Sunday, July 17, 2016

Samsung Galaxy A5 review

Samsung Galaxy A5 review


  • Full metal unibody design
  • Snapdragon 615 CPU
  • 13-megapixel main camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 16GB internal memory 2GB RAM
  • 4G
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £349.00


Samsung has mastered the high-end with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but it has always struggled a with affordable devices. This is because Samsung kept skimping on important features to save money.
That changed with 2015’s Galaxy A5, and even more so with the updated 2016 version. The Galaxy A5 (2016) ticks all the right boxes; good screen, fast camera and sleek design. But it’s still not perfect, and some of Samsung’s older issues come back to haunt it.


Remember Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha from 2014? A lot of people don’t, but this minor release was vitally important. It was a turning point where Samsung shifted its design focus and began creating handsets capable of standing beside the iPhone visually. The A5 (2016), like last year’s version, is the spiritual successor to the Alpha.
It’s all metal and glass, with rounded corners and a flat back. It lacks the curved sides that make the Galaxy S7 such a pleasure to hold, but it’s still comfortable in hand.
Metal phones in this price-range are far from rare, Honor and OnePlus have been doing it for a while, but none feel quite as good as this. The volume buttons and lock switch have a satisfying click, while the microUSB port and speaker grilles on the bottom are finely cut and precise. The headphone jack sits on the bottom too, a design choice I’m always on board with.
The Galaxy A5 is slightly taller than both the Galaxy S7 and S6, but ever so slightly lighter.

As is typical with just about every Samsung phone, there’s a home button sitting below the screen. Tucked inside is a fingerprint scanner that’s about as fast as the one on the S7, but it seems much less accurate. It can’t compete with the Honor phones for unlocking speed, but it’s absolutely fine.
There’s a strong hint of the Galaxy S6 here, and it’s still a fingerprint magnet. Use the phone for 5-minutes and it will be covered in marks and smudges. There are a couple of improvements in design though; the ugly blue colour scheme has gone for a much nicer black and there’s almost no camera hump.
The Galaxy A5 is easily one of the sleekest looking phones at this price-range. It feels much sturdier than the OnePlus X (£199) and it’s much nicer than the plastic Nexus 5X.


Samsung’s displays have long been regarded as the pinnacle of mobile screens, with the Galaxy S7 currently the best out there.
While the A5 isn’t going to match its classier brothers for visual fidelity, it’s still a great display for the price.
It’s 5.2-inches, with a 1080p resolution and uses Super AMOLED tech which is the killer feature.
It’s bright, vivid and oh so colourful just as you’d expect from AMOLED. If you prefer something a little more true to life, there are a number of screen modes to choose from. I like the default one myself, but it’s all down to personal preference.
Whites can sometimes look a little muddy, but blacks are deep and bright colours have multiple levels of vibrancy. Outdoor visibility isn’t great though, unless you jack the brightness up (or keep the rather uneven auto-brightness on) all the way. Thanks to the dense resolution, pixels are universally hard to spot unless you get really really close.


Depending on your region, the Galaxy A5 will either be powered by a Snapdragon 615 or an Exynos 7580 CPU. My phone is running the latter, but I’d expect them both to perform equally.
There’s a decent 2GB RAM too, plus a Mali-T720 GPU. There’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary here, but it’s a stellar set-up that gets the job done.
Scrolling the web, knocking out emails and all that day-to-day stuff is done with ease. The majority of gaming is handled well too. Rounds of Monument Valley, Horizon World Tour and Alto’s Adventure are all smooth with no dropped frames.
More graphically intense games run fine too, though loading times in Asphalt and Hitman Sniper are especially laborious. The games themselves run fine, though.

In our usual array of benchmarking tests, the Samsung Galaxy A5 performs as expected. In the Geekbench 3 test it scores a middling 721 in the single core test (similar to last year’s HTC One A9) but it does better with a Nexus 5X matching its 3,646 multi-score test.
16GB of internal storage is towards the lower end of what I would call reasonable, but considering the £500 iPhone 6S comes with it as its starting point it seems harsh to criticise Samsung here. There’s a microSD slot too, so at least you can boost that even further.
The downward facing speakers are, well, fine. They’re loud enough for a morning alarm and watching YouTube, but they lack the clarity and bass needed for music.


