Category Archives: Reviews

LG Optimus G Pro E988 Review

A short while back, LG launched it’s new flagship, the Optimus G Pro, in India. Coming mere months after the Optimus G, which in itself was an excellent smartphone, the Pro attempts to take things to the next level. But, does it succeed? Read on for our full review.

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Appearance and Display

Although LG hasn’t been using the word phablet for the Optimus G Pro, in reality, it is more of a competitor to the Samsung Note II than the Galaxy SIV. The Optimus G Pro features slimmer bezel than the Note, and as a result is slightly more compact. However, it’s still too large for one handed operation, and for a lot of users the size will definitely be a cause for concern. Thankfully, LG has attempted to make things slightly easier by placing the power and volume buttons on the side instead of on the top. There are two capacitive buttons along with a physical home button that also doubles up as the notification LED. Unlike it’s predecessor, the G Pro features a shiny all plastic body. It definitely doesn’t feel as good in the hand as the Optimus G. However, the plastic back offers quite a few advantages. The most obvious benefit is increased durability. I couldn’t muster up the courage to drop test the review unit, but the plastic back definitely increases the odds of the handset surviving a fall. The plastic back has also enabled LG to make the battery user replaceable. To LG’s credit, it has tried to infuse some character into the back cover by imprinting a Optimus G like pattern on the back which shines under light. The effect is not as spectacular as it’s in the Nexus 4; however, it still looks pretty cool.

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The Optimus G Pro features a full HD (1080p) 5.5 inch IPS Plus LCD display, which boasts of a pixel density of 400 ppi. The display is quite simply spectacular. It’s crisp, vibrant, yet well balanced. LG’s display is definitely among the best, if not the best, that you’d find in the current breed of smartphones. It has extremely wide viewing angles, and is bright enough to be legible even under direct sunlight. HD videos are a joy to watch on the giant display, and made me willing to accept the inconveniences caused by the size.

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Hardware and Software

The LG Optimus G Pro features a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 chipset that houses a Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 processor and an Adreno 320 GPU. The top notch SoC is well complemented by 2 gigabytes of RAM. Although I didn’t get around to running any benchmarks, the phone was consistently fast. Whether I was zooming into a full-HD video, or switching between a dozen tabs in Chrome, or playing Asphalt 7, the G Pro never missed a beat. You’re unlikely to be complaining about the performance of this device for quite some time to come. The review unit I received had 16 gigs of internal storage (slightly more than 10 GB is available to the user); however, I believe that a 32 GB edition might also be released in the market. The storage can be augmented by up to 64 GB of external memory (microSD).

On the connectivity front, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Miracast, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL, and NFC are supported. It also sports an IR blaster that can be used for controlling your television. The Optimus G is an LTE enabled handset; however, this is of little benefit in India. The G Pro features a powerful 3140 mAh battery, which ensures that even with a gigantic display and a bleeding edge chipset, the handset can keep on chugging along for a full day (or more) on moderate usage on 3G. The Note II features a similar battery; however, thanks to its last-gen chipset and a lower resolution display, it will probably last a bit longer than LG.

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LG doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to Android updates. It’s launching the G Pro with Android 4.2.1, even as Samsung managed to ship the Galaxy SIV with Android 4.2.2 just months after the update was released by Google. There are rumors that LG is testing Android 4.2.2 on the Optimus G Pro; however, so far there hasn’t been any official confirmation. The G Pro runs LG’s Optimus UX, and comes with the usual suit of LG specific apps. Some of the most notable software enhancements include:
QuickMemo: QuickMemo can be triggered anywhere anytime through the dedicated hardware button. It captures the current content on the screen, and allows you to annotate and draw on top of it. Notes saved through QuickMemo are sharable through email, Facebook and other networks.
QSlide: QSlide enhances multitasking by running supported apps in a windowed mode. So you can continue surfing the web while watching a movie. Qslide supported apps include the web browser, video player, Memo, Calendar, and Calculator. You can also adjust the opacity of these apps so that they don’t get in the way of your workflow.
MediaPlex: Most the fancy new features in the video player that were introduced with the Optimus 4X have been retained in the Optimus G Pro. So, you can pinch to zoom into a video, get a neat preview while seeking, and increase or decrease playback speed. All of these work flawlessly even on full HD videos, and are perhaps the best demonstration of the power of the Snapdragon 600.
Smart Screen and Smart Video: These two features are exactly the same as the Galaxy SIV’s Smart Stay. The Optimus G Pro can detect when you are looking at the phone and accordingly prevent the screen from timing out. Similarly, it can also detect when you aren’t looking at the phone and automatically pause videos. Both of these features are disabled by default, which suggests that LG isn’t too confident about their accuracy.
Quiet Time: You can pre-define a time range during which your phone will automatically go into silent mode, and disable all sounds expect that of multimedia and alarms.

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There are a bunch of other neat stuff including Vu Talk, configurable notification toggle buttons, video editor, and music video creator. The SMS notification implementation is particularly cool and deserves a shout out. When you get a new message, you get a neat popup near the top-left, which lets you to immediately reply to the SMS without having to open up the Messages app.The Optimus UX doesn’t exactly go overboard with features like TouchWiz; however, it offers supports extensive customization options which will please the power users. My favourite setting is the ability to map the QuickMemo button to any custom app, including the camera app. The Optimus UX is not without issues though. LG still uses the unified volume control option, which can be frustrating. The notification menu appears a bit cluttered with the inclusion of power control widgets, QSlide apps, and a brightness control slider.

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Camera

The LG Optimus G Pro sports a 13 megapixel rear-camera and a 2.1 megapixel font camera. While many of the early reviews criticized the camera quality, I found the G Pro to be an excellent snapper giving great performance both indoors and outdoors. LG has been continuously refining the Camera app over the past few generations, and as a result its a joy to use. All the usual stuff including preset scenes, exposure adjustment, white balance settings, ISO settings, panorama and HDR mode are there. Additionally, LG has thrown in manual focus, color modes, time catch shot, dual shot, and VR Panorama. Time catch shot is a nifty feature whereby the camera automatically preserves shots from moments before and after you pressed the shutter, and allows you to keep the best shot. VR Panorama is essentially Google Photo Sphere, which allows you to stitch together multiple pics to create a 360 degree view of any point. Dual shot, as the name suggests, uses the front and rear cam simultaneously to take a pic of the photographer as well as the subject. This works for both stills and videos.

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The G Pro is capable of recording full HD (1080p) videos with continuous auto-focus at 30fps. HDR mode is supported; however, it yielded disappointing results for me. Due to some reason, HDR videos seem to be desaturated and devoid of details. The video player supports Live Effects that can track faces to add silly effects as you shoot the video. It can also replace the background provided the camera frame remains still.

Verdict

The Optimus G Pro is a fabulous device and a worthy successor to the Optimus G, which was LG’s first truly great smartphone. It’s most obvious feature is the huge display, which is absolutely fantastic. You’ll find yourself wanting to use the phone simply because of the display. However, at the same time, the large size will also make you want to pick up an HTC One or even an Samsung Galaxy SIV. They are so much easier to hold and use that many will be willing to forgo the advantages of a large screen. Do you want a phone that can be used with one hand, or do you want a phone that can shoulder some of the responsibilities of a tablet? That’s the single biggest question you’d have to answer. If you want a phablet, and don’t plan on doing any drawing or sketching, the G Pro will serve you well. It’s a generation ahead of the Note II and is a better performer in every way. The Optimus G Pro delivers in terms of performance, display clarity, camera quality, and battery life. It’s a true winner.

