Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Coolpad vs Nubia: Two Chinese smartphones competing for space in India

Last month saw two new Chinese players entering the Indian smartphone market, Coolpad and Nubia. In a  country where there is a new launch every second month, it becomes really challenging to make a choice. At Brands Dialogue, we try to make it easier for the customers by undertaking comparative reviews. In this review, we are comparing two new Chinese kids on the block, Coolpad Dazen X7 and Nubia Z9 Mini. If you are planning to spend around INR15,000, you may consider these two options as well.
DESIGN & BUILD: Coolpad Dazen X7 comes in the dimensions of 146.6X73.6X6.5mm and weighs 131 gm where as Nubia Z9 Mini comes in the dimensions of 141.3X69.8X8.2mm and weighs 147gm. Both the devices are bar shaped, rounded at all ends that give them a steady look. Dazen stands out for being a lot more sleeker device than Nubia, particularly the way Dazen has managed to cut down thickness is attractive.
DISPLAY: Coolpad Dazen has 5.2 inch super AMOLED Cornea glass screen (CGS) that gives you 1080p FULL HD display where as Nubia Z9 has a bit shorter display screen of 5 inch with 1080p scratch resistant (CGS). 
OS &PROCESSOR: Coolpad X7 runs on Android 4.4 that makes it lag behind Nubia Z9 Mini that runs on Android 5.0. On the processor front, Dazen X7 is packed with 1.7GHz Octa Core, MediaTek MT6595 processor where as Nubia Z9 Mini is packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocking speed at 1.5 GHz. Nubia has an edge over Coolpad on these counts.  
RAM & STORAGE:  On the memory front, both Coolpad Dazen and Nubia Mini carry 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, but it is the expandable memory where Nubia Z9 takes a solid lead by having a commendable memory slot of upto 128GB over Dazens’ regular 32GB.
CAMERA & BATTERY: Nubia Z9 maintains the lead over Coolpad here too. While CoolpadX7 has 13MP primary (rear) camera, NubiaZ9 provides a 16MP primary camera which is rare at this price. Both the phones sport a 8MP secondary to cater to video calls and selfie needs. On the battery front, Coolpad has a 2700mAh Li-on embedded battery where as Nubia has a notch higher battery capacity of 2900mAh which is also embedded. 
CONNECTIVITY: Both the smartphones, Coolpad Dazen X7 and Nubia Z9 Mini are 3G/4G enabled, dual sim phones with Bluetooth V4.0, WiFi and USB Support.
BOTTOM LINE:  Both the smartphones comes with superior specifications and rightly competing against each other. They offer similar on RAM, internal memory and secondary camera, and are pretty much comparable on display, processor and battery. However, Coolpad stands out for its sleeker look with a slightly larger display screen, where as Nubia acquires an edge for superior OS, primary camera and memory. We also note that Nubia Z9 Mini costs around INR17,000, where as Coolpad Dazen X7 is priced around INR18,000.
VERDICT: Unless one has a particular preference for a sleeker looking device, we think Nubia Z9 Mini brings out a better spec-price combo.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Obi Fox S453 simply outshines Hisense U606 in UAE

