Scribble Press Review

Scribble Press is an iPad app that lets you create and illustrate stories and share them with others. It is an award winning app and I can see why. There’s a lot of fun to be had by both young and old. If you’re a parent, teacher, or homeschooling, this is a must-have app for iPad.

Scribble Press Screen
Start Screen for Scribble Press

Inspiring the Story Teller

I installed Scribble Press on my iPad recently and was amazed how quickly my seven year old picked up on how to use it. It took her about 5 minutes to figure out how to start using the built-in story templates and create her first story. That’s when I knew this FREE app had a lot to offer. Scribble Press is really about empowering the creative mind and giving them all the tools needed to create a story from start to finish. For the beginner, there are story templates that your children can pick from, such as “My Babysitter Is a Zombie”. The story pages are outlined in advance. All the child has to do is fill in some of the blanks with names and such. It doesn’t take long however, for your child to graduate from the templates to creating full-blown stories of their own. The other day my daughter read me a story she created that literally made me laugh out loud. How cool is that?!?

Illustrating Made Easy

The illustrating tools are incredible in Scribble Press. Your child can go to the marker wall, pictured below, and choose from an enormous amount of brilliant colors and different types of media. They can use markers, crayons, stamps, and much more. Not only can your child tell a story, but they can express their inner artist. If you’re a teacher, or homeschooling, I could see this being a great tool for inter-discipline teaching by combining language arts and visual art concepts. You might even use this app for team building by having one child write the story and another child illustrate the story.

Illustration Tools
Illustration Tools

The newest version of Scribble Press also lets you create graphics without having to write a story. This is pretty nice because, as you can see in the first picture above, there is a little shopping cart where you can purchase a hard copy book as well as, other nifty products with your illustrations on them.

Pros: Scribble Press makes story creation fun. The newest version allows multiple account creation on one iPad so you can set up separate profiles for multiple people. The story templates are there to inspire the young writer, but it is advanced enough to let them create stories from scratch. There are lots of illustrating tools and they can share their work with parental approval.

Cons: At the moment I don’t really have any to report. This is simply one of the best apps I have seen. Some may view the fact that additional templates cost money as a negative, but they’re not that expensive.

Scribble Press, in my opinion, is a 5 star program, and I would recommend it as an educational tool for anyone trying to teach children to write. Quite frankly, it’s fun for adults too. For more information, visit their page in the iTunes store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scribble-press/id487300076?mt=8.

HTC One X Review: Taming the Beast

Earlier this year, HTC unveiled its flagship Android phone, the HTC One X. The One X is part of a bigger change at HTC and represents its new focus on the mobile market with its One series. The One is the next step in HTC’s innovative product design and philosophy, and clearly, the One X will be one of the most powerful devices to have come out this year. I got my hands on a One X almost a fortnight ago, and it continues to amaze me. This is an HTC One X review post, and I am going to share my experience with this beast of a phone.

htc-one-x-side-view

The One series

HTC-one-series

The One series has three phones under its banner- the HTC One X, the One S and the One V. The One X has two more variants, the North-American version, and the One XL, which sports LTE and a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset. With the One Series, HTC has dedicated itself to creating a few awesome devices under one banner instead of pushing out varied devices all year round. Along with this new product lineup, the One also represents HTC’s new philosophy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwQTESDObU

The One V is the first phone in the One series, with a 1 GHz processor, a 3.7-inch screen and Android 4.0. The One V sports the looks of the HTC Legend, and is aimed at the entry-level Android-phone market. The next phone, the One S has an aluminum unibody. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display. The One X is the flagship device in the One series and it a set of killer features leading up to pure awesomeness.

Introduction

htc-one-x

The One X boasts of a gigantic 4.7-inch 720p HD display with a 1.5 GHz quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 SoC infernal machine running inside it. The device is codenamed Endeavor, and was carrying that name until February, when HTC dropped the Endeavor moniker and branded it as the One X. At 5.3-inches long and 2.7-inches wide, the phone will seem gigantic in your hand on first use. The all-new HTC Sense 4.0 is a step away from the disappointing earlier version 3.6 and the visual improvements will bring smiles to the faces of HTC fans like me.

htc-one-x-box

The One X is available in grey and white versions. I went for the white version because it looks classy, with the black screen augmenting the elegance. This phone is feature packed all throughout and every nook and corner screams “attention to detail”. Let us take an in-depth look at what the One X has to offer.

