Nokia N8

Nokia-N8

Introduction   

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People have been expecting the Nokia N8 for quite some time and, luckily, most fans aren’t disappointed. This phone seems to set the standard when it comes to camera quality, features and storage capacity. As most of us expected, Nokia created one of the best touch screen phones around and they clearly focused on each and every detail before the release: the phone looks great and it performs even better.

Design

Nokia-N8

On the design front, there is nothing to complain about. The Nokia N8 looks amazing, even if you don’t usually like touch screen phones. The screen is placed in the center and it only leaves room for a small rim on each side and a somewhat larger rim on the top and bottom of the phone. This is also the place where you will find the main button, which can be used for accessing the menu and a few other functions. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about scratching the phone, so you can drop it all you want or keep it in your pocket along with your keys: it comes with a scratch-proof screen. When you turn the N8 around, you will notice the Carl Zeiss lens, the Xenon flash and the company’s logo. All of the connections are located on rim of the N8 and you will be surprised to see what Nokia has in store for us in that department.

On the side of the N8 you will notice a few safety gates for the MicroUSB slot, MicroSD card and for the Sim card. Most of the connectors are placed on the top of the phone: the mini HDMI port, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the power off and power on switch. The charger port is placed on the bottom side of the phone, but you can charge your phone directly from the MicroUSB slot through your computer.

Features

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At first glance, the phone seems a little underpowered, especially when compared with the big dogs of the phone industry: a 680MHz processor and only 256MB of memory for a phone that can record 720p movies? Luckily, the Symbian^3 operating system knows how to use these resources to its advantage and it is no surprise that the N8 performs better than some of the high quality phones that have stronger internal components. In every day use, this phone rises up to the expectations when it comes to performance.

On the storage side, the phone will come with 16GB from the factory and you can add up to 32GB more if you decide to buy a MicroSD card. This is especially useful if you plan on filming 720p movies and you don’t like deleting anything. If you don’t have music on your new 48GB phone, you can always turn to FM radio. The signal is clear once you tune in to the right station, but most people won’t feel the need to use this feature.

One of the most exciting features included in the N8 is the HDMI connection. You can now drag and drop video files from your computer (including .mkv files) straight to your phone without using a third party software. After that, just plug the phone into your TV through a HDMI cable and you can watch high definition movies from the Nokia N8. If you playback these files directly on your phone, you will see them through the 3.5 inch AMOLED display at a 640 x 360 resolution, which is not bad, but not exceptional either.

The Nokia N8 closes the gap between digital cameras and phones with its superb 12MP camera. The shutter button will allow you to focus on your subject before you snap the picture and there are plenty of adjustments that you can use to your advantage. The auto-focus feature will kick in at about four inches from the subject if you are using the macro mode and it will provide high quality pictures every single time. The flash is quite effective in night shots, but even without it, the details are impressive and the only drawback is a little bit of noise which can be taken care of in post processing.

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The Nokia N8 is one of the best phones when it comes to recording; it offers 720p movies at 25 frames per seconds. There are a few other devices which can top it in terms of performance, but even so, the phone won’t disappoint you. The only situation which might cause you problems is if you plan on focusing on a small object, which is closer than two feet from the camera. Other than that, you won’t have any problems and you will actually be surprised by the audio quality of your recordings. Not only will the sounds you record will be loud and clear, but the speakers of the N8 are also quite powerful when playing any other content.

Browsing the internet on the Cubot phone is a breeze most of the time. You can easily use the pinch and double tap features and navigating the internet will go without a hitch. The QWERTY keyboard is only available if you turn the phone around and use the landscape mode. You can watch YouTube videos without a problem thanks to the built-in Flash Lite software, but you won’t be able to upload videos, except through your email. You can also go to Ovi Maps if you want to see where you are and you will be surprised how well this app performs.

Pros and Cons

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When it comes to taking pictures, the Nokia N8 is one of the best if not the absolute best phone for the job. Recording is not going to disappoint you either. Besides this, you can use many features quite easily and multitasking is available, which is a huge advantage for the Nokia N8.

On the downside, the Symbian^3 system will be slower than you would expect from time to time and some websites will cause problems, especially if they are not available in mobile version.

Conclusion

The Nokia N8 has certainly exceeded the expectations when it comes to technology and specifications. The phone is very well built, the navigation system is almost perfect, and the camera is incredible.

