Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)

Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch) 





Design

                      The Notebook 9's sleek, lightweight chassis does a nice MacBook impression, but doesn't quite go all the way. I'm a big fan of the laptop's simplistic, silver design -- adorned by nothing but a shiny Samsung logo on the lid -- but its magnesium-alloy chassis feels pretty cheap and bendable for a premium notebook. Fortunately, the Notebook 9's feathery 2.73-pound body and impressively slim 0.61-inch edges make it an excellent travel companion. It's a bit slimmer and much lighter than the HP Spectre x360 (4.4 pounds, 0.7 inches) and downright petite compared to the similarly specced MSI Prestige PE60 (5.4 pounds, 1.1 inches). Among 15-inch machines, only the LG Gram 15 (2.16 pounds) is lighter than the Samsung.

Ports

                        Considering how many laptops are abandoning ports in favor of slimness, I was pleased to find a healthy amount of connections on the Notebook 9's skinny edges. On the left, there's a USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, a USB Type-C port and a power input, while two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card reader and an HDMI port sit on the right. The Notebook 9's port selection should be plenty for getting work done, and it doesn't add much bulk to the laptop's design.

Display

                  Whether I was editing work documents or watching movie clips, the Notebook 9's 15-inch, 1080p display looked incredibly crisp and vibrant. The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer really shone on this thing -- Drax's red tattoos popped against his green skin, and I could make out every tiny detail, from the strands of Rocket Raccoon's fur to the lush red foliage that filled out a sunny-looking planet. The Notebook 9's excellent real-world colors were backed up by our benchmarks. Samsung's laptop reproduced a solid 114.9 percent of the sRGB color gamut, virtually tying the Spectre x360 and MSI Prestige PE60 (both 113 percent) and besting our 94-percent average.

                    Packing an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU with 16GB of RAM, the Notebook 9 zipped through any task I threw at it.  But where the Notebook 9 really stood out was in its color accuracy, with a Delta E rating of just 0.23 (closer to 0 is better). The Prestige and Spectre were much further off at 5.1 and 3.5, respectively, as is our 2.23 average.

the Notebook 9 turned in an average brightness of 262. That tops the MSI Prestige's 1080p display (192 nits) and the HP Spectre x360's 4K screen (255 nits), while coming up just short of our 277-nit mainstream notebook average.

Audio

                    The Notebook 7's bottom-facing stereo speakers offer decent clarity, but they aren't very loud. The tropical guitars and soaring vocals of Paramore's "Hard Times" came through cleanly, but the bass was virtually inaudible. I had similarly mixed results when switching gears to the relentless heavy metal of Mick Gordon's "Doom" soundtrack. The album's pounding drums and synth sounded clear, but guitars were muddy, and each track simply lacked the volume and punch that I'm used to.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Fingerprint Reader

                        The Notebook 9's keyboard is frustrating, because it manages to feel both snappy and hollow at at once. I had no issues hammering away at work documents and easily sped through the Key Hero typing test at 93 words per minute with near-perfect accuracy. But like the rest of the Notebook 9, the keys just feel cheap and just a bit too shallow -- the more I used them, the more uncomfortable I found them. It doesn't help that the entire chassis seems to sink down if you put just a little extra pressure on the keyboard. I don't have many complaints about the laptop's touchpad. While it could provide a snappier click, it made it easy for me to navigate pages and pinch-to-zoom.

The laptop lasted a strong 9 hours and 39 minutes on our battery test.
The Notebook 9's fingerprint reader is conveniently placed on the right side of the keyboard and works like a charm. After a quick setup process, I was able to use a quick finger scan to log into Windows within seconds.


Performance

                   Packing an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU with 16GB of RAM, the Notebook 9 zipped through any task I threw at it. I never experienced any slowdown on Samsung's laptop, even as I bounced between over a dozen Chrome tabs (including five Twitch streams) while running a full system scan. nThe Notebook 9 netted a 8,369 on the Geekbench 4 performance test, topping the Spectre x360's 8,017 (Core i7-7500U) while trailing the Prestige's 12,678 (Core i7-7700HQ) and our 11,333 average. On our spreadsheet test, Samsung's laptop matched 20,000 names to addresses in 3 minutes and 37 seconds. That's about on par with the Spectre x360 (3:34) and Prestige (3:39), and slightly better than our 3:55 mainstream notebook average. The Notebook 9's feathery 2.73-pound body and impressively slim 0.61-inch edges make it an excellent travel companion. The Notebook 9's 256GB SSD copied about 5GB of files in just 11 seconds, for a very fast transfer rate of 451.8 MBps. That tops the Prestige's 128GB drive (231.3), the Spectre's 512GB SSD (282.1 MBps) and our 200-MBps average.

Graphics Performance

                 Armed with a discrete Nvidia 940MX GPU, the Notebook 9's strong CPU performance is backed by solid graphics muscle. Samsung's laptop can handle a good amount of light gaming -- it ran racing game Dirt 3 at a solid 45 frames per second, which is significantly more playable than the Spectre's 29 fps (Intel HD Graphics 620). On the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, the Notebook 9 scored 93,454. That tops our 90,179 average, while trailing the Spectre (93,759) and the GTX 1050-powered Prestige (98,160).

Webcam

                The Notebook 9's 720p webcam is fine for quick Skype calls, but that's about it. Almost all of the photos I took on the laptop were pretty grainy, with lots of pixelation in my face and a big, dark blur where my beard normally is.

Battery Life

             You can count on the Notebook 9 to get you through a long workday unplugged. The laptop lasted 9 hours and 39 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), topping the Spectre x360 (8:36), the Prestige (4:13) and our 6:59 15-inch notebook average.

Heat
You shouldn't have to worry about the Notebook 9 burning a hole in your lap. After playing 15 minutes of HD video, the temperature of the laptop's touch screen increased to 73 degrees, while the keyboard and underside reached 82 and 81 degrees, respectively. Those numbers are all well below our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Software

                    The Notebook 9 comes loaded with a handful of Samsung apps, many of which will be more useful to you if you own a Samsung phone. SideSync lets you beam your smartphone's screen to your PC, while PC Gallery and PC Message are useful for quickly accessing your Galaxy phone's photos and texts. There's also a built-in Online Support tool for getting quick customer service. Overall, the Notebook 9's software suite is pretty unobtrusive, but non-Galaxy owners might not get a whole lot out of it. See how Samsung fared in our Best and Worst Laptop Brands and Tech Support Showdown.

Configurations


                      The Notebook 9 starts at $1,249, which gets you an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and Intel HD 620 graphics. Our $1,399 configuration ups the RAM to 16GB and includes a discrete Nvidia 940MX GPU.

Concluded
If performance and portability are your priorities, the Notebook 9 delivers. This laptop's Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 940 can handle a full workload and even some light gaming, while its 9.5-hour battery makes it easy to get things done on the go. The  notebook's slim and lightweight design makes it perfect for the road, and its colorful 15-inch screen is ideal for binging on movies and shows. However, despite these great specs, the Notebook 9 simply doesn't feel like a premium product. The keyboard is a bit too loose and shallow, and the entire chassis feels too flexible and chintzy. If that's not a deal breaker for you, the Notebook 9's performance will satisfy. But if you want something sturdier (and sleeker), consider the HP Spectre x360, which packs a 4K screen and convertible design for a similar price.  


Samsung Galaxy 6 Opinion

Samsung Galaxy 6 Opinion





Samsung Galaxy S6 design
Samsung's gone bold on the design of the Galaxy S6, taking away the usual plastic covering that festooned previous models and finally stepping into the world of metal for its flagships.

                 It's dallied with a more premium design ever since the Galaxy Alpha was brought out in the middle of last year. But with a higher price and lower spec, that model didn't really catch on, despite feeling really premium in the hand. So this time Samsung's gone one step further, adding an all-metal band to a strong glass case and, really, making a phone that couldn't be much further from the Galaxy S5. That's not to say the brand hasn't kept some of the design heritage in there - after all, Samsung is a company that's big on tradition. The front of the phone harks back to the Galaxy S4 days, with a rounded and bland fascia combined with the lozenge home button.

                        The biggest shame is that I didn't get to fully review one of the colored variants rather than 'White Pearl' that you can see above. The other colors have a jewel-like sheen, reflecting the light in a luxury way. The white is just rather boring, and looks like older devices again.  The reason for sending reviewers the white version first is pretty clear though: this thing is a fingerprint magnet. I know I've said that before about other devices, but it's never been truer than on the Galaxy S6.  The rear of the phone will just become marked and smudged within seconds of handling it, so like a silver car the white chassis on the S6 serves to hide those ugly blemishes.

