Saturday, September 19, 2015

Quick Review of Yu Yuphoria

A friend of mine ordered this for his father. And boy, this is a great phone. Not only that it is proudly "Made in India" :)

The packaging is superb. Well done packing made up of recyclable cardboard with minimal ink used on the exterior. My only wish: they find a replacement for those plastic covers, which totally goes on the face of the recyclable cardboard. 

The phone itself is nicely build, with the "Made In India" printed on the phone exterior and the interior. The battery however is "Made In China". Sigh. Well you still have a long way to go, but a good step forward. 

The build quality, screen and the "premium feel" is just right for this phone. The frame is actually made of steel that is unheard of in this price segment. Performance is buttery smooth, and Cyanogenmod (it is not the usual Android), is really great and insanely customizable on this phone. And did I mention the most important feature of this phone? It has a boot loader that is unlocked. That seals the deals for those who want absolute control of their hardware. Another plus point? It gets regular updates to latest Cyanogenmod, whenever that is available. A feature that most Android phones simply do not have.

The camera, although 8MP, is not stunning, but takes reasonable good shots. Front camera is also nice and takes pretty good selfies.

End of the day, recommended phone if you are looking for a good Android experience. And you want to flout fashion and of course be proud of "Made in India" phone.

Get this phone here:

Quick review of ZTE Blade Buzz

Frankly I needed a very cheap Android phone for testing Apps that I write. That is the only reason I got this phone. At 2300/- it is a real cheap smartphone and a hell lot better than the Firefox phones that you would get at this price point. 

The ZTE blade buzz is actually a very well built device even at this low price point. It has an IPS display (yes, the viewing angles are surprisingly good). Comes packed with a data cable, charger and headphone (take that Asus!). The capacitive buttons at the bottom can be configured for the the functionality they offer, but are not backlit.

I don't use this device as my daily driver so frankly won't be able to tell a lot about performance. But without any apps installed (the phone comes with pretty much stock Android version 4.4, which I think will never see an update) the phone is quite usable.

There is a surprising lack of bloat ware, and whatever pre-installed apps were there, could be easily un-installed (not hidden - read that!). Of course the only apps you cant remove are the ones from Google.  

The Blade Buzz comes with a not so great but OK 3MP camera which is fixed focus. And sorry there is no flash. Don't expect a lot here, it is only good for casual photos.

At the end of the day, I can easily recommend this as your smartphone if you use only Google services, and may be Whatsapp. I have a hunch that this phone will has performance issues with other social networking apps. This is so because of the RAM being only 512MB and internal free space being only 2GB.

Get the ZTE Blade Buzz here:

Lumia 430: quick review of the most affordable Lumia

If the only differentiating factor of a smartphone is that it is cheapest, it won't probably sell. But if it says it is the cheapest Lumia, heads turn. This is Lumia 430, and this is my quick review of the phone.

The Phone is superbly build. It is great to hold it in hand, though it feels slightly heavy for the form factor. I have been using this phone as a secondary backup device for over a month now, and have dropped it a couple of times, surprisingly there are no dents. The back cover of this phone also doesn't come of during the fall, as is with most other phones.

The display, however is below average. At a slightly higher price point (but below 5K) you can get an HD IPS display from Android vendors, see for instance Yu Yunique ( It is usable though. That is pretty much I can say about it. I have had Lumia 800, and it had a stunning display. With this kind of low display however, I feel that the premium of the Lumia brand has been quite diluted. It just doesn’t feel good.

One of the main selling points of the Lumia phones was the camera, and in this compartment too it fails quite miserably here. Again at this price point, you can get a 8MP autofocus camera with flash (, where as this Lumia provides only a paltry 2MP fixed focus camera. The quality of photos however is decent for quick sharing on social networks.

At the end of the day, it is a well build phone. A good secondary smartphone, that is reliable and easy to use. A good phone for first time buyers. But very hard to recommend wholeheartedly when you can get phones at much higher specs on the Android side at the same price point. If you speak Windows however, and you are tight on budget, or just want a Windows phone to try out: this is a no barrier. And yes, it will run Windows 10 for mobile devices, whenever that gets released. The same cannot be said any Android devices you buy in this segment today, there is simply no software (aka OS) update guarantee.

Get the Lumia 430 here:

Quick review of Asus Zenfone 2 Laser

Phones are not only getting cheap, they are getting powerful. The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is one such device. It will conveniently replace a lot of things for you: a tablet, a music player, a computer and a point and shoot. Well well, it cant still make sandwiches for you, but getting there ;-)

This is the Zenfone 2 Laser. And a short review of mine.

