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Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium

12/29/2016 01:53:00 pm
Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium




























Asus has been delivering phones with huge battery life with their ZenFone Max series. For 2016, the company has launched ZenFone 3 Max with a battery capacity of 4100 mAh. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 17999. We have the ZenFone 3 Max for review today with the model number ZC553KL which is a 5.5 inch display variant with a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. There is another variant available which sports a 5.2 inch display, is slightly cheaper and uses a MediaTek SoC other than inferior camera specs. Let us find out how the larger sibling performs in our in-depth review.

Design

Asus ZenFone 3 Max has a very pretty design which has been crafted keeping minimalism and simplicity in mind. It does not boast of chamfered edges nor is too hep by any means. But the beauty of the device lies in the lack of complexity in the industrial design. The front of the smartphone houses the normal sensors and loudspeaker at the top as well as the touch capacitive buttons at the bottom which are clearly marked in silver. The unibody metal design of the frame curves at the edges to give a smooth grip on the device. The metallic back shines through as well. The curvy edges do make the smartphone slippery but since the battery is larger than normal 5.5 inch devices, this phone tends to be slightly thicker, which in turn helps balance out the loss in the grip. The back houses the camera, dual tone LED flash, laser autofocus and a fingerprint sensor. The antenna lines are still there at the top and bottom and they shine when reflected under light. The phone has the 3.5 mm audio jack intact and the metallic volume rocker and power buttons provide decent tactile feedback. There is no USB-C type port yet but the phone can reverse charge your other devices. The phone houses a hybrid dual SIM slot which we never prefer over pure dual SIM slots. A mono speaker grille at the bottom edge completes the device. We are impressed with how much more Asus has been able to do to the design even by keeping it sweet and simple.

Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium




























Specifications

ZenFone 3 Max has a 5.5 inch full HD display. It is powered by 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa-core SoC. The processor gets pushed by 3 GB RAM and the phone has an internal memory of 32 GB which is expandable up to 128 GB via a microSD card. The rear camera is a PixelMaster camera with 16 Megapixels resolution while the front camera is again a PixelMaster camera with 8 Megapixels resolution. We are seeing bundle of phones with dual rear cameras now but Asus has still not jumped on to that boat as yet. The battery capacity on the device is 4100 mAh, it supports 4G connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, FM radio, GPS and runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 layered with ZenUI 3.0 on top of it. VoLTE is still a sort of a mixup with some reviewers pointing out the fact that the phone has lost its VoLTE support with the latest update hence we would not be able to tell you for sure if it has VoLTE or not as separate units with separate firmware updates would have a different status.

Display

The phone has a very sharp and bright display and we could not find any shortcoming with it. The viewing angles are pretty deep and the blacks are thick and dark. You would enjoy watching Youtube videos and playing games on this device for the natural processing of colors by the display. However, we feel that mobile display technology has now reached a point of saturation and we rarely find a smartphone which does not have a near perfect display and ZenFone 3 Max is no exception to the rule. Just to kick back things a little, we found that the brightness of the display changes at discrete levels rather than with a smooth transition, even without drastic change in the ambient light, thereby reducing some of the easiness on the eyes. This is most noticeable after opening or closing the camera app. The display is fairly usable under direct sunlight provided you use your face as a shadow but in case you look sideways at the display under sunlight, it behaves like a mirror and you just can't use it.

Operating system

The phone runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with ZenUI 3.0 layered on top of it. The operating system retains some of its goodies like ZenMotion touch and motion gestures as well as one hand mode. There is a Theme app which allows you to change the entire look and feel of your device, it is a good thing to have on your device but we find that giving it a separate spot in the Settings app is like going a little overboard with the idea, after all people who do change the themes of their devices are the ones who would root their device when they receive it first up. A little known gesture on ZenFone 3 Max is the one where you can swipe down a little at the middle of any home screen to get to a search screen much like iPhone and Honor devices. We found it quite buggy on the ZenFone 3 Max and it messed up quite a lot by appearing at times and not appearing at others. And as is completely normal nature with Asus smartphones by now, the phone does have a lot of bloatware though thankfully not as much as some of the previous Asus devices we reviewed had. You have AudioWizard, Do It Later, Laser Ruler, MiniMovie, PhotoCollage, Mobile Manager, Puffin, Share Link, ZenCircle and ZenTalk to name a few. We have never ever used any of these apps and can't seem to find a reason to think why would anyone else do as well.

Camera

The first pain we had with the device is that the camera app is slow to open, it just takes a momentary pause to show all the buttons. However, the camera app has a wide variety of options and settings to choose from, the ability to set white balance, ISO, HDR mode and loads of other features. We clicked a few pictures from the rear camera and here they are.

Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium





















Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium





















Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium





















Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium





















The pictures clicked from the ZenFone 3 Max rear camera are decent but do not maintain absolute natural colors. This means to say that a lot of image post processing takes place inside the device and that tends to change the image dynamics from what actually what you see naturally with your eyes. Noise also starts seeping in as the ambient light starts going down. The 16 Megapixels rear camera captures the details well but could have done way better with the color processing. As you can see in all the images above, the basic colors red, blue and green are all a bit overblown while the others seem washed away. Autofocusing is fast though and so is the shutter speed.

