Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 is the latest smartphone in the Nokia's lumia series of smartphones running Windows mobile operating system. It is now the flagship smartphone for Nokia. Find out more about this big smartphone in our in-depth review.


Body

Nokia Lumia 1520 is bigger than the other Lumia smartphones as its boasting a 6" display. It has a matt coating on the back which is a little bit thicker and little bit heavier than some other phones, but you get this unibody enclosure and this entire phone basically has no seems. It looks gorgeous and its great to hold in hand (if you have big hands :p)

Display

Nokia Lumia 1520 is the first 1080p smartphone by Nokia. Its rocking a 1080p Gorilla Glass LTEE display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with a pixel density of about 370 pixels per inch.
The display is very sharp, colors are accurate, has great viewing angles and it looks much better than the display on the Lumia 1020.

Processor & Graphics

Lumia 1520 has a 2.2 Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU & 2GB RAM which makes the performance of the device ridiculously good. Games runs super smooth, Internet explorer loads up pages really fast and zooming in and out is also very smooth.

Camera

The camera experience on 1520 is every bit as good. It has a 20 MP PureView camera with Carl Zeiss glass and a xenon flash which captures extremely high quality photos. It has a lot of control in taking pictures in all kinds of lighting especially in dim lit areas. The 1080p video recording is also good and is worth mentioning.

Conclusion

Everything about this smartphone is high quality - the speakers are loud and clear, earpiece quality on calls is great, battery life with the massive 3400 mAh battery is really good. It also happens to have this beautiful fit and finish that you expect from the Nokia Lumia build quality.

So, its pretty safe to say that the Lumia 1520 has a nearly flawless hardware and has provided the best Windows Phone experience to date.

Friday, December 13, 2013

OblyTile - Spice up your Windows 8 Start Screen

The Windows 8 Start Screen is a great application launcher, but the application shortcuts for desktop apps looks very small and dull. Luckily, OblyTile lets you create custom tiles for any app or folder with the image of your choice.


OblyTile doesn't require installation. Once you're in the program, you can either manually search for the desired program on your PC or open up the Manager on the right-hand side, which generates a list of your installed programs. The Manager can also make a list of your current program shortcuts and offer you the ability to convert those shortcuts into tiles.

You can choose your own custom image for a program which will be shown as a tile background (see example below).


The functionality offered by this app is really something that Microsoft should be offering users by default. 
So to spice up your Windows 8 Start Screen, download OblyTile here.

Additionally, you can also download this tile pack which contains some images for you to use as tile background.
Also check out deviantArt, a great place to get some cool tile packs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Google Chromebook - Now in India


Google Chromebooks are finally available in India. The first Chromebooks to make way to India are the Acer C720 Chromebook & HP 14 Chromebook.

Both Chromebooks are available for purchase online and on various stores across India. There are currently two online retailers selling these Chromebooks - Flipkart and Chroma Retail.

Acer C720 Chromebook

The Acer C720 is easier to use than traditional computers. It starts up in 7 seconds, and automatically stays up-to-date. There is built-in virus protection, guarding against viruses, malware, and other security threats.

It has a 11.6" ComfyView LED backlit TFT LCD display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It is powered by an Intel Celeron Dual Core (4th generation) processor and has 2 GB DDR3 RAM (expandable upto 8 GB). It has 16 GB SSD storage capacity with 100 GB of Google Drive storage free and upto 8.5 hours of battery life.

HP 14 Chromebook

The HP 14 Chromebook has a 14" BrightView LED backlit 200 nit display. It is powered by an Intel Celeron Dual Core (4th generation) processor and has 4 GB DDR3 RAM. It also houses HP TrueVision HD Webcam and provides upto 9.5 hours of battery life. Storage capacity is the same as the Acer model (16 GB SSD) with additional 100 GB Google Drive storage free.
Virus protection is built-in and you can find thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store.

Pricing

Acer C720 Chromebook is priced at ₹ 22,999 whereas the HP 14 Chromebook has a price of ₹ 26,990.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Key Aspects of Samsung Galaxy Note 3


The Note 3 is Samsung's latest Android phablet smartphone and a successor to the world's most popular phablet - the Galaxy Note 2. It was officially announced last month on September 4th at IFA Berlin and is now available in all the leading markets in the world. In this article, we'll be going through all the key aspects of the Note 3 in detail.

Design Aspects

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is built entirely using polycarbonate, just like its predecessors. However, it has a distinct faux-leather like finish on its rear panel which feels premium and solid in your hand. Specifically, the phone is almost the same as the Note 2, measuring in with the dimensions of 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm. In spite of having to accommodate a larger display and a higher capacity battery, Samsung has managed to keep the Note 3 impressively thin and lightweight (168 grams). It also excels in the looks department thanks to the introduction of a metallic colored frame around the edges and the faux-stitched leather on its back. All put together, the design of the Note is excellent despite the lack of true premium materials like aluminum or glass.

