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Accessories Product Reviews

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.

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Features Smartphones

Huawei P9 Camera Review: The Leica Powered Dual Lens is Magical

Huawei P9 has been one of my favourite Camera Smartphones I have tried this year. With dual lenses, the P9 does a lot more than the competition. This is the second phone after LG G5 to come with a dual lens setup this year. While on the G5, the secondary module is a wide-angle lens, Huawei’s approach is slightly different. The P9 has been co-engineered with Leica, to bring out great details and tones on photographs. Let us look through the Huawei P9 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.

How does the Twin lens System on the Huawei P9 Camera work?

Like mentioned earlier, The Huawei P9 Camera 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.

Dual Lens on the Huawei P9

Further, Image information from both sensors makes the Huawei P9 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.

Camera-Modes-Huawei-P9

One particular mode worth mentioning is the Monochrome one. The quality of the output is fantastic. The contrasts and tones are worth falling in love with. Have a look at some samples below.

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.

Huawei P9 Camera Options

Similar to Leica cameras, there is a Film Mode which gives you three options to tune your images while shooting. They enhance the colour quality of your pictures. Although, each one of us have our preferences when it comes to colours and saturation, Its still worthwhile checking out.

Leica-Filters

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.

Camera Filters Huawei P9

Pro Mode Huawei P9 CameraMost of the settings on the Huawei P9 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 on the Huawei P9 Camera 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 P9 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.

Summary:

The Huawei P9 camera maintains a good exposure regardless of the conditions you shoot. Highlights are just about right. The noise levels are impressive too.The camera also bumps up the details in some of the photos especially in the low light scenarios making the picture look neat.  Food pictures look great too. The camera adds the right amount of contrast and saturation to make the picture pop and appealing. The highlights are well separated from the shadows.

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.

I recommend using the monochrome mode when you have too much of dark zones in your scene. That makes the contrast of the images look Magical.

Categories
Accessories Product Reviews

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Review: A Nifty Smartphone Accessory

Smartphones have really transformed over the years. While there are lots of new hardware which are included every year, something that went missing is the physical keyboard which many of the business phones had. While its faster to use the onscreen keyboard, few of us still prefer a physical keyboard. Especially, the ones who love to work or write long.

Meet this portable keyboard from Zagg, which is simple and compact; and works great with any smartphone or tablets.

The keyboard is designed well. When folded, it is compact and is around 9” tall. Its thin and light. You could easily slip it into your bag. Could it fit in your pocket? Well, that’s subjective!

Zagg Pocket Keyboard

The Keyboard connects to your smartphones/tablets using Bluetooth. Pairing it is very simple and quick. It worked perfectly with different gadgets I tried – iPad, iPhone and various other Android Phones.

This keyboard promises a great battery life of a couple of years between charges. It goes into standby mode when its not being used to conserve battery life. There is no power button on the keyboard; The magnets on the device keeps the Pocket folded and help maintain battery life by automatically turning it off when closed. There is a 2 to 3 second lag when the keyboard wakes up from standby mode and it automatically shuts off when closed. You can recharge by connecting a micro USB cable to the keyboard.

The Zagg keyboard has built-in holders to hold up the device to give a more upright position and a computer feel to the user. This is also slightly a problem, as you get only a fixed angle.

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Review

The chicklet keyboard feels great to use. It’s not a touchpad but an actual keyboard in true sense, with true key presses. Although, the size looks smaller than a standard keyboard, it’s not cramped. The Pocket maintains over 85% the typing space of a desktop keyboard. I was still able to type with great accuracy and quick. The device has a neatly laid out keys. Pleasantly surprised at the tactile feedback. The key travel is very short; ideal for those with a light touch when typing.

The hardware quality could’ve been slightly better. It does feel plastic though. The keyboard has been designed to be used only on a flat surface and will not work that great on your lap or any other unstable surface.

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Layout

After using the ZAGG Pocket Keyboard for a couple of weeks now, I’ve really started to enjoy it. I wrote this entire review using this keyboard paired with my iPhone. I even used this on my seat tray in the flight and it fitted in perfect regardless of the space between.

While there are few areas of improvements, I would still recommend this. If you are a writer,  It’s a great accessory for your phone. Its easy to use and most importantly, portable while you travel. It will take sometime to get used to; but once you do, you will start to enjoy typing on this.

The Zagg Pocket Keyboard works on both iOS and Android devices and is available on Amazon.in here.

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Smartphones

Huawei P9 Review: A Smartphone every Photographer would Love

Smartphones have always tried to replace our cameras. In true world, it does make sense, as you don’t carry your camera wherever you go unlike your mobile devices. While some companies claim to make camera phones, that would replace a DSLR, its nothing but just a joke. Each have different purposes and it would be wiser if we do not compare these two. However, on a regular daily usage you do not need a DSLR for everyday pictures; it would be nice to have a good portable Smartphone that couples as a camera which clicks quick and great pictures.

Huawei announced its flagship, the Huawei P9 today in India. The phone will be available for 39999 INR on Flipkart. The Huawei P9 is one of the best phones the company has every made. It is targeted at people who love creating photographs. Especially, with its association with Leica, it makes it even more worth looking at. I have been using this phone for over a couple of weeks and I am very impressed. Let us look at a detailed Huawei P9 review in this article. If you are keen on the camera review, read it here.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Huawei P9 is made up of aerospace-class unibody aluminium and a 2.5D glass with a brushed metal effect for a smooth look. The edges are flat and straight design makes the device easy and comfortable to hold.

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

Huawei-P9 rear antenna

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. There is a single slot with a dedicated SIM and a Hybrid slot. You could either pop-in two SIM cards or use one for a expandable micro-SD card.

