Review

Nokia Play 360 speaker review

25 Jun , 2013  

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I’m a family man. I’ve got a kid. I’ve gotten used to the thought that my big 5.1 audio system will be sitting quietly next to the TV and pop a tune once a couple of months. Metallica won’t be crashing trough, 5 hours a day anymore. But that’s fine, the kid more than makes up for it 🙂

The kid is now big enough to dance around the house and he started loving music just like his daddy did three decades ago. I’ve seen many people improvising all kind of sound systems for their kids, since there’s no niche for that kind of audio on today’s market(here’s a business idea for you). My answer came almost a month ago when I was picked one of the winners of a contest ran on Twitter by Nokia Romania. The main prize was a Nokia Play 360 speaker. I saw some reviews a while back, and even played around with one on Nokia Demo Days 2012, but never actually had it for long enough to form a proper opinion. But now I do. And I love it. Moreover, the kid loves it. How can you tell? you may ask. Well, every day we go out to play with other kids on the playground. The first day we had the Play 360 in his room playing Jessie J. and Rizzle Kicks, the kid didn’t wanna go outside anymore. So yes, he loves it 🙂 And what’s there not to love?

Here’s what you can do with it:

Put it wherever you want

Being mobile has it’s advantages. With a battery that is capable of up to 20 hours of playback on a charge, you don’t have to worry about missing your loud music when you go anywhere. I personally use it to lure my son away from his room whenever I want him to move to different room for some reason 🙂

Charge it anywhere

All you need is a micro-USB cable and that’s it, charging and playing like there’s no tomorrow.

Bluetooth enabled

Doesn’t matter which phone plays the music, the Play 360 doesn’t mind sharing. Be it a Nokia Lumia or whatever other phone, the speaker plays back everything your throw at it.

NFC enabled

I love NFC. Since I got my hands on my new Lumia 820(thanks J.C.), I started using the NFC chip on it to pair the phone with the Play 360 speaker, and boy is it effortless. Just tap the speaker and the music switches from the phone to the speaker instantly.

Bass for everybody

Bass? From a mobile 2W speaker? Yes, believe it or not it’s there and you can feel it even in the first status sound the speakers pops. It’s unbelievable how much bass this smallish speaker can output.

There are other countless ways to use the speaker. You can use it with wired device by connecting the 3.5mm audio jack or you can pair it with another Play 360 to get stereo music. Anyway you look at it, this speaker will surprise you pleasantly. Here’s the official presentation video:

The Play 360 is a jack of many trades and only your imagination can limit the ways this device can be used. I, for one, enjoy it along with my kid, or in the kitchen whenever we cook and want some entertainment in the process.

Can you think of any crazy way you could use this speaker? Let us know in the comments below.

Review,Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 920 review

4 Jun , 2013  

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I’ve been waiting for a long time to get my hands on a Windows Phone 8 trial device, and my wait was over a couple of weeks ago. Having using my Lumia 800 for almost a year, I thought it was the fastest phone out there. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say the best spec’d phone, just the fastest. I would soon discover that the 920 managed way better than I thought it would.

First of all I have got to tell you that I’m a sucker for Nokia’s Fabula design. I loved the N9 when it first came out, and then the Lumia 800 (which I own). Needless to say that I was very excited when Nokia announced the Lumia 920 with the same design language. You may notice that I’m not mentioning the Lumia 900, because IMO it’s not the same thing. As opposed to the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 920, the 900 doesn’t feature curved glass on the display. I think the curved glass redefines the mobile experience on smartphones.
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Review,Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 900 – Great Device but Too Late For Indian Market

20 Mar , 2013  

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Quite late, but better late than never, Lumia 900 knocked on my door 2 weeks ago. I had the opportunity to try the Nokia Lumia 900 and I was curious, as I’ve been a user of Lumia 800 in the past. It was time to check out the big brother of Lumia 800 and see where it stands.

Lumia 900 was announced and launched in most of the countries, except the India (I never understood why!).  Anyway, it was finally launched in India when everybody was waiting for Lumia 820/920.

Box and Package

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Sales Package contains following items with Lumia 900:

  • Nokia Lumia 900
  • Nokia Fast USB Charger (AC-16U)
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable (CA-190CD)
  • Quick Guide and Product Information Bulletin
  • SIM Door Key

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Sadly, you’ll have to buy an adapter to plug of charger in our Indian sockets. The package also includes a SIM Door Key to open the SIM Door and pull out the microSIM tray.

