Moto X Play Review

Let’s take a look at our deep review for the Motorola’s Moto X Play – a newly launched device with a budget-friendly price tag.

Recently, what we’ve seen Motorola in the market is a manufacture produces quality-built devices at a very attractive price. They often launch products with customizable design, good performance and offer them at affordable cost. And the Moto X Play is one of these handsets.

This device is featured with a full HD screen display, a 21 MP rear cam, powerful processor and bloatware-free Android Lollipop OS. The body of this device is splash-proof, which shall well protect all internal parts from harsh effects outside. Moreover, users can also customize the phone’s look to get their own personal handset.

And the most attractive thing about this Moto X Play surely is its budget-friendly price tag. Users in UK can get this phone directly from Motorola at £280 (around $435) for 16 GB version. The Moto X Play has been launched since August this year, in 55 countries. However, US is not among of these countries, instead, the Motorola focuses on pushing the Moto X Pure Edition – known as the Moto X Style for global edition – for the US market.

In Australian market, the Moto X Play just works exclusively on Vodafone network and its only comes in black color. With a contract on, users have to pay AUD 5 monthly over 2 years on a AUD 40 plan. Motoral is also considering offering the product on retail store later at a cost of AUD 569, however, this consideration has not yet been confirmed.

In the new products’ lineup of Motorola, the place of Moto X Play is in the middle as the Moto G is at the bottom and the top is for the Moto X Pure/ Style.

 

Motorola Moto X Play Review Buy

Motorola Moto X Play Review Buy

Design

The Moto X Play has a dimension of 148 x 75 x 10 mm, 169 g at weight. The device comes with water-resistant body and customizable design.

The Moto X Play looks like a rougher version of its higher-end sibling – the Moto X Style. While the materials for the Style’s panel are leather or wood, the back skin of the Play is rubberised plastic. Plusing the water-resistant feature, it seems like this device is built for a tougher and more playful life than just inside a pocket life, which suits the name “Play”.

The tougher look doesn’t mean the device is not good looking. The Play review model I have in my hands is black and grey – which are just plain colors and thus, bring the professional look for the devices rather than fun. But in fact, the Moto X Play is greatly customizable, what users need to do is to use the Motorola’s online tool named Moto Maker. Via this tool, users can customize their own phones with 14 diffent colors provided for back cover and 7 color options for metal accents, laser engraving for the back is also available for free.

Although the X Play is not fully submersible under water, it’s still water-resistant and this feature is totally welcomed in Moto X series. By this feature, the device is protected from spilled drinks, accidental fall in water or rain showers. My review model has been knocked by water several times but currently it still perform perfectly. Thus, at the end of the day, the phone brings their users peace of mind.

With 148mm in length and 75mm in width, the device is not considered compact but it’s still not so massive or uncomfortable to hold on hands. In fact, this handset can neatly sit in your jean pocket and shall not drag down your jeans with just 169 gr in weight.

Volume buttons, power buttons, headphone jack and micro-USB port are arranged around the phone’s edges while slots for microSD card and SIM card are located underneath the cover on the back. Heart rate monitor or fingerprint scanner are not what you can find on the Moto X Play. If you want those features, pay some more money and go for the Galaxy S6.

There are 2 options for internal storage of the Moto X Play: 16 GB and 32 GB. If you often download big and intensive applications, the 16 GB internal memory shall be quickly filled up, and external storage is what you have to rely on to store your data.

 

Motorola Moto X Play Back Review Buy

Motorola Moto X Play Back Review Buy

Display

The screen display being equipped in the Moto X Play is at 5.5-inch-size with full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixel and 400 ppi pixel density. Although these numbers cannot be compared to those in the LG G4  or the  Galaxy S6, it’s still good enough to have crispy looking text/ icons or high-resolution photos. The display is not 4K resolution but with such a price, the full-HD resolution is totally good enough for the expectation. The Moto X Style – which has 5.7-inch-size display shall be suitable for users looking for some extra pixels.

