Sony Xperia Z2 – A Few Months Later: Z Life

Sony have been trying really hard to getting their game right in the flagship module. The Xperia Z1 was not really up to the mark, primarily because of the screen, but they had got it right with the build quality and waterproofing. They also struck the right balance with the Z1 compact which is still regarded as the best sub flagship mini in the market right now.

So lets find out if they have got it right with this year’s flagship the Xperia Z2, after a few months of use.

On the face of it, the Xperia Z2 has all the bells and whistles one expects out of a flagship. It packs in the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with 3GB RAM on board. They have also tweaked the UI.

Xperia Z2 First Boot

Quick Look at the specs

Operating System : Android KitKat 4.4.2 (as of testing)

Dimension : 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2mm. 163g.

Camera : 20.7MP autofocus camera with a 1/2.3″ Exmor RS sensor and F/2.0 Sony G Lens.

2160p video recording @ 30fps, [email protected] 60fps, [email protected] 120fps.

2.2MP front camera with 1080p video recording.

Display : 5.2″ 16M-color 1080p IPS capacitive touchscreen Triluminos display (424ppi pixel density) with X-Reality engine

Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset (MSM8974AB): quad-core 2.3GHz Krait 400 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Adreno 330 GPU

Memory & Storage : 3GB RAM + 16GB inbuilt storage. Expandable upto 128GB.

Battery :  3,200mAh battery

Colours : White, Black and Purple.

Design and Handling

The Sony Xperia Z2 has 5.2” Full HD display with a pixel density of 424 ppi. This coupled with the X-Reality Engine results in a gorgeous display. The phone is packaged in a mixture aluminum and scratch resistant glass. The back is completely finished in scratch resistant glass and feels really classy and great to hold. It definitely feels like an expensive phone.

Sony Xperia Z2 Front Home Screen

The phone has no unnecessary undulations or uneven surfaces like camera bumps. The front and the back are completely flat and minimalistic, adding to the classy look. As mentioned, the rear is made of glass (Sony classifies it as scratch proof and shatter resistant). So far, it has not shown signs of wear, although the phone hasn’t really hit the pavement so far.

Sony Xperia Z2 Glass Back

Coming to the controls, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top along with a secondary microphone for stereo sound video recording. The right holds the Power button, the volume controls, the microSD card slot and the camera button. The bottom has the microphone. the left side holds the SIM tray and the micro USB port. While the flap covering the USB is a little fiddly for day-to-day charging, you do have pogo pins that can be used with a charging dock or snap -on magnetic cables for easy charging. It does not have Qi Wireless Charging though. Even though the flap makes the phone dust and water-proof, opening the flap for charging daily and closing it back later does allow some grime to collect at the edges, as evident from the photo below.

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The Z2 gets stereo speakers for quality output, one located at the top and one at the bottom. It isn’t as loud or rich sounding as the “Boomsound” speakers on the HTC M8, but it is not that far behind.

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There is a 2.2MP camera on the front. The back holds the 20.7 MP autofocus camera with a single LED flash.

Display and User Interface

The Z2 comes with Android KitKat 4.4 out of the box. It was also, the company’s first phone to do so. The UI is pretty similar to the previous versions on Z1 and Z1 compact with a few nips and tucks.

Starting with the lockscreen, like most smartphones these days it supports widgets on every pane. You can also go straight to the camera from the lockscreen, a feature of KitKat. Security wise you get the usual Face, Pattern, PIN or Password Unlock.

Enter the homescreen and you will be greeted with five panes which can be customized. You can add or remove panes, seven being the maximum. Any of these panes can be made default and a press of the home button will take straight to the default pane.

The phone comes inbuilt with a host of static and live wallpapers and as with all Xperia devices, the theme can also be changed using the Theme Chooser. There are a few inbuilt themes and you can also download themes from the Sony Select  app or from the Play Store, where you can find third party themes and customize your phone as per your need.

It’s a similar story with the app drawer. Swipe from the left and you can sort apps in the app drawer manually, alphabetically, most used and most recently installed. You can also define your own order. Searching for an app shouldn’t be difficult as the search option comes in handy. Uninstalling an app can also be done from here.

The Notification draw and the Quick settings have been split now to give space for more information and shortcuts at ease. Swiping down from the top of the screen with one finger reveals the Notification draw and with two fingers reveals the Quick Settings.  The Quick settings toggles can be customized and one can choose from over 20 different toggles.

One new app in the Z2 is the What’s New. As the name indicates the app tell you what’s hot and happening the the app world and as well as keeps you updated with multimedia. It also displays the latest from the Sony Playstation Store as well. Unfortunately, this service is offered as one short-cut when you swipe up from the home button, along with Google Now.

Sony keeps updating it’s stock apps from time to time, adding new functions, though this is handled by the Sony Updater and not via the Play Store like Motorola and HTC have been doing of late.

Battery

The Z2 comes packaged with a massive 3200 mAh battery. We threw everything possible at it, gaming, browsing, extensive camera use and we were still able to manage more than day’s usage on a single charge. The Power Manager lets you toggle between various settings to squeeze the most out your battery.

The STAMINA mode lets you disable mobile data and WiFi when the screen if off, but the clever thing is you can turn on data only for a set of applications which is user defined. It can also restrict device performance to squeeze that extra juice out of your battery. You can set all this to be done ‘Always’ or when your battery goes down a certain percentage.

The phone also has location based WiFi which essentially activates WiFi only when certain saved WiFi signals are in range.

