Gionee A1 Review : Good Performance, Great Battery


Unlike most successful Chinese handset brands in India Gionee is doing two things differently. One, they are focusing on brick and mortar retail distribution, and two, they have several models in their line-up. Other players are mostly focusing on one or two product lines and online platform for retail. Of late, two areas -selfie camera and battery back-up – have gained prominence among smartphone makers in their product road map, and Gionee A1 is one of the testament of that. The phone targets both these areas. Does it succeed?

Lets find out..

The Gionee A1 features a 16-megapixel front camera and a huge battery, and it runs Amigo OS based on Android 7.0 Nougat, gets 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory etc. The MRP of the phone was Rs 21,499 when launched but the device is being available at various online retailers at around Rs 16,500.There are some other devices in the price bracket with similar feature too with the likes of Oppo F1 and Vivo V5. However larger battery and latest Android version is something that is unique to Gionee A1 as of now.

Gionee A1 Look and Feel
Metal body in mid segment phones is increasingly becoming a default feature, Gionee A1 is no different. Metal body gives it a sturdy feel and fortunately the surface finishing of the phone is designed such a way that it does not become slippery even when your hand is wet. Also the phone fits well in our hands thanks to the rounded edges. The Gionee A1 uses A6000 aircraft-grade material.

The phone gets rounded edges and camera, logo and antenna lines add to the premium looks of the device. The front is dominated by glass which comes right up to the corners of the phone and meets the curve of the metal rim.

Home button in the centre also acts as fingerprint scanner and capacitive Back and Recents buttons on either side of it. The volume and power buttons are on the right. Power button is painted red on edges which gives it a unique look. Rest of the placements is pretty standard with front camera and flash on top of the screen and speaker and USB port on the bottom side of the phone.

At the back you have camera lens sligthly protruded on center top side with Dual LED flash below it and round Gionee logo, Antenna lines run across the top and bottom. Overall design has a premium and symmetrical feel to it.

In The Box
The Gionee A1 ships with a charger (which is larger than most as it is a fast charger), a Micro-USB cable, earphones, a transparent back cover, an instruction manual, and a SIM eject tool.

Gionee A1 Hardware
The Gionee A1 is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) processor clocked at 2GHz coupled with 4GB RAM. It has 64GB of storage and supports microSD cards of up to 256GB. It has got hybrid dual-SIM support with 4G on both the slots, but only one at a time. You also get VoLTE (voice over LTE), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and USB-OTG.

Gionee A1 gets fairly large 4010mAh battery. Coupled with fast charging feature this phone looks like it can tackle your battery worries for good.

The Gionee A1 has a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display, it is bright with good sunlight legibility and viewing angle. Images appear crisp with vibrant colors overall a fairly impressive display for a phone in this price range.

Gionee A1 software
The handset runs Amigo 4.0 OS based on Android 7.0 Nougat which is a great advantage for this phone as others in the segment are using older Android version. Gionee’s in-house Amigo OS has received much-required visual updates. Users will get the ability to run different apps in split-screen mode.There are features like Smart Gestures that let you do things like answers calls automatically when you pick the phone up, or pause alarms when you flip it over. Smart vibration reminders can notify you about missed calls and messages while the phone is in standby, and a double-tap can wake the phone so you don’t have to reach for the power button. There’s an Edge Bar feature that offers shortcuts to your favorite apps when you swipe left or right on the home button. The A1 also lets you operate the screen while wearing gloves in winter.

One of the concern areas of the phone is that there are lot of preinstalled bloatware from Gionee which are of no use but can not be removed. The Theme Park and Mood Wallpaper apps offer options for changing the look of the UI. There is a G Store app which offers new apps, games and videos. You also get preloaded third-party apps including Amazon, Xender, Hotoday, Messenger, Saavn, SwiftKey Keyboard, and Truecaller plus Asphalt Nitro, Bubble Bash 3, Danger Dash, and Real Football.

Gionee A1 cameras
The Gionee A1’s marketing is focused on its front camera which is a 16-megapixel unit with autofocus and a single LED flash. The camera app offers live filters as well as features like smoothening, whitening, slimming, and eye enlarging so you can “beautify” shots before they are taken. Selfies looked vibrant and detailed, and software tweaks make it fun to use, however software also adds unnecessary color tones which make selfies look slightly artificial. Low-light results were also good though some noise is visible. The selfie flash feature does fill light in shots where there isn’t enough.

