Samsung’s Galaxy S6: Metal, wireless charging are in, removable battery and microSD are out

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Samsung announced its Galaxy S6 on March 1, as expected, and many of the rumors about its design have proven true, including the decision to build both an Edge and non-Edge configuration (the Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 respectively), as well as the lack of a swappable battery or microSD card. Samsung has compensated for these removals with a bevy of new features meant to appeal to the broad market — whatever else one can say about the Galaxy S6, it’s definitely not a warmed-over retread.

New technologies

The Galaxy S6 will use the same Exynos 7420 SoC as the Galaxy Note S4. But the chip in the S6 is built on Samsung’s 14nm process, not the 20nm technology that the Korean manufacturer used for the older phablet. The result is apparently a phone that’s 35 percent more energy efficient while being up to 20 percent faster (no benchmarks are yet available, so we’re taking Samsung’s word on this one).

GalaxyS6-Pixels

Other improvements include a shift from DDR3 to DDR4, a bump to 3GB of RAM as standard (up from 2GB),and 32GB of minimum storage, up from 16GB. Samsung is also putting a heavy push behind wireless charging this time around, with support for both the WPC and PMA standards. There’s a new front-facing camera at 5MP as opposed to the previous 2MP (with an F1.9 lens), and an even higher-density AMOLED screen that Samsung says features 77 percent more pixels than the Galaxy S5. New fingerprint sensors, a louder speaker, and a set of application-level improvements round out the device. It’s also unclear how much those additional pixels boost the overall display quality — while I like high-resolution smartphones as much as anyone, we’ve long-since passed peak pixel density and are firmly in the territory of diminishing margial returns where simply adding pixels is concerned.

The Galaxy S6's Edge (image by The Verge)

The Galaxy S6’s Edge

 

One new capability that takes advantage of the S6 Edge is the ability to assign colors to up to five specific contacts. Assign blue to your mother, for example, and the edge of the phone will glow blue when she calls. Samsung claims this allows you to know who’s calling before even picking up the phone to see, but whether or not this proves a practical innovation probably depends on how you store your phone. If you keep it in a pocket or purse, it’s of less value compared to leaving it face-down on your desk.

Samsung is also claiming that it can fast-charge the device, with a full charge in half the time of the iPhone 6 and with 10 minutes of charge time delivering enough power to use the device for four hours. Whether or not this requires special hardware is unknown and it presumably refers to wired charging not wireless.

Will consumers bite?

Unlike the Galaxy S5, which was generally seen as a rehash of the Galaxy S4 with incremental improvements (and whose sales suffered accordingly), the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge are clearly a huge revamp of the entire product line. Samsung is attacking on multiple fronts — its new phone will have far more cores than the iPhone, it’s built on a more advanced process technology, the company claims its camera is better (as shown below), basic storage is higher, wireless charging is available, and there are even more payment systems in place. Even allowing for the fact that the Apple A8 SoC sets records as far as performance efficiency, Samsung’s quad-core Exynos should be quite competitive.

Samsung is particularly proud of the device's camera, though independent testing will have to confirm its quality.

Samsung is particularly proud of the device’s camera, though independent testing will have to confirm its quality.

The one missing piece of the puzzle is price. Previous rumors indicated that the S6 would be priced well above Apple’s iPhone, and the features Samsung unveiled today seem to suggest that’ll be the case. This isn’t a cheap device by any stretch, but Samsung may well take a shot at the premium market as opposed to allowing Apple to dictate overall device pricing. That’s a risky strategy — consumers have historically seen Apple hardware as the market leader, and that company has a long history of capturing the top of its particular market segments.

The S6 has the hardware specs to be the next leading lady of the smartphone market. But price and overall device experience will determine whether the company can seize that crown.

 

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Samsung Galaxy S5 may launch in April with iris-scanning feature

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Samsung Galaxy S5 is a much-anticipated device, and the speculation around it is endless. However, in a Bloomberg News interview published on Thursday, Samsung’s mobile executive VP, Lee Young-hee, outlined broad plans for the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone, the next iteration of the Galaxy Note phablet as well as the new Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Speaking about the launch date of the Galaxy S5, and the next iteration of the Galaxy Gear, Young-hee was quoted as saying, “We’ve been announcing our first flagship model in the first half of each year, around March and April, and we are still targeting for release around that time. When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions, and the bulky design will also be improved.”

