Archive | April, 2015

Xiaomi’s Mi 4i: Powerful, Colorful, Affordable!

Posted on 27 April 2015

Move over Apple and Samsung, there’s a new player in town and it means business. Xiaomi has emerged as a leading player in the smartphone industry, and with its latest Mi 4i release, has impressed smartphone lovers everywhere.

Design
Xiaomi Mi 4i, which was revealed to the world in huge event in Delhi, India (‘I’ for India in 4i), is available in a range of bold colors that is sure to sit well with the millions of people looking forward to get their hands on the newly revealed smartphone. The phone, initially only available in India, is a successor to the powerful Mi4, and closely resembles the iPhone 5c in the design department.

However, the guts of the phone will leave most phones in the dust, and the Chinese company has surely stirred up something powerful in an affordable price range. The Mi 4i has a plastic body available in black, cyan, pink and white colors.

Specs
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core chip and 2GB RAM, the Mi 4i can challenge most major players in the market with ease. The 5-inch LCD will give you plenty of screen real estate to watch your favorite movies and enjoy the games on a gorgeous 1080p screen. The backside of the phone sports a 13MP shooter, while the front has a 5MP camera to deliver the best selfies.

The phone supports Dual-SIM functionality, and houses 16GB internal storage. Despite all the impressive specs, the best thing about the Xiaomi phone is the battery – a mammoth 3,120mAh juice factory that will make sure your phone stays powered up for a day and a half. That is saying something, since all other flagship phones on the market manage to stay awake for a day at max with regular use.

Overall Impression
Xiaomi revealed the Mi 4i priced at $200. At such an affordable price, no other manufacturer is offering such a powerful device. And given the color options and the amazing battery life the smartphone offers, it surely is worth getting your hands on!

Photo credit: Mi.com

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Philips Fidelio L2: a Winning Combination of Comfort and Luxury

Posted on 24 April 2015

There are many hi-fi players in the market competing for the top spot in the headphones category. Bose, Beats, Sony, and Audio-Technica may get all the limelight, but Philips is one brand that hasn’t seen the spotlight it deserves.

Build Quality
So, basically, the Fidelio L2 is made for both home and mobile use. The build of the headphone is sturdy with the headband made from aluminum. It sits comfortably over the ears, even for long stretches, and the padding is covered by leather cushions. However, the leather may not be your ideal thing to cover your ears in the summer as it can get sweltering under the heat.

The quality of the Philips Fidelio L2 feels premium and even with rough usage may last a long time. The headphones can also fold flat to give you better carrying options and comes with a carrying pouch. Other headphones in the same category may offer better cases within the same price range though. The Philips Fidelio l2 may not be a groundbreaking headphone compared to the manufacturer’s mentioned above, but it can still stand with its head held high. With a semi-open design, the Fidelio l2 may be prone to leaking some sound out, although not as much as an open-back designed headphone.

The Philips headphone houses a microphone for use with your phone, and a remote as well, both hidden inside cloth covered cables. The remote works with both Android and Apple smartphones, so no worries in that department. You can use the remote to accept and end calls as well as play and pause the track you are listening to. The sound quality is excellent and impresses with its clarity and the bass the headphone delivers.

Pricing
The Philips Fidelio l2 comes at a price of $250, which is nice for the build quality and the premium sound it delivers, but may not be entirely justifiable compared to other options in the same price range. However, considering the overall performance of the sturdy headphone, it can easily be placed in the luxury headphone category.

Photo courtesy: Philips

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‘Liquidmorphium’ Turing Phone: a Secure Powerhouse Smartphone for All Your Personal Data

Posted on 22 April 2015

If you have ever been worried about the security and reliability of your smartphone, it is time to end your woes, and get your hands dirty with the Liquidmorphium Turing Phone. You may be familiar with Alan Turing’s work through the Oscar-nominated movie ‘The Imitation Game’, and the Turing Phone offers the same type of encryption for your phone and a little more.

Liquidmorphium
Many people seemingly scratch their heads when they read the word ‘Liquidmorphium’ accompanying the Turing Phone. The mystery isn’t too hard to solve though, it is just a name for the stuff that has been used to design the body of the Turing Phone. “An amorphous alloy of zirconium, copper, nickel, silver and aluminum” is what liquidmorphium is defined as, and the atomic structure of this stuff is less like steel or aluminum and more like glass. The result is a study phone, apparently stronger than steel, so you would worry less about accidently dropping and shattering the device.

