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ZODIAC

Found 105 results

  1. Yes, you read that right, a “USB Condom” does exist even though it is probably the worst phrase you may have heard in the technology space. It is a device that prevents your smartphone at public charging points from transferring data. It can also be termed as a USB “data blocker” and is officially called the PortaPow 3rd-gen USB data blocker. © PortaPow It costs around Rs 500 and has the ability to kill all data transfers as it removes any data transfers by obstructing the connection physically. This device prevents scammers from phishing at public charging points as a way to steal data from users. One needs to simply attach the PortaPow data blocker to the charging end of a cable and then plug it into the smartphone. © PortaPow Scammers or hackers use “juice jacking” as a method to copy sensitive data or install malware on smartphones, tablets and other smart devices. In other cases, scammers have been able to install ransomware on smartphones and lockout users from their own devices unless the demanded ransom is paid. Scammers have also gone to the extent of leaving charging cables at these public charging points to target users who have forgotten their own cables. If you really do care about your own privacy or do not want any malware on your phone, Rs 500 is a very small price to pay. However, this data blocker is not compatible with USB-C devices. So, until the company releases a new one soon, you can get another adaptor to make it compatible with your existing devices. View the full article
  2. 2019 has been a great year for smartphones in general. From budget phones to high-end flagships, we got a ton of new phones this year. And if there's one thing that has improved a lot this year, then it's the smartphone cameras. This has been the case across different price ranges, which is simply amazing. Today, we'll be taking a look at some of the best smartphone cameras according to DxOMark. DxOMark, for those of you who don't know, is an independent benchmarking website that scientifically accesses smartphones and its lenses. They do a pretty job of testing out the cameras and coming up with a comprehensive review of the same. So, let's take a look at DxOMark's picks for the best smartphone cameras. © YouTube/ TheVerge Firstly, we have the all-rounder category, which basically means these phones are good for both photography and videography. According to the website, it's the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition. Both of them are kickass devices and they pack some really good cameras. The Mate 30 Pro sports a quad-camera setup, whereas the Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition sports a Penta-camera setup with a 108MP sensor. The Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition isn't available in India right now, but we think Xiaomi is already gearing up to launch it, or at least a version of it, in India as the Mi Note 10. So, keep your eyes peeled. © YouTube/ Marques Brownlee As for videography, well, this one must've been very easy to pick. It's the iPhone 11 Pro Max. One of the reasons we think it's best for videos because it has the ability to shoot HDR videos without losing any details. That makes a whole lot of difference. Heck, Selena Gomez even shot a music video with the phone. Yes, it's that good. Next up, we have the best smartphone with ultra-wide cameras. According to DxOMark, the Galaxy Note 10+ has the best ultra-wide lens. iPhone 11 Pro Max is also equally good, but it looks like Samsung's your best bet. And when it comes to optical zoom, DxOMark says the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the winner. Well, that's not really surprising considering the fact that you can use the phone to take some stunning shots of the moon, just like you would on the P30 Pro. Lastly, we have the low-light photography, and the website says the Mate 30 Pro is the winner here too. Sadly, the iPhone didn't make the cut here, and neither did the Pixel 4. © YouTube/ GSMArena DxOMark hardly has budget phones on the list, so we decided to add our picks. If your budget is under Rs. 15,000, then we think the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a great option for you. It has a 64MP sensor, which means you can get some stunning-looking images with crisp details. However, if you're on a tight budget, then we think you should check out the Redmi Note 8 or the Realme 5s. Both of them have 48MP sensors and have a ton of different lenses for a versatile setup. View the full article
  3. Smartphones that are priced under Rs. 30,000 are extremely popular in India. People prefer these phones over the flagship devices mainly because of all the value it offers for the money. You'll probably end up spending way less money and get some really powerful specs, great cameras, etc. Well, if you are planning to buy a new smartphone under Rs. 30,000, then these are the ones which we think are worth buying. 1. OnePlus 7 © Karthik Iyer/ MensXP Yes, OnePlus has already launched the OnePlus 7T but doesn't make the OnePlus 7 a bad phone by any means. In fact, it received a price cut after the launch of OnePlus 7T, making it an even better offering. You can now pick up the OnePlus 7 for less than Rs 30,000, which is awesome. You'll get a 6.4-inch FHD+ panel, Snapdragon 855 SoC, a 48MP camera sensor and more. If you're interested, then you can read our full review of the OnePlus 7 right here. 2. Redmi K20 Pro © YouTube/ Marques Brownlee Redmi K20 Pro is another great phone that's worth checking out in this price range. The phone looks stunning, sports an AMOLED panel, is powered by the Snapdragon 855 SoC and has a triple camera setup with a 48MP sensor. It also has a great battery life. You can check out our review of the Redmi K20 Pro right here. 3. ASUS 6Z © YouTube/ GSMArena The ASUS 6Z has now received a significant price cut in India and is now available for just Rs. 25,999. At that price, it's a great device and is absolutely worth checking out. It's powered by the Snapdragon 855 SoC and comes with a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel and a massive 5,000 mAh battery. The highlight of the phone, however, is the rotating camera module, which includes a 48MP sensor. 4. Google Pixel 3a © YouTube/ Android Police Lastly, we have the Google Pixel 3a. Yes, Google has already launched Pixel 4, but it's not coming to India. So your best bet to get Google's camera under Rs. 30,000 is by buying the Pixel 3a. We use the Google Pixel 3a to shoot most of the pictures for our reviews and features, so we can confirm that it's a great phone and totally worth buying. View the full article
  4. Are you looking to buy a new smartphone under Rs 20,000? Well, 2019 has been a spectacular year for mobile phones with a ton of great devices coming out across different price brackets including the budget segment. We recently covered the list of phones priced under Rs 15,000. But if you can stretch your budget a bit, then you can get a lot more devices to pick and choose from. Let's check them out. 1. Redmi K20 © Xiaomi The Redmi K20 is one of the best Xiaomi phones of 2019 and it's a flagship-grade device that's powered by Snapdragon 730 SoC inside. It's also one of the best-looking phones that Xiaomi has ever released, as it comes with a flaming gradient finish and a bezel-less edge-to-edge display. It also sports a pop-up selfie camera and the triple camera setup at the back can take some stunning shots. 2. Realme XT © Karthik Iyer/ MensXP Realme XT is the first smartphone to ship with a 64MP camera sensor in India. It shares the same design as the Realme 5 Pro and the Realme X, but this one has a glass body, which makes it look much more premium. It's powered by Snapdragon 710 SoC and comes in three RAM and storage variants. It's also capable of taking some stunning photos and has a 4,000 mAh battery. You can read our full review of the phone right here. 3. Vivo Z1x © Karthik Iyer/ MensXP The Vivo Z1x is a slightly upgraded version of the Vivo Z1 Pro as the new phone comes with more or less the same specs with just the addition of a 48MP sensor. That said, it's still a great phone. It's a solid device with a good display, great cameras, and some powerful internals. You can read our first impressions of the phone right here. 4. Poco F1 © Akshay Bhalla/ MensXP Poco F1 is one of those devices that managed to remain in the spotlight for an entire year and still going strong. We don't know if Xiaomi is planning to release Poco F2, but the first-generation device is still a great option if you're on a tight budget. For Rs 15,999, you can get the 128GB version of Poco F1, which is quite awesome if you think about it. It's got great specs, good cameras and a whole lot more. Read our review here to find out more. View the full article
  5. Smartphones that are priced under Rs 15,000 are probably the ones that sell the most in India mainly because they're very accessible. And over the years, budget phones have gotten a lot better and things are looking very good when it comes to some of the upcoming phones too. Well, if you are in the market to buy a new smartphone under Rs 15,000 right now, then we think these are the ones worth considering- Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro © Xiaomi Xiaomi recently launched the new Redmi Note 8 Pro in India and it starts at just Rs 14,999, making it one of the best phones to buy in this list. It packs a lot of power and features that are usually not found in other phones in this price bracket. The Redmi Note 8 Pro looks good, has a quad-camera setup with a 64MP sensor, a large battery and more. It also sports a good display and packs powerful internals. We think this is one of the best phones you can buy at this price point and you can read our impressions of the phone right here. Realme 5 Pro © Karthik Iyer/ MensXP Realme also has a huge lineup of phones that are priced well under Rs 20,000. But if you can only spend Rs 15,000, then we think the Realme 5 Pro is the one to get. It packs a powerful Snapdragon 712 processor and a quad-camera setup with a 48MP sensor. It also has a beautiful design and comes with a 4,035 mAh battery. You can read our full review of the Realme 5 Pro right here. Xiaomi Mi A3 © Karthik Iyer/ MensXP Xiaomi's Mi A3 is the only good phone you can buy under Rs 15,000 which comes with stock Android. It has a beautiful design and packs a good set of internals, making it a complete package in this price range. It also sports a 48MP sensor at the back and comes with a 4,030 mAh battery with support for fast charging. You can check out our full review of the phone here. Samsung Galaxy A50 © YouTube/ Hardwarecannucks The Samsung Galaxy A50 is also a really good option when it comes to phones under Rs 15,000. It offers some premium features in this price range like a really good 6.4-inch Super AMOLED panel, an in-display fingerprint scanner, a triple-camera setup, etc. The Exynos 9610 processor powering the phone is also powerful enough to push through even the most resource-intensive tasks. Overall, it's a great phone and totally worth buying in this price range. View the full article