In the hand the Galaxy S6 is a very nice device to hold, with the 5.1-inch screen taking up most of the front. It's compact yet elegant, with a clear feel of premium quality when you're holding it.

                       That said, it doesn't feel like the most expensive on the market - whatever reason Samsung is giving for charging this high premium, it's not coming through in the design - but it does feel like a device that can be mentioned in the same breath as the HTC One M9 and iPhone 6S in terms of build quality.  The metal band around the side is split by strips of plastic to allow the antenna and other radios to make their connections - and if it looks familiar, well, it's a very similar design to that used on the iPhone 6S. These strips are needed as metal is very inefficient at letting phone signal pass through, and Samsung isn't alone in including them. However, with the glass front and rear I was surprised to see them make an appearance. Combined with the fact the bottom of the phone, where the speaker and headphone jack live, looks almost identical to what Apple is doing, this seems to be a risky line Samsung is treading.

                       The general layout of the phone is well designed though. The volume buttons on the left-hand side and the power button on the right are perfectly positioned, and the home button has been massively upgraded to deliver a very solid click. That might not sound important, but it's not been the case with previous Galaxy phones so I'm pleased to see Samsung finally step up. The back of the phone yields one of the less aesthetically pleasing elements though, with the camera protruding quite significantly from the rear of the Galaxy S6.The reason is obvious: to allow for a higher power optical system and you'll see in the camera section that this was very, very much worth it.

But again, I'm left wondering what Samsung is doing here. In the desperation for a flat phone, the battery capacity is reduced and the camera left sticking out, exposing it to possible scratching.

                    Why not slightly round the rear, make it sit more nicely in the hand and improve the space for a battery? HTC does it to terrific effect on the One series, but it seems other brands are obsessed with a flat phone. As a result the S6 doesn't even rest comfortably on the desk, with a little wobble when tapping it at work.  But don't let the above make you think this is anything other than a great phone design. It's not up there with the very best - the HTC One M9's craftsmanship puts this head and shoulders ahead of the Galaxy S6 in terms of feel in the hand - but Samsung has finally offered what we've been hankering after for years, and it's done it well.

Samsung Galaxy S6 display

                 Samsung has always had brilliant screen technology, and once again, that's the case on the Samsung Galaxy S6. The Super AMOLED display offers clear, crisp whites against pure blacks, meaning even dark scenes are shown off perfectly.  The 5.1-inch display now packs more pixels than ever before - 1440 x 2560 in fact, which matches the Galaxy Note 4 but with a higher PPI of 577 - which means you're looking at one of the sharpest displays on the market. Though it's now been beaten by the ludicrous 806ppi Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and more recently the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

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                     The QHD level of screen was started by LG in 2014 with the G3, but as that was based on LCD technology it left the screen a little dark and power hungry, as each pixel caused a heavier strain on the battery. Then the Google Nexus 6 came along, and that really impressed with its larger screen. Despite the wider display it still looked great, and when the aforementioned Note 4 came along with the same resolution, the bar was set. So combining the pixel count of the Note 4 with a smaller display should yield an exquisite display, right? Sadly, no. That's not to say the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S6 doesn't look brilliant - it really, really does - but I'm not sure the QHD resolution really adds that much to the mix, especially given the higher power drain it commands.

Watching some optimized video does look nicer, and held side by side the screen is clearly sharper than a normal Full HD display. But we've gone way past the point of needing any more sharpness in our phones, and even 720p resolutions don't look terrible (a point well made by Matthew Hanson in his piece on the myths of screen resolution) so I'm wondering why Samsung bothered here. The Super AMOLED technology can make 1080p screens look phenomenal, and has been for years. And with bigger screens, the improved pixel count helps make them look next generation. But at 5.1-inch, this seems more gimmick than anything else as Samsung looks for anything it can throw into a new flagship to grab headlines.

                    (Admittedly, the improved resolution is needed for the Gear VR headset, where the phone is the screen and so more pixels are better. But that's not going to be a real world use for this phone for many).  The screen on the Galaxy S6 is superb. It does still have all the real benefits of Super AMOLED, as I've mentioned, with outdoor visibility particularly strong. There's nothing that doesn't look amazing on it - but it does come at the cost of battery life and, well, actual cost, and I'm not sure it adds enough to warrant those sacrifices.




Dell Chromebook 13 vs. Toshiba Chromebook 2







Build quality and design

                     Toshiba's new Chromebook 2 looks and feels almost identical to its predecessor, with a plastic body and a textured plastic lid. The build quality is slightly better than most systems in its price range, but it's nothing to write home about. The same can be said for the device's design, which is okay but unexceptional.  Dell's Chromebook 13 is a different story. The laptop has a carbon-fiber cover and an aluminum-magnesium body that work together to make the system stylish and approachable, as well as exceptionally sturdy, Dell's laptop is the larger of the two devices, at 12.9 x 9.0 x 0.72 in. compared to the Toshiba's 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 in. frame. It's also heavier, at 3.23 lbs. vs. Toshiba's 2.97 lbs. In real-world terms, those differences are pretty subtle: The Dell device does feel a bit bulkier -- as you'd expect, given its materials -- but neither system is especially svelte. While these devices may not win any awards for thinness, they fall into a good middle-ground size when it comes to most typical use. They're big enough to give you ample room to work, which isn't always the case with the more common 11-in. Chromebook models -- but at the same time, they're small enough to remain easily portable and fit effortlessly into a bag, which is something you sacrifice once you start getting into larger desktop-replacement-style devices.

Both Chromebooks are also comfortable to use on your lap or on a table. In either position, everything about the Dell's construction feels noticeably more premium than the Toshiba's -- from the strength and stability of its large hinge, which opens with ease and keeps the screen completely still during use, to the base area around its keyboard, which has a surprisingly soft texture that feels smooth and pleasant under your hands.

                   The Toshiba Chromebook is certainly fine in those regards -- just more "okay for the cost" as opposed to "spectacular." Its screen can get a little shaky as a result of its two-piece hinge, and the plastic surface of its base is serviceable but nothing special.

Display, keyboard, trackpad and speakers


                           Once you get past the surface, things start to look much more similar between the Dell and Toshiba Chromebooks. Both laptops have excellent 13.3-in. 1080p IPS displays, for instance -- a distinction that goes a long way in setting them apart from most affordable Chrome OS systems. The screens are crisp, clear and richly colored. Once your eyes get used to their level of quality, you won't be able to tolerate the dull and grainy TN-based displays on the majority of inexpensive laptops.

The displays on the Dell and Toshiba Chromebooks are really quite comparable, with one noteworthy exception: The Dell's screen has a matte finish, while the Toshiba's display is glossy and reflective. I wouldn't call either approach inherently better; image quality and viewing angles on the two are similarly superb, and there's little to complain about with either panel. It's mainly just a matter of personal preference (if you even have a strong leaning either way; most people probably won't give it an ounce of thought).

                      Both systems have a fair amount of plastic bezel surrounding their displays, with an HD Webcam in the center of the top portion. The devices' keyboards are in the same general league, too: plasticky but satisfying to type on and backlit for optimal evening use. The backlighting on the Dell looks a bit better, but either setup will get the job done (and you can actually adjust the lighting level on either device by holding the Alt key and pressing the brightness up or down key in the function row). The Toshiba keyboard has slightly larger keys with a softer-feeling finish, but like the quality of the backlighting, it really isn't a make-or-break factor.
                     Far more significant is the difference in the devices' trackpads. The Dell Chromebook's is made of glass and feels just incredible under your fingers. You may never have considered a trackpad to be a highlight of a laptop, but after using this Chromebook, you will. The Toshiba device's is ordinary in comparison -- made of plastic and about on par with what you see on most lower-end Chromebooks. It's accurate and easy to use but in a very different class from Dell's. Both laptops have impressive speakers that are loud and fairly full-sounding (as laptop speakers go). I'd give the edge in audio quality to the Toshiba: Its speakers are artfully hidden beneath its keyboard, which allows sound to be directed toward you without the need for any ugly visible grilles.

The Dell Chromebook has speakers on either side of its bottom, which isn't nearly as ideal of a placement -- but they're on the outer edges of the surface, at least, and so they usually avoid getting muffled entirely. Still, while the laptop's audio is reasonably decent in and of itself, it ends up sounding markedly less loud and clear than the Toshiba Chromebook's when you listen to the one right after the other.



