Mobile Phone Reviews

Motorola Nexus 6

Motorola Nexus 6 Review

Motorola has brought out the Nexus 6 in a completely different position as compared to the standard lineup for Android smartphones. While the most recent releases have targeted lucrative pricing while reigning in some features, Motorola has gone all out in the Nexus 6, pitting it with the best in business. With the truly stated flagship title ably pinned on the Nexus 6, the 6 inch phablet was manufactured while the brand was under Google, so it can be said that the Nexus 6 has complete vision of the Android OS.

While the rumors have now been circling for almost 2 years for a Nexus device, we feel that with the design and quality it has been well worth it. Great hardware with specs to compare with the best of the competition, with the latest Android OS makes this a very interesting review.

The combo of the Snapdragon 805 with the 3GB RAM and a 6 inch display that is QHD is something so likeable that even the pickiest of users will be all over it. Put on top of this the 13MP OIS and UHD enabled camera, and you almost surely have a winner.

To add more on top of all this, the Android 5.0 labeled Lollipop is on offer. With this latest OS the new runtime codenamed ART makes all functions all the more smoother while adding to it the latest material designs. Though all this leads to immense expectations we feel Motorola will be able to deliver on them – let’s take the trip to find out.

Oppo N3

Oppo N3 Review

The most innovative smartphone company is an award that is always elusive – we have seen companies bringing up curved bodies, side bars that are menus, back panels with rings for flash, among others. Still, by far the most unique concept would be the rotating camera that we saw from Oppo last year in the Oppo N1 – the 13MP camera that was offered at that time had a uniqueness and to some extent, attractiveness to it.

This time around, the rotating camera is still in place, though it has been motorized, and has been improved, going up to 16MP, with improved pixel count and better sensor. The N3 comes with the Color OS, and though the screen size is reduced to 5.5 inches, the 1080p IPS display is better than before. The Color OS does not have an app drawer, so all the apps are placed on the home screen, similar to the layout followed by Apple. One more improvement is the chipset, taken up to Snapdragon 801, and includes a finger print sensor at the back.

The Oppo N3 has an exquisite body, made with high-end matte plastic coupled with aluminum frame runs around the phone, breaking a bit near the bottom, where resides a notification light, which is labeled Skyline Notification 2.0 by Oppo.

One of the major challenges that Oppo has faced and is currently facing again, is the issue of availability in major stores, and though available online, it is quite different from purchasing after a hands-on. The pricing is a bit high, since there are no contract reductions and discounts offered by carriers for Oppo. For something made in China, we feel some prospective buyers will be skeptical at first. Still the Oppo N3 is a great smartphone, with features that the users crave. A big boost to the already successful Oppo N1, we feel the Oppo N3 will hit the market as a superstar in itself.

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen)

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) Review

Motorola has jumped back into the market with the latest Moto X (2014) smartphone as a successor to its original 2013 offering. The Moto X (2014) still boasts the customizable options that were already on offer in its previous version, though it does take these things a notch higher, led by the option of replaceable back covers, with different options in multiple materials and colors.

The latest offering from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 801 is the default choice of most high-end releases this year, and Moto X (2014) has not selected any different. The raise in the screen property, going up to 5.2 inches of AMOLED display in 1080p quality, and a 13MP snapper that includes UHD ability is also prepared to join the top rankers.

In general, a sweeping glance would reveal most specs to be on par with the recent competition, a far cry from its predecessor which only relied on its good looks and handling, and the camera, chipset and display are all evidence to this fact, though an offering such as this in such a price range is something new. The back cover options have been thought out well to go with the metallic frame of the Motorola Moto X (2014), and make it all the more attractive.

Of course, the absence of memory expansion is a loss, and the absence of a 64GB version is also a surprise, considering 4K and all. The battery raises some serious concerns too for us, though we think that upon testing, it may not be as bad as it looks, using only 2,300mAh to cover a screen of this proportion.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

With every passing year, the pressure was being mounted more and more on Apple to come out with larger sized displays, and with the growing market of phablets, of course, for a phablet too. Though the iPad mini responded in kind to this threat, the iPad mini was considered to be something in between the phablet and tab even, and as such, many did not consider it part of the phablet range.

The releases announced from Apple are for two different sizes, which makes selection a bit more complicated than before – with the largest change matrix since the iPhone 4, the iPhone 6 Plus is geared up to the stiff challenge that it faces, and has the firepower to really pose a threat to the competition. The 5.5 inch screen sets up the pace, and throughout, Apple does not let go.

The screen resolution has been taken to 1080 x 1920, with a very good pixel count of 401 per inch, which we feel is great for a smartphone of this display size, going up to 1080p display. This represents the first pixel wise improvement since the iPhone 4 too. Another important addition to the mix is the Optic Image Stabilization, which we feel will improve the quality of images immensely.

The size adjustment will have to be made by the Apple faithful, which may be a bit awkward for some – also, the sales of Apple iPad mini may suffer due to the iPhone 6 Plus, and vice versa too of course. The changes that Apple comes out with are reducing with every generation of smartphones, and this one is not so different. The chipset sees minor improvement, image and video resolution is the same, stereo sound has still eluded videos, among other slight enhancements.

The design has been taken up though, with a new Sixes design now on offer in a unibody of aluminum, consisting of rounded sides and corners, though some feel it is closer to the iPod touch, though the design and large size did cause bending of the smartphone in pockets for some. Still, it is great to see that Apple is starting to respond to the call of challenges, and doing so the actual Apple way.