  6. If your smartphone has been experiencing unusual battery drain of late, you might be wondering if something is wrong with it. You aren't alone as Android users are facing the same issue as you due to a recent WhatsApp update. WhatsApp recently updated the app on Android that lets users protect their conversation with a fingerprint lock. Whatsapp uses the traditional fingerprint sensor or an in-display fingerprint sensor on Android smartphones to unlock the messaging app. © PlayStore Users on Reddit, Twitter and other social media platforms have been reporting a massive battery drain on smartphones. This is not exclusive to any brand of phones as it was being experienced by OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi and other smartphone users. After investigating, users noticed that WhatsApp was drawing more power from the battery than usual. In some cases, the application would draw 30-40 per cent of the battery while being idle. This is also not exclusive to Android 10 as users with Android 9 Pie build were also experiencing the same. © Unsplash If your WhatsApp version is 2.19.308, we recommend you downgrade to the previous edition by downloading an APK from one of the hosting websites. Alternatively, as suggested by Reddit users, you can delete and re-install the application from the Play Store. As a last resort, you can always turn on the battery saving mode on your smartphone that will prevent the application from carrying out unnecessary background activity. However, turning on the battery saving mode will also result in missing out on the latest messages since it turns off the background activity. WhatsApp is aware of the current issue and should be patching it in a future update soon. For now, you can try any of the methods mentioned above to resolve the battery drain issue temporarily. Make sure you take a backup of your conversations before deleting the application though. Source: Reddit View the full article
  7. The Galaxy Fold is a reality and we got to test out the smartphone for a few days to get to know what makes it tick. We had talked about rumours and leaks for years before a folding smartphone officially became a reality earlier this year. We tested the “improved” version of the smartphone that fixed all of the issues it had during the first iteration. We opened and closed it for days at times without any reason and still couldn't get enough of the Galaxy Fold. We took it out in the streets, used it for watching movies and play some games, yet didn't get bored with the phone. Sure, it may seem like a very expensive smartphone that comes with some gimmicks, a lot of innovation and a new way to use a smartphone, it was still a head-turner in many ways. The Galaxy Fold is no ordinary smartphone. It is for the affluent and for the tech enthusiast who wants the latest innovation in his/her hand. It's not your ideal smartphone that plays it safe with specifications, design and pricing; it's a smartphone that gives you a glimpse into what the future may look like. Here's our review of the Galaxy Fold and how our experience was using a foldable smartphone Design and Display © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla You have probably seen enough pictures of the Galaxy Fold online to draw your own conclusions. It has a classic clamshell design and resembles the Nokia Communicator when unfolded. However, instead of revealing a keyboard and timing screen when unfolded, it reveals a 7.3-inch OLED display. Samsung knows that you cannot use the smartphone in the unfolded state all the time which is why there is a second 4.6-inch screen at the front for carrying out basic tasks such as reading texts or answering calls. While this display can be used for watching videos; the real experience lies in the bigger screen. Using the bigger screen is also ideal for typing out messages as the smaller screen at the front is too tight to use. It feels more comfortable to use the primary display as most keyboards like the Samsung Keyboard, Gboard and Swiftkey adapt according to the screen. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla At the back, there is a triple camera setup that looks similar to what you may have seen on previous Samsung smartphones. The front and back of the smartphone is supported by a hinge that also doubles up as a stem when unfolded. During the course of our review, the hinge felt really sturdy even though multiple people opened and closed it like maniacs. Having said that, the Galaxy Fold does have a noticeable gap between the two screens when unfolded. The gap is big enough for debris, lint and other small particles to get through. Due to this very reason, Samsung has reinforced the hinge with rubber caps to block debris' entry. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The other thing that may interest you is that the fingerprint sensor is placed at the side of the phone. The Galaxy Fold does not come with an in-display fingerprint scanner and instead uses a small, side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It can be a task to use this scanner due to its size, however it comes very handy in the dark. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla When it comes to the display quality of the primary screen, we can say with confidence that it's by far the most beautiful display we've seen. Even though it has an aspect ratio of 1:1, we still enjoyed watching content on streaming services. There is a slight issue with the overall experience as there is a large notch on the upper right corner of the display. It houses a few cameras and due to this notch, some of your content may suffer the letterboxing effect. Certain applications and games tend to cut off that part of the content and not many applications have been optimised for this aspect ratio. Apart from these issues, the display is excellent for typing, reading ebooks and digital comics even though it takes a bit of time to adjust. Performance and Cameras On the hardware front, you will find specifications that are very much similar to the Galaxy S10 or the Note 10. It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset, has 8GB of RAM, a massive battery and a triple-lens main camera system. For selfies, the Fold has three selfie cameras: a 10-megapixel lens (when folded), another 10-megapixel lens and a wide-angle shooter that sits in the top-right corner notch. The camera performance of the smartphone is very much similar to the Note 10, so expect good images from both the primary and selfie cameras. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla When it comes to the overall experience of the phone, it works almost identically to the previous flagship smartphone in terms of the software. It is clean, reliable and stable to use, however it is not the fastest Android smartphone you will use. The images taken are often over-processed or over-exposed. The camera performance is probably not the best you will experience but it is good enough for now. We have to mention though that using the camera is a very odd experience as the viewfinder on the small screen is not reliable enough for taking pictures. However, when taking images in the unfolded state, the camera experience is very much similar to taking pictures on a tablet. The Galaxy Fold comes with a 4,380 mAh battery which may not seem big enough for a phone with two screens, but the smartphone easily survives a full working day on a single charge. It kind of depends on what you are doing, to be honest. If you use it to watch a lot of videos and movies, you can expect the battery backup to drop down a bit. Regardless, we still got a screen on time of five hours on a single charge, which is quite a feat on its own. The Galaxy Fold can also be fast-charged like Note 10 and also supports wireless charging. Is It Worth It? © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla We've already tried to answer this question at the beginning of the review. The Galaxy Fold costs Rs 1.65 lakh which puts it in the luxury smartphone category. It is for the affluent or the tech enthusiast who has the means to afford this smartphone. Sure, it may not seem worthy to a lot of people, simply because of its price tag but then again, which luxury product isn't? We live in a world where people are willing to pay lakhs of rupees for designer handbags, wallets, and even sneakers, however there is never a backlash for these products being overpriced. Similar to such luxury products, even the Galaxy Fold is made in limited quality and is not available everywhere. However, it is packed with innovation that comes at a cost but makes it one of a kind. We can guarantee with full confidence that the Galaxy Fold will turn more heads than a super expensive luxury handbag or shoes. View the full article