KEY FEATURES & SPECIFICATION

  • 4.3″ AMOLED ClearBlack display with WVGA 800×480 resolution
  • 1.4 GHz Qualcomm S2 APQ8055 CPU with 512MB RAM
  • Adreno 205 GPU
  • 16 GB internal user memory
  • Windows Phone 7.8
  • Integrated GPS, A-GPS receiversAccelerometer for correct orientation of displayNokia Drive with free drive and walk navigation
  • 8 MP camera with Carl Zeiss Lense and Dual LED Flash

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Apps,Review,Windows Phone

SN Upload review – Sharing, sharing, sharing

18 Feb , 2013  

Social sharing is a big and integral part of Windows Phone, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s shortcomings. Photo sharing is one of those shortcomings. It’s easy to post a message on all your social networks but when it comes to pictures, you have to manually upload it to each social network at a time. Did you ever wondered what you would do if you had two Twitter or Facebook accounts? Windows Phone only supports one of them. How about posting to your Facebook Page? Windows Phone has no support for that whatsoever.

This is where SN Upload comes to the rescue. The app allows you to choose or take a photo and upload it to all your accounts at once. You can have as many Twitter and Facebook accounts as you want. SN Upload supports Facebook pages too, not to mention Flickr and Dropbox.

For each photo you upload you can select the accounts where that photo should be uploaded to. For capped or slow data connections the app offers the ability to resize the photo before uploading it which improves the upload speed considerably.

SN Upload started as a Twitter and Facebook only uploader, but has evolved the past few months to now include Facebook Pages, Flickr and Dropbox. And it’s only at version 1.7(pending approval).

The application is pretty simple to use, has a tabbed interface, just like any other Windows Phone hub. The first panel greets you with a photo slot, a message box and an upload button. The accounts you have selected to upload to, are displayed above the message box. Tapping the accounts label takes you to the accounts panel.

In the accounts panel, you can see all your accounts and select which ones you would like to upload to. Adding another account is just one step away. All you need to do is tap the “…” menu and choose which type of account you want to add. In case your Facebook pages have changed(you became admin to new ones, or removed some page) you can use the same menu and tap the “refresh facebook pages” option to update the pages you administer.

Next comes the settings panel where you can select the dimension you wish to resize your photos to before uploading. Here you have 4 choices Small(640×480), Medium(1024×768), Large (1600×1200) and Original(original file resolution). You should note that if you choose the original resolution it may take some time before SN Upload posts your photos on all your accounts, because the photo in question may be large. If you choose to resize your photos, your uploads will take very little time to complete, because the size of the resized image is around 90% smaller than the original image hence increasing the speed of the upload.

SN Upload can be used by opening the app and selecting a photo from the gallery by tapping on the image slot, or by simply using the Pictures Hub share menu when viewing an image.

The app is available for all Windows Phone with version 7.5 and above. It and has a 3 days trial and can be downloaded from here: SNUpload for Windows Phone.

Asha,Review

Nokia Asha 308 review – Dual touch

9 Dec , 2012  

The Nokia 308 does not pretend to be a smartphone, but it does claim to be a smart feature phone. The device looks attractive and will certainly appeal to the youth crowd. The build quality is good even though not extraordinary, but considering the price tag you get more than enough for your dollar. The 308 is made of good quality plastic material and offers a squeak free experience.


The dual SIM capabilities are another plus for the budget phone buyer, but the lack of Wi-Fi is a show stopper for those who want internet on the cheap. No Wi-Fi means you gotta have a decent data plan in order to use intensity on this phone. The bright side is that the 308 is very network friendly and consumes immensely less data then your average smartphone. A couple if days of usage only ate 4MB of my data plan in which time I’ve download a game and used Facebook And Twitter more than a couple of times.


The hardware of the phone is not stellar, but nor should we expect such hardware at this price point. The multi touch capacitive display is I believe a first in this price bracket and a welcome addition. The 308 sports a 3 inch screen with a resolution of 240 by 400 pixels. The resolution is pretty decent for that display size keeping in mind that some Android phones have lower resolution on bigger displays. The Asha 308 is equipped with an accelerometer which comes in handy for text input in landscape mode and when playing games.

