Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

OnePlus 3 Review: Killing the Flagship Game!

OnePlus unveiled its long-awaited flagship smartphone OnePlus 3 in a VR event couple of weeks ago. The Graphite variant of the OnePlus 3 is currently available from Amazon.in for INR 27,999/- and the Soft Gold variant will be launched in the near future.  Let’s review and see if the phone stands true to the “flagship killer” moniker at the current price point.

Gone are the days where an invite was required to purchase an OnePlus phone. Kudos to the team for getting rid of invites. This feels super awesome as a buyer. Inside the box, you also get this note from Carl Pie where he talks about the company, customers and how to reach him.

OnePlus Founder Carl Pei Letter OnePlus 3

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The OnePlus 3 is a 5.5” 4G Dual-SIM device featuring an ultra slim uni-body metal design which according to the company is carved out of single slab of space-grade aluminum alloy, pretty much like what we have seen on the HTC 10. The build quality is solid and the phone looks premium. Weighing 158 grams and at 7.3 mm thickness, it ranks 3rd in thinnest flagships available currently in the market. Make no mistake in underestimating the build quality of the phone. Its strong and durable in every aspect, be it the keys, glass, finger print scanner or the whole construction.

The Dual-SIM tray & power keys are located on the right, while the alert slider & volume rocker are placed on the left. Top stays flat and the bottom houses the speaker grill, type-c port and the 3.5 mm audio jack. The Alert Slider from the OnePlus 2 has been retained in the OnePlus 3 as well. This helps in toggling between silent, priority and all notifications with the reach of a button and is unique to the OnePlus phones.

OnePlus 3 Slider

A ceramic finger print sensor is available on the front similar to the HTC 10. Unlike the Xiaomi mi5, the sensor is not located on a physical home button, but on a capacitive home key. The Sensor is blazingly fast unlocking the device in 0.2 seconds from sleep and accurate most of the times. It’s a true 360 degree sensor in a way that it works perfect when pressing from any direction.

Another interesting thought with the OnePlus 3 sensor implementation is, it does not wake the screen up with incorrect inputs like the HTC 10 does. The sensor just vibrates the phone when finger print is not recognized and wakes up only when there is a match. This is a good use case since there will be multiple instances you ending up touching the sensor by mistake while holding the phone.

OnePlus 3 FingerPrint Sensor

Primary camera is located on the centre of the back with a visible protrusion which according to us is not the best in design and may not be for everyone’s liking. With a phone case, this protrusion should not be too annoying. OnePlus has released a variety of cases for this device which are available on Amazon.in

The OnePlus 3 runs on top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor seen in 2016 flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S7 (US), LG G5, HTC 10, Le Max2 and the Xiaomi Mi5. Out of the four Kryo cores available, two are clocked at 2.2 GHz and other two at 1.6 GHz. There is Adreno 530 GPU for handling those graphic intensive tasks.

The device comes with impressive hardware specs like 64GB storage (based on UFS 2.0 technology), 6 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Dash Charge, Type-C port, Bluetooth 4.2. The device also supports NFC.

Currently this is the only smartphone available in India with a mammoth 6 GB of RAM. While this may sound an overkill by today’s standards, we appreciate this move from OnePlus since this makes the phone future proof. Also this combination of RAM and processing power makes the phone a very smooth device. UI is snappy, and even 4K video editing is a breeze.

Display:

The OnePlus 3 sports a 5.5″ FULL HD (1080p) Optic AMOLED display protected by a 2.5D curved gorilla glass 4 from Corning. With a pixel density of 401 PPI and a maximum brightness of just over 400 nits, the display is crisp & vivid with deeper blacks and brighter whites.

Outdoor visibility is excellent with the Adaptive brightness coming to play and automatically optimizing the screen brightness level based on available light conditions. There is a night mode when enabled filters out harmful blue light emission from the screen and reduces eye strain in the dark. Additional display features include a color balancing slider to choose between warmer and cooler color temperatures according to the user preference.

While the 2.5D curved glass looks gorgeous with the thin bezel on the OnePlus 3, we encountered a minor niggle while watching videos on YouTube. While holding the phone in one hand and scrolling through available videos, my palm would occasionally touch the sides of the screen and play an unintended video from the list. However this should not pose any problem since this can be avoided by going for a phone case or by using two hands. Not a deal breaker but slightly annoying.

Camera:

For the primary camera, the OnePlus 3 uses Sony’s 16MP IMX298 sensor (1.12 µm pixels and f/2.0 aperture) available on the Xiaomi mi5. There is hardware OIS and an additional EIS (Electronic image stabilization) for those less shaky photos & videos. The front camera is an 8MP Sony IMX179 shooter with 1.4 µm pixels and f/2.0 aperture.

Camera interface is simple and includes features like Auto HDR, a robust manual mode, Panorama and support for RAW images. Thanks to PDAF, the primary camera is quick to focus and shoots good pictures in both outdoor and artificial lighting conditions with very little noise. Occasionally, there are some focus stacking issues when the subject you click is busy. See Sample below. I believe, this would be fixed over a software update.

OnePlus 3 Focus Issues

Though the OnePlus 3 has an OIS built in, the videos aren’t as great as an iPhone even without an OIS. Maybe, the camera software needs better stabilisation algorithms. Video recording features include support for time lapse, slow motion (720p at 120fps) and 4K video (30fps). Recorded audio from video footage could have been louder.