Samsung GALAXY S II

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Here is another great addition to the current android market and it’s called Samsung Galaxy I9100 S II. This time with dual-core processor so performance is even better and faster plus with latest Touchwiz v2.3 running on Gingerbread. Let’s start reviewing this great phone right away.

Design

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A standard square shaped bar for the body of the phone and with 4.3 inch for display at the front, a solid home button and also a 2 MP camera at the front. At the left side it has a volume rocker only and on the top it has a 3.5 mm headphone jack. A power/lock button at the right hand side of the phone and for the bottom it has a microUSB port that serves also as a HDMI port. The back of the phone consist an 8 MP camera with LED flash and also a speaker. Exact size for the phone is 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm and weights only 116g that makes it very slim and light at the same time. Memory card and SIM slot can be accessed after opening the back cover of the phone and also this phone uses 1650 mAh battery. Samsung still use plastic cover for the back and it really does have that plastic feel but can be said that is safer than the Iphone 4 which is made from glass.

Features

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Touchwiz V4.0. Equipped with 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos Chipset for speed, Mali-400MP GPU for graphics and 1GB RAM. Double the speed compared to Galaxy S. The download speed of this phone is even faster than Galaxy S at a maximum of 21 Mbps for upload and also 5.76 Mbps for download.

Cubot have raised the bar with a bigger screen size measuring at 4.3 inch instead of the standard 4 inch display and also a plus feature for this great product is they use Super AMOLED Plus and 480 x 800 pixels for display. Picture can be seen clearly even on sunny outdoors with high resolution display and impressive colors.

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New feature about this phone is that it comes will all sorts of hubs like social hubs, game hub, book hub and also music hub. The social hub allows mail to be received from several accounts like Twitter or Facebook and also instant messaging like Gmail or MSN is also available so it’s very useful. Gaming hub is where people and download free games and install it to the phone. User will be able to download magazines, news and all sorts of books at the book hub and finally a mass selection of music available to download. There is also an alternative way to find apps at the Android Market.

Much better than the Kies Desktop, now there is Kies Air available. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a computer to search the phone’s content. Now it is available through Wi-Fi connection. Just open the app in the phone and it will display an IP address then you can check the phone’s content on the computer at that IP address.

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Calling is quite impressive and sounds were clear and crisp added also the noise reduction control installed with dedicated microphone. Receptions were good and would suffer dropped calls rarely. Voice calling is also available. Just double tap Home key to activate voice command.

Another nice extra feature in this phone that is has a gyro sensor installed. By pressing down with two fingers and tilt the phone either to the front or back will cause the screen to zoom inward or outward. Pinch zooming is still available so no need to worry if it does not suit for those who don’t like this extra feature.

The camera is amazing as well, 2MP camera at the front of the phone for clear video calling instead of 1.3MP only. 8 MP camera at the back for high quality picture shooting with a pack full of modes such as smile detection, panorama shot, night shot, touch-focus, geo tagging and also digital stabilization. Highest possible picture quality is 3264 x 2448 pixel resolution. High definition recording at 1080p for video is also possible with this phone and it can be edited with the Video Maker application. Video playback is very nice and clear considering the speed plus display power of this phone. Over 2GB size of high definition video is also not a problem. The only down side is that this phone does not have a physical camera shutter button but only a virtual camera button.

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Bluetooth V3.0 now supports high speed transfer about 21Mbps. Supported latest Adobe Flash Version 10.1 makes even better web browsing experience. A-GPS, Digital Compass and Document editor is provided in this phone as well for multiple usages. Battery life is average and can last for about 62 hour for regular usage.

Pros and Cons

The first best thing is that Samsung has included the Super AMOLED Plus as the screen for the Samsung Galaxy S II which is very suitable for a mobile phone. The incredible speed boost and upgrade is also a strong selling point for this phone. While this phone is pack with so much function and features it’s amazing that Samsung manufactures can maintain the phone to be light and slim.

To make the phone much lighter, Samsung had to use a plastic for cover so it does not have that premium feel compared to Iphone 4’s classy and shiny glass surface. Other than that, it makes this phone a must have.

Conclusion

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This is a phone pack with loads of goodness inside. It’s got speed, amazing display and fast internet connectivity. It is definitely worth to own one.

