LG Begins Optimus F5 Global Rollout, Starting From Europe

Back in February, LG unveiled the mid-range Optimus F5 smartphone. This device was showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona. LG Optimus F5 is the first smartphone from LG’s newest Optimus F Series. According to the manufacturer, the Optimus F Series is designed to bring a premium user experience and the speed of 4G LTE to a mass audience. Today, LG has finally started shipping the Optimus F5 budget smartphone in Europe.

Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said,
“LG has consistently set the standard in the mobile industry with technology that complements, not complicates, users’ lives. The Optimus F5 is a natural extension of LG’s lineup of strong LTE devices, offering the lightning-speed of 4G LTE and UX features of a premium phone. With the Optimus F5, we’re confident we can capture an untapped market of new and upgrading smartphone users who crave a feature-rich, LTE device.”

lg optimus f5

LG Optimus F5 features a 4.3 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core Processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, LG Optimus UI, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, DLNA, 4G LTE Connectivity and much more.

It also comes with the usual 3.5mm headset jack, 8 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 1 GB RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, A-GPS, MicroUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC (Near Field Communication) and a 2,150mAh battery. This handset measures 126.0 x 64.5 x 9.3 mm.

LG Optimus F5 will go on sale from today in France, followed by South and Central America, Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) over the next several weeks. The price of this handset will be revealed soon. Stay tuned!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Exynos 5 Octa Benchmark Scores And Initial Hands-On Impressions

The Galaxy S4 is now available in nearly every major market(s) of the world. However, most of the major markets, including the United States are getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 powered Galaxy S4, and not the Exynos powered one. The Exynos 5410 powered Galaxy S4 is an interesting handset since it is the first mobile device ever to make use of ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. The Exynos 5410 consists of four ARM-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, and four low-powered Cortex-A7 cores.

The basic idea behind ARM’s big.LITTLE technology is that for general usage the handset uses the low-power consuming Cortex A7 cores, thus saving battery life. It is only when the user runs an intensive game, benchmark, browses a heavy website or when the device is under heavy load that the ARM-A15 cores switch themselves on to provide the performance boost. Samsung is only releasing the Exynos 5410 powered Galaxy S4 in non-LTE network markets, since the Exynos powered SGS4 does not support LTE networks.

I managed to spend some time with the Exynos variant of the Galaxy S4, and also managed to run some of the most popular benchmarks on the phone.

Benchmarks

The first benchmark I ran was the recently released 3D Mark for Android. I ran the Ice Storm test, and the results were pretty surprising. The Exynos powered Galaxy S4 managed to score 9439 points, which is lower than that of the Nexus 4. However, I won’t consider 3D Mark to be accurate, since according to them the Xperia SP — a dual core Snapdragon Krait phone – manages to beat the Exynos 5 Octa variant of the Galaxy S4.

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Next, I ran AnTuTu where the Galaxy S4 managed to score 25346 points.

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I then ran the popular and, arguably, one of the best benchmarks apps available on the Android platform – GLBenchmark. In each and every benchmark, the PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU inside the Galaxy S4 flexed its muscle and came out on top. The Galaxy S4 managed to beat the HTC One, Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and even the iPhone 5.

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You can compare the Galaxy S4 scores with other phones from AnandTech’s HTC One GPU performance review page.

Here is how the Galaxy S4 performs in browser based benchmarks like SunSpider and Google’s Octane benchmark. I ran both the benchmarks on the stock Samsung browser as well as on the latest stable version of Chrome.

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Google Octane scores -:

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For comparison sake, my Nexus 4 scores 1297ms on the SunSpider benchmark on the AOSP browser, and around 1500 points in the Octane benchmark. On the other hand, the HTC One scores 1110ms, and the iPhone 5 scores 908ms in the SunSpider benchmark. In the Google Octane benchmark, the HTC One (using the Chrome browser) scores 2032 points, and surprisingly, the Nexus 10 scores a whopping 3784 beating the Galaxy S4 by a huge margin. The huge difference in points can be attributed to the thermal restrictions of both the devices.

