Honor 6X Camera Review: The Affordable Dual Lens Magic

Honor 6X is the company’s mid-ranger this year. With dual lenses and all glass design, the Honor 6X aims to do a lot more than the competition. This is the third phone from the company this year, after Huawei P9 and Honor 8 to come with a dual lens setup this year. LG G5 started it all this year. While on the G5, the secondary module is a wide-angle lens, Huawei’s approach is slightly different. Let us look through the Honor 6X Camera Review, its Features and how you can snap great pictures with this device.

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If you have already bought one or thinking about buying one, this would be useful. While the camera is the most interesting feature on this phone, the oct-core chipset, The EMUI, and a fast fingerprint scanner are worth appreciating as well. Read our full review here.

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How does the Twin lens System on the Honor 6X Camera work?

Like mentioned earlier, The Honor 6X has a dual lens setup. It uses the extra sensor to try to add depth to photos. It is possible to alter the aperture, from f/0.95 to f/6.5, to add software “bokeh” effects to snaps. Bokeh is where the background blurs and the subject stays in sharp focus. Pictures are well defined and bright. Colours are reasonably accurate. It takes good landscape shots and captures strong tones with portraits.

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Camera UI and Modes:

When you launch the camera button on the Honor 6X, you see a very simple UI which still looks very iOS‘ish. However, Swiping towards the right, brings in various modes to choose from. The quality of the output is neat. Especially the details. The contrasts and tones are worth falling in love with.

While on the camera screen, when you swipe towards the left, you get these different menu options. These let you set the resolution of the photographs to either standard format or the wide-screen one. There is GPS Tag, if you like to tag your pictures to the location. Pretty useful option, if you are a traveler and want to make a summary of your route & sort at the end of your trip. There are few more straight forward options.

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The colour reproduction is neat too. The contrasts are good; neither too much nor too subtle.

You also have live filters in the camera. Once you click the icon, you will be able to see all the filters in action. You can then choose according to your taste.

Most of the settings on the Honor 6X Camera are visible when you are in Pro Mode. To activate the pro mode, you will need to swipe up above the shutter button. Once you are in Pro mode, you will be able to adjust the focus points, shutter speed, Exposure Values, White Balance Settings and even the focus modes. Notably, it was weird not to find the option to tune the aperture settings. As a photographer, I really missed this.

Once you are in Pro mode, you can again swipe left and now you can find more options show up. The first notable feature is the option to store photos in RAW (DNG format). In a RAW mode, the pictures are captured as-is with all the information intact available for you to post process the image later. This is very nifty if you love playing with your images in Lightroom or Photoshop. You have an option to change the camera grid if you prefer to get some aid while composing the pictures. There is an optional level scale too!

Tap to Focus:

The Dual lens systems enable you to take pictures with an adjustable depth of field to create background blurs, what we call Bokeh. On the camera screen, once you select the Aperture icon here, you will have an option to click a picture with aperture settings and option for tap to focus; which results in specific part of the image being focused. You can also click a picture and then adjust the depth later.

Tap to Focus on Huawei P9 Leica

When you go to the gallery, you can see these images with a small lens symbol. You can then tap open the picture and adjust the settings. There is a slider which appears next to the icon. This helps you to change the width of the aperture. Wider (least the number) the aperture, greater the background blur. This way, you could tune the image to your preference – as shown below in this image.

Defocusing-on-Huawei-P9

The software Emulates as open as f 0.95. That makes the picture focus sharply at that point and everything else has this creamy blurred effect to it. Since it’s a software made, it is easy to identify as the edges get very smooth.

Auto Focus could’ve been even better. Although, the above-mentioned software focusing options does come to rescue at times.

The Video mode gives you some options for manual controls as well. The video quality is decent and the colours look good too. Further, Lack of Optical image stabilization also means, you may face some issues in low-light conditions; or if you want great quality, I recommend using a tripod.

I hope the latest version of the software, EMUI 5.0 with Nougat, would bring in even better camera software optimizations as well.

HDR is pretty good as well. It brings down the shadows and increases the colour saturation. The dynamic range of the images are pretty good. The two cameras working in conjunction definitely helps the device click great pictures. The pictures look even better when you have a high dynamic range in the scene.

The option for RAW file processing might really impress people who love tweaking their images. Something I really miss on this phone is a hardware camera button. That would’ve been a nifty addition.

Dual Camera Lenses and Smartphone Photography

Smartphones have really transformed the way how people click pictures. Most importantly, they have made the entire process feel simple and easy. While some companies bank on the Megapixels, many went about using better sensors and other techniques to help produce great photographs.

The cameras had their limitations in smartphones; majorly because of the form factor and the desire of making thinner and sleek devices. Many have been trying to compensate this with software enhancements. Recently, we have started to see many companies bring in smartphones with dual camera lenses on them. It all started with HTC One M8 2 years ago; and then with LG G5 this year, followed by Huawei P9, Honor 8, Redmi Pro and few others.  The latest in the scene is the iPhone 7 Plus from Apple which was just unveiled yesterday. Every Company has implemented the Twin Lens in a unique way.

Huawei P9 and Honor 8: Monochrome Love

In this device, The Cameras has two 12MP sensors set at f.2.2 Aperture, where one of them shoots monochrome only. When you click a picture, the monochrome sensor analyses the picture in terms of the light thats hitting the sensor through the glass and different objects in the frame.

