Saturday, September 30, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up #44 : Pixel 2 XL, iPhone 8, Xperia XZ1, Honor 7X, Android Oreo Updates & More….

phoneradar weekly wrapup

You are reading a story from PhoneRadar.

Here is the latest PhoneRadar weekly wrap-up with all the latest happenings around the smartphones and mobile technology. We have seen some exciting launches here in India. In the next couple of weeks, there are a couple events scheduled for the global launch of the flagship smartphones. In case if you are interested to know more about the upcoming launches, check out our list of upcoming smartphones expected to launch in the month of October 2017.

Let’s take a look at the news from the last week:

  • Firstly, the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now available in India, that too in just a short span after the U.S launch. Both the devices come in 64GB and 256GB storage options and the pricing starts from Rs 64,000 respectively. Instead of the unibody metal design, the new Apple iPhones sports glass on front and back. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch New Retina HD displays with Apple’s True Tone technology. Under the hood, they come powered by the A11 Bionic hexa-core chipset coupled with the first Apple-made GPU. They also support fast charging and wireless charging. The iPhone 8 packs a single 12MP rear camera with OIS and quad LED flash. On the other hand, the iPhone 8 Plus packs dual 12MP + 12MP rear camera setup with f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and quad LED.
  • At the IFA 2017, Sony announced the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact smartphones with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. A couple of days back, the company launched only the Xperia XZ1 in India. It is priced at Rs. 44,990 and comes with the same boring Omnibalance design. On the front is a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) HDR Triluminos display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the top. The device is powered by Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 540 GPU. There is 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that can be expandable additionally up to 256GB. On the rear of the Xperia XZ1 is the 19MP Motion Eye camera with f/2.0 aperture and 5-axis image stabilization. It can record slow-motion videos in 960 fps. For selfies, it is equipped with a 13MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 lens.

  • Google will be launching the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones in the next few days. While the leaks already revealed the design and pricing, now we also got the know key specifications of the devices. Talking about the displays, the Pixel 2 XL will sport FullVision display with Quad HD+ resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio, and wide color gamut support. On the other hand, the Pixel 2 will look similar first-gen Pixel devices and comes with a Full HD display. Both the devices come with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and include Active Edge feature which works same as EdgeSense on HTC U11. The devices will be powered by Snapdragon 835 processor and run on Android 8.0.1 Oreo out of the box. In the camera department, the devices are said to sport Pixel cameras on the front and back with OIS and a dedicated Google Imaging Chip. The Pixel 2 will be backed by a 2,700mAh battery, whereas the Pixel 2 XL comes with a bigger 3,520mAh battery.
  • The Chinese smartphone brand, 10.or (Tenor) has launched its second smartphone called 10.or G on Amazon India. It comes in 3GB and 4GB RAM variants and the pricing starts at Rs. 11,999. The device includes a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It is powered by 64-bit Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. The 10.or G sports dual camera setup on the rear with the 13MP RGB and 13 Monochrome sensors. On the front is a 16MP camera with LED flash for selfies and video calls. With all these specifications, the smartphone is backed by a 4,000mAh non-removable battery. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and is guaranteed to receive the Android 8.0 Oreo by the year-end.

  • Just before Diwali festival season, OPPO has launched the OPPO F3 Diwali Limited Edition smartphone in India. It comes in Red color and is priced at Rs. 18,990, which is Rs. 1,000 cheaper than the original OPPO F3. Earlier to this, the company also launched the Deepika Padukone Limited Edition and Limited Edition Black variants of OPPO F3. Talking to the OPPO F3 Diwali Limited Edition device, it comes with a cricket bat signed by Indian Cricket Team. The USP of the device is the dual selfie cameras featuring 16MP and 8MP sensors. It comes with 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display and packs MediaTek MT6750 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. On the rear of the device is the 13MP sensor with PDAF and LED flash. However, the device still runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based ColorOS 3.0 out of the box.
  • After launching the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6, HMD Global has launched the flagship Nokia 8 in India for Rs. 36,999. It will be available through major retail outlets along with Amazon India. It runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 out of the box and the company mentioned to release the Android 8.0 Oreo update by end of October. The Nokia 8 comes with a 5.3-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display. Under the hood, it packs 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835 processor and comes coupled with Adreno 540 GPU and 4GB of RAM. There is 64GB of internal storage that can be expandable up to 256GB via a MicroSD card.  On the rear of the device is the dual camera setup featuring 13MP RGB sensor and 13MP Monochrome sensor with Zeiss optics lens. The device backed by a 3,090mAh non-removable battery and comes with Quick Charge 3.0.

  • Huawei has already launched the Maimang 6 and Nova 2i smartphones with 18:9 displays. Now, its sub-brand Honor is getting ready to bring its first smartphone with 18:9 display. The company will unveil the Honor 7X smartphone on October 11th in China. It said to sport the 5.5-inch or 6-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio and four cameras. If the rumors are to be believed, the Honor 7X will soon launch in India. The device will be powered by the in-house Kirin 670 octa-core processor and includes 4GB/6GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of internal storage. The should be running on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with the highly customized EMUI 5.1 laid on top. Talking about the cameras, the device will most likely offer dual cameras on the front and rear of the device.
  • We already know the Android 8.0 Oreo update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T is currently in beta-testing stage. last week, we also spotted the Geekbench listing of the Oneplus 5 device running on Android 8.0 Oreo. All the three OnePlus devices are now running on Android 7.1.1 Nougat based Oxygen OS. While the public release of Oreo update can’t be expected anytime soon, the company might soon open beta testing for its users. The Android 8.0 Oreo brings some exciting changes to the UI along with a bunch of new features. With the background execution limits, we might finally some good battery optimizations on Android. Other new features include Picture-in-Picture (PIP) Mode, Autofill API, Notification Channels, Adaptive Icons, and many more.

  • The Gionee M7 Power is the latest smartphone from Gionee to launch in international markets. It is the same Gionee Big Gold Steel 2 that was launched in China. While the Gold colored variant comes with the laser-cut finish, the Black and Dark Blue colors will be feature diamond-cut finish. The smartphone sports a 6-inch HD+ (1440 × 720 pixels) FullView display with 18:9 aspect ratio and offers 85% screen-to-body ratio. It packs Snapdragon 435 processor, Adreno 505 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. There is 64GB of onboard storage that can be expanded up to 256GB via a MicroSD card slot. It runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box with the highly customized Amigo 5.0 OS on the top. In terms of optics, the Gionee M7 Power sports a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP front camera for selfies. The 5,000mAh non-removable battery on this device should easily last more than a day of heavy usage.

For more information related to any single topic, you can take the help of our search box placed on the top. Also, post your questions/queries in the comments section below or tweet us @PhoneRadarBlog.

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Kaspersky Free

Kaspersky Labs security products have always had a great reputation for accuracy, but you've had to spend real money to get protected.

Kaspersky Free changes the rules by making all the core Kaspersky technologies available for free, to everyone – both personal and business users.

The program covers all the antivirus essentials, including real-world scanning of files, web threats, emails and instant messages. Kaspersky Free has the same top-rated engine as the commercial builds, with the same update, self-defense and quarantine systems, and no stupid restrictions or nag screens to try and make you upgrade.

Unsurprisingly, the program still leaves out a lot of Kaspersky technology. Top of the list is probably Safe Money, a secure environment for protecting your web shopping and banking tasks. There's also no System Watcher, which can roll back some malware actions, perhaps helping to recover files encrypted by unknown ransomware. Bonus extras like webcam protection and the anti-banner module have been dropped, and there's no technical support beyond what you can find on the website.

