New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for Money

Image result for New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for MoneyEver since Ford came out with the Aspire, the car has managed to create an identity for itself which is of being a good driver’s car. But then there were a few features that the car could have used. Now, though, seems like Ford has heard to their customers as they have now come out with the new Aspire that not only gets new features but also new styling. But does that mean it is better value for money than before? Let’s find out.

Let’s start with the way the new Aspire looks. The biggest visual update is the redesigned front-end. The Aspire gets a new grille design which sports ample out of chrome for the chrome-lovers out there and the fog lamp enclosures now extend into the bumper to give it a c-shape design and yes, gets the chrome treatment as well. The headlamps have been smoked out and even they get a chrome element inside!

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThere’s ample of chrome on the New Ford Aspire. (Photo: News18.com)

Coming to the back of the car, the thick chrome strip that runs across the width of the boot lid remains the same as the earlier model whereas the rear bumper has been redesigned. Look closer and you will notice that the tail lights get new detailing.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets subtle updates at the back. (Photo: News18.com)

As for the side profile, well, it still has that muscular and strong shoulder line which is now complemented by new 15-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, the car looks fresh and more up to date. However, there is no LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), projector headlamps or LED tail lights on offer even in the top-spec variant, which is something that the competing cars in this segment do come with. Is it a deal breaker? and does it make that much of a difference? Not at all, but it is something that would have been nice to have.

Moving on to the inside of the car and the first thing that you will notice is that the cabin has the familiar Ford layout. The build quality is great and so is the quality of materials used – something that Ford is known for.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe interiors of the new Ford Aspire have a familiar layout. (Photo: News18.com)

Gone are the leather seats making way for the new fabric seats that have better bolstering. There is enough room for passengers all around the cabin but the car surprisingly does not have a rear AC vent or a charging port for the rear passengers which is a big miss.

Add to that the absence of cup holders in the rear armrest and no bottle holders in the rear doors which is a bit surprising, to be honest.

The Aspire’s saving grace, though, is the new touchscreen infotainment system.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe infotainment system of the new Ford Aspire in the top-spec variant comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 technology. (Photo: News18.com)

We drove the top-spec variant which actually gets a smaller 6.5-inch screen as opposed to a 7-inch screen that the lower variants get, but it offers the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support which the lower variants don’t. There are also two USB ports placed in the centre console and the car gets the usual Bluetooth connectivity along with steering mounted controls. The outside rearview mirrors can now be operated electronically and I absolutely loved the rotary knobs for the volume and aircon controls which feel premium.

But coming to the infotainment system, it gets Ford’s SYNC 3 technology and simply put – this is the best infotainment system in the compact sedan segment in India right now. The touch response is simply fantastic and there’s also a reverse parking camera that the new Aspire gets.

Then, there’s the addition of automatic headlamps and rain sensing vipers as well.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new features like automatic headlamps and wipers. (Photo: News18.com)

So yes, the new touchscreen infotainment system is the highlight of the cabin but what I really liked was the driving ergonomics that the car has to offer. Especially the chunky steering wheel which is just fantastic to hold.

And this isn’t that big of a surprise. Ford cars are known for being great at driving and it is applicable on the new Aspire as well. The other thing that Fords are known for is safety, and the Aspire offers that by offering dual airbags and ABS as standard across variants. The top-spec variant of the Aspire comes with six airbags around the cabin.

The unit we tested came powered with the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine which was first seen on the Ford Freestyle and it gets the same state of tune in the Aspire as well. The engine makes 96 PS of power at a sky-high 6,500 RPM and 120 Nm of torque at 4,250 RPM. This engine is peppy and when you drive it down low in the RPM range, it is calm and composed like a well-behaved child. But, go past the 3,000 RPM mark and you are greeted with a throaty exhaust note and the car pulls ahead like a cat who is afraid of water, has just been in the water.

The gear throws are short and crisp and the drivetrain feels just so engaging to shift through.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewWe drove the manual-gearbox equipped variant of the new Ford Aspire and the drivetrain was a delight. (Photo: News18.com)

That’s not it, the chassis is so good that it makes you believe that it can take much more power. And the driving feedback from the steering wheel and the brakes makes the car feel sublime. Yes, the ride quality is a bit harsh at low speeds but it just keeps getting better and better as the speeds climb.