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 3GB RAM. The Huawei P9 is the first phone with a processor, that 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.

There is a very slight lag on the app-load when you launch 3rd party apps; its certainly not a major deal breaker. Probably, it would’ve been better on a 4GB/64 RAM model. However, 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 very impressive as well.

The rear of the phone sports the camera and the finger print sensor. The Leica branding on the rear adds to the premium feel to the phone. Although, I still wonder why the SUMMARIT H1:2.2/27 ASPH was needed. They could’ve just kept it subtle with just Leica.

Huawei P9 Dual Camera Leica

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.

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.

With triple Antenna, the call drops are fairly less. Also, you don’t need to worry about your hand position under different signal conditions. Better RF performance- system automatically switches to the antenna with the best signal to prevent dropped calls.

Huawei P9 Leica Dual Lens back rear

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.

Huawei P9 EMUI

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 Huawei P9 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, 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.

Camera:

With dual cameras, the P9 does a lot more than the competition. This is the second phone after LG G5 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.

With being, co-engineered with Leica, The Huawei P9 has a 12MP RGB main sensor and accompanied by a 12MP monochrome chip on board. The Huawei P9’s merging algorithm, intelligently combines the colours taken by the RGB sensor with the detail of the monochrome sensor.

Huawei P9 Dual Camera Leica

According to Huawei, the image information from both sensors makes the P9 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. Read our in-depth camera review here.

The Dual Lens on the Huawei P9 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 monochrome pictures out of the Huawei P9 are worth falling in love with!

The Huawei P9 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 Huawei P9 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 Huawei P9 has been my favourite Smartphone, not just for the fantastic camera capabilities, but for a great User Experience.

Well, at this price, although it looks quite expensive, we need to consider that, this is a device from Huawei (not Honor, which has been making the budget phones) and they are competing it along with other flagships in the market. The company seems to be aggressive in getting out the brand Huawei in the country and they would like to keep it at a premium point.

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. Something I really miss on this phone is a hardware camera button. That would’ve been a nifty addition. The phone is perfectly sized, feels premium and the software is top-notch as well.

If you are behind the latest and greatest of hardware, you may see various other options in the market. However, if you love clicking pictures and value great user experience than hardware, then Huawei P9 is the camera phone for you. Like I mentioned the, photos are great and the monochromes are something worth falling in love with. The P9 is one of the best phones Huawei has ever made.

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Product Reviews

SlideModel.com: A modern source for Business PowerPoint Templates

In the productivity tools space, Microsoft Office has shown an incredible adoption in the last decade, becoming the number one choice among fortune 500 companies and individual professionals. Microsoft Office suite (and its new cloud service Office 365) has more than 1.2 billion subscribers worldwide, making it the most deployed productivity suite in history.

PowerPoint, the presentations software provided by Microsoft Office, has become so popular, that its name is used as a synonym for. It’s popularity is based on its simplicity and powerful features allowing traditional users to manipulate complex graphic design properties in a simple and intuitive interface. But even though the tool is great, flexible and extremely easy to use, it requires professional design knowledge and skills in order to create impressive presentation decks, that stand out from the rest. Even more, creating appealing presentations with great graphics is not only a complex task, but it requires time.

Traditional presenters lack of time, lack of knowledge and even lack of patience to create outstanding presentation decks. This reality generates low visual quality decks which instead of reinforcing or complementing a great presentation, they downgrade it.

With the objective of helping PowerPoint users to create business PowerPoint presentations with the visual appeal of professional artists, but with little investment of time is that SlideModel.com is born.

In this article we will review SlideModel.com, its value proposition and its benefits among the space of PowerPoint templates. We will cover common usage scenarios, highlight the benefits for the traditional user and show how it can help to create decks of publishing quality.

Introducing SlideModel Value Proposition

SideModel.com was born in 2014 as an answer for PowerPoint users that required great visuals for business presentations, but did not have the time to invest in the design of their presentation decks. The tool started targeting professionals and executives providing a wide gallery of business PowerPoint templates. With the objective of servicing their customers with industry leading graphics and a superb customer support, SlideModel grew their gallery based on customers suggestions and needs. Nowadays, SlideModel’s gallery provides more than 10,000 graphics with a special target on business models, frameworks and data-driven visualization. The catalog is constantly growing and reinventing itself based on current design and business trends.

The major benefit of SlideModel’s PowerPoint Templates is their flexibility. Each template is 100% editable; it is created with PowerPoint native objects. This feature allows every user to fully customize the templates properties ranging from colors, effects, size, theme and data, without affecting the visual quality or resolution. Even more, if the user requires matching the template to their own corporate theme, it is just a matter of including their theme into PowerPoint and apply it to the template. All PowerPoint Shapes can be adapted to match existing presentations, so users can include Shapes and objects from different templates to build their own custom versions, just dragging and dropping.

An important feature valued by all segments of SlideModel users is the quality of the aesthetics and design. In order to catch up with modern design trends, SlideModel designers team applies professional publishing techniques in every template layout and of course they provide new design techniques as Flat Design, Material Design, Layered 3D Effects, Long Shadow effects, Thin Line icons, etc. Everyone can navigate the online gallery and find out how modern and trendy all designs look. Every detail of the look and feel is kept under the radar. This attention to detail is one of the main differentiators of their products.

SlideModel is created as a simple web platform; users can log in, browse the templates based on categories or search keywords, download their files and create their own presentations. All categories are built under a simple structure, and they can be navigated in a paged style. The following sections present a brief description of each category group and a common usage scenario of their content.

