Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lenovo S5: Specifications, price and launch

Lenovo presents its new models for the mid-range of 2018. We are facing three phones with very similar characteristics and the same design. The Chinese manufacturer announces today the new Lenovo S5, Lenovo K5, and K5 Lite.

 

They have a design made of aluminum, 18:9 screens, double rear camera and a very tight price to compete in the same terrain as the Xiaomi Redmi or Huawei. They do not have any feature that we have not seen in other smartphones but in this range at the end what ends up excelling is that quality to the price of which these devices are very well endowed. Let's meet them.

 

18:9 screens in a metal body

 

The three models share the design but we will focus on the Lenovo S5, the most powerful of them and the one that will focus our attention. The mobile is available in two colors: black and red.

 

The body is manufactured in 6000 series aluminum and with a pretty stylized design. The Lenovo K5 model, which is a renewal of that Lenovo K5 that we saw two years ago, is covered by a 2.5D crystal. The three screens are 5.7-inch panels in 18:9 format, which previously equals 5.5 inches in 16:9 format, the difference being that while in the Lenovo S5 model is FullHD+, in the other two remains in HD+.

 

For power, three different processors have been chosen. The Lenovo S5 has a Snapdragon 625 that we know works very well but it starts to take a while. The Lenovo K5 opts for MediaTek, while the K5 Lite returns to Qualcomm with the Snapdragon 430. Options of 3GB and 4GB of RAM for the Lenovo S5 that also adds three storage options: 32, 64 and 128GB expandable by microSD. The chosen battery is 3,000mAh, a quantity repeated in almost all mobile phones of this price range.

 

Lenovo S5 images

 

Double camera and facial recognition

 

For the photographic section, we have a double rear camera with 13 megapixels and aperture f/2.2. The same configuration is repeated in the Lenovo K5 while in the Lite version the secondary camera is reduced to two megapixels to only remain as telephoto.

 

The front camera rises to 16 megapixels, has beauty mode and also will serve for facial recognition that allows you to unlock the device with our face. Lenovo opts for Android 8.0 Oreo along with its ZUI 4.0 customization layer. A very colorful software and where they have added U-Touch, gestures to move through the system.

 

Versions and price of the Lenovo S5, K5 and K5 Lite

 

The Lenovo S5 will be available in China from the end of this month of March in black and red colors. Their prices are quite competitive but as always when making the conversion we should add a small percentage to get a better idea of the price with which they would arrive outside of China. For its part, the Lenovo K5 will go on sale in mid-April from 899 Yuan and the Lenovo K5 Lite from 699 yuan.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Vivo V9 Technical Features and Price

After the first rumors of last week, the new Vivo V9 was revealed in India, although the official presentation should be scheduled for next March 23. Its arrival, however, is of those who stand out, since we are talking about a medium-high-end model with a really huge display. It is obviously dominated by the iPhone X style notch.

As it is easy to guess, the notch is not the only element inspired by Apple's latest top range. The entire design is inspired by iPhone X. There are obvious similarities on both the front and back. We find a dual camera placed vertically and a fingerprint reader in the center.

The display is a large IPS from well 6.3 inches with a particular 19:9 format, while the SoC is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 626. Also worth mentioning is the 3.5 mm headphone jack and support for the latest version of Android. But pay attention to the lack of the 20 band for LTE connectivity.

For selfie and photography enthusiasts, there are plenty of camera modes on both the front and back, with support for AR stickers, facial recognition, beauty mode and more. For now, Vivo V9 is not yet available officially. The possible prices for the Indian market could be around 25,000 Rupees.

We already told you about the Xiaomi project related to its next (and first) gaming smartphone. It is trying to follow in the footsteps of Razer Phone. Today we have other news regarding Black Shark. This should be the name of the Chinese company's device, which confirms its performance nature.

Vivo V9 images

The device (codenamed SKR-A0) was tested according to the well-known benchmark Geekbench. It achieved a good score of 2452 in single-core and 8452 in multi-core mode. From the details of the test, we also see some of the specific hardware that will integrate the SoC Snapdragon 845, 8 GB RAM and operating system based on Android 8.0.

At the moment, these are all the information we can bring you back. It is not clear if Xiaomi will release the smartphone under the name of Black Shark or if the latter will be the name of the brand, controlled by the same Chinese company, dedicated to its gaming smartphones. We will keep you updated on all future developments of the story.

It seems that the update to Android Oreo for Galaxy Note 8 has finally begun. The firmware currently in the rollout carries the March patches. There should be no significant changes compared to what has already been seen on the Galaxy S8, which always adopts the Samsung Experience 9.0.

Mickey Mouse & Friends AR Emoji are now available for the new top of the range Samsung phones, right in conjunction with the launch of two smartphones on the market. To be picky there is just Mickey and Minnie at the moment. But we already dream of a future in which we can dress the clothes of Donald Duck, Pluto, Pippo and all the other famous Disney characters.

