iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The tablet runs on Remix OS, a fork of Android with a Windows-like UI
  • It is powered by an octa-core processor and has 2GB of RAM
  • The tablet shuts down abruptly when the battery level is low

The tablet market has’t found long-term traction, and we now see a lot of manufacturers shying away from this product category. There are still a few major players like Apple and Samsung showcasing products like the iPad Proand the Galaxy Tab S3, but the smaller manufacturers such as iBall, Micromax, and Intex that cater to the lower price segments have slowed down, releasing fewer new models than before. Today we have one such tablet from iBall, which claims to be different. The company says that it is designed for work as well as entertainment, and what’s also interesting is that it runs Remix OS, a fork of Android. Is this enough to make the iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G reinvigorate the tablet market? Let’s find out.

 

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G look and feel

This iBall tablet looks like it was inspired heavily by the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 and its siblings, so much so that it’s practically a knockoff. An original design might have been a better idea since the Yoga Tab 3 is available at roughly the same price. iBall has used plastic for the construction of this tablet and it does not feel premium. It has a cylindrical bulge on one side which houses a kickstand to keep the tablet upright when used in landscape mode.

When holding the iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G in portrait mode, it feels like you are holding a book with the pages folded back around the spine, which helps grip it better. There area speakers at either end, but this positioning means that audio isn’t directed towards the user. Also, the speakers aren’t very loud to start with which makes it harder to enjoy media.

iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Front NDTV iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

The front of the tablet is dominated by a 10.1-inch display with a 5-megapixel selfie camera above it. On the top edge, you’ll find a DC power input, a 3.5mm audio socket, a Micro-USB port, a mic, the power button, and the volume buttons. With all the connection points at the top, the other sides are blank. Just like the Yoga Tab 3, iBall has positioned the SIM and the microSD slots behind the kickstand which acts like a cover of sorts. We found that the kickstand is made of metal and is a pain to use because you have to pry it open with your fingernails. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear camera with a single LED flash.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G specifications

The tablet’s 10.1-inch display sports a resolution of 1280×800 pixels and has decent viewing angles. While we found the big screen adequate for watching content on, the resolution could have been better. We have seen smaller tablets like the Xiaomi Mi Pad (Review) pack in a high-res display, which drastically improves the viewing experience. Powering the Brace-X1 4G  is a MediaTek MT8783 octa-core processor which is clocked at 1.3GHz, with an integrated Mali-T720 GPU. The tablet also gets 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The OS occupies close to 6GB leaving you with only about 10GB of space for all your stuff. Thankfully, storage is expandable and you can use a microSD card of up to 64GB.

The device has a single SIM slot and supports 4G and VoLTE. You can use a cellular data plan to access the Internet on the go, and you can also make voice calls using this tablet. As there is no earpiece you’ll need to use headphones, a Bluetooth accessory, or the main speakers.

iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Stand NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Review

iBall has provided a DC charger which keeps the Micro-USB port free. There’s also a USB-OTG adapter in the box so you can easily connect peripherals or storage devices. The tablet gets Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support but in terms of sensors, you’ll have to make do with only an accelerometer.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G software and performance

The iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G runs Remix OS which is based on Android Marshmallow. For starters, Remix OS feels like a mashup between Windows 10 and Android, as it has a Windows-like desktop rather than the usual homescreen. The traditional Android navigation buttons are found to the left of the taskbar, and there is a Start button which displays all the apps installed on the device. Icons for installed apps are also available on the desktop. The navigation buttons still perform the same functions as they do on any Android device, and long-pressing the Overview button displays a list of open apps.

When apps are launched, each one runs in its own window, which lets you have multiple apps visible simultaneously. Remix OS also adds icons of these apps to the taskbar just like Windows and you can switch between them by tapping on their icons. Closing apps requires you to drag the icon upwards from the taskbar.

iBall Slide Brace X1 Remix NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Remix Review

Notifications are done differently as well. You don’t have the traditional notifications shade anymore. Instead, like Windows 10, you get notifications tucked away in the rightmost corner of the taskbar. This also means that there are no quick settings, so you’ll have to hop over to the Settings app to do most things. Only brightness, volume and Wi-Fi controls are available in the taskbar, and this took us time to get used to.