Using all these information available, the system then adds the colour onto the picture from the other RGB sensor. Using the colour and monochrome cameras simultaneously helps in producing a superior image with deeper blacks and vivid colours than a conventional one-sensor setup. Image information from both sensors makes these cameras 100% more light-sensitive than the competition.

Absolutely love the details on the #Honor8

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Huawei P9 Camera SampleThe Dual camera systems also enables you to take pictures with an adjustable depth of field to create background blurs.

LG G5 and V20: Wide Angle

The LG G5 uses the secondary 8MP module as a super-wide angle with a 135 degree angle of view. The main 16MP camera module has narrower field of view which works pretty well and also makes a good combination with the wide-angle.

If you are using the digital zoom the LG G5 switches automatically between both modules. To simplify, if you are using the wide-angle lens and zoom into your scene, digital zoom is applied to the wide-angle image until the angle of view of the other 16MP lens is reached. At this point the camera app switches modules.

Apple iPhones (plus), OnePlus 5, Samsung Note 8: Wide Angle and Optical Zoom

These devices has one wide angle lens and another a standard telephoto lens. The stand-out difference is that, The lenses which will be used for zooming isn’t just digital, but also offers optical zoom which uses the second telephoto lens to take sharp pictures. Apple released the phone with hardware-based 1x and 2x zoom, and a software zoom above 2x to 10x.

The two lenses collect data for the software to process. As shown in the demo yesterday during the launch event, These accomplishes this through machine-learning recognition of objects in a scene, which let it identify people, and by using images captured from the two cameras, to differentiate focal planes. The result is software processed DSLR quality images with Bokeh.

The dual lens also helps in the new “Depth Effect” feature in the camera app that allows you to put the subject in the forefront in focus and blur the background scene; ideal in portraits.

HTC was the first one to introduce a dual camera setup on Smartphones in 2014 with its HTC One M8

Honor 6X and Xiaomi Redmi Pro: Bokeh!

The Redmi Pro’s dual lens implementation is very similar to what HTC introduced. This device features a 13MP primary camera Sony sensor along with a 5MP Samsung sensor on the rear of the device. The camera gives users the ability to choose the focus point after a shot is taken. The hardware-level depth of field processing helps the RedMi Pro to add effects like blurred backgrounds natively. Keeping it simple, The first camera clicks the still images while the other one measures the depth in the scene.

Its interesting on how companies are introducing the secondary cameras without making the phones look bulky and adhering to what we call a good design. With so much of emphasis on photography, I am sure, dual lens on Smartphones are going to make the phones even more fantastic to click pictures; and maybe, open up more avenues for virtual reality!

Zenfone 3s Max Review: Whopping 5000 mAh battery a Highlight!

Asus unveiled an upgraded device, the Zenfone 3s Max today for India. This device is priced at 14999 and will be available starting today. The Zenfone 3S max is a Dual sim device with options for Micro SD card slot. The USP of this device is its whopping 5000 mAh battery. The phone does have some weight but it doesn’t feel bulky at all. In this article, let’s review the Asus ZenFone 3S Max and see how it performs.

The Zenfone 3S Max is an all-metal phone with a 5.5/5.2 inch HD display (depends on the variant you choose) topped with a 2.5D contoured glass. Under the hood, the phone is powered by MediaTek 64-bit MT6750 octa-core SoC coupled with at 1.5GHz. It has 32GB on board storage with 3GB of RAM. In addition to an expandable memory of up to 64GB.

While using the phone, I could feel a lack of optimisation in the RAM department. The app loads are very slow and there is a occasional frame drops when you play high graphic intense game. However, at the range this device is considered, it makes the best use of the hardware and gives you the value for money!

The display is a 5.2 screen which supports a HD ready (720p) display. The screen is protected by Corning Glass 4. The viewing angles of the phone is pretty good. The text are decently sharp and images are a tad high saturated. The contrast is pretty neat too; means the black and whites look good. I really wished if this had a 1080p display.

On the rear side, the phone adds a matte feel back panel to the phone which gives it a good grip and also adds to a style.

The Zenfone 3S Max like the earlier edition, has a 13MP Primary camera sensor on the rear which is assisted by dual LED flash and a PDAF auto focus. The front camera has a 5MP sensor. The camera app comes with a lot of filters and features. There are various modes, such as: Auto mode, Manual mode, HDR mode, Beautification, Super Resolution, QR Code scanner, Low light mode, Night Capture mode, Depth of Field mode, Selfie Mode (Rear camera), GIF Animation, Panorama, Miniature, Time Rewind, Smart Remove, Slow Motion and Time Lapse. Also, the camera does record full HD videos.

Here are some of the pictures we shot. The camera performs pretty well in bright outdoor; the colours are quite impressive too. However, in a moderate lighting conditions, the pictures aren’t exposed right. Although, the laser auto focus helps in quick focus, I noticed that the pictures weren’t very sharp when shot in low light conditions.