You may not be able to cover these security holes by running Kaspersky Free alongside some other app. The installer will check for incompatible applications, just like any other Kaspersky product, and demand you remove anything that might cause problems (which is just about every other antivirus engine around).

There are some limits here, then, but that's no surprise with a free product. You're still getting one of the best antivirus engines around for absolutely nothing at all, and that seems like a good deal to us.

User experience

Kaspersky Free has a clean and simple console which displays your current security status, and has simple icons to launch its various functions.

Most of the options don't work in the free build, but they're greyed out and easy to ignore. Within five seconds we realized there were only two buttons that mattered: Scan and Database Update.

Kaspersky Free doesn't skimp on scanning modes. The program can check your full system, the essential areas only, external devices or specific files and folders, and Explorer's right-click menu enables scanning objects for viruses, checking their reputation, or getting more information on any application.

Scanning speeds are only average, but Kaspersky Free doesn't grab too many system resources and is unlikely to slow you down.

Explore the Settings box and you'll find options giving you full control over updates, automated scanning, whitelisting, notifications, logging, network use and more. You can optimize settings for speed or security in a couple of clicks, or tweak them all individually.

All of this is easy to find and manage, thanks to the well-designed interface. Kaspersky's Task Manager shows you a quick list of all your recent scans, for instance, but you can easily filter or organize this to find specific information, and export anything as a CSV or TXT file.

Of course, what really matters is protection, and Kaspersky has one of the best-rated antivirus engines around. AV Comparatives' placed Kaspersky third out of 24 in its February to June 2017 Real-World Protection Test, and it blocked 100% of threats in both AV Test's June 2017 Windows Home User test and SE Labs April to June 2017 Malware Protection report. No security software can guarantee to block every threat, but Kaspersky Free gets closer than most.

Note: Kaspersky Free isn’t available in every region globally yet. For the full rollout schedule, which runs until November, check out this blog post.

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Remarkable tablet

There was a time when the e-ink display looked to be on the verge of becoming ubiquitous in new tech products. As well as powering our ereaders they’d be used for low-power digital signage, wearable displays, price tags… you name it, ink was going 'e'.

But, as LCD screens have become more reliable and cheaper, it’s really only Amazon's Kindle line, and other ereaders, that have maintained (for consumers at least) a solid interest in e-ink. The Kickstarter-funded Remarkable tablet, being a slate-sized, cloud-connected sketchpad with an e-ink display, harks back to that time when e-ink seemed to be the display option of the future.

And while it’s too expensive, at £579 / $599 (around AU$760), and feature-light to wholeheartedly recommend, it’s an admirably novel product that will appeal to the more eccentric, forgiving gadget fan.

Design

The Remarkable tablet looks like a giant Kindle from several generations back. It’s not unattractive, but it’s certainly going for function over a flashy design. With a 10.3-inch monochrome e-ink screen, it’s close to the size of an A4 sheet of paper – which is exactly the point of the Remarkable tablet, as it gives you enough space to jot down notes and sketch images comfortably.

Though there’s no backlight, the high-quality display has a resolution of 1872 x 1404, giving it sharp 226dpi count. It’s multi-touch enabled and capacitive, meaning you don't need to use its bundled pen to navigate – your fingers will work just fine for jumping through menus, although only the pen can make marks on the digital page.

And it’s when you get the pen involved that the Remarkable starts making sense. It looks and feels just like a standard pen, except it makes use of a 'special high-friction tip'. With the screen offering 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, writing with the pen on the Remarkable feels closer to writing on a sheet of paper than any other digital pad out there, be that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, or the iPad Pro

Recognizing the difference between your fingers, palm and pen, the Remarkable won’t smudge like ink, or incorrectly assume that your resting hand is a pen stroke. There’s no need to charge the pen either, although the friction-leveraging pen tips will wear out after about three months of regular use. Ten come in the box, but you’ll want to stock up for the lifetime of the tablet – packs of eight cost $12 / £12.

It’s a different experience to an LCD or OLED display then. But while it’s a much more natural-feeling writing experience, the screen is far less versatile than an LCD display. It lacks the color, lighting and refresh rate required for the app or browsing experience you’d expect from an iPad or similar, and so the Remarkable is limited to relatively simple sketching and ebook reading applications.

The Remarkable is charged via a micro USB port on the slate’s bottom edge, while the power button sits on its top edge; you give this a quick press to send the device to sleep, and a longer one to switch it off completely.

Three other square hardware buttons sit on the lower part of the front chassis, with the center one jumping you back to the home screen. The other two are for left and right page turns respectively, which feels a bit old-fashioned seeing as Amazon’s ereaders have for years offered the ability to turn pages in either direction comfortably with a single hand, thanks to additional controls. 

With the white-fronted casing and chrome rear, it’s a clean design overall. One nice touch is that there are slightly-raised rubberized strips on the rear, preventing the tablet from slipping on a table when in use. There’s also a simple, sold-separately felt carry case for the Remarkable, which includes a slot for slipping the pen into, with the pen’s clip itself sliding out to reveal a compartment for storing a backup nib.

Software

The Remarkable tablet runs its own OS, which is focused on sketching, reading and organizing your sheets into notebooks and folders. From the home screen, a right-hand pane lets you jump to hubs for your entire file collection, your individual notebooks, single documents, your ebook library and your bookmarked pages. Buttons at the top of the interface let you create new folders, notebooks and quick sketch sheets with a single tap. 

All these elements can be viewed in a grid or list format. It’s simple, and you’ll quickly be able to navigate its functions upon opening it up. Those looking for the wide app support of iOS or Android tablets will be left wanting though – the Remarkable serves a very specific purpose.

But it serves that main sketching and note-jotting purpose very well. Once you’re into a sketch sheet page, there are a wealth of options to choose from. There are more than 50 page templates to pick from, ranging from a simple blank page to a calendar planner to perspective sheets and storyboard layouts.

If you currently carry around a number of notebooks for different purposes, the Remarkable can easily replace them all (though apps for other tablets could likely offer a similar range more affordably).

The pen and brush options are varied too. There's an ink pen option with three different nib styles, a pencil, a felt tip with three different fill-shade options, and a highlighter. The first three options there have a variety of tip-size choices too, which lead to flexible drawing options when used in tandem with the pressure-sensitive screen.

Undo and redo buttons allow for quick corrections, but there’s also an eraser that can be used as a scrubber, or as an area-select-and-delete tool. A magnifying glass lets you zoom in on specific portions of a page, while there’s also the ability to work in Photoshop-like layers, as well as a tool for selecting portions of a page and dragging them around to other points.

The zooming option is useful to have, but the relatively slow responsiveness of e-ink compared to an LCD can make moving around when zoomed in tiresome. All the page furniture can be hidden away in the corner for distraction-free work if needed.

With Wi-Fi functionality built into the tablet and a free cloud service included, the Remarkable will back up your notes wherever a web connection is present. The 8GB of built-in storage is good for about 100,000 pages, so having the ability to view those scribbles elsewhere is useful. 

Mac, Windows, Android and iOS apps are available for moving those cloud-stored pages to, and it’s a relatively painless experience, with the apps mirroring the visual design of the tablet’s built-in software.

Frustratingly, you can’t currently print directly from the tablet, so you’re going to have to download pages through one of those apps and open them elsewhere in order to make hard copies if required.

If you like the sound of reading ebooks on the large e-ink screen, that’s totally possible, but note that it’s not the feature-rich experience you’d get with a Kindle. Sure, you can quickly and easily annotate passages with the pen, but beyond that this is as basic an ereader as you can imagine.

