Tag Archives: display

Timex Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch revealed

Timex Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch revealed

Timex Ironman


How smart can watches get in the future? Rather smart, it seems. Timex, the iconic brand that delivers fitness timepieces with a whole lot of technology jam packed inside, has just announced that they will be rolling out a new innovation that is known as the Timex Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch, where this timepiece will not only be able to help you keep up to speed concerning the current time, it is also able to work as a standalone phone which means there is no need to have it hooked up to a smartphone as a middleman in order for you to make and receive not only phone calls, but text messages as well.
The Ironman One GPS+ was specially developed alongside Qualcomm and AT&T in order to make it a reality, offering consumers the freedom to remain connected regardless of whatever activity they are indulging in at that point in time, all the while keeping your other smartphone and music playback devices safe and sound elsewhere. In fact, you can more or less say that this is the perfect gadget to tote around while you would want to remain contactable, in situations where it is not suitable for a regular phone to follow you.
Expect the Timex Ironman One GPS+ to arrive with a slew of game-changing features, where among them include stand-alone wireless connectivity without a phone, email-based messaging capabilities, tracking capabilities which will communicate your location to friends and family anytime, anywhere, a custom-built Find Me Mode safety solution so that users can send an alert with exact location in the event of an emergency, the ability to track speed, distance and pace in real-time as well as instantaneously share performance metrics via ones favorite social media and online fitness platforms.
Not only that, the Ironman One GPS+ was built to last, since it has water resistance capability of up to 50 meters, which is an essential feature for water exposure, letting you train in the rain as well as while you swim. Need some music to boost your performance? Fret not, there is a built-in MP3 component alongside 4GB of internal memory, while the always-on, sunlight-readable, high-resolution touch display works great under all conditions. Each $399.95 purchase will include a years worth of data connectivity to AT&T.

Timex Ironman


Asus MeMO Pad ME172V review

Asus MeMO Pad ME172V review

The tablet market in India seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. The Taiwanese tablet maker Asus is now trying to get a slice of this pie with the launch of the Asus MeMO Pad ME172V. This is the first sub Rs. 10,000 tablet that the company has launched. It is a 7-inch tablet that runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). It is powered by a 1GHz VIA WM8950 processor. The company is targeting to capture 15 per cent market share in the country banking on this tablet.

It is noteworthy, that Asus is known more for its popular Nexus 7 tablet that the company has launched in the global markets in conjunction with Google.

In the recent past, we have seen Indian brands such as Videocon, Lava and international brands like Acer and Swipe launch their Jelly Bean tablets too under the price bracket of Rs.10,000. So is Asus MeMO Pad ME172V a compelling challenger in this category? We find out in this review.

Build & Design
The Asus MeMO Pad ME172V is a 7-inch tablet that sports an elegant look. Though the device is made primarily of plastic, yet it does not appear cheap from any standard. This is in sharp contrast to the Acer Iconia B1-A71, which does look and feel low priced. The Asus tablet feels quite sturdy and there are no creeks that one can feel in this device.

Most of the front is taken by the 7-inch screen, which is surrounded by a large bezel. There is also a front camera placed in the middle on the top strip of the bezel, while the Asus branding is at the bottom.


When held in landscape mode, the left panel houses the USB/ charging port and a microSD card slot. The right panel has the 3.5mm audio jack. The top panel has the volume rocker and power/ standby button. The back panel features a diamond-patterned design and houses the speaker grill. The tablet is 11.2mm thin and weighs in at 370 grams, which makes it comfortable to hold the device.

The only thing that we did not like in terms of design is the duality of colour scheme. The bezels of the tablet are black in colour, while the back is a white.

The Asus MeMO Pad ME172V comes with a 7-inch TFT display comes with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. This is respectable for a 7-inch budget tablet. The device has a decent display and good viewing angles. Reading e-books, watching pictures and videos on this tablet is a pleasurable experience.