There are quite a few preinstalled social networking apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook, as well as Dailyhunt, BeautyPlus Me and games like Bubble Bash 3, Midnight Pool and Modern Combat 4. While they take up some space you can uninstall all of them. Remix OS also has its own app store called Remix Central which lists app recommendations from Remix. Thankfully, the Google Play store is also available.

Remix OS tries to deliver a PC-esque experience on top of Android, which makes it interesting.

iBall Slide Brace X1 Notification NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Remix Review

In terms of performance, the Brace-X1 4G is reasonably capable. We did not face lags while using the device and it could run a few apps simultaneously. However, we noticed that the tablet would get warm while playing games. It also shut down without warning a few times when the battery level was low.

We ran benchmarks and got 34,270 in Antutu, and 536 and 1,781 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests. The tablet also managed 9 hours, 23 minutes in our HD video loop test. This means that you can binge watch a couple of movies or episodes of your favourite TV series. We found that it lasted for close to a day and a half of manual usage. In real-world terms people don’t usually use tablets continuously like they do with smartphones, meaning it’s possible to stretch this out longer. However, we did also find that the Brace X1-4G’s battery level drops significantly even when it is left in standby. When the battery finally wears down, it does take time to charge it up using the supplied adapter.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G cameras

Taking photos with this tablet feels quite awkward because of its size, shape and weight. It sports an 8-megapixel camera with a single LED flash at the back, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front. The stock Android camera app is used, and it doesn’t seem to be optimised for bigger screens. Icons appear huge, and going through the menu while holding the tablet with one hand is inconvenient.

We also saw that the buttons are positioned towards the top of the device when holding it in portrait mode which isn’t comfortable to use. The camera takes quite some time to focus and may need multiple taps on the screen at times, which can be annoying. Photos weren’t sharp, and most of them lacked detail.

Tap to see full-sized iBall Slide Brace X1 4G camera samples

Verdict

While we see the popularity of tablets declining, we must say that this iBall tablet introduces something new in the segment. Remix OS tries to deliver a PC-like experience which some might find good for productivity and there’s definitely more flexibility than stock Android. For example, you can run more than two apps simultaneously and use the common keyboard shortcuts you’re used to. It might take some time to get used to, but it looks like iBall is clearly targeting people who want more than just a tablet for entertainment.

While the software was good we felt let down by the hardware. The display has a low resolution which is a major disappointment, and overall the specifications and quality of the Brace-X1 4G don’t live up to its asking price of Rs 15,999. Also, with the device shutting down abruptly it is quite hard for us to recommend it seriously.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

Rs.17,890
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Remix OS makes multitasking easy
  • DC charging pin keeps the Micro-USB port free
  • Bad
  • Low display resolution
  • Switches off abruptly when battery is low
  • Camera performance is below average
BUY AT
  • IBall Slide Brace-X1 4G (Bronze Gold, 16GB) – OFFER
    Rs.17,890

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Review

iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The iPad Pro (10.5 inch) has a fantastic display
  • Its performance is also top-notch
  • The Smart Keyboard case works very well

Apple launched the original iPad amid much fanfare back in 2010 and it has done very well in its own right, but sales figures haven’t been anywhere close to those of the iPhone. In recent years, Apple’s hardware and software teams have put in a lot of work refining the focus of the iPad. From being a device designed largely for watching videos, reading, or playing games, the focus has slowly been shifting towards professional use. Sure, the company still sells the iPad mini 4 and the iPad (2017) for consuming content, but the bulk of Apple’s recent innovations have been reserved for the iPad Pro models.

We first saw this with the launch of the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (Review), when Apple also unveiled the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil along with software features such as Picture in Picture, SlideOver, and Split View modes. That was Apple’s first serious attempt at multitasking on an iPad, which could make it more likely to replace a laptop for some people. Writers and artists, in particular, found this very useful.

