‘lephone W2’ smartphone at Rs 3,999 unveiled

 

New Delhi: Chinese smartphone maker lephone on Tuesday introduced an entry-level 4G/VoLTE budget smartphone `lephone W2` in India at Rs 3,999.

`lephone W2` runs on 1.3GHz quad core processor coupled with 1GB RAM and 8GB of in-built storage that can be further expanded upto 32GB via microSD card.

The device provides support for 22 regional languages.

 'lephone W2' smartphone at Rs 3,999 unveiled

“`Lephone W2` offers all the latest specifications and is arguably the best model in its class in the market,” said Vinod Pandit, Business Head, lephone Technology, in a statement.

The device comes with 2MP rear camera with LED flash and a VGA (equivalent to 0.3MP) front camera.

The device comes with a gravity sensor to augment gaming experiences and houses 4.5-inch FWVGA display to makes sure that images are not cropped while viewing.

 

HTC U11 Review: A ‘Squeezable’ Smartphone Designed to Flaunt

 

Quick Question: What’s common between an orange, a forearm exerciser and HTC’s new primo product called U11?

Answer: You can squeeze all of them!

Yes, that’s what HTC claims to be the U11’s UPS, “the squeezable smartphone”.

PS: Sorry for the lame forearm exerciser joke!

https://giphy.com/embed/3o7TKPdUkkbCAVqWk0via GIPHY

Yes, the HTC U11 looks something out of HTC’s top drawer, but the company seems to be trying too hard to make up for the shortcoming of the HTC U Ultra and U Play.

Does the HTC U11 really make you squeeze that extra buck out of your pocket? Let’s take a look.

Snapshot

Click here to collapse

Pros:

  • Great display
  • Battery life is good
  • Camera clicks excellent pictures
  • Clean UI
  • Beautiful mirror finish
  • Edge Sense
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Attracts smudges & fingerprints
  • Slippery in the hand
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

What’s Good?

The fact that I could squeeze and play with the phone instantly made me like the HTC U11. The ‘squeeze’ feature acts like a shortcut gesture, something like what we have seen with Moto’s flick gesture or OnePlus’ Alert Slider. Although, I feel HTC’s gesture squeeze is the most intuitive.

The HTC U11’s Edge Sense feature allows you to squeeze the phone where the pressure sensors on the phone’s sides helps you interact with different applications of the phone.

You have options like “short squeeze” or “squeeze and hold”. The company has said that they will add more gestures in the future. The liquid glass surface design looks beautiful and I loved the way it reflects different colours in different lights.

(Photo: The Quint)

The 5.5-inch quad-HD display is fantastic! HTC didn’t stretch this one, unlike the S8 or the G6 display and stuck to the traditional thick bezel design. It offers great viewing angles and performs well even under direct sunlight.

The phone is running on the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM. A standard in today’s flagships. Performance is great and really didn’t have any problems with the phone. HTC has kept the phone devoid of bloatware which gives some extra points to the U11 and also makes the Android Nougat experience much better.

HTC U11 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat
HTC U11 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat (Photo: The Quint)

The HTC U11 comes with IP67 water-resistance, which means that the phone can be completely submerged underwater.

Apart from the 64GB of on-board storage it comes with an option to expand and we always like that. The same woofer and tweeter combo gets carried forward from the HTC 10 but this time the audio via the speakers sounds much more refined and louder.

Also, despite the fact that the 3.5mm jack has been removed from the setup, audio via the USB type-C headphones was remarkable. The headphones also offer noise cancellation so that makes the deal more sweeter.

The 12-megapixel rear camera on the HTC U11 is one of the best out there.
The 12-megapixel rear camera on the HTC U11 is one of the best out there. (Photo: The Quint)

Camera quality is excellent. It’s rated to be the best camera according to the DxOMark ratings. Snaps in daylight look excellent via the 12-megapixel rear camera. The 16-megapixel front camera is also ‘wow’. Just to round it up, you won’t have any complaints with the camera on the U11.