  8. The smartphones industry is not the same any more as flagship devices are getting more expensive with each year while mid-range smartphones are charging flagship prices. However, there are still some smartphones that do not cost more than Rs 40,000 and still have some impressive hardware. Some of these smartphones are great for all the specifications they offer while some are great for specific purposes such as gaming. Here's a list of the best smartphones that cost less than Rs 40,000: 1. ASUS ROG Phone II © MensXP/Karthik Iyer When we heard the launch price of Rs 37,999 for the ASUS ROG Phone II, we were quite shocked like everybody else. It is one of the best gaming smartphones you can buy that also doubles up as a daily driver for many. It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855+ chipset, offers up to 12GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. The marquee feature of the smartphone is its 120Hz refresh rate display that is future proof for competitive games like PUBG that will enable the feature in the near future. 2. OnePlus 7T © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The OnePlus 7T is one of the few smartphones in India that offer Android 10 out of the box and has flagship-level specifications for less than Rs 40,000. It has a 90Hz refresh rate display and is also powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855+ chipset. Apart from having great hardware, the display also has support for HDR content and has UFS 3.0 storage. In our review, we mentioned that this phone should have been the OnePlus 7 Pro in the first place and you can read more about it here. 3. Black Shark 2 © MensXP/Karthik Iyer This is the second gaming smartphone on this list that offers incredible specs for a reasonable price. It is powered by Snapdragon 855 chipset and the base variant comes with minimum 6GB of RAM. This gaming phone is lighter than the ROG Phone II and offers a pressure-sensitive display with very low latency. To know more about the phone, you can read our full review here. 4. Redmi K20 Pro © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla While POCO fans may not have gotten a new smartphone this year, Xiaomi did launch a smartphone to compete with OnePlus phones. It is considerably affordable, keeping the hardware in mind and it is nearly identical to the OnePlus 7. It comes with a pop-up selfie camera, good gaming performance and a better camera than OnePlus 7 Series phones. The 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage variant costs only Rs 30,999 and is probably the best smartphone deal of the year. Read our review here to know everything about the phone in detail. 5. Google Pixel 3A © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Pixel 3A is the more affordable cousin of the Pixel 3 and comes with mid-range hardware. However, the smartphone shines for two major reasons, awesome software and an incredible camera. It is one of the best camera smartphones you can buy right now and you also get to experience Android 10 on the smartphone. If you love to take pictures and want a smartphone that does not cost a kidney, you can read our review here to know why it is worth your money. 6. OnePlus 7 © MensXP/Karthik Iyer OnePlus may have launched the 7T series last month but the OnePlus 7 is still an incredible smartphone that offers great performance and experience. It comes with great hardware, an attractive price and excellent value for Android users looking to upgrade. OnePlus 7 may not have all the bells and whistles of the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it is still a great phone you can consider. 7. Nubia Red Magic 3 © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla This is the third and final gaming phone on our list that also deserves as much attention as others. It comes with a 6.65-inch 90Hz refresh rate display with HDR support, 8GB RAM, 5,000 mAh battery and costs only Rs 35,999. If you really don't care about taking good pictures and just care about good gaming performance, Nubia Red Magic 3 is an excellent option. View the full article
  9. Smartphones are cool and all, but have you seen the 'Banana Phone'? Yes, a phone that literally looks like a banana! Well, before we check out this cool gadget, it's worth pointing out that it isn't really a phone. The Banana Phone is essentially a Bluetooth headset that connects to your phone, and you can use it to, you know, take calls. It's one of those things that was made to keep you away from your smartphones. According to the folks over at The Verge, a new version of Banana Phone is coming soon, and it's said to have some meaningful updates from the original model. © Banana Phone Looks like the new Banana Phone will have a really good speaker, which means you can also use it as a Bluetooth speaker. The new phone is also said to have an improved battery life of 20 hours of talk time. Alright using a Banana Phone probably sounds like a weird thing to think, but come on, a phone that looks like a Banana and can play Raffi's “Bananaphone”? Are you kidding me? It's a no brainer and that's what makes it so cool! Just the fact that you can do that today is pretty awesome and I might actually pick one up just to be that guy using a phone out there. © Banana Phone But on a serious note, it's important that you keep yourself away from smartphones as much as you can to prevent exhausting and even addiction in some cases. Using a basic feature phone or companion devices like the Banana Phone is the best you can do. If you don't want to be that weird person, then you can be a little subtle and get Nokia's Banana phone instead. The Banana Phone, obviously, isn't coming to India. However, it'll be available through their official website very soon where they're currently selling the older version of the phone.
  10. When it comes to budget smartphones, users want good performance, an attractive price and a premium design. At least that was the case a year ago, but now even budget smartphones are pushing the envelope by offering good cameras, fast charging and more storage. Xiaomi has now announced the launch of the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8 in India that offers everything we just mentioned and then some. The two smartphones in the Redmi Note series come with a quad-camera setup, awesome design and the most important thing; an attractive price tag. We got to check out the smartphones for a brief period of time and here are our super early impressions of the two: Design © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla When it comes to an upgrade from the Redmi Note 7 and 7 Pro, Xiaomi has upgraded every specification and aspect of the smartphone - the major update being the quad-camera setup. Both smartphones get the premium treatment when it comes to the design. The Redmi Note 8 comes in four colours i.e. Neptune Blue, Space Black, Cosmic Purple and Moonlight White, where the white variant is probably our favourite. © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla The white variant has a gradient finish with a slight blue undertone that makes it stand out from the rest. Similarly, the Redmi Note 8 Pro comes in Halo White, Gamma Green, and Shadow Black colour options, however, the 'Gamma Green' variant is the one you want to look out for. Both smartphones come with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 coating, both at the front and back, giving it the premium feel similar to flagship smartphones. When it comes to biometrics security, both smartphones have a traditional fingerprint sensor at the back and face-unlocking capabilities. Display© MensXP_Akshay Bhalla Both the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8 come with IPS LCD displays while the only difference is the screen size. The Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with a larger 6.53-inch screen while the Redmi Note 8 comes with a 6.39-inch display. Both smartphones have a drop-style notch and a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels (19.5:9 aspect ratio). Another major difference is the 3D curved display on the Note 8 Pro. Cameras © MensXP_Akshay Bhalla While both smartphones have a quad-camera setup, there are stark differences between the two that set them apart from each other. The Redmi Note 8 Pro variant comes with a 64MP primary sensor while the Redmi Note 8 comes with a 48MP primary sensor. The main difference will be in the resolution of the images. The primary sensor is the only differentiating factor between the two smartphones as the other three sensors remain the same on both models. The additional sensors include an 8MP ultra-wide lens with a field of view of 120-degrees. The third sensors is a 2MP, f/2.4 macro lens while the last sensor is a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. When it comes to video, the smartphones can capture video at 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps While the camera specifications look very impressive on paper, we did not get enough time with the smartphone to draw conclusions. We will be testing out the cameras soon to know how they perform in each mode. Processor and Battery Specifications Again, it is hard to know about long-term performance since we have not spent enough time with the two devices. The Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with MediaTek's new chipset Helio G90T that also has a huge focus on gaming performance. The Redmi Note 8 Pro also comes with liquid cooling in order to prevent any kind of throttling while gaming. Being a new processor, it is hard to draw conclusions about its performance. From what we know, the processor is good enough to come close to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, but we can't be sure until we use it for a longer period. The Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with 6GB of RAM to 8GB of RAM depending on the storage option you pick. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 8 is powered by Qualcomm's mid-range processor i.e. the Snapdragon 665 SoC. We've seen this processor in action before on the Mi A3 and we can expect a similar sort of performance. The Redmi Note 8 Pro comes from 4GB of RAM to 6GB of RAM depending on the model. In terms of battery capacity, the Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with a 4,500mAh unit, while the Redmi Note 8 comes with a slightly smaller 4,000mAh battery. Both smartphones now come with a USB-C port and support 18W fast charging which has been a much-asked-for feature for the Note series. Conclusion The Redmi Note smartphones are the marquee devices of Xiaomi in India and from our initial impressions, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is a worthy successor. In our initial impressions, the Redmi Note 8 Pro performs well, has all the right upgrades and is also very affordable. Stay tuned for our full review to know more about the phone and how it performs in real-life situations.
