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OnePlus X Review

OnePlus X Review

You’ve probably heard of OnePlus. This small smartphone manufacturer from China was founded less than two years ago by a former vice-president of Oppo and set up shop in India late last year. The company uses an innovative invite-based system for distributing limited quantities of its devices while creating hype and a level of demand that far outstrips the supply. The marketing department of OnePlus is run by absolute geniuses.

Soon after launching this year’s ‘flagship killer’, the OnePlus 2 (Review), the company launched a more budget-friendly model, the Rs. 16,999 OnePlus X. Our initial impressions of the device were that it is essentially a smaller OnePlus One (Review | Pictures). Is this all the ‘little’ OnePlus is about, or is there more to it? Find out in our review.

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Look and feel
Initially (and unofficially) referred to as the OnePlus Mini, the X is smaller and easier to handle than either of the company’s previous smartphones. Apart from the obvious difference in screen size that dictates the length and width, the OnePlus X is also considerably slimmer at 6.9mm. Combined with a metal frame, glass back and a slight curve in the glass front at its edges, the X is attractive and feels great to hold.

The device is available in two colours, Onyx and Ceramic. The latter is priced considerably higher at Rs. 22,999 and is expected to be a limited edition, although no availability details have been announced for India yet. Realistically, you’re limited to the Onyx variant, which is just a fancy word for black. The metal frame of the device is grey, with a striped texture that further contributes to the attractive look of the OnePlus X.

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The back of the OnePlus X is glass, and is surprisingly sturdy and resistant to damage. OnePlus has not specified if it is reinforced. The black material under the glass makes the back highly reflective, a look we rather like. The top-left corner has the camera and flash, while the OnePlus logo sits just inside the top-third. This minimalist look goes well with the reflective back.

The frame of the OnePlus X is metal, with a lined pattern that continues all around the device. The top has the 3.5mm socket and a secondary microphone, the left has the notifications slider, the bottom has the speaker grille and USB port, while the right side has the power and volume keys and the SIM tray. There are two visible grilles at the bottom, but only the one on the left actually houses a speaker. The right grille is designed that way only for design symmetry.

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It’s important to note that we had some issues with the power and volume keys within the first couple of hours of unpacking our review unit. The power key was bent out of position for no apparent reason, and forced the device to go into a reboot loop. While we were able to fix this quickly and the power key remained functional, it stayed bent for the remainder of our time with the phone. Additionally, on one occasion, the volume rocker also popped out of place till we pushed it back in. We aren’t certain if these build issues could affect all stocks of this phone, or are specific to our review sample, but it’s certainly something to be aware of if you plan to buy the OnePlus X.

The notifications slider is another feature we found interesting. This is a three-position switch which lets you choose how many notifications you wish to receive. The lowest position will allow all notifications through, the middle position will only enable priority notifications, while the top position blocks everything. While some users might like this functionality, we didn’t really find it useful. The switch could have been used to control ringer profiles, such as loud, vibrate and mute, which would have been much more appealing. Unfortunately, the switch’s functions are not customisable, so it’s something we ignored during our time with the device.

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The OnePlus X has a 5-inch full-HD Amoled screen which we absolutely loved. It’s incredibly sharp, detailed and vibrant, as is to be expected. It’s comfortable on the eyes and easy to view even from odd angles and under sunlight. Furthermore, the phone takes advantage of the Amoled technology to enable a low power ‘duochrome’ mode, which wakes the phone to show you the time and any notifications without lighting up the entire screen. This uses the proximity sensor and doesn’t always work well. Also important to mention is the fact that the soft keys at the front are not backlit, but can be deactivated and replaced with on-screen soft keys through the Settings app.

The OnePlus X comes with a factory-fitted screen protector film. This could be a welcome addition, since many people will want to apply a screen protector anyway. Unfortunately, the protector doesn’t cover the entire front of the device, leaving the curved edges exposed. This also takes away some of the tactile appeal of the curve. However, to most users, some protection is better than none.

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Specifications and software
The OnePlus X runs on a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with an integrated Adreno 330 GPU. This chip was used in many of the popular flagship smartphones of 2014. Although it’s not the most modern now, it’s still a capable SoC that offers excellent performance and outdoes this year’s Snapdragon 615 in most benchmarks. Although the use of a previous-generation processor on a late-2015 smartphone might come off as questionable, we were more than satisfied with the performance of the OnePlus X for its price.

Apart from the SoC, the OnePlus X also has 16GB of internal storage, dual-SIM connectivity, 3GB of RAM, and a non-removable 2525mAh battery. The SIM tray has slots for two nano-SIM cards which both support 4G connectivity, but the second slot is hybrid and will force you to choose between expandable storage (up to 128GB) and a second SIM. Charging and data transfers are done through a standard Micro-USB port, but this phone unfortunately does not support fast charging. NFC and wireless charging are not supported either.