One of the strongest feature of this phone is its battery. With 5000 mAh, its too good at its segment. The lithium-polymer battery offers a good 2-3 days of usage and has a standby time of 38 days, which is pretty impressive. The Power Saver mode helps users manage and extend the battery life even more. With five battery modes and two smart switches that users can configure to make their own battery optimisation settings and help the battery last even longer. However, the phone takes a long time to charge and thats definitely a pain. The wall charger is a 5.2V at 1Amp charger. It takes a good 5-6 hours to charge from 0 to 100. Wish, Asus had included a fast charger in it. The battery on the ZenFone can also work as a power bank and share the power with other devices with the OTG cable that comes along with the box.

Zenfone 3S Max runs on ZenUI 3.0 OS which offers a multi-window mode for better multitasking, revamped settings menu, and a lot more features. This Zenfone brings in all the goodness of the Android Nougat with ZenUI skin.The phone also wakes up on double-tap and there are options to clear the cache memory right from the multi-tasking window. There are few more tweaks which are made in the OS level that helps in better memory management and app loads; however, ZenUI still has a long way to go. There is still a lot of scope of improvement in the area of RAM management and optimisation.

Given the price, the device is worth the buck if you are too concerned on the battery life. The battery and reverse charging are definitely a neat addition. However, if you are looking at a good all around package, you may also wanna consider either the Redmi Note 4 or the Honor 6X.

Honor 6X Review: Dual Camera Rockstar, Swagger way!

In this article, let us review the Honor 6X, a mid range smartphone from Huawei which just got launched today in India. Although this device is priced like a budget phone, the features, design and the user experience give it a feel of a premium mid-range smartphone.

Honor is Huawei’s Smartphone e-brand for digital natives. Honor has been expanding aggressively in global markets, and has successfully launched in 74 global markets, entering the bestselling charts in most of the European countries honor launched.

The Honor 6X will be available at INR 12999 in three colours – gold, silver and grey. The phone will be available online exclusively on amazon.in. The sale of Honor 6X will commence later this week.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Honor 6X comes with a premium aircraft grade metal that also offers great level of heat sinks. The top and bottom of the phone are made up of plastic, but still the phone doesn’t look cheap at all.

The phone is neither heavy, nor very light. Its a good weight in the hands; and doesn’t slip-off easily. Although this phone looks a little big, it is very comfortable to hold them.The curved edges is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to the 2.5D glass in the front. There is a LED notification on the top of the phone as well.

The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side which feels vey neat and also offers a good amount of tactile feedback. The buttons also have a textured feel to it making it more comfortable to use. The left side is for the SIM and SD card slots. Its surprising why Honor dropped the 2 separate slots and included the Hybrid SIM slot this time.

The phone is powered with an octacore 64bit Kirin 655 16nm SOC processor clocked at 2.1GHz, Mali-T830MP2, faster EMMC 5.1 and 3/4GB RAM (depends on the variant you choose from). The phone has a onboard 32GB ROM for the 3GB variant and 64GB for the 4GB variant. The phone has support for expandable storage upto 128 GB.

The Emotion UI makes the OS much user friendly and optimises the OS with a good RAM management. The OS also provides some good tweaks that help in better performance when compared to other phones in  this segment.

The rear of the phone sports the camera and the finger print sensor. The finger print sensor is an impressive feature on this phone (or in any Huawei phone in that matter). The finger print reading is fast (the company says 0.3 seconds to unlock) and also, has worked well all the times for me. When compared to other phones in this segment, the accuracy is pretty neat.

The phone has a 3340 mAh battery which offers a good battery life of over a day; It gives me SOT of 7 hours which is pretty impressive. With Emotion UI, there are tons of more customisations which you can do, to make your phone even better in terms of battery saving. Thanks to the patents Huawei has on the same.

The call drops are fairly less. The sound quality on the phone isn’t great when you play music on loud speaker; it gets slightly better with a headset. However, The call quality is very impressive and the volume is good too.!

Camera:

The Dual camera is at a rise now and Huawei has been pioneering there. The dual camera setup is also one of the highlight of this phone.

The rear cameras are powered with a 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel PDAF cameras. The front-facing camera has 8-megapixel. The aperture allows good amount of light; the device also has a single LED flash to use in low-light conditions. In outdoors, the camera performs very well and is quick. The quality of pictures is pretty neat and the details are sharp with colours being good as well.

Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Here are some samples pictures I clicked.

Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives you options for smart selfies, food mode etc.

Shot with a Good Food Mode

The Honor 6X also offers manual shooting controls (professional mode) for people who like to create photographs. This stands out when compared to the competition like Redmi Note 4.

The follow-focus on the videos is a pretty good addition. The front camera performance is decent and does take some good pictures; and if you’re a selfie lover, there are tons of more options to play around.

Display

The Display is very impressive and sharp. I find it to be one of the real good features of the phone. Its a 5.5 inch, IPS Panel display powering a full HD resolution of 1080 * 1920 offering a 480 dpi. The quality and the details are neat. Images aren’t over-saturated or too warm/cold. the colours are vibrant and the brightness on the screen is impressive as well. Reading text on the phone is pretty good. I like the fact, it isn’t too sharp giving a realistic clear text.

Software, User Experience:

The Honor 6X runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with the customised version. These days, Every company have their own android skins for their phones. Out of all, my personal favourites have been the Flyme OS, MIUI and Emotion UI. They are not just basic customisations, but give users few features which are actually worth trying.

