Tag Archives: SIM

Lenovo Launches Global Wireless Roaming Service

Lenovo Launches Global Wireless Roaming Service

China's Lenovo Group Ltd will launch a global wireless service for its mobile devices to cut roaming costs for its users, it said on Sunday.

The service, called Lenovo Connect, allows users to travel to 50 countries and use their devices at local prices on mobile Internet, without installing new SIM cards, Lenovo said in a statement on Sunday.

For years, roaming or extra charges for the use of telecoms services outside a person's home country have been a source of consumers' ire as many were confronted with high phone bills after returning from holiday.

The European Union has agreed to abolish mobile roaming charges across the 28-country bloc by June 2017, requiring telecom operators to treat all Internet traffic equally.

Lenovo said it could offer the service through its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) activities, which currently has 11 million users globally.

MVNOs are operators who rent access on bigger rivals' networks and tend to sell cheaper mobile plans, often without a long-term contract.

The Lenovo service will be available in China on its LeMeng X3 smartphone and MIIX 700 tablet from this month. Some users of Lenovo's ThinkPad laptops in Europe, Middle-East and Africa can start using the service sometime during the first quarter.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Original NDTV Gadgets

Honor 7 Review: The Metallic Powerhouse

Honor 7 Review: The Metallic Powerhouse

Although Honor is a Huawei-owned brand, its devices usually lack any mention of this, instead pitching the smartphones independently. The Honor brand allows the company to compete in the crowded budget market, and offer high-quality, well-specified devices at affordable prices without affecting the 'premium' brand image that Huawei has built for itself in China and the world over.

That is exactly what the new Honor 7 brings to the table. It's packed to the brim with features, and has top-spec hardware. With a specifications sheet that could put most flagship devices to shame, the Honor 7 hopes to win over a lot of high-value buyers with its Rs. 22,999 price tag. We go into the details in our review.

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Look and feel
With a 5.2-inch full-HD IPS-LCD screen, the Honor 7 sits in the flagship smartphone sweet spot for displays. It's bright, detailed and suitably large, without breaching the 5.5-inch mark that is arguably considered to be the point where a phone becomes a phablet. The front is 72.4 percent screen, with on-screen soft keys, narrow borders and the front camera and flash on either side of the earpiece. The lack of branding makes the front stark and Spartan, a look we rather like.

The power and volume keys are on the right, while the USB port and speakers are at the bottom. The top of the Honor 7 has the 3.5mm socket and an IR blaster. The left of the device has the SIM and microSD tray, and the 'Smart' key. The version of the Honor 7 sold in India is a single-SIM device, however the tray is the same as the one used in the dual-SIM version which has a hybrid SIM slot. There are therefore markings and a distinct slot for a second SIM card, but be assured that a second SIM will not work, and only a correctly inserted microSD card will be recognised.

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The Smart key is a rather unique addition to the device, and one that we hope more manufacturers start incorporating. This is a physical button that can be customised to trigger specific functions. The key can be set up to trigger up to three different functions with a single press, a double press, or a long press. There are four quick functions to choose from: ultra snapshot, voice recording, flashlight, or screenshot, or you can launch a specific app. It's an absolutely fantastic feature that makes the device much more intuitive and user-friendly.

The back of the Honor 7 is entirely metal and has a dull matte finish that looks great and is excellent for grip as well. Above the Honor logo at the top-centre are the primary camera, flash, and fingerprint sensor. The latter doesn't look like a sensor at all, with a metallic colour that blends in with the device. It's extremely effective at its job, and you can save up to five fingerprints which can be used to unlock the phone or access the file safe and app lock. It's also 360-degree capable, which means it will read a saved fingerprint no matter what angle your finger is placed on the sensor at.

The sensor can also be used for swipe functions, either pulling down the notification drawer/shortcut menu and clearing notifications, or bringing up the recent apps list. It can be used to unlock the device directly from sleep mode, without you having to first wake the device. It will take a little while to get used to its positioning at the back. The best way to go is to save prints of both of your index fingers, since these are the easiest to use the sensor with.

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Specifications and software
Huawei is one of the few smartphone manufacturers that develops its own SoCs for its devices instead of using readymade ones from specialised developers such as Qualcomm or MediaTek. The octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 935 SoC finds its way into the Honor 7, with the primary four cores operating at 2.2GHz and the secondary four cores at 1.5GHz. The GPU is the ARM Mali-T624, which is admittedly an old unit and not one that we would normally see in a high-end device like this.

