LG G2 Review

After playing catch-up for several years, LG Mobiles is finally in a position to take charge. Samsung is still the market leader by a huge margin, but the Nexus 4 succeeded in instilling the belief among consumers that LG can also make good smartphones. Last week, LG Electronics India (LGEI) launched its latest flagship Android smartphone – the LG G2. The G2 has a lot riding in it. LGEI expects to pick up 10% of the Indian market share by the end of the year, and it’s targeting Rs. 200 crore in revenue from the G2. On paper the G2 is a monster; however, how does it stack in real life? Read on to find out.

Appearance, Display and Battery

LG-G2-Front

Unlike in the Nexus 4 or the Optimus G, the G2 is made entirely out of plastic. There’s no metal or glass to be found anywhere in the construction. Personally, I don’t mind the absence of glass. There’s no denying that the aluminium bodied Xperia Z1 exudes a more premium feel, but avoiding metal often helps in bringing down the cost and reducing weight, and glass is way too fragile to be practical in a device that you’re going to use day in and day out. However, what I’m disappointed about is the return to the cheap glossy exterior that LG had done so well to avoid in its 2012 line-up. The rear cover has a reflective pattern that’s mildly interesting, but the glossy finishing means that it’s a smudge magnet. The battery in the Indian version of the G2 isn’t user replaceable, but that has allowed LG to fit in a giant 3000 mAh battery in the relatively compact dimensions (138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm) of the G2. However, even with a plastic body, the G2 is fairly heavy, weighing about 143g.

LG-G2-Rear

The most distinctive feature of the G2 is its button placement. All the buttons in the G2 are placed at the back, just underneath the camera. This seems counter-intuitive and definitely takes some getting used to. In fact, this is probably the single most debated aspect of G2. When I began using the G2, I wasn’t entirely convinced about the idea. In theory, the button placement made sense. Single handed operation isn’t exactly a joy in most recent top-of-the-line droids, and the reason for that is that reaching buttons placed on the top or on the sides is difficult for anyone with normal sized palms. The G2’s rear buttons should be a lot more convenient to use since they are placed just where your index finger should reside while normally gripping the phone. In practice, things didn’t start so well. For the first couple of days, I had to repeatedly turn my phone to see where the buttons were. However, things improved quickly as muscle memory kicked in. After just a week of regular usage, I instinctively knew exactly where the home and the volume buttons were . In fact, the rear-buttons are now among my favourite things about the G2. LG deserves to be applauded for coming up with the concept and being brave enough to use it in their flagship.

LG-G2-DIsplay

The gorgeous edge-to-edge full-HD display that we saw in the G Pro has gotten even better in the G2. The G2 features a 5.2’’ full-HD (1920×1080) IPS display with a 424 ppi pixel density. This is a good two inches more than the Sony Z1 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, the G2 is actually smaller than the Z1 and about the same size as the S4, thanks to its extremely slim bezels, which almost vanishes when the display is off. As far as quality is concerned, there isn’t a single thing that I could find to criticize. The colour reproduction is brilliant, viewing angles are great, and outdoor visibility is never an issue.

LG-G2-Another-View

As I mentioned earlier, the battery in the Indian version of G2 is non-user replaceable. However, this has allowed LG to use a special step design to pack in more power. I didn’t run any benchmarks, but the G2’s battery backup is among the best I’ve seen in high-end smartphones. It’ll easily last through a day and a half of normal usage on 3G, and will probably keep on ticking for well over two days on 2G. LG claims a talktime of 21 hours on 3G and 31 hours on 2G.

LG-G2-Battery-Backup

Hardware

The LG G2 is powered by the mighty Snapdragon 800 chipset, which includes a quad-core Krait 400 processor clocked at 2.26 GHz, and an Adreno 330 GPU. In terms of performance, the G2 is in the same league as the Note 3, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Z Ultra, and ahead of pretty much everything else. No matter what you do, performance is never an issue with this phone. It maxed out the normal 3D Mark benchmark, maxed out a few of the tests in the 3D Mark Extreme benchmark, and was in the top 3 in the 3D Mark Ultra benchmark. The G2 has crazy amounts of processing power, which allows it to do stuff like zoom into full-HD videos and play them in windowed mode with adjustable transparency.

