The Gadgets Blog for Cool Gadgets

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Apple Inc suppliers are scrambling to get enough screens ready for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to redesign a key component disrupted panel production ahead of next month’s expected launch, supply chain sources said.

It’s unclear whether the hiccup could delay the launch?or limit the number of phones initially available to consumers, the sources said, as Apple readies larger-screen iPhones for the year-end shopping season amid market share loss to cheaper rivals.

But the issue highlights the risks and challenges that suppliers face to meet Apple’s tough specifications, and comes on the heels of a separate screen technology problem, since resolved, in making thinner screens for the larger iPhone 6 model.

California-based Apple has scheduled a media event for September 9, and many expect it to unveil the new iPhone 6 with both 4.7-inch (11.94 cm) and 5.5-inch (13.97 cm) screens - bigger than the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5S and 5C.

Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July.

One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.

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A lot can change in just a month, especially in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market. Thanks to bold new launches and aggressive price cuts, not a single model on our list of recommended phones from Last month  has made it to this month’s edition. This is fantastic news for buyers, since you can now get a whole lot more for your money.

Best overall: Xiaomi Mi 3 - Rs. 13,999
There’s no doubt about it, a Chinese invasion is on in full swing and Xiaomi has a weapon that can bring us all to our knees - killer pricing. The Xiami Mi  brings the features and performance of a Rs. 30,000 device to the sub-Rs. 15,000 price bracket. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it has no deal-breaking faults.

Best value: Asus ZenFone 5 (8GB) - Rs. 9,999
The Moto G  was our long-running favourite in this price bracket, but in the last one month, aside from Xiaomi, Asus has also launched some great, and reasonably priced phones. Asus’s ZenFone 5 has taken the best value slot thanks to its lower price tag, better hardware and superior performance all around.

Best camera: Asus ZenFone 5 (16GB) - Rs. 12,999
The ZenFone 5 has a really good camera - and not just for the price bracket. We were very happy with the quality of images taken with this smartphone’s camera, which managed to beat some pretty stiff competition. Since we aren’t pushing for value here.

Best battery life - Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM - Rs. 9,490 (MOP)
Nokia’s Lumia 630 might not be the newest kid on the block but it still has one killer advantage that none of our upstarts can match - its excellent battery life. This phone lasted for just over 11 hours in our battery loop test and nothing else has even come close.

Best QWERTY - BlackBerry Q5 - Rs. 13,990
Last month, you would have had to make do with the BlackBerry 9720, which runs the old “classic” BlackBerry 7.1 OS. This month, you can step up to the BlackBerry Q5, a more modern device running on the new all-touch BlackBerry 10 platform with all its swipe-enabled features and the handy BlackBerry Hub. Titanium S9 - 14,990
If you’re looking for something a little bigger than the norm, Karbonn’s recently launched Karbonn Titanium S9 will fit the bill. It has a 5.5-inch screen with a respectable resolution of 720×1280. The rest of the specifications are pretty good too - you get a quad-core MediaTek processor, 1GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel primary camera, giving it an advantage over its numerous competitors.

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo has launched the anticipated N1 Mini in India, priced at Rs. 26,990. The smartphone, most famous for its 13-megapixel rotating camera, will be available on store shelves from Monday in its Light Blue and White colour variants, while the Yellow variant will be made available in September.

The N1 Mini is a single-SIM smartphone that runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with the company’s custom skin, ColorOS 1.4, on top of it. It features a 5-inch (720×1280 pixels) display made by JDI and is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor alongside Adreno 305 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

The smartphone sports a rotating 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor camera with LED flash. While the Oppo N1 Mini features a 13-megapixel swivel camera, the company has noted that the smartphone is able to shoot photos up to 24-megapixel in size when shooting in Ultra-HD mode.

The Oppo N1 Mini comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage, while there is no expandable storage support. It comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, GPRS/ EDGE, GPS/ A-GPS, 4G LTE and 3G connectivity options.