Display

Samsung has continued its trend of using Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen panels on its flagship devices. On its face, the Note 3 adorns a 5.7 inches display that offers a resolution of 1080 X 1920 pixels and multi-touch capabilities. It also supports the S Pen stylus input and can display up to 16 million colors. To protect the display from scratches and scrapes, Samsung has added a layer of durable, scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Connectivity

The GSM edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can be used on 2G and 3G whereas the 4G edition also has additional LTE support. The phone features a regional lockout system, which requires users to use a region-specific SIM card to activate the phone for the first time. In terms of connectivity features, it supports GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE, Cat4, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot. For file and data transfers, there is Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP/LE/EDR, NFC, Infrared and microUSB v3.0.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 13 megapixel rear-facing camera comes equipped with a single LED flash and digital image stabilization. It can be used to capture sharp still images of up to a maximum resolution of 4128 X 3096 pixels in multiple modes. You can also shoot videos of up to a maximum resolution of 2160 pixels @ 30 fps and 1080 pixels @ 60 fps. It is the first mobile device to support 4K video recording, thereby putting it in the league of compact stand-alone cameras. The front 2 megapixel can be used for HD video calls of 1080p@30 fps or for capturing still self-shots. An impressively wide range of settings and features like exposure, contrast, saturation, white balance presets, face detection, geo-tagging, Dual Shot, Action Shot, HDR mode, panorama mode, etc. are available in the camera interface.

OS and Apps

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 slips out the door with the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system alongside Samsung's TouchWiz 5.0 user interface. One of the highlights of the Note series devices till now has been quantity of the exclusive bundled apps and features. Similarly, the Note 3 also offers a wide range of exclusive Samsung apps like S Health, S Travel, S-Voice, S-Translate, S Drive, All Play, ChatON, Smart Switch, WatchOn, etc. Additionally, S-Pen oriented features like Action Memos, Screen Write, Pen Window, Scrapbook, S-Finder, S-Note, Air commands, etc. are also present.

Processing Power

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with LTE support comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, 3 GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. On the other hand, the GSM edition includes an octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5420 chip with 3 GB of RAM and ARM Mali T628MP6 GPU. Both the versions are available in 32 GB and 64 GB variants and have a microSD slot where users can insert cards of up to 64 GB. As for the battery, there is a 3,200 mAh unit which is user replaceable thanks to the removable back panel.

Price

In the UK, two-year Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Contract Deals starting from £25 per month are available on all the leading networks. You can also get the 32 GB Sim-Free edition without signing any contract for a price of £590. In India, online retailer Flipkart is offering this phone for a price of around `45000.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Google launches Android 4.4 KitKat and Nexus 5


Yesterday Google gave a Halloween surprise to Android users worldwide with the launch of its latest smartphone operating system Android 4.4 KitKat alongside new Nexus device - Nexus 5. Senior vice president +Sundar Pichai, announced the launch via Google+.

Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 is named after a famous chocolate - Kit Kat. It is the update to the previous version of Android - Jelly Bean.

Here are some major feature changes -
Cleaner Design - The whole design of Android 4.4 is more flatter and brushed which looks really cool.

Google Now - The new Nexus 5 includes a hot-wording capability by which you can say "OK Google" right from the home-screen to launch the voice search.

Immersive Mode - New immersive mode feature in which the content of app goes full-screen.

Memory Optimization - Android 4.4 takes system performance to an all-time high by optimizing memory and improving touchscreen experience so that it responds faster and more accurately than ever before.

New Dialer - A new refined dialer app which automatically prioritizes your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. You can also search for nearby places and businesses, your contacts, or people in your Google Apps domain.

Smarter Caller ID - Whenever you get a call from a phone number not in your contacts, your phone will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.

New Hangouts app - SMS is now integrated into the Hangouts app. Recently Google announced this new feature, describing it as one of the most popular requests from users.

New Print service - With Android 4.4, you can print photos, documents, and web pages from your phone or tablet. You can print to any printer connected to Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers, and to other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store.

Bluetooth MAP & Chromecast support - Support for Message Access Profile (MAP) so Bluetooth-enabled cars can exchange messages with your devices. Chromecast support to cast your media from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Google Play on to your HDTV.

Refreshed Email & Downloads apps - Email and Download app has been refined. Email app now includes nested folders, contact photos and better navigation whereas Download app includes sorting options and list and grid views for all the files.

NFC Emulation - NFC HCE (Near Field Communication Host Card Emulation) allows any device running KitKat whether it has NFC chip or not emulate NFC based transactions.

To know more about the new faetures, head over to www.android.com

Nexus 5


Nexus 5 is the latest smartphone in the Nexus line of products. It is developed by LG and Google. Nexus 5 is the first device to run Android 4.4 Kit Kat.

Specifications

Display - Nexus 5 has a 5" full HD Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 445 ppi pixel density.

CPU & GPU - Nexus 5 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz processor and Adreno 330 GPU clocked @ 450MHz.

Camera - 1.3MP front facing & 8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilization.

Wireless - Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC (Android Beam) & Bluetooth 4.0 LE

Memory - Nexus 5 has a 2 GB RAM and is available in two versions - 16 GB and 32 GB internal storage.

Battery - Nexus 5 has a 2,300 mAH battery which offers 17 hours of talk time and up to 300 hours of standby time.

Availability

Nexus 5 is available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India). It is available through Google Play.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Google announces massive updates to Google+


At a special live event "A Morning with Google+" in San Francisco, Google announced some major updates to Google+ & Hangouts. Google's senior vice president +Vic Gundotra announced 540 million 30-day active Google+ users with 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week.

Hangouts

Location Sharing - Now users can share their location in the hangouts app with just one tap of a button.


Animated GIFs - Hangouts is also adding support for animated GIFs.



SMS Integration - SMS is now integrated into the Hangouts app. The company announced this new feature, describing it as one of the most popular requests from users.



Google+ Photos

Full-sized backup for iOS - Now iOS users will also have full-sized images backup and background syncing like Android users.

HDR Scape for Snapseed - With Snapseed's new HDR Scape feature, Google says it is using a much more sophisticated process that compares the pixel-edge contrast in order to adjust a single photo to be HDR.