On the right side of the phone we can find the volume rockers and the lock/unlock key. On top we have the 3.5mm jack port, the micro-USB port and the 2mm charging port, while on the back we have the 2MP fixed focus camera with no flash light. On the right side of the phone we have the second SIM card and the micro-SD card slots. The primary SIM card slot is located under the battery so it’s not hot swappable. However the phone can switch from SIM1 to SIM2 in a heartbeat without needing to reboot.


The box contains the phone itself, the battery, a 1GB memory card, a Nokia headset and a Nokia 2mm charger. The phone can also charger tough the USB port. Unfortunately there is no USB data cable included, but at this price point it wouldn’t be a first. The usual leaflets can also be found in the box, along with the warranty card.

The camera takes not very good pictures, and it seems that the camera sensor is not the same as on the Nokia 5230 add I was expected, but a cheaper unit. Video recording is disappointing with a resolution of 176×144 pixels at 10 frames per second. I was expecting at least QVGA at 15 frames per second.

The photo gallery had punch to zoom, a feature you don’t see too much in feature phones. Zoning in and out is decent even though it takes a while until you see the full quality zoomed in picture.

The Asha 308 comes with Facebook and Twitter apps preinstalled, a great email client and 40 free EA games. Yes the games are java games but just the ability to download them from Nokia Store is something not many phones can brag about.

The homescreen had been completely redesigned compared with the non touch S40 devices. The new homescreen looks more like MeeGo than an S40 homescreen. There are three panels. The middle panel is a the columns grid of applications. On the right side panel you have the phone dialer, and on the left side you have your favorite panel. Here you can add it pin shortcuts to the installed apps and also add your favorite contacts.

What amazed me about this phone was that it has badge notifications for some apps like the phone app or the messaging app, which it’s a first for S40.

Bringing S40 into the touch era meant Nokia had to create an on screen input method and it looks life they’ve learned from the mistakes they did with Symbian touch. The full qwerty keyboard is excellent in both landscape and portrait, supporting split screen too. Another welcomed addition is the pull down notifications and switches area. Just like on Nokia Belle, you can pull down from the top of the display and you can change your connectivity settings and see your incoming notifications.

The web browser is Nokia’s new Xpress browser. A cloud based browser that keeps data consumption down, compressing web pages up to 90 percent.

The Nokia 308 and the Asha touch series in general meant bringing a smartphone like experience to the low end budget phones. Nokia tried to create an ecosystem for the Java based S40 devices, with an app store, games and social apps. That is what smartphones are really about, keeping you connected and making your life easier. The Asha 308 manages to do just that, and even though it’s not a real smartphone, it brings you a lot of features and apps that you won’t find on any other smartphone. That being said, the entire Asha series has one great advantage over other feature phones, and that’s Nokia Store. I don’t mean the free app catalogue, I mean the paid ones. With Nokia Store you can pay via SMS which is a golden egg in developing countries, Asha’s main targets.

Review,Symbian

Nokia 808 PureView review – The last Symbian

21 Nov , 2012  

The Nokia 808 is nothing short of a wonder,a miracle. The looks of the phone don’t and can’t tell much about what goes on inside, about what the 808 is all about.


The device has a very weird shape, going from beautiful to outright ugly depending on the angle you look at it from. The hump on it’s back is responsible for this transmogrification of the device. The curved body, however, is a pleasure to hold, fits neatly in the hand and the polycarbonate shell that covers the phone’s back provides an excellent grip.


The front of the phone is dominated by the 4 inch display covered in Gorilla glass. The hardware buttons are grouped in a plastic strip much like the 603 and the Lumia 710. The display is curved like on the Lumia 800, but the curvature is not as prominent as on the WP device. The curved display makes swiping left and right easier and the phone also slides in and out of you pocket easier.

On the right hand side you’ll find the volume rocker, the lock/unlock knob and the dedicated camera key. The camera key fires up the camera application even when the phone is locked.

On top of the phone you’ll find the HDMI port, the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm jack port. The HDMI port is protected by a plastic lid, and considering you won’t use it everyday, that’s a good thing.


