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China’s Huawei Backs Apple in Fight Over Encryption

China's Huawei Backs Apple in Fight Over Encryption

China's Huawei said it backed Apple's chief executive Tim Cook in his stand-off with the United States government over breaking into an iPhone, but stopped short of saying explicitly it would adopt the same stance.

"It is very important, we agree with that," Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business group, told reporters in Barcelona gathered for the Mobile World Congress. "Privacy protection is very important for Huawei, we put a lot of investment into privacy, and security protection is key, it is very important for the consumer.

"Apple is resisting US government demands that it unlock an iPhone used by Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a holiday party in San Bernardino in December.

(Also see: Why Even the FBI Can't Hack the iPhone)

"Tim Cook spoke up for that (privacy) … for us it is really very important," Yu said. "I think it's good letting the government understand why we cannot do some things. There are some things we can do, but there are some things we cannot do."

Asked directly if Huawei would take the same approach in similar circumstances, Yu said Huawei would "insist on the important things for consumers".

"Some things the government requires from vendors we cannot do," he said, citing an example of unlocking an encrypted Android device. "These are important things for the consumer, for privacy protection."

Yu was speaking after Huawei unveiled its Huawei Matebook, a two-in-one tablet and detachable keyboard aimed at the business market, and pitting the company against rivals Apple, Samsung and Lenovo.

The new product featured an Intel Core m-series processor and runs Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, he said.

Huawei, the leader in the Chinese market and third ranking worldwide according to Gartner, uses Google's Android operating system on the more than 100 million phones it shipped last year.

Yu said the company was confident growth would continue. In January, traditionally a quiet month for sales of electronic goods, the company shipped more than 12 million devices, he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Original NDTV Gadgets

Samsung Patent Hints at Smartwatch That Scans Veins to Verify Identity

Samsung Patent Hints at Smartwatch That Scans Veins to Verify Identity

Until now, we have seen several ways tech companies have made their smart devices capable of recognising users, from face recognition, fingerprint sensors, voice recognition, and even iris scanners. Now a newly published patent suggests Samsung to go even deeper inside a human body for recognition. The patent hints towards a future smartwatch that could use our veins for identity verification.

In the patent published by the USPTO titled “Wearable Device and Method of Operating the Same”, the company describes a method to identify users that takes a scan of the registered user’s vein layout, and then compares it to the layout of the person trying to authenticate themselves in the future.

“A wearable device comprising: a sensor configured to capture a vein image of a user; and a processor configured to: in response to a function or an application being selected by the user, control the sensor to capture the vein image of the user wearing the wearable device; identify the user by comparing the captured vein image with at least one registered vein image; and in response to determining that the identified user has an execution authority for the selected function or application, execute the function or the application,” says the patent, which was filed in July last year.

As with all patents, it is not necessary that the company granted the patent will use the technology in an actual production device. So, while we may never see Samsung bring the vein scanning functionality to future smartwatches, we at least know the technologies the company is exploring.

In December, a patent published by the USPTO hinted that the company might be working on a smart ring under its wearables segment. The patent describes how the ring will work and what functions it might carry.

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Original Article

Coolpad Note 3 Review

Coolpad Note 3 Review

Coolpad entered India less than six months ago with two models, the Coolpad Dazen 1 (Review) and the Coolpad Dazen X7 (Review | Pictures). Both grabbed quite a bit of attention for their low prices, especially the Dazen 1 which seemed like it would put a lot of pressure on Indian as well as fellow Chinese companies in the critical sub-Rs. 10,000 market. Following those two launches, however, the company went pretty silent.