Extra Security
The Turing Phone takes mobile security to the next level. The phone houses a security chip, dubbed the ‘Turing Imitation Key’ that keeps your device encrypted. Unlike other secure handsets, the Turing Phone authenticates the encryption locally and not through a third-party server. The locally encrypted system shuts out the hackers and creates a trusted network within and makes sharing important but sensitive data with other phones of the same ilk safe and secure.

Specs
The phone, despite being a secure vault for your documents, has managed to house impressive internals in the body. A 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 3GB RAM, and a 3,000 mAh battery are good enough to consider it a premium phone. Storage space offers 64 and 128 GB of space, although a cheaper version with 16GB of memory might be available soon enough. The 5.5-inch 1080p HD screen may not be the sharpest around, but still manages to impress. The back sports a 13MP shooter while the front has a striking 8MP camera for crunching the best selfies.

Price
Priced at around $700 for the 64GB version, the phone might not be the cheapest around, but if your documents and data are more important than the cash you pay for the phone, this is your go-to smartphone!

Photo credit: Turing Robotic Industries via TheNextWeb

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The Apple MacBook (12-Inch, 2015) – the New Macbook Features a Groundbreaking Design and Delivers a Solid Performance

Posted on 20 April 2015

Incredibly thin and light, the new 12-inch MacBook offers a premium feel and look unlike any other laptop. Its battery life is better as compared to other laptops powered using Intel’s Core M processors. The performance is as good as those models too. To learn more about the latest MacBook, read on:

Design
The thinnest and lightest Mac ever produced by Apple, the latest MacBook is just 13.1mm thick and weighs in at 2.04 pounds. When it comes to design and shape, you will find it quite familiar, as it is based on the trademark MacBook design. However, there are a few twists, such as the new color offerings. The keyboard is another significant change, as it uses a new ‘butterfly’ mechanism to make each key more precise and stable. Although the key faces are larger on this keyboard, the keys are still quite shallow, which will take some getting used to.

The ‘Force Touch’ is the new trackpad. As compared to previous trackpads, this one works particularly differently, but is almost the same size as the MacBook Air. The laptop features a 12-inch Retina display which offers a 2,304 x 1,440-pixel resolution.

Features & Specifications
Powered by a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor, the laptop offers good and long-lasting performance. Web surfing works flawlessly, same is the case with video streaming from Netflix and YouTube. The laptop offers 256 SSD storage and 8GB of RAM, which is great. When it comes to features, the Force Click effect is particularly impressive. With four sensors under the pad, you can ‘click’ anywhere you like on the surface. However, the feel is somewhat similar to what you are accustomed in a trackpad.

One spec that fails to impress, however, is the built-in 640×480 camera. The image quality is nominal, but the softness of the image is a big issue!
While the newest MacBook has some limitations, it offers groundbreaking design and good performance for a moderate price tag.

Photo courtesy: Apple

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Sony MDR-1A: Go over the Ears With Sony’s New Headphones

Posted on 17 April 2015

Sony has released the ‘sequel’ to its MDR-1R headphones, the MDR-1A. Like its predecessor, the MDR-1A is a premium set of headphones which features an over the ear design, providing comfort, class and great sound. The $300 headphones are more comfortable than the 1R, which is attributable to a few small changes to the design Sony has made. The cups provide better cushioning and the padding is softer as well. A notable change is the angled position of the ear-cups, which conforms to your head’s shape and size.

Sony has also changed the direction of rotation of the ear-cups, enabling you to rest them on your clavicles when you lower the headphones and hang them around your neck. Let’s look at some other aspects of the MDR-1A.

What Works
o The headphones are lightweight, which makes them easy to carry around and they don’t place much pressure on your ears or skull when you are wearing them.
o The sound has improved from its predecessor, with every aspect of the sound upgraded, including treble and bass.
o The ear-cups of the headphones rotate properly, ensuring you can keep them around your neck correctly.
o The headphones come with a great pouch for carrying them around, safely and without any risk of damage.

What Doesn’t Work
o The $300 price tag may prove a little steep for most buyers. The upgrades in design and sound quality might not be enough to justify the added dollars.
o Though the headphones come with an in-line remote to ensure compatibility with smartphones, it doesn’t work well with iPhones.