Performance

Zenfone 3 Max works smoothly through most of the tasks including light gaming, but does give an occasional hiccup while opening apps. Multitasking is fast too but not extraordinary. The phone did not heat up much for the time we used it. The loudspeaker is decent and fairly loud, though again, not extraordinary. However, due to the usage of a mono speaker, the sound very clearly gets delivered from a singular side while using the phone in landscape mode thus losing a bit of the immersive quality. We believe 5.5 inch smartphones should have stereo speakers as standard now as smaller devices can still cope up with a single speaker system without the users feeling the sound coming out from a single direction but larger sized devices don't. We found the fingerprint sensor to be a bit sluggish too, waking the device at times and not doing so at others. We even felt the need to lift back the finger to trigger unlocking the smartphone.

Battery

The 4100 mAh battery ran for around 1.5 days with medium to heavy usage which we are impressed with, and you can stretch it up to 2 days with careful use. For our money, anything that does not require to be recharged twice a day with medium to heavy usage is impressive. In fact, we feel that a battery capable of running 1.5 days again causes some pain for users who like to charge up to 100% and then use up the battery completely as it disturbs their daily cycle quite a bit. The phone also has reverse charging capability through the provided OTG cable. But sadly, there is no fast charging option available.

Asus ZenFone 3 Max ZC553KL Review - The smartphone that can end all your battery woes but for a slight premium




























Rating

3 stars

Pros

- Excellent battery
- Minimalistic yet attractive design
- Sharp display
- Fair performance

Cons

- Slightly overpriced
- Hybrid SIM slot
- Sluggish fingerprint sensor
- Unrealistic color processing by the rear camera
- Unstable auto brightness
- No fast charging
- No stereo speakers
- Bloatware

Verdict

Asus has tried to deliver an all round performer with ZenFone 3 Max and they have succeeded a bit though not completely. The battery life is great and the phone's design appeals. The smartphone also performs decently. However, there are some glaring mistakes which might turn into deal breakers for a few buyers. ZenFone 3 Max is priced around Rs. 3000 higher than what we feel would have been highly appropriate. The hybrid SIM slot tends to take away the pleasure of using two SIMs as well as a microSD card. Moreover, a function that is used almost the whole day, like a fingerprint sensor needs to perform extraordinarily and just can't be sluggish. Apart from this, the auto brightness level seems to jump up and down at the drop of a hat. And of course, there is the usual Asus bloatware. But then, why would anyone buy this phone? The USP of ZenFone 3 Max lies in its battery and if a large battery is something that excites you the most, then the slight premium Asus is charging for the phone should not bother you. However, having said that, do keep watching for Coolpad Cool 1, which has some mouthwatering specifications including a similar 4000 mAh battery, a dual rear camera setup and 4 GB RAM and to be available only for Rs. 13999. At this price point and with these specifications, Cool 1 has the ability to create a large number of problems for a large number of phones and their manufacturers.

Coolpad launches Cool 1 with dual camera, 4000 mAh battery, 4 GB RAM at an impressive price of Rs. 13999

12/28/2016 04:14:00 pm
Coolpad launches Cool 1 with dual camera, 4000 mAh battery, 4 GB RAM at an impressive price of Rs. 13999
Mumbai, Wednesday, December 28, 2016: Coolpad, the company which has grown leaps and bounds within a short span of time since its inception has today launched its flagship phone Cool 1 in India in association with LeEco. The software and hardware expertise of the two companies has come together to bring high end features at an impressive price of Rs. 13999.

The USP of the device is its dual rear camera sporting two cameras at a resolution of 13 Megapixels each. There is PDAF and a dual tone LED flash to add to the camera. The camera sports a bokeh pro mode which does deliver professional DSLR like bokeh quality. The front camera carries a resolution of 8 Megapixels. In terms of the display, the device features 5.5 inch Full HD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Cool 1 has a metallic body adding to its elegance. The phone bears similarity to LeEco offerings launched sometime back both in terms of design as well as the operating system.

Coolpad Cool 1 will be available for purchase from January 5th in an open sale exclusively on Amazon.in. The phone would be available in two colors - Silver and Gold.

Other specifications of the smartphone include a 1.8 GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor coupled with 4 GB RAM. The GPU powering the device is Adreno 510. The internal storage available on the device is 32 GB. The battery capacity of the device stands at 4000 mAh that comes along with fast charging support. Connectivity options for the smartphone include 4G, VoLTE, 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, FM Radio, 3.5mm Audio Jack and USB Type-C port. A mirror fingerprint sensor that can unlock the device in 0.5 seconds is also located at the back of the device.

Coolpad seems to have played the pricing card rightly yet again and at a price of Rs. 13999, the Cool 1 seems to be a steal specially with the dual camera with bokeh mode, the large battery size as well as 4 GB RAM. We were impressed with the phone as we got to spend a little time with it at the launch.

Star Trek Tricorders Within Arm's Reach

12/14/2016 10:55:00 pm
Star Trek Tricorders Within Arm's Reach
Image credit: ThinkGeek.com
In the Star Trek canon, doctors use a small device called Medical Tricorders that are able to make diagnosis based on a patient’s condition. And now it looks like a real-life version of those tricorders may be ready for launch.

