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Luminated! Nokia Lumia 720 – 1st Impressions

May 21, 2013 1 comment

Yes. I got luminated. And as most of my friends reacted, why did you “degrade” from a Galaxy S III to a Lumia 720? or rather from Samsung to Nokia? I do agree with them to some extent, as I did move from a High-end smartphone to a Mid-range smartphone but then I am not complaining :-).

So here are my 1st impressions on Nokia Lumia 720.

Design & Unboxing:
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The Lumia 720 has a poly-carbonate uni-body design and you can feel the top notch Nokia build quality instantly giving a complete premium feel as with Lumia 920 or the E-series Nokia phones. It does feel very robust. I got a Cyan coloured one as it did catch my eye. Note that being a uni-body design, the battery is non-removable, hence all that is included in the box is a standard micro-USB cable, charger and earphones. However it is disappointing that the bundled earphones are not In-ear type. Nokia has also managed to give a SD-card slot in a uni-body design which is really good as no other uni-body design phone has a SD-card slot.

The display is not comparable to S III or Nexus 4 or an IPhone 5 from pixel density perspective, but you will hardly notice any difference. Its a 4.3-inch display with 800×480 resolution and I found it pretty much similar to the AMOLED display on S III. An advantage here is that its a Clear-black screen which improves readability in sunlight (Doesn’t make sense to me though as I always keep brightness to a minimum).The size is ideal and you can use it with one hand and can work your thumb to the edges of the screen easily. So from a design & build quality perspective, I found the Lumia 720 fantastic.

Using the Lumia 720:
Once I switched-on the phone, I was greeted with a Windows phone 8 boot screen followed by the Metro UI. Whether you like the Metro UI or not, is an individual opinion. For me, it is a break from the Nature-UX UI on S III. There is no notification center where you can see all notifications as on Android OS or IOS, but there are live tiles that can be set on the screen which in-turn display the notifications for that particular application. From the usability perspective the Windows phone 8 OS is pretty smooth and fluid but functionality-wise, it does lack few tricks as compared to Android OS. Its more like IOS; secured with just enough of functionality to suffice your needs. It has just 512 MB RAM, but you won’t feel any lag which is one of the best things about Windows phone 8 OS. The battery life of the phone is also pretty good. It did last longer as compared with the S III.

Apps:
Coming to apps, I was able to install all application I had on the S III like Bookmyshow, TOI, Whatsapp, Facebook. However if you are one of those who keep playing a lot of different games and install a lot of apps then you will feel the Windows Store is not up-to the mark as compared to Google Play-store or Apple App store.

MS Office:
Being a Windows phone, it comes pre-installed with MS Office. Working with ppts, excel-sheets word documents is a charm. Also, Microsoft exchange server integrates really well and the email layout is pretty good. I did rate this higher than the experience I had on S III.

Camera:
Lumia 720 comes with a 6.7 mega-pixel shooter that has a f/1.9 aperture lens which for me captures better pictures than the 8 mega-pixel shooter on the S III. Best part here are the lenses (Basically camera apps) which let you create enhanced images ranging from the regular options of editing photos to creating GIFs and Photospheres. Definitely one of the best camera I have seen on a phone till date.

Navigation:
Nokia has also re-branded its Nokia maps as HERE maps and its as good as it was before. Pretty accurate. Also, you can now download maps for offline navigation now, similar to Google maps. However I am yet to test it completely.

Nokia Music:
This is more of an offer where in you get free 1 year subscription to Nokia Music. You can download all kinds of music albums (Bollywood / English / Regional) completely free of cost.

And now to clear some myths..
1. You can’t transfer files using Bluetooth.
I guess this issue was there in Windows 7.8, not an issue in Windows phone 8 though. Works perfectly with other devices.

2. Zune is required to transfer music / videos to the phone
Zune was a requirement in Window 7.8. Its not required in Window phone 8. Its a plug and play device.

3. Less Apps in Windows Store
Agree to some extent, however I found all the apps that I personally required like my bank apps, my music apps, News, etc. Best thing is to go and check-out the Windows store yourself if you are concerned about Apps availability.

So to sum it up, I haven’t been missing S III as of now, except for some functionality like killing all background apps simultaneously (I miss this on IOS as well) and enhanced features on Whatsapp. Good news is the new version of Whatsapp for Windows phone 8 is already in beta with all the functionality as on Android OS. Windows phone 8 OS is smooth, fluid and stable but does lack maturity from features perspective as compared to the Android OS.
Some of the features which feel missed out are:
– Sharing of pictures / music / videos
– File Manager
– Notification Center

It won’t be right to compare it directly with a Galaxy S III or Google Nexus 4 or the Apple Iphone as they are all high-end phones but Lumia 720 is surely one of the best mid-range smartphones available.