The European smartphone brand Hisense, headquartered in Germany, is an established player in the UAE market. On the other hand, Obi Mobiles, co-founded by John Sculley, ex-CEO of Apple, is a new player in the UAE market. In this comparative review, we are comparing Hisense U606 and Obi Fox S453. The following spec-to-spec match will be useful for the potential customers.
Look & Feel : We start with the overall appearance. Hisense U606 has a dark front and white back, where as Obi Fox S453 is white on both sides, with a slightly greyish-white back. However, if colour is not the primary determinant of one's choice, there are other details that need attention. With overall measurements 127x64.3x9.9mm, Hisense is relatively smaller and thicker looking device than Obi’s Fox, a relatively sleeker looking device that measures 131.7x64x9mm. 
Display: The main difference lies in the display screen size, where Fox with 4.5 inch screen beats Hisense that has 4 inch screen. In terms of display technology, both the devices have a capacitive touch screen. A larger screen is always a plus from the point of view of viewing experience and a 4 inch screen is definitely small, considering that even 5 inch screen is common nowadays. Larger screen particularly acquires more significance for the youth as viewing videos on the smartphones is becoming part of their everyday life.
Processor & OS: Obi Fox S453 is powered by MediaTek MT6572 1 GHz dual core processor, as compared to Hisense U606 which has Qualcomm MSM8210 1.2 GHz dual core that offers a slightly better clock speed than Fox. However, Fox’s OS Android 4.4.2 KitKat is slightly improved version over Hisense U606 OS Android 4.3 KitKat. Both the devices have internal storage space of 4GB that can be expanded up to 32GB using a MicroSD card. However, the major difference between the two is RAM where Obi Fox’s 1GB RAM outshines Hisense U606 that comes with 512MB RAM. Extra RAM helps apps run smoother with reduced time lags, and when coupled with an excellent processor, it enhances overall quality of user interface and experience.
Battery & Cameras: Obi’s Fox S453 has a leg up on the battery front too. With 1600 mAh battery size, Fox gives 6 hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby time. On the other hand, Hisense U606 has 1500 mAh battery that gives 3 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby time. Talking about the camera, Obi Fox has an impressive 5MP primary (rear) camera and 2MP secondary (front) camera for selfies. On the other hand, Hisense U606 has 3MP primary camera and 0.3MP secondary camera. Needless to say that Obi Fox outshines Hisense U606 on both the counts, i.e. Battery capacity and cameras.

Connectivity & Price: As far as connectivity is concerned both the devices have 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi with 802.11 b/g/n standards supported. Both the devices also have a dual sim card slots, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5 mm audio jack and FM receiver. Furthermore, we also looked at the price tags of the two devices in the UAE market, where Obi Fox S453 is priced at around AED 280, where as Hisense U606 is at around AED 350

Bottom Line: Both the devices are marked for budget customers, where value for money is particularly important. Obi Fox S453 comes with some definite advantages including a lager display screen, superior operating system (OS), bigger RAM (double), better cameras, and higher battery capacity over Hisense U606. Moreover, Obi brings all this at a lesser price too. Therefore, making a choice between the two should not be difficult, unless of course you love brand Hisense. In that case, well, love has no parallels. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Xiaomi Mi4 may have hard time beating OnePlus One