 

Camera

The camera is a 20.7 MP unit which is the same as the ones in the Z1 and the Z1 compact. We have already seen the improvements in imaging in the Z1 compact over the Z1 using the same camera unit. Lets find out how different it is in the Z2.

The camera unit comes with a Exmor RS backside illuminated 1/ 2.3” sensor, which is about 70% bigger than the standard 1/3”. The lens is a 27mm wide angle Sony G Lens with f/2.0 aperture and BIONZ image processor. It captures images with a maximum resolution of 5248 x 3936 in 4:3 aspect ratio.

The Layout is pretty simple and all your basic and commonly used controls are just a click. The Camera module is supported by an array of filters and modes. As with the Z1 you get a Superior Auto mode, manual mode, burst mode, background defocus, creative effect, AR Effect and many more.

The results are a mixed bag, there are some features that we liked and some which are not up to standard. Images are best captured in Superior Auto Mode but unfortunately the resolution of these images maxes out at 8MP. The Manual does  let you shoot in 20.7 MP but the results are not upto a flagship phone mark. There is plenty of detail  but it still doesn’t match up to the S5 in sharpness and color accuracy.

The HDR mode is quite a letdown as all it does is brightens up the image without preserving detail. The images look blown out and the colors look washed out.

The Z2 offers quite a lot when it comes to videos. For starters it offers 4K video capture at 30fps but it is limited to just 5 minutes. There is also an option of recording Full HD videos at either 30fps or 60fps. It is also capable of capturing 720p videos at 120fps. Audio is captured in stereo mode and is pretty impressive. There is no optical image stabilization on board but the digital image stabilization does the part pretty efficiently.

One interesting video feature is the Timeshift video, which captures videos in 720p at 120 fps an then lets you slow down selected moments in the video, unlike the S5 which captures the whole video in 120fps. This feature was first seen in the iPhone 5s but it could slow down only one part of the video. Sony has bettered this feature and you can slow down multiple parts of a video.

Low light performance is pretty good too. We were able to capture some really amazing low light photos without the use of flash. The flash itself isnt very harsh on subjects and lights up the area pretty damn well.

One thing that we have noticed though, is that the camera performance has improved over time with different firmware updates from Sony. So we hope that with future updates, it will get even better.

The front camera is a 2.2MP unit and it performs like any other front camera unit on the market, it is able to capture Full HD video and does its part.

Performance

The Snapdragon 801 processor is a tried and tested processor and we didn’t encounter any lags or glitches in heavy usage. It isn’t the top of the line MSM8974AC, but there’s nothing really lacking in the SOC. The onboard 3GB RAM is a boon and gives the phone that extra edge. We were able to comfortably able to switch between applications while playing games. One problem we encounter though is that the phone does heat up when subjected to heavy usage, especially when using the 4K video capture. This is very uncomfortable and thankfully the phone force shuts the camera app before it can get any worse..

The graphics are pretty impressive, we tried a couple of action games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Batman:Arkham Asylum and the detail of the game play was on par with its competitors.

Connectivity and Browser

The default browser was satisfactory in all aspects. We threw whatever possible at it and it renders content smooth and fast. Zooming into content renders smooth and crisp fonts and images, thanks to the 1080p screen. Videos too ran smooth and we didn’t encounter any sorts of lag during browsing.

Coming to the connectivity side, unfortunately, the Z2 does not support Band 40 (2300 MHz TDD LTE) for LTE service in India, which is a bit of a letdown. It does support Dual-Band WiFi along with 802.11 ac, which is a good thing, assuming you have a capable router (and network connection). Having said that, we had no real issues (aside from the lack of LTE) and if you’re in an area which is not covered by LTE (which basically means most of India right now), you won’t miss the LTE support (or lack thereof).

Conclusion

The Xperia Z2 is quite the step up from its older siblings, the phone has got a very sophisticated, neat and classy look to it. The gorgeous screen is complimented by the powerful Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM onboard. There were very few moments where the phone let us down. Sure the still Camera module is still not up to the mark, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker as its Video capabilities make up for it. In the past, Sony really did not bother with firmware updates, but things have changed and they are among the first of the non Nexus/Motorola devices to get updates to the newer versions of android. The Z2 definitely has what it takes to be a high quality flagship and also a big thumbs up from our side. The only thing to note is that Sony is on a 6 month release cycle (as of this article, the Xperia Z3 is already available in some markets). The flipside is that you can now get the Z2 for cheaper when the Z3 rolls out at their top end phone.

Lenovo Vibe Z review : What’s your Vibe?

Lenovo Vibe Z K910

Lenovo entered the Smartphone market very recently and have launched few if not many interesting phones. The K800 and the K900 were one the first few phones to be running on Intel’s Atom processor. In January 2014 the company bought Motorola from Google. The company was also recently listed as the world’s fourth largest Smartphone manufacturer. The future for world’s largest PC maker in the Smartphone market is, I must say, looking very bright.

VT's 1020_20140525_18_51_53_Raw

The company’s flagship model the Lenovo Vibe Z was announced last year and comes with all bells and whistles to battle the likes of the Samsung S4 and the HTC One. So let’s find if this flagship will match up to the segment leaders.

Quick look at the specs

  • Operating System – Android 4.3
  • Dimension – 149.1 x 77 x 7.9 mm, 145.2 g.
  • Camera – Sony IMX13513 MP f1/1.8, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video at 30fps. 5 MP front facing camera.
  • Display – IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.5 inches with 401 ppi pixel density.
  • Processor – QualcommSnapdragon 800.
  • Memory & Storage – 2 GB RAM + 16GB storage. Non-expandable.
  • Battery – 3000 mAh Li-Po, i.e Lithium Polymer, battery rated for 33 hours of talk time on 3G and up to  26 days stand by on 3G.
  • Colours – Silver and Titanium.