Performance, storage, stamina and ports


Dell and Toshiba both offer varying levels of processing power with their new Chromebooks. I'll make that part of the decision easy for you: The only models you really need to consider are the base-level models I mentioned at the start of this review -- the $429 Dell Chromebook 13, which has an Intel Celeron 3205U processor and 4GB of RAM, and the $330 Toshiba Chromebook 2, which has an Intel Celeron 3215U processor and 4GB of RAM.
                Those almost-identical setups are more than capable of handling even the most demanding needs -- like my own anything-but-average style of working, which tends to include frequent switching between as many as 15 to 20 simultaneously open tabs. I've used both systems from morning to night in that manner and things have been consistently smooth and snappy, without a single slowdown or sign of lag on either device. Both laptops are fairly quiet during use, too, and neither gets especially hot.  (Technically, Toshiba's processor is a slight step ahead of Dell's, as it has a higher operating frequency, but don't read too much into those sorts of spec-sheet details. In terms of real-word performance, the laptops are essentially the same -- even with a direct side-by-side comparison.)

For the vast majority of people, upgrading to a model with a more powerful chip or additional RAM isn't going to make enough of a noticeable difference to be worth the extra cost. If you want to spend more money -- especially in the range of $600 to $900, as Dell's higher-level configurations climb -- you'd be better off bumping up to the high-end Pixel and gaining the top-of-the-line hardware, design and display it provides (all of which will be far more meaningful than the added processing power alone in day-to-day use).

                        In the configurations I'm reviewing, both laptops have 16GB of internal storage space along with a slot for external storage (regular, mini or micro SD on the Toshiba and -- somewhat strangely -- micro SD-only on the Dell). They both also include 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years, which would cost about $48 if you paid for it outright. We've got one more significant point of differentiation to cover and that's stamina: The Toshiba Chromebook 2 does admirably well, with a quoted 8.5 hours of battery life per charge and real-world results generally ranging between 6.5 to 7 hours for me. The Dell Chromebook 13, meanwhile, is outstanding: It's listed for a whopping 12 hours of use per charge, and I've been clocking in somewhere between 10 and 12 hours total on most days.



Lined Slashed
If you're looking for the best all-around Chromebook you can buy short of $1,000 right now, Dell's Chromebook 13 is, without a doubt, it. The laptop redefines what a midrange Chromebook can be, with a combination of solid performance, a high-quality display and elevated build quality. If you have $429 to spend, it's the one you want to get.
Toshiba's Chromebook 2 offers the same level of performance and the same caliber of display in a less premium package. You're getting a device that's just as capable -- only not as nice to use (and with less outstanding, though still generally quite sufficient, stamina). By accepting that tradeoff, you're keeping an extra $100 in your wallet.
All considered, I'd say this: The Toshiba Chromebook is certainly good enough for most casual computing purposes, and if cost is a concern, I wouldn't hesitate to get it. If you can justify the extra $100, though, the Dell Chromebook will give you a meaningfully better overall experience. Things like premium materials and a top-of-the-line trackpad make a laptop significantly more pleasant to use -- and given the choice, that's undoubtedly what you want.
With their potent mixes of performance, portability, quality and value, these two devices are the most advisable Chromebook purchases for most people right now. The only real question is how much you're looking to spend.

The Xiaomi Mi 6

The Xiaomi Mi 6



Specs

                    The Xiaomi Mi 6 sports a 5.15-inch display, making it one of the smaller flagships on the market. The Mi 6’s display is the typical 16:9 aspect ratio, with a resolution of 1920×1080. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is powering the Xiaomi Mi 6, making it the first device available in China with the newest Snapdragon chipset. That is paired with 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. There is no micro SD card slot on the Mi 6, so you’re stuck with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. It does support dual nano SIM cards though. There’s also a 3350mAh battery inside, which Xiaomi says should keep the Mi 6 running all day long.
Xiaomi’s Mi 6 is their first smartphone with dual rear-cameras. There’s a 12-megapixel camera with 4-axis OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), while the other camera is a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor and unfortunately it does not have OIS. There’s also a USB-C connector for charging, there is also NFC support but no 3.5mm headphone jack, sadly. The Xiaomi Mi 6 does sport that fingerprint sensor under a capacitive home button. Finally, it’s available in black, white, blue and silver with the ceramic edition .

In the Box

                      Inside the box, Xiaomi has included all of the usual suspects. You get your wall adapter, which is capable of Quick Charge 3.o speeds. Additionally you get a USB-C to USB-A cable along with the appropriate paperwork and SIM ejection tool. There’s also a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle for listening to music with your wired headphones. As an added bonus, and something the company began doing with the Mi Note 2 last fall, there is a TPU case included in the box. Allowing you to keep your device protected, especially important if you get the ceramic or silver model.

Hardware & Build

                 Picking up the Xiaomi Mi 6, it definitely reminds you of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It has a curved backside, kind of like a backwards Galaxy S6 Edge, which makes it feel great in the hand. Now while the Mi Note 2 sported a curved display, the Mi 6 does not. It sports a flat 5.15-inch display on the front, with a capacitive home button. The home button is a bit confusing. It looks like it’s a physical home button, since it is concaved, but it’s just a capacitive button made of glass, and it actually works fairly well. Xiaomi has two capacitive buttons on either side of that home button, which are shown as simply dots. Allowing users to swap their recents and back buttons. The rest of the front is pretty clean, just showing a camera at the top on the left of the earpiece, and there is a notification LED light on the right side.  On our blue model here, the frame is indeed gold, but it’s not the 14k gold that is on the ceramic model. It looks a bit odd on the blue Xiaomi Mi 6, but the more you use it, the better it looks (aka, you get used to it). On the right side of the Mi 6, you’ll find the volume rocker with the power button below it. On the left side, there is the dual SIM card slot, remember the Mi 6 does not have a micro SD card slot, so instead it’s just a dual nano SIM card slot. Up top you’ll find a microphone and an IR Blaster – one of the few smartphones that still has an IR blaster. The bottom of the device sports a USB-C port, a speaker and microphone. Remember the Mi 6 does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The backside of the Mi 6 also looks pretty clean. You’ll find the dual-camera and dual-LED flash at the top, and nothing else is back here besides Xiaomi’s logo and regulatory information towards the bottom. Now with this being a glass phone, it’s plenty slippery, so you’ll want to slap that TPU case that comes with it, on the Mi 6 to keep it protected. The Mi 6 does feel really good in the hand. Of course, a big part of that is the fact that the Mi 6 does have a somewhat small display, in this day and age. So a 5.15-inch device does fit in the hand. The blue model we have here does have a bit of weight to it, although the ceramic model is even heavier, and that shouldn’t be a surprise since ceramic is heavier than glass. 

Display

                  In a world where smartphones are going with bigger displays in smaller body sizes, and higher-resolution displays, does a 5.15-inch 108op IPS display make the cut? Surprisingly, yes, at least when it comes to picture quality. The 5.15-inch display here looks great, even though it is a 1080p resolution display. But keep in mind that with this being a somewhat small 5.15-inch panel, you’re getting 428 pixels per inch, which is still a pretty high pixel density, making for a great experience. This IPS panel is one of the better ones out there, of course an AMOLED panel would be better, but there’s very little to complain about here with the IPS panel.
                         Now when it comes to size, the bezels on the front of the Mi 6 does look pretty bulky. This comes after using the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 for the past few months. Of course, it is nice to have a 16:9 aspect ratio display, instead of a taller display – especially since video fits better on this display – it would be nice to have a smaller display. And it’s not that Xiaomi isn’t capable of making one, after all, they did announce the Mi Mix last year. But they are, currently, keeping that bezel-less display for the Mi Mix, and they are going to be announcing the successor to that this fall. With Xiaomi, they have a specific feature-set for each flagship, with the Mi 6 being the small device, the Mi Note 2 having that larger curved display, and the Mi Mix having that really large display with virtually no bezels.
the display here is top-notch. We’d always love to see something of higher-resolution, but on a display this size, we’d happily take the lower-resolution display for better battery life. Especially since it is still really good looking, especially when it comes to media. Xiaomi does also allow you to adjust the color temperature, in case you weren’t too impressed with the temperature of this display panel. This is great because not everyone likes panels at the same temperature, some like it a bit warmer, while others may like it a bit cooler.