HTC Sensation XE

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The name HTC Sensation brings us back to the amazing smartphone that came out of HTC’s blocks and now with the HTC Sensation XE we have an even better phone with a keen eye or should we say ear for audio. HTC in collaboration with Beats by Dr Dre has launched this phone with a mission to win over the market niche who loves to get the best music out of their phones. HTC has thrown in a bigger battery and even added a better processor to this phone to make it the standout winner in the audio department. So, let’s find out if it is going to be the best audio smartphone we have ever seen.

Design

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The HTC Sensation XE has the same measurements as its predecessor the HTC Sensation 4G at 4.96 x 2.57 x 0.44. Those are numbers that point to a slightly big phone when you compare with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S II but we are glad the phone didn’t get any bigger than before given that it has received some upgrades in terms of audio performance. So if you can’t tell them apart by size, you will definitely be able to differentiate the HTC Sensation XE from the HTC Sensation 4G by the red accents found all over the phone. Things like the camera ring, earspeaker grill and even the capacitive buttons are all red in color. Apart from that, there is a Beats logo on the back which also has a red finish and all these makes the phone look very cool and just something a music lover would want to be carrying around.

There is a brushed aluminum strip that cuts across diagonally between two top notch soft-touch plastic. You will learn that this metal strip is actually a p   art of the unibody aluminum chassis and the curved recessed glass that goes over the 4.3 inch LCD screen will protect the screen from getting scratches. Turn the phone around and you will see the same 8MP camera that you had seen on the HTC Sensation 4G. It is positioned right next to the phone’s speaker and you will also see five dots that play their part in noise cancellation among other things. The volume rocker is placed together with the microUSB port on the left. Meanwhile on the top of the HTC Sensation XE you will find both the power key as well as the standard audio jack completing the buttons found around the phone. We liked how the buttons can be easily distinguished from the chassis and they all had good response too.

Features

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As mentioned earlier, the phone has had a major upgrade in the CPU department. HTC Sensation XE sports the best of the best that has come out of Qualcomm’s stables and that is the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 chip. Its brilliance shines through as you can use every single HTC Sense features without facing any lag. There is also a 768MB RAM to make performing tasks like a ride through heaven. In terms of space, there is 1GB of ROM and a 16GB card as well.

Out of the box, you get the HTC Sense 3.0 UI running seamlessly over the Anrdoid v2.3.4 Gingerbread and Cubot still impresses with the amazing graphics and cool features HTC Sense offers every time. As always you are given seven home screens as well with the HTC Sensation XE, however it is not something that you can expand on. If you are still thinking about swiping between home screens in a straight line you are being left behind as with the HTC Sense 3.0 you spin them around until you get to the screen of your choice. If you are in the mood for some fun, just spin the screens real fast to see how your home screens look when spun around real fast. Widgets are aplenty and you have your usual list like the contacts, Google search, music and Friend Stream already installed for your convenience. Nevertheless, you can always delete any of them if you think you have a preferred widget in mind. Something new on this UI is the Android notification bar’s location. It is now below a scrollable list of recently opened apps. The lock screen has also seen some changes because now you would have to lift a ring to the middle of the screen to unlock. However, the choice of having four shortcuts which you can immediately access from the lock screen still remains and better yet, you can customize which app you would like to access from the lock screen.

Now of course we have to talk about the Beats Audio mode, the mode that sets this phone apart from its predecessor. This mode is a tailored sound profile that increases the overall volume and you get a whole new audio spectrum that Dr Dre thinks is best. It is a great mode to have as you get lower bass and even better treble making your music listening experience that much better. The in-ear headphones that come with the HTC Sensation XE are the best ever. Not only does it look cool with its red cable but you get Dr Dre’s sound signature thus getting some good music along the way.

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On the front of the phone sits a majestic 4.3 inch LCD screen that has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Protected from scratch thanks to HTC’s design the screen on the HTC Sensation XE provides good brightness even when faced with the forces of the sun. The viewing angles are also terrific and text is crisp and sharp. Colors are also very rich and vivid. This is probable due to it being a Super LCD screen as colors are much well calibrated when compared to the Super AMOLED screens.

HTC Sensation XE has the same 8MP camera as its predecessor. Using the camera interface on this phone was a lot smoother as you would expect from a better CPU. Although the camera may lack Panorama mode but it has a plethora of effects you can apply before taking your photos or videos. Photos taken using this camera resulted in some dull colored pictures. However, there was much to love about how the phone was smart enough to deal with exposure and it also gives pretty good detail. On the video department, recording can be done at 1080p at a rate of 30fps, great numbers if you ask us. Videos turned out good with great attention for detail as well.