The rest of the specification list is comfortably flagship and high end, with 4G connectivity (Indian bands supported), 16GB of internal storage (expandable by up to 128GB with a microSD card), 3GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.1, and a 3100mAh battery. About 9GB of the internal storage is user accessible, so you will likely need to utilise the microSD slot.

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The Honor 7 runs on Android 5.0.2 with Huawei's Emotion UI 3.1 on top. The UI is single-layered, much like Xiaomi's MIUI and Gionee's Amigo UI, and therefore lacks an app drawer. We've made no secret of our dislike for single-layered UIs, as this stacks all app icons in an untidy manner, clutters all the homescreens, and makes the use of widgets a tricky affair. Fortunately, this is the only real flaw to the interface.

The rest of the system is highly customisable, with options for practically every function including the navigation bar, smart key, motion control, and one-handed operation. It's also comfortably smooth and easy to use, thanks to the excellent hardware under the hood. There are a handful of pre-installed apps, but none are too bothersome, and the majority can be uninstalled. The software feels truly high-end and flagship, and goes with the rest of the Honor 7.

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Camera
The Honor 7 has a 20-megapixel primary camera with dual-tone flash, and an 8-megapixel front camera with single-tone flash. Both cameras are capable of recording full-HD video, and the app has plenty of modes and filters that you can use.

The camera app is usually excellent, and has been designed to look good and be easy to use. The filter menu is quickly accessible, as are the mode selector and settings. There are plenty of software-based camera features to play with, giving the user a high amount of control over the kind of pictures taken. Apart from the typical panorama and HDR modes, there are also modes for slow-motion video, all-focus, audio note, time lapse, and best photo.

Within the settings you can trigger the timer, smile capture and object tracking, as well as adjust basic manual settings such as ISO and white balance. An ultra-snapshot mode allows you to quickly take shots even when the phone is locked by double-tapping the volume down key or assigning the function to the smart key, although this doesn't always work well. The only notable flaw is the inability to quickly record video. You first have to switch to video mode and then tap the record button to start, which makes a two-step process out of a function that many phones can pull off in a single step.

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The camera itself is quite up to the mark, taking good shots in all conditions. The rear camera is capable of serious detail and good colour reproduction, be it with close-ups or more open pictures. The high resolution lets you zoom in deep without a loss of detail, and shots are vibrant and realistic. Close-up shots achieve a similar level of detail, as well as accurately replicating lighting conditions and shadows.

The front camera is absolutely brilliant for a smartphone, and thanks to the flash, is capable of taking some excellent selfies. The camera is in fact capable of taking better pictures and video than even the primary cameras of a lot of cheaper smartphones, and selfie lovers will have a lot to gain from the Honor 7. The software allows the front camera to also shoot in panorama, audio note and watermark modes, which might appeal to some people.

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(Click to see full-size images)

Performance
The Honor 7 utilises the company's own Hisilicon Kirin 935 SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM. Until the development of the Kirin 940 and 950 is completed, this is the company's flagship SoC, and is also utilised by the Huawei P8Max and Mate S, apart from the Honor 7. The SoC is a vast improvement over the previous Kirin 930, and ensures that the Honor 7 performs well in all functions.

The device performed admirably in all our benchmark tests, with scores of 50,207 in AnTuTu and a solid 7,380 in 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme. It ran our test videos well too, showing no lag or stutter even with the heavily encoded and high-resolution files. All the apps and games we ran performed flawlessly as well.

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The Honor 7's aluminium alloy cover and L-Type architecture were designed to improve heat dissipation and keep the device cool through intense tasks, and this works effectively. Angry Birds 2 and Dead Trigger 2, which are both known to generate serious heat with test devices, failed to significantly heat the Honor 7 up beyond just a slight bit of warmth on the back.

Finally, battery life was a little below par, but certainly acceptable enough and adequate for a day's use under moderate conditions. The Honor 7 ran for 8 hours, 44 minutes in our video loop test, which is relatively low for a device with a 3100mAh battery. However, this may be forgivable for some users, considering the performance and the price.

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Verdict
Huawei has used its Honor range to successfully market quality products at competitive prices for a while now, and the online-exclusive strategy has resulted in some success. The Honor 7 is a beautiful device that embodies everything that a flagship smartphone should be. It has the right specifications, great features that will force you to question the value of competing devices, and a truly premium look and feel.

Furthermore, everything simply works well, whether it is the camera, fingerprint sensor, overall performance or the heat dissipating design. All of this is complemented by thoughtful touches such as the smart key, front flash, and heavy customisability in the settings menu. The Honor 7 is an excellent smartphone, and represents serious value at the price. We highly recommend this phone for anyone with a budget of up to Rs. 25,000.


