• Monday, June 15, 2015

      Google Android One (my/phone uno) review and specs

      I was very excited when I first heard that android one is going to hit the Philippine shore, as an android fanboy that news is nothing but a breath of fresh air, imagine a google phone made affordable to the masses and since it's a certified google phone you'll be privileged enough to always get the latest android OS coupled with a very capable hardware and most importantly, the stock android experience, but is the android one worth the hype? let's find out.

      I chose the my/phone uno which by the way, is a Micromax phone, Cherry mobile also offers an android one device but in my opinion the my/phone uno looks a lot more premium than its cherry mobile counterpart and it's a lot thinner too.

      The front is plain black with only the rounded earpiece at the top, reminiscent of the nexus 5, the power button and the volume rocker is located at the right side of the phone, easily accessible with your thumb, just slightly raised to give you a tactile feedback but not too much to prevent accidental presses, around the back is the android one logo and the very soothing rubberized texture for enhanced grip.

      Google has laid out a spec sheet for the android one, a very capable hardware for just the right price, powered by a quad-core processor and 1 gig of RAM the my/phone uno is a beast it handles multi-tasking well without serious notable lags. I did a lot of stress test with the my/phone uno and one by one it passed the test with flying colors: heavy gaming, web browsing with multiple windows, multi-tasking, HD movies, just about anything I could throw at it the my/phone uno just can't stop to amaze me, yes there will be slight lags but one that's hardly visible you won't even bother giving it a second look.

      Web browsing seem to be the stellar feature of the my/phone uno, I spent many hours browsing the web with this phone and believe me it is seriously fast in rendering web pages regardless of the size, flash support is great too, you can basically watch all the flash content present on each web page just like a PC, since I got this phone I barely touched my tablet.

      The 4.5 inch IPS screen is probably a feature you'd enjoy most, it's sharp and has excellent viewing angles, the my/phone uno's screen serves as a testament that at 3,999 pesos we shouldn't be getting a lower quality screen than the one we get from android one devices. I was blown away with its almost 0 touch delay, it's fast and very responsive once you tap an app icon it opens up immediately, closing it is almost just as fast too. Google didn't give a clear description about the android one's touch panel, was it Dragon trail or was it Gorilla glass? we really don't have the slightest idea yet, but one thing's for sure it's tough and it's definitely scratch resistant as well. Google has made a statement that a smartphone's screen should be, tough, sharp, has excellent viewing angles and very responsive, all for a price that's within arm's reach.

      The my/phone uno comes with android 5.1 lollipop, future android updates are still up for grabs.

      Google camera works well with the my/phone uno the 5MP rear camera with flash works fine too, however, I did noticed that the LED flash is sometimes inconsistent, I got subject that got too much light which appeared washed out and over exposed, I just hope that future update will fix this problem. On the other side of the phone we got our 2MP front camera in which without a doubt is a major upgrade from the VGA camera we used to get from phones with the same price, but don't get too excited because you got to hold the phone very still in order to get good results, it's not much of a problem but it's something that's worth noting. All in all the android one's camera works surprisingly well, considering it's 3,999 peso price tag.

      (Sample photos android one's 5MP rear camera)

      The 1700mah battery may not seem too much, however the ARM v7 architecture is known for its power saving feature, with moderate use it could easily pass the 2 day mark, with heavy usage which includes internet and gaming it could last you a day, in my case I charge my android one every other day.

      PROS: very affordable, fast and reliable, always the latest android OS.

      CONS: camera is sometimes inconsistent, only 4GB of internal memory.


      MyPhone Uno


      4.5” FWVGA display 480 x 854 pixels (218ppi)

      MEDIATEK MT6582 Cortex A7 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor

      GPU Mali 400MP2

      1GB RAM

      4GB (expandable up to 32GB)

      2x micro SIM

      Front and rear facing cameras (2MP and 5MP) With LED flash

      Video 720p

      Rechargeable lithium-ion, 1700mAh

      Android™ Lollipop (and gets the new version soon after it’s released)

      Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio

      Wednesday, March 11, 2015

      Asus zenfone 4 review and specs

      Asus have been pretty aggressive in their campaign to sell affordable android smartphones and I have to say they've been very successful so far, all that is due to their zenfone line of smartphones which had been recieving great reviews from all over the world, the zenfone 4 is the smaller sibling of the zenfone 5 and zenfone 6 also the cheapest of the bunch at 3,995 pesos you're probably wondering what can we get from that price? to know more about the zenfone 4 please read my full review.