Following that we got the iPad Pro (9.7-inch) but iOS 10 did not bring about the big push that iPad software needed, which meant it was largely the same package as the bigger iPad Pro in a smaller body. Now, Apple has replaced the 9.7-inch model with its new iPad Pro (10.5-inch), which packs some awesome new features. But from a software perspective, iOS 11 looms on the horizon and promises to bring some exciting new features to the iPad.

But before we go any further, let’s take a look at the differences between the iPad (2017) and the iPad Pro, in case you’ve been wondering which one is for you. The iPad Pro has a newer, faster, more battery efficient processor; a much better display; and improved cameras. Just like earlier Pro iPads, it supports the Apple Pencil stylus and the Apple Smart Keyboard cover accessory, both of which don’t work with non-Pro iPads.

The iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has been launched before iOS 11 is due to release, which means that not all of its most useful features will be available to users who buy one right now. With iOS 11, iPad users will get a much more functional dock with more icons, a new file manager app called Files, much better drag-and-drop functionality, and improved multitasking. Since iOS 11 is still in beta, we used iOS 10.3.3 throughout our review period.

 

iPad Pro (10.5-inch) display

The display is one of the standout features of the iPad Pro (10.5-inch). It supports a refresh rate of 120Hz, which results in extremely smooth animations across iOS. You’ll notice this most when swiping between home screens, opening apps, and switching between them. The iPad Pro’s display has a wide P3 colour gamut, which means that reds and greens are more vibrant, something you’ll notice while watching videos and scrolling through photos.

It’s hard to describe how good the display is because it’s the kind of thing you understand only when you see it in person. Just like the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, this iPad also gets a feature called True Tone, which adapts white balance based on lighting conditions to ensure that colours appear consistent. This is very useful for those who edit photos or videos on an iPad and is another reason why the iPad Pro is great for professionals.

After using the iPad Pro regularly for nearly two weeks, we can safely say that its display is much better than that of an iPhone 7 (Review). Animations are much smoother and colours are more vibrant on the iPad. Switching to a MacBook Air was almost painful because it doesn’t even have a Retina display. Initially, we noticed some backlight bleeding on one edge of the display and also saw some black bars appearing when we opened tabs on Safari but those issues disappeared after we factory reset the iPad and did not reappear during the duration of our review.

While the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has a stunning display, that doesn’t automatically make it the best device to watch videos on. We downloaded a few HD videos via Netflix and streamed a few cricket matches on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) to see if the display appears just as good. The results were mixed at best. The iPad has a 4:3 display, while most video content on the Internet is 16:9, which means it won’t be optimised for the iPad’s screen. This results in annoying black bars the above and below the video.

apple ipad pro 10.5-inch camera bump gadgets360 iPad Pro 10.5-inch

 

We streamed the movie John Wick on Netflix and that film, in particular, left almost half the screen empty as the video was probably optimised for a much wider screen. Yes, all HD movies and TV shows we watched looked great on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) but let’s not forget that this isn’t the device that creators are optimising their videos for.

After using the iPad for two or three days, we noticed several smudges on the screen. These were fingerprint marks from our prolonged gaming sessions and even some from the Smart Keyboard accessory that Apple sent for review. We had to keep cleaning it every few days, which got tiring very fast.

A display as good as this also makes low-resolution elements on screen look doubly annoying to look at. We visited several websites where low-res ads looked so bad that we seriously started considering installing an ad-blocker. Several of the games we played on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) were coded well before this device was released and that left a lot of small low-res elements on screen. Games such as Banner Saga and Table Tennis Touch feature an awfully low-res Game Centre banner that you can’t get rid of. This iPad has a fantastic display but that does not mean that the experience will be fantastic all the time.

iPad Pro (10.5-inch) design

The iPad Pro (10.5-inch) is quite similar to the iPad Pro 9.7″ in terms of build quality. While the display is larger, the iPad’s body isn’t that much bigger because the bezel is much thinner. There’s still enough room on either side to grip the iPad Pro without touching the screen accidentally. The front camera is above the display and the home button with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is below. The iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has volume buttons but no mute switch on the right, a button Apple’s tablets ditched a few generations ago. There’s a 12-megapixel camera with a bit of a bump at the back.

apple ipad pro 10.5-inch home screen gadgets360 iPad Pro 10.5-inch

There’s a Lightning connector for charging or plugging in headphones on the base of the iPad, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top along with the power button. So far, Apple hasn’t removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from any device except the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (Review). If the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) is any indicator, Apple doesn’t plan to remove it jack from non-iPhone devices and that’s good to see because several users still need it. You can’t expect a DJ to change his entire audio setup simply because one device doesn’t have an industry-standard jack.