Honor 7 in pictures

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Huawei Honor 7

Huawei Honor 7

R 22999 4.0

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Good design and display
  • Excellent cameras
  • Decent performance, great features
  • Excellent value for money
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Single-layered UI

Read detailed Huawei Honor 7 review

Display

5.20-inch

Processor

2.2GHz

Front Camera

8-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 5.0

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

20-megapixel

Battery capacity

3100mAh See full Huawei Honor 7 specifications

  • Honor 7 Now Receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update in India

  • Huawei Honor 7: The Metallic Powerhouse

  • Honor 7 First Impressions

  • Honor 7 With 5.2-Inch Display, Fingerprint Sensor Launched at Rs. 22,999

More Huawei mobilesOriginal NDTV Gadgets

Lenovo Phab Plus Review

Lenovo Phab Plus Review

Yes, the new Lenovo Phab Plus is enormous and unweildy. No, it’s not worth buying if you do not explicitly want a huge phone – or a tablet that can also make voice calls. Now that that’s out of the way, we can look at it for what it really is rather than dismissing it as ridiculous: a hybrid device designed for people who spend a lot more time playing games and watching videos than talking on the phone.

Lenovo stresses the screen and audio quality of the Phab Plus, which is a way of saying it’s an entertainment-focused device. There really isn’t anything else like it on the market. With a metal body and a price tag close to Rs. 20,000, Lenovo is trying to create a premium niche in the voice-calling tablet market. Let’s see if the company has tapped a whole new product category, or whether the Phab Plus is just a novelty that will soon be forgotten.

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Look and feel
The very first thing to deal with when it comes to this phone is its size. With a 6.8-inch screen and very little space on the sides, it’s not as big as most small tablets. As far as phones go though, this might well be the biggest we’ve ever tested. It looks like a stretched out iPhone 6 Plus (Review | Pictures); taller and wider, but not perceptibly thicker. The comparison is especially valid because this is where the Phab Plus gets all its design inspiration from. Not only is it available in grey, silver and gold, but the curved sides, flat back, antenna lines and overall styling are also undeniably taken straight from Cupertino’s current aesthetic.

Of course, being an Android device, the front is a bit different. The proportion of screen to surrounding plastic is way higher. The narrow strip of white above the screen houses the earpiece, camera and sensor window in a straight line, while the matching one below is blank thanks to the use of on-screen buttons. A status LED is hidden within the earpiece grille, and unfortunately isn’t visible at all unless you’re looking at the phone head-on.

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One original design touch is the grille on the upper rear that houses the loudspeaker as well as the primary camera and its dual-LED flash. There are also two rather ugly stickers lower down, with regulatory information and barcodes.

The power and volume buttons are on the right but the sheer size of this device means there’s no way to get the placement right – they’re almost always out of reach. There’s a tray on the left which can hold one Micro-SIM and either a secondary Nano-SIM or a microSD card. As with many recent phones, you’ll have to sacrifice storage expansion in order to use a second SIM, or vice versa. We are not in favour of this arrangement at all, especially if it isn’t made clear in the product’s spec sheet and promotional materials, as is often the case.

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As far as grip and comfort go, you really have to treat this device like a smallish tablet. The Phab Plus weighs 229g which is a lot for a phone. Holding it up to speak is awkward and uncomfortable after barely a few minutes. We tried bending and twisting the phone, and while there was a little flex, we weren’t afraid it would easily get damaged.

Lenovo thinks a lot of people will be willing to use this as their primary mobile device, replacing an ordinary smartphone. We have our doubts about that, for the simple reason that it’s really awkward to carry around. Half of it will stick out of a shirt pocket, and we were never quite comfortable with it in our pants or jeans pockets either. We were often worried about pickpockets when out and about, since it presents such an inviting target. It’s really more suitable to being carried around in a bag.

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Specifications
The Lenovo Phab Plus has fairly mid-range specifications, and if that doesn’t seem impressive for the price it’s because you’re paying for the huge screen and build quality. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, which has eight CPU cores and runs at 1.5GHz. There’s 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. MicroSD card support goes up to 64GB, though as already stated, this will be at the cost of the second SIM.

The 6.8-inch screen has a resolution of 1080×1920 which is pretty good, but not as sharp as you might expect it to be. There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel one in front. The battery, which is not removable, has a capacity of 3,500mAh. Talk time is rated at 24 hours and standby time at 20 days.

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You get 4G access through both SIM slots. There’s support for the modern Wi-Fi 802.11 ac standard, but only Bluetooth 4.0 for some reason. Lenovo advertises Dolby Atmos sound enhancement and a specially designed “1.0cc sound chamber”.