      The design of the zenfone 4 isn't much of a looker it's a bit thick and has large bezels on top where the earpiece is located, it's the same story at the bottom part of the phone where the non-lit capacitive touch panel rests, only bigger, in fact the design cue looks more like it came from 2010, to make things worst the zenfone 4 looks cheap in general, however, it feels sturdy enough to take on a serious drop, twice or even more.

      Making up for that ugly design is its size, at 4 inches (screen size) the zenfone 4 will fit snugly in your pockets regardless of how tight your jeans are, pocket friendly is the right word to describe it and it's quite helpful especially if you're the type who carry multiple gadgets on the go and on a daily basis.

      It's hard to believe that a phone this cheap is equipped with gorilla glass 3, having it on board gives the zenfone 4 an almost indestructible screen so putting a scratch on it is the least thing you'll have to worry about and guess what? we haven't break the surface yet, because along with its tough screen is a 4 inch display with 480x800 resolution, 233ppi (non-IPS) surprisingly, colors are vibrant and sharp, even the smallest text can be read with ease and more often than not, looked perfect and pixel free. At 4 inches it's kinda hard to recommend it as an e-reader, however, after some few trials with it using Aldiko, a couple of pages later I realized it doesn't look that bad after all, the sharp screen really made a statement that the zenfone 4 can also serve that purpose despite its small real estate.

      A native app called splendid lets you manage your screen output, adjust the color temperature from cool to warm depending on your preference, it also comes with vivid mode to further boost the screen's color depth. Nonetheless, I find it an excellent tool for watching movies and playing games.

      At the heart of the zenfone 4 you'll find an intel proccessor Z2520 (saltwell), clocked at 1.2 ghz (dual core), it's been a while since intel entered the mobile world and has been recieving great feedbacks from users all around the globe, the zenfone 4 is currently the cheapest intel powered device in the Philippine market, and thus far, one of the best performers in this price range. I was quickly drawn to how well the zenfone 4 works, just a few swipe from the homesceen is all it takes to convince me that it's a fast phone. I've managed to customized all my homescreens with multiple live widgets cramming one another and surprisingly, no lags has ever come forth to nug me, if there are any it's hardly visible, in addition apps opens fairly fast and closes almost instantaneously.

      "Shadowgun works well and looks good on the zenfone 4 despite of its small screen"

      The 4 inch screen won't provide you with a pleasant web browsing experience, although the zenfone 4's fast web browsing speed, responsive screen and the excellent flash support will still deliver a joyous internet experience, easily forgetting that your browsing on a 4 inch display.

      The improved zen UI looks great and it's a far cry from the stock android experience, I haven't got a single gripe though, Asus has done a good job in making it as user friendly as possible, for instance if you swipe the notification window on the right side you'll get your quick settings or the togggle buttons, swipe it fom the left side then you'll have your notifications, even the app drawer is easy to use, on the uppper right side you got your options, with it, you can hide, uninstall, disable or even lock an app directly from the app drawer, more importantly, UI stability is one of the zenfone 4's strongpoint, in my two months of using this phone I haven't got any experiences regarding UI glithes, crashes and the like, I also do love what asus has done to their app icons it's large, easy to read and look good as well.

      The zenfone 4 comes with 4.3 jellybean but a kitkat update is readily available upon purchase.

      The zenfone 4 is equipped with a 5mp rear camera(no flash) and a VGA on front, I've been using entry level smartphones for a considerable amount of time now, based on that experience a good camera is always hard to come by, the zenfone 4 is somewhat a break in that tradition, equipped with asus pixel master technology along with HDR capability the zenfone 4 can take really good pictures with accurate colors and vibrant details. Surprisingly, all those goodies doesn't stop there as the zenfone 4's camera has features aplenty, such, is the selfie and smart remove mode, a set of features you'll most likely get on high-end smartphones, if that wasn't enough, the zenfone 4 can also record full HD video at 1080p with great results and yes, its still at 3,995 pesos.

      "Sample photo zenfone 4's 5mp camera"

      PROS: cheap, good overall performance, dual SIM, good camera with HDR

      CONS: 4 inch screen, short battery life



      DISPLAY: 4" TFT capacitive, 480x800 233ppi, Gorilla glass 3

      OS: android 4.3 jellybean upgradable to kitkat 4.4.2

      CHIPSET: Intel atom Z2520(saltwell)

      CPU: dual-core 1.2 Ghz

      GPU: PowerVR SGX544MP2

      MEMORY: 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM expandable micro SD upto 32GB

      CAMERA: 5MP autofocus (pixel master technology) VGA front

      BATTERY: Li-Po 1600Mah

      OTHERS: GPS, bluetooth, wifi (b,g,n) dual SIM

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