My biggest issues with the Galaxy A5 stem from its software. In my Galaxy S7 review I praised for Samsung for finally turning around TouchWiz and making it much more visually appealing and less buggy, but most of that work has been undone here.
Instead of running the latest version of TouchWiz and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, it’s stuck on Lollipop with the same look as the Galaxy S6 when that launched over 15-months ago. I’m not sure why Samsung has done this, but it’s an unacceptable and lazy step. To really make a go of the mid-range you have to treat them just like higher-end devices, and Samsung hasn’t done that here.

Without Marshmallow you miss out on things like Now on Tap, Doze for improved standby times and deep support for the fingerprint scanner. It does work with Android Pay though, as there’s an NFC chip inside.
Will we see Marshmallow hit the Galaxy A5? Hopefully, there are shots of it running on the device, but I’m not sure when.
With Android N on the horizon, I’m a little shocked to see phones still coming out with Lollipop.
There’s also some strange bugs throughout the software. Apps randomly crash, streaming video often causes the back to get very hot and so on. Nothing is catastrophic, but the bugs are noticeable.


Maybe I’ve come to expect too much from Samsung cameras, but the rear-facing 13-megapixel camera used here isn’t anything special. It’s soundly beaten by the Moto G4 Plus, which costs £100 less, and feels like not much effort has gone into it.
Opening up the camera is fast, just double tap the home-button, and focusing is snappy too. It’s just the results aren’t always up to scratch. Daylight shots can look a tad washed out, especially when the conditions aren’t great and there’s a lot of post-processing going on that can make details look fuzzy and unrealistic. This is something I used to find constantly with Samsung cameras, so it’s annoying to see it creep back in.

Pictures, even in good light, lack vibrancy and can be washed out

Though low-light snaps are fairly impressive
Colours look good though, even if they could do with a bit more zing and the wide f/1.9 aperture means it’s possible to some lovely shots with a shallow depth of field.
There’s optical image stabilisation here too, but it doesn’t do a fantastic job of reducing blur. As you can see in the sample shots, any sort of shake on the camera leads to blurring around details and in movement especially.
Blurring around details is common, even with the OIS
Dusk shots are acceptable and actually better than those in pure sunlight because there isn't quite as much need for the colours to look punchy. There’s plenty of detail and it doesn’t overexpose light sources.
Video maxes out at 1080p 30fps, which is absolutely fine as 4K recording on phones is still only useful to a small number of people. Footage is nice and smooth, helped by the OIS.
The 5MP front-facing camera is unremarkable, but acceptable. It’s wide enough to cram a few faces in and the sensor is good enough to not make you look like a ghost.


The 2,900 mAh cell – non-removable as is now common with Samsung phones – is capable of making it through the day with very few issues, and if you’re only using it infrequently throughout the day it should have some juice left over if you forget to charge it one evening.
The lack of Doze mode does impede standby times, and it drops about 10% overnight. Phones with Doze, like the Galaxy S7 usually only lose between 3-4% of their charge overnight.
What the Galaxy A5 does really well is conserve battery during usage. An hour of Netflix streaming uses about 7-8%, while the same amount of time listening to Spotify with the screen off consumes on average 3%.
It’s the same story with everything but the most intense of games. Monument Valley chews through about 11% per hour, through it drains much quicker if you’re playing long sessions of Asphalt 8.
Adaptive Fast Charging is a nice addition at this price-range and it’ll take you from 0-80% in an hour and to full in just under 90-minutes. You’ll need to use the included brick and cable, though. There’s no wireless charging, but again that’s not common here.


For £299, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is a good phone. But, it feels like some of Samsung's past mistakes have been made again. Not having the latest software is a prime example that shows Samsung isn’t overly bothered about this phone.
Even so, it has a nice screen along with decent battery life and a sturdy metal and glass design. It does a lot of things right, without trying to push the mid-range any further.
When the Moto G4 Plus sits at £199 and has much similar specs, albeit with a less classy design, there isn’t that much that pushes the Galaxy A5 above it. There’s also the OnePlus line, which again offers much more bang for your buck.


Samsung clearly doesn’t have as much interest in the mid-range as the high-end, but things are improving. It’s a shame that a nice, S7-inspired, design and strong screen is let down by outdated software.