Coming to the front camera, it can shoot up to 1080P video at 30fps. We personally liked the Smile Capture feature for selfies which triggers a 3 sec timer shot when you smile. The circle gesture for launching camera from sleep mode worked flawlessly every time. Unfortunately with the finger print setup on the device, we had to go through an extra step of unlocking the device to launch the camera.

Have a look at some of the camera samples below. We will add more samples as we use the device.

Software, User Experience:

OnePlus 3 comes with the latest edition of Oxygen OS which is based on Android Marshmallow 6.1. Oxygen OS is a clean, light, bloat-free OS supporting UI customisation, gesture support etc. A lot of bugs from the OnePlus 2 have been addressed in this update. There is option to enable software navigation buttons and they can even be customized for performing different actions based on user preference. For users who don’t prefer the white theme, there is a dark theme that can be customized with an accent colour.

Screen-Off Gesture support include features like double tap to wake screen, drawing a circle to launch camera, drawing a V for flashlight, two finger swipe downwards to play/pause music, </> for previous/next track navigation and all of them worked flawlessly during our testing. Unfortunately, these are the only options which have been available since OnePlus One. We wished if there were more options or custom gestures.

OnePlus 3 Oxygen 3 Android OS

With Oxygen OS, the same phone can be used by multiple users. New users can be added to the system and each user will have their dedicated space comprising of apps, wallpapers, layout etc. Also, features guest mode which is a nifty feature when enabled hides all photos, call history, messages etc.

Powered by the Adreno 530 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 and clear.

Dash Charge:

The OnePlus 3 features a 3000mAh non-removable battery with an impressive proprietary quick charge technology which the company calls Dash Charge. While keeping the phone cooler, Dash Charge replenishes more than 60% of the battery within half-an-hour. This is made possible by leveraging a large electric current (5V 4A) for stable, consistent charging speeds and shifting the power management system from phone to the Dash Charge adapter. While this setup helps in maintaining lower temperatures during charging, it brings another great advantage. There won’t be any CPU throttling issues and hence the charging speed won’t get affected by intensive phone usage in parallel like streaming video or playing heavy games.

During our battery charge test, the OnePlus 3 managed to stay cool throughout the time. While reaching 96% in under an hour, the phone managed to charge the battery to 100% in one hour and eleven minutes which is incredible.

The only downside we see with the dash charge technology is the limitation of relying on the dash charge adapter for faster charging. In other words, when using a 3rd party Type-C fast charging adapter, the OnePlus 3 will charge in regular charging speeds and won’t get charged quickly.

Power management options include a battery saver feature that can be trigged automatically when battery reaches a percentage level. However the battery saver settings cannot be customized.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Great Display, Impeccable Finger Print Sensor, A very good Front & Rear Camera along with the 6 GB RAM definitely makes it worth the buy. The dash charge is worth a mention. The form factor is slightly on the larger side; however, it isn’t very uncomfortable to use. The performance is top-notch, and the phone gives a very premium feel; certainly making it the Flagship Killer.

OnePlus OnePlus 3 rear side

I would certainly recommend OnePlus 3 to anyone who is looking at buying a flagship smartphone with a bigger screen. However, if you are looking at a lighter phone with a slightly smaller form factor, then the Xiaomi Mi5 is a good alternative.

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

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

Honor 5C Review: Software wins over Specs here!

In this article, lets review the Honor 5C, a budget entry segment smartphone from Huawei which was just launched in India today. Though, this device is priced as a budget phone, features, design and the user experience give it a feel of a good 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 5C will be available at INR 10999 in three colors – gold, silver and grey. The phone will be available on Flipkart and is available for pre-orders starting 2 PM today. The sale of Honor 5C will commence starting 30th June.

honor-5c

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Honor 5C comes with a premium aircraft grade metal that also offers 5 layer heat sinks with copper shielding cover. It is made from brushed metal alloy wire-drawing finish that adds a very premium look and feel to this phone. 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. The curved back is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to the front. There is a LED notification on the top of the phone as well.

honor-5c-brushed-back

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 650 16nm chipset, Mali T830 GPU, faster EMMC 5.1 and 2GB RAM. The phone has a onboard 16GB ROM, expandable upto 128 GB. 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 with a 3GB RAM. 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.

brushed-metal-honor-5c

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 0.5 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 3000 MAH battery which offers a good battery life of over a day; It gives me SOT of 5 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.

With Dual Antenna, 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.!

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 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.

honor-5c-display

Software, User Experience:

The Honor 5C 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 (Find out why this skin is good), 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.
Honor 5C Health App
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.  Here are some of the options, you can set.

Camera:

The camera is powered with a 13MP sensor, a f2.0 aperture which does allow a lot of light and 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 colors being good as well. Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives you options for smart selfies, food mode etc.  Here are some samples pictures I clicked. will upload few more as I use the phone. 

The Honor 5C also offers manual shooting controls (professional mode) for people who like to create photographs.

Honor 5C Pro Photo

You can shoot a 1080p video on this phone. however, it doesn’t come with an optical image stabiliser built in.  The video processing on the phone can be better, but is certainly good enough for a mid range smartphone.

The slo-mo and time-lapse features are also there. Here is a sample time-lapse video, I shot early this morning. Not the best, and certainly not the worse either. One point worth mentioning is that, when I used this camera for a longer time to shoot this time-lapse video, it didn’t warm the phone – This is neat.

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.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

With a brushed metal, premium design and a good display its impressive. Today in the market, There are few other devices in this range which offers better specs; however, its not just about the specs at times. Its more on the user experience. 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.

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. This would be my new recommendation for anyone looking at a 10K phone.

