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Videocon VT10 review

Videocon VT10 review

The tablet market in India seems to be booming and most Indian smartphone makers are eager to get into this lucrative opportunity. Videocon is no different. The company has recently launched its first tablet in the form Videocon VT10.

It comes with a 10-inch screen with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. The tablet runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The tablet is priced at Rs. 11,200. So what you are getting is a 10-inch tablet for around Rs. 10,000 market price. Is this a good deal? Let’s find out in our review

Hardware/ Build & Design
The Videocon VT10 is a 10-inch tablet, which comes with a white and silver casing. The device looks very plasticky. The silver colour on the back is a bit glossy and makes the tablet looks very tacky. Most of the front is taken up by the screen with white borders all around. The front facing camera lies just above the screen.

The screen is a fingerprint magnet and one needs to constantly keep cleaning the tablet.

The right panel houses the tiny power button, microSD card slot, HDMI port, reset pinhole, USB port, 3.5mm audio jack and power cord. There is nothing on the left panel.

The back panel has the back camera and the speakers. The dimensions of the tablet are 257.3 x 176 x 10.3 mm and at 650 grams it is certainly not one of the lightest tablets around.

The build quality of the tablet too is nothing to rave about either.

Display
The 10-inch screen of the Videocon VT10 offers a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. The surface of the screen feels a bit rough and the touch sensitivity could have been better.

The screen is bright and the experience of watching YouTube videos and reading e-books is pretty average. The screen is reflective and the viewing angles are bad.

The under sun visibility is also poor.

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Software/ Interface
The tablet runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and that is one of the USP of this tablet. The device comes with a stock Android on-board.

The tablet’s on-screen controls are on the bottom left instead of the centre, and the notification panel and quick access settings (for Wi-Fi, Screen rotation, brightness, sound and shortcut to settings) are located at the bottom right.

Though the tablet is running on Android 4.1.1, it is not clear whether Videocon will be rolling out an update to Android 4.2.

The tablet comes pre-loaded with plenty of applications such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, E-Book, Echo, Go Weather, Documents To Go, nexGTv, Nimbuzz, PhotoFunia, Saavn, Skype and Zomato. There are also a host of popular gaming apps that come pre-installed with the tablet such as Paper Toss, Bubble Break, Temple Run, Temple Run2 and Where’s My Water.

The E-Book application as the name suggests helps in reading e-books. The app supports .txt, .pdf and .epub. There are no pre-installed e-books on this tablet but there is a service manual in a pdf format, which lists out name and addresses of the Videocon service centers. However, one does have an option to download e-books through Google Play store.

For browsing, there is a choice of three browsers – the native Android browser, Chrome and Opera.

Camera
This tablet houses a 2-megapixel camera in the front as well as on the rear. There is a native Android app for the camera and it only offers basic functions such as switching between front and rear camera, white balance and scene mode.

The pictures and videos clicked through both rear and front camera are very grainy and sub-par. The quality of the clicked images deteriorated even further when the pictures were clicked indoors.

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Performance/ Battery Life
The tablet is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor along with 1GB RAM.

The tablet offers just 8GB of internal storage, which is a bit less when compared to what the competing tablets are offering. However, one does have an option to expand the storage by up to 32GB through a microSD card.

You will experience plenty of lags while playing around with this tablet. Forget multi-tasking, Videocon VT10 was not even able to play back a recorded video smoothly.

Videocon VT10 comes with a 6800mAh battery. In our experience the tablet took way too long to get to 100 percent charge (not sure if the issue is restricted to only the review unit we have got or if it is a universal defect). Also the battery runs out of juice in no time. We were barely able to get 2.5 hours, at most 3 hours of video playback from Videocon VT10.

There are three browsers available for the users of this tablet, the native Android browser, Chrome and Opera. The browsing experience through native Android browser is good. Even browsing through Chrome or Opera is enjoyable and breezy.

The experience of playing games such as Temple Run was average mainly due to lags and the device would run out of battery pretty soon.

The sound quality of videos played back through speakers is average.