The browser onboard the HTC Sensation XE is brilliant, much like most HTC Android phones. The super powerful CPU gives some amazing page load times and this phone also offers support for Adobe Flash with great speeds too. Navigating across the page had no problems and the super fast text reflow is something to like as well. You get an array of connection option with the HTC Sensation XE like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS and DLNA.

Remember those 5 rings that we saw earlier on the back of the phone, well they do their job well in cancelling background noise as our friends on the other end say our voice was super clear. The ear piece on the HTC Sensation XE is also good as we can hear our friends loud and clear. The super sized 1730mAh battery will get you through a day with average use and albeit having a bigger processor, there was no extra drain in battery life.

Pros and Cons

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Great audio phone with amazing headphones is HTC Sensation XE’s tagline. It also does a great job with background noise cancellation. New and better CPU and batteries make up a great phone.

The camera could have been better and there is no support for FLAC format.

Conclusion

HTC has definitely done a good job in producing a phone for the audio lovers out there. Although the Beats mode might not win over too many people but we think the HTC Sensation XE is a pretty awesome audio Cubot phone.

Samsung Galaxy R

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When you talk about Samsung and smartphones, there is no doubt as to which phone will come to mind and – just in case you are still unsure – that is the Samsung GALAXY S II. It is one tremendous phone in terms of performance and has won many fans across the world. Now we have the Samsung Galaxy R which looks to settle in as the second best to come out of Samsung’s stables. Lagging just a tiny bit in terms of its specs offering, the Samsung Galaxy R definitely feels like one phone you shouldn’t be reckoning with.
Design

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The Samsung Galaxy R is going to remind you of its big brother for sure but it measures in at 4.39 x 2.6 x 0.37 inches making it that tiny bit fatter than the Samsung Galaxy S II. Adding to that, it’s also quite a bit heavier – by smartphone’s standards – as it weighs 4.76 oz which means it tips the scale 0.67 oz more than its older brother. Nevertheless, it feels classier and gives you the best because it has a brushed metal finish rather than the plastic feel from Samsung’s very best. On the front sits a 4.2 inch Super Clear LCD screen that has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and apart from the size, there’s not much in the way of difference when you look at both of them next to each other.

On the left side of the Samsung Galaxy R is the volume rocker while on the right we find the power key. We are happy that these buttons can be easily distinguished from the chassis and they give good tactile feedback too. You also won’t have to worry about mistakenly calling someone when the phone’s in your pocket as the buttons are hard enough to avoid that. On the top of the phone you will see the standard audio jack. The microUSB port is safely placed at the bottom. Flip the phone and there sits a 5MP camera waiting to be used, however this is one of the few noticeable downgrades from the Samsung Galaxy S II which has an 8MP sensor.
Features

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The CPU has also seen a downgrade – in terms of numbers at least – as the Samsung Galaxy R is running on the 1GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 Cortex-A9 chip instead of the 1.2GHz Dual core Exynos SoC chip on its older sibling. There’s also a 1GB RAM onboard to help increase the speed. Using the phone felt like a smooth sail the whole time as it showed no signs of slowing down or lags.

The phone runs on Android v2.3.4 Gingerbread and as always Samsung’s very own UI, the TouchWiz 4.0. This is where the two phones start to look very alike as you get the smooth transition animations as well as pretty icons thanks to them having the same UI. As we have come accustomed to now, the UI offers seven homescreens and the cool pinching tool is still there to give you an overview of what’s happening on all the screens at one go. Thanks to the great CPU that the Samsung Galaxy R runs on, navigating through the phone is as smooth as silk. Even when you have a few apps running at the same time with live wallpaper, things don’t seem to be affected so much.

You can also still resize your widgets to fit your menu the way you like it. There is also a bunch of software that’s included in the phone to make your life easier. For instance, you get a mini diary, downloads manager and photo editor all pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy R. Kies Air is another app that’s onboard and it allows your phone to wirelessly connect to a computer. If that’s not enough, Samsung has kept the Social Hub as it’s a really handy app to let you connect to the various social networks at once. Other than that, there is also the Music Hub for you to browse through your music as well as buy songs whenever you feel like it. For gamers, they can look forward to the Game Hub while those who love to read have their own thing to love with the Readers Hub in the Samsung Galaxy R.

