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Asus gave its Zenbook a Mac makeover, and the result is beautiful!!!!

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asus zenbook  hands on



Apple’s MacBook is a decent notebook, but it has problems, particularly in performance. Its Core M processor just isn’t as quick as some users desire.
Enter Asus, and the Zenbook 3, which asks a simple question. Why compromise? Core M is efficient, but is it really necessary to create a super-slim, portable system? Asus doesn’t think so. And hopes its latest notebook — which can be purchased with up to a Core i7 dual-core — will be the proof.

A form of flattery
The new Zenbook 3 looks very similar to Apple’s MacBook at first glance. And second. And third. The shared use of all metal-design with a broad, single display hinge and speakers above the keyboard makes the resemblance uncanny.


Asus Zenbook 3
Yet there are major differences. The Zenbook 3 has a smaller touchpad, and matches the color of the keys to the body, decisions that create some distance between the Apple and the Asus. More importantly, the Zenbook 3 boasts the shiniest version of the brand’s distinctive, circular pattern that we’ve seen in years. Fingerprint magnet? You bet. But it does look wonderful when clean.
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The specifications peg the Zenbook 3 at no thicker than .46 inches, and it weighs in at just a sliver above two pounds. These numbers feel appropriate when the system is handled. It’s hard to believe it’s an actual, working notebook – but then you open it, and the thin-bezel display turns on.
Yes, the new Zenbook 3 has bezels that rival the Dell XPS 13. And they’re needed. While the system is similar in size and weigh to a MacBook, it actually has a slightly bigger 12.5-inch display. That may not seem like a big deal, but the extra screen real estate is noticeable. The MacBook’s screen comes across as a serious downgrade, in terms of usable real-estate, if you’re used to a 13-inch ultrabook. The Zenbook 3 is still small, but more tolerable in day-to-day use.
The key to the plan
We weren’t surprised to hear Asus talk up the keyboard. That’s one of the MacBook’s biggest flaws, and any competitor needs to address how it’ll fix it. The Zenbook 3 claims to do so the old-fashioned way – double the physical key travel.
It was clear the Zenbook 3’s keyboard has the MacBook beat.
The few minutes we spent with the new Zenbook made it clear Asus has beat Apple in this area. We immediately noticed the extra key travel, and it helped us more readily tell when a key was activated. Asus has made the keyboard edge-to-edge, so the layout didn’t feel in the least bit cramped.
But that’s not to say the keyboard is perfect. The key travel is alright, but it’s still a step behind the best ultrabooks. That’s notable because Asus itself makes some of the best ultrabook keyboards around – the Asus Zenbook UX305CA’s keys are superb. Compared to that standard, the Zenbook 3 feels vague and imprecise.
The touchpad is a similar situation. It seems fine. But only that – fine. If the MacBook is the benchmark the Zenbook 3 is to be judged against, then this is one area it doesn’t match up. The surface appears a bit smaller (we’d have to measure to be sure) and lacks the wonderfully smooth feel of the MacBook.
Powering up
The processor inside the Zenbook 3 is a standard Core mobile chip, rather than the less powerful Core M. That is a key selling point. Our reviews have consistently found that Core M is about 30 percent (or more) behind “standard” Core.

Asus Zenbook 3

We can’t judge the performance of the Zenbook 3 on the show floor. But performance doesn’t deviate much, so we expect the entry-level model will be competitive with the MacBook Air and mid-tier Dell XPS 13, while the high-end model will run with the quickest laptops around.
The big question is not if the processor will perform, but instead if the Zenbook 3 will keep its cool.
The big question is not if the processor will perform, but instead if the Zenbook 3 will keep its cool. A fan that’s just 3 millimeters thick is required to keep the laptop’s thin profile, and it probably doesn’t push a lot of air. For what it’s worth, the floor models didn’t feel overly warm.
Battery life is another concern. Asus quotes nine hours — an optimistic figure. The battery is rated at 40 watt hours, which is not tiny, but also not large. For reference, the Asus Zenbook UX305UA, with a 45 watt-hour battery, hit almost nine hours in the iMacro web browsing test. We expect the Zenbook 3 will achieve seven to eight hours in the same test.

There’s a lot to like about the Zenbook 3, at least when compared to its target, the MacBook. Asus’ ultrabook is faster. It has a better keyboard. It’s less expensive.

We’re not blown over by this Zenbook just yet, however. Asus’ other models, while not always the most attractive, are an incredible value. The Zenbook UX305CA is super-light, but only $700 (and it’s actually $600 at many retailers). The UX305UA offers competitive performance and strong battery life for $750.

The Zenbook 3, at $1,000, is comparatively expensive. And we’re not sure it has much to offer except a smaller footprint. Asus’ problem is that it’s already raised the bar so high, that hurdling it will be a herculean task. But that, as problems go, isn’t a bad one to have.

Extremely thin and light
Uses “standard” Core i5 and i7 processors
More affordable than competitors

Keyboard travel is still shallow
Might run hot, due to thin profile




6 best Android smartphones under Rs 7,000

Looking for an Android smartphone but don’t want to spend too much? Worry not, you have plethora of choices available.

To make your task easier, we bring to you six best Android smartphones in the sub-Rs-7000/- category.

These devices offer value for money and come with the latest features and specifications. So, here’s over to 6 best Android smartphones under Rs 7,000, take your pick.

1. Micromax Canvas A1 — Rs 6,499


Like other Android One phones, Micromax Canvas A1 has quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, 1,700mAh battery and Android 4.4.

The display is bright, with good viewing angles, but closer inspection reveals low resolution. In terms of design, it looks trendy and has a raised circular rear camera.

The phone runs smoothly, which makes the day-to-day experience enjoyable. When it comes to gaming, apart from a few titles like Shadowgun and Dead Trigger (which require more RAM), most games, including Temple Run and Angry Birds, work fine.

The audio output is loud and clear. The primary camera clicks good photos in daylight as well as indoors. The only issue is the phone’s battery life, which struggles to last a full day.

2. Spice Dream Uno — Rs 6,299


Spice Dream Uno, also featuring has quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, 1,700mAh battery and Android 4.4, is officially the cheapest offering in this category. Its design is simple, but the phone is sturdy.

The phone’s display is average, but the device is lag-free when it comes to multitasking, media playback or basic gaming. For RAM-intensive games, it fares better than the Micromax Canvas A1 when there are no apps running in the background.

The camera is average because the photographs look good on screen, but the noise is visible on zooming in. With mixed usage and constant data connectivity, the battery lasts a day.

The biggest advantage of this device is the free 10GB of cloud storage that the company is offering.

3. Karbonn Sparkle V — Rs 6,399


While the other two devices in the Android One range stick to the standard black-and-white colour option, Karbonn Sparkle V is available in blue and red.

The build quality is more or less similar to the other devices, but Sparkle V’s rear panel is a fingerprint magnet.

Karbonn Sparkle V has a quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, 1,700mAh battery and Android 4.4. The stock user interface is zippy and there is no visible lag.

The rear 5MP camera suffers from noise and this is clearly evident even on the phone’s display. The battery life is as expected, and lasts one day with mixed usage.

The USP of this device now is its price. At the time of writing, the smartphone was available for Rs 5,999, which makes it the cheapest buy in the market.

4. Xiaomi Redmi 1S — Rs 5,999


The features offered by Redmi 1S are unheard of at this price point. It has a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, and is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor.

It features an 8MP rear camera capable of recording Full HD video and a 2,000mAh battery.The interface is loaded with useful features and settings.

The phone has no issues running hardware-intensive games, but tends to heat up. The only dampener is the lack of a backlight for the home, back and menu keys.

5. Huawei Honor Holly — Rs 6,999


The phone has a 5-inch HD display and 16GB internal storage. The screen is bright with good viewing angles, but is bulky at 156gram.

Its quad-core processor and 1GB RAM manage to deliver a smooth performance, but the phone tends to lag when multiple apps are running.

The 8MP rear camera takes good images, but suffers from noise indoors and in low light conditions.

6. Moto E — Rs 6,999


Moto E is a trendsetter, but now lags the competition in terms of features and specifications.

Its 4.3-inch display (960x540p) has good viewing angles and features Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM.

The 5MP fixed focus camera without an LED flash is a letdown. The phone’s stock Android interface offers good performance and switches between apps without a hitch.


Xiaomi one of the largest smartphone vendors in its homeland – China – and it’s one of the most popular Asian mobile brands. It has given the world the popular user-friendly MIUI for Android. But the crown jewel, of course, is their current flagship phone – the Xiaomi Mi 3.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is the company’s best-selling phone to date packing top-notch technology and blazing-fast Android experience. The MIUI launcher feels at home on a Xiaomi phone delivering amazing performance. It is very easy to use and yet hides some powerful functions and services for advanced users.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 official pictures

The Mi 3 has it all – a wonderful unibody design made out of polycarbonate, a 5″ IPS display of 1080p resolution, a top-notch Snapdragon 800 chipset with 2GB of RAM, a capable 13MP camera with Full HD video recording, and a massive 3,050 mAh battery for long-lasting smartphone experience.

Sounds great, right? Here comes the complete feature list.

Key features

  • 5″ IPS 1080p capacitive touchscreen with 441pi pixel density; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat with MIUI v.5
  • 2.3GHz quad-core Krait 400 CPU; 2GB of RAM; Adreno 330 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset
  • 13MP camera with dual-LED flash, 1080p video capture
  • 2MP front-facing camera with BSI sensor; wide-angle f/2.0 lens; HDR; 1080p video recording
  • 16/64 GB of built-in memory
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone
  • 3,050mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • No LTE
  • No 4K video recording
  • Non user-replaceable battery
  • No wired TV-out connectivity option
  • No microSD card slot
  • Sold exclusively online

The implementation of a unibody shell has required some sacrifices though, as in the inability to replace your battery being the most major. The lack of microSD card slot is surely a bummer for some, but this trend seems to be spreading among lots of popular manufacturers lately. The lack of 4K video isn’t something we would hold against it, if it wasn’t for its flagship status.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 live photos

Enough with the small talk, let’s get down to business, shall we? Our Xiaomi Mi 3 exterior tour kicks off right after the jump.

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi 3

Xiaomi Mi 3 comes in a pretty much standard box, made out of recycled paper. Inside we find a basic set of accessories – a microUSB, a 1A wall plug and a SIM ejector pin.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 retail box

XiaomiShop.com, the provider of our review unit, throws in a bunch of freebies in every box and ours came with a screen protector, a fancy flip case, an EU adapter, a USB car charger plug, and a small capacitive stylus that conveniently plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack.

