Friday, September 30, 2016

Intex Aqua Raze II Smartphone with Marshmallow Launched at Rs. 4,990

intex-aqua-raze-ii

Intex company has announced the launch of new smartphone which will join in the category of Aqua series and an affordable price in the segment. We are talking about the model Intex Aqua Raze II, which is the upgrading version of Intex Aqua Raze smartphone that was launched earlier this year and priced at INR 5199, but this smartphone is now available for purchase via online retailer stores such as Flipkart, Amazon India, and Snapdeal at Rs. 3,979. The Intex Aqua Raze II smartphone is the relatively affordable price of Rs. 4,990 and will be available in White, Dark Blue, and Champagne color variants.

Gionee Launches S6 Pro Smartphone with 4GB RAM & First VR with Split Screen in India

The tagline of the Intex Aqua Raze II is Feel the Craze. It is similar to Aqua Raze smartphone, but the difference is software, chipset, battery, and dimensions. The device comes with its unique design and sleek look; you can feel it while holding a device. The power-packed smartphone features 11.43 cm (4.5) vivid display screen supports 2 Finger Touch, 70% Screen-to-Body Ratio (Bezel to Screen) and 16.7 M colors. It has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels that offers a 218 PPI of pixel density. It runs on the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box while on Intex Aqua Raze powered by Android Lollipop.

Under the hood, it comes packed with a Quad core Spreadtrum SC9832A processor that clocks at 1.5 GHz paired with Mali 400 GPU while the Intex Aqua Raze smartphone has MediaTek MT6735m SoC. There is a built-in memory of the smartphone is 8GB that includes the memory used for OS and apps. With the ability to use microSD memory cards up to 32 GB and 1 GB of RAM. It is backed by a capacity removable battery 1750 mAh that is rated to deliver a talk time up to 5 to 6 hours and lasts up to 220 to 250 hours of standby time, but the Intex Aqua Raze smartphone equipped with 1800 mAh battery.

Coolpad Note 5 with 4GB RAM & Snapdragon 617 Processor Launched in India at Rs 10,999

As per as cameras are concerned, the device packs a 5MP primary camera with Quanhetian Lens, 2560 x 1920 pixel size, ST55A sensor, 4:3 aspect ratio and LED flash, which can help to take pictures perfect shot always. At the front, there is a 2MP image sensor with huaxin Lens, 1616 x 1232 pixel size, GC2365 sensor and 16:9 aspect ratio for better selfies and video chat with you friends. The other camera features such as Panorama, GIF, Click Images with Volume Button, Slow Motion Videos and also record videos with a front & rear camera upto 720p at 30 frames per second. It has Gravity Sensor, Light Sensor, and Proximity Sensor.

The Intex Aqua Raze smartphone is support for two SIM-cards, 4G VoLTE, HSDPA+ / HSUPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS/AGPS, FM Radio, 3.5 mm audio jack and Micro-USB port. It has preloaded apps such as Youtube, Auto Call Record, File Manager and Flashlight. The Other smartphone features like emergency rescue and Cast screen this can use to connect the smartphone with smartTVS. Recently, the company had introduced the Intex Cloud Q11 smartphone which comes bundled with support for Virtual Reality (VR) and priced at 4,699 INR and is available for buy on Amazon India.

New Nokia D1C Smartphone running on Android 7.0 shows up on Benchmarks site

nokia-d1c

Every day, we come across a bunch of smartphones in benchmarking websites. Not all of them are worth mentioning or taking a look at. But when you have something from a company which is trying to enter the smartphone market again, we certainly can’t ignore those. The company we are talking about here is none other than Nokia. Although this is not the first time that we are looking at a smartphone leak from Nokia in a long time, but this we time we have a couple of specs as well.

This is pretty much the first concrete info we have on the device till now. This smartphone is listed by the name of Nokia D1C and it looks like it is going to be a smartphone powered by Android. It is finally good to see a smartphone powered by Android after a long wait. Well, it is not a bummer that Nokia is making an entry into the smartphone market yet again. We previously reported about the same, where the company signed a strategic licensing agreement with Finland-based HMD Global for manufacturing Android powered Smartphones and Tablets under the brand name of Nokia.

Now keeping all that aside, let’s see what we are going to get here. As mentioned earlier, the smartphone is listed as Nokia D1C. It looks like it will be powered by the latest and greatest Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. This is a good move since this is a comeback, they might as well put the best one out there. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor which carries the model number MSM8937. This is an octa-core processor based on the ARM Cortex-A53 architecture and has a clock speed of 1.4 GHz.

The processor is also complemented by an Adreno 505 GPU for graphics rendering. In terms of RAM, we are looking at 3GB of memory, which should be enough to day-to-day activities. Well, that’s all the info which we have as of now regarding the device. We are still more confirmation on the specs like display size, battery capacity, camera details, etc. However, since the Snapdragon 430 is capable of supporting displays not more than FHD, we are expecting the device to come with only an FHD display and QuadHD. However, it is not confirmed yet and these are just initial set of speculations.

Previously it was reported that the company will be launching two new smartphones with 2K displays in China. It was reported that one will have a 5.2-inch display and the other will sport a 5.5-inch display. Both the smartphone were quite promising as far as the specs were concerned. But now we have these new set of config so it is quite unclear at this point on what to expect. We suggest you to wait for more info on this device, as we should be getting more info in coming months. Stay tuned for more info.

Facebook Copies Snapchat Stories bringing “Messenger Day” feature with stickers & filters

messenger-day

If you are a Snapchat user, then the fact that Instagram copied the whole Instagram stories feature might have bothered you. It is exactly the same feature which we are talking about here. Yes, it is a good way to post about your daily activities instantly, but snatching someone else’s idea isn’t fair. But what if you come to know that even Facebook is trying to get the same feature.

We have some new reports according to which Facebook is in the process of testing a new feature. It is called as the ‘Messenger Day’ and it is similar to Snapchat and Instagram’s stories feature. This new feature is found inside the Messenger app and is currently being tested in Poland only. This new Messenger Day will allow users to post a page with pictures and videos for anything and everything that is going around and share it instantly with your friends.

Facebook bringing Snapchat-like Camera Stickers & Filters, Powered with MSQRD

And similar to Snapchat and Instagram, the page will disappear after 24 hours. And not just that, the page and also be decorated using multiple stickers, filters, messages, etc. This is nothing that we not seen earlier. It should be interesting to see how this will work out for Facebook. But given the fact that the Instagram stories are also being used widely by many users, this should also get a good start. And as mentioned earlier, this is only limited to Poland right now, but we are expecting them to release this in other regions as well.

With the launch of this new feature, it is quite clear that Facebook is trying to keep it’s subscriber base intact. The company wants more and more people to use their service, and hence it is now trying to get more attention with the new feature so that it can attract some more users before they start using Snapchat. But Snapchat is still good at what it does, and not many people would like to shift to a new app for that. But again, Facebook’s worldwide reach surpasses that of Snapchat, so the company has the potential to stop users from trying out Snapchat. It is expected that the company will not bring the new Messenger Day feature to the U.S just yet.

Once they have a good start with overseas market, this may eventually find it’s way in the U.S. Well; another reason could be the fact that over 60 million users who are currently using Snapchat there, might find it offensive to see a company like Facebook trying to push a knock-off feature of this kind. These are just some of speculation that is surfacing around, but we hope this feature is good enough to lure people into it and it does some good to the company. But as of now we just have to wait and see if this feature ever rolls out to India or not. Stay tuned for more info on this.

Top Reasons Why You should buy the UMI Plus Phone

umi-plus-featured-image

The smartphone industry is ever growing, it can’t be stopped, and it shouldn’t be. Every year we see brands launch the upgrade to their handsets and this year wasn’t the different. While if taking Apple iPhone for instance, the new iPhones announced this year aren’t quite strikingly different if you talk about design and some important stuff.

Which is why you need to see other handset if you are looking for upgrading this time of the year. UMI is one such brand that has thought about the design of phablet a lot and claims to craft a perfect phablet. Below you can read the top reasons that are touted by the company as to why you should by UMI Plus smartphone.

Design

The first and foremost is the design part. Using 6000 Series Aluminium material, the company has made it’s Plus smartphone quite lighter than the competition as well as stronger too. On top of high quality strength, it gives a premium look and feels. The aluminum alloy used was coupled with an anodic oxidation process that makes UMI Plus feels incredible in hand. On the front, you can see a 2.5D curve panel and see that it has a metal unibody design. With such combination, it offers an elegant look and refined design that feels pretty smooth when touched. The company also touts the brand new internal structure following the concept of symmetrical aesthetics language.