This is a proper driver’s car.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new 15-inch alloy wheels. (Photo: News18.com)

Last but not least, the price. The new Ford Aspire is actually cheaper than the old Ford Aspire. And with that, it also undercuts the starting price of the Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze as well as the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire making it a sweeter deal than ever before.

So to sum up the new Aspire’s experience. Well, if you’re in the market looking for a compact sedan then you might be looking for things like efficiency or practicality, but if you’re looking out for driving dynamics, then the new Aspire is something that we definitely recommend.

[“source=news18”]

YouTube Studio: better insights or a work in progress?

Will YouTube Studio’s new metrics be better for marketers?

In June of last year, YouTube announced that Creator Studio was about to change. A beta version named YouTube Studio was undergoing testing with hundreds of thousands of users – or should I say ‘creators’.

After nine months of nurturing their new baby, YouTube Studio was unveiled last week. Promises of efficiency, empowerment and increased joy, packaged with new features, metrics and insight. The increased data commitment has been played-up by YouTube.

But did the much anticipated promises deliver? Well, sort of.

YouTube Studio features include three new metrics: Impressions; Impressions Click-Through Rate; Unique Viewers. YouTube says these will give us better understanding of video performance with the aim of helping us produce more impactful video.

What’s an Impression? It’s when a viewer sees one of your video thumbnails; Impressions tell us the potential reach of our videos. It’s an ‘opportunity to view’.

What’s Impressions Click-Through Rate? Simply put, it’s the percentage of Impressions that turned into a video view.

What’s a Unique View? Well, to quote YouTube, it shows us “the estimated number of different people who watch our videos over a period of time.”

And there lies one of my issues. Data should not be estimated. We should be able to know the difference between a unique view and a repeat view. Why is YouTube estimating metrics? As for the ‘opportunity to view’ this just feels like a return to a time when we couldn’t accurately measure irrefutable data. perhaps it’s just me, as I’ve always hated fluffy measurements. In my PR and creative agency days I was forced to peddle PRVs and ‘Opportunities to See’. I hated both.

YouTube’s intent of delivering better insight and metrics should be applauded. It’s a key facet of success for other social media channels and absolutely is the direction they should be taking their Studio platform. Data that helps to evolve the production quality and impact of our videos is welcomed. I just can’t help but feel like this is a work in progress, rather than a refined proposition that’s ready to roll.

I’ll explain why: YouTube tell us that if we’re seeing a low percentage of Impressions convert to Impressions Click-Through Rate, then our thumbnail and title require work. That may be correct in some cases, but we can’t ignore how busy some pages are with thumbnails. Watch a video through to completion and then see how many thumb nails are served to you. It’s busy. Undoubtedly, Impressions will be recorded when users haven’t seen our thumbnails. To be fair though, the same criticism could be made of other social media channels.

Clearly, the Impressions Click-Through Rate is a useful metric. Being able to asses video performance will be insightful. I’m just not sure we needed the Impressions metric.

Now for the good news: we’re excited about YouTube Studio Dashboard – the single view of your data, insights and news. We’ll see three pieces of insight here:

Video Snapshot: A snapshot of our latest video performance, versus past videos – over the same period of time. Quickly, we’ll be able to ascertain if we’ve a production that is resonating, or if refinements are required. This should help us do more of what works, and learn from what isn’t.

Personalised Recommendations: YouTube says this will surface Creator Academy content based on our specific needs. Over time, we’ll also see insight into why certain videos perform better than others. Again, this will help with refinement and development.

News: Dynamic news and community information that is served to us. Meaning we don’t have to discover news, it finds us.

We expect Video Snapshot and Personalised Recommendations to be a real hit with users and the single view definitely receives a thumbs up. It’s just a shame we can’t be as positive about the new data metrics.

Data is resolute. The challenge with data is that it’s sometimes unstructured, requiring a framework to organise and help make the unstructured, structured. Data isn’t, and should never be estimated.

There is no denying that YouTube is onto something with their direction for YouTube Studio. In its current state though, it should be in production, rather than distributed for release. After nine-months of testing, you have to ask who was testing the platform, and why haven’t these basic flaws been flagged sooner?

As my old school tutor would say: “a good effort, but work still to be done!”

[“Source-thedrum”]

Getting Better Analytics And Insights From Your Collected Customer Data

Data collection and analytics are tightly coupled. The mistake we see made over and over again is that companies tend to focus their customer data collection efforts with a single objective (or a single program) in mind. This treats the data collected as a short-term objective, not as a long-term asset. Over time, this results in data islands that eventually “go dark” given that no one is managing customer data as part of an explicit long-term effort.