Performance

                       Xiaomi’s Mi 6 is the first smartphone to launch in China with the Snapdragon 835 processor, which means this is a beast. The Mi 6 comes with the Snapdragon 835 processor, Adreno 540 GPU and 6GB of RAM. Making it the only smartphone available with the Snapdragon 835 and 6GB of RAM, so there’s some high standards here when it comes to performance. And the Xiaomi Mi 6 didn’t let us down. We’ve been using the Mi 6 side-by-side with the Galaxy S8 Plus which also runs on the Snapdragon 835 but with 4GB of RAM. And the Mi 6 is a bit faster in everyday use. Of course, that is largely due to the software on the device, which is pretty impressive, since MIUI is also pretty full of features like Samsung Experience (the new name for Touchwiz).
                        The Mi 6 is nice and snappy, even with many apps and games running in the background, the Snapdragon 835 still runs really well. 6GB of RAM definitely does its job here, on that respect, which is good, but 6GB of RAM is likely still a bit more than what most people need. Now when it comes to gaming, the Mi 6 is a beast. Especially when it comes to high-end games with plenty of good looking graphics inside. Now the Mi 6 does come with 64GB of storage, but there is a 128GB option available but it’s only available on the ceramic Mi 6. There’s also no micro SD card slot available so there’s no way of expanding the storage here, unfortunately.

Fingerprint Sensor

                      There is a home button on the Mi 6, but it’s capacitive and not a physical button like on earlier Xiaomi devices. So it feels a bit like the home button on the iPhone 7, except it doesn’t move at all. The home button does have a chamfered border, which makes it look like a physical button, but more importantly, it makes it easier to actually find that button and use it for recognizing your fingerprint. Which is important as well.
The fingerprint sensor is top notch. That’s something you expect from Xiaomi, considering they have been working with fingerprint sensors for a few years now and continue to get better with each smartphone. The fingerprint sensor also works with many apps, as you’d expect since the Mi 6 does run on Android Nougat, so the Fingerprint API is supported here.

Audio Quality

                   Like most smartphones, the Mi 6 has a speaker on the bottom of the phone. It’s a single speaker, and it’s decent. That’s about it. The speaker is loud, and it’s not tinny, which is a good sign for a single speaker smartphone. But the audio quality isn’t going to win any awards. It’s great for watching movies, listening to music and such, but don’t expect high-quality audio from the Mi 6.
on the Mi 6 is the headphone jack – well the lack thereof. Xiaomi had said that the headphone jack was removed so that they could add in a larger battery (3350mAh). Which sounds like an okay reason, but many would have still loved to have a headphone jack for their existing headphones. Fortunately, there is still a Bluetooth connection available. So you can connect your favorite Bluetooth headphones with ease.

Phone Calls & Network

                  Before we get started in this section of the review, it’s important to remember that the Mi 6 was made for Asia (specifically China) and not for the US. Which means it is not optimized for the networks in the US, not to mention it doesn’t support all of the bands in the US. Despite the Mi Note 2 supporting basically every band, when it launched last year. The Mi 6 isn’t a global edition, and there’s no plans to make one. Therefore, in the US, we are stuck with HSPA+ speeds and often times stuck with 2G or EDGE speeds.
                     During the review, we used the Mi 6 on T-Mobile’s network, and it worked as expected. We were able to get up to HSPA+ speeds on the device, and they matched the speeds on other Chinese smartphones (like the Meizu M5 Note). So there’s nothing to worry about with the data speeds on the Mi 6. When it came to phone calls, calls came in clear and those on the other end said that we sounded great. There were no dropped calls either. Xiaomi does have VoLTE on the Mi 6, so you are able to make calls over LTE instead of over the traditional voice networks. It did work for us here in the US, but only to an extent since it’s not a universal standard just yet.

Benchmarks

                 On the Mi 6, we ran the same three benchmarks as we do on every review. Which includes AnTuTu, 3D Mark and Geekbench 4. Now the scores are pretty impressive here, and are basically the same as what the Galaxy S8 scored, despite the Mi 6 having slightly more RAM. On AnTuTu, it scored 163,157. Over on Geekbench it picked up a score of 1934 in the single-core test and 6479 in the multi-score test. Finally, on 3D Mark gave the Mi 6 a score of 3379. You can see the full results from all three benchmarks in the gallery down below.

Battery Life

                             Xiaomi is pretty proud to have stuffed a 3350mAh battery into this pretty small smartphone (at least by today’s standards) and say that it’s the biggest battery in its class, which is true. But what we care about more is whether it’ll get us through an entire day of usage or not. And the short answer here is yes, it will. We’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi 6 for about a week (not quite as our daily driver since it doesn’t get LTE in the US, but still pretty heavy usage) and were able to get nearly 6 hours of on-screen time. Now this included watching some video, browsing the internet, using Snapchat, etc. So that’s some pretty good battery right there. And it actually leads me to believe that the Snapdragon 835 is fantastic when it comes to power efficiency, since the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus also have great battery life.
The Mi 6 does run on the Snapdragon 835, many people may think that it has Quick Charge 4.0 for charging, and well it doesn’t. Xiaomi has kept Quick Charge 3.0 in this one, which is just fine, as it still charges the 3350mAh battery rather quickly, in just under two hours. Which is more than fast enough for topping off your smartphone before you head out. And with the Mi 6 already having great battery life, that still may not be needed.

Software

                   The Xiaomi Mi 6 launched on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, MIUI 8, and the March 1st, 2017 security patch. For the most part, everything here is up-to-date, including the latest version of Android, definitely great to see that here. Now we haven’t gotten any updates during our time with the phone, but we do know that Xiaomi does push out updates rather frequently, especially if you are on the beta version of MIUI. But while updates are fast, the latest version of Android is a bit slower. And that’s partially because they are implementing their overlay into the new version of Android, which can take some time. There’s not much new with MIUI here, it’s still pretty colorful and vibrant and jam-packed with features. Still one of my favorite features in MIUI 8 is the fact that you have the weather in the notification shade. So you can simply pull down the notification shade and see what the weather is like right now. It’s definitely useful, and easier than opening up your favorite weather app. Xiaomi is also one of the very few smartphone makers that are keeping the IR Blaster in their smartphones. So using the Mi Remote app, you are able to use your Mi 6 to control your TV, DVR and a lot of other products around your home. Definitely easier than having to find that pesky remote that is probably lost again.
                   MIUI does not have an app drawer. But that’s not a big deal, since you can simply install a third-party launcher and get one back on the Mi 6. But for those that want the full MIUI experience, you’re stuck with having your apps on your home screens. This is a trend that is pretty popular in Asia, and we see most Chinese manufacturers – those that make their own skin, and don’t just slap AOSP on their smartphones – doing this, so it’s no real surprise either. If you don’t have a Mi Account already, it’s definitely worth it to sign up for one. It allows you to use their forums and provide feedback to their team, but it also allows you to keep track of your accounts, devices and use Mi Cloud. By default, Mi Cloud starts you off with 5GB of space. It’s a lot like iCloud in that it can sync your contacts, messages, Gallery and Notes, as well as being used for finding your device if you ever lose your Mi 6. You can also use Mi Cloud to backup your device. Making it pretty useful, and while 5GB may not be a lot of space, you can opt for more storage at an extra cost.
                       The more you use your device, the more “junk” files accumulate on your smartphone. And that clogs up space that could be used for other things. Xiaomi has a built in feature for handling this. With Deep Clean, it’ll analyze your device and find files that you can clean up and get rid of. Allowing you to free up some space on your Mi 6. Which sometimes could be a few gigabytes of space. And since there’s no micro SD card slot here, the space on the Mi 6 is definitely precious. This is part of the Security app on the Mi 6 which has a few other features, like analyzing your battery to find out what can be done to extend your battery life. You can also view your data usage and permissions, also scan for viruses and check out your blocklist (and most importantly, add more people to your blocklist).  MIUI is not for everyone. There are usually two groups of Android users out there, those that love pure Android and those that don’t. Obviously, MIUI appeals to those that don’t love pure Android, and possibly those that want to have plenty of features on their smartphone. While MIUI seems like it is a bit bloated and heavy on features and such, it is not so heavy that it hinders performance, which is a good thing. MIUI 8 runs smooth on the Mi 6 (and we are using a beta version of the global ROM), smooth as butter, which is something we definitely like to see.

