Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Instax Mini 9 features a selfie mirror on the front
  • The camera is available in different colour options
  • The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is priced at Rs. 5,999

Instant film cameras are fun little toys to have around. They’re easy to use and you get a printed photo on the spot with that iconic retro look that we try to recreate in our social apps. However, this trend hasn’t really caught on in India despite Fujifilm’s range of instant cameras being available here for a while now.

The company hopes to turn things around with its latest model, called the Instax Mini 9. It has an improved design, and what better way to target millennials and the teenagers of today than with the addition of a selfie mirror? Let’s put it to the test to see how good it really is.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 design and build quality

For Rs. 5,999, you get the Instax Mini 9 camera, a matching strap, a set of batteries, and a close-up lens attachment. You’ll have to buy the instant film separately. It retails for about Rs. 1,020 for a pack of two cartridges, with 10 film sheets in each cartridge. The new camera is available in funky pastel shades, and what we have the Lime Green one with us today.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is built entirely of plastic, but the fit and finish is good with no crude edges or misaligned joints. Around the back, we have a little compartment for the film cartridge, an optical viewfinder, and a counter which shows you the number of unused film sheets remaining. The batteries slot in on the side, and there’s a loop for the wrist strap on either side of the camera.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 lights ndtv fujifilm

The slot from where the processed film is ejected is on the top. In the front, we have the flash and light metering sensors which automatically adjust the exposure. There’s a shutter button here and a power button beside the lens. The ring around the lens can be used to switch between different exposure modes, but the only one you can actually force the camera to use is Hi-Key, which sets the flash to go off at its maximum intensity for low-light situations. The rest of the time, the camera will automatically determine the best exposure and switch to it, which is indicated by the different LEDs around the dial lighting up.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 specifications and features

The Instax Mini 9’s instant film sheets give you 62 x 46cm photos. The way this works is that each film sheet contains chemicals in little pouch at the bottom, and when it is exposed to light, the chemicals are pushed into the frame with the help of rollers, as it is ejected from the camera. The film pops out only a few seconds after you press the shutter button, but it then takes about two minutes for it to develop fully. Just like with traditional Polaroids, you can personalise the white frames with messages, drawings, etc.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 back ndtv fujifim

The camera features a two-element lens with a fixed shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. The aperture varies depending on which exposure mode is selected, and can range from f/12.7 to f/32. The flash always fires, no matter the light conditions. The close-up lens clips onto the front of the main lens and lets you shoot objects as close as a foot away from the lens. There’s really isn’t much to this camera other than turning it on and shooting.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 performance and battery life

Since this isn’t a digital camera, there are no files to display for quality to be judged by. The final output is printed onto the film sheets, and that’s that. The credit-card sized photographs make for fun mementos, but the output quality isn’t always predictable.

The camera is comfortable to hold and light enough for one-handed use. Since the viewfinder is placed to the left of the body and you don’t see through the lens, the position of your subject will always be offset a little unless you know exactly how to compensate. It’s best to leave some space around your subjects in order to avoid cutting them off. With each new cartridge, the first tune you press the shutter button, the protective sheet will be ejected, after which actual film sheets will be used.

We found many overexposed areas in outdoor shots taken in daylight, resulting in washed-out details. The Instax Mini film that we used has an ISO 800 rating so it’s up to the camera’s light sensor to adjust the aperture, but even at the narrowest setting, it’s tough to get a detailed shot in sunlight. Things are better indoors when lighting is more controlled. In a well-lit room, we managed to get fairly detailed close-ups with the attached lens. Colours weren’t too bad, although all pictures have that slightly hazy look, which some would call “retro”. It’s also important to note that the Instax Mini 9 works best for close-ups and doesn’t fare too well with subjects at a distance.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 photos review ndtv fujifilm

Just like the overexposure issue when shooting in bright daylight, some of the shots we took indoors had a soft focus. In low light, it’s best to use the Hi-Key mode as it results in a well-lit picture, eliminating most shadows around your subject. However, it isn’t suitable for close-ups as the bright flash will overexpose your subject. You have to learn the balance, but that means you wind up wasting quite a lot of film sheets, which are not exactly cheap.

A pack of 20 film sheets costs around Rs. 1,000. which translates to about Rs. 50 per photo. If you want slightly better value, you can pick up packs of 100 sheets which retail for a little under Rs. 4,000, which works out to roughly Rs. 40 per photograph. Do remember that these films have an expiry date.

The company says that each set of two AA batteries should last for about 100 shots, but this will vary depending on which exposure modes you end up using more often.

