InFocus Vision 3 Review

InFocus Vision 3 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Vision 3 sports 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel rear cameras
  • The InFocus Vision 3 is priced at Rs. 6,999
  • The phone has sturdy construction and comes with good battery life

In 2018, we can pretty much expect a majority of smartphones to sport trendy 18:9 displays. We’ve already seen this feature trickling down from the flagships that launched this year to several mainstream models. Until recently, it was only the Micromax Canvas Infinity which had this kind of display in the sub-Rs. 10,000 market. However, we weren’t happy with its performance in most areas so it’s not a model we’d recommend.

InFocus hopes to do better where Micromax stumbled, with its new Vision 3 smartphone. It boasts of many of today’s popular features but at a much more aggressive price of just Rs. 6,999. It goes right up against the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, which might not have a fancy looking display or dual cameras but seems like a dependable workhorse. Let’s see how well the Vision 3’s impressive feature list translates to day-to-day usage.

InFocus Vision 3 design and build quality

The Vision 3 predictably has a plastic body, with rounded corners and sides so it’s relatively easy to grip. The display in the front has rounded edges as well, so you don’t have to deal with sharp edges when you swipe the screen from the sides. Due to the taller display, the power and volume buttons are placed a bit higher up than we’d like, which often forced us to shuffle the phone around in order to reach them.

The headphones socket and Micro-USB port are placed at the top and bottom respectively. InFocus has added antenna bands at the top and bottom of the back panel, although we feel that this is more for appearances than functionality as the plastic body shouldn’t cause any hindrance to wireless signals.

There’s a hybrid dual-SIM tray on the right, which accepts either two Nano-SIMs or a single SIM and a microSD card (up to 128GB). There’s a single mono speaker grille at the back, along with the fingerprint sensor and a dual camera setup. We didn’t have any misreads with the fingerprint sensor but it takes longer than usual to wake the screen up. You can also assign a fingerprint to switch on the flashlight or open any app.

InFocus Vision 3 back ndtv infocus

The 5.7-inch HD+ IPS display produces good colours and viewing angles. The resolution of 720×1440 is not the best for a screen this size, and it shows in some of the text in the menus. Touch response is good though. There are narrow borders above and below the screen, but there’s still room for the earpiece, front camera, sensors, and a notification LED.

In the box, you get a Micro-USB cable, a charger, a SIM eject tool, and a warranty card, but no headset. The quality of the accessories seem fairly good, keeping the price in mind.

InFocus Vision 3 specifications and features

The Vision 3 is powered by the quad-core MediaTek MT6737H SoC, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Compared to the Snapdragon 425 that’s in the Redmi 5A, benchmark scores were slightly lower. In AnTuTu, we got 32,633 points while the Ice Storm Extreme test in 3DMark showed 3,637 points. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, single-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4, FM radio, and USB-OTG. You also get the basic accelerometer, ambient light, and proximity sensors.

The phone uses Android 7.0 Nougat, with a custom skin called Smile UX. The customisation isn’t too drastic, and mostly involves a few custom icons and a different look for the notifications shade. Some gestures make it easier to use Android on this taller screen, such as the ability to swipe downwards anywhere on the screen to show the notifications shade. However, the text explaining some of the menus and functions isn’t always grammatically correct, and could use improvement. You get some pre-installed apps too such as Amazon’s shopping and streaming video apps, and UC News, and Browser.

InFOcus vision 3 apps infocus

 

InFocus has moved some of the sections in the Settings app around, but it’s not as confusing as some of the other custom UIs we’ve seen. The Special Settings section lets you clone apps, take a screenshot with three fingers, and change settings for screen recording. S Boost is another section with features such as intelligent acceleration, which doesn’t really say what it does but we assume it would free up RAM from time to time. Other options include defragmentation and the ability to mange background apps. You can swap the navigation buttons around or hide them altogether. There’s even an iOS ‘Assistive Touch’ like feature called Suspension Ball, which lets you navigate Android.

InFocus Vision 3 performance, camera, and battery life

The Vision 3 works well for day-to-day tasks such as social media apps, and doesn’t heat up much. The interface is relatively lag-free but every now and then, we did find the phone showing minor signs of stress when loading heavy apps or switching between them. However, it’s quite intermittent and does’t really get it the way of usage. Gaming is also handled decently well, given the HD+ resolution, but we noticed that the phone gets very warm after about 10 minutes of gaming. The Vision 3 runs games fullscreen by default, which means it stretches them slightly. This is noticeable in games that have circular controls, which appear a little skewed. There’s no option in the Settings app to adjust this.

