Le 1s Review

Le 1s ReviewLeEco (the company formerly known as LeTV) is the latest to join the long, long list of Chinese smartphone manufacturers trying their luck in India. The company doesn’t have any of the advantages of being an early mover, and no matter how shockingly low it can push prices, it won’t be the first to be doing so. Still, there’s a lot to like about the Le 1s, which is quite full of interesting features considering its budget price tag.

LeEco hasn’t gone only for impressive specifications; it’s clearly trying to achieve a level of desirability, as you can immediately see from the Le 1s’s metal body. While the much more expensive Le Max(Review | Pictures) took on the might of mainstream flagships and came up looking just a little short, LeEco is hoping that the Le 1s will have much wider appeal.

Look and feel
There’s only so far you can go with specifications, and so LeEco has decided to bring premium materials and build quality to the budget smartphone space. The Le 1s is made almost entirely of metal, save for two plastic strips running along the top and bottom of the rear for the various antennas to work. The strips are certainly noticeable, but not as prominent as the plastic antenna lines on theiPhone 6 and 6s series, for example, so some might actually prefer this.

le_eco_le_1s_rear_ndtv.jpgThe front face is pretty slick, with black glass surrounding the screen and extending all the way to the two sides. The front camera and sensor window are arranged symmetrically on either side of the earpiece. There are the standard three capacitive Android navigation buttons below the screen, but they’re hidden until you tap one, at which point they all light up. The metal band running around the sides has chamfered edges, but the Le 1s manages to avoid looking like an iPhone 5 overall thanks to its proportions.

le_eco_le_1s_slots_ndtv.jpgThe primary camera and flash are in one corner of the rear, and there’s a silver mirror-finished fingerprint sensor lower down and in the middle. It looks great but is actually a bit slippery, so we’ll have to see if form and function are balanced. The company obviously didn’t manage to time its rebranding with its India launch, so our test unit had a large LeTV logo – units sold here in the future might say LeEco instead, though we can’t be certain about that.

The power and volume buttons are on the right, as expected, and a tray with cutouts for one Nano-SIM and one Micro-SIM is on the left. There’s a standard 3.5mm audio socket on top, accompanied by a very non-standard IR emitter. Much more noteworthy is the Type-C USB port on the bottom. Type-C will undoubtedly begin displacing Micro-USB this year but LeEco is still ahead of the curve here. The primary disadvantage is that you won’t be able to use any of the USB cables you currently have lying around.

le_eco_le_1s_cable_ndtv.jpgIn a very interesting twist, the company ships a non-standard USB cable with a modified type-A plug on the charger end. It works like any other USB cable, except that you don’t have to worry about which way is up. In order to achieve this, the plug’s inner tongue has been made really thin, and we hope it won’t snap.

The gold finish isn’t for everyone, but that’s the only option at the moment on Flipkart, the exclusive retailer. Grip is decent for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen, though one-handed usage is still awkward. The Le 1s weighs 169g but somehow manages not to feel that heavy even with prolonged usage.

le_eco_le_1s_side_ndtv.jpgSpecifications and software
Rather than the Qualcomm processors that have become commonplace in this segment, LeEco has chosen the MediaTek Helio X10, also known as the MT6795T. This is a pretty powerful chip, with eight cores clocked at up to 2.2GHz and integrated PowerVR G6200 graphics. There’s also 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is sadly not expandable.

The 5.5-inch screen has a resolution of 1080×1920 which is now standard at this price level. There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel one in front. Unfortunately, the 3000mAh battery is sealed in. 4G is supported across both SIM cards, and there’s also Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, and A-GPS. FM radio appears to be missing.

le_eco_le_1s_upright_ndtv.jpgThe Le 1s runs the rather dated Android 5.0.2 with LeEco’s heavy eUI skin. Predictably, it dispenses with the app drawer and there aren’t as many customisation options as we’ve seen before. The most difficult thing to get used to is that all shortcuts and quick settings have been moved to the app switcher screen. It looks like a mashup of iOS 7’s Control Center and app switcher and is functional enough, but it seems as though LeEco wanted to be different just for the sake of being different.