Verdict

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a functional upgrade over the Mini 8, with its useful close-up lens and selfie mirror that a lot of people will relate to. Rs. 5,999 isn’t too much for a camera that spits out printed photographs nearly instantly. It’s a reminder of a simpler time when we didn’t have the luxury of taking hundreds of shots in one go, since every one has to count. The Mini 9 is a camera you break out for parties or other social gatherings where these instant photos make for fun and personal, mementos of the good times. Plus, the ability to have these physical photographs in your wallet with you has its appeal.

Using it on a daily basis won’t be very economical, as we’re looking at a cost of at least Rs. 40 per photo, and that is if you opt for the value pack of film sheets. Also, details, clarity and exposure in photos are always a bit hit-or-miss. This comes with the territory of instant cameras, so if you like the idea of photos having varied Instagram-like filters to them, then you’ll be happy with it.

Price: Rs. 5,999

Pros

  • Built well and simple to use
  • Instant printed photos
  • Selfie lens is a thoughtful addition

Cons

  • Cost per photo isn’t very economical
  • Pictures lack clarity
  • Exposure isn’t always accurate

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Image Quality: 3
  • Performance: 3
  • Value For money: 3
  • Overall: 3

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Nubia Z17 mini Review

Nubia Z17 mini Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Z17 mini boasts of dual rear cameras
  • The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC and has 4GB of RAM
  • It is priced at Rs. 19,999, and is available exclusively via Amazon India

Nubia has been busy filling up the budget and mid-range smartphone markets this past couple of months. The last offering that we reviewed was the Z11 mini S (Review), which featured an excellent set of cameras and very good all-round performance.

The Z17 mini aims to tick some of the boxes left unchecked by the Z11 mini S. This model is also available exclusively via e-commerce channels, but at a slightly higher price of Rs. 19,999. Let’s see what’s changed, and if the new launch is worth a premium.

Nubia Z17 mini design and build quality

Nubia has once again done a very good job with the design of this phone. The Z17 mini feels compact and comfortable, thanks to the rounded edges all around the body. The 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass blends seamlessly with the sides. The satin finish on the back is a bit slippery when used one-handed, but the texture holds up well against the bumps and scuffs of everyday use. We also didn’t mind the gold accents running along the bevelled edges and around the fingerprint sensor, which add a bit of style to an otherwise understated design.

The 5.2-inch display has a satisfying full-HD resolution which results in dense pixel coverage for smooth text and crisp pictures. Colours are vivid and punchy, and you can set the saturation level to any of three presets. Colour temperature can also be adjusted. There’s no notification LED on the top but the ‘breathe’ light on the home button glows when you have a message or a missed call notification. However, this doesn’t work for alerts from other apps like WhatsApp.

Nubia Z17 mini front ndtv nubia

Button placement is good and so is their tactile feedback. There’s a dual Nano-SIM tray on the left for two SIM cards, but you could opt for a microSD card in the second slot instead (up to 200GB). The finish of the tray feels a bit crude and it’s a bit of struggle to pull it out. The headphones socket is on the top, and the USB Type-C connector is at the bottom, along with a mono speaker grille.

The dual camera module at the back is slightly raised, but you shouldn’t worry too much about scratches as there’s sapphire glass protecting the lenses. The fingerprint sensor aligns well with your index finger when you hold the phone, and is quick at authentication. Like most phones these days, it serves other purposes too like letting you lock down apps and files, and performing a gesture to take screenshots, besides unlocking the phone.

The Nubia Z17 mini is only available in this black-gold finish in India. In the box, you get a 7.5W power adapter, a data cable, a SIM ejector tool, and some manuals. A headset isn’t bundled with it. We quite liked the shape and size of the Z17 mini, as it is slim at just 7.45mm and not heavy either at around 155 grams.

Nubia Z17 mini ports ndtv nubia

Nubia Z17 mini specifications and features

The Nubia Z17 mini is slightly better equipped than the Z11 mini S in the processor department. The company has gone with the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core SoC, which might not be as power efficient as the Snapdragon 625 due to its older 28nm fabrication process, but has four Coretex A72 cores and integrated Adreno 510 graphics for an edge in processing power. This is reflected in benchmarks, where we saw 83,850 points in AnTuTu and 36fps in GFXbench’s T-Rex test.

Aiding this good performance is 4GB of RAM. The Nubia Z17 mini also comes with 64GB of internal storage, Bluetooth 4.2, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, GPS, FM radio and USB-OTG. Sensors include an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and light sensor. The phone supports 4G on both SIMs with VoLTE too.

