Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: LG Google Nexus 4 – The Best Android Experience One Can Have!

For: Specifications, Screen, Looks, Price, Vanilla Android Experience with Official warranty & support by LG.
Against: Reported heating issues..






The LG Nexus 4 has been launched in India in May 2013 with a price tag of Rs. 25,000. The device is powered by a Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon  Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, 2GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU, 16GB Internal storage, 8MP Primary + 1.3MP Secondary camera, 4.7 inches True HD IPS Plus capacitive multi  touchscreen, 16M colors  and 768 x 1280 pixels which gives ~318 ppi pixel density with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and stock Android 4.2.2 JellyBean. 





The Nexus 4 when launched in US in December 2012 was anticipated as the best Android Phone available and only those people who had their friends/relatives in US could procure the device here in India and this all comes with No warranty support which was a major point of concern for many customers. But considering the popularity of the Nexus brand in India, Google tied up with LG to bring the Google Nexus 4 officially in India in May 2013 for a attractive pricing of Rs. 25000. Initially the device was available only with major online stores like Flipkart but now it is also available in retail stores like Chroma. 

Screen & Build Quality


The Nexus 4 sports an impressive 4.7” True HD IPS screen with 768 * 1280 pixels and 318 ppi pixel density. I can easily say that it is one of the finest displays I have ever seen on a device within 25k category. LG also manufacturers HD IPS screen for ipad, iphone and is known for great quality displays. Touch response is butter smooth; with fantastic contrast-color ratios images and videos looks crisp and awesome. 






The screen is surrounded by a glossy fibre border which looks premium. On the top left of the screen there lies a 1.3MP camera and few sensors.  Build quality of the device is good. The back cover is made of nice premium plastic with a matrix/marble look and finish. Nexus logo is printed in large chrome font just below the camera. There is an IMEI sticker pasted just above the LG logo near the speaker. The phone is very nice to hold and feels premium. 

Camera, Buttons & call/audio quality


The Nexus 4 has an 8MP primary camera with LED flash capable of recording 1080p videos @30fps. Image size is 3264 x 2448 pixels. Image quality is excellent and can capture fine photos even at close up. The camera has satisfied the photographer in me. It also has basic expected features like Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere etc. The 1.3 MP secondary camera is very useful for video calling purposes. Quality is good. LG must have included a dedicated camera button to complete the package. 









The power button is placed on the right side of the phone; volume rocker is on left side. Music player control buttons, dedicated shutter button is sorely missed. The power button and volume rocker is plated with grey chrome and operates nicely with a push. The main microphone and the charging cum data port are on the bottom side of the phone; there are also two exposed screws to open/service the device. On the top there is a 3.5mm audio earphone jack and a noise cancelling microphone. For some strange unknown reasons, there are no earphones supplied with this phone.



Size comparison with my HTC One V


OS/Performance and Battery


The Nexus 4 comes preinstalled with Android 4.2.2 Jellybean with no customisation done by LG. Nexus devices are known for pure Android experience as they comes with zero bloat ware installed with custom UI layers by different manufacturers.  While the Android 4.3 update has already started rolling for Nexus devices, Nexus 4 still has not received any update but should out soon. Nexus devices have also the advantage of getting the future Android updates as soon as they are launched by Google. 


         

 



The phone is a power house with a Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, 2GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU and 16GB Internal storage. There is no SD card support with this phone. There is also an 8GB variant available in international markets but will not come in India. Out of 16GB roughly 13 GB is available to user which should be sufficient for average use though SD card support would have been an added advantage. There was zero lag noticed while using the phone and navigating from screen to screen is snappier. It scored a respectable score of 4432 on quadrant benchmark test. The earlier Nexus 3 scored roughly 2300 points on the same benchmark test. 