Nokia Lumia 800 Review

nokia lumia 800 intro

Introduction

The Nokia Lumia 800 is the company’s first Windows Phone powered smartphone. This handset was announced along with the Nokia Lumia 710 at the Nokia World 2011 in London. It runs on the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Operating System. This handset looks strikingly similar to the previously launched Nokia N9 smartphone, which was powered by the Meego Operating System.

The design of the phone is absolutely stunning. It comes with a 3.7 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1.4 GHz single-core processor, 16 GB internal memory and much more. It also comes with a 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash. However, the much needed front-facing camera is missing from the device.

nokia lumia 800 intro

Nokia Lumia 800 Specifications

  • 3.7 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display
  • 800 x 480 pixels resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 1.4 GHz single-core processor
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS
  • 8 megapixel auto-focus camera
  • Dual-LED flash
  • HD (720p) video recording
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
  • MicroUSB 2.0
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • 512 MB RAM
  • A-GPS
  • 16 GB internal memory
  • MicroSIM card support
  • Up to 265 hrs of stand-by time
  • Up to 9 hrs 30 mins of talk-time
  • 1450 mAh battery

What’s In The Box?

nokia lumia 800 box content

  • Nokia Lumia 800
  • Nokia Fast USB Charger AC-16
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-185CD
  • Nokia Stereo Headset WH-902
  • Quick Guide
  • User Guide
  • Product information leaflet

Review: MOBiLe Cloth

At one point, I used to use screen protectors on all of my iOS devices, but then a few months after I discovered microfiber cloths and haven’t used a screen protector since then. Recently, I have been using the MOBiLe Cloth, which does a fantastic job at keeping your screen clean.

Mobile Cloth 2

These cleaning cloths retail from www.MobileCloth.com in a variety of packages ranging from $6.99 to $95.99. Since these are cleaning cloths, using them is easy. Take one out of the package, unfold it (or leave it folded), and then wipe down your touch screen device with it.

The cloths are phenomenal. Even though these are just microfiber cloths, they have got to be the best ones I have used to date. The moment you take them out of the packaging, they are ready to use and collect no extra dust! After cleaning my screen with it, the screen felt incredible and really smooth. I’m not really sure about the technology behind this cloth, but it works like magic.

According to the company, the cloth removes up to 98% of germs with no chemicals. The MOBiLE CLOTH of course is not restricted to iOS devices only. Anything, touch or non-touch screen, can be cleaned with these cloths.

MOBiLE CLOTH has reasonable prices, and is worth the purchase without a doubt. You can find them on MC’s website here.

 

Huawei Sonic Review

huawei sonic

The guys at Huawei recently sent us the Huawei Sonic smartphone. Basically, the Huawei Sonic is a budget smartphone, targeted at the consumers who cannot afford to buy a high-end phone, but still want to experience the spectacular Android OS. This handset was launched a few months ago in India along with the Huawei Ideos X3 smartphone and the Huawei MediaPad tablet. Huawei Sonic is the first smartphone with the amazing Huawei’s Clould+ service.

The Huawei Sonic comes with a 3.5 inch touchscreen display, 600 Mhz processor, 3.2 megapixel camera and so on. This handset ships with the Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) OS. However, you should not expect this handset to get the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS ever.

Huawei Sonic Specifications:

  • 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display
  • 320 x 480 pixels
  • 600 MHz processor
  • Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) OS
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • VGA video recording
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • FM Radio
  • 512 MB ROM
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 160 MB internal memory
  • 32 GB expandable memory
  • microSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Portable hotspot support
  • A-GPS support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
  • microUSB 2.0
  • SNS integration
  • Dual Mic noise reduction
  • Proximity/light sensor
  • Diversity Rx support
  • Up to 400 hours stand-by time
  • Up to 8 hours 20 mins talk-time
  • 1400mAh Li-Ion battery

What’s in the box?

huawei sonic box

  • Huawei Sonic
  • Huawei Battery
  • Travel charger
  • Data Cable
  • Wired Headset
  • User Manual

Design:

huawei sonic conclusion
The Huawei Sonic is a budget phone, however it does not mean that the handset looks pathetic like its other Android competitors. This handset is absolutely stunning. At a first look, no one can guess the price of this device. It looks far better than other mid-range Android smartphones currently available in the market.