3000mAh battery on the HTC U11 is enough to last you the entire day
3000mAh battery on the HTC U11 is enough to last you the entire day (Photo: The Quint)

Despite the fact that 3000mAh on paper might look underwhelming that HTC U11’s battery performed really well. After a complete days use there was still enough charge at the end of the day for your evening Youtube matinee.

What’s Bad?

This list is going to be very short because it was really tough finding anything wrong with the U11. To start with, the liquid surface design might look beautiful but it attracts a lot of smudges and fingerprints so always carry a cleaning cloth if you want to flaunt this phone.

Although the HTC Sense squeeze feature is pretty innovative, it is prone to a lot of accidental activation. Sometimes you might accidentally trigger the application inadvertently by gripping the phone too hard (happened with me). Though not a deal breaker, it has to be used carefully.

On-board you have three virtual assistants like HTC’s Sense UI, Amazon’s Alexa and even Google Assistant. Okay, Alexa isn’t in India yet, but isn’t one assistant enough?

Also, photos in low light settings have overblown highlights. It is clear that the camera tries to overcompensate for the dark areas.

Worth Buying?

At Rs 51,990 the HTC U11 is the most aggressively priced flagship in India. It has the wherewithal to hold its own and compete shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the S8 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

No 3.5mm headphone jack on the HTC U11
No 3.5mm headphone jack on the HTC U11 (Photo: The Quint)

The only thing working against HTC is that they are still under the spotlight because the HTC U Play and Ultra weren’t a huge hit and customers are now weary about the U11 the same way. Don’t worry people, the U11 is a much better gizmo and justifies its price tag appropriately.

 

How to play PC games on your smartphone?

 

PC games are more resource intensive and take up more space.

Cross-platform gaming is still in a nascent stage. Most attempts at it have been unsuccessful. The few options include the Bluetsacks emulator, which allows Android games on PCs, and Sony’s Play Station Now platform, which can run PS3 games on a Windows PC.

But getting a PC game to run on a smartphone is a different ball game, as PC games are more resource intensive and take up more space.

Cloud gaming companies such as OnLive have tried and failed at it. Now a New York, US-based gaming company LiquidSky has come with a cloud-based app which can run any PC game on your smartphone and surprisingly you don’t need a OnePlus 5-like device to run it.

The minimum system requirement for the smartphone is just 1GB RAM and 30MB of storage. The games will be downloaded on cloud, so you don’t have to worry about the storage on your smartphone at all.

LiquidSky recommends wired controllers for the best gaming experience.LiquidSky recommends wired controllers for the best gaming experience.

Needs steady internet connection

However, it requires an active internet connection with minimum bandwidth speed of 5Mbps and recommended speed of up to 20Mbps for the best gaming experience. Online gaming is not new to the mobile ecosystem. Many Android games require active internet connection to work, however getting the 20Mbps mark consistently is going to be a challenge, especially on mobile networks in India. This makes it heavily dependent on WiFi networks.

How does it work?

Liquid Sky works by connecting smartphones to a virtual PC running on cloud. The actual game will be downloaded and run on a remote server, which will then compress and stream the game on users’ smartphone at frame rate of 60fps.

LiquidSky is available only for Android devices right now.LiquidSky is available only for Android devices right now.

Once users sign up in the app, and take a subscription plan, they can browse and download any games from their existing library of purchased games or buy new ones on Steam, GOG, Origin, Blizzard or Humble Bumble. These are online stores for PC games and their API (application programme interface) is built into the app, so one doesn’t have to download their apps separately.

How much does it cost?

LiquidSky is available only for Android devices right now and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store (there is no news on the iOS app yet). Users in India can download it for free but to access the games, one of the subscriptions is required. Basic Pay-as-you-go plan starts at $9.99 (approximately Rs644) and provides 100GB of storage.