There aren’t very many preloaded apps – you get Yahoo Weather, and an app called My LeTV which is a gateway to the company’s cloud storage and security services. The only other non-default app is called OK Remote Control, which can use the IR emitter or work over Wi-Fi with compatible TVs, most notably LeTV’s own). There are no Indian TV and set-top box brands in the list of compatible products, and third-party apps like Peel do not work with the Le 1s.

le_eco_le_1s_screens_ndtv.jpgThe phone is also surprisingly sparse when it comes to settings and enhancements. There’s no way to shrink the screen’s display area for one-handed use, and there are no shortcuts or gestures either. Overall, we’re quite surprised by the Le 1s’s software shortcomings.

Performance
We liked using the Le 1s for the most part, and while it does feel good in the hand, the software experience is a bit of a let down, making the whole experience feel unpolished. We were happy to note that the phone didn’t get too hot in use, even after gaming and running stress tests. Only a bit of warmth could be felt towards the top of the rear.

le_eco_le_1s_toprear_ndtv.jpgThe screen is bright indoors but not very usable under direct sunlight. Colours look sharp and viewing angles are sufficient, if not great. We were pleasantly surprised by the phone’s speaker, which pumped out pretty loud and rich sound.

The primary camera struggled a bit with detailing and exposure but ultimately managed to pull off quite a few good shots. Close-ups were the best, though there was still noise and murkiness to natural textures. Low-light shots looked impressive at first but were completely unusable if enlarged to actual size. You’ll be fine if you only want to share photos on social media, but not for anything beyond that. Videos were also adequate for a phone that costs this much.

le_eco_le_1s_camsample_day3_ndtv.jpgle_eco_le_1s_camsample_night1_ndtv.jpgle_eco_le_1s_camsample_day1_ndtv.jpgle_eco_le_1s_camsample_night2_ndtv.jpg(Tap to see full-sized images)Benchmarks showed that the MediaTek Helio X10 SoC can pull a fair amount of weight, exceeding Qualcomm’s mid-range offerings such as the Snapdragon 616 in many areas, and closing in on the high-end Snapdragon 808. We logged 52,057 points in AnTuTu and 23,471 overall in Quadrant. As expected, graphics scores lagged just a little bit, with 27fps in GFXBench and 8,552 in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme. This phone is well up to the challenge of Android gaming and will deliver smooth visuals in any of today’s titles.

We were able to loop our battery test video for 7 hours, 51 minutes before the battery died, which is just about average. In everyday situations, we were happy to note that the Le 1s just about got through a regular day’s usage. What saved the day though was quick charging – the device comes with a really bulky charger, but it pays off when you can zoom up to a double-digit battery percentage in just a few minutes.

le_eco_le_1s_lowerfront_ndtv.jpgVerdict
LeEco might have been late to the party but it did arrive in style. The company claims that 70,000 units of the Le 1s sold out within two seconds in the first flash sale, and that over 6,00,000 people registered for the chance to claim one. Over three million units have sold in China in the three months since it launched there, so there’s clearly no shortage of demand.

Meanwhile, things just keep getting better for value-minded Indian buyers. With this phone, you get considerable power and top-notch specifications, all neatly presented in a very nice package. The most obvious competitor right now is the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note, which has slightly poorer specifications but has better entertainment capabilities including an optional VR headset, which is a totally unique feature. There’s also the Moto G (Gen 3) (Review) to consider, if you’d rather have durability and great software than looks and raw performance.

le_eco_le_1s_charger_ndtv.jpgGo for this phone if you’re willing to give a brand new player a chance, and if you would really like to have a premium-looking phone that you can show off. However, keep in mind that even though you can now get a lot of the looks and specifications of a high-end flagship, you can’t assume that you’ll also get the same level of finesse.

Missed the news? Here’s a list of all phones launched at MWC 2016 on one handy page – or catch our full Mobile World Congress coverage.