The device does not support SIM calling or 3G, which means one can only use only when there is access to Wi-Fi. The more disappointing bit is that Videocon VT10 does not offer Bluetooth support.

Overall, we think that in terms of performance, the tablet is not able to deliver much. There are frequent lags and the tablet also drains out of battery quicker than what one would desire. The only thing that you can actually do with this tablet is browse the Internet. Thankfully, we encountered no crashes while watching YouTube videos or while surfing around used computers.

Verdict
Videocon VT10 is a pretty mediocre tablet, which can be used at best to surf the Internet or watch YouTube videos. Even the experience of watching YouTube videos will be jarred thanks to the underwhelming display of the tablet.

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The major issue with the Videocon VT10 lies in its battery. The device runs out of battery very soon but also takes forever to get to charge. Even on the camera front, there is a lot to be desired.

If you are looking for a 10-inch tablet and will not mind shelling out a couple of thousand bucks more, then Spice Stellar Mi-1010 (Review|Pictures) is worth considering. The Spice tablet is a bit heavier than the Videocon VT10 but has a better screen and also supports voice calling.

Also if you don’t mind a smaller screen, then the Acer Iconia B1-A71 (Review|Pictures), which has a 7-inch screen and is available for Rs. 7,999, is also worth a look.

Pros

  • Decent browsing experience
  • Jelly Bean

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Display is underwhelming
  • The device runs out of battery very quickly

Ratings (Out of 5)

Design: 2
Display: 2.5
Performance: 3
Software: 4
Battery Life: 2.5
Value for Money: 2.5
Camera: 2.5
Ecosystem: 3.5
Overall: 2.5

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Original Article here

The Order: 1886 Review – We Played This Game So You Don’t Have To

The Order: 1886 Review - We Played This Game So You Don't Have To

The PlayStation 4 (PS4) has had a year of up and downs in India and it's still to have a monster hit along the lines of last generation's fantastic Uncharted series of games, or The Last of Us. We'd mentioned that there were two games that could turn the PS4 from into a must-buy, and one of them – The Order: 1886 – is hitting the shelves on Friday.

On the surface, the premise of the game sounds remarkably cool. It is a third-person shooter in the mould of Gears of War, set in the backdrop of Victorian era London, but in a world of steampunk sensibilities replete with 19th century automatic weaponry and werewolves. The narrative borrows from Arthurian legend, placing you in the role of Sir Galahad (who here bears a striking resemblance to minor Bollywood celeb Milind Gunaji), a knight of the Order – a group sworn to keep humanity safe from werewolves, vampires and all sorts of nasty monsters that inhabit the world. There's very little not to like in that outline.

Before the game released though, a leaked playthrough of the game raised concerns because of its apparently short length. There's no denying that The Order: 1886 is not Skyrim. It took us not more than six hours to complete the game. Considering that the game costs Rs. 3,999, that is legitimately a cause for some concern, but it's not the biggest – or only – problem with The Order: 1886.

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The pacing of events in the game is terrible, and it fails to keep you invested in the action. Nothing shows this more than the game's creaky opening. You do very little in its first five minutes apart from watching a seemingly endless number of cut-scenes. Unfortunately, it is a sign of things to come.

For a third-person shooter, there is very little shooting in the opening chapters. Instead, you'll find yourself harassed with stealth sections where a single wrong move means dying and restarting, annoying quick time events (QTEs) – scenes that compel you to press an assortment of buttons in a given order, and all sorts of cinematic effects in the name of plot progression.

This could still be forgiven if the core of the game was enjoyable. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay of the gunfights itself is forgettable. In most levels, you'll start off exploring an area, then jump across a few ledges, get into a firefight that has you running and gunning from cover, finding the odd lock to pick or electronic power unit to circumvent. All of this is peppered with the aforementioned extra-long cut-scenes.

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Playing The Order: 1886 feels as if developer Ready at Dawn spent more time on the choice of camera angles instead of gameplay. The gunplay is lacklustre. There's no sense of satisfaction or weight to the weaponry; the handling of all the weapons is too similar and taken together, it makes the gameplay off-putting. Only a few weapons are actually interesting.

