Xolo Era 1X Pro- A tough contender amongst affordable smartphones – Review

So, to begin with, let’s just say when I got the smartphone for review, it came as a blessing in disguise. My primary device broke down a few days ago, and I was looking for a temporary phone and the very next morning Era 1X Pro arrived for review. I used this phone for a week as a replacement for my phone, and I was quite surprised with the performance of the phone.

So, this review is purely from an extensive usage point of view.

To start with, let’s have a look at the specs and details of the phone.

Design and Aesthetics

The phone comes in all-black look except for the side rim of the phone, which is grey. Though the smartphone dons an all plastic body, it does give a premium look. Back lid of the cover has a matte finish, which gives an excellent grip on the phone. The phone has a stylish, edgy look and a square shaped camera that complements the overall look. The speaker, placed at the bottom of the back side of the phone does a decent job. The only thing that I didn’t like is that the phone comes without a backlight on the navigation touch buttons. Without these backlights navigating on the phone can be a challenge during low-lights.

Display, screen resolution and connectivity

The phone comes with a 5-inch HD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels – which as per industry standards is not great. However, the display resolution doesn’t strain your eyes when used extensively for long hours. The phone has dual-sim ports which support micro SIMs. You can use both the slots simultaneously. However, while one of them will support 4G or 3G services the other one will support only 2G SIM.

 

Camera

While the primary camera dons an 8MP sensor, the secondary camera comes with a 5MP sensor. However, the secondary camera, complemented with a dual-LED flash, is perfect for clicking selfies. Even clicking selfies in low-lights is not a task. A couple of other features that make this smartphone a good deal are the time lapse and slow motion features on the phone.

If you’re looking for a value driven smartphone with good camera quality, Xolo Era 1X PRO is the one for you.

Here are some of the pics clicked with phone’s camera

 

Configurations and software

The phone operates on Android v6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system and has a quad-core 1.5 GHz processor. With 2GB RAM, the phone offers decent experience without many glitches and lags while switching between heavy apps. When it comes to storage, the phone comes with 16GB internal which can be further extended up to 32GB using external microSD cards.

 Battery and connectivity

A 2,500 mAh Li-Polymer battery which charges from 0-100% in three hours (using phone’s original charger, given with the box) and runs for an entire day.

Other than these, the phone has all the basic features like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG and FM.

Our Verdict

According to us Xolo Era 1X Pro is a reliable device. The camera quality of phone is something that you can vouch on. Phone gives you a smooth experience when you play games, watch movies/shows and other day to day activities. Coming at price of Rs. 5,777, phone is definitely here to stay and is a value for money product.

After-sales service – The hiccup for Chinese brands!

Every day a new Chinese technology brand launches its products in India with new price proposition, features and looks. But how many of us think about their after-sales services? Indian mobile user base is increasing day by day and touched 103.5cr according to September report of TRAI.  In such a scenario, one often wonders which brand should one prefer to avoid any hassles post purchase.

While smartphone sale is increasing gradually, very few brands think of a customer satisfactory journey. In the process of attaining customer satisfaction, we feel brands also need to work on opening more service centres with quick response time and advanced and fast repair procedures.

Earlier, we have seen many cases where people abandoned the brand just because of poor after sale services. The litmus test of brands these days lie not just in providing more service centres but also giving the best quality of repair.

When we think of a brand known for its after-sales services ‘Apple’ strikes our mind. The primary reason for this positive brand recall lies in their quick turn around time. Another brand out of the lot that believes in a long term relation with the consumer is itel mobile. They have 100 days swap/replacement policy. However, brands like Zopo mobile also have the policy of exchanging the phone in 365 days. The penetration of Zopo is very less as compare to other brands like itel Mobile.

Brands like Gionee, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, etc. work on the multi-brand service store model and don’t have the independent service centre where the core value of the itel mobile revolves around giving the innovative hi-tech products to masses along with satisfactory after sale services. There are certain preconditions, however, which are to be quick in mind to avail these services:

  • Certified defective handsets that are complying with warranty conditions gets swapped with similar units within 100 days of purchase.
  • Swap units will be same or similar spec model.
  • Cosmetic of exchange units might be similar if not better than an earlier unit.
  • Beyond 100 days, the standard repair warranty terms would be applicable

Apart from this, the company has more than 1000 service centres across the globe. They even have different brand name Carlcare Service Centre to ensure the customers don’t have to run from pillar to post. This kind of service eventually leaves a lasting impression and echoes the values that itel stands for and shows how serious they are about consumer needs.

What are 2-in-1 Laptops and here’s whether you should Buy it or Not

2-in-1 laptops in india

It is needless to say, desktop PCs are a thing of past and many of us have already accepted that the portable the computing systems, the better and comfortable it is. However, if you’re out in the market looking to buy a mobile computing device, a laptop for example, then there is a lot of confusion already. The latest breed of laptops known as 2-in-1 laptops further adds up to the confusion and chaos of first-time laptop buyers.