InfOCus vision 3 side ndtv infpcus

Full-HD videos play just fine. The speaker gets loud but can also easily be blocked when you hold the phone in the landscape orientation. The loudspeaker is good enough for voice calls but sounds a little tinny for media files.

Another highlight feature of the Vision 3 is its dual camera setup. The main sensor has a 13-megapixel resolution and an f/2.0 aperture, while the second sensor is a 5-megapixel, wide-angle sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. Switching between the sensors takes a bit of time and you can’t use the secondary camera at all when in video mode. Autofocusing is also slow and there’s shutter lag, which makes capturing fast-moving objects quite tricky. In good natural light, the main sensor is capable of capturing decent dynamic range. The level of detail is strictly average here and we did find some chromatic aberration when zooming in to landscape shots. The wide-angle sensor doesn’t do too well with detail but at least there isn’t too much visible barrel distortion.

The iOS ‘inspired’ camera app offers the standard shooing modes, including professional mode but there’s no option for adjusting focus or the shutter speed. There’s a bokeh mode too but the end result is often below average. InFocus boasts of a ‘dualfie’ feature which lets you shoot with the front and rear cameras at the same time. It’s very similar to the ‘bothie’ feature that Nokia introduced with the Nokia 8this year and has an equally tragic name. Other modes include the ability to enable an InFocus watermark and shoot a collage of four pictures.

Shot with the 5-megapixel wide-angle sensor. Tap to see full-size.

 

Tap to see full-sized InFocus Vision 3 camera samples

 

In low light, close-ups and landscapes appear hazy, with poor detail and colours. Autofocus speeds also dip drastically, forcing you to remain stationary for at least a second or two till the camera focuses and saves each shot. Video recording goes up to 1080p but there’s no electronic stabilisation, which results in shaky footage. The front camera isn’t too bad under good lighting but details are quite soft.

Battery life is good, and we managed to get an entire day’s worth of usage. In our video loop test, we got 12 hours and 12 minutes of continuous HD video playback. However, charging is quite slow. With the included charger, we had to wait almost three hours for the battery to charge fully.

Verdict
InFocus has been very ambitious with the Vision 3, trying to cram in a lot of desirable features for very little money, but not all of it comes together correctly in the end. Its battery life and large display are its main selling points, so if you’ve been waiting for a stylish phone in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment, then this is worth considering. Everything else is exactly what you’d expect from a budget smartphone. The cameras can give you okay shots in an ideal scenario, but are more often underwhelming. System performance is quite average, the fingerprint sensor doesn’t wake the screen fast enough, and the phone gets warm rather quickly when gaming.

If you’re not in any hurry, we’d recommend holding off on your purchase for a bit as the budget segment will soon be getting a flood of new 18:9 smartphones. Xiaomi has already launched the Redmi 5 in China, and it should sell for well under Rs. 10,000 when it launches here.

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InFocus Vision 3

InFocus Vision 3

Rs.6,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Sturdy construction
  • Good battery life
  • Priced well
  • Bad
  • Weak cameras
  • Heats up under load
  • Sluggish fingerprint sensor
BUY AT
  • InFocus Vision 3 (Midnight Black, 16GB) –
    Rs.6,999

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Watch Series 3 Review

Apple Watch Series 3 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The headline feature of Apple Watch Series 3 is LTE connectivity
  • But the LTE model is not available in India
  • The new Apple Watch delivers improvements in overall performance

Apple announced its entry into the wearables market when it unveiled the Apple Watch a little over three years ago. At the launch event, Apple positioned the Watch as a bit of an all-in-one accessory that could be your comprehensive health and fitness device, but it was also designed to let you “connect and communicate directly from your wrist” using new “intimate ways” like the rather awkward Digital Touch. In many ways, the original Apple Watch tried to be too many things for too many people; a departure from most first-generation Apple products that typically have fewer features than the competition, but rely on execution and attention to detail to win customers over.

The product was largely well-reviewed, though many, including us, questioned whether most people actually need a smartwatch. While Apple has been silent on the number of units it has sold to date, the Apple Watch seems to be the best selling smartwatch by all accounts, with some even saying Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world.

Physically, the Apple Watch might not have changed much, but there’s no doubt that both Apple and the consumers now see the smartwatch as a fitness-focussed device, with everything else intended to complement those functions. Apple has admitted this has been in response to user feedback based on how people were actually using the Watch out in the wild.