  11. You don't have to be an expert and crunch some numbers to realise that digital cameras are slowly becoming a thing of the past. All you have to do is go out and look around. You'll quickly realise that smartphones have taken over and not a lot of people are carrying around a digital camera to take pictures. Well, if that's not enough, here's a chart that was put together by Statista with the help of the information obtained from the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA). The offices of CIPA, in case you're wondering, include Olympus, Casio, Canon, Kodak, Sony, and Nikon, and we wonder what do they have to say about the numbers. Just look at those falling numbers. © Statista As you can see, things haven't been looking all that good for digital camera makers since the numbers have significantly gone down after a little spike in 2010. That number, by the way, was the all-time high in camera sales of 121 million units. Putting in simple terms, digital camera shipments have dropped a whopping 84-percent since 2010. Last year, the sales were recorded at 19.4 million shipments, which is the lowest number since 2001. And we're not talking about just the portable digital cameras. The shipments of high-end interchangeable lens camera have also gone down. So, why is this happening? © YouTube Smartphones! Yes, it's a very simple answer. An increasing number of people have now started using smartphones to take pictures. They're more convenient and have gotten a lot better over the years, thanks to all the advancements in the field of smartphone photography. In fact, you don't necessarily have to splurge big bucks to get a good smartphone with a potent camera. Smartphones like the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro, etc. have proved time and again that you don't have to own a flagship phone to shoot great pictures. Of course, things will only get better as you drop more money, and flagship phones like the Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10 are some great examples of that. We don't have a fresh chart with new numbers to show, but this one from 2017 does a great job of explaining why the digital camera shipments have gone down since 2010. Just take a look at the number of people using smartphones for photography. © Statista Around 85 percent of pictures were taken from, well, a smartphone. Astounding imagery offered in a compact form factor. And by the way, a smartphone can do a lot more than just make phone calls and take good pictures, so what's there to complain about?
  12. We were invited by Realme to check out how their smartphones are made in the OPPO facility in Shenzhen, China. Realme, a sub-brand of OPPO, is manufactured with utmost scrutiny and standards just like their own branded smartphones. In fact, OPPO is amongst the top five manufacturers in the world and runs world-class facilities where they manufacture and test smartphones before it hits the market for customers. We got to see everything in the production line and how smartphones are made from the ground up. Right from how PCBs (Printed Circuit Board) are made to the final device that gets drop tested for durability. So here's how Realme smartphones are made in OPPO's facility in Shenzhen: Realme Manufacturing © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Be it any smartphone, you first build a PCB which is later built into the motherboard of a smartphone. The PCB is probably the most important component of a smartphone which houses all the essential components such as processor, storage modules, RAM and everything else you can think. Once the PCB is manufactured, it is inspected and surveyed up to OPPO and Realme's standards. This entire process is called SMT manufacturing or surface-mount technology. The entire production line is automated with robots but it is closely monitored by humans. Each line is capable of churning out 10,000 of PCBs in a single day. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla There are around 71 lines and takes about 1 hour for the entire process to be completed. The process involves various steps such as having the operating system installed on the ROM to having each and every single component attached to the PCB before it moves on for the testing and quality control phase. Testing and Quality Assurance © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Once the assembly of the smartphone is done, devices need to be tested to make sure it is ready to hit the streets. Much like every other manufacturer, smartphones are selected at random for testing and quality assurance. Roughly 10 percent of the total output (each batch) is tested to make sure the smartphone does not have any problems. If the smartphone has issues in the PCB or a physical defect, the company then inspects the entire batch to look for similar issues and find the root of the problem. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Once the smartphone is cleared from this phase, it then has to go through rigorous physical tests such as drop tests, tests in different environments and other durability tests. One such test was the test of the smartphone being rubbed off against a swatch of denim. The smartphone is rubbed off to simulate daily usage patterns of users when they slide a smartphone in their pockets. This test basically tries to determine the scratch resistance of the smartphone. Similarly, many sample devices are repeatedly dropped from different heights and at different angles. For example, we witnessed the Realme 3 Pro was being tested for durability when dropped on the edges, back and front of the smartphone. Even the buttons are tested at a force of 1KG. Others tests included the durability of the USB port where it was suspended on a pendulum type device and was subjected to repeated twists and turns. These tests are carried out for one simple reason, to simulate real-life usage of customers and see the after effects. Every single piece of data and results are stored that are later analysed to improve the device. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla When it comes to near real-life drop tests, the smartphone is dropped from waist height and it isn't one drop either. The smartphone is dropped approximately 2800 times and each drop is inspected by a worker. These drops are again subjected to utmost scrutiny as these drops are to simulate daily customer usage. A tumbler machine is also used where each test device is tumbled for about 150 times to see the after effects for scuffs and physical damage. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Since Realme phones are sold in different regions, the smartphone has to be tested for environmental resilience. OPPO has numerous temperature controlled cabinets that simulate different conditions such as humidity levels and temperature levels. Each smartphone is tested in environments of 55 degree Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius. It is important to test devices in different environments as the temperate of your environment changes, so does the temperature of your smartphone. Realme and OPPO have to make sure that their devices don't get too warm as it can lead to dangerous situations. One Final Check © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Once the entire inspection and testing procedures are completed, each phone is checked by workers before it can be shipped to stores These tests include checking the phone for various components such as display functionality and quality, software checks, camera tests and other basic tests. This is the final crucial phase of testing and quality assurance that makes sure that the end user does not get a faulty device. Final Thoughts Manufacturing smartphones is not an easy task and it is hard to imagine the amount of work that goes into making a phone. It was quite exciting to see the complicated process of manufacturing and the testing phase. It was an up close and personal experience where we got to know what goes into making a smartphone before they are shipped to your home, or even to a store.
  13. It seems like Huawei is losing access to almost everything that makes a smartphone tick, including losing access to ARM-licensed chip designs, Intel Chipsets for laptops, Google's Android License and now SD associations' license to use SD Card slots. The list on the organisation's website silently removed Huawei's name and this development will impact the Chinese company's future use of the license. The Chinese company has been under pressure as companies in the US are cutting ties with Huawei. The latest addition to the list is SD Association, which basically licenses out standards for using SD card slots in devices. Huawei will not be able to make products that use SD Card slots any longer which include products like Smartphones and laptops. SD Card slots are still a popular way to expand the storage on smartphones and use it as a flash storage option on laptops. This new development essentially cripples future Huawei smartphones and even Honor devices that are launched with lower internal storage in order to keep pricing low. © YouTube Having said that, Huawei has been prepared as the company already developed its own nanoSD or NM card technology. Huawei made this move when ZTE faced a similar debacle, however, it will still have a huge impact on Huawei. In order to overcome this problem, Huawei will have to increase the production of nanoSD cards and drop the price to make it more affordable for customers. © BCCL Huawei may be able to counter this issue for now, however, the company has much bigger problems in its hands. Huawei has also lost ARM support which means the company cannot make its own processors as it does not have access to the license. Huawei can find itself out of the smartphone business if these tensions are not resolved sooner. Source: Slashgear
  14. Google announced the Pixel 3a and 3a XL this week and if you are looking for an Android smartphone that delivers good performance, a phenomenal camera and not super expensive, it really ticks all the boxes right now. We've been using the phone for a while and simply fallen in love with the smartphone. Pixel smartphones tend to have exclusive features that give it a few advantages over its counterparts. The Pixel 3a delivers computational photography at an unmatched level and offers a pure Android experience just like the Pixel 3. Here are some of the reasons why we love the Pixel 3a: Great Cameras © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP The Pixel 3a, in our opinion, takes some of the most incredible shots with its single camera sensor. It still takes pictures today that can outmatch almost every smartphone available today, even flagship level smartphones. For the first time, Google has proved that great cameras are not exclusive to flagship smartphones. It comes with all the exclusive features you get on the Pixel 3 i.e. Night Sight, Super-Res Zoom, Top Shot, Photobooth, Playground and Google Lens built right into the camera app. Google also intruded a new time-lapse mode where you can set your frames to record at various intervals. This essentially will let you record a 20-minute video and condense the final video into 10 seconds. Here are a few camera samples from the Pixel 3a: The Best Android Experience © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP Pixel devices have the cleanest stock experience you can find on an Android smartphone and also gets more regular updates. It comes with exclusive features that are not available on other devices such as computational photography, unlimited picture storage and overall smoother experience. The operating system has been fine-tuned according to its specifications and delivers an experience that not many phones can match. Other useful features such as Digital Wellbeing, Night Light and constant updates make this the best Android experience you can have on an affordable smartphone. It Has A 3.55mm Headphone Jack © Akshay Bhalla_MensXP Flagship smartphones are now removing the headphone jack in favour of better water resistance however it does render your wired headphones useless. Many people; especially audiophiles still prefer to use wired headphones due to better audio quality. Pixel 3a comes with a headphone jack which makes me want to use my 1MORE Quad driver earphones even more. Overall, its a better experience when it comes to audio quality and Pixel 3a does a phenomenal job. Night Sight © Google Night Sight was one of our favourite features on the Pixel 3 and the same feature comes to Pixel 3a as well. If you love to go out at night like me, this will be the most important feature you want to be looking at. Basically, Google uses “computational photography” to enhance images taken in low-light environments. This will basically eliminate the need to use flash, as Google's algorithms spruce up the brightness, contrast and colour automatically. It takes multiple images and combines them together to give the best final picture that is social media ready.