If anyone is looking for a good mid-range smartphone in the range of around Rs. 18K-20K, I would definitely suggest them to try the Nokia Lumia 720.

blackberry-q10-ofic1The other good option is the Samsung Galaxy S II plus but I find it pretty old now from design and build quality perspective. However if you are looking for an Android phone, Galaxy S II is a good choice. Another option will be the soon to be launched Blackberry Q10 which looks very promising indeed.

As for high-end phones, I would suggest to go for the Google Nexus 4 as it will be available at a very good price (26k – 16gb version) considering its top notch technical specifications.

Nexus-4

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Categories: Reviews

Ipad Mini.. Experience

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

2 weeks back I don’t know what hit me that I felt I wanted a tablet. So i shortlisted the following tablets:

  1. Google Nexus 7
  2. Ipad Mini
  3. Ipad (4th Generation)
  4. Google Nexus 10

and after about 2 weeks of reading through reviews, watching videos I zeroed onto the Ipad Mini (Wifi only;  32 GB version). So here are my views about the Ipad Mini.

Ipad Mini

Unboxing:
The unboxing was fairly simple. Out of the box you get the “NEW” lightening connector, a quick installation card, the charger and of-course the Ipad Mini. And yes, there are NO earphones 😦 .

Design:
The Ipad Mini feels very light and you can immediately feel the “APPLE” quality. Feels very light yet sturdy. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S III and just by holding both the devices, I do feel the Ipad Mini is much better in terms of build quality.

Using the Ipad Mini:
Once the device is switched on you are greeted with the standard IOS interface. As always, the IOS 6 is very smooth and super responsive. There were few reviews which said the display was not as good as the Ipad (4th Generation) or the Google Nexus 10. May be its not as good from the specifications perspective, but when you look at it, you wont find any difference. Rather I felt it was as good as the display of Samsung Galaxy S III if not better.

I have been using it for around a week now and I am completely in love with this device. Its just perfect for viewing videos, listening to tracks and gaming. Since Ipad Mini is light, the accelerometer works much well than in case of an Ipad. All Ipad apps (read 2,75,000) work perfectly well with Ipad Mini.

From a features perspective, Ipad Mini is every bit of an Iphone 5 / Ipad (4th Generation) except for the following:

  1. Retina Display
  2. A6 Dual Core processor
  3. 1 GB RAM

Ipad Mini comes with Ipad 2 Display (1024 X 768) resolution with an A5 processor and 512 MB RAM. So its definitely not as fast as an Iphone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S III, but you will hardly notice the difference unless you are running a very graphic intensive game and also multi-tasking with some Photoshop app.

The reason I was staying away from Apple products was because there was need to install the Itunes for transferring and syncing data. I did buy the Ipad Mini accepting the fact that I would have to install Itunes.
However I was surprised to find that the only reason I used Itunes for was to sync the music files.
As for other tasks, like downloading apps, transferring videos, there is no need of Itunes. There are different apps to do the same. I used to feel there was a need to install Itunes to sync the video (mp4/mov only) files. However I found an app, in which I can transfer and play any video (any format) from my net-book / phone over WiFi into the Ipad Mini. There is no need of any video conversion!.

There will be people who would also argue that an IOS device is not as customizable as an android device and it is true. But probably the takeaway you get with IOS is the responsiveness and the smoothness. Android has still some way to get there although things are looking very good with Jelly Bean 4.2.

So all in all, I am extremely happy with the Ipad Mini. So If you need a portable device primarily for watching YouTube videos, gaming in leisure times, reading books, browsing through magazines, look no further. Ipad Mini fits the bill perfectly.

Having said that, do have a look at the other shortlisted tablets as well. Best way is to go to stores like Croma and do hands-on and see which one you feel is the best. I personally found the Ipad a little bulky.

google nexus 10If you do a lot of reading online, you may want to go for the Ipad (4th Generation) or Google Nexus 10, primarily for the clarity the new displays offer.google nexus 7

Google Nexus 7 is also a very good tablet if you are looking for an Android platform. However, do consider the fact that there are not many apps optimized for tablets in Google Play store. So will have to wait for some while till Google develops a separate section in play store dedicated for tablets.