Display

With a display of 5.5-inch, the device is considered as a phablet. It is an ideal size for people who wants on-the-go entertainment. The screen has a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is quite impressive as stated by the company. What’s more impressive is the narrow bezel it claims to sport with the high screen-to-body ratio. The display offers a comfortable viewing experience. The display is touted to be quite vivid and offers great color outputs.

umi-plus-design

Performance

Under the hood is a Helios P10 processor, which is an Octa-core chipset sporting eight A53 cores that can handle the heavy system usage. It is coupled with a Mali-T860 64-bit GPU that enhances image rendering as well as multimedia display. There is a 4GB of RAM available on the Plus smartphone, which is considered to be quite huge and should prove to be helpful in terms of performance and power efficiency. All this is powered by a high capacity 4000 mAh battery. It is said to offer two day’s battery capacity. Using Sony’s cell that provides 26% higher capacity, the battery pack is slim and light weight and uses 690 Wh/L high-density battery. The device supports Quick Charging facility that means you don’t have to keep your phone on charging overnight. Do make a note that it uses USB Type-C port that is claimed to be faster in the transmission of power.

Fingerprint Sensor

There is a fingerprint sensor on the device on home button present on the front. The company calls it a Touch ID, which has multi-functions apart from unlocking the device within 0.1 second. It can register up to 5 fingerprints making it convenient to use any registered finger you want. With a 360 degree recognition of the fingerprints, you won’t have to struggle to unlock your device at all. On top of that, it has a chip-level security, which means the fingerprints arrest hackable using software. There is dedicated encryption chip that encrypts and stores the fingerprint sensor in a totally safe way.

umi-plus-camera

Camera

UMI has used best-in-class components to craft a perfect phablet for the user, and that is why they have used Samsung’s sensors to make an impressive appeal to the users that they should buy their UMI Plus handset. The device sports a 13-megapixel image sensor on the rear side that uses Ultra-Fast PDAF focusing, which is Phase Detection Autofocus technology. The company claims that it can focus an object in just 0.1 second all thanks to PDAF technology. There is a 5P lens elements setup that is quoted with anti-glare coating. On the front is a 5-megapixel snapper for selfies and video calls.

Verdict

With such a beautiful design aesthetics to charm, it’s user, the UMI Plus smartphone is a great contender for being the best affordable flagship phablet of the year. You get impressive full HD display, powerful and efficient chipset, high-density large capacity battery, quick & secure fingerprint sensor. In the end, you will also get a camera package that is claimed to be best-in-class. All this just at a pre-order discounted price of $179.99. Do make a note that it will later retail at $249.99.

Review: Samsung UE49KS8000

Review: Samsung UE49KS8000

Samsung UE49KS8000 review

The UE49KS8000 has three big attractions to its name. First, it's one of Samsung's so-called SUHD TVs. This means it combines a super-bright LCD panel with a local dimming system for the backlight plus wide colour spectrum capabilities built on a proprietary version of Quantum Dot technology.

Second, it's a flat TV rather than a curved one. This makes it a relative rarity in Samsung's SUHD range, yet for many AV fans flat remains very much where it's at.

Finally, for a TV that offers so many cutting edge features and so much 'next-generation' potential, the UE49KS8000's £1300 price tag looks like it could represent great value. Provided the TV lives up to its on-paper promise, of course.

Design

Samsung has sensibly stepped away from the aggressively stylised but chunky look of many of its 2015 TVs in favour of the sort of slimmer, more minimalist looks that have served it so well in years gone by.

The narrowness of the screen frame is echoed by a slender rear that stands in stark and, for me, welcome contrast to the quite chunky depth created by Samsung's curved TVs. In fact, with its 1094 x 636 x 43mm (W x H x D) dimensions, the UE49KS8000 lends itself much more naturally to wall hanging than any of Samsung's curved models.

Samsung UE49KS8000

The addition of a gleaming metallic trim to the outer edge of the UE49KS8000's screen frame gives the set a really high-end feel that's sealed by a nifty curved single-bar foot mount finished in polished aluminium.

I did notice while setting the TV up that its build quality isn't as imposing as that of Samsung's more expensive 2016 TVs. There's a rather plasticky feel to the non-metal bits. Still, most normal people don't stroke their TV once it's installed, and from a typical viewing distance the set certainly looks reassuringly expensive.

The UE49KS8000's connectivity is strong too, thanks to its highlights of four HDMIs, three USBs, and the usual choice of either wired or Wi-Fi network connectivity. The only major connection disappointment is the lack of a normal headphone port; the only way to use headphones with this TV is via Bluetooth.

Screen sizes available: 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch | Tuner: Freeview HD | 4K: Yes | HDR: Yes (HDR10) | Panel technology: LCD with edge LED lighting | Smart TV: Yes, Tizen | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1094 x 636 x 43mm (W x H x D) | 3D: No | Inputs: Four HDMIs, three USBs, optical digital audio output, Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, Tuner input

Design TL;DR: The UE49KS8000 is one of the prettiest TVs around this year - so long as you're not bothered by the fact that it isn't curved.

Smart TV – Tizen

Samsung's latest Tizen-based Smart TVs make it much easier than their predecessors did to get quickly to interesting or favourite content.

Calling up the home screen still initially presents you with the same single row of icons along the bottom of your screen you got with 2015's Samsung smart TVs, showing your most recently used and favourite apps. Highlight one of the icons, though, and you'll now see a secondary contextual 'deck' of icons appear above the main one that changes depending on the icon you've selected from the lower deck.

There's really no overstating how much slicker this simple change makes the process of navigating through all the UE49KS8000's myriad content options.

Samsung UE49KS8000

Your less-used downloaded apps and Samsung's online app 'store' can be accessed via a simple selectable box on the left of the home screen, and you can easily customise the home screen to ensure it always contains your favourite apps.

Available apps are headlined by 4K and HDR versions of Amazon and Netflix; YouTube; Playstation Now; the BBC iPlayer; and the ITV Hub. At the time of writing neither the All4 or My5 catch up services were available, though, making me wish Samsung would join the other main UK TV brands in offering a third-party 'catch up' solution such as Freetime, Freeview Play or YouView.

Smart TV TL;DR: Samsung's 2nd-gen Tizen interface is a considerable improvement on 2015's build - though it would be helpful if Samsung provided a more comprehensive catch-up TV solution.

HD/SDR Performance

With the standard dynamic range content that still occupies the majority of our viewing time, the UE49KS8000 is an exceptional performer for its money.

At the heart of its SDR thrills is a superb black level response by edge-lit LCD TV standards. Dark scenes benefit from black colours that actually look black - especially if you use the local dimming system that lets different segments of the TV's edge-mounted LEDs deliver different amounts of light to suit the image content.

Samsung UE49KS8000

What's more, in SDR mode this localised LED control expands the TV's contrast range while suffering hardly any unwanted light pollution around bright objects, even when those bright objects appear against near-black backdrops. This is a very rare accomplishment in the edge LED world.

Having such deep blacks to play off also helps the UE49KS8000's SDR colours look impressively vivid and accurate.

It's important to stress, too, that the excellent black levels aren't achieved at the expense of shadow detailing. In fact, dark scenes contain so much subtle detailing and colour information that they enjoy a sense of depth that's pretty much on a par with bright scenes, making for a much more consistent viewing experience than you commonly get with edge LED TVs.

The vividness of the UE49KS8000's colours, meanwhile, is joined by some gorgeously subtle colour toning, which helps to emphasise the clarity of what can fairly be described as one of the sharpest, most detailed UHD images I've seen in 2016.

Samsung UE49KS8000

While the UE49KS8000 is inevitably at its best with native UHD sources, it's certainly no slouch at upscaling HD sources. Blu-rays and HD broadcasts enjoy a clear boost in sharpness while simultaneously having the vast majority of any source noise they may have contained magically removed.

The only word of caution here is that you shouldn't set the TV's sharpness higher than around 25 with upscaled HD, otherwise areas of fine detail or very defined edges can start to 'glow' quite distractingly.

HD/SDR Performance TL;DR: I can't think of another TV at the UE49KS8000's price point that's capable of delivering a better picture with HD and SDR sources.

4K/HDR Performance

While the UE49KS8000 is a great SDR performer, it's with HDR that it most makes its mark against the competition.

The first point to make about the UE49KS8000's HDR performance is that it's the proud owner of an Ultra HD Premium badge. This means that its UHD screen is capable of delivering the 1000-nit peak brightness, 0.05 nit black levels and 90%+ of the cinema world's DCI-P3 colour spectrum requirements defined by the AV industry's Ultra HD Alliance as being key to a 'proper' HDR experience.

These specifications translate on the UE49KS8000 into superbly bold, dynamic HDR pictures that get much closer to unlocking the format's full potential than any other sub-£1500 TV.