  15. May is going to be an exciting month for smartphone launches. Seriously, this month is going to be packed with launches from the likes of OnePlus, Nokia, and more. While all eyes are set to see what OnePlus is planning to debut, we've compiled a quick list of devices to show you what else to look forward to: 1. OnePlus 7 & OnePlus 7 Pro Get ready for the OnePlus 7 Series Get notified here - https://t.co/CMhGizTidZ pic.twitter.com/KQXRxfH4jd — OnePlus India (@OnePlus_IN) April 23, 2019 Alright, we pretty much know what to expect from OnePlus on the 14th of this month. We'll be seeing the new OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. That's, of course, unless the company has some surprise for us. The OnePlus 7 Series, in case you haven't heard, will have two phones - The OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. While the regular OnePlus 7 is expected to look more or less similar to the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 7 Pro is said to bring some major changes, at least in terms of the design. No doubt the phones will offer great value for the money, but we hope the cameras are improved. We're really hoping the cameras, at least on the OnePlus 7 Pro, will bring something new to the table. 2. Nokia 9 Pureview © YouTube HMD Global is going to debut the Nokia 9 with Penta-camera setup in India this month. This is one phone, which we're very excited mainly because of its cameras. It's an exciting time for smartphone camera enthusiasts, and we're hoping Nokia 9 to pull some major strings with its optics. Even if you ignore the Penta-camera setup, the Nokia 9 still looks like a great phone overall. It's powered by the Snapdragon 845 processor, sports a 5.99-inch P-OLED panel with support for HDR, and it looks beautiful with an all-glass design. Well, let's hope Nokia will get the pricing right in India. 3. Realme Phone (Unknown) © TENAA Realme just launched the new Realme 3 Pro in India, and it looks like it's already gearing to launch another device. This time, however, it looks like we'll be seeing a flagship phone. That's right, an unknown Realme phone running on Snapdragon 855 chipset has been leaked online. We still don't know much about this phone, but it appears as though the phone will also debut in China, as the company has just announced its expansion in the country. Of course, there's no way to tell if the phone will debut in India, but we really hope it does as it'll be interesting to see how it does against the likes of the upcoming Poco F2 and more. 4. Nubia Red Magic 3 © Nubia Yes, Nubia's insane gaming phone with an in-built cooling fan is coming to India this month. We don't know about the pricing, but the Nubia Red Magic 3 is expected to make waves in the market since it'll be one of the fastest phones at launch right alongside the OnePlus 7 series. In case you're wondering, the Nubia Red Magic 3 is powered by Snapdragon 855 processor, packs up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It also has a 48MP camera at the back and there are shoulder buttons for an immersive gaming experience. If Nubia manages to get the pricing right, it has a real shot of tapping into the gaming phone market in India.
  16. The Huawei P30 Pro is probably one of the only smartphones out there that actually does everything it advertises. It's got a great camera system and performs like a beast when it comes to daily usage. The smartphone boasts a unique design and some features that are simply unheard of on smartphone ever before. Smartphones can either innovate or improve upon features that are already present on most devices. We reviewed the Huawei P30 Pro and rated it as one of the best smartphones for photography. However, there are a few features that we would like to highlight that stand out from everything else we've used this year. Here are our favourite features on the P30 Pro that makes it one of the greatest devices of this year: SuperZoom Camera © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Huawei P30 Pro is able to capture details even when you are far away from your subject. The smartphone supports 5x optical zoom and a massive 10x hybrid zoom (OIS +EIS). However, the smartphone can also zoom up to 50x and can take images of the moon easily. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Our sample image is proof enough that this smartphone can do much more than any other smartphone right now. Imagine being at a cricket game and being able to capture the image of a player from the stands with impressive clarity, the P30 Pro can do that. It Has Awesome Battery Life © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The P30 Pro comes with a 4,200 mAh battery that can be fast charged with Huawei's 40W charger. It even supports 15W wireless charging if you want to go cord-free. In our review, the smartphone easily gave us 9-10 hours on screen-on time which is quite impressive for any smartphone in 2019. Huawei was the first company to introduce reverse-wireless charging and the same tech is also available on the P30 Pro. You can reverse charge accessories like the AirPods or even a toothbrush if you will. An Immersive Display © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Huawei P30 Pro comes with a 6.47-inch FHD+ OLED panel that is perfect for watching movies and playing games. This time around, Huawei is using a smaller notch design instead of what we see on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Sure, the display may not be as good as a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus' display but it comes quite close. Dual-View Videos © YouTube Still photography is great on the P30 Pro but it can also shoot two videos at the same time. The Huawei P30 Pro basically uses the main telephoto lens and the wide-angle lens to get a clear view of your subject. The phone will display both videos on the screen where you get to see a wider view and a zoomed in version as well. If you attend many concerts, this feature is a life-saver for capturing those moments and reactions. The One Feature That Was Missing © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla To be honest, the only disappointing feature on the Huawei P30 Pro is the absence of the headphone jack. Some would say that EMUI is probably one of the biggest turnoffs, however, we can always adjust that with custom launchers and icons. As an audiophile, I dearly miss headphone jacks on smartphones simply because of the raw warm sound from analogue headphones and speakers. Bluetooth earphones are great for convenience but often lack proper sound quality.
  17. Samsung announced one of the most iconic smartphones in the company history back in February and was the first to show off a foldable smartphone. The company has managed to produce the smartphone at a scale and is now ready to be sold in various regions, Huawei showed off their version of a foldable smartphone as well that also touted a unique and exciting design. Samsung has already started to send out review devices to journalists and there have been numerous reports about the $2000 dollar smartphone breaking after a single day of use. The Galaxy Fold has been suffering a broken screen sometimes due to user error or due to low durability. The first report comes from Dieter Bohn at The Verge where he had a piece of debris under the Galaxy Fold display. It was pressing up against the back of the display and caused a bump in the OLED panel. The debris managed to press against the display enough to break it and killed some vertical and horizontal rows of pixels. © Twitter/Steve Kovach For Steve Kovach of CNBC, the device's display broke right along the fold crease and the pixels in the folding area were dead. This kind of confirmed that the crease in the middle may cause an issue as the display broke right along the crease. © Twitter The Galaxy Fold also comes with a layer on the display that resembles some sort of protective glass. The layer is not supposed to be removed; however, some of the reviewers were not known of the case. Mark Gurman from Bloomberg removed the layer of the display file saying, The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you're not supposed to (consumers won't know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem." The removal of the film totally killed the smartphone as the left half of the display died. © Twitter/MKBD YouTuber Marques Brownlee also peeled off the protective layer and said "the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement.” After one day of use... pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9 — Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019 Folding smartphones is a brand new concept for smartphones and it is bound to see some hiccups before becoming mainstream. Samsung is the only company right now that has managed to make foldable smartphones real then masses. The Galaxy Fold is definitely for first-generation early adopters as we will see some improvements in design in the near future. As of now, Galaxy Fold is already sold out when it comes to pre-orders and has "overwhelming demand”.
  18. Racing games are one of the most popular forms of time-pass when you want to keep yourself entertained. This is especially true when you game on your smartphone. There's a plethora of racing games on the App Store and Play Store which makes it confusing for people to know which one is the best. Some games are casual enough to keep you busy for a while, and some premium driving experiences that are very close to console level graphics. Here are five of our favourite racing games for your smartphones. 1. Absolute Drift If you love drifting and want to play a game specifically designed for that experience, look no further than Absolute Drift. The game requires you to practise a bit if you need to get the perfect drift around those corners. If you happen to own a compatible controller, the experience is even better and rewarding. The game is available on both iOS and Android so you can play this game on the platform of your choice. 2. Asphalt 9: Legends This is a free-to-play game that's available on both iOS and Android digital stores and has microtransactions inbuilt. The game provides a more realistic approach to the game when compared to previous installations. Gameplay is exciting and full of energy, a combination you always expect from an arcade racing game. 3. Rush Rally 3 If you're a fan of rally racing, we would suggest downloading 'Rush Rally 3' as it is your best option for smartphones right now. Available on both iOS and Google Play, the game is quite challenging and is full rally racing simulator. Even though the game has touch controls, we suggest you use a Bluetooth controller to play this game for the best experience. 4. Red Bull Air Race 2: The Mobile Game 'Red Bull Air Race 2' is probably the only game you want to download if you love air-racing. The game recreates raced Red Bull hosts around the globe and you get to control you own very plane. Eat course is a real-life recreation of the actual tournament. 5. GRID Autosport This game is actual proof that console-level racing games can be ported to smartphones and deliver almost the same experience. The original game first came to consoles and PC and is now available for smartphones. This is proof that AAA racing games can be handled easily by top-tier smartphones.