The Acer Iconia B1-A71 and Lava Etab Xtron come with the same screen size and resolution. However, we found that when compared to Acer, the Asus tablet has a better display and viewing angles while the Lava tablet is almost at par. The touch sensitivity on the Asus MeMO Pad ME172V is also good.

Software/ Interface
Asus MeMO Pad ME172V runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and the company has added a custom skin to tweak the setting a little. 7 icons including Gmail, Chrome, gallery, Menu, MyLibrary Lite app shortcut, Play Music app and Google Play Store, take up the lower strip of screen.

There are quite a few apps that come pre-loaded with this tablet. For reading e-books there is the popular Amazon Kindle app and MyLibrary Lite app. There is also a PressPreader app to enable users to read newspapers from across 95 countries.


For the photography enthusiasts, there is an Asus Studio app that helps you in managing, editing and tagging your pictures. The BuddyBuzz app is thrown in for social media junkies. AudioWizard app is there to enjoy multimedia on the go. The company has also added custom apps such as Play Music and Movie Studio to helps users to enjoy music and videos respectively. Other applications that are pre-loaded on to the tablet include App Backup, App locker, Sticky Memo, SuperNote Lite, MyBit Cast, MyPainter and Zinio.

As Asus MeMO Pad ME172V is a Jelly Bean tablet, it also offers ‘Google Now’, which is a voice based information assistant. You can ask questions and the tool returns answers or search results. It uses ‘cards’ which are essentially small boxes that offer different sets of information ranging from weather forecast, directions, traffic information, scores, appointments, and currency conversion, among others. Google Now collects information based on the user’s behaviour, location and even email to offer information, automatically.

Currently the tablet is running on Android 4.1, but when quizzed Asus has indicated that they will be looking at rolling at update to Android 4.2 for this tablet in due course of time. It remains to be seen if the company actually delivers on this promise.

The tablet comes with a 1-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture that can record 720p video at 30fps. Asus has given rear camera a miss in this tablet. It appears that the camera is thrown in just for video chats so we mainly tested it indoors and found that the pictures and videos clicked with the front camera are quite grainy.

Performance/ Battery Life
The table is powered by a VIA WM8950 processor clockin in at 1GHz, coupled with 1GB RAM and a Mali-400 GPU. The tablet is able to perform routine tasks well. However, multitasking is not its cup of tea. Try opening more than three to four apps on the tablet and one can see the tablet shudder a bit.

The gaming experience was a normal affair too. Though games like Fruit Ninja, Subway Surfers, Angry Birds and Temple Run can be played without a hitch, the same cannot be said about a game like Shadow Gun.


It comes with 8GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up to 32GB via microSD. Asus is also offering 5GB of cloud storage for life through ASUS WebStorage.

The tablet comes with the native Android browser along with Chrome. Both browsers render all webpages well. The speakers on the tablet deliver good quality sound but the output through the speaker grill was not very loud. This is a Wi-Fi only tablet, which means that it does support 3G or voice calling. Also there is no Bluetooth connectivity, which seems to have become an unfortunate trend in the budget tablet segment.

Asus MeMO Pad ME172V has a 4,270mAh battery on-board. We were able to get around 7 hours of video playback, with the display on full brightness levels, which is great given the price of the tablet.

The Asus MeMO Pad ME172V is a good value offering if you are looking for an Android tablet with a budget in mind. The tablet looks decent and packs in a good display, which makes it ideal to watch movies, read mails and e-books. It also has a respectable build quality. Another advantage of the tablet is that it is able to deliver battery playback of up to 7 hours. However, the 1GHZ processor can be underwhelming for some, especially those who want to play a lot of high graphic games on this tablet. Also a 1-megapixel front camera may want you to explore other options that are available in the market.

