Lenovo Vibe Z review: Big phone with a few extra tricks

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Recently we reviewed Lenovo Vibe X. We found it had a nice design and a very good screen. But we also saw performance issues on it. Overall, we found it to be a step back from K900, Lenovo’s flagship phone last year.

Now, we know the reason. Despite its relatively high price, Vibe X is not meant to be a replacement of K900 in the market. This replacement is Vibe Z, a phablet that packs in a screen size of 5.5 inches, similar to that of K900. Unlike Vibe X, Vibe Z comes with top of the line hardware. This is the flagship phone — or rather phablet — from Lenovo. It looks, feels and is priced like a flagship.

But is it worth getting it over some of the other high-end smartphones sold by companies like Samsung and LG? We tell you …

Slim, sleek but almost all plastic
Unlike K900, which had a steel body, Vibe Z uses a shell made of plastic. But it is not as bad as it sounds.

Vibe Z looks good, though some may find it a bit too flashy. The back cover, which cannot be removed by a

Gionee Elife E7 review: Premium experience, mid-range price

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Chinese device maker Gionee recently launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Gionee Elife E7, in the Indian market. Unlike its previous launches, Elife E7 is a premium smartphone and the first one to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The hardware specifications of the phone match some high-end phones available in the market even though the pricing is comparatively much lower. Is the Gionee Elife E7 the most economical premium Android phone available in the market? We try to find out.

Build
At first glance, Gionee Elife E7 looks like a taller version of the Elife E6. However, on closer inspection, you’ll notice that it looks more rectangular, largely due to the lack of rounded corners. The phone’s top and bottom edges, however, are rounded, just like the ones seen in Huawei Ascend P6.

The phone is made of good quality plastic, but sports a glossy finish curved back that makes it prone to smudges, particularly in black. It is available in 7 colours. The front of the phone is dominated by 5.5-inch Full-HD (JDI) display.
The three capacitive physical buttons for Menu, Home and Back are placed just below the display. The

Xperia Z1 Compact: An iPhone sized top-end Android phone

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LAS VEGAS: Finally! The high-end Android phones are kind of awesome. But most of them are also quite large. In fact for many users, devices like Galaxy Note, Xperia Z1 are uncomfortably large.

Many companies have tried to address this problem by releasing ‘mini’ versions of their flagship phones. Example: Galaxy S4 Mini. But Galaxy S4 Mini is not Galaxy S4. The large screen is not the only thing it lacks. It also lacks the powerful hardware, a fantastic camera and a great screen find in Galaxy S4.

Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact looks like a phone for all those people who want a smaller device but without sacrificing the functionality and power that bigger devices offer.

As the name suggests, this new phone from Sony is a ‘compact’ Xperia Z1. We checked out the device at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and found there is very little difference between Z1 and Compact other than the size.

To start with, the design is same. However, for some reason it has slightly chunkier body. May be this is to accommodate a decent size battery. Compared

No Need to Fret, Apple Is Doing Fine

Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite what you may have heard, the iPhone is not dying. Neither, by extension, is Apple.

It’s true that in an earnings report on Tuesday, after weeks of speculation by Wall Street that iPhone sales would finally hit a peak, Apple confirmed the news: IPhone sales grew at their lowest-ever rate in the last quarter. And the company projected total sales of as much as $53 billion in the current quarter that ends in March, which would be a decline of 8.6 percent from last year and Apple’s first revenue drop in more than a decade.

But if Apple is now hitting a plateau, it’s important to remember that it’s one of the loftiest plateaus in the history of business. The $18.4 billion profit that Apple reported on Tuesday is the most ever earned by any company in a single quarter.
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Related Coverage

Apple Says Sales of iPhones Have Slowed
Looking for Signs That Apple’s Runaway Growth Is Waning

It’s necessary to start with these caveats because people have a tendency to react strongly, almost apoplectically, to any suggestion of weakness on Apple’s part. Like pickles, cilantro and Ted Cruz, Apple

Apple iPhone

Apple India shipped a record number of iPhone units in the October to December quarter, according to research firm Counterpoint. The Cupertino-based giant is said to have shipped over 800,000 units in India in the quarter in “best ever [quarter] for Apple in India.”