Now, following a corporate restructuring, the company is leaving the Dazen name and identity behind. Here in India, Coolpad is making up for lost time with a dramatic new launch. Even though we should be used to companies throwing more and more features into low-priced phones, the Coolpad Note 3 really made us sit up and pay attention. For just a shade under Rs. 9,000, Coolpad is promising a huge screen, large battery, good looks, fast processor, 4G LTE, lots of memory – and as the icing on top, a high-quality fingerprint sensor. There's a lot of hype to live up to, so let's get started.

coolpad_note_3_fingerprint_ndtv.jpg

Look and feel
This is quite a large phone by any standards, though there's no denying the popularity of big screens. The 5.5-inch display takes up most of the front face, and Coolpad has done what it could to reduce size around it. The capacitive navigation buttons are placed on the narrow plastic chin, which makes them a bit hard to reach while maintaining a solid grip on the phone. On-screen buttons might have made more sense for this phone.

There's a metallic rim running around the front which has an unusual purplish tint, but this is only visible in bright light. While all plastic on the outside, Coolpad tells us that the Note 3 has an aluminium inner frame for stability, which is remarkable for a phone at this price level. The rear has a soft matte texture which is good for grip, but picks up scuffs and smudges way too easily.

coolpad_note_3_front_ndtv.jpg

The volume buttons are on the left while the power button is on the right. The 3.5mm audio socket on top and the Micro-USB port on the bottom are somewhat masked by the way the Note 3's edges taper. On the rear, you'll see slightly protruding camera right up top and in the centre, with its LED flash to one side and the phone's signature fingerprint reader right beneath it. There's a small Coolpad logo and a speaker grille towards the bottom.

The rear cover peels off with a little effort, but the battery beneath it is not removable. You only get access to the two Micro-SIM slots and the microSD card slot. Coolpad bundles only a charger, USB cable and headset in the box – no cover or adhesive screen protector like we've seen from some other companies.

coolpad_note_3_upperfront_ndtv.jpg

At 9.3mm thick and 155g in weight, this is not an easy phone to handle. The tapered rear edges and matte finish do help somewhat, but you'll wind up shuffling it up and down in your hand, and you'll have to be careful of your grip at all times.

Specifications
Coolpad has managed to cram some fairly impressive hardware into its low-cost offering. The Coolpad Note 3 is based on a MediaTek MT6753 SoC, which is a 64-bit, octa-core model running at 1.3GHz. 3GB of RAM is pretty pathbreaking at this price, though as we've seen before, that on its own doesn't mean much. There's also a healthy 16GB of built-in storage space as well as support for microSD cards of up to 64GB, and USB-OTG support.

coolpad_note_3_bottom_ndtv.jpg

The 5.5-inch screen has a resolution of 720×1280, for an effective density of 320ppi. LTE is supported on Band 40 on both Micro-SIMs. Wi-Fi, including 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM radio are standard. The battery has a pretty solid capacity rating of 3000mAh. There's a 13-megapixel camera with an LED flash on the rear, and a 5-megapixel one in front. Then of course there's the fingerprint sensor, which the company says will be able to correctly identify an enrolled user no matter the angle at which he or she touches it.

Software
The Coolpad Note 3 comes with Android 5.1 and the company's own Cool UI skin. We weren't too impressed with the cosmetic changes Coolpad has made to stock Android – a lot of it felt unnecessary (though your mileage may vary), especially the customisations made to the Settings app, in which it isn't possible to search for specific things. You get a typical single-layer UI by default, with all app icons and widgets arranged haphazardly on the home screens, but there is a "traditional mode" option buried in the preferences dialog.

coolpad_note_3_top_ndtv.jpg

Our Coolpad Note 3 review unit had an enormous "Cool Store" widget on one home screen which showed a banner ad and a few examples of popular apps you can get from the company's own app store. Probably because of this, the installation of apps downloaded from third-party sources was not blocked by default, which is a potential security problem for users unfamiliar with Android. We would recommend removing this widget immediately to get rid of the ads and prevent background data usage.

The default keyboard is also replaced with something called Xploree, which uses some screen space to display prominent Yahoo search branding, and tracks everything you type in order to display targeted ads – which the company describes as "enabling search and discovery". We would have liked at least an opt-in prompt or a popup message on first use telling users what the keyboard does. We found this invasive and intrusive, and disabled it immediately – again, we recommend you do the same should you buy the Coolpad Note 3.

coolpad_note_3_corner_ndtv.jpg

Pressing the power and volume down buttons simultaneously takes a screenshot as usual, but instead of just saving it in the background, it's shown full-screen. You have to manually dismiss it though you can scribble an annotation or share it to social media first. This could be useful in some cases but it usually just gets in the way. More interestingly, pressing the power and volume up buttons will start recording a video grab of whatever you do on screen.