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The accessories XiaomiShop throws in for free

Xiaomi Mi 3 360-degree spin

Xiaomi Mi 3 spreads at 144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm and weighs about 145g. This is exactly the same footprint as Sony Xperia Z1’s, but lighter. Unfortunately this means the Xiaomi Mi 3 also has rather big screen bezels.


Design and build quality

The Xiaomi Mi 3 features a stylish polycarbonate chassis that wraps around the sides of the device a lot like some Nokia Lumia phone do. While this makes the 3050mAh battery inaccessible, the rounded edges mean the device is a pleasure to hold. We’ve always liked Nokia’s choice of materials for its top Lumia models and we are glad to see the polycarbonate working out for another brand.

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Xiaomi Mi 3

The rear side finish promises no nasty fingerprint smudges. The pitch black front contributes to the overall classy feeling and is very easy to clean. You can barely see where the IPS display ends and the frame begins.

Xiaomi Mi 3 was designed to look and feel like the flagship device it is. You will easily pick it up when put in whatever lineup of devices no matter it doesn’t bet on any iconic elements as some of its competitors. It is likeable and beautiful, thoughtfully designed with usability and style in mind.

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Handling the Xiaomi Mi 3

Handling the Xiaomi Mi 3 is as pleasurable as it can get – the polycarbonate unibody is solid and provides great grip thanks to its matte surface. The Mi 3 is just 8mm thin, but its wide footprint doesn’t allow you to forget it’s in your pocket.


The Xiaomi Mi 3 features a 5″ Full HD IPS display with a pixel density of 441ppi, which places it among the best in-class. It’s covered by Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against scratches and cracks from pressure.

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The 5″ IPS display Xiaomi Mi 3

Here is the display matrix of the Xiaomi Mi 3 shot from upclose. Taking a closer look at it under our digital microscope reveals a standard RGB arrangement of the sub-pixels that make up the Xiaomi Mi 3 LCD panel, not that we’ve expected anything else.

Xiaomi Mi 3

The display on the Xiaomi Mi 3 is bright enough at 100% with good contrast and colors. Unfortunately dropping the brightness reduces the contrast and the screen becomes dim very soon, which makes us believe 50% of the brightness scrubber is way below 50% of the actual brightness.

Unfortunately, the brightness of the screen is uneven with the backlight source being pretty visible at the top of the screen. When you have a white page opened on the screen you can easily notice the gradual brightness falloff from top to bottom. On the positive side, that’s only visible with a full-on white or gray screen – in any other case it’s as good as invisible.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi 3 0.18 142 809 0.61 557 907
LG G2 0.1 149 1522 0.45 667 1495
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
Sony Xperia Z1 0.38 580 1513
Huawei Ascend P7 0.13 101 807 0.79 668 843
Oppo Find 7a 0.33 280 842 0.68 580 852
Sony Xperia Z2 0.41 488 1195
Gionee Elife S5.5 0 178 0 330

The sunlight legibility isn’t great, but the Xiaomi Mi 3’s display is still usable outside and you will be able to see what’s happening on the screen.

Sunlight contrast ratio:


Xiaomi is providing options for color temperature and saturation. Glove mode is available too, but you probably shouldn’t leave that turned on if you don’t need it because it may drain your battery faster.

Finally there is an option to prevent accidental unlocks of your screen, while the phone is in your pocket. If enabled, you won’t be able to unlock the scren while something is covering the proximity sensor. Again, that would take its toll on the battery life.


Exploring all the Xiaomi Mi 3 controls brings no surprises. On the front we find the 5″ IPS 1080p display protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Above the screen go the earpiece, the ambient light and proximity sensor, as well as the 2MP front-facing camera.

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The 5″ display • looking above and below the screen

Unlike most of the phones we get to review today, the Xiaomi Mi 3 brings back the capacitive control deck below the display thus not cutting off screen resolution. The trio uses the older arrangement with Menu, Home and Back keys.

There is absolutely nothing on the phone’s left side but things get busier on the right. The volume rocker is there, along with the power/lock key.

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The left side is perfectly bare • the volume rocker and the power/lock key are on the right

At the top has the 3.5mm audio jack, the secondary microphone and the miniSIM tray. Moving on to the bottom of the phone we find the microUSB port right next to a huge grille hiding the loudspeaker and the primary microphone.

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A peek at the top and bottom of the Xiaomi Mi 3

The back of the device is where the 13MP camera lens and dual LED flash can be found.

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The 13MP camera lens is on the back

The 3,050 mAh battery hides beneath the polycarbonate rear shell and is non-removable. There is no microSD card slot on the Xiaomi Mi 3 either.

Battery Life

Xiaomi has put a 3,050mAh battery inside the Mi 3, quite an impressive unit for a 5″ device. We ran our battery test and the Xiaomi Mi 3 scored 66 hours, which means you can count on few hours short of 3 days if you do an hour each of calling, web browsing and playing video per day.

Xiaomi Mi 3

Note that we’ve tested the web browser test on Google Chrome, as the default MIUI browser crashed occasionally during our traditional battery routine.


Even though the Xiaomi MI 3 runs on the capable Snapdragon 800 chipset it lacks LTE connectivity. It relies on quad-band GSM connectivity and quad-band 3G connectivity with HSPA support.

The rest of the connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio.

There is NFC connectivity, too, with support for Android Beam for sending files to other Android devices.

There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone’s built-in memory and microSD card over a USB connection.

There’s also USB On-the-go for connecting USB peripherals such as pen drives, keyboards or real USB hard drives.

The microUSB port doesn’t have any TV-out functionality, but if you have a compatible HDTV, you can mirror your phone’s screen wirelessly via the Miracast protocol.

User interface – MIUI v5 on top of Android 4.4 KitKat

Xiaomi Mi 3 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box skinned with company’s proprietary MIUI v5. The MIUI ROMs have been around for quite a while and are fairly popular among the Android community. Xiaomi’s customizations run very deep and replace everything including all Google services, but you can get them from the Mi Market.

In fact some regional versions of the Mi 3 come with the Google Services built right in so you don’t even need to install them. The Mi 3 review unit we have is for the Chinese market, so there might be differences with other regional versions.

Here’s quick walkthrough of the MIUI v5 on video to get you started:

The lockscreen looks very familiar and we’ve already seen similar in Huawei’s Emotion UI. There is centered circle with shortcuts in the four cardinal directions: simple unlock to the South, start the camera to the North, messaging is to the East and the dialer/call log is to the West.

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The MIUI v5 lockscreen

Beyond the lockscreen is the Android homescreen with four customizable shortcuts docked at the bottom, but you can dock up to five items. The default selection is phone app, contacts, camera, and messages but you can have any app really, or folders with multiple items, visible on all homescreens.

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The MIUI homescreens • there is no app drawer

There is no app drawer – anything you install pops up on your unlimited number of homescreens. There’re no shortcuts and the usual routine of removing icons (dragging them up to a recycle bin at the top of the screen) will uninstall the corresponding app. The thing is fool-proof and you can’t accidentally uninstall essential apps like the gallery or email client.

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Homescreen overview • launcher settings

Widgets are available too – tap and hold on the homescreen, then choose Widgets. Of course, you can get third party widgets from the Play Store.

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Customization menu • widgets • wallpapers • transition effects

By the way, Xiaomi’s proprietary Search widget does a similar job as iOS’s Spotlight system-wide search. It even goes further and suggests internet search results.

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MIUI’s Search widget

Homescreen effects are available from the customization menu. You can change themes, too. A theme will change your homescreen wallpaper, lockscreen style, system icons, system font and the sound profile.

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Themes repository

The notification area has two tabs – the first one holds all notifications, while the second is a 4×4 grid of toggles. You can add, remove and rearrange toggles. The Quick Settings tab is the one that opens by default unless you have unread notifications. Nice touch!

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Toggles • Notifications • Expandable notifications

The task switcher has the icons of all currently opened apps in a single row plus there is a Clean All shortcut to kill all apps.

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The task switcher • killing all and freeing up some RAM

Xiaomi provides its own app repository and cloud service for content syncing between devices. While the Mi Market somewhat mirrors the Play Store functionality, Mi Cloud is a different story.

Each Mi Cloud account is granted with 5GB of free storage. You can use it to backup contacts, messages, your entire gallery, call log, notes, settings, voice recordings, Browser content (history, tabs, webapp data) and your music library. Sounds familiar? Yes, indeed! Xiaomi’s sync and backup service shares lots of similarities with the Apple iCloud. There is even a free Cloud Messaging option that allows Xiaomi users to exchange messages over the internet connection instead of being billed for SMS.

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Configuring Mi Cloud and Cloud Messaging

Finally, if you singed in with your Mi Cloud account you can opt for the Find device function – a handy feature in case you lose your Xiaomi Mi 3 or someone steals it.

As far as the smart assistants are concerned – you can either opt for the familiar Google Now (you can install Google Search if it is no available by default) or you can launch Xiaomi’s proprietary Voice Assistant. The latter looks a lot like Siri in both user interface and functionality, but unfortunately works only in Chinese and we couldn’t test it as our Chinese is a bit… rusty.

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Xiaomi’s Assist

The virtual assistant is summoned with a tap and hold on the Menu key and you can configure the default on – Google Now or Xiaomi’s.

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The voice assistant menu • Google Now


Xiaomi Mi 3 runs on the popular and powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset with a quad-core 2.3GHz Krait 400 processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The Mi 3 comes with a 1080p display, which means the smartphone should be on par with the 2013 flagships featuring the same combo – Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z1, plus the recently launched Oppo Find 7a.

Our first tests explores the raw CPU power, but for some reason Xiaomi Mi 3 fails to impress here. We did the test a couple of times, but either the app or the software optimizations are incompatible with the GeekBench 3 CPU benchmark.


Things immediately got better when we ran the AnTuTu compound tests, which in addition to the CPU calculations, throws in GPU and RAM routines, too. The Xiaomi Mi 3 gets an excellent mark here.


We’ve tested both regular and anti-cheat version of the popular Basemark OS II benchmark and we found the Xiaomi Mi 3 doesn’t use any tricks to boost the scores. It does excellent on all three test we keep track of, so you shouldn’t worry about any performance hiccups.