Le 1s

Le 1s

R 10999

  • Design

  • Display

  • Software

  • Performance

  • Battery life

  • Camera

  • Value for money

  • Good
  • Looks great
  • Strong performance
  • Good display and speaker
  • Bad
  • Non-expandable storage
  • Unpolished software
  • Average camera quality
  • Average battery life
Read detailed Le 1s review
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Tags: L Eco Le 1s, Le 1s, Le 1s battery, Le 1s camera, Le 1s features, Le 1s performance, Le 1s price, Le 1s price in India,Le 1s Review, Le 1s specifications, Le 1s value, Le Eco mobiles, LeEco, LeTV, LeTV Le 1s, LeTV mobiles
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A5 (2016) First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A5 (2016) First Impressions

Samsung, at its Southwest Asia Forum 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, announced details of its new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2016 edition smartphones for the Indian market. The handsets were first unveiled last year in China, though the company had not disclosed anything about the availability of the two refreshed models outside China at that time.

The Galaxy A series was first launched in late 2014, and now the South Korean giant claims that it has contributed to increase in its worldwide 4G market share, along with the J-series. According toSamsung, its share in 4G devices increased from 25.9 percent in December 2014 to 60.6 percent in December 2015. The company however declined to share exact numbers.

We spent some time with both the new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2016 edition smartphones at the launch event and here are our first impressions.

At the press briefing in Kuala Lumpur, Samsung stressed that the new generation Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 are designed using glass and metal. This was evident when we first held the devices in our hands. Both the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and the Galaxy A7 (2016) take design cues from last year’s flagship, the Galaxy S6. Both phones have metal frames that give them a durable feel, while the rear has an all-glass look. You can see the body colour through the glass.

samsung_galaxy_a5_a7_2016_rear_ndtv.jpgSimilar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 series, the rear panels of the Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) are very shiny, making it hard for us to photograph them without reflections. Despite the use of glass on the rear, we were confident of using both the devices without them slipping from our hands. The phones are comfortable to hold with one hand despite both having screens larger than 5 inches. The front panels on both are mainly dominated by their screens, with the Samsung logo embossed above. The speakers are housed on the bottom and they did sound louder than average, though not really exceptional.

The physical home button, which is a design touch found on the entire range of Samsung Galaxy devices, sits below the display on both phones, with the fingerprint reader embedded into its surface. Fingerprint recognition can be considered one of the biggest additions to the 2016 Galaxy A-series. Oddly, the units showcased at the launch event had their fingerprint scanners disabled for some reason. Samsung executives promised that the feature will be available in commercial units of both the Galaxy A5 (2016) and the Galaxy A7 (2016). On either side of the physical home button are the capacitive Recents and Back buttons which light up only when touched.

samsung_galaxy_a5_2016_fingerprint_ndtv.jpgHere are the full specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) smartphones.

For the second-generation Galaxy A series, Samsung has used its in-house Exynos processors. The first-generation Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7 used Qualcomm-based chipsets.

(Also see: Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) vs. Samsung Galaxy A7)

The Galaxy A5 (2016) is powered by an octa-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.6GHz clubbed with 2GB of RAM and has 16GB of inbuilt storage. The Galaxy A7 (2016) also packs an octa-core Exynos SoC clocked at 1.6GHz and 16GB of storage, but is equipped with 3GB of RAM. For displays, the Galaxy A5 (2016) features a smaller 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920-pixel) Super Amoled display while the Galaxy A7 (2016) sports a 5.5-inch full-HD Super Amoled display. Both phones have 13-megapixel rear cameras with LED flashes and optical image stabilisation (OIS), and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras. The rear cameras on both the handsets feature f/1.9 aperture lenses. Much like the first-generation Galaxy A-series, the new Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) support 4G LTE. Samsung said that the units support LTE Cat. 6 connectivity which allows up to 300Mbps downloads. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+, 3G, GPRS/ EDGE, USB 2.0 and NFC connectivity options. Both phones come with dual-SIM support and Samsung has specified that the microSD card slot is separate from the second Nano-SIM slot, so you aren’t forced to choose one or the other.

samsung_galaxy_a5_2016_screen_ndtv.jpg(Also see: Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs. Samsung Galaxy A5)

The Galaxy A5 (2016) is backed by a 2900mAh battery while the Galaxy A7 (2016) comes with a 3300mAh battery. Compared to the previous generation, both phones have improved battery capacities. To recall, the Galaxy A5 2015 edition included a 2300mAh battery and the Galaxy A7 came with a 2600mAh battery. Samsung has also added fast charging support to both phones. Ultra Power Saving Mode, which Samsung claims is loved by users in India, has also been added in the Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) phones.