All you have to do is download a package of about 9 MB, available directly from the Galaxy S9 and S9 + camera app. Samsung has already announced that other famous movie characters such as The Incredibles, Zootropolis and Frozen will be available later.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus: Review, Features and Specification

As Huawei did with the Nexus 6P, the fact that Xiaomi embraced pure Android with the Mi A1 changed the idea that many of us had of the company. Launching a so-called model to reign in the mid-range could pose a problem of comparative grievance against its new phones with their own personalization layer. The best news of the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus is that MIUI does not just make it worse than its brother.

As for available models, the disembarkation of Xiaomi cannot be cataloged but brilliant. With the import prices it managed to gain a foothold in our market, but we just need to take a walk through Amazon to observe that the tyranny of the Chinese company in the middle range continues to grow.

If Lenovo and Huawei/Honor do not launch serious proposals against it, they may lose the category of "recommendable". Xiaomi is playing a stronger economic card than the rest, but without sacrificing anything else to the rest. The phones of these companies do not know what to expect in these ranges. Xiaomi has entered the line of regularity and it seems that it will be difficult to get it out of that path.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has forever changed the role of Xiaomi. If something was clear in my first hours with the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus that we review today, compared to what happened to me in the last reviews of who they are and who are called mid-range, the balance here is tremendous and that, if the thing was not bad, the remarkable high would not go down. The offensive to reign in such a saturated and difficult market is clear.

Xiaomi is no longer the one that promised much and gave little. Now it is a more honest company, presumes less and gives more. Xiaomi has understood the market as nobody, and not only has options for all but has two proposals that each in its own way, can feel magical. Let's see what it produces here. The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus is neither better nor worse than the Mi A1. It's just a matter of what we prioritize.

Finding plastic in a mid-range is becoming increasingly difficult, and certainly not something that happens in Xiaomi. The Redmi 5 Plus comes wrapped in an aluminum case with rounded shapes that feel very comfortable in the hand, and despite not weighing a little, 180 grams, it feels light to be a phone of large dimensions. Of course, this makes it not a phone for everyone.

The curves of its back help it, and nothing in it feels out of place, including the fingerprint reader, which works fast and like a charm. Its thickness is not a record in the market, nor is it necessary. Its 8.1 millimeters are and will be an acceptable figure.

The metallic volume and ignition buttons are on the right side of the Redmi 5 Plus. Unlike what some of their rivals offer, they feel very solid and well integrated, without dancing. On the opposite side, we will find the classic removable tray that allows using double SIM or SIM together with a microSD card.

In the upper part, we find a jack port, which will be welcomed by many and thanks to the Qualcomm DAC, it will produce a normal sound, without more. No frills or equalizers that break the experience. In fact, the Redmi 5 Plus is one of those rare ones that still have FM Radio. It is at the bottom of the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus, where we find the also worthy and relatively powerful speaker, where we can start to find the first problems, centered on the charging port.

Xiaomi is still betting on micro USB, and it's not even something we can forgive anymore in the input range. The universalization of what is objectively better in all respects is the only way, but the problem is that this is neither USB-C nor has fast loading, although connected to a charger with such a characteristic if it detects the protocol. If the Xiaomi Mi A1 could with all this, it should also be able to.

However, the point of a battery cannot and should not darken with the details of recharge. It is the best I have lived recently in a smartphone. With normal use, and with normal I mean social networks, messaging, browsing and podcast playback, I managed to get to the two days with nine and a half hours. It is something really incredible. Xiaomi has awarded the Redmi 5 Plus with 4000 mAh that we cannot fail to thank.

With more intense use, use of GPS and shooting more photos, the thing goes down but still at a tremendous level, with six and a half or seven hours of screen time. The magic of the "old" Snapdragon 625 is still working, and we do not want it to leave if the one who replaces it in popularity is not that efficient.

The screen is another of the components that are at a good level, and thanks to the adoption of the ratio 18: 9 and a few generous frames we get 5.99 inches that occupy 77.4% of the front. As for the panel itself, bet on IPS for densities that exceed just 400 pixels per inch is a great idea, and never miss more than Full HD +.

The color representation is what you would expect in an average range, but, unlike others of its kind, the colors do not have a strange white balance that breaks the aesthetics of photos and icons. In fact, it has some saturation that is appreciated, because at no time is excessive. On the street, it behaves well in full light, although his 500 nits do not work miracles either.

In the dark, he faces the problem that his blacks are somewhat poor even talking about IPS. That is, along with a ghosting visible in the scroll on solid colors, its biggest problem, but it will not make anyone take their hands to their heads.

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus images

Unlike what happens with other aspects of these phones in the analysis, I do not expect anything from the camera. I have resigned myself to some improvement, but nothing really stands out until 500 euros, or even more. With the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus, the photographic experience has been very normal, but not very poor either.