The Samsung Galaxy R boasts a 4.2 inch Super Clear LCD screen which if not for its lack in terms of vibrant colors would actually be a much better screen than the one on the Samsung Galaxy S II. This is because it is much brighter and also gives more natural colors. It sports a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and also has some pretty good viewing angles to put it up there as one of the better smartphone screens.

In the past, we have mentioned numbers are not everything especially when it comes to cameras, but this 5MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy R definitely does lose out to the 8MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S II. When taking pictures in low light conditions, there is a stark difference in terms of quality between the two phones. Nevertheless, the camera still gives you pretty accurate colors plus does well in giving you details in your photos. There are also various shooting modes to be play around with like the panorama and candlelight mode among others. On the video side of things, Samsung Galaxy R is capable of taking 720p videos and it gives mixed results. Videos taken under good lighting are good, but videos taken indoors are grainy.

In terms of browsing the internet, the CPU shows its capability as the stock browser loads pages with ease. There is support for Flash and navigational tools like pinch to zoom and double tap to zoom all work super smooth. If you have many tabs opened, pinch out and you can view all the tabs in a side by side view and from there you also get to open more tabs or close those that you don’t need any more. You also get 4G internet speeds on the Samsung Galaxy R. The usual connectivity options like Bluetooth 3.0, GPS and also Wi-Fi which also comes with support for Wi-Fi direct.

Moving on to the performance of the Samsung Galaxy R, call quality was pretty good. There were no issues for parties on both sides to hear each other although we would have loved the earpiece more if it was louder. The secondary microphone on the phone also helps a lot as it cancels out active noise when you are making calls. Sporting a 1650mAh battery means you get up to 9 hours of talk time which is great and we can say with average use you can get away with a day without needing a recharge.

Pros and Cons

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Albeit having a smaller screen, it was an amazing one. The Samsung Galaxy R also has great call quality and good battery life.

The Samsung Galaxy R is a little heavier and is also priced almost as much as the Samsung Galaxy S II. It can’t record videos at 1080p either.
Conclusion

This is definitely another one of Samsung’s great phones but the Samsung Galaxy R if you have the money for one of these, then you might as well chip in a few extra bucks for the real deal, the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus

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Some of you may recall the Samsung Galaxy Ace phone that was released way back in 2006 when you first heard about this phone. Well the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is actually an upgrade to this phone, hence the name. Boasting a much better 1GHz CPU when compared to its predecessor this phone doesn’t exactly aim to be the top of the line in terms of specs or even in the design sense of things. Its aim is to be a smartphone that will woo the users by being a solid runner in the value for money category. Although we are not sure how keeping the same old HVGA resolution screen will help the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus in the way of making it a front runner, but let’s dig in deeper if it has some tricks under its sleeves.

Design 

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As mentioned a little earlier, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is far from being a smartphone that was designed to win accolades for its design. Having said that, we must say that the design is by no means appalling or anything of that sort but it is just that common design we have become accustomed to with smartphones. It is another phone with the black plastic design. Although it’s a common sight, we are obliged to talk about it and so we should probably mention its tapered back which is made of shiny black plastic. Apart from that, there was nothing else that caught our eye in this phone that’s worth a mention. However, this glossy plastic design makes the phone quite slippery so you should probably take some caution while using it.

This phone measures in at 4.52 x 2.46 x 0.44 inches so its size makes up for the slippery back as it fits well in your palm. Since the screen is just 3.65 inches big, you will be able to handle the phone with just one hand too. Speaking of the screen it only has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels thus making it feel like it’s a thing from the past. Moving on to the buttons around the phone, we find the usual suspects made available to us. On the right side of the phone is the power key while on the top is the standard audio jack. Meanwhile on the left of the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus phone is your volume rocker. The fact that the buttons were not flush with the chassis of the phone was a good thing. Apart from that, on the back of the phone is a 5MP camera that comes with LED flash as well as the speaker grill.

Features

So as we talked about earlier, this phone has been given an upgrade in terms of sheer performance when compared to the Samsung Galaxy Ace with its 1GHz processor. Of course that’s a really small number these days but the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus performed well without any lags probably thanks to the tiny screen resolution. There is also 512MB worth of RAM thrown in to make the experience a more pleasant one. In terms of memory, you get 3GB of internal memory and you can increase that with a microSD card that can go up to 32GB.