The Adreno 330 is a wide-spread GPU core and we already knew what to expect. The Xiaomi Mi 3 is on par with the Oppo Find 7a and beating the rest of the competition in both the on-screen and off-screen tests.


The Open GL ES3.0 Manhattan test puts the Xiaomi Mi 3 among the best devices we’ve tested o far.


The BrowserMark 2.1 tests HTML 5 performance, while Mozilla’s Kraken 1.1 is JavaScript-centric. The Xiaomi Mi 3 did great on Kraken, but somewhat average on the compound BrowserMark test.


Xiaomi Mi 3 and its Snapdragon 800 chipsets deliver excellent raw performance and provide hiccup-free gaming and blazing-fast Android + MIUI performance. There is nothing the Xiaomi Mi 3 can’t do and it will have no one disappointed.

Contact management and telephony

The dialer and the phonebook share a single app although there are two shortcuts. The app uses a tabbed interface – recent with dialer, then there’s the contact list and directory (a.k.a. groups).

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The Phonebook

The Directory tab is updated automatically online and has various contacts for bars, restaurants, health clinics, flight agencies, hotels, cleaning services, among others. Unfortunately those work only in China, but if you are going to use your Xiaomi phone in China – then this should be of extreme value to you.

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Contact info is displayed as a list of all available details. Custom ringtones can be selected for each contact and duplicate contacts can be merged into a single entry.

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Managing a single contact

The dialer supports Smart dialing just fine (looking up both names and phone numbers).

Xiaomi Mi 3 supports voice call recording and it can do it automatically on each call if you like. You can also assign an answer gesture, pre-define quick responses upon reject, there is even support for internet calling.

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The Dialer • settings

There are even more call settings if you dig deeper into the menu – flip to mute the ringer, turn on/off the proximity sensor, lock automatically once slipped in a pocket, it can even mute calls from unknown numbers.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 scored a mark of Below average on our loudspeaker tests, meaning you are likely to miss some calls and notifications if you are in a noisy environment.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia Z1 65.7 61.3 66.7 Below Average
LG G2 65.7 62.2 66.2 Below Average
Xiaomi Mi 3 64.9 64.8 66.6 Below Average
Huawei Ascend P7 63.9 66.1 70.9 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z2 66.7 64.6 75.7 Average
Oppo Find 7a 71.7 66.6 75.7 Good
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 70.6 66.2 77.3 Good
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9005 70.5 66.6 78.0 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
OnePlus One 74.8 73.5 80.2 Excellent

Messaging and email

The messaging department is pretty standard – there’s a list of all bubble-styled conversations organized into threads, with New Message and Search keys at the bottom and a settings button next to it.

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Attaching multimedia to a message will turn it into an MMS. You can add everything from photos, videos, audio to general files. There’s even a full blown slide editor if you want to make full use of the MMS standard. The Attach location option is pretty nice too.

Moving on to email, the Gmail app (if included) has handy shortcuts at the bottom of the screen and supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The default app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there’s no unified inbox.

There is also a generic email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple Exchange, POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.

MIUI relies on Google keyboard for the text input – it has always been pleasure to use and is one of the most preferred Android keyboards out there. On this screen the keys are comfortably large in both portrait and landscape mode. There is support for gesture typing, handwriting and voice input.

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Google keyboard

Image gallery

The Xiaomi Mi 3 comes with a custom Gallery app. It defaults to your camera roll with two shortcuts at the bottom that will take you to album view of your local images and album view of your cloud pictures. You can’t change this view, nor can you customize the default folders.

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The available features when viewing a single image are pretty standard – set image as wallpaper/contact image, share it, delete it, enter edit mode or just get more info.

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Viewing a single image • options

The integrated editor offers various effects, frames, tools (crop, mirror, straighten, rotate, fisheye, doodle) plus light adjustments that let you bring out the shadows or the highlights.

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Editing an image

Music player

The MIUI music player is a custom app with a well-laid out, easy to navigate interface. It has a huge visualization screen doubling as a Now Playing windows. Below you get four non-customizable tabs – All Songs, Artists, Playlists and Online.

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Music Player

The Online tab is where you pay for the Baidu Music service, which allows you to listen to their huge online track collection. Here you can also find various internet radio stations you can listen for free.

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Online music and online radios

The player has cool 3D effects, transitions and transparent elements, especially on the expandable Now Playing section.

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Now Playing screen

Xiaomi’s Music app offers customizable equalizers with a few default presets already available for you. You can also try Xiaomi’s MiSound enhancer, which comes into play when you use Xiaomi-branded headphones.

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Audio enhancements and equalizers • Editing a song

Finally, you can edit song info and you can also enable automatic song info download in case the ID3 tags are empty. Lyrics can be downloaded, too.

FM radio

The phone has an FM receiver and supports radio recording. There is a sleep timer as well.

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FM radio app

Video player

Xiaomi’s video player has very basic interface but rich video decoder support. It managed to play everything we threw at it but WMV files. AC3 audio codec is supported too. Interestingly, the player won’t list MKV files, but it can still play them hassle-free, if you access them from the file manager.

The video player, just like the music player, offers access to a paid video streaming services for movies and TV shows.

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Video player

Subtitles and pop-up play are not supported by the MIUI’s Video app.

Mediocre audio quality

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is aiming at the proper flagship territory and it’s facing some pretty serious rivals when it comes to audio reproduction qualities. The smartphone will have to prove itself against the likes of Samsung Galaxy S5 and, more notably, the HTC One (M8).

Unfortunately, the Mi 3 just doesn’t have the skills to be anywhere near the level required to fight it out for the best music player around. Its performance with an active external amplifier was a mixed bag, combining below-par volume levels with disappointingly high stereo crosstalk and distortion levels and less than stellar frequency response. The other readings were good, but they weren’t enough to salvage more than a mediocre performance.

It was more of the same when we plugged in a pair of headphones. Stereo crosstalk worsened a bit more, while the other parts of the Mi 3 performance were at the same level as before. That’s normally a good thing, but given that they were somewhat disappointing to begin with, we don’t think it’s worth celebrating on this occasion.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi 3 +0.11, -1.52 -91.5 89.5 0.0037 0.359 -68.9
Xiaomi Mi 3 (headphones attached) +0.63, -1.01 -91.5 89.6 0.0092 0.365 -44.2
Nokia Lumia 930 +0.12, -0.02 -91.4 90.7 0.0099 0.101 -90.3
Nokia Lumia 930 (headphones attached) +0.19, -0.43 -89.4 90.7 0.012 0.501 -55.8
Samsung Galaxy S5 +0.02, -0.08 -96.3 93.3 0.0017 0.0089 -95.2
Samsung Galaxy S5 (headphones) +0.01, -0.08 -96.3 93.3 0.0095 0.018 -61.9
LG G3 +0.02, -0.08 -99.4 98.9 0.0016 0.035 -100.0
LG G3 (headphones attached) +0.02, -0.09 -93.7 93.3 0.0060 0.032 -78.5
Sony Xperia Z2 +0.02, -0.08 -88.2 90.1 0.0063 0.013 -88.9
Sony Xperia Z2 (headphones attached) +0.08, -0.04 -84.7 87.6 0.120 0.066 -60.2
HTC One (M8) +0.04, -0.10 -95.4 93.4 0.0012 0.010 -93.2
HTC One (M8) (headphones) +0.04, -0.08 -94.9 93.9 0.0014 0.018 -79.7

Xiaomi Mi 3 frequency response
Xiaomi Mi 3 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

13 MP camera does a great job

Xiaomi Mi 3 features a 13MP camera coupled with a dual LED flash to help you with the low-light scenes.

The interface is fairly standard – everything is placed at the two side bars. On the left you get front camera shortcut, camera/camcorder switch and flash settings. The right sidebar has the settings toggle, the camera shutter and the gallery shortcut.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3
Camera UI

The settings offer HDR, scenes, focus mode, white balance, exposure and ISO manual settings, among others. The Face Detection and Image stabilization switches are within the additional settings (the small gear key).

Xiaomi Mi 3’s camera resolves plenty of detail. The colors are somewhat oversaturated and the white balance sometimes is off, but overall, the Mi 3 image quality is great.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3 camera samples

The HDR mode is conservative and rescues both the highlights and shadows without making the contrast too low.

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HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

Panorama shots are available too – you can capture both landscape and portrait panoramic photos at about 180 degree. Shooting is easy but the stitching takes more than a minute to complete. The end result isn’t as impressive as we’ve expected – the portrait shots come in 3400x1200px pixels while the landscape mode results in 4000x700px.

While the panoramic images are stitched very well, the quality and resolution are below the competition. The exposure is way off, too.

Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3
Panorama samples

Xiaomi Mi 3 features a 2MP front-facing camera for shooting 16:9 selfies. The images lack proper sharpness and are somewhat less saturated than we would like them to be. On the positive side, there is no visible geometrical distortion and closeups of faces turn out looking just fine.

An intriguing feature is the skin enhancement effect, which tries to guess guess your age and sex while you are framing the shot and it reports them right in the viewfinder. We guess it’s even supposed to adjust the enhancement accordingly, but for us, it ruined every single shot with the skin coming out way too unnatural.

Xiaomi Mi 3
A 2MP picture taken with the front camera

Photo comparison tool

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is more than capable of carrying its own weight in our Photo Comparison tool. You can see it does pretty well against the other 13 MP snappers.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 in our photo compare tool

Video recording

Xiaomi Mi 3’s camcorder shares the same UI as the still camera. It supports slow-motion videos and time-lapse videos with customizable snapping interval.

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Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3
Camcorder UI

Image stabilization is available too and it manages to keep the video steadier, but as usual it will lower your field of view significantly.

You can also capture 10MP images during video recording. Here are two samples of such snapped pictures:

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Pictures taken while recording a video

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is capable or recording 1080p@30fps videos. The clips have a bitrate of around 15 Mbps, audio is captured at 96 Kbps with a sampling rate of 48 kHz with 2 channels (read stereo).

The detail levels in the videos are high, while colors are pretty good and the framerate very consistent at 29fps. Contrast and white balance are great too for some impressive footage overall.

Here is a 1080p video we’ve uploaded on YouTube.

And here’s an untouched 1080p @ 30fps video sample taken straight off the Xiaomi Mi 3.