Do let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Categories
Laptops Product Reviews

t.book Review: This Ultrabook from Smartron is a Stunner

Today, computers have gotten into our lives so much that we someway or the other use at-least one of them everyday.  Be it our smart-phones, tablets, laptops etc. Also, Laptops aren’t just what most companies give to their employees, they have come to define a new generation of mobile-first users who want to work and play anywhere they want to. With the advent of so many consumer devices it sometimes gets difficult choosing the right device for yourself. Although multiple devices are good and gives you an ease of use, getting an unified experience is still a challenge.

When Microsoft introduced Windows 8, it wasn’t a very well received product among consumers. However, it made more PC makers think towards better touch powered displays. Since then, OEMs have been pushing a variety of touch enabled laptops and convertible devices, often referred to as 2-in-1s.

The 2-in-1s aim at providing the functionality of a laptop and a tablet in one device. They help users to get work done on a notebook mode and then collapse the display to use it as a tablet for media consumption, games and browsing. With some interesting accessories, this makes the segment more interesting. They come with the advantages of both tablets and notebooks. Surface Pro from Microsoft is a great computer to lookup in this segment.

There are many companies who make 2-in-1s, but most of them lack something what Surface Pro offers. It could be design, quality of the hardware or even the integration. Here comes Smartron introducing their t.book, a high performance ultrabook convertible computer that aims at bringing in an unified experience with their cloud services.

smartron-tbook-back-side-rear-design

Smartron is India’s latest startup in the area of IoT; the brand with the focus of “designed and engineered” in India for India and the world. The company is planning an exciting line up of products for 2016, beyond smartphone and ultrabook segments across mobile, home, auto, enterprise and infrastructure markets. They aim to make customer’s life simpler, smarter, and safer using Smartron products. They have some interesting products up their sleeve now – t.book, t.phone and tron.x, the company’s unique Smartron experience.

Tron.x seamlessly integrates all the devices, software, cloud, crowd, hub, services and care platforms to deliver highly intelligent and personalized experience through hubtron. Hubtron comes with every Smartron device and customer can access all his or her profile, data like documents, content like pictures and music, services like professional and payment, care, community as well as can manage all other IoT devices at home or on the go or at office or in the car.

I was at the launch of the t.book few weeks ago in Delhi and got a chance to try this device for a while. The initial impressions were really good.

I got this device a month ago and I’ve been using this for everyday browsing and writing. I am writing this long article using the t.book itself and the experience so far has been definitely good. There were some issues with the keyboard inititally, but then, most of them were addressed via a software update.

smartron-tbook-working-desk-silhoutte

Hardware, Display and Performance:

The computer feels very good on hands. The choice of materials used does give a very premium feel to it than the competition. The dual tone back colours adds uniqueness to this device. The magnesium alloy body does give a great strength to the build. The kickstand on the tablet is durable and doesn’t loosen up or show any wear and tear on regular usage. The t.book is slightly heavier than the Surface Pro; however, the 2-in-1 from Microsoft costs triple the money as the t.book does.

Under the hood, the t.book is powered by an Intel Core M clocked at 2 Ghz, with a 4GB of RAM and a 128GB of SSD Storage. You have a power button and Volume Rockers towards the top; The device has two USB ports on the side, a type C port for charging, a micro HDMI port and a micro SD card slot. The bottom of the device has a magnetic connector which helps the keyboard snuggle back tightly. The magnetic strength is pretty good and the device quickly sticks to the keyboard and the docking is all set. The keyboard attachment comes along with the device, unlike the surface Pro where an user is expected to buy it separately. Good move Smartron.

smartron-tbook-ports

The keys are well placed and the chick-let style keys gives you a good travel to type in. Its impressive. Works well even for a long document edit like I am doing right now. I find the touch pad quite small. I would’ve preferred a little larger one as gestures work pretty well when you have some room for it.

smartron-tbook-keyboard

The device has a 2K resolution IPS display that offers a great viewing angle. Thanks to Windows 10, the touch experience is even better on the hardware and the colour calibration is very impressive. The display is one of the strong features of the device as the details are very crisp. The images look lovely and even the text is sharp. The colours is just about right and not too over-saturated.

smartron-tbook-airport-2

The cameras on the device is decent; but hey, who clicks pictures with a tablet or a computer. It is pretty decent for Skype video calls or clicking some occasional pictures. The dual microphones in the front does help in good quality calls and helps reaching out to Cortana even in a busy environment.

The t.book has a 10,000 mAh battery which offers around 6 hours of moderate usage. Thankfully with the USB Type C charging, the device charges pretty quick as well. The performance is impressive; no significant lags on daily apps. Thankfully the SSD built in helps in fast IO and User experience.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Although, choosing a convertible Windows laptop involves making some compromises w.r.t screen resolution, possibly paying a lot more than a standard laptop, it does have some great benefits. Those who prefer simplicity of one device or who doesn’t want to worry about maintaining the software and operating systems on multiple devices would really enjoy the 2-in-1. Further, A convertible can also be a good choice for people who travel frequently. You can just carry one device which means, you end up taking just one charging cable, which helps in saving space.

I find these computers versatile as well. For e.g.: Using my Macbook Pro on an airplane is generally too much a pain. The 2-in-1s really help there – your computer can be swamped to a tablet and yet giving you the complete working features of a laptop.

One of the most sought out pain points of going with a 2-in-1 is the lack of hardware customisations in future. To be honest, most of the modern laptops these days are concealed too. They don’t give you the options to alter later. You do have multiple editions to buy from. But once you buy, you dont have much options to modify. So I don’t think, this to be a challenge anymore.