Even jumping around a book is a chore – if you’re reading a book several hundred pages long and wish to jump to a specific passage you’re going to have to either go through a laborious number of page turns, or scroll through an equally painful amount of page lists or grids to find the point you want.

It’s fine for reading shorter texts in a linear fashion, but the slow page refresh speed alone would make dedicated readers look elsewhere. With menu options collapsing into the top-left corner, it’s possible for the 'expand' icon to overlap the first line of a page, too.

The set-up process for the cloud services could be streamlined too. You’ll need to head online to set up a Remarkable account, which then gives you a code which you need to input into the tablet to link you account to it. It feels a bit like busywork, and it's surprising that this stage isn’t integrated into the tablet itself.

It’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s lots left to come in terms of the Remarkable tablet’s software. Simple things like USB file transfer are missing, and there’s no bookstore for getting commercial content onto the device.

A few more features, such as handwriting recognition and third-party cloud service support are the sort of features that could really widen the usefulness and appeal of this tablet. All of the above and more are said to be in the works for the coming months, but the Remarkable would have felt a much more comprehensive device had it left the blocks with all these features baked in.

Performance

The Remarkable tablet makes use of a 1GHz ARM A9 CPU, backed up by 512MB of RAM. That’s fine for what you'll be doing on the device, although the relatively slow speed of page refreshes can frustrate. 

E-ink displays only perform a full refresh when prompted, which is why they’re perfect for e-readers – as they don’t draw power often, the battery lasts much longer. They optionally don’t have to perform a full refresh either, which speeds up page turns significantly, although this can leave behind artefacts from the previous screen. 

The Remarkable performs partial refreshes regularly, meaning it will easily see out a week before needing a recharge. However, for precision sketching, this can leave lots of ghost-like lines on a fresh blank page, with no option to force through a full refresh – particularly annoying when you're erasing elements. And then, when a full refresh does occur, it takes a distracting second to go through.

What can’t be knocked, though, is the feel of the pen on the screen itself. Combined with the multiple pen styles on offer, you have a full range of writing and drawing options at your disposal. Basil, TechRadar's resident artist, felt instantly at home with the Remarkable, declaring it the best non-paper device he’d scribbled on, at least in terms of the pen-to-page feel.

You may miss full color control if you want to create more vibrant artworks, but if it's line work you’re interested in, it ticks the boxes.

Verdict

The Remarkable tablet is a curious device then. Its USP is well realized, as it's one of best digital drawing and note-taking device out there – provided you’re happy to work in monochrome, with the benefits and drawbacks its screen dictates.

But its software needs a lot of work to be considered feature-complete – and that’s before considering the mountains of iOS and Android apps it’ll never be able to support. In its defense, the Remarkable isn't intended to replace devices running those operating systems, but with its high price tag it may struggle to find an audience that’s not already well catered for with traditional tablet tech.

Look at the Venn diagram of crowdfunding prospectors, artists and paper enthusiasts, and the potential market for the Remarkable exists in that small area of intersection. It won’t gain wider appeal until the above issues are addressed, but within that niche it’ll likely find a dedicated fanbase.

Best 4G Smartphones in India Above Rs 25,000 – October 2017

You are reading a story from PhoneRadar.

The 2017 flagship smartphones from most of the major manufacturer are launched here in India. Now, we even have a smartphone equipped with 8GB of RAM which even most of the laptops are missing. However, a couple of newly launched devices are yet to be made available in the Indian market and we expect them to see in the coming weeks. Scroll down to get the glimpse of the newly launched premium smartphones in India.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Price in India – Rs. 67,900)

At the Unpacked event held before the IFA 2017, Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 8 as the successor to Galaxy Note 7. It is the first smartphone in the Galaxy Note series to feature an Infinity display. The smartphone sports a large 6.3-inch display with Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440 pixels) resolution and 18.5:9 aspect ratio. Unlike the U.S variant, the Indian variant of the Galaxy Note 8 comes powered by the in-house Exynos 8895 octa-core processor coupled with Mali G71 MP20 GPU and 6GB of RAM. In the camera department, there is a 12MP dual camera setup on the rear with dual OIS and dual pixel technology. It can offer up to 2X optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom.

For selfies, there is an 8MP autofocus camera on the front with f/1.7 aperture and wide-angle lens. It is backed by a 3,300mAh battery which is smaller than the 3,500mAh provided with the Galaxy Note 7. The device supports fast charging with both the wired and wireless chargers. Both the handset and the S Pen are IP68 certified making them water and dust resistant. It can also be unlocked via the IRIS scanner placed on the front of the device. Talking about the pricing, the Galaxy Note 8 costs Rs. 67,900 in India and will be available through offline retail stores, Samsung e-store, and Amazon India.

Buy Now: Galaxy Note 8

Apple iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus (Price in India – from Rs. 64,000)

The latest iPhones 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now officially on sale in India. Both these devices are the successors to last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Unlike the new iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus still looks same as their predecessors. Instead of the unibody metal design, the new iPhones sports glass on front and back. They also support fast charging and wireless charging. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch New Retina HD displays respectively. These new displays also come with Apple’s True Tone technology that was earlier seen on Apple iPads. Under the hood, they come powered by the A11 Bionic hexa-core chipset coupled with the first Apple-made GPU.

The iPhone 8 packs a single 12MP rear camera with OIS and quad LED flash. On the other hand, the iPhone 8 Plus packs dual 12MP rear cameras with f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and quad LED. On the front is a FaceTime HD camera featuring 7MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, Retina flash, and auto image stabilization. Both these iPhones run on the latest iOS 11 and are also water and dust resistant, thanks to the IP67 certification. The iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus comes with 64GB and 256GB storage options and the pricing starts at Rs. 64,000 and Rs. 73,000 respectively.

Buy Now: Apple iPhone 8

Buy Now: Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Sony Xperia XZ1 (Price in India – Rs. 44,990)

The Sony Xperia XZ1 is the world’s first smartphone to run on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. After unveiling at the IFA 2017 in Berlin, Sony launched it in India in the last week of September. It costs Rs. 44,990 and comes in Moonlit Blue, Venus Pink, and Warm Silver color options. On the spec sheet, the device is on par with other flagship devices, but the company is still continuing with the boring Omnibalance design featuring large bezels on the top and bottom. It sports a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) HDR Triluminos Display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the top. It includes Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 540 GPU.

The device supports dual SIM dual standby using the hybrid SIM slot. On the rear of the Xperia XZ1 is the 19MP Motion Eye camera withf/2.0 aperture and 5-axis image stabilization. It can record slo-mo videos in 960 fps. The smartphone also sports a 13MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 lens. It is kept powered on by a relatively smaller 2,700mAh battery but comes with Quick Charge 3.0 support for fast charging. The fingerprint sensor is embedded into the power button on the right edge. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, GLONASS, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C.

Buy Now: Sony Xperia XZ1

Nokia 8 (Price in India – Rs. 36,999)

Nokia has finally launched its flagship smartphone Nokia 8 here in India for Rs. 36,999. It will be available through major retail outlets along with Amazon India. Earlier to this, HMD Global launched the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 smartphones with Android OS. The Nokia 8 comes with a 5.3-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display and unlike the other major flagship devices, it offers only 16:9 aspect ratio. Under the hood, it packs Snapdragon 835 processor clocked at 2.45GHz and comes coupled with Adreno 540 GPU and 4GB of RAM. There is 64GB of internal storage that can be expandable up to 256GB via a MicroSD card.