PowerPoint Templates

This category provides a full view of the gallery content. It is sorted by upload date, allowing the user to see the latest gallery additions. Users can navigate the category and look for inspiration within a wide range of topics. Under the PowerPoint templates category, users can filter through sub-categories as Business PowerPoint Templates, Strategy PowerPoint Templates, Marketing PowerPoint Templates, Startup Presentation Tools, etc.

A very popular scenario within the Business PowerPoint Templates is the SWOT Analysis. SWOT (or sometimes called TOWS) is a popular management tool used in the Strategy Planning process of every company or startup. The tool is very popular for its simplicity and power. The tool identifies internal and external factors that are categorized as, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SlideModel provides a wide range of SWOT Analysis options ready to edit with the user’s content. In some cases, the templates are shared through PowerPoint online in order to collaborate during the analysis.

PowerPoint Diagrams

PowerPoint diagrams are a helpful alternative to bullet lists and tables. They provide a visually appealing structure to concepts and their matching relationships. Users can describe processes, structures and flows in ways that reinforce the relationships explained by the presenter. This category is broken down based on the diagram layout, for example circular diagrams, process diagrams, tree diagrams, funnel diagrams, etc. There is no topic that cannot be explained by a diagram. When SlideModel users start to replace their traditional lists or tables with modern diagrams, they realize how powerful an image can be in the task of explaining complex scenarios, processes or situations.

Digital marketing teams are a traditional segment among SlideModel subscribers. They employ the power of PowerPoint diagrams in order to create professional Infographics. The following template is a good example of this use case. Users can modify the number of steps and even replace the icons with another option that fits the need.

0054-horizontal-steps with-3d-column-infographic-16x9-1

Maps Templates

PowerPoint Maps are extremely helpful to present global strategies, trading routes, branch placements, etc. SlideModel Maps gallery is comprehensive and up to date. Users can find individual countries with their own state’s political outlines and regional maps (political and economical). Each map is created as a composite of individual subregions, allowing the user to ungroup the map and customize a region or state appearance to highlight it from the rest.

The United States Map is one of the most popular Maps templates in the gallery. Users can individually edit each of the US states and highlight them in the big picture. Users an open each of the product pages of the gallery and browse the slides of the template before downloading it.

PowerPoint Shapes

Modern visual presentation decks require the use of professional shapes, this includes PowerPoint Icons, Flat Design Shapes and of course different Scenes created with modern vectors. Users can describe metaphors combining shapes or build scenes that reinforce their message. Shapes are a complementing tool in every presentation, adding visual cues to the audience to understand or contextualize a message. As described before, all shapes are customizable; for example, users can drag and drop icons from the templates and change their color or effect to match the new presentation.

The following example shows a Professional PowerPoint Template with editable vectors featuring office materials. The shapes are created entirely as PowerPoint shapes, using flat design style.

2016-08-03 16_46_23-Greenshot

Data & Charts

The times of presenting long tables with numbers and hundreds of data points have passed. Nowadays presentations cannot be created as a copy paste from a spreadsheet or a report into a slide. The user needs to summarize and express numbers and metrics in a way the audience can understand and even more, be able to analyze in a glimpse in order to take decisions. SlideModel comes to the rescue with a professional set of Dashboards and Charts ready to customize with the user’s own data. Taking advantage of PowerPoint and Excel integration, SlideModel, created charts that can be populated with Excel tables, allowing the user to express accurate values based on their own data and calculations. Users can find in this category templates with a different set of useful charts (Bar Chart, Column Charts, Pie & Donut Charts, Waffle Chart, 3D Chart, etc.) and with themed dashboards, ideal for presenting KPI’s and Metrics.

As an example, we selected the following Dashboard template. It is ideal for showing information about any business. It includes:

  • A column chart with a single series, ideal for representing monthly sales
  • A column chart with two series, intended to show a comparison like KPI, as revenue versus cost
  • A donut chart and waffle chart that can be used for market share data.
  • A multiple line chart ideal for comparing different item values across time.
  • Venn Diagrams for describing competition and market analysis
  • An editable world map intended to highlight the countries with sales.
  • Finally, an org chart to describe your management team structure.

0034-vintage-flat-powerpoint-dashboard-16x9-1

Timelines and Planning

One of the most common use cases in today’s corporate world is the presentation of business reviews and project roadmaps. User requires easy to adapt professional PowerPoint timeliness to show the progress over roadmaps and plans. SlideModel provides a wide range of options from formal timelines to more casual roadmaps.

The following example shows a project timeline, represented in a Gantt Chart.

0026-02-editable-project-gantt-chart-16x9-4

PowerPoint Template Backgrounds

Sometimes, you need just to fill in the blanks and create beautiful presentations. SlideModel provides a set of “fits all” general purposes backgrounds in order to fill in the blanks with your information. Users can find several themed backgrounds for corporate presentations, real estate, medicine, logistics, retail, schools and education, etc.

Subscribing to SlideModel

SlideModel provides several plans & pricing to fit different needs. The target audience could be classified by the following usages scenarios:

  1. One time User: If you need a specific PowerPoint Template from SlideModel, or a small set to craft your presentation, you can subscribe to the One Day Access Plan and download your specific need. This plan targets one time users that need to create a great presentation in one shot.
  2. Presenters with mid-term needs: If you are a presentation designer or just a presenter that is working on a project with an end date; a mid-term plan subscription might fit your needs. SlideModel provides plans with short-term renewal options that do not force users to long-term commitment, but provides extensive downloads for a short period of time. An example would be a quarterly plan, where the user can cancel any time; while the plan is active it will renew avoiding service interruption, when the user feels that is no longer in need of the service, it can cancel without further charges.
  3. Continuous Presenters: If you create presentations with a regular pace, for sure the long terms plans of SlideModel will fit your need. Not only because of the extremely convenient pricing for annual plans, but also for the amount of downloads and personalized customer support.
  4. Agencies or Businesses: If you want seat licences for your agency or your business, SlideModel provides team accounts that will fit your needs. Team users can share their templates and even upload them directly to the cloud. Team accounts also receive additional benefits as Slide Bundles and PowerPoint plugins that will help presenters productivity.