The first thing that is missed, of course, is the double camera and the portrait mode of the Mi A1. Leaving there, we have a 12-megapixel sensor with a pixel size of 1.25 micrometers and a lens with aperture f/2.2. This last point is the first one that could offer more. It seems a limited opening for what we have seen today, and with a wider one could reduce the use of ISO sensitivities as high as it comes to use, type 6400 ISO, which introduces a lot of noise and kill the fine detail.

Everything is managed by a simple application that, unlike that of its Chinese cousins ​​Huawei, if you see the HDR as a function that has to be visible. And we have to give thanks because the dynamic range of the phone is really limited. It is not worth that photos with brightness come out perfect. With HDR not activated, we feel that the shot has very dark or very burned areas.

The problem of HDR is that it slows down the capture and that although its results are good in terms of color and exposure, it often does not link the different captures well, producing halos or visible duplications at the edges. In general, in good light, we take good pictures if there are not many contrasts, but let's not wait for magic either.

At night the low dynamic range is still very limited, and this adds a minimum sharpness. According to tests that I could do comparing both devices, throws less detail than the Mi A1. So there it seems that the system used in the Redmi 5 Plus is inferior. It's 2018 and we continue to justify that the mid-range has this quality. With the ports of HDR + of Google has shown that the cameras are much better than they appear and that it is only a matter of taking the software seriously to take full advantage of the components can give of themselves.

Turning to the part that matters most, the experience, we must praise the work that Xiaomi has put in MIUI 9. I was able to test the system on a Xiaomi Mi4c a couple of years ago, and the thing was scratching. A lot. And above all, the cloak did not feel anything fast. Those, and a too aggressive management of the resources were my main fears, and I can say that after a few days with the Redmi 5 Plus, I have surpassed them by far.

I declare myself a lover of pure Android, not because of features or because it has an unmatched aesthetic, but because few are close in performance to what it offers in all ranges. Hence my love for the Mi A1. However, by making the relevant changes to the system, I have not missed another cleaner layer.

I still do not conceive that today the only launcher that is offered continues to be traced to the iPhone, which I like in iOS with its options, but not in Android. After checking for a few days that the operation of the launcher was very good, I installed the beloved Nova Launcher and, as expected, the thing improved greatly. I was coming to be at home. Only the problem of notifications needed to be fixed, because it exists in MIUI 9.

First of all, in the curtain of notifications, they do not expand just like in pure Android or in many other layers, but you have to go down with two fingers. The grouping also works in another way, making it impossible for us to delete emails in the Gmail app without entering it, if we have, for example, five new unread emails.

The thing gets worse when you discover that the lock screen notifications are not expanding and there is not much to do with them. For the notifications, there is a great solution in the form of an app called Material Notifications, which replaces notifications, quick adjustments, aesthetics of the audio reproduction widget, etc. For the lock screen, there are also style apps, but they have never worked well for me, so I resigned myself.

On resource management, I have little to say. Except for Nova Launcher, which did close the system from time to time, I have not felt that the 4 GB of RAM have fallen short or that the system has made its own. I have made a lot of use of multitasking and unexplained recharges have not been present. I have not stopped receiving notifications for closures in the background, which I missed a few years ago.

There is some duplicity of applications, of course, but I feel that Xiaomi offers along with those of Google are of high quality. We also appreciate inclusions such as Mi Remote, with which, thanks to an infrared sensor, I have been able to control my television. Another great for file transfers between devices is My Drop. MIUI was the element that most doubted in the Redmi 5 Plus before using it. After doing so, the doubts quickly dissipated.

In performance, we know what we can expect. The Snapdragon 625 does not feel like a bullet, but neither is slow. Even coming from a Pixel 2 XL, the sensations are more than satisfactory. Although the most demanding games begin to demand what your Adreno does not have. In any case, we are facing one of the best Qualcomm chips, one of those that, as they did the Snapdragon S4 Pro or the 800, maintain a great performance for years.

The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus has left me feeling that I did not experience in a mid-range for a long time. For the first time in months, I review a phone whose price I cannot criticize because I do not think it is far from what it offers.

My story with the Redmi 5 Plus has restored my confidence to life outside of pure Android. The recent bad experience with the Honor 7X and a Huawei P10 Lite made me have prejudices that the phone of Xiaomi eliminates in a stroke. The Chinese company has not built the best phone but has built two that achieve that crown. Everything is, more than ever, a matter of priorities.

Do you want a mid-range smartphone with Android One, dual-camera with good portrait mode, fast charge? The Mi A1 is your option. Do you want, on the contrary, a bezel-less phone well-taken advantage of, with the best battery of the market without a crazy thickness, an equally good performance and on-screen buttons instead of a capacitive phone? Then your solution is called Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus. It has some shortcomings.