Particularly effective is the way the UE49KS8000 can hit brightness peaks above the 1000 nit level used in the mastering of a healthy chunk of the current HDR sources out there. As well as instantly 'selling' the impact of HDR versus SDR, this brightness helps Samsung's TV resolve subtle tonal detailing in the brightest areas that tends to 'flare out' on less bright TVs.

It should be said that the UE49KS8000 can't hold on to its highest brightness levels for more than a few seconds, whereas Panasonic's HDR TVs are able to maintain their (lower) peak brightness levels for much longer. However, there isn't currently much 'real world' content out there that requires a TV to hold on to large areas of extreme brightness for a length of time that should cause the UE49KS8000 problems.

The UE49KS8000 also does a stellar job of delivering the wide colour ranges that are part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray HDR experience. Whether it's the insanely red trees at the start of Star Trek: Into Darkness or the lush animated tones of The Peanuts Movie, wide colour gamut content always looks fantastically punchy and dynamic. The richness of the colours holds up during dark scenes better than usual with LCD TVs too.

Samsung UE49KS8000

The UE49KS8000 isn't only good at showing off the most dynamic aspects of HDR and wide colour gamut sources, though. It's also got enough finesse in its HDR toning to handle less explosive image areas like skin and cloudy skies with real sensitivity and naturalism.

As noted when watching standard dynamic range content, the huge range of colour tones available to the UE49KS8000 in HDR mode joins forces with the native UHD resolution to deliver superbly detailed images.

The only detractor from the KS8000's mostly stellar clarity is some fairly pronounced motion judder when showing 4K content. You can tackle this with the TV's motion processing, but since the judder is quite severe the motion processing has to work harder than it ideally would, thus causing a few distracting digital side effects.

I should point out, too, that the UE49KS8000's 49-inch screen doesn't deliver as much impact from its native UHD resolution as bigger screens would - though you can still see some difference from a fairly typical viewing distance.

The UE49KS8000's biggest picture 4K/HDR flaw involves its backlight. HDR's much more extreme brightness range means that sometimes when the TV is required to show a bright HDR image against a dark HDR background you can clearly see vertical bands of light running down the image, as the edge LED lighting system tries to get sufficient light to the bright object.

Whenever this happens you're aware that you're watching the TV's technology at work, reducing your sense of immersion in the onscreen action.

Samsung UE49KS8000

The problem disappears if you turn off the local dimming, but I wouldn't recommend this as it reduces both the excellent black level performance and the intensity of HDR's brightness peaks.

To be fair, the light bar issue is not very aggressive so long as you stick with the low setting of the local dimming system. The problem is much less noticeable, too, if the room you're watching TV in is quite bright, and it's also true that you only see the offending light bars during quite dark HDR scenes.

If you're the sort of person who likes to dim the lights for serious film-viewing sessions from time to time, though, will certainly see the light banding at least a few times during pretty much any film.

4K/HDR Performance TL;DR: Despite being smaller than I usually like my UHD TVs, the UE49KS8000 delivers the most spectacular HDR UHD images I've seen at its price point.

Sound

Despite its enviably trim bodywork, the UE49KS8000 produces a pretty potent audio performance. It can hit movie-friendly volume levels without the speakers distorting or dropping out, and packs its treble range with plenty of subtle detailing and effect placement. Voices sound clear and authentic, the soundstage spreads beyond the physical confines of the TV's chassis without becoming incoherent, and the speakers open up to accommodate action movie sequences without starting to sound brittle and thin.

In a perfect world there'd be more bass to flesh out explosions, gun fire and the like. But perfect sound and very thin TVs seldom go together, and by the standards of thin TVs generally the UE49KS8000's audio is well above average.

Sound quality TL;DR: The UE49KS8000 sounds much more powerful and detailed than its skinny chassis would lead you to expect.

Other panels to ponder

There aren't any other TVs at the UE49KS8000's price point that can match the dynamics of its HDR performance. The Panasonic TX-58DX750, though, gives you a more subdued but still impressive all-round 4K HDR picture in a much bigger 58-inch screen for just £1,149.

If you'd like one of Samsung's curved TVs rather than the UE49KS8000's flat screen, I'd recommend finding a couple of hundred pounds more for the bigger 55-inch UE55KS7500.

One final alternative would be the Panasonic TX-DX802 series. These 4K HDR TVs are widely available for under £1,100, and stand out from the crowd thanks to its external sound bar audio system and a unique design which sees its 50-inch screen hanging between two easel-style legs. The 50DX802's picture and sound quality are both strong, though it doesn't deliver quite such extreme HDR images as the UE49KS8000 and also joins Samsung's set in exhibiting a few backlight issues.

Verdict

The UE49KS8000 is a class act for its money. It sets the right tone as soon as you get it out of the box with a trim, glamorous design, and swiftly builds on that with its killer combi of a Tizen-driven smart TV system, a native UHD resolution and high dynamic range playback.

It's even managed to secure the AV industry's Ultra HD Premium seal of approval, meaning it hits the contrast, colour, resolution and brightness specifications recommended for a full-blooded HDR experience.

Its pictures deliver on this HDR potential with levels of brightness and colour you just don't get anywhere else for the same sort of money - though it's a star with standard dynamic range footage too.

There is a price to pay for such dynamic pictures in the appearance of some backlight clouding flaws during dark HDR scenes, but in the end the pros far outweigh the cons.

Review: Nikon D3400

Review: Nikon D3400

Introduction and key features

Ever since its popular D40 model back in 2006, Nikon has done well to dismantle the idea of a DSLR needing to be a large, cumbersome machine. Of course, since then the company has released many even more compact mirrorless 1-series cameras aimed at a junior audience, although it's maintained its footing in the entry-level DSLR sector with a slew of compact and easy-to-use alternatives for those after something more traditional.

For a number of years, Nikon has chosen to split these into two camps. The D5xxx series has presented an approachable but reasonably powerful solution for those wanting to get going with DSLR photography, but have a little extra growing space as they become more confident, while the D3xxx series has adhered to a no-frills template, one that prioritises small size, light weight and a simple design, all the while maintaining the benefits of an interchangable-lens system.

The D3400 is Nikon's latest contribution to the latter series, and a follow-up to the D3300. Not only has the company managed to shave a little of the D3300's weight off the body for this new iteration, but it's also boosted its battery life and improved a number of features to make it a mightier proposition for the novice user. It's also launched the camera alongside a redesigned kit lens, one that sports a retractable inner barrel and a more streamlined design that eschews the focusing and Vibration Reduction switches we're used to seeing.

But, after so many warmly received models and a raft of fine competitors in both DSLR and mirrorless categories, does the D3400 have enough going for it to make it worth the beginner's attention?

Features

  • APS-C CMOS sensor, 24.2MP
  • 3.0-inch screen, 921,000 dots
  • 1080p video capture

As is the case with every entry-level DSLR, the D3400 has been furnished with an APS-C sized sensor, which is believed to be the same as the one inside the D3300. Its 24.2MP pixel count is very respectable – certainly we wouldn't expect this to be any higher at this level – and this is heightened by the lack of an optical low-pass filter, which should help it to capture better detail than would otherwise be the case.

This works over a reasonably wide sensitivity range of ISO100-25,600, which represents a one-stop expansion over the native ISO12,800 range of its D3300 predecessor. Once again it's paired with Nikon's Expeed 4 processing engine, which, among other things, allows for 5fps burst shooting and Full HD video recording up to an impressive 60p. Nikon's familiar Picture Controls are also on hand, although for those wanting their images and videos processed into more distinct styles immediately, Effects such as Super Vivid, Illustration and Toy Camera are also accessible through the mode dial.

Nikon D3400 side

The camera's 11-point AF system features a single cross-type point in the centre of its array, with a maximum sensitivity down to -1EV. You can set the system to focus continuously on a subject, including with Nikon's 3D tracking technology, and the camera can also continue to autofocus in live view and when recording videos. Manual focus is also possible, selectable through the menu and performed with a ring at the very front of the camera's kit lens.

Not that they're not bettered elsewhere, but the specs of both the viewfinder and LCD are in keeping with what we expect at this level. The viewfinder is based on a pentamirror construction and shows approximately 95% of the scene, while the LCD measures 3in in size and has a respectable resolution of 921k dots.

Nikond D3400

Wi-Fi hasn't been included inside the body, although wireless image transmission is still possible through the SnapBridge feature. First incorporated inside the D500 earlier in the year, this uses always-on Bluetooth Low Energy to deliver images straight to smart devices, either as they are captured or afterwards. It's not possible to control the camera's shooting settings remotely in any way, although this is not too great an omission on such a model.

To help the first-time user understand their camera better, Nikon has once again implemented its Guide mode feature. This provides an alternative to the main menus and helps the user quickly capture specific types of images. There's also the familiar '?' button that can be called upon to explain camera functions.