LG Optimus L3 II Dual E435 Review

In all the hullabaloo surrounding the launch of flagships boasting of the latest and greatest technology, it can be easy to forget about devices like the Galaxy Ace and the Xperia Tipo. However, it’s these low-margin bargain devices that have helped Android zoom ahead of the iPhone. In fact, according to Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report all of the top nine handsets used by Opera Mini users were priced under Rs. 10,000 (about $165). LG’s new entrant in the budget smartphone category is the LG Optimus L3 II Dual E435. After using it for a week, here’s my quick review.

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Appearance and Display

The Optimus L3 II won’t win awards for its design; however, it definitely doesn’t look bad. Like most other second generation L-series devices, the latest iteration of the L3 has dropped the bold rectangular design and gone back to the traditional rounded edges. The phone is small, but solidly built and feels wonderful to hold. The plastic body feels well-constructed and doesn’t creak, while the buttons offer good feedback. My biggest complaint with the body is that the front buttons aren’t backlit. This makes them difficult to spot in the dark.

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The 3.2’’ display is small by today’s standards, but considering the price, you can’t really complain about the size. However, what’s shocking is the resolution. Thanks to a meagre resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, even the tiny display can manage only a 125 ppi pixel density. This is far lower than that of similarly priced Sony Xperia Tipo Dual (180 ppi) and Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos (165 ppi). As a result, everything on the screen appears pixelated. Reading small text is nothing short of a nightmare on this display. The viewing angles and outdoor visibility are pretty decent; however, none of the other positives can make up for the horrific resolution. The L3 II has the worst display that I’ve seen in an Android phone so far.

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Hardware and Software

The LG Optimus L3 II is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7225A Snapdragon chipset which comes with a 1 GHz processor and Adreno 200 GPU. It has 512 MB RAM, and 4 GB of internal memory. Quite obviously, you can’t expect the L3 II to be able to run all of the games and apps; however, it is capable enough to tackle the likes of Temple Run and Cut the Ropes satisfactorily. In fact, as far as CPU power is concerned, the L3 II is ahead of the Ace Duos and Tipo. The lower resolution further reduces the computing load on its chipset. There were a couple of seconds of wait while opening apps or switching between tasks, but I didn’t encounter significant freeze ups. General operation is reasonably smooth, and LG’s budget smartphone feels a lot more responsive than its competitors like Tipo.

As far as the hardware is concerned, the best thing about the L3 II is its battery. The L3 II 1540 mAh battery, which is quite a bit more powerful than the one found in the Galaxy Ace. Thanks to the tiny screen and the low-end single core processor, the battery isn’t really pushed too hard. As a result, even with reasonable amount of usage on 3G you should be able to make it through the day without requiring a recharge. This is significantly better than what most flagships have managed to offer.

The L3 II Dual packs a 3.15 megapixel rear camera capable of snapping images at 2048×1536 pixels and recording VGA resolution videos at 30 fps. The picture quality is exactly what you would expect. It’s good enough for Facebook and Instagram updates, but not something you’d be happy carrying on a vacation. The absence of even an LED flash means that the camera is useless in low light scenarios. The Camera app offers five different preset scenes and supports white balance, ISO, and exposure adjustment.

As the name suggests the L3 II is a dual SIM phone. It has a dedicated button, which allows you to toggle between two SIM cards. The switching happens quite quickly without requiring a reboot. However, you cannot use two SIMs at once.

On the software front, LG has launched the L3 II Dual with Android v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), which is once again better than its closest competitors. Like all LG smartphones, the new L3 also comes with the Optimus UX. However, the only fancy feature that has made it into the L3 II is Quick Memo. QuickMemo is a sharable, system-wide notebook where you can jot down stuff quickly or annotate and comment on documents. Almost all of the other goodies that we saw in the flagship Optimus G have been dropped. Thankfully, even the stripped down Optimus UX has lots of configuration options and nifty tricks up its sleeve. You can change themes, use any of the half a dozen preloaded screen swipe effects, enable Quiet time, edit the lock screen shortcuts and more.

Verdict

Budgets phones are all about compromises. It’s often difficult to pick the best phone in this category, as the best really depends on the user. The LG Optimus L3 II has its fair share of flaws, as does all of its competitors. The L3 II Dual costs just Rs. 7,500 and LG has had to make plenty of trade-offs to get there. The real question is can you live with the decisions LG has made? The L3 has a horrible display; however, the same low resolution display probably helps in boosting its performance. The L3 has a newer version of Android than most phones in its class, and feels smoother than many of the other low end devices that I’ve used. If performance is important to you and you are willing to overlook the display, the LG II Dual might be a good fit for you. However, if you are looking for a decent display, you need to look elsewhere. Similarly, if you want a decent camera, the old Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 with a LED flash might be a better buy. Alternatively, if Android isn’t a must for you, you can even take a look at the Lumia 520. It doesn’t have as many apps as the Android smartphones; however, offers a better camera and significantly better performance.

Carbonite Review – An Excellent And Affordable Online Backup Service

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There are number of companies which offer online data backup. However, most of them do not offer their services as advertised. Today, we are going to review the popular Carbonite online backup service. Before talking about Carbonite, let’s check out the advantages of online backups. Most of us still prefer to back up our data using conventional backup methods such as DVD or external hard disk. However, online backups have a number of advantages compared to conventional backup methods.

Online backups are automatically performed on a daily basis or on a frequency set by you. It runs quietly in the background so there is absolutely no need to worry about it. Moreover, it is less expensive and saves your valuable time. Conventional backup methods have a risk of losing all your data due to natural disaster or if your device is lost or stolen. On the other hand, online backup services allow you to easily get your data back with the click of a button in the event of data loss. Restoring your files is incredibly simple and it does not require any technical knowledge.

Carbonite Logo

Recently, I was looking for a reliable online backup service which can back up most of my important files, images and videos at reasonable rates and finally zeroed down on Carbonite. First of all, Carbonite is one of the most trusted brands in cloud backup. Carbonite has already helped its customers to back up more than 300 billion files and recover nearly 20 billion files. The backup and restore process is extremely simple.

It allows you to back up pictures, documents and all your important files automatically to the cloud. Once you are connected to the internet, Carbonite will automatically start the backup process. Your files are encrypted before they leave your computer and are stored safely offsite at one of their data centers. Carbonite’s Home plans start at $59 per year, while the business plans start at $229 per year. Before purchasing the yearly plans, you can even try out Carbonite for freewithout spending a dime.

Setup:

To get started, all you have to do is just visit the Carbonite’s website and sign up for a 15 days free trial. You won’t be charged anything for the first 15 days, however the service will cost you $59 per year for a single PC after the trial period. Once you have created an account, you will be asked to download and install the application on your Windows PC or Mac. After installing the application, you’ll need to name your computer or laptop. After that, you will be asked to select the automatic backup process or the manual backup process.