Software is disappointing, as this phone is still stuck with the Nubia 4.0 UI based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Security isn’t up to date either, and our review unit was last patched on February 1. We reached out to Nubia regarding this but didn’t get any concrete reply about whether or not a Nougat update will ever come to the Z17 mini.

Having said that, the company has already incorporated some Android 7 features into its interface, such as split-screen multitasking. There are edge gestures to play around with too, and you can have two instances of certain apps. The Super Screenshot tool also lets you perform screen recording. We’ve covered these features already in our Z11 mini S review.

Pre-installed apps include News Republic, Kika keyboard, and some non-removable apps including a user manual and screen projection utility.

Nubia Z17 mini screen ndtv nubia

Nubia Z17 mini performance, camera, and battery life

The interface is single-layered and runs pretty smoothly for the most part. We didn’t face any overheating issues iwith regular usage. The back of the phone gets a bit warm with extensive use of the camera and while gaming, but even this is not too drastic. The Nubia Z17 mini works well on 4G networks with good call quality. The speaker sounds quite tinny for media but does an okay job with voice calls.

You need to long-press the ‘Back’ button to bring up the app switcher because the second capacitive button is bound to the old Android menu function, which most apps don’t even use anymore. We would have liked to at least have the option to customise this behaviour, but the only thing that can be done is to swap the functions of the two capacitive keys on either side of the Home button.

The Snapdragon 652 handles 4K video playback very well and needless to say, it does well with other high-bitrate videos too. The custom music player has a nice design and offers good functionality for sorting your music, plus effects like DTS Sound for the speaker.

The camera is one of the big highlights of the Z17 mini and in order to give it an edge over the competition, Nubia has fitted it with two 13-megapixel sensors (one RGB and one monochrome). This combination is meant to improve detail in photos, but unfortunately, the results aren’t very impressive when photos are seen on a larger display.

Landscapes taken in daylight have fairly good detail and colours look natural, but zooming in reveals some artifacting around the edges of objects due to oversharpening, and a ‘water-colour’ effect to distant objects. Macros look good on the display of the phone but the sensor isn’t able to capture complex details, like small fibres and pollen on a flower for instance. Photos appear a bit soft, although colours are good.

Tap for to see-sized image of Nubia Z17 mini samples

The Z17 mini does a decent job in low light, despite the not-so-great f/2.2 aperture. There’s an ‘Intelligent noise reduction’ option in the settings which makes a big impact. It essentially gets rid of most of the chroma noise in an image and the difference is instantly noticeable in both daylight and night shots. The camera app has a Portrait mode too, which blurs the background behind a subject. However, the result is pretty poor and is nowhere close to what the OnePlus 5 (Review) and iPhone 7 Plus (Review) can achieve. You can play around with the aperture and focus after taking shots, but it’s just too much effort, and even after all that, there’s little chance of ending up with a usable shot.

The Nubia Z17 mini camera app gives you a number of modes to choose from, some of which are useful while others are just plain gimmicky. Some features need more refinement, like DNG (Digital Negative) mode which has a duplicate slider for shutter speed. Video recording tops out at 4K resolution and the quality is good but there’s no stabilisation, and the sensor hunts for focus often if you move about even slightly. At 1080p, the app tries to do electronic stabilisation but the frame rate is quite choppy and the end result isn’t very good.

In the front, we have a 16-megapixel sensor with a wider f/2.0 aperture. Selfies look good in daylight and they’re not so bad in low light, with the screen flash. However, details just aren’t as good as the ones we were able to take with the Z11 mini S, which also boasted of PDAF.

The 2950mAh battery on the Nubia Z17 mini lasted for 10 hours and 42 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is about average. With actual usage, we found that the battery level warning popped up well before the day was up. With careful usage, you should be able to go up to a full day, but gaming and battery intensive activities will drain it faster. There’s no fast charging either, so it will take you close to two hours to fully charge this phone.

Nubia Z17 mini top ndtv nubia

Verdict

The Nubia Z17 mini is a bit of an expensive proposition at its current price of Rs. 19,999. Nubia has an exchange offer on Amazon that promises up to Rs. 13,000 off, but a discount that steep would require you to trade in an iPhone 7 or similar phone, so realistically you’d get a far more modest benefit.

The Z11 mini S seems more balanced and less expensive, and we would have liked to recommend it instead. Sadly, Nubia has confirmed to Gadgets 360 that it has withdrawn this model, and there will not be any fresh stock in the market. There also won’t be any future software updates for it, which makes us wonder whether the Z17 mini is also destined to meet the same fate. If Nubia can pull the plug on a phone that’s only a few of months old (and a good one at that), one has to be concerned about every new launch.