There are also a few other apps: CoolShow offers a few themes, though several sections such as Lock Screen Style and Font style have only one option with no visible way of downloading more. Cool Service is probably meant to help users get to an authorised service location, but we couldn't find a single one in India – perhaps this information will get added at a later stage. WeChat, Whatsapp, Facebook, WPS Office, and Amazon are also preloaded. Not all are removable.

coolpad_note3_fingerprintapps_ndtv.jpg

Fingerprint reader setup was quick and easy. An app called Fingerprint Management takes you through the setup process, where you can define up to five prints and assign shortcuts to them such as directly unlocking the phone and launching any app from sleep. You can also set one up as a photo trigger – you can launch the camera app and take a photo in just one motion even when the phone is asleep. A second app, FP Lock, lets you prevent unauthorised access to any apps on the device – but it works with all enrolled fingerprints, not a specific one of your choosing.

Performance
The Coolpad Note 3 was generally a pleasure to use, and we didn't see the slightest sign of any lags or stuttering in the UI. Apps opened quickly and multitasking was smooth. The rear of the device did get a little warm when stressed out, but no so much that it was uncomfortable to hold. We had a bit of trouble using the phone outdoors in bright sunshine, but faced no other issues with the display.

coolpad_note_3_slots_ndtv.jpg

The fingerprint reader is of course what we were most intrigued with, and in our time with the phone, it worked just fine. True to the company's claims, fingerprints are recognised quickly and in any orientation. However, with the sensor on the back, it isn't useful when the phone is lying on a table and you just want to check something quickly. It also only really feels comfortable when used with index fingers, maybe because of the size of this particular phone. You can enrol more fingers and assign shortcuts to them, but it's too awkward to become a habit.

We got a score of 35,674 in AnTuTu while Quadrant delivered 19,549 points overall. Graphics scores were also good, with 19fps in GFXbench and 4,461 points in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme. Performance is a little lower than that of the Lenovo K3 Note (Review | Pictures) and roughly on par with that of the Yu Yureka Plus (Review), taking into account the fact that both alternatives have 1080p screens.

coolpad_note_3_camera_ndtv.jpg

The phone stuttered a little when playing a heavily encoded 1080p video. Sound was surprisingly rich and clear, but the placement of the speaker on the rear means you can't leave the phone face up on a table when playing music or watching videos.

The camera app is well designed, and we liked the independent focus and exposure reticules. Pro mode copies the old Nokia concept of rings that act as sliders for different controls. You also get a few modes such as one for dim lighting and one for panoramas. Images looked really good on the phone itself, with impressive detailing in closeups and some nice depth of field effects as well.

They still looked great on a big screen, as long as we didn't zoom in to actual size. At that point, detail and textures clearly suffered. Compression was evident, though colours were still vibrant. Some of the shots we took in daylight were absolutely stunning for a phone in this price range. At night, things were heavily dependent on light sources. The camera did okay when there was at least some direct illumination.

coolpad_note_3_camsample_day2_ndtv.jpgcoolpad_note_3_camsample_night1_ndtv.jpg

(Click to see full size)

The battery ran for 11 hours, 26 minutes in our video loop test which is pretty great. You can expect to get a full day of active usage from each charge, including games and a lot of Web browsing. 4G worked well for us and we had no problem with voice call quality either.

Verdict
Coolpad has major plans for India, including local manufacturing. The company will be leveraging all its strengths to drive costs down, putting pressure on every other player in the market. It is also prepared to refresh its product lineup every three months in order to deal with any new competition that might arise. On the other hand, the insistence on using flash sales through a single online retail partner will severely limit Coolpad's reach.