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The automatic process will back up all your pictures and important files from desktop, document and media directories. On the other hand, you can select the manual option and add files and folders to store on the cloud. If you own a small business and need to comply with certain industry regulations – like HIPAA – Carbonite can assist with your compliance requirements. You can choose to manage your own encryption key for any Windows computer, NAS device or server. It is not recommended to set your own key unless you are experienced at managing encryption keys or have a special need to do so.

User Interface:

After completing the setup process, you will be greeted with the Carbonite Info Center. The application will prompt you to start the backup process immediately. Carbonite will back up all your photos, documents, e-mail, settings and everything on your desktop. However, it will not back up any videos, executable files and other files larger than 4 GB automatically. You will need to manually upload them by right-clicking the file in Windows Explorer or in the Mac OS X Finder.

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You can activate the Carbonite Info Center from the desktop or click on the tray icon. Right-clicking the tray icon allows you to open the Info Center, freeze your backup or pause the backup process for a predefined set of time. Carbonite has a great marking system for the files and folders. You can easily know the status of backed up data on your hard disk. It will mark the backed up files and folders with green dot, awaiting backup with yellow dot and partly backed up folders with green donut.

Scheduling and Restoring Backups:

Carbonite will back up all your content by default. However, you can set the application to back up once a day or even exclude certain hours. Carbonite does not allow you to specify a file type for backup, which can be a major drawback for its customers. You can manage and access your backed up files from the Carbonite Backup Drive on your computer or directly from Carbonite’s website.

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You can restore your files from the desktop application as well as from their website. To restore your files from your computer, open the Carbonite application and select the Restore tab. The restore tab has 3 options – search & restore, browse & restore and restore all files. To restore your files and folders from their website, just log in to your Carbonite account and select the restore files. From there you can select individual files and folders or you can select the complete restore option to get back all of your files and folders.

Final Verdict:

Carbonite is without a doubt an excellent service to back up your data online. Their plans are quite affordable,. Unlimited backup space is just $59 a year. However it comes with some limitations. You can switch to a premium plan which allows you to back up an external hard drive and uploads videos automatically. Carbonite also provides free mobile and tablet apps for devices running on Android, BlackBerry and iOS Operating Systems. These apps can be extremely useful to access all your files on the go. With unlimited backup space, affordable plans and extremely simple backup and restoration process, Carbonite is definitely one of the best online backup services that you can’t afford to miss!

Start your free trial (no credit card required) at Carbonite.com. Use offer code SUNNY13 and you’ll get two months free if you decide to buy.

Review: BlackBerry Z10: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

The folks at BlackBerry have had a rough couple of years. After taking its time to launch a tablet and updated smartphone OS, some thought that the company was headed towards the graveyard. However, earlier this year, the company announced two new phones: the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. These two smartphones are run off of the BlackBerry 10 operating system that has been rebuilt from the ground up.  I’ve had the past couple weeks to play around with the Z10, the full-touch, keyboardless variant of  the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem. Below is my in-depth review on the Z10’s hardware and software.

Hardware

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Screen

The screen is one of the Z10’s strongest points. During my time with the device, I’ve found that the Z10’s screen is on par with my iPhone 5’s Retina Display and has proved to be quite enjoyable to use when watching movies, YouTube videos, as well as general web browsing. This is due to the Z10’s semi-spacious 4.2″ screen with a resolution of 1280×768, which brings it to a resolution of 356ppi. The screen is also relatively bright, which makes it nice for both high-light situations and low-light situations.

Design

I’ll be honest: I have a love-hate relationship with the Z10’s design. I do think that the Z10 features a clean and high quality design, and I’m a fan of the soft plastic finish that the device has to offer as well. The rear-end of the Z10 is pretty basic as it features a simple BlackBerry logo and a unique bumpy pattern. The top and sides of the device, however, are made out of a more rigid material. The front of the device houses the screen with relatively large screen borders. All of these design aspects come together to make the Z10 look basic, yet professional and classy.

Though the Z10 may look nice, the device, minus the screen, is completely crafted from plastic. This makes the device feel cheap and makes me wish that it had incorporated some sort of metal like what we’ve seen in the iPhone 5, HTC One and even the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

Camera

The BlackBerry Z10 has a surprisingly decent camera. It features a 8 mega-pixel sensor with 1080p video recording capabilities alongside a bright flash. Aside from the hardware, Z10’s Camera app makes your photos really shine. The app features numerous filters, scene settings as well as shooting modes. I’m a huge fan of the burst mode which is built into BlackBerry 10 as well as TimeShift. TimeShift snaps multiple photos automatically, and allows you isolate faces and go back in time with them. This allows you to get perfect group and action shots.

Software

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Design And Features

BlackBerry 10 is a very interesting operating system in terms of design. It has a similar look and feel to that of HP’s WebOS due to its mostly button-less navigation and gestures. However, I think that BlackBerry has done a good job of making the OS easy and intuitive to use due to its many unique features such as BlackBerry Hub and the improved BlackBerry Keyboard.

BlackBerry Hub is a hub that shows all of your text messages, BBMs, emails, and social notifications in one place. When you first swipe into BlackBerry Hub, you’ll be able to view all of these notifications in one continuous list, though you can also single out feeds if you’d like. BlackBerry Hub is accessible from anywhere within the BlackBerry 10 OS, leaving you connected your family, friends, and coworkers at all times.

BlackBerry Keyboard is BlacBerry’s new and super-intuitive software keyboard. From the naked eye, it may look like any other mobile keyboard, but the changes become apparent when you start to use it. When typing, the keyboard will attempt to predict words for you. These words hover over letters on the keyboard, and can be selected by simply swiping up on them.

Since all BlackBerry 10 devices are completely free of navigation buttons, all actions are performed via different types of swipes and taps. For instance, if you want to close out of an application, all you have to do is swipe up from the bottom of the screen. When doing this, a small preview of the application will be moved to your device’s homescreen where it will reside with the rest of your recently used applications. If you’d like to open an application that hasn’t been recently used, just swipe to the right to bring up your full list of installed apps.

Ecosystem

The folks at BlackBerry have added all of the standard BBM messaging features to BlackBerry 10 that were offered in previous iterations of the OS. For instance, BlackBerry users can still send free text messages and voice messages back and forth. However, with BlackBerry 10, BBM has been enhanced to allow for free video calling and screen sharing between BlackBerry 10 users. This allows BlackBerry users to take their BBM conversations to a whole new personal level as they can share photos, documents, and whatever else is on their phone’s screen.

While the BBM ecosystem may be decent, the app ecosystem is lacking. Though the operating system launched with 70,000 apps, and recently announced that it hit 100,000 apps, none of them seem to be extremely good. Sure, the standard Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn apps may be decent, but as you get further through the BlackBerry Word store, you’ll begin to realize that some major apps and games that are available on iOS and Android are missing. For instance, Instagram, Netflix, Dropbox and Rdio amongst others have yet to make their way to the BlackBerry World for BlackBerry 10. As someone who uses all three of these services on a daily basis, I found it difficult to use the device nonstop over an iPhone or even Android smartphone since I use these apps often.