If you are willing to make a bit of compromise in terms of design and display then the Acer Iconia B1-A71 (Review) is a 7-incher worth looking. The tablet comes with Bluetooth connectivity and cost a couple of thousand rupees less. You can also consider the Lava Etab Xtron (Review), which is a good value for money proposition at Rs. 6,499.


  • Decent build
  • Good display and performance
  • Respectable battery backup


  • Camera is underwhelming
  • Performance could have been better

Ratings (Out of 5)

Design: 3.5
Display: 3.5
Performance: 3
Software: 4
Battery Life: 4
Camera: 1.5
Ecosystem: 3.5
Value for Money: 3.5
Overall: 3.5

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Original Article here

Acer Liquid Z630s Review

Acer Liquid Z630s Review

After a long hiatus, Acer is taking another shot at the Indian smartphone market with two new budget offerings. The Taiwanese company recently announced the Liquid Z530 and Liquid Z630s Android smartphones, which we first saw at IFA 2015. The new offerings will be sold exclusively through Flipkart and will also be manufactured in India, come December. Acer is testing the waters now and if things pick up, we can expect other models to follow suit.

Today, we’ll be reviewing the Liquid Z630s, a lower-mid-range smartphone priced at Rs. 10,999. We’ve already taken a quick look at it and its smaller sibling in our unboxing video and it’s now time to see how this phone stacks up against the competition. In this space, we have plenty of tried and tested options from the likes of Lenovo, Motorola and Asus so let’s see if Acer’s offering has that special sauce to help it stand out.


Look and feel
The Acer Liquid Z630s features a pebble-like design with rounded edges and sloping lines, much like the Samsung Galaxy S3 (Review). It’s a good look and makes the phone comfortable to hold. The brushed-metal texture for the back cover is easy on the eyes and helps keep fingerprints at bay. There’s a gold trim which runs along the edges of the phone and the front earpiece is a matching colour, as are the ring around the camera and the Acer logo on the back. The battery is removable and the two SIM slots and microSD card slot can be accessed by taking off the back cover.

The volume rocker and power button are placed on the right and have good tactile feedback. The 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB port take their place at the top and bottom respectively. There’s a fixed-focus 8-megapixel camera in the front and the same sensor, but with autofocus, around the back. Like most of its offerings, Acer has added DTS Studio Sound enhancement for the rear speaker and headphones.


The 5.5-inch HD IPS display gets Acer’s Lumiflex technology, which can be toggled in the Settings app. This is designed to improve colour rendition under direct sunlight. We didn’t find any major difference with it on or off when we tested it, as the display tends to wash out under sunlight either way. There’s also Asahi’s Dragontrail glass for protection. With this screen size and an HD resolution, the low pixel density rears its ugly head in the form of slight jaggedness around edges of icons and text, but you have to really look for it to notice it, and most users probably won’t.

We received a review sample from Acer without its retail packaging, which should include a headset, charger, USB cable and manual. Overall, the Liquid Z630s is built well with good aesthetics. It’s not particularly slim at 8.9mm but is fairly light at 165g. It’s quite a handful too due to the sizeable bezel all around the display, so single-handed use is largely not possible.

Specifications and software
The Acer Liquid Z630s packs in an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor running at 1.3GHz. There’s 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage which can be doubled by adding a microSD card. Other specifications include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB-OTG, FM radio, and GPS. The two SIM slots support 4G but only FDD-LTE and not TDD-LTE so you won’t be able to use it with current 4G networks in India.


On the software front, the phone runs Acer’s Liquid UI which is a heavily skinned version of Android Lollipop 5.1. Thankfully, it’s easy to find your way around as Acer has stuck with the app-drawer-style launcher. In addition to the standard set of toggle switches, Acer has added something called “Float Apps” for the notes, calculator and calendar apps. These are mini versions of the standard apps which can run on top of other apps, giving you some level of Windows-style multitasking. Sadly, you can’t change the size of the float apps. There’s an option to toggle the Bluelight Shield from the notification shade and vary the intensity through the settings app.