Nikon though has made a few omissions from the D3300. Gone is the microphone port around the camera's side, which means that you're restricted to the built in monaural microphones, although this is not a critical loss when you consider that it's aimed at beginner users. The flash has become weaker too, its guide number dropping from GN 12m at ISO 100 to just 7m here. Perhaps most importantly, built-in sensor-cleaning technology has also failed to make the cut, which means you have to use a more tedious process that requires you to take a reference photo before processing it with the included Capture NX D software, or raise the mirror and physically clean it with a swab or blower.

The core specs – notably the sensor, AF system and video specs – compare well with the camera's chief rival, the Canon EOS 1300D, although these and others are essentially unchanged from the D3300. Some may lament the lack of built-in Wi-Fi, however, as well as a touchscreen.

Build, handling and AF

Build and handling

  • Polycarbonate construction
  • Design little changed from D3300
  • 650g

The D3400 is designed to be small and lightweight, but Nikon has ensured there is enough grip to get hold of the camera and space on the rear for the thumb to rest without knocking into any controls. At just 650g with its battery, memory card and kit lens in place the model is one of the lightest DSLR combinations around, around 40g lighter than the Canon EOS 1300D and its own 18-55mm kit lens and around 200g lighter than the Pentax K-50 and lens.

Naturally, such a small and light body does have its downsides. Mounting anything but Nikon's smallest and lightest lenses makes for an imbalanced partnership, for example, and it's easy to get your nose in the way of the menu selector pad on the rear which can make adjusting the focusing point tricky. The camera also lacks the build quality of its D5xxx siblings, which is to be expected given its lower billing, but harder to swallow given that they currently reside in a very similar price bracket.

Nikon D3400 top

Still, there are many positives elsewhere. A soft rubber around the grip improves the model's feel in the hand, and this is complemented with the same finish on the thumb rest. The mode dial is easy to grip and rotate, and while buttons are somewhat flat and lack much travel they are reasonably sized and well marked. The customisable Fn button to the side of the lens mount is very welcome, particularly in the absence of a direct control for ISO, although this can be assigned three alternative functions. Also nice to find is a dedicated drive mode button, which you'll no doubt find useful if you tend to call upon burst-shooting and self-timer options with any frequency.

Autofocus

  • 11-point AF, 1 cross-type AF point
  • AF-assist illuminator
  • 3D-tracking AF

In line with many other APS-C based rivals, the camera's 11-point Multi CAM 1000 AF system covers a healthy proportion of the frame, the points arranged in a diamond-like formation. This is essentially unchanged from previous models, although the new AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens has been engineered to provide fast and quiet focus.

It is indeed very quiet, with just a slight burr as it works, and something that's easily masked by most ambient noise. Overall speed is also very good, with the system bringing subjects to focus as promptly as expected when shooting in good light. Naturally this slows in poorer light, although the AF assist lamp is relatively bright and readily springs into play.

Although only the central AF point is cross type for enhanced sensitivity, the points immediately above and below it also prove to be more sensitive than the other surrounding points. I found this triplet could focus on very low-contrast subjects where the other eight could not.

When set to track a moving subject the system is capable of keeping up as a subject moves around the scene, although as points are positioned much further apart from each other than on cameras with a more densely packed array, it can often lose subjects if they don't occupy enough of the frame to begin with.

Nikon D3400 image quality

There's a slight focusing slowdown in live view, although a comparison with a similarly-sized Nikkor lens with an SWM motor shows the newer AF-P version to be both faster and quieter. In good light it still manages to find the subject without too much hesitation, although during this review there were occasions in poorer light where the system could not find focus at all. Still, for studio and other tripod-based shooting, this is completely usable.

Performance and image quality

Performance

  • 5fps burst shooting
  • SnapBridge connectivity
  • 1200 shot battery life

The camera's metering system can be alternated between multi, centre-weighted and spot options, and on its default multi setting it behaves with a pleasing predictability. We were pleased to see it didn't tend to overexpose when faced with a predominantly dark subject, although, as is the case with many DSLRs, it does appear to lean slightly towards underexposure when faced with brighter areas. Still, with a dedicated exposure compensation button on the top plate that works in conjunction with the rear command dial, any intervention here is fast and straightforward.

D3400

The camera's Auto White Balance performance is similarly very good, with just a handful of slips during the course of this review. It did better than expected under artificial lighting, with just a little warmth taken away from some scenes, although performance under the traditionally difficult mixed natural/artificial conditions remained commendable.

With a fast memory card in place and the camera set to its 5fps burst mode, the D3400 manages anywhere between 13 and 28 JPEGs captured at their finest setting before it begins to slowdown. Set to capture Raw images this decreases to eight frames and raw and JPEGs captured simultaneously reduces this to six. The D3400 is unlikely to be anyone's first choice for action photography and so this performance is likely to be deemed adequate, although those wanting to capture prolonged bursts may find it tricky to do so when shooting raw files.

The camera's viewfinder doesn't throw any particularly surprises, with a pleasingly clear, colour-accurate and reasonably bright rendition of the scene. The LCD screen beneath it is fixed in place and not sensitive to touch, but these are not features we should expect as standard on an entry-level DSLR (even if a handful of rivals do offer one or the other, or both). The key thing is that it can reproduce the scene faithfully and show details clearly, and with 921k dots it does a good job to do both in balanced conditions and indoors. One thing that may cause concern is that the screen appears to be positioned far back behind its protective panel, something that easily causes reflections and compromises visibility in brighter conditions.

Nikon D3400

Wireless image transfer takes place over the camera's Bluetooth-running SnapBridge system, for which you need Nikon's dedicated app of the same name. This has not been well received since it introduction earlier in the year, and it was not possible to establish a connection when paired with an iPhone 6 for the duration of this test, despite both devices recognising each other.

The Vibration Reduction system inside the AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is activated through the menu system rather than a switch on its barrel as is traditionally the case, although there appeared to be no difference in its performance next to other VR lenses with the same claims of effectiveness. The system has a clear effect on the stability of the viewfinder image (which helps with composition) and analysing images afterwards showed to have a positive effect on sharpness at lower shutter speeds.

It doesn't come as too great a surprise that the camera doesn't quite stretch to recording 4K video, offering Full HD instead, although good results are possible. Manual control over exposure may be enabled and while a little rolling shutter is visible in certain scenes, this is only really an issue if you pan the camera at speed. The kit lens appears to focus smoothly and very quietly (if a little slowly) while recording, although results appear somewhat weaker at the wide end than at the 55mm setting, so an alternative lens may be called for for wider compositions.

One feature that deserves high praise is the 1200-shot battery life. Having initially charged it fully, the camera maintained a full three bars after two days of being tested. Battery life is an issue for many compact system cameras, whose small batteries often have to power both LCD screen and electronic viewfinders, although the D3400's battery is far juicier than most other DSLR batteries too (certainly in this class). This places the D3400 at a huge advantage over other models.

Nikon has also included in-camera Raw processing among the D3400's features, a feature offered in previous D3xxx models but typically confined to more advanced cameras elsewhere. This allows for quick editing and multiple versions of the same image to be created without recourse to a computer, and you can view changes as you make them before committing. Whether or not the intended audience will use this is another matter, but it's a genuinely useful feature that's pleasing to see on board.

One small annoyance is that Nikon has maintained the same 'this option is not available at the current settings or in the camera's current state' error message from previous models. This is particularly unhelpful when faced with unselectable options as it doesn't explain exactly why they cannot be chosen, and it may cause the first-time user to have to check their manual more often than should be necessary.

Image quality

  • ISO100-25,600
  • No low-pass filter
  • Picture Control image effects

With no low-pass filter in front of its sensor, it's possible to record a very good level of detail in images, particularly if you use a high-quality prime lens, a macro optic or one of Nikon's pro-oriented zooms. One thing that lets down image quality is the standard of the 18-55mm VR kit lens, particularly at the wideangle and telephoto extremes.

D3400 image quality

At wider apertures images are somewhat soft, particularly in corners and at the edges of the frame, although when used in an intermediate focal length it's possible get some very good sharpness in the centre of the frame. As with many similar kit lenses, lateral chromatic aberration and curvilinear distortion can be visible in Raw files, although both are successfully and automatically dealt with in JPEGs.

D3400 image quality

One thing those processing images will appreciate is the camera's healthy dynamic range. I found images underexposed by up to around 3-3.5EV stops could still be rectified (depending on ISO) without noise becoming an issue – at least not one that can't be dealt with by way of careful noise reduction.

The camera's slight tendency towards underexposure when dealing with bright areas also means that more highlight detail is retained than would otherwise be the case, although these areas can be tamed in post-production too. Against high-contrast edges it's also easy to spot purple fringing, and this remains in JPEGs, so this is one area of attention for raw post-production.