(Also see: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Review)

Tarun Pathak, Senior Telecom Analyst, Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research told Gadgets 360 that Apple’s record iPhone shipments in India were primarily driven by price cuts as well as aggressive marketing campaigns that included EMI and buyback schemes. Gadgets 360 had last month reported how the prices of the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus had unofficially dropped in a bid to boost sales during the quarter.

Pathak also claimed that the company had a wider distribution network than ever before, with five distributors now handling Apple mobiles across the country. “India saw one of the fastest roll out of Apple’s flagship during the quarter,” added Pathak. He however pointed out that iPhone shipments had a slow start due to steep pricing, but they picked up pace later in the quarter.

(Also see: iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus Face Production Cuts Due to Inventory Pileup: Report)

Apple last month had slashed

Engineering students develop band to control gadgets

NAGPUR: ‘With the click of a button’ has been the catchphrase of technical innovations for sometime now. The new breed of innovators may begin luring you with the phrase, ‘with just a movement of your hand’. With gesture control becoming a buzzword, a team of innovators from the city has come up with a band that can be worn on one’s wrists to control all electronic devices it is connected to.

The company called Tecxtra Technologies was formed when five engineering students from Gondia, one each from Punjab University and Nagpur University met at Asia’a largest robotic competition held in 2009 in Pune. Having common goals like spreading technical knowledge kids and developing indigenous market of high-end technological products, they soon started working out of Nagpur. The latest of these products is “Techno-band”, a wristband that can help control electronic gadgets with hand gestures. The device also has some additional features like location tracking, health monitoring and other related applications.

“The band basically helps you control the entire electronic system of your home or office, even from a distance of up to 50 metre. Utilizing the GSM system, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless

‘LG could launch appliances that chat’

BANGALORE: What happens when you are not able to go to hospital for an ECG scan? Then, the ECG can come to you. And the physician will conduct the scan with a click on hisher smartphone. Call it using social media to deliver cardiac care. That’s what over 50 physicians learnt on Monday at a conference in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.
A group of 20 well-known physicians and senior cardiac sonographers from the American Society of Echocardiography Foundation (ASEF), the world’s leading specialty organization dedicated to the use of echocardiography (ultrasound-based heart scan), took part in the conference to equip medicos with recent technology using smartphones. The team discussed rheumatic heart disease that is very common in India but rare in the West, and transfer of technology that will help doctors here.The conference aims at developing an international scientific database that will be used to modify the current treatment pattern for patients with rheumatic heart disease. “It’s about taking hospital to a patient and car rying a doctor in pocket in the form of a smartphone. These days, everyone has a smartphone and it can be used in diagnosis. For example, a smartphone android application called

Smartphones can offer you ECG scan

BANGALORE: What happens when you are not able to go to hospital for an ECG scan? Then, the ECG can come to you. And the physician will conduct the scan with a click on hisher smartphone. Call it using social media to deliver cardiac care. That’s what over 50 physicians learnt on Monday at a conference in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

A group of 20 well-known physicians and senior cardiac sonographers from the American Society of Echocardiography Foundation (ASEF), the world’s leading specialty organization dedicated to the use of echocardiography (ultrasound-based heart scan), took part in the conference to equip medicos with recent technology using smartphones. The team discussed rheumatic heart disease that is very common in India but rare in the West, and transfer of technology that will help doctors here.The conference aims at developing an international scientific database that will be used to modify the current treatment pattern for patients with rheumatic heart disease. “It’s about taking hospital to a patient and car rying a doctor in pocket in the form of a smartphone. These days, everyone has a smartphone and it can be used in diagnosis. For example, a smartphone android application called iscan

Graded: speakers on-the-go

Here’s a list of supreme-sounding travel speakers that you can carry like a can of beer, put on the dashboard like a coaster or fit in the bulb-holder!