Auto Awesome Action - Auto Awesome Action feature creates a picture of someone in motion from different sets of pictures.



Auto Awesome Eraser - Auto Awesome Eraser detects unwanted people in the photo and erases them from the picture.



Auto Awesome Movie - Auto Awesome Movie automatically creates a video for the user from various related videos and photos.



Watch the whole event below...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Windows 8.1 Released


Yesterday, Microsoft released Windows 8.1 - The first major update to the original Windows 8. Windows 8 users will see a notification in the Windows Store with a prompt to upgrade to the new operating system.

Start Screen


The Start Screen is now even more refreshed in Windows 8.1. New sizes of Live Tiles offer more information or reduce clutter on screen, moving backgrounds which animates as you scroll, and the ability to set any image as the Start Screen wallpaper. The All Apps section (swipe up from the bottom) shows all the apps alphabetically, by date installed, most used or by category.

Start Button

The controversial Start Button returns in Windows 8.1 and is customisable as well. The Start Button takes you to the Start Screen, but you can also right click on it and access power user commands and the shutdown or restart options.

Personalisation


As stated above, there are moving backgrounds as you scroll through tiles which are called Motion Accents. In the lock-screen, you have the option of running a slideshow, with photos coming from SkyDrive or your local hard drive.

Multi-Tasking & Multi-Monitor

Snapping applications side by side is even more easier in Windows 8.1. You can now snap apps in 50 / 50 mode. You can also change that percentage to better control how much of an app you see on screen.
In the multi monitor scenario, you can snap multiple apps across multiple displays. Also, the scaling for windows is improved, so dragging a window between two different dpi monitors will scale the window appropriately.

Search


The new Search is powered with Bing and is called the 'Bing Heros'. The Search is now a 'everywhere' search and opens up the Bing Heroes page when you search for something. The Bing Heroes page consists of search results from around the web, the PC, from the apps etc.

Apps


Lots of Windows 8 apps got updates including the Internet Explorer, Mail & Office, Xbox Music and Video, Camera & Photos. Some new apps have been introduced such as Reading List which lets you save an article for later reading, Health and Fitness, Food & Drinks, Alarms, Sound-Recorder & Calculator.

To summarize, Windows 8.1 is a great update to Windows 8 and includes refinements and great apps that every Windows 8 user will love.


Get the Update

Windows 8 users can get the update free from the Windows Store whereas Windows 7 users will have to purchase the Windows 8.1 update. Visit official website for more info.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Keyboard shortcut to "Shutdown / Restart / Hibernate" Windows


Windows power options (Shutdown, Restart & Hibernate) are available via the start button (in Windows 7) & from the Charms bar (in Windows 8), but you can also create hot-keys for them easily.

This is the guide to create a keyboard shortcut to Shutdown / Restart / Hibernate a Windows computer.

Shutdown

1. Right-click on desktop and select New and then Shortcut.
2. In the dialog that appears, type shutdown and click Next.


3. Type the name of the shortcut and click Finish. Your shortcut is now on your desktop.


4. Now, Right-click on it and select Properties.
5. In the properties dialog, select the Shortcut tab.
6. In the Shortcut key field, press your desired combination of keys and click OK.
Your shortcut is ready. Now, if you press those hot-keys, your computer will shutdown.

If you do not need the shortcut to be present on your desktop:
  1. Right click on the shortcut, and click Properties.
  2. In General tab, check Hidden. This will make this shortcut disappear from your desktop.

Restart

Follow the same procedure, except in step 2, type shutdown /r

Hibernate

Follow the same procedure, except in step 2, type shutdown /h

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Sony Xperia Z1 Overview


Sony kicked off the flagship phone season earlier this year with the launch of the Xperia Z. Now, the company is back with its second flagship device of the year in the form of the Xperia Z1 to take on the likes of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. It boasts of an impressive collection of features, stylish design and a top-notch hardware package. Let us find out more about this latest Android smartphone from Sony.

Design

The design language of the Xperia Z1 is similar to its predecessor. It features similar dimensions, the same tempered glass clad body, Omnibalance design and IP55/IP58 rating for dust and water resistance. However, Sony has replaced the glass fiber polyamide with a new one-piece aluminum frame to provide more robustness and premium feel to its latest flagship phone. The 5.67 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches, 170 grams body looks absolutely gorgeous and has a premium feel to it. You can able to slip it down your pockets with ease, but it does offer a bit of discomfort while operating with a single hand. Additionally, the glossy surface of the glass tends to accumulate fingerprint stains, so you might want to invest in a case or an anti-fingerprint protector else you'll have to clean it almost every day to retain its elegant appearance.

Display

The Sony Xperia Z1 boasts of a gorgeous 5-inch 1920-by-1080 TRILUMINOS display with built-in X-Reality Engine for mobile image processing and a lamination of scratch-resistant tempered glass. Sony has used an OptiContrast Panel for the display, which reduces glare and delivers high contrast and rich, vibrant colors. The screen is excellent in terms of image quality and it allows you to experience high definition content with amazing clarity and vibrancy even in bright sunlight and from extremely wide viewing angles.

Platform

The phone runs on the Android v4.2 Jelly Bean platform with a custom overlay of Sony's Xperia user interface. All the major applications like Facebook, Youtube, Google Maps, Google Search, Gmail, Twitter, Hangouts, etc. are available straight out of the box. But, like all other major manufacturers, Sony has included many more applications of its own to provide better functionality. These include the Walkman player, Sony Select, Socialife, Smart Connect, TrackID, OfficeSuite and much more. The company also offers access to its services like Sony Movies, Sony Music and Sony Entertainment.