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Quadrant Benchmark Score

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3D Mark Ultra Benchmark Results

My review unit has 16 GB internal storage; however, a 32 GB model is also available. I’d recommend going for the latter since it’s only a couple of thousand rupees more expensive and the absence of any expandable memory support makes the extra storage crucial. The LG G2 has all sorts of connectivity options that you can imagine. Some of them are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 with Low Energy mode support, and USB on-the-go. The chipset that LG is using is LTE enabled; however, the units being sold in India are 3G only. I suspect that LG might have disabled the LTE chip to conserve power. LG didn’t elaborate if it’s possible to later enable the LTE functionality through an update.

Software

I’m not an Android puritan, and don’t by default hate all software customizations. With that being said, it’s worth nothing that my main complaints with the G2 are all software related. There are a bunch of unique features in the G2. The first one that you’re going to encounter is the Knock-on feature. One of the disadvantages of having the power button at the back is that you’ve to lift up to phone to unlock it. Knock-on attempts to alleviate this issue by allowing you to unlock the G2 by simply tapping on the screen twice. The concept is deceptively simple and brilliant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. It works most of the time, but it also fails enough times to make me prefer the physical button over Knock-on.

LG-G2-Optimus-UI-Launcher

The G2’s built-in launcher is among the better ones, and is capable enough to not make me miss any of the third-party launchers. It has all the essential features including folders and dock, and even throws in a few fancy features like multiple transition effects.
The G2 runs on Android 4.2.2, which is recent enough, but is still a version older than what Samsung Note 3 ships with. This isn’t as big a deal as it used to be, since Google has decoupled a lot of functionality from Android updates. Sure, I’d love to have Android 4.3 on-board, but I don’t feel like missing out on anything significant even with Android 4.2.

Somewhat disappointingly, LG hasn’t opted to leverage the Quick Settings feature introduced in Android 4.2. Instead, it has retained its old Notification pane with scrollable power buttons, Q-slide apps, brightness control, and volume control. With the exception of the volume control, all of these are handy additions that you’d find yourself using every now and then. However, packing all of them into a single screen is a bad idea, as it makes the notification pane look horribly cluttered. In the G2 only about half of the notification pane is actually available for displaying notifications.

LG-G2-Voice-Mate

Some of the other unique features in the G2 are:
– Guest Mode: You can protect your privacy by setting up a limited environment for your friends or kids while lending the phone. In guest mode only pre-configured apps are accessible.
– Clip Tray: Just like the Microsoft Office Clipboard, the Clip Tray provides you access to stuff you have copied in the past. The Clip Tray in G2 can store as many as 20 texts or images.
– Text Link: This is another really neat productivity enhancer. The G2 is capable of understanding certain phrases and sentences in your message. If it detects an address in an SMS, it’ll offer to open up maps. If it detects an appointment, then it’ll offer to add the event to your calendar or to your Memo.
– Audio Zoom: This feature was first introduced in the G Pro, but is featured more prominently in the G2. While recording in landscape mode you can tap on a particular subject and the G2 will attempt to amplify the sound from only that subject in the recording.
– Slide Aside: A three-finger swipe from right to left dismisses the currently open app and saves it in a container. A three-finger swipe from left to right restores it. You can save up to three apps using Slide Aside and quickly switch between them. LG claims that it radically improves multi-tasking, but it seemed more like a gimmick to me. The default Android Task Switcher can be used to do the same thing with a lot more ease.
– Shot and Clear: This is similar to the context aware fill feature in Photoshop. In theory this allows you to fix photo bombs, and get rid of other artefacts in an image. However, this feature obviously has limitations, and doesn’t always work.
– Life Square: Life Square is an automated journal that logs pretty much everything you do. This includes events in your calendar, updates you post on Facebook, links you share on Twitter, pictures you take on the camera, and people you text and talk with on the phone.
– QuickRemote: Like most of its competitors, the G2 features an IR blaster, which allows it to act like a customizable universal remote.
– QuickMemo: The trusty old QuickMemo feature is retained in the G2. Quick Memo is the quickest way to capture, annotate, and share a screenshot.
– QSlide: QSlide is like the Pop out feature in Samsung, which allows apps to run in a part of the screen, while freeing up the rest of the space for other tasks. So, you can run the YouTube app in a corner of the screen, while working away on your email. LG has also thrown in the ability to adjust the transparency of apps in QSlide mode. There are a bunch of QSlide enabled apps including the Video player, SMS app, and Calendar.
– Capture Plus: Capture Plus option in the Browser takes full page screenshots of websites.
– Answer Me: To receive a call, simply hold up the phone next to your ear.
– Voice Mate: Voice Mate is LG’s own attempt at creating a voice assistant. The app has pretty decent speech detection, but can’t really do much. Google Now is miles ahead of Voice Mate, and I don’t understand why Samsung and LG are even trying to compete with Google in this arena.
– Smart Screen and Smart Video: These are two more gimmicky features, which were undoubtedly inspired by the Samsung Galaxy S4. Smart Screen allows the G2’s display to stay on when the phone detects your face, and Smart Video automatically pauses the video when the phone cannot detect your face. LG obviously realizes that both of these features are far too inaccurate to be of significant use, and hence has disabled them by default.