Design and Handling

VT's 1020_20140525_18_52_30_Raw

The Lenovo Vibe Z has a massive 5.5” 1080×1920 display and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is pretty large and is not comfortable for one handed use. The bezels on the sides and the bottom could have been a little thinner for better handling. But this is not really a deal breaker. The phone is really light for its size at just 145.2 g, other 5.5” phones like the Galaxy Note 3 weighs 168g and the LG G Pro weighs in at 172g. Some of its weight can be credited to its battery, Li-Po batteries are believed to be thinner and lighter when compared to standard Li ion batteries.

Lenovo have put in a lot of effort to make the phone look good and we really appreciate the effort. The back panel is finished either in Titanium or Black and I should say that both feel really good and premium.

Lenovo VibeZ Back With Camera

The power button is placed on the top right hand corner and the volume rocker is on the left hand side. The phone uses a micro SIM and the tray for the same has been placed on the right hand side. The microphone is at the bottom of the screen, just below the glass area. The 3.5 mm headset jack is placed on the top left corner and the micro USB charging port is placed at the bottom. All in all, the phone feels really good to hold and gives you a premium and expensive feeling. A micro SD port will be sorely missed.

There are three capacitive keys placed at the bottom for navigation. The home button is placed at the center, the back button to the right and the options menu to the left.

Display and User Interface

The 5.5” display has a resolution of 1080×1920 with a pixel density of 401 ppi . While, this may not be on par with the 441 ppi of the Galaxy S4, the difference is minimal. The fonts in the browser look very crisp and so do the pictures.

The phone comes bundled with a heavily modified Android 4.3 and the layout is clean and simple. The colors of the icons and the system wide features are pleasing to the eyes. There are a lot of customizable options to make your phone distinguishable. The phone comes inbuilt with a Theme Center, where one can choose from an array of themes. Each theme comes with its own set of icons and widget designs, to suit everyone’s taste.

Theme Center

Once you switch on the phone, it’s not difficult to notice that the App Drawer is missing. This means that every app installed will be added on to the desktop and as apps increase in number it becomes a must to sort out your apps into folders.

Multi-Tasking-Lenovo-VibeZ

The Multi Window feature enables one to make full use of the 5.5” screen and toggle between two apps on the home screen. This lets you read a book and browse the internet in parallel without having to switch between the apps. Lenovo have included a lot nice features to play around with, Smart Answer automatically answers an incoming call when placed near your ear. Smart Call, makes a call to the person whose contact or message you are viewing without having to hit the dial button. Smart Dial is a feature which alters the size of the dialer keys based on the angle of the phone to favor one handed use, a useful feature considering the size of the phone.

Wide Touch is a one-shortcut access to all your favorite apps and system toggles. It basically provides you with an ease of access shortcut window where you can organize all your favorite and frequently used apps. As mentioned it also provides you with a shortcut to all the system toggles like wifi, Bluetooth etc. It is similar to Apple’s own AssistiveTouch feature.

The phone comes inbuilt with a lot of Lenovo proprietary apps, Lenovo calls it the DOit series of apps. The SHAREit enables you the share photos, videos, apps and other data to a paired devices or a group of devices. The CLONEit feature in this app lets you import all your files to a selected device. This is a nice addition provided the receiver device also has SHAREit installed which is available in the Google Play Store. We tried SHAREit with a Lenovo – Non Lenovo pairing we found data transfer to be considerably faster than normal bluetooth transfer.

SECUREit protects your phone from viruses, spam and malware. SYNCit helps you backup or restore your contacts, messages and call logs. SNAPit is your Camera and SEEit is your Gallery. Although on our device, SNAPit and SEEit came preinstalled as Camera and Gallery.

Lenovo have tied up with Gameloft to provide some very popular paid games at a discounted price. The Amazing Spiderman 2 for instance regularly available at Rs 390 is available for Rs 20 in the Gameloft store.

The phone has an inbuilt FM radio with a recording option. We did record a song over the radio and the quality of the recording was far from impressive.

Driving Apps

Drive mode gives users only those essential apps that one might need while driving, without the use of hands ofcourse. The user interface is pretty simple and and gives you access only to Navigation, Messages, Music and Telephone. Voice recognition is not upto the mark, but we were able to get what we needed after certain trials.

Battery

The 3000 mAh battery that powers the Lenovo Vibe Z is pretty powerful. We threw everything possible at it, gaming, browsing, extensive camera use and we were still able to manage more than day’s usage on a single charge. The Power Manager lets you toggle between various settings to squeeze the most out your battery.

Battery

Running really low on charge? Don’t fret, the Ultimate Saving Mode, will turn off all data connections making available only messaging, dialer, contacts and clock to access the screen also turns mostly black with white and blue to conserve power.

Camera

The Camera unit is a Sony IMX13513 MP f1/1.8, as you can see it is a pretty fast lens. The camera is pretty quick to take photos. Though it is a 13 MP unit, you will be able to capture a maximum of 12 MP at 4160×3120 pixels at a 4:3 ratio. For a 16:9 ratio one will have to settle for a maximum of 9 MP at 4160×2340 pixels. The volume keys can be used for digital zoom.

The camera offers a lot in terms of feature, if you are not an auto camera mode kind of person there are options to alter ISO, White Balance, Metering and the likes. Here is a list of other features available.