  19. Choosing the best camera smartphone can be a tiring task especially when there's an influx of devices. Camera technology has gotten a lot better over the years, and it is safe to say that it has come to a point where one can confidently carry a smartphone and not worry about missing a moment in search of professional cameras. Currently, there are a lot of smartphones out there with good cameras. In fact, some smartphones which we have on this list are best known for their camera prowess more than anything else. So if you're planning to buy a new smartphone with a promising camera, then here are some great options - 1. Google Pixel 3 © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Google Pixel 3, much like its predecessor, only has one camera at the back. However, it's arguably one of the best camera smartphones out there on the market right now. Although the Pixel 3 is competing with phones that have 2 or more cameras, there's no denying that the pictures which come out of this phone are simply fantastic. The single 12.2-megapixel rear f/1.8 dual-pixel camera coupled with Google's software makes this one helluva camera smartphone. The Pixel 3's Night Sight mode is also something that's worth a mention as Google has revolutionized low-light photography with it. Night Sight is essentially a camera mode, and it can help you take some stunning pictures even in pitch-black conditions. Overall, the Pixel 3 is, without a doubt, one of the best camera smartphones that money can buy right now. You can learn more about the Pixel 3's cameras and the phone itself in our full review here. 2. Huawei Mate 20 Pro © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla The Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with its unique camera array, has won our hearts when it comes to smartphone photography. Its triple camera setup includes a main 40 megapixels sensor, an ultra-wide 20-megapixels sensor and a third eight-megapixel telephoto lens. The camera support 0.6 to 5x optical zoom and you can go crazy with up to 10X digital zoom. One of the things which we really like about the images taken from the Mate 20 Pro is that they have a lot of details. The images also have great colour accuracy, which is always a good thing. The Mate 20 Pro also shines when it comes to low-light photography, especially when used with the dedicated night mode. We have a lot of camera samples in our full review of the phone, so be sure to check it out here. 3. iPhone XS © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla iPhones have always been promising when it comes to photography, and the new iPhone XS and the XS Max are no exception. The iPhone XS camera is a powerful dual 12-megapixel shooter with one being an f/1.8 sensor and other being an f/2.4 sensor. Both have OIS and they can produce some stunning shots. The photos captured from the iPhone have natural colours, and the telephoto lens helps shooting imaging with great details even from a distance. Other camera features like Smart HDR and Depth control are just icing on the cake. Again, we've discussed the cameras and the phone itself in our detailed review, so be sure to check it out here. 4. Samsung Galaxy S10 © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Samsung's latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10 Plus, have amazing cameras. Unlike the last year's devices, the S10 and the S10 Plus have three cameras. The setup includes an optically stabilised 12-megapixel main sensor with a dual aperture that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. The second sensor is an ultra-wide 16-megapixel f/2.2 sensor, and the last sensor is a stabilised 12-megapixel telephoto one. Be it landscape, portraits or low-light photos, the Galaxy S10 can do the trick for you. The “Live Focus” mode works like a charm as it accurately blurs the background. You can also capture some stunning HDR shots with this phone, like the ones which we've added in our full review of the phone here. 5. Nokia 9 PureView © YouTube HMD Global finally unveiled the Nokia 9 PureView at the MWC 2019 this year, and oh boy, were the leaks real. This smartphone has five 12 megapixel f/ 1.8 sensors at the back, which are clearly the main selling point here. Two of these sensors can take colour images, whereas the other three sensors can capture monochrome images for things like contrast, depth, and exposure data. With so many sensors at work, the Nokia 9 PureView is said to be capable of taking some stunning portrait shots. Nokia has also worked with Light, Qualcomm, and Carl Zeiss to make this penta-cam setup possible, so we're counting on it to be one of the best camera smartphones out there.
  20. When it comes to budget smartphones and the Indian market, Xiaomi has managed to build a brand name that delivers smartphones with aggressive pricing. It's not only the pricing that matters, but smartphones also need to work and need to work well. Redmi, now a sub-brand of Xiaomi has managed to do just that, deliver great smartphones with an attractive price. However, Xiaomi steps up the game with the Redmi Note 7 Pro with upgraded specifications and a camera that can challenge even some of the top-tier smartphones. Xiaomi has also upgraded the design with captivating colours for users who prefer to be trendy and fashionable. It retails in India for Rs 13,990 and comes in different configurations. It has a 48-megapixel primary camera paired with a 5-megapixel sensor for portrait shots at the rear and a 13-megapixel sensor selfie shooter. We've been using the smartphone for a while to find out whether it's still the king of budget smartphones. Here's our review of the Redmi Note 7 Pro: Design And Display Xiaomi has completely overhauled the Redmi Note series with a beautiful gradient design that catches the light. It's something similar to what we've seen on other smartphones. However, the Redmi Note 7 Pro stands out from the crowd thanks to its bold colours. What's cool about the design is that the smartphone has an all-glass design both at the front and the back with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. This makes the smartphone a tad bit heavier than the previous iterations; however, we like the solid feel to the smartphone. We particularly like the Nebula Red colour which we got to see at the launch event. At the front, Xiaomi as a dewdrop notch display that removes the additional bezels you may have seen in previous models. The design of the smartphone feels very premium and very similar to what you would find on the iPhone XR. It feels solid and does not feel like a budget smartphone from any angle. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla Xiaomi also retains the headphone jack which is always a plus in our books and has now added Type-C support. We can finally transfer files faster and charge a Redmi smartphone quicker than ever before. In addition, the Redmi Note 7 Pro also has a p2i nano-coating which protects the smartphone from accidental spills. It's not water-resistant, but it will protect your smartphone from water spills in your bathroom. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla When it comes to the display, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with a 6.3-inch full-HD+ LTPS LCD display with a resolution 1080x2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. For a smartphone that costs less than Rs 15,000, the display is quite sharp and accurate for an LCD. Sure, it's not the best you find as compared to flagship level smartphones but it does a fair job at colour reproduction and brightness. The colours on the display do not look oversaturated and look close to real-life. The brightness is also solid as it comes in handy when viewing it directly under sunlight. It has a brightness level of 477 nits which is quite impressive for an LCD panel. Camera © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Redmi Note 7 Pro's star attraction is its 48 MP rear Sony IMX 586 sensor that delivers some of the most amazing pictures we've seen on a budget smartphone. We've seen this sensor on the Honor View 20 before and it manages to deliver some great details and clarity in images. It captures the right colours and delivers some of the most beautiful pictures in HDR mode. In fact, sometimes we couldn't believe we shot these images with a budget smartphone. Most of these pictures were shown in 21MP however you can always take the full 48MP images by toggling the feature in the settings. Budget smartphones tend to struggle in low-light photography however Xiaomi has introduced its new Night Mode in MIUI 10. The new model does manage to take brighter images in low light which the budget smartphone was unable to do previously. The dynamic range also plays a crucial role in delivering these shots. It works very similar to Google's Night Shot as it combines different a series of images taken in different contrast levels to give you a better low-light image. Overall, we were quite pleased with the camera performance and even raises the question for the need of flagship level smartphones. Sure, flagship smartphones have great cameras but the gap is being closed quite rapidly thanks to smartphones like Redmi Note 7 Pro. Gallery View this post on Instagram Pictures shot using the #redminote7pro. Loving the night mode and it's quite decent from a phone that doesn't break the bank. #xiaomi #smartphones #gadgets #techie #technology #tech A post shared by Akshay Bhalla (@editorinchief) on Mar 10, 2019 at 11:44pm PDT Software Performance The Redmi Note 7 Pro ships with MIUI 10 and we would like to address the elephant in the room. MIUI 10 does have advertisements and if you wish to disable them you can do it by following these steps. Having said that, these advertisements are a bit annoying especially when you install a new application. Xiaomi has a security app that scans newly installed applications that have advertisements embedded within it. You can easily turn off the feature however it is a bit jarring when you kept getting bombarded with advertisements. If you want a seamless, experience, we suggested you follow the steps above. If you look beyond the ads, MIUI 10 looks quite clean and visually appealing with satisfying animations and overall stability. You have usual functions like dual apps and a new gesture navigation system that is easy to use. It's quite similar to what we've seen on the new iPhones but with slightly different animation and multi-tasking layout. Performance Equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 675 chipset, the Redmi Note 7 Pro delivers a great overall experience when it comes to performing tasks daily usage. While it works great with less CPU intensive apps, it lacks in processing graphics for fluid gaming. On PUBG mobile, the smartphone would often have massive frame rate drops in high settings and has the rubber-banding effect too. We would recommend you play GPU intensive games with lower settings. Furthermore, the Redmi Note 7 Pro does heat up a bit when playing games which were expected as it does not have a dedicated cooling system like the POCO F1. Regardless, the smartphone is good enough for casual games like Temple Run and can handle games like Asphalt 9 in medium setting. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla In terms of Geekbench scores, the Redmi Note 7 Pro scored 6520 in the multi-core test while it scored 2380 in the single core test. In our opinion, that's quite a respectable score for a smartphone that costs only Rs 13,990. The Redmi Note 4 Pro comes with 4,000 mAh battery which has remained unchanged from previous models. Battery life on the Redmi Note 7 Pro is exceptional with moderate usage as we had almost 6.5 hours of screen-on-time. We tested the smartphone with navigation, gaming and communication. In addition, it also supports QC4 however you need to buy a compatible charger separately. The Redmi Note 7 Pro was able to last almost two days on a single charge which is quite impressive for any smartphone. The Final Say If you are looking for a smartphone that can take awesome pictures, last 2 days on a single charge and can delivery awesome battery life, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is your best bet. The new smartphone has stepped up its game in the photography department and can perform well with moderate usage. Starting at Rs 13,9990 the Redmi Note 7 Pro is the king of budget smartphones right now.