Performance will not be an issue with Nexus 4 and it runs almost every possible power/graphic hungry game thrown to it. There are five home screens to work on with lots of widgets as well. Google Voice search works seamlessly. The device comes with a non-removable Li-Po 2100mah battery which will easily last for a day with average usage. The only issue I noticed with this phone was little heating up while using the phone for longer period of time. Some researchers have reported that Nexus 4 lacks a proper heatsink which can cause this problem, while this issue can be overlooked but it isn’t great if you want to make the most of the Nexus 4 like playing graphics hungry games..

Verdict


If you are the purist who wants an exclusive phone with stock Android experience and decent specifications, look no other than LG Nexus 4. It can be now bought off the shelves from retail stores like Chroma or online megastore like Flipkart for Rs. 25,000. 

Ratings (out of 5 stars)


Build Quality ****
Screen ****
Performance ****
Value for Money ***
Overall ****

Thanks folks for reading.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

IDEA Aurus III Hands-on Review – Screams Value For Money!

For: Value for money pricing, distributed by a trusted service provider, excellent build quality.
Against: None at this price point. Nit-picking is what all you can do.



Idea Cellular launched ‘Aurus III’ at a price of Rs.7000 in May 2013 – this value for money 3G smartphone is equipped with 4” capacitive TFT touch screen,1GHz single core processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal memory, SD card support up to 32GB and Android Jelly Bean  v4.1

The smartphone market these days is spoilt for choices. There are so many devices available at every possible price range by so many manufacturers. And of all segments the 10K segment is the densest with maximum number of phones available for prospective customers. This healthy competition is in fact good for customers. Because of this manufacturers are bringing phones at attractive prices with best possible specifications. Idea’s Aura III is one such example. Manufactured by Alcatel – which is a subsidiary of TCL, China.




Screen & Build Quality

Aura III is an impressive smartphone with excellent build quality and value for money pricing. The dual sim Aura III comes with a 4” capacitive TFT touch screen that has a resolution of 480x800 pixels. Touch response is good, the screen produces nice rich colours and contrast ratios.





Above the screen panel there are couple of sensors and a VGA front camera. The front panel is chrome plated which makes the phone look and feel premium.  Build quality is very impressive and I would not hesitate to state that it is way better than the Samsung’s offering in the market. The back panel is glossy white plastic which has an ‘Idea’ sticker on it.  There is also a 5 MP camera sans a flash which is acceptable at this price range.


Camera, Buttons & call/audio quality

Aura III has a fixed focus 5MP primary camera which means it has no auto focus feature; there is no flash either. Picture quality is good in day light conditions. It has burst shoot, HDR photo capture & Panorama photo capability. Front camera is VGA type and is a welcome addition in a device which comes within 7k range





On the top there lies a chrome plated power button which is nice to press and a 3.5mm audio jack. Volume rocker is on right side which is also chrome plated. Data cum charging port is on left side just like most of the smartphones. Call quality is very impressive; speaker-phone is decent if not very loud. It comes with push in type ear phones which are surprisingly of very good quality.

OS/Performance and Battery

Aura III comes with Android JellyBean v4.1 and performs seamlessly on a device with 1Ghz single core processor and 512 MB RAM. Though I don’t expect this phone to be upgraded to 4.2 and higher Android versions in future due to limited RAM capacity. Idea has thrown in few proprietary apps like Idea TV, Idea Fresh and Idea Mall.





Switching between applications and screen is smooth and there was hardly any hiccup noticed during my usage of the phone. Games like temple run and subway surfers play smoothly. It comes with a 1400 mah battery which will easily last you for a complete day without looking for charging point through the day. The device scored 2893 points in the Quadrant benchmarking application.







Verdict

If you are tight on budget but still wants a fully functional smartphone with basic bells and whistles then look no other than Idea Aura III. It is available at all major mobile retail stores and Idea outlets across the country.

Ratings (out of 5 stars)

Build Quality ****
Screen ***
Performance ***
Value for Money *****
Overall ****

Thanks folks for reading.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: Xolo Q700 - A Value for Money Quad Core Workhorse!

For: Specifications, IPS display, looks, battery life, price.
Against: Too hard to find any! Nit-picking is what all you can do.