The 13-megapixel rear camera on the Gionee A1 has a dual-LED flash and f2.0 aperture. It uses a Sony IMX258 sensor. The camera app offers plenty of modes to choose from including night, professional, time-lapse, slow-motion, smart scene, and GIF. The Gionee A1’s camera app also offers optical character recognition (OCR) which lets you photograph words and system recognizes them.The rear camera can record 1080p and 720p videos, and the quality was decent.

The rear camera managed to take shots with accurate colours. The camera however does take slightly longer to focus which can be annoying. Shots taken at night were also good, however some noise does percolate. Overall, the Gionee A1 offers decent cameras both in front and at the back.

Gionee A1 performance
The Gionee A1 with the kind of specs it boasts should not and did not disappoint. The handset packs 4GB of RAM, however only about 1GB of RAM was free during most of the usage. The fingerprint scanner on the Gionee A1 is really quick we did not even need to press the home button to unlock.

Game play was without any lag what so ever, we also faced on lag in switching between apps and games. The 5.5-inch screen is good for movies and videos.Battery performance is also great phone easily managed about two days on a single charge on moderate to heavy usage. Quick charging which charges about 50% battery in just 30 minutes is something great. However during fast charging the phone does get a bit too hot specially when it is charging from very low battery level. On someother occasions also battery gets heated but we did not face any serious heating issue though.

The Gionee A1 offers MaxxAudio enhancement that claims to improve sound from the speaker as well as earphones works well. Both speaker and earphones performed well till their max level. Speakers were loud for a smartphone speaker. Call quality was also decent, we also did not face any network issue either.


In our opinion Gionee A1 does offer very good battery life and offers lag-free performance, has good premium feel to it and large crisp display makes using the phone a breeze. Slight battery heating issue though does cause some inconvenience, however up to two days battery backup on medium to heavy usage is commendable. Quick charging with 100% charging only taking two hours is also a really good feature. Camera performance of both front and rear is also good with some nifty software tweaks available to make usage fun.

We however do not like the fact that too many apps are pre-loaded and are of the opinion that choice of apps should be left to the users. While there is lot of space available thanks to 64GB inbuilt storage, still these apps are unnecessary and slow the device. We like the phone and would recommend a buy on this.

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ZenFone 3S Max Review : Your Battery Woes Are Sorted


Battery back up is perhaps the most pressing issue for today’s’ smartphone users and Taiwanese firm Asus got it right when it introduced the mammoth 5000 mah battery in its Max series of smartphones. Looking at the huge success of its introductory Max series smartphone – ZenFone Max, the company once again launched 3 variants of the model with higher specs and better performance. We will consider the ZenFone 3S Max here.

The company launched 3 new phones under the ZenFone 3 Max series, the ZenFone 3 Max 5.5 inch, ZenFone 3 Max 5.2 inch and the ZenFone 3S Max. Of all three, only the 3S Max comes with 5000 mAh battery whereas the other two come with 4100 mAh battery.

Let’s See What the 3S Max has in it.

Asus ZenFone 3S Max (ZC521TL) Tech Specs
Size : 5.2 icnh
Display : HD (1280×720) IPS
Processor : MediaTek Octacore
Internal Storage : 32 GB
Front Camera : 8 MP
Rear Camera : 13 MP
Battery : 5000 mAh
OS : Android Nougat
Type : Dual SIM 4G with VoLTE enabled

Look & Feel
This ZenFone 3S Max, it seems, wished to be different than its predecessors.The ZenFone 3S Max looks premium with its metal unibody structure compare to the first version that came with plastic back panel. The camera module placement is also different, here it is placed at the left top corner of the back panel whereas in previous versions, the camera was centrally located at the top portion. The fingerprint sensor also came to the front panel and doubles up as the home key also. The volume and power buttons are placed at the right and the charging port and speaker grille are present on the bottom of the phone.

The display resolution at 1280x720p, though looks lower than some peers in the same price range, offers absolytely great experience. Simply saying, one would not complain for better resolution. The colors are bright and offers natural rendition.

The Max 3S uses a Mediatek Octacore 1.5 GHz processor with MT 6750 chipset coupled with 3GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. Asus claims the storage capacity can be expanded upto 2 TB. However, I wished for an equivalent Qualcomm processor as the San Diego based firm’s chipsets are low in power consumption and that indirectly helps in curbing heating up of the smartphones.

But the phone performed well when tested on all fronts, from watching HD videos, to playing heavy duty mobile games. One would not find the speed lag anywhere.


With Pixelmaster camera, the Max 3S was expected to do well. The phone comes with 13 megapixel rear camera with flash and autofocus. The front one is an 8 megapixel snapper. On paper it looks good and the camera did perform well and the image output are decent, but mostly in well-lit or outdoor environment. In low-light and night conditions, I was expecting better performance. I strongly believe, smartphone companies should blur the gap between their front and rear snapper. These days there are more selfies taken than than primary photographs!