Responsiveness

BlackBerry 10 has been very good to me in terms of responsiveness. The device quickly responds to most touch-actions and quickly opens apps, documents and multimedia files. When multitasking, I’ve found that one can easily switch between apps without worrying about a stutter or other form of lag. The only form of lag I’ve found when using the BlackBerry Z10 is in the web browser. For instance, when loading and scrolling through web pages, I’ve experienced some stuttering and general slowness.

Bottom Line

While the BlackBerry Z10 may feature a promising new OS and a decent set of internal hardware, I cannot recommend the device at this time. This is due to the fact that BlackBerry 10 is missing some crucial third-party applications and the fact that the external hardware feels cheap on the device. However, if you’ve had your heart set on purchasing a BBM-capable device, then this may be your only modern option.

Lenovo ThinkCenter Edge 92z AIO Review

Introduction

The Lenovo ThinkCenter Edge 92z AIO (All In One) is a sleek machine which is small in size but packs in a lot of power. The product is targeted towards enterprise use, designing, studies and even for day to day use.

Lenovo’s AIO features an inbuilt processor, WiFi direct, USB ports, VOIP optimized hardware, Bluetooth and HDMI in/out ports. It also comes with an integrated camera, microphone, internal speakers, card reader, optical drive, Ethernet port and a cable lock slot. The entire unit is powered through a single power cord. The compact build of the AIO makes it very easy to move and mount and saves up to 70% of the desk space.

The multi touch LED screen display interface and wireless keyboard and mouse also make It more easy to use with either touch or through the included peripherals. The AIO also can be easily mounted on screens and can be used as interactive monitors for advertisements. It is also very easy to clean and disinfect.

 

Lenovo ThinkCenter Edge 92z Specifications

Processor      : Intel(R) Core i5 – 3470S CPU @ 2.90GHZ

Main Memory / RAM         : 4.00GB

Hard Drive size            : 500GB

OS              : 64 bit Windows 8

Touch              : Multi Touch with 10 touch points

Graphics Card      : 2GB Discrete AMD Radeon HD7650A

Screen Size      : 21.5 inch Touch

Weight      : 8.4 kg

Display             : LED High definition display 1080p Wide Viewing Angle

Sound             : Dolby advance audio v2

WebCam      : 1.3 M full HD

Packaging, Looks, Build Quality , Weight

The packaging is decent enough and comes with the following

  • The AIO Desktop
  • Wireless mouse
  • Wireless keyboard
  • Power cord
  • User guide

     

The desktop looks pretty sleek with the space saving design .Lenovo has also provided with a hook at the back to make it easy to move around.

Setting up the AIO Lenovo Edge 92z is very simple. Pull the stand, plugin the power cord, press the start button and you are good to go. The stand behind the monitor is adjustable from 10 to 40 degree as per your comfort. The stand is easily removable and can be easily mounted on the ThinkCenter Extented Arm (57Y4352) which makes it versatile and swing effortless in whichever direction you wish to move.

The flat screen frameless monitor is shiny black in color which gives an elegant look for the business use.

The weight of the AIO desktop is around 8.9kg. However, this is a desktop and not a laptop so the weight is understandable.

The touch screen is very reflexive and smooth. The touch and zoom feature is very impressive and you can easily zoom in and out when you want to take a closer look at something. If you don’t want to use the touch it provides wireless mouse and keyboard which is very useful when just want to operate the machine lying down on couch. I personally used it to watch movies while sitting away from the desktop and found the experience enjoyable.

The keyboard is spill proof so you do need not worry if you drop coffee over it by mistake. It can easily slide under the monitor when not required an add-on to space saving design.

Connectivity Options

The edge provides a lot of connectivity interfaces within the monitor. It has 6 Slots of USB 2.0 or 3.0 connector. If you have more than 6 USB devices you can connect a USB hub and connect to additional devices. It also has an HDMI in and out slot and a shortcut key to switch between the display screens. It has an Ethernet connector to attach to Ethernet cable or LAN.

In addition to the microphone and headphone connector it also has an integrated SD card reader. It also provides a cable lock slot for security reasons.

There is a system stand which is adjustable as per your comfort. You can remove the stand and the monitor and it can be wall mounted as well which allows for more user friendly interaction when mounted for interactive advertising.

It comes with integrated camera with 1.3 MP with IPS wide viewing angle and full infinity screen. Along with all the above this Lenovo edge comes with a Wi-Fi direct and Bluetooth features which really makes users to do with lot more things.

Touchscreen, Display and Audio Quality

The touch screen comes with attractive glossy screen with the 10-point multi touch feature.

It comes with 21.5” wide HD LED display screen which give a very clear picture quality with a well usage while watching movies or playing games or doing some graphics or presentation. Scroll , tap, touch, drag , slide becomes quite easy with the multi touch support . Also the IPS wide viewing screen feature gives the amazing closer view to look at something specific. However with the glossy screen will tend to reflect the light from tube light lit overhead and cause unnecessary disturbance.

The Lenovo edge 92z have not made any compromise on the size of the screen and it can be connected very easily with the other display screens with HDMI in/out thus increases the productivity. The short cut button for HDMI on the desktop monitor makes it even faster to connect to larger display. It also comes with multi display support and view management utility to open multiple applications at a time.

The audio quality is really good with the in-build Dolby speakers which gives a very clear voice quality. It also provides separate jack for connecting external headphone and microphone which also gives a very clear voice quality. The 1.3MP webcam and integrated microphone just adjacent to the web cam allows you to do video conferencing anywhere in the world. This classy Lenovo PC is optimised for Microsoft Lync qualified VoIP features.

Performance

Lenovo ThinkCenter Edge 92z performance is pretty good. Powered with Intel 3rd Generation Core i5 Processor – 3470s and 2GB Discrete AMD Radeon HD7650A allows to play games, render graphics and carry of task in just double click time. Multiple display allows you to view multiple apps on a screen and the simple tap makes it fast to switch between the apps.The system boot up really fast in just a few seconds.


It also provide superior web conferencing with high quality webcam and key stroke noise separation.

It also comes with the Lenovo program name Lenovo Solution Center wherein you see more information of your system’s health like HDD, memory, backups, recoveries, devices. It also allows to run a test to check the condition of hardware.

Conclusion

Lenovo Edge 92z is sleek and stylish compared to all the other AIO desktops. The shiny black 21.5inch screen with HD infinity LED display gives it an elegant look while using in an enterprise or the business organizations. It is quite compact to make the workspace look well organized.

Also the machine is just great in performance and boots up into the OS in a few seconds. The ability to be able to open multiple apps simultaneously and with the ease to collaborate to external devices using HDMI in/out or WIFI Direct /Bluetooth allows users to do work with great efficiency. The touchscreen is very responsive and allows to quickly switch between the apps and makes it really fast to move from checking emails to open excel sheet or to browse the research work.

The estimate cost of the machine goes to 80,000Rs which is quite a bit high for the desktops.

Overall the performance, touch and simplicity is amazing. Useful for business and enterprise use but a little expensive to use as home desktop.