This phone offer Emotion UI 4.1, the first Honor phone to feature Marshmallow. There are few software features which makes the phone pretty good. My personal favourite is the notifications window. They show a lot more detail on a timeline about the app notifications and your system. Shake to re-align icons is cool as well. Themes would also fancy some people. I love the Health App; that little notification on the lock screen is super cool. This version of EMUI also brings in some performance improvements.

The emotion UI provides you way more options to further make use of the finger print sensor, than to just unlock your phone. Gestures help you do that. For e.g.: Swiping up on the finger print scanner shows the recently used apps. Swiping down brings in the notifications page to quickly read through and toggle settings. A tap can be configured to take you to back screen or even click a picture while you take a selfie. You can even take a call, or use it like a home button with customisations available.

The Wi-fi Bridge is not just a hotspot but a repeater as well. It helps you share your Wi-Fi connection to other devices.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

With a metal body, premium design and a good display, the Honor 6X is impressive. The pricing is pretty good and well positioned with the rest of the competition. The Honor 6X offers better user experience than the likes of Coolpad and Vivo. The only competition would be the Redmi Note 4.

I personally love how the honor phones offer a good user experience with its Emotion UI; and of course the accurate finger print scanner which doubles with great gesture controls. I believe, software updates with Honor aren’t going to be an issue either. The Honor 6X will also receive the EMUI 5.0 update Android 7.0 Nougat in Q2 2017.

Summing up, This phone offers a good design, beautiful display and most importantly, finger print scanner which is accurate and does a lot more things than just unlocking your phone. If you love playing around with cameras, you will enjoy this phone.

Do let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Redmi Note 4 Review: The Best mid ranger got even Better

The Redmi Note 3 has been the best selling phone for Xiaomi in India ever since they started almost 3 years ago. The company announced the latest edition from this series, the Redmi Note 4 today at an event in Delhi. This is also the global debut of the Snapdragon variant. This phone is going to be available in 3 variants, 32/2GB RAM (9999 INR), 32/3GB RAM (10999 INR) and 64/4GB (12999) models.

I have been using this phone for little over a month now and I’ve liked the experience with this device. They have definitely upped the game in the budget segment. Lets see if the Redmi Note 4 is a worthy successor of a product which was already a top selling smartphone.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

First thing that you’ll notice when you hold the phone, is how comfortable it feels in your hand; and yet solid, well-built in terms of design and quality.

The Redmi Note 4 design and the construction feels very refined.

Following the design from the Mi Max, the curved edges feel very comfortable extending it to the 2.5D glass. The speakers are now moved towards the bottom of the phone. There are antenna lines due to the metal being used. The buttons feel very good. The redmi Note 4 sticks to the ground rule of budget smartphones on design and yet gives a feel of being very premium. The matte black variant is gorgeous.

The company has pulled over a good design without compromising on regular Redmi features like the IR Blaster or even the Back-lit capacitive keys. I am a little wary about the Hybrid Sim slots but then most of the people love it; so lets give that a pass. The Redmi Note 4 supports external micro SD card upto 128 GB.

Under the hood, the Redmi Note 4 runs on a Snapdragon 625 chipset; and a 3GB or a 4GB RAM depends on the variant you choose. The IPS screen offers a 1080p resolution with a sharp display and a good viewing angles with reasonably accurate colours. Not just with benchmarks, the Redmi Note 4 performed pretty well with some gaming tests too. The Snapdragon 625 does help in optimising battery usage.

The redmi Note 4 has a 4100mAh battery and it did perform well with a good SOT of 8 hours.  I use a dual sim setup. The primary Airtel one for calls and the secondary Jio majorly for JioTV and JioMusic.

The audio from the internal speakers was loud and sounded quite good via the 3.5mm jack headset. The call quality was top notch; didn’t see any connection or network issues. The Jio volte worked pretty sweet as well.

Camera:

The camera performs very well. I was trying few other products in the same segment and the Redmi Note 4 camera was much better than the rest of them. The 5MP front camera is quite decent if not the best when it comes to selfies. However, the 13MP rear camera is excellent. It offers a f2.0 aperture, CMOS PDAF Auto Focus system.

The contrast is punchy and the colours are very natural too. The sharpness at times can go haywire but then, the details are neat. The HDR images are impressive too. Here are some of the pictures shot with this device.

The DOF is natural as well. I really liked the details in the below image. If isn’t too obvious, do check the ant inside the flower.

The low-light performance is quite mediocre; it can be improved for sure, but then in a day light, they work quite well. I did try to shoot some silhouettes just to check on how the camera adapts to the conditions. It was definitely impressive.

If you’re looking for some handy tips on Smartphone Photography, read this article.

Make no mistake by comparing the camera with the likes of OnePlus 3T or Google Pixel, just for the heck of doing it. This camera works very well among the segment its placed. Is it a vast improvement from the Redmi Note 3? Well, not really. However, its quite evident that the company has worked on the camera department especially on the software and how the camera processes the images.

Software, User Experience:

The software on the Redmi Note 4 runs very smoothly, its powered by MIUI v8 running Android Marshmallow. Check out our most favourite MIUI v8 features here. Few of the features that make users stick to MI phones is ease of use UI offered by MIUI,  its plethora of UI customisations, theme support with 1000s of free themes available, privacy features, in-built utilities (FTP server, RAM Cleaner, Mi Mover, Data Saver, Virus Scanner, Battery Saver, Call Recorder) etc.

