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Archive for January, 2012

Mercury Launches New Android Tablet for just Rs.11,999/-

Kobian has launched yet another Android tablet under its Mercury brand – the mTab2. The successor to the original mTab comes with a 7″ WVGA capacitive multi-touch screen and is powered by a dual-core 1 GHz Cortex A9 processor with a 3D accelerator. Running on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), this device has 8 GB of built-in memory, which can be expanded to 32 GB via a microSD slot. Its predecessor had a similar screen, but with a 1.2 GHz single-core processor and 4 GB of built-in memory.

The mTab2 has a USB 2.0 port to connect various devices such as a keyboard and mouse. Its USB host feature lets you access the contents of connected USB mass storage media, such as pen drives. It also claims to support most of the USB 3G dongles, providing internet connectivity while on the move. It supports video chat through a VGA front camera. Wi-Fi is available to connect to hotspots. The tab offers Flash 10.2 support to facilitate smoother online videos, and the HDMI port allows you to connect a larger display device. Although details are sparse, we can assume it will support popular formats such as DivX, MPG, and MP4 up to 1080p, like its predecessor.
Backed by a 1-year warranty, the Mercury mTab2 is priced at just Rs 12,000, which is quite affordable for a dual-core tablet.

 

If the Asus Transformer Prime has been declared as the world’s first quad core tablet, then what’s the world’s first triple core tablet? Well, we really haven’t heard of such except for this new slate from Kobian that is currently being dubbed as the Mercury mTab2.

Mercury mTab2

This might be your first time to hear about Kobian but allow us to tell you that this company is pretty much known for its wide range of computer components and peripherals. As of now, the Mercury mTab2 tablet can be purchased in India for a very decent price of Rs 11,999 that’s more or less equivalent to 238 US Dollars. The tablet may be a bit expensive than Amazon’s Kindle Fire but affordable enough for those who can’t simply afford to buy the famous Apple iPad.

And if you’re curious about the slate’s specs, allow us to tell you that it’s a 7 inch tablet with a capacitive multi-touch display. It is being powered by a Dual Core 1GHz Processor that goes alongside with its Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform. Aside from the said specs, the new Mercury mTab 2 from Kobian can also take pride of its 512MB of memory, 8GB of internal storage, up to 32GB of expandable storage via micro SD card, front facing camera for video chats, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g connectivity, full USB 2.0 port, full HDMI output, built-in speaker, mic and a long-lasting battery that can last up to 8 hours. But that’s not all. The tablet supports internet surfing via a 3G USB dongle and can easily be tucked inside your jacket or handbag. The slate flaunts a trendy design and weighs around 365 grams.

Like any other budget-friendly tablets, the Mercury mTab2 lacks a rear snapper that you can use to take a bunch of quality shots. On the lighter side, you can easily access the Android Market for your favorite games and apps.

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iTwin

Chennai-born Lux Ananthraman has created iTwin, a pair of identical USB drives that share data exclusively between them over any connection. The procedure is insert the USB drive you are carrying in any computer and you can access all your files securely and without the need for any third-party software. For iTwin, all you need is internet access. And it costs just about Rs 5,000

Singapore invention iTwin sweeps up awards

The latest accolade won by the device is the “Best of What’s New Award” by Popular Science Magazine in their computing category last month.

iTwin came out the winner among the top 100 new tech products selected from technologies from all over the world reviewed by the editors of the magazine.

Before that, iTwin picked up the Red Dot Product Design Award in July, and Frost & Sullivan’s New Product Innovation Award in 2010, The Straits Times reported.

In 2009, iTwin was the first Singapore start-up to be selected for participation in the prestigious Silicon Valley TechCrunch 50 start-up event.

iTwin is a two part device that can transfer data safely between any two online computers.

By plugging in one part into a computer, and the other detachable part into a second computer, users can upload, download or edit any file on the two computers.

As iTwin does not store data and the device can be remotely disabled, users are spared the worry of compromising sensitive information should the device be misplaced or stolen.

iTwin was developed in the laboratories of the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

The idea for iTwin was born when co-founder and chief executive officer Lux Anantharaman wanted to check personal investments and finances stored on his home computer.