The Qualcomm Tricorder is a handy medical gadget that can currently diagnose 13 different conditions. Anemia, Diabetes, Sleep apnea, Urinary track infection, and Atrial fibrillation are among the diseases that can be diagnosed by the Qualcomm Tricorder.

Two medical teams at the University of California, San Diego, are currently tweaking the device. $10 million in prize money awaits the medical team who successfully complete the project. It is currently in the final stages of consumer testing.

Unlike the tricorders used in Star Trek, the Qualcomm Tricorder can be used by actual patients. The contest demands medical teams to create a gadget that weighs no more than 5 pounds. 

One of the medical teams is being led by brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an ER physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. The brothers are founders of Basil Leaf Technologies.

"I thought, this thing can't be that hard, it's what I do in the ER, making diagnoses," says Basil. "I found a small group of people who would listen to me, mainly my family, and we got together and started banging the thing out." 

The other medical team making adjustments to the device is spearheaded by Dr. Chung-Kang Peng, a professor from Harvard Medical School. Peng's vision is to provide healthcare to people who cannot access it easily, making the Qualcomm Tricorder perfect for his cause. 

"In the long run, I'm optimistic that this kind of system will be used so patients can self-diagnose," says Peng. "Maybe in the future, you just need to transmit info to a doctor remotely, who will give out a prescription. Most importantly, this could happen in rural areas that don't have any health infrastructure."

Star Trek is one of the most beloved TV series of all time not only because it allows people to get a glimpse of a fictional yet often-accurate future but also it drives the human race to become better humanitarians. In the words of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jean Luc Picard when asked about the economics of the future, he said, "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."

Its positive influence on the world is what drives scientists and medical professionals to follow in Star Trek’s ideals, and develop gadgets based on the show’s props. The Qualcomm Tricorder is the latest indication, although there are other products that are being developed that have obviously been patterned after some of the show’s most innovative apparatus. Additionally, companies have begun tapping into Star Trek’s popularity and launching casual titles to remind us of how forward thinking the show was, and still is to this day. 

In the Google Play Store, there's a game called Star Trek: Timelines, which was released at the start of 2016, for fans of action games. There's also a Star Trek: Red Alert game that is hosted on the specialist slots gaming site, Slingo, which was developed for casual gamers. Like Star Wars, Star Trek will never die given the hundreds of spin offs that fans seem to enjoy without interruption. 

At this point, both aforementioned medical teams are close to complete their testing processes. After that they will wait for the organizers of the competition to evaluate their gadgets. The winner of the contest will be announced early next year.

Panasonic launches Eluga Prim with 5 inch display, 3 GB RAM and 13 MP rear camera in India for Rs. 10290

12/09/2016 05:28:00 pm
Panasonic launches Eluga Prim with 5 inch display, 3 GB RAM and 13 MP rear camera in India for Rs. 10290
New Delhi, December 9, 2016: Panasonic today enhanced its Eluga series portfolio in the country by introducing a new smartphone called Prim to the Eluga family. The phone has been priced at Rs. 10290. Eluga Prim is available at all Panasonic outlets across India.

Panasonic Eluga Prim has a thin 7.8 mm body with a brushed metal finish on the back. The device carries a circular home button on the front which gives it an iPhone like appearance. It is powered by a 64-bit Quad-core processor running at 1.25 GHz but the exact processor has not been detailed. It sports 3 GB RAM and features a 5 inch Full HD IPS display that uses On-cell technology providing 90% transparency. There is 16 GB of inbuilt memory available which can be further expanded up to 128 GB through the use of a microSD card. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow along with Android-For-Work capability.

In terms of camera specifications, there is a 13 Megapixel camera at the rear with a triple LED flash and a textured 5 Megapixel selfie camera at the front. The battery capacity of Panasonic Eluga Prim stands at 2500 mAh but there is no fast charging option available. The phone holds a weight of 145 grams.

The front circular home button has been equipped with a fingerprint sensor for securely unlocking the device. It is available in two colors - Gold and Gun Metal Silver. The dual SIM phone has connectivity options like Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Global Positioning System (A-GPS), FM with RDS, 4G VoLTE and the good part about the SIM tray is that it is not a hybrid one thereby allowing you to use both the SIMs as well as a microSD card at the same time.

Meizu launches M5 Note with 4 GB RAM, 4000 mAh battery in China

12/07/2016 05:16:00 pm
Meizu launches M5 Note with 4 GB RAM, 4000 mAh battery in China
December 7, 2016: Meizu has unveiled its new smartphone, M5 Note in China. The new device has a full mental unibody design and would cater to users who are looking for affordable alternatives carrying wonderful industrial design and an intuitive user interface. Meizu is also going to announce a similar flagship smartphone for Indian consumers pretty soon as well. The company's previous offering PRO 6 is selling quite decently in the Chinese market.

Meizu M5 Note features a 5.5 inch Full HD display with 2.5D glass. The USP of the display is that it sports the latest eye-protective mode to ensure prolonged hours of comfortable viewing. Further, the phone houses an Octa core 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 Cortex A53 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz coupled with 3 GB or 4 GB RAM. The device is available in three internal memory configurations of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB.