The launch of the Galaxy Gear alongside the Galaxy S5 was rumoured as far back as November. However, the launch date seems to contradict what another Samsung executive is reported to have said recently. Samsung Electronics Vice President of Design Team Dong-hoon Chang had apparently said that talk of a Galaxy S5 launch around MWC 2014 was “about right”, so could we see a February unveiling at MWC, followed by a launch in March-April? It’s certainly possible.

Rumours of the eye-scanning feature, which we’ve reported before, were also acknowledged by Young-hee, who said: “Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology.” Young-hee also said the company was considering the inclusion of iris-scanning technology in the Galaxy S5, to take on Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint-scanning biometric authentication feature, launched with the iPhone 5s.

Interestingly, Young-hee in the interview acknowledged the slow adoption of the Galaxy S4, saying “it’s partly true that consumers couldn’t really feel much difference between the two products (Galaxy S IIIand Galaxy S4) from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn’t as big.”

In this context, speaking about plans for the Galaxy S5, Young-hee added: “For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.”

Describing plans for the next iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Note phablet, Young-hee said a three-sided display was under consideration, one that would enable users to be able to read from a sharper angle. He added that the next Galaxy Note will be released, as always, in the second half of the year, and be targeted at consumers who want “more professional use and tend to be willing to pay more for handsets.”

When elaborating about Samsung’s plans for the future of the wearable device segment, Young-hee said that health-care related functions will be a very important part of next-generation wearables like the Galaxy Gear.