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While the OnePlus One initially came with Cyanogen OS, later versions switched to the company’s own Oxygen OS. The OnePlus 2 and X have stuck to the new operating system, and version 2 of Oxygen OS is preinstalled. On powering up the device and connecting to the Internet, an update to Oxygen version 2.1.2 was immediately available for the OnePlus X. The current version is based on Android 5.1.1.

Oxygen OS itself is very similar to stock Android Lollipop in terms of look and feel, especially in the app drawer and notification and quick settings bar. There are a few additions on top of stock Android’s typical features, such as a detailed app permissions screen which lets you tweak the permissions granted to specific apps, a ‘dark mode’ that changes the general look of the interface to darker colours, customisable colours for the notification light, and custom screen control gestures, among others. UI performance, too, is in line with what we’re used to on stock Android.

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The ‘buttons’ menu is something that Oxygen OS has taken inspiration from Cyanogen OS on, and adds some interesting customisation options. The non-backlit Android soft keys were quite bothersome, lacked proper markings and were hard to use, so we were quick to deactivate them and replace them with an on-screen navigation bar. Additionally, the Back and Recents buttons can have their positions swapped, based on your personal preferences. You can also choose to leave the off-screen home button active even when using on-screen keys. If you choose to use the capacitive keys, you can set up additional long-press and double-tap commands.

The Shelf feature, which can be accessed by swiping left from the primary home screen, is simply a weather forecast and list of frequently used apps and contacts. On the whole, it’s a decent custom user interface that retains the best of stock Android but still adds enough to keep the system interesting and useful to users who want more control over their devices.

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Camera
The OnePlus X has a 13-megapixel f/2.2 primary camera with single-tone flash, along with an 8-megapixel f/2.4 front camera. Both are capable of recording up to 1080p video in normal mode. The rear camera can additionally record slow-motion video at 120fps, but only at a resolution of 720p.

The camera app is designed to look like Google Camera, but has a few differences. There are buttons for quickly toggling the flash, self-timer and camera switcher, but accessing beauty, HDR and clear image mode is a two-step process. Video, panorama, time lapse and slow-motion modes also require some swiping to get to. Although Oxygen 2.1 brings a manual mode to the OnePlus 2, manual settings remain absent on the OnePlus X even after the update. You can, however, easily set the photo and video resolution.

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The camera itself is quick to shoot, and is excellent in terms of colour and lighting reproduction. Shadows and sunlight interweave splendidly in outdoor shots, while indoor pictures bring out the best in both well-lit and low-light conditions. Unfortunately, that’s where our praise for the camera ends. Looking at our sample shots closely, we found a glaring lack of detail in every shot we took.

Noise and grain are plentiful without even zooming in all the way, and it’s impossible to distinctly make out any detail in pictures of subjects that are more than a few feet away. Even in close-ups, anything outside the focus area is utterly lacking in definition and clarity. The front camera has the same issues, and is as such only somewhat usable outdoors. Indoor shots are far too grainy and noisy to be considered any good.

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Performance
Thanks to the capable Snapdragon 801 SoC under the hood and the efficient operating system and interface, the OnePlus X is a decent performer. It’s helped along by the 3GB of RAM, and moving around the interface and through most apps is snappy. The device ran our test videos well, including the heavily encoded files, and ran our usual test games comfortably too. There were slight heating issues when playing Angry Birds 2 and Dead Trigger 2, which also caused some heavy battery drain.

The OnePlus X performed capably in most of our benchmark tests. It scored 24fps in GFXBench and maxed out in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme, producing a score of 16,207 in Ice Storm Unlimited. AnTuTu returned a score of 40,773, while Quadrant produced a score of 24,013. All of these scores are in line with a lot of 2014’s flagship devices, and are excellent considering this phone’s Rs. 16,999 price tag.

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The phone does well in terms of call quality and holding on to Wi-Fi and mobile networks as well. Sound volume from the single speaker is a bit weak, but the device does produce good audio when you connect a pair of headphones.

The X ran for 11 hours, 54 minutes in our video loop test, which is excellent for a 2525mAh battery. However, we found that in practical situations, the battery wasn’t quite as capable. As previously stated, gaming and other intensive tasks would cause serious battery drain. The device will only last a full day on a complete charge if used carefully and conservatively. While calls and texting don’t affect the battery too much, Web browsing and gaming tend to eat away at it much more than we’ve seen on other similarly specced devices.

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Verdict
OnePlus has made serious waves in the smartphone industry since its rather dramatic arrival on the scene less than a year ago. It’s offered products that have matched flagship specifications at prices that are much lower. Questions have been raised over the company’s products from time to time, and the invite-only system for purchasing OnePlus phones, at least while they’re still new, continues to annoy potential buyers. However, despite all of this, they can still capture everyone’s attention.

Where does the OnePlus X stand in all of this? It’s a decent mid-budget device that offers strong performance using a dated but powerful SoC and more than enough RAM. It also boasts of great looks, a premium feel, good software, and a superb screen. However, the quality of the build is somewhat questionable, and the camera is utterly lacking in detail and definition. Heat dissipation issues have a tendency to negatively affect battery life. If you do choose to go for the OnePlus X and manage to get your hands on an invite, this is a decently rounded phone which offers a good combination of performance, looks and software.