The monthly subscription, which offers 500GB of cloud storage and the option to change data centres, starts at $19.99 (approximately Rs1,289) per month. There is a free model too, with in-app advertisements and 100GB storage, but its only available to users in the US and Canada.PC games are more resource intensive and take up more space.

How is it different?

LiquidSky uses IBM’s public cloud infrastructure which is more robust, easy to scale and has got data centres spread across the globe. One of the reasons for the failure of services such as OnLive was that it used its own servers to host the games and was unable to put up with the cost. Also, they failed to acquire top-tier games form leading game developers such as EA Sports and Activision.

The biggest highlight of Liquid Sky is that you can purchase, download and play any PC game that is available on one of the linked game stores.

Why do you need controllers?

Technically. PC games are not designed for touchscreen devices. You need a controller or a mouse and keyboard to play them. Smartphone users won’t be able to run them through on-screen controls and will require a compatible Android controller, which can be connected to the phone with an OTG cable or wirelessly over Bluetooth. LiquidSky recommends wired controllers for the best gaming experience.

 

BlackBerry launches new Aurora smartphone – but here’s why you can’t get it

 

This is BlackBerry’s next phone – but you might not be able to get your hands on it
BlackBerry is back with its next smartphone release.Following the hype that surrounded the launch of the BlackBerry KEYOne at Mobile World Congress last month, the company has now revealed another new device.

The BlackBerry Aurora is the company’s first release in partnership with Indonesian firm BB Merah Putih, and looks to offer another affordable Android smartphone.

However for anyone based in the UK, getting the BlackBerry Aurora might not be as easy as expected.

At first glance, the BlackBerry Aurora looks like a fairly decent mid-range Android device.The device comes with a 5.5-inch 720p display, and runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box alongside BlackBerry’s own software offerings, including the DTEK security suite and BlackBerry Hub.

Inside, there’s a Snapdragon 425, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot up to 2TB, and a 3,000 mAh battery that the company says will provide over 20 hours of battery life.

blackberry aurora android 7.0 nougat releaseBLACKBERRY

The BlackBerry Aurora combines Android 7.0 Nougat with some interesting hardware

The phone is also available in black, silver, and gold, and will go on sale for around $260 – or Indonesian RP 3,499,000.That’s because the BlackBerry Aurora will initially only go on sale in Indonesia.

The move is due to Indonesia actually boasting the world’s largest population of BlackBerry users.

There’s no news on a wider launch for the device just yet, but if the device proves a success we may yet see the BlackBerry Aurora in other markets at some point.BlackBerry is gearing up to launch its latest smartphone - here's everything we know so far about the new BlackBerry Mercury

If you’re still keen to get a new BlackBerry handset, the company is still gearing up to launch its KEYOne device soon.Blending classic BlackBerry design with new influences, the KEYOne retains BlackBerry’s iconic physical QWERTY keyboard, which has been given a major intelligence upgrade, with a stunning touchscreen display and metal body.

Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, with the device powered by a huge 3505mAh battery enhanced by Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 abilities that will allow the phone to go from flat to 50 per cent charge in just 36 minutes.

The BlackBerry KEYOne will cost £499 SIM-free. In the US, it’ll set you back $549, and in Europe, it’ll cost €599.

BlackBerry hasn’t confirmed an exact date in April for the launch just yet, so you’ve still got a few weeks to save up your pennies for the new device.

 

Next Flagship Smartphone: The 11 Won’t Quite Take HTC To Heaven

At first there was supposed to be a high-end smartphone called the HTC 11. Then rumors piled up saying the 11, an obvious successor to the HTC 10 of 2016, wasn’t happening. Now we’re getting reports that the sagging Taiwanese brand will release its 11 as early as today. HTC declined comment last week on what a publicist calls its “roadmap,” but the company normally rolls out its landmark phones in the first half of each year. Taiwan’s Liberty Times online says HTC has announced to its fan club a “surprise” that’s due today.

The question consumers will ask is why care. Android phones all look and perform about the same and HTC is a fading brand.