On the rear of the device is the dual camera setup featuring 13MP RGB sensor and 13MP Monochrome sensor with Zeiss optics lens. It comes with PDAF, laser autofocus, f/2.0 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. There is a 13MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, 78.4-degree wide-angle, and PDAF. Both the front and rear cameras are capable of recording in 4k resolution and can record video simultaneously with the Dual-Sight mode. The device backed by a 3,090mAh non-removable battery and comes with Quick Charge 3.0. It runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 out of the box and will soon receive the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

Buy Now: Nokia 8

Also check out,

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Best 4G Smartphones in India Above Rs 15,000 – October 2017

You are reading a story from PhoneRadar.

After disrupting the Sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment, the Chinese smartphone manufacturers are now more focusing at a slightly higher price bracket. A few of the below-mentioned devices are available through both offline and online stores. Also, check out the best upcoming smartphones of October 2017.

All the below-mentioned devices support 4G VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and can be used with the Jio 4G SIM.

Vivo V7 Plus (Price in India – Rs. 21,990)

Vivo V7 Plus, the successor to V5 Plus is the Vivo’s latest smartphone in the Indian market. Unlike the dual selfie cameras on its predecessor, the V7 Plus comes with a single 24MP selfie camera. It is launched at Rs. 21,990 and is available through Vivo retail stores along with Flipkart and Amazon. It sports a unibody metal design and is available in Gold, Matte Black, and Rose Gold color variants. The Vivo V7 Plus sports a 5.99-inch HD+ (1440 x 720 pixels) FullView display with 18:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Under the hood is the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It runs on Android 7.1 Nougat based Funtouch OS 3.2 out of the box. On the rear is a 16MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. Since there is no physical home button on the front, the fingerprint is now placed on the rear of the device.

Buy Now: Vivo V7 Plus

Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro (Price in India – Rs. 23,999)

Asus has launched a total of three Zenfone 4 Selfie smartphones in India. One of the devices is the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, it is available exclusively on Flipkart.com for Rs. 23,999. The Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro sports a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display and is powered by 64-bit Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Coming to the camera department, there is a 16MP camera on the rear with dual pixel PDAF, EIS, and f/2.2 aperture. On the front is the 24MP + 5MP dual selfie cameras offering a 120-degree wide-angle view. Both the front and rear cameras can record videos in 4K resolution. The power button and volume rocker are placed on the right edge of the device. It is backed by a 3,000mAh non-removable battery and comes with 10W (5V/2A) fast charging support. The fingerprint sensor is embedded into the physical home button placed beneath the display.

Buy Now: Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro

OPPO F3 Diwali Limited Edition (Price in India – Rs. 18,990)

OPPO has launched the F3 and F3 Plus smartphone in the first half of 2017. In the last few months, the company has brought a few limited edition devices to the Indian market. During the holiday season, OPPO launched the F3 Diwali Limited Edition smartphone in Red color. Earlier to this, we have seen the Deepika Padukone Limited Edition and Limited Edition Black devices of OPPO F3. Talking to the OPPO F3 Diwali Limited Edition device, it is priced at Rs. 18,990 and comes with a cricket bat signed by Indian Cricket Team within the package. The USP of the device is the dual selfie cameras featuring16MP and 8MP sensors. However, the device still runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based ColorOS 3.0 out of the box. It comes with 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display and packs MediaTek MT6750 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. On the rear of the device is the 13MP MP sensor with PDAF and LED flash.

Buy Now: OPPO F3 Diwali Edition

Nubia Z17 Mini (Price in India – Rs. 21,499)

Nubia has launched a new Limited Edition variant of Nubia Z17 Mini in India. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 21,499 and comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It will be available on Amazon India and comes in Aurora Blue color. Apart from the bump in RAM and storage, rest of the specifications remain same as on the original Nubia Z17. It comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD display and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Under the hood, the Nubia Z17 Mini is powered by a 64-bit Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor. The dual camera setup on this device features 13MP Monochrome and 13MP RGB sensors with Sapphire Glass lens. For selfies, it packs a 16MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture and 80-degree wide angle lens. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the customized Nubia UI 4.0 on top. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and USB Type-C port.

Buy Now: Nubia Z17 Mini (6GB)

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Best 4G Smartphones in India Below Rs 15,000 – October 2017

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From the last one year, we have seen quite a few smartphones with high-end specifications and sturdy build quality priced under Rs. 15,000. Below is the list of newly launched mid-range smartphones priced between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000. Earlier, the online exclusive devices used to offer better specifications than the others, but the gap is now narrowing down. All the listed smartphones come with 4G VoLTE connectivity for using with Jio 4G SIM and offer dual SIM support. Also, go through the list of upcoming smartphones that will be launching in October.

Below is the list of latest smartphones priced under Rs. 15,000 in India.

Xiaomi Mi A1 (Price in India – Rs. 14,999)

Xiaomi has launched its first ever Android One smartphone called Mi A1 in India for Rs. 14,999. The device is sold through all the leading offline and online stores along with Mi.com & Mi Home stores. Unlike the other Xiaomi smartphones, the Mi A1 runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat with Pure Android UI and will soon get the Android 8.0 Oreo update. Though it runs on the stock Android, the device still includes a few Mi apps like camera and Mi Remote. It sports a unibody metal design and comes in Gold and Black color options. On the front of the device is a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display. Under the hood, it comes powered by Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is a 12MP dual camera setup on the rear that offers 2x optical zoom. The device gets its juice from a 3,080mAh non-removable battery that also supports fast charging using the USB Type-C port.

Buy Now: Xiaomi Mi A1

Lenovo K8 Note (Price in India – Rs. 12,999)

Lenovo K8 Note is the first K-series smartphone to be launched in second half of 2017. The device comes in 3GB and 4GB RAM variants priced at Rs. 12,999 and Rs. 13,999 respectively. Both the variants will be exclusively available on Amazon India. The USP of the device is 13MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the rear that offers DSLR-like bokeh effect. Lenovo is also ditching the in-house Vibe UI on favor stock Android UI. It sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Under the hood is the MediaTek Helio X23 deca-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. The K8 Note runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box. For selfies, there is a 13MP front camera with LED flash. It is backed by a 4,000mAh non-removable battery that also supports fast charging via 15W turbo charge. The device is also splash proof, thanks to the Nano-coating technology.

Buy Now: Lenovo K8 Note

10.or G (Tenor) (Price in India – Rs. 11,999)

After debuting the Indian smartphone market with 10.or E smartphone, Tenor now came with a new smartphone called as 10.or G. The pricing of this device starts from Rs. 11,999 and is exclusive to Amazon India. It sports a 5.5-inch IPS display with Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the top. It packs Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor, Adreno 506 GPU, and 3GB/4GB of RAM. While the 3GB RAM variant packs 32GB of internal storage, the 4GB RAM variant offers 64GB of built-in storage. On the rear of the device is the dual camera setup featuring 13MP RGB and 13 Monochrome sensors with PDAF and LED flash. The 10.or G also comes equipped with a whopping 16MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash. The 4,000mAh battery on this device should easily last more than a day of normal usage. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and is guaranteed to receive the Android 8.0 Oreo by the year-end.

Buy Now: 10.or G

Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual (Price in India – Rs. 14,999)

Earlier in September 2017, Asus launched three new devices called Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual and Zenfone 4 Selfie in India. The Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual is the affordable Asus smartphone to offer dual cameras. It comes with a price tag of Rs. 14,999 and is available exclusively on Flipkart.com. The smartphone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with Zen UI 4.0 on top. It sports a 5.5-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) IPS display and comes powered Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor. It packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. In terms of optics, the Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual sports 20MP & 8MP sensors on the front for perfect selfies. On the rear is a 16MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, and EIS. It is kept powered on by a 3,000mAh non-removable battery and includes fast charging support. The Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual Camera also features dual SIM card slots along with a dedicated MicroSD card slot.