The dragoon pistol feels like it packs a punch, and the highly amusing thermite rifle that lets you light up your foes after spraying them with an explosive mist. Most other weapons though are forgettable albeit overpowered. So much so that key features like Blacksight, which lets you gun down your opponents by slowing down time, and Blackwater that lets you heal yourself in battle were barely needed in our entire playthrough.

"In-game features you'll never put to good use" could well be the slogan for this game. Early on in The Order: 1886, you can use the PS4's trackpad to tap in morse code for air support. It's fantastic idea that's used just once in the game, reducing it to utter pointlessness. The game has a host of audio logs, documents, photos, and objects to find and inspect – but very few of them have any explanation for what's going on, and seem to exist purely to allow you to get more in-game achievements.

At the same time, there's the audacity to use a boss fight with similar QTE prompts, twice. For a game that features just two boss fights, it feels lazy. All of this results in The Order: 1886 being painful to play, particularly because you can see how much potential there was in the ideas.

In terms of production values there's very little wrong with it. From stellar art direction to some of the best graphics outside current PS4 posterchild Driveclub, it's a treat to look at. Coupled with almost perfect voice acting, character animations, and a suitably grim soundtrack you have a technically brilliant game. The sheer superlativeness of the game's production values makes its plentiful flaws a lot more apparent.

Perhaps its biggest misgiving is in its indecisiveness in terms of story. You're teased with introductions to a host of interesting characters from history – such as Rani of Jhansi and Nikola Tesla – and introduced to situations that should ideally be resolved in the game's brief run, but this does not happen. It feels as if the last third of the game went missing or held back as downloadable content or a sequel. In the end, you're left with more questions than answers and a tremendous number of plot-holes that make your average Bollywood script seem like an award winning affair.

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To sum it up, The Order: 1886 is best described as a vertical slice of gameplay. It shows off a lot of features but very few of them come together in a manner that's deemed as cohesive. Throw in the short gameplay length and the wasted potential of its setting, and you have a game that you should squarely avoid. Sony's exclusives are usually of high standard. This is not one of them.

We played a retail copy of The Order: 1886 on the PlayStation 4. It is available for Rs. 3,999.

Pros

  • Great setting
  • Looks good

Cons

  • Unsatisfying gunplay
  • Recycled boss fights
  • Short duration
  • Feels incomplete

Rating (out of 10): 4

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Original article from NDTV Gadgets

Microsoft Discontinues Production of Kinect for Windows Sensor

Microsoft Discontinues Production of Kinect

After discontinuing the original Kinect for Windows sensor in December last year, Microsoft is now discontinuing production of the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensorlaunched in July last year. The firm says the move is to “consolidate the Kinect for Windows experience around a single sensor.”

The Redmond giant is now pointing interested users, mostly developers, to the Kinect Adapter for Windows cable, to be used in conjunction with the Kinect for Xbox One sensor.

Microsoft Discontinues Production of Kinect

Microsoft Discontinues Production of Kinect

The Kinect for Xbox One sensor, which began to be sold separately in October last year, costs $149.99 (Rs. 11,490 in India). The Kinect Adapter for Windows cable on the other hand costs $49.99 (roughly Rs. 3,100). The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor used to cost $199.99 when available, so it all works out.

The Kinect Adapter cable lets users connect the Kinect for Xbox One sensor to a Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PC or tablets just like the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, and both the sensors are functionally identical – the company says its Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 works the same way for both sensors as well. Microsoft is also assuring current owners of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor that support will remain unaffected.

Microsoft says the move is a part of an effort to “simplify and create consistency for developers”. The firm’s Kinect for Windows Team in its blog post announcement said it had seen great demand from the developer community over the “past several months”, and had “difficulty keeping up with requests in some markets.”

The Kinect for Windows Team added it saw the “developer community respond positively to being able to use the Kinect for Xbox One sensor for Kinect for Windows app development,” and ensured the Kinect for Xbox One sensors and Kinect Adapter for Windows units are readily available in most markets. While this is true for the sensor in India, the adapter is not readily purchasable.