Honor 5C

Honor 5C


Honor phones are an interesting bunch. The brand basically exists so that Huawei can continue targeting the affordable end of the market, without hindering its push to rebrand as a premium phone maker.
That's why past Honor handsets such as the Honor 7 and Honor 5X have featured the strengths and weaknesses of Huawei phones – great hardware held back by the firm’s Emotion UI.
When I first picked up the Honor 5C at the phone’s London launch, I got a strong feeling history was repeating itself. But after a couple of hours with the device, I found myself warming to it, and left the event feeling the Honor 5C has the potential to be a worthy rival to the insanely good-value Moto G4.


The Moto G is TrustedReviews’ current budget phone of choice for a variety of reasons, chief of which is its ability to match the technical specifications of phones costing up to £100 more.
The only possible complaint I had with the Moto G was its 5.5-inch size, which places it firmly in the phablet segment of the market. The Honor 5C, on the other hand, offers equivalently impressive hardware, but packed in a 5.2-inch chassis that's much easier to hold.
The Honor 5C has the same sized 3,000mAh battery as the Moto G and matches its 1080p screen resolution. The rear camera also also has the same 13-megapixel max resolution as the Moto G. Honor wouldn’t reveal which exact sensor the camera uses, but during my opening shots I was impressed.
Shots taken in the automatic setting looked sharp and had decent contrast levels. The autofocus was also suitably fast and the phone had a wealth of shot options. Highlights include the light-painting setting seen on the Huawei P9, plus the usual assortment of HDR, panorama and manual settings you’d expect.
The Honor 5C also has a higher-resolution 8-megapixel front camera than the Moto G's 5-megapixel unit.

I didn’t get to run the two head to head, but during my opening set of snaps the Honor 5C’s front camera proved more than good enough for taking selfies and video calling – though I still wouldn’t recommend anyone using the camera’s Beauty mode, unless they want to look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
The Honor 5’s processor is potentially better than the Moto G’s. The Moto G is powered by Qualcomm’s slightly old 617 CPU while the Honor 5C runs using Huawei’s Kirin 650. Huawei claims the 650 is 65% faster than competing mid-range CPUs such as the Qualcomm 617.
In theory there is some evidence to support Honor’s claim. The Qualcomm CPU has a lower 1.5GHz clock speed and 28nm fabrication node. The Kirin chip has a 2GHz clock speed and is 16nm – for non-techies, as a rule of thumb a lower nanometer (nm) size is better, though it doesn't always work out that way.
I didn’t get a chance to benchmark the Honor 5C to test Huawei’s claim during my hands-on. But during my opening tests the phone felt responsive and I didn’t notice any bugs, or issues with its performance.


All this sounds great, but I still have a couple of concerns about the Honor 5C. The 5.2-inch screen size helps to make it more comfortable to hold than the Moto G, but I’m not 100% sold on its build quality. Honor made a big deal about the Honor 5C’s “aerospace-grade aluminum” metal back plate, claiming it gives the phone a premium feel. But during my hands-on I wasn’t convinced. The plate itself is fine, but any illusion that the phone feels high-end breaks the moment you pick up the device and realise the metal back is housed within a plastic frame. The screen also isn’t coated in Gorilla Glass, which means it could scratch fairly easily.
I’m also concerned about its use of Emotion UI 4.1. Emotion UI is Huawei’s custom Android skin, and it's been a big stumbling block for past Honor and Huawei phones I’ve reviewed, due to its needless deviations from the stock Android menus and because of its mass of bloatware.

Being fair, Huawei/Honor has done a great job of reducing the amount of bloatware on Emotion UI in recent months – during my hands-on I only noticed a handful of bloatware apps. But the UI changes are still a massive pain. My biggest complaint is Honor’s insistence on replacing Android Marshmallow’s gorgeous app icons with Honor’s child-like own versions, and the removal of the OS’s app tray. Some people like the removal of the app tray, because it makes Android feel more like iOS, but for me it’s a big mistake that makes curating and managing your homescreen a faff.
I’m concerned Emotion UI will also impact the Honor 5C’s chances of being upgraded to the final version of Android N later this year. Android skins always delay how quickly phones can receive software updates from Google. This is because the company behind the skin has to tweak its code to work with the new version. A Honor spokesperson at the event’s inability to tell me if – let alone when – the Honor 5C will be upgraded to the final version of Android N further fuelled my concerns.