The smartphone is backed by a 2140mAh battery, and is 9.2mm thick with a weight of 150 grams. It comes in White, Blue and Yellow colour options. The Oppo N1 Mini measures 148.4×72.2×9.2mm and weighs 150 grams. It comes in White, Blue and Yellow colour options.\

In June, Oppo launched the Find 7 (Review I Pictures) in India, calling it the country’s first smartphone to boast of a Quad-HD (QHD) display. The company also unvieiled the Oppo Find 7a. Notably, the Oppo N1 was launched in India in January at Rs. 39,999, and received a price cut in June taking the price down to Rs. 32,990.

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Philips, the Sang Fei-owned smartphone brand, has launched two new handsets in the Indian market - the Philips S388 and Philips I928. The smartphones have been priced at Rs. 38,538 and Rs. 13,694 respectively.

Both the Phillips I928 and S388 smartphones feature support dual-SIM and 3G connectivity, and are listed with ‘Where to buy’ buttons on the company site that direct users to physical retailers.

The Philips I928 (Seen Above) was announced with a tentative June availability alongside three new smartphones in May, the Philips S308, W3500, and Xenium W6610.

The I928 runs the now-dated Andriod 4.2 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box with dual-SIM functionality. It sports a 1.7GHz octa-core processor, clubbed with 2GB of RAM. The handset packs a 13-megapixel rear camera that can record full-HD videos and features a 5-megapixel front camera. The I928’s rear camera also comes with autofocus functionality, f/2.0 lens and dual-LED flash.

There is 16GB of inbuilt storage on the Philips I928, which can be further expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). The smartphone comes with a 3300mAh Li-ion battery that is rated of deliver up to 600 hours of standby time and 19 hours of talk time. The wireless connectivity options of the I928 include Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, GPRS and 3G. The handset measures 160.1×81.8×8.2mm, weighs 168g and is available in Black colour variant.

The Philips S388 (Seen Above), on the other hand, features a 4.5-inch qHD (540×960 pixel) IPS display. Also running on the now-dated Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, it sports a 1.3GHz quad-core processor. While system memory is not specified on the official site, the phone is reported to feature 1GB of RAM. The Philips S388 comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera alongside a built-in flash. The firm however has not detailed the presence of a front-facing camera.

While the inbuilt storage capacity is unknown, Philips has mentioned that the S388 can support up to 32GB of storage via a microSD card. The wireless connectivity options of the S388 include Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, GPRS and 3G. The Philips S388 measures 131×67.1×9.1mm, weighs 136.5 grams and comes with only Black colour variant. A 1700mAh Li-ion battery backs the smartphone.

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3D printing is all the rage. You can hit a button on your computer, which sends a file to a printer, which produces a small 3D object out of plastic. It’s a cool technology, but it’s not exactly a hands-on way to make things.

Enter the 3Doodler, the pen that turns you into the 3D printer. The $99 3Doodler, made by Boston-based startup Wobbleworks, is a fat pen not unlike a hot glue gun. It needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. A stick of plastic goes in on the blunt end and comes out, melted, at the tip. As you move your hand, it leaves a thin trail of cooling, solidifying plastic. Move it around with a plan, laying down string upon string, and an object starts taking shape.

It’s easy to get started. Within a few hours, I made a few rings, an unusable but cute eggcup, and a three-inch sculpture of a walking man. I made shoes for my daughter’s Barbie by coating the doll’s feet in plastic. They were popular until they broke a few minutes later. The finished objects have a unique and intriguing look to them - they’re all reminiscent of a jumble of fused plastic wire. But it’s very hard to make anything durable or useful this way. The company behind the 3Doodle recommends making paper clips as one of the first exercises, and sure, you’ll have paper clips, but they’ll be the most fragile paper clips you’ve ever seen. Bending clips from steel wire would be a much better way to go, if you really need paper clips.