This handset looks amazing, thanks to the capacitive buttons on the front, instead of the ugly hardware buttons. The capacitive buttons are visible even when the phone is in the stand-by mode. However the buttons lit up, only when the phone is in use.

Hardware:

On the front of this device, you will find a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. Below the display, you will find 4 capacitive buttons – Home, Menu, Back and Search. These buttons lit up while you are using the handset. Unlike other phones, these capacitive buttons are visible even when the phone is not in use.

This handset comes with a unique earpiece compartment on the front, which has a status LED placed inside the earpiece. The LED light is lit up when you are charging the phone as well as when you receive a text or a missed call. However, the LED light is not visible properly during the daytime.

huawei sonic conclusion

On the back of the device, you will find a 3.2 megapixel camera. Sadly, this device does not come with a LED flash. The speaker grill is placed at the bottom, along with the Huawei logo. The volume rocker is on the left side, while there are no buttons placed on the right side. The company should have utilized the blank space for placing a camera button.

On the top of this device, you can connect your favorite pair of headphones or the bundled Huawei headphones, thanks to the universal 3.5 mm headset jack. There is also a lock/unlock button, which also acts as a power button. When you click the button, it will lock/unlock the device. On the other hand, when you hold the button for a couple of seconds, the silent mode, airplane mode, power off and restart options will be displayed on the screen.

The bottom of this handset sports a microUSB port as well as a dual microphone for noise reduction. The back cover is completely made up of plastic. When you hold the device, you would get a feeling that the device might just slips out of your hand. This handset comes with the 3G connectivity option. However, the much-needed front-facing camera is missing from this device. The speakers on the back are quite loud.

Internals:

huawei sonic internals
When you open the back cover, you will find the battery slot. The SIM-card slot is placed below it, while the microSD card slot is placed above it. You will need to remove the battery for changing SIM cards. However, the microSD card can be replaced without removing the battery.

This handset comes with a 600 MHz processor, which slow down the overall performance at times. At a normal usage, this handset works flawlessly. It comes with different connectivity options such as Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, portable hotspot support, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and microUSB 2.0. It also comes with a 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM, 160 MB internal memory and 32 GB expandable memory.

Software:

huawei sonic software
The Huawei Sonic runs on the Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) Operating System. Like I said earlier, you should not expect the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update on this device. The Huawei UI offers 3D homepage animation which makes the complete look of the homescreen simply outstanding. It also allows you to change the homescreen animation as well as the themes from the Home settings.

The Huawei Sonic allows you to add up to 7 home screens. You can select the default home screen from the settings. The launcher has only 3 shortcut rows, out of which only 2 can be customized. The messaging app is quite average, however you can download other messaging apps such as Go SMS Pro from the Android Market. The stream app allows you to get the updates from various social networking services. This handset features the Fast Boot technology, which helps the device to boot-up within 9 seconds.

Audio & Video:

huawei sonic audio
The Huawei Sonic comes with a Huawei Music app for playing your favorite tracks. It allows you to view songs using the album, songs, playlists, folders, artists, composers and Genres categories. The bundled headphones feels cheap and the audio quality is just not up to the mark. You can anytime connect your favorite pair of wired headphones, thanks to the 3.5 mm headset jack.

This handset allows you to watch all of your recorded videos as well as your favorite music videos. You can find all your videos under the gallery app. There is no separate video app pre-installed in this phone. You can also download the Youtube app and watch all latest, favorite and bookmarked videos on the go.

Connectivity:

huawei sonic connectivity
This handset comes with various connectivity options such as GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and microUSB 2.0. You can connect to your favorite site or social networking services within a few seconds, thanks to the super-fast 3G service. It also comes with the portable hotspot support which allows you to use your device as a Wi-Fi Hotspot for other devices

Camera:

huawei sonic camera

The Huawei Sonic sports a 3.2 megapixel camera with geo-tagging and VGA video recording capabilities. The maximum resolution for an image is 2048 x 1536 pixels. Sadly, there is no auto focus or LED flash. The quality of the images taken are just average. Some of the images appear to be blurry, while some of them had more noise than expected.