In terms of camera specifications, the rear camera carries a resolution of 13 Megapixels along with quick focusing of 0.2 seconds. The front camera has a resolution of 5 Megapixels and features a real-time beautifying function to enhance selfies manifold.

Meizu M5 Note has a battery capacity of 4000 mAh which the company claims would last for 32 hours of talk time, 8 hours of 4G browsing or 5 hours of playing games. And interestingly, the company also claims that they have chosen the safest battery cells from international vendors to guarantee stable battery performance without the risk of explosion. The smartphone only takes around 90 minutes to charge completely. It is 8.1 mm thick and supports a fingerprint sensor with 360 degrees rotation and a response time of 0.2 seconds. The operating system powering the device is Android 6.0 Marshmallow layered with Flyme OS 6.0 skin on top.

Meizu M5 Note is available in four colors - Gray, Silver, Champagne Gold and Blue. The pricing for the three variants are as follows:
3 GB RAM / 16 GB internal memory - CNY 899
3 GB RAM / 32 GB internal memory - CNY 999
4 GB RAM / 64 GB internal memory - CNY 1499

Huawei launches Enjoy 6s with VoLTE support and 3 GB RAM in China for 1599 CNY

12/07/2016 01:31:00 pm
Huawei launches Enjoy 6s with VoLTE support and 3 GB RAM in China for 1599 CNY
Huawei has launched a new smartphone in China, called Enjoy 6s and it is priced at CNY 1599. Enjoy 6s comes as a successor to Enjoy 6 which was launched in October this year and there are few minor differences between the two smartphones.

In terms of specifications, Huawei Enjoy 6s is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 Octa core processor running at 1.4 GHz along with 3 GB RAM. It sports a 5 inch HD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The internal memory available on the device is 32 GB. The rear camera holds a resolution of 13 Megapixels while the selfie camera carries a resolution of 5 Megapixels. The smartphone has support for 4G along with the latest industry buzzword, VoLTE. The battery capacity available on the device is 3020 mAh. Huawei Enjoy 6s runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow layered with Huawei's proprietary Emotion UI 4.1 skin on top of it. There is also a fingerprint sensor at the back. Enjoy 6s has a metal body along with chamfered edges and carries dual SIM capability. It is now available in China in three colors - Gold, Silver and White.

There is no mention whatsoever about the smartphone's launch in India or in other international markets though.

MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar might be having a battery problem

12/06/2016 04:26:00 pm
MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar might be having a battery problem
Some users of MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar have reported battery life issues on their systems. According to these users, the new MacBook laptops are running well short of their claimed battery times. In some cases, the battery is ending up dying after minuscule web surfing of 3 hours which evidently should be closer to 10 hours and above. Owners have resorted to publishing these battery problems online specially on Apple's support page which is now filled with such reports. However, this is not a safety concern.

Apple very recently had accepted to replace batteries on some iPhone 6S models sold within a particular time frame and if this new MacBook Pro issue runs out of hand, they might need to replace these laptop batteries as well. As of now, there has been no official confirmation from the tech giant and it remains to be seen what is causing these issues. Whatever said and done, 2016 has not been a great year for batteries, we saw some exploding, some shutting down inadvertently and now some not running their stipulated run times. Hopefully, things will start sorting themselves once the new year begins and we would see tech brands focusing their energies more towards resolving battery problems for the millions of people that end up buying their products.

Alcatel to launch Idol 4 smartphone and VR headset in India on December 8

12/05/2016 01:26:00 pm
vr
Alcatel to launch Idol 4 smartphone and VR headset in India on December 8
Alcatel is set to launch its new smartphone Idol 4 in India alongside a VR headset on Thursday. This would be the maiden VR headset from the company's stable which has not been able to taste huge success with its smartphones in the country as yet. Alcatel unveiled Idol 4 and Idol 4s at MWC in February this year but has taken a long time to finally plan to bring them to India.

Idol 4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Octa core processor coupled with 3 GB RAM. The phone carries a 5.2 inch Full HD IPS LTPS display and its graphics are supported by Adreno 405 GPU. The internal memory available on the device is 16 GB which can be expanded up to 512 GB through a microSD card. The smartphone sports a rear camera of 13 Megapixel resolution while the front camera maxes out at 8 Megapixels.

The battery capacity available on the device is 2610 mAh and it includes support for Quick Charge 2.0. The pricing for the phone should be announced at the day of the launch on Thursday but would most probably be above Rs. 20000. We hope Alcatel are finally able to nail down a compelling smartphone that could appeal to the masses.

Lenovo announces exciting schemes and offers just ahead of K6 Power smartphone sale

12/04/2016 05:17:00 pm
Lenovo announces exciting schemes and offers just ahead of K6 Power smartphone sale




























Lenovo has announced exciting schemes and offers on its newly launched K6 Power smartphone. An exchange bonus of up to Rs. 8000 and EMI option starting at Rs. 485 per month are available as a part of this promotion. The new smartphone is ready to go on sale on 6th December at 12 noon on Flipkart for a price tag of Rs. 9999.