It’s fun to work with plastic, though. Plastic has, so far, not been a do-it-yourselfer’s material. You can whittle wood, machine metal, and mold clay. But plastic, that near ubiquitous material, has been out of reach. That’s a pity, because it’s pretty cute. It’s light, colorful and easy to shape. It’s too bad it’s so fragile. There are two types of plastic available. Polylactide or PLA is made from corn and is biodegradable. It comes in several colors, including attractive translucent ones. I found it the easiest material to work with. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, is opaque and more flexible. It’s more easily recycled than PLA. It’s hard to work with, in part because the strands don’t stick that well to one another.

The plastic costs $10 for packs of 25 sticks. Each pack weighs about 1.5 ounces or 40 grams. When bought in big rolls for 3D printers, the same amount of plastic costs about $1, so 3Doodler’s markup is pretty hefty.

Nikon Coolpix L830

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Nikon recently updated its Coolpix range of cameras including the Life (L) series. At the high end of the L series is the Nikon Coolpix L830 which is an update to the Coolpix L820. This is a bridge camera with a 34x optical zoom lens, which is slightly lower than Sony DSC-H300’s 35x optical zoom. While the Coolpix L830 seems to have a lot going for it, we find out if this camera has the actual chops to capture great images.

Truly bridging the gap between DSLRs and compact digital cameras, the Coolpix L830 is a super-zoom digital camera trapped in a DSLR frame, only much smaller. While it is available in plain black as well as red, the plum colour variant which we got for review is very striking. The body is made entirely of plastic with a glossy coat of paint on top, but it does feel sturdy. On the whole, for the amount it costs, the camera looks premium.

The most striking feature of the camera is the variangle LCD monitor which can be tilted and lowered to an angle of approximately 85 degrees. This makes it easy to capture dramatic shots and we found it useful in awkward situations.

The grip features a rubber padding that makes holding the camera easier. On the flip side, we couldn’t hold the camera properly with both hands, like one would a DSLR, since it has a really small frame. Holding the lens with the other hand was slightly disorienting as either the thumb came in the way of the flash or it got captured by the lens. 

You can use the Coolpix L830 easily with a single hand, but its 508g weight (including batteries) makes it slightly unwieldy and this adds to image stabilization issues that are inherent to super-zoom cameras. We feel that the ergonomics are slightly off, though there isn’t much Nikon could have done in this case.

On the top edge is the power button, with the shutter release and zoom ring further forward on the grip. There is also an ugly-looking perforated speaker on the top which detracts from the otherwise decent design of the camera. There is another zoom control on the side of the lens barrel. Right above this is a small button to pop the flash open. On the left edge are the micro-HDMI and proprietary PC connection ports. On the right edge is the DC input connector. The bottom has the tripod socket and the compartment for four AA batteries and a memory card.

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Samsung has unveiled yet another variant of its Galaxy Core smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Core Mini 4G G3568V, in China. The smartphone is listed on Samsung’s China website without price. As of now, Samsung hasn’t revealed its plans to launch the Galaxy Core Mini in more markets. The single-SIM Samsung Galaxy Core Mini 4G according to the listing runs Andriod 4.4 Kitkat out-of-the-box. It features a 4.3-inch TFT display with a WVGA (480×800 pixels) resolution.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core (unknown chipset) processor coupled with 1.5GB of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy Core Mini 4G sports a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera with a LED flash, but there is no secondary front-facing camera onboard. The Samsung Galaxy Core Mini 4G offers 8GB of inbuilt storage which can be expanded with a microSD card (up to 64GB). Apart from 4G connectivity, it also offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and GPS connectivity options. The handset measures 127.8×66.2×10.6 mm and weighs 136grams.

Previously, Samsung had unvelied the fourth iteration of its Galaxy Core smartphone, dubbed. Samsung Galaxy Core 4G. Featuring the model number SM-G386F, the Galaxy Core 4G runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS out-of-the-box with no word on whether it would receive an Android 4.4 KitKat update. February’s Galaxy Core 4G saw an upgrade in screen size and quality as compared to the first-gen Galaxy Core handset, bumped up from a 4.3-inch display with a WVGA resolution to a 4.5-inch PLS display with a qHD resolution. The Galaxy Core 4G is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM. The camera connectivity options include a 5-meapixel rear and a VGA front-facing camera. With a built-in 8GB storage, users can expand it up to 64GB via microSD card.