 


Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook Review

Dell inspiron 15z is the latest touch based notebook in the Inspiron series. The new Ultrabook comes with good specifications at a very reasonable price. The laptop has a large 15 inch touchscreen which makes it user friendly while working on the Windows 8 operating system. Being an ultrabook with touchscreen it supports all the basic features of a regular notebook. The notebook though weighs 2.17kgs which is almost double the weight of the normal 13 inch Ultrabooks available.

Compared to other Inspiron notebooks, Inspiron 15z looks quite hefty. However with a 15 inch large touchscreen and with connectivity ports available like 4 USB 3.0 ports, a full HDMI slot, ethernet, card reader, a secure lock slot and jack for a headset, it is made quite compact. Inspiron 15z also comes with an optical read write drive which is not available in other ultrabooks in the market.

Specification

Processor Intel® Core™ i7
OS Windows8 64-bit
Memory 8GB 2 DIMM (4GB x 2) DDR3 1600MHz
Hard Drive 500GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD, 32 mSATA SDD
Display 15.6 inch LED Display with touch,
HD(1366 x 768)
Graphic Card Nvidia GeForce GT630M 2GB
Optical Device Tray load DVD Drive (Reads and Writes DVD)
Sound Card Stereo Speakers with Waves MaxxAudio® 4.0
Battery 6-Cell 44 WHr Battery (built-in)
Keyboard Dell™ Chiclet Backlit Keyboard with Multi-touch Touchpad (English)
Adaptor 65W AC Adapter
Card Reader 8-in-1 Memory Card Reader: SD, SDXC, SDHC, MS, MS-Pro, MSXC, MMC, MMC+
Web Cam Integrated 1.0mp widescreen HD (1280 x 720)
Bluetooth Bluetooth v4.0
Controller Card Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230, 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth v4.0
Speakers Skull Candy speakers integrated
Slots/Ports HDMI 1.4,USB 3.0 x 3,USB 3.0  PowerShare x 1,RJ45 x 1,Microphone/Headphone Jack x 1,Kinsington Lock

Looks, Build Quality, Connectivity Slots

Dell inspiron 15z comes with a matt silver aluminium lid and light grey plastic border and similar to the other notebooks in the Inspiron series. On opening the lid the display screen is cornered with a glossy glass border. The frame with plastic borders definitely cuts down the cost but does not look of great build quality.

The ultrabook comes with a backlit keyboard. If you do not want to use the backlit keys you can manually turn it of using Fn + F6 key. The keyboard is spill resistant and comfortable enough to type on even for a longer duration. The backlit keyboard is helpful while you are sitting in a room with dull lighting.

There is also a large touch pad which is pretty smooth to use and comes with a couple of mouse button on it. Further below, the base has rubber support which give a better grip to the laptop.

The ultrabook looks a little huge (dimensions 15 x 9.8 x 0.9 inch) and is not that stylish. However, it is very simple and mainly for those who want to buy a simple looking low cost model with high specications and touch technology. It also has an integrated 1MP webcam and a microphone adjacent to it for video conferencing.

Connectivity slots provided are HDMI 1.4, three USB 3.0,one USB 3.0 which provides transfer of data at faster speed, common jack for Microphone/Headphone, a secure lock, a card read and also a CD/DVD optical drive.

Display, Touchscreen

15z ultrabook display border is made of a scratch resistant gorilla glass, thus giving it a little glossy effect. The 15.6 inch LED display touch with high definition resolution (HD 1366 x 768) is not good enough for a 15 incher screens. The resolution should have been a minimum of 1400 x 800 to suit the larger screen.

There is no multi touch support with this system. It comes with normal touch, however, touch based laptops is soon going to a basic feature with the Windows 8 operating system. It is very easy to swipe and switch between docs or interfaces. The touch feature also makes browsing menus, interaction with Windows 8 tiles and the Charms menu faster and easier to access.

The Windows 8 UI is created in such a way that the touchscreen becomes addictive and the lack of it makes it harder to navigate. The downside is that the screen might get dirty quickly with fingerprint marks.

Performance

The performance is of the Inspiron 15z Ultrabook is good. It takes about 16sec to boot with SSD caching. The skully speakers located at the base just at the chassis are quite large and outputs a good sound quality. The web cam with 1MP outputs a good quality image and adjusts with the surrounding lighting to offer a clear image.

The Inspiron 15z is not a gaming notebook but comes with Nvidia GeForce GT630M 2GB graphics card. It consumes less power and does not overheat. However, it is not convineint to use this for hardcore gaming.

The battery used is 44Whr which is a little disappointing because it only lasts for 3 hours which is not that feasible for an Ultrabook.

Conclusion

Overall it’s a budget ultrabook with all the latest specifications. There is no limitation on the basic features and ports provided in the regular notebooks. The screen is pretty huge and comfortable to work on with the touch feature. It also supports DVD/CD optical drive which is usually not found in many of the ultrabooks. It also comes with skully speakers which are good enough for the laptops.

The best thing is with the 3rd generation intel core i7 processor and memory of 8 GB, 500GB HDD, a pretty good 15 inch touchscreen with Windows 8, Dell Inspiron 15z costs only Rs. 74,990 which is quite reasonable compared to other same spec ultrabook available in the market.

The bad is its very heavy to carry and looks hefty. The display resolution could be much better. Poor battery life might also limit the amount of time you can use the device without using the AC adapter.

Galaxy Note II (US Cellular) From An iPhone User’s Perspective

note2

As a long time iOS user, I’ve always been a bit turned off by larger screened smartphones, or as some say, the ‘Phablet’. These devices are hybrids between tablets and smartphones, with screens usually ranging between 5″ – 5.5″. And up until recently, I hadn’t had the chance to play around with one of these devices on a day-to-day basis. However, this all changed recently when I received a Samsung Galaxy Note II on the US Cellular network to play around with for a couple of months. Below, I’ve compiled my thoughts on the Android experience on such a large device from an iPhone user’s perspective.

Note: I’ve been an iPhone user for quite sometime. Back in 2009 I got my hands on an iPhone 3GS after switching from Windows Mobile 6.5. Before the 3GS, I was the owner of a first and second-generation iPod touch, so I’ve had quite some time with iOS throughout my life. Day-to-day, I use an iPhone 5, iPad mini and a third-generation iPad with Retina Display. I’ve had experience with Android in the past and have tried out many devices like the Galaxy S III  and the Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Since the Galaxy Note II’s flagship feature is its enormous screen, I feel obligated to cover it first. During my time with the device, I found that the screen was great for watching movies and drawing with the S-pen (more on that later), but was unnecessary during regular use. Also, because of the Note’s giant screen, it’s next to impossible to use the device with one hand. When taking calls, the Galaxy Note II feels awkward and unnatural due to its screen size. However, though the screen is enormous, it’s very clear and is on-par with my iPhone 5 and iPad with Retina Display. This is due to the device’s 1,280 x 720 Super AMOLED display that looks fabulous in low-light and high-light situations.

As far as performance goes, the Note II is by far the smoothest Android device I’ve used. The device is responsive for the most part and graphic intensive games seem to run flawlessly. This stellar performance is due to the fact that the smartphone is running Android 4.1 and is powered by a quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and 2GB of RAM. This gives the phone all the power needed to run the latest cutting edge Android games.