With the smartphone market growing exponentially, it is only natural to find new companies entering the fray with every passing day. However, only some of them have managed to make a name for themselves globally in a very short span of time. Two such companies are OnePlus and Xiaomi that have been able to create a lot of buzz in the global smartphone market. However, a company is only as good as its products. Therefore, we have decided to do a spec-to-spec review of smartphones, i.e. OnePlus One and Xiaomi Mi4 from these two companies to see how their offers compare. 
Look & Hold
With overall dimensions such as 152.9x75.9x8.9mm and weight 162g, OnePlus One is bigger and heavier device than Xiaomi Mi4 that measures 139.2x68.5x8.9mm and weighs 149g. However, since the thickness of the two devices is exactly the same, OnePlus gives a relatively sleeker appearance than Mi4. Also, OnePlus has mildly curved edges, bulging openings at the top and bottom and a metallic strip on the top end that enhance its visual appeal. On the other hand, apart from the slight curves on the edges, Mi4 is designed in a rather compact fashion with a stylish look and a matte strip on the sides. Moreover, One is available in silk white and a sandstone black colors, a little different than the normal, Mi4 is available in Black and White. 
Visual Experience
Taking advantage of larger overall dimensions, OnePlus One has been able to provide a 5.5inch display screen, which is larger than Xiaomi Mi4 that comes with a 5inch screen. OnePlus may have a wider screen but Mi4 offers a wider viewing angles. Both smartphones are supported with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. Furthermore, OnePlus has LTPS LCD screen type with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, while Mi4 is available with IPS LCD and Corning scratch-resistant, which means One Plus One has 3 times the resistance to scratches on display as opposed to Mi4. On the whole, OnePlusOne does seem to have an edge over Mi4 at the display front. 
OnePlus One runs on Android’s Lollipop 5.0.2 where as Xiaomi Mi4 runs on a customized MIUI interface supported by Android’s Lollipop 5.0.2. At the processor front, both smartphones are packed with 2.5GHz QualComm Snapdragon 801 Quad-Core processor and a 3GB RAM. Also, both One and Mi4 are available with an internal memory of either 16GB or 64GB; any external memory?. Therefore, performance wise there are no major differences, except that the customized  MIUI interface could provide some uniqueness. 
Battery, Cameras & Connectivity
Both the devices are pretty much comparable on the battery front, where OnePlusOne comes with a battery capacity of 3100 mAh, where as Xiaomi Mi4 follows closely with 3080 mAh battery. Interestingly, both the devices provide 13MP primary (rear) cameras. However, the first major difference surfaces in the secondary cameras, which in case of OnePlus One is 5MP, where as Xiaomi Mi4 boasts of 8MP secondary camera. One thing is assured that quality of selfies is going to get better for sure. 
OnePlus One
Xiaomi Mi4
Screen Size
5.5 inch screen
5 inch screen
OnePlus One 
Viewing Experience
Xiaomi Mi4
Scratch Resistance
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Corning Scratch-resistant
OnePlus One
Secondary Camera
5 Mega Pixels
8 Mega Pixels
Xiaomi Mi4
On the connectivity front both Xiaomi Mi4 and OnePlusOne are 4G enabled smartphones supporting Micro SIMs with WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 version.
Bottom Line 
Both the smartphones are quite the bomb. While they are at par in terms of processor, operating system, primary cameras, internal memory and connectivity, there are a few points where they differ. While OnePlus One comes with an advantage of larger screen size and provides higher resistance to scratch, Xiaomi Mi4 enables its users with a wider viewing angle and experience, and a superior selfie camera. 
Price Factor 
Taking Indian market prices as an indication, we note that on Amazon the 16GB variant of OnePlus One is marked at INR16,000 and 64GB variant at INR19,000, where as, on Flipkart, Xiaomi Mi4's 16GB variant is marked at INR15,000 and the 64GB at INR20,000. However, we also note that another website (dhgate.com) is offering OnePlus One 16GB variant at INR9,500. Therefore, if it is not an issue of brand affinity and customers are looking for a better deal, with some hard work they may be able to secure a price that becomes the key differentiator and, therefore, a factor in decision making.   
The Final Call
Given the spec-to-spec similarities, the basic utilitarian trade off is between a device with a larger display screen minus wide angle viewing of OnePlus One and a superior secondary camera of Xiaomi Mi4. The other differentiators are the uniqueness of the overall design and the colors and, most of all, the systematically cultivated brand affinity. Both the companies have succeeded in creating a name for themselves by offering greatly designed powerful products at disruptive price points. They are here to stay for sure and may take their battle to the likes of Samsung and HTC.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lenovo A6000 Plus beats Xiaomi Redmi 2

Lenovo A6000 Plus is out in market with some definite improvements over its predecessor A6000 in terms of RAM and storage capacity while retaining its other strengths. On the other hand, Xiaomi, promising to accelerate your life at a surprisingly low price, has recently brought out its next best creation Xiaomi Redmi 2 that comes with significant design improvements over Redmi 1 which has already played its successful inning. Both Lenovo A6000 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi 2 reignited the market expectations and, therefore, competition too. Since both the devices are out on similar price points, they call out for a comparative review. 
We start with the look and feel of the two devices. The overall physical dimensions of Lenovo A6000 Plus are 141x70x8.2mm and it weighs 128g, where as Xiaomi Redmi 2 comes in dimensions 134x67.2x9.4mm and weighs 133g, which makes Lenovo’s device slightly bigger but lighter in weight than Redmi 2, which is although smaller in size but weighs more. Moreover, A6000Plus is pleasing to the eyes because of its built quality due to the usage of polycarbonate in its outer body. On the other hand, Redmi uses finely textured and matte-sprayed back cover that feels great, and it is also fingerprint and grease-resistant. Furthermore, while Lenovo Plus comes in black colour that promises to never get out of fashion, Redmi 2 is available in multiple colour variants including stylish black, white, yellow, pink and green. 