On a daily basis, it has given me more satisfaction than the Galaxy A8. Although that is not a milestone either, it is not a small thing.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

OPPO F7: the iPhone X-style Device with Notch and Camera

Oppo is one of the smartphone brands that did not take part in MWC 2018, which was held in Barcelona at the end of February. In fact, the company is concentrating on the announcement of a new top-of-the-range smartphone that will launch in a separate event at the end of the month. And this seems to be the reason why Oppo has not been present. The Asian company, through a tweet, has announced the launch of the next OPPO F7, dedicated to the Indian market.

The successor of the F5 introduces important innovations in terms of design. The smartphone, as can also be seen from the teaser poster, will come with a display with a notch. This is the second device with this feature, after OPPO R15. R15 Plus will be officially presented on March 12. We are not revealed anything else.

The back cover, the photographic compartment and the technical card remain in the shadows except for some clues about the ambassador chosen by the brand. It should be the famous cricket player, a very popular sport in the country - Hardik Pandya. However, the launch date should be set for March 26.

According to a report by The Economic Times, the Oppo F7 would be the upcoming smartphone. It is believed to be the successor of the Oppo F5, which was announced last year with an AI-based front camera. The report suggests that the next Oppo device could arrive with an iPhone X-style display, with the presence of the notch in the front.

By now it is quite clear that this year's watchword will be "notch". If there is still any doubt about it, the Chinese manufacturer is preparing to launch yet another smartphone with this feature, after the interesting OPPO R15. The new OPPO F7, to be launched this month in India, is shown in a promotional image that reveals the front design.

OPPO F7 images

Despite the lack of details, the first information under the counter has already appeared. OPPO F7 should arrive with a 6.2-inch diagonal Full HD + display, with a 19: 9 ratio and a screen-to-body ratio of 89.09%. The selfie module should be as good as 25 megapixels, supported by AI functionality. Even if you do not have details on the onboard processor, it is rumored that it will be supported by 6 GB of RAM and an expandable memory (up to 256 GB via microSD) of 128 GB. Present a dual camera main; as for the OS, some rumors report a firmware based on Android 8.1 Oreo (obviously in the form of Color OS).

The report, citing a source says that the smartphone could come with a 6.2-inch display with an FHD + resolution and ultra-thin frames. It is said that the screen-body ratio of the smartphone is 89.09%. Even if you do not know exactly the resolution of the screen, it is clear that Oppo F7 could boast a screen resolution of about 2246x1080 pixels. Another source would have shown an image of the supposed smartphone.

The photo would highlight the presence of a huge front camera of 25 MP. This camera should arrive with different functions related to Artificial Intelligence, similar to those of the Oppo F5 and able to take exceptional selfies. In particular, it is said that the smartphone is equipped with improved real-time HDR, advanced beauty mode and AR stickers even when using the front camera.

The image also shows the presence of a 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom of the smartphone. But the report assumes that the Oppo F7 uses a MediaTek octa-core processor combined with 4 GB/6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space, further expandable using a microSD card.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Android P Developer Preview: Similarities and Differences with iOS

Google has released the Android P developer preview. Mountain View has therefore formalized the new incarnation of its mobile operating system. The final version will be ready for the Q3 2018, a period in which the new Pixel smartphones will be presented.

Let's take a look at the main news, intended to represent a starting point for devices that will be placed on the market in the coming months. The definitive name Android P is still top-secret, even if the most popular is "pineapple".

Android 9.0, or Android 8.2 is approaching. Nobody knows for sure what will be the number that accompanies the recent Android P whose developer version has already been released. The first beta for programmers is to become familiar with the news, some obvious and others that will emerge as the code deepens.

As with every new update of one of the two largest mobile operating systems on the planet, it's time to look for differences and similarities. In this case, there is one quite obvious. But let's review how Android has evolved a bit closer to iOS, and what has been distanced to the same extent. Although, as we say, this is the Developer Preview and there may be changes in the future.

Android P images

Android also arches eyebrows

It is usual for Android to end up adopting certain advances carried out by the manufacturers. This happened in the case of force touch on the screens, but the truth is that the "notch" has arrived quite quickly. Android will now support it natively. It makes it easier for manufacturers to mount the 'notch' or 'eyebrow' at the top of the screen.

The 'notch' arrived aboard the Essential Phone last year. Months later it mounted the iPhone X. In 2018 we are witnessing an invasion of phones with this small island for the front camera at the top of the screen. An island condemned to disappear as soon as technology allows to hide the components that populate it in other parts of the phone.

Android P brings this support to 'notch' natively. Now from the system, you can configure a narrower 'notch', like the Essential, or a wider one, like that of many phones that are following the aesthetics of the iPhone X. Thus, Android P can work with quick settings, notifications and all kinds of content, 'dodging' the island and allowing a correct display at all times.

Volume buttons change their priority

Android has been prioritizing the volume of calls for years against the volume of multimedia content in its physical volume buttons. When nothing sounds on the phone, we press raise or lower volume and what is affected is the ring. But phones are already more than phones, they are portable multimedia centers in which we consume much more content than before, and Google turns Android to bring it a little closer to iOS.