The packaging is minimal. But I found it hard to take the phone out, so I would consider this packing to be not elegant. Inside the box you get pretty much what all Asus phones offer, a charger with data cable, and the missing headset (yup, I have no clue why they don't at least offer a basic one). The battery is inserted into the handset, although the battery is removable.

The most stand out feature of this phone is its camera and the laser based autofocus system (that is actually available in point and shoot cameras). The  camera is a 13MP camera with a dual tone flash. The photos are reasonably good in well lit as well as in low light conditions. The dual tone flash is a plus.

If you are wondering what the long metal looking bar is, no worries, it is the button to control volume! Yes Asus though that it is a better place to keep the volume control as it is a huge phone: 5.5" screen i.e.

The screen is pretty crisp, HD display and has good viewing angles. Of course it means operating with one hand wont take a cut. But you would love the fact that you can see a whole lot of things clear. When I placed my current phone (iPhone 5s), next to it, I felt like mine was for kids!

The performance is pretty reasonable. Has a Qualcomm Quad Core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage that is expandable. Has a 3000mAH battery that should good for a day long stint before charging would be required.

Get it on Flipkart (exclusive):

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Micromax does design

Micomax has announced Canvas Sliver 5 (, claimed to be "lightest and slimmest smartphone". Pretty interesting, although pure spec to price may be slightly skewed towards the later.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

4G phone @ 5K INR

ZTE is launching Blade Qlux, a 4G phone, exclusively on Amazon. The price is 4999 INR. Another product with perfect price. See link (

Over the past few months, there have been a number of products released at < 5K range. The Lumia 430, iBall Windows tablet, and how ZTE Qlux. I think it is exiting time for gadget lovers on budget in India.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

iBall Slide i701: the cheapest Windows tablet in India

The prices of Windows tables have been regularly falling in India. Now iBall has released Slide i701 at a basically killer price of Rs 4999. At this price you are getting literally a full PC access, which I think amazing. The Slide i701 is yet to be available for purchase online. I will post the updates as soon as I have information on the same. One more thing, this thing is going to be upgraded to Windows 10!

(see this news:

And it is on sale on Flipkart ( see link )

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Micromax Canvas Spark : the new defining of the premium affordable

Micromax today launched the Canvas Spark, to be exclusively available on Snapdeal via flash sales and will be priced at sweet INR 4999/- . If the specs are anything to go by (see: , this is the new definition of premium affordable.

There is already a review of the device via GadgetsToUse

What is the best thing I like about phone apart from the specs? It supports Konkani language !!  :) :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Infocus M2: the best price to specs phone in India

The Infocus M2 is probably the best price to specs phone available in India at the moment. It is exclusively available from Snapdeal (, but requires registration and uses a flash sale method just like Xiomi. The price of the phone is only 5K INR, and at that price you get a 8 MP front and back camera with flash on both sides, 4.2" HD display, 1.3 GHz quad core processor, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. That is a lot of specs at this price, you cant beat it that easy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lumia 430: the new super affordable Lumia

Microsoft has introduced a new Lumia - 430, it's cheapest so far. At $70, and available from April, this would very well be a better pick than Lumia 435 if it is priced below ₹5k at launch.

For specs see

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Now a quad core for about 3K

Prices are simply going southwards while the spec sheet seem to always go north. The Fly brand has released a new set of smartphones, and the most interesting of these is the Fly Snap (available here: It has a quad core CPU, 4GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM (ya that is a catch here), 5MP primary and 2MP secondary camera (surprise, surprise!) , a 3G phone, expandable storage up to 16GB and running Android Kitkat.

Now that is a lot of specs for a ~3K INR phone. No wonder Android is the no 1 OS as far as numbers go. Quality and experience is a different matter though.

( Note to Fly guys, if they are reading this - would be happy to review the device, if they send me one review device ;-) )

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lumia 535: a super quick look

I had a quick access to Lumia 535, and here is a quick look at the device. 

Specs wise this is a good phone. A quad core snapdragon 200, 5" qVGA screen with Corning gorilla glass protection, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage expandable to 128GB, Windows Phone 8.1 with latest update. 

Pricewise, you get this phone from stores for about 8700/-, where as online prices could be a bit lower. 

I found the device to be really smooth, as with all the devices running windows phone. The main camera quality is ok (in comparison to Lumia 520, this one can't record a HD video, but has better lowlight performance due to presence of flash and slightly better camera sensor). The selfi camera too good, I have a feeling that it takes better shots than even my iPhone in some conditions. But then again the main camera is a hit and a miss (doesn't perform consistently as opposed to iPhone), is slow to load ( I have no idea if it will ever be fixed - hope there is with Windows 10).

Battery life seems to be fine, lasting over a day with quite heavy usage. 