While the Galaxy Note II’s specs may look better than the iPhone 5 on paper, there’s just something about Android and the Galaxy Note II that feels a bit off. For instance, when using the Note II’s web browser, I often find the device over-scrolling. I’ve also found the Galaxy Note II to be overly snappy when performing system transitions and animations, giving the user interface an unnatural feeling.

The Note II also includes an S Pen, or as I like to say, a glorified stylus. You can use the pen to control the device like you would with your finger, but it can also be used to draw and jot handwritten notes with the S Note application. In theory, this would work well due to the Note II’s massive screen, right? Wrong. Taking handwritten notes with the S Pen feels quite awkward due to the short length of the S Pen itself. The Note II also doesn’t have enough room on the its screen to allow me to comfortably rest my hand when jotting notes. Because of these two factors, I often found my hand slipping off of the Note’s screen, sending my S Pen falling to the floor.

Even though I think the Galaxy Note II is a well performing Android device, it won’t switch me from my good ol’ iPhone. This is mainly due to the fact that the Note II’s screen size and Android OS still seem a bit unnatural to me, though I did throughly enjoy using the device for streaming Netflix videos. However, if you’re a fan of large mobile phone screens and enjoy having the customizability of Android, you’ll probably love the device.

All in all, the Galaxy Note II is a great phone if you’re on the US Cellular network. If you wish to purchase one for yourself, expect to pay $299.99 upfront for a 16GB model on a two-year contract. If you’d prefer to go contract free on US Cellular, the Note II will run you a whopping $799.99.

LG Optimus G E975 Review

India is still waiting for the official launch of the Nexus 4. However, LG’s Optimus G, which is the phone on which the Google Nexus 4 is based upon, was launched in India last month. The launch went practically unnoticed, with most of the hype centered on upcoming handsets like the Samsung Galaxy SIV, Sony Xperia Z, and the HTC One. The reason for that might be that the Optimus G is actually a six month old phone, whose successor LG Optimus G Pro has already been launched in Japan and Korea. However, while the Optimus G isn’t the latest and greatest, its specifications suggest that it’s no pushover. I used it as my primary device for a week, and was pleasantly surprised by it.

Appearance

Unlike the Optimus 4X, the Optimus G doesn’t feel plasticky. It’s a solidly built premium smartphone that continues with the rectangular design ethos introduced in the previous generation LG devices. When the display is off, the screen blends with the bezel and appears to be a pristine black slab which oozes a lot of oomph. Much like the Nexus 4, the Optimus G also has a Gorilla Glass 2 back, with shiny metal bits embedded below the back cover. Under light, these metal pieces light up by reflecting the light hitting them at different angles. The effect is less pronounced and less magical than in a Nexus 4, but is still cool to look at.

Of course, glass back has its own disadvantages. The Optimus G is a device that is meant to be handled with care. My SIII has suffered numerous harsh falls, but has survived largely unscathed. With the Optimus G, however, I will almost surely end up with a cracked back. In fact, the metal rim can also add to your woes. The review unit I received had slightly chipped edges, which tended to agitate my skin while talking. In fact, the glossy back doesn’t feel as secure or comfortable to hold as the Optimus 4X with matte finish did. All these weaknesses are inherent in using a glass and metal body, and are present in similarly constructed devices from competitors like Sony.

LG Optimus G - Front View
LG Optimus G – Front View
LG Optimus G - Rear View
LG Optimus G – Rear View

One of my major complaints with the previous generation LG handsets was accidental home button presses. It was extremely easy to accidentally press the home
button while trying to press the Space key. Thankfully, LG has fixed that issue in Optimus G by adding a slight buffer space below the screen.

Display

The Optimus G has a 4.7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 768 x 1280 pixels, which is protected by a Gorilla Glass 2 screen. I wasn’t a big fan of the previous generation LG displays, which seemed to appear washed out. Thankfully, the Optimus G marks a major step forward for LG displays. While not being as saturated as Samsung displays, color reproduction is rich and natural. In fact, when compared side by side, LG’s display seems more while remaining sharp and vibrant. Sunlight visibility and viewing angles are also good enough to be not an issue. LG’s Optimus G also boasts of something called ZeroGap touch, which reduces diffused reflection by integrating the touch sensors into the glass itself. While I am not sure exactly how much this has helped, I can state with confidence that the Optimus G’s display is definitely among the best that I have seen.

LG Optimus G - Display
LG Optimus G – Display

Hardware

The LG Optimus G was the first phone powered by the Snapdragon quad-core S4 Pro chipset. Thanks to the powerful CPU and GPU, the phone is screaming fast. I am yet to encounter any lags or hiccups while using the Optimus G. Whether you are flinging through long lists, scrolling through your Gallery, or going on a rampage in GTA III, the Optimus G doesn’t miss a beat. The Optimus G boasts of 2 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage. There is no provision for memory cards.

I ran a couple of synthetic benchmarks. As expected, the Optimus G fared very well. Unfortunately for the Optimus G, its lead won’t last for long, as next gen devices from Samsung, and HTC will hit India within the next couple of months.

LG Optimus G Compared with Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X
LG Optimus G Compared with Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X

The downside of the Snapdragon S4 Pro is that it gets hot. I mean really, really hot. Even after only surfing the web for half an hour, the phone begins to feel uncomfortably hot. And this is in spite of having a glass back, which should be cooler than an all metal back.

LG Optimus G - Side View
LG Optimus G – Side View

Software

LG Optimus G currently runs on Android 4.1.2 Jellybean with a custom Optimus UX layer on top. LG has announced the launch of Android 4.2.2 powered Optimus G handsets in Europe; however, it’s not known when it will roll out the update to the rest of the world.

The Optimus UX is actually quite subtle and baring some unnecessary skeumorphisms (especially in buttons and icons) and brightly colored icons, it doesn’t look too bad. However, as is the case with most manufacturers, the original Android UI is still more appealing than the custom skin. In addition to retaining QuickMemo, SmartShare, and SmartWorld, that we have seen in previous LG handsets, LG has thrown in some more new goodies for Optimus G users. The major ones are:
Q-Slide: Q-Slide is similar to Samsung’s Popup Play, which allows users to watch a video while working on something else. The video player floats on a screen and can be freely resized and repositioned. Q-slide, however, goes a step further, and can be overlaid on top of existing apps. You can continue watching a video full-screen, while working on other apps by simply controlling their opacity. For example, if you want to compose an email while watching a video, Q-Slide will simply make your email app translucent so that you can still see the video, while writing your email. And yes, you can still pinch to zoom into videos. Check out the video below for a demonstration.

LG has also added a Q-Slide section to the notification screen, which acts as a quick launcher for Q-slide compatible apps. These apps are Video, Internet, Memo, Calendar, and Calculator apps. This is a nice idea, but would have been truly useful, if I could add my own apps to the list, instead of being limited to the five system apps.

