’s lovely tech spec infographics:

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And here’s the words thing. This came to us from Samsung UK, so it looks like we’ll get the Grand 2 at some point:

SAMSUNG ANNOUNCES GALAXY GRAND 2

New compact smartphone combines convenient size with optimal large-screen experience

London, UK – November 25, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has today announced the Galaxy Grand 2, a device that offers an optimal large-screen experience on a portable, compact smartphone. The Galaxy Grand 2 provides improved HD viewing experience, enhanced performance, and many other intuitive features.


The Galaxy Grand 2 boasts a 5.25” screen with a 16:9 HD ratio, perfect for watching movies, playing games and e-reading. Multi Window takes multitasking to the next level by maximising the benefits of the large screen as well as enabling users to run one application in two windows at the same time.

The Galaxy Grand 2 delivers superior performance with a more powerful Quad Core 1.2GHz processor and long-lasting 2,600mAh battery, providing up to 10 hours of playback and 17 hours of calls. The dual-SIM capabilities mean that users can switch seamlessly between networks.

To provide a more intuitive experience, the Galaxy Grand 2 comes equipped with several smart features that continue to set the Galaxy series apart from other smartphone devices on the market, including enhanced camera features like Best Face, Best Photo and Continuous Shot, as well as:

· Story Album: Organise pictures by timeline, and create and print albums all from the device
· S Translator: A translation service that provides instantaneous translations at any time
· S Travel: Provides guides and travel information for travelling
· Sound & Shot: Record up to nine seconds of audio with photos
· Samsung Hub: Unique content service that provides access to music, videos, games and more
· Group Play: To listen to music , share documents or play games together
· Samsung Link: Connects your devices providing access to photos, music, videos and documents from multiple locations

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 will be offered in White, and Black and Pink is available in selective regions.

Galaxy Grand 2 Product Specifications:

Network
HSPA+

Processor
Quad Core 1.2GHz

Display
5.25” HD (1280×720) TFT

Memory
1.5GB (RAM) + 8GB (Internal Memory) + microSD (up to 64GB)

*User memory space may be less than the total memory space due to system files. User memory may differ by region, carrier, and supporting language, and may change after software upgrade.

Camera
8MP AF + LED Flash / 1.9MP (HD)

OS
Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)

Connectivity
WiFi a/b/g/n, BT4.0, GPS + Glonass, USB 2.0

Sensor
Proximity, Accelerometer, Compass, Light, Hall Sensor

Additional Features
ChatON, Samsung Hub, S Health, Group Play, S Travel, S Translator, Samsung Link, Story Album

Dimension
146.8 x 75.3 x 8.9 mm, 163g

Battery
2,600mAh

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Mobile specialist Carphone Warehouse has SCYTHED the HEAD off the price of the very impressive Huawei Ascend P6, now selling it for just £199 on a SIM-free basis. That’s a superb price, as the Ascend P6 is a member of the elite 2GB of RAM club for enhanced multitasking, plus the 4.7-inch 720p display is just the right size of enormous to be fully usable in one hand. Inside you get Huawei’s own 1.5GHz quad-core processor, plus it sits in that super-skinny 6.18mm chassis.

We are tempted, but probably have enough types of mobile phone to be getting on with at this moment in time. Here’s visual proof of the deal:

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Very nice and definitely a valid alternative to the £300+ superphones out there. Check it out over at Carphone.

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