A 7-inch phone might be considered as an excess by many, but if the number of phablets being launched recently is anything to go by, there is a budding market in the country companies are scampering to tap into. With the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Micromax Funbook P600 and HCL ME Y3 already present, Asus has put its hat in the ring with its 7-incher FonePad. How good is the phablet you ask? Well, let’s find out.
How do you trump the world’s best-selling smartphone? That’s the billion dollar question every time Apple launches a new iPhone. But this time it is Samsung and its flagship Galaxy S 4 smartphone that’s doing the bidding. The Galaxy S III has been a runaway success for Samsung and has come to define Android as a platform more than Google’s own Nexus series of devices. It might not have been the best smartphone but it remains to be the best-selling Android smartphone of all time. Does the Galaxy S 4 have enough in it to take over from its predecessor? Let’s find out.
The Lumia 620 is an incredibly important phone for Nokia. Not only it brings down the Windows Phone 8 experience to a level below Rs 15,000, but it also strives to bring a level of hardware and design sophistication to the price segment that no one else can. It is a very important product for Nokia as the Rs 12,000-15,000 price band is one of the fastest growing smartphone segment. Other top tier smartphone brands compromise on design, build quality and certain other features in this segment, while homegrown brands are hitting them hard with top-of-the-line specifications. Nokia is in a unique position not only with its Windows Phone 8 platform but also its insistence on a premium Lumia design language. Let us see if the Lumia 620 can compete with the manic march of cheap Android smartphones that are starting to hit the market with top draw specs. Read on to find out more.
People always ask me about the perfect or the best smartphone they can buy and I keep telling them there is no such thing as a perfect phone. No matter how much money you can throw away, you still cannot buy a phone that has got it all. Think about it – the iPhone 5, though very close to being one, still has a small display (for many) and there are restrictions around customizing the user interface. The Samsung Galaxy S III (and even the Galaxy S 4, for that matter) has all the specifications and a big display but does not look or feel premium enough with its plastic build.
The HTC One, on the other hand, gives the best of both worlds. Its design can rival that of the iPhone with premium materials and nice curves, while sporting hardware specifications comparable to that of the latest Galaxy smartphone. If that isn’t enough, HTC has also added some nifty hardware and software tweaks to make the experience even better. So can the HTC One be the perfect smartphone out there?
Large screens have proven to be very popular with customers, and smartphone OEMs are cashing on this trend big time. It’s interesting to see that not only the top draw global OEMs are making strides in this space, but also many smaller ones as well. Obviously, there is an armada of Chinese OEMs out there, but let’s not forget our local vendors. They are doing a good job undoubtedly as Micromax has proven with the Canvas HD. Spice too is another player in this space, and it has the Stellar Pinnacle which strives to cash in on the popularity of large screen smartphones. Let’s see if it can take on some of the other contenders in this battle.
The iPad may have the lion’s share of the high-end market, but there remains a massive market for a low-cost tablet. Android of course has also matured into a viable tablet operating system, especially for 7-inch tablets. In 2013 we have witnessed a number of decent options in the market. The Acer Iconia B1 is perhaps one of the notable models considering it hits price points that are comparable to many a local OEM made tablet, but the difference being that it comes from Acer, one of the largest laptop OEMs in the world. We have given it the full Monty, read on to find out if it’s any good.
2013, is not a time when one uses physical media to consume content. We stream videos, we download videos, and same goes for music and basically most of our content is driven by the Internet. But our televisions, at least in most Indian homes, don’t leverage the power of the Internet. Yes some will argue new Smart TVs have such capabilities built-in, but most of them are obscenely priced well beyond the average Indian, and the user interface used by most of these TVs are far from ideal. So what’s the solution? Well, Amkette believes the EVO TV XL is the answer, and on paper it definitely looks like one. The EVO TV XL is a small Android powered box, that connects with one’s TV, offers a gamut of connectivity options, and can play most media formats and more importantly heralds a very interesting user interface concept. While all this sounds good on paper, but does it really pull through for the consumer? Read on to find out.