The Main Feature
Ideally the main feature should have been discussed first. The ZenFone Max 3S is all about its power – a mammoth 5000 mAh. Its not just the size but the technology behind the battery and the usage is also commendable. While testing, the battery lasted little over 2 days in a always-4G-LTE environment, and with any kind of use, it can give you more than one and half day’s life. The Max 3S also comes with reverse charging option that can charge any other smartphone by using the compatible cable. So, apparently, you are carrying a smartphone with an inbuilt power bank.

At Rs 14,999 what you are getting is overall a decent phone. Good built, great display, over-the-average performance, standard camera, and a huge battery. I’m not sure if you rush to buy this phone but if you bought, you would not repent this purchase. And you can always boast of having some energy still left in the phone.

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Asus ZenFone 3 Laser Review : Improved Device But I Need More For This Price


For sure, this Taiwanese smartphone firm is getting better with its age. If you closely look at all the phones the company has brought to the market over the years, you can notice a consistent overall improvement in its product line up. The design, the built, UI, upgrades and then the price – all has been improving with every new phone it brings to the market. And the Laser breed of the Taiwanese firm tops it all. The latest phone – Asus ZenFone 3 Laser is no exception.

First, let’s see what the device has in it.

Asus ZenFone 3 Laser (ZC551KL): Tech Specs
Size                         : 5.5 inch
Display                   : Full HD (1920×1080)
Processor               : Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa-core
RAM                       : 4 GB
Internal Storage   : 32 GB (Expandable upto 128 GB)
Front Camera        : 8 MP
Rear Camera         : 13 MP
Battery                    : 3000 mAh
OS                            : Android Marshmallow
Type                         : Dual SIM 4G with VoLTE Support


Look & Feel
When I said the device manufacturer is showing improvements with every new phone it brings to the market, it becomes apparent when you see the ZenFone 3 Laser. It has a much better design and the built quality has also improved over some of its predecessors. From a plasticky ZenFone Laser (the 1st laser series phone) to a completely metal body Laser 3 (ZenFone 3 Laser), I believe Asus has started realizing what appeals more to customers.

The front of the smartphone sports the selfie camera, ear piece and the proximity sensor at the top, and at the bottom, it has 3 capacitive buttons – back, home and recent activity. Overall, the front part of ZenFone 3 Laser looks neat, uncluttered and minimalist.

The back panel of the smartphone looks more beautiful than the front – the addition of two metalic bands, one on top and one on bottom, offers that zing to the overall design. This design is nothing new to the industry, others are doing this for ages, its just new for Asus. Just below the top metalic band, also serves as antenna, there reside laser autofocus module, the camera, and the LED flash – neatly placed side by side. Below that is the finger print sensor, and this time, the sensor is really fast. However, what I’m unable to fathom is why the company is going with a protruding camera module at the rear? It really does not solve any purpose, and even if it solves, it still can be solved having that inside of the phone – you don’t need to create a hump for it!

The display is vivid. With full HD with 1920*1080 pixel resolution, the display is amply bright and color rendition on the screen looks natural. At 77% screen-to-body ratio, asking for more would sound greedy. The sunlight legibility is decent and you can clearly see the contents on the screen even direct uner the Sun!

What’s In?
The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset. This is a big downer for an otherwise ‘smart’ phone. Though the phone lags nowhere during normal use (that’s what it is meant for), hardcore gamers will buy a separate phone. Simply its not cut out for that. Overall, at this age of heavy data consuming applications, including HD videos and all, the ZenFone 3 Laser appeared little slow. Even with the 4GB RAM. Internal storage capacity of the phone is 32 GB though it can be expanded upto 128 GB. A 4GB/64GBmakes would have made more sense. The finger print sensor is one of the fastest in the market.

As mentioned earlier, the company is trying to improve itself from all corners. Its proprietary ZenUI has also improved with the ZenFone 3 Laser. This time appeared little lighter than its predecessor and uncluttered too. But the ZenUI has too much ‘Zen’ insnide it – ZenSync, ZenCircle, ZenFone Care etc. Then, Game Genie, Mini Movie etc – I really do not need it. I can get what I want and when I want!

Perhaps one of the best cameras Asus got in its smartphones. Trust me, with 13 megapixel, the output and snappiness is better than the ZenFone Zoom! In amply lit environment you don’t have to tell the snapper what to do, it will take better photo than you thought of. And in low-lit environment, the images look comparable with any good camera phones available in the market. However, I expected a faster camera. Though the snapper locks the focus just in time, the output appeared it bit delayed.