OnePlus X in pictures

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OnePlus X

OnePlus X

R 16999 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Looks good
  • Great display
  • Decent performance
  • Good software
  • Bad
  • Poor camera performance
  • Heat dissipation issues affect battery life
  • Questionable build quality

Read detailed OnePlus X review

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

2.3GHz

Front Camera

8-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 5.1.1

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

2525mAh See full OnePlus X specifications

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Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 Review

Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 Review

Indians, like many others, are obsessed with the selfie and smartphone makers are only happy to oblige. While some feel this menace should be banned, there’s no denying that the trend has given birth to niche market for gadgets and accessories to fulfil your selfie appetite. After our recent outing with the Asus Zenfone Selfie (Review | Pictures), which happened to be a pretty decent phone, we have the second generation of Micromax’s offering based on the same theme, the Canvas Selfie 2.

Unlike Asus, Micromax is targeting the cash-strapped individual for whom pouting in front of a lens is almost a religion. At Rs. 5,999, it’s one of the cheapest ‘selfie’ smartphones in the market, but is it worth it? Let’s find out.

Look and feel
The build and finish of entry-level smartphones have certainly improved over the years. The Canvas Selfie 2 actually has decent construction quality and the plastics used don’t feel overly cheap. Micromax has borrowed some design elements from its Yu series, which makes the phone comfortable to hold with a firm grip. There’s a soft-rubber finish for the sides and a rougher texture for the back panel.

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In the front we have a 5-inch, IPS display with a 480×854 resolution, which is quite low and results in slightly jagged icons and text. The selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and is placed towards the centre of the top. There’s also a notification LED between the camera and earpiece.

The phone has capacitive buttons for navigation, which are thankfully backlit. The power button and volume rocker are on the right and are comfortable to reach. The Micro-USB port and headphones socket are at the bottom and top respectively. The primary camera also has a 5-megapixel sensor, which presumably keeps the cost of the phone as low as possible. There’s a single LED flash to accompany it, and a Micromax logo in the centre. The speaker is placed at the bottom.

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The 2000mAh battery is removable. There’s also room here for the two 3G SIM slots and a microSD card. In the box, you get a modular charger, in-ear headset, instruction booklet and screen guard.

The Canvas Selfie 2 is 9mm thick and is comfortably light. The phone looks pretty generic on the whole but is built well considering the price. We’re surprised that Micromax didn’t throw in an LED flash for the front camera given that this is supposed to be a selfie phone.

Specifications and software
Powering the phone is a quad-core Mediatek MT6582M SoC with speeds of up to 1.3GHz, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on board storage (4.74GB actually usable). MicroSD card support goes up to 32GB. There’s also Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and FM radio. There’s no USB OTG support, GLONASS, or NFC. The phone does not support 4G but you get 3G on both SIM slots.

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Micromax installs Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Canvas Selfie 2 along with a host of not-very-useful apps. There’s no custom skin but you have a choice between the stock launcher and Firstouch launcher. The latter gets rid of the app drawer and lays out all your apps on multiple screens. It’s not the best layout and is a bit confusing if you’re used to the organised style that an app drawer provides. You also get the option for switching the language to Hindi.

Coming to the pre-installed apps, there’s AppBazaar, which is a custom app store; App Center, which is yet another app store with even fewer apps; Chaatz, which is Snapchat-like messaging app, M!Live, which is the company’s own app store; and Scandid, which is a deal and coupon aggregator. Other apps include SnapDeal, Quikr, SwiftKey, NewsHunt, Kindle, Hotstar, and Clean Master.

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While most of the third-party apps can be uninstalled, you can’t get rid of the three app stores, which is quite frustrating since they are redundant and are unnecessarily eating up the limited amount of on board storage space.

Performance
Despite the lowly 1GB of RAM, the Canvas Selfie 2 is not what you’d call sluggish. There’s a slight delay in loading apps and demanding games like Dead Trigger 2 doesn’t give you the best experience, but on the whole, Lollipop itself runs quite smoothly. Neither the phone nor the display heat up much even when watching a video for a couple of hours.

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The display and the capacitive buttons don’t have the best touch response. We noticed that they would intermittently fail to register our touch input. The screen has decent viewing angles but the brightness level is quite low even when maxed out, which makes using it under sunlight a bit of a struggle. However, colour reproduction is satisfactory.

The quad-core Mediatek SoC managed 20,426 points in AnTuTu and 9.5FPS in GFXbench. This is decent considering the barebones hardware Android is running on.

We didn’t have any issue with network stability, and the phone latched on to 3G networks easily. Call quality was also decent with a good volume level for the earpiece. The same goes for the mono speaker, which is sufficiently loud for alerts and media playback.

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The Canvas Selfie 2 handles full-HD videos and even managed our high bit-rate test files without any noticeable frame skipping. The bundled headset is comfortable to wear and provides decent ambient noise isolation. However, audio quality is not very good so you’re better off buying a separate pair.