In the kinds of conditions in which high ISOs would be called upon, images captured up until around 800 range are still well coloured and troubled to no great degree by noise, although it becomes harder to process this out from images captured after this point. It's a shame there is no control over high-ISO noise reduction past on and off, as some may prefer to adjust this in finer increments. Fortunately, the effective VR system inside the kit lens means you shouldn't immediately need to call upon higher options as light levels fall.

D3400 image quality

Nikon's Picture Control options provide a sensible array of color options, and it's great to see the Flat option that first came along in the much more advanced D810. This can be used when recording videos, as a means of providing a better starting point for grading. Otherwise, the Standard mode is suitable for everyday shooting, neither saturating colors unnaturally nor leaving them lacklustre. The Vivid mode is a lovely choice for flowers and foliage, and gives colours just the right pep, although all can be adjusted fairly comprehensively with regards to contrast, saturation, brightness and so on.

Verdict and competition

Verdict

Viewed in isolation, the Nikon D3400 is a fine performer and more than enough camera for most people just getting started with DSLR photography. Its body is small and light and its specs, while very similar to its predecessor's, are perfectly decent for a model of its class. Image and video quality is more than satisfactory too, and with the further benefit of in-camera raw processing, you can also polish up your creations quickly and easily for immediate use.

As a Nikon DSLR, its compatibility with decades worth of top-quality Nikkor glass is another major advantage. Furthermore, the benefit of its optical low-pass-filter-free sensor means that you can get the best out of these optics.

Nikon D3400

The advantage of the 1200-shot battery shouldn't be overlooked too, and means that it's much more likely to be taken to a festival, on holiday or elsewhere where you may not always have easy access to a power supply. Yet, the fact that its mammoth battery life is it's only real USP means that it struggles to stand out in a sea of also-credible alternatives.

After all, those with £500/$650 or so to spend have an overwhelming number of options across mirrorless and DSLR categories, while many mirrorless models manage to not only better the D3400 for size and weight, but also arrive with more flexible touchscreen LCDs and far better connectivity options. Particularly when you consider the D3400's likely audience is smartphone users, the lack of a touchscreen and a reliable connectivity seems are a real pity.

Competition

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300

No longer Nikon's latest and greatest entry-level DSLR, but almost

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3.2-inch articulating, 1,037,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080p

The D5300 may have been updated by the D5500, although its impressive spec sheet, ongoing availability and similar price point makes it well worth considering. Currently, for only around £50 more, you get a host of superior tech inside a better-built body, including a 39-point AF system, Wi-Fi, GPS and a larger, higher-resolution articulating LCD screen. Once the D3400 starts to drop in price it may well represent better value, but for now, the D5300 easily has greater appeal.

Read the full review: Nikon D5300

Canon EOS 1300D

Canon EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D

Great camera that replaces the EOS 1200D

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 18MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 920,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 3fps | Movies: 1080p

On paper the EOS 1300D isn't quite as well specified as the D3400, with an 18MP sensor, 9-point AF system, more restricted ISO range and a battery that has nowhere near as much juice per charge, although it does offer Wi-Fi which the D3400 does not. It's main advantage, however, is price: having been launched at a lower RRP and with a six-month headstart, you can currently find it quite a bit cheaper. If you can find the even more compact EOS Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D, it's also well worth adding to your shortlist.

Read the full review: Canon EOS Rebel T6 /Canon EOS 1300D

Pentax K-50

Pentax K-50

Great camera that replaces the EOS 1200D

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 16.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 6fps | Movies: 1080p

Pentax may not have the market share of Canon or Nikon, but don't let that sway you into overlooking the K-50. For less money than the D3400 you get a plethora of extras, such as a pentaprism (not pentamirror) viewfinder with approx. 100% coverage, together with a faster 6fps burst rate, higher maximum sensitivity of ISO51,200 and a top shutter speed of 1/6000sec, all inside a weather-resistant body.

Read the full review: Pentax K-50

Samsung Galaxy A8 2016 Smartphone announced with 5.7” Display & Fingerprint sensor

samsung-galaxy-a8-2016

After all the rumors, Galaxy A8 2016 has been announced after the earlier leaks. This device will be the successor of the Galaxy A8 that was launched last year. This device will come with 7.2mm thick frame and more over the South Korean giant has also added a fingerprint sensor to enhance the security levels.

Unlike the earlier leaks, this A8 2016 will come with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display instead of 5.1-inch and will be sporting an FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels). To power the device there is an Octa-Core 64-bit, 14nm Exynos 7420 processor coupled with Mali T760 GPU and 3GB RAM.

The Galaxy A8 will come out of the box with Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system out of the box and will come with 32GB of internal memory that can be further extended up to a maximum of 256GB via microSD card. On the camera front, there is a 16MP camera which is accompanied with 8MP camera on the front. The rear camera is accompanied with LED flash and comes with f/1.9 aperture.

On the back, there is a 3300 mAh battery and supports 4G LTE connectivity. The other connectivity options include Bluetooth v4.2 LE, GPS, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and GLONASS. The device will come I Blue, Grey, and Pink color variants and is priced at $588 (649,000 won / Rs. 39,240) in Korea. The Galaxy A8 2016 will be available for pre-order from SK Telecom from 1st of October. The handset will be competing against few flagship devices from LG, OnePlus, Oppo, Sony and other major smartphone makers.

Earlier: Samsung Galaxy A8 2016 with Exynos 7420 SoC & 64GB Storage Listed on Antutu

The first look of the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2016) was leaker earleir that shows the speaker placement on the side edge. Now Anutu has posted few important specifications of the Galaxy A8 (2016) that comes with the model number SM-A810F. While the screen size is not mentioned, the Geekbench listing mentioned the device to feature 5.1-inch display with Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. It will be running on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the TouchWiz UI on top. While the Android 7.0 Nougat is already released, the compnay might later update the device to the latest Android.

Under the hood, the Galaxy A8 2016 is powered by Exynos 7870 octa-core processor coupled with Mali-T760 GPU. It also packs 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. We also expect the device to feature MicroSD card slot for storage expansion. On the camera front, the device comes with just an 8MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera. Talking about the Geekbench listing, it showed the device to come with just 32GB of storage and sport 16MP rear camera.

galaxy-a8-2016-anutu

 

Earlier: Sep 12, 2016 – The Samsung Galaxy A8 2016 was earlier spotted on GFXBench with a 5.1-inch display and 3GB RAM, and now the famous leakster – OnLeaks has revealed that Galaxy A8 2016 will be launched in the final quarter of 2016 and will also come with relocated speaker grill as we have seen in the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime.

The tweet also revealed that this new Galaxy A8 2016 will be like a larger Galaxy S7, measuring 156 .5 x 77.5 x 7.3mm. This device will be the successor of the Galaxy A8 that was launched a year ago and the South Korean giant is known for launching the devices with the same name every year.

We already have the specifications list when it was spotted on GFXBench. If you are now aware of it, then let me take you through them once again. This handset from Samsung will come with a 5.1-inch FHD display on and is powered by a 2.1 GHz Exynos 7429 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM and Mali-T760 GPU. Out of the box, the device will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, and we can expect the further updates.

There is a 16 MP shooter on the rear coupled with a 5 MP camera on the rear. The device will come with 32GB of onboard memory, and nothing was mentioned about the battery. We are not sure when exactly the device will be launched, but it is sure to get unveiled in the last quarter. Stay tuned for more news and other information.

Earlier: Samsung launched the Galaxy A8 last year around the same time, by the end of July. So as every year, the company is all set to refresh the previously launched device for the upcoming year. On the same lines, the company is now expected to launch the new version of the previously launched Galaxy A8. The galaxy A8 (2016) has been spotted online.

This new device has been spotted on the GFXBench website, where it has been benchmarked recently. Taking a look at the benchmark, it appears that the device features a 5.1-inch FHD display on the front. The device is powered by a 2.1 GHz Exynos 7429 processor and it comes packed with a 3GB of RAM. In terms of storage we are looking at a 32GB of internal storage option.

Talking about the camera, the Galaxy A8 sports a 16-megapixel rear facing camera and a 5-megapixel front facing selfie shooter. The device will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. This are all the details that we have as of now from the GFXBench website. But as per previous records, the company is not expected to make much changes here, since they have maintained overall a similar design throughout the A series.

 

The Galaxy A8 launched earlier is one of the most feature packed devices launched by the company. The Galaxy A8 launched earlier had a 5.7-inch display, which is rather bigger than the Galaxy A8 (2016) spotted now. In terms of specs, it sports a Snapdragon 615 chipset with quad-core CPU. It packed a 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage out of the box. We had the same camera last year as well which is 16-megapixel and a 5-megapixel for rear and the front respectively. You can check out our full written review of Galaxy A8 for more details. Stay tuned for more info as we don’t have any info on the availability or the pricing of the device as of now.