The front camera, though good, is bit mischieveous. It takes a beautified-image of you without your permission. I do not understand why the camera keeps the beautify mode on by default. At times, on a selfie mode, you can’t recognise yourself! Of course, you can change the settings.

At times Asus confuses me. The company behaves abruptly many a times. In this case, the firm went ahead with a Snapdragon 430 chipset with the close-to-Rs20,000 ZenFone 3 Laser. Why on earth one thinks to do this? A $300 phone, metallic uni-body structure, a good camera but a slow processor. Again, a 3000 mAh battery but no fast charging! A great design but some sharp edges at the bottom that gives you a feel as if the phone was completed in a haste. These are some flaws that the firm needs to look at if it wants to find itself in the league of perfectionists.

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Asus ZenFone 3 Max Review : Why The First Max Was Better


In August 2016 Asus had launched the ZenFone 3 series smartphones and the ZenFone 3 Max was a part of that. ZenFone is the brand name for all the smartphones from the Asus’ stable and the word ‘Max’ denotes the huge or ‘MAXimum’ battery capacity of the Max series phones.

The ZenFone Max 3 comes in two variants – a 5.2 inch device with MediaTek processor and a 5.5 inch device with Qualcomm processor. We reviewed the latter one.

The first ZenFone Max phone was launched in May 2016 and the phone was priced at Rs 9,999. The Max 3 is priced at Rs 17,999 for the 5.5 inch variant.

So, let’s see what are the differences between these two devices, if any, and try to justify the price difference. And then you can take a call if the new phone does add any value to that price difference.

First and foremost, do keep in mind that the price difference is almost the double for the ZenFone 3 Max.

Let’s Explore

Look & Feel
Both the ZenFone Max devices were of 5.5 inch in size. But the ZenFone 3 Max comes with a metallic body compared to the plastic body of its earlier version. The ZenFone 3 Max looks way better with its sleek built and well crafted design. You can put the design among the premium smartphones, though the finishing could have been much better. The plastic and metal part of the outer body, it seems, are not in conversation with each other though they are not fighting either. The ZonFone 3 Max comes with IPS display which covered with a 2.5D curved glass as compared to Gorilla glass 4 in the ZenFone Max.

The buttons are well placed and well built which give you proper feedback. In the original Max there were times when pressing the physical buttons like power or volume do not give right feedback that keep you guessing if you have really clicked it or not. The buttons on the front of the phone could have been back-lit to help users use in darkness. This is one feature Asus has been consistently avoiding for reasons unknown. I’m sure it can not be because of cost.

The ZenFone 3 Max adds a finger print sensor at the back, just below the camera. Overall, from a design point of view, the ZenFone 3 Max looks and feels much better than the ZenFone Max.

What’s Inside
The ZenFone 3 Max comes with Qualcomm octa core 1.4 GHz processor with Snapdragon 430 chipset. Yes, you read it right. Compare this with 1.2 GHz processor with Snapdragon 615 chipset in the ZenFone Max, the older phone. I could not figure out why the Taiwanese firm did this. The Max 3 comes with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage space compared to 2 GB RAM and 32 GB ROM in the Max. Both the devices can be expanded upto 128 GB using microSD cards. So, in terms of processing power I put the ZenFone 3 Max at a lower pedestral than its earlier version. And, its not just basis the face value of the specifications, the phone behaved exactly the same as per its brain when we tested it. Poor.


One of the biggest selling points in todays’ smartphones is the camera. The ZenFone 3 Max comes with 16 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera, with features like PDAF, low-light, HDR, laser assisted autofcus etc. These features are becoming standard day by day with all the smartphones incorporating them. However the camera of the ZenFone 3 Max did not impress as per its specs. To start with, the autofocus does not behave the way the company portrays it to be – in 0.03 second. The previous model – ZenFone Max – performed comparatively better with its 13 MP camera. When zoomed, the photographs taken with the older phone looked better than the new one!

The Best Part
The best part of the ZenFone 3 Max is its battery power. At 4100 mAh, the phone lasted more than 32 hours with regular use that includes hundreds of calls, browsing for hours and multimedia play out. Besides, the battery of this phone can be used to charge other smartphones as well, just like a power bank. Mind it, the first Max contained a 5000 mAh battery.

Now Tell Me
Why would I spend double the money for a new smartphone that performs almost the same, at times less, than an older model? What is common between the phones? Both are 5.5 inch devices, have same storage space, run on same OS version of the Android. While the ZenFone 3 Max has a bigger camera, in megapixel terms, it has low capacity battery. While the former has 3 GB RAM, the ZenFone Max has a better processor. Asus, this time, certainly made the user confused. And as the rule goes, when in doubt, consult your wallet.