Consumers can also buy Moto Pulse2 over-the-ear wired earphones worth Rs. 1499 for only Rs. 499 when purchased alongside the phone. There is one additional offer whereby 100 lucky customers who register for 'Notify Me' on K6 Power Flipkart page and then end up buying the smartphone on 6th December will grab a chance to win a Flipkart E-Gift Voucher worth Rs. 10000.

The 4G LTE enabled K6 Power supports the latest industry buzzword VoLTE as well. The phone sports an all metal unibody design and will be available in three attractive finishes of Dark Gray, Gold and Silver colors. As for the basic specifications of the phone, it is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa core processor along with 3 GB RAM. The device runs Android Marshmallow and has 32 GB internal memory which is expandable up to 128 GB via microSD card. And to boot, Lenovo K6 Power also carries a huge 4000 mAh battery which should mean you never run out of charge at important times. The speakers have been enhanced as well to use Dual Dolby Atmos technology.

Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it

12/04/2016 02:33:00 pm
Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Huawei, as reported, has recently overtaken Samsung in the race to be the numero uno smartphone brand in the world. Though that comes as an effect of Samsung needing to recall its exploding Galaxy Note 7 devices, still Huawei was always running at the footsteps and quickly snatched its position with a glitch by Samsung. To freshen up your not so distant memories, Huawei was the brand that manufactured Google Nexus 6P last year and the smartphone got great reviews by bloggers around the globe. Today we have Huawei P9 with us for review, the phone which is being promoted for its dual camera that has principally been co-developed with German optics manufacturer Leica. This should mean that the camera on P9 should be outstanding to say the least. Well, we are here to find out all about the camera capabilities as well as other features of this phone. With its price tag though, the device competes in the premium market, which though not flooded has some fierce competition which we would talk about later.

Design

Huawei P9 has a unibody metal enclosure and has a squarish design upfront with less emphasis on curves. The device has a beautiful appearance and looks extremely good in the hands. What we majorly like about the design is that it stands out uniquely and does not bear any resemblance to phones by other brands which we'll give a skip naming. The device is available in 3 colors - Prestige Gold, Mystic Silver and Titanium Gray. Due to the lack of curves on the phone, it seems thinner than it actually is and gives a blade-like impression to the user. The chamfered edges further add to the elegance. Though antenna lines run across both the top and the bottom at the back, the top one is hidden by the camera cut out which does look a bit similar to the one found on Nexus 6P but is considerably thinner than that on the Nexus. The 5.2 inch display in the front houses the touch buttons while the bezel on top has the normal sensors, camera and speaker.

Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























The phone still uses the 3.5 mm audio jack and employs USB Type-C which should mean faster data transfers. USB Type-C is gaining momentum consistently and its not long before the entire smartphone industry would move towards the new connector which obviously has its advantages. The power button and volume rocker are made of metal and give decent feedback. The back of the phone houses the dual 12 Megapixels camera lenses, a dual tone LED flash and Leica branding over a glass cutout at the top. Below that, there is a square fingerprint sensor.

Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Display

Huawei P9 sports a 5.2 inch Full HD IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 423 ppi. The screen is extremely sharp with accurate and natural color reproduction. Due to the use of IPS display, the viewing angles are very deep. The screen is fairly visible under direct sunlight. The natural color reproduction makes watching Youtube videos and playing games a treat on this smartphone. The display though seems to be cooler as whites are inclined towards bluish tones rather than yellowish ones.

Specifications

Huawei P9 is powered by HiSilicon Kirin 955 SoC with an Octa Core processor with four cores of Cortex A72 running at 2.5 GHz while the other four cores being Cortex A53 running at 1.8 GHz. The GPU supporting the CPU is Mali T880. Coupled with the processors, there is 3 GB RAM, which may seem below par for a phone costing this much. The internal memory on the phone is pegged at 32 GB which is again on the lower side. You can expand internal memory to 256 GB through a microSD card. The device houses a 5.2 inch Full HD IPS LCD display. There is a single Nano SIM slot and connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS and 4G. In terms of cameras, the rear snapper is a dual 12 Megapixels sensor manufactured in collaboration with Leica and the front selfie camera carries a resolution of 8 Megapixels. There is no OIS in either of the cameras which is again a bummer for a device being marketed primarily for its cameras. There is 3000 mAh battery on board which should be enough to fuel a 5.2 inch device.

Operating system

Huawei P9 is preloaded with Android 6.0 Marshmallow layered with Huawei's proprietary Emotion UI 4.1 skin on top of it. Like Honor branded phones, P9 also does not have an app drawer and uses home screens to arrange app icons. The notifications are divided into 2 tabs, one for notifications and the other for shortcuts. This can mean an extra click each and every time you swipe down from the top. You can also search apps, contacts, messages etc. by swiping down on any of the screens which does look similar to that on iOS. In terms of apps, there is some bloatware that is present on the smartphone though not as much as some other brands and some third-party apps come preinstalled as well. The Emotion UI does seem to lack a bit in terms of customisation as well as availability of gestures or enhanced settings like a few other smartphones. Huawei seems to maintain a simplistic attitude in terms of operating system and software which can be good for the system resources but over simplicity can also mean a lot of important features gone missing.