Video quality comparison tool

The Xiaomi Mi 3 enters our video comparison too. There are plenty of 1080p camcorders you can compare it to, but it has proven to be among the best with great detail, colors, and contrast.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
Xiaomi Mi 3 in our video compare tool

MIUI Browser comes pre-installed, you should install Chrome too

The Xiaomi Mi 3 comes with the feature-rich MIUI Browser. It does a great job browsing, syncing with your Google account, supports downloads, there is a night mode too. It is as fast as Chrome, but does not support Find on Page or copy text (only links).

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Mi Browser

The MIUI Browser turned less capable of handling pressure – it couldn’t handle our battery-test browsing script for more than three minutes without crashing. That’s why we suggest you install Chrome – just in case you need to avoid crashes or you need to find something on a page. Plus it can sync with your Google account easily.

Other pre-installed apps

The Xiaomi Mi 3 offers a great file managing app called Explorer, but there is no document viewer/editor pre-installed. There are plenty for free in the Play Store though (even ones made by Google), so this shouldn’t be a problem.

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The custom Calendar looks good, syncs with your accounts including Google, and offers Day and Month views.

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There are also the standard sound recorder, notes, flashlight, calculator, clock, and weather apps, among others, that are a given in any self-respecting Android package nowadays.

By the way, you can activate the torch from the lockscreen by a tap-and-hold on the Home key.

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Voice recorder • Notes • Calculator • Weather

When it comes to getting around, the Xiaomi Mi 3 relies on Google Maps and Navigation. Naturally, if Google Maps isn’t installed on yours, you can get it for free. The app offers much of the same functionality as its web-based counterpart, although you will need a data connection to take full advantage of the navigation features. Street view mode with digital compass enabled is an especially neat thing that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

Whatever you may be missing, you’ll find it in Google’s Play Store or Xiaomi’s Mi Store for sure.

Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3 Xiaomi Mi 3

Google Play Store • Mi Store

Final words

Xiaomi Mi 3 offers everything a flagship should have – premium and stylish design, a top-quality display, latest generation chipset, capable camera and snappy Android KitKat with great MIUI launcher. As it always happens there is more to the story.

Xiaomi’s best-selling smartphone is made to stand out. You’ll recognize it not only by its aesthetics, but also by its user-friendly MIUI.

The MIUI ROMs have gained tremendous popularity over the past years and have accumulated a massive user base and attracted a lively developing community (though the shared information is mostly in Chinese). Some of Xiaomi’s rival even launched their own Android skins, somewhat inspired by MIUI’s success. But MIUI has been designed to work on a Xiaomi phone in the first place and that’s why it feels right at home on the Mi 3. It’s a combination you’ll probably pick in a heartbeat. It is easy to see why people want it – it is affordable enough, yet manages to keep it all premium.

Xiaomi Mi 3

The success of the Xiaomi Mi 3 speaks for itself – the Mi 3 has sold millions of units in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore over the past few months. It is going pretty well in latest market – India. Of course, you can find the Xiaomi Mi 3 in Europe as well, but those are grey imports so we don’t have official sale numbers.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is available in 16GB and 64GB flavors, both of them lacking a microSD card slot. This is probably the thing many people won’t forgive, but that’s life we guess. In case you need more space, you’ll have to pay about $50 more for the 64GB version and that should be enough for most.

Let’s make a quick summary of our review findings:

Xiaomi Mi 3 key test findings:

  • Build quality is great, the phone is impressively slim
  • The display quality and sunlight legibility are OK
  • The battery life is very good
  • We rated the speaker loudness as Below Average
  • The intuitive MIUI interface is based on Android KitKat and offers rich customization options
  • The benchmark performance is almost excellent
  • The audio output quality is mediocre
  • Camera takes great photos and videos
  • Video player supports every audio and video codec except WMV

Sure, there is some competition, as you can imagine, and we’ll check it out.

Xiaomi has already announced the Mi 3 successor – Mi 4. It will upgrade the chipset to Snapdragon 801 with 3GB RAM and LTE connectivity, but keep the same display, camera, memory options and software package as the Mi 3. It offers new design with a metal frame but glossy plastic rear cover. It also comes with a price premium.

Xiaomi Mi 4
Xiaomi Mi 4

Last year’s top tier smartphones shouldn’t be overlooked as they’ve become very attractive with the recent price cuts. The Snapdragon 800-powered Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 and Sony Xperia Z1 are selling as cupcakes nowadays. They all offer similar, if not better performance, better cameras and unique functions as water protection (Xperia Z2), optical image stabilization (LG G2), or the insanely feature-rich TouchWiz launcher (Galaxy S4). What they lack is Xiaomi’s easily customizable MIUI launcher and the low price tags Xiaomi is known for.

Samsung I9506 Galaxy S4 LG G2 Sony Xperia Z1
Samsung I9506 Galaxy S4 • LG G2 • Sony Xperia Z1

Xiaomi’s competition in the face of Huawei Ascend P7 is quite weak, because of the lesser chipset and battery capacity offered by Huawei, but the Oppo Find 7a is ready to give a good fight with a fair chance of winning because of its better camera capabilities. Then again, none of those two can beat Xiaomi’s pricing.

Huawei Ascend P7 Oppo Find 7a
Huawei Ascend P7 • Oppo Find 7a

Xiaomi Mi 3 isn’t perfect, but this doesn’t get in the way of the pleasant impression we are left with after our close encounter with the Mi 3. It’s is a classy device with snappy performance and even a head turner, too. That’s certainly enough by our books.

Mi3 Specs:

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Announced 2013, September
Status Available. Released 2013, December
BODY Dimensions 144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm (5.67 x 2.90 x 0.32 in)
Weight 145 g (5.11 oz)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– MIUI 5.0
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot No
Internal 16/64 GB, 2 GB RAM
Speed DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP
USB microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash,check quality
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR
Video 1080p@30fps, HDR, check quality
Secondary 2 MP, 1080p@30fps
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
CPU Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
GPU Adreno 330
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors White, Gray, Black, Yellow, Pink, Blue, Gold, Green (16 GB)
– Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Organizer
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input (Swype)
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 3050 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 500 h
Talk time Up to 25 h
Music play Up to 50 h
MISC Price group
Rs. 13999/-
TESTS Performance Basemark OS II: 1234
Display Contrast ratio: 907 (nominal), 2.001 (sunlight)
Camera Photo / Video
Loudspeaker Voice 69dB / Noise 66dB / Ring 75dB
Audio quality Noise -91.5dB / Crosstalk -44.2dB
Battery life

Endurance rating 66h

All thanks to GSM Arena

8 things you need to know before buying a Firefox phone


With the launch of two low cost Firefox smartphones- Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 in India, smartphone buyers have got a lot queries. From a layman’s perspective, here’s what you get and what you don’t get in these two Firefox smartphones. Also, be clear that Firefox has nothing to do with Android. Both are completely different operating systems.

The Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 are 2G enabled smartphones and don’t support 3G. On the connectivity front, both devices features WiFi, Bluetooth and USB tethering. Also, both handsets are very basic in nature with the only mission being to connect users to the Internet and social networking platforms. So, multimedia experience with both the handsets are pretty basic.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) You don’t need an email ID to operate Firefox OS. In Android, you need to have a Gmail account to access most features of the operating system along with Google Play. In Firefox, users are not required to enter an email ID to access the operating system. This makes sense given the fact that Firefox wants to connect the masses to the Internet without any barrier.

2) Using Firefox smartphones are relatively easy when compared to Android. First-time smartphone users will not encounter much difficulty in operating the OS. The call, messaging, contacts and Firefox browser icons are always present on screen and the experience is more like using the home screen of Android with swiping left and right giving to access apps.

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On the home screen, there’s a bar showing “I’m thinking of…” through which users are directed to Google search. Accessing Internet on the Firefox OS is very simple and user-friendly.

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3) Firefox OS supports all major social networking apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Quora, Pinterest.

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4) Very low internal memory. You will need a microSD card to start your multimedia experience with the device. So, if you don’t have one, add the price of a microSD card to the cost. Both handsets support up to 4 GB of external memory.

5) WhatsApp is not available directly. Yes, you got that right. The official WhatsApp instant messaging application is currently not there in Firefox Marketplace . “Users can connect to WhatsApp via third party app called ConnectA2,” said James Ho, senior director, Firefox Mobile Devices Group.

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We tried to connect to WhatsApp on the Intex Cloud FX smartphone using the ConnectA2 third party app and we failed. ConnectA2 asked for nick name, country and mobile number to register. Then it asked to enter a six-digit code which the app sent via SMS. The SMS never arrived! We also tried the voice call feature to get the code but failed again.

The ConnectA2 app should have worked but we have no clue as to why it failed us on the Intex Cloud FX.

6) Popular games and apps missing. There’s no Angry Birds or Temple Run or Candy Crush or other other popular games. However, you can play Flappy Birds. The Firefox Marketplace is in a pretty nascent stage but soon you can expect more apps on the platform as apps can be easily ported.

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7) Consumes less mobile data. Firefox OS uses web compression techniques which reduces mobile data consumption. Also, as both the devices are 2G only, the data consumption is low when compared to 3G enabled smartphone. So, users can expect 1 GB of data to last the entire month with average usage.

8) More battery life. You can expect both the Firefox handsets to have a greater battery life when compared to other low cost Android handsets.


All you need to know about firefox smartphones

The official WhatsApp instant messaging application is currently not there in Firefox Marketplace.






BlackBerry Z3 launched in India; available on pre-order now for Rs 14,990

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BlackBerry just launched the Z3 at an ongoing press conference in New Delhi today. The new budget smartphone is priced at Rs 15,990 but will be available for a special pre-order price of Rs 14,990.


Customers will be able to make the bookings from The Mobile Store, Flipkart and all BlackBerry Exclusive stores from June 25 to July 2.


The addition of the Z3 also marks the entry of BlackBerry Maps in India, a feature that’s long been missing from the BB10 platform here. Maps features 3D, voice guided, Turn-by-turn navigation as well.


The Z3, which is designed for Indonesia, is the first new BlackBerry phone since chief executive John Chen took the helm of the crisis-hit company in November.


The handset is also the first to be produced from the Canadian firm’s partnership with Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn, which makes gadgets for Apple, and is a key test of whether the new strategy will work.


BlackBerry India MD Sunil Lalvani started by talking about the recent financial results which saw BlackBerry turning in a surprising profit. Clearly money in the bank gives you the greatest adrenalin rush. Lalwani also highlighted recent gains, including 33K BES 10 servers within a year of launch, cash up to $3.1 billion, 16 out if 20 G20 governments use BlackBerry and 7 out of 8 G8 governments.