On the display front, the first difference is in the screen size. Lenovo Plus comes with 5inch screen, slightly larger than 4.7inch screen of Xiaomi Redmi2. However, both the devices have capacitive touchscreen and produce 720x1280 pixels resolution and somewhat comparable pixel density that is 312 pixels per inch for Redmi 2 and 294 pixels for Lenovo. On the whole, while the quality of visuals in terms of crispness and sharpness may be almost the same in both the devices, a larger display screen size provides Lenovo a slight leg up over Redmi 2. 

Both the devices are powered by 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processors, however Lenovo A6000Plus has a definite leg up over Xiaomi Redmi2 on three counts, i.e. operating system, RAM and storage. Firstly, A6000Plus runs on Android 4.4.4 OS where as Redmi 2 runs on a slightly older version Android 4.4 OS. Secondly, Lenovo comes with 2GB RAM, which is double of Redmi2 that has 1GB RAM. Thirdly, with its 16GB internal storage expandable to 32GB, Lenovo is clearly ahead of Xiaomi that comes with 8GB internal storage expandable to 16 GB. Furthermore, while Xiaomi Redmi2, with its skin MIUI6, allows you to discover new functions, shortcuts, customisations and animations, Lenovo offers similar possibilities with its VIBE 2.0. On the whole, Lenovo A6000 Plus is relatively better placed to make apps run smoother with reduced time hold-up and provide overall quality of user interface and experience. 
Besides Internet browsing, emailing, app downloading and gaming, increasingly the photography has become an integral part of smartphones. Both Lenovo and Xiaomi understand this aspect, particularly the growing trend of selfies. Both the devices are comparable on the camera front, as they come with 8 megapixel primary (Rear) cameras and 2 megapixel secondary (Front) cameras with flash. Furthermore, another important indicator is the battery capacity. On this count, Lenovo A6000 Plus, with its 2300mAh battery capacity, is slightly more dependable in comparison to Xiaomi Redmi 2 that comes with 2200 mAh battery capacity. Other facilities like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM etc. are all available in both the devices. In terms of connectivity, both devices are available in 3G and 4G depending on the market. 

Going by specifications, we note that Lenovo A6000 Plus clearly steals the show from Xiaomi Redmi 2 with its larger display screen-size, more advanced OS, bigger RAM, larger internal as well as external storage and slightly higher battery capacity. There are distinctive design elements too, which include overall size, shape and colour variants that are a matter of individual preference. 

Last but not the least, we looked at the price tag on leading shopping portals like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal with India in mind, where both the devices are priced at around INR7,000. Therefore, Lenovo A6000 Plus stands out as a more sensible choice over Xiaomi Redmi 2, unless one has specific preference of design and colours.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lenovo RocStar A319 vs Huawei Y330: Will front camera make a difference?

By introducing the Android operating system (OS), Google changed the smartphone game for good. It does not take huge amounts in order to buy a smartphone anymore. This warrants that look at select budget smartphones competing in the Kenyan smartphone market to help customers make more informed choices. Therefore, in this review, we are comparing two budget smartphones Lenovo RocStar A319 and Huawei Y330 to see what they have to offer.

Design & Display 
We start with the design of the two smartphone models. While Huawei is available in black, white, red, blue and yellow colour, Lenovo’s RocStar comes in red, white and black variants. Furthermore, although the dimensions are quiet similar, Lenovo’s RocStar gives a slightly sleeker feel with 123.5x63.8x10.2mm dimensions. On the other hand, Huawei with 122.1x63.5x11.3 dimensions is relatively smaller and thicker. Both the devices have a comparable display screen size of 4 inch, resolution (800x480) WVGA, and a multi-touch LCD capacitive touch screen. 

OS & Processor 
Both the devices are powered by MediaTek MT6572 1.3 GHz dual core processor. However, RocStar’s OS Android 4.4 KitKat is an upgraded version over Huawei’s OS Android 4.2 Jellybean. Though Huawei has tweaked the OS and made their own skin Huawei Emotion UI 2.0 Lite which gives display a distinctive look but still it just can’t match up to the performance of an upgraded Android OS.

RAM & Storage 
Both Lenovo’s RocStar and Huawei’s Y330 has a 512 MB RAM. If one is looking forward to have many Apps, lesser RAM may be a limiting factor as it helps apps run smoother with reduced time lags. In addition, both the devices have internal storage space of 4GB that can be expanded up to 32GB using a MicroSD card.