LG-G2-Life-Square

There are a bunch of other features including a Translator, and a Task Manager. Traditionally, one of the strong points of the LG Optimus UI has been its customizability, and G2 continues that tradition. There are a massive number of things you can change without ever having to install custom ROMs. This includes customizing the touch navigation buttons, changing the lock-screen swipe effect, changing font type and size, and tweaking notification LED behaviour.

LG-G2-Customizable-Front-Buttons

Multimedia

Cameras are back in the spotlight, and the Nokia’s Lumia series has really set the cat among the pigeons. Everyone including Apple and Sony are trying to beef up their camera. LG has fitted the G2 with a 13-megapixel camera that’s at least mighty on paper thanks to its optical image stabilization and muti-focus capability. The good news is that the camera is truly among the best we have seen in a smartphone, and delivers on its promises. The Xperia Z1 will probably outdo the G2’s shooting capability, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The G2 features manual focus, which allows it to take some stunning macro pics. In fact, the automatic Macro focusing mode is also among the best I’ve seen in a phone camera. The G2 supports ISO levels up to 800, and beats the S4 as well as the HTC One hands down, as far as low-light photography is concerned. The optical stabilization mode also makes its effect felt while recording from a bus or an auto. The G2 captures full-HD (1080p) videos at 60 fps with stereo sound. HDR mode has also been thrown in for good measure. However, when it came to audio zooming, that feature just didn’t work for me. For now, I’m chalking it up as a gimmick rather a real enhancement.

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Low light shot with Manual Focus

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Outdoor photo in Night mode

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Outdoor photo in Normal mode with high ISO

I’ve always been a fan of LG’s Video player, and it has retained its strengths in the G2. You can pinch to zoom into any part of the video, or zoom and track a particular subject. With YouTube like seek preview, you can preview exactly where you’re about to jump to in the video. And with Q-slide you can continue to playback the video while doing your work.

Like the Note 3, the LG G2 can output 24 bit 192 KHz Hi-Fidelity audio. LG has paired its flagship with the new Quadbeat 2 earphones, which are surprisingly good. They’re not as bass heavy as Sony’s stunning MH 1c, but the soundstage is equally wide, and the IEMs sound really balanced. In fact, if you are looking for a budget IEM, the Quadbeat 2 is something you should definitely look at. Although, LG has done a great job with the bundled earphones, the phone’s speaker is bit of a disappointment. The speaker isn’t bad by any means, but it sticks out as a sore point because pretty much every other aspect of the G2 is superb.