  21. This year we've seen three midrange phones sport a 48-megapixel rear camera in India -- Vivo V15 Pro, OPPO F11 Pro, and Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro. The on-paper number war has been going for years and we've seen phone makers play around with internal storage as well as the RAM. © MensXP With the current 48-megapixel offering, brands have tried to lure users by numbers. They take this a step further by merging four pixels into one for low-light shots, and in turn deliver sharper pictures with better details. Every brand wants to establish itself as a smartphone photography expert, but, what's the limit in this number game? © PC World Even before we can think of a number, Qualcomm has revised specifications of its processors. XDA Developers was the first one to discover this, and the updated spec sheet includes better single and dual camera capabilities, advanced slo-mo recording, and a new feature called Hybrid Autofocus. But, what stands out the most is the support of sensors up to 192-megapixel. The list of chipsets to now support 192-megapixel picture captures are Snapdragon 670, Snapdragon 675, Snapdragon 710, Snapdragon 845 and Snapdragon 855. Before you get all amped up, please note that this is just a theoretical value. Don't expect a 192-megapixel phone soon since there are a host of challenges to overcome. © XDA Developers / Snapdragon 855 Updated Sheet Firstly, you'd have to get your hands on a 192-megapixel lens and there are none available right now. Sensors that support this resolution cannot be suddenly squeezed down to fit in an ultra-portable smartphone. Secondly, the chipsets can support a single 192-megapixel lens only, and cannot be accompanied by a secondary lens or even a front camera. To facilitate this large resolution, Qualcomm is incorporating zero shutter lag and eliminating multi-frame noise reduction. One major take away from this update is that modern chipsets or the ISP (image signal processor) have come a long way and Qualcomm is constantly improvising. © Nokia On the other end of the spectrum, Nokia is trying a new approach of adding different lenses onto a single phone. The Nokia 9 houses five rear cameras with Zeiss certified lenses, that are joined by three 12-megapixel monochrome sensors and two 12-megapixel RGB sensors.
  22. The Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e are now finally available to buy in India and we had called it one of the best flagship smartphones in our review. The smartphone has an updated design, however, there are some nifty features that make the S10 one of the most dependable flagship smartphones in 2019. It has a phenomenal camera, supports reverse wireless charging and has one of the most beautiful screens on a smartphone ever. We've been using the smartphone for a few weeks and here are some of our favourite features on the Galaxy S10 that make it stand out from the crowd. The Dynamic Display Is Awesome © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla We all know Samsung makes some of the best displays out there and even Apple uses their display tech on the flagship iPhones. The Galaxy S10 has a dynamic AMOLED display that has been voted as the best screen on a smartphone by DisplayMate. You can read all about Samsung's display here. The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have 6.1 and 6.4-inch AMOLED screens respectively and support HDR10+ content for users who like to consume videos. The dynamic range of the screen is exceptional and makes viewing images/content an awesome experience. Massive Storage Options © Samsung No longer will you have to worry about deleting your favourite images, videos or applications. Samsung now offers the Galaxy S10 smartphones in various storage options, one of them having 1TB of internal storage. What's cool is that the Galaxy S10 also supports storage expansion of up to 512 GB as it has microSDXC support. If you want to know more about Samsung and how the company has managed to support high storage options, you can read all about it here. Awesome Primary Cameras © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus come with a triple primary camera setup that consists of an optically stabilised 12-megapixel main sensor with a dual aperture that can switch between f/1.5 for night shots and f/2.4 for the day. The second sensor is an ultra-wide 16-megapixel f/2.2 sensor that lets you capture more field of view and lastly a stabilised 12-megapixel telephoto sensor. It comes with awesome portrait effects such as colour spin, colour point and others in the 'Live Focus' mode. The wide-angle sensor is also a dream to work with as it has a field of view of 77Ë. When it comes to video, the Galaxy S10/S10 Plus can capture 4K UD videos with the selfie camera, a perfect feature for video bloggers. It also uses the Ultra Wide sensor and software to give your steady videos similar to action cameras like GoPro. The Galaxy S10 can also record videos with Dynamic Tone Mapping for accurate colours and also supports richer colour contrast of HDR10+ in recordings. PowerShare © Samsung The Galaxy S10/S10 Plus now supports reverse wireless charging similar to what we've already seen on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It can charge other smartphones and even the Galaxy Buds. One has to simply put any Qi-compatible device and the S10 will do the rest.
  23. MWC (Mobile World Congress) is in full swing right now and more than 1,00,000 telecom excutives, engineers, and enthusiasts are attending the trade show. While 5G technology has been making progress over the years and is expected to arrive soon, foldable phones have grabbed everyone's attention this year. Every phone maker is keen on releasing a phone with "foldable" or "bendable" display. With all the foldable phones launching left and right, this month has been a lively one for smartphones. For years we've heard Samsung tease its work on bendable displays, and are finally seeing it fructify. Here's a list of all the cool foldable phones announced this year at MWC. 1. Samsung Galaxy Fold © Samsung The Galaxy Fold literally folds in half like a book to use as a phone with a 4.6in screen on the outside, and unfolds to reveal a large 7.3in screen to use as a tablet on the inside. It comes with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, along with six cameras: three on the back, two on the big screen and one on the front screen for selfies when the phone is closed. The Fold has a powerful and smooth hinge with hidden gears, a split battery and a new software system called app continuity that switches between the screen as you open the phone. The new device will be released on 26th April in the US and 3rd May in Europe, after nearly a decade in the making. It comes with a price tag of US$ 1,890 (Rs 1,34,000) and is a crucial product for Samsung as it tries to maintain its supremacy. 2. Huawei Mate X © BCCL Following Samsung's lead, Huawei unveiled its ultra-premium folding screen phone and enthusiasts can't stop admiring its design. It has a flexible OLED display that covers both the front and back of the device and which unfolds outwards to become an eight-inch tablet screen. Huawei's Mate X has just one screen on the outside. It features a fingerprint scanner for authentication, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The large battery is capable of charging at 55W and Huawei calls this SuperCharge technology. The company claims it is the world's fastest 5G foldable phone and that its position as an equipment manufacturer gives it an advantage. The phone has been priced at US$ 2,299 (Rs 1,63,000) and will be available later this year. 3. OPPO Foldable Phone © OPPO While Samsung and Huawei have announced they'll be mass producing the phone soon, OPPO is taking a step back and analysing the market response. For now, the company hasn't even named it and it's still technically a concept. We've already seen multiple patents suggesting OPPO has enough research and development in place to actually launch a phone when needed. The company did show off a few pictures of the concept and it looks very identical to Huawei's Mate X. The design language is similar and we expect OPPO to add its own set of unique offerings. The brand has been making great strides in mobile camera technology, and we'd love to see a photography centric foldable phone from them. 4. Nubia Alpha © Nubia This is a combination of a watch and a phone, and Nubia likes to call it the world's first foldable wearable. It sports a 4-inch 960x192 OLED screen, has 1GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage. The battery is sufficient enough to last a day or two. It supports all standard smartwatch features like activity tracking, sleep sense, and heart rate sensor. Adding to this, it has an eSIM that can be used for calls, text, and data on the go. The OS is custom built on Android and supports voice controls, air gestures, and other intuitive controls. It retails for €549 (Rs 44,000) and will be available from the third quarter of this year. 5. TCL Displays © TCL TCL has a licence for making BlackBerry and Alcatel branded phones, and it has shown off a host of bendable displays that are cheaper to make and could be a part of many upcoming phones. The company is calling its folding mechanism "DragonHinge" and is being secretive about the working or construction. The DragonHinge helps in bridging the two screens together to create a foldable phone, and it's paired with flexible AMOLED displays from TCL's sister company, CSOT. With its technology, TCL wants to bring down the cost of making a foldable phone since both Samsung and Huawei cost a couple thousand dollar.
