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8 things you need to know before buying a Firefox phone

8 things you need to know before buying a Firefox phone

firefox_OS

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

Review:

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.

Display

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.

Camera

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.

Typing

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.

Apps

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.

BBM

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

Browser

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

Capture

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
SIM Micro-SIM
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
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
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/-

Nokia 108: ultra-affordable camera phone

Nokia 108: ultra-affordable camera phone

 

 

Those on a tight budget, but yearn for a camera phone from a global brand, Nokia will soon come to your rescue. Before you jump the gun, no it’s not an ultra-cheap Lumia, but a feature phone instead. The ultra-affordable camera phone is the Nokia 108, which will also come in a dual SIM variant. The 2G-compliant phone does not come with 3G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi support, so the only way you can share images is via Bluetooth 3.0 with SLAM, or a microSD card reader. Although India doesn’t feature in the local product listing pages, but rest assured, like all Nokia handsets, this $29 (Rs 1820) one will land in the local markets as well, by the end of the year.

The phone packs in a VGA snapper, and is being marketed as a secondary handset for people, thanks to its long battery life – 13.8 hours of claimed talk time, up to 45 hours music playback time, and 31 days standby. The handset will be available in red, black, and white, and the yellow and cyan variants will join the family later. For its price, it seems quite a decent deal.

  • 2G (GSM 900/1800); dual-SIM variant.
  • No EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi support.
  • Dimensions: 110.4 (l) x 47 (w) x 13.5 (d) mm; 70.2 grams.
  • 1.8″ TFT display with 65k colours.
  • 32GB microSD card support.
  • 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 3.0 with SLAM, 3.5 mm audio jack, FM Radio.
  • VGA Camera.
  • 900 mAh battery with 13.8 hours of claimed talk time; up to 45 hours music playback time; 31 days standby.

Specifications

 

Also available as Nokia 108 with single SIM card support.
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 900 / 1800 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
SIM Dual SIM (Mini-SIM, dual stand-by)
Announced 2013, September
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2013, Q4
BODY Dimensions 110.4 x 47 x 13.5 mm, 70.1 cc (4.35 x 1.85 x 0.53 in)
Weight 70.2 g (2.47 oz)
– Flashlight
DISPLAY Type TFT, 65K colors
Size 128 x 160 pixels, 1.8 inches (~114 ppi pixel density)
SOUND Alert types Vibration, Polyphonic(32), MP3 ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Phonebook 500 contacts
Call records Yes
Internal 4 MB RAM
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE No
WLAN No
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0
USB Yes (charging only)
CAMERA Primary VGA, 640×480 pixels
Video Yes, QVGA@15fps
Secondary No
FEATURES Messaging SMS(threaded view), Email
Browser No
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Games Yes
GPS No
Java Yes
Colors Black, White, Red, Blue, Yellow
– WAV/MP3/AAC player
– MP4/H.263 player
– Digital clock
– Calculator
– Calendar
– Converter
BATTERY Li-Ion 950 mAh battery (BL-4C)
Stand-by Up to 600 h
Talk time Up to 13 h 40 min
Music play Up to 41 h
MISC Price group Rs. 2000/- ($29)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Galaxy Mega 6.3 launched in India

 

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Galaxy Mega 6.3 launched in India

 

Samsung-Galaxy-Mega

Samsung has launched its Galaxy Mega large screen smartphones in the Indian market. The Galaxy Mega 5.8 will be available across the country within a week from today for a price of Rs. 25,100 while the Galaxy Mega 6.3 will be available in mid-June for a MRP of Rs. 31,490.

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 is a dual-SIM device that has a 5.8-inch screen with qHD(540×960 pixels) resolution. It is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor alongside 1.5GB RAM and features an 8-megapixel rear camera, as well as a 2-megapixel front facing camera. The phone comes with 8GB expandable storage and has a 2,600mAh battery. It runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 sports a 6.3-inch 720×1280 display and features the same camera as that of Galaxy Mega 5.8. It is powered by a dual-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz. The Galaxy Mega has 1.5GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and A-GPS. The phone comes with a 3,200 mAh battery and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The phone comes with 16GB internal storage capacity and has a microSD card for expanding the storage up to 64GB.

The GALAXY Mega smartphones will offer split screen capability for a variety of applications including email, messages, ‘MyFiles,’ ‘S Memo,’ ‘S Planner’, amongst others. The devices will also feature the much touted ‘Air View’ feature, that lets users preview information in emails, photos in Gallery, and speed dial contacts without opening them.

The phones are being launched with special offers from RCOM and Vodafone. RCOM customers buying the phone will get 2GB data per month free for 3 months and unlimited access to Big Movies library, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Vodafone customers will get 2GB data download(2G+3G) per month for two months.

 

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 key specifications

  • 6.3-inch HD display of 720×1280 resolution
  • 1.7GHz dual-core processor
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage, can be expanded by up to 64B
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v 4.0, GPS
  • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 3200 mAh battery

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 key specifications

  • 5.8-inch display with resolution of 540×960 pixels
  • 1.4GHz dual-core processor
  • 1.5GB RAM 8GB internal storage, can be expanded by up to 64B
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
  • 2-megapixel front camera 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v 4.0, GPS
  • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 2600 mAh battery

 

Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 I9150

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GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – GT-I9150
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – GT-I9152 (SIM 1 & SIM 2)
3G Network HSDPA
SIM Optional Dual SIM (Micro-SIM)
Announced 2013, April
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2013, May
BODY Dimensions 162.6 x 82.4 x 9 mm (6.40 x 3.24 x 0.35 in)
Weight 182 g (6.42 oz)
DISPLAY Type TFT capacitive touchscreen
Size 540 x 960 pixels, 5.8 inches (~190 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
– TouchWiz UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 64 GB
Internal 8 GB storage, 1.5 GB RAM
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE
NFC No
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection
Video Yes, 1080p@30fps
Secondary Yes, 1.9 MP
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
CPU Dual-core 1.4 GHz
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser HTML5
Radio No
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors White, Black
– SNS integration
– MP4/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
– Organizer
– Image/video editor
– Document viewer
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery
Stand-by
Talk time
MISC Price group Rs. 25100/-

 

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200

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GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA
4G Network LTE – GT-I9205
SIM Micro-SIM
Announced 2013, April
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2013, May
BODY Dimensions 167.6 x 88 x 8 mm (6.60 x 3.46 x 0.31 in)
Weight 199g (7.02 oz)
DISPLAY Type TFT capacitive touchscreen
Size 720 x 1280 pixels, 6.3 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
– TouchWiz UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 64 GB
Internal 8/16 GB storage, 1.5 GB RAM
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE
NFC Yes
Infrared port Yes
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0 (MHL), USB On-the-go, USB Host
CAMERA Primary 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, HDR
Video Yes
Secondary Yes, 1.9 MP
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
CPU Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait
GPU Adreno 305
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser HTML5
Radio No
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors White, Black
– SNS integration
– MP4/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
– Organizer
– Image/video editor
– Document viewer
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery
Stand-by
Talk time
MISC Price group Rs. 31,490/-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micromax Superfone “Canvas 2” A110 Review

Micromax Superfone “Canvas 2” A110 Review

 

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With the huge success of the Superfone Canvas A100, Micromax has decided to do raise the bar once again for what a sub-10K Android smartphone should look like. With the same massive 5-inch screen making a comeback, they’ve managed to fit in a dual-core CPU this time – all for the same price as the previous one. Too good to be true?