Initial Hands-On Impression

The first thing that will strike you about the Galaxy S4 is the screen-to-bezel ratio. Samsung has done a commendable job in fitting a 5-inch screen inside a phone whose dimensions are the same as its predecessor. The Super AMOLED HD screen on the Galaxy S4 is also much brighter than the display found on the Galaxy Note 2 and S3.

What kills the excellent hardware of Galaxy S4 is TouchWIZ. TouchWIZ on the Galaxy S2 was decent enough with good usability features. On the Galaxy S3, TouchWIZ felt slightly bloated, and on the Galaxy S4, Samsung has taken the meaning of bloat to a whole new level. The new re-organized Settings menu is simply terrible and just confuses the user. All the new S-features are nothing but a gimmick as well.

All these bloat does show its negative side as well. In day-to-day usage, you will actually find the Nexus 4 smoother than the Galaxy S4. For example, the browser switching animation/process on the Galaxy S4 is terribly slow, and by the time the browser tab window opened in the S4, I had opened two new tabs on my Nexus 4. I had used a pre-production HTC One back in mid-March and never did the device lag once. The Galaxy S4, even with a much faster and arguably superior chipset, and the final retail software, lags in some places and this is downright unacceptable.

Sprint Photon Q Gets The Android 4.1 Update

Last year Motorola launched the Photon Q smartphone exclusively for the Sprint subscribers in the US. It was the first 4G LTE device to feature a touchscreen display along with a five-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Motorola Photon Q was originally shipped with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System.

Back in December, Motorola promised to roll out the Android 4.1 update for the Photon Q and 5 other smartphones. After waiting for nearly 5 months, the manufacturer has finally rolled out the much-awaited Jelly Bean update. The latest update brings the usual Jelly Bean goodies along with a number of fixes and patches. Check out the complete changelog below.

motorola photon q

Changelog:

  • Google Now
  • Voice search enhancements
  • Camera includes improved image quality and more intuitive panorama mode
  • Ability to zoom out to filmstrip mode in the Gallery
  • Keyboard includes improved dictionary and text to speech capabilities
  • Notification enhancements
  • Resolved Quick Office closing when reviewing a document
  • Improved GSM roaming connectivity for global use
  • Improved streaming of Sprint TV when location services are turned off
  • Enhanced security and ease of use on the face unlock feature
  • Removed Quick Views, Speed Dial, and MOTOPRINT applications
  • Improved accuracy and response of voice to text for texting, emailing, and web search

This update is numbered 9.8.2Q-122_XT897_FFW-5 and it can be downloaded via Over-The-Air (OTA). If you have not yet received the update, then just go to Settings > About Phone > System updates and select Update Motorola Software. If you have any queries, feel free to ask us in the comment section below.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Launched in India for INR 41,500

Samsung has launched the next avatar of their flagship device – Samsung Galaxy S4 – in India. The Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean device would compete with the stunning HTC One (touted as the best Android phone in the market at the moment by many), the iPhone 5, and the Nokia Lumia 920.

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While the device might not win any beauty contest, it would check almost all items in your laundry list of features you’d want in your smartphone. A blazing quad-core processor (1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 and 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7), colorful 4.99-inch Full HD Super AMOLED 441ppi screen, sharp-shooting 13-megapixel camera, and bounty of software extras makes it pack powerful punch. The phone features 2GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16 GB internal storage, and a 2600 mAh battery. Like the predecessor, it comes in two colors – Frost White and Black Mist. Unlike the three phones I mentioned at the start, S4 also features expandable storage space and a removable battery!

“At Samsung, we are committed to innovation and to our consumers .We are always listening to our consumers and innovating to give them products that meet their needs. This has led to the successful introduction of iconic devices like the Galaxy SII, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2 and today, we are proud to announce the launch of our flagship device and the much awaited , Samsung Galaxy S4 .” – B D Park, President & CEO, South West Asia, Samsung Electronics

The phone includes a lot of gimmicks: some useful, some alright-if-it’s-there, and some that don’t really matter. An IR blaster that can control your TV, filming a video in slow-mo, harnessing your eyeballs to pause video, answering a phone call with the wave of your hand, eraser mode in camera, optical reader functionality, a translation tool, and many more!