Camera

The Sony Xperia Z1 aims to be your compact digital camera by offering a superb 20.7MP camera with 27mm wide-angle G Lens optics, Xenon flash and Bionz image processor. It is currently the highest resolution camera available on any Android phone till date, which means you're getting the absolute best in terms of hardware. It has a 1/2.3-inch sensor which is used in Sony's compact cameras like the Sony Cyber-shot HX50, so you're assured of getting high quality results. There's also a dedicated camera key available on the phone which is a great feature to have as it allows users better control while capturing images. The camera interface is just as good as the hardware with amazing options and features like Superior Auto, Timeshift Burst, Picture Effect, AR Effect, Info-eye, Sweep Panorama, Face Detection and much more. The water proof and dust resistant nature of the handset also enables users to capture images and videos even during rains or in the swimming pool.

Hardware Performance

In terms of internal hardware, the Z1 runs on a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and has 2 GB RAM. The graphics are powered by the latest gen Adreno 330 GPU and the phone has 16 GB of internal memory. For users who require more amount of storage space, there is a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 64 GB. The performance of the phone is top-notch as it is powered by the fastest chipset available for Android phones. On the battery front, you get a non-removable 3000 mAh unit which delivers excellent back up times on a single charge. It offers 15 hours of 3G talk time, 850 hours of stand-by time and up to 100 hours of continuous music play.

Price

The Sony Xperia Z1 is available in the United Kingdom for an off-contract price of £564.00. Sony is also offering free multimedia content worth £110 on its Music, Video and Gaming services along with the purchase of the Z1 in countries like the UK, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Netherland and Mexico. To get more details regarding these offers and the pricing of the phone in your country, please get in touch with a local Sony store or an authorized retailer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5 : Out Now



Rockstar Games released the much awaited open world, action adventure video game - Grand Theft Auto 5.


Developed by Rockstar North & published by Rockstar Games, GTA 5 is currently available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. As for the PC version is concerned, there are rumors that GTA 5 for Windows is under development, but Rockstar Games did not comment about that.

Trailer


Game plot

The narrative of the game follows three characters with interconnected stories. Michael De Santa is a retired former bank robber in his early forties who lives with his dysfunctional family on the proceeds of his former life in the upper-class suburb of Rockford Hills, based on Beverly Hills. Trevor Phillips, his former partner in crime, lives alone in a trailer in the desert of Blaine County, where his reckless and psychopathic behaviours are fuelled by drug addiction. Franklin Clinton makes a living in Vespucci Beach based on Venice Beach - as a repo man for an unscrupulous Armenian car dealership. The three acquaintances are drawn into Los Santos' criminal underworld "in the pursuit of the almighty American dollar".

Editions

There are three editions for GTA 5 available for purchase:
  • Standard Edition : As the name suggests, GTA 5 standard edition features only the game itself.
  • Special Edition : The special edition includes collectible steelbook, blueprint map and adds some additional content to the game like stunt plane trials, special ability boosts, bonus outfits, weapons, tattoos and more.
  • Collector's Edition : The collector's edition consist of new era 9Fifty Snapback cap & GTA 5 security deposit bag with logo key in addition to the contents of Special Edition.

Review

Check out GTA 5 review by Machinima :


Order

To order your copy, head over to GTA 5 official website.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple unveils iPhone 5s and 5c


At the iPhone event, Apple unveiled two new devices - iPhone 5c and the much rumored iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5s

Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced the company's latest flagship smartphone - the iPhone 5s.
iPhone 5s has a new A7 chip that has been re-engineered for 64-bit architecture. It has a 8 megapixel iSight camera with a new  larger f/2.2 aperture sensor and some great features like panorama and burst mode.

Apple also introduced a new Touch ID feature - a fingerprint sensor built right into the home button. The Touch ID sensor scans the fingerprint for authentication rather than using PIN or password. The Touch ID can be used to unlock the phone or even confirm purchases from the iTunes store.

The iPhone 5s is available in three new color schemes - Gray, Silver & Gold starting September 20th, pricing $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB & $399 for 64 GB model respectively (on contract). The unlocked version costs $649 for 16 GB, $749 for 32 GB & $849 for 64 GB respectively.



iPhone 5c

iPhone 5c is the "colourful" variant built from a single piece of poly-carbonate, and is available in white, yellow, blue, green & red.

The phone features a 4-inch Retina display, A6 chip, and an 8-megapixel iSight camera, as well as an improved FaceTime HD camera on the front.

The iPhone 5c is priced at $99 for 16 GB & $199 for 32 GB model respectively (on contract). The unlocked version costs $549 for 16 GB & $649 for 32 GB respectively.

Soft-feel rubber slipcases are also available for $29 each based on the iOS7 color scheme.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Google introduces a new breed of Chrome Apps



On Chrome's fifth birthday, Google introduced a new breed of Chrome apps which runs offline and does not require chrome browser to be open.

Chrome web store now features a new "For your Desktop" section, which includes all these new apps.


To make it quicker and easier to get to your favorite apps, Google also introduced a Chrome App Launcher for Windows, which will appear when you install your first new Chrome App. It lives in the taskbar and launches your apps into their own windows, outside of Chrome, just like other desktop apps.

There are around 25 apps in the "For your Desktop" section. Among the pickings are Google Keep, The Economist, Pocket, Wunderlist, Pixlr Touch Up and more.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Android KitKat - Sweet new treat by Google


Yesterday (3rd September 2013) Google confirmed the next version of company's mobile operating system. It will be called Android 4.4 KitKat.

