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Posts tagged ‘Reviews’

1
Aug

NUU Mobile Z8 review


Buy now on Amazon

Until very recently, the norm in the Android world was that there was a very clear distinction in every aspect between the high-end, mid-range, and the entry-level, be it with regards to build quality, specifications, features, and sometimes even the version of the Android OS the device would be running. While the big names in Android fought hard in the high-end arena, smaller companies had the opportunity to make a name for themselves in the affordable smartphone segment.

This may be the status quo no longer, particularly in 2015, but there are still some good devices on offer from some lesser known brands. One such company is Hong Kong based NUU Mobile, with the company bringing an affordable, 4G LTE-enabled device intended for the US market. Does this smartphone manage to stand out in the ever-growing crowd? We find out, in this full review of the NUU Mobile Z8!

Design

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As far as the design language is concerned, the NUU Mobile Z8 doesn’t stray too far from the standard, offering a familiar look and feel, albeit without an obvious inspiration. The glossy plastic rear cover comes with a faux metallic finish, that helps keep it resistant to fingerprints, and its tapered edges allows for the device to fit snugly in the hand. The back cover is a little difficult to remove though, which is a slight concern, given that you have to to access the microSD card slot, dual SIM card slots, and the replaceable battery. With a thickness of 9.4 mm and weighing 146 grams, the device does feel solid in the hand as well.

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Looking around the device, the volume rocker and the power button are on the left and right sides respectively, and the buttons do offer a solid tactile feel when pressed. Considering the larger overall footprint of the device though, a slightly lower placement of the power button would have made for a better handling experience. The capacitive navigation keys are found below the display, and depending on which device you are switching from, the placement of the Recent Apps key on the left and back button on the right can take some getting used to. The headphone jack is up top, and the microUSB port can be found along the bottom of the right side.

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An unique design aspect with the Z8 is the inclusion of a notification light integrated into the chin of the device, similar to what was seen with the OPPO Find 7, but in a slightly different implementation. There’s no denying that the breathing effect that this non-traditional notification light allows for looks great, and is a great addition to an otherwise uninspired design.

Display

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The NUU Mobile Z8 features a 5.5-inch gapless IPS LCD display, with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 401 ppi. Quad HD may be all the rage nowadays, but Full HD certainly more than gets the job done, especially when considering the mid-range nature of this device. The display performs very well, with excellent color reproduction and great viewing angles. The maximum brightness is still relatively dim though, which does negatively affect outdoor visibility.

This particular review unit arrived with an LCD bright spot out of the box, and while NUU Mobile confirmed that you will be able to pick up a replacement under their standard 2-year warranty, it does raise some concerns. Further, this screen is quite the fingerprint magnet, which can be annoying to some users. A tempered glass screen protector will be available in a few weeks for the Z8 however, which will hopefully make this less of an issue.

Performance

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Under the hood, the NUU Mobile Z8 packs an octa-core, 64-bit MediaTek MT6752 processor, clocked at 1.7 GHz, and backed by the Mali-T760 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. This processing package proved to be a solid and reliable performer, and handled day to day activities with relative ease. 2 GB of RAM allows for some comfortable multi-tasking, and the device also handled gaming very well.

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The overall experience felt just as fast as the Asus Zenfone 2, with its arguably superior processing package, and this similarity is reflected in the benchmark scores as well. Of course, some of the credit for this smooth performance has to be given to the stock Android software, which does allow for a very fluid and stutter-free experience.

Hardware

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The NUU Mobile Z8 comes with 16 GB or 32 GB built-in storage options, with the latter available now, and the former being released early next month. Both versions come with support for expandable storage, via microSD card, by up to 64 GB. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, including MediaTek’s take on NFC, which is the HotKnot data exchange feature, which is limited to just smartphones and tablets featuring MediaTek processing packages. There were some noticeable connectivity issues however, with the Wi-Fi not very strong, leading to a lot of dropped connections, along with the GPS failing to find a lock indoors, and requiring some time when outdoors. Once connected, there were fortunately no issues after that.

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The device does come with full HSPA+ support on the AT&T and T-Mobile network, and while the dual SIM phone does allow for 4G LTE connectivity, it might be difficult to get because of some particular LTE bands not supported. That should change soon though, as NUU Mobile did mention working closely with the network carriers to add these bands, and should be activated soon, which users will receive via an OTA update.

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As far as the rear speaker is concerned, the single speaker on the Z8 does get plenty loud, but can sound a bit distorted, which is disappointing. As is the case with any rear speaker setup as well, it is easy to muffle the sound when the device is placed on a flat surface.

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On the battery front, the NUU Mobile Z8 packs a removable 2,650 mAh battery, that unfortunately didn’t provide the best in terms of battery life. In my initial testing, the device lasted for just 7.5 hours with a screen-on time of 2.5 hours, which is below average by any standard. A software update that followed did result in a slight improvement, with the total time being pushed close to 10 hours, with the screen-on time jumping to 3.5 hours. As such, even average smartphone users will have a difficult time getting a full day of use comfortably out of this device. NUU Mobile did mention that they will continue to improve in this area with future updates, and for now, you do have the option to carry around a spare.

Camera

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The NUU Mobile Z8 comes with a 13 MP rear camera which did allow for some nice looking shots. Autofocus can be a little slow, but capturing the shot after that is fairly quick. There can be a lack of saturation in some images, especially when compared to other similar camera setups, like the Asus Zenfone 2, which actually does tend to oversaturate pictures. Some exposure issues came up as well, where tapping on a light object drops the exposure significantly, and vice versa.

All of the images, however, were very sharp and not lacking in detail. Understandably, the camera does struggle in low light conditions, even when the flash is on. Once again, NUU Mobile confirmed that they will try their best to improve image processing that will be made available to users in future firmware updates. As far as the camera application is concerned, it is the standard open source MediaTek app, and doesn’t really pack a whole lot, apart from a few modes, as well as some granular control over aspects like white balance and ISO.

Software

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On the software side of things, the NUU Mobile Z8 runs a near-stock iteration of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which provides an excellent software experience. Some additions over stock Android include a few gestures, as well as a Clear All Apps button in the multi-tasking screen, which is certainly a very useful addition. The launcher is very similar to the Google Now launcher, except without featuring Google Now, and the Google keyboard is also the default out of the box. What is particularly refreshing is the fact that there is absolutely no bloatware to be found anywhere.

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Some of the gestures added include double tap to wake, drawing an “o” to launch the camera, shaking the device to turn the flashlight on, flip to mute, and wave to mute. All these gestures work very well, but the one to activate the flashlight is limited to only the lockscreen. This functionality will also be improved upon in future updates. Speaking of updates, NUU Mobile promises that this device will receive an official update to Android 5.1 Lollipop, but there is some uncertainty with it going beyond that.