  • HDR for photos
  • Dual shot mode with the front and the rear camera.
  • Macro mode.
  • Smile shot.
  • Super night mode, for nice night shots.
  • Burst mode.
  • Self-timer.

There are also other useful features like

  • Eraser – This erases unwanted objects in your picture.
  • Group
  • Normal Gif
  • Magic GIF – Capture a GIF and make edits with some coloured markers.

Apart from these there is huge list of filters available at your fingertip. Oh and by the way they give you a live preview too.

The HDR mode works pretty well for those pictures where the light hits the lens directly. In the attached pic you can see that the detail captured around Jerry is pretty commendable, the colors look natural too. We also captured an outdoor picture in HDR, in the picture 2 you can clearly see that we get more blues in the sky but the reds and the greens don’t look natural.

The Camera is capable to capturing full HD videos at 30 fps. Sadly, there is nothing more to write about the video capture, unlike the Galaxy S4 you don’t get an option to shoot at 60 fps, neither there are any slow motion options. There is no HDR mode for the video either. So all you get is a straight forward 1080p video at 30fps.

The 5MP front facing camera can be described as selfie oriented and why not? We were really impressed by the detail and the quality of the photos taken by the front camera. The lens fills in enough light and is quick to capture photos. The front snapper is also capable to capturing full HD videos. We have to say that it is one of the best front facing cameras we have ever used.

Performance

The Snapdragon 800 processor is a tried and tested processor and we didn’t encounter any lags or glitches in heavy usage. The onboard 2GB RAM does help smooth and speedy performance. We were able to comfortably able to switch between applications while playing games. One problem we encounter though is that the phone does heat up when subjected to heavy usage. This is not that uncomfortable, but it is definitely noticeable.

The graphics are pretty impressive, we threw a couple of action games like Frontline Commander and Real Steel and the detail of the imaging were on par with its competitors.

Connectivity and Browser

The default browser was satisfactory in all aspects. We threw whatever possible at it and it renders content smooth and fast. Zooming into content renders smooth and crisp fonts and images, thanks to the 1080p screen. Videos too ran smooth and we didn’t encounter any sorts of lag during browsing.

Telephony , Gallery and Music player

The phone comes with Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic and does a really good job of cutting out noise. We didn’t encounter any voice related problems or disturbance on either side of a call.

The Gallery is given a really nice touch. You can view photos and videos either through albums or all at once. The photos are nicely spaced out and thumbnails appear as squares or rectangles. These thumbnails also act as live tiles, which is really nice touch.

Jigsaw is an inbuilt gallery extension where you can choose photos and arrange them in predefined collage templates.

There is a very clever option to view only portraits or landscape photos. The gallery automatically filters out only portraits or landscapes based on option chosen.

The phone doesn’t come with any proprietary Lenovo music player. We tested its music capabilities with the Play music app. We were really blown away with the performance of the bundled earphones, the sound is crisp and clear. The bass boost is accurate and not overdone. We also like the build quality of the earphones, they are definitely built to last. The loudspeaker is placed at the back at the bottom, the surface of the phone is slightly curved here making sure the speaker is not blocked when placed on its back. This also helps in reflecting sound and the final result is pretty good.

Conclusion

The Lenovo Vibe Z definitely has the vibe of a flagship smartphone, there’s not really much to not like about the phone. The build quality is excellent, though the camera has its downsides it still performs well for everyday use. It’s also priced pretty well at around Rs 30,000, the Exynos Galaxy S4 is priced about the same, but it’s not a Snapdragon. There is a lot to like about the phone, we really loved the 5 MP front facing camera, the sound clarity is crisp. All in all, the Lenovo Vibe Z gets a big Thumbs Up from My Portable World.

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Motorola’s Moto E Launched in India at Rs. 6999

After all the leaks and the teasing the Moto E is finally Official. The phone was launched in India in partnership with Flipkart at a price of Rs 6,999.

The Moto E is a direct competitor to the Nokia X and comes packed with a 4.3″ screen with a qHD display (540 x 960 pixels) and a pixel density of 256 ppi. The phone measures 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.33 mm in dimensions and weighs 140g. Powering the phone is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor with Adreno 302 GPU. Memory includes a 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal memory expandable up to 32 GB through a micro SD card.

moto e front and back

On the Camera front, the Moto E features a 5 MP rear camera with touch focus, without autofocus unfortunately, and 480p capture at 30fps. Unfortunately there is no flash nor a front facing camera. The phone runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box and a 1980mAh Li-On battery holds the charge.

moto e colors

The phone comes in White,  Black, Turquoise and Lemon color options. Flipkart is offering 50% on Moto E Covers and 50% off on 8GB Transcend Memory Card and Rs. 1000 worth preselected eBooks only for today. Head over To Flipkart if you can’t wait to get your hands on the Moto E.

Moto E Specifications

[table th=”0″]
Processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 with 1.2GHz dual-core A7 CPU Adreno 302 400MHz single-core GPU
Display, 4.3 inches 540 x 960 qHD with a pixel density of 256ppi
OS, Android Kitkat 4.4
Dimensions, 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.3mm weighing 142 grams
Camera, 5 Megapixel rear camera capable of recording video at a resolution of 854×480 at 30 fps
Battery, Built in 1980mAh battery capable of 24 hours mixed usage
Connectivity, “Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz, 3G network Connectivity, MicroUSB with USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM Radio, GPS – Glosnas”
[/table]

Nokia XL Hands On

We got our hands on a Nokia XL at a recently held bloggers meet by Nokia India. The Nokia XL was announced at MWC 2014 along with X and X+. As a refresher, the Nokia XL is an android based phone with a lot of tweaking to give it a Nokia flavor. The Nokia X was launched in early March 2014 and Nokia says the X+ and XL will be available in a couple of weeks. We covered the basic specs about the Nokia X platform in our write up here.