The default function of the volume buttons of Android changes: before it was the bell, now it is the multimedia

In the operating system of Apple, we have the operation in reverse. If an iPhone is silent, the priority volume is that of the multimedia content, unless we specify otherwise in the operating system settings. When something sounds, the volume buttons are 'slaves' of it. Android will now work in much the same way.

Android P will look a little more like this on iOS. Although it's fair to say that manufacturers like Samsung have already decided what to do with the volume button. The volume is also redesigned when it is displayed since it goes from being horizontal to vertical. It appears on the right side, instead of in the center of the screen, where it is displayed in Android Oreo and previous versions of Android.

Native support for two cameras

The double cameras are present in the mobile market for a long time. So it cannot be said exactly that the support by Android of these is similar to iOS. But the truth is that until now, manufacturers had to look for their own on Android while iOS did have native support from the arrival of the iPhone 7 Plus.

The fact is that, after many years of manufacturers making war on their own with their own camera applications, which have even taken Android One as the case of the Xiaomi Mi A1. Now Google will allow this natively on Android. The new API arrives that will allow the applications, and the system itself, to access the information collected by more than one sensor, not strictly a couple.

Until now, the Android camera API only allowed access to the front camera and the rear camera. If any of the configurations was dual, access was allowed only to the main sensor. Android P changes this, and native support for dual front and rear cameras opens. And who says duals, says triples.

It was a matter of time before Android implemented the new coding for video and photography that iOS already implemented natively on iOS 11 when it released it last year. A new coding that allows reducing the weight of photographs and videos to almost half than the previous codecs. It will now be present in Android P, allowing its use to all phones and tablets that are updated to this version.

HEIF is not a proprietary format of Apple, but of the MPEG group, but it was integrated natively by iOS 11. This system, which may become a new standard that leaves behind the JPG that has dominated the market for several decades. It allows a way of working similar to that of RAW files, being able to recover the original file once edited.

HEIF was born in 2013. In 2017 it was natively included in iOS and in 2018 it reaches Android. We are eager to see what you can do with the pictures on Android once we start to see the first tests. Especially now that the 4K video is popularized by leaps and bounds. HEIF will allow you to record and photograph more with less space, and that is always good news. Welcome to Android.

Other advances of Android P

Android P brings more improvements and aesthetic changes under the arm. From a better indoor positioning to support for the RTT WiFi specification to improvements in notifications, Android P is now more complete and interactive, including intelligent responses to interact just with them, leaving the rest to the system.

The quick settings are redesigned. The time is placed on the left and the system becomes more colorful. The screenshots are simplified and we can edit them more easily, and the same happens with the Do Not Disturb mode. Although Android P also sets foot officially in artificial intelligence in another way. It includes improvements in the neural network APIs that released Android 8.1 Oreo.

Nine new operations, such as Pad, Mean or Squeeze, appear in version 1.1 of the Neural Networks API. It shows that the mobile sector continues to push in everything related to artificial intelligence, neural networks and everything that has to do with machine learning and deep learning. Of course, there is no lack of progress in terms of performance and energy efficiency in Android P.

Android P seems a minor step in the way of Android in the market. It contains more advances than apparently will be reflected in the interface itself. There are signs of a mature operating system for several generations. Unfortunately, we will see in a few phones already in circulation because of the problem of fragmentation. It will depend on the speed of update of the manufacturers when Android P is officially released for all.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ - Review, Price, Specs and Features

It is official! And now comes the launch of the most awaited device of MWC 2018. Yes, it is Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. There are incremental upgrades, just like what the S7 was to the S6. Nothing much to see here. Samsung Galaxy S9 moved a few things around, added a better camera, added 3D sound, put a faster processor, made the screen bezels smaller, made upgrades to Bixby, added AR Emojis and created a new color of the phone. Yes, my favorite color Coral Blue is there.

Instead of experimenting new features they just cover the flaws from S8. The memory card slot is back, 3.5mm jack is back. The fingerprint scanner is positioned right. The display size and design are good. The camera is brilliant with dual aperture. There is fast wireless charging and instead of pitching their Exynos Processor they simply used Snapdragon 845.

The camera is reimagined but I am waiting for Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The main focus on the S9 phone is all about the variable aperture lens which is a really cool feature. They have literally completely redone how smartphone cameras will be going forward. Seriously, dual aperture lenses in a phone? This phone is gonna be the new standard as far as phones are concerned.

It seems like a really good low light camera. This phone camera might do just as well as a DSLR. For camera nerds, it is the first phone that lets you switch between f/1.5 or f/2.4 depending on the lighting conditions/depth of field. It is perfect to do vlogs and photography.