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Asus ZenFone 3 Review : A Rare Complete Phone Of Current Times

asus zenfone 3

asus-zenfone-3-reviewAsus launched its ZenFone series smartphones in a new avatar with variants like ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Deluxe, ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone 3 Laser in August. Though ZenFone is a popular series of Asus, the new ones launched last month come with a breath of fresh air amidst the  current generation smartphones irrespective of any brand. The ZenFone 3 series phones, the moment you hold, will give you an impression of a complete phone – a wholesome package of build, beauty and performance, though price of the phone can be debatable.

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Smartron Review : Audacious Debut But Miles To Go


Being different is not always easy, and trying to be better than the rest at the same time, certainly needs lots of character. Hyderabad based technology firm and the makers of the Smartron, for sure, is built with some such characters.

Smartron, the company that was backed by none other than cricket ace Sachin Tendulkar, recently launched two devices – a smartphone called, and a convertible laptop named

Those who do not know, according to the company the ‘t’ in the or tbook stand for ‘trons’ or ‘things.’ The name of the company has also been coined in the same concept – ‘smart’ ‘tron’ or smart things.

Look & Feel
The Smartron is like some fresh air in the heavily polluted (read crowded) Indian smartphone market. It certainly does not fall under the ‘born in China and brought up in India’ category of smartphones. In the first look one can distinguish the from all other phones of these days with metal-glass frame. The 5.5 inch smartphone is built on aeroplane grade magnesium alloy. The orange-grey combination one that we received for review has a distinct look. Though the device looks big (a 5.5 inch one has to be big!), it looks sleek and lighter compared to some other phones of this size.

The back panel of the phone features the camera module on a square frame, dual tone flash and two microphones. The front side has two more microphones, a tiny multi-coloured LED indicator, couple of closely located sensors and the front snapper. The SIM tray that can double up for two SIMs as well as a micro SD card is placed at the left. However, at any point of time one can use either one SIM and a SD card or two SIMs. The right side is provided with the volume rocker and the multi functional power button. The 3.5 mm audio jack is on the top and the bottom portion contains the speaker grill as well as the USB port. The is protected with Gorilla glass 3 which has become standard for premium category phones these days.

The overall look and feel of the is pretty good with some scope for improvement. The back panel where the grey portion joins with the coloured portion is not seamless and very smooth – one can feel some sort of ridge there.

The Inside Story
The Smartron comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM and 64 GB inbuilt memory space. It’s an audacious move for a startup to launch its debut smartphone with such specifications. However, this move can be justified if Smartron’s ambition is taken into account. The company, as per its co-founder Mahesh Lingareddy, wants to be among the top smartphone companies that offer the best products to their customers. At 1080×1920 pixels, the device still offers good quality display if pitted against higher resolution smartphones.

The t.hone runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 and comes with 3000 mAh battery which appeared to be a downer in its overall offerings. At this data consuming times, the needs a recharge every day – it lasted 11 to 12 hours during our testing phase. Connectivity wise, the comes with Bluetooth 4.0, offers LTE along with VoLTE on all 4G bands available in India and WiFi.

When we received the Smartron review unit, it was performing poorly on many aspects. Running multiple apps was a task and the phone used to stop responding frequently. Camera performance was also not that of a flagship device. However,  with the latest update, the, it appeared, got a new lease of life. Running multiple apps became cake walk and the does not hang anymore. The 13 megapixel rear camera gives out great photographs but we still believe Smartron needs to spend more time and research  on it. There is a significant lag in taking continuous snaps which should, in no way, be a part of the current generation flagship devices. Though just 4 megapixel, the front camera performs better than the rear camera on a comparative analysis. In low light the front camera gives outstanding output.

Whats More


There’s lot more than just the device that Smartron offers for its customers. There it brings the differentiation than its peers in the same category or at the same price band. Smartron offers a dedicated tronX app that offers multiple services to its customers. It offers tstore where users can buy accessories and other devices of the company. There is also a tcloud offering unlimited cloud storage, tcare that offers after sales service and some other solutions like Forum where a user can discuss with other forum members about any issue related to the product or the company, or even about anything around the technology industry.

The Smartron, overall is a smart device with a futuristic approach. The company that portray as India’s first integrated consumer IoT company has also claimed that the is designed and engineered in India and assembled in China. Audacious as it may sound, launching the first phone at Rs 22,999 with the best specifications, Smartron for sure has informed the industry that it is set for the big league. However, the company has miles to go before it takes even a bit of credit. Camera, ever improving performance, and some more futuristic features are some of the elements the Sachin Tendulkar backed firm needs to look constantly at to remain ahead of the crowd.