The Honor 5C is undeniably excellent value for money as a piece of hardware. It has internal specs that match, if not beat, the Moto G4's. But its use of Huawei’s Emotion skin will be a sticking point for many buyers. I can’t help but feel Honor should follow Motorola’s example and load its handsets with an unskinned version of Android.

Obi Worldphone MV1 review

Obi Worldphone MV1 review


  • 5-inch, 720x1280 display
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • Expandable memory up to 64GB via MicroSD
  • Android Lollipop 5.1/Cyanogen OS 12.1.1
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 CPU
  • 8-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front cameras
  • Manufacturer: Obi Worldphone
  • Review Price: £119.00


It’s not uncommon to see companies introducing new phone ranges. But when Apple’s ex-CEO John Sculley burst onto the scene last year, launching two phones, pretty much the whole tech industry paid attention to him.
He’s the pioneer of the Obi Worldphone brand, which aims to create attractive but affordable smartphones targeted at younger buyers in developing regions across Asia, Africa and Middle East – as opposed to the US and Europe. Now, that’s quite a feat.
The company’s first phones, the SF1 and SJ1.5, were received well by techies right around the world and seen as viable alternatives to more known handsets like the Moto G and Honor 7. But that wasn’t enough for Obi.
Looking to achieve maximum impact on a global scale and to take advantage of the growing number of people wanting cheap phones, it decided it had to release another handset. Enter the MV1, an unlocked, dual-sim phone capable of running Android Lollipop or Cyanogen OS, and it’s available in the UK for a penny-pinching £119.


At first glance, the MV1 looks just like any other budget Android smartphone, struggling to fight for differentiation. In fact, no thanks to its slightly curved design and straight edges, it could be easily mistaken for an old Lumia or the Moto G. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t exactly vie to be unique among the crowd.
It’s not an ugly phone by any means, despite not looking overly different from its competitors. You’ll still be more than happy to show it off in public. The white version is particularly pleasing, as you can see the handset’s curves clearly, as well as the metal band at the top. It adds for a classy effect, and you certainly wouldn’t think it were a cheap offering.
What’s also great is that you can actually hold the phone comfortably, unlike some of the phablets out there. Don’t be fooled, at 145.6 x 72.6 x 8.95mm, it’s no baby handset. However, your hands don’t feel like they’re stretching when you use the phone. It’s not too heavy, either, weighing 149g. Just to compare, the 2015 Moto G is 159g, so they’re similar.
Clad in Polycarbonate – just like many of the Lumia models – the MV1 feels expensive. It’s solid and doesn’t creak, and the curved edges mean it sits in your hand well. The only thing to be wary about is the fact that the material easily picks up grease and marks, meaning you may have to wipe it down with a cloth more than once. I noticed that the removable back plate picks up the most, although a case should help.


The MV1 sports a reasonably sized 5-inch 1280 x 720 IPS display, which tends to be the norm for budget price point handsets nowadays. While that may be the case, if you look carefully, you can find bargains with even better displays. Budget phones like the OnePlus X and Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 all pack full-HD screens, and for well under £200.
You can get better, but I’m not overly disappointed with the display’s capabilities. With the brightness turned up, on the whole text looks crisp and stands out, and you don’t have to keep blinking in order to focus on detail.
The display has a tendency to make colours appear dull, but this is understandable at a budget price point.
I don’t have any major problems using the phone in the sun, though. I can look at texts, emails, social media feeds and images without having to glare with full force in daylight. This is perhaps thanks to a feature Obi is calling “Sunlight Display”, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
As well as this, you’ll be happy to know that the display features Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which bodes for extra protection against drops. While there is an anti-fingerprint oleophobic coating, the screen still attracts a lot of marks. You can’t really do anything about that, apart from giving it a rub down every so often.