Camera

                      The Mi 6 is one of the first smartphones (the Redmi Pro was the very first) from Xiaomi to feature dual-cameras, a feature that every manufacturer seems to be adopting these days. Xiaomi uses dual-cameras similar to how the iPhone does. There’s one lens that is your normal 12-megapixel camera, and the second is a telephoto lens. This means that you’ll be able to get better zoomed in photos, as it uses the telephoto lens to do that. Now when we were in Beijing for the announcement of the Mi 6, we were taken to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, so we took a slew of pictures there, which you’ll see in the Flickr gallery below, and the Xiaomi Mi 6 camera did pretty incredible. We had the chance to take some portrait style photos (a feature that was heavily touted in the Mi 6’s announcement) with some of the PR reps that were with us. The portrait mode is aimed at taking great portraits, but you can also use it for macro shots. However we found that for some occasions, you don’t even need that turned on to get a good macro shot.
The colors in the images taken from the Mi 6 were nice and vibrant. Xiaomi did not oversaturate the photos like you see with some of Samsung’s smartphones (actually all of them). Xiaomi does also have and Auto HDR mode available on the Mi 6, which was used in the majority of the pictures taken. It worked really well, and it didn’t slow down the shutter at all on the Mi 6, which is also impressive. Since most smartphones that are using HDR will be a bit slow to take a picture after you hit the shutter button. So it was nice to see that was not an issue with the Mi 6.
                      Having used a good number of the dual-camera setups available on Android in the past year, it’s tough to say whether Xiaomi has the best dual-camera smartphone. It is a pretty good one, although we would like to see an actual macro mode, like what Huawei has. Their macro mode so far has been the best. It’s a bit interesting that they went with a telephoto lens instead of a black/white and a color sensor like Huawei and Honor have on their smartphones. But the Xiaomi Mi 6 does output some pretty impressive photos, which is what you want from a smartphone camera. And best of all, it doesn’t protrude on the back of the Mi 6. It sits flush with the backside, and even has gold (not 14-karat gold though) trim, which looks great and matches the frame of this blue Mi 6 we have here. Will the Mi 6 replace your current camera? Probably not, unless you are one of the very few carrying around a point-and-shoot camera. The Mi 6 will replace a point-and-shoot, but it still has a ways to go to replace a DSLR for the hardcore photographers out there. You can check out all of the images we took with the Mi 6 in their original resolution (with zero editing done) in the Flickr gallery below.
                             Xiaomi knows how to make great smartphones, there’s no doubt about that. And one of the great things about Xiaomi is the fact that they don’t just release new phones just because. They release new phones because they are the first to implement some type of technology or feature. Which with the Mi 6 includes, the first with Snapdragon 835 in China, the first with a fingerprint sensor under the glass, and a few others. Now while the Mi 6 does take a hit by getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack, it’s not really surprising, since most smartphone makers are doing the same thing. And removing that headphone jack to add more battery capacity is definitely a good thing. But that does mean you’ll need to get USB-C headphones or use Bluetooth headphones, which is unfortunate. Or you are forced to live the dongle life. But as an entire package, the Mi 6 is perhaps the best phone that Xiaomi has ever made.
Conccluded              Definitely. The Xiaomi Mi 6 is one of the best smartphones on the market right now, especially at its price point. The standard version of the Mi 6 is priced at 2499 RMB which is around $362 USD, and the ceramic model with 128GB of storage is 2999 RMB which converts to about $434 USD. There’s really nothing that competes at this price point with these specs, besides OnePlus. So it’s hard to say no to buying the Mi 6, unless you are really attached to your wired headphones, and want to be able to charge your phone at the same time as listening to music.

Lenovo A7000 Reviews






Design

                         Lenovo A7000 looks like an oversized A6000 (or A6000 Plus for that matter), and does not boast of much in terms of design flair. The phablet's body is dominated by plastic, with only the power and volume buttons being made of metal. The matte finish plastic on the back of the smartphone gets easily smudged. slightly curved edges and rounded edges of the device, which make it easy to hold in the hand. Though it is rather wide at 76.2mm, Lenovo A7000 is surprisingly light at 140 grams. The bezels above and below the display are not too wide compared to other handsets in the same segment, while those on the sides are pretty thin.

Three soft-touch keys: Task Switcher, Home and Back; unfortunately, the keys are not backlit, which may pose a problem when you operate the handset in the dark. Above the screen is the front camera and the regular set of sensors.
On the back is the primary camera and dual LED flash; the camera module is slightly recessed, so the lens cannot get scratched when placed on a flat surface. The loudspeaker is placed towards the top too. The Lenovo branding is located slightly above the middle of the back.

Display

                      One of the strong points of Lenovo A7000 is its 5.5-inch HD IPS display. It is among the few smartphones that have been able to get the right balance in terms of colours, delivering vibrant hues but not crossing the line of oversaturation. The brightness levels are quite nice, so much so that you can comfortably read text at just 50% brightness. However, the viewing angles of Lenovo A7000 are less than perfect, as the colours lose vigour when viewed at an angle; instead of displaying the natural colours, the display panel shows rather cold tones.

Unfortunately, Lenovo has not used Gorilla Glass to give the screen added protection against scratches.

Hardware

                   Lenovo is using MT6752m chipset, an entry-level Mediatek chip whose chief rival is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410, in its A7000 phablet. The chip supports 64-bit apps and has eight cores running at 1.5GHz each. The company has coupled the chipset with 2GB of RAM in this handset. The A7000 phablet comes with 8GB of internal storage, of which you get 5GB to store apps and data; the rest goes to the software. You can use microSD cards of capacities up to 32GB to expand the available storage. Lenovo A7000 comes with 2G, 3G and 4G support (for India's 2300MHz band), but only on one sim; the second sim card can only access 2G internet networks. The smartphone comes with Dolby Atmos support, the first handset in the market to offer this feature. Battery capacity of Lenovo A7000 is rated at 2,900mAh.

Software

                    A7000 is the first Lenovo smartphone to hit the market with Android 5.0 (Lollipop)-based custom skin out of the box. The company's proprietary Vibe UI does not get a major makeover with a Lollipop in terms of user interface, but it has become a lot smoother than the iteration we have seen on Vibe X2, A6000 and most recently on A6000 Plus. On the new Vibe UI, you get the same interface, with no app drawer to keep your apps hidden away from sight. Therefore, we resorted to storing apps in folders to keep the home screens uncluttered. You also get Material Design animations, but those are very limited as Lenovo's own UI overshadows the stock Android features.

Lenovo has added a number of software features to this smartphone that add to the user experience. For example, you can restrict the apps others use when you hand over the handset to them; the software also ensures no accidental buttons are pressed while the phone is in your pocket. However, most of the features you can find in older Lenovo models, like A6000 and Vibe X2. One problem with Lenovo's Vibe UI 3.0 is that it comes preloaded with a rather large number of apps, which you probably will not use. Fortunately, most of the apps can be uninstalled, so you can still salvage some internal storage, especially considering you get just over 5.5GB of usable space.

Performance


                 Lenovo A7000 is a stellar performer, offering consistently good performance throughout our review period. The smartphone never felt overburdened by the number of apps we downloaded as well as the resources they consumed. The smartphone handled all of the tasks we subjected it to without any lag or freezing up even once. The MT6752m chipset and 2 gigs of RAM also proved up to task when it came to playing heavy games like Asphalt 8 and Injustice: Gods Among Us. Frankly, it was a pleasant surprise to see the smartphone hold up so well to these resource-guzzling games without even the slightest bit of hearing. Lenovo A7000 comes with dual sim support, but only sim can operate on 4G/3G network at a time, while the other sim is relegated to 2G speeds. The call quality we observed on the smartphone was good as well.  The A7000 is touted as the world's first smartphone with Dolby Atmos technology, but you need to invest on a good pair of headphones in order to enjoy the beats. The loudspeaker volume is way too low to notice the difference when Atmos kicks in, unless you put the loudspeaker right next to you ear. However, once you plug in the earphones, you will be amazed at the audio enhancement Atmos offers; in essence, Dolby Atmos is an equalizer app, but the equalizer settings have a resounding effect on the audio and the music becomes much more enjoyable on the mobile.

Another strong suite of Lenovo A7000 is its battery life. The 2,900mAh battery can run for a day and a half easily on one charge with moderate usage, and delivers a full day of battery life even with heavy usage.

Camera

                          Lenovo A7000 has been such a fantastic smartphone so far, with no chink in its armour. Sadly, the camera turned out to be its Achilees' heel. The 8MP rear camera is certainly outclassed by the much more capable shooters of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and YU Yureka.The photos we took using Lenovo A7000's camera lacked detail and were pretty noisy; the level of grains in lowlight images was pretty high too. Even the colours, in bright daylight, lacked punch.

The front camera was a little better at taking selfies and will be pretty good for taking Vine videos, making Skype calls, and creating Dubsmash videos. However, photos taken with the fromt camera seemed to offer under-saturated colours too, though the right lighting indoors could fix that.