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(Click to view full-size image)
Coming to the main selling point of the phone, the Canvas Selfie’s front-facing camera leaves a lot to be desired. We feel that Micromax could have done so much more to make it a true selfie machine. The 5-megapixel sensor in the front does not have auto focus or a flash to help you out in low light. The sensor does a decent job under good lighting though, and you can also have the option of smile detection for automatically taking your picture when you smile, and face beauty to cover up blemishes.

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(Click to view full-size image)
The rear camera has the same sensor but with auto-focus and few more shooting modes such as Night and Live Photo. You can also use HDR mode. The camera interface is very basic and easy to use. Auto focus is decent under good lighting but gets very slow in low light. The level of detail and vividness of colours captured for landscapes and macros is strictly average so you really shouldn’t expect too much here. Video recording maxes out at full-HD and the quality is passable.

The 2000mAh capacity battery might seem too little, but due to the low resolution display, you can easily pull off a day’s worth of usage. We managed this pretty easily during our testing. In our video loop test, the phone managed to run for 9 hours and 7 minutes before shutting down automatically.

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Verdict
The Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 is not the worst option in the sub-Rs. 6,000 price bracket. We feel that the company could have done much more for the front camera considering the phone’s whole USP is taking selfies. An auto focus sensor and a flash are the bare minimum requirements in our books for a phone to be called selfie-centric. Without these things, it’s just another entry-level smartphone.

The Canvas Selfie 2 has good build quality, supports 3G on both SIM slots, runs Android Lollipop, plays full-HD video and is easy on the wallet. However, the display is low resolution, you can’t uninstall the redundant app stores, battery life is average, and the selfie camera leaves a lot to be desired.

If you can stretch your budget a bit more, the Meizu m2 (Review | Pictures) is a good bet as it also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera but supports 4G and many other features that the Micromax lacks.


Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 in pictures

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Micromax Canvas Selfie 2

Micromax Canvas Selfie 2

R 5900 3.0

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Good build and finish
  • Android Lollipop
  • 3G on both SIM slots
  • Decent battery life
  • Bad
  • Underwhelming selfie camera
  • Some bloatware can’t be uninstalled
  • Low-resolution display

Read detailed Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 review

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

1.3GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

480×854 pixels

RAM

1GB

OS

Android 5.0

Storage

8GB

Rear Camera

5-megapixel

Battery capacity

2000mAh See full Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 specifications

  • Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 Review
  • Micromax Canvas Selfie 2, Canvas Selfie 3 Android Smartphones Launched

More Micromax mobilesOriginal NDTV Gadgets

Nexus 6P Review

Nexus 6P Review

Google’s Nexus range of devices has become iconic, with a devoted following. In a departure from precedent, this year’s Nexus range has two smartphones: the Nexus 5X (Review | Pictures) and the Nexus 6P. The current Nexus device has always been used to show off the newest version of Android, and now Android Marshmallow comes pre-loaded on both new models.

While the polycarbonate Nexus 5X has been designed to appeal to the majority of buyers thanks to its convenient size and lower price, the Huawei-built Nexus 6P is an all-metal powerhouse of a smartphone. Priced at Rs. 39,999 for the 32GB variant and Rs. 42,999 for the 64GB variant, the Nexus 6P is Google’s idea of premium. This is a device meant to satisfy the needs of the Android elite; the no-holds-barred smartphone that represents Android in the purest sense. Does the Nexus 6P live up to those expectations? We find out in our review.

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Look and feel
The 6P is the flagship product of the Nexus range, and Google has stated that the ‘P’ stands for ‘Premium’. One look at the device had us in complete agreement; the Nexus 6P, with its metal frame and body looks nothing short of fantastic. While the majority of the back and side surfaces have a dull finish, the edges have a highly reflective finish that makes the Nexus 6P glisten beautifully from all angles.

The front of the device is 71.4 percent screen, which is centred perfectly. The top and bottom have the dual stereo speakers, while the front camera and LED notification light are in the top left corner. Unlike a lot of other Android phones, Nexus smartphones are free of branding on the front. Since the Galaxy Nexus, they have all used on-screen buttons rather than soft keys, and the Nexus 6P is no exception.

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The back of the phone has the iconic ‘Nexus’ branding, along with a Huawei logo in much smaller text right below. The fingerprint sensor sits one-third of the way down, centred so it’s easy to reach with either hand. The upper back has a noticeable bump, with a black “visor” band on which the camera and flash are located. The laser autofocus window for the rear camera is located here as well. It all looks great, and doesn’t stick out from the rest of the device.

The top, bottom and sides of the Nexus 6P are similar to those of most unibody Android devices, with the power and volume keys on the right, the Type-C USB port on the bottom, the 3.5mm socket on the top, and the SIM tray on the left. The positioning of the power and volume keys isn’t very convenient, and they are a little hard to reach. It required an adjustment in our grip of the phone to reach for either of these. However, once the fingerprint sensor was set up, we didn’t need to reach for the power button so often.