The software also offers support for Child Mode and Lite which is indeed a great addition. The Dual Apps and Second space are nifty too.

With lots of features built-in (one-handed mode, double tap to wake, flip to silence, mute when lifted, do not disturb, block-list) the necessity to install 3rd party apps is drastically reduced. I also like the quick ball as well. Very nifty when you use large screen phones like this one.

MIUI is the most important component to Mi Phones that makes it stand out from its competition regardless of the budget segments. Sometimes this makes you wonder if Mi is a software company or a hardware one!

Unlike most phones where IR blaster works just with the stock apps, the IR blaster in Mi phones work seamlessly with 3rd party software like peel which provides lot of options like support for Indian set-top boxes and channel guides. The MIUI v8 on the Redmi Note 4 works smooth and is quite consistent.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

At these prices, this device is definitely worth the money. Especially, when you are in the market for a good mid ranger.

If you already have a Redmi Note 3, this new edition “may not” be a worthy upgrade. Vastly because the changes aren’t very evident; there are some battery and performance improvements. However, the design and camera is the winner. So if these matters to you, then go ahead with it. Or maybe, if you’re bowled over at the matte black variant like I do!

Summing up, its a no brainer to recommend this phone to anyone who is looking at buying a great quality product at a budget today. Do let us know your thoughts and feedback. Thanks for reading!

Xiaomi showcases Mi TV 4 at the CES 2017

Xiaomi showcased the Mi TV 4 at CES 2017 today. Mi TV 4 has a 4.9mm ultra-thin frameless metal body. The 65-inch version is designed with a modular approach, with the separate Mi TV Bar consisting of the mainboard and a sound system that supports Dolby Atmos, delivering a stunning viewing experience within the home that rivals the experience in a cinema.

Mi TV 4 is extremely thin at 4.9mm. With a screen that goes almost all the way to the edge, the 4K display takes centerstage. This is further complemented by a transparent stand.

Mi TV 4 (65″) has been crafted with a modular design approach first introduced with Mi TV 3. The TV set is separated into two parts: a 4K display and the Mi TV Bar, which incorporates both the motherboard and an independent sound system that now includes up-firing speakers.

These speakers, together with a subwoofer and two rear wireless satellite speakers together make up the Mi TV 4 Dolby Atmos home theatre. Dolby Atmos utilises the up-firing speakers to project sound overhead, so audio envelopes the viewer in 3D space, rather than on a 2D plane like in typical surround sound.

Having such a design makes Mi TV 4 easily upgradeable, as changing the Mi TV Bar will make any TV like a brand new product, while keeping the 4K panel unchanged.

Mi TV 4 will be available in China at a later date, with an estimated price well under US$2000 for the 65-inch version that comes with the Dolby Atmos home theatre.

Key features of Mi TV 4:

  • 4K display (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)
  • 4.9mm ultra-thin metal body
  • Quad-core 64-bit flagship TV processor
  • Independent Dolby Atmos cinematic sound system
  • Dolby and DTS dual audio decoding
  • Deep learning AI system for intelligent recommendations
  • Sizes: 49”/ 55”/ 65”

Meet Xploree, an intelligent NLP Powered Keyboard for Android

Xploree is industry’s first mobile discovery keyboard that connects users to the most relevant product content and services.  This keyboard predicts user intent as they type, text or chat based on their current and past context, to serve the most relevant recommendations. It draws advanced algorithms of syntax and semantics with language modelling and sentimental analysis to build an intent prediction algorithm.

The smartphone has evolved from being a simple input interface to a smart personalised assistant to users. Meet Xploree, an Android keyboard that does beyond autocorrection and word predictions. Leveraging the power of  Natural Language Processing (NLP), this app studies textual interactions between the users and the mobile device to decipher an user’s intent.

This keyboard is capable of syncing with your contextual needs; thereby, bringing in smart suggestions. NLP drives the core intelligence on this app. The keyboard is centred around user initiated actions, thereby making simultaneous in-app browsing and conversing completely interruption-free.

The UI is pretty slim too. When I tried this keyboard few days ago, the clean look struck its first impression. The touch and swipe responsiveness are neat. The key pop is an interesting add as well. Xploree Keyboard App - Clean UI

Natural language processing is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. As such, NLP is related to the area of human–computer interaction. Many challenges in NLP involve: natural language understanding, enabling computers to derive meaning from human or natural language input; and others involve natural language generation. – Wikipedia

Xploree DiscoveriesFor instance, while chatting on Facebook Messenger with a friend about watching a movie, this app can intelligently give you the offers/promocode from Bookmyshow to book the ticket.

Consider this scenario, you are talking with your friend on IM (regardless of what app it is), and while you discuss about a restaurant booking, you get suggestions on various offers and cuisines which you can try around.

It isn’t just an aggregation based solution. It works on deep understanding of the conversation and match them with meaningful discoveries w.r.t product suggestions or offers. The discovery on the app does have some good catalogue to begin with. Of-course, it has to get better on time with more players coming in.

The Intent analysis algorithm takes into account various factors like the current language, text, phrase predictions, applications in use and user’s favourites to detect the users intent and create relevant stacks. This means, if you are having a negative sentiment towards a product or a supplier, that suggestion/content is not recommended to the user even though it matches. This is slick.