Software
The Phab Plus runs Android 5.0.2 and in many ways behaves like Android on tablets in the way that apps use the screen. There isn’t any optimisation in the way the iPhone 6 Plus, for example, uses the additional space in landscape mode to display an extra column in the Messages and Settings apps. Lenovo has added shortcuts to the quick settings panel that trigger what it calls “single hand micro screen” mode, “wide touch”, and “single hand keyboard” which don’t seem to have any effect at first.

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After digging through the settings we found that the former toggles a setting labelled “screen shrink” which lets you draw a ‘C’ gesture anywhere, shrinking the display output to use only a corner of the screen. It moves when you tilt the phone, which is awkward, but you can also reposition it and choose between two levels of shrinkage. Further in the settings app, there’s a section that says you can prevent apps from running in “small window mode” – note the third different name for this feature – but what this actually does is only reject recognition of the gesture, not prevent the apps from being shrunk.

As it turns out, “wide touch” is another name for “floating shortcut”, which replicates the iOS Assistive Touch feature, a floating translucent button which is actually meant for people with limited ranges of motion but can be used to overcome the problems presented by the enormous screen. “Single hand keyboard” turned out to only affect the phone app’s keypad, not the actual system keyboard in any app that needs text input. A little documentation about these features would really have helped, especially because of the confusing names Lenovo has given them. Not even the downloadable PDF user guide on the company’s website was of any use – we had to discover all this through trial and error.

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Lenovo has skinned Android with custom icons, a tabbed panel in the Settings app, and a few preinstalled apps which are of little value. There’s one app which is sort of a video brochure for the device you’ve already bought, a Dolby Atmos app which lets you choose between equaliser presets and create two custom profiles, McAfee Mobile Security, and Lenovo’s own SYNCit and SHAREit which let you back up data and exchange files with other people.

Performance
Using the Lenovo Phab Plus was occasionally a chore, but that’s more to do with its size and bulk than its hardware capabilities. That said, we did encounter a little bit of stuttering on rare occasions. Voice calls sounded a little hollow on both ends – we’re not too critical of this since calling is clearly not the device’s primary purpose, but it’s something potential buyers should be prepared to deal with.

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Gaming was pretty smooth with no noticeable problems in Dead Trigger 2. The big screen also worked well for other tasks – you can comfortably browse desktop websites, watch movies, play with creative apps and even get work done. Typing was the most awkward part of the usage experience because of the enormous and widely spaced on-screen keyboard. On the other hand, people who have a tough time with small touchscreens might find themselves quite comfortable with the Phab Plus.

Videos played smoothly, but we were quite underwhelmed with the sound. The Phab Plus never really got loud enough for us, and sound was tinny and scratchy especially with music. The speaker’s positioning on the rear didn’t really work for movies and games, and while voices came through clearly enough, ambient sounds were quite lost. The Dolby Atmos effects could certainly be heard, but we wouldn’t necessarily say the sound was improved.

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The primary camera was decent, for the most part. Autofocus wasn’t always on point and details suffered a bit, but photos generally looked great unless we zoomed in to 100 percent. Night shots were also pretty good, though the phone was of course slower to lock focus and shutter lag increased quite a bit as well. Videos are taken at 720p by default, and though this can be bumped up to 1080p, we weren’t pleased with the quality at all. Everything was grainy and dull.

In terms of benchmarks, the Phab Plus scored 34,148 in AnTuTu and 18,197 overall in Quadrant. Graphics tests were underwhelming, with the device managing only 15fps in GFXbench and 5,413 points in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme.

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The battery lasted 6 hours, 34 minutes in our video loop test which would ordinarily be underwhelming, but is somewhat explained away by the huge screen. Day-to-day usage with a more realistic mix of gaming, Web browsing, calling, and lying idle yielded on average a day and a half of battery life.

Verdict
The Lenovo Phab Plus sits in a class of its own at the moment. 7-inch Android tablets with voice calling all seem to be clustered at a lower price point and offer far worse specifications for less money. Lenovo is taking a chance with what seems like a niche within a niche.

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This device is awkward and oversized even by “phablet” standards. You’d really have to be on board with all its pros and cons if you’re thinking it will replace your existing smartphone. It’s much more likely to be a secondary device, but even so it’s hard to imagine the primary target audience of young people picking it up as an indulgence at Rs. 18,000 which is the lowest market price we’ve seen so far.

The Phab Plus works well as an entertainment and Web surfing gadget, but not one that you carry around with you every day. The construction quality and specifications make it worth its price, but much better mainstream smartphones are available as well.