Buy Now: Zenfone 4 Selfie Dual

YU Yureka 2 (Price in India – Rs. 11,999)

YU Yureka 2 is the company’s latest affordable smartphone priced at Rs. 11,999. It comes in Champagne Gold color and went on sale during the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale. Earlier to the Yureka 2, the company launched the Yureka, Yureka S, and Yureka Black smartphones. It sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display and is powered by 64-bit Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB via MicroSD card slot. In the camera department, the Yureka 2 features a 16MP rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP front camera for selfies and video calls. The smartphone is backed by a 3,930mAh non-removable battery and also supports Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology. Though the device packs decent specifications, it still runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box.

Buy Now: YU Yureka 2

InFocus Snap 4 (Price in India – Rs. 11,999)

InFocus Snap 4 is most probably the world’s most affordable smartphone to feature four cameras. At Rs. 11,999, the company is offering dual camera setup on the front and rear of the device. While there is a 13MP + 8MP dual camera setup on the rear, on the front are the dual 8MP sensor. The device supports dual SIM dual standby and runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. It comes with a 5.2-inch On-cell IPS display with HD (1280 x 720 pixels) resolution. The Snap 4 includes MediaTek MT6750N octa-core processor coupled with Mali T860 MP2 GPU and 4GB of RAM. It packs 64GB of internal storage and there is also a MicroSD card slot for further expansion.The fingerprint sensor is placed on the rear. Connectivity options on both these devices include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, and MicroUSB 2.0 port. The InFocus Snap 4 is backed by a 3,000mAh battery and measures just 7.99mm thickness.

Buy Now: InFocus Snap 4

Lenovo K8 Plus (Price in India – Rs. 10,999)

The Lenovo K8 Plus looks similar to K8 Note and also offers similar specifications. It costs Rs. 10,999 and is available exclusively on Flipkart. Just like the K8 Note, the K8 Plus also offers dual camera setup on the rear with 13MP and 5MP sensors. It comes with a slightly smaller 5.2-inch and offers Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). The K8 Plus is backed by a MediaTek Helio P25 octa-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. For selfies, there is an 8MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and 84-degree wide-angle lens. On the rear of the device, we can spot the circular fingerprint sensor. Even with a smaller form factor, the K8 Plus packs the same 4,000mAh battery as on the K8 Note. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB OTG, GPS, A-GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0 port. Apart from the volume rocker and power button, the device also includes an additional hardware button called as Music Key for controlling the music player.

Buy Now: Lenovo K8 Plus

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Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between a cheap, inexpensive turntable and ones exalted by audiophiles, it comes down to design, damping, materials and the phono cartridge. A $99 turntable will play records just fine, but you’ll want to spend more if sound quality is your goal. 

$400 (£349, AU$550) may sound like a lot to spend on a turntable, but entry-level hi-fi turntables like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon are actually a bargain.

In the case of the Debut Carbon, the turntable comes with the excellent Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge as well as a lightweight and rigid carbon fiber tonearm – parts that separate the Pro-Ject from its competitors and the benefits pay off in sonic performance. 

Said simply, if you’re serious about record collecting, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is one of the best entry-level hi-fi turntables you can buy. For the money, you’re getting a beautiful, well-built turntable that sounds excellent. It’s easy to setup and use, even for absolute beginners. 

Design

Our Pro-ject Debut Carbon came in piano black but Pro-ject offers a few variants of the Debut Carbon in white, gray, yellow, red, green, blue and purple. It’s nice to see a legit turntable manufacturer offer colors that aren’t black or silver to show off your personality. 

The turntable platter is made out of medium density fiberboard (MDF), which offers good damping for noise isolation from footsteps and vibrations from speakers. The turntable rests on non-adjustable rubberized feet that also aid in damping the turntable from vibration.

Take a look at the motor and you’ll find that it’s decoupled from the turntable via a rubber suspension system. This design ensures that the vibration of the motor doesn’t transfer through the platter, your record and to the needle. 

Speaking of the platter, it’s heavy made of metal, topped with a thin, felt mat. The platter is shockingly heavy but that’s a good thing as it is one more way Pro-Ject fights noise and vibration. The only downside is that you’ll have to pick up the heavy platter every time you need to switch from 33 ⅓ and 45 rpm. Switching speeds requires moving the belt between the upper and lower pulley, which is an annoyance but not a deal breaker. 

The defining feature that separates the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon from the competition is its single-piece carbon fiber tonearm. Beyond simply looking good, carbon fiber helps fight resonance with its stiff construction and natural damping abilities. It’s also lightweight and helps with tracking records smoothly. 

Lastly, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon comes with a clear acrylic dust cover. It’s attached to the turntable via two metal rods and doesn’t affect the sound quality of the turntable, though you will hear the thud of the cover when you close it when a record is playing, but that’s normal. 

Setup

There's nothing worse than buying a new record player and having no clue where to start. Thankfully, setting up the Debut Carbon is simple, even for beginners just getting into the hobby. This is due in no small part to the included manual which simply and clearly explains where everything goes. 

The most difficult part of the setup was balancing the tonearm, which simply requires you to make sure the tonearm is level before setting the tracking force. 

Setting anti-skate is a bit different with the Pro-Ject, as it uses a small weight on fishing line to fight the needle’s natural movement to go toward the center of the record while it plays. It’s not as easy to use as a dial but you won’t be fiddling with your anti-skate much unless you’re constantly switching phono cartridges. 

Around the back of the turntable, you’ll find RCA outputs and a ground peg, which means it’s super simple to replace worn cables in the future. Pro-Ject includes a beautiful cable in the box for you to connect to your phono preamp. Note that the Debut Carbon doesn’t include a phono preamp so you’ll have to pick one up on your own. 

There’s no need to align the cartridge as the included Ortofon 2M Red comes mounted to the tonearm out of the box. This is great for beginners as aligning a phono cartridge can be the most difficult part of setting up a turntable. 

If you do decide to switch cartridges sometime down the road, however, Pro-Ject includes a simple protractor in the box. 

Performance

If you’re spending $400/£349 on a turntable, it had better sound good and we’re happy to report that the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon sounds spectacular. 

Every little attention to detail for damping has paid off as the Pro-Ject doesn’t pick up any noise from the motor and does an amicable job of neutralizing footsteps. However, you’ll want to make sure you place the turntable on a solid surface or buy an isolation rack to completely eliminate the sound of footsteps.

The included Ortofon 2M Red does a good job of pulling detail out of records. It tracks nicely and has good dynamic range. Whereas cheaper turntables like the Denon DP-300F make cymbals sound splashy and harsh, the 2M Red makes them sound smoother and more life-like. While you won’t get the micro-details and expansive air that more expensive phono cartridges are capable of, the 2M Red is a perfectly good starting point on your audio journey. 

In terms of tonal balance, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and Ortofon 2M Red combination sounds neutral with crystalline highs and velvety mid-range. Bass is adequate but may disappoint audiophiles who prefer a slightly warm tilt. 

We talked a lot about Pro-Ject’s attention to detail when to comes to damping and it pays off in sonic performance. The turntable is extremely quiet, which lets you hear more of the record itself instead of the hum of a motor or the subtle vibration of an a poorly damped turntable. 

The carbon tonearm definitely helps cut down resonance, allowing you to hear more of the record and less of the equipment that it’s playing on. 

Verdict

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is well built, beautifully designed and just sounds awesome. It’s not the most resolving turntable but you wouldn’t expect it to be at this price range. When looking at the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon as a package, it’s hard to think of another turntable in this price range that can top it. 