The t.book definitely makes a great 2-in-1 at a very affordable price. This is the first generation product and yet it looks pretty good to be honest. The various ports options and type-C power cable certainly has the edge when compared to others in this segment. On the first look, I thought the bezel was too big and that had eaten up the display; however, when you want to use the computer like a tablet as show below, this space definitely helps. I really wish, Smartron brings in a pen accessory soon for t.book. This would certainly help for quick notes and annotations on Edge Browser.

smartron-tbook-tablet-mode

Summing up the, t.book is an affordable 2-in-1 device worth considering. It isn’t the best solution for everyone; in that matter the 2-in-1s isn’t a great alternative for everyone like the TV advertisements say. However, this gives you great user experience for this kind of computing at a much affordable price. Smartron has definitely produced a fantastic product; and, if this is the quality of the first product from the company, I am totally impressed. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves. This will definitely be one company to watch out for from India. They can make technology affordable, stylish and most importantly, part of your everyday ecosystem.

Thanks for reading.

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

Asus ZenFone Max Review: Good Camera and a Pretty Awesome Battery!

Few weeks ago, Asus unveiled an upgraded Zenfone Max which comes in 3 variants. This is a Dual sim device with a Micro SD card slot options. This is a successor to the last year’s Zenfone Max. 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 Max and see how it performs. The phone is available in Orange, Blue, White and Black colours.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm  Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.5 Ghz. It has a 2GB or 3GB of RAM (based on the variants you choose to buy) and a 32GB of Storage, 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!

asus-zenfone-max

The display is a 5.5 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 leather feel back panel to the phone which gives it a good grip and also adds to a style. Its just a plastic though. The sides of the phones aren’t metal either. However, the phone does give a good feel to the hands.

The Zenfone Max like the earlier edition, has a 13MP Primary camera sensor on the rear which is assisted by dual LED flash and a laser 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 Praveen shot on his recent trip. Like you see in the samples, the camera performs pretty well in bright outdoor; the colors 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 optimization 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-max-marshmallow

This Zenfone brings in all the goodness of the Android Marshmallow 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 of 9,999 INR, the device is definitely worth the buck. The battery and reverse charging are definitely a neat addition.

 

Categories
Applications Product Reviews

Change settings automatically on Android Phones using Llama

Llama is a location aware mobile app that uses mobile towers/masts to determine your current location and performs routine everyday tasks on your phone. This includes changing ringer/voice/music volume, toggling WIFI/Mobile Data, Start music player when Headset/Bluetooth is connected etc. Further, Llama also provides you with different sound profiles so that you can quickly switch between quiet, loud, silent and normal sound settings based on certain conditions. This comes handy for android phones which do not support profiles by default. Few companies like CyanogenMod do support profiles (for more information read the software section on our Zuk Z1 review) switching at OS level based on proximity of WIFI/Bluetooth devices etc.

You can teach Llama to perform day-to-day tasks automatically by performing the following actions –

Areas – create area names and assign important locations you visit regularly
Profiles –
create various sound profiles (loud/silent) for different needs.
Events –
create different actions (turn on WIFI/play a sound) which gets triggered based on certain scenarios (enter an area/specific time of day)

The following screenshots should help you get started:

Llama-android-app-screenshots

The use case scenarios are plenty; to name a few –

1. Put your phone in a Quiet profile when you are at work
2. Switch to a Normal profile when you are at home during a specific period of the day
3. Switch to a Silent Profile when you are visiting a temple/hospital
4. Switch to a Quiet profile for a designated period like core sleeping hours
5. Switch to a Loud Profile when you are at a noisy location like Pub/Stadium
6. Trigger an alarm when you are nearing your destination while travelling
7. Start music player when Headset/Bluetooth is connected
8. Adjust screen brightness according to your location and time
9. Trigger a Silent Profile based on calender event, say an important meeting
10. Play a sound that notifies you to unplug your phone when battery level reaches 100%

Llama is fully customizable in every way for eg: you can set your family to ring even if your phone is set to silent. You can see Llama in action during event creation using the “test action” option like below.

llama-App-Android-Screenshots

Further, you can import/export your area, events and profiles to SD card so that you can avoid re-configuring the app when you switch between phones or when you need to configure similar settings for your friends/family.

Llama is a great app which I feel is a must have for every android user since it automates profiles switching to a great extent. Best of all it does it with less battery usage since it does not use data services unlike other apps which would drain the battery faster. This app is available free to download from the Google play store. I recommend you to try this app and let us know your thoughts.

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

Lenovo Zuk Z1 Review: Best Mid-Range Phone you can Buy Today!

2016 is already witnessing a flurry of mid-range smartphones hitting the Indian Market, starting with LeEco introducing their Le1s which was a phenomenal success, followed by Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3, which was also a great hit (Mi declared over 6,00,000 Redmi Note 3 phones being sold in the past quarter). Joining this bandwagon is Zuk Z1 from Lenovo, which goes on sale starting tomorrow. If you observe the trend, every company is trying hard to push other competitors down by introducing great “value for money” phones with impressive specifications thereby redefining this segment every time and setting the standards higher than others.