Dead Among Us Review: Zombie Archery Made in India

Dead Among Us Review: Zombie Archery Made in India

Like military shooters, games featuring zombies are a cliche. From survival horror staples like Resident Evil to modern masterpieces like Uncharted, you’ll be hard pressed to find a game that doesn’t have the undead in one form or another. And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s Rolocule. The Pune-based studio has made games like Motion Tennis Cast and Bowling Central. While these two titles cemented its position as one of the better niche developers focusing on motion controlled games on Android and iOS, its latest game Dead Among Us is perhaps its most accessible yet, as you don’t need a Chromecast or Apple TV for this one.

(Also see: Turn Your Android Phone Into a Tennis Racquet with Motion Tennis Cast)

Unlike Rolocule’s earlier games, Dead Among Us shows a definite attempt at creating some sort of narrative. There’s been a virus outbreak and everyone you know is dead or worse, turned into the walking dead. Conveniently, your character is a gold medalist at archery and just happened to have a bow and quiver full of arrows lying around to shepherd survivors to safety, and protect the scientists researching a cure.

In terms of mechanics, Dead Among Us is a gallery shooter similar to games like Deer Hunter 2014 and Contract Killer. You’ll find yourself in a location armed with a gun and charged with killing anything you see. In Dead Among Us however, there are no guns. Rather, you have a bow that works with an assortment of arrows. And you’re not killing people or animals, you’re killing shambling monsters.

Cosmetic differences aside, Dead Among Us stands out due to its control scheme. Other gallery shooters make you use both hands to control aiming and shooting; here you can do it all with one hand. Swipe the screen to look around, hold to aim at a target, and let go to fire. It takes a few rounds to get used to the control scheme, but once you do, it becomes second nature. Considering you’re using a bow to rain death upon many a zombie, the combination of swiping, holding and releasing works well. The entire experience of landing a perfect shot is extremely satisfying, and makes us wonder why other games don’t explore different control options.

(Also see: Bowling Central Review: Puzzles and Precision)

While the control scheme is innovative and enjoyable, there are some issues. We had to tweak the sensitivity to get the best out of the controls on Android (playing on a Google Nexus 6) but it was perfectly fine at default settings on an iPhone 5S, allowing us to hit zombies square between the eyes with consummate ease. A little too much ease perhaps, as that’s the overriding feeling we got from most of Dead Among Us’ levels.

The levels have you protecting a survivor from incoming hordes of slow moving enemies, or ensuring a colleague doesn’t get devoured in broad daylight while collecting supplies. Every time we were greeted with a game over screen it was because of our poor aim, and not because the enemies were too tough, or too many to easily manage. You never quite feel challenged by the enemies and you can breeze past a majority of the levels without too many concerns.

Like most games on iOS and Android, Dead Among Us is free-to-play. Most of the in-app purchases (IAPs) revolve around power-ups that let you which direction your targets are coming from or allow you to kill stronger zombies with a single shot. They’re fun to toy around with but not exactly integral to the experience. Other IAPs include new bows or upgrades to your existing one. These include bonuses to power, stability, and the number of arrows you can carry. If these stats aren’t what they should be, the game locks you out of specific levels.

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Thankfully, there’s more than enough to do without resorting to repeatedly playing previous missions in order to progress. Every time you play a mission you use stamina, and tougher ones using more of it compared to others. Even then though, you’re rarely compelled to purchase more of it as the period between refills is surprisingly short. And though the game features ads, they never overstay their welcome. You aren’t bombarded to the point that you feel the need to step away.

Aside from being tremendously easy, another niggle is that Dead Among Us doesn’t look as good as it could. Although some sections are book-ended with decent comic-book styled segments to fill up the narrative, the actual game looks bland. It’s rudimentary compared to the studios other games which were more stylised and art heavy. Dead Among Us’ attempt at realism falls flat from a visual standpoint. This feels particularly tragic considering certain elements like bow trajectory, stability, and impact seem to be carefully considered, making the sheer experience of landing the perfect shot gratifying.