The Xolo Q700 has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 10,000 in May 2013. It sports a 4.5 inch IPS  qHD Capacitive Touchscreen,  1.2 GHz Quad Core Processor, 1GB RAM,  PowerVR SGX544 GPU,  5 MP Primary Camera, 4 GB internal memory, Expandable Storage Capacity of 32 GB and  Android™ v4.2 Jelly Bean.




How often do you hear of a Quad Core Android smartphone available for less than ten thousand rupees? I am sure not quite often but this will not be the case anymore now with players like Lava International bringing budget quad core smartphones loaded with features at mouth-watering prices! It is in fact, a win win situation for consumers as quad core battle has entered the sub Rs 10K category.  Today I am talking about Lava’s XOLO Q700, a smartphone which has impressed me lately.



   

Screen & Build Quality

The Dual SIM Xolo Q700 comes with a 4.5-inch qHD OGS IPS Display with 540 x 960 pixels, 16M colors and 245 ppi pixel density. The glossy screen has a VGA front camera and a light sensor. The screen panel is rich glossy black which is quite reflective and it in fact acts like a spare mirror when the screen is off! Switch on the phone and you will love the vibrant display. The icons, pictures look sharp thanks to the qHD resolution. Touch response is fairly decent. As common with all phones, the screen does gets muggy even with a short period of use. A good quality screen cover is recommended.


                   


‘An Exquisite phone’ would be an understatement for this device. Grab the phone in your hands and it will definitely feel premium with its nice matt finish back cover and shiny frame edges. Body is quite rugged and it doesn’t feel fragile. I would not hesitate to say that the build quality of this phone will put Samsung’s offering in similar segment to shame! The rear camera has a nice chrome finish boundary which looks classy. The phone weighs just over 150 grams/10.2 mm thick and  will rest comfortably in your pockets.

Camera, Buttons & call/audio quality

Q700 comes with a 5 MP camera capturing images of 2592х1944 pixels with LED flash. The camera has necessary features like autofocus, Geo-tagging, touch focus; face detection, image stabilization, HDR and panorama. It also records 720p videos @30fps. Secondary camera is VGA type for video chatting purposes. Image quality is surprisingly good for daytime images. Autofocus is bit shy to lock every time I tried to take a close up but overall camera is good. Front VGA camera is of below average quality and nothing to write home about but I will not complain because at this price point it is justified.





The power button is on right side with volume rocker on left side. There is no dedicated camera button which was neither expected. Call quality is decent, so is the microphone quality. Note that this is a dual sim phone (GSM + GSM).  Loud speaker volume is also nice. On top, you find a data cum charging port along with a usual 3.5mm audio jack. Lava supplies a push in type earphones which offers satisfactory sound quality.

OS/Performance and Battery

Q700 comes with Android JellyBean  4.2.1 which must be upgraded to 4.3 in sometime. The 1.2 Ghz quad core processor coupled with 1GB RAM handles JellyBean quite well resulting in decent performance and application response. Xolo has added few proprietary apps like Xolo power, Xolo secure, Xolo switch and Xolo care. I am not sure if they are of any real use or installed just for the sake of it. Q700 does not have multi-window feature.  Performance is not an issue with this phone as it handles almost every application thrown to it. Navigating through apps was smooth and snappier. The graphic processor handled 3D games and HD videos pretty well. During my usage, I never noticed a single lag or hitch while operating the phone.











Xolo Q700 is equipped with a massive 2400 mAh Li-Ion battery which provides fantastic talk time/standby time and even power users will find it just perfect. It will easily last a day without fuzz.

Verdict

If you are not a Brand obsessed person and looking for an Android Smartphone in 10-15K category, look no further than a Xolo Q700. All in all, it is a phone which offers maximum bang for the buck!

Ratings (out of 5 stars)
Build Quality ****
Screen ****
Performance ****
Value for Money *****
Overall ****


Thanks folks for reading.