The smartphone runs on the Android v2.3 Gingerbread with the graphic user interface being Samsung’s very own TouchWiz 4.0. Some may question the choice of the OS since it’s the age of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but Samsung isn’t giving away much when asked about the possibility of the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus getting an upgrade on that front. Some of the noticeable features would be how the contacts list actually integrates all your buddies from both Facebook and LinkedIn. Samsung’s ChatON cross-platform messaging service is also made available out of the box with this phone. As always, Samsung has blessed this phone with the usual list of apps that comes together with TouchWiz which includes a file browser. The Social Hub is there as well to put all your social networking updates in one place for you to stay connected at all times. Speaking a little about the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus’ music player, it is quite straightforward. However you do get some features like equalizer presets and also faux surround sound mode.

Moving on the screen of the Cubot Note S, this is probably the most disappointing part of this phone. It is surprising how the predecessor shares the same screen as this one which means Samsung just decided not to upgrade the screen. The 3.65 inch screen is of HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) resolution making it produce a pixel density of only 158ppi. On a literally brighter note, the phone is still legible even when you are out on a sunny day. You also get some good colors plus the viewing angles were not too bad either. However, you lose a lot in terms of details with this display.

The camera on the back of the Cubot phone is a 5MP one that comes with LED flash as well. It does produce some decent shots but it lacks details just like the screen. The color reproduction was good and so was the contrast. It’s good to note that the camera interface actually offers modes like Panorama and Continuous shooting among others. Video recording isn’t top of the line as it records at VGA quality only but the 30 fps rate at least makes the video bearable as it runs without any glitches.

We were let down a little with the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus’ browser as it doesn’t load pages too well. This is really apparent when you try to zoom in as this would bring about many checkered boxes. However, it’s good that it runs Flash even though it won’t be a smooth ride. In terms of connectivity options, it has the usual stuff like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS as well as DLNA.

On a phone that doesn’t aim to excel with its specs but rather focuses to provide value for money, it goes without saying that we expect it to perform well with call quality. However, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus produced some muffled voices in the earpiece with low volume levels as well. However, it made up for it to a certain extent as our friends on the line could hear us well. This phone ships with a 1300mAh battery and we reckon it should keep you going for up to a day and a half with average use, and with the screen size, you might be able to squeeze two days out of the phone.

Pros and Cons

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The graphic user interface on the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus was smooth and up for the task. Picture quality was also decent.

The screen was a major downer as it sported a really low resolution. Meanwhile for the CPU, albeit getting an upgrade, it felt rather insignificant when compared to its predecessor.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus in our opinion didn’t hit the spot with its aim to be a value for money phone as it doesn’t offer the right specs for the price it’s going for. There are much better phones out there for almost the same price or probably slightly more that you could look at rather than this one.

Cubot Note S Review: Facts that make the Cubot Note S NO.1 on the buying list of most Kenyans

I remember of hearing of the Cubot smartphone in Kenya late last year, and I was just wondering what kind of phone that could be. A friend bought one and I promised not to buy until I rate its performance. To be honest, I had my doubts; I was not ready to jump onto a new model after the various disappointments that I had encountered with other new models. I think the smartphone market in Kenya has been flooded by many cons who offer bad deals at good prices. Some of the best smartphones happen to be super expensive and this is something that made me stay away from the Cubot phone as far as I could.

It is now 2016 and the Cubot phone is still going strong and has become a competitor with brands such as Tecno and Infinix which are highly appreciated by most Kenyans. I don’t think that this brand is getting out of the market anytime soon. In the beginning, only a few brands were around but as of now there is a lot to choose from because the ranges are simply amazing. To begin with, Cubot is a cheap smartphone compared to other brands in Kenya while it offers similar features just like other smartphones. Let us look at some of the factors that will definitely make you buy the Cubot Note S which is the in thing in the market as we speak.

Cubot Note S is cheaper and better

cheaper price

Cubot Note S is a smartphone that will give you the best and still not damage your budget as other smartphones in Kenya do. With as little as Ksh 9, 000 you can get your hands on this gadget that will take your experience with smartphones a little higher.  In Kenya we have the saying that cheap is expensive, this is because most of the times when we buy cheap electronics we always use a lot of money on repairs that cost you more. Cubot Note S is a smartphone that beats this saying; this is because it is cheap and will not cost you a dime with repairs. The makers of the Cubot phones are trying their level best to provide products that are pocket-friendly and which are available to most people who may not afford some of the expensive brands in Kenya.