Video Review

Video Review

Design and Build 
The Canvas 2 A110 once again borrows many design cues from the Galaxy Nexus. The chrome trim along the side is shaped in such a way so as to create an illusion of a curved glass. You get a nice chunky volume rocker on one side along with a power/sleep button on the other side. The phone appears larger than it actually is due to thick bezels on either side. There is a row of sensors beside the chrome plated earpiece and the back cover is quite sturdy and doesn’t scratch easily. The matt finish helps keep fingerprints away. The 8MP shooter produces quite a bulge at the back so you need to be careful as the lens cover will scratch easily.

 

A decent camera

A decent camera

 
The 5-inch LCD display has quite a low resolution of 854 x 480 which makes images, icons, etc. lose their sharpness. The screen doesn’t appear to be of a very good quality either as the viewing angles are pretty poor and there’s terrible banding throughout.  We now know where Micromax has cut corners in order to offer this phone at the same price point.

could have had a larger battery

Could have had a larger battery

 
Overall, the Canvas 2 is built well but is too bulky and quite heavy as well. We could have done without the chrome trim along the edges which quite frankly, gives the phone a cheap look. But then again, it is a cheap phone so there’s that. Unfortunately, the placement of the microSD card does not allow for hot-swap as the battery gets in the way.

Features 
Interface
The Canvas 2 A110 sticks to the stock interface of Android Ice Cream Sandwich for the most part, except for some changes to the notification bar, where we now have side-scrollable toggle switches. The UI is far from smooth though, which is a bit strange when you consider the fact that it’s powered by a dual-core CPU. It all makes sense when you take a closer look at the type of SoC used. Instead of a Qualcomm or TI OMAP, Micromax has used the MT6577 SoC from MediaTek. This comprises of a dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and PowerVR GPU. This SoC is specifically designed for the sub-$200 smartphone segment and has the potential to support up to 720p displays and record videos at 1080p. Unfortunately, Micromax has not exploited its full potential, which is why we have to live with lag in the UI. Another important feature that’s missing is an ambient light sensor.

UI is not the smoothest

UI is not the smoothest

 
Other than the stock UI and apps, Micromax has added a SIM management option to set the default card for call, messages, Internet, etc. Both SIMs can be active at the same time if needed. Another feature added is a scheduled power off option, which lets you switch the phone on or off at a designated time and day of the week.

Media 
Audio is handled by the stock music player of ICS. The quality of audio is strictly average even with a good pair of earphones. The rear speaker is quite loud so you won’t miss any of the alerts even in a noisy place. You get 4GB of internal memory and a slot for expanding it up to 32GB. Video playback leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, the Canvas 2 can only handle up to 720p video playback smoothly. MP4 files play well in the stock player but AVI, MKV, etc. have trouble playing back even in MX Player. The colour reproduction is good but the viewing angles are weak so you have to hold the phone just right for a decent experience.

 

Decent audio playback

Decent audio playback

 
Connectivity and Misc. apps
The Micromax Canvas 2 only supports two bands for 2G and just one for 3G, which means you won’t be able to use this on all networks around the world. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3.0 and USB plug-and-play support. Other than the Play Store, Micromax also bundles their M! Store and M!Zone for added content. The bundled apps include some games like Cricket Fever, Fruit Devil along with some productivity apps like File Manager, M! Buddy and HookUp.

Good number of bundled apps

Good number of bundled apps

 
Camera 
The upgraded 8MP shooter manages to capture decent outdoor images with pretty accurate colours and good amounts of detail. Touch-to-focus and face detection is also present along with many scene modes. Indoor picture quality is not the best and the dual-LED flash isn’t very powerful in illuminating a dark area. Macro shots fare pretty well with a decent amount of detail and depth of field.

Macro mode is pretty good

Macro mode is pretty good

 
Video recording maxes out at 720p but the quality is not very good since the recorded file is not an MP4 video but 3gp. It’s a little strange that Micromax would limit the video recording capabilities to just 720p when clearly, the 8MP sensor and dual-core CPU could easily handle more.

Battery Life 
The Canvas 2 come fitted with a 2000mAh battery pack, which is clearly not enough to power such a huge screen for the entire day. We got  just about 7-hours in our video drain test. We expected a bigger battery given the size of the phone. The phone lasted about 6-hours and 15-minutes in our loop tests which included an hour of calls, two hours of music, two hours of music and the rest was taken up by audio streaming over Wi-Fi.

Verdict and Price in India  
Micromax has priced the Superfone Canvas 2 at Rs 9,990, which is the same price as the first Canvas. However, in order to achieve this, they’ve seem to have compromised a bit too much on performance. The type of panel used is quite poor, the dual-core CPU doesn’t seem to be put to good use as the UI is very laggy and the phone cannot handle video beyond 720p. Crucial features like an ambient light sensor and quad-band functionality also seem to be missing. Overall, the A110 turned out to be a bit of a disappointment and we’d advice you give this a pass.

 

 

Specifications:

 

Also known as Micromax A110 Canvas 2.

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 900 / 1800 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G Network HSDPA 2100
SIM Dual SIM (Mini-SIM)
Announced 2012, October
Status Available. Released 2012, November
BODY Dimensions 147 x 76.5 x 9.7 mm (5.79 x 3.01 x 0.38 in)
Weight
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 480 x 854 pixels, 5.0 inches (~196 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Yes
SOUND Alert types Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 4 GB (2 GB user available) storage, 512 MB
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSDPA, HSUPA
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection
Video Yes
Secondary Yes, VGA
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Chipset MediaTek MT6577
CPU Dual-core 1 GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX531
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Black, White
– SNS integration
– MP3/AAC/WMA/WAV player
– MP4/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– Organizer
– Document viewer
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Calendar, Google Talk
– Voice memo/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 180 h
Talk time Up to 5 h
MISC SAR EU 0.68 W/kg (head)
Price group   about Rs. 10,000/-

Sony’s latest Xperia SL powered by a dual-core 1.7 for MRP. Rs. 32,549/-

Sony Xperia SL

 

The Xperia SL is considered to be one of Sony’s high-end smartphone as it features a 4.3-inch display with a resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels.