2-in-1 laptops in indiaHere in this post, we will try to decode the meaning of 2-in-1 laptops and help you figure out whether it is something that you should opt for or go for the conventional ones.

2-in-Laptops and its Varieties

2-in-1 laptops are the ones that give you both, the comfort of having a physical keyboard on your laptop, and the ease of using it as a tablet when needed. To put it in simple words, these laptops can be utilized as a standalone tablet (useful while reading, social networking or browsing sites), or like a traditional laptop with a physical keyboard (crucial to long type texts like E-mails or documents).

There are currently 2 types of 2-in-1 Laptops available

Convertible Laptops:

convertible laptops

As you can see in the image above, unlike its detachable counterpart, the keyboard on the convertible ones doesn’t get detached with the laptop screen. Rather it could be folded and slid on the back of the screen. This types of 2-in-1 laptops are suitable to consume lots of multimedia and are not preferable if you plan to use your laptop as a tablet PC too occasionally.

Detachable Laptops:

detachable laptops

It could be very evident and understandable by now that the detachable laptops are the ones in which you could part with the large keyboard on your laptop and use it as a standalone tablet while browsing websites or reading activities. Though little fragile, these types of 2-in-1 laptops are best suited for people who travel a lot and do not want to carry both, a laptop and a tablet.

Pros & Cons of 2-in-1 Laptops

There is a lot of debate out there discussing whether one should go for a 2-in-1 laptop instead of 2 separate devices or take the traditional route. Here we are jotting down few of these widely known plus and minuses of the same:

Pros:

  • Portability and ease of carrying
  • Cost effective – It’s definitely cheaper to buy single 2-in-1 laptop instead of two separate gadgets
  • Bigger tablet screen – You get a tablet with a screen size bigger that the regular standalone tablets. However, this could be a disadvantage for some.
  • Faster processing

Cons:

  • Less storage: It’s a possibility that these 2-in-1 laptops would generally have lesser storage space than it’s counterpart
  • Uncomfortable keyboards: Though not always, the possibility of not having a keyboard as comfortable as the ones in regular laptops cannot be ruled out.
  • Screen angle positioning: There could be limitations on the number of angles the screen can be positioned when it is coupled with a keyboard
  • Fragile – Most of the 2-in-1s are more sensitive than the regular laptops.

Further reading: Pros & Cons of 2-in-1 Laptops

Which one is best for you? Things to consider

Every choice comes with its advantages and disadvantages, and you have got them here as well. We believe choosing between the regular laptops and the modern 2-in-1 types are very subjective and it completely depends on your needs, usage, etc.

Here are few points you should check out for that could help you in deciding between these types of laptop.

  • Screen size: Though the keyboard can be removed or hidden on the back, there is hardly anything you could do about the screen size. So it seldom happens that the screen size of such laptops feels too big to use as a tablet or slightly smaller for what you’d need for a laptop. It’s critical to balance between the two.
  • Storage requirement: As mentioned earlier, there are chances that you might want more storage space than what is generally available in these laptops.
  • Detachable v/s Convertible: This is another thing you should be very careful about. Since we have already mentioned which ones are best for whom, you could easily figure this out too.

We hope this post helps you understand the basics of 2-in-1 laptops, its advantages, and disadvantages; whether you should buy this new breed of laptops or stick with the traditional ones. If you are in India, you could also check out few of the available 2-in-1 laptop options on Flipkart and Amazon.

Planning to Buy a TV? Here are a Few Things You Should Check Out

Television is one of the primary entertainment and infotainment home appliances which is common in most of the Indian houses these days. If you are one among the many users, who is out in the market looking for a new Television or looking to upgrade your existing TV, then we have this simple TV buying guide for dummies.

tv buying guide for dummies

So here are few of the key factors that you should check out for before finalising a particular model or brand.

Screen Technology and Resolution

Talking about screen technology, there are majorly three screen types available for TVs that include LCD, LED, and Plasmas. We will quickly take you through the pros and cons of each of them.