There had been speculation that the next version of Android would be named Key Lime Pie, but Google thought it would be great to give a chocolate name to the next version.

Google has named all the Android version after a desert, namely Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), Honeycomb (3.0), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1) & now KitKat (4.4).

Nestle's executive vice president announced 50 million KitKat bars in 19 countries will have prominent Android branding and will offer buyers the chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Play gift cards.

Not much information is known about this new version and Google has not yet revealed its release date.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

HTC One Mini Review


HTC has joined the Mini bandwagon by launching a smaller and cheaper version of the One – its flagship Android handset. As you would expect, the company has made some sacrifices to the internal specs of the phone, but as far as the design and user experience is concerned, the HTC One Mini isn’t much different as compared to its big brother. Find out more about this gorgeous Android smartphone in our in-depth review.

Looks and Build

From a design perspective, the HTC One Mini isn't much different from the company's flagship smartphone - HTC One. The only differences being the slightly smaller dimensions and the introduction of a thicker plastic rim around the edges. The majority of the exterior is built from premium aluminum which provides a solid feel and attractive appearance to the phone. Specifically, the One Mini measures 132 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm, and tips the weight scales to 122 grams, which makes it perfect for single-handed use. Considering the fact that the One Mini maintains almost the same aspects of its big brother's award winning design, it can definitely count itself among one of the most gorgeous handsets.

Screen

The HTC One Mini comes equipped with a 4.3-inch Super LCD2 capacitive touchscreen display panel with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels which equals to a pixel density of 342 ppi. It offers high brightness levels, amazing contrast and extremely wide visibility angles. The image quality is not as sharp as the HTC One's 1080p display, but it is certainly quite good for premium mid-range segment phone. On top of the screen is a safely layer of Corning's toughened Gorilla Glass 2 for resistance against scrapes and scratches. As far as the sunlight legibility of the display is concerned, it falls short of expectations as the glass is fairly reflective, thereby making it slightly difficult for users to read out in bright sunlight.

Software

Powered by Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the HTC One Mini offers a host of features and apps straight out-of-the-box. However, HTC is known to add its own suite of apps and features in all its Android handsets and the same is true for the Mini as well. The phone's OS has a custom Sense 5 user interface which includes features like BlinkFeed Home screen, Zoe Gallery, Highlight Videos and much more. Additionally, there are different dedicated modes like Kid mode, Car Mode, etc. which provide flexible functionality according to your requirements.

Performance

The HTC One Mini has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor running at 1.4 GHz, Adreno 305 graphics unit and 1 GB of RAM. As far as synthetic benchmarks are concerned, the phone does quite well in all of them by clocking numbers which are similar to its rivals. The hardware performs extremely well in normal conditions, but the slightly lower amount of RAM means multi-tasking is not as smooth as on its big brother. Nonetheless, users will be able to use most functions of the phone without experiencing any nagging issues like lags or slowdowns. Unfortunately, there's no microSD card available on the handset, so you'll have to accommodate all your files on the 16 GB internal memory or any cloud storage service on the internet.

Camera

The Ultrapixel rear-facing camera is another part of the HTC One Mini which is similar to its elder sibling. It is the same 4 megapixel unit with a F/2.0 lens and 1/3" sensor, but it lacks optical image stabilization. The Mini can capture true HD video of 1080p at 30 frames per second and still images of a maximum resolution of 2688 x 1520 pixels. The camera interface is also quite impressive in terms of features as it include face detection, smile detection, burst mode, HDR mode, panorama mode and much more. The secondary 1.6 megapixel camera is present at the front side of the phone and it can be used for capturing self-shots and 720p video calls.

Battery

An important parameter to look at while choosing a smartphone these days is its battery life. Thankfully, the HTC One Mini does pretty well in this department thanks to its 1800 mAh Li-Po battery unit which offers a maximum talk time of 20.7 hours and stand-by time of 20.8 days on 2G networks. On 3G networks, it is able to offer 28 days of stand-by time and up to 13 hours of talk time. Sadly, the battery is non-removable so users don't get the option of using an extra unit in emergency situations.

Conclusion

The strong points of the HTC One Mini are its top-notch build quality, attractive styling, brilliant display, Boomsound speakers and 4G LTE support. However, it also has its fair share of negative points like the lack of microSD card slot and NFC, limited internal storage options (only 16 GB) and slightly inferior hardware compared to its rivals. Also, it isn't as compact as anyone would expect a Mini version of the One to be. Overall, the HTC One Mini seems to be a pretty good Android handset for users who want to experience the awesome features of the HTC One, but the size or price has stopped them from doing so till now.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Motorola introduces Moto X



Its official. After so much rumors and anticipation, Motorola unveiled its flagship smartphone - Moto X.
Moto X is the first smartphone launched by Motorola since the company was bought by Google.

Features

Moto X is the first device to showcase the "always ready" feature. Users can utilize Google voice search without unlocking the device.



Moto X comes with a new notification system in which the screen subtly pulses with the alerts. User can then touch & hold the screen to see the notification and that all without unlocking the device.

Motorola has also introduced "Quick-Capture" - a new way to open up the camera by shaking the device in a particular manner.



Specifications

The Moto X has a 4.7 inch AMOLED HD display (1280 X 720 pixels) with a pixel density of 312 ppi. It has a 10MP rear camera with full HD 1080p recording and a 2MP front facing camera with 1080p recording as well.

Moto X is powered by a Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait processor with Adreno 320 GPU and runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system. It has 2 GB of RAM and 16/32GB of internal memory.

It has a 2200 mAh battery which Motorola says gives upto 24 hours of mixed usage.