LG G Flex: First impressions

LG-G-Flex-front-panel-635.jpg LG finally introduced its first curved display smartphone in India, the G Flex, at an event in New Delhi. Indian consumers will have to wait till next year to get their hands on the device, as the G Flex will be available in India only in February 2014. We got a chance to play with the LG G Flex at the event however, and sum up our first impressions below. When we first held the G Flex in our hands, we were definitely a bit taken aback by its ergonomic curved design, which definitely is the device’s USP. The G Flex is curved on its horizontal axis which gives the device’s top and bottom edges a curl shape. LG-G-Flex-front-side-profile-635.jpg The biggest perceived advantage of the G Flex’s curve in our limited period usage, is while talking on the device – the design definitely better hugs your face, much like an old landline phone. In terms of gripping, the curve also helps to comfortably hold the device, but the rear is made of plastic, so it can also slip out during long usage. When compared to some of its close competitors like HTC One Max and the Galaxy Mega 6.3, the G Flex (160.5×81.6×8.7mm) is better to hold and move around thanks to the curve design. Next big thing which is very much noticeable in the G Flex is its size, the 6-inch display does puts it in the phablet category and does looks like a large device in hands. Notably, we were unable to easily use the G Flex with one hand, as we found it difficult to stretch our thumb across the device. When talking about phablets, we still believe that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 (151.2×79.2×8.3mm) and Sony’sXperia Z Ultra (179.4×92.2×6.5mm) were better in terms of daily usage because of a more lightweight and sleeker profile. At the event, we were told that the G Flex can actually ‘flex’ until it’s totally flat, and one of the company representatives even claimed that the South Korean manufacturer has tested the flexibility of the G Flex up to 100 times with about 40 kilograms of weight putting on the device without damaging the G Flex’s screen. Let’s say in the case, when accidentally sitting on the G Flex. While we couldn’t test it with 40 kilograms of weight, we did press the curve of the G Flex, and it did stretch to be flat. While the display didn’t crack, it’s not really advisable to do this on a daily basis. LG-G-Flex-rear-panel-635.jpg Following closely on the lines of LG’s current flagship smartphone, the LG G2, G Flex also features rear physical keys for power and volume controls. LG has equipped the LED light on the rear power key which comes handy for notifications and while taking a selfie. The keys are metallic and offer good tactile feedback, very much like the LG G2. The volume-up button also doubles up as a shortcut key to launch the Quickmemo app on long press and the volume-down button acts as a camera shortcut key on long press when the phone is locked. The G Flex also includes a number of ports around the edges including the 3.5mm audio jack and the charging port that sits at the bottom panel, while the micro-SIM card slot sits at the left panel of the G Flex. The rear panel includes the primary 13-megapixel camera with an LED flash, which is accompanied by an IR Blaster. It would be unfair to end the design part without talking about G Flex’s self-healing back that has been creating a buzz worldwide. When we wanted to test the self-healing capability of the G Flex, we were sure we needed a scratchy material; unfortunately we didn’t carry a knife so we tried our key chain to rub the rear panel and gave it a surface level scratch which was very much visible initially. After some time, we noticed that the scratches were reduced but not completely eliminated. While looking the G Flex from a certain angle, it looked that the scratches were gone, although it was pretty much noticeable. However, we must confess we were impressed and believe that the G Flex can easily handle day-to-day bruises. Coming to the hardware of the G Flex, it is powered by a quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) processor with an Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. The G Flex easily handled multitasking with ease, and the apps opened and closed instantaneously. Performance wise, the G Flex fared well in our limited testing. The G Flex sports a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. During our usage, the camera app opened instantly and did click at good speed without any shutter lag. The G Flex is powered by a 3,500mAh battery and weighs 177 grams. The LG G Flex comes with 32GB inbuilt storage, which is non-expandable. The LG G Flex runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which is a disappointment as we expected LG to ship Android 4.3, the most recent iteration of the OS with the phone. However, with LG finally revealing plans for rolling out the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the flagship smartphone, the G2, we expect that the G Flex will also get the KitKat treatment soon. lg-g-flex-front-sides-635.jpg On the software department, the G Flex borrows many things from the G2. The company has added the same LG G2 UI layer on top of the G Flex, majorly changing the look and feel of the interface and enabling users to customise the phone according to their liking. The LG G Flex also features the KnockON, which is LG’s version of double tap to unlock and even lock the smartphone. In our limited testing, we found that at times while trying to unlock the phone it didn’t register our taps. In fact, it was annoying at times. Other features on the G Flex include Slide Aside which is a way to multitask by moving between three apps at once via a three-finger swipe gesture; Guest mode, which allows you to create a guest mode with pre-selected apps for times when your friends or family want to use your phone; Dual Window, which divides the screen into two panels for multitasking and QuickTheatre that gives direct access to gallery, videos and YouTube icons.

LG G Flex detailed specifications

General
Release date October 2013
Form factor Touchscreen
Dimensions (mm) 160.50 x 81.60 x 8.70
Weight (g) 177.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 3500
Removable battery No
Colours Titan Silver
SAR value NA
Display
Screen size (inches) 6.00
Touchscreen Yes
Touchscreen type Capacitive
Resolution 720×1280 pixels
Hardware
Processor 2.2GHz  quad-core
Processor make Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
RAM 2GB
Internal storage 32GB
Camera
Rear camera 13-megapixel
Flash Yes
Front camera 2.1-megapixel
Software
Operating System Android 4.2
Java support No
Browser supports Flash No
Connectivity
Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n/ ac
GPS No
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.00
NFC Yes
Infrared No
DLNA No
Wi-Fi Direct No
MHL Out No
HDMI No
Headphones 3.5mm
FM No
USB Micro-USB
Charging via Micro-USB Yes
Proprietary charging connector No
Proprietary data connector No
Number of SIMs 1
SIM Type Micro-SIM
GSM/ CDMA GSM
2G frequencies supported NA
3G Yes
3G frequencies supported NA
Sensors
Compass/ Magnetometer No
Proximity sensor No
Accelerometer No
Ambient light sensor No
Gyroscope No
Barometer No
Temperature sensor No

Why Android smartphones consume more data

 

Android smartphones are kind of like Hummers. Reminiscent of the oversize, gas-guzzling SUV’s, Androids have the biggest screens and tend to use much more data than other types of smartphones, including iPhones. And that higher data usage could rack up heftier phone bills.