Samsung Galaxy S9 images

I think the instant camera translator will be damn useful, and with some forced creativity, the super slow motion camera will be entertaining, if not entirely useful. I love how it reads any other language that might be on a sign and it just translates it for you. But I really don't get this 'turn yourself into an emoji' mode. At least it doesn't turn you into a monkey like the iPhone.

It's $200-$300 cheaper than iPhone X, plus it's got a better camera. It doesn't have a notch at the top of the screen, and it still has a headphone jack.

If I were to upgrade I will wait for the year 2019. The benchmark scores are crazy high though. I love everything about the new phone, but the emoji mode is kinda creepy. The design is not important but the important thing is that they listen to their customers, who complained S8 having a bad camera, badly positioned finger-sensor, the absence of stereo speakers and dual camera. S9 solve all those problems.

Next year's smartphones will be the first to get 7nm chipsets, not to mention number 10 will mean the phone probably getting an overhaul. I guess there are just a few needed tweaks to a great phone. However, I honestly believe they are leading to the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy X.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Review

Xiaomi announced its latest devices in the Indian market with the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro. Now, the company has announced that both the phones will be manufactured locally at its manufacturing units in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. Redmi Note 5 is nothing but the regular Redmi 5 Plus that was launched a few months back in China.

If you compare its specs, it doesn't seem like a proper upgrade to last years Redmi Note 4. Apart from better cameras and modern design with new 18:9 display ratio, everything is more or less the same. But the icing on the cake is the pricing. Even with few minor improvements, it should hold its place. If someone is very much strict on a budget then they won't be disappointed with what is being offered.

Redmi Note 5 Pro should be the actual Redmi Note 5, but what's in the name. If adding a pro makes it better, then let it be. From design to the camera, from performance to speed, everything is bumped up to a respectable level. A flagship grade processor, faster RAM, an amazing front camera with AI capabilities and same can also be said for the back (if not the best, being Sony sensors this time) and yet again at an amazing price. But with all bells and whistles, this phone also lacks some charm, which I will be summarising in points down below.

It has an iPhone X-ish camera placement, for which most will troll Xiaomi for blatantly copying it. When they can implement portrait mode on the single front camera with the use of AI, then I really couldn't see a need for a depth-sensing 5MP camera lens at back. Because all it does is sensing depth for portrait mode, unlike the secondary lens of Mi A1, that can optically zoom-in.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro images

The Aperture on the main lens is narrowed down to f/2.2 which isn't a good thing, with a sensor with the bigger pixel to compensate so let's see how well it does in low light. There is no Type-C. It's something that people were expecting as Type-C is future, but yet again Xiaomi did their cost-cutting & choose to stay with standard micro USB.

Considering the number of units of the pro they are going to sell, they could have sourced the USB-C ports, drivers, and cables at a negligible premium over what they would spend on microUSB system. I do not see a legit cost-cutting going on there when the price of the components is barely different.

Since there is no mention of the Android version on either of the Redmi Note 5, I suspect it to be running on Android Nougat 7.1.1. That means Android Oreo will be the last official Android update for both Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro, with regular MIUI support. Don't buy the 6 Gb variant of Redmi Note 5 pro. It doesn't make any sense to pay 3000 more for more RAM, that you might not need. Settle with 4+64GB version and save your money for its accessories.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Toyota Yaris 2018: the City Car with an innovative character

The Toyota Yaris is a car manufactured by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. The name Yaris is used in Europe, Australia and the United States of America while in Canada the car is sold as Toyota Echo. In Japan and some Asian countries, it is marketed as Toyota Vitz while the three-volume sedan version is sold as Yaris Sedan and Toyota Belta.

The name "Yaris" derives from "Charis", the Greek goddesses of charm, beauty, and elegance. In July 2014, the Yaris underwent a makeover. The Japanese company invested 85 million euros by introducing a thousand unpublished components. The Yaris gained 6 cm more than the version it replaces for a total of 3.94 meters, while the pace remained unchanged. The Toyota style center of Nice and the chef designer Elvio D'Aprile, to make the lines more sporty and pleasing to the customers of the old continent, has designed a sort of "X" on the front.

It is an element that has become typical of the stylistic language of the Japanese manufacturer inaugurated with the second generation Aygo in 2014. The body of the Yaris has been reinforced and the noise inside the cabin has been reduced. New wheel arch linings and bumper anchors have been adopted. It is designed to increase torsional rigidity and reduce the propagation of noise in the passenger compartment. Also renewed the front suspension, to ensure greater driving comfort.

While the steering assisted by a new electronic management ensures better maneuverability. Finally, there is a new stability control system, now disengageable up to a speed of 50 km/h. At the rear, a new bumper with fake integrated diffuser and, in the front, there are new LED light clusters for daytime. The restyling also involved the rearview mirror caps and the center console, which is in a raised position compared to the previous one.