To achieve this, he thought of a simple yet secure remote file access solution, which was brought to life when he was a scientist at I2R.

Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, the commercial arm of A*STAR, provided funding for a marketable prototype.

In 2009, the prototype made its debut at he International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US.

Mr Anantharaman said he believes that iTwin may ultimately replace the portable storage market, which currently comprises flash drives, portable hard disks and memory cards.

SINGAPORE STARTUP iTwin AWARDED IDA / AMAZON WEB SERVICES CREDITS
SINGAPORE, 8 November 2010 – iTwin is delighted to announce that it has been awarded
IDA / Amazon Web Services credits.
Under the “Open Call for Cloud Computing Proposals”, iTwin has been selected by the
Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore, and awarded free AWS credits. iTwin
will use these credits to route some of its encrypted traffic through the reliable infrastructure
of Amazon Web Services. iTwin is a pioneering user of AWS in Singapore. All iTwin data is
encrypted in transit and only the two halves of iTwin know the encryption key.
“These welcome and useful credits add to the honours garnered by iTwin. We believe iTwin
is going to be very successful because it makes secure remote file access really easy. As we
ready for our US launch, it’s great to have this support and recognition. It adds further support
to our belief that iTwin will be hugely appreciated by computer users that dislike the messy
configuration, logins and passwords of current remote access solutions, or are concerned about
losing confidential data when they lose a portable file storage device, like a USB flash drive”,
said iTwin’s CEO Lux Anantharaman.
Lux, together with Chief Operating Officer Kal Takru, founded the company, which is a spin-off
from Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
iTwin adds this award to several previous merits including being selected for the prestigious
TechCrunch50 event in Silicon Valley; TechCrunch TokyoCamp in Japan; a Singapore Design
Award (merit, product category); a Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award, and
selection for e27 unConference and LaunchPad. iTwin was also selected to participate at
TechVentures 2010, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
High resolution images are available at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/icon_newsroom/sets/72157624966129795/

General

  • What is an iTwin?
  • Is iTwin a USB flash drive?
  • How does it work?
  • Does iTwin use bluetooth, Wi-Fi?
  • Is one computer the master and the other the slave?
  • What are the plus points of iTwin over other file access services?
  • Does iTwin store data?
  • Can I put the computer to sleep or lock it so as to prevent unauthorized access to my local computer while I am away?

Getting Started

  • Why do I need two halves of iTwin?
  • How do I access my files while I’m on-the-go?
  • What if my home computer falls asleep while I’m out, on-the-go?
  • If I were to ask someone at home to drag and drop more files while I’m at work, would I be able to access the newly dragged and dropped files? Or can files only be shared when both halves of iTwin are ‘paired’ together in my home machine and then dragged and dropped?

Remote Editing

  • What software application gets used when I remotely edit a file?
  • Can you even edit video or image files remotely?
  • Can it be edited on both sides like google docs?

Popularity

  • What has the press said?
  • What recognition has iTwin received?

Safety & Security

  • Just how secure is it?
  • But what about passwords?
  • What if I lose one half?
  • What if I lose both halves of iTwin?
  • Where do I enter the disable code, to disconnect the two halves of my iTwin?
  • What about firewalls?
  • Can I use it in a public computer?
  • Does the data go through some offsite iTwin server?
  • What about Malware?

Supported Configuration

  • What operating systems are currently supported?
  • I own multiple iTwins. Can I pair any two halves?
  • Am I able to pair two halves of differently colored iTwins?
  • Once disabled, can I reconnect the two halves of iTwin?
  • Can iTwin do one-to-many connections?
  • What if I have multiple user accounts on my computer?
  • Does iTwin work through all firewalls?
  • If I have a Mac with a Windows OS installed on a virtual machine, will iTwin work on that?

Troubleshooting Corner Cases

  • Does it work on an intranet setting without internet?
  • I am getting a message about iTwinTrust server and the time zone. What should I do?
  • Why can’t i open one of my remote files?
  • Why is iTwin not installing itself?

Question Not Answered Here?

  • Contact us here or email us directly at helpdesk@iTwin.com.