Quick Touch is a handy gesture system which lets you open apps and skip music tracks by drawing gestures when the display is off. The DTS sound enhancement lets you tweak the level of bass and treble and set separate equalizers for music and video. This works well and the sound is noticeably louder, but we would have liked separate settings for headphones and the main speaker, which other manufacturers such as Motorola have implemented.

Acer also bundles a bunch of bloatware in the form of trial games, but thankfully, these can be uninstalled. There’s a Kids Centre and painting app for keeping kids occupied. You also get a bunch of Acer’s in-house apps including AcerEXTEND which lets you cast your phone onto your PC screen through an emulator. Setting it up is as easy as downloading the PC application and signing in on your phone and PC with the same Acer account.

Apart from receiving notifications, you can fully control your phone through the emulator. That includes listening to music that’s on it, and answering calls as audio routed through the PC. The one thing that we didn’t like was that the actions performed through the emulator are replicated on the phone screen in real-time, which means there’s no privacy if your phone is away from you.

Acer Portal is part of Acer’s BYOC (Build You Own Cloud) feature which lets you turn your PC into your own personal cloud. You get specialised apps called abFiles, abPhotos, abMusic and abDocs for the phone and PC. We managed to get abFiles working easily, which allowed us to transfer files between the PC and the phone. The other apps don’t work as seamlessly as abFiles and need some figuring out. abFiles is the most useful out of the lot though as it lets you access all your PC’s files on your phone.

Acer Aid Kit lets you manage battery life and RAM usage; Acer SnapNote helps you organise notes you capture with the camera; Liquid Select is an app store; Liquid Wizard lets you manage the phone’s theme, ringtone and font size; LiveScreen lets you share your sketches with friends in real-time (but this only works on Acer smartphones); and Quick Mode is an alternative launcher. There’s also Polaris Office, News Republic, and Opera Max.


The Liquid Z630s is an able performer when it comes to carrying out regular duties. The interface is snappy despite the heavy customisations and we didn’t encounter any noticeable lag while multitasking. Apps were quick to respond and the phone easily handled demanding games such as Dead Trigger 2. It does get a bit warm after prolonged use of the camera or video playback, but never uncomfortably hot. Call quality is good and the earpiece is loud enough even in noisy environments.

The phone performed admirably in benchmarks too. We got a score of 34,452 in AnTuTu and 21fps in GFXbench. 3DMark Ice Storm returned a score of 7,595 in the standard test. Overall, these are pretty decent numbers when compared to other phones at this price point.


Media playback is also quite good. The phone easily handles full-HD videos and even our high-bitrate test files played without any hiccup. The speaker is loud enough for alerts but sounds little weak for media. It’s decent when used indoors but tends to get drowned out when there’s lots of outdoor or ambient noise. Audio playback through the headphones is better. We feel that stereo speakers would have done the DTS enhancements more justice.

The camera interface is easy to navigate and use. You get a host of capture modes for the rear 8-megapixel camera, from HDR and panorama to multi-angle and gourmet. The options are easy to flick through with your thumb. You can change scene modes, add colour effects, set white balance and exposure compensation, and shoot time-lapse videos.


The camera is quick to lock focus as well as capture and save pictures. This works well with low-light shots too. Pictures look good on the phone’s display but lack a bit of detail when viewed in full size on a PC. This is most noticeable in landscapes shots. Macros fare a little better with good detail and colours. Low-light shots are not too shabby but darker parts of the picture appear less sharp. The front camera has a fixed focus but does a decent job with selfies. The quality of video recording is slightly less impressive. In daylight, video quality is good but not indoors or in low-light.


The Acer Liquid Z630s packs in a massive 4000mAh battery but we found that it doesn’t translate too well to real-word battery life. We managed to get only 13 hours and 12 minutes in our video loop test, which is quite good, but we expected a lot more given the huge battery size. To put things into perspective, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which has a Quad-HD display, a much more powerful processor and a smaller battery delivered better results in our loop test. With normal usage, we found the phone lasted about a day and a half with a bit of calls, gaming and video playback.