The weight of the iPad Pro is still under 500 grams, which is impressive. We used it to read comics and watch movies during our commute to work, apart from using it to play games at home. It’s comfortable to hold and we think it is just the right size to be a great portable gadget for reading and watching videos.

iPad Pro (10.5-inch) performance

The iPad Pro (10.5-inch) is powered by Apple’s own A10X Fusion SoC which is a variant of the A10 chip which powers the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This is a pretty powerful SoC and we faced no performance issues during our time using the iPad. We treated this iPad as a replacement for our MacBook Air for the duration of the review.

The first question to answer is whether the iOS platform has enough “pro” apps to justify buying this device rather than a laptop. Apps such as Ulysses, Affinity Photo, and Tayasui Sketches (Free, Pro) are just a few of the good “pro” apps that allow you to do things you’d normally only do on a laptop. We’ve bought quite a few iOS games and heavy apps over the years, and now the ecosystem is robust enough for us to consider a switch.

apple ipad pro 10.5-inch pencil sketch 171217 181230 1890 iPad Pro 10.5-inch

To describe our typical workflow: we’d have at least 10 tabs open in Safari at any point, plus Apple Music playing in the background, and the writing app Ulysses for our daily work. During breaks we fired up games such as Table Tennis Touch, Banner Saga, and Transistor. We also used Netflix to watch HD movies. We’d keep switching between these tasks and also check in on our messaging apps, email, and Tweetbot. In all of this we never noticed any performance issues. Switching between apps and tasks was smooth, and we didn’t even have to reload Safari tabs, a problem we faced a lot with older iOS devices that ran out of RAM frequently, but the iPad Pro lineup has typically been generous in terms of the amount of RAM it ships with.

We were quite impressed with the battery life of the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) as well. It lasted for 10 hours with the screen on, which included watching videos with the nice stereo speakers (which are known to consume more battery power compared to plugging in a pair of headphones). We also noted that we could get around 30-40 hours in standby depending on how frequently we used the device. Most people will have to charge the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) once every two or three days, which is excellent compared to a laptop doing the same work.

The iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has a pretty good 12-megapixel camera too but this review was honestly the only reason we even used it to take photos with. It might be a good camera but we don’t see ourselves using an iPad as our primary camera simply because it’s too unwieldy.

Smart Keyboard

Apple also sent us the Smart Keyboard case for the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) and we are glad that it did. The Smart Keyboard is a sturdy case, apart from being a reliable typing tool. We also have a Logitech K480Bluetooth keyboard that we use every day and we can safely say that the Smart Keyboard is a better accessory for the iPad Pro (10.5-inch).

apple ipad pro 10.5-inch keyboard gadgets360 iPad Pro 10.5-inch

We typed quite a few long articles (including this one) with the Apple Smart Keyboard case and had no trouble. Typing is crucial to our jobs as writers and we were able to type around 700 words in 30 minutes on the Smart Keyboard. We got used to the keys very easily and found that we didn’t make any more errors than usual.

The Smart Keyboard doesn’t require charging or pairing since it transfers power and data through the Smart Connector on the side of the iPad. This is a big deal because charging and pairing are the two most annoying aspects of almost all Bluetooth accessories. The iPad can recognise several common Mac keyboard shortcuts such as CMD+Tab, so you can minimise the need to reach out to the touchscreen on the iPad. Many shortcuts you already use on the Mac also work on iOS when any keyboard accessory is attached. Pressing and holding the CMD key on your keyboard shows you the list of shortcuts available in any app.

