Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swiftkey Review | A Premier Typing Experience

In this modern era which we are currently living in, smartphones are everywhere and there are barely a handful of smartphones which comes with physical keyboards. Well if you have been following me on facebook or twitter for some time now then you would know that previously i was a somewhat hardcore SWYPE fan. I've been using SWYPE even when i was using my Nokia symbian device. But recently (1 month ago) SWYPE has been showing some signs of lag when swyping and it does tick me off. After that i didn't quite care because these days i don't type that much. But after that i was ultimately fed up and i decided not to use it and try using the Samsung keyboard which i gave up after typing a tweet. So then i turned to the #1 top paid (at the time of writing) app on the play store which since my last encounter (October 2012) was not so good compared to swype. When i started using the keyboard i liked the way the words were predicted, seemingly enough this time around the predictions are more accurate unlike the last time i used it. Another thing is that the holo theme of the swiftkey keyboard is very similar to SWYPE's. One thing which i was not quite happy at first is the number pad which is on the left opposed to the usual top aisle placing on standard keyboards. But after some time with it i got used to it. One thing which i do truly miss from swype is the shortcuts. My rating of the swiftkey keyboard on a scale of 1 to 5 is a solid 4.5. It did not get a solid 5 because the word prediction for my case is still not there yet.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comparing The HTC One mini & The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Late last week HTC finally announced the HTC One mini after weeks of leaks. So today i'll be doing a short comparison between both of the device and comparing them feature by feature. But i have to say that the end decision is pretty compelling. First up i'll introduce these two devices, the HTC One mini like its bigger brother has an aluminum unibody exterior which makes it feel more premium and is nice to hold in the hand with the curved back. The S4 mini in the other hand is also very similar to its bigger brother in terms of looks that is. In the end the biggest decision you have to make is wheter you want plastic or aluminium. Of course there are pros and cons in each material. 
"From a distance its hard to differentiate the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 mini"
Moving on to the heart and soul of every smartphone which is the hardware powering it. Well both of the device actually come with pretty similar hardware but there is no clear winner as both devices took some compromises. I'll start from the bottom, both handsets are powered by a dual core Snapdragon 400 CPU and the S4 mini has the edge by being clocked at a higher 1.7GHz compared to the mere 1.4GHz the One mini comes in. In terms of RAM the S4 mini once again takes the edge by having 1.5GB of RAM compared to the One mini which only boasts 1GB of RAM. In the storage sector the One mini packs 16GB of internal storage which is not expandable by any physical way, the S4 mini has 8GB of internal storage which is expandable via microSD card. In data connectivity the One mini has the slight edge because in the international model it has LTE whereas LTE on the S4 mini is not on the standard version. Moving on to the display, both devices have the same screen size which is 4.3" and the One mini has a major advantage because it has a 720P resolution which concludes a 342PPI whereas the S4 mini has a qHD resolution and that computes out a mere 256PPI only. In terms of extras the both devices have some hit and runs. The S4 mini has NFC but only for the LTE model, it also has an infrared port on the top; however nifty features like dual shot and airview found on the Galaxy S4 is not present here. On the One mini, HTC does not bundle in NFC nor an infrared port, but in the long run it does feature most of the main software benefits found on the HTC One mini like HTC Zoe and Blinkfeed. It is noted that at the time of writing both device are running android 4.2.2 with their respective manufacturers skin on top of it. Moving on to the camera which is always a debate on smartphones these days; I can't really justify things here because the camera on the One mini is using a different type of technology whereas Samsung is just merely slapping in a standard 8MP camera. The One mini has the same Ultrapixel camera found on the HTC One whereas on the S4 mini its simply just an 8MP camera. 
"Both devices take a compromise hit"
Well as i said in the starting both devices have their own capabilities and it really up to you wheter you want plastic or metal because the hardware is seemingly identical across both devices. If i were to choose one of the device is would take the HTC One mini because of the better screen. 