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Asus ZenFone Max Review : Maximum Battery, Ordinary Performance


Asus ZenFone Max fulfills the purpose its born for – to offer maximum battery power, and the rest of the aspects like camera and performance, it does not do any bad



Technical Specifications
Screen Size – 5.5 inch
Display – 1280*720 FHD
Processor- Qualcom Snapdragon 1.2 Ghz
Storage- 2GB RAM, 32 GB
Camera- Rear 13 MP with autofocus and flash, 5 MP front
OS- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Networks – 4GLTE
Battery – 5000 mAh Li-Ion

Price– Rs9,999

We, at technology media, get various products for review, sometimes after the launch of the product and at times before the launch. These products are shipped to us in varied packaging – at times just the normal phone box with traditional packaging and some other times with some fancy packets. But when Asus sent its new device in a mysterious plastic box with a kind of unknown code with instructions that the combination lock code will only be revealed on the day of launch, we anticipated something very interesting, something very new. However, Asus got us tricked. The box contained a 5 month old phone with some upgradations – both on software as well as on hardware front.

The box contained the new Asus ZenFone Max, the upgraded version of the old Max that was launched in January this year. The old ZenFone Max had Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset with quad core 1.2 Ghz processor, 2 GB RAM with 8 or 16 GB internal storage variants, 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front camera. As the name suggests, the device was carrying a mammoth 5000 mAh battery.

The new ZenFone Max is not very new. In place of 410 chipset, it used 615 chipset which appears old in current time if we look at some other brands who are shipping their smartphones with the latest chipsets, and that too at the same price point. There is no addition on the RAM or on camera front in the new Max. The battery capacity also remained the same, nevertheless, it is more than enough- a mammoth 5000 mAh. The OS, however, is upgraded to Marshmallow.

So, what’s the point?

There’s a strong case for Asus phones in the Indian market. Seems like a standard, Asus phones are well built, sturdy and looks decent on hand. The Taiwanese phone maker, perhaps, is not in the rat race of bringing out model-looking smartphones that are stylish and slim. What Asus does best is to bring good, long-lasting, sturdy devices that fulfill your prime need – to use the phone features for what it is made for. And in that part, Asus doesn’t fail very often.

The Beauty

The Asus ZenFonne Max is undoubtedly a good looking phone with good specifications. The front side looks the same for all Asus ZenFone models with the front camera, ear piece and the proximity sensor residing at the top left of the phone. Its a standard feature for all Asus phones. The back cover, though made of plastic, gives a leathery feel. The physical buttons – volume rocker and Power/Sleep are placed on the left side. The frame of the phone deceives an user as metal but its actually hardened metalic plastic, though the physical buttons are metal. The back side sports the rear camera, the dualtone flash and the laser sensor. The signature Asus logo is placed beneath the camera compartment. The bottom end of the back panel has the ‘ZenFone’ brand logo printed and below that lies the speaker grill. Overall, its not a bad looking phone.

The Brain

The Asus ZenFone Max is not that bad on brains as well. Replacing the old 410 chipset, the new Max employed the Qualcomm 615 chipset. Though its not the latest from Qualcomm’s stable, it works perfectly fine and gives optimum output in terms of performance with 1.2 Ghz speed. The 2GB RAM is a downer, Asus could have shipped a 3GB RAM, as the cost of RAM up to 3GB has come down drastically in the last eight months. From the old one, this device comes with 32 GB in place of  8 or 16 GB.

On the camera front, the XenFone Max comes with an 13 megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus feature. 13 megapixel seems to be the standard for smartphones priced in sub Rs10,000 category. Photo output wise, the camera of this devices is giving better result than the 13-MP camera of the old Max. It could be because of the upgradation of the camera software or the combined effect of camera software as well as the upgraded Android OS.

In terms of performance, we did not feel any slack in any aspect. And yes, we didn’t benchmark it against a 4GB RAM, 2.3 Ghz processor phone. Neither did we check it with a 16 MP or 21 MP camera. If you pit this phone against other phones with similar configuration, you would not be disappointed. However, its not a device to play high stake games.

First Thing Last

The Asus ZenFone Max was not launched to give you premium feel, or anything ultra stylish. It was simply launched to give you ‘MAXimum’ battery power. The phone comes with 5000 mAh Li-Ion battery and lasts almost two days with moderate use. it gave me clean 20 hour in continuous use, and in standby mode – I don’t remember when I charged it last. This is perhaps the best battery output I have seen in any phone in recent times. Besides, you can use the battery power to charge your other phone- in reverse charging mode.