However, the Smart Keyboard doesn’t have an Esc button, which we sorely missed. Every time we had to just cancel some action, we had to hit the touchscreen, and that isn’t something you want to do a lot when you’re trying to be productive. While the Smart Keyboard is among the lightest keyboard accessories you can find, if all you need is a case, it’s on the heavier side. The added weight makes the iPad Pro a little uncomfortable to use when you’re watching a video or playing a game, for example.

The Smart Keyboard case is quite expensive at Rs. 13,900. We have no hesitation in recommending it but if you don’t mind carrying a separate Bluetooth keyboard around then you can easily get the job done for much less. An Apple Smart Cover for iPad Pro (just the case minus the keyboard) costs Rs. 4,500 and a branded Bluetooth keyboard will set you back by another Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000.

Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is a stylus that’s targeted at artists, which means that we aren’t really the core audience for it. We did use it with drawing apps such as Paper by FiftyThree and Tayasui Sketches just to see how it works. We found it to be pretty good for doodling in both apps, and the iPad’s palm rejection was exceptional. When we used the Pencil, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) didn’t register our hands touching the screen at all. We used the Pencil to take notes while recording podcasts and it was a splendid pen-and-paper replacement for that purpose. The Apple Pencil costs Rs. 8,600, which isn’t too expensive if you need it for professional use.

Our biggest worry was that we’d misplace the Apple Pencil because the iPad doesn’t have a dock or silo for it. However, Apple’s Leather Sleeve for the iPad Pro has a neat little case for the Pencil as well. The quality of the leather is excellent, and the iPad fits in it snugly even with the Smart Keyboard attached. The price of the sleeve is Rs. 11,500 and if you just want a separate Pencil Case then the price is Rs. 2,500. The sleeve is really nice but we find its price hard to justify. We weren’t able to use it for long enough to comment on its durability, but we hope that it won’t wear easily.

apple ipad pro 10.5-inch cover gadgets360 iPad Pro 10.5-inch

Verdict
As we all know, iOS 11 is coming soon with a lot of iPad-specific improvements. Once it is out, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) will be good enough to replace the MacBook for a lot of people. If you use your laptop just to browse the Web, watch videos, write, listen to music, and perform other basic tasks, then the iPad Pro is an excellent gadget for you. It can do most of these things without breaking a sweat – but so could the less expensive iPad (2017).

During our review, we tried our best to avoid using our MacBook Air but we couldn’t manage it completely. Our podcast recording setup requires USB ports, which the iPad doesn’t have. Our Web publishing backend doesn’t work well on Safari or Chrome on iOS, so we used the MacBook Air to upload articles too. Other than those things we spent entire days working on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) without ever feeling the need to return to the laptop.

The iPad Pro is not a MacBook replacement just yet but it is slowly getting there. Apple has built a premium tablet with an excellent display that delivers great performance in a market where there is virtually no competition. There’s absolutely no doubt that the iPad Pro lineup is a big part of Apple’s overall strategy. When iOS 11 releases, it will show how serious Apple is about its intention to pitch the iPad Pro models as productivity-oriented computers for professionals, not just entertainment devices.

As we noted in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (review) recently, the Android tablet experience is nowhere near as polished as we’ve gotten used to with Apple’s iPad lineup. That means the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has a pretty big lead against all other tablets currently on the market. Its nearest competitor would be the iPad (2017). It doesn’t have as good a display or processor and it also lacks the Smart Connector required for Apple’s neat Smart Keyboard case, but it’s a lot less expensive. If the Pro’s extra features don’t matter to you and you want a tablet for casual use, the iPad (2017) is a good choice.

Pricing for the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) starts at Rs. 50,800 for the 64GB Wi-Fi variant and goes all the way up to Rs. 84,500 for the 512GB Wi-Fi + LTE variant. Add the cost of a Smart Keyboard and an Apple Pencil and your total investment is going to be quite a lot. However, if you want the best hardware in the most portable form factor, you will have to pay a premium and for many people, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) will be worth it.


Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) in pictures

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Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi + Cellular

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi + Cellular

Rs.50,678
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Excellent display
  • Top-notch performance
  • Great battery life
  • Nice stereo speakers
  • Robust app ecosystem
  • Bad
  • Expensive accessories
  • Display is a fingerprint magnet
BUY AT
  • Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi + Cellular (Gold, 64GB) –
    Rs.50,678
  • Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi + Cellular (Space Grey, 64GB) – OFFER
    Rs.58,990

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

While phone makers are now launching 4G handsets and companies like Airtel and Reliance working towards bringing the networks in India, you might think that there’s no need for apps that minimise data use. The fact of the matter though is that even in a metro like Delhi, 3G access depends greatly on which part of the city you’re in at the time.

That’s where Facebook Lite for Android comes into the picture. The app was launched in Asia earlier this month, and on Monday, Facebook Lite became available in India.

Facebook Lite is available on Google Play and it is just 435KB in size, runs on Android 2.2 and above, so even if you’re using an older phone, you can probably take advantage of the application. According to Shankar, Facebook Lite was designed to solve two challenges – 2G Internet and low-end smartphones – and based on our experience with the app, it seems to have accomplished those goals.

What is Facebook Lite?
As the name suggests, Facebook Lite is a light version of Facebook. It looks like an old version of the Facebook app, with blocky looks and limited features. The full-fledged Facebook app has large cards with neat gutters, expands all pictures and fills up your screen, supports gestures to move between the different Facebook functions.

Facebook Lite on the other hand shows all these previews at a much smaller size, and when we were using it on a 2G network, images took forever to show up. The difference between how posts are displayed between the two versions of Facebook is dramatic, and it’s definitely much more appealing to use Facebook on the full application.

facebook_lite_example.jpg

One other thing we noticed as soon as we started the application is that the Facebook logo is absolutely tiny, and this continued as we used the app too – images attached to posts are tiny thumbnails, filling the width of the screen, and they load after you tap on them. On the full Facebook application, images are much bigger, and they’re likely being preloaded, because they popped up in full size as soon as we tapped on the thumbs. The catch is that you’re pre-loading a lot of images you might not want to click on, using a lot of your mobile data along the way.

facebook_example.jpg

Shankar also points out that in the Facebook Lite settings, you can also choose the image quality, between low, medium and high. Facebook uses proprietary compression algorithms to deliver the images at the desired size, without losing too much visible quality.

Overall, the experience of using Facebook Lite is a lot less refined than the full version, but you’re able to see posts and links more quickly while on the road, and you’re using less mobile data to do so as well. All the features you’d expect – the news feed, friend requests, messages, notifications, and search, all show up. You can easily post status updates, or photos, just like you can on the full application. Messenger is built right into Facebook Lite, so you don’t need to have Facebook Messenger installed to chat anymore.

How well did it perform on 2G?
While it’s less refined, Facebook Lite loaded up posts much more quickly than the full version of the app when we switched to Edge connectivity. Usually, when we’re on the road in remote areas, we give up on Facebook because it’s almost certainly not going to load more posts.

The experience with Facebook Lite was a lot closer to using that other social network – Twitter. There are still problems, and posts still take some time to load. Images don’t pop up right away, and take even more time to load. But it does show you new posts and you can at least read what people are saying while you wait for a picture to load, which is a step forward.

Doing all this required some sacrifices. For one thing, the app does not support videos yet, though that is on the roadmap, according to Shankar. It also doesn’t support advanced location features – basically anything that requires the GPS. And while you can post comments on updates and pictures, you can’t reply to comments for now. And while the main Facebook app allows you to work offline, and make post updates when it connects to a network, Facebook Lite does not have this feature.

facebook_lite_settings.jpg

Who should use this?
If you’re using an older Android phone, or if you bought a budget Android device, then the amount of storage available will can often be quite limited.

In such a case, the small size of Facebook Lite might actually be a big plus point, and you might be willing to sacrifice a little bit of the polish of Facebook, but an app that actually works smoothly and loads quickly on your phone which also frees up a lot of space. While Facebook Lite takes less than 1MB, Facebook can be a lot bigger – a few random checks all turned up usage of over 150MB. Smaller footprint also means that app updates take less data.

But the most important thing was that Facebook Lite uses less data. Facebook says that the app gives a reliable experience, even when bandwidth is at a minimum.