Availability & Customization

Moto X will be available on contract in the U.S. later this summer. All devices are being assembled in the U.S. and will ship to the customers in four days or less.

Motorola has given its customers tons of customization options to truly make the phone theirs. Customers can choose front & back colors, accent color and even the signature. The signature will be printed on the back of the phone.

Customers can also choose memory (16GB / 32 GB), wallpaper & personal "power on" message which will be displayed when device is powered on.

Accessories like wall-charger, in-ear headphones are also available and that too in color of your choice.

Price

Moto X can be yours for $199 for 16GB and $249 for 32GB.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Google launches new Nexus 7, Chromecast & Android 4.3

Yesterday at the Google Press Event in San Francisco, Google launched the new Nexus 7 tablet and a new media streaming adapter called Chromecast.

The New Nexus 7

The new Nexus 7 is an improved version of the original Nexus 7. Developed by ASUS, both the hardware & software has been upgraded to make the already awesome device even more amazing.

The new Nexus 7 now has 1080p HD IPS display (1920 x 1200 pixels) with a pixel density of 323 ppi (highest pixel density for any tablet). It has now got a 5MP rear facing camera with HD recording along with a 1.2MP front facing camera.

The dimensions of the device has also changed. The new Nexus 7 is 6 mm less wider, 1.85 mm thinner and 50 grams lighter than the original.

The new Nexus 7 is powered with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5GHz processor and Adreno 320 GPU, which Google claims will give upto 4x speed compared to the original one. The memory is also increased to 2GB.

It also now has stereo speakers with Surround sound technology, powered by Fraunhofer. The battery life is also increased by 1 hour giving up to 9 hours of active usage.

The new Nexus 7 comes with the latest version of Android (Android 4.3 Jelly Bean). This new device is available on Google Play & retail stores from 30th July onwards.



Chromecast


Google introduces Chromecast, a new media-streaming device to stream media from any device to your HDTV.

Chromecast is just 2 inches in length, so it just disappears behind the TV. All you have to do is just plug it in your HDTV and start playing media on HDTV from your device connected to your home network. The device can be your smartphone/tablet running Android or iOS, laptop (Windows/Mac) with Chrome browser or Chromebook.

Chromecast works with variety of operating systems - Android, iOS, Chrome on Windows, Chrome on Mac & Chrome OS.

You can stream any YouTube video from your device, any music from Google Play, any movie from Google Play or Netflix and even web pages from Google Chrome browser.

To get a hint of how Chromecast works, watch the video below.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Everything about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung has come up with the Galaxy S4 Mini, a smaller yet powerful alternative to the flagship Galaxy S4. As expected, it doesn't quite have superior specs of its big brother, but it doesn't fall far behind in terms of performance and software features. Let us take a look at the features and specs of this handset in detail.


Design

The S4 Mini takes its design cues from the Galaxy S4. It has a polycarbonate casing which has a compact profile of 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm, making it extremely comfortable to hold and handle with ease. Users won't have any trouble carrying the phone around or holding it for long durations in their hands as it weighs only 107 grams. The back panel has a glossy finish which looks gorgeous and stylish but is prone to fingerprints. Overall, the handset has a nice, solid feel to it and at the same time excels in the looks department.

Display

The smartphone comes with a 4.3" Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display having a resolution of 540 X 960 pixels and multi-touch abilities. Like all Samsung phones, the screen is top-notch thanks to its sharp image quality and infinite contrast. Along with this, there is an Adapt Display feature which enables the phone to automatically adjust the display settings to provide the best viewing experience at all times.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's rear-facing 8 megapixel camera outputs photos of up to a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and shoots videos of full HD 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Furthermore, there are impressive features in the camera interface like Smile Shot, Face Detection, Multiple Resolutions, White Balance, touch Focus, Geo-tagging, HDR Mode, Beauty Shot, Best Face, Panorama mode and much more. Completing the package is a 1.9 megapixel sensor at the front which allows users to take impressive self-shots and video calls.

Processing Power

Under its hood, the phone has a fast 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 2 GB of RAM (LTE version) which can handle most tasks and applications with ease. The internal package is completed by an Adreno 320 GPU, 1900 mAh battery and 8 GB of internal storage space. Since the onboard memory is quite less by today's standard, Samsung has included a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 64 GB.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean alongside Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. Along with the stock Android features, there are innovative additions like Quick Glance, Smart Stay, Air View, Direct Call and Smart Rotation. More functionality is provided in the form of applications such as S Voice, S Translator, S Health, TripAdvisor, Group Play and much more.

Battery

The phone's Li-Ion 1900 mAh battery is accessible and can be replaced by removing the back panel. Unfortunately, Samsung has not revealed any official data as far as the battery times are concerned but it is expected to deliver a full day performance on a single charge.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Windows 8.1 Preview Released


At Build 2013, Microsoft released the much awaited public preview of Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 is the first major update to the original Windows 8 and the preview (pre-release version) is available for download via Windows Store or from the official website.

Start Screen


The Start Screen is now even more refreshed in Windows 8.1. New sizes of Live Tiles offer more information or reduce clutter on screen, moving backgrounds which animates as you scroll, and the ability to set any image as the Start Screen wallpaper. The All Apps section (swipe up from the bottom) shows all the apps alphabetically, by date installed, most used or by category.

Start Button

The controversial Start Button returns in Windows 8.1 and is customizable as well. The Start Button takes you to the Start Screen, but you can also right click on it and access power user commands and the shutdown or restart options.