The SlideModel subscription provides a perpetual license. This means that even after your SlideModel.com subscription has expired, users can continue to use the templates they downloaded. For the Annual and Team accounts, users can even login to the platform and redownload all the templates they previously acquired without further cost.

Final Thoughts

We have reviewed SlideModel as a templates gallery and as a tool for users of PowerPoint. Even though the main target of SlideModel is presenters that use PowerPoint, the gallery is wide enough to be used as a collection of assets for Digital Marketing campaigns (as SlideShare or Slidedocs). Even more, SideModel’s templates are compatible with Keynote and Google Slides, making it a great tool for every designer.

Hope you have enjoyed the review. Please leave your comments.

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

HTC 10 Review: Great Design Let Down by a Mediocre Display

We reviewed the all new HTC 10, the company’s 2016 flagship which is currently available in India for a price of 52,990 INR. HTC 10 competes with other flagships like Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, Xiaomi Mi5 & OnePlus 3 which feature the mighty Snapdragon 820 processor.  Without further ado, let us get in to the HTC 10 review in detail.

The HTC 10 is powered by the latest 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad core processor clocked at 2.2 GHz and comes with 32/64 GB inbuilt storage depending upon the variant with additional microSD support up to 2TB and 4GB of RAM. Additional features include Quick Charge 3.0 through the Type-C port which supports USB 3.1 standards with a battery capacity of 3000mAh.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The HTC 10 is a 5.2” 4G LTE Nano-SIM device with a Curve Edge Display at the front which blends seamlessly to the metal unibody. The Design is exquisite. The highlight of the device is the bold chamfered contour on the back that runs around the edges.

Users familiar with the Mi5 will find the phone very similar in terms of in-hand feel attributed by the 5.2” form factor. However unlike the Mi5, the back has a gentle arch resulting in a slightly thicker body of 9mm and little heavy at 161 grams.

HTC 10 Review

The phone is well-built and actually sturdy enough to withstand everyday bumps and knocks. Full marks to HTC for the impeccable construction quality and attention to details. The phone is designed to last. We were thoroughly impressed by the quality of buttons too.

HTC gets full credit for focusing on minute details like going with metal buttons and especially the textured finish for the power button to distinguish it from the volume keys. Other fine touches include a fast fingerprint sensor with a matte finish touch sensitive key. We liked the idea of HTC not going with a physical button here.

HTC-10-Finger-print-sensor

During our review, we stumbled upon an online drop test video where the HTC 10 is pitted against the Samsung Galaxy S7. The HTC 10’s screen is operable and survives 32 continuous drop tests before giving up. On the contrary, the Samsung Galaxy S7’s screen freezes in the first test. Although both screens shatter and develop spider webs in the first round itself, it’s clear that the HTC is the ultimate fighter here. The HTC 10 also currently tops the list in the bend test for being non-bendable. Of course we have Samsung’s Galaxy S7 in the league as well.

The trademark HTC boom sound speakers that went missing in the HTC one A9 mark their return in the HTC 10 but in a different avatar this time. The front facing stereo speakers from the recent HTC One M9 are not available anymore and HTC calls the new audio setup as Boom Sound Hi-fi edition.

So, we have a front facing speaker (tweeter) at the top for the highs and a bottom-firing speaker (woofer) for the lows. Even though the new speaker setup is definitely better than the ones from other flagships, we cannot deny the fact that the original boom-sound front facing stereo speakers sounded better.

Unlike speakers from other phones like the mi5 and Galaxy S7, the HTC 10’s speaker audio does not get muffled while blocking either of the speakers, which is good. To enhance the audio experience further, we have a music/theatre mode audio profile available. We liked the theatre mode which sounded better while watching videos.

Display:

The HTC 10 sports a Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) Curved Edge LCD Display protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass with an impressive 564 PPI pixel density and offers a maximum brightness of 372 nits.

Display is vivid and images are sharp. The display is however a big letdown when it comes to outdoor visibility. The screen is barely visible in bright daylight conditions. To compare, the LG G5 offers a maximum brightness of 800 nits and the mi5 with around 600 nits of brightness. Our current favourites in terms of display under direct sunlight are the mi5 and the OnePlus 3.

Other software features include display options to specify custom color temperature.

Camera:

One of the highlights of the HTC 10’s camera is that it features OIS in both front and the rear camera.

The Rear camera is a 12MP (1.55μm pixel) BSI sensor with laser Autofocus and f/1.8 aperture with OIS and supported by a dual tone LED flash. There is Pro mode for manual control and 12 bit RAW file support as well.

HTC-10-back-rear-design

Other camera features include Face Detection, Auto-HDR, Panorama, Zoe capture and Video Pic for photos. Video options include Hyperlapse, Slo-mo and 4K Recording with stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio support. Gesture support for camera includes a double swipe up gesture for launching the interface.

The camera performs pretty well in most of the lighting conditions. Colors are natural and aren’t over saturated. Auto exposure adjustments and light metering could’ve been better though.

The Front camera is a 5MP shooter with 1.34μm pixels and f/1.8 aperture that does a great job while taking selfies. There is screen flash available for those night time or low-light selfies. Selfie shots can be triggered using smile, voice etc.

There is Live-makeup support but results are not so great. Front camera supports Full HD 1080p video recording with OIS which comes handy for vloggers.