Lalvani even showed off global media quotes after the results which have been markedly different from the negativity some time ago. Underlined that BlackBerry is not exiting handsets — said there was no reason to do a 5 year deal with Foxconn otherwise.
‎Battery was the first thing highlighted and rightly so as our review attests — one of the highlights of the Z3, followed by the build quality.
Android ‎apps compatibility that BlackBerry executives never spoke about publicly earlier is also being openly touted. So is the recent Amazon App Store announcement though details are not available on the specifics — if the BlackBerry store will have curated content and apps, etc, or just the same Amazon app store that can also be side loaded today.


The phone has a 5-inch touchscreen, like most of BlackBerry’s newest handsets which do not have the physical keyboards of the older devices. While the resolution is lower than the Z10, the panel still manages good colour reproduction. Other features include a dual-core, 1.2GHz CPU from Qualcomm, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB onboard storage, expandable memory up to 32GB as well as connectivity options like NFC, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB 2.0.


The Z3 also manages to pack in a relatively large battery of 2500mAh capacity, which gives it really good battery life.


However, though the BlackBerry Z3 retails for the equivalent of Rs 12000 in Indonesia, there is a subsidy element there by local telcos. In India, telcos don’t subsidise smartphones and BlackBerry also faces duties, taxes and forex uncertainty. For instance, in the past couple of days the Indian rupee has seen its biggest fall in nearly four-and-a-half months thanks to the ongoing Iraq crisis and worries on oil imports. While BlackBerry executives were tight-lipped, retail sources said that they were receiving indicators of the Z3 being priced around Rs 14,000 or slightly higher depending on these issues.

India is among the seven countries where the Z3 will be alunched, BlackBerry had told Tech2 at the official launch in Jakarta. But the exact launch dates were not disclosed as the company wanted to see the response in Indonesia, before formulating marketing strategies for other regions.


The BlackBerry Z3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC which has a dual-core processor along with 1.5GB of RAM. It is a mid-range handset, featuring a 5-inch full touch display with a 540×960 resolution and running the latest version of BlackBerry 10 OS. Apart from that you have a 5MP rear camera and a 1.1MP front-facing camera.


The BlackBerry Z3 is expected to compete with the likes of the Moto G and Lumia 630, and also against the newest range of Windows Phone handsets by Micromax



A durable, full-featured device built for BlackBerry’s biggest fans.

The BlackBerry Z3 is the latest BlackBerry 10 device and was built exclusively for Indonesia. This is the first product of the Foxconn / BlackBerry partnership worked up by John Chen. The time from inception to production on this device was just a matter of months, so it already looks like the deal is paying off.

BlackBerry Z3

At launch, the BlackBerry Z3 smartphone will be available in a limited edition model — the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition — featuring the inscription “Jakarta” on the back of the phone to commemorate the launch of the first BlackBerry smartphone built specifically for the Indonesian market. BlackBerry is all about the people, so the Z3 invites these users to “Be part of We.”

Indonesians are “ultra” BlackBerry users, and as such, BlackBerry is giving a bit back in the form of an exclusive device, just for them. The Z3 Jakarta Edition doesn’t have the latest or greatest specs, but it holds down what BlackBerry users do most — communicate. The Z3 makes the latest hardware accessible to the masses of people that just want to stay connected. It won’t turn out to be a mainstream device by any means, but it will provide those in Indonesia and similar regions the ability to have an awesome BlackBerry 10 phone at a great price with no big compromises.

Z3 Video Walk through:



BlackBerry Z3 Specs and features

Low end, but not low performance

The BlackBerry Z3 doesn’t have the newest hardware inside, but it has what it needs to keep the BlackBerry 10 OS running smoothly. Behind the 5” glass LCD screen lies a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, 8GB of flash memory and 1.5GB of RAM. A big 2500mAh battery powers it all — and it does so in grand fashion. I was able to stretch over a full day on the Z3, though I wish I had more time to test it out for the long haul. Also good to note is that there is no LTE in this model. The Z3 is being targeted toward Indonesia and other parts of Asia (hence the Jakarta name) and LTE isn’t available in most areas where this particular variation of the device is to be sold.

BlackBerry Z3 camera

All the standard fare is here — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and even Miracast support. The back camera is a mediocre 5MP, while the front-facing lens is just 1.1MP. It’s not the worst camera we’ve seen in a BlackBerry (yes, Bold 9900, that’s you) but it still not great. It did however take some decent shots providing the lighting was good.

It’s not the worst camera we’ve seen in a BlackBerry (yes, Bold 9900, that’s you) but it’s still not great.

To me it feels like the Z3 is a good amount lighter than the BlackBerry Z30 (to which we’ll be making plenty of comparisons), though that’s not the case. At 164g, the Z3 comes in at just a touch lighter than the Z30’s 170g. It’s smooth all around and actually feels really good in the hand. It’s not slippery at all thanks to the textured back, and it’s not too slim to lose hold of. In fact, it may even prove a bit too wide for those with smaller hands. The Z3 slides right in and out of my pockets, but it does have a bad habit of showing off screen smudges in all their glory.

BlackBerry Z3 buttonsBlackBerry Z3 bottomBlackBerry Z3 card slotBlackBerry Z3 bottom bezel

The Z3 also has BlackBerry Natural Sound, just like we saw (or heard) on the Z30 to give a much more realistic listening experience in things like BBM Voice. A built-in FM radio tuner also allows for radio without having to use a network connection.

I also had a bit of trouble at times using the swipe gestures from the top and bottom bezels. It wasn’t often, but when it happened it was certainly frustrating. Lots of swiping with no reaction. I assume it’s just due to the way the display is designed and all flow together, but I’ll see how much it happens and/or annoys me going forward.

Overall the Z3 feels extremely solid. It’s essentially one big piece from head to toe, and it doesn’t feel at all “cheap” or that it won’t last. It’s made with durable materials and it in for the long-haul.

BlackBerry Z3

2.87 in

72.8 mm

0.36 in9.26 mm

5.51 in

140.0 mm

5.78 oz (164 g)
5.0″ qHD540x960220ppi24-bit color
2500 mAhTalk: 15.5 hrs 

Standby: 388 hrs


  • Rear: 5MP, auto focus, 5x digital zoom, 1080p HD videoFront: 1.1MP, 720p HD video
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8230Dual-core processor1.2Ghz
  • 1.5GB RAM8GB internal storagemicro SD
  • Tri-band UMTS/HSPA+Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGEWi-Fi 802.11b/g/nBluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR
  • BlackBerry OS 10.2.1BlackBerry Natural Sound


BlackBerry Z3 hardware

Sleek, durable and definitely BlackBerry

The Z3 fits right in line with other BlackBerry 10 devices. The big 5” glass screen looks great on the front, and the flying B logo sits in the middle of the textured back. There’s no removable battery door on the Z3, so that gives it smoother lines and just feels like it flows better all around. The hardware looks basic (which it is) but it still looks good. It’s not too flashy, but it’s got a great look to it at the same time — though it’s not meant to be a high-end device with a high-end look.

Without a removable back, that leaves the SIM and SD card slots on the right side of the device, under a flimsy little door. I’m not a fan of these type of flaps, but there isn’t really much choice on this one. On the left are the power and volume buttons. I’m not a big fan of the power button placement and would have rather it been on the right side or top of the device, but it’s just something to get used to.

BlackBerry Z3 buttons

On the top is the lone 3.5mm headphone jack, on the bottom the microUSB port. I like this placement because it means that we could see a dock of some sort for the Z3, though it’s unlikely and we’ll probably just be stuck with standard chargers for a while. Also note that there’s not microHDMI port as on some other BB10 devices — but again, not a deal breaker.

The BlackBerry Z3 is of a “what you see is what you get” design.

The Z3 really does feature a plain and simple design. The Z30, Z10 and Q10 all have various design elements to make them more appealing, but much like the Q5, the Z3 is more of a “what you see is what you get” design — but one that I happen to like. It’s also very durable and will stand up to constant use. It’s not “plastic” or cheaply made — it’s a solid device that will last for years to come.


BlackBerry Z3

Overall the Z3 has a nice display. the LCD screen lights up bright on all 5” and I don’t really have any complaints. The only issue I ran into was using the device in direct sunlight, but that’s something you’ll run into on a lot of devices. Colors are sharp, whites are bright and everything looks good. The pixel based resolution of the Z3 is 540×960 but through the magic of upscaling, the scaled resolution is the exact same of that of the BlackBerry Z30 which is 720×1280. The glass also stretches from edge to edge thanks to the design of the Z3, giving you more screen and less bezel.

Battery Life

BlackBerry Z3 battery

I wish I would have had more time to run the Z3 through a good battery test (I only had about 4 days) but overall the 2500mAh battery did a great job. I was able to get through a day with no hiccups, and I’m sure I could stretch to near two should the need arise. The battery is more than enough to keep things going on the Z3, so I don’t foresee any issues on that front. Of course, part of that comes from the fact there’s no LTE on this model, though a version with LTE is planned for future release.


BlackBerry Z3 taking a photo

One place where the Z3 falls short is the camera. It’s obviously not built as a photo-taking machine, but it still could stand to be a bit better. The 5MP rear camera does an okay job of getting decent images providing the settings are right, but the 1.1MP front camera really isn’t good for too much — especially taking good photos. Both will serve their purpose of snapping quick images or using video chat however, but sadly you won’t be getting any masterpieces from the Z3 camera. The camera does have Time Shift mode and some great filters though, so that definitely adds some points — and hey, at least it’s got auto-focus.

A quick shot from the Z3 and Z30 for comparison (Z3 of the left, Z30 on the right):

BlackBerry Z3 sample photoBlackBerry Z30 sample photo

BlackBerry Z3 software

The same BlackBerry 10 you know and love

The Z3 is running OS 10.2.1 out of the box, so that means it’s on par with the current BB10 devices. All the latest updates are there — BBM stickers, quick settings, Priority Hub and the ability to install Android apps OTA (over the air). The BlackBerry OS 10.3 update will be along soon, which will also bring even more new features to the Z3 as well as other BlackBerry 10 devices.

We won’t dive too much into the OS itself, but you can check out every bit and piece of OS 10.2.1 in our recent BlackBerry 10 review – 2014 edition..