Cubot Note S is easily accessible

Cubot Note S from Kilimall Kenya

When the Cubot Note S was first launched in Kenya early this year, it was made available through an online store known as Kilimall. The advantage of the online store is the fact that you are able to make your order and wait for the delivery which takes less than a week to get to you. What is happening was unimaginable some few years ago when you had to physically look for the smartphone that you want to have. I think something that has made this phone trend in Kenya is the fact that you don’t have to walk through the dusty streets of Nairobi to get it. It will knock at your door and you will get the Cubot Note S ready for you to unlock all the features that it comes with.

A phone is not enough till we take a close look at what it comes with. The specs of the Cubot Note S are incredible and they make this phone something great to work with at any day. I will take you through what it is made of and you decide whether it is the phone of the season or not.

Operating system

Android 5.1

Cubot Note S runs on the 5.1 Android version which is the latest version of the Android operating system. This is good news for you if you have been using the 4.4 KitKat version which some of the smartphones in Kenya are running on. The latest version comes with so much to offer in terms of security and power saving in the cases where the phone is almost running out of charge. It offers many options for the latest and updated applications on your phone. This keeps you in touch with what is happening in advanced applications and technology.

Memory

phone memories

Cubot Note S will give you the advantages of having a 2GB RAM that make it possible for you to navigate through all the apps in your phone. It gives you a fast experience when you are operating with the apps and it does not have the option of having to hang often when you are using this smartphone. At least most Kenyans have this to console them as they love smartphones that are not slowing them down. A 16GB RAM will make sure that your Cubot Note S stores all the documents that you may have. With this, you can forget about having to delete some data in order for you to store more items on your data

Battery

Battery of Cubot

A 4150mAh battery on the Cubot Note S gives every Kenyan the dream that they have been having concerning smartphones. What this kind of capacity can do for you is on a whole new level. It keeps your smartphone on for a very long time and you don’t have to always worry about the battery going down. Imagine a phone that can keep you going for a whole day and still make it possible for you to perform all the functions that you need with it. Cubot Note S will give you just that. It is an amazing phone with the fact that it gives you less to worry about as you carry out your day to day activities. I have heard of people who have used this phone for two days without having to charge it and it gave them a great time. A heavy user will go for over a day without having to recharge it but at some point, they will definitely have to put some charge. For people who are smooth with their phones, you may go for two days without the need of a charger; I think it gets more amazing with the Cubot Note S.

Camera

Camera on Cubot

Talking about a smartphone and failing to talk about the camera is a major crime. The Cubot Note S camera has tried in terms of the standard that it comes with, in consideration of the price that you can get this phone with. It has a rear camera of 8MP and a front camera of 5MP; this is some good news to people who are in love with photographs. It gives you some of the best selfies and clear images. It has a flash that enables you to take photos under low light intensity. The camera supports face recognition and puts it at par with some of the most expensive Samsung smartphones in Kenya. My verdict is that this is an excellent camera that will take your photography to another level especially if your previous phone was not as good as the Cubot Note S.

Something else that makes this one of the smartphones that you must have this year is probably the fact that it supports dual sim cards. This is something that gives the freedom to the user to decide which service provider they will use with their phones. It also reduces the bulkiness of having to carry two phones if you have a number meant for business and another which is meant for family and friends. It gives you room to have two service providers in the palm of your hands. You can now say goodbye to having to remove one sim card and insert another that you may want to use.

Kenyan’s choice

My take is that the Cubot Note S is a phone that will give most Kenyans, more so the young generation a good time with a good smartphone. For people who have been struggling to get a phone that can serve them in an exceptional way, this phone will give them that kind of exposure. This does not mean that this phone does not have a downside, after all most smartphones have both the upside of the story and the other side which is often untold. The only thing that you do is weighing your options and getting the phone that has more advantages than disadvantages. This is the same case with the Cubot Note S which has more plusses than negatives.  At least the reviews that it is getting from people are very positive. Some of my friends still think that they would go for a Cubot phone any time. I think that it has done a good job in proving that it is not a con like most of the brands that have been making rounds in Kenya. You can always check this phone out in the internet and order one if you need an upgrade of your smartphone.

HTC EVO 3D

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When HTC came out with the HTC EVO 4G, it was a smashing hit with the masses. It some ways it still is. Now, HTC EVO 3D has been launched, is it going to be better than the original EVO? Is the HTC EVO 3D going to take away all the fame from the HTC EVO 4G and let the spotlight shine on itself? We shall find out in this review.