Samsung Galaxy S III.. Experience

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

As I mentioned in my last post, I was not really happy with the Note, rather not happy with the whole idea of carrying 2 devices due to the size of the Note. Hence I was just waiting for the next best android phone to be launched and Samsung announced the Galaxy S III. It did not take me too long and I decided to buy it within the week it was launched in India.

s3

Unboxing:
Very similar to Note,it was a very minimalistic box. Out of the box you get the Note, the charger, micro-USB cable and in-ear earphones.

Design:
Finally something which was smaller than the Note. It felt so good to get back to a single phone. Accessibility to volume keys, power key is good although as Note, the Galaxy S III also has a plastic feel to it. You will always feel it if you every owned an Iphone or a Nokia E-series.

Using the Galaxy S III:
6 months with Note was more than enough for me to know Android and get all my data and apps from Note in no time. The setup was quick and yes, S III shipped with Ice cream sandwich. The interface was also a new one, primarily due to the new Samsung UI.

I have been using the S III for 6 months now and no problems yet. Yes, the Android is a little bit buggy, have to restart it sometimes when I suddenly lose the data connectivity, or sometimes the apps stop working but its very very rare. Android offers a lot of customization options even without rooting, especially when it comes to changing the look of OS. I currently have the Nova launcher installed which gives a stock Jelly Bean look.

Oh yes, Jelly Bean 4.1 – the latest update from Google has some significant improvements. The Notification bar give more information now and even supports pinch and zoom. The unnecessary apps (bloatware) can be disabled (yes, without rooting :D). Google chrome is shipped as part of the update and is much better than the stock browser. Jelly Bean 4.1 has ensured that I need not root the phone as of yet. However, having seen the Jelly Bean 4.2 which would ship with Google Nexus 4, I can wait for the Jelly Bean 4.2 for Galaxy S III which seems to be a major update.

Apart from the small bugs and occasional restarts as with any android devices, the only complain I have is not from Google but from Samsung. After Google release an Android OS update, Samsung takes almost a quarter to customise and push the update. Thats almost when Google is ready with the next update. Otherwise I have no complains with the Galaxy S III. No need of intalling softwares like Itunes or Zune for transferring data from netbook, super fast transfers over Wifi Direct, decent 8 MP camera, decent battery life (lasts for 15-20 hrs with normal usage), option to use it as a storage device, perfect size, microSD support and a bright AMOLED screen, it seems like I won’t be upgrading my phone anytime soon.. 😀

Samsung Galaxy Note.. Experience

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Its been quite a while I updated this blog.. So here I am back at writing again. Let me start by reviewing the 1st android device I brought last year (Nov 2011), the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Galaxy Note

Unboxing:
Samsung seemed to follow Apple here, as it was a very minimal box, almost as big as the Note itself. Out of the box you get the Note, the charger, micro-USB cable and in-ear earphones.

Design:
1st impressions were really good. Could get around the big screen well and all the buttons were easily accessible. The only thing I did not like is that it was kind of plastic. Especially when I came from a Nokia E72 which had a stainless steel back.

Using the Note:
I was using android for the 1st time and was amazed at the flexibility it offered. Syncing Gtalk / Facebook contacts and calenders was so easy. So was syncing and configuring office email. And obviously the huge number of applications and widgets on Google Play Store.

The display was bright and just of enough size to enjoy movies. The music player was decent as well, and just in-case you did not like the stock music player, there were multiple music player apps.

Now comes the best part with Android devices, Rooting.!
It was just a month i was using the Note and I started getting bugged by the useless apps (bloatware) which keep running in background, primarily shipped by Samsung. I researched and found “Rooting” is one way I can get rid of it. Some research online I rooted my phone. That is when I realized you can do so much more once you root your android device. From disabling unnecessary applications to installing a firewall to completely changing the look of the OS, you get complete control over the device. You can even go ahead and overclock the processor to a higher speed. e.g. the 1.2 GHz processor in Note could be overclocked to 1.4 GHz  However, it would drain the battery quicker.

So Note was just perfect in every sense, a good display, customization of OS, faster processing, thousands of apps in Google Play store.. except for one thing.. the SIZE!..
2 months of usage I started to feel the huge size. Carrying it started becoming a problem especially after you have put a TPU case over it to protect it. It doesn’t slip in an out of a jeans as easily as you would like it too. So then I got a Nokia C2-01 which I was using as a phone and the Note was just a multimedia device. Its size is right between phones and tablets, Samsung says it gives best of both worlds, but for me it neither worked well as a phone nor as good as a tablet. And then carrying 2 devices was another pain.