Nokia XL Meetup

We can say it was Nokia’s first event after it was completely taken over by Microsoft on 25th April, 2014. Addressing the event, Pranav Shroff, Product Marketing Manager, Nokia mentioned that the takeover will not hamper the Nokia X platform and that development and support will continue as usual. So the Nokia X platform is here to stay!

A Quick Look at the Nokia XL specifications:


  • Operating System – Nokia X Software Platform (based on Android 4.1.2)
  • Dimension – 141.4 x 77.7 x 10.9 mm
  • Camera – 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash. Video at [email protected]  2 MP front facing camera.
  • Display – IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. 480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches with 187 ppi pixel density.
  • Processor – Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon S4 Play
  • Memory & Storage – 768 MB RAM + 4GB storage. Expandable up to 32GB through microSD card slot.
  • Battery – 2000 mAh battery with 13 hours of talk time on 3G and up to  30 days stand by on 3G.
  • Colours – Bright green, orange, cyan, yellow, black, white.

_DSC0018

As you can see the Nokia XL gains a lot over Nokia X. Starting with the obvious 5 inch screen, the RAM also has been bumped upto 768 MB. The camera unit is a 5MP auto-focus module aided by an LED flash, the phone also has a 2MP front facing camera for selfies. Bright orange is a new addition to the colour range and only available on the Nokia XL.

We were given a chance to toy around with the device and we had mix reviews about it. For instance we liked the way the phone is packaged, it gives you a uni-body look. But the 5″ phone is too large for one handed operation and also a bit heavy. The image above shows a size comparison between the Lumia 920 which is 4.5″ and as you can see clearly it is a pretty big in-your-face phone. The 5MP snapper was quick to focus and take photos. The photos themselves have a good amount of detail, but the video quality disappointed us. We were disappointed that the camera isn’t capable of capturing 720p HD videos, whereas the Lumia 520/525 in the same price bracket is capable of it. Maybe it is an indication that Nokia wants to keep the X series as low devices only.

image - Nokia XL Opened Back Cover

As mentioned the Nokia X post Google Play is not supported, one has to do use the Nokia Store or any of the other third party app stores like Amazon Apps, Yandex, Mobango or more. In fact, if you don’t find an app on the Nokia Store, they’ll give you suggestions on where you can get that app. Also, like the Nokia X the phone comes preloaded with a lot of apps – Vine, Skype, Facebook, BBM, Fruit Ninja, Simcity and more.

Nokia-XL-Colors

Price and availability wasn’t announced, but it was mentioned that the device would launched in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, head over to our gallery for a hands-on.

Logitech PowerShell launches in India for iPhone Gamers

Last week we were invited to attend the launch of the Logitech PowerShell in India. Mr Ashok Jangra, Cluster Marketing Manager, India & SW Asia formally launched the device. The device is essentially an iPhone only gaming controller. Powershell 1 Physically the device tries to mimic the likes of the Playstation Portable, and to an extent one could easily mistake for a PSP with the iPhone plugged in. The device comes with an analog d-pad, shoulder triggers and a button cluster to give you a console like feeling. The device is pretty easy to use; one needs to just place the device in the dock and you are ready to go.Logitech PowerShell The device supports a pretty exhaustive list of games, Sonic and Overkill 2 being our favourites. For more information, you can check out the Logitech PowerShell website for a complete list of supported games. List of Supported Games With the little time we got to play with the device we did enjoy using it, but we would have preferred a joystick for shooting games as it was very difficult to focus on a target with the d-pad. Though the device offers buttons to control to play games, it doesn’t offer control over the game menu options, which has to be done only by touching the screen. This is not really a deal breaker, though a joystick would be very useful for menu controls as well as gaming. Powershell 2 Talking about daily usage, with the iPhone plugged the PowerShell doesn’t really compromise on the phones features, you can still make your calls, listen to music and even take photos. Logitech has also provided a neat little headphone extension jack and also an extension to charge the device as you play. The device comes with a built-in 1500mAh battery for added game time. We did notice that the build quality isn’t up to the mark and doesn’t feel like it is built to last. Also, with rumors of the next Apple iPhone being bigger than the current 4.5” the PowerShell may not be really Future Proof. The device was launched at a sticker price of Rs.8990, but one should be able to find one for a lesser price in the market.

Google Camera Updated!!

Google has recently updated its native Camera app with a couple of nifty new features. Also, the Camera app will be available on Google Play to all devices running Android KitKat 4.4 and above.

As we all know the Google Camera app comes with the very creative modes like the very much appreciated Photosphere and Panorama.

Up until now Photosphere used to capture 360 degree Panoramas at 8 megapixels, which was really great. Photosphere product manager Evan Rapoport recently announced on Google+ that through this update users will be able to capture 360 degree Panos at a whopping 50 megapixels!!

The already awesome Photosphere just got better.

The new update also brings a new feature, Lens Blur, which as the name suggests allows users to focus on a particular object while blurring out the background resulting in a nice creamy bokeh effect. One can also change the focus subject after taking the shot, just like Nokia Refocus and it works really well.

Apart from this, the View Finder has been improved to eliminate Dropped Pixels, which means what you see on the screen is what you get in the image. The Panorama mode has also been updated to offer more resolution and detail.