Overall, the phone does what its made for. It does not promise any fancy offerings, does not claim to be the best phone and is not the slimmest, but at the same time, does offer the maximum battery back up and performs well.

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Asus ZenFone Zoom Review : Pricey But Certainly Worth It

zenfone zoom


Taiwanese smartphone maker Asus recently launched the ZenFone zoom, its latest smartphone, in India. The phone is priced at Rs 37,999 for the Indian consumers. The price tag invokes few obvious questions, one, ‘why Asus that has been launching mostly mid range smartphones, brings such an expensive device’?, two, ‘is it worth it?’

Take my words, the Asus ZenFone Zoom is worth every bit of your money.

ZenFone zoom : What’s So Special?

The name, ZenFone Zoom, itself is self explanatory. This phone really ‘zooms’. Means, the Taiwanese have put real optical zoom lenses inside the smartphone, and it works like typical optical zoom in DSLR cameras, unlike the ‘digital zoom’ in almost all smartphones.

Then you may ask, what’s the difference? ‘My phone zoom works fine’, some may say. Well, there is a difference. In optical zoom, the lenses of a camera, be it in smartphones or in DSLRs or film cameras, move and adjust themselves (zooms) to take close up picture of the subject. But in digital zoom, the camera enlarges the image area, shows you the center of the subject, trimming away the edges. Simply put, the camera doesn’t zoom the subject, rather enlarges the entire image, and shows the subject at the center. Result, digital zoom does not give quality images as compared to optical zooms.

Remember, your Asus ZenFone Zoom offers you 3X optical zoom, and the Taiwanese did a tremendous job in putting real zoom lenses in a smartphone, that too in such ease, that perfectly fits in your pocket.


Apart from the optical zoom technology and the hardware inside the ZenFone zoom, the software part or the camera app, also loos great.It comes with one of the best camera apps offered in any smartphone. Every aspect/feature of the camera in the ZenFone zoom can be controlled and modified through this app. Aperture, shutter speed, white balance, exposure – you name it, and you can control it.

Not to mention, the Asus ZenFone zoom gives great photographs but i struggled a bit in low light conditions though the phone comes with dual tone LED flash.

What else?

The highlight of the Asus Zenfone zoom is its optical zoom feature and the camera. Keeping that aside, the smartphone is still a monster in terms of performance. Within a 5.5 inch display with 1080 pixel resolution, the ZenFone zoom offers you 4GB RAM with 128 GB inbuilt internal storage capacity. And the phones runs on 2.3 GHz Intel Atom quadcore processor. The dual SIM 4G phone comes with 13 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera and with a 3000 mAh battery inside, the ZenFone zoom weighs only 185 gram.

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Asus ZenFone 2 Laser : Best Bet Under Rs 10,000


While the Indian smartphone market is too crowded, and selecting the right one appear too tough a task, keeping one’s requirement, budget, peer pressure, style and battery back-up in mind, the ZenFone 2 Laser, miraculously fulfills all the criteria, and deserves a big thumbs-up.


Asus ZenFone 2 Laser : Tech Specs

Size – 5.5 inch, OS– Android 5.0 Lollipop, RAM – 2GB, Storage – 16 GB, Processor – 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410, Camera – Rear 13 megapixel – Front 5 megapixel, Battery – 3000 mAh

Price : Rs 9,999


Good looking, sturdily built, great camera, reliable battery life, 4G and affordable – these have become the basic criteria for buying a smartphone these days. And this Asus ZenFone 2 Laser, unbelievably, fits into all these requirements.

Taiwanese electronics major Asus brings its smartphone under ZenFone brand and it launches various variants of the ZenFone. One of its latest smartphone is ZenFone 2 Laser. The laser in the name of the device denotes the laser-guided optical feature of the phone that helps the rear camera focus better.

Hardware & Design

The ZenFone 2 Laser looks exactly like its earlier model ZenFone 2 with the only difference in the positioning of the camera flash and the addition of the laser feature at the back panel. However, retaining Asus’ signature design quality, the latest device also looks sturdy and feels good in hand despite being a 5.5 inch and little bulkier than its peers.

The sides of the device has been kept clutter free with the power button and headphone jack placed on the top of the device. The ZenFone 2 Laser puts the volume rocker on the back panel. Logically, it is difficult to prove whether its a good move or not or whether its more user-friendly. Once gets accustomed to it within few hours and then it feels the same as at the sides. The golden colored back panel gives a metallic look and does not feel like plastic, despite being a plastic piece with metallic coating.