The software on the Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) phones looked much the same as on the first-generation Galaxy A series with very minor tweaks and additions. Both phones run the company’s custom UI on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Google and Microsoft apps, as also seen on other high-end Galaxy phones, are displayed prominently. We did not come across any major software changes in our limited time with the devices. Samsung said it has no current plans to release a Marshmallow update, when asked about possible timeframes for the new Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016).

samsung_galaxy_a7_2016_notifications_ndtv.jpgIn the limited time spent with the handsets, we observed that they handled multitasking and Internet browsing pretty easily without any lags. We will reserve our verdict on Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) performance until we get a chance to put them through paces for a detailed review.

In our brief tests of the cameras, we found that images taken with the Galaxy A7 (2016) in normal indoor lighting were vibrant with accurate colours. The images taken with the Galaxy A5 (2016) under the same conditions had minor noise at the edges. Low-light shots on both phones also looked good. The cameras protrude slightly from the bodies, like the ones on other high-end Galaxy smartphones.

The front cameras on both devices also managed to capture some decent selfies. We will have to wait till we can run these phones through our full review process to decide whether the cameras on the second-generation Galaxy A5 and A7 are better than those offered by the competition.

Final Thoughts
The Galaxy A5 (2016) and Galaxy A7 (2016) smartphones have been launched in India with price tags of Rs. 29,400 and Rs. 33,400 respectively. Both phones will go on sale starting February 15 and will be available in physical retail as well online through Snapdeal. To woo customers, Samsung also announced a bundled Airtel data plan which will give users up to 30GB of data free over six months.

samsung_galaxy_a7_2016_home_button_ndtv.jpgAt this price point, the biggest competitor to the Galaxy A5 (2016) is the OnePlus 2, which is currently retailing at Rs. 24,999. Motorola’s Moto X Style, priced at Rs. 29,999, is also available at around the same price.

The Galaxy A7 (2016), on the other hand, will have to take on Samsung’s 2015 flagship, the Galaxy S6, which is now retailing for Rs. 33,900 via the company’s official India e-store.

Disclosure: Samsung sponsored the correspondent’s travel and hotel for the event in Kuala Lumpur.

Missed the news? Here’s a list of all phones launched at MWC 2016 on one handy page – or catch our full Mobile World Congress coverage.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

DISPLAY

5.50-inch

PROCESSOR

1.6GHz

FRONT CAMERA

5-megapixel

RESOLUTION

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Android 5.1

STORAGE

16GB

REAR CAMERA

13-megapixel

BATTERY CAPACITY

3300mAh

See full Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) specifications
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Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

DISPLAY

5.20-inch

PROCESSOR

1.6GHz

FRONT CAMERA

5-megapixel

RESOLUTION

1080×1920 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Android 5.1

STORAGE

16GB

REAR CAMERA

13-megapixel

BATTERY CAPACITY

2900mAh

See full Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) specifications
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Tags: Android, Mobiles, Samsung, Samsung Galaxy A5 2016, Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Price,Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Price in India, Samsung Galaxy A7 2016, Samsung Galaxy A7 2016 Price,Samsung Galaxy A7 2016 Price in India, Samsung Mobiles
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Asus ZenFone Zoom Review

Asus ZenFone Zoom Review

Innovation tends to reach a saturation point after a while, which bogs down pretty much ever facet of technology. What do you do when those eureka moments start drying up and you find yourself looking for something new to wow your audience with? Putting a fresh spin on old technology seems like one way to go about it. Smartphone cameras with optical zoom have been around ever since Nokia launched the N90, way back when. This didn’t exactly catch on since no one likes carrying a bulky camera in their pockets, which is what these phones essentially were.

Samsung has toyed with this idea a bit, with its last attempt being the Galaxy K Zoom over two years ago. The 10X optical zoom was the highlight of this phone but it was still more of a digital camera than a smartphone.