So why does Android use more data? The reasons are multifold. The most obvious is that Android phones tend to have the largest screens, so they download bigger files and video with more pixels, says Chetan Sharma , a telecom analyst.

Another factor is that Android is less efficient at managing apps than Apple’s iOS. For instance, multiple Android apps may be running in the background with things like location data being collected, he said.

Also, Android users typically don’t upgrade their operating systems as frequently as iOS users, so their smartphones may not receive fixes improving data management, he said.

Jan Dawson, an independent telecom analyst who previously worked for Ovum, noted that the data traffic numbers may also reflect the profiles of the people who choose Android versus those who choose iPhones. People with larger Android phones are more likely to skip buying a tablet, whereas iPhone owners may be buying iPads and consuming a lot of content there.

Google Nexus 5 Review

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It caught everyone’s fancy from the time it was first leaked in a video, and since then, all Android enthusiasts, and especially the ones who swear by the pure stock user interface of the operating system, have been eyeing this smartphone. No prizes for guessing, we’re talking about the Nexus 5, Google’s new platform showcase device which has been manufactured by Korean electronics giant, LG. It’s also the first time that Google has launched its flagship device in the Indian market just weeks after its international launch. The pricing of the phone and the promise of priority software updates makes it an irresistible proposition. So, how does it perform in real world conditions? We put it to test and find out in our review.

Build/ Design
The Nexus 5 sports a very understated look and there’s nothing really striking in the phone’s design that will shout for your attention. The phone is made of plastic and doesn’t feel very premium.

However, when you place the phone in your hand, you’ll feel that it’s very pleasant to hold thanks to the soft touch matte finish. Also, despite its large 4.95-inch screen, we didn’t face any issues operating it with one hand. This is also due to the phone being quite lightweight at 130 grams.

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The Nexus 5’s edges are less curved and its corners less rounded compared to other phones, including the Nexus 4. The phone is available in Black and White colour variants and we got a Black one as our review unit.

The 4.95-inch full-HD display dominates the front of the Nexus 5, and there are no hardware buttons. A round LED notification light is placed below the display, while the sensor array and the front camera sits above it.

The right edge of the Nexus 5 features the Power/ Screen lock and the Micro-SIM card tray, and the left edge features the volume rocker key. All the keys are made of ceramic and offer decent tactile feedback.

The 3.5-mm headset jack sits at the top edge of the Nexus 5, while the Micro-USB port and speaker grill sits at the bottom edge.

As we mentioned, the back of the Nexus 5 sports a matte soft touch finish giving it a good grip. It is a bit susceptible to smudges, though. The rear features an 8-megapixel ring shaped camera lens and the LED flash, apart from LG and Nexus branding.

Display
The Nexus 5 comes with an IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and pixel density of 445 ppi. The display comes with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protection making it resistant to scratches.

In our use, we found the Nexus 5’s screen to be very bright, with text and images looking crisp and sharp. Colours looked vivid and not oversaturated like they look on AMOLED display though blacks don’t look very deep.

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The 3.5-mm headset jack sits at the top edge of the Nexus 5, while the Micro-USB port and speaker grill sits at the bottom edge.

As we mentioned, the back of the Nexus 5 sports a matte soft touch finish giving it a good grip. It is a bit susceptible to smudges, though. The rear features an 8-megapixel ring shaped camera lens and the LED flash, apart from LG and Nexus branding.

Display
The Nexus 5 comes with an IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and pixel density of 445 ppi. The display comes with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protection making it resistant to scratches.

In our use, we found the Nexus 5’s screen to be very bright, with text and images looking crisp and sharp. Colours looked vivid and not oversaturated like they look on AMOLED display though blacks don’t look very deep.

nexus-5-display.jpg

The screen delivers great viewing angles, though it was a little reflective. Sunlight legibility was good though the screen brightness levels could be better.

Overall, the Nexus 5’s display is one of the best in its class.

Software/ User Interface
The Nexus 5 is the first smartphone to ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, the latest release of the operating system. As with all Nexus devices, the phone includes the stock build of the operating system, without any additional UI skinning.

Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 5 features a number of visual changes including a new launcher, making the interface even more minimalistic. It sports flatter design elements, muted colours in status icons, transparency, and smoother transition animations.

nexus5-ui1.jpg

The first change that you’ll notice is the transparent status and navigation key bars at the top and bottom, making the Nexus 5’s screen look bigger and brighter. The Android 4.4 KitKat lock screen also features a small camera button, which helps in opening the camera app via the lock screen widget directly from the lock screen.

With Android 4.4 KitKat, you can now have as many home screens as you want by simply dragging an icon or placing a widget on a new one. After enabling Google Now, Google’s smart assistant that fetches information and offers updates based on your data and usage behaviour, you’ll see that the left most home screen would be Google Now pane with information cards and a search bar. The screen can also be invoked by swiping up the screen from the Home button. The Google search bar with the voice search icon is present on all home screens and cannot be removed.

Interestingly, you can also initiate voice search from the Nexus 5 when it’s in the unlocked state by simply saying, ‘Ok Google.’ The option is only available when you choose US English as the default language option in the Google Now app’s settings, though. With this change, Google search is integrated deeply with the phone.

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The status bar icons and and UI elements in the notifications tray have been stripped off the blue colour in Android 4.4 KitKat, and now sport a muted white-grey shade.

The launcher has been revamped with icons looking bigger than their Jelly Bean avatars and dots are used to indicate the pagination in the home screen and app launcher, similar to iOS.

When you launch the KitKat app launcher or go back to the home screen, you’ll notice a smooth fly away animation.

The app launcher now only features app icons and gets rid of widgets. Due to the larger icons, you’ll see a 4×5 grid instead of a 5×5 grid.

Long pressing on the home screen brings up the menu to change the Wallpapers, Widgets and Google Now settings. The choice of default still wallpapers, live wallpaper and custom wallpapers are now available under a single menu.

The KitKat notifications tray features notifications that can be expanded by using two finger pull. It also features buttons for clearing all notifications and for displaying toggles for Brightness, Settings, Wi-Fi, Network, Battery, Aeroplane Mode, Bluetooth, Location settings and Alarm clock.

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Android 4.4 KitKat also includes an immersive mode that hides the status and navigation bars offering a full screen experience in apps. Apps like Google Play Books already support this mode and developers can choose to enable it for their apps. The OS also allows developers to display semi-transparent navigation and status bars. We’ve not seen any apps that take advantage of this feature, however.

Android 4.4 also includes a revamped Phone app that now automatically prioritises your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. When you first launch the app, you’ll see a screen that displays a search bar, a place where most frequently called contacts and favourites are displayed and shortcuts to launch all contacts, the dialling pad, call history and settings.

You can also search for nearby places and businesses, contacts, or people in their Google Apps domain directly from the search bar.

If you receive a call from a phone number that is not saved in your contacts, the Android 4.4 KitKat-based Nexus 5 will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.

We felt that the new Phone app could be a little overwhelming for some as it’s not very intuitive when it comes to describing what the shortcut keys do. However, the search feature packs in an online phone directory in the app. It will even fetch numbers for users who’ve registered their phone numbers with Google.  The number identification feature also works for incoming calls eliminating the need for apps like Trucaller.

Google has also combined its chat service and the Messaging (SMS) app into one app, Hangouts. The app lets you chat with your friends who use the Hangouts (erstwhile Google Talk) service and send messages to contacts. For people who don’t actively use Google’s instant messaging service or Google+, there’s no value add that the unified app offers. It could also confuse these users if they’ve got unkempt Google+ profiles as it lists Google contacts on top when you want to compose a new message.

The Nexus 5 also includes the new Photos app that allows you to view and edit local and Google+ images. The new Photos app features deeper integration with Google+ and can be used to enable tagging in photos. The old Gallery app is still included in the app, though.

The Email app has also received an overhaul with KitKat, and the app displays the pictures of contacts for emails. Navigation has been made similar to the Gmail app and it also offers the swipe to delete gesture.

Google also includes its other apps including Drive, Keep, Play Games, Play Movies, Play Movies, Play Books, Play Newsstand and Quickoffice for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The new OS also supports printing through Google Cloud Print plugin or apps made by printer manufacturers.