Personalization


As stated above, there are moving backgrounds as you scroll through tiles which are called Motion Accents. In the lockscreen, you have the option of running a slideshow, with photos coming from SkyDrive or your local hard drive.

Multi-Tasking & Multi-Monitor

Snapping applications side by side is even more easier in Windows 8.1. You can now snap apps in 50 / 50 mode. You can also change that percentage to better control how much of an app you see on screen.
In the multi monitor scenario, you can snap multiple apps across multiple displays. Also, the scaling for windows is improved, so dragging a window between two different dpi monitors will scale the window appropriately.

Search


The new Search is powered with Bing and is called the 'Bing Heros'. The Search is now a 'everywhere' search and opens up the Bing Heroes page when you search for something. The Bing Heroes page consists of search results from around the web, the PC, from the apps etc.

Apps


Lots of Windows 8 apps got updates including the Internet Explorer, Mail & Office, Xbox Music and Video, Camera & Photos. Some new apps have been introduced such as Reading List which lets you save an article for later reading, Health and Fitness, Food & Drinks, Alarms, Sound-Recorder & Calculator.


To summarize, Windows 8.1 is a great update to Windows 8 and includes refinements and great apps that every Windows 8 user will love.
As mentioned above, to download the preview, go to Windows Store from your Windows 8 PC or head over to Windows official website.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

E3 2013 : Game On

E3 2013 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the biggest annual computer and video games expo in the world. This year big companies showcased some of the best games and consoles. Sony announces PlayStation 4 and Microsoft showcases the Xbox One.


MICROSOFT

Microsoft press conference started with showcasing the new Xbox One console. It's a cloud-based home-entertainment console sporting an improved Kinect camera, along with a redesigned controller with a new d-pad and integrated battery compartment. The Xbox One was earlier announced at the Xbox reveal event.
The Xbox One will be one sale from November 2013 onwards for $499 in US, 499 in Europe and £429 in the UK.

Some big games announced for Xbox One includes -
  • Metal Gear Solid 5 : The Phantom Pain
  • Ryse : Son of Rome
  • Forza Motorsport 5
  • Quantum Break
  • Titan Fall
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Witcher 3
  • Halo
  • Battlefield 4

SONY

Sony introduces the all new gaming console - PlayStation 4. This new console looks space age and Sony has made sure that it delights the users with lots of new features including Cloud Saves, automatic game updates, immersive multiplayer and a new cloud gaming service launching in 2014.


The PlayStation 4 will be available for purchase this holiday season in US and UK for $399£349.

Some big games announced for PlayStation 4 includes -
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • The Dark Sorcerer
  • Gran Turismo 6
  • Battlefield 4

UBISOFT

Ubisoft showcased some great teasers and trailers of the upcoming games.

The Crew
The Crew is a racing video game co-developed by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections and published by Ubisoft for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows. It is expected to release in early 2014.


Tom Clancy's The Division
Tom Clancy's The Division is an upcoming action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Massive under the Tom Clancy brand for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Division is inspired by Operation Dark Winter and Directive 51. In the game, a disease that spreads on Black Friday causes the United States to collapse in 5 days.


Assassin's Creed IV : Black Flag
It is the sixth major installment in the Assassin's Creed series and a sequel to 2012's Assassin's Creed III modern story and a prequel to its ancestral storyline. The game will feature three main cities; Havana, Kingston, and Nassau, which reside under Spanish, English and pirate influence, respectively. The game will also feature 50 locations to explore, with a 60/40 balance between land and naval exploration. Assassin's Creed IV will have a more open world feel, with missions similar to those found in Assassin's Creed, as well as fewer restrictions for the player.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist
Blacklist introduces a new gameplay mechanic called killing in motion, allowing the player to highlight targets and take them out in quick succession, with a new fluidity while on the run. The game is set in a third-person perspective so the protagonist and the objects around him are visible. As well, there will be voice integration with Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral, which will allow gamers to say things to distract enemies and then attack. The player can also use the Kinect sensor to control the protagonist with their body instead of the Xbox 360 controller.


ELECTRONIC ARTS

Electronic Arts E3 Press conference started with an energetic music. EA is probably the largest gaming company and like previous years, this year also EA bombarded with lots of great games.

Titanfall
Titanfall is a mecha first-person shooter video game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It is Respawn's first game, and is scheduled for release in 2014.


Need for Speed : Rivals
Need for Speed Rivals is an upcoming open-world racing video game in development at Swedish games developer Ghost Games (formerly EA Gothenburg), the twentieth installment in the long-running Need for Speed series. Running on Frostbite 3 engine, the game is to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 19 November 2013 and will also be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later in 2013.


EA Ignite
EA announced a new gaming engine - Ignite. This new gaming engine is used to develop new EA Sports games like Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, NBA Live 14 & UFC.

Electronic Arts announced several features within the engine. Its Human Intelligence framework lets in-game players "think like real athletes", with the ability to make snap judgments, prepare for impact, and perform as a team player. For example, the new artificial intelligence creates a sense of urgency for computer players towards the end of a match, who will rush for more shots on goal. The True Player Motion framework makes players' bodies, limbs, and clothing each move according to physics. The Living Worlds framework models the stadium audience members and their behaviors individually. The audience will have expectations about the in-game sports matches, and will change react with the match's progress. The Ignite artificial intelligence is able to use the next-gen hardware to handle four times as many calculations per second than older EA Sports titles.

Battlefield 4
Developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts, this game is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3 and the 13th installment in the Battlefield series. Running on Frostbite 3 engine, this game packs a punch. EA also showcased live 64 player multiplayer game on the stage.