The images taken during the day were average, but the images taken during the night were below our expectations. This handset is also capable of recording VGA videos @ 30fps. The video quality is quite satisfactory. The camera settings allows you to change the picture size, picture quality, color effects, white balance, etc. This handset is also capable of adding location to the images, thanks to the geo-tagging feature. The video camera settings comes with 4 video quality options – High, Low, MMS and YouTube.

huawei sonic photo sample

huawei sonic photo sample

Battery Life:

huawei sonic battery

The Huawei Sonic comes with a 1400 mAh Li-Ion battery. While testing, I used the device for web browsing and watching YouTube videos for couple of hours, few calls and texts and few hours of games and SNS services. On a full recharge, I was able to use the device for about 1 day 19 hours and the battery icon still displayed around 20% battery remaining. The battery life on this handset is quite impressive.

Conclusion:

huawei sonic conclusion

Huawei Sonic is one of the best entry-level Android smartphone currently available in the market. This handset comes with a price-tag of Rs.9210. The design of this handset is outstanding, on the other hand, it has an amazing build quality. Even though the browser and camera are not up to the mark, but other amazing features such as the slick design, smooth feel, Android Gingerbread OS, different connectivity options and a great battery life completely overshadows the negative factors.

Some of this handsets in this price range comes with a 5 megapixel camera. However, they lack a great display and better processor. The default browser is not up to the mark, but you can download other browsers such as Firefox for Android, Opera or Dolphin Browser HD from the Android Market. If you have no issues regarding the camera quality or the default browser, then you should definitely go for this handset.

Techie Buzz Rating: 6/10 (Above Average)

Positive Features:

  • Great Design
  • Huawei 3D UI
  • Excellent connectivity options
  • Good battery life
  • Dual Mic for noise reduction

Negative Features:

  • Poor Camera
  • Display not clearly visible under sun-light
  • No Front-Facing Camera
  • Poor audio quality

Huawei Bloggers Meet and the Huawei Cloud Service:

We were recently invited to the Huawei Bloggers Meet in Mumbai. At the bloggers meet, the company showcased its latest devices, including the Huawei Sonic, Huawei Ideos X3 and the Huawei Mediapad tablet. We also got a chance to play with these smartphones and tablet for an hour and we were completely amazed with the features, quality and pricing of these devices.

The Huawei Ideos X3 comes with a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, 600 MHz processor, Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) Operating System, 3.2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, FM Radio, 3.5 mm headset jack, 32 GB expandable memory, 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM and a 1200 mAh battery. The Huawei Ideos X3 is priced slightly higher than the Huawei Sonic. This handset comes with a price tag of Rs.10,229.

The Huawei Mediapad features a 7 inch IPS LCD display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) Operating System, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, HD (720p) video recording capabilities, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video chat, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB ROM, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, A-GPS and a 4100 mAh battery. The Huawei Mediapad comes with a price-tag of Rs.28,359.

Huawei Cloud Service:
huawei sonic cloud service
At the Huawei Bloggers Meet, the company also showcased their Cloud service and explained why their cloud phones stands out from their competitors. The Huawei Sonic and the Huawei Ideos X3 are the company’s first ever cloud smartphones. Both of these devices comes with 16 GB of free cloud storage. The Huawei Cloud service is something that really impressed us. Let me explain you the complete features in details below.

The Huawei Cloud offers 16 GB of cloud storage as well as other amazing services such as Cloud Drive, Message+, Phone Finder, Contact Suite, Hi Space, Social Stream, Gallery, etc.

huawei sonic cloud service

The Cloud+ Drive service allows you to not only store your favorite photos, music and videos, but it also allows you to save documents and other types of files to the cloud. The files saved in the Huawei’s Cloud+ Drive can be accessed from any Huawei smartphone, Huawei Mediapad or directly via computer. You can save up to 3500 songs or 7000 photos in the available space.

The Cloud+ Contacts lets you to synchronize contacts from your phone to the Cloud+ server. Any changes in the contact information will be automatically synchronized to the Cloud+ server. The All Backup service allows you to backup all of your important information and data to the Cloud+ server. So, if you lose your data due to some reason, then you can easily restore your files on your Huawei smartphone or Mediapad tablet.

huawei sonic cloud service

The Message+ is another great service which takes the regular messaging to the next level. The Message+ is an instant messaging service which is exclusively available for the Huawei smartphone users. It allows you to chat with your other friends, who are currently using the Huawei smartphone. You can also share images, videos and voice note with your friends. The group chat lets you chat with your all the users in your friends list or family list. The Cloud+ Gallery is another unique feature where you can view all the images saved in the Cloud+ server, directly on your phone screen.