Toyota Yaris 2018 images

The multimedia system, called Toyota Touch 2, is equipped with a new screen with increased dimensions from 6.1 to 7 inches, in addition to being more advanced in graphics and functions. In addition to the exhibits presented in 2011, now the fittings are added: Cool, Hybrid Cool, Hybrid Active and Hybrid Style.

The engines have also been updated, in particular, the 1.0 engine and the hybrid one. In the 1.0 VVT-i, the emissions have dropped to 99 g/km of CO 2 and a declared consumption is 4.3 L/100 km. Both the 1.0 engine and the hybrid 1.5 HSD have been approved as Euro 6, while the two 1.3 Dual VVT-i from 99 bhp and the 1.4 D-4D from 90 bhp remain Euro 5 instead.

With regard to the 1.4 D-4D, the combined consumption is 19.6 km/L with CO 2 emissions of 119 g/km. The 1.3 and 1.4 engines will be Euro 6 from April 2015. In June 2015 the Toyota Safety Sense including pre-collision system, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and an automatic high beam was introduced.

Starting from January 2016 the Yaris undergoes some minor changes. At the Frankfurt show, the Yaris Bi-Tone begins with the Striker. It combines the three exterior colors Pearl White, Platinum Bronze Met, and Red Met. There is a metallic black coating for the roof, the front pillar, the rear-view mirrors and the mudguard front. It is combined with an inner lining that incorporates the exterior design.

The Style was then replaced from the beginning of the year by the "Red Edition" Trend set-up and the Hybrid Trend "Red Edition" hybrid (losing the panoramic roof from the Style). This set-up is available for all the engines. Another change is the Active set-up that now integrates the 15 "12-spoke alloy wheels and the rear electric windows.

On 12 January 2017, a second restyling of the Yaris is presented, in the Japanese variant called Vitz. The second updated version of the Yaris will be available in Europe, Australia, and North America in early 2017. At the Geneva Motor Show 2017, its official debut takes place. With 900 new components and an investment of 90 million euros, the Japanese company aesthetically presents a calyra called nasone. There is redesigned front grille, a larger lower air intake and elongated rear lights horizontal development that extend on the tailgate.

Internally there are improvements to the plastics and assembly of the passenger compartment. There are new fabrics and the instrument panel with a color screen and the display in the central console are unpublished.

Mechanically, the power steering and shock absorbers have been modified by Japanese technicians. It is to make driving more incisive and at the same time to improve comfort. Also, the motor supports have been changed to reduce vibrations. In the engine range, we find the diesel 1.4 D-4D 90 hp. While the petrol 1.3 Dual VVT-i gives way to a new 1.5 VVT-iE with 12 hp more for a total of 111 hp and a compression ratio of 13.5: 1. The latter unit adopts particular solutions to reduce pollutants. There is a variable valve timing which, when less power is required, transforms the cycle from Otto to Atkinson to improve fuel efficiency and an EGR liquid-cooled valve.

At the Geneva Motor Show 2017, Toyota presented the sporty version of the Japanese compact based on the 3-door version. It is the Yaris GRMN with the acronym that stands for Gazoo Racing Master Nurburgring. The latter is the place where the car was proven. Influenced by the version used in rallies, it is distinguished by its front bumper with an increased air intake. It is equipped with honeycomb texture in glossy black color, rear spoiler, bumper equipped with fake air extractor with single tailpipe centrally located trapezoidal shape and a Torsen self-locking front differential.

The engine is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder architecture in line made. It is already used by the Lotus equipped with an unusual boost by volumetric compressor instead of turbo. It goes to deal with cars such as the Clio RS, 208 GTi, and Fiesta ST. The power is 212 hp delivered at 6,800 rpm and. Only 350 copies were available from the website of the Japanese house. The driving torque available was at 5,000 rpm is 250 Nm. Mechanically the technicians have modified the trim making it lower than 3 cm. There are new Sachs shock absorbers and the frame at the points of attachment through the assembly of new stabilizing bars at the 26 mm front axle.

In addition, the transmission is 6-speed and the rims made by the BBS are lightened by 6 kg with a size of 17 inches. The weight stands at 1135 kg, which allows it to accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds, with a maximum tip of 230 km/h with an electronic limiter. Internally there are wraparound seats, aluminum pedals, leather finishes Alcantara. The steering wheel is taken directly from the GT 86 for its reduced diameter, to improve driving ergonomics.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Apple HomePod Wireless Speaker: Release Date and Price

Apple officially announces the imminent availability of HomePod, the awaited smart wireless speaker designed in Cupertino. HomePod will arrive on February 9th but the pre-orders start on Friday 26th January. After the initial delays, the moment has arrived for the speaker with integrated Siri. But unfortunately, there will be few countries in which you can buy.

In fact, in this first round, the wireless speaker will only be released in the US, UK, and Australia. Other users will still have to wait. Apple has also announced that the speaker will arrive in France and Germany in the spring. There are no official announcements for the other European countries. The price in the United States is $ 349.