BlackBerry Hub & Sharing

BlackBerry 10 Hub on the BlackBerry Z3

The BlackBerry Hub is the centralized location for all of your notifications on the Z3, and it’s accessible anywhere, anytime. A simple swipe to the right from the homescreen and you’ll see the Hub where you can view your email, text messages, phone calls, social notifications, BBM chats and more. New features like BlackBerry Priority Hub and pinch gestures allow for even deeper use of the Hub as well. The Hub is really one of the big selling points of BlackBerry 10 and proves to be extremely useful and powerful for multitasking.

Sharp Sharing makes it faster and easier for you to share nearly anything on your device. When choosing to share an item, BB10 will offer suggestions on who and how to share pictures, files, links, and documents based on your past activity. It adapts automatically to learn where and what you share most, so as you share more and more, the options you want are right there when you open the share menu.


Being a device for Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia is ready to roll on the Z3 keyboard. Thankfully the BB10 keyboard is awesome so you can easily add in English (or any other language) and seamlessly switch between them while typing. The Z3 is also equipped with local dialects as part of the language, i.e. Basa Jawa and Basa Sunda, which enable the keyboard to understand the words in those two local dialects. As a result, you will be able to type in multiple languages such as English, Bahasa Indonesia and Basa Jawa or Basa Sunda simultaneously.

The BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard on the BlackBerry Z3

The virtual keyboard on BlackBerry 10 is still one of the best on mobile. Here you’ll find plenty of options for auto-correct and word prediction, and you can take full advantage of the swipe features that we’ve loved since we first saw them.


The good thing about the Z3 is that there are already loads of apps available. Any app with a Z30 variant will be fitted to the Z3 and ready to roll. So that means thousands of apps can be used right off the bat. BlackBerry World has all of the latest apps that Z3 users will be looking for. Apps for travel, lifestyle, music, video, games and news are all there.

Thanks to BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 there is now an even greater set of apps available for the Z3. Android apps can be installed OTA (over the air) directly to the device, eliminating the need to hook up to a PC to sideload. That means popular apps like Instagram, Path or other that aren’t available in BlackBerry World can be used on the BlackBerry Z3 with no noticeable differences. You’ll still have to seek out the APK files for these apps, but there are some great resourcesavailable as well as third-party apps stores like Snap that help out in that area.


The Z3 is rocking the latest version of BBM, so that means BBM Channels & stickers are ready to go. Indonesian users love stickers, so having them ready to roll out of the box will be a huge benefit. The users that will be buying the Z3 are doing so for the communication factor (more so than gaming, apps, photos etc) and having so many communication features within BBM will be a huge bonus. Out of the box the Z3 has BBM chat, voice, video with screen sharing, groups, BBM Channels and stickers. An exclusive Indonesia sticker pack will also be available at launch for a limited time from local artist Susiyo Saptoadi representing Punakawan Characters.

BBM on the BlackBerry Z3BB10 browser on the BlackBerry Z3


The BlackBerry 10 browser is still one of the best there is, and browsing on the Z3 is awesome. The big 5” screen leaves plenty of room to check out your favorite pages. Browsing is fast and smooth and extremely intuitive. Share features are always just a few taps away, and of course you can access the Hub from within the browser for quick reference. The BB10 browser still features Adobe Flash as well.

Instant Previews

Instant Previews are new to OS 10.2 and really add a lot to the notification experience. Rather than just having an audible alert and LED, Instant Previews allow for some notifications to show a short dropdown banner across the OS, letting you know just what message has come in. These previews work for email, Twitter, SMS, Facebook and BBM. Messages like even allow for quick replies right from the notification, without having to leave whatever app you’re currently using.


BlackBerry Z3: The Bottom Line


A low-end device that wins high praises

  • The BlackBerry Z3 has a solid and durable design, great battery life, and a simply great price point.
  • Low hardware specs, a crappy camera, and that it’s only available in certain regions will hold the BlackBerry Z3 back.
  • When it comes down to it, the BlackBerry Z3 is a good — not great — device. The specs are on the lower end, but it still performs extremely well. It’s not a powerhouse like the BlackBerry Z30, but it’s geared toward those that are looking for pure communication, which is what BlackBerry is all about. It’s durable, has amazing battery life, and will certainly find a place amongst BlackBerry fans.

Overall I really do like the BlackBerry Z3. It’s not sporting the highest specs, but it doesn’t have to be. For the markets in which it will be available, the Z3 will be a great upgrade for many users. OS 10.2.1 runs great with no slowness or lag, and the battery life is more than enough to stay powered through even the longest of days. The biggest drawbacks I found are the low-resolution cameras (both front and back). Some may not like the plain design of the Z3, but the fact that it’s so durable and not “cheap” (which could be said about the Q5) should outweigh the design choices.

The target customers are communicators and pride themselves on having the latest tech, and the Z3 covers those bases quite well.

Z10 users should welcome the upgrade, but I can’t say that those using a Z30 will want to change things up to a Z3. The Z3 doesn’t have the internal specs of the Z30, but it’s still got a great look and feel. You’d be trading off a bit of speed (though not really noticeable) and camera quality. Long story short, it’s a great upgrade from BBOS andmaybe the Z10, but if you’re already using a Z30, the Z3 probably won’t phase you at all.

I think the Z3 will be a big seller in Indonesia. Those users are big communicators and pride themselves on having the latest tech, and the Z3 will cover those bases well. We’re still not sure if we’ll see an LTE version land in North America or other areas, but for now I don’t think it matters much with other devices already on the roadmap. Many people won’t see the Z3 as a good upgrade or even a good move for BlackBerry having those lower specs, but considering the market and the quickness from inception to finished product, the Z3 is a very well-rounded device overall. The Z3 is available starting this week in Indonesia, and should be arriving in other regions of Asia soon as well.



GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
Announced 2014, February
Status Available. Released 2014, May
BODY Dimensions 140 x 72.8 x 9.3 mm (5.51 x 2.87 x 0.37 in)
Weight 164 g (5.78 oz)
DISPLAY Type Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 540 x 960 pixels, 5.0 inches (~220 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
SOUND Alert types Vibration, MP3 ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 8 GB, 1.5 GB RAM
Speed HSPA+
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging
Video Yes, 1080p
Secondary Yes, 1.1 MP, 720p
FEATURES OS BlackBerry 10.2.1 OS
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8230 Snapdragon 400
CPU Dual-core 1.2 GHz Krait 200
GPU Adreno 305
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM, BBM 6
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, MIDP 2.1
Colors Black
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– SNS integration
– BlackBerry maps
– Organizer
– Document viewer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Video editor
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FlAC/WMA player
– MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
– Voice memo/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 2500 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 384 h
Talk time Up to 15 h 30 min
Music play Up to 84 h
MISC Price group Rs. 15990/-

Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G



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The Moto G promises to deliver a premium smartphone experience for a third of the price of current high-end phones. In India, it’s currently selling like hot cakes. Considering the hype surrounding this handset, the Moto G deserves a special review treatment. Unlike others, we don’t just run benchmarks on a phone and then write an article around it. In smartphones, performance and app count only tell you the ‘smart’ part. In this review, we will also tell you how well does the Moto G perform as a ‘phone’.



Moto G revie



Budget smartphones might not attract as much attention as their high-end counterparts, but there is no denying that these devices are in massive demand, especially in markets like India. Motorola’s Moto G is an attempt to grab buyers’ attention by offering a number of features at an extremely reasonable price.

After a brief sabbatical, Motorola has returned to the Indian market with its Moto G smartphone, which is an affordable device for cost-conscious consumers worldwide. This phone was designed as part of Google’s plan to focus on creating a distinctive lineup of devices for different markets. Now, with Lenovo recently acquiring Google’s stake in Motorola Mobility, we don’t know whether or not the company will stick with the same strategy.

Motorola underscored its plan to focus on emerging markets by unveiling the Moto G at a huge event in Sao Paulo, Brazil in November last year. The budget-friendly smartphone was supposed to have reached Indian shores by January 2014, and it’s here after only a short delay. As promised, it comes at a decent price.

We got our hands on the black version of the Moto G (single-SIM). Does this low price come at the cost of performance?

Look and feel
The first thing that struck us about the Motorola Moto G was its novel packaging. When it came to our doorstep, we didn’t realise that the sleek box hid a mobile phone inside. Amazingly everything from the device to the charger fits within this slim box.

The Moto G is a candybar phone. It doesn’t have any contours – the design is very basic yet modern. When we first looked at the Moto G, we mistook it for the company’s flagship Moto X.


The G looks like a replica of the Moto X (except for its size), which is not really a bad thing considering the premium look of its elder sibling. However, the Moto G is different in a few ways. It’s definitely thicker, measuring 129.9×65.9×11.6mm compared to 129.3×65.3×10.4mm for the X. At 143 grams, the Moto G is also heavier than the Moto X (130 grams). However, we assume that for an average buyer in this price segment, thickness and weight of a smartphone are not the biggest concerns. The Moto G features curved edges that offer a good grip.

The Moto G’s front panel is dominated by a 4.5-inch screen, which is only marginally smaller than 4.7-inch display found on the Moto X. The front panel features a black strip of glass around the screen that visually differentiates the plastic front and rear panels. Notably, the Moto G does not have any logo or branding on the front.

There’s a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera which to the left of the chrome earpiece. There are no soft-touch capacitive buttons on the front panel, a design touch that is commonly seen on the Nexus range of devices. It’s worth pointing out that Google’s Nexus 7 (2013) tablet’s front panel also bears a lot of similarities to the Moto G. The new Nexus 7 features a glass strip around the screen, identical to the Moto G.


It seems Google wanted to align the industrial design of its hardware products. The Nexus line and Motorola’s two recent phones do have a family resemblance that sets them apart from Samsung’s and HTC’s phones.

Motorola has also used a nano-coating on the Moto G that acts as light water repellent. This does not make the Moto water resistant, but it can protect the smartphone from light splashes of water, which is still an interesting touch for a smartphone at this price point.


The curved rear panel is made of a soft-touch polycarbonate, and is comfortable to hold. Yes, it sometimes gets badly smudged by fingerprints, but this is nothing that cannot be cleaned. The panel is removable even though the battery isn’t. Motorola has announced that there will be accessories including rear shells and flip covers (both in seven colour options) and Grip Shells (in five colour options). This means that customers will have a choice of colours, something we generally see on Nokia’s Lumia range.