Find my phone is the best feature offered by the Huawei’s Cloud service. It helps you to find your lost or stolen phone with few minutes. You’ll just need to visit www.hicloud.com and use the phone finder option to locate your device. It will find the device and display the current location on Google Maps. You can also perform other tasks such as playing a sound, sending an alert message, lock your phone, backup all your data or erase all the data from the device. The Cloud+ service offered by Huawei lets you experience the future of smartphones.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 Gets Reviewed By Engadget And CrackBerry

RIM officially launched its latest smartphone, BlackBerry Torch 9800, few days ago at an event in New York. This handset has a touchscreen display as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry Torch 9800 comes with a 5 megapixel camera, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5mm headset jack, GPS with BlackBerry Maps, 4 GB internal memory, 32GB expandable memory and much more. The guy at Engadget and CrackBerry recently posted an amazing review of this device. Check out the exclusive review of the latest BlackBerry smartphone below.

blackberry torch

According To Engadget, “The Torch seems sluggish, underpowered, and dated from a hardware design standpoint, and BlackBerry 6, despite its new features and polish, still feels woefully behind the curve. To call the Torch the “best BlackBerry ever” wouldn’t be an understatement, but unfortunately for RIM and the faithful, their best isn’t nearly good enough.”

According to CrackBerry, “The Torch is a welcome addition to the BlackBerry family. The vertical sliding form factor really suits the BlackBerry experience, and with the Torch 9800 RIM has delivered a consumer product that not only puts the best of everything BlackBerry into one device. Between the sliding action of the hardware and the touchscreen experience on BlackBerry 6, the Torch 9800 is not just the best BlackBerry to date, but also the one that is the most fun to use.”

Head over to this post for Engadget’s review or you can even check out the CrackBerry’s exclusive review here.

Nokia N97 Mini Exclusive Hands-On Review

Recently, I got to play with Nokia N97 Mini in our Techie Buzz Labs. At the first sight, the QWERTY keypad looks absolutely stunning, but I wasn’t amazed with the Symbian S60 v5 operating system, as I’m used to it. I’m already using Nokia 5800 Xpress Music for the last 5 months, but the major difference in software between both the device was that of “Kinetic Scrolling”. The other feature I liked was that of customizable homescreen. I had a perception that this device wasn’t a value for money, thanks to its operating system. With all my friends, contacts, emails and widgets on the homescreen, this device proved me wrong.

nokia n97 mini

What’s in the box?

nokia n97 mini box

  • Nokia N97 Mini
  • Nokia Battery
  • Nokia Travel Charger
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable
  • Nokia Wired Headset
  • OVI Suite DVD
  • User Manual

To know more on the contents inside the box, check out our exclusive N97 Mini unboxing video. You can even have a look at out exclusive hands-on pics.

Positive Features

  • Smooth Slider
  • Large Touchscreen Display
  • Excellent QWERTY keypad
  • 8GB in-built memory
  • Kinetic Scrolling
  • Supports Popular Audio/Video formats
  • Stylish Metallic Battery Cover
  • Wide Range of Useful Apps
  • Customizable Homescreen

Negative Features

  • Poor Display Under Sunlight
  • Unimpressive Battery
  • Unsatisfactory Camera
  • No Changes in UI
  • Poor Web Browser

Design And Hardware:

N97 Mini is constantly being compared with its big brother, Nokia N97. The design of this device is quite attractive as compared to N97. The build quality of N97 Mini is just brilliant. The battery cover is made up of a metallic material, which makes it look like a high end device, unlike N97 which has a plastic battery cover. This device is absolutely comfortable and it easily fits in my pockets.

n97 mini metallic back

N97 Mini has a little smaller display as compared to N97. This device has a display of 3.2 inches (similar to Nokia 5800 Xpress Music), while N97 had a 3.5 inches display. It comes with a resistive touchscreen, 360 x 640 pixels resolution and it supports 16 million colors. N97 Mini has a sharper and crystal clear display under normal lighting conditions, but it becomes almost unreadable in direct sunlight.