ConcludedLenovo A7000 is a pretty good smartphone, perfect for reading, watching videos, performing productivity tasks, playing games, etc. However, it is still not perfect, as exhibited by the camera performance, lack of Gorilla Glass, and 8GB of internal storage. Nevertheless, you would not go wrong in choosing this smartphone, as it still figures among the best models you can buy under Rs 10,000 despite the launch of many new handsets in the same price range

NVIDIA MAX Q

NVIDIA MAX Q





                Slim notebooks sporting a top-end GPU sounds about as unreal as man landing on Mars. Today, NVIDIA defies that logic with Max-Q, a new design approach that will lead to thinner, quieter and faster gaming notebooks.  Max-Q started off as an important part of NASA’s mission to launch man into space. NVIDIA has taken the design philosophy and applied it to gaming notebooks, which translates to precision engineered machines that are up to three times thinner and faster than before. The company also says that we can expect to have gaming notebooks powered by its GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs that are down to 18mm thin, comparable to a MacBook Air. Here's how Max-Q pushes PC gaming on laptops to the next level:-

Optimizing GPUs for max efficiency: Max-Q combines a new way of operating the GPU for peak efficiency, with optimizations such as a low voltage optimized clock curve that wrings out gaming performance while reducing power.
Optimal Playable Settings: Game Ready drivers have been tuned to deliver optimal system efficiency while delivering a great gaming experience for every game on every system.

            Advanced Thermal Solutions and Optimal Regulator Efficiency: To squeeze even more performance out of a system, Max-Q designed laptops are engineered with sophisticated thermal and electrical design. New advanced thermal solutions, along with unprecedented regulator efficiency, enable dramatically higher performance and quieter operations in thin gaming laptops than in anything else currently available. Assuming that all gaming notebook makers adopt this design, it would mean the end of bulky machines that are powerful at the cost of being impractical in terms of portability. This is terrific news for gamers who prefer gaming notebooks as their main machine of choice - be it at home or anywhere on the move.

                 ASUS is among the first of a slew of leading OEM and system vendors to showcase Max-Q designed gaming laptops, such as the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus. Just under 18mm thin, it is able to cram a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU.  Alongside notebooks with rocket science for design language, NVIDIA also introduced what it calls the 'WhisperMode' tech. Essentially, it configures graphic settings of games for optimal power efficiency and pacing frame rates, resulting in a quieter gaming experience. Of course, you can assume direct control over the way it works via the GeForce Experience software on machines running Pascal GPUs.

Samsung Galaxy A3 Reviews

Samsung Galaxy A3 Reviews

 

 

Design

                  Just a few years ago, most of Samsung’s phones were plastic – even the fairly expensive devices. The Samsung Galaxy A3 demonstrates just how far the company has moved on from that style. This device is composed of glass and metal, with barely any plastic on show at all. It looks very much like the Samsung Galaxy S7’s smaller sibling, even though the devices sit in different ranges. The most obvious thing to set them apart in the finish: where the Galaxy S7’s colors tend to look shiny or metallic behind the glass top layer, the A3’s are plain.  For a phone made using some of the same materials featured on a device that's twice the price, it's a bit of a wallflower. I don’t mind, but it does mean that the higher-quality build becomes obvious only when you start using the Samsung Galaxy A3.

               Samsung hasn’t skimped on the glass, either. The front and back are big-brand Gorilla Glass 4, and the rear features curved edges for a softer feel. It's been a while since I’ve used a phone as compact as the 4.7-inch-screened A3, but handling it was second nature. Picking up a friend’s iPhone 7 a few days into testing the A3, Apple’s handset felt big and awkward.  Thankfully, there are no major features lacking as a result of its more diminutive size. Beneath the screen is a reliable fingerprint scanner couched between the two soft keys, just as in Samsung’s larger phones. Also included is a headphone jack, plus the Galaxy A3 is water resistant, too; itsIP68 certification means that an accidental drop in water is unlikely to cause damage.

As is the case with the majority of new handsets, the Samsung Galaxy A3 has a USB Type-C charging port rather than micro-USB. Storage is a reminder that you’re not using a high-end phone, however.

             Following only a couple of days of use, the dreaded “you’ve run out of space” message popped up as I tried to install an app; the phone has just 16GB of storage. A few gigabytes of photos, a couple of data-hungry games, and you'll be done. Note that there is a slot for a single microSD card in the tray, however, which holds a nano-SIM. The A3, like the Samsung Galaxy A5, has an unusual speaker. Rather than sitting on the bottom of the device, it can be found on the side, above the power button. I often walk around my home with a podcast playing on my phone, and found that I tended to block the sound more than I would have on a device with a bottom-loaded speaker. However, at least muffled sound won't be an issue when playing games, regardless of which way you hold the phone.

Speaker quality is fine, with enough volume to cut through some ambient noise. Otherwise, it's of the slightly dreary mid-range standard. That said, I’ve used it for hours at a time so, it can’t be that bad.

Screen

                 The Samsung Galaxy A3’s screen is where high-end and low-end parts of the hardware collide. It’s a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED panel with punchy colours that can be calibrated to suit your taste.  For those who like a super-vivid look, it’s there. If you want more relaxed colour, however, it's possible to just switch to the "Basic" mode in Settings to achieve this. I’ve mostly used the standard Adaptive mode, which presents better colour saturation than just about all entry-level and mid-range phones with LCD screens.  However, if you go looking for the effects of the limited 720p screen resolution, you’re certain to find them. While this isn’t a bad resolution for a small display, Samsung’s OLED screens tend to look a little fuzzy, unless they have a high pixel density. The use of a PenTile array means that pixels share sub-pixels – the little red, green and blue dots that make up a screen’s image

On first firing up the Samsung Galaxy A3, this was very obvious. Following a day or two of use, however, I’d completely forgotten about it since it's unlikely that you'll use this device with the screen right up by your eyeballs.
               Note that there's a great extra that comes with a Samsung OLED; a sort of compensation. In standby the screen continues to display basic information such as the time, notification icons and the battery level. I’ve been using it as a desk clock while I work. OLED technology makes way for this since only a few pixels needed are activated, where as an LCD has to light up the whole screen to display anything.
 

 Software

              The Galaxy A3 runs Android 6.0.1 at launch, and has Samsung’s familiar interface wallpapered on top. Given the Galaxy S7 has already been updated to Android 7.0 in some territories, it’s a shame the A3 doesn’t benefit from it too. Advanced notifications are the main difference between the two versions: Android 7.0’s display more information and let you reply to messages direct from the notifications bar, for instance. In return, the Samsung interface injects a bunch more customisation, and a different style. It uses app menu pages rather than a great long vertical scroll for example, lets you choose how the icons are arranged, and allows app menu folders

There are also themes that give your Samsung Galaxy A3 a new look with minimal effort, although many of these now cost money. The app puts paid-for options at the top – Samsung gets its cut, after all – but it's still possible to find free ones.

                Samsung also includes masses of pre-installed apps, which aren't entirely welcome when the Samsung Galaxy A3’s storage is limited. There's the Microsoft Apps suite, including Word and OneNote, but since these are free to download, their value is thin.  S Health is probably the most interesting of Samsung’s own apps. This is now a full fitness and 'wellness’ platform, allowing you to simply track your steps, but also log your food and GPS-track hikes, cycles and walks as well. There are plenty of alternatives on Google Play, but just running S Health the once is a good way to turn the Samsung Galaxy A3 into a low-key fitness tracker.

Read Also : Samsung Galaxy 8

 Performance

                  Samsung’s interface doesn't feel as fast as vanilla Android – but the Galaxy A3 in particular doesn’t feel slowed-down by the relatively low-end hardware at its core. The phone has an Exynos 7870, a CPU with eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.6GHz, and a Mali-T830 GPU.  Each part here is less powerful than that included in the Moto G5 Plus, which has faster slightly CPU cores and a better GPU. For the price, the level of power is acceptable at best, but you can reasonably argue it doesn’t need any more.  High-end games such as Asphalt 8 run well, with only slight dips in the frame rate at the start of races and during very high poly-count scenes. The drop in graphics quality between a 1080p screen and a 720p one such as this is quite obvious, however. As already mentioned, there are better phones out there for gamers.

Camera

                  The Samsung Galaxy A3 has a 13-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.9 lens. Images captured are fairly detailed, Samsung’s processing isn’t particularly obvious and the camera is fun to use. There’s minimal shutter lag, so you won’t often lose a shot because the A3 simply wasn’t fast enough.  A fairly wide lens aperture also lets you create some neat 'blurry background' effect close-ups, without needing to use a software mode that mimics this effect (there isn’t one in the camera app anyway). I also found it easier to get sharp night photos than with 2016’s Galaxy A3, since this model seems to use slightly faster shutter speeds when shooting in low light.

