Archive | August, 2015

ZTE Axon Pro: Affordable and Gets the Job Done

Posted on 31 August 2015

The ZTE Axon Pro is an inexpensive and powerful smartphone with a stylish design that is bound to impress the target market. The phone has a 5.5-inch screen with 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution. The phone has a solid build and is currently available in 3 colors, namely blue, silver and gold. The Axon Pro runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

One thing potential buyers might take negatively is its substantial size. The phone cannot be termed “pocket-friendly”, and if you have a petite grip, it might be complicated for you to maneuver the device with one hand.

The Axon Pro features a 2-megapixel (top) and 13-megapixel (bottom) rear-facing cameras, and an 8-megapixel camera (front facing). It can record 1080p video (front) and 4K video (rear). Moreover, the rear 2-megapixel camera with an OmniVision lens can accurately adjust depth-of-field. The phone’s video quality is satisfactory, and its playback is smooth. And you can record both still and moving objects sharply.

In the hardware category, the phone has 4GB RAM, 2 GHz octa-core processor, 32 GB of internal storage (but no expandable memory features) and 3,000mAh embedded battery. Its processor is fast enough to allow you to easily run multiple apps and even watch movies and play games without hassle as there is no lag. The handset has a decent battery life and can run for up to 12 hours on a full charge, coupled with 10 days’ standby time.

It is the first phone to feature the Gorilla Glass by Corning. Not much is known about how it affects use but wiping smudges and fingerprints is easier.

o Design: 8
o Features: 8
o Performance: 8
o Camera: 8
o Battery Life: 6
o Overall: 7.6

Overall, the Axon Pro has its ups and downs, yet the phone is a quality buy for any person who wants to get the best in smartphone technology today but without having to break the bank. Of course, if you have the cash, go for an Apple or Samsung smartphone but if you want decent functionality at an affordable price, the ZTE Axon Pro fits the bill perfectly.

Photo courtesy: ZTE

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Apple iPod Touch 2015: IPhone Without the Phone

Posted on 28 August 2015

2015 has been a fairly quiet year for Apple, but things are now picking up steam with the launch of the Apple iPod Touch 2015. The affordable media player is being launched in a new avatar for $199, with a storage capacity of 16 GB.

The device comes with a 4-inch, 1,136 x 640 pixels screen, with 326 ppi. It is powered by the 64-bit A8 chip from Apple, also featuring an M7 motion coprocessor. The size of the device is a major talking point, as it has been reduced by a fourth as compared to its 2012 iteration. Add to that the poor battery life, with a maximum playback of 6 hours, and there are some doubts about whether the Apple iPod Touch 2015 will actually work for Apple. The device doesn’t feature GPS as well.

Besides the ups and downs, one thing users will surely appreciate about this new device is its camera, which is probably the biggest improvement as compared to the previous versions. The gadget comes with an impressive 8-MP camera that offers great image quality, with crispness, depth and clarity.
So, feel free to record videos at 1080p with it, but note that high-resolution videos are limited to 30 fps, which is lower than the standard. The device packs a 1.13GHz processor. This still ranks relatively high as compared to other devices in its price range.

o Design: 9.0
o Features: 8.0
o Performance: 9.0
o Camera: 8.0
o Battery Life: 5.0
o Overall: 7.8

Overall, it is a fun little gadget to play with and you will most definitely enjoy its camera, good quality hardware and an impressive classic design. It is a great device if you want a fitness companion or a separate device to carry your music library. Given the fact that most smartphones already take care of that, the iPod Touch 2015 might feel a bit redundant.

Photo courtesy: Apple

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Alcatel OneTouch Conquest: Affordable Smartphone for Budget Buyers

Posted on 26 August 2015

The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest is a great buy for the budget customer. The phone runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop OS and features a 5-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front camera. As per some critics, its rear camera is serviceable at best while the front camera delivers average results. There are some additional camera related features, including face detection, smile detection, geo-tagging, burst mode, and panorama.

The Alcatel OneTouch Conquest features a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, which is quite impressive. Additionally, at 294 pixels per square inch, its display is sharper as compared to most smartphones available today. The 2500 mAh battery can last up to 16 years on a full charge. The maximum standby time offered by the phone is 290 hours, which is acceptable given the price range it is available in.