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6 Review

This time around, at the launch event of the iPhone, we were surprised to see Apple coming out with a new strategy – bringing out an iPhone to beat an iPhone. As the market has gone, Apple has seen its smartphones launched, and very quickly facing stiff competition with other manufacturers in terms of hardware and features – no more. If you want the slightly larger screen, you can opt for the iPhone 6 for the improved experience, and if a larger device is required to compare, say, with phablets, you can go for the iPhone 6 Plus. Gone are the days when Apple said 4 inches is the best and max size a smartphone should go up to.

With the iPhone 6, Apple has improved not the camera, but the underlying hardware and the user experience. The hardware improvement has a key role to play, but the NFC, the 8MP camera, are too old to be of much marketable value anymore. The minor upgrade after minor upgrade strategy will not do, and even the most passionate of Apple loyalists are coming to realize this.

The design also got tweaked, though we can say that most of the tweaks were down the wrong road. Going for the curves on the sides to make a slippery feel of a very elegant smartphone made us miss and value the classy sharp edged sides. The classy glass at the back is taken out for very cheap plastic strips that can be singled out from a mile. The camera is protruding from the back, and giving the phone an uncomfortable look and feel.

There are those who say this is the largest jump in terms of feature set, but looking at the absence of a better snapper, 4K videos, stereo speakers, high-resolution images, water proofing, lossless zooms, and OIS being some of the areas where nothing has been done, Apple is, by itself, increasing the gap to its rivals. Still, Apple sticks to its own plans, rather than go for the competition. With every passing year, we fear more and more Apple buyers are being given more reasons to move to Android, even though Android is some way away from the experience the iOS 8 provides.

Still, there is hope, and there are some areas which we have to appreciate for the iPhone 6, namely the chipset, the ever efficient battery use, the curves at the front, while most importantly, the iOS 8. Let’s hope we uncover more nice things about the iPhone 6, to sway us.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Concepts are one thing, but making them a reality, especially one this attractive is something only a master can deliver. In this scenario, Samsung has really pulled off something like a dream. The base is the Samsung Note 4, and that will still be released as the mainstream phablet, though the Note Edge, with its unique design, will be something that will capture more attention from the market.

The 5.6 inch QHD+ display from the Galaxy Note Edge is only slightly lesser in size than that of the Galaxy Note 4, but the added 160 pixels on the display, on the side strip, labeled “Edge screen”, is connected with the main screen, in fact acting as an extension of the same, even though the software works separately for both. The additions will be looked into in some time, but essentially this is the Note 4 with the S Pen stylus, the SpO2 and heart rate sensors, and the newly launched Snapdragon 805 chipset.

The last time Samsung ventured in the curved display territory was with the Galaxy Round, and though it was a high end phablet, the value added by the arch in the screen was dubious. The edge in the Galaxy Note Edge feels built more purposefully and for more use, taking up from the stage where the Galaxy Note 4 was.

The Edge is being utilized by TouchWiz to provide the at-a-glance information, as well as shortcuts. The swipe works on the edge, and displays an array of shortcuts in different panels. For apps requiring assisting buttons like the camera requires for shutter, or media players require for action buttons, the edge screen is used – this leaves out the whole screen to be used for the main app and to display content.

The Galaxy Note Edge does look a bit odd with the edge display – though we said the same about the Galaxy Note, and in hindsight, all those features were actually pretty purposefully made, and useful. Maybe in the near future, we might be considering the Galaxy Note Edge as the pioneer in the latest display styles.

Nokia Lumia 830

Nokia Lumia 830 Review

One of the last smartphones to take the Nokia logo, the Nokia Lumia 830 does signal the end of an era for a market giant, which is now no more. Still, with this legacy, the Nokia Lumia 830 should not be discarded – rather, the design, riding on the waves of slim metallic frame, a PureView camera, a vivid screen, a rapid processer all combine to create a good, colorful, exciting and snappy experience that the Nokia Lumia 830 is.

The design has been carefully planned, is an exclusive look and solid built featuring a great grip in hand. The screen glass is 2.5D, the rear covers can be exchanged, the camera has OIS and is highlighted with black glass, and the PureView camera has a ZEISS 10MP lens with OIS.

Additional upgrades include wireless charging available out of the box, NFC, LTE, support for the very large 128GB microSD cards, and the Windows 8.1 covered with Lumia Denim improvements – all in a mid-priced product.

With such a set, there can be only too little that Nokia got incorrectly, which starts off with no improvements on the chipset which have been now going on as Snapdragon 400 for a long long time, though we feel the superfast Windows 8.1 will not find this a bother.

Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 Review

Gionee Elife S5.1 was recently released with a quite expensive price tag and it has been called the World’s thinnest smartphone. Gionee Elife S5.1 is the successor of the Gionee Elife S5.5 that was launched earlier this year. It has also entered into the Guinness book of world records in September. Apart from its ultra-thinness, the Gionee Elife S5.1 also appears to be a decent smartphone that features a Super AMOLED display of 4.8 inches with 720 x 1280 pixels, 5 MP wide-angle front-facing camera, 8 MP rear camera, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory (non-expandable), and a 2100 mAh battery. The handset is available in four different colors i.e. black, white, pink, and mint green. Moreover, it runs on Android 4.3 with Gionee's Amigo 2.0 UI.

Gionee Elife S5.1 is not the Gionee's first thinnest mobile phone, rather the company also has the Elife S5.5 which is 5.5mm thin. The Elife S5.1 successfully shed some grams and millimeters at the cost of some screen and camera resolution, but even that it makes an impressive first impression. It ideally has all the features that a user wants in a smartphone, that is, it is light, slim, sturdy, good-looking as well as very powerful. What else you could ask in a mobile phone? Let’s put this anorexic device through its paces to reveal if Gionee's engineering accomplishment is worth the effort?

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