However, the camera lacks optical image stabilisation, so with shots taken in poor light especially, you'll need to keep the phone fairly still. In addition, the camera here simply isn't as smart as those featured in Samsung's more expensive devices. On occasion, its metering system becomes confused, misreading the scene and making the image either too dark or too bright.

                  A little exposure control by the focus point lets you fiddle with this manually, but ideally you want to simply point and shoot  without having to fix a camera’s mistakes. Note too, that outside of exposure the level of manual control is pretty poor. While there’s a Pro mode, you can’t control shutter speed, although doing so without OIS is of limited use anyway.

 Battery Life

               The 2350mAh battery is well suited to the Samsung Galaxy A3’s small screen, and when used in a way that exploits this, the Galaxy A3 lasts for some time. An hour of Netflix consumes just 5% of the battery, for example – a result so good I have to wonder whether the phone occasionally uses some ‘non-linear’ battery reporting tricks. My experience with the phone has been rather more ordinary, though, since I stream a lot of audio – a task that doesn’t really care for the size of your screen. The Samsung Galaxy A3 lasted a day with my normal use, but that’s about it.

Realated Post Samsung Galaxy Note 7
 

 

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7



         iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are deeply unusual devices. They are full of aggressive breaks from convention while wrapped in cases that look almost exactly like their two direct predecessors. Even that continuity of design is a break from convention; after almost a decade of Apple’s steady two-year iPhone update pattern, merely retaining the same design for a third straight year plays against expectations. Inside that case, everything else about the iPhone 7 is a decisive statement about the future. The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus promise to usher in a new era in mobile photography. The iconic iPhone home button is no longer a physical button, but instead a sophisticated ballet of pressure sensors and haptic vibration motors that simulate the feel of a button. The new A10 Fusion processor blends two high-power cores that rival laptop performance with two low-power cores that combine with a much larger battery to extend run time by up to two hours. And, yes, Apple has removed the headphone jack. Removing the headphone jack is an act of pure confidence from Apple, which is the only company in tech that can set off a sea changes in the industry by aggressively dropping various technologies from its products. Floppy drives, optical drives, its own proprietary 30-pin iPod connector, flash, even USB — Apple decides that it’s time to move on, and it has a massive installed base of customers that love and trust the company who make it happen. And now it’s decided that — yikes — the headphone jack is over.

    After using the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus for about a week, it’s clear to me that Apple has forceful, but considered opinions about how the next generation of phones should fit into our lives. But it’s also clear that the iPhone 7 is a transitional step to that vision of the future, not a complete expression of it.


Design


             There’s really no getting around it: the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus look more or less exactly like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from 2014. They are now water resistant, which is nice, although they’re not fully waterproof — keep them submerged in a meter of water for more than 30 minutes and things might not go your way. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Note 7 are technically even more water resistant, but I think it’s basically a push — you can get these phones casually wet now without catastrophe, and that’s a big win. If you want to go snorkeling with your iPhone, you should probably get a case anyhow.

Apart from the water resistance, there are three main external differences between the 6 and 7: first, the antenna lines on the back have been tweaked and colored to blend into the body on the matte black and glossy jet black models, which is a welcome refinement. (The antennas remain a dull gray color on the silver, gold, and rose gold variants; Apple says there are limits on what colors can be applied.) Second, the camera bump has been enlarged and more artfully curved into the rear casing, which looks particularly handsome on the smaller phone with a single camera.
And third — here it is again — there’s no headphone jack.

                   But really, once you put the iPhone 7 in a case, it looks exactly like an iPhone 6. And if you get a jet black model, you’ll want to get it into a case immediately — my jet black review unit scratched and scuffed almost instantly, and the only time it’s remained fingerprint-free is when we literally handled it with white gloves for the photo and video shoots accompanying this review. Apple is being unusually open about the propensity of the jet black finish to scratch, but beyond that, I’d get the matte black anyway — it just looks meaner. The iPhone 6 has always been one of the more utilitarian designs in Apple history, and a smoothed-out camera bump and less visible antennas don’t really change that. Apple’s competition is getting better at making beautiful phones, and nothing about the iPhone 7’s design exceeds the rest of the industry. The iPhone 7 Plus in particular is actually falling behind its large-screened competition; the 6 Plus was always a bit of a surfboard, and new devices like the Galaxy Note 7 fit enormous displays into much smaller, tighter packages. (Too bad about the explosions, though.) This is still a phone that looks best in a case.

Home button, display, and speakers

                     The iPhone 7’s new home button will elicit instant reaction from people; it’s much more different than you might think. The button no longer moves at all — it’s totally solid, just like newer MacBook trackpads. A linear vibration unit that Apple calls the Taptic Engine jolts when you apply pressure to the button, tricking your brain into feeling a click. It’s nothing like the clumsy haptic feedback on other phones, which I’ve always disliked — it really does feel like a click.

This system works tremendously well on MacBooks, but on the iPhone 7 it feels like the entire bottom of the phone is clicking, not like you’re pushing a button. You can set the haptic feedback to one of three force settings that make it feel like a harder or stronger click, but it’s definitely still strange, especially if the phone is lying down on a table instead of in your hand and you can see that you’re just pushing against nothing.
                   The iPhone home button was an all-time great button. Apple says it switched up the home button to make it more customizable and more durable — there’s a lot of people with the software button floating around their iPhone screens — but it’ll take some adjustment to really get used to. You’ll have to try it to decide for yourself. The Taptic Engine also adds all sorts of other fun feedback to iOS 10 — when you drop the notification shade down, the phone does a little bump, for example. It makes it feel like the software on the screen has real weight and inertia, and I love it. Third-party apps can use the Taptic Engine as well, and I’m really hoping the industry adds support faster than the slow, somewhat muted rollout of not-very-useful 3D Touch support. Taptic Engine feedback is the first really valuable new UI concept I’ve seen on phones in years, while 3D Touch always seemed like more of a gimmick. It’s strange that the iPhone 6S won’t get these features even though it has a Taptic Engine; Apple says the unit in the iPhone 7 has been revised and made more precise, but it’s still an odd omission. 3D Touch is still present on the iPhone 7’s display, and the display itself is improved. It’s not as insane as the 2K and 4K OLED panels that have been popping up on Android phones, but it’s a sharp, bright, and beautiful LCD, and sharp, bright, beautiful LCDs are very nice to look at. My review unit is also noticeably warmer than the iPhone 6S display, which I’ve come to appreciate.

                       You won’t notice it in most apps, but the display can show a wider range of colors now, which is really obvious when you look at photos taken by the iPhone 7’s camera — which now also captures a wider range of colors. Photos taken by the iPhone 7 look ridiculously good on the iPhone 7 display; you can tell the difference between a 7 photo and a 6S photo on the 7’s screen almost instantly. That’s the only place you’ll really see the benefit of the new screen for now, but it’s another place where app developers can really take advantage of powerful new hardware. Instagram has already announced an update to support wide color; let’s hope others follow suit. Apart from the revised camera, the new home button, the screen, and — heyo! — the headphone jack, the other notable external hardware change to the iPhone 7 is the addition of stereo speakers. One speaker is at the bottom of the phone, as it has been, and the other is actually integrated into the earpiece. They’re much louder than before, and sound decent, with better treble performance in particular. They’re never going to replace real speakers, but you can watch a bunch of YouTube videos or Snapchats and not get annoyed, and conference calls are dramatically improved.

Lightning Strikes

                           Apple ships a pair of its EarPods headphones with a Lightning connector in the box, as well as a Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle so you can use your traditional headphones. You’re not totally out of luck if you have a big investment in corded headphones, but you’re going to want to stock up on those adapters if you regularly plug your phone into a car or have a variety of headphones you like to use — the dongle is small enough that it’s not obtrusive, but also small enough so that it’s destined to get lost if you move it around a lot. At $9, the headphone dongle is the cheapest Apple hardware you can buy; the company thinks people will just buy a few and keep them permanently attached to older headphones. And I’m sure third parties will come up with a million other options,

The Lightning EarPods are exactly like Apple’s regular EarPods, which is to say that they sound average-to-bad and fit either fine or not-great depending on your ears. Competitors like LG and HTC ship much higher quality headphones with their flagship phones, and Apple owns Beats, so it’s just really hard to understand why it’s still shipping such decidedly mediocre headphones with the iPhone. Especially when the company is trying to get everyone to be enthusiastic about the move away from 3.5mm. But here we are.