It weighs 140 grams, which is average for today’s smartphones of relative size. Besides this, the phone is waterproof and dustproof. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have the luxury of dropping your phone in water.

The phone packs a quad core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. And although many of its competitors offer better processing power and more RAM space, the OneTouch Conquest doesn’t lag and its performance remains standard throughout, regardless of your usage. This is because you will find it easy to launch and shut down apps, or other routine programs on the device. It also features 8 GB basic storage alongside 32 GB expansion option via microSD card.

On the whole, the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest does lack in terms of its camera, but the display and battery life are good. Overall, the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest is a decent buy for the average budget customer. To put it simply, if you have the cash to spend, you can go for a high-end smartphone, but if all you do is text, use social media, and make calls, this smartphone will serve you well.

Photo courtesy: Alcatel OneTouch

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Pavilion X2 Hybrid: Budget Tablet-Hybrid From HP

Posted on 24 August 2015

Hewlett Packard has redesigned its stock product, the Pavilion X2 Hybrid, presenting it as a low-cost value for money laptop device for the constant traveling individuals and budget audience. The 10.1-inch touch screen can be connected to a detachable keyboard with a magnetic hinge, rendering the hook-and-latch system obsolete. The magnetic latch has been introduced as a stock feature in multiple tablet-hybrids as well.

Physical Features
The Pavilion X2 Hybrid is composed of plastic entirely. The back is dark grey, the shade named Ash Silver by HP. The Pavilion is quite heavy, weighing around 590 grams whilst iPad Air 2 weighs 437 grams and Samsung Galaxy weighs 470 grams. HP’s tablet weights 920 grams with a keyboard attached. The tablet is for landscape use only. The speakers are concealed in the middle. Then there’s the pricing difference as well.

The device is available in red, white and silver colors. It is equipped with an Intel Atom processor, which works great with Windows 8 and even runs HD video fine. With 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage space, it’s a steal for most budget users. Outside Apple’s ecosystem, it is the first system to feature USB C port for charging and data. Apart from that, there is a USB 2.0 port, Micro SD port and HDMI port.

The laptop is custom installed with Windows 8. It can be upgraded to Windows 10, a relatively plain and easy procedure. The tech corporation has released its HP Pavilion X2 Hybrid laptops featuring a 10-inch detachable screen. With the help of a magnetic latch, the Pavilion X2 instantly connects the screen with the keyboard. The laptop can be oriented in different ways.

A Steal Deal
The HP Pavilion X2 feels quite the next-budget product. Packed with its quad-core Atom processor, it won’t impress the tech fans much, but priced at just $300, it feels quite affordable for a detachable Windows laptop. As per HP’s claim, it can run for 11 hours straight whilst playing 1080p video.

Photo courtesy: HP

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Meizu MX4 Ubuntu: Potentially Revolutionary Handset

Posted on 21 August 2015

The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu has considerable potential, but it doesn’t have what it takes users to switch from iOS or Android either.

The Hardware Side
o After its less successful predecessor, Meizu MX4 has been released with its own signature software. The Meizu MX4 is released as a means to entice new users looking for a different operating system. The exterior design feels similar to iPhone 6 (read rip-off). The home button remains dormant regardless of pressing/not pressing.
o The body is made from aluminum with a matte back cover, weighing 147 grams. The gorilla glass keeps the screen from scratches.
o The screen size is 5.36-inch LCD display working at 1920×1152 resolutions. The hardware specifications include:
o 2 GB RAM
o 3100 mAh battery
o 6595 Octa-core processor
o 16/32/64 GB storage
o It even has 4G facility along with Wi-Fi.
o The back camera is a 20.7 MP manufactured by Sony and is 4K video capable. The photos taken from this phone are just as impressive as its operating system.
o The camera application of the phone feels similar to Google’s camera application. Options include time, HDR, shot composition and high-low-medium settings.
o The video quality didn’t impress at all. Clearly, video isn’t Meizu MX4’s strong point.

