VODAFONE SMART N8 – Product Review

This is a budget smartphone priced under £100 and an upgrade to the Vodafone Android Smart Prime 7. 

Coming out at the top of its league, Vodafone's latest Smartphone is highly rated and priced around £85 (at the time of writing).

The handset's casing comes in classy colours including Gold and Graphite has the look and feel of a higher spec handset along with fingerprint recognition which is good going for a phone in this price range.

Good bits

Moderately priced @ £85 (but a complusary £10 pay as you go voucher)

Front facing 5-megapixel camera

Front facing flash

Fingerprint reader

Textured back casing

Good value for money

Not so good bits

Short battery life

Screen not so good in bright sunlight

Sluggish speed/performance

Compulsary £10 voucher when buying from Vodafone

Thick boarders around the screen

The Spec

Dimensions: 145 x 72 x 8.6 mm

Weight: 151g

1.5GB Memory

Quad-core Mediatek MT6737 processor

16GB storage

720 x 1280 pixel resolution display

microSD memory card slot


13-megapixel rear facing camera/5-megapixel front facing camera

Android 7.0 Nougat software


An impressive Smartphone for under £100.  With a number of upgraded features including a fingerprint reader and Android 7 Nougat software.  The highlight is the camera features and 13 megapixels (compared to the Smart Prime 7’s 8 megapixels).  The microSD slot allows for storage for up to 32GB which is quite small by today’s standards but ok in budget Smartphone terms.



Rating 3.5/5



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GOOGLE HOME – Product Review

The voice controlled smart speaker market is really taking off and Google have jumped on the band wagon and brought out GOOGLE HOME.  Amazon's rival product 'Echo' which came out in 2015 still holds the top spot.

Smart assistants or virtual assistants such as Apple Suri, Google Assistant or Windows Cortana are basically a form of artificial intelligence.  The installed software agent  carrys out tasks given by voice command and integrates with other smart devices around the home.  You can tell it to play music, report on the weather, check cinema listings and so on.  I don’t believe it can make a cup of tea or pour a pint just yet.  It looks like the machines are finally taking over!

Smart speakers are the next step forward in the technology where the device sits anywhere in the home ready to perform tasks again by voice command.  Here we look a bit more closely at GOOGLE HOME.


The Spec

Dimensions: Diameter: 3.79 in (96.4 mm), Height: 5.62 in (142.8 mm)

Weight: 477g

Wi-Fi: supports 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz)

Speaker system High excursion speaker with 2" driver + dual 2" passive radiators

Operating systems: supports Android 4.2 and above and iOS 8.0 and above

Connects power by DC standard jack and Micro USB port

Good bits

Integrates well with your Google account and apps

Good quality speaker inbuilt

Can integrate with music streaming services such as Spotify

Customisation options to change the colour of the casing to match the sofa

A bit cheaper than Amazon Echo

Uses the Google search engine (of course, what else would it use)

Not so good bits

Two far-field microphones (Amazon Echo has seven)

Only connects to one Google account at a time

No Bluetooth pairing

Not yet fully compatible with popular smart home products e.g HIVE


Priced at £129.00 (Currys at the time of writing) this product is slightly cheaper and more versatile than its arch nemesis Amazon Echo.  GOOGLE HOME looks promising especially as it evolves with updates for compatibility with more services.  The touch sensitive pod-like unit sits nicely in any household and integrates with all Google’s services especially its world dominating search engine uncle.  Smart speakers have come under scrutiny when it comes to security.  GOGGLE HOME’s ‘always listening’ feature does raise privacy questions but this wouldn’t put me off buying it.

After carrying out my comparison with Amazon Echo (as ya do), GOOGLE HOME came out slightly ahead in the range of functions it can perform.  However, I have noticed it doesn’t yet fully integrate with other smart home systems (namely HIVE which I have at home).  Google have indicated they will be updating HOME’s compatible services in the near future so I will wait in the wings until it does.

*I will be reviewing Amazon Echo in a separate post soon.

Rating 4/5



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BT WHOLE HOME WI-FI – Product Review

BT WHOLE HOME is a multi box wireless MESH router which provides a stable Wi-Fi signal around your property and removes dead spots.

It creates its own Wi-Fi network ignoring your existing network.  This isn’t exactly an issue but a workaround for this would be to disable Wi-Fi on your existing router.  Priced at around £194.97 (Amazon, at the time of writing), it is competitively priced and one of the fastest of it’s kind.


The Spec


  • 3 boxes
  • Spreads Wi-Fi signal evenly acting like a Wi-Fi repeater
  • Plug & Play with App download and follow the steps instructions
  • Connects to your existing router on its Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Duel Band Wi-Fi (2.5 GHz & 5 GHz)
  • Speed up to 1733 Mbps over 5 GHz and 800 Mbps over 2.5 GHZ
  • Uses Band Steering (finds the best frequency to give strongest connection)
  • 3 Units placed around the house to give best performance
  • Pause feature
  • Wall mountable or free standing
  • Faster than BT Smart hub
  • Faster than SKY Q hub
  • AC2533 (1733 & 800 Mbps) Dual Band
  • 4 GHz 802.11b/g/n
  • 5 GHz 802.11a/n/ac
  • Duel core CPU
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port

Good Bits

  • Improved Wi-Fi speed around the house
  • Full coverage with no dead spots
  • Straightforward Plug Play setup

Not So Good Bits

  • Needs to connect to an existing base router
  • No USB and one Ethernet port per unit
  • Sold as a set of x3 units when x2 units would suffice for smaller areas


BT Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi provides better coverage than the average home Wi-Fi router.   It may well be the next evolution of home Wi-Fi or perhaps a gimick.  Time will tell.  

Although there are more powerful Mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market, BT generally do a good job with this sort of  product.  The only real drawback is that it needs an existing router to operate.  Wi-Fi extenders do the same job at a cheaper price.  If you have a large area to cover, then Mesh Wi-Fi is worth considering.  There is the option to buy additional units which makes the set-up quite expensive.

Rating: 4/5






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