Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Critical Comparison among Nokia X, Nokia Lumia 520 and Xolo Q900

Audio & Visual Performance
Nokia X

The Nokia Lumia 520 and Nokia X have a sporty screen of 4-inch that is supported by IPS LCD panels. When compared regarding brightness, contrast, viewing angles, outdoor visibility and contrast, Lumia 520 is best even after having non-retina panel for display. The touch of Lumia 520 is ultra sensitive which has the potential to detect touch even through gloves.The Nokia X has a dual point multi touch unit which is absent in Lumia 520. There is nothing notable about the display of Nokia X as it’s quite dull. 

Now talking of the Xolo Q900, the screen is of 4.7 inch supporting 720p HD display along with TFT panels. The viewing angle of Xolo Q900 is wide and vibrantly bright screen. The drawback is scratch proof protection layer which makes the screen excessively glossy and the contrast function is not that catchy.

Of all the three, the Nokia X is known to have the loudest and clearest speaker. The Lumia 520 just follows is with a little checked sound output. The speakers of Xolo Q900 are very low compared to the other two phones. When an enhancement is attached, the volume output of Lumia 520 is undoubtedly the best of the three.

Hardware Performance
Xolo Q900Legally, Xolo Q900 is recorded to have better processor than the other two Nokia phones but when minutely tested, the Lumia 520 is noted for faster and better performance, especially in daily-life use. This may even be a result of the Operating System because Windows 8 is known as a hardware friendly operating system. 

The Xolo Q900 has a quad-core MediaTek MT6589 processor with a 1GB RAM that helps in fast operating when compared to Nokia X. The Nokia X has the simple dual core Snapdragon 200 processor with a RAM of 512MB only. Though the internal storage capacity is 4GB in case of both Xolo Q900 and Nokia X. in this phase the Lumia 520 has defeated both of them with an inbuilt memory of 8GB. All the three phones have external memory storage facility via microSD Card.

The Lumia 520 and Xolo Q900, both are efficient in case of playing games but Nokia X is not so supportive when it comes to games. The hardware can support some nominal games like Temple Run or Angry Bird but nothing beyond this with high graphics can be expected. There is a proximity sensor and accelerometer in both Nokia Lumia 520 and Nokia X. Apart from all these the Xolo Q900 has an e-compass and other necessary features.

Software & User Interface

The software version of Nokia X is Android 4.1.2 (JellyBean) assisted by FastLane and a User Interface Design that is almost an imitation of Windows Phone. There are two distinct divisions of the home screen, the app launcher and FastLane.

There is a list of all apps in the app launcher from where widgets can also be set. The FastLane is a place where all the recent notifications can be found as well as the recently utilized apps. Although the phones have Android OS, still no signs of Google Play Store can be found but instead Nokia has provided their very own App Store for installing desired apps. The phone has Nokia’s HERE Map, BBM, Nokia MixRadio and True-Caller already installed. The Nokia app store provides basic and nominal apps for more apps one has to install 1Store or any other app store. 

The Lumia 520 has Windows 8 (Phone) operating system with the Nokia Black. The Nokia HERE Maps, MS Office tools, Nokia MixRadio are already available in this phone. The Live Tiles behave like small widgets which gives a peck of any information.

The Xolo Q900 is operated by Android 4.2.2 JellyBean which is not an updated version but still passable. Xolo Q900 has pre-loaded apps such as notes app; file manager, sound recorder, Xolo Secure and Xolo Power. The Xolo Power is a battery management app that helps the user to set night mode, data sync interval and even low-battery mode. The Xolo Secure helps is keeping any personal mobile data safe and secure when the phone is lost. It acts as a device tracker as well and data can be removed or inserted remotely.

Connectivity & Battery Life

The Xolo Q900 and Nokia X are two SIM smartphones but Lumia 520 supports only one SIM. All the three devices have the facility of 3G, Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi b/g/n, A-GPS, Bluetooth and even MicroUSB ports. The Bluetooth version of Nokia X is v3.0 but in case of the other two devices, it is Bluetooth v4.0 connectivity.

In case of cellular data connectivity, the Nokia X is slowest with a speed of 7.2 Mbps whereas the Xolo Q900 has 42Mbps and Lumia 520 has 21Mbps of data download speed.

The battery of Nokia X is pretty decent compared to its price and size. It is 1500 mAh which doesn’t have the potential to last as long as the Lumia 520. The Nokia X can last for a day or half at the max while Lumia 520 can last almost for two days with a 1430 mAh battery. Xolo is the fastest of all the tree devices, in terms of connectivity. But Xolo Q900 cannot last for more than a day even after regular use as it is provided with 1800 mAh battery.

Pricing & Value

The price of Lumia X is Rs. 7,500 which is almost the same as Lumia 520. The Xolo is however priced around Rs. 9,658, which is Rs. 2,000 higher than the other two Nokia phones.