Battery & Camera
Both the devices have same battery capacity. With 1500 mAh battery size both the devices give around 3 hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby time. However, the major difference lies in the cameras. RocStar has a 5 megapixel rear (primary) camera with flash and a 2 megapixel front (secondary) camera with a fixed focus. Huawei, on the other hand, with a 3MP rear camera without flash and no front camera looses out to RocStar on the camera front.

As far as connectivity is concerned both the devices have a Wi-Fi with 802.11 b/g/n standards supported, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5 mm audio jack and FM receiver.

Price in Kenya
Considering that most of the specifications are comparable, the price difference between the two devices is rather small. In Kenya, while Huawei Y330 is priced at around KSh 6500, Lenovo’s RocStar A319 is at around KSh 7500. Slightly higher price in case of RocStar seems justified on account of three major advantages over Huawei Y330, which include a more advanced version of OS, a superior front camera and a rear camera, which Huawei does not provide.

Concluding Remark 
The two models are pretty much comparable on most of the indicators. On the whole, Huawei Y330 offers relatively more colour options to choose from, whereas Lenovo’s RocStar A319 provides a definite camera advantage. Not having a front camera these days means loosing out on the all time selfie-advantage, which has become a necessity these days, particularly among the youth.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Obi Wolverine is a better deal than Samsung S Duos 2 in Kenya

This comparative review focuses on two mid-range smartphones that are competing against each other in East Africa, particularly Kenya. Samsung S Duos 2 has been a choice of many for a long time in Kenya, where as Wolverine S501 from Obi Mobiles, a company co-founded by John Sculley, ex-CEO of Apple and PepsiCo, has entered the Kenyan market in March this year. In spite of being new Obi Mobiles, as the review indicates, stands a good chance to give a healthy competition. So, as part of our comparative review series, in this review we compare Samsung S Duos 2 with Obi’s Wolverine S501.
Design: In the first look, we note that Samsung S Duos 2 (Size: 121.5X63.1X10.57mm) is comparatively much smaller looking device than Obi’s Wolverine (Size: 144X73X9.6mm) and weighs much lighter too, just 118g as compared to Obi’s 167g. With such dimensions, Samsung Duos fits well in the hand and easy to carry around, however, larger size is not necessarily a disadvantage, probably more of a matter of preference. Moreover, Duos 2 has a metallic body finish and comes in white and black colours, where as Wolverine comes in impressive black, leather-like cover that protects the device from cracks and scratches.

Display: The overall size seems to reflect in the display screen size, which is 4 inch in case of Samsung S Duos 2, where as Wolverine offers with a screen size of 5 inch; a significant one inch difference obviously means larger visuals. Moreover, while Duos comes with a display with TFT technology and a screen resolution of 420X800 pixels, Wolverine S501 has a TFT IPS Screen with capacitive touch with a screen resolution of 480X854 pixels. Given its larger screen size, superior display technology and slightly higher resolution, Obi’s Wolverine takes a slight lead on the visual experience front.

OS & Processor: Samsung Duos 2 runs on Android v4.2.2 Jelly Bean packed with a 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor, where as Wolverine S501 runs on Android KitKat (4.4), powered by a MeditaTek MTK6572 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor, that gives it an accelerated touch screen and superior performance. On the OS front too, Wolverine has a leg up over Samsung Duos.

RAM & Storage: Samsung S Duos 2 comes with a mere 0.75GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage that luckily Samsung gives you an option of expanding up to 64GB, however, a low RAM and extra storage option can make the performance of the device suffer. Obi Wolverine S501, on the other hand, has a more balanced 1GB RAM support and 4 GB internal storage with external memory support up to 32GB via a MicroSD card.

Camera & Battery:  Samsung S Duos 2 sports a 5MP primary camera with flash. It also has a VGA secondary camera which with time has run out of fashion. Obi Wolverine S501 sports a 5MP primary camera placed in the middle of the device and comes with a LED flash. It also has a 0.3MP secondary camera. On the battery front, both Samsung S Duos and Obi Wolverine S 501 have removable batteries with 1500 mAh capacity that gives you a standby time of 280hrs in Duos and 180hrs in Wolverine. While Obi Wolverine takes a lead on the camera front, Samsung S Duos 2 claims better standby time.