NVIDIA

Nvidia introduced their new Graphics card - GeForce GTX 770, a new high-end gaming graphics card faster and more efficient than both the GeForce GTX 670 and GeForce GTX 680.


The GeForce GTX 770 features the same desirable styling as the recently-released GeForce GTX 780, and compared to its predecessor is 15% faster thanks to higher clock speeds, 192 more CUDA Cores, and faster 7Gbps memory. The GTX 770 also supports our latest hardware-software enhancements, like GPU Boost 2.0, Overvolting, Display Overclocking, and ShadowPlay.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Apple WWDC 2013 Roundup


Apple WWDC 2013 - Apple's yearly developer conference kicked off with some great announcements. Apple's CEO Tim Cook took the stage and announced MacBook Air, iOS 7 & new Mac operating system - OS X Mavericks and more.

OS X Mavericks

  • Finder windows, the windowing system OS X uses for folder navigation, now uses tabs. Windows can be drag and dropped on top of each other.
  • Files can now be tagged, for easy access.
  • Multiple displays support: the menu bar goes across multiple displays, dock operates across multiple displays.
  • Improved battery life and less CPU activity.
  • Updated Safari browser with ultra smooth scrolling and less memory usage & with top site where all the bookmarks are stored.
  • New iCloud Keychain to sync data between various Apple devices.
  • New updated Maps app for OS X.
  • New iOS books store with 1.8 million books.


MacBook Air

Apple announced a refreshed line of MacBook Air using the new Intel's Haswell processors. The new MacBook Air will come in two versions - 11 inch and 13 inch with 128 / 256GB flash storage, 4GB LP DDR3 memory, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Intel Core-i5 (Haswell) processor.

MacBook Airs are priced at $999 for the 11-inch model and $1,099 for a 13-inch model.


Mac Pro

Apple introduced Mac Pro, a high end desktop. It comes with dual AMD GPUs delivering 7 teraflops of performance, and it supports Thunderbolt 2 and 4K displays. The Mac Pro will be available in late 2013.


iOS 7


Tim Cook announced iOS 7, new improved operating system for iPhones and iPads. Apple described it's new operating system as "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone".

The whole design is much more cleaner and flatter. Multi-tasking gets an upgrade, Safari is streamlined to showcase more content, new gestures make navigation easier. Apple also introduced a new peer-to-peer Wi-Fi sharing service with iOS 7 known as AirDrop.

Notification center gets a big update. iOS 7 allows user to access notifications from the lock screen, and notifications sync between devices.

A new Control Center is added to iOS user interface that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the display to reveal the Control Center menu, which features options for changing the brightness, engaging Airplane mode, toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, and controlling music playback.

The new Siri in iOS 7 gets a male voice option and integrates with Wikipedia and Web search results from Bing.

iTunes Radio was unveiled and now is a part of Apple's revamped music app, and aims to help listeners discover new artists through tons of curated stations based on genres.

iOS 7 will be available this fall, whereas for iPhone developers it's available in beta, and will be coming to the iPad in the 'coming weeks'.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Everything about the Nokia Lumia 925

Nokia has been steadily gaining market share with its latest Lumia smartphones featuring Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. The company has now added a new high-end smartphone - the Lumia 925 to its lineup. The phone is basically the same as the Lumia 920 in terms of specs, but it offers subtle improvements in the software and design departments. Let us find out more about this smartphone.


Design

The phone borrows most of its design cues from the Lumia 920. It has a rectangular shape with rounded corners and a curved back panel just like its predecessor. However, it ditches the full polycarbonate unibody for a slimmer body with an aluminum frame and a lighter polycarbonate material on its back. The result is a more compact, pocket friendly and stylish yet robust design which makes it one of the most desirable phones in the market.

Display

The Nokia Lumia 925 boasts of a 4.5-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display which has a resolution of 768 X 1280 pixels for a sharp pixel density of 332 ppi. It features PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack technology which reduces reflections off the screen surface to provide deep blacks even in brightly lit areas. Other features include color profiles, wide viewing angles, Super Sensitive touch technology and Glance Display.

Camera

The handset arrives with an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera that doubles up as a 1080p video recorder. The sensor is accompanied by dual-LED flash and optical image stabilization. Nokia has also included its PureView technology and a wide range of features in the camera interface. Users can use various modes and lenses like Panorama, HDR mode, Smart Shoot, Face detection, Smile Shot, Self-Portrait mode and much more. At the front, there is a 1.3 megapixel sensor for self-shots and videos of 720 pixels at the rate of 30 frames per second.

Internals

The Nokia Lumia 925 brings along Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset packed with a Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, Adreno 225 GPU and 1 GB of RAM. Additionally, there is 16 GB of internal storage space and a 2000 mAh battery. Like its predecessor, the latest flagship from Nokia also doesn't feature a microSD card slot so you're limited in terms of storage space on the phone. However, if you want to store more files you can utilize the 7 GB SkyDrive Cloud storage service account offered by Microsoft for free.

Software

All of Nokia's phones over the past one year have featured Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. Same is the case with the Lumia 925. Some of the apps pre-installed on the phone include HTML5 web browser, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Nokia Care, Nokia Music, Nokia Smart Cam, Nokia TV, Kids Corner, Bing, Microsoft Office and much more. In addition, you can access the Windows Phone store to download many more third-party apps for added functionality.

Release Date

The Nokia Lumia 925 will go on sale in the United Kingdom from June 13th onwards. It is also expected to reach countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, and China later this month, but no specific date has been provided. Nokia didn’t provide any official word regarding pricing and worldwide availability at the time of the launch.

 
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