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 was announced in India earlier this month and made its way to the headlines when it was introduced at a jaw dropping price of INR 13499. Even though the Zuk Z1 was launched sometime back in China, Lenovo is bringing it to India at the right time and we believe it will give a tough competition to other smartphones in this range given the attractive pricing and the software features. Let us look into the detailed review.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 is a 5.5” 4G Dual-SIM (Nano) dual standby device featuring a premium design with a full HD display on the front supported by a metal frame with chamfered edges that runs around the phone and a gently arched back with a matt finish. There is a subtle branding of Zuk on the rear side.

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor which was very popular and powered many flagship smartphones like the OnePlus One, Xiaomi MI4 and on the recent mid ranger, the OnePlus X. The device comes with impressive specs like built-in 64GB flash storage, 3 GB RAM, FingerPrint Sensor, USB 3.0 and Type-C port.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-TypeCDespite the larger 4100 mAh battery, the phone is not too bulky – measuring 8.9mm in thickness and weighing around 175 grams. Even though the phone is little heavier than the Redmi Note 3, the overall in-hand feel is good; thanks to the narrow form factor. The Loud Speaker is surprisingly loud and clear for a mid-range smartphone.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-Hands-onThe phone lacks an external microSD card option; however, it isn’t a great deal considering the fact that, Zuk Z1 has 64GB internal storage which none of the competition is currently offering in this segment. Another highlight is the Cyanogen OS 12.1 software which powers this phone. Lets look into it a little later.

Display:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 sports a 5.5″ FULL HD (1080p) IPS display with 401 PPI pixel density and offers a maximum brightness of 450 nits. It also features the Live Display from CM 12.1 which automatically optimizes the screen depending on the time and ambient light conditions to reduce eyestrain and improve readability. Additional display features include options to specify custom color temperature depending on the time of the day and calibrate colors based on user preference. There is also an outdoor mode when turned on, increases brightness and saturation under direct sunlight. The LCD Density feature allows users to modify the screen DPI (Dots per inch) enabling more screen content depending on the DPI selected (320 to 560 DPI). The text on the phone is clear and very readable. Pictures on the display are neither too over-saturated nor artificially sharp.

Camera:

The Rear camera is a 13MP (1.12 micron pixel) Sony IMX 214 with OIS and supported by a double LED flash. Camera is capable of shooting great pictures in outdoor lighting conditions. However it does struggle with the focus while capturing indoor close-up shots.The Front camera is an 8MP shooter with 1.4 micron pixels and f/2.2 aperture which does a decent job while taking selfies. With Qualcomm ISP image processing on board, it gets a good 3400w Pixels Image.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-RearWe were surprised by the camera presets (with over 25 options) available on the camera interface. A subset of these presets for example Auto, HDR, Action, Night etc. can be selected and with a swipe up gesture we can quickly switch between these presets while shooting pictures. Have a look at some of the samples captured using this phone.

For best results, leverage the built-in presets available in the camera interface. For example use HDR mode while snapping landscapes, night mode for low light photos and action/sports mode for fast moving subjects in daylight.

Software, User Experience:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs CyanogenMod 12.1 which is an open source custom version of Android 5.1.1. Early June, we will see a software update for this phone which brings in CM13, Android Marshmallow.

CyanogenMod offers lots of exciting features in addition to what stock android offers like native theme support, unlockable bootloader and root access etc. As per Cyanogen, CyanogenMod OS does not contain spyware or bloatware. It offers seamless True caller integration with the call UI which is great. In addition to the capacitive keys, App switcher, back and home buttons can be configured on the bottom of the display as on screen buttons.

Gesture support include Double-tap to wake and Double-tap to sleep. Caller blocklist is available for blocking unnecessary calls, messages etc.

Another noteworthy built-in feature is Custom Profiles. Different profiles like silent, automobile, office etc can be created, selected manually or automatically selected based on triggers. Triggers include events like phone connecting to your home WIFI, phone’s Bluetooth connecting to car stereo etc. Profile settings include turning on/off WIFI, Bluetooth, mobile data, volume levels, screen brightness etc.

With Cyanogen, the same phone can be used by multiple users. New users can be added to the system and each user will have their dedicated space comprising of apps, wallpapers, layout etc. Also, features guest mode which is a nifty feature when enabled hides all photos, call history, messages etc.

A Touch ID Finger print scanner is available in the front and embedded within the physical home button. As mentioned by the company, the scanner is a true 360 degree sensor; it works fine when pressed from any direction. The only pain point is the sensor needs to be pressed every time to unlock the phone. It would be great had it been just a touch.

Personally we didn’t find the PIN scramble feature to be useful since it reveals the PIN numbers on top while entering. Other security features include a Smart Unlock feature that unlocks the phone based on trusted devices, places, face, voice etc. There is a theme store available which has many Premium and few free themes to choose from.

Powered by the Adreno 330 GPU, gaming performance is decent and there are occasional frame drops while playing games like Asphalt. Phone gets a little warm during game play.

Call quality is definitely good. The loud speaker sounds better as well. With a 2.5 Ampere fast charger, phone gets fully charged in 2.5 hours. One of the advertised feature by the company is an intelligent cut-off circuitry between charger & battery for extended battery life. Battery options include Balanced, Performance and Power saving modes for extending the last drop of juice from the battery. While testing, we got a great SOT with this device.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Good Hardware, Premium feel, stock android like experience with advanced options for customisations, OIS Camera, 64 GB of space, great battery life and the price of 13499 are the positives of the device. With lenovo backing, support for this device shouldn’t be a big concern. On the downside, we do have a ‘not that new’ processor on board. The camera could’ve been a little more snappier and focused better in low light conditions. The phone gets warmer over usage as well. I hope, the new software update can fix all these niggles. With 64GB internal storage, having a 4K video support would’ve been a great add. However, its a luxury at this point.