Above the large display, there is a proximity and light sensitivity sensors, earpiece and a video call camera. The proximity sensor helps to switch off the display automatically, when you hold the device near to your ear. Below the display, you can find a menu key along with a touch sensitive call and end keys. On the left side, there is a microUSB port and the screen lock slider. On the right side, there are camera and volume keys. The power key and 3.5 mm audio jack are situated on the top of the device.

nokia n97 mini qwerty

The sliding QWERTY keyboard is just amazing. The slider is absolutely smooth and there isn’t any chances of damage during its regular usage. The keys are a bit smaller as compared to N97, but they are perfectly placed with proper spacing between the keys. N97 Mini has arrow keys, unlike the useless D-pad key on the N97. The keys are easy to use and they aren’t pain on your fingers.

On the back, you will find a 5 megapixel camera with a dual LED flash and a stylish metallic battery cover. The battery of this device is also smaller than N97. This device has a 1200 mAH battery as compared to N97 which has a 1500 mAH battery. The MicroSD card slot is situated under the battery cover while the SIM card slot is placed under the battery. N97 Mini supports upto 16GB of external storage.

nokia n97 mini hardware

Nokia N97 Mini is available in three stunning colors – Cherry Black, Garnet and White. The build quality of this device is much better than N97. But the power, volume and menu keys are completely unsatisfactory. Sometimes I was not able to open the slider in one go. There is always a fear in mind regarding the damages to slider due to the thin plastic support on its back. It was quite comfortable and faster to send emails and texts, thanks to its amazing slider QWERTY keypad. They should have provided covers for the USB port and dual LED flash, since they can be scratched easily. The proximity sensor works perfectly. It is quite a pain to change SIM cards.

Check out the full specification of Nokia N97 Mini here.

User Interface:

nokia n97 mini interface

As I have said earlier, for the first few days I didn’t liked this device because of the Symbian S60v5 operating system. I was already bored of the same user interface as I’m used to it. But the major difference in the user interface of Nokia N97 Mini and other Symbian S60 device was that of Kinetic Scrolling and an amazing homescreen. Kinetic Scrolling was available everywhere, even in menus and applications. I really liked the kinetic scrolling of this device. The icons menus are very appealing as compared to the list menus. The menu icons can be customized easily within few seconds. Sliding out the QWERTY keypad rotates the screen vertically.

Homescreen:

nokia n97 mini homescreen

The customizable homescreen in N97 Mini is brilliant. The widgets in homescreen helped me a lot by saving my valuable time. Almost all my needs were fulfilled from the homescreen itself. You can add, remove and organize upto 5 widgets on the homescreen. The clock widget is set by default and it cannot be removed, but you can place it anywhere on the homescreen. My favorite homescreen widgets are Facebook, AccuWeather and Shortcuts.

I tried adding Gravity on the homescreen but it looked dull. Gravity isn’t optimized for N97 Mini homescreen, but it would be fun to have an excellent app, like Gravity, readily optimized for the homescreen. The menu key below the display is quite uncomfortable. Hence, I have added the menu shortcut on the homescreen as I didn’t wanted to use that menu key anymore.

Check out 20 stunning wallpapers for Nokia N97 Mini here. You can also find more amazing wallpapers here.

Connectivity:

nokia n97 mini connectivity

The Nokia N97 Mini is a powerful device which has a wide range of connectivity options. This device comes with GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. It has 2G and 3G quad band, which can be used globally with any wireless operator. You can easily find and connect to Wi-Fi signals, with the help of this device. I tried using Wi-Fi on this device and the hi-speed browsing experience was just incredible. The connection manager shows all the active connections, along with the current download and upload speed. You can always stay connected with your friends, thanks to its wide range of connectivity options.

Messaging:

nokia n97 mini messaging

There are no changes in messaging client as compared to Nokia 5800. Nokia N97 Mini comes with SMS, MMS and Email messaging services. The messaging client fulfills most of my needs when it comes to SMS and MMS services. To compose a message, you can use the amazing QWERTY keyboard or you can even use the alphanumeric keyboard on the touchscreen itself. You can even type long texts and Emails easily, within few minutes. What’s more, you can use your own handwriting to type messages on the go. Messaging isn’t a pain in N97 Mini since it comes with an outstanding QWERTY keyboard.