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With a massive screen and a weight of 178g, the Nexus 6P is among the heaviest we’ve tested this year. One of the biggest complaints with last year’s Nexus 6 was that it was simply too big and expensive. This year, the Nexus 5X exists for exactly that reason: to offer buyers a more convenient and more affordable option. Having said that, the Nexus 6P isn’t the easiest phone to hold or slip into your pocket, although the curved back and sloped edges do help a little bit in this department. However, the size does have its advantages, the biggest of which is the high-resolution screen.

At 5.7 inches across and with a resolution of 1440×2560 pixels, the Nexus 6P’s screen has a density of 518 pixels-per-inch. Naturally, this makes for some of the most detailed and sharp visuals we’ve seen on a smartphone. The screen is bright, vibrant and comfortable on the eyes even at different viewing angles and under harsh sunlight. The size and quality of the screen makes the Nexus 6P excellent for watching movies and videos. This is a visually stunning device that lives up to the ‘Premium’ name that Google has given it.

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Specifications
As the flagship Nexus device, the Nexus 6P has a specifications sheet that can put most other smartphones to shame. It’s powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 SoC, with its primary four cores clocked at 2GHz and the secondary four cores at 1.55GHz, and an integrated Adreno 430 GPU. There’s also 3GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of internal storage (non-expandable). The phone supports a single SIM with 4G compatibility (Indian bands supported), Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. It also has a non-removable 3450mAh battery.

Like the Nexus 5X, the 6P uses a USB Type-C connector for charging and data transfer. Unlike the Nexus 5X though, the 6P box contents as listed online include a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, which can be used with practically any PC or standard USB charger (although our review unit’s box did not have this cable inside). Google does encourage the use of its cloud services for backing up files and data, and Type-C USB-OTG drives are becoming available as well. It will just take some time for the new standard to become widespread.

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Though wireless charging isn’t an option, the Nexus 6P does support fast charging, and the phone went from fully drained to 100 percent in under two hours which is a little reassuring.

As is the case with the Nexus 5X, the 6P’s Type-C port is firm and it takes a bit more effort to disengage the plug than the Type-B Micro plugs that we’re used to. Also similar to the Nexus 5X is the 3A/5V stock charger that ships with the phone. It isn’t quite as bulky as the 5X’s unit, and the cable plugs in conveniently at the back rather than on one side.

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Software
The Google Nexus 6P and 5X ship with the latest version of Android, Marshmallow 6.0. Although the visual feel of the system has not changed much between Android Lollipop and Android Marshmallow, there are a few improvements such as the vertically scrolling list for the app drawer and ‘Now on Tap’, which throws up contextual results for anything you’re doing on any screen with a long press of the home button. Although it’s still in development and doesn’t work perfectly all the time, this is one of our favourite new features in Marshmallow.

Other great additions to Android 6.0 include the ability to search through contacts, apps and media through the home screen. Your four most frequently used apps are pinned to the top of the app drawer by default. Additionally, the phone can be set to always listen for the ‘OK Google’ voice command for voice control, and this worked well for us. Android 6.0 also brings an overhaul of the apps permission system.

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The Nexus 6P has Google’s new Ambient Display feature, which will show you the clock and any notifications in a monochrome low-power mode on lifting the phone. While this didn’t work too well in practice on the Nexus 5X, it’s a lot better on the 6P. It usually popped up as expected on lifting the phone, although it took a bit too long for the screen to actually come on.

A couple of features, including displaying the battery percentage and rearranging the quick settings bar, can only be done through a Settings menu option called System UI Tuner, which needs to be enabled deliberately. The stock file explorer which can be accessed through the settings menu isn’t quite as useful as a lot of third-party apps.

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The user interface is incredibly spartan and clean, and has been carefully cleared of all unnecessary icons and apps. Some of these changes include the Google Settings app finally being removed from the app drawer and being shifted to its own tab in the Settings app, as well as the removal of the Gallery app. Pictures and videos are now to be viewed using the Photos app.

The interface felt a bit too bare and skeletal to us at times, but it’s important to remember that there is usually a free app for any function that you might feel is missing in the stock UI. In this sense, the barebones UI is ideal for power users who can set the phone up the way they want and keep resource-hogging functions out if they don’t need them. The lack of bells and whistles did of course show in the general snappiness of the system, and Android 6.0 on the Nexus 6P is an absolute pleasure to use.

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The new version of Android also has something called Doze mode. This will keep your phone in a state of low power consumption by preventing apps from running background tasks and pulling updates when the phone isn’t actively being used. The lock screen will allow quick access to the camera or voice commands, and you can also quickly start up the camera at any time by double-pressing the power button.

One of the biggest improvements to Android 6.0 is native support for fingerprint authentication, which Google has used for its new Nexus Imprint feature. Setting up fingerprints is simple and quick. Recognition is usually immediate and error-free, and you can store up to five fingerprints at a time. These can be used to unlock the phone and authorise purchases from the Google Play Store. Nexus Imprint is also compatible with Android Pay, and can be used to lock and unlock apps if they have been updated to support the feature. It isn’t quite as feature-filled (or gimmicky, depending on how you look at it) as the fingerprint sensor app on the Coolpad Note 3 (Review | Pictures), but it certainly does its job well.