Have a look at some of the pictures clicked using the HTC 10.

Software, User Experience:

The HTC 10 runs Android™ 6 Marshmallow with HTC Sense on top which offers a near stock android experience.  HTC tied up with google and reduced duplicate apps and bloat ware by choosing the best from Google and HTC. HTC has already announced that the HTC 10 will receive the Android Nougat update.

Gone are the black bars at the bottom of the screen and the on-screen keys should now provide more screen real estate for apps.

HTC 10 Review

In addition to the built-in 32 GB of storage, the HTC 10 offers support for Android’s Flex Storage through micro SD card. This is the only flagship in the market at this moment which supports this feature.

Audio:

The HTC 10 offers an incredible high resolution audio experience through headphones, driven by a 24-bit DAC built into the device. The Personal Audio Profile feature measures individual hearing abilities and dynamically adjusts specific sound frequencies to each of your ears thereby offering an enjoyable music experience which we loved every bit of it. I tried listening to hi-res music on an Audio-Technica ATH M50x and I was blown away by the quality.

There is built-in theme support for personalising your phone. In addition to classic themes, there is a new Freestyle Layout that frees you from an on-screen grid and lets you drag icons, stickers and widgets anywhere. You can link these stickers to apps, and get rid of on-screen icons entirely.

Theme store offers access to thousands of professional looking themes, each with its own icons, background, sounds and more. The only downside we see with the themes app is the need for an active internet connection for applying offline themes.

On the software front, HTC 10 features a Boost+ app for power & system management. Boost+ regularly cleans up accumulated junk files, makes switching between apps smoother and maximizes battery life by reducing the power usage of background apps. It can even give games a performance boost by lowering the screen resolution to FULL HD during gameplay resulting in less battery usage.

Powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor, the phone is incredibly fast while opening apps, unlocking the device and watching videos. Thanks to the Adreno 530 GPU, gaming performance on the HTC 10 is great and there are no issues like frame drops or lag during game play.

Gesture support include Double-tap to wake/sleep, Quite ring on pick up, pocket mode, flip to mute etc.

Connectivity options include NFC, DLNA, Miracast, Chromecast. HTC is currently one of the fewer Android phones to support AirPlay out of the box. We sorely miss the IR Blaster from the older HTC flagships.

Call quality is really good. With the Quick Charging 3.0 rapid charger, the 3000 mAh battery on the phone charges up to 50% in just 30 minutes and gets fully charged in 1.5 hours without much heating issues.

To help better battery life, the HTC 10 includes a Power saving mode and an Extreme power saving mode for extending the last drop of juice from the battery.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Great design, styling & performance are the positives for the HTC10. The phone offers close to Stock-Android User Experience for simplicity. Battery life and Camera are worthy mentions too.

The device is slightly expensive in some of the regions.  The display lacks adequate brightness when compared to the competition. It doesn’t matter indoors; however, when you step outside on a bright day, the visibility gets difficult. The Auto-exposure adjustments on the camera could’ve been better.

Summing up, the HTC 10 is meant for hard core HTC fans and audiophiles who warrant exclusivity and do not mind spending the extra buck for a great experience. The HTC is currently available in India in Carbon Grey and Glacial Silver colours.

Thanks for reading. Do let us know your thoughts and questions.

Categories
Product Reviews Wearables

Mi Band 2 Review: A New Champion among Fitness Trackers

The Mi Band is one of the most successful products for Xiaomi in India. Announced in Early 2016, according to an IDC survey over a short period of time it has become the number one wearable brand in India with over 27% market. Globally, Xiaomi takes the second position followed by Apple. Fitbit leads there. We now have Mi Band 2, as an upgrade to the original Fitness Band which will be available in India around the festival season later this year.

When you unbox it, the contents are similar to the earlier edition of the band. You are provided with a tracker module, a charging cradle, a manual and the band. The cradle is where you slide in the module and the other end connects to an USB port for charging. You do have an option to buy different color straps/bands.

Unboxing Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Hardware, Look and Feel:

Mi has introduced a display to the tracker module. The screen on the tracker isn’t touch sensitive.However, it responds to the taps and touches on the capacitive button. The tracker displays time, number of steps, the distance covered, heart rate, calories burnt, call alerts, alarms etc.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review

The band connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Low Energy) protocol. This is an IP67 water resistant band which can withstand a splash but its not water proof so you can’t wear your band during your swimming sessions.

The metallic clasp resembles the touch button of the module giving it a very premium look. The band feels very comfortable even after using for long hours.

The Mi band 2 also has an optical heart rate sensor which isn’t continuous like the Fitbit Charge HR. So every-time you scan your vitals from the band, the heart-rate is scanned and displayed.It can be checked from the Mi band App on your phone as well.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 HR Sensor

I used this band for over 10 days and I have to say that, I am pleasantly surprised with the results. I used it alongside my Fitbit Blaze on the same hand to compare the results. The difference was about 500 steps and I am unsure on which of them is inaccurate. However, its is a small number to complain as every band comes with some level of variance.

Software, User Experience:

The awesomeness of the Mi Band is not just in the hardware, but the software is phenomenal too. The Mi Fit App is available for both iOS and Android. Once you download, you have to create a Mi account to get started. Enter the numbers that matter, set your goals, pair your tracker and Voila! you are good to go.

The Mi Fit app has evolved over years and it now gives you the information in a neater dashboard along with other nifty options. For accuracy of the tracking data the app lets you choose between the hands you would wear the band on. The App  now supports integration with Google Fit as well.

Call alerts work neatly , I really liked the feature where you can ignore alerts from unknown numbers.