Specifications

Display 5.5-inch IPS LGCD display
1080p, 401 ppi
Processor 1.7 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6752 processor
Mali-T760 GPU
Storage 16/32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 64 GB
RAM 2 GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS+GLONASS
microUSB 2.0
Software Android 5.0 Lollipop
Camera 13 MP rear camera with LED flash
8 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
Battery 2,650 mAh
Colors black, white
Dimensions 152.9 x 76.5 x 9.4 mm
149 grams

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

The NUU Mobile Z8 is available officially through the company website, as well as via various re-sellers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and HSN. The 16 GB variant, when released, will be priced at $249, and the 32 GB version is currently available for $299, with the included color options being white and black.

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So there you have it for this closer look at the NUU Mobile Z8! The device is certainly a solid offering in the affordable smartphone space, from a company that is relatively new to the US market. There are some positives here, like the excellent display, smooth performance, and fluid software experience. Of course, there are notable drawbacks as well, with its connectivity issues, distorted audio, and poor battery life. There is a lot that can be resolved with future updates, but for now, the Z8 does feel like a work in progress, and given the intense competition in this space, with other fantastic, but similarly-priced, smartphones, this phone is difficult to recommend, at least for now.

Buy now on Amazon

1
Aug

ZTE Overture 2 review


When those of us who aspire for the latest and greatest see a budget phone, it’s only natural to shrug our shoulders and move on to something more interesting.  With that said, I don’t think the latest and greatest in smartphones has been that inspiring lately.  I’ll actually argue that there’s more action going on in the budget space right now.  As the gain of top-level components are slowing, entry-level components have way more advancement to be had.  And as that gap narrows, you get much more value with the inferior smartphone.

And this is exactly the perspective that I took with the entry-level ZTE Overture 2.  ZTE is no stranger to value in the smartphone space, and the Overture 2 is no exception with a price tag of $50, on Cricket Wireless.  What made this review particularly interesting to me is that fact that it runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and sports a Snapdragon quad-core processor.  Time to see how narrow that gap really is!

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Design/Build

When you consider an entry-level smartphone, it’s not reasonable to expect a design that impresses, but rather, one that works.  It will be basic, but sturdy.  And if it excels, the user won’t be thinking about the cheap price tag.  I’m happy to report that this precisely describes the Overture 2.

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Yes, the design is reminiscent of older plastic Android handsets, back when removable back covers were commonplace.  However, not once did I loathe holding the Overture 2.  It feels solid, doesn’t flex or creak, and the material doesn’t indicate that it won’t last.

I appreciate that the plastic back cover has a textured weave-like pattern.  It helps considerably with the grip.  There’s a small notch on one of the corners for easy removal of the back cover.  The cover easily snaps back into place.

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It’s a bummer that while the back cover is removable, the battery isn’t.  I always dislike when manufacturers do this, it’s almost like a tease.  All is not lost, as there is a microSD card slot under the cover.  The SIM card slot also resides here.

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Although, the Overture 2 runs on the latest Android OS, you won’t find the latest method for navigation buttons.  On the front you have capacitive soft keys on the bottom (in Lollipop style, at least), a ZTE logo smushed between the display and earpiece, and a front-facing camera.  My only gripe here would be the screen-to-body ratio of the phone.  At 62.9%, I feel like a 4.5″ device should be smaller than this.

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Around the perimeter of the phone, we have a microUSB charging port on the left, separated volume buttons on the right, power button on the top right, and headphone jack on the top left.  There is only a microphone on the bottom of the phone.

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The usability of the power and volume buttons were done well.  They’re clicky, instead of mushy.  Neither too hard nor too soft to press.

Performance

I was excited to put the Overture 2’s hardware through its paces.  Although this a budget phone, it’s running the latest version of Android (Lollipop 5.1).  Powering it is the current entry-level quad-core processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 410 (1.2 GHz).  In other words, I was curious to test out how much performance I would lose in comparison to my top-end daily driver.

Confirming my suspicions, the difference wasn’t stark.  The Overture 2 is sufficiently snappy with basic operations (sifting through panels and apps, opening/closing applications, web surfing).  There are some executions that do have a second or two delay that shouldn’t, but certainly nothing to cry about.  This could be attributed to the low 1GB of RAM.

And while we’re on the topic of low memory, something I dislike that’s common on budget smartphone is low internal storage capacity.  Unfortunately, the Overture 2 suffers the same fate, with only 8GB of storage space.  After installing a handful of standard apps (Facebook, FlipBoard, Pandora, etc.) and taking a few pictures, I was down to 1.38GB available.

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Bear in mind that the OS takes up a chunk of the overall capacity.  Fortunately, Overture 2 is helped along by a microSD slot (expandable up to 32GB).

I loaded up a game (Leo’s Fortune) on the Overture 2, to test out the on-board Adreno 306 graphics chip.  I wanted to try either Modern Combat or Asphalt 8 to stress test the system, but unfortunately with that little storage space, you won’t be able to install big games on this device.  But for what it’s worth, Leo’s Fortune played smoothly, without a hitch.

Display

The largest red mark I would have to give the Overture 2 is on the display.  Its Achilles heel is without a doubt the display quality.  Let’s cover the specs first.

We have a 4.5″ LCD screen (protected by Dragontrail glass), with FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels).  While the resolution is yesteryear, it is not unexpected for an entry-level smartphone.  The same ideal extends to the display quality, but here I’m particularly left feeling that ZTE could should have done better.

The display has this strange phenomenon that occurs at viewing angles.  I’ve seen this happen in cheaper screens before, so I don’t think it’s a screen defect.  When you tilt to one side you see dimmed color degradation (almost like inverted colors) and when you tilt to the other side the image is washed out (a more typical effect of cheap displays).

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Both effects seem to converge at the middle (looking at the phone straight on), to give an OK image, but my eyes can tell something is not right.  The big problem is the viewing angle sensitivity.  It only takes a slight tilt for the image to quickly degrade in the manner determined by the direction you tilted it.  I have to keep the device steady and straight, or my eyes get a shot of unpleasantness.

If you can look past this issue, colors are alright, resolution is sufficient but not ideal, and outdoor visibility is modest.

Camera

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The Overture 2 is equipped with a 5 MP rear camera with single LED flash.  You can record at 720p.  I was impressed by all the features that ZTE through in, separated by three categories:

  1. Fun mode – Special effects (filters), smile detection, HDR, automatic image capture at set time intervals, panorama, and multi-exposure to collate images.
  2. Auto mode – Simple point-and-shoot operation.
  3. Manual mode – Where you can control white balance, ISO, or exposure.