What is an iTwin?

iTwin is a revolutionary new file sharing and remote access device brought to you by a company called iTwin. It’s like two ends of a cable, without the cable. It’s as simple to use as a flash drive. It’s literally plug and play.iTwin can connect any two online computers anywhere in the world. iTwin enables you to have access to any or all of your home computer’s files and folders while you’re on-the-go. Similarly, you can also use iTwin to access to any or all of your office computer’s files and folders while on-the-go. There’s no in-built limit to the amount of storage you can access with iTwin while you’re on-the-go. The only limit is the size of your hard drives. The only other “limit” is the speed of your Internet connection. The faster it is, the better your experience.

You can select files for accessing later on-the-go, or you can edit them remotely, without the files leaving your computer. You can also back-up files to your home or office computer while you’re out on-the-go. It’s so easy, it’s unbelievable.

How does it work?

When you connect iTwin, you’ll see a regular window pop-up, just as you would if you plugged in a regular USB flash drive. Drag and drop files and folders into this window to share them – as many as you want. Leave your computer with one half of iTwin connected to it. Detach the other half of iTwin and take it with you. Wherever you go, you can remotely access the shared files, simply by plugging the half you are carrying into any online Windows computer, anywhere. iTwin allows you to transfer files to – or from – your home computer. Or your office computer. Or your friend’s, or your colleague’s! iTwin also allows you to edit the shared files on a remote computer, while keeping them on that remote computer, (no need to transfer those files before you edit them).For more details, see the iTwin user manual.

Is one computer the master and the other the slave?

No – iTwin comprises two exactly identical halves and information transfer goes from A to B or from B to A, whichever you prefer. The two halves are completely identical and this “twin” symmetry reflects the useful access and transfer capabilities of iTwin.

Just how secure is it?

When you connect iTwin to your computer, the two halves “pair” and create a secure key that only these two halves know. No one else knows this key – including the iTwin company. This means your data is completely secure. iTwin uses 256-bit AES encryption. This standard is comparable to that of the military or online banking services. On top of that, iTwin uses hardware crypto, not software, which makes iTwin’s encryption even more difficult to crack!

What are the plus points of iTwin over other file access services?

iTwin does not impose any storage limits or monthly fees. iTwin uses hardware-based access and security instead of just software. Software can be cumbersome. For remote file access, you would need to explicitly download software, install it, create accounts and worst of all, remember & type logins and passwords. We are not designed to remember more than a few passwords, and we are already overloaded with them. We reuse passwords, we use simple passwords. However, there is a simpler way to connect devices: using iTwin. iTwin makes secure connections very simple, removing all complexity.

But what about passwords?

You can set an optional password, for additional security. This is done during the “pairing” or initialization process. With the two halves connected and plugged into a USB port on your computer, proceed through the pairing process and then right-click the iTwin icon in your system tray. Select “Security Options” and then select “Set Password” from the menu. You can then enter a password which will be required each time you plug one half of your iTwin into a computer. This provides you with additional security, in case you lose one half of your iTwin and an unauthorized person attempts to use it.By default though, there’s no requirement to set a password.

Does iTwin store data?

iTwin is like two ends of a cable, without the cable. Just as a cable doesn’t store data, neither does iTwin. iTwin just gives you easy, highly secure access to your data. No data is stored on the device itself. So if you lose one half of iTwin, you don’t lose your data. You can share as much data as you choose. There’s no limit, except the speed of your broadband connection.

Can I put the computer to sleep or lock it so as to prevent unauthorized access to my local computer while I am away?

When iTwin is plugged into your computer, iTwin software will prevent your computer from entering sleep mode. This enables you to access your files remotely. You can definitely lock your computer screen by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del and selecting “Lock Computer” option. You will still be able to access files remotely. You can also switch off your monitor, iTwin will still work. In fact, iTwin software will automatically switch the monitor according to your existing power setting.

What if I lose one half?

You can break the connection between the two halves of your iTwin by clicking on a disconnect link (a URL that we email you immediately when you pair the device). You can do this from anywhere with an Internet connection. You can also disconnect by entering a unique disconnect code into our website (we email you this disconnect code when you pair the two halves of iTwin).A very simple way to break the connection after losing one half, is that you can simply unplug the half that you didn’t lose. That way, no-one can access your data. (Don’t re-plug that half until you’ve found the missing half or until you’ve disconnected the two halves using our website or our disconnect link.)

