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Alcatel Flash 2 Review

Alcatel Flash 2 Review

Alcatel Onetouch, the three way partnership between France’s Alcatel and China’s TCL, has been a background participant within the Indian marketplace for some time now. A number of different Chinese language firms have entered and made huge splashes – not all have sustained their momentum, however Alcatel has popped up now and again with a brand new launch, reminding us that it is right here.

The brand new Alcatel Flash 2 may elevate the corporate’s profile in India. It has an affordable worth and a few fascinating seems to be and options that set it aside in a really crowded house. We’re wanting to see what this gadget has in retailer for us.


Feel and appear
The Alcatel Flash 2 has a reasonably daring look which most different producers appear to shrink back from. At first look it looks as if a premium cellphone, however on nearer inspection the shiny chrome body which cradles the black entrance face and wraps across the sides is definitely plastic. The entrance face is black and is bordered by refined plastic strips which just about make it look as if the entrance glass wraps across the sides.

The earpiece grille up prime is flanked by the front-facing digicam and its flash, which provides this cellphone its identify. On the underside is a big inexperienced circle representing the Residence button. The Again and Recents buttons on both aspect of it aren’t instantly seen, however their equally massive labels gentle up in white when touched.


You are both going to like or hate the rear – it has the identical tough, sandpapery end because the OnePlus One, which we discovered ourselves sad with over a protracted interval of utilization. It is nice for grip, however it’s actually uncomfortable within the hand, and tends to select up mud and scuffs very simply. Fortunately, Alcatal bundles a snap-on flip cowl which replaces this panel. This one has a faux leather-based end – full with faux stitching. Should you select to make use of the flip cowl, you’ll work together with the cellphone’s touchscreen by a small clear window.

The metallic digicam bump protrudes just a little and has one other inexperienced ring, which actually pops. All in a line beneath it are the dual-tone digicam flash, an enormous Flash emblem in working script, a refined Alcatel Onetouch emblem, and the cellphone’s loudspeaker. There are two Micro-SIM slots and a microSD slot beneath the rear cowl. The battery is seen, however is not detachable.


The Micro-USB port is on the underside and the three.5mm audio socket is on prime. The left is completely clean, whereas the facility and quantity buttons are on the precise. There’s additionally a digicam shutter button on the decrease proper – not one thing generally seen on Android telephones as of late. Unusually, you may’t use this button to launch the digicam app from standby; it’s important to use the on-screen shortcut.

Specs and software program
We weren’t anticipating fireworks at this worth level, and positive sufficient, the Alcatel Flash 2 is constructed out of typical workhorse-class elements. There is a Mediatek MT6753 processor with eight CPU cores working at 1.3GHz and built-in Mali-T720 graphics. There’s additionally 2GB of RAM. 16GB of storage is fairly commonplace, however microSD card help goes all the way in which as much as 128GB and USB-OTG works as properly.


The 5-inch display screen has a predictable HD 720×1280 decision. The rear digicam has a 13-megapixel sensor and the one in entrance has a 5-megapixel one. Video recording tops out at 1080p, 30fps. There’s Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth four.zero, A-GPS, and 4G on Indian networks. The battery has a powerful 3000mAh capability.

The cellphone runs Android 5.1 with only a few seen customisations – not even a brand new icon set – which is a big reduction. A shortcut known as Audio Profiles permits you to shortly swap between regular, silent, assembly and out of doors modes, and one other known as Click on Clear which is not documented however appears to terminate background apps to liberate RAM. The default system keyboard has been changed with one known as TouchPal, which we discovered a bit crude.


Alcatel is pushing the Flash 2 as a photography-centric cellphone, and as such the digicam app has rather a lot occurring. There are shortcuts for the flash, timer and smile detection proper inside the viewfinder. A settings menu reveals all of the scene modes together with Face Magnificence, HDR, Tremendous Nice, Multi Angle, and Reside Photograph.

Whatsapp, Twitter, Fb and AVG Antivirus come presinstalled. There are additionally two small utilities known as Auto Begin Supervisor and Backup & Restore which each do just about what their names counsel. Lastly, there is a third-party app retailer known as zApp, which we actually do not see any want for.