Quick Translator: Quick translator app can translate text from images that you capture between a number of languages. This feature was actually introduced with the Optimus L9 and wasn’t present in the Optimus 4X. The translator can translate words, lines, or blocks of sentences. The app also supports offline translation, but for that you will need to purchase dictionaries from the Play store.
Smart Screen: This feature is obviously inspired by Samsung’s Smart Stay, which prevents the display from timing out when it detects that you are looking at the screen.
Wise Ringtone: This is something that I haven’t seen elsewhere, is actually a very neat idea. Optimus G uses the microphone to judge if you are in a loud environment and accordingly increases your ringtone volume.
Quiet Time: This is another really smart feature, which allows you to define a time range during which everything except alarms and notifications will automatically be muted.
Safety Care: This is a feature that a lot of Indian users will appreciate. It allows you to define emergency contacts, and in case of an emergency, your location and other information will automatically be sent to them. You can also simply set a number, which when dialed will trigger a location alert to your selected contacts. LG also claims to automatically know when you are calling a emergency, so that it can alert your emergency contacts. However, I am not sure if it is configured to recognize Indian emergency numbers.

The Optimus UX retains its previous strongpoints, which includes easy access to frequently used power options from the notification bar, a very cool unlock animation, and massive amount of customizability. When I say massive amount of customizability, I really mean it. Everything including the lock screen, home screen, and the general UI is customizable. You can change themes, animations, font, font size, lock screen apps, and a whole lot more. Unfortunately, some of the existing annoyances with the Optimus UX have also been retained. The app drawer refuses to remember your sorting preferences, and you have to reselect your sorting preference every time you install a new app. The volume control button still only gives an unified volume control options. Additionally, LG has also decided to stupidly copy the water droplet sound effect from Galaxy SIII, which makes little sense.

Multimedia

The Optimus G boasts of a 13 megapixel rear camera with full HD video recording support. As you might expect from such a hefty camera, the picture quality is excellent, whether you are capturing stills or videos. Details are well preserved, noise is limited in outdoor photos, and color reproduction is good. The only issue is that the focusing can be a bit finicky and sometimes requires two or three attempts to get things right. In addition to the standard burst mode, panorama, and HDR mode, there is also LG’s Time Catch shot. In this mode, the camera actually snaps pics from a few seconds before you pressed the shoot button to a few seconds after. You can later choose which picture you want to keep. This is meant to ensure that you don’t miss the shot you wanted. LG has also improved its low light capture, and now can compete with the likes of SIII comfortably. In fact, on whole, the L3 is among the best, if not the best Android shooter. For video calling there is also a 1.3 megapixel front camera, which gets the job done. One thing that’s often ignored while reviewing a smartphone is its speakers. However, the Optimus G’s speakers are actually loud enough to deserve a special mention.

LG Optimus G - Macro
LG Optimus G – Macro
LG Optimus G - Low Light
LG Optimus G – Low Light
LG Optimus G - Diffused Light
LG Optimus G – Diffused Light
LG Optimus G - Outdoor
LG Optimus G – Outdoor

Others

Thanks to the glass back, LG had to make another compromise with the Optimus G. The rear portion is completely locked down, which means that the battery isn’t user replaceable. This isn’t something I am a big fan of. It rules out the possibility of carrying a spare battery, or even upgrading to a high performance 3rd party battery. The good news here is that the Optimus G’s battery life isn’t bad. The 2100 mAh battery lasts a day in 2G mode, and will survive for about 10-12 hours in 3G mode, which is enough to get back from your office and charge the phone. You can squeeze a couple of additional hours by enabling Eco mode for the processor, and turning on the Power Saver mode when battery is below 50%.

Connectivity options include all standard features along with Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and MHL.

Conclusion

The LG Optimus G is perhaps the first LG smartphone that I can term as a great phone, without any ifs and buts. It sports a blazing fast chipset, a sharp camera, brilliant display, and some nice software bells and whistles. My biggest reservation with the device is the glass back. However, judging by the growing trend of glass backs, and how well the older iPhones sold, and how much in demand the Nexus 4 is, it’s obvious that a lot of people don’t share the same concern. The non-user replaceable battery, and the lack of support for microSD are also downers, but they aren’t big enough issues to come in the way of the Optimus G achieving greatness.

The biggest problem LG India will have is that the Optimus G will be sandwiched between the best of the previous generation like the SIII and the One X, and the best of the current generation like the SIV, Xperia Z, and the One. If Optimus G had been launched in October or November, it would have simply been the most powerful phone in the market. However, by the end of this month, that will no longer be true. LG will also have to withstand the marketing blitzkrieg of Samsung and Sony. Priced at about Rs. 31,000 it’s the best phone you can buy for that price. It’s a fair bit cheaper than the similarly specced Sony Xperia Z, which is currently selling at about Rs. 35,000. However, the Xperia Z has a bigger screen, more powerful and user replaceable battery, and is water resistant. If you spend a bit more, you will soon be able to get the newest powerhouses from Samsung and HTC. On the other hand, if you compromise a bit on the performance, the SIII and other previous generation handsets are available for Rs. 27,000 or less. I hope that the Optimus G manages to carve out its own identity. It’s just too good a phone to be a failure.

Carbon for Twitter Arrives on Android with Its Gorgeously Animated User Interface

After teasing us for months, Dots and Lines has finally introduced Carbon for Twitter in the Play store. Carbon made a name for itself on the WebOS App Catalog and Windows Phone Market as a gorgeous, intuitive, and powerful Twitter client for the masses as well as power users. Making the cut in the crowded Play app store will be tougher, but judging from the initial spate of downloads, there’s still room for a carefully crafted Twitter app for Android.

Carbon-Twitter-Android

Carbon for Twitter makes a positive impression the moment you launch it. After a quick splash screen, you are asked to authenticate yourself, and within seconds your Twitter stream is laid out in front of you in neatly arranged cards. Two-finger downward swipe takes you to the bottom of the list, while a similar gesture in the upward direction will take you to the top. Swiping right will take you to the Mentions and Direct Messages screens. There are subtle animations for practically everything you do, and Carbon for Twitter feels alive in a way very few Android apps do. My favorite is the little card tilt animation that Carbon does while jumping in and out of a conversation. In spite of having a beautiful user interface that is livened up with thoughtful use of animations and clever gestures, Carbon feels fluid and fast. None of the lags and momentary freezes that are oh-so-common in Android are present in Carbon.

Carbon-Twitter-Stream

This is not to say that it’s all rosy with Carbon. The first version is understandably buggy, and crashes every once in a while. I have already had to reinstall it once to fix a crash loop. Carbon is pretty feature complete, and includes support for native retweets as well as classic retweets, lists, searches, hashtags, and trends. The Filters feature deserves a special mention, since it’s something I am only used to seeing on desktop clients. You can cleanup your Twitter stream by filtering out content based on people, hashtag, or keywords. However, power users might spot that a few features they are accustomed to using in other clients are absent in Carbon. Sync frequency can’t be changed (it’s either once every fifteen minutes or not at all), the app doesn’t have a widget, integration with third-party url shorteners and image uploaders as well as services like Twitlonger and Tweetshrink is absent, and video uploads don’t seem to be supported at all. Tablet support is also missing at this point. However, this is only the first version. I am sure that M.Saleh Esmaeili, the developer, wanted to get a working version out as soon as possible, and feature enhancements will come later.