There are a couple of drawbacks though. For instance, the camera shoots only in 4:3 aspect ratio, the timer option is gone and so is the white balance settings. But going by Google’s reputation these options should be back soon.

As mentioned, the new Google Camera will be available on Google Play and is compatible with all phones and tablets running Android KitKat 4.4 or above. So head over to Google Play and start clicking!!

Google Camera
Google Camera
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Test your Knowledge – The iOS Quiz Up App now on Android

Want to find out how smart your friends are? Well, you now have a perfect solution if you are using an Android phone. One the most popular iOS games has made its landing on Android. If you are not aware, Quiz Up is an amazing quizzing game with hundreds of topics and over 200,000 questions. So, this is one game that could really test your quizzing abilities.

To start you could sign in using either Facebook, Google+ or email. Once logged in, you could either choose an opponent from your friends list or let the system pick a random player for you. As you progress through the game, you are awarded some weird and wacky badges, which can be used as your title. The user interface is pretty slick too and the profile page reminds me of Path. For your profile, you can choose background wallpaper and a profile pic on top of it.

The topics range from Music to The Dark Knight Trilogy. From General Knowledge to even Mean Girls. The possibilities are limitless. So this game can keep you going for a long time. Each game consists of 7 rounds with 10 seconds for each round. The scoring depends on how quickly you answer. Don’t worry if you fall back in certain rounds because the last round has double the points to let you catch up. There is an option to surrender a game, but you don’t wanna do that. Do you?

Lost a match? Don’t fret. There is an option for a rematch, provided the opponent agrees to it. You could also challenge an opponent, the difference from a rematch being you are not playing parallel with your opponent. Your opponent can take up the challenge once you have completed your part.

The one drawback of this game is that the questions do tend to repeat but that’s bound to happen and they are not that frequent.

Sounds exciting eh? I’m hooked on it. So, download today and get quizzing!

Download from Google Play

QuizUp
QuizUp
Developer: Glu
Price: Free+

Download from iTunes

‎QuizUp®
‎QuizUp®
Developer: Glu Games Inc
Price: Free+

Jailbreaking iOS 7 on your iPad

Evad3rs have finally announced the much awaited jailbreak for iOS 7. Since I have the iPad 3 myself, I immediately decided to jailbreak it. A few words of caution though: evad3rs have mentioned that there could be boot loop problems even after a successful jailbreak on devices which have been updated OTA. This post  provides instructions based on the Windows version of evasi0n7 on jailbreaking iOS 7 on your iPad. You can follow the same steps while using the Mac version too.

[alert style=”1″]Disclaimer: Jailbreaking iOS 7 on your device will void your warranty. We do not take responsible for any issues you may face after you jailbreak your device[/alert]

I learnt this the hard way, having upgraded to 7.0.4 OTA my device was stuck on boot after a successful jailbreak. So if you are on pre iOS7 or 7.0.0, upgrade your device to 7.0.4 through iTunes. If you are already on 7.0.4 through OTA, just follow Apple’s guidelines to restore iOS device to factory settings. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1414.

Once you’re done you are now ready to jailbreak your iOS device.

So now, here the process – It is not very complicated and I just followed the steps provided by evad3rs team.

  • First, backup your device through iTunes or iCloud.
  • Download evasion 7 from http://evasi0n.com/. Unzip the folder
  • Open evasion and hit jailbreak.

Jailbreaking iOs 7 using evasi0n

  • The device will boot several times.
  • You will be asked to unlock device and tap the evasion icon on your iPad.

Jailbreaking iOs 7 using evasi0n

  • A confirmation message will be shown once jailbreaking iOS 7 is complete

Jailbreaking iOs 7 using evasi0n

It’s been a couple of days since I tried jaibreaking iOS 7 on my iPad 3rd Gen and I haven’t really encountered any major issues. So, happy jailbreaking!

Image credit: 3dfoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Nokia Launches the Lumia 925 and the Lumia 625 in India

Nokia has just launched the much awaited Lumia 925 in India for Rs. 33,499, along with the mid-range Lumia 625 for Rs. 19,999. Whilst the selling point of the Lumia 925 is its brilliant camera and its aluminum frame, the Lumia 625 is touted as an entertainment device with its big 4.7” screen.

nokia lumia 925

The Lumia 925 being a spiritual successor to the previous flagship Nokia 920 comes with improvements to the camera and design. The Lumia 925 becomes the first phone in the Lumia line to feature an aluminum frame, with polycarbonate back available in white, grey or black. The result is it makes the phone thinner and lighter; this is a huge relief as the 920 was too heavy and bulky to live with. The Lumia 925 will also taste the much appreciated Nokia Pro Cam seen first on the Lumia 1020 once the Amber update is out.

Nokia Lumia 925 Specs:

  • 4.5″ 16M-color PureMotionHD+ AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 1280 x 768 pixels, with a 332 ppi pixel density.
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, [email protected] video recording and 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Optical Image stabilization with floating lens technology
  • 32GB of inbuilt storage ( Not expandable)
  • Aluminum frame, with thinner and lighter profile.
  • FM radio
  • White, grey or black color.
  • Rs. 33,499 retail price.

Nokia Lumia 625 front and back

On the other hand, the Lumia 625 is purely marketed as an entertainment device. The device boasts a huge 4.7” screen, biggest in the Lumia line up and it looks like Nokia wants its users to fully utilize this screen. For starters, Nokia is offering goodies worth Rs.16000 in the form of an Entertainment package out-of-the-box. This includes movies, eBooks from Flipkart and access to the Nokia Music Store, among others.  The phone also comes preloaded with Your Movies app, through which the users can not only stream but also download movies.