The bottom-line? At INR 41,500, Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great all-around flagship device with a competent hardware and an ambitious software layer. A few drawbacks apart, it’s a great Android phone to buy. Give HTC One a look too when it arrives in stores though.

Samsung GALAXY S4 Product Specifications:

Network 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Display 12.7cm Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
Processor1.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor + 1.2 Ghz Quad Core Processor.
OSAndroid 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
CameraMain(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BISSub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
VideoCodec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVCRecording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
AudioCodec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
CameraFeaturesDual Camera: Dual Shot , Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports
Additional FeaturesGroup Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document, Play Games
 Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader
Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View,
 Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling)Samsung WatchON
 Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt SoundAuto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly)
Google Mobile ServicesGoogle Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google LatitudeGoogle Play Store, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk,Google Places, Google Navigation, Google Downloads, Voice Search
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)GPS / GLONASSNFC,  Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)

IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0

SensorAccelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, BarometerTemperature & Humidity, Gesture
Memory16GB User memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)2GB RAM
Dimension136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
Battery2,600 mAh

 

T-Mobile One S Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

T-Mobile One S owners, here is a news that is sure to brighten up your day. T-Mobile and HTC have finally gotten around to rolling out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for your phone. While T-Mobile is yet to officially announce the roll-out, many T-Mobile One S owners have already got the OTA update on their phone.
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The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update will bring with it Project Butter, Google Now, an enhanced notification bar, better voice recognition and speech-to-text support, and minor UI changes. HTC has also toned down the Sense UI a bit, enhanced the camera app, and removed some of the unneeded animations. The OTA update is a whopping 675MB in size and will is only downloaded when your One S is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

T-Mobile expects to complete the OTA update roll-out within the next two weeks. If you own a T-Mobile One S, you can try to manually pull the Jelly Bean update as well by going to Settings -> About Phone -> Software Updates and then pressing the Check for Updates option.

Via – T-Mobile

 

HTC One Software Update Greatly Improves Camera Performance; Brings Other Fixes As Well

HTC has started rolling out a new software update (v1.29) for its latest flagship – the One – that greatly improves the camera performance of the handset. The update is only available to the EU variant of the One, with the others variants slated to get the update over the next month or so.

The official change-log of the update is as follows -:

• Improvement to sound capture with Zoe
• Noise reduction in slow motion movie capture
• Improved color reproduction and dynamic range (reduced over-exposure in non-HDR images) in certain conditions
• Fix to display correct ISO in EXIF information when ISO settings are manually changed by the user
• Improved system performance and stability

However, there is more to this update than what the change-log suggests. The update brings about a massive improvement in the camera quality. How massive? See the image below from Android PIT for example -:

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The update also improves the overall system performance and stability, along with the audio recording capabilities of the One in Zoe mode. If you own an EU model of the One, then the update should hit your phone within a couple of weeks. If not, sit tight and hope that HTC rolls out the update to other variants of the One soon as well.

Via – SlashGear

Acer Liquid E2 Announced For €229; Comes With Quad-Core CPU, 8 MP Camera

Acer is back with the new mid-range Liquid E2 smartphone. It is the company’s first quad-core smartphone with dual SIM capabilities. This handset is the successor of the Acer Liquid E1 Android smartphone. This device packs a 4.5 inch display and 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. Acer Liquid E2 runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. This handset comes with dual-speaker system and DTS Sound for enhanced audio with volume maximization.

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Acer Liquid E2 features a 4.5 inch touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, 1.2 GHz MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, Dual-SIM capabilities, Acer Breeze UI, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front-facing camera and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 1 GB RAM, Google Play Store, Accelerometer, up to 9 hours of talk-time, up to 450 hours of stand-by time and a 2000 mAh battery.

Acer Liquid E2 comes with a price-tag of €229 (approx. Rs.16,300). This handset will be available in rock black and classic white colors. Acer Liquid E2 will go on sale from mid-May in Belgium, Netherlands, Ukraine and France, followed by Spain, UK, Italy, Germany and Russia.