Connectivity: On the connectivity front, both Samsung S Duos 2 and Obi Wolverine S501 are dual-sim phones, Wolverine being the smart one for it has 3G support for both the sim-cards, where as Duos 2 uses one as 2G and the other as 3G. Both the smartphones have WiFi 802.11/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0 support.

Conclusion: Both the devices are pretty much comparable on most of the indicators, however, there are specific differences. Samsung S Duos 2, with a certain brand value, would appeal to those looking for an elegant, easy to carry, smaller looking device, where as Obi’s Wolverine would appeal to those looking for a device that could afford better visual experience, especially youngsters who like to watch videos on the smartphone. The leatherish feel in the Wolverine design is unique too. In addition, Obi’s Wolverine has the advantage of superior OS, higher RAM and superior secondary camera.

Price: Finally, we look at the price in the Kenya market, where Samsung S Duos 2 is marked around 11,500KSh, where as Obi’s Wolverine S501 is at around 9000KSh. Therefore, unless there is specific brand priority and design preference, we find Obi Wolverine to be a better overall deal considering the specifications and the price point at which it comes.

Friday, 19 June 2015

With a bigger RAM and a powerful camera, Lenovo S60 could beat Microsoft Lumia 540

This review brings Microsoft Lumia and Lenovo face to face. After taking over Nokia’s ‘Lumia’ franchisee, Microsoft has introduced several changes in these models, particularly related to display technology, camera etc. Lenovo has been an established player for a while in the market and has products that compete for attention. Therefore, we have selected two models, Microsoft Lumia 540 and Lenovo S60, for this comparative review.

Looking at the over all size, Lenovo S60 measures 143.3x72x7.7mm and weighs 128g with an all-plastic body, whereas the Lumia 540 measures 144x73.7x8.6mm and weighs 152g, and is made of a polycarbonate base with matte or gloss backs in a variety of fruity colours, such as orange, white, black, gray and blue. The ergonomics of this model may make it difficult for users that opt for a gloss back to handle the phone as it has tendencies to slip. On the other hand, Lenovo S60 is available in pearly white, graphite grey and yellow. Both the smartphones offer multiple color choices.
The display indicators in both the devices are the same, that is, 5.0’’ screen size with a 720x1280 pixel resolution. However, while Lenovo S60 has an IPS Capacitive screen, Lumia 540 has an IPS-LCD Capacitive display, which gives Lumia 540 a leg up as IPS-LCD display has several advantages over the IPS display type including the capacity to provide wider viewing angles and colour intensity. As such, on the display front, Microsoft Lumia takes a clear lead.
On the processing front, both models have a Qualcomm Snapdragon clocking in the same processor speed of 1.2 GHz. However, the key difference lies in RAM, where Lenovo S60 offers 2 GB of RAM, Lumia 540 comes with 1 GB RAM, which makes Lenovo capable of handling more tasks smoothly. Both the devices have 8GB internal memory. However, the provision for expanding the memory is a big differentiator, where Lenovo S60 can only expand to a maximum of 32GB, Lumia leaps ahead by offering the possibility of expanding the same up to 128 GB. Therefore, the choice is to be made between the higher capacity to multitask and smoother functioning and higher memory.
Given Microsoft’s association, all Lumia devices run on a custom Windows Phone (8.1) OS with a LUMIA DENIM UI on this particular model, while Lenovo has opted for the free Android OS v4.4. Therefore, it may be a matter of preference as to which platform a customer is more comfortable using.

While both the devices come with a 5MP secondary (front) camera, Lenovo S60, with its 13MP primary (rear) camera, takes a big lead over Lumia 540 that comes with 8MP front camera. Furthermore, on the battery front, Lenovo has a 2150 mAh battery capacity, which is almost comparable to Lumia’s 2200 mAh capacity.
We note that both the smartphones are lightweight devices that come in multiple color options, similar display screen size, resolution, processing speed, secondary camera and almost equal battery capacity. However, there are points on which they differ. Microsoft Lumia offers relatively superior display technology and capacity to expand the memory of the device significantly more than Lenovo. However, Lenovo offers double the RAM, which would enhance functional ease on the device, and a lot more powerful primary camera promising very high quality photos. Furthermore, we note that in the Indian market, Lenovo S60 costs around Rs.13,000, where as Lumia 540 is available in around Rs.11,000. The higher cost of Lenovo seems justified on account of RAM and superior camera.  