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The quality of the images are in line with what I would expect for a phone at this price range.  In good lighting, we can get respectable capture.  But in situations with dynamic range, the camera can blow out lighting a bit.  Colors are decent, but lean a little on the dull side.  Detail matches what I would expect from a 5 MP shooter.  Image quality drops drastically in lower light, but this is not unexpected from a budget camera.

The front facing camera is VGA (0.3 MP).  It is similar to other VGA sensors I’ve seen, which produce grainy selfies.

Battery Life

The battery capacity is a respectable 2,100 mAh.  Although the back cover is removable, the battery is sealed in.  So you won’t be able to carry around extra battery packs.

On the bright side, it may be that you don’t have to.  I was left very impressed by the battery life this little guy managed to pull.  One day I charged it up in the morning and was out and about for half the day and only used 38% battery.  This was with typical operations:  Streaming music in the card, checking Google Maps, web browsing, and taking a few pictures.

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I used it on and off connected to Wifi the rest of the day and went to bed with 35% battery.  My overnight test (leaving it on, connected to wifi, while I sleep and checking it first thing when I wake up) produced an average result of 15% battery drain.

The Overture 2 also has ZTE’s power saver option.  Testing it produced similar results as the power saver that comes in stock Lollipop, unsure if it’s the same or not.  What’s different are the very welcomed power management controls.

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Software

ZTE is known to add their own little touches to Android, and it’s not different with the Overture 2.  However, I do appreciate how minimal they keep it.  I can still we remnants of stock Lollipop in places, such as the sound priority control when you press a volume button, the drop-down notification/quick settings panel, and the dialer.

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The most drastic changes are the following:

  • Instead of swiping up to unlock the screen, you press and hold.
  • ZTE’s custom app drawer, folder, and icon appearances
  • ZTE apps in place of Google apps (camera, browser, gallery)
  • Available options when you tap and hold a panel.  ZTE included theming and and different panel transitions to choose from.
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I really like that ZTE’s alterations to Android don’t feel like they’re deep in the system.  I don’t feel bogged down, or that stock Android is handicapped in some way.  There are a few apps installed by default (bloatware):  Evernote, AccuWeather, Deezer, AskMD, and several Cricket apps.  As with other carriers, you can disable them but not uninstall them.  This is especially annoying when you consider how little internal storage you’re given.

Final Thoughts

I’ve very glad to have taken the Overture 2 through its paces.  The performance that today’s entry-level Android can pull has left me quite impressed.  If it weren’t for the main concerns I’ve raised (poor display, camera lighting issues, and miniscule internal storage space), I could go as far to say I wouldn’t be too unhappy using this instead of my flagship phone.

But from the perspective of a consumer on a budget, I still consider the Overture 2 a great value despite the some of the weak hardware.  You can’t ignore the $50 price tag, and you’re getting a solid build, a terrific performer, respectable battery life, and the latest version of Android.

ZTE Overture 2 Product Page

The post ZTE Overture 2 review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

1
Aug

LG G Flex 2 Review: Gimmick turned useful


For awhile now, innovation in the mobile phone space has been stagnant in terms of hardware. These days new flagships simply have bigger, higher resolution screens, with faster processors and more RAM than most users know what to do with. In an attempt to make a name for themselves, both Samsung and LG have been playing with the idea of flexible touch screens. For Samsung, this came to fruition in the Samsung Note Edge and S6 Edge. For LG, it has come in the form of the LG G Flex 2 (say that five times fast).

When I first found I would be reviewing this device, it was more out of curiosity than any thoughts of the curve being useful. Yet, the more I used the G Flex 2, the more I found the curve to be a natural extension of my hand than another device. Read on for more information!

Software and UI

While doing the review, the LG G Flex 2 had Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, with LG’s new UX 4.0 skin on top. I have mixed feelings about the software on this phone, because it is (in my opinion) the most useful UI skin of all the manufacturers (except Motorola, but they don’t have a UI skin technically). At the same time, it is the most ugly UI of all the manufacturers. With Lollipop being such a beautiful piece of software, LG takes away all of that by placing ugly color combinations and nonsensical placement of words and icons. Luckily, with the use of other launchers, you really only see the UI in the settings.

Something that was originally seen as a gimmick has become very useful

Once I get past the look of their UI, the software is great. In fact, I didn’t seem to have any memory leak issues or major bugs many others have faced when dealing with Android 5.0. Further, the ability to customize a lot of the little aspects of the phone to my liking is very useful. I would have maybe liked to see more software tailored to the screen’s curve. However, one of LG’s newest features – called “Glance” – seemed easier to accomplish with a curved screen than other LG’s phones.

Navigating the software was smooth, with me never experiencing lag. LG’s Knock Code feature was as useful as usual. All-in-all, I enjoyed the software on the phone. Just wish it wasn’t so stinking ugly.

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Display

The LG G Flex 2 has a 5.5″ P-OLED 1080p screen, giving it a pixel density of 403 pixels per inch. While most top-end smartphones these days are opting for a Quad HD display (including LG’s own G4), the choice to go with 1080p on the G Flex 2 wasn’t a bad one, in my opinion. When the pixels per inch go above 400 (and arguably even over 300), you’re hard-pressed to see any pixels with the naked eye. Further, some people prefer the 1080p display as it doesn’t tend to drain battery life as quickly (which perhaps lends to the G Flex 2’s great battery life – more later).

The G Flex 2 feels like an extension of my hand

One choice I believe was in LG’s favor that changed from the original G Flex to the G Flex 2 was the screen size. The original was a whopping 6 inches, which was before the Nexus 6 made that size popular. While the G Flex 2 is no small phone, 5.5″ is much easier to handle than the original (I’ll talk about feel more in “Design”).

The P-OLED display allows for true blacks, and rich colors. The display is bright and crisp, and even viewable in direct sunlight. The curve of the display (in terms of viewing angles) was at times helpful, and at times not. Usually, the curve was helpful, because if one part of the screen had a glare on it, it was not present on the entire screen. However, whenever I placed the phone in a car dock, the phone would stand upright. This would cause the top to curve down ever so slightly, so that the auto brightness would not set for outside, but rather darker. This was solved by disabling auto brightness and manually setting it, but something that is a little annoying to do.

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Design

I am sure this is what most users are curious about. Let me put it this way: something that was originally seen as a gimmick has become, in my opinion, very useful.

Let me start with the fact that the phone does not feel like it has a 5.5″ screen because of the curve. That, coupled with the dimensions of the phone (149.10 mm x 75.30 mm x 9.40 mm) and the weight (152 grams), and the phone feels more like a 5.0″-5.2″ phone. Certainly a much easier hold than the original G Flex. While I couldn’t reach my thumb all the way to the other corner of the screen, I come pretty close.