Acer_Liquid_Z630s_ _ndtv (10).jpg

The Acer Liquid Z630s is a bit of a mixed bag as some of its impressive specifications don’t translate too well in the real world. It has a good build and good aesthetics, decent display quality despite the size and low resolution, smooth app performance, and a couple of useful bundled apps like AcerEXTEND and abFiles.

On the other hand, there’s no 4G support for TDD-LTE carriers; the loudspeaker is a little weak for multimedia use; the rear camera struggles with details in landscapes; and the battery life could have been much better considering its mammoth capacity.

The Lenovo K3 Note (Review | Pictures) and the Micromax Yu Yureka Plus (Review) continue to be good options in this price segment and they offer better all-round performance.

Acer Liquid Z630s in pictures

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Acer Liquid Z630s

Acer Liquid Z630s

R 10999 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Well built, good aesthetics
  • Nifty software features
  • Good performance
  • Spacious onboard storage
  • Bad
  • No TDD-LTE support
  • Battery life could have been better
  • Mono speaker is a bit weak
  • Average camera performance

Read detailed Acer Liquid Z630s review





Front Camera



720×1280 pixels




Android 5.1



Rear Camera


Battery capacity

4000mAh See full Acer Liquid Z630s specifications

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Gionee Marathon M5 Lite Review

Gionee’s mission in the budget smartphone segment has been all about delivering the best battery life possible. Its Marathon series really took off after the company launched the Marathon M4 (Review | Pictures) and more recently, the Marathon M5 (Review | Pictures).

Following up on the success of the latter, we now have the Marathon M5 Lite, which was launched last month. The specifications and features of the newer phone bear a striking resemblance to those of the older M4, only with a newer version of Android and slightly beefed up internals. Although the M4 is still being sold for around the same amount as the M5 Lite, it could replace the older model going ahead.

So which one should you pick right now? Is newer always better? Let’s find out.

Look and feel
The Marathon M5 Lite definitely scores more points when it comes to aesthetics. It’s slimmer with a more premium look thanks to the new colour and the chrome accents running along its edges. It’s slightly heavier though and that heft is noticeable when it’s in your pocket.

The display is a crisp 5-inch HD IPS panel, and it uses Dragontrail glass for added strength. The pixel density of the display is nearly 300ppi, so images and text are fairly sharp with no visible colour banding or pixelated icons. Brightness levels and viewing angles are good and so is sunlight legibility. We’re disappointed that Gionee has once again skimped on a notification LED and backlighting for the capacitive buttons.


The power and volume buttons are ergonomically placed on the right side which makes it easy for single handed use. The sides don’t offer as much grip as the rear cover, so you’ll find it a bit slippery if you just hold the sides. The rear cover is removable but the battery isn’t. Here, we have the two Micro-SIM slots that support 4G, along with a microSD card slot that you can use to add up to 128GB of storage.


In the box, you get a charger, USB cable, screen guard, case, and some instruction manuals. The accessories look and feel quite cheap and aren’t of the same calibre as the ones that come with the Marathon M4 and M5. The phone doesn’t support any form of fast charging and the bundled charger is a standard 5W unit, which isn’t ideal for such topping up such a large battery.

Specifications and software
Gionee has used the same internals as the Marathon M5, which consist of a quad-core MediaTek MT6735 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of onboard storage. This is good considering the price difference between the two phones. Other features are similar as well, including Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG, FM radio, Miracast and GPS. There’s a slightly smaller 4000mAh battery, though it still promises multiple days’ worth of usage.


The Marathon M5 Lite uses Android 5.1 Lollipop with Gionee’s Amigo 3.1 skin running on top. The experience is very similar to that of any other Gionee phone and since we’ve covered all the features in great detail in past reviews, we’ll only skim through them here.