  • LCD: Abbreviation of Liquified Crystal Display, it is one of the oldest screen technology and is being phased out over time. LCDs are bulkier compared to LED and Plasma counterpart and draws more power than the latter. However, people with a lower budget for upfront investment may consider going for LCDs.
  • LED: These type of screens are fitted with light emitting diodes behind the display that helps in spreading lights in an evenly manner across the entire screen, unlike in the LCD technology. The outcome being better viewing experience for the users. Also, since this technology uses light-emitting diodes which are famous for its minimal power usage, it helps in consuming massive power resulting in lower power tariffs. However, as you might have guessed it by now, LED TVs are slightly costlier over its LCD counterpart.
  • Plasma: Plasma is relatively newest technology and hailed as the best display so far. However, one of its commonly known disadvantages is that viewers won’t have as good viewing experience during bright light compared to low light viewing. Also, it is worth noting that, just like LCDs, plasma TVs are also very bulky. Considering its high price and almost equivalent viewing experience compared to LED TVs, plasma TV sales are declining by each day. Currently, only a few of the LG and Samsung TVs are sold with plasma display technology in India.
    (Related read: Plasma V/s LED display explained in detail)

Ideal TV Screen Size

Assuming that now you have a fair understanding of the screen technology to choose, let’s figure out what size TV should best fit your requirements. Basically, there are two things you should consider while choosing screen size

1 – The size of unit/wall where you’d place/mount the TV – Make sure the TV you’re looking for fits on the cabinet/space available to mount the TV on the wall. You can always check out the detailed specifications on the TV brand’s website or the packaging of the TV to find the dimensions of the TV.

2 – Viewing distance: This is another important factor that you should consider while choosing screen size. If you’ve got a huge screen TV and don’t have ample distance between TV and couch/sitting area, then it could be uncomfortable for viewing and vice-versa. Experts believe, the ideal viewing distance between TV and you, the viewer should be approximately 1.6 times the size of the TV diagonally. For ex., there should be about 4-5 feet (~51 inches) distance while viewing a TV that has about 32″ screen size.

Connectivity Options

Apart from the display technology and the size of TV, it’s also critical to make sure that the TV that you’re finalising supports the connectivity options that you might need immediately or at a future point in time. Here are a few connectivity options to look for:

  • HDMI: These days, High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is one of the primary connectivity options since most of the modern entertainment devices including Blu-ray players, gaming console, DVD players among others feature HDMI port and transmits data to your screen via HDMI port. It is also good to have multiple HDMI ports.
  • USB: Needless to mention, there are many devices out there that could be connected to a TV using USB ports. USB ports are also useful to plug in a thumb drive to quickly play some Audio/video content on your device.
  • Wi-Fi, NFC, Ethernet, TOSLink – Yes, there are TVs that features these connectivity options as well. Though they might not be must-haves for most of the TV buyers.

Additional Features

There’s a new breed of TVs available in the market called as Smart TVs. Are they really worth the money for you? Well, to answer this, we have a small question for you. What would be the extra features of Smart TV that you’re looking for? If it’s merely for streaming videos from a video streaming site or beaming photos from your recent holidays then we would suggest you go for Google’s Chromecast addon with a regular TV. You might also want to check out this post that lists few other genuine points on why you shouldn’t buy a smart TV yet.

This post is not an exhaustive list of TV buying checklist and there are other trivial things you might want to consider. However, this will help you to give a fair idea of the things you must have a look on. Feel free to drop in your queries via comments below and we’d be happy to answer the same.

Review: Mivi USB Type C to USB A 3.0 Braided Cable

It is no secret that the world is now moving towards USB Type-C connectors. While the Micro-USB port that we have come to love and appreciate on our Android phones is really convenient, it has its issues. It lacks versatility, it is not reversible and the connector is rather slow when it comes to read and write, in an age where we all are hungry for more and more speed. To cater to these requirements, we have moved on from Micro-USB points on phones to USB-Type C ports. These ports are one stop solution for charging your phones, playing music through them or even connecting multiple displays. 

Read More

Ringing Bells Announces an HD LED TV at Rs 9,990

Ringing Bells, who shot to fame thanks to their promise of delivering a smartphone for a paltry sum of Rs 251, have shot another bow in the hope of getting the headlines. The smartphone is yet to be delivered to those who paid the money upfront, and you might want to be a little wary before you jump off the chair about the latest set of announcements that have come from the Noida based company.

HD TV

Ringing Bells has announced plans to bringing an HD LED TV with a 31.5-inch display at a price of Rs 9,990/-. Needless to say, that this would be the most inexpensive 31.5 inch in the market. However, as this list shows, there are several smaller HD TVs that are already available under the price of Rs 10,000, so it may actually not be an all that far fetched idea that this time, Ringing Bells would actually deliver a product. Specifications or information about the TV is not known so far, and we would not be surprised if it is revealed anytime soon.

Ringing Bells has still not shown off what would the final retail unit of the Freedom 251 will look like, though it did announce that the shipments for the first 5,000 units will begin from July 8th, with another 2 lakh units being shipped after the feedback from the first slot is in. They assured that the build quality and product, in general, will be better than the prototype that was shared with the media.

As far as the television goes, you will be able to order the same from the website of Ringing Bells soon on Cash on Delivery. The first batch of LED TVs is expected to be delivered on August 15th. In addition to the update on the Freedom 251 and a new TV, Ringing Bells also announced six new phones, four of which were feature phones and another two were smartphones.