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Camera
Google’s Camera app sticks to the minimalist theme that the rest of the user interface and operating system follow. There isn’t much to do within the camera app itself apart from taking pictures or videos, and the only modes and settings are panorama, photo sphere, lens blur, HDR, and a countdown timer in pictures. In video mode, you can opt for 120fps or 240fps slow-mo when using the rear camera. In ordinary shooting, video can be recorded at up to 2160p (4K) resolution with the rear camera and 1080p with the front camera.

Capturing video is a two-step process, requiring you to swipe into video mode before hitting the record button. There are also quick toggles for the countdown timer, HDR mode, flash, the camera switcher and the Photos app to see pictures and video you’ve already captured. The settings menu is simple, giving you options to change the resolution and quality of pictures and video, enable location tagging and the viewfinder grid, and change a few settings for Burst mode. Basic editing options and filters can be added to pictures after shooting from within the Photos app, so the lack of these in the camera app is forgivable. However, if you’re looking for manual settings, post-video editing and a bit more control over your pictures, you may want to download third-party camera and gallery apps.

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After numerous complaints about the average quality of the cameras on previous Nexus devices, Google has finally got its act together with the Nexus 5X and 6P. Both phones use the same 12.3-megapixel camera, with 1.55um pixels and an f/2.0 aperture at the rear. The front camera of the 6P is bumped up a bit over the 5X, with an 8-megapixel sensor.

Pictures are incredibly detailed, with natural and vibrant colour reproduction, and minimal noise. Thanks to the laser autofocus, close-up shots are equally detailed and sharp, while long distance shots revert to traditional contrast detection methods to focus accurately, since laser autofocus is less effective over longer distances. Low-light shots were excellent as well, capturing shadows and light changes with stunning finesse. Pictures and video taken with the front camera were decent in normal light. The lack of a flash in front is the only possible downside.

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Videos shot on the Nexus 6P are among the best we’ve seen from smartphones. Bumping the video resolution up to 4K has both advantages and disadvantages; the videos are brilliantly sharp and have fluid motion, but file sizes are often too large and the phone heats up a bit while recording 4K video. Dropping to 1080p is an acceptable solution to this as video is still decent, but it’s definitely nice to have the 4K option.

Of particular note is the ability to shoot video at up to 240fps with the rear camera of the Nexus 6P. This is one department where the Nexus 6P’s camera trumps that of the 5X, which can only record video at up to 120fps. Slow-motion videos are incredibly dramatic and are a lot of fun to watch, although shooting in this mode makes them more prone to noise and loss in detail.

huawei_google_nexus_6p_sim_ndtv.jpg

Performance
The Nexus 6P is powered by Qualcomm’s current flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 810, along with 3GB of RAM. Known to have heating issues on some smartphones, the Snapdragon 810 SoC has since been updated to v2.1, which should fix this. During our time with the Nexus 6P, we had no performance problems and did not feel any serious overheating. In fact, this has been among the smoothest, most fluid devices we’ve ever used, when it comes to performance.

Whether it’s simply swiping about on the interface, loading up Web pages, running applications, or playing graphics-intensive games such as Dead Trigger 2, the Nexus 6P is smooth as butter. Everything loads quickly with no noticeable waiting times, let alone lag and stutter. The Nexus 6P is an efficient workhorse with all of its power dedicated to giving the user unmatched levels of performance.

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Benchmark numbers are also high, and in line with the kind of scores we’ve been seeing on Snapdragon 810 devices. AnTuTu and Quadrant returned scores of 54,778 and 27,422 respectively, while GFXbench gave us 36fps. 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme maxed out, and the Unlimited test returned a score of 21,404. While the Samsung Galaxy S6 range and the Galaxy Note 5 have all produced higher scores, it’s important to note that the Nexus 6P runs the latest version of Android, along with a highly efficient user interface. This leads to what we feel is an equally good (if not better) subjective level of performance.

Gaming did result in slight heating at the back of the device, but this was not significant and was certainly less than what we’re used to with many other devices. The device held on to Wi-Fi and LTE networks as well, and voice calls were loud and clear. We did however feel that the vibration was a bit weak and occasionally could not be felt in our pockets.

In our battery test, the Nexus 6P ran for 12 hours, 4 minutes, which is quite high for a smartphone with a 5.7-inch, 1440p screen. In ordinary use, the phone lasted us well over a full day. The Nexus 6P is truly an all-encompassing smartphone that has everything covered and has seriously boosted the reputation of the Nexus name and brand.

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Verdict
The Nexus range of smartphones from Google has usually been excellent, and the devices have consistently been rated highly by experts around the world. However, all previous iterations of the Nexus flagship have had some shortcomings that have held them back from being true competitors to flagships from Samsung, Sony and others. If not the battery life, it was average camera performance. This is where the Google Nexus 6P triumphs. It is, in fact, free of all significant shortcomings that could impact your ability to properly use this phone.