If you still have one half of iTwin, you can buy a single half of iTwin from our website. Simply “pair” your old half with the new one, to create a new iTwin.

What if I lose both halves of iTwin?

Your data is completely safe, since iTwin doesn’t store any data on itself. (iTwin just gives you access to data that’s stored on one of your computers elsewhere). You can easily order a new iTwin from iTwin.com.

 

What about firewalls?

There should be nothing to configure. iTwin uses the same ports as your Internet browser. So long as you can shop at Amazon or access “https” websites, you can use iTwin without any firewall issues. (A “https” website is a website that allows you to enter passwords or other secure information.)

Why do I need two halves of iTwin?

The high-grade security of iTwin is created by the random and very secure unique crypto key that’s generated each time you pair the two halves. Only the two halves of iTwin know the key. You only need to carry one half with you, on-the-go. Both halves of iTwin must be plugged into two online computers at the same time, for iTwin to act like a connecting cable.

How do I access my files while I’m on-the-go?

Plug iTwin into your online computer (say, the one at your home). Install and launch it with one click. Drag and drop files and folders into the iTwin window to share them, just like you would with a flash drive. Drag as many files as you want. If you can’t decide which files or folders to select, just drag the whole hard drive (seriously)! Then, detach one half of iTwin and take it with you. (Leave your home computer powered on). While you’re on-the-go and you want access to those files, simply plug the half of iTwin you are carrying into any other online computer. You’ll see all your shared files. Click the iTwin icon in the Windows Tray to “switch” iTwin and share files from the computer you’re sitting at, to be accessed from your home computer.

What if my home computer falls asleep while I’m out, on-the-go?

If you leave one half of iTwin connected to your computer at home, iTwin won’t let your computer fall asleep. The monitor may power off after a while (depending on how you’ve computer’s power management settings). But the operating system of your computer will continue to function. This ensures that you have access to your files and folders. So if the computer you use for iTwin at home is a notebook or laptop, ensure that you leave it connected to the power supply before leaving home.

Can iTwin do one-to-many connections?

iTwin enables a simple and secure, one-to-one connection between any two computers running Microsoft Windows 7, XP or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit). Interested in a one-to-many feature? Please email us at feedback@iTwin.com.

What operating systems are currently supported?

iTwin currently supports Microsoft Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista, (32-bit & 64-bit). The two computers connected to each other via iTwin can be running two different operating systems.

I own multiple iTwins. Can I pair any two halves?

Yes. You can connect any two halves and plug them into an online computer to “pair” those two halves. Any previous association that either of those two halves had with another iTwin will be instantly disabled.

What has the press said?

iTwin has received a lot of praise in the tech and popular press, from Financial Times to Engadget and Gizmodo. Praise for iTwin is shown on our Press Page.

Where do I enter the disable code, to disconnect the two halves of my iTwin?

When you pair the two halves of your iTwin, we’ll ask for your email address so that we can send you a special email. The subject line of this email will be: [iTwin] Your Device Disable Code.In case this important email gets filtered, check your spam folder. In this email, we’ll send you a disable URL. Click on the URL to disable the connection between the two halves of iTwin. We’ll also send you a unique disable code. You can also enter this unique disable code here.

Once disabled, can I reconnect the two halves of iTwin?

To re-enable your iTwin device, simply “pair” the two halves of an iTwin and you are ready to go.You can “pair” the two halves by connecting them together and plugging them into your computer. (Internet connection required).

What software application gets used when I remotely edit a file?

To use iTwin to edit a file that is stored on a remote computer, you can double-click on it in the iTwin ‘remote files’ window. If you double-click, the software application that gets used to open the file from your local computer depends on the default application preferences of your local computer. Alternatively, you can right-click on the file and choose among the available software applications installed on your local computer.

Can you even edit video or image files remotely?

Yes you can. Using iTwin, you can remotely edit any type of file on the remote computer if the appropriate application is installed on that remote computer. For example, you can share a Photoshop image file (that’s a .psd file), and you can then remotely edit this file.