It might be really hard to get your hands on a Coolpad Note 3 for some time, but it should be well worth it. The combination of features, performance and material quality that you get at this price is surprisingly strong. The Lenovo K3 Note (Review | Pictures) and Yu Yureka Plus (Review), priced at Rs. 9,999 and Rs. 8,999 respectively are the most obvious competitors and are both now available without flash sales. Both offer full-HD screens but no fingerprint sensor and less RAM.

What it boils down to is the fingerprint sensor. If this is the feature you really want – and it's understandable that it would be – then you should get in line to buy a Coolpad Note 3. If not, you could also consider trading a few specs and picking up either of these two strong competitors.


Coolpad Note 3 in pictures

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Coolpad Note 3

Coolpad Note 3

R 8999 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Quick and accurate fingerprint sensor
  • Good performance
  • Good camera
  • Good battery life
  • Bad
  • Limited availability
  • Unappealing UI customisations

Read detailed Coolpad Note 3 review

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

1.3GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

720×1280 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 5.1

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh See full Coolpad Note 3 specifications

  • Best Camera Phones Under Rs. 10,000 [February 2016]

  • Best Phone Under Rs. 10,000 [January 2016]

  • Coolpad to Manufacture 1 Million 'Made in India' Phones in H1 2016

  • Coolpad Note 3 Review

More Coolpad mobilesOriginal NDTV Gadgets

Moto X Style Review: Falling a Bit Short

Moto X Style Review: Falling a Bit Short

Motorola struck a chord with Android purists with the original Moto X back in 2013, and it resonated loud and clear in India too. Since then, the company has been on a winning streak with very successful launches in the budget and upper mid-range phone segments. The company's outgoing flagship, the Moto X (Gen 2) (Review | Pictures), added some much-needed improvements to the camera and battery performance of the original. Today, we have the third generation of the device, but instead of calling it 'Gen 3', Motorola has gone with the name Moto X Style or Pure Edition, as its known in some countries.

The Moto X Style features incremental updates in most areas and fixes one major gripe we had with its predecessor, which was the lack of expandable storage. But is this enough to make it a must-have for those shopping in the Rs 30,000 segment? Motorola's own Google Nexus 6 (Review | Pictures) retails for around the same price point today, and offers very similar specifications as well as the added advantage of being the first to get the latest flavor of Android. Let's see if the Moto X Style can manage to win the hearts of Android purists.

Look and Feel
The one thing we really love is that Motorola has stuck with its iconic design language, which makes the Moto X Style instantly recognisable. It's not a head-turner by any means and one could easily mistake it for a Moto G (Gen 3) (Review), which is the company's current value offering. This is only in terms of looks though, as the phone feels very premium when you actually hold it. The metal frame and soft-touch rubber back feel very comfortable, and give you adequate grip too. The Moto X Style is also noticeably heavier at 179g, and fatter, measuring 11.1mm in thickness.

Motorola_moto_x_style_back_ndtv.jpg

The power and volume buttons are well within reach, with the former featuring a coarser texture to make it more easily identifiable. The Micro-USB port is placed at the bottom while the 3.5mm headphone socket and SIM/microSD card tray sits on the top. The Moto X Style sports front-facing stereo speakers as well as an LED flash for the front 5-megapixel camera. There are three infrared sensors spread along the edges of the front fascia which are used to activate Moto Display. There isn't a notification LED but then again, you don't really need it since Moto Display gives you a lot more information by simply hovering your palm over the screen.

The Moto X Style packs in a 21-megapixel primary camera, which is lifted from the Moto Turbo (Review). There's also a dual-LED flash unit just beneath the sensor, followed by the Motorola logo. This recessed logo would have been a great spot for a fingerprint sensor, which we're hoping will feature in next year's upgrade. Finally, there's a non-removable 3000mAh battery underneath the back cover.