Past that, and the curve allows the phone to just feel better/easier to use than just about any other phone. When I use it for a call, if actually feels like I’m using a phone, rather than a brick. When the phone is in my pocket, it just seems to form better against my leg, rather than a brick. And scrolling through web pages, flicking through images, and any other situation that calls for me to run my finger across the screen seems so much more natural… rather than a brick.

I think you get the idea: the G Flex 2 feels more like an extension of my hand, rather than a brick that can post cat photos on the internet.

Other than the curve itself, the phone certainly has a plastic feel, but the metal edge around the screen helps take away the cheap feeling you might otherwise get. Also, the buttons are on the back (a trademark of LG these days), and seem easier to reach because of the curve.

Here’s what I know: after using this phone for an extended period of time, going back to a phone without that curve just felt, unnatural.

Camera

The camera on the G Flex 2 isn’t anything to write home about, but it isn’t bad either. Included below are a few sample shots I took. It comes with a 13 MP rear shooter, and a 2.1 front-facing shooter. The rear camera has laser-focus, which I found to be quicker than most other cameras. It can shoot 1080p video. The camera does have Optical Image Stabilization, something that most smartphones are missing these days.

Otherwise, not a whole lot that is special about the camera on this phone.

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Zoomed in 8X

Overall Performance

The G Flex 2 overall was a great phone to use. Actions were quick, apps loaded up smoothly, and I never noticed any lag. Probably the only thing I noticed was that the phone was able to get pretty hot when playing a game, or doing a lot of multi-tasking. This is likely due to the fact that it uses a Snapdragon 810, though. Otherwise, its 3 GB of RAM could handle everything I threw at it.

Battery life was phenomenal. I often tell people that LG is one of the leaders in battery performance, and the G Flex 2 is no exception. I played with the phone a lot, but thanks to the 3,000 mAh battery, I often went to bed with about 30% left, and almost 5 hours of screen on time. Had I not used it so much each day, I could have likely gotten 2 and a half days out of it, no problem.

To be honest, there’s not a whole lot more to say about its performance, which is a good thing.

LG’s G Flex 2 seems to be a big improvement from the original G Flex, but those who had adopted the original won’t feel left in the dust, as the curve certainly is prominent in day-to-day use. Otherwise, those looking for a phone with a big screen that durable, and has something unique to it, shouldn’t look too far, as the G Flex 2 is a great entry into the smartphone race.

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The post LG G Flex 2 Review: Gimmick turned useful appeared first on AndroidGuys.

31
Jul

Defense of Greece TD: Worth it? [App Review]


Tower-defense games: love them or hate them, you’ve got to admit that they provide a lengthy challenge that can be played anywhere. First Games Interactive has created one based on the Ancient Greeks defending against the hordes of Romans. Read on to see if it’s worth downloading.

Setup

On the opening screen, you’re greeted by a Greek engineer and his assistant. They explain the basic story behind the game: the Greeks are being attacked by Romans and have to defend. You’re taken through a tutorial on all the different towers and the physics behind everything. It was very thorough and I had no doubts when I started playing by myself. You can obviously turn off the music and sound. There is no option to connect to Google Play Games, which may not be a big deal, but there is no saving your progress or improving your Google profile score. Otherwise, you’ll have no struggle beginning to play.

Gameplay

If you don’t know what a tower-defense game is, think of it as a bunch of enemies who are following a path. In-between these paths are your defenses, called ‘towers’ that use their dedicated powers to fight back against the incoming hoards. I’m not sure whether it was due to the fact that I hadn’t played the game for long past the tutorial, but there were only 4 towers available – a rather disappointing amount. Perhaps advancing further into the game reveals more weapons. (UPDATE: More are unlocked as you advance) Lag was not present and there were no annoying adverts – only the type that occasionally pops up when you finish a level. If you’re seeking pleasurable gaming experiences, look no further.

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Is it for me?

Unless you have something against TD games, it’s a decent try. Unfortunately, there’s also probably a better tower defense out there. But go ahead and try it!

What we liked:

  • Thorough tutorial
  • Storyline
  • Graphics

And not so much:

  • Too few defenses (UPDATE: More are unlocked as you advance)
  • User Interface

Let me put it like this: It’s a good game, but there’s better tower defenses out there. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but it doesn’t seem to have anything unique that other games don’t.

The post Defense of Greece TD: Worth it? [App Review] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

31
Jul

MINIRIG the only Bluetooth speaker you will ever need.


Minirig

The search is over! MINIRIG has finally answered the question I have asked every year about portable Bluetooth speakers. Yes, you can have a portable speaker that truly sounds good. I have listened to countless portable speakers, but the one key element missing is the quality of the sound. Sure there are larger speakers that would do the trick, but that does not make it very portable. The MINIRIG has set the bar on sound quality from a small footprint. Even at the highest volume there is no distortion, which is something other portable speakers have failed to master.

The speaker is made up of a single machined piece of anodized aluminum with a very minimal design,  light weight, simple to operate, and has an astounding battery life. The speaker has an attractive design that comes in a variety of colors.  The MINIRIG is also light weight making it easy to keep with you. The device it is connected to controls the volume leaving you with two options on the speaker itself, high and low. Setup is also a breeze by simply turning it on and finding the Bluetooth on your phone. I have found most speakers have a difficult time connecting with  a device. The MINIRIG always worked and never posed any issues connecting with a multitude of phones and tablets. The housing comes in several color choices made of aluminum and covered in matte poly carbonate making it extremely durable.

The sound is what truly sets it apart from the rest of the field providing crisp clear audio even at the maximum volume. The sound also fills the entire room with ease making it a joy to listen to even from a distance. Deep tones come through fairly well making it all the better considering most portable speakers have no deep tone at all. Various forms of music are handled amazingly something hardly ever found. Most other speakers fall short when changing to new genres limiting their capabilities. From country to hip hop and everything in between the speaker fails to disappoint.

Battery life is a constant issue for any portable device. The MINIRIG has a rated fifty hour battery and it is no joke. Several days went by before I had to charge it. The speaker even allows you to charge your phone making it perfect for lay overs and camping trips. I was able to go a few weeks without charging the speaker with casual listening. when I left the speaker playing it lasted over two days without a charge set on low volume for test purposes.

The MINIRIG surpassed all the expectations I had with a small portable speaker. The quality of the build and capabilities of the speaker rivaled larger non mobile units with ease. Even as good as this product is you can take it up a notch by adding another MINIRIG and a Subwoofer. Unfortunately I did not have this set up but given how impressed I was with just one I can say the additions would be well worth the price. The speaker is also IPX4 rated so it is resistant to small accidents with water. If there is one knock on the MINIRIG the fact that it is not fully submersible is a minor let down.