The stock launcher is a single-layered interface with options to customise the transition effects of icons on the home screen. We wished there was a quick way to change the wallpaper from the home screen instead of having to go into the settings. Quick settings and toggles are all in the Control Centre, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom, while the drop down shade is reserved for notifications. The Settings app also has Smart Gestures feature, which enables touchless controls for media and Web browsing by waving your palm over the phone.


Most of the pre-installed apps can be removed, except for some like Chameleon, which lets you change the theme by picking complementary colours from anything you capture with the camera; GStore, an app store for games; Theme Park, which lets you browse through multiple themes; and Mood Card, for picture message templates that can be edited with a personalised message and shared. Apps that can be uninstalled include WPS Office, TouchPal 2015, DU speed Booster, Gionee Xender, UC Browser, and some trial games.

Considering the specifications of this phone, it’s no surprise that the M5 Lite handles most tasks with ease. General app performance and multitasking is smooth as you always have about 1.6GB of free RAM at your disposal. 4G also works well and the phone rarely heats up during normal usage.


3D games such as Dead Trigger 2 and Ski Safari 2 didn’t have trouble running smoothly. The phone also fared decently in benchmarks, with AnTuTu delivering a score of 33,022 and 3DMark Ice Storm giving us 5749 points.

Multimedia support is also good as the stock video player handles high bit-rate video files with ease and also comes with DTS audio enhancement. With it enabled, the rear mono speaker delivers decently loud audio for music and videos. The music app offers DTS audio as well as a customisable equaliser setting. The audio quality from the bundled headset is below average, and it doesn’t have a good fit when worn.


We had a slight issue with light metering from the rear camera. Bright areas tended to burn out and the colours of close up shots were exaggerated. The pictures look passable on the phone’s display but lack good detail and sharpness when you zoom in and look on a bigger screen. The camera app lets you play with multiple shooting modes, including a Pro mode. Low-light shots were pretty average as well, with the level of detail and autofocus speed dipping greatly.


Video recording maxes out at 1080p which is not so bad thanks to the software stabilisation. The rear flash does its job as long as the subject is not too far away. The front 5-megapixel camera takes decent selfies under good light.


Battery life
This is of course the main highlight of the Marathon series, and although the M5 Lite delivers, it isn’t as great as we had hoped it would be. In our video loop test, we managed to get 11 hours and 47 minutes of continuous video playback. With everyday usage, it was more like a day and a half of battery life. While this is good, it isn’t ground-breaking like we’ve come to expect from the Marathon series. For instance, something like the Oppo R7 Lite (Review | Pictures) delivered better battery life in our video loop test with a mere 2320mAh battery.

One pain point is getting the massive battery to charge fully, which takes nearly four hours with the bundled charger.

With a street price of Rs 12,999, the Gionee Marathon M5 Lite misses the mark as it feels expensive when you consider the overall package. If battery life is what you’re after in this price range, then you’re better off with the older Marathon M4, since apart from the aesthetics, you’ll barely notice the other changes.

We appreciate the slimmer, better-looking body and the all-day battery life of the M5 Lite, but apart from this, everything else leaves you wanting more. The quality of the bundled accessories is also pretty poor when compared to previous Marathon offerings.

Gionee might be compromising a bit too much with the Marathon series as it also recently added the M5 Mini to its range, which is also similar to the M5 Lite. Rather than milking the success of one phone by flooding the market with Marathon M5 variants, we feel the company needs to take a step back and evaluate what’s really needed.

Gionee Marathon M5 Lite in pictures

Original Article

iPad mini review

iPad mini review

I bet the iPad mini is going to be on a lot of wish lists this holiday season. I also bet that for a lot of people, it’s not going to be the best choice. It’s beautiful and light, but Apple made a big compromise in the design, one that means that buyers should look closely at the competition before deciding.