Nokia Lumia 625 Specs:

  • 4.7″ 16M-color IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen of 480 x 800 pixels, with a 199 ppi pixel density
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, [email protected] video recording
  • 8GB internal memory, expandable up to 64GB.
  • 1.2 GHz Dual-core Krait with 512MB RAM.
  • Orange, Bright green, Yellow, Black and white colors.
  • Upgradeable to WP8 Amber.
  • Rs. 19,999 retail price.

Follow the link to the press release for more – Nokia Lumia 625+925 India Launch Press Release.

Nokia Lumia 720 – The Budget-Premium Windows Phone

It was about time Nokia brought in something substantial into the mid-range smartphone market and from the very first glance it becomes obvious that Nokia has put in a lot of effort into the Lumia 720. The phone is ruggedly built and feels as solid as every other Nokia.

The Lumia 720 comes packaged with a 1 GHz dual-core Krait CPU but has only 512 MB of RAM on board. This places certain limits, such as not having access to some applications in the Windows Marketplace. But that shouldn’t hold you back from buying one as the Lumia 720 has a lot of nice tricks up its sleeve. The camera for example can be compared to phones one level higher, but more on that later.

Lumia 720 Specifications

Let’s start with some quick specs. The phone comes with a 4.3” ClearBlack IPS LCD display, and runs the latest Windows Phones 8 OS. It is retails at about Rs. 17000.

Display : 4.3” ClearBlack IPS LCD display, WVGA resolution with 217ppi pixel density.

Processor : 1 GHz dual-core Krait CPU, Adreno 305 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8227 chipset, 512MB of RAM

Connectivity : Quad-band 3G with 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support

Storage : 8GB of inbuilt storage, expandable up to 32GB via MicroSD card.

Camera :  6.1MP autofocus camera with F/1.9 lens and LED flash, [email protected] video recording

OS : Windows Phone 8

Battery : Non-removable Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery (BP-4GW)

Colors : Glossy White, Red and Matte finish Black, Blue.

What’s in the box

What's in the Box for the Lumia 720

As mentioned, the Lumia 720 is built solidly and borrows its looks from the 920 which works well in its favour. The unibody structure is made of polycarbonate.  The phone is 9mm thin and weighs 128g. The phone looks svelte and it gives you a premium feel.  The Lumia 720 is available in four colors, White and Red in glossy finish and Black and Blue in matte finish. I prefer the matte finish as its less prone to finger prints and scratches. But hey it’s a personal choice; it actually looks the best in red.

Lumia 720 in hand

On the right hand side, it has a dedicated Shutter key, power/screen off button and the volume keys. The memory card slot is on the left hand side and it is hot swappable. The phone comes with the industry standard micro USB charging at the bottom, the microphone is also placed here. If there is one thing to complain about then it has to be the bezels, they are too thick on all sides especially at the bottom. It would have been nimble if not for the thick bezels. The phone comes with a 2000mAh battery which should be good for 10h of 3G usage.

Display, User Interface & Handling

The Nokia Lumia 720 comes with a 4.3” ClearBlack IPS LCD display of WVGA resolution with 217ppi, while it may not sound on par with its competitors; the Windows Phones 8 is designed in such a way that the relatively low pixel density doesn’t really show.

The Lumia 720

Coming to the UI, I have always been a fan of Windows Metro UI and the Lumia 720 doesn’t fail to impress me. The phone comes with windows phone 8.0 out of the box. The Metro UI has come a long way and feels exceptionally smooth on the Lumia 720. The UI isn’t too predictable as its competitors and it might take some time getting used to. But believe me, it’s a very refreshing change. The UI is plain and simple, on click of the unlock button reveals the lock screen. The lock screen can be customized to show updates from any apps, it also displays a mini music player with basic functions. Upon press and hold of volume button on the lock screen, an icon to toggle vibrate and ring mode appears which comes in handy. A nice feature is the ability to change the wallpaper on the lockscreen automatically using apps from the marketplace or certain built-in ones.  A swipe from bottom of the lock screen unlocks the phone.  The homescreen is a vertical grid of live tiles; WP8 allows for resizing of tiles, an app can be pinned to the homescreen or start menu upon press and hold in the menu. An app tile can be sized to a quarter, normal or a double sized tile. There are options to change the background to either black or white, there also several accent colors to choose from in the settings menu.

The Messaging is pretty basic. The keyboard layout felt a little bit cramped, each key is elongated and as a whole takes up too much space on the screen. I personally would have preferred a wider space for each key and shortened a little bit. The keyboard also provides predictions but they are not quick enough neither are they accurate, you’ll have to wait for a fraction of a second longer than its competitors. Here again, the predictions take up too much space, the font size can be reduced to make more space.

The Lumia 720 comes with free 7GB space on SkyDrive, comes in handy to store or back up any data.

Switching between apps is pretty easy, just press and hold the back button and all the opened apps are revealed in a horizontal manner. However, there is no way to close apps from here; it only provides an interface to switch apps. One has to open the app and press the back button to close it.

Camera

The Camera clearly has to be the best part of the Lumia 720. The phone comes with a 6.1 megapixel autofocus camera with super-fast F/1.9 lens. That’s one of the fastest lenses fitted to a phone. The recently announced Lumia EOS comes with a F/2.2 lens to give you a perspective.  The result is the images are just right, the colors are perfect and are sharp, and the photos are very pleasant to view on the ClearBlack LCD display. The phone comes with the shutter key on the right hand side which means you don’t have to look for the app, it is always ready.