All in all, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the Sony MDR-1A headphones. The upgrades in design and clarity of sound make it a good buy, especially if you are looking for over the ear headphones. If you have the cash to spare, this is perhaps the best set of headphones you can buy.

Photo courtesy: Sony

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ZTE Blade S6 – a Low-Priced IPhone 6 Look-Alike

Posted on 13 April 2015

Although the ZTE Blade S6 looks a lot like the iPhone 6, it feels like a low-ranged Android phone. However, considering its useful features and cheap price, the phone is a feasible choice for those on a tight budget. Here is a closer look at this great phone.

Design
To be honest, the ZTE Blade S6 has evidently ripped off iPhone’s trademark design. However, once you pick the phone up, you will notice two things:

1) The phone feels a lot lighter than it should

2) It just isn’t as classy as the iPhone 6.

Featuring a 5-inch display, the Blade S6 is slightly thicker and larger. The front glass display has rounded corners, just like the iPhone 6. At the bottom, you will find the round home button. The back and menu buttons are also present, but they remain hidden when not in use.

The phone’s rear is made up of faux-aluminum plastic, which feels cheap to hold. The13-megapixel camera lies close to the edge and its placement is pretty similar to the iPhone’s, which shows the extent they have gone to replicate Apple. The audio jack sits at the top of the phone, while the dual 4G nano-SIM and microSD card slots are located on the left side.

Features & Specifications
The phone features a 64-bit Qualcomm octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, 16GB onboard storage and 2GB of RAM. It’s supported by a 2,400mAh battery, and runs the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop with the custom skin, MiFavor 3.0, on top.

To stand out, the ZTE Blade S6 comes with software tweak known as ‘Smart Sense’, which gives users quick access to certain features through basic gesture commands. The phone has a 720p display resolution and offers vibrancy, colors, and viewing angles that are pretty good.

Though the 13-megapixel camera is equipped with the same Sony sensor featured in the Xiaomi Mi Note, the image quality is nowhere near as good. The ZTE Blade S6 tends to get a little slow after some use, but handles well enough for daily use.

Verdict
Although not the most original of devices, it does offer a reasonable Lollipop experience. So, if you are looking for a low-priced, iPhone 6 look-alike, you need the ZTE Blade S6!

Photo credit: ZTEs6

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Microsoft Surface 3 – a Mainstream-Friendly Tablet

Posted on 09 April 2015

The non-Pro Surface 3 is similar to the Pro and other non-pro variations on Apple’s Macbook line and Lenovo’s Yoga line. It offers many of the ideas and features of the expensive models, while cutting other specs and features to ensure a lower price.

To learn more about the Microsoft Surface 3, read on:

Design
Appearance-wise, the Surface 3 is very similar to the Pro 3, but it does have a few budget-minded adjustments.

For starters, it comes with an adjustable kickstand that snaps between three different angles, as opposed to the two-angle version on the Surface 2, or the fully adjustable one on the Surface Pro 3. The touchscreen sports a 1,920 x 1,280 resolution, as opposed to the 2,160 x 1,440 resolution in the 12.5-inch Pro 3. However, the resolution is more than enough for Surface 3’s 10.8-inch display.

Just like every other Surface, you should buy the keyboard add-on to make the most out of the Surface 3. But as with the preceding models, the optional keyboard cover comes at a hefty price tag!

The Surface 3 weighs only 1.37 pounds, making it even lighter than Apple’s 12-inch Macbook. Moreover, the new Micro-USB charging port is a welcome addition because it’s a lot easier to handle than the previous magnetic charging cable.

Features & Specifications
Featuring the latest Intel Atom processor, you can expect a lag-free and smooth experience with apps and the Windows 8, tile-based menu. It comes with a 64GB Solid State Drive and 2GB of RAM. However, a few high-priced variations are also expected to be available.

Unlike preceding non-Pro 3 tablets, the Surface 3, does not use Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system, which only allows apps approved from the Microsoft App Store to be run. Instead, it comes pre-installed with Windows 8. According to Micrsoft, the tablet will be updated to the new Windows 10 OS as soon as it is available.

Verdict
All things considered, it is safe to say the Surface 3 does not fail to impress. Moreover, considering that it offers much of the Surface Pro 3’s features at a more affordable price, the Surface 3 is a tablet you should definitely be looking out for!

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