MINIRIG comes in seven different colors and three packages of 1, 2, or 2.1. The price starts at $219.05 for just the speaker and is worth every penny. The full package of two speakers plus the sub woofer is $608.69. The company is PASCE Ltd in Bristol UK. The unit was designed by a group of engineers and over time refined into the final product of the MINIRIG. The quality of the build and capabilities display the hard work and attention to detail the team has put forth. In conclusion this is the only speaker you will ever need for your mobile audio needs.

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MINIRIG

The post MINIRIG the only Bluetooth speaker you will ever need. appeared first on AndroidGuys.

31
Jul

Meizu MX5 review


Buy now on Amazon

A big focus by smartphone manufacturers this year has been on offering consumers quality devices that don’t break the bank, and we’ve seen some fantastic new additions to this segment from the like of Asus, Alcatel OneTouch, and a slew of Chinese OEMs. The fact that high-end doesn’t necessarily have to mean expensive was really brought into the spotlight just this week however, with the ZTE Axon Phone, OnePlus 2. and the new Motorola flagships, the Moto X Style and Moto X Play, bursting on to the scene. Joining this intensely competitive arena now is Meizu, with their latest flagship offering. Does this device manage to stand out in this ever-growing and impressive crowd? We find that out, and more, in this in-depth Meizu MX5 review!

Design

Meizu MX5-3

The Meizu MX5 retains a lot of the design language of its predecessor, and as such, also continues to feature a very familiar look with an inspiration that is obvious. Unlike previous iterations of this flagship line though, Meizu has gone from using a metal frame and plastic backing to a full metal unibody design that curves around the sides to meet the large display up front, allowing for the premium feel that is expected from a current generation flagship.

Meizu MX5-1

One easily noticeable difference in the design between generations is the presence of a physical home button up front, with an integrated fingerprint scanner, in the case of the Meizu MX5, replacing the capacitive home button found with its predecessor, which also doubled as a notification light. With this feature not available anymore, a notification LED is now included, found in its more traditional location above the display. The home button can feel a little cheap at times, which isn’t great, given all the different ways this button is used – as a home button, as a back button, and as a fingerprint scanner.

Meizu MX5-15

Taking a look around the device, on the right side is the power button below the volume rocker, placed to be within easy reach, and the dual SIM card slot can be found on the opposite side. The buttons may not be of the highest quality, but do offer a decent tactile feel and good responsiveness. The headphone jack is up top, and at the bottom is the microUSB port, flanked by a microphone and a single speaker unit.

Meizu MX5-21

While not the thinnest smartphone around, its 7.6 mm thickness makes it quite sleek, and its weight of 149 grams results in a device that feels substantial and comfortable in the hand. Despite its metal construction, the MX5 isn’t particularly slippery and provides a secure grip, and the overall handling experience is far better than what you might get with other smartphones with a similar build.

Display

Meizu MX5-4

The Meizu MX5 comes with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 401 ppi, and the display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 panel, to keep things scratch-free. Meizu decided to ditch the rather odd 16:10 aspect ratio seen with its previous devices for the more standard 16:9, which is a very welcome change.

While Quad HD is dominating the high-end Android smartphone scene, the 1080p display of the Meizu MX5 certainly more than gets the job done. The display is beautiful, with AMOLED technology bringing everything we love about it, including colors that pop and are nice and saturated, deep blacks, and high brightness. The color temperature does lean towards the warmer side of things though, resulting in a slightly pinkish hue on white backgrounds. It may not be the sharpest display around, but the difference is hardly noticeable, and the media-viewing and gaming experience is an absolute joy.

Performance

Meizu MX5-8

Under the hood, the Meizu MX5 packs an octa-core MediaTek MT6795 (Helio X10 Turbo) processor, clocked at 2.2 GHz, and backed by the PowerVR G6200 GPU and 3 GB of RAM.

MediaTek processors may not entirely match up with the Snapdragons of the world, but in the case of the Meizu MX5, there were rarely any problems with performance. Opening, closing, and switching between apps is a breeze, and the device flies through the various elements of the UI. The device also handles multi-tasking and gaming very well, which hasn’t always been the case with Meizu devices and others that feature MediaTek processors. That said, a big contributing factor to this smooth performance is also the software optimization that Meizu has managed with the latest version of the FlyMe OS.

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Hardware

Meizu MX5-6

The phone is available in 16, 32, and 64 GB variants, but with the lack of expandable storage via microSD card, you will certainly be better off opting for the higher built-in storage options. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, along with 4G LTE support, but it is recommended to check for compatibility with your local network carrier first if you do decide to pick up this device.

Meizu MX5-19

As mentioned, the physical home button up front has different uses, with a press required for it to work as a home button, and a tap to make it function like a back button. Finally, the button also comes with an integrated fingerprint scanner, that is called M-Touch. The touch type implementation is certainly the one we prefer, and it works incredibly well on the MX5. It is really fast, making it very quick and easy to unlock the device and get into your homescreen. There have been no issues with the scanner failing to recognize the fingerprint, and it actually manages to feel faster than the implementations found with some of the other, more high-end, devices out there.

Meizu MX5-9

The single speaker at the bottom isn’t the best sounding out there, but is far from the worst. The audio can sometimes sound a bit tinny, but overall, it allows for a decent audio experience, and can certainly get very loud. As is the case with any bottom-mounted speaker though, it is fairly easy to cover it up when holding the device in the landscape orientation, but the curve along that side does alleviate this issue to some extent, even if only a little bit.

Meizu MX5-5

On the battery front, the Meizu MX5 comes with a 3,150 mAh non-removable battery, that allows for some impressive battery life. Regardless of your usage, you can always manage up to 4.5 hours of screen-on time, and the battery should allow for a full day of use for most users. Something odd is the fact that the “Phone Idle” mode seems to strain the battery a lot, which is very surprising. Since the battery life is still good, it isn’t a big concern, but the battery life should get even better if and when this bug is fixed.

Meizu MX5-20

There are few different battery saving modes built-in as well, with the default Balance mode functioning very well for the most part. Graphic-intensive gaming may require a switch to Performance mode, but the default setting otherwise keeps everything running smoothly. There is of course, a power saving mode available that lets you get that little bit of extra juice out of the battery. If you do run out of battery life, the MX5 comes with fast charging capabilities, called M-Charge, that will allow you to charge the device to up to 60% in just 40 minutes.

Camera

Meizu MX5-4

The Meizu MX5 comes with a 20.7 MP rear camera, with an f/2.2 aperture, and found below the camera is a dual tone LED flash and a laser-guided autofocus. The camera app is very simple, clean, and easy to use, with quick access to a bunch of different modes, like a full manual mode, that gives you granular control over aspects like shutter speed, ISO, exposure, and focus. Other modes include panorama, and Light Field, that takes a lot of shots fast at different focus points, allowing you adjust the focus after the fact.