That means that if you’ve already started using an LTE connection on your flagship Android phone with a quad-HD screen, then you should will probably find this app boring and pointless. If you spend most of your time at home or in office, with a steady Wi-Fi connection, then you can probably give this app a miss.

On the other hand, if you’re on the move a lot and travel in areas where getting a 3G signal is still a rare thing, or if you’re trying to reduce the data usage you see for Facebook, then this app will be appealing.

On a smaller, lower resolution screen, the difference between the two versions of Facebook wasn’t so pronounced, so you might prefer it if you have an older device, or if you bought a budget phone. And as we mentioned, it will probably be a good idea if you’re using a phone with limited storage space as well.

The app isn’t for everybody, but frankly, the number of people with good connectivity and high-end devices is definitely smaller than people with spotty Internet access and entry-level devices. Based on that, launching Facebook Lite seems like a great move, and will likely find plenty of takers in India.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Honda Grazia Vs Suzuki Access 125: Comparison Review

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Highlights

  • The Honda Grazia has more youthful design
  • The Suzuki Access has better top-end performance
  • The Honda Grazia is slightly more expensive than the Suzuki Access

There’s something about scooters, they are everywhere, and scooters have become the favourite mode of commute for a lot of people these days. The Honda Activa is perhaps the most well-known name in the world of scooters, easily surpassing all other brands in terms of sales volumes. Most of these are the bread and butter 110 cc scooters, but things are changing quickly as more and more consumers are warming up towards scooters with slightly more power and better dynamics. And there’s now renewed interest in the 125 cc scooter space with the Suzuki Access leading the pack.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) already has a very capable 125 cc scooter in the Honda Activa 125, but there’s been an equally capable, and one of the largest selling 125 cc scooters to contend with – the Suzuki Access. So, enter the new 125 cc scooter from HMSI – the Honda Grazia! It shares the same engine and cycle parts with the Honda Activa 125, but it gets a complete revamp in styling and features. And it’s now the Honda Grazia which will try to repeat the success of its smaller sibling, in the 125 cc scooter segment. So, a comparison with the Suzuki Access is inevitable.

Also Read: Honda Grazia First Ride Review

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Honda Grazia has a more youthful and trendy design than the Suzuki Access

A matter of style

Without doubt, the new Honda Grazia is one of the most striking looking scooters in the market right now. That’s not to say that the Suzuki Access lacks in the looks department in any way. But both scooters follow completely different design philosophies and look entirely different from each other. The Honda Grazia offers a trendy, youthful design, which will certainly appeal to young riders looking for a sharp, new-age, and contemporary scooter. It’s got an attractive front apron, with full-LED headlights, with sharp creases on the body and a sleek rear end with a split grab rail and smart taillight unit.

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Suzuki Access has understated looks, but has the universally acceptable design

The new Suzuki Access has been around for a couple of years now, and its design is more conventional, a little understated even, but it’s a handsome scooter nevertheless. The chromed headlight, round rear view mirrors and simple design of the Access gives it a retro touch, but build quality, fit and finish is definitely good. The rear end of the Access is also not much to talk about, it’s not bad looking in any way, but the Access has a more sober, understated look overall. In a way it’s the more universally acceptable design, and will cater to a diverse range of customers with different aesthetic sensibilities. The Grazia on the other hand, is the flashier, trendier and more stylish of the two scooters.

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Honda Grazia is loaded with features and makes the Access look retro

Features and more

The Honda Grazia gets an all-digital instrument panel which definitely adds to the premium-ness of the scooter and suitably complements its somewhat avant-garde design. It offers a lot more information, including a tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge and even a clock. The Access on the other hand, has a somewhat plain-Jane clock, with a retro-looking analog speedometer and just a small digital screen below with the odometer and fuel gauge.

The Grazia also offers a nice ‘flip-open’ cubbyhole at the front to carry a mobile phone or other knick knacks, but the Access offers an open storage space. Both scooters have remote switches to flip up the seat. The Grazia has a switch-activated rear hatch opener, while the Access has a handier switch integrated into the ignition. Both scooters have generous underseat storage, the Grazia offers 18 litres of underseat storage, while the Access gets some more room with 21 litres. But both don’t offer enough storage for a full-sized helmet under the seat.