A HTC logo hangs from a beam during the Mobile World Congress on the third day of the MWC in Barcelona, on March 1, 2017. (JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

The 11 or the same idea under a another name would probably expand on the 10, which has a camera made for selfies and a battery designed to last two days.

Reviews of the HTC 10 were passable. But the smartphone developer that has fallen from a 2011 world market share peak of 10.7% to around 1% now got tougher reviews earlier this year for its high-end HTC U Ultra. The device also known as Ocean Note began selling in January but was described as too similar to Android peers to help HTC make a market share comeback. It looks like phones by the big Korean brands and uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor that much of the market will soon replace with something faster, per this Forbes reviewer. Some commentators also found the battery too small for the amount of power required.

The HTC 11, or whatever they call the next model, could easily face the same rack of competitive setbacks. The Android smartphone market is saturated with little game-changing technology no matter who you are, market analysts warn. HTC will compete not only with Samsung but also Chinese developers such as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi. “We expect to see another rectangle with Android and various minor software upgrades, whether HTC calls it the 11 model or something different,” says Neil Mawston, global wireless practice executive director with Strategy Analytics in the United Kingdom.

Specifically, the 5.5-inch HTC 11 would use a Snapdragon 835 processor, run on Android 7.1 and come with two cameras: 8 megapixels on the front and 12 in the back, says Aaron Lin, analyst with the Taipei market research firm Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute.

But against the cynicism of consumers and reviewers, HTC could turn around and surprise us with something else altogether. “To me, the bigger question is whether there is a new flagship coming from HTC this year, especially given how the U Ultra took a bit of a beating by reviewers for its price, battery life, and design,” says Bryan Ma, devices research vice president tech market research firm IDC in Singapore. “In that sense, HTC needs a strong trophy product to help cement a perception that it can still play on the leading edge of the industry.”

 

Galaxy Note 8 Leak Reveals Samsung’s Expensive Smartphone

Galaxy Note 8 information has spread and even Samsung is ‘accidentally’ leaking its own phone. But we might just have our best look at it yet from a good source…

Ice universe, which previously nailed the Galaxy S8 designin February, has issued a matter of fact tweet stating “Yes, this is Note8.” and attaching three detailed images of the phone’s fascia.

Galaxy Note 8 shown off in three new renders Ice universe

Galaxy Note 8 shown off in three new renders

These tie-in with claimed press renders shown off by SlashLeaks last week and reveal a smartphone with a massive Infinity Display (expected to be 6.3-inches), no physical home button and an overall design that has slightly sharper angles than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

If Ice universe proves to be as accurate with the Galaxy Note 8 as it was with the Galaxy S8, I suspect users are going to be very happy indeed.

The only downside? These shots don’t show the most controversial part of the Galaxy Note 8: its back.

Popular case maker Olixar is already selling Galaxy Note 8 cases which show Samsung failed to integrate the fingerprint reader into its display as expected, instead placing it in a position only slightly less silly than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

Olixar's retail Galaxy Note 8 cases all clearly show the fingerprint sensor beside the cameraOlixar

Olixar’s retail Galaxy Note 8 cases all clearly show the fingerprint sensor beside the camera

Ice universe’s images also don’t answer the question about whether Samsung will remove the headphone jack from the Galaxy Note 8, but thankfully other sources have cleared this up.

But I do have one concern: the renders Ice universe has depict a battery percentage sitting between 14 and 15%. Official Samsung renders would never (and have never) shown the battery being so low. That said this likely means Ice universe is rendering the shots from information it has and it makes no claim the images are directly from Samsung.

With time running out before release, Samsung will be hoping Apple’s iPhone 8 problems are as big as feared and Google’s Pixel 2 XL doesn’t look as great as leaks suggest. But regardless (and despite its extreme pricing), the Galaxy Note 8 appears destined to be one of the best phones of 2017.