Conclusion

LG has gotten a lot of things right with the G2, including the display, the SoC, the physical button placement, and the camera. As a result, the G2 is an absolute joy to use. The downers are the lack of expandable storage, the average speaker quality, the slightly old Android version, and some poor design choices in the Optimus UI. The 16 GB model of G2 is selling for about Rs. 40,000. The 32 GB model costs a couple of thousand bucks more. This makes it about ten percent cheaper than the Note 3, which is also significantly bigger than the G2. In my opinion, the biggest competition to the G2 is the Xperia Z1, which has the advantage of a better build quality, dust and water resistance, superior camera, and slightly better benchmark scores. Where the G2 outshines the Z1 is display quality and ergonomics. The G2 is a better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. However, the Galaxy S4 is now available for about Rs. 36,000. I suspect that within a couple of months the G2’s price will also come down to similar levels. However, until then the price difference also makes the Galaxy SIV an alternative worth considering.

LG’s biggest achievement is that it has gone from competing solely on price to competing on performance and quality. Until a year or two back, you brought LG phones because they offered good value for money, not because they were the best phones in the market. With the G2, LG has succeeded in raising the bar and changing the game.

LG Optimus Vu III Leaked

The LG Optimus Vu was frankly a bizarre device. A phablet with a large screen but an odd aspect ratio (4:3), which not only made grasping it hard, but also neutered the benefits of the large screen while watching videos. It came with a stylus, but didn’t actually have a slot where you could store it. The Vu had many such obvious flaws poor sales performance. However, that didn’t daunt LG’s spirits. It followed up with Vu II in its home market. Now, after almost a year, LG might be gearing up for the third entrant in its Vu series.

lg-optumus-vu-iii-camera-sample
Sample Panorama captured using the LG Optimus Vu III Camera

PhoneArena has spotted a couple of spotty images in a Chinese blog, which suggests the existence of the Vu III. An alleged screenshot of the Vu III indicates that the new phablet will have a resolution of 1280×960 pixels. This means that the new Vu will continue using the odd 4:3 aspect ratio. Clearly, LG sees something about the boxy dimensions that we don’t. There’s also a sample panoramic photo that is said to have been captured using the LG Optimus Vu III.

LG has really upped its game over the past several months. The Optimus G, the Nexus 4, and the Optimus G Pro were all great devices in the own rights. Let’s hope that they will prove us all wrong and surprise us with the Vu III.

LG Pocket Photo Printer PD221 Review

Earlier today, LG officially launched a rather unique product – the LG Pocket Photo Printer (PD221). The Pocket Photo is being dubbed by LG as a smart mobile printer, and the device certainly lives up to its nomenclature. I’ve been using a unit that was gifted to me for the past couple of months.

The printer is incredibly small – it’s actually slightly smaller than my Galaxy SIII. However, the thickness means that you won’t be actually able to carry this in your pocket (unless you’re wearing a jacket or a coat). The printer produces 5.1 x 7.6cm (2 x 3 inch) prints, which are definitely not large enough to please a photographer, but are good for quickly capturing and sharing fun moments with friends.

The Pocket Photo PD221 is USB powered, and can also run on battery. The battery doesn’t last long, but the good thing is that it only takes a few minutes to charge up. Once it’s charged, the indicator changes from red to green, and you’re good to go. Before you can print though, you’ll need to install the LG Pocket Photo app from the Play Store. Windows and iPhone users are out of luck though, since the app is only available for Android. The app is pretty straightforward and simple to use. You can apply Instagram-like photo effects, crop and rotate the picture, add text or even a custom QR code. Once you’re happy with the photo, you need to hit the print button. The Pocket Photo transmits via Bluetooth. Pressing and holding the power button makes it discoverable. However, if you have an NFC equipped phone, you can skip the hassle of searching and pairing with the printer. Just tap your phone on the printer, and it should instantly start transmitting. At least in theory. In practice, it took a couple of tries to get it right, but the entire process was still pretty hassle free. The Android app can also print multiple photos in a single page, so you can also use the printer for quick and dirty passport photos.