Most importantly in all this process, your end user experience isn’t affected at all. The behaviour is seamless without the hassle of switching the apps.

Short key suggestion is another neat feature which I like about this keyboard. you can set Simple anagrams for most used phrases. For eg: omw for ‘on my way’, wru for ‘where are you’. It doesn’t need to be short phrases, but also works with long text like addresses.

“There is so much of work happening on Semantic Analysis and NLP these days. User-Experience is driving this whole deal; and I’m glad, a company from India is leading this effort on the mobile platform”

This keyboard currently supports over 130+ languages and has an user-based of over 2.5 million. The keyboard offers faster multi-lingual chat with improved language predictions. Typing with Hinglish, Tamlish is also simple. oh btw, the keyboard supports Stickers as well. Download the App here.

With over 100 employees, KeyPoint technologies is seriously making every effort to lead in the AI and NLP space, and offer great discovery experiences to consumers on mobile devices.

Honor 8 Camera Review: The Dual Lens Magic

Honor 8 is the company’s flagship this year. With dual lenses and all glass design, the Honor 8 aims to do a lot more than the competition. This is the second phone from the company this year, after Huawei P9 to come with a dual lens setup this year. LG G5 started it all this year. While on the G5, the secondary module is a wide-angle lens, Huawei’s approach is slightly different. Let us look through the Honor 8 Camera Review, its Features and how you can snap great pictures with this device.

If you have already bought one or thinking about buying one, this would be useful. While the camera is the most interesting feature on this phone, the oct-core chipset, The EMUI, and a fast fingerprint scanner are worth appreciating as well. Read our full review here.

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How does the Twin lens System on the Honor 8 Camera work?

Like mentioned earlier, The Honor 8 has two 12MP sensors set at f.2.2 Aperture, where one of them shoots monochrome only. When you click a picture, the monochrome sensor gauges the picture in terms of the light thats hitting the sensor through the glass and different objects in the frame. Using all these information available, the system then adds the colour onto the picture from the other RGB sensor. Using the colour and monochrome cameras simultaneously helps in producing a superior image with deeper blacks and vivid colours than a conventional one-sensor setup.

Further, Image information from both sensors makes the Honor 8 camera 100% more light-sensitive than the competition. The Dual camera systems also enables you to take pictures with an adjustable depth of field to create background blurs. Let us look at how can you do that a little later.

Camera UI and Modes:

When you launch the camera button on the Huawei P9, you see a very simple UI which still looks very iOS‘ish. However, Swiping towards the right, brings in various modes to choose from. The quality of the output is fantastic. Especially the details. The contrasts and tones are worth falling in love with. Check this sample below.

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While on the camera screen, when you swipe towards the left, you get these different menu options. These let you set the resolution of the photographs to either standard format or the wide-screen one. There is GPS Tag, if you like to tag your pictures to the location. Pretty useful option, if you are a traveller and want to make a summary of your route & sort at the end of your trip. There are few more straight forward options.

The colour reproduction is neat too. The contrasts are good; neither too much nor too subtle.

A photo posted by Vijay (@iclickd) on

A photo posted by Vijay (@iclickd) on

You also have live filters in the camera. Once you click the icon, you will be able to see all the filters in action. You can then choose according to your taste.

Most of the settings on the Honor 8 Camera are visible when you are on Pro Mode. To activate the pro mode, you will need to swipe up above the shutter button. Once you are in Pro mode, you will be able to adjust the focus points, shutter speed, Exposure Values, White Balance Settings and even the focus modes. Notably, it was weird not to find the option to tune the aperture settings. As a photographer, I really missed this.

Once you are in Pro mode, you can again swipe left and now you can find more options show up. The first notable feature is the option to store photos in RAW (DNG format). In a RAW mode, the pictures are captured as-in with all the information intact available for you to post process the image later. This is very nifty, if you love playing with your images on Lightroom or Photoshop. You have an option to change the camera grid, if you prefer to get some aid while composing the pictures. There is an optional level scale too!

Tap to Focus:

The Dual lens systems enables you to take pictures with an adjustable depth of field to create background blurs, what we call Bokeh. On the camera screen, once you select the Aperture icon here, you will have an option to click a picture with aperture settings and option for tap to focus; which results in specific part of the image being focused. You can also click a picture and then adjust the depth later.

Tap to Focus on Huawei P9 Leica

When you go to the gallery, you can see these images with a small lens symbol. You can then tap open the picture and adjust the settings. There is a slider which appears next to the icon. This helps you to change the width of the aperture. Wider (least the number) the aperture, greater the background blur. This way, you could tune the image to your preference – as shown below in this image.

Defocusing-on-Huawei-P9

The software Emulates as open as f 0.95. That makes the picture focus sharp at that point and everything else has this creamy blurred effect to it. Since it’s a software made, its easy to identify as the edges get very smooth.

Auto Focus could’ve been even better. Although, the above mentioned software focusing options does come to rescue at times.

The Video mode gives you some options for manual controls as well. The video quality is decent and the colours looks good too. The Honor 8 only records upto a 1080p and doesn’t support the 4K resolution output. Further, Lack of Optical image stabilisation also means, you may face some issues in low-light conditions; or if you want great quality, I recommend using a tripod.