Shooting in Auto mode allows for some good looking pictures, and it is actually quite surprising how nice they can look, with saturated colors and good detail. Dynamic range is good, but it is up to you to cater the shot correctly, so even if Auto mode is supposed to automatically adjust to take the best picture, that isn’t always the case.

Meizu MX5-23

Tapping on the viewfinder helps with the focus and the adjustment of light, but this can be very finicky. You have to make sure that you tap exactly on where you want the camera to focus, and adjust the light to that area. Being off by just a little bit can result in an image that is either too dark, or too bright, and it does require a few tries to get it just right, which can be frustrating. HDR helps in this regard, but does require a second or two to take the picture.

Overall though, when you do get it right, some great shots are possible. As expected, low light shots can be a little noisy and lacking in detail, but the images don’t look too bad either. Video recording is great on the MX5 too, recording at 30 fps, along with 4K recording available as well. Slow Motion video capture is also possible, at 100 fps, and even though that isn’t as slow as some other flagship smartphones, the quality is certainly impressive.

The device also comes with a 5 MP front-facing camera, which allows for some decent self portraits. Pictures have a good amount of detail, but one thing you do have to watch out for is the fact that it tends to prioritize the primary subject, making anything that is even slightly in the background a little blurry. Taking advantage of the front-facing camera is Beauty mode, with settings that lets you change the size of your eyes, make your face a bit slimmer, and more. This mode may not be practical or useful for everyone, but can definitely be fun to play around with.

Software

Meizu MX5-5

On the software side of things, the Meizu MX5 runs its own customized FlyMe OS 4.5, based on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop. Of course, you’ll be hard pressed to find any stock Android and Material Design elements in this user interface, and overall, the software experience can take some getting used to.

For starters, there is no application drawer available, leaving users dependent on folders to stay organized and keep the homescreens from getting too cluttered. The Settings menu is very iOS-like in its implementation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but is of course, very different from what you may already be familiar with. Trying to get to the Settings app itself can be a pain, as there isn’t a direct shortcut available in the Quick Settings menu in the notification dropdown, so you will have to make sure that the Settings icon is at placed at an easily accessible location on the homescreen.

The FlyMe OS may be one of the more simpler takes on Android, but it does pack some cool and useful features, like the ability to lock apps so that they require a pass code to get in to. As mentioned, the physical home button also doubles as a back button, but when it comes to opening the multi-tasking screen, it does get a little strange, since there is no dedicated Recent Apps key to be found. You will have to slowly swipe up from the bottom, to open what looks a lot like the iOS 6 used app dock. Previews of the apps isn’t available, but you can close them with a simple swipe up.

Specifications

Display 5.5 inch AMOLED
Full HD (1080×1920)
Density: 401ppi
Processor Octa-core MediaTek Helio X10
8 x 2.2GHz
Power VR G6200 GPU
Storage 16/32/64GB

Expandable: No

RAM 3GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
GPS+GLONASS
Software Android 5.0.1 Lollipop
Flyme OS 4.5
Camera 20.7 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,150 mAh
Colors black, silver, gold
Dimensions 149.9 x 74.7 x 7.6 mm
149 grams

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Pricing and final thoughts

One of the key aspects of a device like the Meizu MX5 is its affordable price point, with the device starting at $339 for the 16 GB iteration, and going up to $459 for the highest 64 GB storage option. Available colors for the Meizu MX5 include black, gold, and silver.

Meizu MX5-2

So there you have it for this closer look at the Meizu MX5! The device may have some cosmetic issues, like the somewhat cheap feeling home button, but it does what it is meant to do amazingly well.

The performance is smooth, the display is beautiful, the battery life is impressive, the camera is reliable, the fingerprint scanner is fantastic and the overall build quality is actually very nice, allowing for a great feel in the hand. In the end, the Meizu MX5 is definitely a worthy competitor in the affordable smartphone space, but it might be easy to miss in the crowd, especially with the latest flagship devices that have launched over the last few days.

Buy now on Amazon

30
Jul

Epic App Battles of Android: Beats Music vs. TIDAL


In the final installment of App Battles Round 1, we’ll be spectating the battle between Beats and TIDAL.

In the Black corner, we have TIDAL, Jay-Z’s premium with 500 000 downloads and a 3,5 star rating.

In the Red corner, we have Beats, Dr. Dre’s premium with 10 000 000 to 50 000 000 downloads and 4,5 star rating.

Who will win this battle between Jay-z and Dr. Dre? They are both in the ring and ready! FIGHT!

Round 1: App design

We’re gonna start this off by having a look at TIDAL first, and although they both have some design in common, I’ll about each app separately first.

The first thing you’ll notice is the dark design that it features.The entire app is based off a black background, which contrasts well with the album art and song titles. It’s ideal for night time as it doesn’t strain your eyes too much. While it certainly won’t be a bad idea to be able to customize it to your liking, I had no problem with the dull color combo.

The actual layout of everything was actually rather efficient and pleasing to use. It’s not cluttered or designed in a way that makes you despise it. There’s a simple panel that can be opened up by swiping on the left side of the screen. This is basically the main way you get around and swap between feature like “What’s new”, “TIDAL Rising” and of course all your playlists, favorite music, settings and the “Offline” mode toggle (We’ll chat more about these features later).

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TIDAL certainly took some time to create a pleasurable experience.Everything is easy to use and easy to find. But how does Beats fare?

Beats has a simple color scheme, namely something made up of black and white, with the occasional spot of red. The bold text is punchy but not overdone, while the absence of material design makes you luster for what could’ve been something great. Again, themes do not exist so only thing you can choose is your music, but hey, this is not a big problem.

Fortunately the design is universal, which means the text and colors are the same throughout. You get the standard menu by swiping from your left, and the feeds from artists you follow are available by swiping from your right. Overall the graphics seemed great and there’s no place where Dr. Dre’s minions let their design guard down. At least that  I could see.

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UI

Both the Red and Black team have had a fair fight this round. Although they put their best foot forward, it appears to be a tie. Perhaps one would’ve had the edge had they had the ability to color shift

Service Score /10
Beats 8
TIDAL 8

Winner: Tie

Round 2: Features

Both teams are refreshed and ready for Round 2! This time we’ll compare them head on.

When I opened Beats, it prompted me to pick a couple of artists and genre’s I liked. After the setup I saw that these made up the majority of the recommend songs, with very little presence of artists that I said I did not like. TIDAL, on the other hand, offers no such thing and throws you in the deep end. You’re by yourself to slowly find what you like amongst everything. It was rather inconvenient as most other streaming services prompt you to select your favorite’s. But that said, TIDAL offers HiFI, lossless audio quality with 1411kbps, significantly better than Beat’s 320kbps. For those that aren’t audiophiles, that basically means that TIDAL offers better music quality over Beat’s. You will need a good pair of headsets to make a difference though, and even if you’re running decent Internet speeds, the tracks might pause a few seconds in-between as the next one loads.