We discovered no main issues with the efficiency of the Alcatel Flash 2 by way of day-to-day utilization. The display screen is not extraordinarily sharp and hues are just a little muted, however it does have good viewing angles and is not exhausting to take care of beneath harsh daylight. The loudspeaker is tinny and harsh, however surprisingly loud. The rear did get a bit heat when utilizing the digicam for lengthy durations.

The cellphone did not all the time latch on to 4G networks, and wanted a fast toggle of the airplane mode shortcut to pressure it. Voice name high quality was wonderful. The bundled equipment aren’t of very top quality, particularly the headset. The cellphone additionally appeared to take a extremely very long time to cost.


Benchmark scores had been fairly good for a sub-Rs. 10,000 cellphone. We acquired 34,759 factors in AnTuTu and 18,137 total in Quadrant. Graphics exams had been a blended bag, with 20fps in GFXbench, defined by the low-res display screen, and three,763 in 3DMark Ice Storm Excessive. The battery lasted for eight hours, 31 minutes in our video loop take a look at and simply lasted by a day of heavy utilization, together with gaming and Internet browsing over 4G.

Picture high quality appeared good on the cellphone, however after we zoomed in to full measurement, it was clear that particulars had been simply misplaced. It doesn’t matter what the subject material was, textures had been messy and there appeared to be extreme compression. Focus additionally typically appeared to be off. Photographs taken at night time had been poor, with a number of noise and little or no definition of topics. A lot of our pattern pictures had been merely not price utilizing. We had been fairly dissatisfied total, and we have seen significantly better from telephones that price even lower than this. The front-facing digicam did an affordable job and its flash wasn’t overpowering as we’ve got typically seen. It is a good addition, however the total digicam efficiency is weak, particularly for a cellphone marketed for that motive.



The Alcatel Flash 2 is an fascinating cellphone with a number of character. Its daring styling will attraction to those that do not desire a cookie-cutter cellphone. Efficiency is sweet, however should you’re on the lookout for disruptive options equivalent to a fingerprint reader or full-HD display screen, you will need to look elsewhere. Whereas these issues is likely to be good to have, the Flash 2 covers all of the necessities and you will not be left wanting. Digicam high quality won’t be the perfect, however battery life is sweet. You may need to determine which options are a very powerful for you.

New iPad: A polishing of the old

New iPad: A polishing of the old

On Friday, the new iPad goes on sale. Be sure to ask for it by name: the iPad.
Because if you ask for the iPad 3, the Apple representatives will look at you funny. Last year’s model was called the iPad 2, but this third-generation model is just called the iPad. (Why not continue the numbering pattern? “That would have been too predictable,” says Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for marketing.)

Really, the new iPad should have been called the iPad 2S. In the past, Apple added the letter S to iPhone models that weren’t exactly new but had been tastefully enhanced (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S). That’s exactly what’s going on with the new iPad. Its technical improvements keep it at the forefront of desirability – just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competition – but don’t take it in any new directions.

The biggest new feature is what Apple calls the Retina display: like the one on the iPhone 4S, it’s a very, very sharp screen. It’s four times as sharp as the iPad 2 – in fact, it’s the sharpest ever on a mobile device. This screen has 3.1 million pixels, which is 1 million pixels more than on a high-definition TV set. (At least Apple says that that’s how many pixels it has; I quit counting after three days.)

In principle, that avalanche of pixels (and their increased color saturation) means that photos, videos, maps and text should look jaw-droppingly good – and, in apps that have been rewritten for the new screen, they do. Apple’s own apps, like Photos, Maps and iBooks, are just incredibly sharp and clear.
So are Apple’s inexpensive, newly enhanced iPad apps – iMovie, GarageBand, the Numbers spreadsheet and the Pages word processor. And as touch-screen apps go, the new iPhoto for iOS is a masterpiece.
But apps that haven’t been rewritten don’t benefit as much. In most apps, text is automatically sharpened, but not in all of them. After enjoying the freakishly sharp text in Mail and Safari, you’ll be disappointed in the relatively crude type in, for example, the non-updated Amazon Kindle app. (Amazon says that a Retina-ready update is in the works.)