Lumia 720 Camera Sample2

Nokia seems to be taking their camera modules very seriously. The camera produces very well detailed photos and because of the fast lens nature you might as well get some nice bokeh, which mean it is also good for portrait photography. The Camera comes preloaded with a lot of tweaking; one can change the ISO, the White Balance and even the exposure value. There are also a few pre-defined scenes which can come in handy. There’s option to switch between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio. While Nokia smart shoot clicks a series of photos and helps you choose the best one, Nokia Cinemagraph takes small clips and convert them to GIFs.

Lumia 720 Camera Sample1

The fast lens helps in capturing good low light pictures as well, thanks to the focus assist light. Though it might be a little grainy, it’s not a deal breaker and clearly trumps others in its class. Here is link to the comparison with  the Nexus 4. The phone is equipped with a lot of photo apps. Nokia Glam Me, takes self-portraits only and as the name suggests polishes the photo with some touches. Further tweaking to the photo is available at the hands of the user. Options to increase the tone, adjust softness, making your eyes look bigger and even whitening your teeth are available. Head to the end of the post for more Camera Samples.

Connectivity and Browser

The Lumia 720 comes packaged with Internet Explorer and the browser is pretty powerful. It took whatever sites I threw at it without a problem. The one thing I would like to complain about is the images on zooming in might appear grainy. The browser was capable of handling HTML5, was also able to play HTML5 embedded videos.

Music Player/ Video Player

Apart from having the usual music player, the Lumia 720 has something called Nokia Music. This is nothing but Nokia’s very own music service and it comes free with the phone. All you need to do is register and then you are provided with unlimited music streaming and free music downloads. The Nokia Music store has a huge collection of songs across various genres. The Nokia Music app also provides you suggestions based on your music history, which is a nice touch. There are a plenty of equalizer presets, one can also define a custom one. When the screen is locked with music playing in the background, on wake a mini widget like music player with controls appears on top of the screen.

Apart from the Nokia Music app, you also get a Music Player which essentially just plays music with the same layout as the Nokia Music. But one thing missing here is an equalizer, so I’d rather stick to Nokia Music. Sadly, there is no FM radio, which comes as a surprise as Nokia doesn’t usually miss such basic features.

The Video Player is pretty powerful, I was able to play DivX, avi, mp4 and full HD movies as well. The layout is pretty minimalistic and doesn’t intervene with the video. You get your basic play/pause, forward and backward controls with a timeline and a full screen toggle button.

Apps/ AppsStore/ Office

The Lumia 720 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, this is very helpful and one doesn’t have to look around for third party apps. This is such a blessing in disguise. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are the apps which are available, and all documents can be synced with SkyDrive for easy access through Desktop and Phone.  Editing is allowed only for Word and Excel while only viewing is permitted for PowerPoint files.

Windows Phone Store is slowly catching up with its rivals and it recently crossed the 100,000 mark too. Microsoft claims that most the Top selling apps are available for WP8. It has also the basic apps a sedate user need, while pro users may complain about some powerful apps missing. The phone comes with some very common games preinstalled. Xbox live is the Games Hub rival of Apple Games Center, the user can create a profile and avatars. Xbox Live keeps track of yours and friends’ profile, gaming achievements and avatars.

Another nice feature on WP8 is there is no need for a separate app for Gmail and Facebook. Just add your Gmail/Facebook account through setting menu and voila you are done. All your Facebook News feeds, mails, contacts are synced to the phone. The only drawback is that it’ll take time getting used viewing these as all the details are displayed in WP8 fashion, in black and white Metro style. Another issue is that if you’re a heavy Gmail user who likes a threaded conversation, just be prepared to give this up: the Windows Phone mail app doesn’t work very well with Gmail (or some might say it’s the other way round), and it breaks conversation threading.

Maps

The Lumia 720 come pre-loaded with Nokia’s proprietary Here Maps, Bing maps is totally out (which is a really good thing). The Here maps is great and is on par with the industry standard Google Maps, the maps are pretty accurate and I didn’t have any problem finding places of interests. The maps come with four different types of views: Maps, satellite, public transport and traffic. In Bangalore, the public transport gave me only the Metro route. Traffic view, like in Google Maps, gives you a color coded guidance of traffic around your city. Green for smooth flowing, Red for slow and Orange for moderate. One nice feature with I liked is it gives you guides of certain prominent buildings. The building with the guide is highlighted as a transparent building, zoom in and you can it shows you where the lifts, elevators, showrooms and restrooms (very useful feature in a big mall) are located. Click on the building and you can get a floor wise guide of all the facilities in the building.

Nokia Here Drive is a turn by turn navigation app. Sadly it wasn’t working on this device as it is not yet available in India. Supposedly it provides turn by turn voice guided navigation and also provides the same capability offline.

Conclusion

Nokia has struck the right balance with the Lumia 720, it’s solidly built with a great Camera and a refreshing UI. I feel that WP8 has a great potential ahead, it just needs more support from us users. If one can live with the limitations of the apps available, this shouldn’t fail to impress anyone. It’s a great phone for first time buyers; while the funky Red and Blue suits college kids and the Black and white will suit professionals. It could be a very good second phone for those who like to experiment with phones. Solid build quality, great camera and refreshing UI: Put all these together and I say Nokia has got a winner on their hands.

More Camera Samples from the Lumia 720

Click on the images for a bigger version.