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Friday, July 12, 2013

My Thoughts On The Lumia 1020

Yesterday, Nokia held their July 11 event in New York City and they have taken wraps off the latest addition to the Lumia family called the Lumia 1020. Well prior to launch there was quite a lot of leaks, in fact nearly everything was leaked out 1 hour before the event. Those leaks did take away some thunder for Stephen Elop on stage. I can say that this is the second most leaked device this year and the first place being the Samsung Galaxy S4 which was leaked pretty extensively prior to its launch. Well enough about that today i'll be talking all about the Lumia 1020. Ever since the 808 Pureview launched in MWC 2012, netizens were asking when will Nokia ever combine that sensor with a the Windows Phone OS.

We were betting high on Nokia's 2012 flagship phone dubbed the Lumia 920 but it merely came with only an 8MP camera but Nokia did introduce some pretty cool innovations alongside it. Since then Nokia has introduced 2 other devices based on the Lumia 920 which is the Lumia 928 and Lumia 925. Deep down the DNA of the three devices are there but they are just presented in different forms to suit different needs. After about a year or so since the inception of the 808 pureview, the Lumia 1020 was born and the netizens were overjoyed for the 41MP sensor which is powered by the third ecosystem and not on a dying platform (symbian). Apparently the stockholders were also quite happy with the device as their stocks surged after the event. Oh yeah if you missed the even yesterday you can watch the even here

[Image courtesy of TheVerge]
Moving on to actually talking about the Lumia 1020; I was literally super excited when i first saw the leaked image of the Lumia 1020 earlier this week. The yellow body and black camera lens seemed to match very well. Before i go in too much about my thoughts for the device, i'll first touch on the specifications of the device. The Lumia 1020 comes with a 4.5" Puremotion HD+ display, a 1.5GHz dual core snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage which is not physically expandable, a 1.2MP wide angle front facing camera, a 2000mAh non removable battery, LTE support and the usual knick knacks like bluetooth etc. The main star of the phone of course is the 41MP sensor which is referenced from the 808 pureveiw. One of the downside of the Lumia 1020 is that is does not have wireless charging built in but Nokia did add to contact points to attach a wireless charging sleeve on to the device.

The overall dimension of the device is similar to the Lumia 920 but this time around Nokia has managed to make it lighter even with a more advanced camera on it; it weighs in at 158g which is a bit lighter than the 808 pureview but is not as light as 2013 flagships by any stretch at all. In this article i won't talk too much about the camera itself as it would be a lot to talk so i have decided to do so in the upcoming article which i will explain every single bit about how the camera works and what does 41MP mean in a smartphone. To sum things up here the Lumia 1020 basically has the same specs as the other 3 flagship Nokia Lumia devices with the exception the Lumia 1020 having 2GB of RAM which is most probably needed so that the camera can process the images with much more ease. You can look up all of the specs in detail below here:
"The Lumia 1020 is basically the Lumia 920 we all dreamed of"
In the event, Stephen Elop was mostly talking about the zooming capabilities thus the hashtag for the event was #zoomreinvented. The thing which i found most impressive on the Lumia 1020 is not the hardware but the software, the engineering team at Nokia has really done a good job. One of the features are that you can take a shot whether zoomed in or out and after that you can zoom back in or zoom back out. Another feature is the low exposure which will open a window to a ton of camera effects like the one they demonstrated on stage which is writing in mid air with light. The Nokia Pro Camera app was just the thing the Lumia 1020 needed to add a little more professional feel to the device. 