LG Pocket Photo Android App
LG Pocket Photo Android App

The LG Pocket Photo uses a special paper known as ZINK (Zero Ink). Unlike traditional InkJet printers, it doesn’t require any ink. Instead it prints by applying heat on the special ZINK paper. This is the innovation that enabled LG to shrink the printer. The LG Pocket Photo is undoubtedly an incredibly cool device. Take a snap, fire up the app, tap on your printer, and in less than a minute you would have the pic in your hand. Unfortunately, the ZINK technology has its limitations. The quality of the prints isn’t bad, but isn’t very good either. The color reproduction is off, as a result of which images appear washed out and tinted.

LG Pocket Photo Printer with Sample Photo
LG Pocket Photo Printer with Sample Photo

The biggest caveat of the PD221 is its price. It doesn’t serve a lot of purpose other than having some fun. The printouts are neither big enough nor good enough for a photographer. They’re good for taking that quick passport photo when you really need it. They’re also great for something you would want to keep in your wallet or on your table. However, they won’t go into your photo album. For something with a limited utility, the LG mobile printer is just too expensive for most people. The printer is being launched at an MRP of 14990, and a pack of 30 papers cost Rs. 1099. Ten papers are bundled with the printer. The LG Pocket Photo Printer is something that will fit the drool worthy gadgets column in a magazine. It’s not something the average consumer will purchase, but will probably attract the gadget affectionados who have the moolah to splurge on the coolest new gadget in the store.

The New Budget iPhone Might be Called the iPhone 5C

The rumor mills have been churning about the budget iPhone for a long time. However, the flurry of recent leaks suggests that something is definitely cooking. Apple has been put under pressure by the massive popularity of budget smartphones from the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG. The Cupertino based giant is widely expected to finally relent to market pressure and release a cheaper iPhone later this year.

iPhone-5C-Budget-Leaked-Picture

The new budget iPhone is expected to forgo expensive glass and aluminum body in favor of a cheaper poly-carbonate shell. A couple of days back, a blurry-cam pic of the purported budget iPhone with its FCC id was leaked. Now, a new snap from a Chinese blog suggests that the new iPhone will be called the iPhone 5C.

iPhone-5C-Budget-Packaging

All of the boxes in the picture above are pristine white and only have Apple’s logo besides the name of the phone. This fits in with Apple’s simplistic design ethos. In fact, they look quite similar to the 4rth generation iPod Touch boxes. However, the overly glossy surface that looks anything but elegant, and the slightly large dimensions (7-8 inches thick) raise doubts. Take this news with a generous serving of salt. We’ll surely learn more in the coming days and weeks through the inevitable leaks.

CyanogenMod Project Explains Nemesis, Reveals New Camera App Called Focal

CyanogenMod project has been teasing something called Nemesis for the past few days. Now we know exactly what they were hinting at. Nemesis is an initiative to tackle the biggest problems areas or the weak spots of the CyanogenMod ROM.

To kick things off, CM team is focusing on the camera app. While the smartphone camera UI has experienced radical improvements over the past couple of years, unofficial ROMs haven’t really managed to keep pace. To remedy things, CyanogenMod project is developing a brand new camera app called Focal.

Focal-CyanogenMod-Camera-App-1

Focal builds upon the work that Google has done in the Jelly Bean camera UI. Judging from the screenshots published by Android Police, on the surface Focal seems to be similar to the stock camera UI. However, the differences become apparent as soon as you dig deeper. Focal retains the best parts of the stock app including Photospheres (Picsphere) and Panoramas. On top of that it adds a bunch of new scene modes, flash settings, picture effects, and more. The biggest selling point of Focal are:
Widget Chooser: This feature allows you to customize which features are listed in the options bar. Make life simpler by getting rid of features you never use.
Auto-enhancement: When this feature is enabled it will automatically apply post-processing on the picture to enhance it.
Exposure Ring: A novel feature, which when enabled adds a second ring (besides the focus ring) to the interface. Just drag the ring to various areas of the screen and exposure settings will be automatically adjusted. If you drag it to a dark spot the entire snap will be made brighter, while the reverse will happen if you drag it to a bright spot.