So for me, its not a great experience with the Note, however there will be many who would like the idea of having best of both worlds, phone and a tablet. If you can put up with its size, it is a very good device and worth every rupee you spend. Stylus is another unique feature in Galaxy Note, one of the best among all devices however I never found myself using it.

UPDATE: The new Galaxy Note 2

Galaxy Note IIThe new Note 2 gets even bigger from 5″ to 5.3″ and gets a fast processor and 2 GB RAM. I did hands-on on Note 2 and found it extremely fast.

2 GB RAM for a phablet (that is what they call it :P) is a lot of RAM even for tablet. Having said that, I still do not like its size.

Categories: Reviews

iPad Alternatives.. :D

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment
Apple’s iPad has made quite some noise since its release. However, it already has seen few competitors in form of the ModBook, Notion Ink Adam, HP Slate and Dell Streak. Here are some more not heard of iPad alternatives which are all geared up to take on the Apple iPad.

Spring Design Alex Ebook Reader

While the Alex is really an ereader first, it’s quite capable of other tasks as well with Android running on a 3.5-inch color LCD under the 6-inch e-ink display. Since it’s Android, it can browse the web, send emails, and access the Android Marketplace via Wi-Fi or 3G. The best part being that the two screens can be linked so as to push the content on the small screen to the larger screen for easier viewing. It is available in either black or white at $399.

Some advantages over the iPad are

  • USB power charging
  • User-replaceable battery
  • Longer battery life with only the e-ink screen

The drawbacks being the smaller color screen and limited storage.

WePad

The WePad probably is the most complete alternative to the iPad with Linux at the core and access to the Android Marketplace. It’s reportedly going to be less expensive as well.

Advantages over the iPad are

  • Webcam
  • 2 USB ports
  • WePad App Store + Android Marketplace
  • Multitasking
  • Works with all ebook formats
  • Larger screen
  • Flash support

Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid

You can use this gadget as a netbook or a tablet. An Intel CULV processor handles Windows 7 while in netbook mode and an ARM CPU takes care of the Skylight OS when the tablet is all by itself. It packs 3G, 128GB SSD all in a design that’s truly the best of both worlds.

Advantages over the iPad are

  • Windows 7
  • Two-in-One design
  • USB port
  • SD card slot
  • Larger screen

The only drawback is that it probably will be priced on the higher side.

ExoPC

It looks like an iPad, costs the same as an iPad, has similar tech specs as the iPad, but it isn’t made by Apple. The ExoPC might be the absolute best iPad alternative for Apple haters as long as they feel comfortable owning an obvious iPad clone.

Advantages over the iPad are

  • SD card slot
  • User-replaceable battery
  • Supports Flash and Silverlight
  • Wireless and wired networking
  • Windows 7
  • 3 USB ports

The only drawback being a limited battery life (~ 4 hours)

Source: http://www.crunchgear.com

Categories: Reviews

First look @ iPhone 4…!

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

At the WWDC 2010 Apple CEO, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s next-gen iPhone. iPhone 4, the new device comes with a new design along with some new features.

Design-wise the iPhone 4G has a metallic frame encircling its body which is just 9.3mm thick. Interestingly, the metallic frame also serves as an antenna!! Also, the iPhone 4’s backside is also covered by glass much like the display.

The iPhone 4 is powered by the same 1GHz Apple A4 platform for a smooth and speedy performance. Available storage capacities for the iPhone 4 are 16GB and 32GB.

The Apple iPhone 4 features a new extra high-resolutions screen called Retina display delivering a crisp 640 x 960 pixels resolution. The resolution is four times higher than the previous iPhone.

The iPhone 4 makes use of 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. It records 720p HD video at an impressive 30 fps. You can edit your movies on the iPhone via the built-in editor. It also comes with a videocall camera, called as FaceTime. But guess what.., it only works from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 and will only work over Wi-Fi!!.. Now seriously, who will want to do a videocall if the person is within a range of 100-200 meters.. LOL!!

In the US the iPhone 4 16GB will be priced at 199 US dollars while the 32GB will go for 299 US dollars. But wait, there is a surprise..!

A new version of iPhone 3GS with 8GB storage will be sold for just 99 US dollars. iPhone 3GS for around 5K, sounds quite a deal?? isnt it??!! Lets hope Apple keeps its promise..! 🙂

Source: http://www.gsmarena.com

Categories: Reviews