Last year, Apple enhanced the fitness credentials of the Apple Watch by adding GPS and water resistance, making the Series 2 a better standalone companion for runners, while opening it up to use by swimmers. This year’s big update – called Apple Watch Series 3 – brings optional cellular connectivity, an altimeter, and a faster Apple S3 chip as well as more RAM, all of which pave the way for some cool new features. Note that the GPS + Cellular variant of the new Apple Watch isn’t available in India (yet) as it uses a built-in eSIM that doesn’t seem to be very popular with the Indian telcos. For this review, we received the non-cellular variant (or GPS, as Apple calls it) of the Apple Watch Series 3.

apple watch series 3 back Apple Watch

We noted in our review of the original Apple Watch that the 42mm model is rather chunky and something that will definitely be noticed on your wrist. We also predicted that this would improve as the Watch goes down the path of ‘thinner and lighter’ that’s almost inevitable for most Apple products. A little more two years later, we are still waiting for that evolution, since Apple has stuck to the same design language, and, in fact, the 42mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch Series 3 is marginally bigger and heavier than its counterpart from a couple of years ago.

As we mentioned earlier, since the original launch, Apple has managed to cram a GPS sensor, an LTE modem, and an altimeter into the Apple Watch, while also updating it with faster processors and more RAM, and making it water resistant. Given these additions, we are not surprised that the Apple Watch retains its ‘bulk’, though we believe that a new design might well arrive with the next iteration.

The new Watch is powered by Apple’s brand new S3 dual-core processor, which promises up to 70 percent more performance, and in our experience, the Watch delivered on this promise. Apps launch a lot faster than before, and switching between apps via the Dock no longer feels like a painful process. The speed benefits are especially evident when using Siri. While on our first-generation Apple Watch it wasn’t uncommon to have to wait a couple of seconds after saying ‘Hey Siri’, the newest Watch is ready to listen to your command almost instantly.

Processing the commands themselves isn’t that much faster, as we found in side-by-side comparisons with the original Watch, but the entire process definitely feels a lot more responsive, which can be the difference between people giving Siri a try one time and then forgetting about it, and them coming back to it every day. We found ourselves using Siri a lot more with the Series 3 Watch, be it for setting a quick reminder, or to check when Liverpool FC is playing next.

apple watch series 3 siri Apple Watch

Another big change with Siri is that it can now talk back to you, just like on the iPhone and iPad, which is great, as you no longer need to keep staring at the Watch to see its response. If you are not a fan of this feature, or if you don’t want others eavesdropping on your conversations with Siri, you can set it to speak only when you have your headphones on, or to take its cue from the silent mode on your Watch, via the Settings in the Watch app on your iPhone.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also includes an Apple-designed W2 wireless chip that claims to boost Wi-Fi speeds up to 85 percent, while making both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication up to 50 percent more power efficient. While it’s hard to test some of these claims, we did find that the Series 3 Watch did a better job at things like handling calls over Wi-Fi when we were away from our iPhone.

In our review of the Apple Watch Series 2, we pointed out that the lack of an altimeter was a problem for serious runners, as elevation changes during workouts couldn’t be recorded unless you carried your iPhone along. The Series 3 fixes that, with the addition of a barometric altimeter. Not only can your Watch now track elevation changes during a run, but your daily activity summary now also includes “Flights Climbed” data that is being sourced from the Watch itself. If it sounds like this feature isn’t exactly new, it’s because your Watch was earlier capable of reading this data from your paired iPhone, which has included a barometer since the iPhone 6.

We found the flights climbed data tracking to be fairly accurate, and our experience with GPS accuracy and the rest of the activity tracking and fitness-focussed features was pretty similar to what we’ve seen with previous Apple Watch variants. We encourage you to read our reviews of the original Apple Watchand the Series 2 if you are curious about the subject.

The Apple Watch Series 3 ships with watchOS 4, which we’ve covered elsewhere, but it does have a couple of features worth touching upon here. Instead of the ‘boring’ pop-ups that simply updated you on your activity for the day, the Watch now mixes things up by telling you whether you are making good progress compared to an average day, or if you are “usually further along” on most days. Towards the end of the day, it gives even more specific messages such as telling you that a brisk 11 minute walk will close all your rings, which can be pretty motivating. The animations that you see as a ‘reward’ for closing your ring(s) are now a lot more elaborate, something we came to appreciate.

watchOS 4 introduces new watch faces including the Siri watch face, Toy Story, and Kaleidoscope. You also get a redesigned Workout app and a new High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout type. Your Apple Watch (including Series 2) is now also able to automatically detect the kind of swimming stroke you used during a session. This lets you see a neat breakdown with the time and distance you spent alternating between different kinds of strokes; a touch that swimmers will really appreciate.

apple watch swimming Apple Watch

The watchOS 4.1 update also added the ability to stream music from the cloud via Apple Music directly on the Apple Watch. The feature works on both Wi-Fi and LTE variants of the Watch, but in our opinion, it would be a lot more useful on the latter.