 

New Blackberry Smartphone with 4GB RAM Spotted on GeekBench

 

Blackberry as a company is now more focused on its security services, and its hardware products are now manufactured by OEM partners like TCL and BB Merah Putih. While BB Merah Putih manufacturers and sells the Blackberry branded devices only in Indonesia, whereas TCL will selling the BB devices in most parts of the world expect India, Sri Lanka, and few others. Today, a new Blackberry device with the model number BBC100-1 was listed on the benchmarking website, GeekBench. This is the same device that was earlier spotted on the Indonesian regulator’s website in December.

Since BB Merah Putih will manufacture the BBC100-1, it will be exclusively sold in Indonesia. The device will be running on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with the stock UI on top and Blackberry customization including the Blackberry Hub. It runs on a Qualcomm quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, and we expect it to be the Snapdragon 425 SoC. The device also packs 4GB of RAM. Talking about the other specifications, it sports a 5.5-inch display with the HD (1280 x 720 pixels) resolution. Based on the earlier leaks, the BBC100-1 includes 32GB of internal storage along with a MicroSD card slot.Image result for New Blackberry Smartphone with 4GB RAM Spotted on GeekBench

In the camera department, there is a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP selfie shooter on the front. It comes backed by a 3,000mAh battery that can give at least a day long battery life. Though there is no official confirmation, the BBC100-1 will be the same Blackberry Aurora that was earlier leaked in all glory. It will also be the first Blackberry smartphone to come with dual SIM dual standby support. The connectivity options on this device include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0 port. It comes with a polycarbonate shell and lacks the fingerprint sensor.

We also have a newly launched Blackberry KEYone made by TCL that is yet to be made available in the Indian market. It comes with a touchscreen along with capacitive QWERTY keyboard. It comes with a 4.5-inch with Full HD (1620 x 1080 pixels) resolution offering 3:2 aspect ratio. It includes the best in class Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. There is 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. The Spacebar on the fourth row of the QWERTY keyboard comes integrated with a fingerprint sensor.

The 3505mAh non-removable battery on this device might be good enough to give a day long battery life considering the smaller screen size. There is a 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor with auto-focus, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. It also includes an 8 MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens and a single LED flash. Stay tuned on Phone Radar for more details about the upcoming Blackberry smartphones.

 

HTC U SQUEEZABLE SMARTPHONE SET TO OUTSHINE SAMSUNG GALAXY S8

The Taiwanese firm needs to pull something special out of the bag to avoid becoming irrelevant

New leaks suggest the upcoming HTC U could be more powerful than the excellent Samsung Galaxy S8.

A purported specs sheet for the unusual handset has been posted online, and points to a smartphone designed to take on the best on the market.

HTC has struggled to compete with Apple, Samsung and Google’s flagships over recent years, but appears to be pulling out all the stops with the Android-running U.

It will feature a Snapdragon 835 processor and a stonking 6GB of RAM, according to Gear India. The S8, meanwhile, comes with 4GB of RAM, making it the less powerful of the two.

That said, the S8 isn’t exactly underpowered.

We’ve experienced no performance issues during our time with it, with apps launching quickly and working perfectly smoothly.

The U is also expected to come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, IP57 water- and dust-resistance and expandable storage.

Camera quality has traditionally been one of HTC’s weakest areas, so it will be interesting to see how the U’s 12-megapixel UltraPixel rear camera and 16-megapixel “selfie panorama” camera compare with the Pixel and S8.

If that isn’t up to scratch and HTC gets its pricing wrong, it’s tough to see how the U will compete, especially when you consider that another outstanding phone, the OnePlus 3T, is available for £400.

That said, the HTC U could prove rather different to any other smartphone on the market, as it’s designed to be squeezed.

It appears to have a number of sensors embedded in its metal frame, which will allow users to control the handset by either stroking or applying pressure to its sides.

The phone will be unveiled at an event on 16 May.