The new camera app will allow users to change manual settings like ISO, shutter speed, etc; the UI is similar to the one found with the Galaxy Camera by Samsung but Nokia's version is far more simplier to use. In the coming months Pureview branded Lumia phones like the Lumia 925 will be getting this new camera update with the Amber update. Additionally the 41MP sensor on the Lumia 1020 is back side illuminated and also comes with OIS, i'll cover that in more in depth in the article dedicated to the camera on the Lumia 1020. In the event, Stephen Elop did touch on the audio of the Lumia 1020 which looks to be as powerful as the one found in the Lumia 920. That's pretty much it for the camera section of the Lumia 1020, stay tuned for the dedicated article coming in a few days time.
"Zoom has a new definition"
Earlier today while i was researching about the device i found out that there are some pretty positive feedback from both tech sites and the commenters. It seemed that the people which had their hands on with the device found that it is very nice to hold in the hand and is not too thick by any stretch. The weight was also said to be very balanced. Personally looking at the spec sheet i do think the same, the weight and the dimensions were perfected. The camera grip accessory is something quite interesting as it makes the Lumia 1020 look like a standard point and shoot camera with the inclusion of a 2 stage camera shutter button and a tripod mound, this accessory should be quite a popular one. But one thing i still can't find out is the exact thickness of the 1020 including the camera hump. The Lumia 1020 comes in yellow, black and white and in the US it will be coming exclusively to AT&T on July 26 for $299 and will also be heading to China and select European markets by this quarter. Below here are some sample images taken with the Lumia 1020, Download the original image and try zooming in you will be amazed by the detail which the image poses.

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Nokia Unveils The Lumia 1020 | Watch This

Yesterday Nokia held an event in New York City in which they finally unveiled a 41MP Lumia phone. The entire event lasted exactly 41 minutes with an additional 10 minutes for Q&A. If you missed the event you can watch it below in the video. I'll be doing an article about the 1020 right after this so stay tuned for it. 
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Hands On With The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

Well, i have not been posting new articles in this blog like for about 2 weeks because of some technical difficulties and some time problems. But nevertheless things will go back to normal speed by next week. Moving on to today's topic which is about the Galaxy Mega 6.3, this device has been in the market for quite some time now and last week i had my hands on with the device. The Galaxy Mega series of devices which currently consists of the 5.8" and the 6.3" model is Samsung's take on bigger smartphones. This lineup however still bears mid range specs and you can say that it's a class lower than the Galaxy Note series of devices. It's pretty obvious that Samsung is launching this device now to see the consumer response to gigantic phones of screen sizes of extreme proportions. In reality now big phones are quite a popular scene in the sea of smartphones. Personally when i go out and walk around in the shopping complex i mostly see people using the Galaxy Note II more than the Galaxy S4. Yeah moving on to today's topic which is my hands on with the Galaxy Mega 6.3. When i first held the phone i was like, "OMG, this phone size is like PERFECT!". I literally said that, from a Galaxy Note user's standpoint the Galaxy Mega is really like normal. I didn't think it was too big or too small, its size was actually pretty perfect to hold in the hand. While i was at the shop trying out the device people were like looking over at me holding the device as it was uncommonly bigger than the usual smartphone we know and love.
"The big size of the device catches the eyes of consumers"
The hardware of the Mega is really similar to the Galaxy S4, so if you have held a Galaxy S4 before than that's how the Mega will feel like. The Mega still has the checkerboard pattern which Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S4. Specs of the device are mid ranged, with a dual core CPU, 1.5GB of RAM, the usual sensors, two cameras, and a 6.3" 720P LCD display. Overall the display on the Mega is ok, not too bad and not too good either. One thin i have to say is that the UI/skin seems to be not optimized fully for the screen, some of the text look rather small and teeny and this is clearly seen in the notification bar section. The good thing about this phone is the big screen, you really need to see it to really feel it as the screen is HUGE and multiwindow on the Galaxy Mega is awesome. I think this is the only Samsung device where multiwindow comes to play perfectly, on the Galaxy S4 multiwindow looks small and on the Galaxy Note 8.0 multiwindow looks big but on the Galaxy Mega it seems to have the most equal experience. Additionally, i find it sad to see that Samsung didn't bundle in an S Pen with this device, if they did the experience on this device would be even better. Finally, the Galaxy Mega in the software side is similar to the flagship Galaxy S4 and so can i say with the hardware too. So in the end of the day if you want a big screened phone the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a very good choice with a balance of price and performance. 
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