Other software features like Cortana work, but I think currently it is more of a novelty than actually getting things done. It is in Alpha release in India, so things are bound to improve.

I found that this device to terrific for sub 10k devices. The only gripe that I have with this device is that the rear camera is not upto mark. Other devices in this price category gave better specs, but run Android. And I can't recommend Android over Windows Phone to first time users, simply because the experience with Windows Phone is far superior and consistent. If you really want Android phone, the android one devices are a good bet, but the current phones in the market have almost homogenous specs which are best described as "OK" for an Android phone.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nokia 215, the least expensive internet connected phone from Microsoft available in India

The Nokia 215 is finally available more than a month after it was initially announced. You can get it from the Microsoft store hosted at Indiatimes shopping site (

What is interesting however is that the Firefox smart phones launched in India are a bit cheaper than Nokia 215 (see for instance: It is possible however that the experience of Nokia 215 may be just better than using the Firefox OS with quite low end specs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This is exactly why the launch pricing of Microsoft Lumia 435 is completely wrong

And it is not any great logic, but simply this news piece: For the exact same price of Lumia 435 (, you get remarkably spec for a smartphone. The major differentiator being the 5MP front facing and 8MP rear camera in comparison to paltry 0.3MP front and 2MP back camera of the Lumia 435.

Microsoft, at the current price point, it is simply very difficult to actually recommend a Lumia 435, unless, of course if one is looking for a Windows based phone or is a Microsoft fan!

And, oh, I am not sure if any one actually purchases the overpriced 128GB SD cards ( which is even more expensive than the phone itself!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Micromax Joy: about the cheapest phone in India?

Micromax just launched Joy X1800 and X1850, two phones below 800 INR, that could well be the cheapest phones in India (see

Of these X1800 is the cheaper at 699 INR. The most interesting aspect is probably not the price, it is the packaging: you get the phones in a pouch! This is probably the first time a phone is available in a pouch.

The X1800 is a standard phone that has all the basic features including dual GSM SIM, SD card support, FM radio, a flash and even a very low quality 320px (below VGA!) camera. The X1800 comes with a a 700 mAh battery.

Lumia 435 gets a ridiculous price of 5999/- in India

Yes, this is a total bummer. Lumia 435 gets priced at 5999/- INR in India (see here: At this price, you did better buy one of the Android One phones, of if you just don't like Android, wait for the Lumia 435 to prices to drop around 4K INR.

Zen 105 could be cheapest Firefox phone in India

Zen 105 could be currently the cheapest Firefox phone available in India (see eBay:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Samsung and Metal

Alright, Samsung is starting to churn out beautiful metal finish phones that are hitting the affordable range. The first one to be acceptable price point (but not really a good one) is the Galaxy A3 ( Interesting times. The Galaxy A3 would be a hit if it would be priced at around 15K INR rather than 20K at present. 

"Cheapest 4G phone" : Lenovo A6000

Lenovo is releasing A6000, dubbed the cheapest 4G phone in India next week (Feb 4), exclusively on Flipkart (see here).

The phone seems pretty well speced, although is not running Android 5.0 and probably does not have a gorilla glass as well. There are other interesting things though: it has got a stereo digital Dolby speaker (not even many flagships have this), 4G dual sim and is light weight at 128 grams. 128 grams is quite light for a 5" display phone.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finally, Tizen is on a smartphone, really ?

Tizen (the OS) has a long history of never making it. Meego was Tizen's ancestor, and it only released Nokia N9, shortly after Nokia was in a lot of trouble, switched to WP, and finally sold the mobile division to Microsoft. Nokia N9 was a great phone though - both in terms of hardware design and smartphone user interface design. When Meego was dissolved by Nokia; Intel, the other partner and the Linux foundation found another partner looking for an alternative: Samsung, and rebased the source to form the Tizen OS. It has almost been 3 years since then. Tizen has never come to a smartphone (although it has come to smart watch and recently smart TV), even with multiple promises from Samsung - until now. Last week Samsung released Z1 in India. The fist ever commercially available Tizen based smartphone in the world.

Samsung Z1, unlike Nokia N9, does not try to stand out in terms of either hardware design or user interface design. So it does not ask for a premium. It is costing about 5.7K INR. But is touting fast boot time (not sure how that is useful for an always on device anyway), and great browser (I am not sure if anything is better than Firefox ;-) ! The other specs that matter - hardware are paltry. It has only a 3.1 MP camera, which is quite lousy. Only 768 MB RAM, which is odd and low - but is 512MB + 256MB, for reference. Apps are non existent (I bet, Firefox OS supports more web apps than what Tizen would support). There is no personal assistant. At this price tag - other phones - WP and Android, have pretty good and maturing personal assistants - Google Now and Cortana.