The box contains the phone itself, a data cable and charging adapter, and a pair of hands free headset. I was kind of disappointed because I was expecting accessories at least like the N8 box. There is no USB-On-The-Go cable and no HDMI cable either. For such an expensive phone, I think those two were supposed to be in the box.

On the back of the phone you’ll find the gigantic camera hump that hides the amazing 41MP camera sensor. The camera is helped by the Xenon flash which is said to be 4 times more powerful than the unit on the Nokia N8. The camera can shoot 38MP photos in Creative mode, 8MP photos in PureView mode and record full HD videos at 30 frames per second. The cherry on the top here is the fact that the 808 provides lossless zooming while recording videos, which is a first for smartphones.

The phone is powered by an 1400mAh battery which is good for about two days of moderate to heavy usage, including shooting photos and videos.


Unfortunately the micro-SIM card and the SD card slots are located under the battery so they are not hot swapable.

If you’re thinking of buying this phone you’d better do your homework first. This phone is going to offer you so many shooting modes that you won’t know where to start and where to finish. Don’t get me wrong, that is a good thing, no, actually an amazing thing. This phone will shine in the hand of a person who knows he/she’s way around a camera. That does not mean that non camera savvy people cannot use it. Just switch to the PureView mode and you’ll get some amazing 8MP photos without breaking a sweat.

The phone is powered by a 1.3GHz CPU which is helped by a dedicated camera GPU to process the enormous amount of data the camera sensor captures. The device packs 512MB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and it’s animated by Nokia Belle Feature Pack 2 formerly known as Symbian Donna.

Feature Pack 2 is the last steer in the MeeGo direction that was started with the original Belle. I don’t know about the performance improvements that Feature Pack 2 brings because I have no means to compare Feature Pack 2 with it’s predecessors. All I can say is that the last Symbian iteration runs unbelievably smooth on the 808. Considering the experiences with Feature Pack 1 that other people wrote about, I believe that Feature Pack 2 is indeed an improvement.

Feature Pack 2 mainly brings changes to the aesthetics of the OS and not so much on the functionality. The only major functionality change is the portrait QWERTY keyboard that has been almost completely replaced. I say almost because in full screen edit mode, for example, the old QWERTY shows it’s ugly head once again.

A new button has been added to the homescreen toolbar, and that is the search key, which is a shortcut to the search app. No biggie there.

The context menus now appear all centered and that is a good thing since you no longer have to chase the context menu around the screen. This change also brings consistency across the OS. The apps menu has also been refined and now looks more like the menu Qt apps have, with the first and last menu elements having rounded corners.

As with any device, there are some pros and some cons. Here they are in my opinion.

Pros

– Mind blowing 41MP camera
– Xenon flash
– Amazing camera app – very customisable helps you make the most out of the amazing camera sensor
– Speed is better than ever
– Good battery life for a smartphone
– Lock/unlock knob is very useful
– The curved glass display is a real treat
– ClearBlack display has really deep blacks

Cons

– Symbian is dead a.k.a. In maintenance mode
– Web browser still not as fluid as should be with heavy pages
– nHD resolution it’s kind of stretched on the 4 inch display
– Poor choice of apps compared with rival app stores
– Way too thick by today’s standards
– Lack of a power button makes accidental shutdown a real problem until you get used to how it works

Conclusion

For Symbian fans this is the phone of their dreams with a decently sized display, a fast processor, amazing camera and superb build quality. The price however, will be a setback for those of you who are not crazy about having a phone that can shoot photos better than a digicam, but the 701 will provide the same user experience considering the similar specs.

All in all the 808 is a competitive smartphone. The only glitch that I can complain about is the web browsing experience that is not on par with today’s top shelf smartphones. The web experience is the fastest Symbian has ever seen, but compared to Windows Phone or Android it’s in the mid-range. It’s not a showstopper like it was on first generation Symbian devices. It seems that Nokia had managed to finally find a hardware combination that brings Symbian into the present of smartphone OS’s. Too bad this is the end if the line for Symbian.
The Nokia 808 is proof of what Symbian could have been and but never got the chance to become until it was to late. It’s ironic that Nokia manged to bring Symbian to a competitive level two years after it practically buried it. It’s Nokia’s latest, last and greatest Symbian. It’s Symbian’s greatest device and death sentence all in one.