All in all, Dead Among Us is a fine game to fill up your time during a commute or while in queues. It’s a solid gallery shooter sporting great controls and a more than generous difficulty curve that will ensure you keep playing. Just as long as you can get past the so-so visuals.

We played Dead Among Us on Android and iOS. It’s available for free with in-app purchases on both platforms.

Pros

  • Great controls
  • Quick stamina refills
  • Satisfying shooting
  • Well-designed levels
  • Lots to do without being overwhelmed

Cons

  • Dated visuals
  • Doesn’t feel challenging enough

Rating (out of 10): 7

Original NDTV Gadgets

OnePlus Icons Review

OnePlus Icons Review

OnePlus was founded in December 2013, though the company first burst onto the scene in 2014 when it launched the OnePlus One. The self-proclaimed “flagship killer” promised top-end performance at entry level prices. Now, OnePlus is making a push into the audio space as well, and the brand has launched its second pair of earphones, the OnePlus Icons. While the OnePlus Silver Bullet earphones were priced fairly affordably at Rs. 899, the Icons, at Rs. 2,999, are clearly at the upper end of what can be called “budget”.

The OnePlus Icons are a nice looking pair of in-ear headphones, but are they comfortable enough and most of all, do they sound good enough to justify the price tag? Or should you consider spending as much or a little more to buy something nicer, or save your money and pick up a cheaper pair?

Design, specifications, and comfort
The design of the Icons is eye catching. The angled earpieces look nice and help ensure a good fit as well, and the metallic bands behind them look good. In your hand or in your ears, these look better than the earbuds that ship in the box with most phones.

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The design and build quality of the OnePlus Icons is quite good for the price, and the woven cable feels like it will take a while to fray. It was also really easy to untangle, so from a durability perspective, we quite liked the Icons.

The earphones come in a fancy looking box, with multiple earpieces in different sizes, and a stylish looking pouch. It’s a little small to carry the earphones in, and after a couple of days it picked up a lot of wrinkles and bulges as a result, but the small size makes it easy to carry around.

The OnePlus Icons use an 11mm dynamic driver and uses an aluminium composite diaphragm, with a frequency range from 20-20,000Hz, and 32Ohm impedance. It comes with an inline microphone and remote, so you can adjust volume or take calls using the Icons.

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Unfortunately, the looks of the Icons are certainly superior to the comfort that this set provides. We tried all the different sizes to see what would be most comfortable, and unfortunately, the answer was none at all.

Simple in-ear designs, or hooked shapes like the Bose sets, were significantly more comfortable to wear for extended periods; watching a full movie while wearing this set was extremely uncomfortable, and worse, the earphones also popped out at times. The only consolation was that the sound isolation was pretty good, even when nothing was playing.

Performance
A little discomfort would not matter if the OnePlus Icons sounded great, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. The sound you get from this set is tinny. Turn up the volume and the clarity goes out the window right away, and it sounded only average at lower volumes.

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The bass performance is relatively okay, but not great, and the midrange and treble just sounds dull. Bass is given a lot of importance in India, but frankly, there are plenty of much cheaper options that will get you the exact same sound, so you’re really paying for the looks of the headphones.

Trying it with various music styles there wasn’t any genre where the Icons truly got to shine. Watching movies wasn’t great either, as vocals felt oddly flat and lifeless, and the clarity of the headphones really could have been better.

Verdict
Unlike the smartphone market, where there was a lot of room for price disruption, low-cost but high-quality audio brands already exist and have a fair amount of mindshare.

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There are many headsets that deliver better audio than the OnePlus Icons, whether you’re looking for clean, punchy bass, something with a bright, sparkly sound, or something that is comfortable enough that you’ll forget you’re wearing it. Although Rs. 2,999 isn’t much if you’re getting really good headphones, in the case of the OnePlus Icons, you’re paying for the design, and not the audio. If you’re comfortable with doing that, this is a good pair, but otherwise, they’re average at best.

Pros

  • Good design
  • Appears durable
  • Easy to untangle

Cons

  • Only average audio
  • Relatively high price

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Performance: 3
  • Value for money: 3
  • Overall: 3

 

More info: https://www.rumotoring.co.uk

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Original Article