 

iPhone 7 Was the World’s Bestselling Smartphone in Q1 2017: Strategy Analytics

 

Apple iPhone 7 has emerged as the worlds bestselling smartphone model in the first quarter of 2017, with an estimated shipment of 21.5 million units that captured six percent market-share worldwide, a new report said.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus, with a bigger screen and higher price, shipped 17.4 million units for second place and 5 percent market-share worldwide in first quarter of 2017, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

“Global smartphone shipments reached a robust 353.3 million units in first quarter of 2017. The top-five most popular models together accounted for 1 in 6 of all smartphones shipped worldwide during the quarter,” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director Strategy Analytics, in a statement on Wednesday.

Apple today accounts for two of the world’s top five smartphone models.iPhone 7 Was the World's Bestselling Smartphone in Q1 2017: Strategy Analytics

Meanwhile, Apple iPhone 5s has emerged as the top premium smartphone in seven states of India while other versions of iOS-driven devices occupy the top five premium spots in non-metro states.
Oppo R9s was declared as the star performer, shipping 9 million units globally and becoming the world’s third most popular smartphone model.

Oppo R9s shipped 8.9 million units for third place and 3 percent market-share worldwide in first quarter and is a popular brand in China and growing rapidly across India.

“Samsung was still gearing up for the launch of its new Galaxy S8 portfolio, but managed to get two models in the top five during first quarter of 2017,” noted Linda Sui, Director Strategy Analytics.

Samsung Galaxy J3 captured 2 percent global smartphone market-share and fourth place, while Galaxy J5 took 1 percent global share to become the world’s fifth most popular model.

“Samsung’s J3 and Galaxy J5 are midrange devices that sell very well across Europe and Asia and they helped to offset Samsung’s troubles with the Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco in the quarter,” Sui added.

 

Samsung Z4 Tizen 3.0-Powered Smartphone With 4.5-Inch Display Launched, Coming First to India

 

Samsung on Friday launched its newest Tizen-powered smartphone – the Samsung Z4 – and it runs on Tizen 3.0 OS. The smartphone will be launched in select markets across the world, starting with India in May. The Samsung Z4 will be made available in Black, Gold, and Silver colour variants depending on the market. For now, the company has not detailed the Samsung Z4 price or its exact launch date.

The most interesting aspect about the new phone from Samsung is its camera department. The Samsung Z4 comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash support and at front it features a 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture and LED flash support. The company claims that both front and rear cameras on Samsung Z4 are “optimised for social media” and offer features focused on convenience and creativity. The rear flash module also appears to be shaped similar to the Smart Glow notification system unveiled with the Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016).

The Samsung Z4 will be made available in both single and dual-SIM variants depending on the market. It sports a 4.5-inch WVGA (480×800 pixels) display with 2.5D curved glass on top, which the company says is a first for its Z-Series Tizen smartphones. It is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM.
While Samsung is yet to detail the inbuilt storage offered by the device, the connectivity options offered by Samsung Z4 include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS, and Glonass. The smartphone houses a 2050mAh battery. The Samsung Z4 measures 132.9×69.2×10.3mm and weighs 143 grams.Samsung Z4 Tizen 3.0-Powered Smartphone With 4.5-Inch Display Launched, Coming First to India

“We’re dedicated to providing our customers with devices that offer smarter mobile interactions,” DJ Koh, president of mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics, was quoted as saying in the company’s release. “The Samsung Z4 brings a simplified mobile experience to first time smartphone users and represents our ongoing commitment to expanding the Tizen ecosystem,” Koh said.

As the name indicates, the Samsung Z4 is the fourth smartphone in Samsung Z series. However, it cannot be called the successor the Samsung Z3. The South Korean giant has muddled the naming scheme, at least in terms of chronology. The first Samsung Tizen smartphone to have been unveiled was the Samsung Z, however, that never hit markets. Next, was the Samsung Z1, which was launched in January 2015. Next, strangely enough, was the Samsung Z3, unveiled in October 2015. Finally, we got the Samsung Z2, which was unveiled in August 2016.