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This might not be very good news for the owners of the first generation Nokia X handsets (the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL), as Microsoft has revealed that the latest Nokia X software platform 2.0 OS, released with the Nokia X2 Dual SIM on Wednesday, will not be rolled-out to them. Microsoft confirmed the news on its Conversions blog, and  said, “Because of the necessary hardware upgrades, the Nokia X software platform 2.0 won’t be available on Nokia X, Nokia X+ or Nokia XL.”

As for what hardware upgrades these are, apart from the presence of 1GB of RAM and a new home button (probably the reason the new interface is not supported), Microsoft has made no mention. The company, however, confirmed that the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL will be getting minor updates. The blog post said, “However, more updates will be coming to further improve the experience of those devices in the coming months.”

In addition, for the Nokia X2 Dual SIM launched on Tuesday, Microsoft has used AOSP (Android Open Source Project) corresponding to Andriod 4.3 Jelly Bean as the baseline for its operating system. Notably, for the Nokia X software platform 1.0, the Company used AOSP corresponding to Andriod 4.1 Jelly Bean. The new code base has now been listed by Microsoft’s Nokia Developer site, which clearly lists the development frameworks as AOSP API level 18 - Android 4.3, as seen on Android’s source code listing. The Nokia X2 Dual SIM, the successor to the popular Nokia X, has been launched at EUR 99 (roughly Rs. 8,100) without taxes and subsidies. The company had on Tuesday revealed that the Nokia X2 would be available immediately in select countries globally; however it has not listed the markets.

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Microsoft launched its highly-anticipated Windows Phone 8.1 update at its keynote address at the Build 2014 conference on Wednesday. The event also saw the unvelling of the Windows 8.1 update operating system version, alongside three new devices, Nokia Lumia 930, Lumia 630 and Lumia 635, which will be the platform lead devices for Windows Phone 8.1 OS version.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, VP Windows Phone program management and design, introduced a bevy of enhanced features in the Windows Phone 8.1 that the Redmond giant hopes will bring more personal and smarter experience for consumers.

Microsoft has announced that Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to Windows Phone 8 users in coming months. The Redmond giant also confirmed that the entire Nokia Lumia range will get OTA (over-the-air) update called Lumia Cyan, which will include Windows Phone 8.1 features and the new Lumia features into one update.

We’ve broken down the eight biggest new features in the Windows Phone 8.1 including the ones that made it into the highlights - Cortana, Action Centre, Word Flow and more personalised Start Screen.

1. Greater Start Screen personalisation

Microsoft in an attempt to offer more customisable options to Windows Phone users, has added ‘Start background’ feature that allows users to add an image to the tiles on the Start screen of the device.

2. Cortana: Finally arrives to take on Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now

One of the highlight features of Windows Phone 8.1 is Cortana, which is Microsoft’s voice-based virtual assistant. The Redmond giant’s Cortana is based on a popular AI character in Microsoft’s blockbuster video game franchise, Halo.

3. Action Centre for notifications

Microsoft has finally launched one of the most awaited features on Windows Phone platform, the Action Centre. The Windows Phone 8.1 update brings the Action Centre to all Windows Phone-based devices which will show notifications for calls, messages, emails, apps and others. It will also offer quick settings access to Flight Mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Rotation Lock options. Notably, the quick access options are customisable.

4. Word Flow Keyboard

Another big addition in the Windows Phone 8.1 has been the introduction of the Word Flow Keyboard, which is a Swype keyboard-like feature for Windows Phone users. The Word Flow Keyboard allows users to glide over the display and type words.