Asus has never known to shy away from experimenting with hybrid devices and its latest incarnation is the ZenFone Zoom. This is its attempt at a smartphone with optical zoom and thankfully, it hasn’t compromised (too much) on it being a smartphone. Can the ZenFone Zoom breathe new life into this non-starter of a segment? Let’s find out.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_cover_ndtv.jpgLook and feel
The ZenFone Zoom is priced at a premium and it’s certainly dressed for the part. The unibody aluminium frame looks good and also gives the phone a good grip. The rounded sides make it very comfortable to hold too. There are chamfered edges and chrome accents thoughtfully distributed around the edges and the camera section on the back, all lending to the phone’s good looks.

The 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display is surrounded by very thick bezels, which dampens its cool quotient a bit. The capacitive navigation buttons are not backlit but thankfully, the notification LED was not left out.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_camera_button_ndtv.jpgThere’s a standard Micro-USB 2.0 port at the bottom along with a lanyard loop to its left. On the right side, we have the two-step camera shutter button and a dedicated button for video recording. Pressing either one for a few seconds will fire up the camera app. The volume and power buttons are placed further up and have good tactile feedback.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_ USB_ndtv.jpgThe back cover is removable and gets a real leather treatment, although it’s easy to mistake it for faux leather. There’s a massive disc in the middle where the camera assembly is – this is where Asus has managed to fit in the zoom lens in a sideways fashion, as we’d explained in our earlier report. This means there’s no protruding lens like Samsung’s offerings and it makes the ZenFone Zoom a bit less conspicuous when you’re trying to capture some candid moments.

Asus has provided for a single Micro-SIM and expandable storage via a microSD card. The battery is non-removable. The ZenFone Zoom comes in a fairly compact box with a lanyard, data cable, charger, and in-ear headset. The quality of components is very good, just as you’d expect at this price level.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_buttons_ndtv.jpgOverall, the phone stands out from the crowd due to its camera-esque back side. But other than that, it could pass of as just another ZenFone. The build quality and finish of the phone are very good and we have to hand it to Asus for managing to squeeze an optical zoom lens into a body that’s just 11.9mm at its thickest point.

Specifications and software
Asus is probably the only major smartphone maker that’s so consistent with using Intel SoCs. The ZenFone Zoom is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3590 and comes with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. We appreciate the generous amount of storage, and just in case it isn’t enough, you can expand it by another 128GB with a microSD card. Other specs include Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS and GLONASS.

Asus_Zenfone_Zoom_screen1_ndtv.jpgThe phone ships with a pretty dated version of Android Lollipop, considering now that Marshmallow is out in the wild. There’s ZenUI 2.0 running on top of Android 5.0 and like we’ve seen in past offerings from Asus, you get a tonne of tweaks and Asus apps pre-installed.

Asus_Zenfone_Zoom_screen2_ndtv.jpgProductivity apps include Splendid, for adjusting the colour temperature and toggling the blue light filter; AudioWizard, which lets you fine tune sound profiles for movie, music, gaming, or voice calls; Auto-start manager, which gives you control over which apps run on boot; Mobile Manager, to get rid of junk files and free up system resources; Power Saver for setting your power profile depending on your usage type; and Do it Later, a task manager that can sync with Google Tasks. There are some pre-installed third party apps as well, which can be uninstalled if not needed.

Asus_Zenfone_Zoom_screen3_ndtv.jpgThe default Android apps are also overhauled, like  the Gallery app can show you photos and videos from cloud services as well. PhotoCollage and MiniMovie are Asus apps integrated into the gallery which let you customise and package your photos and videos for sharing. You can also customise the interface with themes, animations and icon packs.

As functional as the interface is, ZenUI is starting to show its age as it now feels a bit cluttered. It still functions very smoothly but with after using lighter skins from other manufacturers, ZenUI can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner.

Performance
In terms of performance, the ZenFone Zoom is like any other high-end Android phone. Apps run without a hitch and so do demanding games such as Asphalt 8. The phone tends to run a bit warm when gaming, and this also makes a dent in the battery life. 4G works well on Band 40, as we didn’t face any issue during our time using it. We did get a software update which added a new feature called Quick Find, which can be accessed by swiping downwards from the home screen. It isn’t a universal search tool since you can’t access files from your phone, but more of a quick way to search the Web and launch frequently used apps.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_SIM_ndtv.jpgThe Zoom fares decently in benchmarks too, although it’s still far behind other phones with today’s top-tier hardware. We got scores of 63,352 in AnTuTu and 21,170 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. Despite the heavy skin and pre-loaded apps, you still have about 2.2GB free RAM on average.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_music_ndtv.jpgEven though the phone can’t record videos in 4K, it can play them with ease. The default video player is pretty barebones but the music player is slightly more functional. You can sort songs by folders, change the theme of the player, and tweak the audio with Asus’s AudioWizard enhancement. The bundled headset is of good quality and provides decent ambient noise isolation.