Can it be edited on both sides like google docs?

Currently, iTwin only allows you to edit a file on one computer at any given moment of time. You can edit a local file and save it. Then you can open a remote file to edit and save it. Once done, the local files can be opened and re-edited. In the event where a single file is being edited by two separate computers at once, iTwin will ask you to choose to save one of the two edited copies.

Can I use it in a public computer?

Yes, you can use iTwin on a public computer. You might not wish to save any files on that public computer – in this case, simply use iTwin to remotely edit or view files located on your home or office computer. When you unplug the half of iTwin from the public computer, any temp files created by the viewing or remote editing process are purged.

Does the data go through some offsite iTwin server?

If the two halves of iTwin are plugged into a remote and local computer in the same network, then the data is transferred directly between the computers. If the remote and local computers are on different networks, then the data goes through our relay server. Since all the data which is relayed is encrypted and the encryption key is only stored on the two halves of iTwin, your data is completely safe.

What about Malware?

iTwin does not facilitate malware distribution. Malware spreads through regular USB drives, when a malicious program executes and writes itself to the USB drive automatically (without your permission or without you even realizing it). When the infected USB drive is plugged into another computer, the software may be able to automatically run. There are two necessary conditions for malware spread.

  • 1) Infected File should be copied to a new computer.
  • 2) Infected File should executed on the new computer.

With iTwin, you explicitly select the files that needs to be copied. And the iTwin device does not store any unauthorized files on itself – it only stores iTwin application files. Malicious files cannot trick iTwin into copying files automatically. However, if you use iTwin (or any file transfer system) to knowingly copy suspicious files on to your computer and you execute them (by clicking on them) you might be opening malware.

Does it work on an intranet setting without internet?

No. iTwin does not work within the intranet setting without any Internet access. iTwin requires the computers it’s plugged into to be connected to the Internet.

I am getting a message about iTwinTrust server and the time zone. What should I do?

Make sure that your Windows clock is set to the correct time for your location. Make sure that the Windows clock (on the system tray) is set to the correct timezone for your location. Setting these correctly is a security measure, and helps iTwin synchronise your files.

Why can’t I open one of my remote files ?

You cannot remotely edit or copy some types of remote files (including .doc and .xls files) if they are already open on the remote machine. This is an extension of a Windows restriction.

Why is iTwin not installing itself?

If autorun is not enabled on your computer, right click on the CD Drive: iTwin, and choose ‘Open’, then click on iTwin.exe.

Am I able to pair two halves of differently colored iTwins?

Yes. You can pair two halves of differently colored iTwins.

What if I have multiple user accounts on my computer?

You must remain logged in on the computer in order to use iTwin to access the files on that computer. So if you share the computer, for example with family members, you should make sure they do not log you out, as this will make your iTwin files inaccessible. If you are using iTwin to access files on another person’s computer, that person must remain logged in for the files to be accessible. In other words, the person that dragged files into the iTwin Local Folder must remain logged in, in order for those files to be accessible.

What recognition has iTwin received?

iTwin was shortlisted in TechCrunch50, in September 2009 in Silicon Valley. The iTwin team received a special invitation to TechCrunch’s tokyoCamp in Japan. iTwin has won a Singapore Design Merit Award. iTwin was selected as one of the one of the top 4 technologies at Asia’s biggest ICT conference, Communic’Asia 2010. Stay tuned!

Is iTwin a USB flash drive?

No, iTwin does not store any data on itself. Instead, it provides a secure encrypted connection to a remote computer, allowing the users to access their data. Unlike a flash drive, there is no storage limit, except the size of the hard disk of the remote computer.

Does iTwin use bluetooth, Wi-Fi?

iTwin uses the Internet connection of the local computer to connect to the remote computer. If the local computer is on Wi-Fi, then iTwin will make use of the Wi-Fi. It does not utilise bluetooth for communication.

Does iTwin work through all firewalls?

iTwin works through firewalls except when they are setup to allow traffic only to pre-defined, white-listed sites and services. In such a case, iTwin would not work, until the Administrator of the network white-lists iTwin’s server. This is typically done for commonly used services such as Skype etc.