While it's still incredibly easy to use (especially for anyone used to setting up more complicated players), you are giving up conveniences like auto start/stop, an anti-skate dial and a built-in phono preamp but for audiophiles, none of these downsides matter as the turntable’s sonic performance vastly outweighs its minor trade offs. 

For those who want a set-it-and-forget-it experience, check out the Denon DP-300F. It doesn’t sound nearly as good, but it’s the simplest way to start listening to records with its automatic tonearm and built-in preamp. 

While it's not the cheapest record player on the shelf, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is still an incredible value. We can’t recommend this turntable enough. 

myPhone Hammer Axe Pro

We reviewed the Hammer Axe Pro from myPhone earlier this year. Well, not the exact model here, but the ODM (original design manufacturer) version from a Hong-Kong based vendor called Nomu. The S30, as it is known, impressed us back then thanks to a balanced combination of grunt and keen pricing (you can see the two phones next to each other in the following two screenshots below) .

With a retail price of just over £173 ($230) at the time of writing (purchased from Geekbuying and including delivery but not local taxes), the Nomu S30 is indeed a bargain.

However, there are instances when buying from a non-European country may not be a particularly enticing option, because of issues such as value added taxes, business support, the need for localization or other similar restrictions.

That’s probably why Polish-based company myPhone chose to build its business model on “localizing” smartphones like the S30, thereby mitigating the business risks associated with buying a ruggedized smartphone from somewhere like China.

(That said, you can buy the Nomu S30 for as little as £219.99 – $295 – fulfilled by Amazon).

Design

The Hammer Axe Pro is a chunky smartphone – measuring 162 x 83 x 13.35mm, and weighing 270g – but this handset is different in its look and feel from most of the competition. It eschews the traditional rubbery, utilitarian look of many of its rivals for something more subtle.

The manufacturer opted for a more stylish design with a textured back – polycarbonate plastic is the dominant material used in its chassis which has a titanium alloy structure.

The biggest selling point of the Hammer Axe Pro is that it is IP68-rated; this means that it should withstand being immersed in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. Nomu claims that the S30 should be able to survive underwater for two hours to depths of up to 5m – and that’s likely to be the case for the Axe Pro as well.

The audio connector is located at the top of the Axe Pro and the microUSB port at the other end, with both being covered by flaps which are cumbersome to remove every time you have to charge your phone or connect a pair of headphones. We’d prefer to have both located at the same end of the device, ideally.

Note that the USB port doesn’t requires a USB cable with a longer-than-usual connector as is the case with many of its competitors.

There’s one speaker located at the bottom of the Hammer Axe Pro. A programmable SOS key can be found on one side of the phone while the other hosts the power button and a volume rocker switch which can be used as a camera button. There are no notification lights, though.

The front of the phone plays host to three capacitive buttons and there’s no fingerprint reader. Check out the original Nomu S30 review for a more detailed look at the design.

Hardware

Back in January, the S30 was the most powerful rugged smartphone on the market. Since then, however, Blackview’s BV8000 Pro, the Doogee S60 and the AGM X1 have surpassed it in terms of raw performance and functionality.

That’s not to say that it is a run-of-the-mill handset. The Mediatek P10 system-on-a-chip is still a very capable model, clocked at 2GHz with eight cores. 4GB of system memory (LPDDR3) and 64GB of eMMC 5.1 storage means that it will easily run the latest version of Android.

The 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display is covered by a Gorilla Glass 3 overlay and delivers vibrant colors even in bright sunlight outside. Two microSIM slots and one microSD card slot can be found under a cover at the back; you can use all three at the same time unlike many rivals

Connectivity-wise, you’ve got Bluetooth 4 and 802.11n Wi-Fi, and even NFC. The front-facing camera is a 5-megapixel shooter (Omnivision OV5648) while the one at the back is a 13-megapixel affair (Sony IMX214) that can record in Full HD. The phone is powered by a massive 5,000mAh battery and supports fast charging thanks to a 6V,2A charger.

In use

We couldn’t get the Hammer Axe Pro to install the latest firmware – the smartphone would crash and spew some gibberish text, which was a bit problematic.

The Hammer Axe Pro runs Android 7.0 – surprisingly, Nomu itself has yet to confirm when Android 7.0 will ship for the S30.

The screen is a fingerprint-magnet thanks to the lack of an oleophobic layer. Fortunately, this doesn’t apply to the rest of the chassis.

We didn’t detect any noticeable lag when operating the smartphone. myPhone (and Nomu) has kept the phone remarkably bloatware-free, aside from myPhone’s own registration app. This is in stark contrast to most of the rugged smartphones we’ve tested until now.

Performance is more than acceptable on the nine benchmarks we tested with. The Hammer Axe Pro is a capable mid-range smartphone, that much is clear.

Final verdict

The Hammer Axe Pro costs £364 ($490) from Amazon, which is about twice the price of the Nomu S30, a 110% margin to be more precise. You don’t get a lot more for that premium, however, and as a result you’ll definitely be better off buying the Nomu S30 (or indeed two of them for the money).

If you can live with the quirks of the original S30 and the risk associated with importing a product without local insurance, then it is an absolute no-brainer bargain. However, if you want the peace of mind associated with a local company that can give you a VAT refund, then the Axe Pro might be a better option.

Here is the Upcoming Samsung Galaxy A Smartphone with 18:9 Infinity Display & Dual Front Cameras

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LG is the first smartphone manufacturer to bring the new 18:9 aspect ratio to the mid-range devices. It launched the LG Q6, A6 Plus, and A6 Alpha smartphones with FullVison display offering Full HD+ resolution. Now, the newly leaked image of the upcoming Galaxy A smartphone reveals some interesting new features. Looking at the earlier launched Galaxy A smartphones, all the three upcoming Galaxy A smartphones – Galaxy A3 (2018), Galaxy A5 (2018), and Galaxy A7 (2018) might sport Infinity Display.

While the Infinity Displays on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 smartphones offer Quad HD+ (2880 x 1440 pixels) resolution, the 2018 Galaxy A devices might come with only Full HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) resolution. Even the curved edges will be missing on these mid-range smartphones. From the above image, we can also dual camera sensors on the front of the device. After the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has recently launched the mid-range Galaxy J7+ smartphone with dual camera setup. However, the 2018 Galaxy A smartphones will be first Samsung phones to feature dual selfie cameras.

The fingerprint sensor is now moved to the rear of the device. Unlike the high-end Galaxy smartphones, these mid-range devices feature it below the rear camera. While the power button and volume rocker are placed on the right edge, we can spot the Bixby button on the left edge of the device. Recently, the Galaxy A7 (2018) was listed on  GFXBench revealing few key details. It comes with a Full HD display, 4GB of RAM and a 16MP rear camera. The device runs on Android 7.1 Nougat with the TouchWiz UI on the top.

Since there is no trusted source, take these details with a pinch of salt. Recently, ZOPO has launched the Flash X1 and Flash X2 smartphones in India for Rs. 6,999 and Rs. 8,999 respectively. Both these devices offer 18:9 aspect ratio but only with HD resolution. At Rs. 6,999, the ZOPO Flash X1 is the most affordable to come with 18:9 display.

Source

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iPhone 8 & 8 Plus Available in India Starting Rs 64,000 Alongside Many Other Markets

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Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which were announced earlier are now available in India starting today along with many other countries like  Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Israel, Andorra, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Slovakia Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary and few more. The iPhone 8 is priced at Rs. 64,000 for the 64Gb variant and the 256GB variant is priced at Rs. 77,000, while the iPhone 8 Plus is priced at Rs. 73,000 and Rs. 86,000 respectively for 64GB and 256GB variants.