5. Skype Integration

Microsoft has also upgraded the Skype integration in Windows Phone devices with its latest Windows Phone 8.1. Now, the new Skype app for Windows Phone 8.1 comes with dialler integration that allows a user to switch a regular call to a Skype video call with a click of a button. Further, Skype has also been designed to work with Cortana, as users can setup Skype calls via the new voice-based virtual assistant.

6. Upgraded imaging experience

Microsoft takes the Windows Phone photography experience to the next level with the revamped Camera Roll, which gives quick access to clicked images, image tweaking tools and sharing capabilities.

7. New Sense feature for Windows Phone users

Microsoft has introduced the new Sense apps that include Data Sense, Wi-Fi Sense and Storage Sense.

8. Slew of new delights

Apart from the major highlights of the Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has also added a number of minor tweaks to its OS.


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New tablet computers from Samsung will feature screens that are richer in color than standard LCDs.

These screens, known as AMOLED for active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes, are already found in smartphones made by Samsung and a few other manufacturers. But until now, tablets haven’t used them because larger AMOLED screens are more difficult to produce.

Samsung Electronics Co. is trying to change that with its upcoming line of Android tablets, called the Galaxy Tab S. On Thursday, Samsung announced two such models, with screens of 8.4 inches (Galaxy Tab S 8.4) and 10.5 inches (Galaxy Tab S 10.5), as measured diagonally.

The tablets will start selling in the U.S. in July at $400 (roughly Rs. 23,772) for the smaller model and $500 (roughly Rs. 29,720) for the larger one - the same as comparable iPads. Models with 4G LTE cellular (Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTEGalaxy Tab S 10.5 LTE) access are expected later in the year.

Samsung is the world’s second-largest maker of tablets, behind Apple and its trend-setting iPads. In recent years, Samsung has been gaining market share - at Apple’s expense - by offering a wide range of sizes and quality.

Earlier this year, it unveiled a “Pro” brand aimed at professionals. The “Tab” brand has been used on Samsung’s budget tablets and don’t come with a stylus, as Samsung’s “Note” tablets do. With the new screens, Samsung is elevating the Tab line to become its flagship tablet.

Besides producing richer colors, AMOLED allows tablets to be thinner and use less power because screens typically don’t require backlighting. But IHS analyst Sweta Dash said the performance gap between AMOLED screens and regular LCDs has narrowed, while AMOLED screens can cost 10 to 30 percent more to make.

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Lenovo had announced it would start the roll-out of Android 4.4 KitKat for the Vibe Z smartphone in a phased manner starting from the last week of May. It seems the Lenovo Vibe Z is now finally getting the Android KitKat update in Malaysia.
Soyacincau reports that some Vibe Z users in Malaysia are receiving Android 4.4.2 KitKat update and also notes that the update is about 1.2GB in size. The report claims that the Android 4.4.2 KitKat for Vibe Z is now available OTA (over-the-air).

We are yet to hear any updates from the Chinese handset maker when the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update will reach Indian users.

According to Lenovo, the Android 4.4 KitKat update for Vibe Z brings improved 4k video playback compatibility. In addition, the update also boosts the UI transitions, such as adding widgets to the home screen easy.
With the Android 4.4 KitKat update, the Vibe Z will also offer better management of the multi-window mode on the handset. Other features which will be added with the update include enhanced notification access, wireless printing capability, new theme centre, automatic profile changer and expanded accessibility APIs.

Notably, the company had also announced the Android 4.4 KitKat update for Lenovo Vibe X, shortly before it announced a Rs. 3,000 price cut for the phone in India.

The Vibe Z reached the Indian market earlier this year, and has been available at Rs. 35,999. The Lenovo Vibe Z at launch ran Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.

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Motorola’s Moto range of handsets has been ringing cash bells for the company. However, one of the biggest qualms with the popular Moto EMoto G and Moto X handsets is that none of them sport a full-HD display. However, a new round of speculation sparked by a full-HD screenshot shared by a Motorola executive may indicate something is in the pipeline.

We’ve been expecting the successor to the Moto X to feature a full-HD display for a while, and Motorola confirmed back in February that the successor is scheduled to launch late in the US summer.