If I have a Mac with a Windows OS installed on a virtual machine, will iTwin work on that?

Yes, iTwin will work in such a configuration. And, of course, iTwin will also work on Boot Camp on a Mac.

If I were to ask someone at home to drag and drop more files while I’m at work, would I be able to access the newly dragged and dropped files? Or can files only be shared when both halves of iTwin are ‘paired’ together in my home machine and then dragged and dropped?

You will be able to access the newly dragged files, as these are now available for on-the-go access. They’ll be visible to you when you refresh the ‘remote’ folder.

http://www.itwin.com/

Nokia Lumia 710 Review*

Does the Lumia 710 rekindle our relationship with Nokia’s Windows Phones? Read on to find out.

Design and Build Quality

The Lumia 710 we got for review came dressed up in a demure black outfit, but if you’re the more flashy type, there are a range of back covers that you can choose from at the time of buying the device. The back is covered in a matte finish whilst the front is all glass and is more prone to fingerprints. At a thickness of 12.5 mm, it’s not the thinnest phone in the market currently but it’s got a contoured and curved back which gives it an overall ‘slim’ feeling.

The 710 - from all sides

The 710 – from all sides

The front consists of the 3.7-inch ClearBlack capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The speaker is located at the back alongwith a five megapixel shooter, an LED flash and the first of the two noise cancellation microphones. We couldn’t really locate the second one, but we’re assuming it’s underneath the chassis or is clubbed next to one of the holes for the speakers. The 710 comes with an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and magnetometer sensor (for GPS assistance).

The top of the device

The top of the device

The top of the phone consists of the microUSB slot, the power button and the headphone jack, while the microSIM slot is located beneath the 1300mAh battery. The volume rocker and camera shutter buttons are located on the right. Did we miss something? Yes, with 8GB of internal memory, Nokia has offered to do away with a microSD card slot, so that may be a downer for some.

The standard three physical buttons

The standard three physical buttons

We don’t want Kevlar or polycarbonate, if you’re charging us a bomb for that. Give us a sturdy design and we’ll be more than happy. And guess what, the Lumia 710 listened to us! The Lumia 710 feels extremely solid in the hand and comes as a welcome relief from all that Android ‘plasticy-ness’ we have been subjected to in the recent past. At a weight of 125.5 grams, the 710 has the right balance of being light as well as sturdy. In terms of design and build, the Lumia 710 nails it, and is easily one of the best out there in the same price bracket

Interface

A combination of a 1.4 GHz single core Scorpion processor, a Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset and Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, seems to work fantastically well for the Lumia 710. It’s fast, zippy and shows no signs of lagging down and if you’re new to the Windows Phone world, we’ll describe it in one word for you, its eye candy. In terms of looks alone, Android’s grid UI or even Apple’s UI stick out like a sore thumb in front of the brilliant, almost magical, use of colours in the phone’s user interface.

Superfast interface

Superfast interface

But is it as functional? Firstly, we’re labelling multitasking as having a pseudo-function on the phone, because for example, if you get a notification from a Whatsapp contact on your homescreen, and you click on it, the app will have to load up every single time as you can’t enable background tasks for all third party applications. However, that’s more of a developer issue and it’s just a matter of time before that gets rectified. Also, a long press of the back button will show you your most recent apps and you can quickly jump between them; so multitasking is there, but it does need some minor tweaking to prevent third party apps from re-loading each time you access them.

The next feature, and something we liked, was that any app you start or any menu you go to, opens up in a layer above the previous one. What this means is that when you press the back button you go back on the layers that were opened before it, similar to the back button (and not the up button) you see on Windows’ desktop OS.

Gallery

It’s got the looks

Secondly, quick toggle of connectivity options isn’t still present. They can be placed as tiles on your screen, but you’ll have to enter the settings via that tile to turn it off. You can’t toggle it from the tile on the home screen. A minor niggle, but something they need to improve on, nonetheless.

The application dock or list that comes up when you swipe right from the home screen tends to overflow into a long stack if you’ve got a whole load of apps and games installed onto your phone. However, they’re neatly segregated based on their names, and if you have a long list, you can simply press on any alphabet to bring up the alphabet list to navigate to your app, so at most you’ll need two or three taps to get to your application, which means it’s as quick as what you see on the other operating systems.