  24. The average selling price of smartphones in India is Rs 12,000 according to IDC's Q4 2018 report. A majority of the smartphone sales are in this segment, and this is the core reason why companies have flooded this bracket with as many phones as possible. For the end user, more options are better since you can get exactly what you want. Xiaomi has multiple devices like the Mi A2 and Redmi Note 6 / 5 Pro, Realme has the U1 and 2 Pro, and Samsung's just getting started with the M-series. Here are our top picks for the best phone you can get in this price range: 1. Samsung Galaxy M20 (Rs 12,990): © MensXP / Shivam Vahia Samsung is adopting a competitive stance against online sales to take on Xiaomi, and the M20 is supposed to be a forerunner for the M-series. The brand wants to bring a high-end experience to the budget segment via software, and it has been kind of successful in doing so. It ships with Samsung Experience 9.5 out of the box. The front has a 6.3-inch display and the phone is powered by an Exynos 7904 octa-core processor. The top variant gets 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, with an option for expandable storage. The rear has a 13+5-megapixel dual camera setup (secondary being the wide angle), while the front has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. Backing these internals is a huge 5000mAh battery. 2. Nokia 5.1 Plus (Rs 14,499): © TelecomTalk Nokia branded phones are known for their solid build quality, and this device feels extremely premium and sturdy for its price. It has a unique ergonomic feel in hand and thanks to Android One, you'll never have to worry about software updates as well. It has a 5.86-inch display and the phone is powered by a MediaTek P60 chipset. The top variant comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card. The rear has a 13+5-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. Backing these internals is a decent 3060mAh battery, that charges via USB-C. 3. Xiaomi Mi A2 (Rs 13,999): © MensXP / Akshay Bhalla The Mi A2 was one of the most sought smartphones of 2018 thanks to the legacy of Mi A1. The phone is a part of Google's Android One initiative and comes with a Stock Android interface. It has a 6-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of 77 per cent. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 660 chipset along with 4GB RAM in the base variant. On the rear is a 12+20-megapixel dual camera setup while the front has a 20-megapixel selfie shooter. The rear camera is capable of clicking amazing pictures in daylight and even the low-light output is decent. Backing these internals is a 3000mAh battery. On the flip side, it lacks a microSD card slot as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. 4. ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 (Rs 14,999): © Android Authority This is another phone that ships with a near stock Android UI, but isn't a part of Android One. The design is shiny thanks to a glossy back panel and the front has a wide notch. ASUS has marketed the phone towards performance and it definitely scores well in this department. It has a 6.26-inch display and powering the phone is a Snapdragon 660 chipset. The top variant currently gets 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, while a 6GB RAM variant is awaited. The rear has a 12+5-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has a 13-megapixel selfie shooter. It is backed by a huge 5000mAh battery that charges via USB-C. 5. Realme U1 (Rs 12,999): © MensXP / Shivam Vahia Realme has been consistently launching new phones, and this one is targeted towards performance. The U1 has a shiny back panel and a tiny water drop notch on the front. The back has a slight colour gradient, giving it some premium aesthetics. The front has a 6.3-inch display and the phone is powered by a MediaTek P70 processor. You get 4GB RAM and 64GB storage in the top variant, along with expandable storage. The rear has a 13+2-megapixel dual camera setup, and the front has a 25-megapixel selfie shooter. Lastly, backing these internals is a 3500mAh battery that charges via 10W.
  25. The price slab of Rs 15,000 to 20,000 is among the most competitive right now, and thanks to rapid advancements in technology, a lot of high-end features are now available at a cheaper price. This range also gives you a high value since it isn't very costly, but will give you an edge for at least a year. Thanks to increasing focus on software, these phones can even get you through two years of smooth usage in most cases. Here are our top recommendations in the sub-20,000 price segment! 1. Redmi Note 6 Pro (Rs 15,999) © YouTube The Redmi Note 6 Pro and its predecessor have been selling like hot cakes in the country and the Redmi Note 7 is just around the corner. This doesn't mean the phone has lost its charm though. It has a perfect balance in all segments and is pretty much a winner. Sporting a 6.26-inch display, it is powered by a Snapdragon 635 processor. For multitasking, the top variant comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage along with expandable option. The battery is rated at 4000mAh and is more than sufficient to get you through a couple of days on moderate usage. The rear has a 12+5-megapixel setup and can capture significantly good pictures in both, daytime as well as low-light conditions. It runs on MIUI and has tonnes of added features and customization options. 2. Nokia 7.1 (Rs 18,990) © YouTube The recently launched Nokia 7.1 is a solid offering if you're looking for stock Android experience. All Nokia branded phones are a part of Google's Android One initiative, ensuring software and security updates on time. The stock experience also ensures smooth performance over an extended period of time. The phone has a 5.84-inch display and is powered by a slightly underwhelming Snapdragon 636 processor. But, thanks to near-perfect optimization, you'll barely see any lags or stuttering. It comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage in the base variant and is backed by a modest 3060mAh battery. The rear has a 12+5-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. 3. Honor 10 Lite (Rs 17,999) © Twitter / Sandeep Sharma This was the first phone to be launched in India this year and Honor is back with its premium glass design in the budget segment. The glass build also adds a slight colour gradient, which is unmatchable in this segment. The phone also has a smaller water-drop style notch for a better screen-to-body ratio. On the front is a 6.2-inch display and the phone is powered by a Kirin 710 chipset. It comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage in the top variant and has support for expandable storage. The rear has a 13+2-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has a 24-megapixel selfie shooter. These internals are backed by a 3400mAh battery that supports 10W fast charging. 4. Vivo V9 Pro (Rs 16,990) © YouTube The Vivo V9 Pro is a close sibling of the V11 series and in fact has a similar design. The front has a wide notch and the back sports a fingerprint scanner for quick authentication. Just like all other Vivo phones, it ships with Funtouch OS out of the box. It has a 6.3-inch display and is powered by a Snapdragon 660 processor. The base variant gets 4GB RAM along with 64GB internal storage and expandable storage option. The rear has a 13+2-megapixel camera with support for portrait shots and AI beauty enhancements. The front has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter and the phone is backed by a 3260mAh battery. 5. Honor Play (Rs 16,999) © YouTube The Honor Play is technically India's first gaming phone and is among the cheapest. It is powered by Huawei's high-end Kirin 970 processor, along with 4GB RAM in the base variant. The phone also gets Honor's GPU Turbo technology, that systematically overclocks the processor and optimizes performance for the best output. The design is basic and the brand has put in more efforts on the inside. The rear has a 16+2-megapixel dual camera setup, while the front has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. Backing these internals is a 3750mAh battery that supports 18W quick charging.
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