                  Of course, the real move Apple’s trying to make is to wireless audio, and the company also gave me a preproduction set of its AirPods wireless earbuds to try out. I can’t fully review them here since they’re not final, but they worked well — they’re basically Bluetooth headphones that pair easier and faster with Apple’s products because of a proprietary controller chip called the W1 and special software built into iOS, macOS, and watchOS. Once you pair the AirPods with one Apple device, they can seamlessly switch to all the others, which is very cool. But AirPods sound just like EarPods because they’re basically EarPods without wires, so what you’re getting for your $159 is convenience and early adopter status, not necessarily sound quality.

                    New pairing support, but other Bluetooth headphones and speakers still use the same somewhat flaky Bluetooth setup interface as before. And AirPlay feels all but abandoned; it was already getting less and less competitive over time, and the iPhone 7 and iOS 10 don’t seem to offer any noticeable improvements. I’ve been spending some serious time really thinking about when and where I use the headphone jack, and it turns out that I already do much of my music listening wirelessly: Bluetooth in the car, an Amazon Echo, a few Sonos speakers, a couple Bluetooth speakers here and there. This is about as messy and un-intuitive as it gets, but it’s not too far off the mainstream. I could buy a nice set of Bluetooth headphones that also support corded audio for watching movies on planes and basically be covered, but I won’t get any of Apple’s improvements to the wireless experience unless I buy a Beats Solo3 with the W1 in it.

That is the definition of ecosystem lock-in, and it’s incredibly frustrating.

                     Apple took away an established open standard in favor of new technologies, but instead of making the experience of using those new technologies better across the board, it made every third-party wireless audio product a second-class citizen of the Apple ecosystem. If Apple is serious about wireless audio, it’s going to have to allow other companies to use the newer, better Bluetooth support in iOS that enhances its own W1 products, and it’s going to have to make managing Bluetooth devices a lot nicer than it currently is. And if Apple is really serious about wireless audio, it will allow third parties to extend the AirPlay interface just like it allows third parties to extend Siri and iMessage; an iPhone without a headphone jack needs to have dead-simple integrations with all kinds of wireless speaker systems, whether they’re from Sonos or Samsung or Amazon. To make wireless audio happen, Apple has to do the work of opening up and making the experience of connecting to any audio system on the iPhone as simple and frustration-free as pushing a button — as simple as wired audio has always been. Apple says it hasn’t yet had any serious conversations about opening or extending its wireless audio interfaces, but that it’s committed to a wireless world, so let’s hope the company moves quickly.

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It would also be nice if Apple would put out an adapter that lets you simultaneously charge your phone and listen to music that isn’t the size of a VGA dongle, because I have no intention of letting this ridiculous Belkin thing anywhere near my bag. There’s a huge opportunity for third-party accessory makers to fill all the gaps left by the removal of the headphone jack, but it’s also clear that the first wave of accessories is going to be a little clumsy while everyone learns exactly what those gaps are and how best to fill them. (And if Mophie isn’t working on a battery case with a headphone jack, customers should start picketing the company.)

                         If you squint, it’s possible to see a future iPhone that has no wires at all — an iPhone that does everything wirelessly, including charging. But the iPhone 7 is not that iPhone. In fact, right now you need more wires, dongles, and adapters to make it work with the rest of your life than ever before. I love that stuff — it’s part of the thrill of being an early adopter. But if you don’t want to devote even a moment’s effort toward figuring out how to do something as simple as charge your phone and listen to audio at the same time, it might be worth waiting for things to settle into place.

Cameras


               One of my favorite recurring bits at iPhone introductions is when Phil Schiller notes, correctly, that the iPhone camera is likely the best camera most people will ever own. He’s been saying it fairly regularly since the iPhone 4S came out in 2011, and he said it again last week when he introduced the iPhone 7 camera. This is an incredible fact, as is the fact that a huge number of people now quietly upgrade to a better camera on a fairly regular basis, and then use the hell out of that camera. The explosion in mobile photography is one of the most revolutionary aspects of the entire smartphone revolution, and the general excellence of the iPhone camera over time is a big reason why.

The iPhone 7 represents another upgrade over the iPhone 6S: there’s a new, faster f/1.8 lens, the addition of optical image stabilization, a new four-color True Tone flash, and wider color capture. This all adds up to a decent improvement, but the iPhone 6S was already operating at the top of the scale, bested only recently by the latest cameras in the Galaxy S7 and Note 7. In low light, that faster lens and optical image stabilization means that the 7 significantly outperforms the 6S. But compared to the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 7 is a step improvement, not a major leap.

                 The attempt at a major leap is on the iPhone 7 Plus. Instead of a single lens and sensor, the 7 Plus has two: the same f/1.8 28mm wide-angle lens as the iPhone 7, and an f/2.8 56mm telephoto lens. These cameras operate simultaneously; they’re always working together. Right now, what this means is that you can switch to a true 2x zoom by tapping on a button, which is very nice. You can also digitally zoom the 1x lens to 2x, where the telephoto takes over, and then digitally zoom the 2x lens to 10x. Digital zoom is still digital zoom; anything past 4x definitely looks like what you’d expect from grainy digital zoom.

And, well, that’s all it really does right now. Zooming is great, but that’s not the only reason to put dual cameras on a phone. Other phones with dual cameras, like the Huawei Honor 8, let you do all kinds of wild focus and depth of field adjustments, and some even let you refocus the image after the fact, like a Lytro camera. The effects can be a little fake-looking, but they’re the sort of thing dual cameras enable.

Performance


                    The iPhone 7 has the new A10 Fusion chip, another product from Apple’s industry-leading chip design team. It’s a new design with four cores: two high performance cores, and two low-power cores that use less battery power during everyday tasks. It’s lightning-fast, of course, with early benchmarks indicating that the A10 Fusion is faster than even the A9X in the iPad Pro. But In my super boring day-to-day Twitter / Facebook / Gmail / Slack / Safari usage, the iPhone 7 Plus wasn’t really all that much faster than the A9 chip in the iPhone 6S Plus — likely because I wasn’t pushing the processor enough to use the high-performance cores. It’s impressive that Apple was able to create a more efficient processor that delivers the same perceived performance as the previous generation while using less power, but that also means that in everyday use I didn’t see anything like the performance leaps that were so noticeable in previous iPhone updates.

Still, faster is better, and once app developers start targeting the A10 Fusion, we might see a new wave of apps that harness its raw power. But that’s a familiar waiting game we’ve been playing with ever-faster iOS devices for years now.

iOS 10


                 Speaking of iOS 10, it’s wonderful. Seriously, it’s the nicest iOS update in a long time, with a clear sense of how you should flow between operations and a much more inviting visual design. We’ll have much more about iOS 10 in a forthcoming review, but know that it has a slick new version of iMessage with all kinds of new features, a new version of Siri that can be extended by third-party apps, better integration with smart home devices, a much-improved Control Center, better Music and News apps, and a ton of other new features.

(As an aside: my personal favorite iOS 10 tweak is that Apple has gotten rid of slide-to-unlock because the Touch ID sensor on the 6S and 7 is so fast — sliding to the right from the lock screen now brings you to a widget screen. You unlock the phone just by pressing the home button, which is enough time for Touch ID to recognize your fingerprint. Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent was at the center of many of their lawsuits against Android phone makers, and I once made an entire video exploring how Android phones were carefully designed around that patent. And now it’s gone, because Apple figured out a better idea that’s genuinely useful.)

Conclusion


                The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are legitimately among the most interesting, opinionated, powerful phones Apple has ever shipped, and the most confident expressions of the company’s vision in a long time. iOS 10 is excellent, the cameras are better, and the performance is phenomenal. And the batteries last longer. These are terrific phones. But they are also incomplete. The most interesting feature of the iPhone 7 Plus’ new dual camera isn’t shipping at launch. Apple’s making a big bet on iMessage and Siri apps in iOS 10 but it hasn’t paid off yet. Apps haven’t been updated to use the Taptic Engine or the new wide color gamut display. The entire ecosystem of new headphones and adapters required to make use of Lightning and wireless audio is just getting off the ground. Only Apple or Beats headphones offer the best wireless audio experience, and you might not like how they sound or fit. By the time developers even come close to hitting the performance limits of the A10 Fusion chip, Apple will be shipping the A11 Fusion Pro with six blades.



    Good Stuff
        Water resistance
        Improved cameras
        Better battery life
        Great display
        Taptic engine feedback is neat
        Dual camera zoom on the 7 Plus is great

    Bad Stuff
        Lack of headphone jack is inconvenient
        Jet Black model scratches easily
        Looks just like an iPhone 6 in a case
        Wireless audio ecosystem is immature
        iPhone 7 Plus design feels big compared to competition
        Other iPhone 7 Plus dual camera features haven't shipped yet