Cover

Tiles and hubs is all that you’ll need

There’s a lot of customization you can do as to how your phone looks and feels. You can set which tiles deserve your attention the most, set your theme for the day, pin important people to the home screen, and if you customize your 710 well, all you’ll need to see to get your work done is the tiles on the homescreen.

The WP7.5 UI might take some time to get used to, if you’re a new user, but it’s a minor thing because the colourful, brilliantly designed Mango user interface will ensure you’re never ‘bored’ of your Nokia phone.

Media 

The media interface follows the same panorama-ish interface as the rest of the phone and looks pretty neat. It’s got the basic functions you’d see in a smartphone plus a few added features. All your media content is neatly laced in the music+videos tile. The main screen allows you to choose what media you want to play. A swipe shows the recently played stuff. Another swipe shows you the recent content you have added to your phone. Music applications are also embedded out there so it’s all neatly put in one place. And all of this is in the form of tiles, so it has this visually appealing feel to it, that we doubt we will ever get tired of seeing. FM radio works quite well; we didn’t have problems catching and locking in to stations while using it during our train journeys.

Media player interface

Media player interface

The bundled in-ear headphones are one of the best ones we’ve got from a phone manufacturer in recent times, and guess what, you aren’t paying a premium for that (Beats, anyone?).  The speaker is located at the back, so the sound is a little muted when placed with the screen upfront, but it’s quite loud and clear otherwise. If you have your headphones plugged in, simply pressing the volume button brings down a mini widget to play your current track. However, the default music player doesn’t come with any audio enhancements, so what you hear is what you get!

Good pair of in-ear headphones

Good pair of in-ear headphones

The only downer is the fact that you’ll have to use Zune to get all your media content onto your device. The phone supports a few formats like WMA9, WMA10 and MP4 and video content automatically gets converted into the default playable format by Zune. That said, it’s not difficult to use and syncing can be done via your personal wireless network as well. If iTunes didn’t bother you, Zune won’t either.

Connectivity

The 710 has all the basic connectivity options pretty well covered. There’s 3G HSDPA at 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA at 5.76 Mbps (which means it’s definitely future proofed for all of us with terribly low speeds!!), Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS support and Bluetooth. Hotspot creation, though is available for WP7.5 phones, was surprisingly not found on our 710 device. Call quality is loud and audible and in our test the phone didn’t lose signal in closed spaces like elevators.

Browsing via the inbuilt Internet Explorer is quick, but there’s no support for flash, which might be a problem for some people. Anyway, flash for mobile phones is slowly phasing out, so the feature that’s gaining more importance now is the presence of HTML5, which the 710’s default browser has.

Connectivity

Connectivity

The major thing that sets the Lumia 710 apart from other Windows Phones is the present of Nokia Drive and Maps. In Nokia Drive, locking into your GPS signal is quick and once you set your destination, the phone displays the best route, the time and the distance akin to Google. The view is possible in both 2D and 3D modes. Nokia maps allows you to search for landmarks and places, along with viewing your current location. When we used the two services, they worked pretty well and were at par with Google’s map services.

Office and email integration - brilliant

Office and email integration – brilliant

Social networking and email integration deserves special mention. Twitter and Facebook are all integrated at the OS level, so you don’t need to launch any third party applications. In the ME tab itself, you’ll get to see all your notifications, status updates from your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN accounts. The default email client is pretty nifty as well and the panorama view allows easy access to your unread and important mails.

Apps that come with the 710

Apps that come with the 710

It’s a Microsoft phone, so another plus is the brilliant compatibility and editing options it has with Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Panning through a large document is surprisingly easy because all starting paragraphs can be accessed via the outline button. Editing, formatting is a breeze on the 710 and if you’re working a lot with Word, Excel or PowerPoint files, you’re gonna love this phone. The only problem we faced was that editing wasn’t possible with DOC files (from Word 97-2003).