The size of the display has been bumped up from 5.2 inches to 5.7 inches and so has the resolution, which is now Quad HD (1440×2560). The Moto X Style also gets an IP52 certification which makes it dust- and water-repellent. While all these improvements are welcome, we're a little disappointed that Motorola went with a TFT display instead of a Amoled panel like it has with its earlier flagships. Don't get us wrong, the display is very good in terms of brightness levels and colour saturation, but we miss the inky blacks and vividness that we're used to on Motorola's previous flagships. This also affects the way Moto Display functions, as the entire screen now has to be lit up as opposed to just the pixels which show you the notifications. Last but not least, there's Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.

Motorola_moto_x_style_bundle_ndtv.jpg

The phone is packaged in a much more elaborate retail box than previous models have been. Inside, you'll find the charger, headset, SIM ejector tool, instructions, and a clear plastic bumper case. The case is a nice afterthought but makes the phone bulkier and ruins the look so you might prefer going without it. The bundled charger supports Motorola's TurboPower feature which promises 8 hours of use with a 15-minute charge. Unfortunately, it's not modular so you can't use the cable to connect the phone to a PC to transfer data.

Specifications and Software
The Motorola Moto X Style rocks a relatively new Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC, which is a hexa-core chip with four ARM Cortex-A53 cares and two ARM Cortex-A57 cores. There's 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage which can be expanded by up to 128GB. Other specifications include 4G LTE (Band 40), Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GLONASS, NFC, USB OTG and Miracast. Wireless charging and FM radio are absent.

Motorola_moto_x_style_turbo_ndtv.jpg

Android purists will really love the Moto X Style for its Nexus-like software. You get vanilla Android 5.1.1 out-of-the-box with a guaranteed update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Motorola has added its usual suite of apps including Connect, Migrate, and a new consolidated app for Assist, Actions, Voice and Display simply called Moto. You also get the slightly tweaked Gallery app which can create a 'highlight reel' from your recent photos and videos for easy sharing. We've already talked at length about Motorola's gesture and voice features in the Moto G (Gen 3) review and the Moto X (Gen 2) so we'll just skim over them here.

motorola_moto_x_style_software_ndtv.jpg

Moto Voice is similar to Google's voice search feature, which lets you perform tasks like making calls or searching the Web by simply speaking. You can set up a launch phrase which wakes up the voice assistant when the phone is in standby. Training it to record the launch phrase is a bit of a pain but once set up, it works well.

Moto Display lets you see your notifications without having to turn the display on. You can even block certain apps from showing notifications through Moto Display. Moto Actions now lets you turn on the torch by performing a double karate chop gesture, while Moto Assist can automatically perform a set of preset tasks when you're driving, in a meeting, or sleeping.

Performance
With no custom skin bogging Android down, performance is very snappy. The interface is smooth with no noticeable stutter in transitions and when multitasking. The phone handles demanding games and apps very well. We noticed that it does tend to get warm rather quickly, even when watching standard definition video content for long periods.

Motorola_moto_x_style_sim_ndtv.jpg

The Snapdragon 808 SoC posts some good numbers in benchmarks. AnTuTu gave us a score of 47,990 while GFXBench returned 24fps. However, these figures are only marginally better than last year's model, which had the Snapdragon 801 SoC, and is at times inferior to the Google Nexus 6, which is powered by the Snapdragon 805. This doesn't make the Moto X Style a slouch by any means, it's just that the performance improvement isn't much when compared to its predecessor.

Call quality is good and the phone easily latched onto 4G networks wherever possible. In fact, we managed to get a strong 4G signal where other phones sometimes struggle. There's also LTE support for both SIM slots.

Motorola_moto_x_style_camera_ndtv.jpg

The phone handles video playback very well. All our test files, including high-bitrate ones, played without a hitch. Watching videos or listening to music is especially enjoyable thanks to the front-firing stereo speakers. The sound doesn't distort at high volumes and is easily audible even in noisy environments. The audio and video player is from stock Android Lollipop, although Motorola has added an 'Audio effects' option in the Settings app which lets you tweak the audio for the headset and speaker. Speaking of the headset, audio quality is quite average and the ear buds don't sit in your ear comfortably.

