Monthly Archives: August 2017

Coolpad Cool Play 6

Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad launched its first budget smartphone with 6GB RAM in India. The Coolpad Cool Play 6 comes with a price tag of Rs 14,999 and is available in Soft Gold and Black colour options. We got our hands on the Coolpad Cool Play 6 and used it for a limited time at the time of the launch and here are our initial impressions.

Design
The Coolpad Cool Play 6 looks quite similar to the Cool1 smartphone. The smartphone has an all metal unibody design with a matte finish back. Despite a 5.5-inch screen size, the handset doesn’t feel big and is comfortable for one hand operation. The rear panel houses the dual rear camera setup, 13MP+13MP with dual LED flash. Underneath the camera, there is a fingerprint sensor and the company logo. The front of the device has an 8MP selfie camera at the top, along with the earpiece and a proximity sensor. At the bottom, there are three backlit capacitive keys that are not part of the display.
Moving on to the sides, the right side houses the power button and volume rockers while the SIM card tray sits on the left. The bottom of the device consists of USB Type – C and stereo speakers, while the top has the 3.5mm audio jack. Overall, the CoolPlay 6 feels like a solid smartphone and certainly has a bit premium feel to it.

Display
The Coolpad Cool Play 6 comes with a 5.5-inch full HD display with 1080×1920 pixel resolution and 403 ppi. According to us, the display is vibrant and offers good visibility even under the sun. The viewing angles are also good enough. But that being said, the device has thick enough black bezels to make you notice and therefore leaving the viewing experience a bit imperfect. The display offers various modes such as Vivid, Natural and Eye Care modes. It even offers Display size and font size toggles for better readability.

Hardware
Cool Play 6 is powered by 64-bit, 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor coupled with 6GB RAM. In terms of storage, the handset offers 64GB internal support but it’s non-expandable. It also has a fingerprint sensor at the back. The smartphone comes with dual SIM support. The device is backed by a 4,000mAh battery with fast charging support. In terms of connectivity, the dual-sim smartphone 4G, LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and USB Type-C.

Software
The Coolpad Cool Play 6 runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system based on company’s own Journey UI. The UI is clean and there is no app drawer, which means that all the apps are placed on the home screen. The smartphone also comes pre-installed with apps such as Facebook, Amazon, UC News, UC Browser, Xender, which can be uninstalled.

Camera
The Cool Play 6 comes with a dual rear camera setup with two 13MP modules for depth of field and monochrome functionalities. The camera comes with f/2.0 aperture and dual-tone LED flash. There’s also an 8MP front camera with /2.2 aperture for selfies. While the rear camera is capable of recording 720p, 1080p and 4K video, the front camera offers 480p, 720p and 1080p. Some of the camera modes included in the Cool Play 6 are Panorama, long exposure and Professional mode. The blur effect in the images we captured was quite appropriate and the images turned out fine. Even the front camera did a decent job. Wait for our review for more details.

Dell XPS 13 2018 hands-on

Since changing its look, Dell’s XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops of the last three years. It’s one of the main challengers to the various MacBooks for those wanting a powerful laptop that is also all about premium materials, zingy screens and tasteful design flourishes.

And let me tell ya, I’ve seen the 2018 model, and it delivers.The latest model comes in HD and UHD versions and houses a choice of Intel 8th Generation Quad Core processors. While it might not feel like a huge leap forward from the (already pretty oomphy) previous one in terms of innards, it is actually now “twice as powerful” as the first ever XPS 13, which only dropped in 2015. Which goes to shows you that all those seemingly minor processor improvements actually add up pretty quickly.

We can take it as read nowadays that a laptop costing over a grand is going to be powerful enough for most non-gamers’ needs, but laudably, Dell really tries to push the envelope, and is claiming that the new XPS 13 is the most powerful in its class, the smallest 13-incher ever (‘a 13-inch laptop in an 11-inch case!’) in terms of total surface area, and also has the best battery life of any such device at up to 20 hours for the HD model and 11 for the 4K one.

The longevity is attributed in part to Dell’s Battery Manager and the performance is aided by GORE Thermal Insulation. This is used for insulation on the Mars Rovers and Hyper Velocity Particle capture in the Stardust Probe, whatever that is, and now sucks heat out of your XPS 13 when it’s working hard.

But never mind all that butch stuff. More importantly, the new XPS 13 comes in a choice of silver or, even better, rose gold with a white interior. When I met Dell late last year they suggested the latter was aimed more at women but I think it’s okay for fellas to enjoy colours other than black or grey these days, isn’t it? While the silver model is all machined aluminium, the rose gold and white XPS 13 has an aluminium exterior, but the white portion is made from a new crystalline silica material with the white colour literally woven in, like a fabric, in nine composite layers.

To ensure durability, the alpine white glass fibre weave has titanium oxide coating for a pearlescent sheen and UV and stain-resistant protection to prevent yellowing or staining over time. In fact, if you get a pen mark or other stain on the white interior you can just wipe it off. And with a heat resistance superior to metal, woven glass fibre also stays cooler to facilitate longer performance.