The Nexus 6P has fantastic design and build quality, a detailed and vibrant display, efficiency-driven software, performance that shames practically everything else we’ve used, good battery life, and a camera that can take on the best in the industry. If we had to find any flaws, they are that the Nexus 6P does not have expandable storage, dispenses with wireless charging, and may be considered a bit expensive.

However, when you consider that you’re getting an Android experience that cannot presently be matched by any other device, the Rs. 40,000 price tag seems more reasonable. We’re just going to go ahead and say this: the Google Nexus 6P is undoubtedly one of the best Android smartphones you can buy now.


Huawei Google Nexus 6P in pictures

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Huawei Google Nexus 6P

Huawei Google Nexus 6P

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Great design and build
  • Fantastic display
  • Excellent camera
  • Blazing performance and software
  • Good battery life
  • Bad
  • No expandable storage
  • Expensive
  • No wireless charging

Read detailed Huawei Google Nexus 6P review

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

2GHz

Front Camera

8-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 6.0

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

12.3-megapixel

Battery capacity

3450mAh See full Huawei Google Nexus 6P specifications

Pictures: photo studio leeds

More Huawei 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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(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.

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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

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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

Asus ZenFone Zoom Review

Innovation tends to reach a saturation point after a while, which bogs down pretty much ever facet of technology. What do you do when those eureka moments start drying up and you find yourself looking for something new to wow your audience with? Putting a fresh spin on old technology seems like one way to go about it. Smartphone cameras with optical zoom have been around ever since Nokia launched the N90, way back when. This didn’t exactly catch on since no one likes carrying a bulky camera in their pockets, which is what these phones essentially were.

Samsung has toyed with this idea a bit, with its last attempt being the Galaxy K Zoom over two years ago. The 10X optical zoom was the highlight of this phone but it was still more of a digital camera than a smartphone.

Asus has never known to shy away from experimenting with hybrid devices and its latest incarnation is the ZenFone Zoom. This is its attempt at a smartphone with optical zoom and thankfully, it hasn’t compromised (too much) on it being a smartphone. Can the ZenFone Zoom breathe new life into this non-starter of a segment? Let’s find out.

Look and feel
The ZenFone Zoom is priced at a premium and it’s certainly dressed for the part. The unibody aluminium frame looks good and also gives the phone a good grip. The rounded sides make it very comfortable to hold too. There are chamfered edges and chrome accents thoughtfully distributed around the edges and the camera section on the back, all lending to the phone’s good looks.

The 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display is surrounded by very thick bezels, which dampens its cool quotient a bit. The capacitive navigation buttons are not backlit but thankfully, the notification LED was not left out.

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There’s a standard Micro-USB 2.0 port at the bottom along with a lanyard loop to its left. On the right side, we have the two-step camera shutter button and a dedicated button for video recording. Pressing either one for a few seconds will fire up the camera app. The volume and power buttons are placed further up and have good tactile feedback.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_ USB_ndtv.jpg

The back cover is removable and gets a real leather treatment, although it’s easy to mistake it for faux leather. There’s a massive disc in the middle where the camera assembly is – this is where Asus has managed to fit in the zoom lens in a sideways fashion, as we’d explained in our earlier report. This means there’s no protruding lens like Samsung’s offerings and it makes the ZenFone Zoom a bit less conspicuous when you’re trying to capture some candid moments.

Asus has provided for a single Micro-SIM and expandable storage via a microSD card. The battery is non-removable. The ZenFone Zoom comes in a fairly compact box with a lanyard, data cable, charger, and in-ear headset. The quality of components is very good, just as you’d expect at this price level.

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Overall, the phone stands out from the crowd due to its camera-esque back side. But other than that, it could pass of as just another ZenFone. The build quality and finish of the phone are very good and we have to hand it to Asus for managing to squeeze an optical zoom lens into a body that’s just 11.9mm at its thickest point.

Specifications and software

Asus is probably the only major smartphone maker that’s so consistent with using Intel SoCs. The ZenFone Zoom is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 and comes with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. We appreciate the generous amount of storage, and just in case it isn’t enough, you can expand it by another 128GB with a microSD card. Other specs include Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS and GLONASS.

Asus_Zenfone_Zoom_screen1_ndtv.jpg

The phone ships with a pretty dated version of Android Lollipop, considering now that Marshmallow is out in the wild. There’s ZenUI 2.0 running on top of Android 5.0 and like we’ve seen in past offerings from Asus, you get a tonne of tweaks and Asus apps pre-installed.

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Productivity apps include Splendid, for adjusting the colour temperature and toggling the blue light filter; AudioWizard, which lets you fine tune sound profiles for movie, music, gaming, or voice calls; Auto-start manager, which gives you control over which apps run on boot; Mobile Manager, to get rid of junk files and free up system resources; Power Saver for setting your power profile depending on your usage type; and Do it Later, a task manager that can sync with Google Tasks. There are some pre-installed third party apps as well, which can be uninstalled if not needed.