We’d like to see watchOS open a little bit more and add support for third-party watch faces, similar to Android Wear. So far, Apple has done a good job of finding the right balance between adding features and optimising battery life, and one wonders if a future Apple Watch will have features like an (optional) always-on display.

Apple claims all-day battery life with the Series 3, and the Watch constantly topped that expectation during our review period. We easily got two days of life out of each full charge, with tons of notifications popping up on our Watch throughout the day, but with admittedly limited workout sessions, so we weren’t really using GPS for the most part. Our long-term experience with the Series 2 and the original Apple Watch shows that even after one and two years respectively, you should get at least one-day battery life without any problems even if you lead a more active lifestyle.

The process of untethering the Apple Watch from the iPhone started when the Series 2 added GPS functionality, and it continues with the Series 3 bringing in an altimeter and LTE, though the latter isn’t available in India yet. Starting at Rs. 29,900 for the 38mm model with Aluminium Case and Sport Band (the one pictured above is the Anthracite/ Black Nike Sport Band) and Rs. 31,900 for the 42mm equivalent, the Series 3 Apple Watch isn’t exactly cheap, but the launch prices are lower than that of the previous generation. As with earlier models, you will need to have an iPhone to set up and use the Apple Watch.

If you lead an active lifestyle and fitness-focussed features are the main attraction, the latest Apple Watch is a great pick. Apple also still officially sells the slightly less expensive (but slower) Series 1, but you would miss out on features like GPS, altimeter, water resistance, and Siri that talks, so you are better off buying the latest model if you can afford it.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Improved performance
  • Altimeter
  • watchOS 4 adds useful features

Cons

  • LTE version not available in India

Ratings

  • Design: 4
  • Performance: 4.5
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4.5

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done

Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Things 3 is a “getting things done” app
  • It’s available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  • It’s expensive, but the design is excellent and it works very well

Every single day, we find ourselves saddled with countless small tasks to complete, errands to run, mails to send, and in general — things to do. Almost always, we end up forgetting one thing or another and that wastes a lot of time. We’ve tried a lot of different ways to avoid this — a to-do list in a notebook, basic reminder apps, and even a proper “getting things done” (GTD) app in Todoist.

For various reasons, all of these approaches have failed us eventually. We kept forgetting to write things down in our notebook, Apple’s Reminders app was too basic, and we aren’t big fans of Todoist’s design – or its subscription model. Things weren’t looking good, at least until Cultured Code released Things 3.

Cultured Code’s design prowess is well-known and the company has done a stellar job yet again with Things 3. This writer been using the app on iPhone and Mac for over a month and it’s certainly become a vital part of his life.

When you first fire up Things 3 on any platform, you’re going to notice how clean it looks. You’ll see “Today” or “Upcoming” or the title of your project in a large font size right at the top and all of your tasks below. There’s just the right amount of gap between the heading and your tasks, and between different tasks themselves. It doesn’t feel like these are sticking to each other and it definitely doesn’t feel like there’s a massive chasm between these either.

things 3 iphone projects Things 3

The way Cultured Code has used white space is commendable as it keeps the design from feeling cluttered. Ideally, a GTD app should remind you about pending tasks, but if it’s cluttered it starts to feel intimidating and then we feel there’s a high chance of people abandoning the app altogether. Not with Things 3, where every design choice feels deliberate and tastefully executed.

On the iPhone, Things 3 is a pretty straightforward app. It lets you add tasks, create projects, and you can even use the share sheet to add tasks from other apps. If you’re browsing the Web or watching videos online, you can send the link straight to Things 3 via the share sheet. You can even share your tasks and checklists to other apps.

One of the best features of Things 3 on iPhone is its 3D Touch implementation. If you have an iPhone 6S or a newer iPhone, you can hard press the Things 3 icon hard to reveal a neat widget where you can mark up to two tasks as complete. You can also use 3D Touch to create a new task, jump to the Today page, and jump to Quick Find (for searching within the app).