Camera

Huawei P9 has long been touted as a camera smartphone and the dual 12 Megapixel rear sensors are a testimony to that fact. But the use of the cameras is slightly different from the way it is implemented in the new iPhones. One of the rear cameras on Huawei P9 captures images with RGB color data while the other captures monochrome images. The sensors as well as the image processor then works on the two images and stitch them into a single beautifully crafted end piece shot. For the professionals, there are a lot of pro settings, modes and options available on board the P9. Exploring all the options in detail would be an entirely separate review while we would concentrate on the primary points here. The dual cameras have been developed in company with Leica but it is not clear as to the amount of expertise imparted by the German camera maker.

Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Image quality on Huawei P9 is top notch with ample detail capture and natural color reproduction. Low light images also come out clear and without much grain. However, the lack of OIS can necessitate clicking images twice or thrice to accommodate hand jitters. Video quality is decent but we would have liked the camera to shoot 4K videos as well which sadly it does not. However, the camera shines in one department, and that is in clicking monochrome pictures. Black and white imagery from Huawei P9 is astounding in quality. There is also support for RAW pictures. And you can also add "Huawei P9 - Leica Dual Camera" watermark to all the pictures before they are saved in the gallery.

The front camera has a resolution of 8 Megapixels and it clicks fairly good selfies though nothing extraordinary.

Some of the camera pictures that we clicked with Huawei P9 are here:

Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Huawei P9 review - Lacks a few basic features but astounding camera quality more than makes up for it




























Performance

Huawei P9 delivers smooth performance with its Kirin 955 SoC and 3 GB RAM. Multitasking is no problem for the device and you can switch between apps at your peril. Games like Asphalt 8: Airborne run without any jitters. The fingerprint sensor at the back is pretty responsive too and the phone does not show any measurable lag doing any of the activities. Call quality is loud, clear and crisp as well. The loudspeaker at the bottom is fairly loud too.

Battery

The battery capacity available on Huawei P9 is 3000 mAh. We recharged the device to 100% and used it moderately like playing a few games, watching Youtube videos, surfing the web, a bit of Facebook navigating along with a little sleep time. The battery died on us after 13 hours which means the phone should last you a day of usage but you should not expect it to last longer and you might even need to recharge it twice a day if you are a particularly heavy user. Sadly enough, the bundled charger does not have quick charging option either.

Pros

- Unique and fresh design
- Fast performance
- Top notch camera quality
- Clicks wonderful black and white images
- Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor

Cons

- Bit overpriced
- 3 GB RAM and 32 GB Internal Memory seem like an underkill
- No 4K video
- No OIS in camera
- Overly simplistic operating system
- No dual SIM

Rating

3.5 stars out of 5

Verdict

Huawei P9 is a bit overpriced for the features it offers. There is no 4K video recording, no OIS and the phone has an overly simplistic operating system and user interface. The phone does not shine in all departments either. But all these glaring omissions can be overlooked with the hugely impressive camera quality. If you are in the market looking for the best smartphone camera at this price, then Huawei P9 is the one for you. But if you need a phone with a better battery and more features in a package that succeeds in all departments, maybe at the expense of slight camera quality, then you will be better off with OnePlus 3 which has been continuously termed as the best Android of the year and sells at a lot lesser price than the Huawei P9.

Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year

12/03/2016 02:31:00 pm
Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year




























Asus ventured into the smartphone market in 2014 by launching ZenFone series of smartphones and the first iteration turned out to be an instant hit with the masses. Their first smartphone was called ZenFone 5 if you are not able to recall the name now. And it was a pretty sleek, good looking and a great performing device in its category back in that year. However, the ride has not been so smooth for the company since then as it is still looking for the smartphone that could drive the market in numero uno position. So this year, Asus has launched ZenFone 3 to try and cement their position as a world leader in smartphone manufacturing. Have no two thoughts about it, ZenFone 3 is a terrific looking device with a design to die for. Good looks flow throughout the device as you hold it. If you are into the market looking for a strikingly good looking device and have the moolah to pay for it, you can close your eyes and grab the Asus ZenFone 3. However, the price might set you back a little. The 5.5 inch ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) that we have for review costs Rs. 27999 and is Aqua Blue in color. The other colors available include Shimmer Gold, Moonlight White and Sapphire Black.

Design

It is good to see Asus diverge from its design language and opt for a fresh new design. As we mentioned above, ZenFone 3 is a beautifully crafted phone right from the glossy 2.5D curved glass on the front and back to the chamfered edges again both at the front and the back of the device. And the back, even though being glossy is not a fingerprint or smudge magnet per se. However, the use of glass makes the device a bit slippery. Another thing worth noting is that the device has a unique appearance and the design does not seem copied or even inspired by any other smartphone in the market. Asus has also done away with antenna bands at the back which have now been smartly moved to the top and bottom edges of the smartphone. 

The front of the device has a 5.5 inch display along with the usual sensors, the selfie camera and the earpiece. The touch capacitive buttons, though clearly marked in silver are not backlit. There is a hybrid dual SIM slot on the left of the device which we are not fond of as it does not serve the purpose for people who wish to use two SIM cards and one microSD card at the same time. The volume rocker and power button on the right edge are designed with metal and provide decent feedback and throw. Asus has still not done away with the 3.5 mm audio jack unlike a few other brands and the phone uses a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. The back of the device has a 16 Megapixels camera sitting plush in between laser focus and dual tone LED flash. A very uniquely designed fingerprint sensor lies below the camera sensor. The company uses sapphire cover on the camera lens but the camera bump can cause some anxiety to people putting the phone down on the back regularly.

Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year




























Display

ZenFone 3 uses a 5.5 inch Full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels). The display is vivid, sharp and very easy on the eyes. The viewing angles are deep and the display is pretty usable under direct sunlight. Like a few previous Asus smartphones, this one also includes a glove mode which increases the touch sensitivity when using gloves. We did not test this sensitivity using gloves though. You will thoroughly enjoy watching Youtube videos or playing games using this display.

Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year




























Specifications

In terms of specifications, Asus ZenFone 3 is powered by a 64-bit Octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC and 4 GB RAM. The internal memory available is 64 GB which can be expanded up to 2 TB using a microSD card though we doubt a card of this capacity is available in open market as yet. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio, 4G, 3G, GPS and Glonass. The phone sports a non-removable battery with 3000 mAh capacity and has support for fast charging. The front camera boasts of a resolution of 16 Megapixels while the front selfie camera has 8 Megapixels resolution. There is also a fingerprint sensor at the back which does work flawlessly.

Operating system

ZenFone 3 runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 layered with Asus' proprietary ZenUI 3.0 skin on top. The new UI employs fresh colors and maintains a sense of uniformity across the screens in terms of fonts, colors and icons. The new operating system has a number of features that were not present in devices prior to ZenFone 3. One of them is ZenMotion, which helps the user to configure some touch and motion gestures. Touch gestures include a few like double tap to turn off screen, swipe up to wake up or drawing characters in sleep state to launch various apps. There is also a One Hand mode for easier use of the operating system with a single hand, which is definitely a God's gift for a 5.5 inch phone. However, as it has been for ages, Asus overloads its smartphones with huge amount of bloatware and ZenFone 3 is no exception. Why in the world would anyone need or use MiniMovie, PhotoCollage, Puffin, Share Link, ZenCircle, ZenTalk and a few other apps is beyond our understanding. We hope the company listens to us some time and stops putting in unnecessary apps on its smartphones.

Camera

Asus ZenFone 3 is equipped with a 16 Megapixels rear camera and uses an f/2.0 aperture. A large number of manual settings and options help the camera be utilised by amateurs and professionals as well. The rear camera clicks beautiful outdoor and indoor shots and captures a lot of vivid detail. The camera focuses extremely fast but the pictures start becoming grainy under low light conditions. A handy addition to the rear camera is support for 4K video along with usage of 3-axis EIS (Electronic Image Stabilisation) to help against jittery videos. In turn, the selfie camera sports a resolution of 8 Megapixels and has its own set of options and modes. The front camera clicks detailed shots along with capturing high quality HD videos.

Some of the camera pictures that we clicked with Asus ZenFone 3 are here:

Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year





















Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year





















Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year





















Asus ZenFone 3 Review - Bloatware and steep price undo one of the best designed smartphone of the year





















Performance

This is an extremely fast phone thanks to the 4 GB RAM it is equipped with. Its a cinch to move between various apps and perform multitasking. The device runs games like Asphalt 8: Airborne without hiccups. The fingerprint scanner works smooth and fast. Asus' website mentions that the first SIM slot is a Micro SIM slot supporting 3G and 4G while the second SIM slot is a Nano SIM slot supporting 3G. The Nano SIM slot is a hybrid slot that can otherwise support a microSD card up tp 2 TB. The call quality on the phone is loud and crisp. The 5-magnet loudspeaker at the bottom seems to be inclined towards lower and medium frequencies more than the higher ones but is still fairly loud. However, we do hope Asus moves towards stereo speakers in future iterations.

Battery

ZenFone 3 packs a 3000 mAh battery. To check for battery usage times, we recharged the battery to 100% and started using the phone in medium use case scenarios like playing a few games, watching some videos on Youtube, doing a bit of web browsing, some chitchat on Whatsapp and leaving the device in sleep state for a little time. The battery ran down on us after 15 hours of usage which means the phone would easily last a day in most use case scenarios. And the option of fast charging is an add on too, which according to Asus, delivers 2 hours talk time with 5 minutes of charging.

Pros

- One of the best designed smartphone of 2016
- 4K video capture in rear camera
- HD video capture in front camera
- Vivid display
- Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
- Fast performance and multitasking
- Fast charging

Cons

- Bit overpriced
- Large amount of bloatware
- Camera bump
- No stereo speakers

Rating

3.5 stars out of 5

Verdict

Asus ZenFone 3 is an overall decent package and is a brilliantly designed smartphone which scores well in most departments. However, at the hefty price tag of Rs. 27999, it competes directly with OnePlus 3 and now the newly launched OnePlus 3T. OnePlus 3 has garnered rave reviews from the community as well as users alike. We in no way mean to imply that Asus ZenFone 3 is a mug. If you are looking for a device that can have eyeballs rolling, it is this one. But we still feel a price between 20k and 25k would have meant runaway success for ZenFone 3 which now would be slightly more difficult considering the effervescent popularity of OnePlus 3.