Lenovo Phab Plus in pictures

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Lenovo Phab Plus

Lenovo Phab Plus

R 20990 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Metal body
  • Impressive camera
  • Good performance
  • Good battery life
  • Bad
  • Confusing software enhancements
  • MicroSD and second SIM share a slot
  • Awkward to hold and carry

Read detailed Lenovo Phab Plus review

Display

6.80-inch

Processor

1.5GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Android 5.0

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

3500mAh See full Lenovo Phab Plus specifications

  • Lenovo Phab Plus Review
  • Lenovo Phab Plus With 6.8-Inch Display Launched at Rs. 20,990
  • Lenovo Phab Plus With 6.8-Inch Display Available in India at Rs. 18,490
  • Lenovo Phab and Phab Plus First Impressions

 

Original Article

Micromax Canvas Tab P690 Review: Only for Entertainment

Micromax Canvas Tab P690 Review: Only for Entertainment

Low-cost Android tablets are fairly common, but with 5-inch and 5.5-inch smartphones becoming increasingly common, the case for having yet another device in your life has become somewhat less clear. Devices like this are great for reading and browsing the Web on if you have one lying around, but chances are if you have a smartphone, tablet and laptop, the tablet is the most likely to be left behind.

Micromax has a new offering, the Canvas Tab P690, which is trying to find a space in users’ lives. It has an 8-inch screen and offers cellular voice calling for those who might use such a feature. The cost is low enough to be tempting, and the company advertises loads of freebies in the form of physical accessories as well as software. Let’s see what you might have to gain by owning one of these.

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Look and feel
The Canvas Tab P690 looks rather nice at first glance. It isn’t all that slim but it does have bold, distinctive lines including chiselled edges around the rear. The front is plain black apart from the silver earpiece, and there are no markings thanks to the use of on-screen buttons that rotate with the device so you can hold it any way. The sides and back have a thin metal outer layer with a very striking brushed pattern. The panel doesn’t appear to be removable, which means the battery is sealed inside.

The earpiece on the front suggests that this tablet is to be held upright, but the logos and regulatory text on the rear are all printed as if landscape is the ideal orientation. Held this way, there’s a large Intel logo in the lower left corner and a matching Micromax logo in the lower right. Another Canvas Tab logo is printed right in the middle for good measure, and there’s a sticker with a barcode and SAR information right beneath it – though slightly crooked on our review unit.

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The Micro-USB charging and data port is on top, right next to the 3.5mm audio socket. Across from these two, you’ll find a small speaker grille. The power and volume buttons are just around the corner on the upper right. Beneath them, there are the slots for a Micro-SIM and a microSD card. Micromax could have left the microSD card exposed for easy access, but instead chose to protect it with the SIM tray. This is a nice touch, but it does mean you’ll have to eject the SIM if ever you want to swap microSD cards.

The left is entirely blank and there’s only a tiny dot on the bottom for the mic. The rear camera is in one corner, with no flash or secondary mic nearby. Grip is not too bad, though we would have preferred a more natural contour to fit in the hand. The Canvas Tab P690 is easy to use as a tablet, but as with all devices of its kind, it’s obviously not the most comfortable when held up to the ear like a phone.

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Micromax supplies a fair number of accessories in the Canvas Tab P690’s distinctive wedge-shaped box. In addition to the standard USB cable and a 2000mAh charger, there’s a USB OTG adapter, a basic headset, an adhesive screen protector and a microfiber cleaning cloth. There are also coupons for several freebies.

Micromax also bundles a flip cover which it claims is worth Rs. 1,500, but the one we got was so ugly and crudely fashioned that we’d rather forget about it. It attaches to the tablet with – yes, seriously – a strip of double-sided tape. We don’t think it will stay attached for long, and you obviously won’t be able to attach and detach it at will. It’s meant to fold up to act as a stand, much like Apple’s iPad smart cover, but does a terrible job of it. We were better served leaning the tablet against the box it came in.

micromax_canvas_tab_p690_cover_ndtv.jpg

Specifications and software
The 8-inch 800×1280-pixel screen is fairly commonplace as far as low-cost Android tablets go, but it’s still far too big for any device that you’d ever want to hold up to your ear. If calling is important to you, you’re better off with a much smaller screen. As far as quality goes, this display definitely falls within budget territory. It’s decent enough for casual Web browsing and watching videos, but not really for reading text. Colours are a bit dull and the tablet definitely suffers in daylight.

Intel’s familiar Atom Z3735G processor makes another appearance here. With four cores running at up to 1.83GHz plus basic Intel HD integrated graphics, it’s enough for most common tasks. There’s 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space, though interestingly Windows reports only 3.8GB when it’s plugged in, and barely half of that is free at the outset. You’ll need a microSD card, but capacities of only up to 32GB are supported.