Similarly, high-definition videos look dazzling. This is the world’s first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition. But Netflix’s streaming movies don’t come to the iPad in high definition (yet, says Netflix), so they don’t look any better.
There’s another price you’ll pay for all this clarity, too: in storage. Tests performed by Macworld.com revealed that the graphics in Retina-ready apps consume two to three times as much of the iPad’s nonexpandable storage than pre-Retina apps. To update their apps for the new display, software companies must redo their graphics at much higher resolution, which means much larger files.
(Worse, each app is usually written in single, universal version for all iPad models. So those apps will eat up the same extra space, pointlessly, on older iPads, too – and even on iPhones, since many apps are written to run on both the tablet and the phone. In other words, iPhone owners, too, will wind up losing storage space because of this graphic-bloat ripple-down effect.)
The resolution revolution isn’t the only change in the iPad That Shall Not Be Numbered. Another big change is 4G LTE.

That is, the cellular iPad models can now hop onto the very fast 4G wireless networks for data that Verizon and AT&T have built in big American cities.
(Apple has not changed the prices and configurations for the new iPad. The base model still costs $500, has only Wi-Fi and holds 16 gigabytes. The top-of-the-line model still costs $830, has 64 gigabytes of storage and can also get online via a cell network. You have to choose either the AT&T or the Verizon model, in that case, and pay a monthly fee – $15 to $50 a month, no contract required. These iPads can also get online overseas, although only at 3G speeds; LTE uses different frequencies in other countries.)

Being on LTE flavor of 4G is really, really nice. Apps download quickly. Web pages appear fast. You don’t have to wait for videos to load before they start playing. The Verizon iPads offer tethering – a feature that converts that cellular Internet connection into a Wi-Fi hot spot – so nearby laptops can now enjoy the same high Internet speeds. (AT&T says it’s working to get tethering.)
My Verizon test unit got download speeds ranging from 6 to 29 megabits a second in San Francisco, Boston and New York – in many cases, faster than home cable-modem service. According to tests by PC Magazine and others, AT&T’s 4G network is smaller, but often faster. No doubt about it: life begins at 4G.
Now, 4G is a notorious battery hog. It scarfs down electricity like a football team at a hot dog eating contest.
Apple, however, was determined to keep the iPad’s battery life unchanged from the last model: nine to 10 hours on a charge. In my all-day nonstop-usage test, it did manage nine hours.
To pull that off, Apple adopted a three-prong strategy. First, it developed or adopted components that use less power (Bluetooth 4.0, for example). Second, it came up with various software and circuitry tricks.

Third, it incorporated a fatter, heavier battery. The new iPad is one millimeter thicker, and 1.8 ounces heavier, than the iPad 2. It’s a very slight difference, but fingers used to handling the old iPad will feel it, and that’s too bad.
Interestingly, you can turn off the LTE antenna in the Settings app. Without that power hog, you’ll probably get even better battery life.
So what else is new? A 5-megapixel back camera that takes far better photos than the iPad 2 did. (Which isn’t saying much.) You can capture 1080p hi-def videos now, and a stabilization feature lends a hand when yours is shaky or moving.
A tiny microphone now appears on the on-screen keyboard. Tapping it lets you speak to type, exactly as on the iPhone 4S.
For most people, that’s a huge blessing; typing on glass has never been a joyous activity. The recognition is fast and accurate, at least when you have a strong Internet connection (the transcription is actually performed by faraway servers).
Weirdly, though, speech-to-text is the only piece of Siri, Apple’s smart voice-control software, that the new iPad inherits from the iPhone 4S. You don’t get the rest of Siri’s features: the ability to set alarms, send text messages, look up calendar appointments and snag facts from the Web just by asking out loud. That the full Siri isn’t available smacks more of a marketing department holdback than technical limitations.