Motorola_moto_x_style_smaple_ndtv.jpg

(Click to see full size)

The 21-megapixel camera looks great on paper but in reality, it's strictly average when compared to other flagship phones. Landscapes and macros look good on the phone's display but zooming in reveals a lot of missing detail. The post-processing in the camera tends to make a mess of finer details in the picture, which is noticeable once you zoom in. Motorola has also stuck with the same annoying autofocus system, which feels outdated when compared to other implementations. You have to drag the reticule around to focus as tapping the screen will immediately take a picture. Low-light shots aren't very good either, and appear blotchy.

Motorola_moto_x_style_sample_2_ndtv.jpg

(Click to see full size)

We do like the half-carousel design for quickly changing camera settings. For video, we now have 4K along with 1080p and 720p slow-motion. Recorded videos are good, especially 4K, but slow-motion videos are pretty poor. It's not about the resolution being limited to 720p but more to do with the quality itself, which appears interlaced. Thanks to the expandable storage however, you should have no reason to not shoot in 4K all the time. The front-facing camera does a decent job at taking selfies, and the flash comes in handy in low light.

Battery life on the Moto X Style is a bit disappointing as well. We only managed 7 hours, 52 minutes in our video loop test, which is less than what the Moto X (Gen 2) delivered. We feel the two probable reasons for such an underwhelming performance are the QHD screen and the power-hungry SoC. With everyday usage, we just about managed to squeeze out a full days' worth of usage but then we had to consciously keep gaming and camera usage to a minimum for this.

Motorola_moto_x_style_moto_ndtv.jpg

Verdict
The Motorola Moto X Style is far from the home run we were expecting, which is quite disheartening. All the ingredients are present on paper but somehow they just don't come together, and the end result leaves you wanting more. We like that the company has stuck with the philosophy of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' when it comes to the design and has only made things better by adding metal to the construction. The phone also checks all the boxes when you consider expandable storage, 4G LTE, general performance, and a good display.

The trouble is that Motorola's very own Google Nexus 6 poses stiff competition to the Moto X Style and, it's a tad less expensive as well. It has a more powerful SoC, better battery life, wireless charging, and optical image stabilisation for the camera. If expandable storage isn't much of a concern then we recommend picking the Nexus 6 over the Moto X Play. The former doesn't support LTE on Band 40 but it does support Band 3, so you will be able to use it once other carriers roll out 4G later in the year. The LG Nexus 5X is another option to look out for if pure Android is what you're after. However, we'll only know how good (or bad) it really is once we test it so we'll reserve our judgment on that for now.

As a flagship, the Motorola Moto X Style is a little tough to recommend at its current price, especially when you have a much better all-rounder such as the Google Nexus 6 going for roughly the same amount. Unexciting camera performance and battery life continue to haunt Motorola's flagship phones, which prevents the Moto X Style from becoming an otherwise excellent package.


Motorola Moto X Style in pictures

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Motorola Moto X Style

Motorola Moto X Style

R 31999 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Expandable storage
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good display
  • Pure Android experience
  • Bad
  • Weak battery life
  • Average camera performance

Read detailed Motorola Moto X Style review

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

1.8GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 5.1.1

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

21-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh See full Motorola Moto X Style specifications

  • Moto X Style Starts Receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update: Reports

  • Moto X Style, Moto X (Gen 2) Start Receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update

  • Motorola Moto X Style Review: Falling a Bit Short

  • Moto X Style vs. Moto X Play: Six Key Differences

More Motorola mobilesOriginal NDTV Gadgets

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review: Monster’s Ball

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review: Monster's Ball

Resident Evil is a long-running video game franchise with a dedicated audience that's known even outside gaming circles thanks to a series of (mostly awful) movies starring Milla Jovovich. Resident Evil HD Remaster is a recent remake of a 2002 Nintendo GameCube game, which was a remake of a 1996 game for the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC. There's a lot of history in this title, and it's a very faithful remake that helps highlight just how much the series – and gaming in general – has changed in nearly two decades.