Carbon-Twitter-Profile

Carbon for Android was initially supposed to be a paid app; however, since Play store doesn’t support payments in the developer’s country, he decided to release it for free. As of now, Carbon is a completely free app without any in-built advertisement. It’s the most visually attractive and fun Twitter client I have seen on the Android app store. If none of the missing features I listed above are dealbreakers for you, go ahead and take it for a spin. It’s still early days for Carbon, but it has definitely raised the bar for Android apps as far as aesthetics is concerned.

Carbon-Twitter-Conversations

[ Download Carbon for Android ]

Dell Latitude 10 Tablet Review

Windows 8 has been with us for about few months now, and despite being the first consumer release of Windows which is optimized for both touch and non-touch interfaces, the supporting hardware from a touch-interface point of view has been basically non-existent. Sure, there’s the Surface, but trying to get it here in India isn’t exactly straightforward. Thankfully, Dell’s stepped in and released the Dell Latitude 10 Tablet. Dell sent me a review unit & I had a chance to play it for a week. Let’s see how it fares.

Tablet Specifications

The Dell Latitude 10 is based on Intel’s Atom Z2760 (Codenamed Clovertrail) processor & runs Windows 8 Pro, not the RT edition. Here’s some more detailed specs

  • Processor: Intel Atom  Z2760 @ 1.80GHz
  • Main memory: 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 64GB SSD
  • Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
  • 10.1″ IPS screen with 1366×768 resolution
  • Expansion & Misc ports: 1xUSB, 1xHeadphone out, 1xMini HDMI, 1x MicroSD, 1xMicro SIM slot

Packaging, Looks, Build Quality & Weight

The Latitude tablet was packaged in a box very similar to the one which came with the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. The box was a laptop briefcase-esque carton, thought unlike the XPS 13 carton, there was a lack of foam padding. Inside the “briefcase” was the tablet placed in the cardboard box. The box contents were minimal — the box featured just the tablet and the power adapter and power cord. The absence of other accessories is surprising, considering the expansion options that the tablet has — especially with the presence of mini HDMI port. A bundled mini-HDMI or a Mini-HDMI to HDMI converter would have have been much welcome.

With an all-black body the Latitude looks pretty slick. The front of the tablet gets a big 10.1″ highly glossy reflective screen, with a GorillaGlass protection, while the back of the tablet has a more subdued, matte-grey with rubber finishing to prevent slippage. There’s a pretty thick bezel however, that tends to detract from the looks of the tablet.

Dell Latitude 10

The rounded corners on the tablet edges mean that you wouldn’t run into any sharp cuts. The Latitude 10 weighs in at about 650g for the 2-cell battery version. However, the review unit came with the optional 4-cell, 60Whr battery, tipping the weighing scales at a hefty 820g. With either versions, it’s practically not possible to operate the tablet with one hand, and you’ll definitely not be using it as a bed-side device for reading.

Connectivity options

For a tablet, the Latitude comes with a bunch of connectors – you get a USB port, a mini-HDMI port, headphone jack, a microUSB port for charging, and a dock connector. In addition, there’s also support for a SD card and a microSIM port. The microSIM slot, however, is very easy to ignore and dismiss – much like cell phones, the microSIM slot is under the battery which also makes hot swapping SIM cards impossible. Despite these connectivity options, you’ll have to invest in your own cables and accessories — Dell, in it’s infinite wisdom thought it was a great idea to skip out on all cables and leave you with the job of getting your own cables.

Touchscreen, Display & Audio Quality

Touchscreens generally make or break a tablet – I’ve played with few el-cheapo tablets which gee-whiz-bang specs, only for me to not look at them at all because of their pathetic touchscreen response. With this in mind, I’m very happy to say that the Latitude’s touchscreen is simply fantastic. There was nary a touch that went undetected. To make things even better, the the Latitude’s 10.1″ IPS screen is simply brilliant. Though not in the same league as the iPad’s Retina displays, one glance at the screen with Windows 8’s Start Screen & Live tiles on and it’s near impossible to turn away from the screen. The combination of the brilliant display and fantastic touchscreen response means that you’ll find it very hard to keep your hands off the tablet. The weight of the tablet, however, will make you want to keep it down on the table, or attached to a dock however.

To achieve the fantastic display quality, however, Dell’s opted for a highly reflective, glossy screen. I’m not a huge fan of glossy screens – the light reflection tends to hit my eyes hard, and with my vision problems, causes unwanted strain on my eyes. The Latitude is no different, with even a tubelight lit overhead will result in tubelight rays bouncing off the tablet and hitting your eyes. To make matters worse, the screen is also huge fingerprint magnet – just a day of swiping about and the screen was coated with my fingerprints. I had to resort to using my LCD screen cleaner to keep the fingerprints at bay and I suspect this is likely to be a daily affair.

Dell Latitude 10

Dell Latitude 10 screen

The Latitude’s audio quality wasn’t too bad.  The built-in stereo speakers were loud enough to be heard on a average sized room and performed well. There’s only a 3.5mm jack for connecting a headphone/earphones. The tablet also comes with a 2MP front facing camera & a 8MP rear camera with LED flash. I didn’t get a chance to try out either of the cameras, so I can’t  comment on the picture quality.

Performance And Battery Life

When I first discovered that the tablet features an Atom processor – I wondered what sort of performance I should expect from it. Traditionally, Atom processors aren’t exactly known for the processing prowess. The newer Atom processors codenamed CloverTrail however – performed admirably well. The response of the tablet was pretty zippy, and there was no sign of lag even with a bunch of Modern UI apps running in the background. I didn’t bother running any of the traditional PC-based benchmarking programs, since the scores will be low and there’s no real way to compare the numbers against anything else. Suffice to say, the Tablet was able to cope up with most content consumption activities – be it using YouTube, watch a hi-def movie using VLC or anything else for that matter – the tablet just hummed along fine

Battery performance on the tablet was just brilliant. Throughout my week-long review period, I charged it just once, with an average usage of 2-3 hours, on WiFi. With continuous usage, I think it’s fair to assume that the tablet should last a business day quite easily. Granted, this was on the 4-cell, 60Whr battery, but even on the regular 2-cell battery, the tablet should easily give you about 5-6 hours of battery backup.

Pricing And Conclusion

With all of these goodies, the Dell Latitude’s pricing isn’t too bad – it retails at Rs 47,290, excluding taxes and comes with a 1-year warranty. While strictly not an Apples-to-apples comparison, the current gen iPad with 64GB capacity and 4G is priced at about Rs 52,000 to give you a fair idea where it stands at.

Ultimately though, the Dell Latitude 10, while being a great device, doesn’t seem to be targeted at the home/average user. With the Latitude branding that’s popular among corporates, the security features make it clear that that’s their target audience. Which is a shame because with a little bit of tweaking on the price, the Dell Latitude 10 can be a worthy alternative for the iPad, especially if you don’t want to give up on your existing Windows applications, while simultaneously trying out the Modern UI apps that Microsoft is going with the road ahead.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Great display and touchscreen performance
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Highly reflective screen which is also a fingerprint magnet
  • Weight adds up at the higher end of the tablet