There is also a good news as Apple has partnered with Reliance Jio to bring out many launch day offers to the Jio subscribers. Both postpaid, as well as prepaid customers of Jio, can get the 799 plan which will give them 90GB of 4G data every month with all the Jio services included. Moreover, the customers who are buying iPhone 8 or 8 Plus from Reliance will be getting 70 percent of the amount which they spend back as buyback after a year of usage and returning the device.

The users will also have the luxury of upgrading to the next model which also included in the scheme. For this, the user needs to visit the nearest Reliance Digital or Jio stores for availing the offers. The handset is also available across other retailers and carries in the country but will not be providing the above-mentioned offers. These are some good offers that the Indian customers can avail considering the pricing of the smartphones which are high.

Are you planning to get iPhone or iPhone 8 Plus? If yes, which variant? Are you a Jio subscriber? Well comment in the section below and we will get back to you with more news and updates. Nothing is mentioned about the color options that are available for now and also no news about the iPhone X. Stay tuned to PhoneRadar for more.

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Huawei Nova 2i with 18:9 MaxView Display & Four Cameras Launched in Malaysia

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Earlier this month, Huawei launched the Maimang 6 smartphone in China. It is the first smartphone from Huawei to feature the MaxView display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The smartphone also came with four cameras – two on the front and other two on the rear. The leaks have mentioned the Maimang 6 to launch in the international markets as Mate 10 Lite. Even Honor is said to launch to a new smartphone with the same MaxView display and four cameras. Today, the company has officially launched the same Maimang 6 as Huawei Nova 2i in Malaysia.

It will be available in Graphite Black, Prestige Gold, and Aurora Blue color options. The device is priced at MYR 1,299 and will go on sale starting October 13th in Malaysia. Talking about the specifications, the Huawei Nova 2i sports a 5.9-inch IPS display that fits into a regular 5.5-inch frame. It offers Full HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) resolution with a pixel density of 407 PPI. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the rear of the device.

Under the hood is the 16nm Kirin 659 octa-core processor featuring 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.36GHz and 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The device packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage that can be expandable maximum up to 128GB. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with EMUI 5.1 laid on top. On the rear is the 16MP + 2MP dual camera setup with LED flash. On the front is the 13MP + 2MP setup for capturing selfies with bokeh effect.

The camera app on this device includes moving picture mode which captures 2-second mini-movies while capturing photos. It is backed by a 3,340mAh that is rated to give up to 20 hours of talk time and lasts up to up to 550 hours on standby mode. The Nova 2i measures 156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5 mm and weighs 164 grams. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, A-GPS, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack, and MicroUSB 2.0 port.

 

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MacBook

Did you buy the 12-inch MacBook? I did, but not because I wanted one.

No: the laptop I really wanted was a new MacBook Air, or even a redesigned 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a sleeker chassis. Of course, neither came. And like many other Air fans, I realised that another year was to pass by without Apple's best laptop getting an upgrade. So I bought the next best thing.

The MacBook is all about compromise. With more pixels than the Air, its display allows me to be more productive on the move and slinging it into a backpack almost feels like cheating. While no powerhouse (editing 4K images on it is slightly painful), it handles basic tasks with ease.

One year later, Apple has refreshed the MacBook with Intel's sixth-generation Skylake processors while introducing faster storage, memory and graphics for the same price. The most interesting change is on the outside: a new Rose Gold finish that genuinely makes me consider owning a shiny pink laptop for the first time. Gender stereotypes be damned.

Above shot

But despite its upgrades, the new MacBook is not the MacBook Air replacement that rumors once again predict will arrive this summer - it's the same unique, dazzling and challenging laptop as the one that launched one year ago. Only faster, and with longer-lasting battery life.

A new processor, coupled with faster internal storage, memory and graphics has brought tangible improvements to the MacBook's performance. You'll still have to somehow manage with a single USB-C port, bolting on adapters and connectors to equip your FrankenMac with vital extra limbs.

And if you didn't get on with its super-shallow keyboard, your fingers will remain as unconvinced as they were before - especially during long typing sessions. The MacBook brings more megahertz, and I'm not talking about clock speed.

Recent developments

It hasn’t been an exceptional long-time coming, but users in hot pursuit of software that breathes new life into their still-youthful 12-inch MacBooks will be pleased to know that macOS High Sierra is finally available to download and install

Though it’s admittedly not perfect, there’s plenty to love about Apple’s refinements to its Mac operating system. Aside from offering better photo editing tools, disbanding auto-playing ads in Safari and introducing a new file system, it also brings Google back to Siri and Spotlight.

Unfortunately, if you were holding out for a new MacBook (though we’re not sure why you would, considering the last one came out in June), you’ll have to prolong your wait until next spring. Until then, there’s still plenty of juice left in Apple’s featheriest laptop.

Lid open

Big money Mac

Some people expected Apple to discount its refreshed MacBook to sweeten the deal. It didn't. The entry-level model still costs £1,049 ($1,299 or AUS$1,999), around $50/$73/AUS$99 more than the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

In bush

If the cost remains too high for you, then consider picking up last year's version from Apple's refurb store. While the 2016 refresh is technically the better machine, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two when undertaking low-level tasks such as surfing the web or typing up documents in Pages.

At the time of writing, the entry-level version is on there for £749 (around $1,108 or AUS$1,457) alongside eight other models of varying specs and price.

First reviewed: April 2015

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this review

Apple often shaves a millimetre or two from its laptops when they undergo refreshes, but the 12-inch MacBook leaves no room. At 11 x 7.8 x 0.5 inches (or 280 x 197 x 13.1mm - W x D x H), the MacBook has a smaller footprint than another skinny Core M-powered laptop, the Asus UX305, which spans 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches (324 x 226 x 321mm).

It also out-skinnies the MacBook Air's 12.5 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches (325 x 227 x 17mm). The 12-inch MacBook is the lighter of the two laptops, weighing just 2.03 pounds compared to the Air's 2.38 pounds. That's roughly the same as holding two iPad Pro 9.7s in the hand.

In comparison, Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 weighs 2.37 pounds with the keyboard cover attached. Other Windows machines are quickly catching up the design stakes - check out HP's Spectre 13 for evidence of that. While the MacBook remains a fine feat of engineering that hasn't lost its allure, strides being made by the competition means that you won't have to choose between slick design and practicality for much longer.

In plant

Spec sheet

Here is the configuration of the review model supplied to techradar:

  • Processor: Intel Core m5-6Y54 Dual-Core CPU @ 1.2GHz Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz
  • Operating system: OS X 10.11 El Capitan
  • Memory: 8GB of 1867MHz LPDDR3
  • Display: 12-inch LED-backlit IPS
  • Graphics: Intel HD 515
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe-based flash
  • Camera: 480p FaceTime camera
  • Networking: 1/10/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter)
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio: Stereo speakers; Dual microphones; headphone port (supporting for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphones)
  • Dimensions: 11 x 7.8 x 0.5 inches (or 280 x 197 x 13.1mm - W x D x H)
  • Battery: Built-in 39.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

The MacBook is offered in three configurations, starting with the entry-level model that comes with 256GB of flash storage. Apple has swapped out last year's fifth-generation Broadwell processors for Intel's newer Skylake variants, with the cheapest MacBook housing a lower powered Core m3 chip clocked at 1.1GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.2GHz).