For a game that's based on code that's 13 years old, Resident Evil HD Remaster looks stellar. It might not have the eye candy of remasters of last generation games such as Metro Redux or The Last of Us, but it is significantly better looking than the Resident Evil 4 remaster, which looked just a shade above the GameCube original. Playing on a PC with anti-aliasing enabled further improves the graphics, with the game still being capable of hitting 60 frames per second.

It also brings back the "tank" controls of the series – something that was dropped completely from Resident Evil 6. This control scheme allowed you to either move, or turn – something that was necessitated with a fixed camera system that changed perspectives because of character movement, and compounded by the fact that the original PlayStation did not have analog sticks.

Crows_Resident_Evil_HD_Remaster_capcom.jpg

These controls are there in the remaster as well, so you have to stop, then turn, and then move back or forward. Some people will appreciate the authenticity and the added tension these controls create, but we were pleased to see that a modern control scheme that lets you move and turn at the same time using the analog sticks is also there in the options, and it makes the game much more accessible, especially to a newer audience.

There are other signs too that you're playing a classic game. You will frequently have to backtrack through the game's world, navigating through it by rote memorisation. The puzzles are confounding and more often than not you'll find yourself back in the same area you were a while earlier, dealing with vague clues to solve seemingly impossible enigmas.

Most modern games abhor backtracking and the lack of a hint system, Resident Evil HD Remaster is a throwback to a time when 3D had its first impact on game design and production. The end result is one fraught with frustration and the inevitable feeling of success amplified by the sheer obtuseness of the puzzle design that will have you glued to your favourite game walkthrough site as you progress. It's a heady mix that compels you to trudge on.

armour_resident_evil_hd_remake_capcom.jpg

There's an inventory system that demands you to make the most of each item you come across. Space is limited and this pushes you to choose items wisely. Anything you come across can be placed in storage in the mansion's safe rooms making item management a meta-game in itself, like a survival horror themed game of Tetris. Take the wrong item with you and you'll find yourself trudging back more often than not.

Another throwback to simpler times is the save system. Instead of modern checkpoints that automatically save your game, here you'll find yourself scrounging around drawers and cabinets in search for ink ribbons; these can be used up at typewriters you'll find in different places to save your progress.

This is one part of the game we wish was modernised in the remastered version. The last thing you want is scurrying around with low ammo and walking corpses galore as you search for ink ribbons and a typewriter to save your progress.

If you're not smart with your inventory, this will be a regular occurrence as we soon discovered. All this makes Resident Evil HD Remaster more suited for long hours of play than quick 20-minute bursts, so make sure you have time set aside.

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And we highly recommend you do set the time aside. The game itself remains a classic, with a wide array of enemies from rabid zombie dogs to gargantuan spiders, with a liberal sprinkling of the shambling dead that make for survival horror gold. All of this is accentuated by the game's setting, and barring a few additional scenes, very little has changed. The game puts you in the shoes of Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, investigating a series of murders that involve cannibalism. The clues lead them to Spencer Mansion, which is teeming with an assortment of monsters and puzzles galore. The two have their own unique skills – Chris is tougher, while Jill has more ammunition and can pick locks.

The combat heightens the horror. You can't run and shoot as you would in most modern titles – you have to stand still to aim your guns, and that, coupled with perennially low ammunition means you have to pick your fights wisely. Avoiding open firefights is the better choice more often than not.

Resident Evil HD Remaster's design restrictions heighten the game's survival horror feel, proving that less is indeed more. It delivers tension, horror, and fear liberally. In exchange, you have to commit your time to the game, and put up with some seemingly archaic conventions. In today's world of in-app purchase-laden affairs, it's a welcome throwback to when games demanded you, instead of money.

We played a retail copy of Resident Evil HD Remaster on the PlayStation 4. Resident Evil HD Remaster is available on the PC for $19.99 (around Rs. 1300) on Steam; PS3 and PS4 for Rs. 1,664 and Xbox One at Rs. 1,120. Globally it's out on the Xbox 360 as well, but the Indian Xbox 360 digital store did not have it listed last we checked.

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Original article from NDTV Gadgets