To avoid being left high and dry, we recommend going with the tried-and-tested Moto G5 Plus (Review), Samsung J7 Prime (32GB) (Review), or even the Honor 8 (Review) instead.

ZTE Nubia Z17 mini

ZTE Nubia Z17 mini

Rs. 18,999
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Sharp and vivid display
  • Good app performance
  • NFC
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • UI has a learning curve
  • Unimpressive cameras
BUY AT
  • ZTE Nubia Z17 mini (Black-Gold, 64GB) – 
    Rs. 18,999

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Will Introduce New iPad, iPad Mini by Holidays

iPad

A new Apple iPad may be on the market before the holiday shopping season. The story is that Apple suppliers have begun production on a new line of iPad devices. The long-rumored iPhone 6 as well as a possible smartwatch from Apple may be unveiled soon and available by the end of the year, too.

It was in November 2013 that Apple sold its last new iPad device, the iPad Air. A new, full-sized iPad hasn’t been released since late 2012.

The new 9.7-inch iPad is under mass production right now, Bloomberg reports. Expect an official unveiling either at the end of this quarter or the beginning of the next. Production could be delayed, however, because of troubles with an anti-reflective coating on the display of the tablets.

This would be the fifth generation of the full-sized iPad. The last was released in November 2012.

Production is underway on the next new iPad mini, too. It will reportedly have a 7.9-inch display and be available by the end of the year. Apple released its first iPad mini in 2012.

Sales of Apple tablet products have gone stale and started to decline, presumably prompting the push to release these new devices before the holiday shopping season. In fact, iPad sales are the company’s second-largest source of revenue but it’s a segment that’s been scuffling lately. Sales of iPad devices have dropped from 26 million over the last holiday shopping season to just more than 13 million in the last quarter, reports PC Magazine.

It appears that the new iPhone 6 will be unveiled in September, sources tell Bloomberg. These new phones will feature bigger screens and be sold in two sizes, a 5.5- and 4.7-inch model, according to Bloomberg sources.

Apple released two follow-ups to its iPhone 5 in the last year, the 5s and its first entry into the economy smartphone class, the 5c. A so-called “iWatch” could be released before the end of this year, too. It could have up to a 2.5-inch display and be running some form of iOS, MacRumors reports.

iPad Mini Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

HP Reinventing Traditional Computers With Mini Desktop PC

mini desktop

What you know about the traditional desktop computer, at least on the surface — forget it. HP’s latest entries on the market aim to change what a desktop computer looks like. The company recently introduced the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop and the HP Stream Mini Desktop.

Both take the idea of a desktop tower and shrink it down into a mini desktop that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

In a an official release announcing the new devices, Mike Nash, HP’s vice president of product management of Consumer Personal Systems, says:

“The desktop tower PC continues to be a focal point in the home for sharing, creating, and entertaining. The HP Pavilion and HP Stream Mini Desktops deliver the benefits of a traditional desktop PC in a package that looks good sitting on a desk and is small enough to fit into an entertainment center.”

First, the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop is just a little more than 2 inches tall and it weighs just 1.6 pounds. HP says that the desktop comes stocked running Windows 8.1 and supports a processor up to the Intel Core i3. It’s also available with up to 1TB of storage, so despite its diminutive size, it still is a powerful little computer.

The HP Pavilion Mini also supports the use of two monitors. And those monitors could include a television. The computer supports quad-HD quality pictures, too.

And with that small size also comes a considerably smaller drain on your electricity usage. The HP Pavilion Mini uses just 45 watts of electricity. It’s actually Energy Star certified. HP says that a traditional tower PC can use up to 250 watts to run.

There are some drawbacks as far as things you might find on a more traditional tower but that simply won’t fit on the HP Pavilion Mini. There will be no optical drive for DVDs and CDs. The computer is Bluetooth-enabled, however, so it can be connected to any other such device in your home.

HP says the Pavilion Mini Desktop will be ready for sale on its website starting Jan. 14. It will be available at some retailers on Feb. 8.

The computer comes with a keyboard and mouse. The monitor is not included. It will start at $319.99. That’s stocked with the Intel Pentium 3558U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard disk drive.

The other device, the Stream Mini Desktop, starts at a lower price point, just $179.99. That computer is stocked with the Intel Celeron 2957U processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB SSD of storage.

It, too, will be available first on the HP website soon and in some stores starting on Feb. 8 A webpage lets interested customers inquire for further information.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]