Summing up, this is one neat device which I would recommend anyone who is looking at buying a good smartphone in this range. With an onboard storage of 64GB and OIS in Camera, it stands out from the rest of the competition in this segment.

The first flash sale will begin 19th May on amazon.in and will be available in White and Space grey colours. 

Hopefully this review would’ve helped you in making a decision about this phone. Do let me know your thoughts and questions if any. Thanks for reading.

Categories
Product Reviews Smartphones

Xiaomi Mi5 Review: A Power House with a Beautiful Design

In this article we review the Xiaomi Mi5, which was announced early this year at the Mobile World Congress 2016. The phone was released in India last month and had a pretty good response in every flash/open sale the company did. Let us look at this device in detail.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Xiaomi Mi5 is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor with 32 GB inbuilt storage (no microSD expansion) and 3 GB of RAM. This is the first phone in India to be sold with this processor. According to the company, the MI5 is engineered for breakneck speeds and packed with latest breakthrough features like UFS 2.0 flash storage, LPDDR4 RAM, USB Type-C with Quick Charge 3.0, voLTE. Few of the areas where we could noticeably feel the speed of Mi5 is while applying themes (happens in a matter of 4 seconds), viewing trending or subscribed videos in youtube and while loading images in browser on search.

The Mi5 variant sold currently by Xiaomi is a clocked-down processor (1.8 Ghz as opposed to the 2.2 Ghz on the 64GB model); however, there is no considerable lag while you work.

mi5-xiaomi-rear

The Xiaomi Mi5 is a 5.15” 4G Dual-SIM (Nano) device made of a premium glass body that curves towards the edges on the back and blends seamlessly to an aluminum metal frame that runs around the sides. The Front is protected by gorilla glass 4 and the rear is covered by 3D glass/ceramic depending on the variant that result in a premium design.

First thing that you’ll notice when you hold the phone, is how light it feels in your hand; yet solid and well-built in terms of design and quality. With phone’s thickness being just 7.25 mm and with the tapered edges on either sides of the back, the result is an incredibly thin form factor that snugly fits in your palm. You merely feel like holding a 4 or 4.5 inch phone in spite of the fact that the display is 5.2 inches. It’s easy to use the phone in one hand, with the phone being light and the software giving you an option for one-handed usage.

Couple of interesting hardware design thoughts for longevity of the camera and fingerprint sensor are the sapphire glass lens cover for the rear camera and a ceramic finish on the front home button that houses the fingerprint sensor. This is also Xiaomi’s first phone with a physical button. Another design change with MI5 is that, you now have an option to toggle the back and overview button.

The only sore point is the loud speaker quality and grille design. Loud speaker could have been better in terms of clarity and loudness for a flagship device. Also, while holding the phone in landscape mode and watching videos, the audio tends to get muffled, with fingers blocking the speaker grills.

Display:

In a smartphone era where QHD display is being used as a standard for flagships, the MI5 sports a 1080p FULL HD IPS display, which is kinda out-dated. However it’s not a bad thing at all and it actually helps in translating to a promising one day battery life which is excellent.

mi5-user-experience

With 428 PPI resolution and the number of LEDs illuminating the display bumped up to 16, the MI5 is ULTRA BRIGHT with 600-nits of brightness and colors are vivid too. With Night Display, there is a wide brightness range available that provides dimmer options for reading at night. There is also a new READING mode when enabled, minimizes blue light radiation resulting in the display being easy on the eyes and reduces eye strain. The company continues with the Sunlight display in MI5 as well which provides excellent readability outdoors.

Camera:

The Xiaomi MI5 has all the bells & whistles in terms of the camera settings. For example the characteristics of output image (sharpness, contrast, saturation) could be set to one of the 7 available levels as per user’s preference. MI5 inherits the 4 MP (2 micron-pixel) wide angle front camera found in the MI Note. Rear camera is a 16 MP shooter with dual tone LED flash, PDAF (phase detection auto focus), 4-axis OIS and f/2.0 aperture that quickly locks faces and snaps pictures faster. 4-axis OIS does a great job while shooting videos and the resultant footage is less shaky compared to other smartphones without OIS. The phone also has options for 4k video, slo-mo and time lapse videos.
mi5-xiaomi-lens

For best results, use HDR mode while snapping landscapes, low light photos or anything that is immobile. For fast moving subjects in daylight, I recommend using manual mode with 1/1000s or 1/250s shutter speed for best clear results. Front camera takes really bright selfies even in low light.

Mi5 also offers a 32 seconds exposure for taking night shots. Check out the sample shot below which was shot in a very low light scenario around midnight.

IMG_20160508_232831

Other additions in camera include a new Tilt-shift mode which does a better job than many 3rd party apps. Also, its worthy to mention the Sketch filter which delivers amazing results.

IMG_20160416_110515_HDR

In addition to camera timer, there is a new Voice activated Trigger available, that snaps pictures within 3 seconds after a sound is heard. Check the other camera samples below.

IMG_20160430_080326

IMG_20160417_132427

IMG_20160430_075333

IMG_20160417_132639_HDR

Software, User Experience:

The Mi5 runs MIUI7 on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. 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. With lots of features built-in (one-handed mode, double tap to wake, flip to silence, mute when lifted, do not disturb, blocklist) the necessity to install 3rd party apps is drastically reduced. The phone also offers support for Child Mode which is indeed a great addition.

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 other phones like Le 1s, 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 guide.