The new detail regarding a new Moto smartphone with a full-HD display comes courtesy Motorola’s VP of Product Management, Punit Soni, who while responding to one of the issues affecting international Moto handset users, shared a screenshot on Google+ from a Moto handset boasting a full-HD resolution.

Soni responded to the issue that caused international variant of the recent Motorola handsets (E, G, and X) to show the carrier name in the status bar on top of the display making the notification area useless for other apps. Soni claimed that the issue has been fixed with the latest Android 4.4.3 KitKat update.

The Google+ screenshot shared by Soni shows file name as “Screenshot_2014-06-04-22-19-53.png” and a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels, which Phonearena notes could indicate the alleged Moto smartphone with full-HD display might be under testing in the company.

Moto X successor rumours have been doing rounds of the Internet for a while now. The yet-to-be-announced Moto X+1 smartphone has been seen in earlier leaks and placeholder listings on the company’s site tipping details about pricing.

A recent leak tipped that Motorola might be considering re-launching its Moto X with 64GB built-in storage.

Motorola has no doubt become one of the first handset makers to rollout an Android update to its Moto range of smartphones as soon as Google pushes it. The former Google-owned company rolled out the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update for its Moto line-up including smartphones - Moto E

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Samsung has finally launched its first Tizen smartphone, the Samsung Z. The new Tizen smartphone will be available initially in Russia starting Q3, and will be launched in other markets soon after.

The South Korean giant has revealed that it will be offering additional apps for?Samsung Z?users via the Tizen Store. The company in an attempt to lure more developers to its new?Tizen?ecosystem has announced a special promotional program for developers which will for one year.?Unfortunately, the company has not announced pricing details of the Samsung Z; though it can be expected to be announced in Q3.?Samsung?will be showcasing the new Tizen smartphone at the Tizen Developer Conference on June 3 in San Francisco.

Notably, the Samsung Z sports an angular design with lines, providing a differentiated look and feel from company’s Android-based Galaxy range of smartphones. It will be available in two colours - Black and Gold. Much like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Samsung Z also features the Heart rate sensor, Fingerprint sensor, and S Health 3.0 app.

The Samsung Z is a single SIM device which runs the Tizen 2.2.1 OS out-of-the-box. It comes with a 4.8-inch (720×1280 pixels) HD Super AMOLED display. It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM.

It comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is further expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB). The Samsung Z sports an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and BSI sensor, while there is a secondary 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera.

On the connectivity front, the Samsung Z includes 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Micro-USB, Bluetooth, GPS/ GLONASS, and NFC options. The smartphone packs a 2600mAh battery with an Ultra Power Saving Mode feature. The Samsung Z measures 138.2×69.8×8.5mm and weighs 136 grams.

Commenting on the launch of first Tizen smartphone, DJ Lee, President and Head of Global Sales and Marketing Office, Mobile Communications Business,?Samsung?Electronics said, “Samsung is committed to enhancing the mobile experience of consumers with innovation that is both personal and unique to their needs. The Samsung Z integrates the power and adaptability of the Tizen platform, enabling users to browse the web faster and utilize applications more effectively.”

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Samsung might not be making headlines in the sub-Rs. 10,000 category these days with its Galaxy Android smartphones, but that doesn’t mean that the top handset maker is out of the competition completely without putting up a fight.
An import/ export data website listing seems to indicate that the South Korean major is gearing up to launch its new budget smartphone with model number SM-G350E in India.

Notably, few days ago, Sammy Today spotted a Samsung handset on the company’s Swedish support page, which listed a device with model number SM-G357F. Sammy Today reported that the alleged handset spotted at company’s support listing has three variants - SM-G357M, SM-G357F and SM-G350E (dual-SIM).

The report also leaked some of the specifications of the alleged Samsung SM-G357F thanks to a GFX Bench result listing which revealed Android 4.4.2 KitKat; 4.3-inch display (480×800 pixels); 1.2GHz dual-core processor; 1GB RAM; 8GB of inbuilt storage; 5-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera. Other rumoured features on the alleged Samsung handset include an accelerometer, as well as Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity options.