Design

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One quick glance at the HTC EVO 3D and you might have mistook it for the recently launched HTC Incredible 2. But when you take a closer look, the phone is a master class of its own. To begin with, it has a silver 2D/3D mode switch to give it a distinction from the rest. The 5.0 x 2.5 x 0.45 phone is a little bit taller than the HTC EVO 4G but also narrower and a little bit thinner. All these combined, it means it’s a phone that sits snuggly in your hands. On the front is of course the 540 x 960 4.3-inch qHD capacitive touchscreen with the 1.3 megapixel sitting on the top right hand corner. The 4 capacitive buttons as always are there at the bottom. On the top is where the power button and the headphone jack are located while at the bottom is the primary mic. On the left side is where the combined HDMI/microUSB connector is. Finally on the right we find the usual volume rocker together with the 2D/3D mode swich and the huge machined aluminum camera key. Flip the HTC EVO 3D and the first thing you would say is Wow, as would anyone in response to the huge camera pod that houses the twin 5 megapixel autofocus camera. The pod is housed within a red aluminum rim that also is home to the speaker.

Features

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The 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor coupled with the Adreno 220 GPU certainly reminds us of the HTC Sensation but the HTC EVO 3D comes with improved 1GB RAM. With these specs, it was no surprise when Quadrant returned scores in the 2000 region. Running on the Android v.2.3.3 Gingerbread coupled with HTC Sense’s 3.0 is definitely good news for all.

As you might have already figured out, with the power provided by the CPU and the brilliance of the software the HTC EVO 3D runs on, using this phone is an absolute joy ride. For those who love using their phone with style, HTC Sense is your best bet. One of those stylish things is how you can go directly to the camera or your dialer directly from the unlock screen. Although it doesn’t save you too much time, but it’s really cool to use. Going through a gallery with a mix of 2D and 3D pictures is not a problem as the phone is smart enough to differentiate them and display it in the correct format.

The 4.3-inch qHD Super LCD display on the HTC EVO 3D is obviously different from the rest as it supports glass-free 3D content. However, apart from that, it can’t be said to be one of the better displays in the market as we feel even phones like HTC DROID Incredible 2 that comes with a WGVA screen gives a better feel in terms of color and brightness.

For obvious reasons, the camera in this phone is something we have to talk about. The question is, can the twin 5 megapixel autofocus cameras do its job in taking 3D shots? Well both cameras did sync to produce decent pictures even in low-light scenarios. However, the panel that covers the camera pod seems to be not se well thought as it causes halos in images taken with bright light backgrounds. Also, macro photography seems to be a problem when it comes to close-ups although it works just fine in 3D. Color balance in pictures can however be considered good. A drawback with 3D is that the cameras will refuse to work unless held in the horizontal position and in the landscape orientation. Battery level plays a part too in 3D photography as the cameras don’t work in 3D if you only have 15% of charge left. Nevertheless, 2D pictures were good and there should be no complains for occasional use.

As always, with mammoths like this, battery life is definitely going to be a major talking point. However, unlike the HTC EVO 4G where the battery life was a serious issue, with the HTC EVO 3D the phone can be used the whole day thanks to the new 1730mAh battery. You could take a bunch of photos (both in 2D and 3D), text, make phone calls and play games and still have some battery life to spare. Call quality was sometimes a problem as it sounded a bit muddy, but the earpiece was definitely loud enough. Connecting to the internet with this phone was an issue as it took quite a bit of effort to be able to log in to the net.

Pros and Cons

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The HTC EVO 3D without a shred of doubt is a fast phone. The 1GB RAM is definitely a standout point as most phones come with 768MB RAM. It’s also a 3D phone which obviously is a cool feature. Plus, being an Android powered phone, there is a huge list of software out there for you to pick out from.

The call quality seems to be a little disappointing. Also, the fact that it’s a bit hard to connect to the internet is a definite turn off since it’s a smartphone. The HTC EVO 3D also needs some work on its 3D camera.

Concl   usion

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So is the HTC EVO 3D a worthy replacement to the HTC EVO 4G? The answer is a yes, as it can do everything the HTC EVO 4G could, just a whole lot faster. Some say the 3D function is cool, while others say it’s cool. At the end of the day, it’s up to you what you want, 3D or not.