Speaker-cumcharger

Sound: A+ Looks: B Best Price: ‘11,890 (http:www.ebayindia.in) JBL Charge 2: Even the Charge 1 was brilliant, so we don’t really have much complaints from its successor, which de livers outstanding sound for its dimension and price. If you are looking for a product not as highly priced as Esquire or Soundlink III, this is a wise choice. Its ability to charge other devices like phones, tablets and music players is a boon. This apart, Charge 2’s long battery life, perky looks and insignificant distortion should justify the price point.

Key features: Bluetooth, speaker phone, 12-hours of playback.

Bass tards & treble maker

Sound: A++ Looks: A Best price: ‘ 22,400 (Boseindia.com) Bose Soundlink III: Bose is a snooty label. While everyone is in the rat race for making devices affordable, Bose still wants to keep it high-profile by playing at a price point that’s beyond the reach of mango people. Are we here just to complain? Not really, especially after using Soundlink III, which is several notches better than the first

Hindi smartphone to connect hinterland

UCKNOW: With the aim to offer best technology at affordable prices, Spice Mobiles and Google on Wednesday launched India’s first Android One Hindi smartphone – Spice Dream Uno H phone in the city. The smartphone will focus on the large Hindi speaking population, said a company statement.

The phone, a Hindi version of the recently launched Android One from Google, features a complete Hindi keyboard, voice input along with Hindi versions of popular Google products such as Android OS, Chrome, search, YouTube and Google Maps among other popular applications.

 The company said that the product has been especially designed for the 300 million Hindi speaking people focusing on states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

This dual SIM device is powered with 1.3 GHz Quad core processor, runs on Kitkat OS and will soon get the latest Android updates such as Android Lollipop. Commenting on the launch, chief executive officer, Spice Mobility Prashant Bindal said, “We are delighted to partner with Google to launch India’s first truly Hindi phone. We firmly believe that this phone will contribute immensely in connecting the 300 million Hindi speaking masses to the internet.”

 VP Product at Google Caesar Sengupta said, “We are

7 best iPhone accessories for smarter photography

Improve your photography! Each of these useful bits of kit can help make your iPhone shots even better.

It’s all very well using the latest photo apps to acheve the best results from your smartphone camera, but if you haven’t taken a decent shot in the first place there’s only so much a bit of photo editing software can do to save the day.

Now, you may have a decent DSLR, Photoshop CC expertise and even a photo studio, but if something presents itself to you when you are out and about, there’s not time to run to the car and back, set up your tripod, and shoot. That’s where your iPhone comes in, and with one or two of these handy pocket accessories it could become even more useful…

01. Joby Gorilla Mobile

Joby’s Gorilla tripods allow you to fix cameras in all sorts of positions that would otherwise be impossible. This one is designed specifically for the iPhone 4 and 4S and allows you to stand the iPhone, sit it down, set it at an angle, or, best of all, wrap the legs around a tree branch or railing.

02. iPhone RangeFinder and Lens kit

Not only does this

Spice Mobiles launches Hindi Android One with Google

LUCKNOW: Keeping in line with the philosophy of bringing the best in technology at affordable prices, Spice Mobiles and Google have launched India’s first Android One Hindi smartphone — Spice Dream Uno H Android One Phone, focusing on the large Hindi speaking population in the country.

The Spice Dream Uno H, a Hindi version of the recently launched Android One from Google, features for the first time ever a complete Hindi keyboard, voice input along with Hindi versions of popular Google products such as Android OS, Chrome, Search, YouTube and Google Maps amongst other popular applications.

The product has been especially designed for the 300 million Hindi speaking people focusing on states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and the rest of the country. Keeping in line with their focus on creating affordable technology, Google and Spice Mobiles have priced this revolutionary phone at around Rs 6500.

The phone has a sleek design with a 11.43 cm IPS display and features an expandable storage capacity of 32GB to store a large amount of music, movies, photos and videos. Commenting on the launch, Prashant Bindal, Chief Executive Officer, Spice Mobility Ltd, said, “We firmly

6 wellness gadgets to look forward to

Smartmat yoga mat

Taking yoga to the next level, the SmartMat includes a mat that detects the body’s balance and alignment in more than 62 yoga poses and an app which creates a personal profile to track your progress. Users of the mat will be able to download yoga les sons from an online marketplace.