The pre-installed applications

The pre-installed applications

Misc. Features

Besides Nokia Drive and Maps that we spoke about earlier, Nokia has also bundled in an app called App Highlights that allows users to view the featured and essential apps to download from the marketplace. TuneIn Radio allows wireless music streaming while the tools app allows access to basic functions like stopwatch and calculator. Another application called Times Poynt has been included that, based on your current location, shows you nearby landmarks like restaurants and theatres. As can be seen from the image, it located a lot of theatres accurately in our neighbourhood. The Contacts transfer  provides a method for transferring contacts from an old phone to your Nokia phone via Bluetooth.

Xbox Live on your phone

Xbox Live on your phone

Xbox Live allows you to view your current collection of games, your avatar and game related news in its dedicated hub. Games that are downloaded are again neatly threaded into that tile so they don’t clog up your application list.

Camera

The Lumia 710 is strapped with a 5 megapixel autofocus shooter with an LED flash. We put it through the same controlled environment setup we compared our high end smartphones in, which you can view here. The Lumia 710 captures detail pretty well, but when you start the camera, it takes a while for the colours to stabilize. Also, there’s a slight hint of noise in indoor photographs. Outdoor snaps and macros are handled pretty well. Plus, the camera, like the applications is quick and can be accessed via the shutter button even when the phone is locked. However, if you’re one of those that uses video calling extensively, you’ll be disappointed to know that the 710 lacks a front camera.

Indoor images are decent

Indoor images are decent

Video recording is present at 720p resolution and like seen on most phones, you can’t zoom in during recording. Like the Xperia Active we reviewed earlier, this one has some colour banding as well during both indoor and outdoor videos but it’s been a problem with most smartphone cameras we’ve used. Overall, the Lumia 710 is a decent shooter which won’t disappoint you with your casual shots.

5mp camera at the back

5mp camera at the back

Battery Life

The 710 is equipped with a 1300 mAh battery and we put it through its paces in our standard loop test. The phone survived for two hours and ten minutes of calling, two hours video, two hours of music and two hours of streaming. A total of eight hours and ten minutes. In our video playback test, the 710 lasted for six hours before running out of juice. On average usage, the 710 will last you about a day, which, though not overly impressive, is definitely acceptable.

A worthy buy

A worthy buy

Verdict

The Nokia Lumia 710 is priced at Rs. 18,500 (MOP). At this price, it directly compares to the SE Neo V Android phone we reviewed earlier. The only problem some people might have with this phone is that there is no expandable memory (if you’re not satisfied with 8 gigs of memory) or front camera. Besides that, the build, interface, camera and battery life is quite brilliant. For us, the real thing actually holding the phone back is the limited collection of apps in the market (which, to be fair to Microsoft, is getting better over time). If that isn’t a problem for you, then look no further than the Lumia 710. With Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and this new beauty, Nokia is finally back in business.

PRICE IN INDIA

18,500/-

BEST IS Windows 7.5 Mango, A BEAUTIFUL PHONE, GREAT BUILD QUALITY, SUPERB BUILT INTERFACE, CAMERA QUALITY, BEST BATTERY LIFE

NO EXPANDABLE MEMORY, NO FRONT CAMERA, LIMITED APPS IN MARKET.

EXPERT RATING :

Rating

SPECIFICATIONS:

Also known as Nokia Sabre

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 – RM-803
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 – For Canada
Announced 2011, October
Status Available. Released 2011, December
BODY Dimensions 119 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm, 81.1 cc
Weight 125.5 g
DISPLAY Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass
– Nokia ClearBlack display
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot No
Internal 8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM
DATA GPRS Class 33
EDGE Class 33
Speed HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, face detection
Video Yes, 720p@30fps
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
CPU 1.4 GHz Scorpion
GPU Adreno 205
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML5, RSS feeds
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java No
Colors Black, White (front)/ black, white, cyan, fuchsia, yellow (back)
– MicroSIM card support only
– SNS integration
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA player
– MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
– Document viewer/editor
– Video/photo editor
– Voice memo/command/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Standard battery, Li-Ion 1300 mAh (BP-3L)
Stand-by Up to 400 h (2G) / Up to 400 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 6 h 50 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 40 min (3G)
Music play Up to 38 h
MISC Price group  Rs. 18,500/-

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