I loved the Idle Alert feature. Wherein if you are idle for more than an hour, the Mi band gives you a nudge and vibrates so that you get moving, probably take a small walk or even stretch and stay active. This is useful especially when your work involves sitting for long hours. You also have the option to tune this according to your working hours.

Solid design and less intrusive construction makes this band very comfortable to wear all through the day even while asleep. Thereby, helping in analyzing your sleep routine along with other activities.

You can track your daily, weekly and monthly progress graphically, though it would be great if we have some algorithms built which would help us by making more sense of these numbers similar to what Jawbone does with its Smart Coach.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Mi Fit App

I would’ve wished if the software had an option of an alarm where the device wakes you up, when you are in light sleep, thereby helping you to wake up more refreshed.

I also hope that the app gets better on auto detecting activities. Like, when you take a quick run. There’s no GPS for accurate tracking or any kind of extra features for runners.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

It’s a is a no brainer that Mi band 2 is an affordable and fantastic fitness tracking band that gives you a premium feel, great hardware and software and to top all that, the Heart Rate sensor at roughly about 1500 INR is a steal. The official prices haven’t been announced yet. The competition is selling bands at 7-8 times higher than this price.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Construction

Personally I think, the biggest advantage is also a pain point for me. The battery is so good on the Mi bands that the first edition of Mi Band used to run happily for little over a month. I would sometimes forget where I had kept my charging dongle. It sounds funny, but this is true. getting a spare charger is a challenge and you can’t charge the module in any other manner.

For Mi band 2 the company claims a battery life of 20 days which should easily be at least 12-15 days on regular usage. Considering the display, its a great deal.

I have always been a fan of the Fitbit Charge HR; a band which doesn’t try to be a smartwatch. Does what its supposed to do and also feels comfortable on hands. The Mi Band 2 adds up to the list of recommendations. This is my favourite affordable band at this moment and I absolutely vouch for the same. If you’re looking to get fit by walking and bringing in a good discipline in your routine, I definitely recommend buying this. Even if not for yourself, this is an ideal gift for your loved ones!

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

LeEco Le2 Review – The New Budget Favourite

LeEco is back into the budget smartphone game with their new smartphone Le2. When Le1s was launched early this year, it was a huge hit in India with LeEco selling over 2 lakh units. Banking on the success, Le Eco launched the Le2 pretty quick this time within a month, compared to its china release. If you are still not aware, the Le2 is the successor to the Le1s Eco and the original Le1s smartphones. The Le2 comes with a free one year subscription of Live TV content and the Hungama music streaming subscription.

LeEco Le2 Media ContentThe LeEco Le2 is currently available exclusively on Flipkart through flash Sale on a registration basis for a price of INR 11,999. Let’s see if the Le2 truly lives up as a successor to the Le1s.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

Sticking to the winning formula, the design of Le2 is very similar to its predecessors. Le2 retains the full metal uni-body construction from the Le1s. The Rose Gold version looks attractive with the metal body and there is a silver and a grey variant as well to choose from.

There are no major design changes to the front and on the rear we have two antenna bands running across with the primary camera on top and a square finger print sensor located below on the center with LeEco’s typical mirror finish.

We have the volume and power buttons to the right and a dual nano-sim slot to the left. On the bottom, we have the type-c port in the center and two grills on either side. While the right grille houses the loud speaker, the left grille is just for symmetry.

LeEco Le2 bottom GrillThe top is left rather clean with just the IR blaster towards the left. LeEco has done away with the 3.5 mm audio jack and come up with their proprietary CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio) audio output format through the type-c port.

LeEco claims that the CDLA format will offer high quality audio output compared to a traditional analog connection and will offer an immersive sound experience when listening through earphones that support CDLA. LeEco is currently giving away LeEco’s in-ear CDLA headphones worth 1990/- absolutely free for a limited period as part of the Le2 flash sale. However if you want to use your own pair of headphones, there is a type-c to 3.5mm adapter bundled with the phone.

Despite its 5.5 inch form factor, Le2 is very comfortable to hold and lighter this time weighing 153g compared to the 169g weight of the Le1s. Although the phone feels slippery with single handed usage, the bundled clear case comes to our rescue.

LeEco Le2 Back Rear Design

Under the hood, the Le2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor clocked at 1.8 GHZ which is the successor to the Snapdragon 650 seen on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. There is Qualcomm’s Adreno 510 GPU for GFX support. There is 32GB inbuilt storage available which is non-expandable and 3GB of RAM as before. 4G LTE support is available on the dual slim slots which offer dual standby. Also, there is 4G VoLTE support for high definition calls.

The phone has been in news for the infamous creaking sound while pressing the screen hard with your thumb. LeEco acknowledged that it’s not a build or quality control issue and the emanating sound is due to a gasket placed between the protective glass and the display.

We at tech.ink believe that the build quality is comparatively stronger and durable for this segment and definitely better than phones like the Redmi note3. If you are still not sure, there are multiple online bend test videos where the Le2 emerges out as a clear winner.

Display:

Just like the Le1s, the Le2 sports a 5.5 inch Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) LCD screen with In-cell display. With a pixel density of 401 PPI, the display is crisp and offers good viewing angles. On the software front, there is a color mode setting available with different color schemes like LeEco, Vivid, Natural and Soft to choose from.

LeEco Le2 Front UI DesignWe liked the soft mode in particular where the Blue-light filter technology integrated into the display hardware cuts down the blue light, ensuring your eyes are not stressed during long hours of content consumption. Outdoor visibility is decent and there is nothing to nit-pick here.

Camera:

On to the camera, there is a 16 megapixel primary shooter available with f/2.0 aperture and PDAF support resulting in a focus time of 0.09 seconds. There is a dual tone LED flash for night shots. Video recording options include Slo-mo & 4K video support.