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You do get USB-OTG along with Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, and 3G data. The battery comes in at a fairly hefty 4000mAh. There’s a 5-megapixel rear camera and a secondary 2-megapixel unit in front. Video recording is limited to 720p on both.

Micromax ships the Canvas Tab with Android 4.4.4 for some reason, though it claims the device is “upgradable to Lollipop”, there’s no indication of when an update will be released and if there’ll be any support beyond that. There’s a tiled news feed to the left of the first homescreen, much like HTC’s BlinkFeed, though it doesn’t seem to be customisable at all and the content isn’t even local.

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It seems to be common for this company to load tons of unnecessary bloatware onto its Android devices and this one is no exception. We counted 20 preloaded apps, not all of which are useful. There’s WPS Office and SwiftKey, but also Saavn, Newshunt, Facebook Messenger, HelloTV, Clean Master and two Angry Birds games. There’s also Micromax’s MAd TV app which lets you claim rewards for watching ads.

Micromax offers over Rs. 3,000 worth of freebies which can be claimed through apps, including a few free Kindle books, a three-month Saavn Pro subscription, extra data on Vodafone connections, in-app currency for Angry Birds, six months of Truecaller Premium, and a few others.

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As with many Android tablets, apps seem to believe they’re running on phones and so appear awkwardly stretched out unless they’re specifically optimised. Another annoyance is that Micromax has tweaked the interface so that there’s a Screenshot button on screen along with the standard Android trio of Home, Back and Recents, pushing them off-centre.

Performance
We weren’t expecting very much considering the Micromax Canvas Tab P690’s relatively weak specifications and the first impressions we had of its screen and hardware. While not exactly bottom-of-the-barrel, it does seem as though more of this device’s budget has gone into its looks than its hardware. That said, we found it easy to navigate, and touch was pretty responsive. Apps did take quite a while to load, and interestingly, the rear of the tablet started to heat up as soon as we launched some games. Over longer sessions playing games and videos, there was noticeable heat buildup.

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Calls were awkward without a headset, but not impossible. We’d really advise using a SIM card only for 3G data and the occasional emergency phone call. This should never be your primary smartphone. The sole built-in speaker was pretty awful for music and movies but we didn’t perceive any playback problems even with heavily encoded 1080p clips.

The tablet managed scores of 31,588 in AnTuTu and 15,954 in Quadrant. Graphics scores were pretty good, with 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme delivering 7,190 points and GFXbench running at 23fps. These are definitely not the strongest scores we’ve seen overall, but they’re pretty solid taking the Canvas Tab P690’s price into consideration. Battery life came in at 5 hours, 51 minutes in our video loop test.

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The cameras, as expected, were pretty awful. There’s really no situation in which we would recommend using this tablet as a primary camera. It’s slow to lock focus and there’s massive shutter lag. The app has zero options apart from a grid overlay to help you frame shots. Photos came out looking severely compressed, with poor rendering of details and textures even in favourable lighting conditions. The less said about this tablet’s cameras, the better.

micromax_canvas_tab_p690_box_ndtv.jpg

Verdict
The Micromax Canvas Tab P690 isn’t a bad little Android tablet at all, but the company will have trouble convincing people they need such a device. Tablets can be useful and fun, but they’re definitely extraneous at this point if you already have a decent enough smartphone. Buy this tablet if you need something to kill time with while commuting, or for children to play with. 3G data access is a huge benefit and you also get voice capabilities for whatever that’s worth.

Micromax has created a good-looking product that has definite strengths and weaknesses. Use it just for entertainment and you’ll be fine.

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Micromax Canvas Tab P690

Micromax Canvas Tab P690

R 8999 3.0

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Affordable 3G tablet
  • Reasonable performance
  • Looks good
  • Bad
  • Poor battery life
  • Weak cameras
  • Very limited storage space

Read detailed Micromax Canvas Tab P690 review

Display

8.00-inch

Processor

1.3GHz

Front Camera

2-megapixel

Resolution

1280×800 pixels

RAM

1GB

OS

Android 4.4.4

Storage

8GB

Rear Camera

5-megapixel

Battery capacity

4000mAh See full Micromax Canvas Tab P690 specifications

  • Micromax Canvas Tab P690 Review: Only for Entertainment
  • Micromax Canvas Tab P690 With 3G Support, 8-Inch Display Launched at Rs. 8,999

Original Article

Oppo R7 Lite Review

Oppo R7 Lite Review

It’s been a couple of years since Oppo entered the Indian market and since then, the company has managed to capture the attention of buyers with unique smartphones, right from the swivelling camera on the Oppo N1 to India’s first Quad-HD display on the Oppo Find 7. Its most recent launch is the brand new Oppo R7 Lite, a mid-range offering priced at Rs.18,000.