Samsung pioneered the phablet concept with the original Galaxy Note. It was an unexpected success as most in the tech media scoffed at the ludicrous form-factor, but Samsung knew better and it turned out to be one hell of a home run. Of course, the Note and its successor the Note II were geared at the top end of the market and many local vendors have started emulating Samsung’s product at much lesser price points, so it was obvious Samsung had to respond in kind. Its answer is the Galaxy Grand. It achieves a sort of middle ground between the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II at 5-inches, but hits a price point that’s much more tenable to the average consumer by dropping a few features but still maintaining Samsung’s software features. Things are not easy for Samsung because its lesser-known rivals are becoming nimbler and offering products that are technically superior hardware wise, so the Galaxy Grand is an odd-ball, but is it worth the trouble? Read on to find out more.
If Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones are anything to go by, you don’t really need premium hardware or insane features to taste runaway Android smartphone success. All you need is smart pricing and billions of advertising dollars. Sony, much like HTC, tries to buck the trend with the Xperia Z that boasts premium design, top-of-the-line hardware specifications and some water resistance for added measure. A price tag of approximately Rs 39,000 doesn’t feel steep either, especially with its chief competitor – the HTC Butterfly – priced at Rs 46,000. But will it be enough for Sony to make people believe in the Japanese brand once again? It is about time we find out.
Once a pioneer of email-centric pagers, BlackBerry changed the enterprise communication space with its range of smartphones that handled emails and IMs like no one’s business. A mainstay of almost every executive in the world, one could not help but see BlackBerry smartphones holstered in trouser belts at airports, that is if users were not thumbing madly at the QWERTY keypad, punching emails or quick BBMs. Despite the launch of the iPhone, BlackBerry did manage to keep chugging along, content in the knowledge that it dominated the enterprise space and iPhone and Android smartphones did not have the trust-factor that BlackBerry enjoyed. Instead the company started targeting the youth, offering them cheap BBM plans and not having a BlackBerry in college could mean missing out on a lot of things usually shared on BBM groups.
But BlackBerry knew it could not remain complacent for long and had to come up with touchscreen smartphones. Yes, it had a loyal user base that swore by its keypads (it still has them) but BlackBerry had to do something drastic to attract new users who were attracted to the iPhone and the legion of Android smartphones. BlackBerry tried its luck with touchscreen in the Storm series that failed miserably thanks to its irritating click-touchscreen. It followed it up with the Torch series that too did not do well in the market – the software wasn’t optimized and froze often and the devices had terrible battery performance. BlackBerry had to come up with something drastically new as its operating system was not good enough to take on a modern smartphone. It did just that – BlackBerry acquired QNX, a highly scalable operating system on top of which it would build its next generation operating system.
Things did not start on the right footing as the company found it difficult to integrate its BlackBerry services on the new platform. The project was marred by multiple delays and the PlayBook tablet running on QNX did miserably in the market. Heck, it was the first BlackBerry device that did not have a native email client, forget BBM integration. There were no usable apps and there was very little one could do with it apart from browsing the web and playing multimedia content. BlackBerry acquired TAT, a company that specialized in creating graphically rich user interfaces to give a brand new UI and look for its BlackBerry 10 platform. And here we are, reviewing the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Z10, to see if BlackBerry has done enough to save itself. Let’s dive in…[Gallery not found]
A quad-core processor, a 720p display and an 8-megapixel camera in a package worth Rs 13,990 is something people dream about in a world dominated by the Samsung Galaxy S III. Of course, at such a price the quality and user experience is not guaranteed, but that’s what Micromax is trying to prove with the Canvas HD. We put it through the paces, read on to find out if it’s worth the hype.
Paying Rs 25,000 seems a bit obscene for a headphone, but if you are an audio nut then an amount four times more will also be ‘okay’ if it is good enough for the ‘Sound of Music.’ Sennheiser, of course, is a well-known German audio brand and like most things German, nothing less than perfection will suffice. The Momentum headphones are their latest and greatest and they have been designed to deliver high quality ‘audiophile grade’ audio in a smart, luxurious package that has a mobile first attitude. Let’s see if the Momentum can get blood vessels rushing and add some needed momentum to the daily monotony of life.