I hope the latest version of the software, EMUI 5.0 with Nougat, would bring in even better camera software optimisations as well.

HDR is pretty good as well. It brings down the shadows and increases the colour saturation. The dynamic range of the images are pretty good. The two cameras working in conjunction definitely helps the device click great pictures. The pictures look even more good when you have a high dynamic range in the scene.

The option for RAW file processing might really impress people who love tweaking their images. Something I really miss on this phone is a hardware camera button. That would’ve been a nifty addition.

Honor 8 Review: A Super Gorgeous Flagship!

Honor announced its flagship, the Huawei 8 this week in India. The phone will be available for 29999 INR on Flipkart. The Honor 8 is one of the best looking phones the company has ever made. Let us look at a detailed review in this article.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Honor 8 has a double-sided glass design’ with a first from Honor – a Sapphire blue colour. The edges are smooth and straight design makes the device easy and comfortable to hold.

The phone is very light and feels great to carry along. The back is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to the front.Might feel slightly slippery because of the all glass body. A protective case will still be a good idea.

The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side which feels vey neat and also offers a good amount of tactile feedback. The power button also have a textured feel to it making it more comfortable to use. The left side is for the SIM and SD card slots.

The Emotion UI makes the OS much user friendly and optimises the OS with a good RAM management. The OS also provides some good tweaks that help in better performance when compared to other phones in this segment. The Gaming performance on this phone is impressive as well. It also allows the users to take partial or full screenshots with the tap of their knuckle and similar other features through its enhanced knuckle feature.

The rear of the phone sports the dual camera and the finger print sensor.

The finger print sensor is an impressive feature on this phone (or in any Huawei phone in that matter). The finger print reading is fast (the company says 0.5 seconds to unlock) and also, has worked well all the times for me. When compared to other phones, the accuracy is pretty neat. It also doubles up as a button here.

The phone is powered with an octacore Kirin 955 chipset (This octacore processor comes with 4 x Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and 4 x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz), Mali T880 GPU, faster EMMC 5.1 and 4GB RAM. The Honor 8 has a Depth Image Signal Processor onboard. The phone has a onboard 32GB ROM, expandable upto 128 GB. The phone doesn’t support adoptable storage though.

The Kirin 955 chipset also helps with silicon-chip level protection. There is a dedicated security module within the silicon chip that ensures user security, handling key information like fingerprints, keypad, and voice.

The phone has a 3000 MAH battery which offers a decent battery life of around a day. The charging speed isn’t one of the best either. Considering the phone to be a flagship, the battery life could’ve been better for sure. However, With Emotion UI, there are tons of more customisations which you can apply, to make your phone even better in terms of battery saving. Thanks to the patents Huawei has on the same.

The call quality is very impressive and the volume is good too. The Wi-Fi+ 2.0 automatically connect to the strongest available Wi-Fi network. The phone ranks the Wi-Fi hotspots, and prioritises the best connection.

The combination of beautiful design, powerful hardware, and a great camera gives this phone an edge when compared to the rest of the competition.

Display

The Display is very impressive and sharp. I find it to be one of the real good features of the phone. Its a 5.2″ FHD display with 96% colour saturation and high contrast. The quality and the details are neat. Images aren’t over-saturated or too warm/cold. the colours are vibrant and the brightness on the screen is impressive as well.

The LCD ensures blacks are nice and deep. It’s quite good even in a broad day light. Reading text on the phone is pretty good. I like the fact, it isn’t too sharp giving a realistic clear text.

If you want to nit pick, the display brightness could still look slightly low when compared to other flagships who offer Quad HD displays and much brighter nits. Huawei has managed to offer a better battery life with a full HD display here.

Software, User Experience:

The Honor 8 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with the customised version. These days, Every company have their own android skins for their phones. Out of all, my personal favourites have been the Flyme OSMIUI and Emotion UI. They are not just basic customisations, but give users few features that are worth trying.

This phone offer Emotion UI 4.1, featuring Marshmallow.  There are few software features which makes the phone pretty good. My personal favourite is the notifications window. They show a lot more detail on a timeline about the app notifications and your system.

Shake to re-align icons is cool as well. Themes would also fancy some people for sure. I also like the screenshot gesture, where you just have to knock the screen.

step counter emui healthI love the Health App; that little notification on the lock screen is super cool. This version of EMUI also brings in some performance improvements.

The emotion UI provides you way more options to further make use of the finger print sensor, than to just unlock your phone. Gestures help you do that. For e.g.: Swiping up on the finger print scanner shows the recently used apps. Swiping down brings in the notifications page to quickly read through and toggle settings. A tap can be configured to take you to back screen or even click a picture while you take a selfie. You can even take a call, or use it like a home button with customisations available. Read some of our favourite features of EMUI here.

Camera:

There has been great number of dual camera phones available in Indian market this year. This is the second phone from Huawei after the P9 to come with a dual lens this year. While on the LG G5, the secondary module acts as a wide-angle lens, Huawei’s approach is different here. Check out the other implementations here.

The Honor 8 has a 12MP RGB main sensor and accompanied by a 12MP monochrome chip on board. The Honor 8’s merging algorithm, intelligently combines the colours taken by the RGB sensor with the detail of the monochrome sensor. There isn’t an exclusive Monochrome mode like the one on the Huawei P9. However, you can use filters/advanced settings to get the effect.