T-Mobile To Begin BlackBerry Q10 Pre-Sales From April 29

Back in January, the Canadian mobile phone manufacturer unveiled the new BlackBerry Q10 QWERTY phone along with the BlackBerry Z10 full touchscreen smartphone. It is the first smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard and a touchscreen display which runs on the latest BlackBerry 10 Operating System. The BlackBerry Z10 is already available at all major markets, however the BlackBerry Q10 was delayed since the OS was not optimized for a smaller screen.

During the launch event of BlackBerry Z10 in India, I got a chance to play with the BlackBerry Q10. This handset was pretty impressive and much better than the Android QWERTY phones currently available in the market. The BlackBerry Q10 will be available for both AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers in the US.

Drew Kelton, executive vice president of business markets at T-Mobile, said,
“With the powerful combination of BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry 10 platform, the company’s long-standing security features and BlackBerry’s best QWERTY keyboard, the BlackBerry Q10 will be another great smartphone option for our business customers.”

blackberry q10

BlackBerry Q10 features a 3.1 inch LCD display, sporting a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, Touch On Lens, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, BlackBerry 10 OS, 8 megapixel rear facing camera with auto-focus and 5X digital zoom, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front facing camera with 3X digital zoom, HD (720p) video recording and much more.

Other features include WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G/4G Connectivity, Assisted GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal memory, hot swappable MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, NFC (Near Field Communication), microUSB, microHDMI-Out, up to 10 hours of talk-time, up to 305 hours of stand-by time and a 1800 mAh removable battery.

T-Mobile has recently announced that the much-awaited BlackBerry Q10 smartphone will be available for pre-order from April 29, however the price of this device is still unknown. The BlackBerry Q10 is rumored to carry a hefty price tag of $250 with a 2 year service agreement. The carrier will officially announce the price and availability of this device in the coming days.

Sony Xperia P, go and E Dual Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

Sony Mobile today announced that it would start rolling out the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the Xperia P, go and E dual from this week. The roll out is being done is phased stages, so it might not be available immediately in your country.

Jelly-bean-logo

The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update brings in addition to all the Google enhancements like Google Now, enhanced speech-to-text and notification bar, several new additions from Sony including an updated suite of Media applications. Sony has included a new Battery Stamina mode as seen on the Xperia Z. When enabled, this mode will automatically disable mobile data when the screen of the device is turned off to preserve battery life.

Other changes include an enhanced app drawer/launcher and Camera app and minor UI updates.

While Xperia P and E dual users will be able to update their phone to Jelly Bean over-the-air, Xperia go users will need to use Sony’s PC Companion software to install the update on their phone. They will only receive a notification on their phone when the update is available in their region.

Nokia Unveils Asha 210 With Dedicated WhatsApp Key

We have already seen a number of entry-level and mid-range smartphones with a dedicated Facebook button. Even Nokia tried their luck with the entry-level Asha 205 which came with a dedicated Facebook and QQ button in India and China respectively. Today, Nokia announced the world’s first QWERTY phone with a dedicated WhatsApp key, the Nokia Asha 210. WhatsApp is offering their service for free on all Nokia Asha 210 devices with the WhatsApp button for their lifespan.

Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said,
“The Nokia Asha 210 really stands out giving super-social consumers new ways to express their personalities through design, colour and innovations like the world’s first WhatsApp button. It has been designed to allow people to easily update their social networks, stay in touch with friends and share user created content.”

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Nokia Asha 210 features a 2.4 inch QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Series 40 Asha UI, full QWERTY keyboard, 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, Nokia Xpress Browser, Nokia Life+, 64 MB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi Connectivity, 2.0 mm charger connector, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Micro USB, 3.5 mm headset jack, Slam feature, up to 24 days of stand-by time, up to 12 hours of talk-time and a 1200 mAh battery.

This handset measures 111.5 mm x 60 mm x 11.8 mm and weighs just 97.3 grams. The Nokia Asha 210 will be available in Yellow, Black, White, Cyan, Magenta colors. This handset will be available in both single SIM and dual-SIM variants. The Nokia Asha 210 will go on sale in the second quarter of 2013 for just $72 excluding taxes.