Overall, KitKat on the Nexus 5 is an improvement when it comes to the overall experience of using the phone, though there’s till some scope for improvement, especially in apps like Hangouts. The status icons are also inferior at offering feedback compared to the ones seen in previous versions of the OS.

Camera
The Nexus 5 sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with Optical Image Stabilisation, and a 1.3-megapixel front facing camera. The phone features the stock Android 4.4 Camera app with 4 default shooting modes – Still, Video, Panorama and Photo sphere (360-degree).

nexus5-cam1.jpg

In the Still mode the app features settings for turning on HDR+, tinkering with Exposure, turning the LED flash on or off, switching between the front and back lenses and revealing more settings that include Geotagging toggle, Countdown timer, changing the picture size, White balance and the scene mode (Night, Action, Sunset, and Party).

Similarly, in the Video mode, you can change video quality settings (1080p, 720p or 480p), Time lapse, Exposure settings and Flash. We have to say that we’re no fans of the nested arc shaped settings toggles and find the app a bit unintuitive.

Putting the camera of the Nexus 5 to test, we observed that images taken outdoors during daylight came out a tad brighter.

However, there are a number of issues with the phone’s camera that we encountered in our use. We observed that auto-focus is not consistent, and focusing manually takes time resulting in images being different from what we desired. We also observed that there was a slight lag between the time we fired the shutter and when the phone captured the image.

Comparing images with the ones taken with an iPhone 5 in the same settings revealed that the white balance on the Nexus 5 camera (in the default mode) is skewed towards the warmer end of the spectrum. Low-light shots were also not up to the mark and had noise.

The camera does a good job for shooting videos and supports 1080p video capture.

The 1.3-megapixel front shooter does a decent job for video calling and taking self clicks. It supports 720p video capture.

Overall, the Nexus 5’s camera is underwhelming at best. We hope Google pushes out a software update to fix the focus issues and shutter lag.

Performance/ Battery Life
The Nexus 5 comes with top of the line hardware (at this point in time), as it is powered by a quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, and an Adreno 330 chip for processing graphics. Our review unit had 32GB of built-in storage (a 16GB variant is also available), out of which 26.7GB is available to the user. The phone doesn’t offer a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

The overall experience of navigation through the Nexus 5’s interface was extremely impressive, thanks to all the power under the phone’s hood and the UI being devoid of unnecessary bells and whistles such as transition effects.

We did not experience any lag at all while launching apps, playing games, scrolling web pages or switching between apps on the Nexus 5.

The gaming experience on the Nexus 5 was pretty good with games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, Shadow Gun: Dead Zone and Asphalt 7 running without encountering any issues.

We were able to run a number of video formats except for full-HD MOV and AVI through the native video player on the Nexus 5. We also experienced some issues with audio while playing an MKV format video. This was easily fixed by downloading a third-party video player. The phone then plays full-HD videos without any issues.

The speaker on the Nexus 5 is another pain point. It delivers below average quality sound at high volume levels and the sound gets distorted. However, the speaker grill is located at the bottom edge so the sound doesn’t get muffled when the phone lies on its back.

Notably, the Nexus 5 doesn’t include FM radio functionality.

Call quality was good on the Nexus 5, and we were able to receive cellular signals even in low signal areas.

The Nexus 5 comes with a 2300mAh battery, and in our usage, it lasted us just about a day with medium usage, including 1-1.5 hours of phone calls, two e-mail accounts with push notifications, playing some music, clicking a few pictures, Twitter notifications and WhatsApp chats.

It’s worth pointing out that we had mostly used 3G data with intermittent use of Wi-Fi and had put the phone’s screen brightness at the highest level. Altering these settings might help in running the phone for a longer duration, depending on your usage pattern.

The Nexus 5 also includes NFC capabilities, and we were able to transfer and receive files through Android Beam, which combines Bluetooth and NFC for sharing data. The phone also allows you to transfer files to other devices through Wi-Fi without being on the same Wi-Fi network.

Verdict
The Nexus 5 is one of the best Android smartphones that you can buy for under Rs. 30,000. Powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor, and 2GB RAM, the phone ticks all the right boxes in terms of hardware specifications. Since it’s a Google experience device, you’re always assured of regular software updates (at least for the 18 months promised period).