Sending and receiving emails in N97 Mini is a child’s play. I was able to configure my Google Apps, Gmail as well as OVI mail within few seconds. Setting up OVI mail was the easiest one as you have to only key in the username and password, nothing else. I would suggest you to use IMAP instead of POP for retrieving email, but the final choice is ultimately yours.

Since 3G is still not available with the private operators in India, I was not able to test messaging in a 3G environment. I tested the email service using EDGE and Wi-Fi, and the service was pretty neat. Hundreds of emails were retrieved within seconds. Reading mails in Nokia 5800 is quite a pain, but it isn’t in N97 Mini, thanks to the kinetic scrolling.

Camera:

nokia n97 mini camera

Nokia N97 Mini has a 5 mega-pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and the dual LED flash. The maximum resolution for an image is 2592 x 1944 pixels. Though there is no major difference in the camera as compared to N97, you will find the lens cover missing in the mini version. The interface is the exact copy of what we have seen earlier in the Nokia 5800 and N97. You can find all the settings under a common menu, but the flash has a dedicated shortcut with 4 options Automatic, Reduce Red, On and Off. You can switch to secondary camera or video mode directly through “Options”. The device has 8 scene modes, 5 color tone, white balance, exposure, light sensitivity, contrast, sharpness and image sequence mode.

Transparent Display Alarm Clock

transparent display clock

Stagecoach Bus

stagecoach bus

The camera quality of this device cannot be termed as excellent. The images do not have much visible noise in them. The images taken with N97 Mini are slightly better than the original N97. The images taken during night were visibly poor as compared to those taken during the day. I saw yellow tint in most of the images taken during the day. The color balance is definitely not upto the mark.

I was quite amazed to see that this device does not have face and smile detection technology. Even cheap mobile phones, such as Samsung Corby come with a smile detection feature. This device has a VGA video recording @ 30fps. The video quality is quite satisfactory.

Images And Videos:

You can view all your images in the photos application. This application is pretty neat, and you can easily browse thousand of images with the help of kinetic scrolling. The app has a basic photo editor where you can add effects, such as inserting clip arts, frames and texts, crop the image, increase brightness and so on. You can double click on any image to zoom it. You can directly send the image as an attachment, right inside the photos application.

The video player allows you to view 3gp and mp4 videos. The video experience on a large screen is simply awesome. You can watch videos of upto 360 x 640 resolution. I have added 5 full length movies and watched it on the go. If you want to skip some part of the video, then you can drag the bar to any part of the video. For some reason, if you stopped the video, the next time, video starts from that position itself. This is quite useful when the device is switched off due to low battery.

Music:

nokia n97 mini music player

The device come with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, 8GB in built memory, 16GB expandable memory and support for MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, and eAAC+ audio files. I have added some extreme chartbusters to make it a complete music phone. The stereo headphone provided with this device is pretty decent. Compared to other Nokia devices, the loudspeakers are not too loud.

The music player has the same old S60 interface. Songs are arranged according to their album and artist name. I would ask you to update your ID3 tags for arranging songs neatly in the device. Even if you have thousands of albums in your device, you can browse them easily with the help of kinetic scrolling. The music player even allows you to rewind and forward any track while listening. The music player definitely needs some improvement.

Web-Browser:

nokia n97 mini browser

The web browser of N97 Mini is not too bad, but it is not well optimized for webpages with lots of links. While browsing Techie Buzz, it automatically redirected to the mobile version, which I turned off later. The browser supports flash content, so you can watch your favorite YouTube videos right inside the browser. The kinetic scrolling helps to browse long web pages easily.

The bookmark manager is quite unsatisfactory. The page opens instantly even on a EDGE connection. On the top of the browser, you can see the size of the web page, which is quite useful, if you have a limited data connection or while you are browsing while roaming in another country. I really want Nokia to improve the S60 browser for its future devices.

Pre-Installed Apps:

nokia n97 mini apps

Nokia N97 Mini has a bunch of pre-installed apps. Through it comes with a wide range of free apps, some of the pre-installed apps were only trial version. Sadly, N97 Mini does not have a single pre-installed game. Check out the complete list of pre-installed apps below.