Asus_Zenfone_Zoom_screen3_ndtv.jpg

The default Android apps are also overhauled, like the Gallery app can show you photos and videos from cloud services as well. PhotoCollage and MiniMovie are Asus apps integrated into the gallery which let you customise and package your photos and videos for sharing. You can also customise the interface with themes, animations and icon packs.

As functional as the interface is, ZenUI is starting to show its age as it now feels a bit cluttered. It still functions very smoothly but with after using lighter skins from other manufacturers, ZenUI can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner.

Performance
In terms of performance, the ZenFone Zoom is like any other high-end Android phone. Apps run without a hitch and so do demanding games such as Asphalt 8. The phone tends to run a bit warm when gaming, and this also makes a dent in the battery life. 4G works well on Band 40, as we didn’t face any issue during our time using it. We did get a software update which added a new feature called Quick Find, which can be accessed by swiping downwards from the home screen. It isn’t a universal search tool since you can’t access files from your phone, but more of a quick way to search the Web and launch frequently used apps.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_SIM_ndtv.jpg

The Zoom fares decently in benchmarks too, although it’s still far behind other phones with today’s top-tier hardware. We got scores of 63,352 in AnTuTu and 21,170 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. Despite the heavy skin and pre-loaded apps, you still have about 2.2GB free RAM on average.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_music_ndtv.jpg

Even though the phone can’t record videos in 4K, it can play them with ease. The default video player is pretty barebones but the music player is slightly more functional. You can sort songs by folders, change the theme of the player, and tweak the audio with Asus’s AudioWizard enhancement. The bundled headset is of good quality and provides decent ambient noise isolation.

Camera
We now come to the highlight of the phone, and that’s the camera. At its heart is a 13-megapixel sensor with a 10-element lens made by Hoya. The lens arrangement is done in such a way that you get 3X optical zoom without the need for the lens to extend outwards. Add to this laser autofocus and Optical Image Stabilisation and you have a solid recipe for some good pictures.

Asus_Zenfone_zoom_zoom_ndtv.jpgAt 3X optical zoom (tap for full size image)Asus_Zenfone_zoom_hdr_ndtv.jpg HDR mode (Tap for full size image)

Landscapes and macros look detailed on the phone’s screen in daylight. Colours are punchy, although they tend to get a bit oversaturated with the optimisation set to Auto. Even at 3X zoom, the lens stays steady for blur-free shots. At maximum optical zoom level, objects in focus lose a bit of sharpness but this is only noticeable when you zoom in all the way.

Indoor shots under artificial lighting are good too with little to no noise. Low-light shots aren’t the best as the level of detail dips. The focusing speed is still pretty quick although there’s a delay when zooming in as the picture in the viewfinder takes a second to catch up to the zoom level. The front 5-megapixel camera is decent for selfies under good lighting.

Asus_Zenfone_zoom_indoors_ndtv.jpgAsus_Zenfone_zoom_nifht_ndtv.jpg(Tap for full-sized images)

Asus’s camera app is well designed, with a tonne of shooting modes and a quick toggle switch for manual mode placed just above the software shutter button. The physical buttons work just as well too. Video recording maxes out at 1080p and the quality is pretty good with a steady framerate. There’s an option for slow-motion video as well. Sadly, 4K video recording is not available. The dual-LED flash is also decently powerful but only for short distances. A xenon flash would have complemented the phone nicely.

Optical zoom is indispensable at times, but after a point, you wish you had more room to play with as 3X starts to feel a bit restrictive. Anything more would have compromised the size of the phone and perhaps this is the technological limit for optical zoom without a protruding lens.

Battery life
The 3000mAh battery lasted for 6 hours and 58 minutes in our video loop test, which is below average. Upon regular use with mixed usage of 4G and lots of shooting, we found that the ZenFone Zoom lasted us about 18-20 hours before needing a recharge. Thankfully, the phone supports fast charging and will get you up to 40 percent capacity in half an hour.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_hand_ndtv.jpg

Verdict
The Asus ZenFone Zoom comes at a premium for the sole reason that it’s the only smartphone in the market at the moment with optical zoom. At Rs. 37,999, it competes with Samsung’s Galaxy S6 range and the new Nexus 6P, both of which have excellent cameras. In terms of innovation, the ZenFone Zoom clearly has an edge over the others, but if you look purely at image quality, it doesn’t quite surpass them. The relatively low-resolution display, the older version of Android, weak battery life, and lack of 4K recording are also factors that work against the ZenFone Zoom.

The phone might be a weak contender at its high launch price but it won’t seem so bad when it drops to more reasonable levels. Asus has done a commendable job with the design and build of this phone. Optical zoom on smartphones requires many compromises and that’s one of the reasons that it never really caught on.

It’s a very innovative idea, no doubt, but we feel that having a larger sensor capable of producing better image quality is a better substitute, as you can simply crop and enlarge the image with little loss in quality. The ZenFone Zoom is not Asus’s current flagship; it seems to be more of a one-off attempt to inject something fresh into the company’s lineup before the next generation arrives.


Asus ZenFone Zoom in picturesOriginal Article