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Obi Fox is out for a kill in Kenya, Huawei needs to watch out

If you are looking for an entry-level Android handset, the choices are generally limited, and sometimes even the budget market seems pricey. In Africa, Huawei has received notable praise for its affordable but high-performing smartphones. Huawei has added another member to the Y-series of entry level budget smartphones which is Huawei Y330. On the other hand, Obi Mobiles, co-founded by John Sculley, ex-CEO of Pepsi Co and Apple, is already making its mark in Africa since it entered the African market couple of months ago. Therefore, we have picked up Huawei Y330 and ObiFox S453 for our comparative analysis. Let us see how do they fare against each other.
Look & Feel
We start with the design of the two smartphone models. First point of difference is Huawei Y330 comes in black, white, red, blue and yellow colours, Obi’s Fox is only available in white colour, so if you are keen on a colourful device, there are more options with Huawei. However, there are other design considerations too. With 131.7x64x9mm dimensions, Obi Fox gives a more sleeker look than Huawei that is 122.1x63.5x11.3mm and has slightly shorter and thicker appearnce.

The main difference lies in the display screen size which is 4.5 inch in case of Obi Fox and 4 inch in case of Huawei Y330. Furthermore, both the devices have a capacitive touch screen where Obi Fox display screen produces 854x480 pixels resolution where as Huawei Y330 slightly lags behind with 800x480 pixels. A larger screen is always a plus from the point of viewing experience. It particularly acquires more significance for the youth where video viewing and gaming on the smartphone is part of their everyday life.

Processing Capacity
Obi’s Fox is powered by MediaTek MT6572 1 GHz dual core processor, as compared to Huawei Y330 which is powered by similar MediaTek MT6572 1.3 GHz dual core processor, offering a slightly better clock speed. However, Obi Fox’s OS Android 4.4.2 KitKat is an improved  version over Huawei’s  Android 4.2 Jellybean OS. Moreover, Huawei has tweaked with the OS and has their own skin Huawei Emotion UI 2.0 Lite which gives the display a distinctive look. Both the devices have internal storage space of 4GB that can be expanded up to 32GB using a MicroSD card. However, the major difference between the two is RAM where Obi Fox’s 1GB RAM completely outshines Huawei Y330 which comes with 512MB RAM. Extra RAM helps apps run smoother with reduced time lags, and when coupled with a powerful processor, it enhances overall quality of user interface and experience.

Battery & Cameras
Obi’s Fox has a leg up on the battery front too. With 1600 mAh battery size, Fox gives 6 hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby time while, on the other hand, Huawei Y330 has 1500 mAh battery that gives 3 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby time. Also, Fox S453 has an impressive 5MP primary camera and 2MP Front camera, whereas Huawei Y330 comes with 3MP primary camera and no Front camera. Huawei’s decision to bring a device without a front camera seems to be a big blunder considering the selfie generation. Needless to say that Obi Fox has emerged as a clear winner in this feature.  

Additional Features
Lets sum it up
Concluding Remark
As far as connectivity is concerned, both the devices have 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi with 802.11 b/g/n standards supported. Both the devices also have a dual sim card slots, Bluetooth V4.0, GPS, 3.5 mm audio jack and FM receiver.

We note that Huwaei Y330 offers more colour options, slightly more powerful processor and an operating system with its own skin for a distinctive effect, but also has a major drawback in terms of not having a front camera. On the other hand, Obi Fox S453 takes a clear lead on every other key component which includes a larger display screen with a slightly better resolution, double RAM, more advanced OS, higher battery capacity and, most of all, it comes with a 2MP front camera to respond to the needs of selfie generation. We also explored the price in the Kenyan market, where Obi Fox is priced at around KSh9000 where as Huawei Y330 is at around KSh6500. The price difference is justified on account of front camera.