Camera
We now come to the highlight of the phone, and that’s the camera. At its heart is a 13-megapixel sensor with a 10-element lens made by Hoya. The lens arrangement is done in such a way that you get 3X optical zoom without the need for the lens to extend outwards. Add to this laser autofocus and Optical Image Stabilisation and you have a solid recipe for some good pictures.

Asus_Zenfone_zoom_zoom_ndtv.jpgAt 3X optical zoom (tap for full size image)Asus_Zenfone_zoom_hdr_ndtv.jpgHDR mode (Tap for full size image)Landscapes and macros look detailed on the phone’s screen in daylight. Colours are punchy, although they tend to get a bit oversaturated with the optimisation set to Auto. Even at 3X zoom, the lens stays steady for blur-free shots. At maximum optical zoom level, objects in focus lose a bit of sharpness but this is only noticeable when you zoom in all the way.

Indoor shots under artificial lighting are good too with little to no noise. Low-light shots aren’t the best as the level of detail dips. The focusing speed is still pretty quick although there’s a delay when zooming in as the picture in the viewfinder takes a second to catch up to the zoom level. The front 5-megapixel camera is decent for selfies under good lighting.

Asus_Zenfone_zoom_indoors_ndtv.jpgAsus_Zenfone_zoom_nifht_ndtv.jpg(Tap for full-sized images)Asus’s camera app is well designed, with a tonne of shooting modes and a quick toggle switch for manual mode placed just above the software shutter button. The physical buttons work just as well too. Video recording maxes out at 1080p and the quality is pretty good with a steady framerate. There’s an option for slow-motion video as well. Sadly, 4K video recording is not available. The dual-LED flash is also decently powerful but only for short distances. A xenon flash would have complemented the phone nicely.

Optical zoom is indispensable at times, but after a point, you wish you had more room to play with as 3X starts to feel a bit restrictive. Anything more would have compromised the size of the phone and perhaps this is the technological limit for optical zoom without a protruding lens.

Battery life
The 3000mAh battery lasted for 6 hours and 58 minutes in our video loop test, which is below average. Upon regular use with mixed usage of 4G and lots of shooting, we found that the ZenFone Zoom lasted us about 18-20 hours before needing a recharge. Thankfully, the phone supports fast charging and will get you up to 40 percent capacity in half an hour.

Asus_ZenFone_Zoom_hand_ndtv.jpgVerdict
The Asus ZenFone Zoom comes at a premium for the sole reason that it’s the only smartphone in the market at the moment with optical zoom. At Rs. 37,999, it competes with Samsung’s Galaxy S6 range and the new Nexus 6P, both of which have excellent cameras. In terms of innovation, the ZenFone Zoom clearly has an edge over the others, but if you look purely at image quality, it doesn’t quite surpass them. The relatively low-resolution display, the older version of Android, weak battery life, and lack of 4K recording are also factors that work against the ZenFone Zoom.

The phone might be a weak contender at its high launch price but it won’t seem so bad when it drops to more reasonable levels. Asus has done a commendable job with the design and build of this phone. Optical zoom on smartphones requires many compromises and that’s one of the reasons that it never really caught on.

It’s a very innovative idea, no doubt, but we feel that having a larger sensor capable of producing better image quality is a better substitute, as you can simply crop and enlarge the image with little loss in quality. The ZenFone Zoom is not Asus’s current flagship; it seems to be more of a one-off attempt to inject something fresh into the company’s lineup before the next generation arrives.


Asus ZenFone Zoom in pictures

Missed the news? Here’s a list of all phones launched at MWC 2016 on one handy page – or catch our full Mobile World Congress coverage.