Obi has decided to load the MV1 with Cyanogen OS 12.1.1, which is a strong choice. It’s essentially a heavily modified version of Android 5.1.1. Lollipop, and offers a variety of features that allow you to customise the OS to your taste.
For instance, you’re able to change the phone’s theme. There are over 100 themes to choose from, and they cater for all tastes. Once you pick one you fancy, everything from the handset’s lockscreen to its icons change, which you don’t get with stock Android. In the latter case, the UI is stripped bare, and there’s not a great deal you can do in order to add a touch of your own personality.
It’s a mixed bag, though. While the premise with Cyanogen is that you can customise your handset to your heart’s content, sometimes simple is better. Using the operating system, I think there’s way too much going on. I’m more interested in being able to read my emails and watch funny videos of cats dancing than customisation gimmicks.
There’s still hope here, however. Cyanogen puts security high on the agenda, offering a variety of useful tools for protecting your handset - including Cyanogen's Privacy Guard, Pin Scramble and Protect Apps. Privacy Guard, which you can access in the phone’s settings, allows you to approve the apps that can use data and those that can’t. Hopefully it’ll help you avoid running up massive phone bills.
Pin Scramble also has its uses. It makes it complicated for people to get into your phone, mixing up the numbers organised on the lock screen whenever someone tries to get on it. Protected Apps, on the other hand, lets you add passwords to folders so that intruding users can’t pillage your precious data. So if you have a relative or friend who is always trying to sneak onto your phone, you have a way to keep them at bay.

Source :

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Moto G4 Plus review

Moto G4 Plus review


  • 1080p, 5.5-inch display
  • Snapdragon 617 CPU
  • 2/3GB RAM
  • Android 6.0.1
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • 16MP camera
  • 5MP selfie camera
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £199.00


The Motorola Moto G is the standard by which every budget smartphone is measured. Since the first version was released back in 2013 the Moto G has dominated the TrustedReviews Awards Budget Phone of the Year category. You can’t get better bang for your buck anywhere.
Up until now we’ve only had one version of the G released every year, but Lenovo, who bought Motorola last year, has this time brought us two: the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus.
You might expect the G4 Plus to be larger than the regular Moto G4 – it'd make sense with a name like that, wouldn't it? But you’d be wrong. The Moto G4 Plus is exactly the same size as the G4 and comes with the same whopper of a 5.5-inch screen.
So what is the difference?
Well there's the price for starters. The Moto G4 Plus costs £199 for the basic 2GB RAM/16GB storage option. That’s £30 more than the equivalent Moto G4. The extra cash has been spent wisely, though – you get a fast, responsive fingerprint scanner and a better camera.
Is it worth it? Having used both phones for a while now I’d say yes, very much so. This is the best Moto G you can get right now.


The Moto G4 Plus is no style icon. It looks pretty similar to the myriad budget smartphones out there – glass slab front, plastic back.
At first glance I was underwhelmed, but I’ve come to appreciate the understated looks of the G4 Plus.
For starters the dark grey metal frame makes this feel like a phone that’s worth more and gives the G4 Plus a stability and robustness that’s rare in phones costing less than £300. I’ll attest to its durability, as I’ve dropped it twice – the second time on a hardwood floor – and it remains unscathed.
The soft-touch finish on the rear is reasonably grippy, but does get greasy quite easily. Pop the back off and there’s access to a microSD and Micro SIM tray – a Nano SIM adapter is included. The battery isn’t removable, however. Well, not without removing screws and voiding your warranty.

There are only two visible differences between the G4 Plus and G4. The first is a tiny extra sensor in the camera module for laser autofocus and the second is a small square at the bottom of the screen.
The latter is the fingerprint sensor and it’s rather good, if a little ugly. It’s nice and responsive and unlocks the phone as quickly as the Touch ID sensor does on the vastly more expensive iPhone 6S. Unfortunately, unlike with Apple’s phone, the fingerprint sensor on the Moto G4 Plus isn’t a button, so it doesn’t do anything other than unlock your phone. It feels like a wasted opportunity to add a nifty shortcut.

The biggest issue with the Moto G4 Plus is, well, how big it is. Even though it’s not as massive as the Nexus 6P, its 5.5-inch screen puts it distinctly into phablet territory and that means it'll be more than a handful for a lot of people.
If you’ve not bought into the benefits of large phones, and prefer to have a petite device in your pocket or handbag, you might need to look elsewhere – the Moto G4 Plus is almost the same size as the giant iPhone 6S Plus. It’s a real shame Lenovo hasn't given us the option of a smaller Moto G.
Still, if you can handle it there are a lot of benefits to having a larger phone, not least of which is the screen.