Have A Long-Term Data Strategy

When it comes to customer data, a long-term data collection strategy almost always proves critical for any advanced analytical work that leads to meaningful business outcomes that can optimize (i.e., simulation management, condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance and digital twins). Trending analysis, predicting behavior and customer profiling all benefit from long-term data collection strategies. Companies that understand customers’ buying patterns over longer time frames stand to win key insights versus their competitors.

Customer data deserves a data-access-centric strategy to ensure that the data is treated as a reusable asset. This implies that the data should be available to the right people in the company when they need to repurpose it or mine it months or years later. If the data is not findable, threadable (tied to other data sets) or readily accessible, then it’s effectively dark, and its chances of being repurposed are low.

If you are storing your customer data like you store everything else, chances are much of the data you’ve collected from customers has already gone dark. The tendency is to focus on analytical outcomes without preparing the precondition required for the analytics to occur over a longer period of time. If a data strategy for customer information isn’t well-executed, then customer data will reflect the problem you already have in your data center — lots and lots of data sets that represent difficult-to-access data islands.

Thread Your Data

Sophisticated analytical efforts require advanced techniques such as data threading. Threading data across many silos of data is a challenging undertaking. Techniques deployed to achieve threading include (re)ingestion of data, aggregation, parsing, meta data enrichment and indexing. Data is often so extremely siloed that the most efficient first step is simply discovering data islands and recollecting them into an architecture that allows for advanced analytics. The good news is that data capture and storage technologies are relatively cheap, but finding data and then curating it properly does require significant investment.

Customer data needs to be curated and managed as an asset. As more data is collected, it needs to be aggregated with customer data collected during the previous year (or the last campaign, the last payables cycle, etc.).

For example, if a financial institution wants to understand if a customer is approaching a life-changing event such as marriage, having children or purchasing a home, then threading becomes important because it lets you piece together various customer data collection efforts into a single threaded digital dossier. The threaded customer digital dossier allows for different customer data (collected at different points in time) to be accessed for future analytics. It treats customer data as valuable, evergreen and interconnected. A data architecture that allows you to thread and incrementally expand the customer data set is an essential component to making more with your customer data. Advanced analytics, in turn, will allow you make better use of customer data that is properly curated through threading or other data access techniques.

Teamwork

Separating the customer data collection process from the data curation process from data analytics is not a recipe for success. Unfortunately, most companies treat these three activities independent of each other. As a result, customer data is underutilized, undervalued and is not curated as a long-term asset.

The best customer analytics happen when you intersect people who understand the customer data being collected with people who understand how to use and access the data over time. This means that customer data collection efforts need to be discussed in one room with data architecture folks, analytical/data science teams and traditional marketing/customer success teams, ensuring that all have an active voice at the table.

[“Source-forbes”]

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: Better but not the best

galaxy tab s3Had the device been Rs 10k cheaper, it would have been a genuine challenger to the iPad Pro, in fact it would have been hard to argue in the iPad’s support but being offered at the same cost makes it hard to recommend over the iPad Pro.
Rating:     

There never has been a real tablet market — there’s an iPad market and then there are the rest of them. Windows sure has produced some impressive devices in the 2-in-1 and high-end segment, and most of the Android tablets fall under the lower-end category. And thanks to the big screened phablets, tablets are becoming less attractive each passing day.

galaxy tab s3

An Android tablet with top of the line features is a rare occurrence these days, and the Galaxy Tab S3 is another example why. Samsung’s latest tablet is premium looking, zippy and comes with a great display, but the Android experience on a tablet still isn’t up to the mark. The Tab S3 is without a doubt a great device, but do we really need this tablet at all? Let’s find out.

Design

In terms of design, the Galaxy Tab S3 resembles the iPad Pro (review) featuring nearly same dimensions but in a lighter form. Both devices have the same display size and the pixel resolution.