The device runs on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS (upgradable to Jelly Bean) and is powered by a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor. It has 1GB of RAM. Other features include 32GB built-in storage, no microSD card slot, a 12MP camera with an LED flash with the ability to shoot video in 1080p whereas the front has a 1.3MP video calling camera @720p. It also supports NFC and Bluetooth.

The Xperia SL supports HDMI-out, DLNA, 3D and motion gaming, 3D surround sound, TV launcher and the Walkman application. Read more about the Xperia SL.

The Xperia SL is priced at Rs. 32,549 (MRP)

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Specifications:

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
SIM Micro-SIM
Announced 2012, August
Status Available. Released 2012, September
Body Dimensions 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm (5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 in)
Weight 144 g (5.08 oz)
– Touch-sensitive controls
Display Type LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.3 inches (~342 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 10 fingers
Protection Scratch-resistant glass
– Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine
– Timescape UI
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3 ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
Memory Card slot No
Internal 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
Data GPRS Up to 86 kbps
EDGE Up to 237 kbps
Speed HSDPA, 14.4 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
NFC Yes
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go support
Camera Primary 12 MP, 4000×3000 pixels, autofocus, LED flash.
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, 3D sweep panorama, image stabilization
Video Yes, 1080p@30fps, continuous autofocus, video light, video stabilizer.
Secondary Yes, 1.3 MP, 720p@30fps
Features OS Android OS, v4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon
CPU Dual-core 1.7 GHz
GPU Adreno 220
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
Browser HTML5, Adobe Flash
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Black, White, Silver, Pink
– 50 GB of Cloud storage (time limited offer)
– TV launcher
– SNS integration
– HDMI port
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player
– TrackID music recognition
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk
– Document viewer
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 1750 mAh
Stand-by Up to 420 h
Talk time Up to 8 h 30 min
Music play Up to 25 h
Misc Price group Rs. 32,549/-

 

A refresh, instead of a proper upgrade. A replacement model rather than a successor. Is the Sony Xperia SL aiming too low? Many will probably say so, but you can’t blame Sony for trying to extend the life of a pretty solid smartphone and one of its best-received handsets.

The Sony Xperia SL might not tempt anyone already owning the Xperia S to upgrade, but then again that’s where the Xperia T steps in. The new Sony smartphone takes the path of the Arc S and tries to give a once successful flagship better chances to survive in the mid-range.


Sony Xperia SL official photos

The Xperia SL finds itself in the middle of an extremely fierce battle. It’s squeezed between the affordable dual-core NovaThor-powered droids and the flagships from the beginning of the year, which have undergone several price-cuts and are ready to conquer new territories.

The question is whether the Sony Xperia SL has what it takes to survive in these conditions. A look at its main strengths and weaknesses should help us with the answer.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.3″ 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit LCD touchscreen of 720p resolution (720 x 1280 pixels) with Sony Mobile BRAVIA engine; Scratch-resistant glass
  • Android OS v4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Dual-core 1.7 GHz Scorpion CPU, 1 GB RAM, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8260 chipset
  • 12 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geo-tagging, Multi Angle shot
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 720p video recording
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 32GB built-in storage
  • microHDMI port, dedicated TV launcher
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Voice dialing
  • Deep Facebook integration
  • PlayStation Certified, access to the PS Store
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor

Main disadvantages

  • More powerful chipsets can be had for the same price
  • Display has sub-par viewing angles
  • No microSD card slot

It’s quite obvious, that even after the speed bump, the Sony Xperia SL isn’t the most powerful droid around. There are several offerings within its own price-range to offer Krait cores and newer generation graphics processors, which might or might not matter too much, depending on wether the Sony smartphone can offer a smooth ride through the UI.

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The Sony Xperia SL studio shots

Plus, there’s the 720p BRAVIA-powered screen of Retina-beating pixel density and the very capable 12 megapixel camera, which give the Xperia SL a couple of potent weapons of its own. The design has not changed one bit, but few will deny that the Xperia S was already one of the sleekest looking smartphones around.

It appears that the Xperia SL won’t allow our jury to make an easy call, so let’s kick off this review in the hope that by the time we are finished, the picture would be more clear.

A standard retail box

The retail box of the Sony Xperia SL features the familiar GreenHeart charger, which pairs with the microUSB cable to charge the phone. An in-ear headset is also available, which rounds up all the essentials, as the Xperia SL has no card slot.

Sony Xperia Sl Sony Xperia Sl
The Xperia SL box and its contents

The only difference over the Xperia S box is the lack of Smart Tags. The Sony Xperia SL still features NFC connectivity, and you can always download the SmartTag app off the Google Play store, but if you are after the Smart Tags functionality, you’ll have to purchase them separately.

The Sony Mobile official store offers a bundle of four tags in different colors for $20, in case you were wondering. You may even be able to get cheaper offers on Ebay, the tags are universal and don’t have to be branded by Sony to work with the Xperia SL.

Sony Xperia SL dimensions

The Sony Xperia SL has the exact same measures as the Sony Xperia S – 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm. Considering that the Motorola RAZR M stands at the impressive 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3, while touting an identically sized screen and a larger, 2000 mAh battery, the Xperia SL may certainly be considered a bulky smartphone.

The Xperia SL is also quite heavy, tipping the scales at 144g. It’s no Nokia Lumia 920, but it certainly won’t let you forget that it’s in your pocket. On the other hand, the relatively heavy weight contributes to a very solid feel, when you hold the Xperia SL in your hand.

Design and build quality

The Sony Xperia SL design is perfectly identical to that of the Sony Xperia S.It’s not a new design, but we still like the combination of square angles and curves.

The design has carried over the unique accent too, in the illuminated transparent strip. In this day it’s not that easy to find a smartphone which has as much character as the Xperia SL. It might have led to an increase in the overall volume, but it’s probably worth it. After all, the Sony smartphone doesn’t have a screen nearing 5″ in size to worry about so it can afford to spare a few millimeters for a good cause like that.

Sony Xperia Sl Sony Xperia Sl
The Sony Xperia SL next to the Sony Xperia miro

Above the screen sits the earpiece, alongside the 1.3MP front-facing camera, which can record 720p video. The proximity and ambient light sensors are here too, and there’s a charge/event indicator, which glows in red or green depending on the charge status and blinks whenever there’s something that requires your attention.