USB-C

Starting at £1,299 ($1,599 or AUS$2,249), the more expensive configuration doubles that model's storage and houses a Core m5 processor with a faster clock speed of 1.2GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz). Both are equipped with faster RAM compared to last year's MacBook (8GB of 1867MHz DDR3, up from 1600MHz), and Apple claims that the Intel HD Graphics 515 solution in this year's models is 25% faster.

For extra oomph, the MacBook can be configured with a faster 1.3GHz dual-core Core m7 processor with a maximum clock speed of 3.1GHz for another £120 (around $175 or AUS$230).

Headpjhone

Aside from new configurations, Apple has made a more subtle change to this year's MacBook. In its teardown of the device, iFixit discovered that they use new hinge screws featuring heads filled with a substance that disintegrates when a screwdriver is used on them. These could be used to indicate to Apple that you've tampered with the machine, which may have a knock-on effect when it comes to solving warranty-related issues, though this is yet to be confirmed.

Bundled software

The new MacBook fits OS X Yosemite like a glove

Plus, Apple's Mac App Store has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, proving an excellent resource with frequent recommendations on apps in multiple categories, such as Games, Productivity, Writing, Navigation and more. Here's every app you'll find upon booting up a New MacBook for the first time:

  • iPhoto

  • iMovie

  • GarageBand

  • Pages

  • Numbers

  • Keynote

  • Maps

  • iBooks

  • Safari

  • Mail

  • Facetime

  • Messages

  • Calendar

  • Contacts

  • Time Machine

  • Photo Booth

  • Mac App Store

  • iTunes

  • Game Centre

  • Preview

  • Notes

  • Reminders

Intel's Core M processor has, perhaps unfairly, earned itself a poor reputation since sliding under the bonnet of the Yoga 3 Pro back in 2015. The Yoga and other early machines that adopted Intel's fanless processor (ironically, the Yoga 3 Pro wasn't fanless) were sluggish and the performance hit wasn't considered worth it to get hold of their sleek new designs.

However, successive generations have seen Core M's performance increase to the point that you often wouldn't be able to tell whether a laptop houses a Core M or Core i-series processor, depending on what it is you're using it for.

Unfortunately for the 2015 MacBook, the Core M processors inside weren't powerful enough to provide a smooth experience under OS X 10.10 Yosemite. I found that disabling transparency effects and animations, while taking care not to open too many apps at once, was vital to prevent applications from temporarily freezing.

So how does the refreshed MacBook fare?

Underside

Benchmarks

Here's how the MacBook performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • Xbench: Overall: 394.6; CPU: 267.14
  • Cinebench R15 (CPU: Multi Core: 237cb; Open GL: 21.11 fps)
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0: Medium Quality (1,680 x 1,050): Score: 397; FPS: 18
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 Ultra Quality (1,680 x 1,050): Score: 397; FPS: 15.7
  • NovaBench: Score: 623; Graphics: 43
  • Geekbench 3 (Single Core): 2,938; Multi Core: 5,900
  • BlackMagic Disk Speed test: Read: 921MB/s; Write: 838MB/s
  • Batman: Arkham City (1,440 x 900, Medium): Average: 14 fps
  • Tomb Raider: Medium Quality, 1,400 x 900 (Average): 17.8 fps
  • Streaming 1080p video over Wi-F (75% brightness): 7 hours and 10 minutes

For comparison, here is the performance of the entry-level MacBook, configured with a 1.1GHz Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor clocked at 0.90GHz (Turbo Boost to 1.1GHz), Intel HD Graphics 515 and 8GB of 1867MHz memory.

  • Xbench: Overall: 347.54; CPU: 228.25
  • Cinebench R15 (CPU: Multi Core: 213cb; Open GL: 21.03 fps)
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0: Medium Quality (1,680 x 1,050): Score: 292; FPS: 11.6
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 Ultra Quality (1,680 x 1,050): Score: 256; FPS: 10.2
  • NovaBench: Score: 489; Graphics: 41
  • Geekbench 3 (Single Core): 2,535; Multi Core: 5,025
  • BlackMagic Disk Speed test: Read: 929.7MB/s; Write: 620.2MB/s
  • Batman: Arkham City (1,440 x 900, Medium): Average: 13 fps
  • Tomb Raider: Medium Quality, 1,400 x 900 (Average): 18.2 fps

Lid closed

The good news is that the spec bump has turned the MacBook into a machine that runs much efficiently under more stress. I tried both the entry-level and the mid-spec version, and found that both machines provided a smooth experience out of the box without any tweaking of OS X 's settings.

Wall

Running my usual load of office applications, which includes multiple Firefox browsers, GIMP image editor, Skype, Evernote, Filezilla, Wunderlist, Ulysses, Slack, Echofon, Reader and Spotify (they're all essential, alright?), the MacBook didn't so much as stutter. I still wouldn't be confident opening another few FireFox windows and loading 30 tabs into each of them, but that's more of a criticism of the browser than it is of the MacBook's performance.

Trackpad

The 2,304 x 1,440 pixel-resolution display remains one of the best I've seen on a notebook, and is the best on a MacBook. It brings incredibly rich colors and excellent 170-degree viewing angles.

There's another advantage: you can scale it up to get more desktop space and go far beyond Apple's default scaled resolutions. By adding a custom resolution, I managed to soar all the way up to 1,920 x 1,080 in High-DPI mode using SwitchResX, which allowed me to see the same amount of spreadsheet rows and columns as a 27-inch monitor. Sure the text was tiny, but I could still make out the numbers and edit the spreadsheet without any trouble.

I might not be doing it all the time, but compared to my old setup, which was an 11-inch MacBook Air connected to a portable USB DisplayLink monitor, I now have enough desktop real-estate to switch to see more on the screen at the same time. That's been possible on high-resolution Windows and Apple machines for some time, but having all that desktop space is even more impressive on a 12.1-inch machine as thin as a pencil.

The 2016 MacBook isn't going to win any new converts, but it leaves no excuse to pick one up if you're already swayed by what Apple's machine has to offer. Better yet, its new Rose Gold option is gorgeous.

We liked

Now that there's more horsepower under the MacBook's bonnet, you won't have to tweak OS X El Capitan's settings to get hold of a smooth experience. As the old Apple motto goes: it just works. The increase is marginal, but it undoubtedly makes a difference. That doesn't mean you're suddenly going to be swapping your MacBook Pro for one to undergo heavy computing lifting.

Apple didn't tweak the MacBook's chassis because it didn't need to. It still can't be matched even by its Windows-based counterparts, though I wouldn't be confident of saying that six months down the line. Its color-packed display is as vibrant as it was on the previous model, and you just try finding a 12- or 13-inch laptop with better speakers. It's a near-impossible task.

We disliked

That single USB-C port remains the biggest problem with the 12-inch MacBook. It's simply too much of a compromise to use it as your main machine, and even if you're on the move you're forced to make a decision between connecting a peripheral or charging a device if you don't have a dongle to hand. It would have been nice to have seen a price drop too, if only because it feels like the MacBook should have come with sufficient power to deliver a smooth experience in the first place. If new MacBook Air and Pro models appear this summer, you can count on it taking a price dip then.

Final verdict

Should you buy the 12-inch MacBook? The question is a little more complex with the possibility of new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models arriving at WWDC. One way of thinking of it is that neither are likely to be as thin and portable - it would take a near-impossible engineering feat for that to happen. On the other hand, if you're happy to wait for a machine with more power, hanging on may be the way to go.

If you do decide that Apple's mini marvel for you, buying this year's MacBook is less of a risk than getting the previous version. With faster internals, it's capable of zipping through lesser-demanding tasks without complaining and leaves you with more confidence when slinging it into a bag to take on the road.

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