According to Huawei, the image information from both sensors makes the Honor 8 camera 100% more light-sensitive than other smartphone cameras. Further, using the colour and monochrome camera simultaneously helps in producing a superior image with deeper blacks, vivid colours, and natural looking depth of field.

The Dual Lens on the Honor 8 also helps in simulating shallow depth-of-field.

The camera is powered with a 12MP sensor, a f2.2 aperture, 22mm Leica optics, which does allow a lot of light and a dual tone LED flash to use in low-light conditions. The device doesn’t have an optical stabiliser though.

In outdoors, the camera performs very well and is quick. The quality of pictures is fantastic and the details are sharp with colours being good as well. The bokeh (background blur) is natural unlike the other phones in this segment. Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives DNG Raw capture and other modes.

The Honor 8 also offers manual shooting controls (professional mode) for people who like to create photographs. Here are some of the pictures I clicked with this camera over the past 2 weeks.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

In the past two weeks, I have been using the Honor 8 as my primary phone, and I am very impressed with it. To begin with, the phone feels great on hands, software is optimised, the images aren’t too saturated; the colours and details feel real etc. The phone is gorgeous and feels super premium with the glass body.

Well, at this price, although it looks quite expensive, we need to consider that, the camera optics on this phone is superior than the rest of the competition in this segment. The design feels very unique. While the camera is the most interesting feature on this phone, the oct-core chipset, The EMUI, and a fast fingerprint scanner are worth appreciating as well. The phone is perfectly sized, feels premium and the software is top-notch as well.

Mi Air Purifier 2 Review: Improves your Indoor Air Quality

According to the WHO report, 22 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities are in India, contributed significantly by industrial and vehicular exhaust. 

Air purifier is one of the things people should really consider buying, but generally are very wary about it. There are a few reasons – One, It’s something you think you don’t need; Two, even if you make a mind to get one, its very expensive.

The biggest caveat of an Air Purifier is that, it is not visual, like a water purifier. Remember the advertisements that show you the dirty water, one purifies it and then drinks the same water. Well, it isn’t that easy with air. However, the Air pollution is really harmful  and the adverse effects are measured in years. With water, at-least you have an option not to drink it and choose to drink something else; with air? well, you’re already in trouble!

http://aqicn.org/map/india/
http://aqicn.org/map/india/

A month ago, Xiaomi introduced its first smart home product to India, Mi Air Purifier 2. Priced at INR 9,999, Mi Air Purifier 2 is an intelligent product with smart features that make using it to clean the air simply effortless. I have been using this product for over a month now and I am definitely impressed.

The setup is simple. It’s just plug and play. This is the first ecosystem, home appliance product from Xiaomi in India. Most of these products are made by third party companies that Xiaomi invested in or partnered with. XIAOMI provides them the marketing, sales channel etc. The internal engineering team ensures that all the products feel consistent regardless of the 3rd party company they come from.

Mi Air Purifier 2 seamlessly connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi, enabled by the Mi Home app (Android and iOS), which acts as the central hub for a range of smart home products from Mi Ecosystem and other third-party companies. The app also tells you when to replace the filter. You don’t need to clean it yourself or rather, you can’t clean it completely.

Mi Air Purifier 2 - FilterThe 360° cylindrical filter on Mi Air Purifier 2 takes in air more efficiently from every direction compared to conventional air purifiers. Its triple-layer design removes particles larger than 0.3 microns with a high-density EPA filter, while an activated carbon filter removes formaldehyde, bad odour and other harmful substances.

Mi Air Purifier 2 quickly removes PM2.5 particles, dust, indoor plant pollen, pet fur and more. With its high 310m3/h CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), Mi Air Purifier 2 takes just 10 minutes to circulate purified air in a 21m2 room. 

You could just brush off the dirt and dust from the pre-filter. For the internals, you may have to replace the filter.

It doesn’t make too much of noise. Vouching for it, it doesn’t make any noise at all in a relatively cleaner room, where the air quality is better. There is a buzzing sound when the fans are running on full throttle. But that stays for few minutes before it turns back to normal. The motor is extremely energy efficient with advanced aerodynamics to reduce noise and wind resistance, resulting in a noise level as low as 30dB in Night mode.

The intake is in the bottom side and the fans are blowing the fresh Clean air from the top.

Mi-Air-Purifier-2-Top

The air purifier uses 4.8 watts and the energy consumption is low. To increase awareness about air pollution, Xiaomi has now become the first smartphone brand in India to integrate Air Quality Index (AQI) data — which also reflects the measurement of PM2.5 particles in the air —  into its MIUI 8 Weather app.

People have a myth that, one you’re indoors, you breathe fresh air and air quality is fine. If you have or planning to buy an air purifier, we recommend you use them in the place where you spend most of your time. For some, bed room could be the most ideal one. The design of the product is kids and pets friendly; also stays stable and grounded. Ideally this should be placed on the floor. So do not use it on a table. 

Being less expensive isn’t the only reason why we recommend this product; The build quality and companion mobile app are top-notch as well. 

Summing up, This is a product that grows with you. I mean to say, you do not see a visual difference in your health immediately to say things had gone better. However, it would definitely make your lives better overtime. For people who would still rely on the numbers, the companion app does give you the metrics on how the Air quality has improved.