Sony Xperia Sl
There’s a front-facing camera and a bunch of sensors next to the earpiece

Below the screen, there are three tiny dots marking the three capacitive keys (Back, Home and Menu). The actual icons are within the transparent strip, so you might be fooled to try and push those instead (like we did) and it takes a while to get used to the correct position of the keys. What’s more, they’ve been tweaked to require a proper press rather than a light touch so it feels awkward in the beginning.

Sony Xperia Sl
The three keys below the screen

The transparent strip has a cool white backlight, which makes it an attractive design accent in the dark. A fusion of form and function, this strip also holds the antenna. A closer look will show you the almost invisible grid inlayed in the transparent plastic that transfers the signal.

The two wired ports – microUSB and microHDMI – are on the sides of the phone. Both are hidden under plastic flaps to keep dust away.

Sony Xperia Sl Sony Xperia Sl
The microUSB port is on the left

The right side of the Sony Xperia SL holds a couple of other controls too – a volume rocker and a shutter key. We were hoping that the Xperia SL will address our complaints about the camera key, but we are in no luck. The thing is the button is thin and has a low profile, and while it’s easy to press, the stop between half-press and full-press can be hard to feel sometimes.

Sony Xperia Sl Sony Xperia Sl
The volume rocker and the camera key are next to the microHDMI port on the right

On the other hand, an imperfect camera key is still better than no camera key at all, so we’d like to give Sony a pat on the back for including it. Not only does it allow you to launch the camera instantly, but it also greatly improves usability, despite the flaws in this implementation.

The Power/Lock key and the 3.5mm audio jack are on the top. The audio jack is left uncovered, but that’s usually the case with these and it makes sense since it will probably see plenty of use.

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The power button and the 3.5mm audio jack

There’s nothing of interest at the bottom besides the lanyard eyelet and the microphone pinhole.

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The lanyard eyelet and the microphone pinhole

The back cover of the Xperia SL is made of soft matte plastic, which feels good and hides fingerprints well. Here we find the 12MP camera lens, located very near the top edge. This means you’ll have to be extra careful not to put a finger over it when taking a photo.

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The 12 megapixel camera lens has the LED flash and the loudspeaker grille on its side

The camera is accompanied by a single-LED flash and the secondary microphone used when shooting video. The loudspeaker grille is also here.

Removing the back cover doesn’t reveal much – you’ll find the microSIM card here, but you don’t get to see the battery. What you would find is an aluminum frame painted black.

The battery is a 1750 mAh unit, which is said to provide about 420 hours of 3G stand-by 8 hours and 30 minutes of 3G talk time. The Endurance rating of the Xperia SL is 32 hours, meaning you can talk for an hour, browse the web another hour and play and hour of video a day and you’d have to charge the Xperia SL once every 32 hours.

Display

The screen on the Sony Xperia SL is certainly one of the smartphone’s highlights. It’s mesmerizingly sharp, with punchy colors and very good contrast, backed by the mobile BRAVIA engine. The fact that the Xperia SL display is one of the most pixel-dense on the market at 342ppi also helps a great deal.

Its only downside (and it’s not a minor one) is the poor viewing angles.

Anyway, the Xperia SL screen has decent blacks and even though its brightness isn’t impressive, it still managed to get a good score in our test.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Sony Xperia SL 0.51 535 1049
Sony Xperia S -> 0.48 495 1038
Sony Xperia acro S 0.61 625 1022
LG Optimus 4X HD 0.34 369 1077 0.68 750 1102
HTC One S 0 177 ∞ 0 386 ∞

 

Sunlight legibility of the screen also turned out pretty good.

Handling

We liked the clean design of the Sony Xperia SL. The transparent strip is a unique accent and subtle enough (the Xperia pureness must be glad a small part of it lives on).

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Handling the Sony Xperia SL

The curved back fits nicely in the hand, and despite the fact it adds some extra thickness, the Xperia SL is still fairly compact and pocketable. One-handed operation is almost always possible, too.

Xperia on Ice Cream Sandwich

The Sony Xperia SL runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich out of box and it’s got the custom Sony launcher on top of it, so the interface doesn’t feel too different. It’s not exactly identical to what you got with the Xperias that started with Gingerbread and were promoted to ICS, but we still found our way around reasonably quickly.

It’s a little disappointing that the Xperia UI found on the Xperia T didn’t make its way to the SL. It had a revamped task switcher interface with the active, on-screen widgets, which featured a live overlay over the homescreen (video player, etc.) and the more functional notification area with various toggles.

As usual, we’re starting with a short video of the user interface:

The Xperia SL has the usual five-pane homescreen configuration, but there is no option to add or remove panes. Along the bottom, there are five docked shortcuts (the app drawer shortcut and two on each of its sides). These are visible across all five homescreen panes and are user configurable: they can be either single icons or folders with multiple items in them.

Speaking of folders – they show thumbnails of the first four items in them.

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The Sony Xperia SL UI • Choosing theme • Folders

As with older Sony smartphones, you can change the color theme of the launcher according to your preferences.

The homescreen does a neat trick called Overview mode. Pinch to zoom out on any of the 5 homescreen panes and a new screen opens up with a cool transition. All active widgets gather there for easy viewing and selection.

Sony Xperia Sl
The Overview mode helps you find the widget you are looking for

The Xperia SL has some custom-made Sony widgets in addition to the standard set. Those include the Timescape widget (there’s a dedicated app too) and a Mediascape-like widget for photos and videos (the actual app isn’t there anymore, but the Album gallery is).

When on a homescreen pressing the menu button opens up a context menu under the status bar. It gives you two options – choosing a widget and choosing a wallpaper/theme. It’s oddly placed and easy to miss at first because the animation is so underplayed it looks as if nothing has happened.

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Widgets menu • Wallpaper menu

A cool new addition to the lockscreen, missing from the pre-ICS Xperias, is the Walkman widget which lets you control music playback without unlocking the phone. You can also enable Face, Pattern, PIN or Password unlock, in ascending order of security.

Moving and removing widgets hasn’t changed and is as simple as on droids of old – hold a finger over a desired widget and move it around. The action has a cool wobble animation to it.

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Moving and deleting widgets

The standard notification area and task switcher are of course present and accounted for, with no custom touches to them. For some reason, the notification area isn’t accessible from the lockscreen as it usually is on ICS (and on other ICS-running Xperia phones).

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The lockscreen • Lockscreen options • The standard notification area and task switcher

As a part of the ICS platform you get the Data usage app. Sony provided one on Gingerbread as well, but this one is far more accurate in calculating your used traffic. It also lets you set a limit for mobile data usage for a specific period and o gives you a breakdown of which apps have used how many of your precious bytes.