Every Moto G phone has had a good screen for its price, and the G4 Plus is no exception. In fact, its screen is fantastic and better than ones on some phones that cost a lot more.
For starters the resolution has been upped to Full HD, so it’s now pin-sharp. There are phones with higher resolutions out there, but I defy most people to notice the difference if the screen isn’t a few inches from your eyes. If you enjoy a bit of mobile VR, you might want a sharper panel, but for everyone else it’ll be absolutely fine.
The display technology used is still IPS. That means you don’t quite get the same black levels as with AMOLED phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, but it’s very bright and colourful.
Colours are punchy, blacks decent and it has enough brightness to be viewed outdoors on even sunny days.
It really is a joy to use and makes the Moto G4 feel luxurious and like a much pricier phone than it is.
The only negative when it comes to image quality is that the colours aren’t perfectly accurate. The Simpsons' yellow skin has a faint greenish tinge to it and reds can be a bit too oversaturated, but this is still a far superior screen to any Moto G before it.
The screen is very fast and responsive to touch, although palm rejection isn’t perfect. I regularly find myself zooming in when trying to hit a link on a webpage because the bottom of my thumb interacts with the screen when I’m stretching.

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe


  • 5.7-inch 1080p screen
  • USB-C
  • Snapdragon 820
  • 6GB RAM
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0.1
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: free/subscription


Asus Zenfones seem to be popular in every country that isn’t the UK. Asus has apparently sold 30 million of the things in 30 territories in three years, which is modestly successful. Asus excels in the mid-range portion of the market, but at Computex this year the company went big on luxury, launching the Zenfone 3 Deluxe alongside the regular Zenfone 3.
It’s all about luxury here. There’s an all-metal, super-thin design with fancy-sounding camera tech and a range of colours. Asus was also insistent at its press conference that we should care about the ‘invisible’ aerial, but I find it very hard to raise my care-giving levels quite that high. Still, it might appeal to some.

At the rear of the device, under the camera hump, is a fingerprint reader. It was placed just a little too high for my tastes, and I have fairly normal-sized hands so the smaller-handed might have to adjust their grip to reach it.
The phone looks and feels fantastic. The 5.7-inch metal body is thin at just 4.2mm and Asus has added a slight curve to the edge, which makes it comfortable hold. The front is coated in Gorilla Glass, and the bottom of the phone has dedicated touch buttons for back, home and the task view, saving on-screen space.
The screen itself is a Full HD affair, which is a slight disappointment for a premium phone, but its Super AMOLED technology means it looks fantastic, with high contrast and vibrant colours thanks to the phone’s ability to display 100% of the challenging NTSC colour gamut. Asus says there’s an always-on screen mode, although during my time with the device I wasn’t able to experience it.

Performance comes from a top-end 2.3GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the same chip found in the LG G5 and some editions of the Samsung Galaxy S7. The whole phone feels incredibly responsive – more so than any phone I’ve played with recently, and with an unnecessary 6GB of RAM, this is a phone that’s unlikely to slow down in a hurry.
Asus has made a big deal out of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe’s camera technology. There’s laser autofocus and phase detection autofocus, with either used depending on lighting conditions. Asus reckons it takes just 0.03s to focus in on a moving object. I put this to the test by repeatedly taking photos of a bottle of water while moving the phone, and the phone did a decent job of catching up, although it wasn’t perfect every time.

The camera sensor itself is a 23MP affair, with wide f/2.0 aperture to let in loads of light. There’s optical image stabilisation, too. There is also a 92MP, Super resolution mode that stitches multiple images together for extra detail, but I wasn’t able to demonstrate this in a satisfactory manner; it’ll be interesting to see if it works properly in the real world.

Asus’ ZenUI software has received a few tweaks; you can now place custom icons and widgets on the lockscreen, and phone performance is placed front-and-centre with Mobile Manager encouraging you to close apps, check your privacy and save battery with various options just slightly beyond common sense.
The Zenfone 3 is priced at $499 (£414 inc VAT), which places it underneath the LG G5, HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7. This could be a seriously great value phone if it comes to the UK.
Source :

HTC 10 Review

HTC 10 Review


  • The HTC 10 runs on a Snapdragon 820 SoC, with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage
  • It's the first phone to feature a front camera with OIS
  • The HTC 10's build quality, display, software and camera are strong

HTC has gone from being an OEM for the likes of Dell andHP to producing some of the finest and most iconic Android smartphones of the last five years under its own banner. It's also recently diversified its business into the virtual reality space with HTC Vive Tech Corporation.
However, the profitability of the company's smartphone business has been a sore subject for some time, andrecent reports suggest things are still not quite right. Despite this, HTC continues to churn out smartphones and just a couple of months ago, it launched not one, but seven new models in India.
Our focus for today is the company's flagship for 2016, called the HTC 10. Unlike LG and Samsungwhich had an early start with their flagships, HTC thought it best to be fashionably late to the party. Will this strategy pay off? Our initial impressions of the phone were pretty positive, and it's now time to put it to the test.