LeEco Le2 Back rear CameraCamera UI reminds us of the iOS camera interface. There are 9 preset camera filters available to choose from. Details like saturation, sharpness and contrast levels can be set as per user liking. Camera performance is decent in good outdoor lighting conditions, but strictly average in low light scenarios. Pictures shot in low light lack detail.

On the front, we have an 8 megapixel camera (1.4 µm pixel size) with f/2.2 aperture. The rear finger print sensor can be used to capture selfies. There is beauty mode built-in, but it fails to impress. Front camera supports video recording up to 1080p.

Have a look at some of the camera samples below.

Software, User Experience:

Le2 runs on LeEco’s custom version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, EUI OS (5.8 version).  One noticeable difference with EUI is the absence of quick settings on the notification drawer.

The Quick settings is available rather on the multi-tasking view which looks more like the iOS control center with the app switcher and shortcuts to system apps in a single interface. There is option to customize the order of quick setting toggles and app shortcuts.

Finger print sensor works accurate most of the times from any angle, unlocking phone in 0.15 seconds, but it’s not one of the fastest we have seen on smartphones.

IR blaster currently works only with LeEco’s stock remote control app and not with popular 3rd party android apps like Peel which provide detailed channel guide based on your D2H provider. In other words, Indian set-top boxes cannot be controlled with the Le2 which is a bummer.

LeEco Le2 Front Camera

There is built-in theme support in EUI. However, there are only 3 themes available by default. We do have an online theme page, but sadly there we have only 9 themes available in total.

Le Ecosystem content and membership continues from the Le1s Eco. LeEco currently offers 1 year subscription free of cost and you can choose to upgrade after the subscription period. Even though Hungama music streaming is not yet available on the Le2, we do have the Live TV up and running.

People who are into watching soap opera and news will find the Live TV interesting. It’s a great way to catch up your favorite late night serial right from bed after switching off your TV at the drawing room. Please note that there are no movie channels available if you are looking for one.

LeEco Le2 Front DesignPowered by the Adreno 510 GPU, gaming performance is excellent and there are no frame drops while playing graphics intensive games. Call quality is good and the built-in speaker is loud. The loud speaker output does crackle on increasing volume.

The Le2 features a 3000mAh lithium-ion polymer battery that supports Le Super Charge with Type-C port using Quick Charge 2.0 standard. There is a Dynamic Voltage Scaling technology which adjusts the charging voltage according to charging cycles. According to the company this should translate in to longer battery life.

During our battery test, we did notice the phone getting warm as a result of charging. Battery life is excellent and the phone easily lasts a day with 20% of battery juice still left. If you still crave for more, there is a detailed power management feature with a variety of options to improve battery life. Also, there is a phone manager app to clean junk and limit data usage.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

The Le2 is slightly expensive at INR 11,999 compared to the previous generation Le1s LeEco. However, with a powerful processor that guarantees impressive performance and gameplay, it’s worth spending the extra buck. Barring the average camera performance, if you find the LeEco Ecosystem and content to be interesting, then the Le2 is a fair option to choose when comparing what competitors like Redmi Note3 offer at the same price point. If you are tight on budget, the Honor 5C is a great phone as well.

Do share your thoughts and questions if any. Thanks for reading.

Categories
Product Reviews Wearables

Pebble Time Round Review: Thin, Super Light and a Premium Smartwatch

Pebble introduced their first smartwatch to the market through a kickstarter campaign which was a massive success, collecting around $10 million for development of the smartwatch. This was the most money raised for any product on Kickstarter at that time. Since then Pebble has introduced few models and the Time Round is the latest smartwatch from the company. This smartwatch is super light and thin. The company claims this model to be world’s lightest. To be honest, I can’t think of any other smartwatch which is this thin and most importantly, comfortable on hands. Let us look at the Pebble Time Round Review in this article. The Time Round is available for USD 249 in the US, and on Amazon.in for a price of INR 13599 in India.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Pebble Time Round is made up of stainless steel and looks beautiful. The all-metal chassis and smooth beveled edges adds to the looks. Its thin and feels super premium. The construction of the body feels very strong and sturdy. The glass on the top blends very well with the edges. The side buttons has an excellent feel and are spaced well. The Pebble Time Round is easily the best wearable the company has brought to market, not only in the looks; but to the quality of construction, materials used and the well-designed body.

Pebble Time Round Back Stainless SteelThe bezel is slightly a turn-off though. The Display is certainly not as rich or colorful as brighter OLED panels, but it’s still works perfectly. Time Round is much more legible under bright sunlight. Thanks to the e-paper display. This also means, that the display remains on at all times. The display is slightly dim when you compare it with other smartwatches. However, that affects the battery life.

Pebble Time Round Weather

The company has sacrificed a lot of battery life to make the watch as small and thin as possible. This isn’t a great deal breaker. I get about 2 days of battery life. The Time Round also charges super quick. With just 15 minutes, the watch gets about a 60% charge.

Pebble Time Round Weather App

Software, User Experience:

Pebble’s software is simple. Its efficient and delivers what it promises. The Pebble Time Round can display notifications from a phone paired over Bluetooth, iOS and Android devices only.

The OS has a feature called Timeline that lets you scroll through past or upcoming information, such as weather, sports, calendar appointments, messages, or missed calls. The OS has another feature called ‘Quiet time’ which gives you an option to turn off notifications on certain days or time when you don’t want to get notified.

Pebble Time Round Call Notification

The device supports step counting and sleep tracking through 3rd party apps. The watch also has support for Alarms and alerts. Further, Pebble’s app store has a lot of apps to choose from, mostly free. The store currently has over 150 apps and 400 watch faces.