And of course, both offer offline modes. As the name hints, this allows you to save songs for times when you don’t have Internet, as you obviously won’t be able stream. Both worked effectively and it easy to implement as you just add the tracks to a playlist and flip the switch to “Offline”.

I should also mention that Beats offers over 20 million songs, while TIDAL offers over 30 million.

Although there is no defining feature that gives any of them a reasonable lead, I think it’s safer to say that TIDAL’s higher quality tracks will the larger selection has an edge over the ability to filter your favorite genres and artists when you start the app.

Service Score /10
Beats 8
TIDAL 9

Winner: TIDAL

Both opponents are equally bruised but TIDAL managed to throw a few more punches.

Round 3: Pricing

As much as we would like them to, free trials don’t last forever. Beats Music offers a 14 day free trial that allows you to test out the full version and see how much you like it. TIDAL is a bit more generous and offers 30 day trials that also allows full free access to premium features. The ‘Premium’ tag only applies to TIDAL which allows you access to HiFi tracks, or FLAC ( Free Lossless Audio Codec), the 14211kbps we talked about earlier.

Service Trial Period Price Tier 1 Price Tier 2
Beats Music 14 Days US $9.99
TIDAL 30 Days US $9.99 (TIDAL Premium) US $19.99 (TIDAL HiFi)

It does seem that TIDAL is asking too much for $19.99 for something that only gives you more by upping the quality. Perhaps they would’ve had a more convincing deal if it was $14.99 or less. Beats only has one price plan. It should be mentioned that TIDAL has different plans including Family – which offers discounts for more people – and Student – which halves the price. Beats had no such deals and discounts, and might end up paying dearly for that.

Beats looses a considerable amount of points for lack of different tiers and discounts. TIDAL looses out at the price of Premium tag.

Service Pricing
Beats 6
TIDAL 7

Round Winner: TIDAL

With 2/3 rounds won, TIDAL advances to the next round. Who will be his opponent? Keep tuned to androidguys.com to find out!

 

 

The post Epic App Battles of Android: Beats Music vs. TIDAL appeared first on AndroidGuys.

30
Jul

Wizards Maze HD: Spooky Fun


Halloween might still be a while away, but who says we can’t have a bit of spooky fun? In Wizards Maze, the creepiness comes to life as you find your way through, you guessed it a maze. Can you handle the monsters, the confusing paths and elusive keys? Read on!

Setup

You’re greeted by the main menu upon opening up the game. The eerie font ushers you in, there’s a list of levels surrounded by various buttons, you select the “Start” button and you’re off.  My character is placed in the maze and awaits my command, except I have no idea of what I’m actually doing and what my goal is. Fortunately my hands soon found the simple controls and within no time I was walking about. Although it’s simple, that’s no excuse for a non-existing tutorial. Nonetheless, I soon discovered I had to collect keys scattered around the maze, and unlock several doors to lead to the final portal for the next level. And talking about controls, you can choose various layouts that suit you best.

Gameplay

As previously stated, the game is based on finding your way around a maze. Obstacles like spiders and slimes crawl around aggressively,  threatening to kill you if you’re not careful enough. Keys are placed in various strategic places, making you run back and forth to advance. Perhaps one of the funnest things you can do is shoot your magic balls of flames to attack enemies and interact with elements of the game; namely to break ice gates. I was constantly shooting just in the name of fun; I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be doing so. Strangely, there are adverts but they it only shows when I started the game up. The developers certainly had us in mind. Everything ran smoothly and no lag showed its ugly head throughout gameplay, which should be expected as the graphics aren’t exactly cutting edge. There could’ve also been some challenges or a storyline behind everything

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wizard maze

Is it for me?

There’s no reason you shouldn’t attempt to give the game a spin. It can be played in short bursts or over long periods of time and would be ideal to fulfill any sudden gaming urges, unless you’re into hardcore zombie killing.

What we liked:

  • Great, simple gameplay
  • Easy User Interface
  • Challenging levels
  • Playful music

And not so much…

  • Lack of tutorial
  • No challenges or storyline behind the game

If you’re looking for something challenging yet easy to play, Wizard Maze is the ideal game for you. It’s really suitable for literally whenever you want to play, wherever. Early Halloween, anyone?

The post Wizards Maze HD: Spooky Fun appeared first on AndroidGuys.

29
Jul

Vivo X5Pro review


Buy now from Amazon

The smartphone market, especially in the United States, is extremely competitive, and it can be tough for smaller players to go up against bigger names such as Samsung, LG and Motorola. With that said, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo may have a plan to do just that.

First launched in May 2015, the Vivo X5Pro features an attractive design, display and specifications, while also being offered at a super affordable price point. Does it stack up against other popular smartphones in this space, or will the device blend into the crowd? We find that out, and more, in our full review of the Vivo X5Pro!


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Design

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-9

The Vivo X5Pro features a design that’s reminiscent of other popular smartphones on the market, such as Sony’s Xperia line. With a glass sandwich design and smoothly polished aluminum sides, this is one attractive device. The front and back panels meet the aluminum frame almost seamlessly, leaving the glass panels rising just a bit higher than the frame.

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-4

Moving around the device, we have 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, on the right we have an aluminum volume rocker and power button sitting above the dual SIM card slot, and the left side features no peripherals whatsoever. The dual SIM card slot provides a little more functionality than most other handsets offer, with the second SIM slot doubling as a microSD card slot. If you only need one SIM card in your device, you’ll be happy to hear that you can expand the phone’s memory up to a massive 128GB. It’s a neat hardware feature that a few manufacturers have adopted, giving more options and versatility to the consumer.

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-3

Continuing on, the front glass panel sports an 8 megapixel front facer and a green lighting notification light with 3 capacitive buttons at the bottom. The left-most button is an options key, the center is a home button, and the back button sits on the right side. On the back of the phone, the camera module is in the upper left with the a single LED flash. The Vivo branding sits square in the middle although oriented sideways.

The total result is a device that carries a premium design aesthetic, is fairly pocketable, and is relatively comfortable to hold despite being only 6.4mm thick.

Display

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-5

The X5Pro boasts a 5.2 inch 1080p Super AMOLED display at 424 pixels per inch. And it’s that Super AMOLED that really shines here. The screen produces rich colors that look great indoors and especially outdoors. The screen’s calibration leans slightly on the warmer side, and the brightness, while not the brightest on the market, is certainly bright enough for my use, normally kept at around 75%.

Viewing angles are good and colors should be vivid enough for most users. While this device doesn’t sport a Quad HD panel like many users would prefer, 1080p is still perfectly clear enough for most of us out there.