Most experts would suggest you not to go for the Nokia X as it does not have an effective hardware feature when compared to its price. One should wait for the Nokia XL though. Xolo is quite good as an Android device as it has a smart screen with classic camera although it cannot give proper battery back-up like the Lumia 520 while watching video or playing games.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gionee Elife S5.5 To Be Available In India From 27 April

Gionee announced the Elife S5.5 last month at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona and claimed it to be the world’s slimmest phone. Priced at Rs 22, 999, the phone will be available on shelves from April 27. The device was launched in China on March 18 and announced in India on March 31. India is one of the 40 countries where the phone is being launched and it is the second most prioritized country after China, to which the manufacturer belongs. The company president, William Lu, has said India is an important market for them at the time of making the announcement.

Gionee S5.5
Gionee S5.5

Mr. Lu has also said that the company constantly endeavours to bring in new technology always. Arvind Vohra, Gionee India Head has stated that the company has seen an increase in popularity within a year of beginning operation in India. It has experienced unprecedented growth especially with the ELIFE series.

The company started its operations in India in March 2013 and has so far done over Rs 500 crores worth of business. The company has a target turnover of Rs 2500 crore by the end of 2014-15 financial year. So far, the company has launched 14 mobile handsets in the country and 11 of them are smartphones. The number of service centres will also be increased to 750 from 400 by the end of fiscal year 2015. A budget of Rs 150 crore has been set aside for marketing and brand building, as stated by Mr Arvind Vohra.

The company targets states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab as its market and wants to woo crowds in the metros as well.

Globally, Gionee earned revenues worth $2.5 billion globally by selling 24 million handsets over the world last year. Of the 24 million handsets sold, a million were in India. For this year, the company targets to sell 35 million handsets globally of which 6 million will be in India. Gionee is ranked 10th among the shareholders of smartphones markets and is slated to break into top 5 within the next 5 years. It was the ODM or original device manufacturer for several Indian brands and made a foray directly into the market in the 2013’s first quarter.

The launch event took place in Goa where the firm claimed that the ELIFE S5.5 was the best engineered product. The first impressions of the product are not too bad and they do not spell the final verdict for the phone.

Design, Build and Display

The thick metal chassis feels and looks premium while the display unit has been made with corning gorilla glass. The display unit is Super Amoled and is fully HD. The tactile feedbacks on power and volume rockers are good. Both the buttons have been placed along the left panel. The similar positions of the two buttons are good for single handed operations. The USB charging point and 3.5mm jack have been placed on top.

The back and front glass covering is quite similar to what has been noted on the Nexus 4. However, all this is held in aluminium metal chasses with an ultra slim body of 5.5mm. The phone weighs 130 grams which is a little more than what the iPhone 5S weighs (112g). The right panel of the phone has a SIM card slot close to the top and is covered with rubber. The first look of the design and build is quite impressive.

The display unit is 5 inch long and fully HD. It has a pixel density of 441ppi. The display unit offers good viewing angles and is not very reflective. Texts look sharp and colour reproduction is quite precise. The display unit may turn out to be a strong point for the device.

The device performed well for video playbacks although reproduction of sound was not very good. With sound modulation, the body vibrates a little which can be quite annoying.

An octa core processor that clocks speed of 1.7 GHz is being used in the phone. The battery used in it will be 2,300 mAh although it will be upgraded to 2460 mAh in the next upgrade of the phone. The Elife S5.5 shall also support HSPA+42MBPS in 6 different band sets which would allow it to function in most WCDMA 3G coverage areas.

Until you hold it in your hands, it would be difficult to believe that the maker managed to squeeze in a 13MP primary camera and a 5MP secondary camera in the 5.5mm thick aluminium metal body. The LED flash on the back camera however is not blended in completely with the back cover and it protrudes outwards slightly.

The placement of the edges is a little uncomfortable as users may get their fingers in the frame while holding the camera. Even though the camera is yet to be tested at length, the 13MP shooter offers an average performance.

Software Used on the Phone

The ELIFE S5.5 uses Android Jelly Bean or 4.2 as the base and the Amigo UI is the customized skin for it. The feel of the software is similar to that of the Elife E7 although the company claims it is an improvement over the previous model. Further inspection is required to tell the difference between the two softwares. It should be notified beforehand that the ELIFE E7 has its own share of problems to deal with.

During the course of first impressions, there were no problems with the software although the phone heated up a bit. The performance of the software is yet to be tested fully.

The company is taking the Indian market very seriously as it has 2 to 4 percent of its sales being generated here. The company plans to distribute the phones through 25,000 centres. It has no intention of tying up with large online retailers unless the companies decide to sell the phone at MOP. Moreover, it does not intend to drop the prices of phones that Sony and Samsung do quickly after a launch. This will help to build brand value.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reviewing The Nokia X

Nokia was one of the foremost manufacturers of mobile devices and enjoyed a lot of popularity through the first decade of the millennium. The phones were hardy and user friendly which made them much preferred. However, with the launch of the iPhone and the Android open source mobile software, the popularity of Nokia phones dipped. 