If a new leak is to be believed, the alleged Samsung SM-G357F will have identical specifications as the SM-G350E (dual-SIM). The import/ export site Zauba, which track imports and exports from certain companies to and from India, has listed the alleged Samsung SM-G350E with a value of roughly Rs. 6,000, and was first spotted by Gadgets to Use.

The new Zauba listing for the SM-G350E suggests that the alleged handset will sport a 4.3-inch display, as leaked in the GFX Bench result of the SM-G357F.

Motorola’s comeback in emerging markets is becoming a nightmare for many companies, and in India, established handset vendors are responding. Motorola is definitely hitting the right notes by pricing its smartphones - the Moto G (Review | Pictures), Moto X (Review | Pictures) and Moto E (Review | Pictures) - aggressively.

The popularity of the Moto E smartphone, with its highlight feature being the Android 4.4 KitKat software version in the sub-Rs. 10,000 category, is now pushing many handset manufacturers to release smartphones with the latest Android version. The latest to join the bandwagon are Micromax’s Unite 2 and Canvas Engage, and Lava’s Iris X1 - all of which are priced below Rs. 10,000 and run the latest Android KitKat version.

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Professional-grade monitor headphones are engineered to produce flat sounds. In fact, they are used as reference headphones in order to judge the sound quality of other headphones and earphones. Audio-Technica is famed for making audiophile-grade headphones and the ATH-M20X is meant to be one, but for those on a budget. The ATH-M20X is an upgrade to the ATH-M20 and was launched recently along with upgrades to the entire ATH series. Sporting a slightly upgraded design, the M20X is vying for the attention of budding audio enthusiasts. We put it to the test.

Featuring a no-nonsense design true to Audio-Technica’s legacy, the ATH-M20X won’t turn any heads. It is a classic nonetheless. Weighing 190g, it’s slightly on the heavier side but this doesn’t make it any less comfortable. Even after listening to music for five hours straight, we didn’t feel any fatigue. Considering the ATH-M20X is being sold as professional monitor headphones, the spec sheet is rather impressive. For starters, the drivers are 40mm large and operate in the frequency response range of 15-20,000Hz. But most importantly, they have an impedance rating of 47ohms which can help in reducing the buzzing sound created by electric signals passing through the headphones. We expect the ATH-M20X to work with a wide range of audio equipment. On the other hand, low-end devices like smartphones and iPods might not be able to power it to its full capacity. We are surprised that its sensitivity is just 96db. We’ll try to find out in the sound quality tests if this affects loudness levels. As we suspected, the low-powered amplifiers in many of our smartphones couldn’t push the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X to its limits. It sounded very soft and muffled too. We decided to move to the more powerful audio output of a desktop PC to test these headphones and immediately noticed a stark difference.

The black ATH-M20X is mostly made of plastic and has oval shaped earcups unlike its predecessor, the ATH-M20, which had a distinctly round shape. The rexine cushions on the earcups are soft and cover the ears completely. Even the flexible headband has the same rexine material. A rather large Audio-Technica logo runs along the headband. The cable is 3m long and has a thick outer covering for the copper-clad aluminum wire, which makes it quite sturdy. Also, the 3.5mm audio jack is gold-plated. Audio-Technica bundles a 6.3mm adapter which snaps on to the 3.5mm jack.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M20X is priced at Rs. 4,299 and is a must-buy for budding audio enthusiasts. Professionals with small studios should definitely take a look at this wallet-friendly pair of headphones. There is also the Sennheiser HD419 which has a much shorter cable and a lower impedance of 32ohms, which smaller devices will be able to power without too many hassles. The ATH-M20X may not really make sense for users who just want a replacement for the headset bundled with their smartphones. Also, users who own the previous generation ATH-M20 can hold on to their money for now as the performance upgrade is marginal.

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