The world has changed since the iPad 2 came out. Stripped-down, smaller and far less magical rivals like the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet cost only $200. (That, probably, is why Apple still sells the iPad 2 at $100 less than the new models.)
Dozens of would-be iPads have come – and, in many cases, gone. (Shall we have a moment of silence for the Hewlett-Packard TouchPad and the flailing BlackBerry PlayBook? Nah.)
But the surviving rivals still sell in minuscule numbers compared with the iPad, and that’s not likely to change now.

The new iPad doesn’t introduce anything that we haven’t seen before, either in the iPhone or in rival tablets. There’s no Steve Jobs “one more thing” moment here; Apple just took its white-hot iPad and added the latest screen, battery and cellular technologies.
If you’re in the market for a tablet, here’s the bright side: For the same price as before, you can now get an updated iPad that’s still better-looking, better integrated and more consistently designed than any of its rivals.
And if you already have the iPad 2, here’s an even brighter side: At least this time around, you don’t have to feel quite as obsolete as usual.

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Samsung Galaxy A5 Metal-Clad Smartphone Price Revealed

Samsung Galaxy A5

Samsung’s metal-clad Galaxy A5, which was recently listed on the company’s China website, has been priced at CNY 2599 (approximately Rs. 26,000).

While Samsung has listed the price of the Galaxy A5 (SM-A5000) on its China website, it does not provide an online purchase option – and instead guides users to retail stores.

Notably, the Samsung Galaxy A5 was listed on the company’s China website last week in its dual-SIM version. Last month, while announcing the smartphone, Samsung had only unveiled the single-SIM variant of the Galaxy A5, alongside the Galaxy A3.

Apart from dual Nano-SIM support, the Galaxy A5 listed on the company’s China website packs the same specifications as the single-SIM Galaxy A5. The website hasn’t listed the Galaxy A3 as yet, but we expect that the company will also offer a dual-SIM variant of the smartphone, just like Galaxy A5.

Samsung is yet to launch the device in regions other than China. Earlier this month, a report had noted that the rollout of the Samsung’s Galaxy A series was delayed due to low production yields for the full metal bodies, but that the smartphone would still hit “select markets” including China in November. It said that both the smartphones were originally planned for Q3 launch, but because of Samsung having difficulties in producing the metal casings for its first full-metal unibody designed smartphones, the company instead announced the smartphones in Q4.

The report had noted that “the casings did not meet the quality requirements Samsung was aiming for, and only around 50 percent of the yield came out right.”
Fighting criticism about its plastic bodied smartphones, Samsung had announced the all-metal Galaxy Alpha (Review | Pictures) in August, before introducing the metal-clad Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5 in October. Notably, there is still no official word about the anticipated Galaxy A7, which was rumoured to be launched alongside the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3.


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Samsung Galaxy A5


New Google Nexus 7 is good value even with higher price

New Google Nexus 7 is good value even with higher price

In terms of know-how, we have been skilled to anticipate extra for much less. Gadgets get extra highly effective annually, whereas costs keep the identical or drop. With the brand new Nexus 7 pill, Google hopes we’re keen to pay extra for extra.

The brand new pill comes with a $30 worth improve over final 12 months’s mannequin. At $229 for the bottom mannequin, it’s nonetheless a cut price – and 30 % cheaper than Apple’s $329 iPad Mini. The show is sharper and the sound is richer than the outdated mannequin. There’s now a rear digital camera for taking snapshots. The brand new Nexus 7 is the primary machine to ship with Android four.three, which helps you to create profiles to restrict what your youngsters can do in your pill if you’re not round.

Amazon.com Inc.’s $199 Kindle Fireplace HD is cheaper, nevertheless it does not offer you full entry to the rising library of Android apps for enjoying video games, checking the climate, monitoring flights, studying the information and extra. The Nexus 7 does.

It is a wonderful complement to your smartphone if it is operating Google’s Android, the dominant working system on telephones lately – whilst Apple instructions the marketplace for pill computer systems with its full-size iPad and iPad Mini. Except you inform it to not, apps you employ on the telephone will routinely seem on the Nexus 7, so you may change from machine to machine seamlessly. If you end up signed in, bookmarks can even switch over Google’s Chrome Internet browser, as will favourite locations on Google Maps.