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Data usage app

Sony has added its own Backup & reset feature for Android ICS. It works for apps you’ve uninstalled and then reinstalled again, restoring them with the previous saved settings. The reset menu also lies in the same submenu.

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Backup & reset

Sony have made a lot of improvements to the standard ICS build, but also omitted some that other OEMs are opting for. For example, Samsung has a Remove all feature when you open the task switcher. Also, there are still no connectivity toggles in the notification area and there’s no option to change the number homescreen panes.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Sony Xperia SL is powered by a Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon chipset, which packs two 1.7 GHz Scorpion cores, 1 GB of RAM and an Adreno 220 GPU, which has all of 1280 x 720 pixels to push. It’s a nice smartphone setup but not class leading anymore.

We begin with the Quadrant benchmark where the Xperia SL clocks in at the last spot, which is normal considering its competition is mostly quad-cores with the occasional dual-core Krait.

Phonebook

The Xperia SL phonebook is the same as the one on the Xperia T. It has slight visual changes: the bottom bar no longer shows you shortcuts to phone, favorites, contacts, and is now a search and add number field. The contacts, phone, favorites and groups tabs have been moved to the top and can be alternated by side-swipes.

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The phonebook • The quick contacts can save you a click or two • the available options

The contact list can be sorted by either first or last name. There are two contact search options – a dedicated search field on the bottom of the contact list, and an alphabetical scroll bar to jump to names starting with a specific letter on the right.

You can sync with multiple accounts, including Exchange and Facebook, and you can selectively show or hide contacts from some accounts (as well as filter specific groups in an account), or set the phonebook to display only contacts with phone numbers or only contacts that are online.

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Filtering contacts in the phonebook

If a contact has accounts in multiple services, you can “link” their details to keep everything in one place. Their Facebook photos and interests (part of the Facebook integration) will show as extra tabs.

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Viewing and editing a contact

Quick contacts are enabled – a tap on the contact’s photo brings up shortcuts for calling, texting or emailing the contact.

Each contact can have a variety of fields (and repeat fields of the same type). There’s an Add field button and the X button lets you remove fields as needed. The fields cover anything from names (including a field to write the name down phonetically) to addresses, nicknames and notes.

There is an option to redirect calls directly to voicemail. Custom ringtones are enabled too.

Smart telephony

Receiving and making calls on the Xperia SL was great. The built-in secondary microphone is used for active noise-cancellation so calls are loud and clear even in noisy environments.

The Xperia SL phone app features smart dialing. It searches for matches in both the contacts’ phones and names. There’s voice dialing too (the quickest way to activate it is to press and hold the hardware Search key).

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Smart dialing is available • Dialer

Thanks to the proximity and accelerometer sensors, the Sony Xperia SL automatically disables the touchscreen when you lift it up during a call.

The call log is integrated in the dialer – it shows a list of recently dialed, received and missed calls in the top half of the screen and the keypad on the bottom half. Once you start typing, the call log is replaced by the smart dial list. You can hide the keypad to make more room for the call log.

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Sony Xperia SL. It managed a Good mark and will be heard loud and clear in most case scenarios. More info on our loudspeaker test can be found here.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overal score
Sony Xperia T 63.7 58.9 62.1 Below Average
Apple iPhone 5 66.8 66.1 67.7 Below Average
HTC Desire C 64.6 64.7 75.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500 69.7 66.6 71.5 Average
Sony Xperia SL (no xLOUD) 75.2 65.8 74.8 Good
Sony Xperia SL (xLOUD) 75.5 65.9 76.9 Good
Sony Xperia Go 68.7 65.8 76.2 Good
LG Optimus 4X HD 68.7 66.6 79.3 Good
Motorola RAZR XT910 74.7 66.6 82.1 Very Good
HTC Desire 76.6 75.7 84.6 Excellent

Messaging is business as usual

Text messages and MMS use standard threaded layouts. Each thread is displayed as an IM chat session, with the most recent message at the bottom. You can manage individual messages (forward, copy, delete) and even lock them against deletion.

Search is enabled to locate a specific message in all conversations and you can also activate delivery reports.

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The messaging app

Adding multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.) will convert the message to an MMS.

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Creating a multimedia message

Moving on to email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allows multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there’s no unified inbox for other email services.

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Gmail app supports batch operations and multiple (Gmail) accounts

However, the generic email app can do that as well. It can handle multiple POP or IMAP accounts and you have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online.

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The generic Email client has a combined inbox option

Google Talk handles Instant Messaging. The GTalk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat, etc.

As for text input, the Xperia SL offers a customized on-screen full QWERTY keyboard. Typing on the portrait keyboard is fairly comfortable – the screen is big enough to house decently-sized keys that are easy to hit.

Flipping the phone to landscape gives you even bigger, easier to press buttons.

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Xperia SL keyboard is comfortable in either layout

You can also try the so-called Gesture input if hitting those keys individually doesn’t give you the desired typing speed. It works the same as Swype. Even if you’ve never used a Swype-like input before, you’ll quickly get used to it.

The brand new gallery

The Xperia SL comes with the new Sony Ice Cream Sandwich gallery, called Album.

It has a whole new interface where images are arranged into stacks of thumbnails and sorted by date. You can also opt to show all of your albums in one place. There are three tabs above the stacks – Pictures, Map and Online.

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The Album gallery

Pictures is the main tab – you can use pinch gestures to make the thumbnails bigger or smaller. Map reminds us of the iOS gallery, where all pictures with a Geo-tag are shown on a map of the world.

The Online tab uses pictures from the connected online services – Google Picasa, Facebook, etc. You have options to tag, like and comment on Facebook photos much like you did with the previous Xperia Gallery.

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The Geo-tagging à la iOS

Images in both galleries can be cropped or rotated directly in the gallery. Quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Facebook, Bluetooth or MMS is also enabled.

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Viewing an image

The BRAVIA engine enhances contrast and colors by sharpening the image and reducing noise. These steps normally lead to visual artifacts, but you’ll have to look at them very close up to notice. You can switch BRAVIA off, but we recommend keeping it on – it really improves the viewing experience.

Video player is new too

In keeping with the new music player and gallery, Sony has added a new video player as well. It’s dubbed Movies and it too has a new interface. It’s connected to Gracenote, which helps you find additional information about the movies you have preloaded.

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Watching a video on the Xperia SL

DivX and XviD videos support is iffy to say the least. Most of the videos we tried didn’t play on the Xperia SL and it did have issues even with mp4 files. We found that there’s an issue with audio playback as mp4 files with AAC sound weren’t a problem. 720p videos were handled with ease, 1080p videos were also watchable but not all of them. Overall, we suggest converting all your movies into the appropriate format or just downloading a video player off the Google Play Store with support for more video codecs.