The power and volume rocker buttons are placed on the right side of the Moto G, while the 3.5mm audio jack is on the top and the Micro-USB port is on the bottom panel. The placement of the physical buttons is fine and we had no problem reaching them even when we were not looking at the device. The Moto G’s back houses a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash with a speaker grille to its left. The Motorola logo is embossed just below the LED flash and is identical to the one found on the Moto X. Peel off the back panel and you can get to the SIM slot, which accepts a Micro-SIM. The unit we received was a single-SIM device, though Motorola has introduced a dual-SIM Moto G variant in India.


The Motorola Moto G has an overall solid build, though it does feel bit plasticky. Yes, it follows a tried and tested design rather than a radically new one, but it certainly has its own identity and there’s no mistaking it for any other phone from any other company.

One of the biggest highlights of the Moto G is its 4.5-inch 720×1280-pixel IPS LCD, which works out to a density of 329 pixels per inch. Notably, the Moto G’s screen is a bit sharper than Apple’s iPhone 5s, which offers 326ppi.


Motorola has also used Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the Moto G to protect it from scratches. It’s worth pointing out that Gorilla Glass is usually found on premium devices priced at Rs. 30,000 and above.

The IPS LCD screen doesn’t have the fullest colour reproduction like the HTC One and LG G2 or the deepest blacks like Samsung’s high-end Galaxy smartphones (Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3) with AMOLED screens do, but it is bright and colours are consistently vibrant. Thankfully the viewing angles are never a problem. The screen is not very reflective and visibility in bright sunlight was also acceptable. Further, the Moto G’s 4.5-inch screen is fine for video playback and gaming.


Text on the Moto G is always crisp and clear.

There is no denying that many brands have launched smartphones with full-HD screens of late, but after using the Moto G for some time we felt that 329ppi is more than enough for a screen of this size. Motorola has definitely upped the ante for phones in this price bracket.

The Moto G sports a 5-megapixel rear camera accompanied by an LED flash, and also has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. At this price point, we didn’t expect a higher megapixel count. The camera delivers decent but uninspiring shots in good lighting conditions.


We tested the Moto G’s rear camera both outdoors and indoors in a variety of lighting conditions and found that images taken outdoors during daylight came out well, though they were a little over-saturated and we could detect a little bit of noise at the edges. You can notice that detail is lacking if you zoom in to a photo taken with a Moto G. Other than that, we found the quality of images taken in sufficient light to be satisfactory. However, the same could not be said for indoor and low-light shots. Photos taken in artificial light (without using the LED flash) are not very impressive, as background noise does tend to creep in.


The Moto G’s rear camera can be set to take 5-megapixel shots in the 4:3 aspect ratio, while 16:9 shots will come out at 3.8 megapixels.


The Moto G’s camera app is not stock and adds a bit of flavour the otherwise vanilla OS. Motorola’s camera app has a circular control bar that pops out from the left of the screen when tapped. Additional features include 4X digital zoom, slow motion video, burst mode, auto HDR mode, Panorama and tap to focus. The Moto G’s burst mode allows users to take up to 99 shots at once; users just need to long-press the camera soft key on the screen to start shooting. Notably, there are no ISO and exposure control settings on the Moto G.


The 1.3-megapixel front facing camera can be used for selfies and video chats. We found that videos and images captured indoors or even outdoors with this camera were a bit grainy.

We would have liked a physical button for the camera as one has to rely on the soft key on the screen to click images.

Software/ Interface
When the Moto G reached our office, the device was running Android 4.3 out of the box. However, we soon encountered an alert that said “Please update your Moto G to Android’s latest version (4.4.2).” Motorola had rolled out the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update for the Moto G ahead of schedule in December last year.


The Moto G with Android 4.4.2 KitKat is most updated smartphone in its price segment and offers a stock Android experience.

The Nexus 5 was the platform lead for Android 4.4 (KitKat) and the Moto G bears a lot of similarities to it in terms of software. Android 4.4 has a number of visual changes compared to Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), including a new launcher that makes the interface even more minimalistic. The Moto G also has flatter design elements, more muted colours in the status icons, more transparency, and smoother transition animations.


We noticed a smooth flyaway animation on the Moto G, similar to the one seen on the Nexus 5, while moving between the app launcher and homescreen. The Moto G’s app launcher features app icons and widgets; now due to the icons being larger, you’ll see a grid of 4×5 instead of a 5×5.

The Moto G offers five customizable homescreens, and lots of widgets and apps classified into preloaded and downloadable categories. Notably, you cannot go beyond five homescreens, unlike with the Nexus 5.

Shortcuts for the dialler, Chrome browser, main menu, Messages and camera app remain visible when you swipe between homescreens. Notifications in the tray can be expanded with a two-finger pull gesture, and there are buttons for clearing all notifications and showing the quick settings shortcuts. These include toggles for Brightness, Settings, Wi-Fi, Network, Battery, Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, and Location settings. Unlike the Nexus 5, the Moto G does not have a quick Alarm clock shortcut.

Long-pressing on the Moto G’s homescreen brings up options to change the wallpaper. A choice of still, live and custom wallpapers are now available under a single menu.

Another feature that gives the Moto G a clear advantage in the affordable smartphone segment is the voice guided search feature. This was also first seen on the Nexus 5. A user can initiate a voice search on the Moto G when it’s unlocked by simply saying, ‘OK Google.’ However, it is only available when the language is set to US English.


The Moto G also includes a revamped Phone app that now automatically prioritises contacts based on who you talk to most often. The app includes a search bar, space for the most frequently called contacts and favourites, and shortcuts to the contact list, dialling pad, call history and settings.

The Moto G also features a new Photos app that allows viewing and editing of locally stored and Google+ images. The new Photos app features deeper integration with Google+ and can be used to tag photos.

The Email app on the Moto G has also been revamped, and it now displays pictures of contacts for emails. Navigation has been made identical to the Gmail app and you can swipe messages to delete them.

The Moto G also includes Google Drive, Keep, Play Games, Play Movies, Play Movies, Play Books, Play Newsstand and Quickoffice for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can print documents through the Google Cloud Print plugin, or apps made by printer manufacturers.

Motorola preloads two other major apps on the Moto G. Motorola Migrate can help move the contents of an old Android phone to your new Moto G. Motorola Assist allows users to silence the device while you’re sleeping or driving. We tried it out, and noted that the app automatically sent a text message to callers in the time we told it we were busy.

Performance/ Battery Life
The Moto G is powered by 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with Adreno 305 graphics and 1GB of RAM onboard. The Moto G comes in two storage capacities: 8GB and 16GB, and does not support expandable storage. We received an 8GB unit, of which only 5.5GB was user-accessible.


Even though the Moto G falls in the budget smartphone segment, the limited storage on the device is definitely a limiting factor. Google is offering 50GB of free Google Drive storage for two years for every Moto G buyer, which is additional to the standard 15GB available to every Google account user. However, cloud storage is no substitute for physical storage, especially since budget users won’t have very expensive data plans.

The Moto G definitely ups the ante in terms of innards. Brands such as Micromax and Xolo, which have come to dominate the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment, usually use MediaTek chipsets.

The overall experience of navigating through the Moto G’s interface was extremely impressive, thanks to all the power under its hood, and the fact that the UI is devoid of unnecessary bells and whistles such as transition effects. We did not experience any lag at all while launching apps, playing light games, scrolling through web pages and switching between apps on the Moto G.

With its quad-core processor running under the hood, the Moto G manages to chug along just fine. We multi-tasked all day, which included chatting via WhatsApp and Hangouts, browsing the Web and playing games like Temple Run 2 and Plants vs. Zombies 2 without any trouble. In day to day activities the Moto G worked smoothly and we were never left wanting for more power – that is until we tried a few heavy games like Shadow Gun and Dead Trigger.

The clarity of the Moto G’s loudspeaker is good, but isn’t too loud and breaks at its highest volume. Motorola does not supply any headphones in the Moto G box, which is a surprising omission.

The Moto G’s 4.5-inch IPS LCD HD screen is good for movies and videos. We were impressed with the colour reproduction and viewing angles on the Moto G.

Call quality on the Moto G was impressive and the device was able to latch on to cellular networks even in weak signal areas, which came in handy at times. Our tests were performed on a single-SIM model, although Motorola will be selling the dual-SIM version here.

The Moto G scored well in our benchmark tests. We recorded a score of 11,874 in AnTuTu, which was right behind the Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S III. Quadrant gave us a score of 8,569 which is ahead of HTC’s flagship smartphone from two years ago, the One X. On the graphics front, the Moto G remarkably reached 11 frames per second in the GFXbench test, and 5629 in the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme run-through.


The Moto G packs a 2070mAh battery which is non-removable and can deliver a mixed usage time of up to 24 hours, according to Motorola. We were able to get about a day (22 hours) of normal usage on the Moto G, which consisted of Web browsing and watching videos on YouTube, a few calls lasting for about an hour, with Wi-Fi switched on, the display set to auto brightness, and the usual notifications for the messages, emails, Facebook, Hike and WhatsApp enabled.

With heavy usage, which included calls lasting for about two hours, 3G turned on all the time, casual photography and watching a movie for around two hours, an hour of casual gaming (Temple Run 2 and Dead Trigger), and notifications enabled, the device lasted for about 12-13 hours, which was not bad.

In our video loop rundown test, the Moto G was able to able to deliver 8 hours and 30 minutes of battery life.

What makes the Moto G special is the fact that it is one of a very small number of devices running the latest version of Android, and one of the only ones priced this low to be doing so.

The Moto G scores heavily in terms of style and substance, and our only major quibbles are the non-expandable storage and below-par camera performance. The 4.5-inch HD screen is wide, and yet the phone is small enough to hold in one hand and type easily with a thumb. Most of all, praise be, the Moto G is also extremely affordable.

This phone is definitely aimed at price-conscious Indian smartphone buyers, and its array of colourful back shells will attract the style-conscious as well. Yes, it isn’t perfect, but it isn’t meant to compete against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or LG G2. At its price, we’re willing to overlook its faults.

The Moto G is available in two variants: 8GB for Rs. 12,499 and 16GB for Rs. 13,999. At this price point, no other phones offer an experience that is as good, so in that sense the Moto G is a game changer. If you have your eyes set on the Moto G, we recommend you spend the extra bucks and get the 16GB version, given the limited user accessible storage available in the 8GB version. Our only other complaint with the Moto G is the average camera, but the only phone that offers a better camera in the same price bracket is the Nokia Lumia 720, so the newest Motorola smartphone is a winner overall.

Crisp IPS screen; Excellent gaming performance; Latest Android Kitkat; Great music output; Good battery life.
Questionable call quality; Disappointing camera; Shoddy bundled accessories.