Should you have been already final 12 months’s Nexus 7 mannequin, then go forward and pay $30 extra for the newest.

Though display dimensions are similar, the brand new Nexus 7 has the next pixel density, at 323 pixels per inch in contrast with 216 on the outdated mannequin.

Sound is significantly better with audio system on the left and the suitable facet of the pill, held horizontally. Though they’re technically again dealing with, the audio system are positioned alongside a curved edge in such a approach that sound appears to challenge outward and never away from you.

The brand new Nexus 7 additionally feels extra comfy. It is 17 % thinner and 5 % narrower. The outdated mannequin was a tad too huge to grip comfortably.


The brand new Nexus ships with a digital camera app, one thing final 12 months’s mannequin did not actually need as a result of it had solely a front-facing digital camera, for videoconferencing. With the brand new rear, 5-megapixel digital camera, you may take pictures and video of what is in entrance of you.

As for the restricted profiles that include Android four.three, it is a good suggestion, although it nonetheless has kinks. Whenever you arrange a profile on your child, you choose which apps to allow. Don’t desire your child to be browsing the Internet unrestricted? Then hold the Chrome browser disabled. Don’t desire her or him on Fb? Maintain that app disabled, too. The app retailer can also be disabled. Should you do enable entry to a specific app, although, then it is full entry. There is no filtering to dam porn and different questionable materials, as an illustration.

And though the brand new pill is the primary to ship with Android four.three, it is out there to obtain on different gadgets, together with final 12 months’s Nexus 7.

What the brand new pill does supply is the promise of an extended battery life – as much as 10 hours for Internet browsing and 9 hours for video streaming. Final 12 months’s mannequin was rated at eight hours.

There is no query the brand new mannequin is healthier and definitely worth the worth improve.

Selecting between the brand new Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini is harder.

If you have already got an iPhone, the iPad Mini might be a pleasant complement. You will not have to purchase music, video and apps twice, as an illustration. You would possibly need to wait till this fall, although, to see whether or not Apple comes out with a brand new mannequin.

It is a harder name you probably have an Android telephone.

By quantity, the 2 methods have a comparable variety of apps. However I’ve discovered that many bigger app builders have made variations just for the iPhone and the iPad.

Android is nice in that many apps designed for a telephone’s smaller display are routinely tailored to benefit from a pill’s bigger display. On the iPad, apps that are not optimized for it are squeezed right into a smaller window the scale of an iPhone. Blow it as much as full display, and it seems distorted. However that is not as obvious on the Mini as it’s on the full-size iPad. And having apps routinely change their structure is not the identical as designing them for the pill from scratch, as is the case with the a whole lot of hundreds of apps optimized for the iPad.

The Nexus 7’s display is way sharper than that on the iPad Mini, which has the non-HD show know-how of the iPad 2 from 2011 – historic on the earth of cell devices. The Nexus 7 can also be a tad lighter, by 6 %.


That mentioned, the iPad Mini has a bigger display, measuring 7.9 inches diagonally in contrast with 7 inches on the Nexus. And the iPad Mini has had a rear digital camera from the beginning. The iPad Mini additionally has Siri, a voice assistant that’s feistier than Google Now on the Nexus. Should you choose Google Now for its capacity to present you info you want to know with out even asking, you may obtain it on the Mini. You may’t get Siri on the Nexus.

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Should you do get the Nexus 7, it helps wi-fi charging, so you may do away with the messy wiring. The machine comes solely with a normal microUSB charger to plug in, so you may have to purchase a Qi-compatible wi-fi charger your self.

The $229 base mannequin comes with 16 gigabytes of storage. For $40 extra, or $269, you get twice the storage. Each will go on sale within the U.S. subsequent Tuesday. A 32-gigabyte mannequin with 4G mobile functionality will price $349. In contrast, the iPad Mini begins at $329. A 32-gigabyte model with 4G prices $559.

Even with the value improve, Google has Apple crushed on worth. The Nexus 7 might lack the cachet and most of the apps that the iPad Mini has, however you’ll do lots with it. I hope know-how corporations will not make worth hikes a behavior, however this one is made palatable by the machine’s richer show, sound and digital camera.