Review: Updated: Google Apps for Work (G Suite) 2016 review

Review: Updated: Google Apps for Work (G Suite) 2016 review

Latest news

[Editor's Note: What immediately follows is a rundown of the latest developments and features Google has added to Apps for Work (G Suite) since this review was first written.]

September 2016

  • Google has renamed Apps for Work as G Suite, which the company says better reflects the software's mission in terms of putting the emphasis on real-time collaboration.
  • Docs, Sheets and Slides witnessed the introduction of a new Explore feature consisting of intelligent assistants that help you craft better documents.
  • A new Quick Access capability was brought to Google Drive. It uses machine learning to automatically surface files it thinks you'll need next based on your usage patterns.
  • Google rolled out a new offer for users of its productivity suite, with a free 60-day trial of Chrome device management which is good for up to 10 devices.
  • Google Drive made searching easier with the introduction of natural language processing, meaning that you can phrase your search in everyday conversational terms.
  • Google announced a partnership with Box whereby the latter will be integrated with Google Docs, allowing users to edit documents directly from Box's cloud storage.

August 2016

  • A new Google Hangouts Chrome extension was pushed out allowing for multiple chat windows to be incorporated into one, and making more chat content readily visible.
  • Google introduced a 'Cast…' function in the main menu of Chrome, and this can be used to share the contents of a browser tab – or the whole desktop – into a Hangout session.
  • Forms received a new feature which allows the insertion of images into surveys, so you can now do things like have a multiple choice question with pictures for answers.
  • The Android apps for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides were improved to make it easier to create tables and better looking charts.
  • A couple of security tweaks were applied to Gmail, the most important of which is that the webmail service will now issue a warning about a link if it leads to a known malware site.
  • Inbox got integration with Trello and GitHub, so Trello users will receive a summary of what's new with projects, and GitHub denizens will get a summary of code changes.
  • Google Drive's preview feature was improved to make viewing previews of stored files a slicker experience, with a cleaner UI and better zoom functionality.

July 2016

  • Google introduced a new scheme to help train employees on its productivity suite, with the system designed to act like a 'virtual coach' to help users learn when IT staff aren't around.
  • Google tweaked the Admin app for Android to let delegated admins (and not just super admins) use the software to access functions while out and about.
  • Google gave the Admin console some attention in terms of two-step verification, allowing admins to view the real-time status of where each user is in the 2SV enrolment process.
  • Apps for Work is apparently being muscled out by Microsoft's Office 365, at least if sentiment from Redmond's Worldwide Partner Conference is on the money.
  • Google launched the new Quizzes feature in the Forms app, designed to allow teachers to easily create and mark assessments for students.

June 2016

  • Google Springboard was announced, a search tool (currently being tested) that can be used to quickly find things across Google Apps, plus it makes proactive recommendations.
  • Google Sites got revamped with a new preview version boasting a simple drag-and-drop design which is more intuitive, and support for real-time collaboration was introduced.
  • A 'new and notable' section was introduced to the Google Apps Marketplace, in order to highlight the best third-party apps available to businesses.
  • The Android and iOS apps for Google Docs and Sheets gained the ability to edit content in Print layout view, and to edit existing conditional formatting rules in Sheets.
  • Google tweaked Docs, Sheets and Slides so notifications of comments made not only arrive via email, but you can also get a notification on your Android device or web browser.

May 2016

  • Google announced its new Spaces messaging app designed for small groups – but there's no news as yet on when (or indeed whether) it will come to Apps for Work.
  • At Google I/O new APIs were introduced for Sheets, giving developers a "new level of access" to some of the most popular features in the app.
  • New APIs were also brought to Slides allowing developers to easily push data from other third-party apps into Slides for maximum convenience.
  • Google revealed that Android apps will be available for Chromebooks, and this opens up more productivity possibilities including using the Android version of Microsoft Word.
  • Google integrated its BigQuery service with Google Drive, allowing users to query files directly from Drive, and save query results from the BigQuery UI directly to Google Sheets.
  • Google Slides benefited from a new Q&A feature that lets audience members submit questions to the speaker directly from their mobile devices during a presentation.
  • The Synergyse service was fully integrated with Google Apps, a virtual assistant that helps train users in the various apps and was previously a Chrome extension.
  • Google Drive and Evernote were integrated, allowing Evernote users to seamlessly access any file on Drive.

April 2016

  • Google Apps for Work received two new certifications: ISO 27017 for cloud security and ISO 27018 for privacy.
  • A new 'Find a Time' feature arrived in Google Calendar for Android, allowing mobile users to find convenient times for meetings when they're on the go.
  • Google's scheme of providing Apps for free to medium-sized firms who want to migrate over but are locked into an Enterprise Agreement was extended until the end of 2016.
  • Reminders pitched up in the web version of Google Calendar, and said reminders will sync across browsers and mobile devices.

March 2016

  • The Google Admin app received bolstered mobile device management capabilities, allowing for admins to handle security breaches even when they're out and about.
  • Research into the most-used business apps on the web ranked Google Apps for Work in fourth place – behind Office 365, Salesforce.com and Box.
  • Google launched its #maketime website, which aims to help you prioritise how you spend time during work hours, and highlight how Google Apps for Work can save you time.
  • Google expanded support for its Identity Platform to cover logins for far more third-party apps in the Google Apps Marketplace, including Office 365 and Facebook at Work.
  • A whole bunch of new templates were added to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

February 2016

  • Gmail's existing Data Loss Prevention features got a boost with the addition of OCR for scanning attachments and additional predefined content detectors.
  • Google also gave Gmail the ability to flag email accounts that it deems 'insecure'.
  • Google Docs was enhanced with voice typing, allowing users to dictate to their word processor, and also access editing and formatting commands.
  • Google Forms gained support for add-ons and the ability to edit Apps Scripts, plus work and education-related templates were introduced to the home screen.
  • The Gmail for Android app received support for rich text formatting, and an option for one-tap instant RSVPs was introduced.

January 2016

  • Instant comments were introduced to Google Docs, allowing users to click a simple icon to add an immediate comment to a document.
  • The ability to add comments arrived in the Sheets and Slides apps for both Android and iOS.
  • Google further bolstered the Sheets Android app with the ability to open and edit CSV and TSV files, along with additional files supported for import and export.
  • Google Calendar for Android and iOS apps was graced with smart suggestions that pop up suggested event titles, places and people.
  • Search became more powerful across Google's productivity suite, so when users search from Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens, they get results from across all three apps.
  • Google rejigged device management in the Admin console, categorising the various settings to make everything easier to find.

Now move on to Page 2 for our full review and detailed look at what Google Apps for Work offers, including an evaluation of features, pricing, and ease-of-use.

Darren Allan contributed to this article

Introduction and pricing

For decades, the gold standard of office productivity software has been Microsoft Office – it inherited IBM's status as the technology nobody got fired for buying. But while Office is undoubtedly powerful, many of its users don't use many of its features. So why pay for things your organisation doesn't use?

That's the rationale behind Google Apps for Work, or G Suite as it is now known. Where Office tries to do everything imaginable, Google's suite is much more basic. That said, it's much more powerful than it was when the package debuted in 2006, but the emphasis on simplicity and speed remains.

Apps and pricing

Google Apps for Work (G Suite) is organised into four categories spanning eleven products. Under Communicate you'll find Gmail, Hangouts and Calendar; under Store there's Google Drive; under Collaborate there's Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides and Sites; and under Manage there's Admin and Vault. That final one is designed to archive corporate email in organisations that have to retain data for regulatory compliance.

And as ever, the pricing is refreshingly simple. The base product is £3.30 ($5.66) per user per month, and the Premium version is £6.60 ($11.32) per user per month. If your organisation is an educational establishment, Google also has a version for you: Google Apps for Education is free.

While we're on the subject of free apps, you can of course get Gmail, Docs, Sheets and other Google apps for free – so why spend money? The short answer is that the paid-for version gives you more storage, management, and the ability to use your own domain – so emails come from @yourcompany.com instead of @gmail.com.

Users on the base version of G Suite get 30GB of storage, which is twice the amount of the free products, and users on the Premium version get unlimited storage, while you also get improved admin controls and the Vault email archive. Both the base and premium versions come with HD videoconferencing via Hangouts and 24/7 phone, chat and email support.

Slides

How does it compare to Office?

Google's main rival here is of course Microsoft, and Redmond's Office 365 comes with a number of price tags attached depending on which version you want and how many users you're planning on giving it to.