The Software Side
o Equipped with powerful specifications, Ubuntu phone avoids the iOS and Android version. Its operating system is new but has potential. It introduces its own layout, calling it ‘Scopes’, taking info from different services and makes them reachable.

o Interesting results are observed when the user has to browse a few screens to look for the exact application.
o The interface is quite fast and responsive, yet takes time to adjust. At its core, the phone is equipped with amazing hardware specifications. Moreover, there is no home screen button, leaving users stranded.
o The Ubuntu Phone is riddled with bugs on the inside. The websites and apps don’t open up nice and tidy. Volume control lags the phone down. When taking a screenshot, when you press both volume buttons, the volume sign shows up.
o Applications are greatly limited on Ubuntu as of yet. No email app exists yet while the Gmail app doesn’t work properly.

The phone still needs massive work. The users would be frustrated at the limitations imposed on them along with unstable software. For existing users of Ubuntu, wait it out and invest in an Android phone for the time being.

Photo courtesy: Meizu

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Vizio M Series: Affordable 4K?

Posted on 17 August 2015

Priced at $1,498, the Vizio M is one of the least expensive 4K televisions currently in the market but performance wise, it can compete with more expensive TVs. Even though the design of the TV Is beautiful, it is still not striking and neither distinctive enough and with a poorly chosen color (silver matte), it will not look much different from any other 4K television. However, when it comes to performance, the TV is a beast.

Its picture quality is amazing, perhaps the best in its price range, and the images are sharp and vivid. Thanks to its full-array local dimming, it delivers deep black level and incredible color contrasts. The color accuracy is superb and so is video processing. The TV also boasts a remarkable connectivity, with five 4K-compatible HDMI inputs!

Do not expect too much though, as the low price comes with less fancy add-ons being available. It does not have HDR support neither 3D features nor a not so premium look. It also lacks a curved screen, which, depending on the preference of the viewer, can be a blessing or a drawback. The topside of the remote that comes with is it is subpar, with no backlighting, little key differentiation, and a confusing key arrangement. However, the downside is sure to impress with a fully backlit QWERTY keyboard featuring dedication keys.

The Vizio M series TVs are some of the best options to consider when it comes to value for money and are recommended for anyone looking to buy a 4K television and do not mind the lack of features as despite its minor quirks , it delivers quality that few other within a similar price range can even dream of.

o Design : 7
o Features: 7
o Performance: 9
o Value : 9
o Overall: 8

Note: there are a few minor differences among the models but are subtle enough to not be worth mentioning.

Photo courtesy: Vizio

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Xiaomi Mi Note Pro: a Good Phone and Great for Smartphone Users in China

Posted on 14 August 2015

Slimmer than an iPhone and bigger than the Galaxy S, this flagship phone by the Chinese company Xiaomi is sure to impress with its awesome rear camera and high tech features. It is priced at $370. The highly refined glass and metal curved design gives a premium finish to the phone. The phone is quite slim and uniform despite all the high tech features crammed into it. The phone is beautiful in design as well as feels robust. The phone features an amazing 13 MP back camera featuring optical image stabilization but the front camera is not so great at a mere 4 MP.

The sharp vibrant display is a massive 5.7-inch 1440×2560 pixel screen. The phone’s performance is responsive and fast, able to easily handle most of what you throw at it. The hardware specs are great, with a 1.5GHz octa-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, up to 64 GB of storage and a 3090mAh quick charging battery. It runs on Android 5.0 with MIUI 6 Skin. The OS might feel similar to the one on an iPhone but is more of a blend between Android and iOS, and offering features that are not available on either.

The phone has its share of drawbacks. There is limited 4G LTE support for the non-Asian market and the battery life is below average. The support for a mircoSD slot is only available in a few limited markets.

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro offers plenty as proof of its topnotch potential and is overall a great phone but just like many other Chinese made smartphones, it is made mainly for the local market and as such its availability outside China will be fairly limited. If you live in China, this phone is highly worth considering but it is better to buy some other high-end smartphone if you live in a country beyond Xianomi’s territory, which is limited to China and 7 other countries.

Photo courtesy: Mi

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