Things 3 for Mac

We love using Things 3 on iPhone, but the Mac app is where it really shines. Not only have the developers used the extra screen space very well, but they’ve also added a bunch of small features that wouldn’t be possible on iPhone. For instance, pressing Ctrl + option + space in certain apps such as Safari or Mail, opens a Things 3 pop-up with a link to the website or email added. You can quickly add webpages or emails to your to-do list via this shortcut.

things 3 mac logbook Things 3

Similarly, you can use the Ctrl + space shortcut in any app to add a task manually to Things 3. When you set a reminder for a task, the notification stays on your Mac’s screen until you either snooze or dismiss it. We feel any good GTD app should be good at nagging you until you get the job done, and based on our experience of using it to manage work tasks, Things 3 is good at this.

The developers have created neat tutorial projects to familiarise new users with the app and all its features. We found these extremely useful and learned about several advanced features that have now become a part of our daily workflow.

When you mark a task complete, it changes the font colour from black to grey for a couple of seconds, before moving to the the Logbook (where all completed tasks go). This allows you time to uncheck the task if you’ve accidentally marked it complete. When you create a project, the icon is a circle which slowly fills up like a pie chart as you complete tasks under that project. Lots of small touches like this make Things 3’s design feel tastefully designed.

Cultured Code uses its own Things Cloud to sync your tasks across devices. It works just fine and we had no issues whatsoever with syncing tasks and projects across devices.

things 3 mac quick entry Things 3

At the moment, Things 3 doesn’t let you attach images or other files to your tasks. This feature would allow us to attach screenshots or important documents to our tasks, which would help a lot while researching for stories.

It also doesn’t allow you to create repeating reminders on an hourly basis. You can create daily, weekly, or monthly repeating reminders but not hourly ones. That makes it less useful if you want to set reminders for drinking water or to remind yourself to stop working nonstop and take a break.

Things 3 is not for everyone. It’s available only on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. You need to buy it separately on iPhone (Rs. 800), iPad (Rs. 1,600), and Mac (Rs. 4,000), so it’s definitely not cheap. But if you value good design and you need a GTD app for your Apple devices, Things 3 is an absolute must-have.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple CEO Promised 3 New US Plants, Says President Trump: Report

Apple CEO Promised 3 New US Plants, Says President Trump: Report

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple has promised to expand manufacturing in the US with 3 new plants
  • Cook in May announced the creation of an Apple fund
  • Apple has 80,000 employees in the US and plans to hire thousands more

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that US President Donald Trump said Apple has promised to expand manufacturing at home with three new US plants.

The Journal quoted Trump as saying that Apple chief executive Tim Cook committed to building “three big plants,” in the United States.

No details were provided, and Apple did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

Cook in May announced the creation of an Apple fund to get more people in the US to do “advanced manufacturing,” kicking it off with a billion dollars.

Apple building plants in the United States would come as rare common ground with Trump.

Cook has pointed out that Apple spent more than $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,22,155 crores) in the United States last year – buying from suppliers such as Corning Glass, working with developers behind applications for the California company’s devices and more.

Apple has about 80,000 employees in the US and plans to hire thousands more “in the future,” according to Cook.

It is a sign of Apple’s success but also a thorny problem: a cash stockpile topping a quarter of a trillion dollars, sparking debate on what do with such massive reserves.

The tech giant has resisted the idea of bringing the cash home, because the US tax code allows multinational firms to defer profits while they are held overseas but taxes income at up to 35 percent when repatriated.

Trump vowed while campaigning that he would force Apple to bring production to US soil.

Apple is not in the same position as automakers which relocated US factories overseas to cut costs, IHS manufacturing processes chief analyst Dan Panzica told AFP earlier this year. Apple never moved jobs offshore, it created them there.

“The Apple jobs were never here,” Panzica said.

“The entire supply chain grew in China.”

Apple benefits in Asia from a network that goes beyond subcontractors assembling smartphones, tablets or laptops. The firm relies on a dense ecosystem of companies that make components and spare parts for its devices as well.

China also offers sources of important raw materials, along with cheap, flexible and abundant labor to keep iPhone assembly lines cranking along.

It would be challenging to replicate that situation with US workers without using more robotics, undermining the political aim of creating jobs here, according to some analysts.

Moving iPhone manufacturing to the US would also likely push up costs, which is not in Apple’s interests.

It was seen as more likely that Apple would make a symbolic move to appease Washington, such as investing more in making Mac Pro computers here, or in a facility for higher-priced, limited-edition devices such as an “anniversary edition iPhone” to mark the handset’s 10th birthday this year.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]