Walkman music player on board

To complete the trio of redesigned Sony apps is the new Walkman music player. It retains all the functionality of the older music players but adds a little bit extra here and there.

It is divided into Playing and My music panels.

In the My music section, you can update your album art and music information like album, year, and more. SensMe is included, meaning you can filter your songs by type – upbeat, energetic, mellow, dance, etc. Creating playlists is enabled and you can also view your Facebook buddies’ activity if they too use the Walkman player.

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The music player is decent looking and snappy

The Now Playing screen offers the standard music controls, shortcuts to the library, “Infinity” key and the song cover art. The Infinity key lets you quickly look up a song on YouTube or browse for the lyrics, among others.

Currently, the only available visualization is the album art.

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The Now Playing interface • The equalizer

Finally, the Walkman player offers support for customizable equalizer settings, giving die-hard audiophiles the chance to fiddle around with the individual EQ bands.

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Sound enhancements and EQ

While the rest of the music player is the same as what we saw on the neo V, this one adds music controls to the lockscreen. Swiping them either side brings back the clock. The notification area also offers the now playing screen with music controls and the option to jump into the Walkman player.

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Music player controls on the lockscreen and notification area

The Sony Xperia SL also features an FM Radio aboard complete with RDS support – an improvement over the Neo L, which had no FM Radio at all.

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The FM Radio

Good audio quality

The Sony Xperia SL did excellently in the first part of our traditional audio quality test. The smartphone got very good scores all over and if it wasn’t for the only average volume levels it would have been perfect.

There’s some degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones, but things certainly aren’t too bad. The stereo crosstalk rises and some distortion creeps in. Volume levels remain about the same, though, which is not a common sight among smartphones. A solid overall performance, which should please anyone but the most demanding audiophiles.

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

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Sony Xperia SL +0.10, -0.10 -87.2 87.4 0.011 0.019 -87.9
Sony Xperia SL (headphones attached) +0.52, -0.11 -87.3 87.1 0.051 0.323 -49.0
Sony Xperia T +0.11, -0.10 -86.1 87.8 0.023 0.023 -84.1
Sony Xperia T (headphones attached) +0.43, -0.11 -86.1 87.5 0.140 0.260 -62.7
Sony Xperia S +0.10, -0.09 -86.6 86.8 0.011 0.018 -86.9
Sony Xperia S (headphones attached) +0.44, -0.13 -88.4 88.6 0.264 0.338 -47.3
LG Optimus 4X HD +0.02, -0.52 -74.8 74.8 0.345 0.318 -81.6
LG Optimus 4X HD (headphones attached) +0.03, -0.51 -70.1 69.9 0.815 0.811 -64.5
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III +0.03, -0.05 -90.3 90.3 0.012 0.018 -92.6
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (headphones attached) +0.11, -0.04 -90.2 90.2 0.0092 0.090 -53.1
HTC One X +0.02, -0.08 -82.1 82.1 0.137 0.393 -80.7
HTC One X (headphones attached) +0.10, -0.10 -80.6 80.6 0.174 0.459 -60.8

Sony Xperia SL frequency response
Sony Xperia SL frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

12 MP Camera comes with its own interface

The Xperia SL boasts a 12 megapixel camera with a back-illuminated Exmor R sensor and a single LED flash. It’s capable of producing stills of 4000 x 3000 resolution. We have every reason to believe that the Xperia SL features the same image sensor and module as the Xperia S and possibly the acro S.

The camera controls on the Xperia SL are identical to those of the Xperia S – they are available on two taskbars on either side of the viewfinder. On the left you get four shortcuts to various settings, while the still camera/camcorder toggle, the virtual shutter and a thumbnail of the last photo taken are on the right.

The menu key brings up two pages of extra settings – scenes, resolution, smile detection, geotagging, image stabilization and focus mode among others. You can customize three of the shortcuts on the left (the shooting mode shortcut is fixed).

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The new camera interface

There are five capture modes to choose from: Normal, Scene recognition, Sweep Panorama, Sweep Multi Angle and 3D Sweep Panorama. In Normal, you pick the Scene settings manually or you can enable Scene recognition and let the Xperia S take a guess (it’s fairly good at it).

The 3D Sweep Panorama is business as usual – you press the shutter key and pan the phone across the scene. The resulting panoramic photo can be viewed in both 2D and 3D (on a compatible TV).

The Sweep Multi Angle is much more impressive – you take a photo in the exact same way, but the result is very different. It produces something like a lenticular card, providing a different perspective when viewed at an angle.

Tilting the phone lets you look at the object from different sides. A shot of a moving object looks like an animated GIF or creates interesting and sometimes comical distortions.Photos taken in Sweep Multi Angle mode are handled by a separate app called 3D album, and not listed in the regular gallery. And just to make it clear again – the Xperia SL doesn’t have a 3D screen, but rather cleverly relies on its sensors to detect the handset movement and it changes the on-screen image accordingly.

The Xperia SL features a Quick launch option, which lets you customize the phone’s behavior upon a press of the camera key when the phone is locked. The default option is Launch and capture – it unlocks the phone, starts the camera and instantly snaps a photo.

It’s hard to frame the first shot right from this mode, but you can quickly take another photo as the camera reloads quite fast. The other option is to just unlock the phone and start the camera, or you can disable the feature altogether.

The Sony Xperia SL proved to be a very capable shooter. It produces images with loads of detail and great colors, especially at base ISO when there’s plenty of light. The camera was also very fast to start up and locks in on targets very quickly, rarely missing to focus or focusing on the wrong thing.

Noise is kept well under wraps – it’s only visible in areas with solid color like the sky, windows, etc.



Sony Xperia SL camera samples

Detail is very impressive even from very up close and having the physical shutter key really adds to the ease of use when shooting with the Xperia SL.

Overall, the camera on the Xperia SL shows a tendency towards regaining the past legacy of Sony Ericsson as a good cameraphone maker. What we like about it is that even with the right hardware on board Sony have tweaked the software just right so that it produces good results in every condition.

Image quality comparison

The Sony Xperia SL enters our photo quality comparison tool butting heads with its siblings, the Xperia S and the Xperia acro S. Feel free to choose any other adversaries you wish – the tool’s page will give you all the information on how to do that and what to watch out for.

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Sony Xperia SL in our Photo Compare Tool

Okay video recording

The Sony Xperia SL captures 1080p and 720p videos at 30 fps, currently the upper limit of what you can expect from a smartphone.

The camcorder has similar settings to the still camera, including focus mode, metering, exposure value, image stabilization and so on. The layout of the shortcuts can be customized here, too.

The Xperia SL camcorder features continuous autofocus. It may take a few seconds to refocus after you re-frame but that’s better than repeatedly attempting to lock focus and ruining your video.