Moto G
Street Price: Rs 12,500 (8 GB), Rs 14,000 (16 GB version)

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Full Specifications:

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
CDMA 800 / 1900 – CDMA version
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – for T-Mobile, AT&T
CDMA2000 1xEV-DO – CDMA version
Announced 2013, November
Status Available. Released 2013, November
BODY Dimensions 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm (5.11 x 2.59 x 0.46 in)
Weight 143 g (5.04 oz)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
SOUND Alert types Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot No
Internal 8/16 GB, 1 GB RAM
Speed HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0, USB Host
CAMERA Primary 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Video Yes, 720p@30fps, stereo sound rec., HDR, check quality
Secondary Yes, 1.3 MP
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400
CPU Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
GPU Adreno 305
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Black (front panel), 7 color options (back panel)
– SNS integration
– Google Drive (50 GB storage)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP3/AAC+/WAV/Flac player
– MP4/H.263/H.264 player
– Organizer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Document viewer
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail
– YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa
– Voice memo/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 2070 mAh battery
Talk time Up to 24 h
MISC SAR US 1.17 W/kg (head)     1.06 W/kg (body)
SAR EU 0.79 W/kg (head)
Price group Rs 12,500 (8 GB), Rs 14,000 (16 GB version)
TESTS Display Contrast ratio: 967:1 (nominal), 2.477 (sunlight)
Loudspeaker Voice 81dB / Noise 75dB / Ring 82dB
Audio quality Noise -92.1dB / Crosstalk -91.4dB
Camera Photo / Video
Battery life Endurance rating 54h

Nokia X – A “Forked” Android phone



The Nokia X is a mid-tier smartphone developed by Nokia, unveiled as part of the new Nokia X family on February 24, 2014. The Nokia X runs a modified (forked) version of Android, referred as the Nokia X software platform. The device shipped on the same day as the unveiling, with Nokia targeting the product for emerging markets.

The X was previously under development known as Normandy, Project N, the Asha on Linux project and MView.

Nokia has launched its much-awaited Nokia X Android phone in India at a price tag of Rs 8600. The phone was one of the big announcements at the MWC in Barcelona, and it may end up being one of their most successful budget handset as well.

The Nokia X sports a 4-inch IPS screen with 480×800 pixels. It’s powered by a Snapdragon S4 chipset clocked at 1.0 GHz Dual Core processor. For photography, there’s a 3 megapixel camera. Other features include 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal storage, micro SD card slot, and 1500 mAh battery.

On the software front, Nokia X series runs a highly modified version of Google’s Android OS. The Finns call it the Nokia X Software Platform. It will lack popular Google services such as Maps. Expect Hangouts to be replaced by Skype, Google Drive with OneDrive, Gmail with Outlook, and Google Maps with HERE. Users won’t have access to the Play Store either, but side-loading apps is possible. Recently, Nokia announced that 75 percent of all Android apps are already compatible with Nokia X.



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Yep, hybrid Nokia X runs Android — but not as you know it (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain — Take a moment to mentally collect all your visions of firing up a Nokia device to scan Google Now, launch Google Maps directions with your voice, and rent Google Play content. Now throw them all away.

The new Nokia X, X+, and XL smartphones that Nokia unveiled here at Mobile World Congress 2014technically do run on Android, just as the leaks and rumors promised — and that means you’ll be able to load up Android apps with ease. However, this X and family don’t turn in the full ‘Droid experience that you think. In fact, the software doesn’t look a thing like Android at all.

 Design & Interface:

The Nokia X is the Finnish brand’s big effort to make greater waves into the low, low end of the smartphone market – and it’s enlisted the help of Android to make that happen.

The Nokia X is a phone that comes with a fairly decent spec list for a phone that’s coming in at €89 before tax (around £75, $120, AU$135) – we’re talking a dual-core 1GHz processor from Qualcomm, 512MB of RAM, a 4-inch WVGA screen and a 1500mAh battery.

Nokia X review

However, it’s important not to compare to this to the likes of the Moto G, as it’s not meant for the more developed regions in terms of smartphone use. This is for areas where Android devices are sold at a much lower average price, but still can do the basic things that others can.

With that in mind, the Nokia X is probably a little better than OK. The polycarbonate body is fairly chunky, but in the hand it dovetails well with the smaller screen, as it would be hard to hold something that small and thin.

Nokia X review

The screen doesn’t seem to suffer either – the contrast is strong, helped by the smorgasbord of colour on offer from the live tiles.

There’s not a lot else on offer here in terms of ports or anything – the mandatory headphone jack and camera (which is only a 3MP option with no flash) are the only other items in a sea of matte plastic.

Nokia X review

But this isn’t meant to be a phone that’s all about design – the Nokia X is supposed to offer a differentiated user experience from the rest of the identikit Android phones on the market.

Nokia X review

To that end, I actually rather liked what Finland’s top Microsoft subsidiary is doing – there’s a nice fusion of Android familiarity and Windows Phone functionality.

The live tiles idea is really cool – it’s essentially just a clever way of doing Android widgets, but while other launchers can make things look too complex, Nokia is doing things its own way and making it all seem a lot cooler.

Nokia X review

For instance, there’s no ‘Apps’ key that shows all the little bits of software you’ve downloaded – now it’s all in one long list that just endlessly scrolls. To that end, it can get a bit messy, so Nokia’s method of creating folders is needed and something that wasn’t possible on Windows Phone.

Nokia X review

It’s nothing special, and you can’t just drag and drop to create a folder, instead needing to tap an icon. But at least dragging the live tile icons for each app will allow you to move the order around automatically, and some, such as the gallery, will expand to show pictures in your album.

Nokia X review

There’s even the chance to change the colour of some apps to match your theme – although the fact you can’t do this to all of them means this feature is slightly negated.

You can also see more notifications on the lock screen than you might on other Nokia phones – it’s a little boring in terms of design, but works well enough.

Nokia X review

The other big change is Nokia’s Fast Lane – it’s an odd change from the notifications bar, as it’s essentially the same thing but one long scrolling page that can be accessed by swiping right or left.

Nokia X review
Nokia X review

It’s cool in some respects, as it allows you to dynamically control things like the music player, and always keeps your most-used apps close at hand. However, there is still the same pull-down bar as on other Android handsets here, but it’s only for changing settings.

Nokia X review

Come on Nokia, you don’t have to change EVERYTHING.

Fast Lane isn’t the same as the multi-tasking menu you’ll get on the likes of most other Android phones – while long pressing the icon will shut it down, the app apparently still runs.

However, Fone Arena noted that the multi-tasking menu is still there, but you’ll need to install specific apps to get it to work – not hard, but its absence out of the box may irk some.

Power, Camera & Verdict:


Nokia X review

The dual-core processor seems perfectly able to handle all tasks – it stuttered a fair bit when opening some apps, and in the demo the mapping application didn’t like rendering 3D images at speed, but on the whole it was OK.

Then again, it feels like this should be a little cheaper as a device once you’ve dug a little more into it. It’s likely to be pretty kind to that 1500mAh battery, so at least you won’t be reaching for the charger every seven seconds.

Nokia X review

The Nokia X only features 4GB of on-board storage, and no microSD card expansion (unlike the Nokia X+, which has that option and 768MB of RAM to speed things up a little) which is a real worry when it comes to trying to add media as well as downloading apps – there’s not a lot of room for much else.

Update: So it turns out we were fed wrong information on the Nokia stand – there is a microSD slot here, as you can see, meaning the only difference between the X and X+ is the extra RAM…we’d always recommend paying more to get that speed boost, but in some countries a few pounds difference in the price is a huge thing.

Nokia X review

There’s also a removable battery in the mix too (like its brother) – I’m going to guess that Nokia will only release either the X or X+ in more developed markets, and it will likely be the latter to ensure greater app performance, given how close these models are.


Nokia’s 3MP effort without flash is just that: non-flashy. It’s a super-basic snapper, and it’s almost so basic that I feel the Finns should be making a bit more of an effort, even at this price point.

However, there are some tweaks: you can alter the white balance and exposure levels ( a fairly easy trick for most chips these days) so you can start to improve the brightness when the darkness begins to set in.

Nokia X review

The pictures you take also append to a Live Tile on the home screen in a similar way to Windows Phone – although only if you’ve sized up the window, given you can make the Live Tiles bigger and smaller as you wish in most cases.

Nokia X review

Nokia has been very careful to remove everything from Google here and make it all about Microsoft – there are lots of similarities between the UI on show here and Windows Phone.

Nokia X review

OneDrive is front and centre, and with 10GB of storage on offer that might seem enticing for those stuck using Android phones with no access to Google’s Drive.

However, there does seem to be a feeling this is forced into the phone – part of me keeps wishing that Nokia had just done this before signing itself away to Microsoft, as this could have been a really good addition to the Android game.

Early verdict

The Nokia X is a hard phone to work out – on the one hand, it’s a super cheap handset and as such has the budget specs you’d expect.

On the other, it seems to be not much better than the Lumia 520, which is a Windows Phone handset and supposed to sit above it in the product line – on current prices, it’s also cheaper.

There are some worries here even for the developing nations: that 4GB of storage could get eaten up quickly, and while Nokia is touting the ability to add third party apps through other stores, new phones can live and die by app availability and that could kill the Nokia Android project.

The Nokia X is constructed well enough, has a interesting new UI and is breaking new ground – but as a new phone, it seems a bit expensive for what’s on offer.

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GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
SIM Optional Dual SIM (Micro-SIM)
Announced 2014, February
Status Available. Released 2014, March
BODY Dimensions 115.5 x 63 x 10.4 mm, 73.2 cc (4.55 x 2.48 x 0.41 in)
Weight 128.7 g (4.52 oz)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 2 fingers
– Nokia X platform 1.0 UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 4 GB, 512 MB RAM
DATA GPRS Up to 85.6 kbps
EDGE Up to 236.8 kbps
Speed HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP, HS
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 3.15 MP, 2048 x 1536 pixels, check quality
Features 1/5” sensor size, panorama, face detection
Video Yes, 480p@30fps
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon S4 Play
CPU Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A5
GPU Adreno 203
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black, white
– SNS integration
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/Flac player
– MP4/H.264/H.263 player
– Document viewer
– Photo editor
– Voice memo/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery (BN-01)
Stand-by Up to 408 h
Talk time Up to 13 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 10 h 30 min (3G)
Music play Up to 26 h
MISC Price group Rs. 8600/-





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