Performance and hardware

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-1

Most popular in the budget sector, the Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 615 makes an appearance in this device, bolstered with the Adreno 405 graphics processor and 2GB of RAM. While some of the other cheaper phones with lower resolution displays blaze through performance metrics with this CPU, here the X5Pro stumbles every so often.

Most of the time it’s a fairly fluid experience, but there are many times where the device will lag, almost like the software is playing catch up. Scrolling through web pages can be a tad difficult at times, especially when the phone stutters all the way down to the bottom of the webpage. It doesn’t happen so often that it makes the phone a headache, but often enough that you will notice after use all day. Unfortunately it does only come standard with 16GB of storage, but again you can ramp that up to 128GB through expansion.

Despite having two speaker grills on the bottom, the X5Pro only has one speaker that fires from the left. Regardless, it’s loud enough for media consumption without headphones, but lacks the richness in low end to make it a solid choice for sharing music.

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-8

The battery is the smaller side, especially given the larger footprint of this phone with a 5.2 inch display. It comes in at 2450mAh non-removable cell and is almost always a sure shot for a full day’s use. With moderate but consistent use, using mostly apps, web browsing, camera, and phone calling, I ended the day with about 40% left. But on a day when I focused on app and video use consistently I ran the battery down by the end of the night to about 13%.

Because the built in UI doesn’t allow for battery status checking or screen on time, I had to use a 3rd party app, which didn’t seem to register as accurately as I’d hope. The screen-on time of 3 hours shown, seemed to be less than what I actually got on the day of heavy use.

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Camera

Vivo X5Pro review AA

Vivo’s camera choice here is a 13 megapixel shooter. Overall, it’s certainly not anything to write home about, but it functions as most do in this price range. Photos in well-lit areas are pretty good, with colors tending to lack a bit of saturation, which makes pictures look a tad dull. Shooting photos indoors without the flash turned on result in a great deal of noise. And because there’s no OIS, folks with less steady hands can expect a bit of a blur, especially in darker photos. Features like HDR and Face Beauty help add some pizzaz to the photos to help compensate for the sometimes dull standard shots.

On the front sits a somewhat larger-than-average 8 megapixel camera that can take high resolution images, but even in good lighting conditions, the front facer finds focus difficult to achieve and almost never gets the image without a bit of blur.

On the front a somewhat larger than average 8 megapixel camera takes high resolution images, but even in good lighting conditions finds focus difficult to achieve and almost never gets the image without a bit of blur.

Software

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-12

Vivo’s take on software is their Funtouch OS 2.1 layered over Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which, in its basic appearance, greatly resembles iOS. Numerous icons are almost a blatant copy of something you’d find on an iPhone, which isn’t something we’re ecstatic about. And while the quick settings page, which can be accessed from a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is arguably more functional in this location, looks a little too familiar, as well.

The left capacitive key brings up a different options menu depending on which app you’re currently using. While Google has tried moving OEMs away from using designated options keys in their devices, it can provide a bit of extra functionality to users in certain situations. For instance, if you’re on the home screen, it’ll behave partly like other Android phones when holding down anywhere on the home screen, bringing up the widgets and page swiping effects settings. Other apps like Chrome will bring up the list of options to select a new tab, bookmark, check history and more.

Vivo X5Pro Hands On-7

 

Since this capacitive key is normally used to bring up the list of opened apps, Vivo has implemented their own widget for this. It shows the number of apps currently running, the percent of RAM used and the efficiency of the phone. clicking on the wheel is the equivalent of clearing all unused apps. Tapping left allows you to go into the app, giving more detail and allowing to clear any specific tasks, a lot like windows task manager.

Themes also make a return here as well as a device manger app that grant and refuses permissions to certain apps.

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Specifications

Display 5.2-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 1920 resolution
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
RAM 2GB
GPU Adreno 405
Storage 16GB internal, microSD expansion up to 128GB
Camera 13MP rear-facing camera
8MP front-facing camera
Battery 2450mAh, non-removable
Software Android 5.0 Lollipop, Vivo Funtouch OS 2.1
Dimensions 147.9 x 73.5 x 6.4mm
Colors Black, White
Dual SIM Yes

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

The Vivo X5Pro is now available from Amazon and through Vivo’s website for just under $440 USD.

So, there you have it, our full review of the Vivo X5Pro! While the device’s camera and performance might leave much to be desired, the beautiful design, interesting, yet familiar software experience, and beautiful screen almost make up for the handset’s shortcomings. With budget-friendly options consistently decreasing in price, it’s tough to recommend the X5Pro to users who are looking for a solid handset.

What are your thoughts on the device? If the X5Pro is available in your region, do you think you’ll pick one up? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Buy now from Amazon

29
Jul

Griddition: Maths on the go (App Review)


I’m sure most of you remember that you probably did maths at some stage of your life. And, yes, while it was probably the bane of your life, we may not appreciate maths as much as we should. Love it or hate it, there are apps for it. The app I’m talking about speciffically is called “Griddition”, and today I’ll be reviewing it.

Setup

Barring the fact that there was a tutorial, Griddition is extremely simple. The tutorial give you a good idea of what it’s about, but I was still a bit confused on my first try. I’m going stress ‘first try’ because it really doesn’t take long to get into the full swing of things. One round is all you’ll need to play at max efficiency.

There are different themes you can use later on in the game as you unlock more levels. As I haven’t yet advanced too far, I’m unable to share my views on them, although their names at least sound cool.

Gameplay

I wouldn’t exactly call Griddition a game. The ‘gameplay’ simply doesn’t fit the standards for a game, while it certainly isn’t not a game. It’s more of something that’s designed to be played in a math classroom or to pass away time on the bus. Think of it as Sodoku, but all the numbers that you input have to equal the number at the end. You simply drag the availible numbers into their slots and try beat your previous time. Your ultimate goal is to improve your score and unlock bigger grids. All of this is a treat thanks to the great but simple user interface and the lack of annoying adverts. My time spent with the app was indeed pleasant.

 

The two game modes
Quick tutorial
In action. You'll get a good idea of the gameplay just from this image

Is it for me?

Although Griddition is a great app, it’s not really just for anyone. I personally doubt if I would use it on a constant basis, although other people will likely differ. The fact that it is ad free and does not require internet connection means that it’s specially ideal for places like the classroom and for your offspring in the back of the car.

What we liked:

  • Great user interface
  • Lack of adverts
  • No internet required

 And not so much…

  • Not much to make you want to play
  • Lack of levels/storymode

All-in-all, Griddition is a great app that you probably won’t like a lot. It’ll be great for kids but no so much for grown-ups, although other people might beg to differ. The gameplay is in no way entertaining, remember how I said that it’s “not really a game”? But hey, head on over to the Play Store and give it a try!

The post Griddition: Maths on the go (App Review) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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