The Finnish manufacturer refused to switch over to the new and improved technology that was incorporated into the new phones manufactured by Sony, LG, Samsung and other companies. When it did decide to upgrade its hardware and software, the company chose Windows as its preferred OS. This was another decision that led to a restriction in the sales of Nokia phones. Windows phones lacked the flexibility that was there in Android or iOS which led to slow sales for Nokia. App developers were not much interested in the OS and hence buyers stayed away as they could not download their favourite apps on the phone.
Nokia X

The Windows OS is quite unsuitable for low end phones and to cater to the budget segment, Nokia revamped some of its cell phones with the Symbian software and launched them in the market. Meanwhile, Android became the new buzz word and in the race to the bottom, phones that had Android in them were made available for as low as Rs 5000!

The Nokia X may be touted as an Android device, but it lacks several of Google’s foundation software. For example, Google has a Play Store app, Google Now search bar and Google Maps for navigation. Android licensees need to follow Google’s guidelines and include these apps, which is why Samsung and other phones have these applications.

Since Microsoft has its own range of similar applications, the Android ones have not been installed on them. Instead, Office, Bing Search and Nokia Here maps have been installed on the phone and there are no Google trademark apps anywhere.

The company claims that 75 percent of Android apps will work on the phone. However, the effectiveness of working is doubtful. Applications that use in-app payments, Google push notification and API maps may not work well. Moreover, the Android system used is 4.1.2 which is quite outdated.

The company intends to launch three devices on the Nokia X platform. However, after the take over from Microsoft, it is to be seen whether the company continues with these devices or promoted Windows phones instead.

Hardware of the Phone

The appearance of the device is similar to the Asha 5xx series and is roughly the size of iPhone 4. The sides are completely flat while the back bulges slightly. The phone is available in green, red, yellow, white, and blue and black.

The coloured case fits around the sides and back of the phone and forms a cover around the bezel and black screen. Putting on and taking off the case can be a bit difficult as it fits too snugly.

A single capacitive button has been placed for the home and back button. The screen size is 4 inches. A thin 1500 mAh battery has been placed under the back cover along with a microSD card slot and 2 micro SIM slots. The phone is made of sturdy materials and feels quite expensive.

Specs of the Phone

The Nokia X is not a credible threat to the Lumia 525 in terms of features. The processor used is 1GHz Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon with a A5 Cortex based MSM8225, which was not much high end even two years ago.

The GPU is the Adreno 203 while only 512MB RAM has been fitted in the phone. The phone’s prime objective is price and hence it does not look to uphold multimedia or gaming aspirations.

Built in storage space is only 4GB which can be expanded to 32 GB, using a microSD card. The screen resolution is only 800X480 resolutions. The phone supports 3G data and Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi b/g/n for wireless connectivity.

FM Radio and GPS have been included too. No secondary camera has been included in the phone that could be used to click selfies or video chat. The primary camera is 3MP which is the lowest specification that a smartphone offers these days.

User Interface of the Phone

The software has been optimized to suit the hardware of the phone. Simple swipes can be used for navigation and animations have been kept simple. A cluster of big icons without spacing shall greet users on the Home screen, which is similar to what is there in Windows 8 phones.

The groups can be tapped for rearranging the icons and each of the icons can be enlarged. The home screen appears as a long list of icons and widgets instead of pages that can be scrolled.

Basic applications have been included in the phones such as alarm clock, calendar, email client, calculator etc. They are quite handy, but not very user friendly. Bing is the default search engine used in the phone although it can be easily changed to Google using a tap on an icon. The email icon supports many accounts and can be set up for popular email services through one step.

Performance of the Phone

The phone is quite slow and several apps do not work accurately. For example, Zomato could not detect the location of the phone based on the GPS signal although it showed restaurants near the location defined.

The phone cannot multitask and hence it could take even days to download and install apps on it.

Basic games perform well on the mobile. However, the browser is quite slow and hence opening 3-4 tabs at a time is inadvisable. The phone can play back videos with resolution up to 720p. However, for H.264 videos, the playback becomes unwatchable as frames are dropped to a good extent.

Despite the camera being only 3MP, the resolution is quite good and photographs are mostly noise free and compression controlled. Focusing of the phone is quite good although its white balance and exposure need to be worked on. Photographs were well detailed in low light shots too.

Videos are recorded at an extremely low resolution of 352X288 and hence the feature should be used in dire emergencies only.

Call quality is quite good and the battery back-up is average. It lasted only 6 hours in a video loop test.


The phone is quite good for its price band of Rs 8,499. However, whether the line would be continued or improved upon is doubtful, especially after Microsoft takes over operations.

The Nokia X series has been launched to tempt users to upgrade to a Windows phone. However, that could act as a double edged sword with users migrating towards Android devices instead of a Windows one.