Fingerprint scanner is fast and works perfectly every time. Since the finger print scanner is placed on a physical home button, the phone does not wake on touching the sensor. Instead the home button has to be pressed every time to unlock the phone from sleep mode. You can add up to 5 fingerprints on the phone.

Powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor, the phone is incredibly faster while opening apps, unlocking the device and watching videos. Thanks to the Adreno 530 GPU, gaming performance on the mi5 is great and there are no issues like frame drops or lag during game play. Call quality is decent. We could not test the voLTE feature that supports HD calls and high speed call connections due to the unavailability of network support.

The Xiaomi Mi5 supports Quick Charge 3.0. Unfortunately the Indian 32GB unit that is currently available ships with Quick Charge 2.0 adapter. Thanks to our government certification authorities, the QC 3.0 adapter is still in the process of getting certified.  We hope the future units do get shipped with this adapter. However the good news is that, even with this adapter, the phone charges 60% in 40 minutes, 80% in 55 minutes and reaches 100% in 1 hour 30 minutes, which is good. With a high density 3000mAh battery, the phone easily lasts for a day with moderate usage. The phone does get warm near the rear camera while shooting photos/videos; however, this is pretty common in phones these days.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

If you are looking for a flagship android phone which has a great front & rear camera, fast processor which provides an excellent game play and a light weighted phone that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket the mi5 is an excellent choice, when compared to the other 2016 flagships. Currently the mi5 retails around 25k for the 32gb variant. We would really hope the other variants reach the Indian market soon. There has been a lot of talk online about the phone being overpriced at 25K. Lets be honest, this is the best bucks you can spend to get a SD 820 powered smartphone at this moment.

If you are an audiophile who stores music collection or an avid photographer who shoots 4k videos often, then 32gb variant won’t really suffice your need.  I recommend, you to wait until the company releases the 64/128gb variant in India. Otherwise, you may end up taking backups pretty frequently.

Summing up, its a no brainer to recommend this phone to anyone who is looking at buying a great quality product which has the latest and greatest of smartphone technologies built in for today.

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

mi5-xiaomi

I recently came across online that the Mi5 broke easily in one of bend tests. While, I haven’t tried to bend the phone to confirm, it would be good to have a good quality protective case and an optional tempered glass to increase the rigidity.

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis Smartphones

Lenovo Zuk Z1 announced in India for 13499. Available starting 19th May

Update: The Lenovo Zuk Z1 review is up. Do have a look and let us know what you think/

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 will be available at INR 13499 starting 19th May; the registrations are open on amazon.in. The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU, with a RAM 3GB and ROM 64GB. It has a Type-C interface which bases on USB 3.0, supports dual SIM dual standby. The Z1 is also powered with a 4100mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery to ensure a long usage between charges.

The Z1 comes with an IPS screen with 1920×1080 resolution, 100% NTSC, 1500:1 contrast, 401 PPI and 450nit bright view that gives you the perfect definition. The camera is powered with a 13MP OIS anti-shake camera with advanced larger 5Plastic lenses that makes pictures really vivid. With a hall sensor and gyroscope in OIS, the phone will be able to self-compesate automatically for beter image quality. With Qualcomm ISP image processing on board, it gets a good 3400w Pixels Image.

Other than the hardware, what really stands out is the software. The Zuk Z1 comes with Cynogen OS 12.1 preloaded. the CM is considered a powerful and a fast Android versions which gives you a number of advanced features that optimizes performance. It also helps with better power consumption, security and privacy. The CM also gives you options for deep customziations and themes.

The ZUK Z1 comes with an inbuilt 360° fingerprint reader button coupled with a 508 DPI high capacitive sensor that not only unlocks your phone but also makes multitasking easy.

Lets look at a detailed review in coming days.

Categories
Product Reviews

Xiaomi Bluetooth Speakers Review: Your Portable Party Machine

Few months ago, when I visited Shenzhen, one of the items I really wanted to buy was the Xiaomi Bluetooth speakers. My reasons were simple – personal entertainment, and a perfect gifting material for family. Earlier this week, Xiaomi announced the launch of these bluetooth speakers in India. They are priced at INR 1,999 and will be available around Holi, third week of March. It will come in gold, pink and blue colour options. Hopefully, this review of mine will help you decide!

The speakers do come with a small pouch in the box.

mi-bluetooth-speakers-unboxing

The speakers have a full aluminium body design which is very minimalistic, handy and weighs about 270 grams. It pack a 1500mAh battery, which offers around 8 hours of music playback. The build quality of these speakers are top-notch and quite dust free as well. The buttons does give a good feel. The volume buttons also double up as a track changer. Pairing the speaker to any of the device is simple. You just have to long-press the bluetooth button to reset, and then basically pair it with your device. I use these speakers with my iPhone, Android and even my MacBook.

mi-bluetooth-speakers

Like I mentioned earlier, when I picked my speakers, I thought it would be more of a personal entertainment than a living room one. However, I was taken to a surprise. The speaker was loud and covers even a mid-size room; the tonal quality is neat as well. The speakers offers a large 90dB (A) @0.5m sound in this compact body. On higher volumes, though, you can feel the vibrations on the table, the sound is pretty less distorted. I choose to keep the speakers on a cushion or bed than a table; can’t stand the sound of those vibrations. I wish, if there was a soft dock which would take these.