Design and build 
The one thing HTC has gotten right since the original One is aesthetics, and we're happy to see that the 10 is no different. Sculpted from a single block of aluminium, the phone feels as premium as they come. The body is built ergonomically but the smooth finish doesn't offer much grip, which can be a problem when using the phone with one hand. The phone has a distinctively wide chamfered edge on the back which looks nice when light catches it. We did notice that the edges around the display can feel a little sharp when you hold this phone.

The display is a sensibly sized 5.2-inch Super LCD 5 panel with a Quad HD (1440x2560) resolution and Gorilla Glass protection. What we really love is the way the display curves around the edges, the earpiece and the capacitive Home button, looking like a layer of liquid on top of stone. Display quality is great, with good colour reproduction and accurate touch response. You can choose between 'Vivid' or 'sRGB' colour profiles and also fine tune the colour temperature for each. There are backlit navigation keys on either side of the Home button, which also houses the fingerprint sensor.

The HTC 10 has separate trays on either side for a microSD card (up to 2TB) and a SIM. The volume and power buttons are well crafted with good tactile feedback, and the latter gets additional ridges to help you locate it by touch. The 3.5mm headphone socket is on the top while the USB Type-C port and speaker are on the bottom. The Type-C port on the 10 supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 speeds so you can take advantage of faster data transfers.  Remember to enable this feature in the Settings app.

The slightly curved back houses the 12 UltraPixel 2 camera, laser autofocus sensor, and dual-tone LED flash. The camera lens bulges slightly from the back but there's a metal ring protecting it, and during our review period, we didn't find any scuffs or chipped paint.
We were sent just the phone for review with no accessories. In the retail box, you can expect to find a data cable, a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible adapter, and a headset.
Specifications and features
In terms of power, the HTC 10 packs in nothing but the best. We have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 quad-core SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or flash storage. This results in some pretty good benchmarks numbers. We got 118,856 in AnTuTu and a healthy 53fps in GFXbench. Other specifications include Category 9 LTE speeds for most Indian 4G bands, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, USB OTG, and GPS. There is no FM radio. The phone also seems to have reverse charging which makes it act like a power bank. The option pops up when you plug in a USB device.

HTC's Sense user interface over Android Marshmallow is now incredibly minimalist and that's a very good thing. In fact, the company has ditched many of its own apps (Gallery, Music) in favour of Google's native ones, which makes for a lean, clutter-free inerface. Blinkfeed is still present when you swipe right from the homescreen, but it can be turned off if you never use it. It gives you news snippets from Twitter and the News Republic app, but you can also sync your calendar, Google+, LinkedIn and meal recommendations from restaurants around you.
A long press on the homescreen lets you change the screen layout from 'Classic' to something called 'Freestyle'. What this does is change the entire theme of the phone (based on what you select) and replace most of the icons with stickers. You can link the stickers to apps or simply use them for decoration. It's a fun concept but the novelty may wear off after a few days.

The Themes app lets you change the look of your phone in one go or you can individually choose an icon set, wallpaper, sounds, and fonts. The Boost+ app automatically cleans junk files to free up storage at set intervals. In addition to this, you can lock apps with your fingerprint, uninstall apps, and optimise games in order to get more battery life. You also get the usual Google apps and Zoe Video Editor which helps you create short films from your photo collection.
The Settings app contains tools to import your data from an older Android phone or iPhone; HTC Connect for streaming media to compatible devices; Motion launch gestures for accessing features when the display is off; HTC Mini+ support; and HTC BoomSound.
The HTC 10 never skipped a beat during our rigorous test period. There were a few moments when the interface would stutter, but these were few and far between. Call quality is rather excellent, with clear audio from the earpiece. We found that the phone doesn't overheat during regular use but it does get noticeably hot when using the camera.