Google’s Pixel 2 Is the Best Android Phone

The good: Clean interface, great camera, long battery life.
The bad: Underwhelming screen, no facial recognition or iris scanning, not much that makes it stand apart from Samsung and Apple.
Who should buy: Any Android fan that values clean software and camera quality, particularly those looking for something beyond what Samsung’s offering.

When Google unveiled its first Pixel smartphone last year, it felt like a giant leap for a company better known for its software and search engine than its gadgets. Google’s message was clear: Apple and Samsung aren’t the only tech giants capable of making high-quality gadgets. That remains the case with the company’s impressive new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.

Both of the new Pixels take what already worked and complement with admirable new features. The larger Pixel 2 XL includes a nearly borderless screen that dominates the phone’s face: a design approach Samsung, Apple, LG and Essential staked out first. Like other recent phones, the new Pixels have adopted basic water resistance. And the camera boasts some fancy new features, like the ability to capture a few seconds of footage around a still photo to create images that move, and a new Portrait Mode for delivering bokeh effects.

Sound familiar? It should if you’ve been following the smartphone industry for the past year. It’s also a familiar song you could sing about some of Google’s competitors, each of whom invariably borrow a feature here or there in what’s become a game of feature leapfrog. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are more Google catching up than edging past those others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a look. With its easy-to-navigate interface, long battery life and great camera, the larger Pixel 2 XL may in fact be the smartphone of choice for Android fans looking for take fresher than Samsung’s.

Let’s start with screens: the $649 Pixel 2 includes a 5-inch, 1920-by-1080 pixel display, while the pricier $849 XL version has a 2880-by-1440 pixel screen. The XL edition’s nearly edge-to-edge screen is far more impressive. As nearly borderless screens become common on flagship smartphones, the standard Pixel 2’s thick frames make the phone look outdated. The Pixel XL 2’s screen is sharp and vibrant, but not quite as stunning as the displays found on the Samsung Galaxy S8+, Apple iPhone 8 and Essential Phone. All three of those devices produced bolder colors than the Pixel 2 during my experience.

The new Pixel phones are getting another handy new feature that Samsung phones have long had: an always-on display. That means that even when the screen is turned off, you’ll be able to see things like the time and notifications.

Apple Slowing Down Older iPhones

If you’ve ever thought your old iPhone was feeling sluggish, you’re not alone. And you’re not imagining it: Apple has confirmed to multiple media outlets that it slows the performance of older iPhones in order to prevent their aging batteries from causing unexpected shutdowns.

Apple says it began slowing down the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE last year, and just began doing so with the iPhone 7, which is little more than a year old. The company’s statement came after a recent Reddit post and blog post on benchmarking tool Geekbench’s website sparked a conversation around the relationship between flagging iPhone performance and battery condition.

Apple may have the best of intentions. Having your phone occasionally slow down is probably preferable to coping with total shutdowns, as is prolonging the overall life of your battery. But some are reading the company’s statement as confirmation of a longstanding myth: Apple slows down old iPhones to get users to upgrade to newer, pricer models as a form of planned obsolescence. (The company also charges about $80 to replace an old iPhone battery with a fresh one.)
Either way, Apple is in some hot water over the issue. A pair of California residents have already filed a class action lawsuit against the company. They claim Apple interfered with the possession of their phones, as they did not consent to Apple’s meddling with their devices’ performance.

The California suit underscores the true issue here. It’s not Apple’s fault that the lithium ion batteries that power iPhones (and lots of other gadgets in our lives) become less potent as they age. But the company wasn’t transparent about its solution to this dilemma, nor did it give users a choice over the matter. When it comes to people who spent hundreds of dollars on an iPhone 6 without being warned the device’s performance may lag after only a couple of years, frustration is understandable. (Apple told TechCrunch that in early 2017 that it “made improvements” to reduce the frequency of shutdowns in older iPhones, but did not clarify what those improvements were. Apple did not respond to TIME’s request for comment on the matter.)
Either way, Apple is in some hot water over the issue. A pair of California residents have already filed a class action lawsuit against the company. They claim Apple interfered with the possession of their phones, as they did not consent to Apple’s meddling with their devices’ performance.

The California suit underscores the true issue here. It’s not Apple’s fault that the lithium ion batteries that power iPhones (and lots of other gadgets in our lives) become less potent as they age. But the company wasn’t transparent about its solution to this dilemma, nor did it give users a choice over the matter. When it comes to people who spent hundreds of dollars on an iPhone 6 without being warned the device’s performance may lag after only a couple of years, frustration is understandable. (Apple told TechCrunch that in early 2017 that it “made improvements” to reduce the frequency of shutdowns in older iPhones, but did not clarify what those improvements were. Apple did not respond to TIME’s request for comment on the matter.)