Oppo launches mid-range A57 smartphone with 16 Megapixel front camera in China

11/26/2016 04:09:00 pm
Oppo launches mid-range A57 smartphone with 16 Megapixel front camera in China
Oppo has launched medium range A57 smartphone in China at a price of 1599 CNY. It has not been revealed when the phone would be available in other zones including India but we are hopeful it would come soon as Oppo has a rapidly expanding user base in India too.

As for the specifications of the device, it sports an Octa core 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor. There is 3 GB RAM as well as 32 GB internal memory which can be further expanded up to 128 GB with the use of a microSD card. The graphics in the device are powered by Adreno 505 GPU. In terms of display, there is a 5.2 inch HD LCD screen with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels along with 2.5D curved glass.

Oppo smartphones are well known for their selfie camera capabilities and A57 is no exception. It sports a 16 Megapixels front camera as well as a 13 Megapixels rear camera. We are now starting to observe front cameras overtaking the rear cameras in terms of specifications and features on some devices.

For connectivity options, Oppo A57 has 4G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, GPS, USB and a fingerprint sensor on the home key which is a physical key and not a touch enabled key. The battery capacity for the phone stands at 2900 mAh. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow layered with Oppo's proprietary ColorOS 3.0 skin. The dual SIM smartphone is available in two colors - Gold and Rose Gold.

With smog hitting an all-time high, Panasonic launches range of Air Purifiers

11/25/2016 03:48:00 pm
With smog hitting an all-time high, Panasonic launches range of Air Purifiers
November 25, 2016, New Delhi: Panasonic has today launched its new range of Air Purifiers in India. The range includes a product portfolio of 7 models and comes at a time when the country is reeling under the severe effects of air pollution and smog. These air purifiers promise fresh and purified air thereby inducing a healthier life for users.

These air purifiers improve indoor air quality by filtering out harmful air pollutants including PM2.5. Its the Nanoe technology at the brains of these purifiers that does the job of purifying the air. Further, air odour is reduced and the skin remains hydrated through their prolonged usage. Additionally, Econavi technology saves power by cutting down on unnecessary operations not required by a user. These air purifiers can cater to room sizes ranging from 283 sq. ft. to 452 sq. ft. Features like house-dust catcher help to eradicate large particles like hair, germs or mold, while 3D circulation airflow allows suction of particles from the front panel thus increasing their reliability and efficiency manifold. 

There are two kinds of filters available - HEPA Composite and Composite Air Filter. Further, the Composite Air Filter comprises of three types of technology - Super alleru-buter, Green Tea Catechin and Anti-bacteria Enzyme which can protect users from 17 various types of virus, bacteria and other allergens up to 99%. The HEPA Composite Air Filter can eliminate 99.7% particles from the air. Moreover, features such as sleep mode, child lock and filter replacement indicator act as USPs for these new Panasonic Air Purifiers. Some models come with air-filters carrying a usage life span of 10 years.

The following table illustrates the models as well as their prices in INR.

Model
MRP
F-PBJ30ADD Orange
 11,995 
F-PXJ30AAD Turquoise
 16,995 
F-PXM35ASD Silver
 20,995 
F-PXM35AAD Flower
 21,995 
F-VXM35AAD L-Blue
 27,995 
F-PXM55AND C-Gold
 34,995 
F-PXM55AAD O-Blue
 33,995


Amazing Black Friday promotion and deals on Gearbest

11/24/2016 07:15:00 pm
Amazing Black Friday promotion and deals on Gearbest





















Gearbest brings across Black Friday promotion on its website for a large variety of products. It is an amazing online sale that promises a lot of incredible deals and offers across a plethora of product categories. The deals on this promotion start at $0.99 for some products. Along with that, products can be bought at up to 80% discount and people paying through Paypal would get an additional 2% off.

For budget conscious customers, there is a Black Flash Deal which will be active from November 24 to November 28 starting at 16:00 hours UTC time. There is a limited stock of items available at the lowest prices possible. The order limit is 1 per customer to make it a fair concept for all buyers. The prices would start going up again after the lowest price items are snapped up by consumers.

Amazing Black Friday promotion and deals on Gearbest





















The list of products and brands available across the entire promotion is vast consisting of products like laptops, smartwatches, keyboards, mobile phones, Android TV boxes, bags, shoes, watches, jewelry etc. and of brands like Xiaomi, Chuwi, Vernee, Teclast, Oukitel and a host of others too.

You also have the option of buying two products together and saving on the total cost. These combinations are already available on the website and you can check out the discounts available on buying these products together.

Amazing Black Friday promotion and deals on Gearbest





















Along with the above, Black Friday coupons are also available which can give you discounts up to 80% as mentioned above.

Amazing Black Friday promotion and deals on Gearbest





















Some of the exciting products that you can buy at reduced prices during this promotion are as follows:
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Phablet for $199.99
- Elephone ELE MGCOOL Band 2 Heart Rate Monitor for $17.59
- OnePlus 3 smartphone for $438.99
- Xiaomi Air 13 laptop for $809.99
- Vernee Apollo Lite 4G Phablet + Original Vernee Tempered Glass at a combo deal of $180.99

Here is the link to the promotion
Gearbest Black Friday Promotion

 
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