HomePod: audio and technology

A lot of information was already known. But there are also some more details on the Apple-branded speaker. HomePod is equipped with a high-excursion woofer designed by Apple for low deep and clean frequencies. It is also equipped with an array of seven tweeters, for crystalline treble and the control of the spatiality of the sound.

An additional array of six microphones allows HomePod to be ready to pick up the "Hey Siri" command even while the music is playing. The support for Siri also extends to third-party apps, by means of Sirikit.

The Apple A8 chip oversees all these features. The processor takes care of real-time audio processing, echo cancellation, and other advanced features. For example, HomePod can "feel" its position in the room and optimize the sound accordingly.

Apple HomePod Wireless Speaker images

Personal assistant

The speaker is naturally designed to work in an integrated way with Apple Music, the subscription music streaming service of Cupertino. HomePod is also a personal assistant for the smart home.

Thanks to the support for HomeKit, it can be used to control compatible smart accessories. Later in the year, there will also be a software update that will bring support for multi-room audio. Furthermore, it will be possible to configure two HomePods in the same room as a pair of stereo speakers.

After months of repeated referrals, it seems that this is the right time to finally see HomePod, the smart speaker designed by Apple.

HomePod, how many delays!

Initially, the launch of the company's first smart speaker was to take place before the end of 2017 but was postponed until mid-December. Now we are in January and the further delay has cost dear to Apple. Since it could not take advantage of the Christmas holiday season, during which millions of smart speakers were sold.

Compared to the smart speakers produced by Amazon and Google, smaller and much cheaper, Apple's HomePods are placed in a high-end market. Here the competition is represented by the wireless speakers made by Sonos, the US company specializing in the development of intelligent speakers.

The difference compared to competitors

Delays aside, Apple does not seem to have made any changes to the HomePod announced last summer at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Compared to competitive products, which focus their attention mainly on the appearance of intelligence, the HomePod wants to optimize the musical experience and sound quality. Apple's smart speaker will still have an active voice assistant. However the implementation of Siri will be more limited than seen in other devices.

HomePod is designed to connect primarily with Apple Music, allowing access to over 40 million songs. It is able to recognize the tastes and musical preferences of users, helping them to discover new music.

The musical revolution of Apple

Apple has reinvented portable music with iPod and will now reinvent with HomePod the way we listen to music wirelessly in our homes. HomePod offers a powerful diffusion technology. All the intelligence of Siri and the ability to wirelessly access the entire library of Apple Music in a beautiful speaker less than 18 cm tall. Ready to help users from every corner of the house and flood every room with distortion-free sound.

One thing that was missing in this market was a quality audio experience, a truly immersive audio experience. Music deserves this kind of quality rather than a creaking sound.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Xiaomi Mi TV 4A: Now the TV is really Smart

Xiaomi announced its new technological breakthrough in the TV sector. We are talking about the 50-inch model of the Mi TV 4A line, which already includes five other models between 32 and 65 inches. This is a very interesting product, with 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) and a 60 Hz refresh rate. There is no lack of support for HDR10 + HLG technology and integrated stereo speakers, compatible with both Dolby Audio and dtsHD, to ensure quality audio.

The hardware heart of this model is composed of a quad-core Amlogic L962 processor, flanked by 2 GB RAM and 8GB internal memory. The connectivity department has 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB, one AV, Ethernet input and S/PDIF audio output, but there is also Bluetooth 4.2 LE support.

At the software level, we find the Mi TV interface already seen on other models and devices, with many services designed mostly for the Chinese market. The remote control incorporates a microphone for voice commands. It also allows you to control other Xiaomi devices connected to the same network. The Chinese giant Xiaomi has accustomed us to its eclecticism, indulging in the production of various technological products that have become commonplace.

Xiaomi Mi TV 4A images

The new year has just begun but has already seen the presentation of a new member of the big Xiaomi family. There is the 50-inch Mi TV 4A. The latter is the sixth in the Mi TV 4A series, adding to the most popular models of 32, 43, 49, 55 and 65 inches.

Its design and the main technical features recall the 55-inch model. It has extremely compact frames, Ultra HD LCD with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), support for HDR10 technology and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) - to enjoy more defined colors. Finally, the system supports Dolby Audio and DTS-HD.

The novelty of this new Mi TV, which makes it a real smart machine, is the Patchwall assistant! Thanks to the remote control equipped with a microphone you can give voice commands to search. In fact, Patchwall, thanks to machine learning, increases its efficiency and accuracy of search results over time. This means that it will no longer be necessary to remember the exact title of a film but it will also be enough information.

For example, the name of one of the protagonists or one of the characters who interpret it or other variables may be useful in the search. As usual for Xiaomi products, the price for the Chinese market is quite inviting. It is only 2,399 Yuan. In addition, Xiaomi offers an additional 100 Yuan discount for pre-orders that will start on January 19, 2018.