Even though, I like open source, and promote it when ever possible, I think Tizen is too late too less. I would rather recommend a Firefox OS based phone (such as this beauty: , instead of either Tizen or Sailfish based phone, if you must have only pure open source based smart phone. Oh, and don't even ask me about that unicorn Ubuntu phone.

(On a side note I feel that Samsung Z1 could run Firefox OS, or Firefox OS actually optimises for low end specs of Intex and other Firefox phones currently available in India - which clearly it is not).

AUXUS RIST : A short review

Weather you like it or not, weather you want it or not, wearable tech is going mainstream. Of the all wearable tech, the one that is getting most attention is the watch. I am not really a fan of wearing watches. I stopped wearing a watch even before I got my first smartphone. With a smartphone however, I had absolutely no need of even thinking of using a watch. Occasionally, I needed a watch when going on long trips, but then the powerbanks and easy access to power source at commute places essentially solved the problem of depleting battery life of smartphones while traveling.

About six months ago, when Spice released a cheap 'watch phone', I gave it a try. It was great for first few days, then one thing really killed it for me: it was not programmable, apart from doing some rudimentary stuff on the web browser. And more importantly there was no health tracking functionality on the device. Eventually, I stopped using the watch altogether. I thought I would never again wear a watch again. I was not particularly interested in waiting for Apple Watch for two reasons: it is going to be quite expensive, and more importantly, it had to be paired with my phone to be truly useful. Although, I feel, only Apple Watch at present (though not yet released) has the best design and functionality for a smartwatch.

During the GOSF 2014,  eBay announced launching of AUXUS RIST - a fully Android based smartwatch and phone - for under 10K. This got me interested and I ordered one of them. Again, falling in the wearable trap! Two things caught my attention: A full Android system with onboard SIM support and a Water proof device. Here is a short review of the device.

Starting up
Starting the device up is surprisingly complex if you are not a geek. It actually requires you to carefully open the device to insert the SIM and SD card using the provided screwdriver. I think this is the first major hurdle in mass acceptance of the device.

The build
The build quality is solid, but quite bulky. But it depends on how you look at it. In terms of sheer material yes, it is a solidly build device. But if you look at it in terms of a device that is to be worn on your wrist, I think it a miss. It is better than the Spice mobile that I had earlier, but that is an understatement. I could easily give this device a miss and still my appearance would be no different. In fact, with the bulk of the device, I would rather give it a miss on day basis.

Battery Life
At best battery life is moderate, lasts for about 12 hours with 3G, WiFi and GPS on. But this is good, if you consider that it is actually a fully functional phone.

Since the device has a dual core, and 512MB RAM, performance is not much of a problem if you are using only the Google apps. However, if you start to install a lot of third party apps, it is sure to impact performance as is the case with all other Android systems. I have a "slow watch", would rather be a funny and ironic statement to make!

The default launcher is no fuss, usable, but has shortcomings - the biggest one is no integration with Google Now. Even though I don't use Google Now on day basis - I like the way it surfaces information for me. I tried installing the Google Now launcher to replace the built in launcher, it works, albeit with a caveat - icons are suddenly too small.

All of the Google Play store apps are available. None of the apps I tried (particularly health related) had any issue. Have not tried any games - but then this is not the device to play games.

When I got this device I was quite sure I want such a device, and is quite indispensable for my everyday usage. However, after using it for about 3 weeks now, my views have changed. I really don't need a phone on my wrist. About the only reason I would need a SIM on the device would be to have a data connection independent of my smartphone. Also, although the design of the device is quite decent, it is hardly inspiring to carry around every day the weight on my wrist - let alone the need to charge it every day. I would not recommend it for the average you, only buy this is if you are a geek.

(eBay link:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Can Microsoft bring better smartphone experience than Firefox phone at the low end?

The cheapest smartphone to buy in India is still the Firefox range of phone @ about 2K₹. But the experience of using this phone as a daily driver is not exactly stellar. I own one of these phones, which I time and again try to use on a daily basis, but always give in almost immediately. And I think most of the problems stem from the paltry RAM these devices have (128MB) as compared to many of the other smartphones in the market.

Microsoft, yesterday released Lumia 435, a device that would probably be priced just below the 5K₹ mark. That device has quite a good internal specs: 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM and many common sensors. Now if Microsoft can make a Lumia 330/335 with 1GB of RAM and 4GB ROM while keeping most of the external specs intact, and get a price point of about 2.5K₹, they would not only effectively have devices in the now retired Asha range, but they would have better product in terms of first time Smartphone experience.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015