This is a tough segment to compete in, as we have the recently launched OnePlus X, the Gionee Elife S7 (Review | Pictures) from earlier in the year, and the crowd favourite Motorola Moto X Play (Review) – all hovering around the same price point. The R7 Lite is the smaller sibling of the Oppo R7 Plus and our initial impressions of both the phones were on the positive side. Let’s find out if our initial thoughts hold true once we’ve put it through the grind.

Look and feel
The build and finish of the R7 Lite is quite impressive thanks to quality materials used in the construction. The body is made up of a single piece of aluminium that has undergone multiple polishing processes to give it a satin finish. The buttons feel equally premium and have good tactile feedback. Oppo has managed to keep the thickness of the phone down to 6.3mm and it is fairly light too at 143g.

Oppo_R7_Lite_back_ndtv.jpg

The display gets a 2.5D arc treatment which means the edges are curved a bit for a smoother feel. In the front, we have a 5-inch HD Amoled display (720×1280) that’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The resolution is a bit low when you consider that most offerings in this price bracket now sport full-HD displays. Despite this, the pixel density is sufficiently high so you don’t get any annoying jaggedness in text and icons. Colour reproduction and sunlight legibility are also quite good.

The volume rocker and power buttons are placed on opposite sides. The SIM and microSD card tray sits on the right while the headphone socket and Micro-USB port take their place on the top and bottom respectively. You get a notification LED hidden in the upper left corner. The capacitive buttons at the bottom are sadly not backlit.

Oppo_R7_Lite_SIM_ndtv.jpg

Around the back, we have a 13-megapixel primary shooter, a single LED flash and the speaker at the bottom. To avoid sound getting muffled when the phone is placed on a flat surface, Oppo has added a tiny nub at the bottom which raises it slightly.

The Oppo R7 Lite is very pocketable, which makes single-handed use possible most of the time. It’s incredibly slim and feels very durable despite its dainty looks. The aluminium sides can be slippery but this can be circumvented with the bundled silicon case. It’s a slim cover which is barely noticeable and doesn’t ruin the look of the phone. Also in the box are a charger, a data cable, a SIM ejector tool, manuals, and a headset. The phone is available in gold and silver but there’s no option for a black front facia.

Oppo_R7_Lite_bundle_ndtv.jpg

Specifications and software
The core specifications are very much in line with the Moto X Play. You get an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, microSD card support of up to 128GB, and 4G LTE support. You also get Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG and GPS. There’s no NFC or FM radio. The R7 Lite uses a hybrid Dual-SIM system so you can either have two SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card.

The Oppo R7 Lite runs Colour OS 2.1 which is a heavily modified skin for Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Not much has changed, visually at least, since we first saw it running on the Oppo N1. There are ton of possible customisations, from transition effects to themes. The notifications shade also gets a new look, and in addition to the usual toggle switches, there’s ‘Eye protection’ to reduce blue light output.

oppo_r7_lite_cover_ui_ndtv.jpg

The stock launcher has a single-layered design so all apps are laid out across multiple screens. Thankfully, Oppo pre-groups all Google apps so the result is not a huge mess. Other apps include Weather, File Manager, Kingsoft Office Suite, and System Update.

Oppo also bundles some of its own apps. O-Cloud lets you back up your contacts and SMSes to the cloud. Security Center consolidates multiple functions such as freeing up memory, data monitoring, blocking contacts, setting privacy permissions for apps, battery saving modes and a do-not-disturb feature. The Settings app contains additional controls for gestures and motion-based shortcuts.

Overall, Colour OS is one of our preferred custom Android solutions. There isn’t a lot of bloatware and most of the pre-installed apps are actually useful.

Oppo_R7_Lite_screen_ndtv.jpg

Performance
The Oppo R7 Lite is speedy at routine tasks. We didn’t notice any stutter or slow-downs in the animations or when switching between apps. The phone easily handled heavy games such as Dead Trigger 2. Even with rigorous use, the phone would get only slightly warm, and this was with the silicon cover on. Call quality was also good and the R7 Lite easily latched on to 4G networks whenever possible.

We got a score of 34,263 in AnTuTu and 8,735 in 3DMark Ice Storm. GFXbench also returned a satisfying 20fps. Overall, these are pretty decent numbers for this price segment.