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Focal is scheduled to be merged with CM nightlies by this weekend. However, it’s only the first phase of what’s expected to be a significant revamp of CyanogenMod apps and features.

Intex Cloud X3 is a Dual-Core Android 4.2 Smartphone for Rs. 3790

MediaTek processors have turned out to be a big hit among Indian manufacturers looking to offer attractive looking specs at jaw dropping prices. The MediaTek MT6589 enabled the boom in affordable quad-core smartphones. Now, the recently announced MT6572 is gearing up to push down the price of dual-core smartphones.

Intex-Cloud-X3

The first phone to take advantage of the new MT6589 chip is the Intex Cloud X3. This chip supports up to qHD resolution, but Intex has settled for a lot less. The Cloud X3 has a HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) resolution, which means that the 3.5’’ display will have below-par pixel density. However, that is quite acceptable. Because, Intex will be selling the Cloud X3 at a jaw dropping price of Rs. 3,790 (about 65 USD). The MT6572 will be clocked at 1 GHz, and will be powering a fairly recent Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) OS. Don’t expect spectacular performance from the X3 though. The dual-core processor is based on the dated Cortex A7 architecture, and there is only 256 MB RAM. Internal storage is only 115 MB, which will cause additional headaches for users. As is customary for phones at this price range, the Intex Cloud X3 has dual SIM support. Connectivity options include 2G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. On the multimedia front, Intex has managed to squeeze in both front (VGA) and rear (2 MP) cams. Even FM and GPS chips are present.

The Cloud X3 is a specs powerhouse that promises to deliver full-fledged smartphone experience at a bargain basement price. The only thing that needs to be seen is how usable will the phone be keeping in mind the low-end chipset and severe lack of memory and storage.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Announced, Brings Minor New Features

Along with the new Nexus 7, Google also revealed the newest version of Android at its press event. As expected, Android 4.3 (still codenamed Jelly Bean) doesn’t have any major new feature. In fact, users will be hard pressed to identify any differences between this and the older version.

The first new feature that Google demonstrated is restricted profiles. A restricted profile can limit what content and apps a user can access. It can even be used to define what functionality within the particular app is available to a user. For example, you can block in-app purchases in a game for your kid’s profile.

Android-4.3-Jelly-Bean-Restricted-Profiles

Android’s notification feature has once again been slightly improved. You can now see your notification history and browse through dismissed notifications. Additionally, third party apps also have access to your notification. This should be good news for smart watches and other similar devices. Stock apps like Chrome, Drive and Maps have been updated, while Hangouts has replaced Talk and Google Keep has been added.

Under-the-hood changes include support for OpenGL ES 3.0 which should offer improved graphics performance and allow games to use higher quality textures. The previously announced Google Play Games app, which acts as a hub where you can see what your friends are playing and track their achievements in a leader board, is included in the new Android. Bluetooh 4.0 with Low Energy mode is also in. Additionally, a new hardware-based encryption for DRM has been added, which will be first leveraged by an updated Netflix app.

Android-4.3-Jelly-Bean

Android 4.3 update will begin rolling out to Nexus devices today, while other Google experience devices will get it soon. The Nexus devices that will be receiving the update are the Nexus 7, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Galaxy Nexus.

New Nexus 7 with Android 4.3 Officially Announced

As expected, Google has officially announced the new Nexus 7 in its summer event. However, the newest tablet from Google’s stable had very little surprise to offer thanks to retailers jumping the gun and putting it up for pre-order well ahead of the official event.