Microsoft has cut the price of Office 365 to make it more competitive, and it now comes in four tiers: Office 365 Business Essentials, which is £3.10 per user per month; Office 365 Business, which is £7 per user per month; Office 365 Business Premium, which is £7.80 per user per month; and Office 365 Enterprise E3, which is £14.70 per user per month. The first three plans are limited to a maximum of 300 users per year.

The most basic version of Office 365 offers web-based versions of Office apps, 1TB of storage per user plus a 50GB email inbox, unlimited online meetings and HD videoconferencing, plus business-focused social networking for collaborating across departments.

The next step up, Business, offers full Office apps for desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone along with 1TB of storage, but not the extra 50GB email inboxes. If you want that and the desktop/mobile apps too, you'll need Office 365 Business Premium. As with Google there's 24-hour web support and phone support for "critical issues".

One deal-breaker here might be compliance: Microsoft's compliance tools are limited to the Enterprise product, which is twice the price of Google Apps for Work Premium.

Setup

Setup

The sign-up process takes mere seconds and once you've created your account you'll be taken to the Admin Console. This has eight key options: users, company profile, billing, reports, apps, device management, security and support.

It's possible to add users in two ways – manually, or by uploading a CSV file containing multiple user details. Once you've done that you can then specify which apps they can use, so for example you might want to let users access email but not Google Hangouts. You can also disable unwanted apps globally.

One of the most interesting sections here is Mobile Device Management, which enables you to mandate passwords and Google Sync on user devices, to encrypt data, configure Wi-Fi and to enable or disable automatic syncing and the device's camera.

You can also remotely wipe devices either manually or automatically if they haven't been synchronised for a specified period.

Sheets

The Admin Console also contains some additional tools: group creation, third-party apps, domain management and settings for other free Google services such as Google Analytics, AdWords, Google+ and Google App Engine.

The optional Vault, which doubles the per-user price from £3.30 ($5.66) per month to £6.60 ($11.32), is designed for organisations that need to retain email and chat data and other digital information for regulatory compliance.

You can set data retention options globally or based on particular dates, groups or search terms, search the archive using the familiar Google search field, and you can audit the data and export it for further analysis. It doesn't store all communications, however – any chats marked off the record aren't stored.

If you're not sure whether you require Vault or if it isn't currently necessary, it's possible to upgrade to the with-Vault version from within your Google Apps for Work (G Suite) Admin Console.

Tools and features

Create: Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites

Google's apps come in two forms – cross-platform, browser-based apps and mobile apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft's mobile OS isn't supported beyond Google Sync for mail, contacts and calendars.

It's worth noting that the browser apps only use local storage if you're using the Chrome browser or Chrome OS, although the standalone Google Drive desktop app keeps everything in sync if you prefer a different web browser (and of course Gmail is widely supported by desktop email software and mobile email apps). The features available offline differ from product to product and platform to platform.

Docs, Sheets and Slides are Google's equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, although a more accurate comparison would be to Apple's most recent iWork apps – the emphasis is on simplicity and ease of use rather than power features.

That's particularly apparent in Slides, which also appears to prize simplicity over making presentations that don't look absolutely awful.

We wouldn't want to craft a massive, complicated manuscript in Docs, but then that isn't what Docs is designed to do. It's a fast and user-friendly way to create everyday documents and to share them with colleagues and clients. The companion Drawing app adds functions such as WordArt-style text effects, simple image creation, diagrams and flow charts.

It's a similar story with Sheets, which covers the most common Excel functions (including pivot tables) but doesn't have the power of Microsoft's offering. It is improving, though, and now that it supports Google's App Script add-ons it's possible to automate workflows and develop custom apps – although it's still way behind Microsoft here.

There are two additional apps for creating content: Forms, which as the name suggests is for creating and completing online forms, and Sites, which can be used to create shared pages on the intranet or public internet. Sites is a template-driven affair and while it won't give professional web designers any nightmares, it's an effective way to publish web content without any knowledge of web content creation.

Docs

Collaboration and compatibility

Online collaboration has been baked into Google Apps from the outset, and sharing documents with colleagues or clients is effortless. The Revision History panel tracks changes and there's a separate panel for comments, which can be notified via email as well as in the app.

Sharing is a one-button affair, with options including public, anyone with the correct link, anyone within the organisation, or sharing only with a specified group of people. These options only apply to unpublished documents, however – anything published via the Publish to the Web option, which makes an online copy of the current document, is publicly available.

In addition to the obligatory Microsoft Office formats, Google Apps also supports documents including Open Document Format, Rich Text Format, PDF, plaintext and zipped HTML. Spreadsheets can be saved as CSV and tab-delimited files, and presentations can be output in SVG and PNG formats.

The big selling point here is importing rather than exporting, however – it's useful to be able to bring non-Google documents into G Suite and make them editable and collaborative.

Google Apps also includes Google's Hangouts service, which you can make available for text, voice and video calls with anybody or limit conversations to just those people who are members of the same organisation. Hangouts can be shared with up to 15 people and used for video chat, presentation sharing or screen sharing.

Verdict

We liked

Google Apps for Work (G Suite) is very competitively priced and easy to administer. While the various apps aren't quite as fully featured as power users might like, they're more than adequate for most everyday office work.

We disliked

The apps may be too simple for some organisations, and not everybody loves Google's software interface – although it's much better than it used to be. You also might not be comfortable with the thought that your company's communications are being scanned by Google.

Final verdict

Rather than be all things to all men and women, Google's suite is content to cover the basics and to cover them well. It's fast, lightweight and works on a wide range of devices, and it's both easy to use and easy to administer.

If Google's apps cover the features your users will need every day, it's a very compelling product for SMEs – and with 30 days to put it through its paces without providing any billing details, it's a product you can test risk-free.

Angry French Customer Smashes 14 New iPhones and a Macbook with a Steel Ball – VIDEOs

Apple iphone 7 Smash French Man

A man in his early thirties has been caught on video smashing and destroying brand new Apple iPhones & a Macbook. The store located in a shopping center in France was nearly empty when this man brought in a steel bowling ball to smash all of these electronics.

If you watch the video below, you can notice that this step by taken by him in return for the store not refunding his money. He started smashing the devices one by one, while the staff just looked at home casually waiting for the security to enter the store and stop him. In fact, there are reports that he was eventually arrested for this act which is evident, while Apple would anyway get the money from insurance agencies.

The whole scene was filmed & uploaded to YouTube in 3 videos that you can watch below. Apart from the stupid act, we can also say that the man was courageous considering that instead of venting his anger by just smashing one unit, he went on to multiple devices. This is something we would have never seen but all thanks to the staff who kept recording this incident as a proof of what all happened.

The man is placed in custody, and an investigation is underway. If you noticed the last video, he was trying even to run away in two incidents but caught again by the three security guards who were waiting for the cops to enter the shopping mall and arrest him. According to the him that we could understand through translating, he wanted his money back, while the store officials didn’t process the same. Ultimately he went ahead with this. The damage is clearly a few thousands of dollars considering that the average cost of the Phone there would retail for around $500 (Average) while there was also a Macbook seen at the end.

Did you also notice that there were a few new iPhone 7 considering that the devices were in all black & that’s something Apple has only launched this year? Let us know what do you think about this incident & share this with your friends if you believe that this was an interesting scenario.

Xiaomi’s First Offline Retail-Only SmartPhone Redmi 3S Plus Launched at Rs 9,499

redmi-3s-plus

The popular Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has launched their first offline retail only smartphone in the form of the Redmi 3S Plus. It falls under the Redmi Series of handsets, more specifically to the recently launched handsets, Redmi 3S & Redmi 3S Prime. The new offline only handset from the company would be priced at Rs 9,499 with a best buy price of Rs 8,799.

The new Redmi 3S Plus is identical to the design and features as Redmi 3S Prime. The major difference to be noted is that the Plus would come with 2GB RAM instead of 3GB RAM on Prime. Everything else is pretty similar and unnoticeable from the first glance. We don’t know what Xiaomi specifically wanted to achieve by changing the name and reducing the RAM of Prime model.

Coolpad Note 5 with 4GB RAM & Snapdragon 617 Processor Launched in India at Rs 10,999

According to the reports, it is believed that retailers across the nation have started to receive the Redmi 3S Plus units at their stores. The official sale of the device is expected to be from Saturday, i.e. October 1st. Similar to the Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime, the Plus handset would be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, which is an Octa-core processor. It is accompanied by Adreno 505 GPU that is used for carrying out graphic related tasks.

Do make a note that all three handsets mentioned in the article come with a 13-megapixel image sensor on the rear side and a 5-megapixel image snapper on the front side for selfies and video calling tasks. The Plus sports a fingerprint sensor on the backside of the device just like Prime. The internal storage is 32GB, which is also similar to the other two handsets that are sold online. As we mentioned earlier, the main and only difference between Prime and Plus is of RAM, as Plus comes with a 2GB of RAM compared to the 3GB of RAM on Prime model.