Specification wise the ZenFone 2 Laser offers very decent hardware. With 5.5 inch the phone gives display resolution of 720×1280 pixels. The devices comes with 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage capacity. This combination of RAM and processor clock speed works perfectly in tandem and the phone does not show any signs of lag or slowing down anytime during the review process, though it was tested for video streaming and high octane games.

Software & Performance

The ZenFone 2 Laser runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop OS using the company’s own user interface – ZenUI. Though the UI has lots of new additions and improvements, it looks a bit cluttered. Among the positives, the UI automatically creates a separate app tray for similar kind of apps. For example, if an user installs multiple taxi hailing apps like Ola or Uber, the UI automatically groups the apps under ‘Transport’ app tray. Same goes for Finance, travel, healthcare etc. This is a wise way to declutter the homepage or pages.


With ZenFone 2 Laser, users for sure, have got one of the best cameras under Rs 10,000 budget. The device comes with 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front camera. The 13 megapixel primary comes with dual coloured dual flash as well as laser guided autofocus technology. The laser autofocus system works great indoor as well as for short distances. And that has to be, ‘you are not using your camera to take photos of the moon! Besides the camera, the photography software comes with loads of options like SloMo, Timelpase, HDR, Panorama, GIF animation etc.

The best feature of the ZenFone 2 Laser, perhaps, would be its battery. At 3000 mAh, the device gives amazing back up. One can vouch rely on its battery time and the way Asus managed to optimise the battery power on a 5.5 inch full HD display device with 4G usage. During testing period, and after too, it never died before 24 hours, irrespective of the usage, be it for data, video streaming or gaming.

While the Indian handset market is too crowded with smartphones, and selecting the right one keeping one’s requirement, budget, peer pressure, style and battery back up in mind, the ZenFone 2 Laser, miraculously fulfills all the criteria, and deserves a big thumbs-up.




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How YU Playing God With Yutopia


yu-yutopiaYU Televentures, that’s carrying a rather audacious tagline like ‘Play God’, is in fact putting things in place to play God, of course in its own world – smartphones. The company which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Micromax, when launched, started doing things little differently, and aimed at carving its ‘YUnique’ niche for itself. And so far, it has been rather successful in many fronts. YU is the first company (Indian) to offer Cyanogen as the smartphone OS on top of Android. The Rahul Sharma led company was also the first company to offer after sales service online.

‘Why do you sell online and offer service offline? We will sell online and service online too,” Rahul had said in an interview when he launched the company’s first smartphone Yureka, exactly a year back.

Now the company launched a new smartphone Yutopia, and the company really beat its competitors hands down, not just with its features but also with the approach.

The company claims the Yutopia to be the most powerful phone on earth, and hardware specification wise, the brand, I believe, justifies that. In a nutshell, the YU Yutopia comes with 4 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, 21 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera built onto a 5.2 inch Gorilla glass 4 protected smartphone with display unit being fitted by Sharp. Besides, it has the latest version of Cyanogen OS taking power from Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octacore processor. One can easily say this device comes with almost the best configuration available in the market at present.

However, YU with Yutopia did not play God with the hardware this time. The weapon of Yutopia is its software and services. For the first time a handset or smartphone company has offered a truly ‘YUnique’ service offering to its users.

Yutopia : Around YU

The service is called Around YU. This is just another mobile app sitting on the Yutopia’s UI, however the uniqueness of this app is, it aims at being the ‘sole’ app that you would like to sit on your device. And you would not like to download 100s of mobile apps for different purposes, like to read news, listen to music, hire a cab or book tickets – be it air, bus or train. This app – Around YU, at the backend has integrated the services of multiple service providers and offers that to you in a single interface. This serves multiple purposes. From a consumer point of view, it reduces home screen clutter to a great extent, may be to nill, and it does save a lot of internal storage capacity. For example, to hire cab hailing service, consumers usually have multiple apps, say, Ola, TaxiForSure etc, and to book rail or air tickets they do have multiple ticketing apps like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Yatra etc. Similarly to book restaurant or order home delivery of food consumers have apps like EasyBook, FoodPanda, KFC, PizzaHut etc. So a consumer’s home screen as well as the app tray gets crowded and its internal storage gets depleted with each  new addition.

Yutopia’s Around YU gets away with all these nuisances. This app from YU allows consumers to just download this single app and it does offer all the above services in just one interface. And the app does not take much space, much lower than the combined space a consumer has to loose because of multiple apps.

The YU Yutopia is priced at Rs 24,999 and is available online at Amazon.



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