I have an iPhone; Can I buy the Pebble Time Round?

Well to be honest, There is no smartwatch worth buying other than the Apple Watch for you. Android Wear does support, notifications and other actions on your iPhone, but it isn’t as powerful.

The Pebble software gives you support for call alerts and app notifications on your iPhone. However, it isn’t as powerful as on Android phones. You get much finer control and many more useful features when paired with an Android phone. You will be able to view and dismiss notifications, trigger voice commands on supported apps; however, the notifications are non-actionable – you won’t be able to delete an email, like a FB post or even replying back to a message by voice, which is possible on the Android phones. I heard Pebble is working on better iOS integration. Let’s wait and watch.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

At INR 13599 ($249 in the US), the Time Round is more expensive than it looks; which may feel a bummer. However, this is the first smartwatch I’ve loved using. I’ve tried a number of smartwatches in the past. My most favorite was the Moto 360. I can say that with the Pebble Time Round I didn’t feel like I was actually wearing a smartwatch, it pretty much looked like a standard one and I like the simplistic approach.

The Battery on the Pebble Time Round easily lasts two days, and charges super quick as well. The OS is simple, fast and even the community of developers and users is growing. The watch is Thin, light and very comfortable on hands.

Touchscreen, Lack of GPS and Heart Rate sensor does look like a negative points, when you compare this with other Android Wear watches available in the market. We would’ve loved the watch to be water proof (Its just SplashProof). The round display lacks some support from existing developers who had developed apps for other variants of Pebble. A better iOS support would’ve been great as well.

Pebble Time Round Watch Face

The Time Round will definitely impress quite a few people. If you want a simple smartwatch that’s great for notifications and, serves the purpose to show you the time, the Pebble Time Round is a worthy option. If fits smaller wrists as well. Also, If you are wary about smartwatches to be too geeky, this is probably one watch you should try. It looks subtle and very impressive.

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

Swipe Elite Plus Review: Camera makes this phone a Winner!

The Indian Smartphone market is one of the best places for business today. Its no more a race between the big players; we have quite a few other Indian and Chinese brands in the market who have seeded some amazing devices as well. Swipe has joined this league with its Elite range of phones. They have been quite consistent in launching various products. Today Swipe has over 1.5 Million customers. Early last month, Swipe launched the Elite Plus, a dual sim phone which is available for 6999 exclusively on Flipkart. The device is available in 2 variants. Let us look at the Swipe Elite Plus review in this article.

Swipe Elite Plus Review

Under the hood the phone is powered by a Snapdragon 615 octa core processor clocked at 1,5 GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB of Internal Memory and a non-removable 3000mAh battery. The phone also has a dedicated expandable storage slot which supports microSD cards upto 64GB; the phone also provides an OTG support.

The phone weighs around 150 grams and is 8.9 mm thin. The phone also supports all the bands in India – LTE, GSM and even CDMA. The back-panels on the phone can be swapped. The call quality and speaker volume is pretty good too.

This device offers a 5 inch full HD display protected by a DragonTrail glass. The glass looks gorgeous and the text is crisp too. The colors aren’t over saturated and are very true to life.

The phone has a good design with chrome rims and good quality plastic around the body. The build quality feels surprisingly good and quite comfortable to hold. You can find the power-button towards the right-side of the phone and the volume rockers in the left. I personally thought, we could’ve had the Elite branding in a subtler way.

Swipe Elite Plus Branding

The rear camera is a 13MP and the front is a 8MP sensor camera. The camera is one of the strongest points of this device. By far one of the best phones for the performance regardless of the segment it falls in. The color re-production is perfect and the saturation levels are top notch too. The HDR mode also works quite okay.

In terms of improvements, the camera does have a scope of improvement while shooting landscapes. With close distant subjects and macros, the depth of field is fantastic. Do have a look at some of the pictures shot using this phone. Truly one of the best things about the phone.

On the software side, the Elite Plus runs on Android 5.1 with Freedom OS on top of it. The Freedom OS is fast and works neat. The OS has been optimized for the hardware and the 2GB RAM looks sufficient to do most of the system tasks.

The performance lags a bit when 3rd party or resource intense applications are launched. They tend to slow down the performance of the phone by a bit. Even, while viewing photos in the gallery app, the phone does take a while to render the image. I think, including a 3GB RAM, would’ve avoided it. Otherwise the Freedom OS is very light and gives variety of customizations for the users. I wish we had an option to tune the vibration strength too. Sometimes its too irritating.

Swipe Elite Plus OSThe phone does heat up a bit. Charging the phones takes a lot of time. Maybe, now that, we are used to fast charging, this looks very slow. A full charge from 0 to 100 takes about 3 hours to complete. However, at the segment this device is competing in, there shouldn’t be no complaints as such.

We have seen a lot of junk smartphones in this segment claiming to make better phones and they spoil the entire Android ecosystem. The Swipe Elite Plus is definitely a very good entry Level Android Phone. The phone delivers what it promises and it does it quite well. The camera makes it the obvious winner when compared to the rest in this segment. If you are in the market, looking for an entry level internet powered smartphone which offers a pretty good camera, then, this is a very good option for you.

‘Internet for everyone’ is the new mantra in every industry. The IoT devices are targeting the very same purpose and has already offered some ‘connected’ solutions which eases people’s life. Well, more than one billion people in India are yet to be connected to the web. One of the easiest way to reach people for this are smartphones. The affordable range of smartphones are just in a look out, to see if more and more people can get connected. However, to a large extent the network service provider also plays a big role here. Lets hope they take the step forward too.