The phone also handles media files very well, including our high-bitrate full-HD video file. Colours are rich and vibrant thanks to the Amoled panel. The sound from the rear speaker isn’t great when watching movies or listening to music but is adequate for incoming alerts. The bundled headset isn’t that good either, as the sound is quite weak and the earphones aren’t very comfortable to wear.

oppo_r7_lite_cover_camerai_ndtv.jpgSome menu options don’t change orientation, which can make apps tricky to use
The combination of the camera app and the 13-megapixel sensor makes taking photos great fun. The interface is clean and all the options are neatly hidden away under a single menu button. Focusing speed is good under favourable lighting but it slows down a bit in low light. The phone is also very quick in capturing and saving pictures with minimal shutter lag. Burst mode works well. Our one little niggle is that some of the text and sub-menus don’t change orientation when shooting in landscape mode, which is a little distracting when you’re trying to frame a shot and are forced to turn the phone around again. oppo_r7_lite_cover_sample4_ndtv.jpgShot using Ultra HD mode (Click to see full-size image)
Oppo offers a useful variety of shooting modes which can be really fun to experiment with. Slow Shutter helps you with long exposure shots – you can keep the shutter open for up to 16 seconds. Ultra HD mode lets you output either a 24-megapixel or a 50-megapixel image. Images captured in this mode are smoother than those taken in standard mode, which is handy if you wish to crop portions of them later on. Edges around objects are less harsh without losing much detail which makes it good for landscapes. We recommend shooting at the 24-megapixel setting as the file size isn’t too bloated and there isn’t any noticeable quality difference between this and the higher resolution. There’s another mode which lets you save in RAW format. oppo_r7_lite_cover_sample3_ndtv.jpgShot using Super Macro mode (Click to see full-size image)
Super Macro is yet another useful mode for close up of small objects. Expert Mode gives you manual controls for shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, focus and white balance. Unfortunately, the values of the sliders don’t rotate to landscape mode so you’ll have to use this in portrait.

Video recording maxes out at 1080p and while the quality is good, there’s isn’t any form of electronic stabilisation so even minor movements makes the video very shaky. For video, you only get Time-lapse and Slow-mo. The slow motion video resolution is restricted to 480p.

oppo_r7_lite_cover_sample2_ndtv.jpgoppo_r7_lite_cover_sample1_ndtv.jpg
Landscapes shots unde natural light are good, especially with Ultra HD mode. The same goes for macro shots, as the camera manages to capture good detail and colours are fairly accurate. However, there’s noticeable noise in pictures taken in low light. Indoor shots under artificial lighting are also not the best as there’s noticeable graininess. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera supports autofocus and captures decent details.

The Oppo R7 Lite manages to deliver very good battery life despite its seemingly low-capacity 2320mAh battery. We got 11 hours and 57 minutes in our video loop test, which is good. With regular use, we easily managed to go up to day and half with a bit of gaming, a few calls, and 4G usage.

Oppo_R7_Lite_camera_ndtv.jpg

Verdict
The Oppo R7 Lite turned out to be quite a firecracker in a slim package. The aluminium build and overall finish are superb, the display produces rich and vibrant colours, overall system performance is speedy, and it has good battery life as well. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s slim and lightweight. Things which could use some improvement are the camera app and low-light performance. It wouldn’t have hurt to throw in NFC and FM radio. Finally, you have to remember that this is a hybrid Dual-SIM phone, which means a microSD card cannot be used if you insert the second SIM.

Between the Oppo R7 Lite and the Gionee Elife S7, this phone comes across as a better all-rounder. Choosing between the R7 Lite and the Motorola Moto X Play is a little more tricky, because the latter promises timely software updates, a higher resolution display and slightly better all-round performance. However, the Oppo has its slimmer metal body.

The R7 Lite’s display resolution might be inferior to that of the Moto X Play and most other phones in this price segment, but you’ll barely be able to tell the difference in the real world. In this regard, the R7 Lite makes a very good alternative to the Moto X Play.


Oppo R7 Lite in pictures

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

Oppo R7 Lite

Oppo R7 Lite

R 18000 4.0

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Beautiful design, sturdy build
  • Good battery life
  • Strong overall performance
  • Feature-rich camera app
  • Bad
  • Hybrid Dual-SIM
  • Noisy low-light images
  • No NFC or FM radio

Read detailed Oppo R7 Lite review

Display

5.00-inch

Processor

1.5GHz

Front Camera

8-megapixel

Resolution

720×1280 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Android 5.1

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

2320mAh See full Oppo R7 Lite specifications

More Oppo mobilesOriginal NDTV Gadgets