Nexus-7

The new Nexus 7, which is again being made by ASUS, has received a comprehensive specs bump. The Tegra 3 has been replaced by a Snapgradon S4 Pro chipset that includes an 1.5GHz quad-core Krait processor and Adreno 320 GPU. RAM has been doubled to two gigabytes. The screen display is still a 7-inch LCD, but the device itself has been slimmed down fairly significantly (1.8 mm thinner and 2.8 mm narrower and shorter). The new display boosts the pixel density to 323 ppi with a resolution of 1900 x 1200. The super high resolution display is accompanied by dual stereo speakers with Fraunhofer virtual surround sound for an all around improved multimedia experience. The final significant enhancement is the inclusion of a 5 mega-pixel rear camera capable of snapping HD videos to go along with the 1.2 mega-pixel rear camera.

The Nexus 7 will also be the first device to ship with the new Jelly Bean (Android 4.3) which introduces multi-user account with limited profiles, and Bluetooth Low Energy support along with better graphics capabilities and new DRM for hardware powered encryption for multimedia content.

While the new Nexus 7 isn’t revolutionary, it’s definitely better in almost every way. The best part is that all of these enhancements will cost you only a little bit extra. The 16 GB Wi-Fi model will cost $229 while the 32 GB variant will cost $269. Google will also be selling unlocked 4G LTE compatible models, which will cost $349 (64 GB).

Nokia Lumia 625 Announced

Nokia’s latest Windows Phone smartphone for the budget conscious buyer is out of the bag. The Lumia 625 was announced earlier today, confirming much of what had been suggested in earlier leaks. Realizing that there is a growing demand for large screens, Nokia has equipped the Lumia 625 with a 4.7’’ screen. Interestingly, this is the largest display we’ve seen in a smartphone from Nokia. Even the latest flagship – the Lumia 1020 – sports a 4.5’’ display. However, in order to accommodate a larger screen at a lower priced phone, Nokia had to compromise by lowering the resolution to WVGA (480 x 800 pixels). This amounts to a pixel density of 199, which is a fair bit lower than the standard these days. The IPS LCD being used is also said to suffer from narrower viewing angles and inferior outdoor visibility. Nokia has, however, retained the “super-sensitive touch” feature from its flagship, which enables the touchscreen to work even with gloves.

Nokia-Lumia-625

In terms of hardware, the phone is quite capable. It runs on a Snapgradon S4 chip, which features a dual-core 1.2 GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 305 GPU. However, only 512 MB of RAM is available, which means that not all apps and games will run on the handset. The 625 comes with a 5 megapixel rear camera capable of recording stills at a resolution of 2592х1936 pixels and full HD videos (1080p) at 30 fps. There is also a VGA front cam. The handset is LTE equipped and supports Bluetooth 4.0, but NFC didn’t make the cut. The 2000 mAh battery is a significant step up from the 1300 mAh battery in the Lumia 620, and should ensure good battery backup. Talk time is rated at 19 hours on 2G and 13 hours 20 minutes on 3G. The Nokia Lumia 625 is expected to be launched across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia (including China and India) in Q3 for about $290.

Yahoo Holds Its Sixth Hackathon in India

Over the weekend, Yahoo! India hosted the 6th edition of Yahoo! Hack (21st worldwide) in Hyderabad to celebrate “unrestrained innovation”. The 24 hour hackathon attracted two hundred and fifty participants including students as well as professionals, and received fifty six hack submissions. About 8% of attendants at the event were woman, which is a percentage point higher than last year’s event at Bangalore.

Yahoo-Hack-Steam-Punk-Logo

While Yahoo! Hack didn’t have the scale of Microsoft AppFest that was organized in Bangalore, it still managed to get quite a few decent hacks. The grand prize winner was a mobile app called PlanMan!, which enabled Workflow Management through SMS and Missed calls. It was developed by Varun Kumar Nagarajan, Arun Kumar Nagarajan, Raghu Ram, and Amit Bharti. Other prize winners included an app that could use the smartphone’s accelerometer to automatically detect car accidents and alert emergency services, a travel app that could fetch info about real-time info about a train from a PNR number, an iOS app which offers users basic information about the city they are visiting like weather forecast, public transport, city hospitals, hotels and restaurants, Facebook friends who live in the city, and a finance app that claimed to use artificial intelligence to predict stock values.

Yahoo-Hack-Session