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Switching to camcorder modeFullHD videos are stored in MP4 format (19Mbps bitrate) and the frame rate nails the 29fps mark. The Xperia SL videos come with stereo sound recorded at 131Kbps bitrate and 48kHz sampling – all pointing to slightly superior video recording compared to the Xperia S.

While numbers show a potential for high quality the actual end result isn’t as good. The Xperia SL produces smooth videos with okay colors but the level of detail isn’t inspiring and the videos look blurry and lack the proper sharpness you get with devices like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III.

Here is a 1080p video sample captured with the Xperia SL.

720p videos are a slightly different story. While audio bitrate and sample rate remain the same, the video bitrate measures around 12Mbps.

If you want to look closer at the video quality, you can download 1080p and 720p samples taken straight off the device.

Video quality comparison

We’ve added the Xperia SL to our video comparison tool. See how it fares against the likes of the Xperia acro S and the Xperia S.

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Sony Xperia SL in our Video Compare Tool

Full-fledged connectivity

The Sony Xperia SL has quad-band 2G and 3G. Mobile data speeds are boosted by 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA.

Local connectivity is covered by Wi-Fi b/g/n with DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct, so you can easily share content from your phone on a DLNA TV or music player. There’s also Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP.

MicroUSB handles the charging and connecting to your PC and there’s also USB On-the-go support so you can attach external flash drives to the SL.

Media Remote isn’t preinstalled on the Xperia SL but you can get it through the Google Play Store. It will serve as a remote control for DLNA-capable BRAVIA TVs and Sony DVD/Blu-ray players too. There are a few versions of the interface ranging from simply changing the channels to mouse input and viewing disc history.

The Media Remote app is also available for free so that other Android smartphones can use it too.

The Xperia SL also comes with Sony’s Smart Connect app, which replaces the former LiveWare manager, although the functionality remains basically the same. With Smart connect, you can automate a lot of tasks and settings on your device, like launching an app when you connect an accessory, or turning features on or off depending the phone’s on charger and what-not.

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LiveWare manager can, for example, launch the music player as soon as you connect a headset

Web browsing is nice on ICS

The Sony Xperia SL enjoys the well known Android ICS web browser. This browser has a streamlined interface, incognito browsing and other cool features.

The browser is quite minimalistic; all you get is the URL bar with a tabs shortcut. Hitting the Menu key you get more options – Refresh, Forward, Save to bookmarks, Share page, Find on page, full settings and a couple of more – Request desktop site (no more hunting for that “Desktop” option buried at the bottom of the site) and Save for offline reading.

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The web browser was redesigned

The full settings menu includes some really interesting options. For example, you can set your search engine to Yahoo or Bing, you can adjust text size and the level of which double tap will zoom in.

The browser borrows several features from its desktop counterpart: when searching for something, if the browser is confident you’ll click on a certain search result, it will start preloading that page right away so that it opens faster if you do click it. You can set this feature to work over Wi-Fi only to preserve data.

The other trick is the ability to open Incognito tabs.

Speaking of tabs, the tab switching interface looks exactly like the Recent apps list. You can even close tabs by swiping them off the screen.

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Switching tabs works the same way as switching apps does

Quick controls (available as a Google Labs extra) reveal five controls (New tab, Tabs, URL, Bookmarks, More) when you slide your finger in from the side. These really go a long way in improving the browser experience. Another cool feature from Labs is Full screen, which squeezes in a little more screen real estate by hiding the status bar.

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The Quick controls

The Adobe Flash Player app has been omitted from the Google Play store so if you don’t side-load it from somewhere the SL will only be able to handle HTML 5 videos out of the box.

You can also opt for the much-improved Google Chrome web browser. It’s very smooth and doesn’t crash nearly as much as when it was in beta mode. The interface is pretty simple – you get a combined URL and search bar on the top. To the right of it there’s a tab switcher button with the number of open tabs on it. Hitting the menu button reveals options like new tab, bookmarks, look at closed tabs on other devices, request desktop site, etc.

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Google Chrome

Switching between tabs is very intuitive. You just swipe to the left or right to move between various open pages. In the tab interface you can also swipe away tabs you don’t want anymore.

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Switching tabs in Chrome

Chrome offers full synchronization with your Google account. Just type it in and it will immediately connect to all of your devices with Chrome installed. The only thing that doesn’t get synced are your passwords.

Great organizing skills

The Sony Xperia SL doesn’t come with many organizational apps preinstalled. There’s no office document viewer, for instance, although you can get one from the Google Play store.

There’s a Notes app that comes with the Xperia SL. It’s pretty simple to use – you can select the color of the note and just start typing. There’s a handwriting recognition option too allowing you to draw with your hands on the Xperia SL or just use a stylus of some kind.

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The Notes app

The Power Saver app helps you extend your battery life by toggling things like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth screen brightness, auto sync and background data on and off automatically when the battery charge falls below a certain user-defined threshold.

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The Power saver app

The calendar has three different types of view – daily, weekly and monthly. The lower section of the screen is reserved for a list of upcoming events. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.

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The organizer centerpiece – the calendar

The Calendar also pulls info on upcoming events from your Facebook account. Facebook events appear just like regular calendar entries, but you can’t edit them on the phone as they are read-only.

There is a nicely touch-optimized calculator aboard. The buttons are really big and easy to hit, and you can expand it to include advanced functions (trigonometry, logarithms).

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Regular Calculator • Scientific Calculator

The alarm clock app supports multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. The Alarms app can also work as a desk clock – you have a big toggle for the brightness, as well as weather info and shortcuts to a gallery slideshow and the music player.

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The Clock • Creating alarm

The stopwatch, world clock and timer are available within the clock app.

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World Clock • Stopwatch • Timer

The Google Play store is full of free apps that will cater to all your organizing needs.

Offline Google Maps and Wisepilot navigation

The Sony Xperia SL comes with a GPS receiver, which took about a minute to get satellite lock upon a cold start. You can use the A-GPS functionality to get near instantaneous locks. Alternatively, network positioning will do if you only need a rough idea of your location.

Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we’ve covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere.

3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.

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Google Maps

Google Maps uses vector maps, which are very data efficient. The latest version has an easy to use interface for caching maps – you just choose “Make available offline” from the menu and pan/zoom around until the desired area is in view (there’s an indicator showing how much storage caching that area will take). You can later view cached areas and delete ones you no longer need.

Note that there’s a limit to the size of the area you can cache – you can’t just make all of Europe available offline, not even a whole country. We managed to cache a big city and some surrounding regions before Maps told us the area is too big. Also, there’s no address search in the cached maps and you can only cache map data in supported regions of the world.