With built in mic, you can even take calls via the speakers. Initially, I wasn’t too excited about it; but then, when I actually took a call through it, it was pretty awesome. Almost an extension of your loud speaker mode in a good sense. Further, If you don’t fancy Bluetooth music playback, you have an Aux-in input too.

battery-widgetThe colour on the LED around the play/pause button changes as the battery level goes down. On iOS, I love this widget which shows me the exact battery levels of the speaker.

The micro-SD is a good addition. Unfortunately, the international version of the speaker does not have a microSD card slot; its only available in China. You can throw in some of your fav music onto the card and then you are good to go without bluetooth. However, there isn’t an app or UI on the speakers to show you the contents of the card, so shifting tracks have to be done manually, one-by-one which can be painful at times. So highly recommend you to just load your most favourite tracks to the micro-SD card.

mi-bluetooth-speakers-micro-sd-card

Summing up, its a great addition if you love music; especially on the go. These speakers from Xiaomi sound really good and is totally worth the money you pay for it. Suggesting a portable speaker around INR 5000 was always a tough one with good range of speakers from JBL, Sony, Logitech and few others. While some offered good sound quality, they didn’t look all that impressive. However, at INR 1999, its a no brainer to recommend these speakers from Xiaomi. They look excellent and work pretty awesome too.

Now that, I have two speakers, I would really love to see an option where I can connect these two and play music in stereo mode. I mean, isolating the Left and right audio streams. That will be super impressive!

Thanks for reading. Do let me know, if you decide to buy one.

Categories
Featured IT News, Tech Information and Analysis Product Reviews Smartphones

Honor 5X Review: A good mid-ranger with a Gorgeous Display

In this article, let’s review the Honor 5X, a budget mid range smartphone from Honor. Though, this device is priced as a budget phone, features, design and the user experience give it a feel of a good high end 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. This is also the first Honor phone which is available for the US market at just 199 USD. The Honor 5X was announced early this week in India at a price of 12999 and is available in three colors – gold, silver and grey. The phone will be sold on both Amazon and Flipkart and is available for pre-orders. The sale of Honor 5X will commence starting 1st February midnight.

Alright, Lets look at how this phone performs in these 4 key areas –

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The phone is made from brushed metal alloy that adds to the premium look and feel of this phone; and not many companies offer a metal body in this range as of now. The top and bottom of the phone are made up of plastic. The phone comes with a premium aircraft grade metal that also offers 5 layer heat sinks with copper shielding cover. The phone is neither heavy, nor very thin. Its a good weight in the hands; and doesn’t slip-off easily. The curved back is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to 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.

KM9A9071

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 0.5 seconds to unlock) and also, has worked well all the times for me, 10/10. Kudos to the team. When compared with other phones in this segment, the accuracy is pretty neat.

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.  Here are some of the options, you can set.

KM9A9093

The phone is powered with a Snapdragon 616 processor, an Adreno 405 GPU and a 2GB RAM; thats a bummer. There are 3GB variants available in China. not sure, why they weren’t made available here in India and the US. The phone has a onboard 16GB ROM, expandable upto 128 GB. The performance is slightly sluggish with some screen refreshes when you toggle between the running apps. There is a bit of delay on the load when you launch apps; not a major deal breaker. Probably, it would’ve been better with a better processor and the 3GB RAM; however, must appreciate the Emotion UI for making the OS much user friendly and providing some good sneaks that help in better performance when compared to other phones which are running on a 615/616 processor.

The left side is for the SIM and SD card slots. This phone has 2 seperate slots for a nano SIM & Micro SIM and a Micro SD card. Unlike few other phones which offer Hybrid SIM models, you do not need to sacrifice on a SIM to add up a Micro SD card.

KM9A9067

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. 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.

honor5x

The phone has a 3000 MAH battery which offers a good battery life of over a day; It gives me SOT of 6.5 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 Headphone Jack on the top and Micro-USB port and speaker grill towards the bottom. 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.!

Software, User Experience:

The Honor 5X is running Android 5.1 out of the box with the customised version, the Emotion UI 3.1. The company has announced that, this phone will get the Marshmallow update with the Emotion UI 4. 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. Lets talk about that some other time!

This phone offer Emotion UI 3.1. 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. If something is lacking on the EMUI, its the performance. It definitely needs some improvement.

KM9A9076

Camera

The camera is powered with a 13MP sensor, a f2.0 aperture which does allow a lot of light and a Dual 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 colors being good as well. Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives you options for smart selfies, food mode etc.

KM9A9090

Here are some samples pictures I clicked. will upload few more as I use the phone. 

The phone doesn’t come with an optical image stabiliser built in. You can shoot a 1080p video on this phone. The video processing on the phone can be better, but is certainly good enough for a mid range smartphone.

The slo-mo and time-lapse features are also there. Here is a sample time-lapse video, I shot early this morning. Not the best, and certainly not the worse either. One point worth mentioning is that, when I used this camera for a longer time to shoot this time-lapse video, it didn’t warm the phone – Thats a very neat behaviour.

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.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

With a brushed metal, premium design and a gorgeous display its impressive. Talking about value for money, At USD 199 USD, its definitely worth considering the phone in the US. With devices like LeEco Le1S, CoolPad Note 3 and Mi Redmi Note 3 in India, I would’ve preferred, if Honor had priced the phone a little more aggressive. Today in the market, There are few other devices in this range which offers better specs; however, its not just about the specs at times. Its more on the user experience. 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.

I would’ve loved had Honor brought in the 3GB variant model in India and the U.S. Not sure, if they have plans to bring it in as a limited edition phone at some point this year.

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.

Do let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!

Honor5x