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These two big factors do partially offset the main disadvantages of the phone, namely its mediocre camera, lack of external storage support and underwhelming battery backup. Google may or may not bring a software fix to resolve the issues (if these are due to the software limitations) but even assuming that this is not the case, the starting price of Rs. 28,999 makes the Nexus 5 a great deal. We can’t think of a phone in this price range that delivers the same value.

 

 

iOS 7.0.4 update brings fix for FaceTime issues and more

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iOS 7.0.4 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is now available for download as an over-the-air (OTA) update as well as via iTunes.

Apple says iOS 7.0.4 brings bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail for some users. The included security update also brings a fix for an issue where app and in-app purchases could have been completed with insufficient authorisation.

According to Apple, in certain cases, a signed-in user was able to complete a transaction without providing a password when prompted. iOS 7.0.4 addresses this issue by “additional enforcement of purchase authorisation”.

Apple has also released iOS 6.1.5 that brings the fix for FaceTime issues and the security update to iPod touch (4th generation) users.

If you are using an iPhone 4 or later, iPod touch (5th generation) or later, iPad 2 or later, running iOS 5 or later, iOS 7.0.4 should be available as an over-the-air update for your device. Go to Settings >General > Software Update and iOS will automatically check for available updates. According toApple, available updates download automatically if your device is connected to Wi-Fi and a power source. Tap Download to download the update and after the download has completed tap Install to update your iOS.

If you leave the update to download in the background, once the download has finished you will receive a notification saying an update is available for your device. Tapping Details will take you toSettings > General > Software Update. Tap Install Now to install the iOS update. If you decide to leave the installation for later Settings will display notification badge until the update has been installed.

Alternatively, you can install the update via iTunes by following the instructions at this page.

We strongly recommend you back up your iOS device to iCloud or with iTunes before installing any iOS updates.

Apple considering iPhones with screens as big as 6-inches: Report

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All these years, Apple has ignored the big-screen smartphone segment which is now close to becoming a standard for Android devices and is ruled by players like Samsung. However, a new report indicates that this could change in the near future.

The Wall Street Journal says that Apple is considering a plan to offer big screen iPhones. The publication cites people familiar with the matter to report that the company is introspecting whether it should offer screens ranging from 4.8-inches to 6-inches on future iPhones. However, the report clarifies that the two iPhones expected to be unveiled next week, the iPhone 5S and the low-cost iPhone 5C would not sport bigger screens, and are expected to have 4-inch displays as seen on theiPhone 5.

Although, the company could just be testing some prototypes, as mobile component suppliers indicated that Apple had already started testing larger screens for iPhones in recent months, the company is more open to change now than in the past, according to the publication’s sources.

The sources further indicate that Apple has been particularly interested in a 4.8-inch screen, going by recent tests.

The report also confirms that Apple will launch the low-cost iPhone 5C with the premium iPhone 5S, in multiple colours and will begin shipping the two phones together. It also reiterates that the iPhone 5 successor will sport a fingerprint scanner. Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone(s) at an event in Cupertino on September 10.

It’s not the first time that the Wall Street Journal has reported about Apple testing large screen iPhones. In July, the publication, which boasts of a pretty good record when it comes to rumours around the Cupertino giant, informed that the company was testing larger screens for iPhones and iPads. It cited officials at Apple’s suppliers to report that the company had asked them to supply prototype smartphone screens larger than 4-inches and screen designs for a new tablet measuring slightly less than 13-inches diagonally.

All these rumours do indicate that Apple has acknowledged that there’s demand for devices across all screen sizes. However, it’s difficult to predict if any of the new devices will eventually make it to the production line.

Apple’s biggest rival, the South Korean electronics giant, Samsung offers devices in a variety of screen sizes and form factors, with its flagship device, the Galaxy S4, also near about the 5-inch point.

Apple started offering a 4-inch iPhone, the iPhone 5, last year, increasing the screen size by 0.5-inch compared to the one seen on previous phones like the iPhone 4S (LINK)