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Making an area of the map available for offline usage is very easy

You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.

Wisepilot is also part of the Sony Xperia SL package, with a 30 days trial of the full navigation license and downloadable maps for offline navigation.

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WisePilot navigation

Play Store has everything

Running on Android ICS, the Xperia SL has access to the latest apps and the ample built-in memory will guarantee you won’t have trouble with space.

The Store is organized in a few scrollable tabs – categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. The in-app section is untouched though and it’s very informative – a description, latest changes, number of downloads and comments with rating. There is usually a demo video and several screenshots for most apps too.

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The Google Play Store

There are all kinds of apps in the Google Play Store and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).

Final Words

Sony has finally caught up with the competition in the Android mobile space. Once plagued by update issues and lack of powerful processing skills, the Xperia smartphones played an underhanded role and failed to make a serious impact, giving way to bold Galaxies and Desires to grab a strong hold.

With offerings that are now sporting dual-core Krait-clad processors and more megapixels than the fingers on both your hands, it seems Sony’s Xperia is gathering friction again. So where does that leave the Xperia SL? An almost exact match to the Xperia S, but arriving an extra year later, the Xperia SL can’t help but be demoted to midrange ranks.

Sony has the high-end well covered. With the Xperia T roaring into markets all around the world it’s the midrange and low-end that need attention. Sony already has plenty of battle-ready smartphones waiting to tackle the opposition but a seasoned expert like the Xperia SL couldn’t hurt. The Xperia J, Xperia V, tipo, miro, go and acro S, etc. could all use an experienced veteran such as the Xperia SL to keep carrying the Xperia flag.

But should you go for it and churn out the considerable amount of cash Sony is asking? Let’s have a look at the competition, shall we?

The Xperia S, naturally, is first to spring to mind. It costs a serious chunk less than the Xperia SL and is basically the same phone. It finally got the Android ICS treatment and it has the same processor which can be overclocked if those 200 MHz are all-important to your geeky self-pride.

Then, there’s the Xperia acro S. It’s pretty much the same package but adds expandable storage and a pinch of underwater and dust resistance. It also matches the Xperia SL on price.

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Sony Xperia S • Sony Xperia acro S

A glance in HTC’s direction reveals a couple of good-looking droids with Beats Audio on board. The One X has a bigger, gorgeous screen, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor that’s more than adequate and a stunning polycarbonate finish with eccentric smooth accents. It will set you back a bit more than an Xperia SL but is more likely to receive Android Jelly Bean than the Sony smartphone. The One S overtakes the Xperia SL on processing, having a potent Qualcomm S4 CPU ticking inside its mechanical chest. It’s also cheaper and, one would argue, prettier than an Xperia SL. But it loses on display resolution bringing forth only a qHD screen, albeit of the gorgeous Super AMOLED variety.

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HTC One X • HTC One S

If you’re not too hung up on the latest processor or expandable storage you could opt for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Android purists will also prefer it because of the timely software updates and the lack of custom launchers on top. It also costs considerably less than an Xperia SL whilst bringing an HD Super AMOLED screen on board with a comparable dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM.

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250

And finally, we give you the LG Optimus 4X – a quad-core Tegra 3 device with a 4.7″ True-HD IPS display of 720p resolution, which has LG’s affordable mindset behind it. It will set you back slightly less, while giving you more in terms of hardware. It also adds a microSD card slot to the equation making the choice a practical no-brainer.

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LG Optimus 4X HD P880

We think the Xperia SL has reasons to compete but coupled with an overly ambitious price tag which could prove harmful. And if you’re an owner of an Xperia S you really won’t be able to find solid grounds on which to upgrade to an Xperia SL, other than the name that is. So why go for it at all? Well, it’s a solid smartphone, has ICS right out of the box, a beautiful HD display and a potent snapper on the back.

It all comes down to the capabilities you put the most stock in. If those are timely software updates or the latest processor tech, then you’d be better off with another smartphone. But if a high-res screen and camera are all-important to you, there’s little chance you’ll regret an Xperia SL purchase.

 

 

 

Source: GSM Arena

Compare Latest HTC Desire V Vs Galexy S Duos

Compare Latest

HTC Desire V Vs Galexy S Duos

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RATINGS REVIEWS & PRICE

HTC Desire V

HTC Desire V

HTC Desire V

Screen Size: 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)

Speed: 1 GHz

Internal Memory: 4GB, 512MB RAM

OS: Android 4.04 ICS

Average User Rating 7.5

 15,999 onwards

Samsung Galaxy S Duos (GT-S7562)

Samsung Galaxy S Duos (GT-S7562)

Samsung Galaxy S Duos (GT-S7562)

Screen Size: 4.0 inches

Speed: 1 GHz

Internal Memory: 4GB, 768MB RAM

OS: Android 4.0.4 ICS

Average User Rating 8.7

 16,199 onwards

Display
Form Factor Bar Bar
Screen Type Capacitive touchscreen TFT capacitive touchscreen
Screen Size 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density) 4.0 inches
Screen Resolution 480 x 800 480 x 800
Number of Colours 16M 16M
Processor
Processor Cortex-A5 Cortex-A5
Speed 1 GHz 1 GHz
Memory
Internal Memory 4GB, 512MB RAM 4GB, 768MB RAM
Extendable Memory microSD, up to 32 GB microSD, up to 32 GB
Camera Features
Sensor Resolution 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels
Features Geo-tagging
Video resolution / frame rate 640 x 480 / 30fps
Video Recording
Front facing camera 0.3 MP
General Features
OS Android Android
Version 4.0 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
FM Radio
Bluetooth Features Yes, v3.0 with A2DP Yes, v3.0 with A2DP
Dual Sim Support
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email SMS, MMS, E-mail
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support Yes, with A-GPS support
USB Connector
Available Colours Black, White White
Carrier Networks
2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G HSDPA 900 / 2100 HSDPA 900 / 2100
Speed HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
Data
GPRS
EGPRS or EDGE
WiFi Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Body
Dimensions 118.5 x 62.3 x 9.3 mm 121.5 x 63.1 x 10.5 mm
Weight (grams) 114 grams 120
Sound
Media Player Music formats: aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9)
– Video formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
Music formats: MP3, eAAC+, WMA, WAV
– Video formats: MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV
Alert Tone Vibration, MP3, WAV Vibration, MP3, WAV
Speakerphone
Audio connector 3.5 mm 3.5 mm
Battery
Type Li-Ion Li-Ion
Capacity (mAh) 1650 mAh 1500
Miscellaneous Features
Built in Applications Google Search
– Maps
– Gmail
– YouTube
– Calendar
– Google Talk
After Sales Service
Warranty Period 1 Year 1 Year

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