Google's Photos app has been tweaked to accommodate slow-motion videos and RAW files which the camera is capable of capturing. Audio is handled by the Play Music app and it's business as usual here. BoomSound is present and is backed by Dolby Audio. You get a dual-speaker setup, each powered by its own amplifier, but this time, the bottom speaker fires downwards instead of towards you. It still sounds great but isn't as immersive as two stereo speakers. The phone has also been designed with a high-resolution DAC which supports 24-bit audio. This lets you take full advantage of a good pair of headphones and your FLAC files.

BoomSound lets you toggle between Theatre and Music modes when using the loudspeaker, but plug in a pair of headphones and the options change. You can now toggle BoomSound on or off and enableDolby headphone effects. With it enabled, audio sounds richer and louder with tighter bass. Finally, we have Personal audio profile wizard that takes you through a series of steps in order to fine-tune frequencies based on your personal tastes, similar to Samsung's Adapt Sound feature.
Cameras have been a bit of sore subject for HTC's flagship devices but we can happily say that trend has been broken with the 10. It's still not the best nor is it perfect in any way, but there's been good progress. HTC is sticking to its Ultrapixel technology and now with version 2.0, we have a 12-megapixel resolution with a large pixel size of 1.55um. There's also a fairly large f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and laser autofocus. All of this comes together pretty well in delivering highly detailed and noise-free pictures. The sensor does a very good job with capturing accurate colours too.

(Tap to see full size HTC 10 camera samples) 
In daylight, distant objects in landscape shots are fairly well defined although slight chromatic aberration is present. Macros tend to lack punch when you crop them but look good when viewed normally. The large aperture also gives you an excellent bokeh effect, which is handy when shooting portraits. Low-light performance is also good with little to no chroma noise ruining details in dark areas.
The camera app is lean and quick, giving you basic controls on the right and the menu for switching shooting modes on the left. The flash and Auto HDR toggles are prominently displayed for ease of use. Other than the standard shooting mode, you get Zoe camera, which captures a still and few seconds of video. There's also Panorama and Pro modes. The latter lets you manually adjust focus, shutter speed (2 to 1/8000 sec), ISO (100-3200), white balance and exposure. This mode also lets you save images as in 12-bit RAW (DNG) files.

The app, while slick and fast, could use a bit of tweaking. For instance, a warning would intermittently flash on the screen alerting us to unblock the laser autofocus sensor even when there was nothing blocking it. We sometimes had to tap the focus ring multiple times for a macro shot to make sure the subject was in focus. We also found some irregularities with the camera's light metering system. At times, in low-light, the HTC 10 would simply refuse to meter a scene properly, despite us tapping to lock focus.
On a more positive note, video recording is handled well at resolutions up to 4K. You can even toggle high-res 24-bit audio recording. You can capture hyperlapse and slow-motion videos, both of which look great.
This is the first phone to feature OIS for the front camera. It does help stabilise shots to an extent, which is helpful in low light. The 5-megapixel autofocus front camera might not seem like much but coupled with larger pixels (1.34um) and a large f/1.8 aperture, you're looking at some well-defined selfies.
Battery life
The 3000mAh battery lasted for 8 hours and 23 minutes in our video loop test, which was a bit disappointing. However, with real-world usage, we managed to easily go past a full day before needing to charge this phone. The HTC 10 supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 which promises a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

The HTC 10 gets a proper flagship price of Rs. 52,990 which puts it right up there with the Samsung Galaxy S7 (Review) and the LG G5 (Review). With such a high price, it's not unreasonable to expect perfection and the HTC 10 does deliver that on some counts, but not all. That then begs the question, does it make sense spending this kind of money for such a device when you could get a similar experience at nearly half the price? The OnePlus 3 (Review) has proven to be a worthy low-cost flagship this year, offering premium level performance at a price most can afford. We sincerely hope the South Korean and Taiwanese brigade re-think their next flagship offerings.
Coming back to the device at hand, the HTC 10 is a beautiful, well crafted smartphone with the most powerful components available today. For a change, we can happily say that camera performance is also very good, though a notch behind the Galaxy S7 and LG G5. We also love HTC's new lean approach when it comes to software. Loyal HTC fans will pick this phone up in a heartbeat, but for everyone else, it's tough to recommend. The Samsung Galaxy S7 dominates the Android flagship space,and many other phones which cost less are good enough as well.
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