Price: 18,481(approx.) Available: this year

Myskin Oku

Most health trackers focus on your body but this one is a unique gadget – it takes care of your skin. MySkin’s Oku is a cubical gadget that scans your skin via multi-spectral light and sensors, and works in conjunction with an app that analyses the skin for moisture, oiliness, texture, wrinkles and pigmentation. The accompanying app then makes lifestyle and diet recommendations for healthy skin.Price: 18,480 (approx.) Available: Feb-March

Activite Pop

The Withings Activite Pop looks fun and trendy, just like any other watch targeted at the youth. But inside, it’s a health-focussed gadget that tracks your steps, calories, distance covered, analyses your sleep and even comes with a silent alarm. It’s waterproof up to 150 ft and doesn’t require any charging. The best part about the watch is that it doesn’t look like a geeky gadget.Price: 9,237 (approx.) Available: End January

Misfit Shine

Misfit

Why the world’s smallest 3D printing pen is a big deal

Why the world’s smallest 3D printing pen is a big deal

The idea of having a using a pen like device to create free-form 3D printed designs first caught the public’s eye when the  3Doodler surpassed its original goal on Kickstarter by over 78x.

Having tried the 3Doodler myself I know it’s capable of creating some amazing things however the design of the pen itself is rather chunky as it’s constrained by the components inside.

Since then many other 3D printing pens have appeared and had the same problems they are large, heavy, uncomfortable and difficult to use however another successfully funded Kickstarter project Lix took the idea further by making the first 3D printing pen that actually looks, feels and works like a pen.

The Lix actually feels like a pen in use

With its small size (it claims to be the world’s smallest) and ability to draw power from a USB port, this makes the Lix a must-have companion for any 3D designer’s toolbox.

Much in the same way the 3Doodler works, Lix requires a spool of plastic to be fed in to it which gets heated up in to an extrudable form then rapidly cooled down to make

New Wacom styluses promise fine-detail control

The drawing tablet king has extended and improved its iPad styluses. We reveal what’s changed.

Yet to find an iPad stylus that can accurately replicate the experience of notetaking, sketching and drawing with a real pen and paper? Then two new styluses from Wacom aimed specifically at iPad users might just be the answer to your prayers.

First up is the Bamboo Stylus Fineline, a smart stylus with new ‘thin tip’ technology and featuring 1.9mm solid plastic tip capable of registering 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Available in silver, grey, blue, orange and pink, it’s supported by note taking apps including Wacom’s own Bamboo Paper app, Noteshelf, Notes Plus, INKredible and GoodReader and lasts up to 26 hours on a single battery charge. From today, it will be available to purchase on the Wacom eStore as well as various retailers across Europe at £49.99.

Moving up a gear for even finer control when drawing, sketching and painting on the iPad, Wacom has also today released the Intous Creative Stylus 2 stylus, which offers 2,048 pressure levels of sensitivity from its 2.9mm solid plastic tip.

With a more ergonomic design than its predecessor, the Creative Stylus 2 works with a range of apps including Bamboo

Wacom releases new touch-sensitive tablet

Finally, a version of the Cintiq 13HD that responds to your fingers as well as your stylus.

Looking for a new drawing tablet? Then you’re spoiled for choice at the moment, with Wacom firing off new models left, right and centre. It’s a matter of days since we gave you a first look at the new Companion 2 and Cintiq 27QHD tablets – the latter being touted as Wacom’s best design yet. But already there’s another device to consider, as the company releases the Cintiq 13HD touch.

The original, non-touch version of the Cintiq 13HD was launched in 2013, but this is a new version that works with the fingertips.

This means you can both draw and access shortcut commands via touch, through the device’s four customisable and application-specific ExpressKeys and Rocker Ring.

The touch-element is essentially the main difference from the 2013 version: it still comes with a Pro Pen, offering 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, an adjustable stand optimised for use in a choice of four settings – flat, 22°, 35° and 50° – and a screen displaying 16.7 million colours.