The New ChromeBook is a Beauty to Behold

Google and HP have announced a new Chromebook, calling it the HP Chromebook 13. The Chromebook takes some inspiration from the Pixel, the famous Chromebook that Google themselves made but is a lot lighter in the hand and on the pocket. The Chromebook 13 comes with anodized Aluminum chassis and weighs only 1.29 kilos, which is just around the 2.5-pound mark. The machine is incredibly thin too, measuring just 12.9mm on the thickness scale.

Read More

Airtel Officially Launches 4G in 296 Towns in India

Airtel has announced the official launch of 4G LTE network in 296 cities in India. Airtel had been testing waters and looking for the feedback of its users right since 2012 with a gradual roll out. Kolkata was one of the first city to receive the 4G trials back in 2012 and the customer feedback has largely been positive. Post Kolkata, cities like Mumbai, those in NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mysore etc have also seen the test roll out of 4G.

airtel-4g

We have used the service ourselves and were pretty chuffed with the speeds which constantly were over 20 Mbps mark both in Mumbai and Delhi. After the successful testing, the network is now live in 296 cities across the country with more expected to be added soon. Airtel has launched 4G on both FDD as well as TDD bands in India and the band you would pick the network off, will depend upon the city you are living in.

Airtel has also announced a revised set of plans for you to make use of 4G LTE under the Infinity scheme. The plan we really like is the Rs 999 plan which gives you unlimited calling and about 3GB of LTE usage. In towns or cities that have not seen the 4G rollout will continue to remain on 3G/ 2G networks until the technology comes on board. You will need to head over to the nearest Airtel Store in case you are looking to pick up the latest Airtel SIM which supports 4G in order to enjoy the 4G madness.

Adidas Acquires Fitness App Maker Runtastic

Adidas has acquired Runtastic in a deal that is said to be worth more than 220 Euros. Both Adidas and Runtastic come from similar backgrounds where sports are the bread and butter for them. While Adidas has been actively sponsoring the goods and apparels of sportsmen, Runtastic is a nifty little application that runs on your Android or iOS device and tells you details of your run. It gives you the distance you covered, location mapping as well as your average speed and time you took in order to cover the distance. You can then go on and share the same information with your friends and challenge them to outperform you.

Runtastic

Florian Gschwandtner, Runtastic CEO and Co-Founder was quoted saying:

Adidas is the perfect strategic partner for Runtastic and we are very eager to leverage our business in new and unique ways in the future. By bringing cutting-edge input from our leading position in the digital space to one of the great world leaders in the sports and fitness industry, I am personally looking forward to pleasing and surprising new and loyal users with the best products in the world. Together, we will make exceptional and unexpected things happen.

Given how big the wearable and fitness tracking market is, it makes a lot of sense for Adidas to use Runtastic which also helps you in making 6 pack abs as well as sleep better. Given Adidas’ presence in the sports space it would be a great chance for Runtastic to be able to power some of the fitness trackers that may well be in works. Adidas to their credit have worked with the likes of Sennheiser in the past to come up with an exclusive line of earphones which can be used during a run or gym session, and therefore have a good hang of the space. Joining hands with Runtastic could mean that the two brands come up with their line of wearables and fitness tracking equipments a bit like Fitbit, Mi Band, YuFit, NikeFuelBand and more.

Via: Android Central

 

Nokia Announces the Ozo, Its First Virtual Reality Filming Device

When Microsoft bought out the mobility division of Nokia, the question loomed large over the long term impact the same would have in terms of what would, once the giants of the mobile industry, do in order to run the books. It was widely claimed that Nokia would now focus on the maps, new technologies and the telecom solutions segment rather than the old phone business. Since then, we have seen a Nokia branded tablet, a launcher, few improvements to the Here maps and more. However, in terms of absolute new hardware and vertical, for the first time since the Microsoft takeover happened, Nokia has come up with something really significant.

Nokia has announced Ozo, which is the first Virtual Reality recording device by the Finnish giants. With the likes of Go Pro entering the space of VR recording given the craze for VR, the Ozo makes a lot of sense fitting right into the gamut of new technology devices that are required today. The Ozo has eight image sensors placed at about a distance of one eye between them, all of which are mounted on a sphere. These optical sensors have an assigned microphone to them at the top in order to record and playback audio in 3D space so that you have a proper VR experience. The best part about Ozo is that unlike other VR recorders, it allows you to watch the footage in real time as and when it is recorded without any problem. You can use any VR headset for this.

Not just this, Ozo also allows you to simply playback the entire footage in a low-quality video within minutes of recording unlike other VR recorders which usually take a lot of time and post-processing to show the video file. Ozo can be mounted on any standard tripod and is primarily aimed at the Hollywood for good quality VR shoot.