All this may sound quite confusing to you as for why did the brand felt a need to do such changes. With Xiaomi working on having their own branded retails stores all over the country, this seemed right move to finally launch their offline-only handset. Moreover, the name and some specifications needed to be changed because, with the offline only device, the retailers won’t have to compete with online sales and cashbacks.

Coolpad Note 5 with 4GB RAM & Snapdragon 617 Processor Launched in India at Rs 10,999

coolpad-note-5

Coolpad has announced the successor to their Note 3 Smartphone in the form of Note 5, skipping the Note 4 naming. The new handset from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is literally a beast when considered the price it comes with. As it is priced at Rs 10,999 and would be going on open sale exclusively on Amazon India from October 20.

Just in time for the festive season, the new Note 5 arrived with a bang. Concerning the design language, it comes with a metal unibody design. Many brands have adopted such unibody style. There is a premium-ness to the look and feel of the device. On top is a 2.5D curved glass front similar to what we saw on Mega 2.5D.

You get a 5.5-inch Full HD display. It is powered by a Snapdragon 617 Octa-core processor that is coupled with a 4GB of RAM. The processor might not be as powerful as Snapdragon 650, but it should be good enough to carry heavy duty tasks at once, but not all at a time. It has a 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 64GB via microSD card slot. On the software part, it has a Cool 8 UI that is based on the Android Marshmallow 6.0.

Regarding the camera department, it has a 13-megapixel image sensor on the rear with a LED Flash support. While for selfie lovers it has an 8-megapixel snapper with 80-degree wide-angle lens, f/2.2 aperture and LED Flash. The Coolpad’s handset comes with a fingerprint sensor placed on the rear side just below the cameras.

It is packed with a 4010 mAh capacity battery that should be quite good enough for a day’s charge. The company touts that it can give 350 hours of standby time and 14 hours of talk time. There is a support of Quick Charging, which would allow the battery to be charged quickly. In terms of the connectivity options, it has a 4G network with VoLTE support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and microUSB port.

iBall Andi Wink 4G with 5″ FWVGA Display & 2GB RAM Launched at Rs. 5,999

iball-wink-4g-front

The Indian smartphone manufacturer company, iBall is known for launching innovative smartphones in the affordable price in range targeting to meet the ever growing needs of today’s generation. Recently, this brand had introduced the iBall Andi i9 smartphone with basic level specifications at the cost of Rs. 4,490 and is now available for purchase via Amazon India. Now, the company has come up with another Andi-series smartphone added to its portfolio, which is called as iBall Andi Wink 4G and is priced at INR 5,999.

It is powered by a Quad-core processor that clocks at 1.3 GHz paired with a 2GB of RAM. The iBall Andi Wink 4G smartphone comes equipped with a latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. It sports a 5.0-inch FWVGA screen with 854 x 480 pixels resolution and is giving a 195 PPI of pixel density that brings us to enjoy images, gaming, and video at their finest. It has a capacitive touch screen that switches between the home screen and different applications.

The onboard storage of the device is 16GB that can be expandable up to 32GB via microSD card slot storing more images, music files and videos on your smartphone. It supports dual SIM dual standby and offers 4G LTE network that enables you to enjoy fast browsing speed. The other connectivity options include 3G HSPA+, 2G / EDGE/ GPRS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro USB port, 3.5 mm audio jack, GPS/A-GPS, USB OTG and FM Radio.

In the camera department, there is a 5MP primary camera with LED flash and a 2Mp selfie shooter. It can record videos in 720p at 30 frames per second. The device has call recording feature that allows users to record conversations. The iBall Andi Wink 4G smartphone is backed by a 2300 mAh capacity battery that can last a battery all day long. It comes packed with a free protective cover for protecting the screen from scratches and minor drops.

This smartphone will be available Rose Gold color variant at the cost of Rs. 5,999 and is already available for all authorized retailer stores across India. At this price, we have a more options to buy the device like Intex Aqua Costa, Lava A97, Panasonic P55 Novo and Yu Yunique which are in the similar price bracket. Are you interesting about this device? Comment in the section below if you have more queries about the same, till then stay tuned.

LG X Power and G Pad X II 10.1 to be available with U.S. Cellular

lg-x-power-us-carrier

The LG X Power and G Pad X 11 10.1 will now be available via the carrier U.S Cellular. The LG X Power was made available in the US last month with Cricket Wireless and also reached Sprint and Boost Mobile. The LG X Power comes with an aluminum body with a curved back that comes in multiple color options.

Coming to the specs of these devices, The LG X Power will come with a mammoth 4,100 mAh battery as the name of the device suggests. There is a 5.3-inch HD (1280 x 720) touch screen IPS display and comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. There is an 8 MP camera on the rear with flash and accompanied with 5MP on the front. There is a MediaTek MT6755M Snapdragon 210 processor with a clocking speed of 1.8 GHz coupled with 2 GB of RAM and Mali-T860 GPU.

The LG X Power comes with 16GB of internal memory which can be extended up to a maximum of 128 GB via microSD card. The handset will be available for a zero down payment, and the carrier installments vary from 20 months to 30 months, while it is available for $149.99 without any contract.

The LG G Pad XII comes with a 10.1-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels giving a pixel density of 218 PPI. To power the device there is an octa-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 17 SoC processor coupled with 2GB RAM and Adreno 405 GPU. There is a 6000 mAh battery on the back and will be available in 16GB variant which can be extended up to 128GB via microSD card slot. The device will be available for zero down payment for 24 months or 30 months and will cost $149.99 for two years on a contract.

Are you planning to get any of these devices? Comment in the section below and stay tuned for more information.

India’s First Smartwatch Blink Launched at Rs 12,999, runs on in-house Marvin OS (Based on Android 5.1)

blink-watch

Where manufacturers are focussed in bringing smartphone making facilities to India, there is a company who are interested to put India on the map of smart wearables. Witworks is a company that has today announced India’s First Smartwatch called Blink with an in-house Marvin OS that is said to be based on Android 5.1 OS. There would be three variants, additionally the company would be offering 10% discount as introductory offer for today & tomorrow.

With Blink Smartwatch, a team of engineers, designers, and creators from top colleges have together made a product worth owning. The company which is known in the industry as a new-age consumer technology firm has been pivoted from a collaborative invention platform to a smart connected devices creator.

The Watch has been launched at an ongoing event in Bangalore called TechSparks. Where the CEO & his team has demoed the product on stage. Somnath Meher along with fellow alums, Ankit DP and Chandshekahar Iyer from IIT-Kharagpur founded Witworks. Among other portfolio, the company has a headphone cord detangling device named Rewind.

After receiving seed funding, this Bangalore-Based consumer tech company decided to work on a smartwatch worth wearing. That’s when the concepts of Blink watch came into team’s mind. Blink had been under development since November last year. Talking about the design of the watch, it sports a circular dial and has black color. At first glance it is unassuming. There is a button on the side when hit showcases the analog face.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Smartkase brings Memory Card Support, Dual SIM & Double Battery on your iPhone 7

iphone-smartkase

Apple iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are undoubtedly one of the best smartphones out there. But still there are many features which these phones are still missing out on, and that makes a huge difference when you compare them with some of the best ones that others have to offer. We expected Apple to innovate a little and try bringing these features which would make them a great addition indeed. But nonetheless, this is what we have right now.

Although these smartphones lack these important features like microSD card expandability, Dual-SIM support, etc.; there are a couple of workarounds. And today we are going to take a look at something similar. Meet the new SmartKase. Well, what is smartkase? According to the company, Smartkase is the worlds first iPhone case that makes your iPhone –

  • Dual sim capable
  • Lets you add a Memory Card to your iPhone & expands its storage by an additional 256Gb
  • Doubles its Battery life by adding a 2000 mah Battery

Pretty impressive stuff right? This is all we ever wanted an iPhone to have. Now how does work, though? There is not rocket science behind it. The case comes with a dedicated app tat seamlessly integrates with iOS and work in unison. The case has all the hardware for adding an extra SIM or adding a microSD card etc. All you have to do is put the case on and enjoy the experience and leave the rest to the app. Also, do make a note that the whole just adds 4mm of thickness to the iPhones which make it quite comfortable since it is not too bulky.

As far as the price is concerned, the case will cost you only $70 which is great. For reference, the iPhone smart battery case made by Apple retails for about $100 which only adds a battery. So this case right here for $30 less than that is a steal. This is all you wanted in an iPhone case ever. Do check out the Kickstarter page of the product and decide for yourself. Stay tuned for more detailed info on this.

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