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Honda Grazia has a smooth and refined 125 cc engine

Engines and Performance

Both scooters have similarly-specced engines, offering near comparable power and torque figures, at least on paper. The Honda Grazia’s single-cylinder, air-cooled, 124.9 cc engine makes 8.52 bhp at 6,500 rpm and maximum torque of 10.54 Nm at 5,000 rpm. The Suzuki Access is powered by a 124 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled engine which makes marginally more power – 8.58 bhp at 7,000 rpm, but slightly less peak torque of 10.2 Nm at 5,000 rpm. On paper, both scooters are evenly matched, and on the road too, there’s not much of a difference in the way they perform.

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The Suzuki Access is 5 kg lighter than the Honda Grazia

But the Honda Grazia at 107 kg kerb weight, weighs a full 5 kg more than the Suzuki Access, which weighs 102 kg. The engines of both scooters are refined and offer smooth acceleration, but it’s the Access which feels more eager to move, and feels peppier from the get-go. It’s quicker than the Grazia and also feels more eager to move at higher speeds. That’s not to say that the Grazia’s performance is lacking in any way; it’s got a refined engine too, and has a strong mid-range, but if it’s high speed cruising you’re looking at, and overall acceleration, it’s the Suzuki Access which comes out tops.

Also Read: 2016 Suzuki Access 125 Review

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Suzuki Access feels more spirited and has better top end performance

Ride and Handling

Both scooters offer decent ride quality and are almost evenly matched in terms of handling. Both the Grazia and the Access have telescopic front suspension, and ride on 12-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels. But the ride quality is ever so different. The Grazia feels slightly stiff compared to the Access, and it’s the Access which cushions bad roads better than the Grazia. The Access also has a slightly broader and longer seat and that makes it feel slightly plusher and more comfortable than the Grazia. In terms of riding position too, it’s the Access which offers an easier riding position than the Grazia, especially when negotiating a curve or flicking the scooter around a corner.

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Honda Grazia gets combined braking system (CBS) which the Suzuki Access does not have

That said, both scooters offer near similar handling, but again, it’s the Access which offers more confidence to flick it around a corner or two. Both scooters offer optional front disc brakes, and the Grazia offers the combined-braking system, which essentially activates both brakes simultaneously with just one brake lever, so that really helps in emergency braking manoeuvres. But the Access offers slightly better bite and progression on the lever, and as long as you’re pulling both levers together, the Access offers sure-shot braking power as well.

The last word

The Honda Grazia certainly ups the ante in the 125 cc scooter segment with its flashy design, and features like the all-digital speedometer and LED headlights. It looks youthful, upmarket, and will certainly appeal to someone looking for a trendy and features-loaded scooter with a smooth and refined engine. The Suzuki Access is more the understated gent, but in terms of pure performance and ride quality, we can’t really ignore the qualities it possesses. From a purely enthusiast point of view too, it’s the Suzuki Access, which offer more smiles every time you wring open the throttle and negotiate the urban jungle. Besides, with its understated, yet handsome looks, the Access is more universally acceptable to a wide range of riders, ranging from lady riders to the young executive and even slightly more mature riders. At ₹ 57,744 (ex-showroom) for the disc-brake variant, it’s the Suzuki Access which offers the better value for money option. And even the Access 125 Special Edition, the one we are testing in this comparison, costs less than ₹ 60,000, at ₹ 59,319 (ex-showroom Delhi).

honda grazia vs suzuki access comparison review

The Honda Grazia is more expensive than the Suzuki Access

At ₹ 62,505 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the disc brake variant, the Honda Grazia is the more expensive scooter, but it offers a whole lot more in terms of the overall package. And to top it off, Honda also offers a far superior sales and service network than Suzuki, and that makes the Grazia inch ahead of the Access in the eventual comparison. But if you’re in the market for a 125 cc scooter, do take a very close look and a test ride of both these scooters, back to back. Each of these two scooters has their own strengths, and eventually it will really come down to personal choice, and a real close calculation of what “value for money” means, to choose one over the other.

[“Source-ndtv”]