Priced at £799.99, the Cintiq 13HD touch will be available ‘early March’ at Wacom’s eStore and other selected retailers.

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How to light up your home with the Internet of Things

Tammy Coron explores the Philips Hue Lighting system.

Want to know how to design for the Internet of Things? Well, you’ll find all the info you need in this article – but if there’s one thing better than theory it’s practice. If if you want to start getting hands on with the new world of the web, I’d recommend the Philips Hue Lighting system: quite possibly one of the coolest gadgets I own.

While the idea of a connected home is nothing new – and certainly Philips has been on the market for a while now – it wasn’t until recently that I added them to my home and office.

I started with the Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack and began adding more lights within days. It’s safe to say that I was instantly hooked.

Hardware

The Starter Pack ($199.95) comes with three lights and a wireless hub. These lights are permanently paired with the hub, but more lights can be added (up to 50 per hub) by purchasing additional Single Pack bulbs. Currently, I have about 20 lights running off of a single hub; to date, I haven’t had any issues.

Hue light bulbs are available in E26, E27,

How drawing actually feels with the Apple Pencil

With Apple set to launch the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil in November, we thought it was high time we took the new hardware for a road-test on some of the best iPad apps and let you know what we thought.

Happily, this week Adobe was showing off its new drawing apps for iPad in a very exclusive session at its annual event in LA, Adobe Max. So we got to be among the first journalists in the world to try out their new Creative Cloud software on Apple’s new kit.

Adobe unveils big updates to the Creative Cloud

At the event in Los Angeles, we took the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro for a spin with the latest versions of Adobe’s mobile apps Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw. These apps have all been updated to take full advantage of Apple’s new hardware.

Our verdict? Well, we’re as surprised as you… but we have to report this was the most natural stylus experience we’ve ever experienced.

Quite simply, the Pencil feels more like a real pencil than any other stylus we’ve tried.

The two Adobe mobile apps we were using have been specially redesigned to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s wider screen and

The 10 best watches for designers

01. Apple Watch

There’s no way we could kick off this list with anything other than the Apple Watch. There’s probably not much you don’t know about Apple’s smartwatch – it runs an ever-increasing number of your favourite apps, links to your iPhone and is available in three collections: Sport, Watch and Edition.

The top-end Edition watches ship for over $20,000, and top design houses are now getting involved in further personalisation options, but we think you’d probably be just as happy with one of the more basic versions. Either way, the digital crown and Apple’s usual delightful design and UI touches are winners – even if you’re not an Apple fan.

02. Braun BN0171

What designer doesn’t appreciate the simplicity and subtleties of a Braun timepiece? The BN0171 is probably the exemplary case in point, with a full ceramic case and bracelet and the iconic yellow second hand – and pretty much nothing else. Still, this doesn’t stop it from being a stunning watch – it looks fantastic in both stone beige and black.

In terms of features, well, like the design, it’s pretty sparse (plus it’s only water resistant to 3ATM). But that doesn’t stop it from being a truly desirable

The week in GIFs: the one with all the free stuff

We round up the week’s hot design topics in glorious GIFs.

With such busy schedules to keep, you might not have had the chance to catch up on this week’s biggest design news stories. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded them up in this handy little list that’ll make sure you get to the good stuff, quickly.

01. Apple releases iPad Pro

This week, Apple launched its biggest, fastest and priciest Apple iPad yet, the iPad Pro, with artists and designers firmly in its sights. We first got our hands on one, along with the new Apple Pencil, last month and explained what drawing actually feels like on the new device.

However, if you’re more interested in the techie details of the iPad Pro, check out the in-depth review by our sister site Tech Radar.

02. John Lewis captivates world with  Christmas advert

The big-budget Christmas ads by UK retailer John Lewis have become the gold standard in festive tear-jerkers, with last year’s penguin-themed classic easily making our best Christmas ads of 2014 list.

This year the store upped its game in partnership with Age UK to create a heartwarming tale of an old man living on the moon. It quickly