It is important to note that both the devices are made for people on a limited budget and therefore it is obvious that in order to maintain the low price the manufactures have made some sacrifices. However, we find that Obi has been able to work out the trade offs better and manages to put together a device that balances youthful aspirations, specifications and price better. If one can squeeze out a better price deal, even better.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can beat Motorola Google Nexus 6

Samsung and Motorola are among the most dominant smartphone companies today. Over the years they have shown their creativity and superiority through their products. It would be interesting to see how their products compare with each other. Therefore, we have picked their two smartphone models  Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Motorola Google Nexus 6 for the direct spec-to-spec contest to help consumers make a smart decision while buying their smartphones.
Design & Colour
With a silver casing on all sides, small curved edges and a leather-based back panel, Note 4 has an elegant look which has a stylus along with the device. Nexus 6 with a metal casing on the sides, proper curves on the edges and a slightly bulging and dull-finish back panel has a youthful look. Also, both the devices come in different colors: Note 4 is available in Frost White, Charcoal Black, Bronze Gold and Blossom Pink while Nexus 6 is available in Midnight Blue and Cloud White. Since design and colour choice are a matter of personal preference, we leave the judgement to the customers.

Shape & Size
Generally speaking, both the devices are bigger looking. Specifically, Google Nexus 6 with dimensions such as 159.26x 82.98x10.06mm weighs 184g, while Galaxy Note 4 with dimensions of 153.5X78.6X8.5mm weighs 176g. While both have large display screens, there is minor difference in the screen size. Nexus 6 comes with 5.96 inch screen size with an AMOLED display where as Samsung’s Note 4 is 5.7inch, slightly smaller, but with a Super AMOLED display, which enables the user to view their smartphones without any difficulty from glaring lights and from wider angles. Both the devices have a resolution of 2560x1440. With comparable screen size and same resolution, the technology differentiator provides Note 4 a slight leg up.

Processor & OS
Both Google Nexus 6 and Galaxy Note 4 have a 3GB RAM and are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 2.7GHz Quad-Core processors. However, the difference shows up in the operating system (OS). While Samsung’s Note 4 runs on Android 4.4 Lollipop and can be upgraded to Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, Google Nexus 6 already running on Android 5.0 Lollipop is upgradable to Android 5.1.1. Also, Nexus 6 users would be enjoying an early Android M OS developer preview due to Google’s association with the smartphone. Moreover, Note 4 has an internal memory of 32GB that is expandable to 64GB through microSD, where as Nexus 6 has no expandable memory but is available in two variants with either 32 GB or 64GB internal space. Therefore, the only differentiator is relatively better operating system (OS), which provides Nexus 6 a leg up.

Battery & Cameras
Both the devices have a battery capacity of 3220 mAh. However, the main difference appears at the camera front that works in the favour of Galaxy Note 4, which has a 16MP primary (rear) camera and a 3.7MP secondary (front) camera for selfies. On the other hand, Google Nexus 6 has a 13MP primary camera and 2MP secondary camera. Both the smartphones have Smart Optical Image Stabilization that counter-balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in dark settings. Additionally, Note 4 also has the ability to perform split-screen multitasking that means the user can open and shift between applications with much ease.

Other Features
Both the devices have Wi-Fi capabilities (802.11 a/g/b/n/ac), Bluetooth v4.10 and single SIM slot, and support only Nano-SIM. In terms of connectivity, both devices are available in 2G, 3G and 4G, depending on the market.

Bottom Line
Both the devices are comparable in terms of RAM, processing power, battery capacity and several other features including connectivity. However, Nexus 6 comes with a slightly bigger screen size and the advantage of receiving OS updates earlier than the other brands. On the other hand, Galaxy Note 4 acquires a definite leg us in terms of Super AMOLED display technology and better cameras with split-screen multitasking feature.

For the price indication, we looked at the cost tag for the two devices in the Indian market, where Nexus 6 with 32GB costs around Rs.44,000 and with 64GB costs Rs.49,000. On the other hand, Galaxy Note 4 costs around Rs.42,000. Therefore, considering the specs and the price in the Indian market, we think Galaxy Note 4 has a sure leg up over Nexus 6, unless one has a specific preference for design and updates.