Sony MDR-ZX110 Review

Sony MDR-ZX110 Review

When it comes to name recognition and market reach, few audio manufacturers can match the Sony’s capabilities. Using a brand name that has been carefully built up over the decades, Sony is one of a handful of companies in India that can sell headphones by the thousand. This is thanks to a huge portfolio spanning various price ranges, from as little as Rs. 590, going up to Rs. 41,990.

One of Sony’s most popular on-ear models is also one of its cheapest: the Rs. 990 MDR-ZX110. Boasting Sony’s iconic design, the ZX110 is a budget champion and one of the best selling personal audio products in India. Can Sony deliver at such a low budget? We find out in our review.


Design, specifications and comfort
The Sony MDR-ZX110 looks fancy and expensive from a distance, with a combination of matte and gloss finishes on the body that comes across as more premium than anything else we’ve seen at this price. However, up close it feels strictly budget. The plastic is flimsy and bendy, and does not look or feel like it can take too much abuse, so careful handling is advised.

This headset has a rather unique folding mechanism that allows the ear cups to twist inwards, into the headband. This makes the MDR-ZX110 a bit easier to store when not in use. Apart from this, the Sony MDR-ZX110 has 30mm dynamic drivers, with a frequency response range of 12-22,000Hz, 24Ohms impedance and a sensitivity rating of 98dB. The MDR-ZX110 doesn’t have an inline mic or remote control, but Sony does sell a nearly identical model, the MDR-ZX110AP which does, for Rs. 700 more.

The ear cups have very slight padding, which is enough for an acceptably comfortable on-ear fit. The headband has no cushioning, but is designed well and feels secure and comfortable in place. The MDR-ZX110 also has a thick, tough cable that looks like it can take a fair bit of strain. Past the Y-splitter, the 1.2m cable splits into two separate and somewhat flat cables that aren’t quite as sturdy as the lower half. The design and thickness makes the cable somewhat tangle resistant, and extremely resistant to cable noise. On the whole, apart from the flimsiness, we’re happy with how the Sony MDR-ZX110 looks and feels.


With the Sony MDR-ZX110 being an entry-level on-ear headset, we did most of our testing using an Android smartphone. We also tried it with our Fiio X1 high-resolution audio player and a Windows laptop. Focus tracks for the review were BT’s Somnambulist, Skrillex and Diplo’s To U, and Passenger’s Circles.

Starting with the bass-heavy Somnambulist, we found that the Sony MDR-ZX110 had a meaty sound, with lots of emphasis on low-end attack. The bass can occasionally be overpowering, but is usually controlled thanks to the not-so-tight fit. The sonic signature has been tuned toward promoting the lows, and this makes for a very warm sound. This also tends to show a bit in the lower-mid ranges, but there is a clear sensitivity drop towards the upper end of the frequency range.


Next, we cued up To U, which despite being a dubstep track, has plenty to offer in terms of the mid-range and detail. While the Sony headset is impressive in low-end detail, it seems to trail off going up the range. The result is a sound that isn’t quite as open and detailed as we’d like, even at this price. Other products such as the Sennheiser HD180 offer better levels of detail at this price, so the MDR-ZX110 isn’t something we’d recommend if you’re looking for sonic clarity.

Finally, with Circles, we kept our ears open for imaging and soundstaging. While the Sony offers a full and aggressive presentation in the sound, it falls a bit short in terms of openness and width. The sonic stage feels narrow and specific, rather than properly spread out. However, the MDR-ZX110 certainly does its bit to make your music immersive and entertaining, especially if you like your headphones bassy and aggressive.


The Sony MDR-ZX110 might look good and carry forward the typical aesthetic that makes Sony a popular headphone option, but it falls a bit short in terms of build quality. It feels cheap and we were always worried about damage during our time with the review unit. However, it offers an immersive, full sound that excels in its handling of bass. Detail and clarity suffer a bit, but bass-heads will not find too much to complain about at this price. If you’re looking for a pair of on-ears with serious attack and drive at under Rs. 1,000, the Sony MDR-ZX110 should be on your wish list.

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