Starting at $329, the iPad mini is the cheapest iPad. The screen is a third smaller than the regular iPads, and it sits in an exquisitely machined aluminum body. It weighs just 11 ounces half as much as a full-size iPad making it easier to hold in one hand. It’s just under 8 inches long and less than a third of an inch thick, so it fits easily into a handbag.

The issue is the screen quality. Apple has been on the forefront of a move toward sharper, more colorful screens. It calls them “Retina” displays because the pixels the little light-emitting squares that make up the screen are so small that they blend together almost seamlessly in our eyes, removing the impression that we’re watching a grid of discrete elements.

The iPad mini doesn’t have a Retina screen. By the standards of last year, it’s a good screen, with the same number of pixels as the first iPad and the iPad 2. The latest full-size iPad has four times as many pixels, and it really shows. By comparison, the iPad mini’s screen looks coarse. It looks dull, too, because it doesn’t have the same color-boosting technology that the full-size model has.

This is not an entirely fair comparison, as the full-size iPad starts at $499 and weighs twice as much. The real issue is that this year, there are other tablets that are cheaper than the iPad mini, weigh only slightly more and still have better screens.

Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire HD costs $199 and has about the same overall size as the mini. While the Kindle’s screen is somewhat smaller (leaving a bigger frame around the edges), it is also sharper, with 30 percent more pixels than the mini. Colors are slightly brighter, too.

Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook HD costs $229 and has a screen that’s even sharper than the Kindle HD’s. It’s got 65 percent more pixels than the iPad mini.

Why do tablets from two companies chiefly known as book stores beat Apple’s latest for screen quality?

Sharper screens are darker, requiring a more powerful backlight to appear bright. That, in turn, would have forced an increase in the battery size. That’s the reason the first iPad with a Retina display was thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. So to keep the iPad mini thin while matching the 10-hour battery life of the bigger iPads, Apple had to compromise on the display.

This can’t last, though. By next year, it will likely be even more obvious that Apple is seriously behind in screen quality on its small tablet, and it will have to upgrade to a Retina display somehow. That means this first-generation iPad mini will look old pretty fast.

The display causes a few other problems, too. One is that when you run iPhone apps on the mini, it uses the coarsest version of the graphics for that app – the version designed for iPhones up to the 2009 model, the 3GS. You can blow the app up to fill more of the screen, but it looks pretty ugly. The full-size iPad uses the higher-quality Retina graphics when running iPhone apps, and it looks much better.

Some apps adapted for the iPad screen don’t display that well on the mini screen, either, because of the smaller size. Buttons can be too small to hit accurately, bringing to mind Steve Jobs’ 2010 comments about smaller tablets. The late Apple founder was of the vociferous opinion that the regular iPad was the smallest size that was also friendly to use.

In some apps, text on the mini is too small to be comfortably read – the section fronts in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal apps are examples of this.

Of course, in some other respects, the iPad mini outdoes the Fire and the Nook, so it isn’t just the tablet for the buyer who needs the prettiest and the thinnest. In particular, the Mini is a $329 entry ticket to the wonderful world of iPad and iPhone apps. For quality and quantity, it beats all the other app stores. (Oddly, there’s an inverse relationship between screen quality and app availability in this category the Nook HD has the best screen and the fewest apps, while the second-best Kindle Fire HD has middling access to apps.)

The Mini also has front- and back-facing cameras, for taking still photos and video and for videoconferencing. The Kindle Fire HD only has a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. The Nook HD doesn’t have a camera at all.

In short, the iPad Mini is more versatile than the competition, and I’m sure it will please a lot of people. But take a look at the competition first, and figure that by next year, we’ll see something from Apple that looks a lot better.

About the iPad Mini
The base model of the iPad mini costs $329 and comes with 16 gigabytes of storage. A 32 GB model goes for $429 and 64 GB for $529. Soon, you’ll be able to get versions that can connect through cellular networks, not just Wi-Fi. Add $130 to the price.


Original Article here