The tablet is extremely slim, at just 6mm, however, it slightly thicker than its predecessor Tab S2 (also heavier at 429g). It also feels more premium than the Tab S2, but it looks a bit odd with unusual USB port placement. Both headphone jack and the charging USB port are placed off-centre.

galaxy tab s3

galaxy tab s3

galaxy tab s3

galaxy tab s3

The noticeable changes happened on the rear end, where the Tab S3 boasts a new glass panel. Although, glass makes the tablet look stunning, it acts as a smudge and grime magnet too. Sweat marks, fingerprints and smudges are clearly visible, making it look unappealing. However, the silver colour variant hides the fingerprints slightly better than the black variant.

galaxy tab s3

The Galaxy Tab S3 has an advantage when it comes to the stylus S-Pen that comes bundled with the device. Unlike the iPad’s Apple Pencil costs users a separate $99, users here don’t have to shell out extra money for the S-Pen. Samsung has worked well on the S-Pen this time around and made it more intuitive and impressive. It can work with third party app as well and hovering the pen over the edges will provide quick access to shortcuts for screen shots, notes and others. The shortcuts can also be customised according to the user’s needs.

galaxy tab s3

The S-Pen offers four times pressure sensitivity similar to Apple’s Pencil. It is capable of recognising whether a user is shading or putting more pressure on the nib, making it a useful and effective tool for jotting down notes or doodling and digital painting.

Display

The Galaxy Tab S3 comes with a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution. The screen now supports HDR content and has some serious brightness, making it an excellent tool for media consumption. Colours on the display look crisp and images are filled with good amount of detail. But the downside is that there is not a lot of HDR content as of now. It’s surely an upgrade in quality, but since the content isn’t available yet, it’s like paying in advance for something that will deliver the improved quality later.

galaxy tab s3

While the display is impressive, it fails to look good in all conditions — it’s too reflective. It is nothing compared to the display on the iPad — Apple’s True Tone display is capable of changing colour temperature for a more comfortable viewing experience, and has an anti-reflective surface too. The Tab S3 only allows user to optionally switch on the blue light filter.

Performance

The Galaxy Tab S3 uses the dated Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is a let down since most of the users expect more storage on a media-focused tablet. But at least it offers a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Although the chip used here is older, the quad-core chip does a good job and handles almost every task with ease. Performance wise, the device is smooth and is capable of running intensive apps easily.

galaxy tab s3

The tablet runs on the company’s TouchWiz UI wrapped under Android 7.0 Nougat. At its core, the software largely borrows from the Galaxy S8, with similar interface and the pre-loaded apps of course.

The tablet comes equipped with a 13MP rear camera which performs below par, but then again you shouldn’t expect much from a tablet camera. The pictures lack detail and depth and the colour reproduction isn’t impressive. It sports a 5MP front facing snapper with an f/2.2 aperture and it is good enough for video calling.

galaxy tab s3

On the connectivity front, the Tab S3 offers Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO and optional LTE Cat 6, but misses out on the NFC or an infrared sensor. For added security, the company has added a fingerprint sensor incorporated under the home button. The sensor is fast and responsive as one would expect and also comes in handy for unlocking the Samsung account.

Battery

The Galaxy Tab S3 draws power from a massive 6000mAh battery, which is bigger than the one seen on the Tab S2. The tab is capable of providing 12 hours of video playback, but that can change in case of the HDR content. The standby time on the device is brilliant; you might go without using the device for days and it will still have enough fuel to power the device for moderate usage.

The tablet charges using the USB Type-C port, but there is no option for wireless charging. The bundled fast charger will fully charge the device in about two and a half hours, which is pretty good for a 6000mAh battery.

Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best Android tablets amidst those launched recently. If you are looking for a device that can go against the likes of the iPad Pro but runs on Android, then this is it. Performance on the tablet is great, even though it looks more like an early 2016 flagship phone on the paper. If you have Rs 47,990 and want a tablet only to get the best video-watching experience, then it highly recommended. Also it comes bundled with the S-Pen which is good for creativity and productivity and is fun to play around with. However, if you are ready to shell out more money, then the iPad Pro is the go-to tablet for you. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro (WiFi + Cellular) is priced at Rs 61,400 for the 64GB. The keyboard will cost you another Rs 14,000, and the Pencil for around Rs 9,000.

But it seems the Korean giant is pushing the limits of the tablet too far. The software is not well-optimised, multitasking options are limited and the UI is buggy at times. The tablet almost checks every box a tablet can, but sadly all those high-end features come at a hefty price.

Had the device been Rs 10k cheaper, it would have been a genuine challenger to the iPad Pro, in fact it would have been hard to argue in the iPad’s support but being offered at the same cost makes it hard to recommend over the iPad Pro.

[“Source-deccanchronicle”]