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Asus ZenFone Zoom

R 37999

  • Design

  • Display

  • Software

  • Performance

  • Battery life

  • Camera

  • Value for money

  • Good
  • Quality camera with optical zoom
  • Sturdy build and good design
  • 128GB storage with expansion
  • Fast charging
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • No 4K video recording
  • Dated Android version
Read detailed Asus ZenFone Zoom review
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Tags: Asus, Asus ZenFone Zoom, Asus ZenFone Zoom features, Asus ZenFone Zoom price,Asus ZenFone Zoom price in India, Asus ZenFone Zoom specifications, optical zoom smartphone, smartphones,
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Firewatch Review

Firewatch ReviewVideo games are sold on hyperbole. From gruesome, over the top trailers for gory first-person shootersto breathtaking, to picture-perfect explosions in open-world action-adventure games, there’s very little that’s grounded in reality. If there aren’t monsters to slay or dictators to dethrone, there’s a conspiracy to unearth or revenge to be had.

And then there’s Firewatch.

You’re Henry, a newly hired fire lookout responsible for ensuring the Shoshone National Park in Wyoming is kept safe. The backstory is fairly relatable, and unlike your standard video game protagonist, the only super powers at your disposal are observing your surroundings and reporting them in to your supervisor Delilah, via walkie-talkie.

(Also see: Behind the Scenes With Firewatch, the Most Anticipated Game of 2016)

For most part, this first-person exploration game sees you hiking through the wilderness, just taking in what the forest has to offer. Apart from calling in about fires and throwing out delinquent teens, you’ll soon stumble upon a mystery to uncover. Without spoiling much, it ends up being one of the better tales we’ve encountered in video games, and does more than enough to keep you enthralled till the very end.

Such is the adherence to narrative that each element of gameplay is carefully put together, and unveiled only to take the plot forward. Despite this, advancing along the plot never feels forced. Along the way, you’ll discover materials like rope, or an axe that have a reason to be present, and immediately impact on your progress – letting you venture deeper into the woods, for example.

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That’s not to say the game is a linear, on-rails event. Far from it in fact. Developer Campo Santo has allowed just enough room for exploration and variety, to let the illusion of freedom set in. This is further accentuated by a fantastic conversation system.

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As you take in the sights and sounds of the Shoshone, you’ll speak to your boss Delilah. On doing so, you’ll have a choice in how to reply to her, if you want to at all. You have a few seconds to choose your reply and it impacts your relationship with her as the game progresses. It doesn’t impact the story in the grand scheme of things but offers an immediate reward in terms of gratification.

Before you know it, Firewatch has you invested in your responses to Delilah as much as you are about the situation at hand. This happens because of the superlative voice acting in the game, and you’ll want to reload your save or play through it a second time choosing different responses. More often than not we did so just to see how the banter between Delilah and Henry plays out. It never feels forced or superficial, and plays a major role in making Firewatch such a treat to play.

All this is backed up by stellar art direction. Throughout the duration of our playthrough, we never got tired of the Shoshone’s giant trees and its orange-hued sunsets. It’s one of the rare occasions where a game’s pre-release screenshots actually match up to the final product. This is one great looking game.

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But from a technical standpoint it’s not perfect. The PS4 version suffers from an erratic frame rate that mars the experience. Playing it on PC resulted in a stabler experience with only the occasional minor stutter. It’s something to keep in mind if you have a choice of platforms to play it on.

If you were expecting a video game replete with all the big budget thrills you’re accustomed to, you might find Firewatch a lean, almost sparse affair. You wouldn’t be wrong either. This isn’t a game for everyone. In fact for some, it could barely pass off as a game, due to its narrow focus on telling an immersive tale. Nonetheless, it achieves what it set out to do. Namely, using well-worn video game elements to tell a story that stays with you long after you’re done. And for that, Firewatch’s a triumph.

Pros:

  • Relatable protagonist
  • Great atmosphere
  • Fantastic story

Cons:

  • Not for everyone
  • Minor technical issues

Rating (out of 10): 10

We played a review copy of Firewatch on the PC and PS4. The game is available digitally on Steam for Rs. 508. At the time of writing this, the game has not been listed on PlayStation Network India.

[“Source-Gadgets”]