  • Drawing
  • JoikuSpot
  • Qik
  • Boingo
  • Soccer
  • Facebook
  • Friendster
  • Hi5
  • Metro
  • MySpace
  • Traveler
  • AccuWeather
  • Amazon
  • AP Mobile
  • Bloomberg
  • CNN Video
  • Elle
  • Slideshow
  • Vingo

Third Party Apps:

n97 mini apps

Nokia N97 Mini supports thousands of paid and free apps. You can head over to OVI Store for complete application gallery. To test third part apps, I installed Gravity, the best Twitter application for S60 5th Edition devices. The app worked pretty smoothly. Check out the top 10 applications for Nokia N97 Mini here.

Conclusion:

nokia n97 mini

I have used Nokia N97 for few days, but it was a complete disaster. The moment I opened a few apps, it started freezing. I was not able to view YouTube videos properly. So, I had a perception that N97 Mini will also be a highly-priced device with lots of flaws. When I used the device for first two days, I didn’t found anything new. But when I used it for almost a week, it completely changed my mind.

The spectacular combination of hardware and software makes this handset one of the best mobile communicating device currently available in the market.

Nokia N97 Mini is a complete winner in the long run. The touchscreen is very responsive and the call quality has been significantly improved. This device fits perfectly in the pockets. I used the device for more than two weeks, but it haven’t freezed once. Though there are not many changes in the UI, the kinetic scrolling is a complete savior. I liked the QWERTY keypad of N97 Mini a lot. Even OVI Store have thousand of useful apps that fulfills most of my needs.

The browser is not up to the mark, but the camera of N97 Mini is  definitely  better that N97. Though many of you will still prefer N97  because  of its 32GB inbuilt memory for almost same price, but I would recommend you to get this device since it is high on  performance  and  quality. The recent firmware update of N97 Mini, solved all the flaws of this device. Nokia N97 Mini is one of the best touchscreen handsets manufactured by Nokia. Go For It!!!

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Image Credit ]

Samsung Shark 2 S5550 Exclusive Review

Samsung Shark 2 S5550 is an amazing slider phone manufactured by South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics. This phone comes with a 2.2 inches AMOLED display, 5 megapixel camera, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth, excellent battery life and so on. The guys at PhoneArena has shared an exclusive review of Samsung Shark 2 S5550. Check out the review below.

samsung shark2 s5550

Samsung Shark 2 S5550 has a 2.2 inches AMOLED display with 240 x 320 pixels resolution, GPRS/EDGE, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1, 110 MB internal memory, 16 GB expandable memory, audio and video player, QVGA video recording @30fps, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, Social networking integration with live updates and so on.

“The Samsung Shark 2 S5550 is a good attempt by the manufacturer to create a strong handset for the mainstream market. Phone quality on the Samsung Shark 2 S5550 turned out unsatisfying, to say the least. When it comes to battery life however, the Shark 2 is top-notch with its rated 11.7 hours of talk time and 26 days of stand-by. Shark 2 is a pretty cool phone with a characteristic design and a quite capable camera, so if that’s what you wish, then the Samsung Shark 2 S5550 is totally worth it.”

Check out the full review of Samsung Shark 2 S5550 here.

Samsung Shark 2 S5550 Video Review:

HTC HD2 Exclusive Review

HTC HD2 is an amazing touchscreen phone from HTC Corporation. This device runs on a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and  Windows Mobile  6.5 OS. Last month we posted a review of HTC HD2, now we would like to share an excellent review of this device by our friends at TechKnots.

htc hd2

HTC HD2 runs on Windows Mobile 6.5 powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It comes with 4.3-inch TFT capacitive touch display, 512 MB ROM, 448 MB RAM, EDGE, 3G, Windows Media Player, Digital compass, Pocket Office, HTC Peep, HTC Footprints, Facebook and Twitter integration, A-GPS and an excellent 5 mega-pixel camera with autofocus and dual LED flash.

“The HTC HD2 is for sure a champion. There’s simply no device out there that can beat its hardware. The 1 GHz processor, the great amount of ram, the 4.3capacitive touchscreen, great build quality and a very well done Sense interface makes this device my first choice. The mix of the capacitive touchscreen and the flexibility of Windows Mobile is fantastic.”

Check out the full review of HTC HD2 here.