Back to the X Play’s display, it’s bright and comfortable to read outdoor. Colors are vivid and true to life.

 

Software and processor

The operating system being shipped with the Moto X Play is Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, users shall have pure Android experience with the device as Motorola does not apply their Moto skin over the original Android skin. Thus, what users have is Vanilla Android, which is very simple to use and navigate around.

The processor is a 1.7GHz octa-core one, which helps the phone easily and quickly handle every daily essential tasks. With the help from the relatively strong processor, camera, applications load quickly, videos streams well and games (such as Angry Birds 2 or the more intensive Grand Theft Auto) work smoothly without any issue.

Certainly, the performance of the Moto X Play is no slouch. The phone got 2143 score on Geekbench test, which is more than the Moto G (1600 score). However, it’s far more lower than the top-end devices such as the Galaxy S6 (4608). In 3Dmark Ice Storm Unlimited test for graphics, the X Play still got higher score than the Moto G: 8070 compares to 4473 but still lower than its higher-end sibling – the Moto X Style which gots 19725 scores.

There are some tweaks being thrown in the Moto X Play such as: Migrate – a useful tool to transfer data from your previous phone to your current Motorola one; Moto Voice – a voice control tool which shall help you wake up the phone (by saying a predetermined phrase), open apps, search or send message without touching the handsets. The Moto Voice can be found in previous Moto X models and like the predecessor, this feature works smoothly as it can easily recognize users’ commands.

 

Camera

As mentioned before, the rear camera of the Moto X Play is the 21 MP one, this pixel index is huge in comparision with what you can find in the similar-priced products. This is also a great step up from previous Moto X models as it’s normally 13 MP cam. And it’s not just the number itself as the Play’s camera can actually take great quality photos.

The front-cam is a 5 MP – which is popularly seen in other Moto X models. Similarly, this cam is also capable of shooting great shots.

The original camera application is basic and simple, settings are hiden in a wheel, which requires users to swipe in to view on the screen. Switching from photo taking mode to videos capturing mode is also very easy and quick, thus, users shall not miss any moment they want to capture. There are some nice features you can find such as: HDR mode, burst mode, slow-motion mode or panorama mode.

 

Battery

The Moto X Play is powered with a 3630 mAh battery, which is non-removable. Motorola did claim that the device can last for around 2 days with this generous battery. However, for me, it’s just a boast.

As my real using experience, the phone just can last more than half a day if it was used harshly for entertainment such as video streaming, music playing or gaming at maximum brightness. After all these intense using, in the evening, there will be no juice left. But if you are just a normal user with normal and basic daily tasks, the phone will easily last for whole day.

One trick for extension of battery life is to lower the brightness level and turn off wireless connection as well as GPS if not necessary. Similar to other smart devices, an overnight full charge is recommended as always, especially when the battery of the Moto X Play is embbed then it will be impossible to swap our for another fully-powered battery as a replacement.

 

Conclusion

There are many factors which make the Motorola’s Moto X Play a great choice for many users: the vivid and solid display, the great quality camera, the powerful processor, the water-resistant feature and the attractive customizable designs. With such things, the Moto X Play is not only a nice choice among its price range, it’s also a brilliant choice among all. Everything you are expecting for a high-end smartphones is here, plus your own signature look that you can create for your own personal handset.

If you are willing to pay extra cash for some more luxurious thing, the Moto X Style is there for you with leather or wooden material back cover. But if you are the one who do not want to spend such much cash for just these luxurious materials, and you are always looking for an budget-friendly phone with high performance, surely you should look for a Moto X Play for the best value.

There are not many (or we can even say very little) phones that can offer such great value to customers as the X Play does. We may think about the HTC One M8s with similar full HD screen display, similar power and similar slick metal cover; however, this device offers far higher cost (around USD 545 for SIM-free) and it even has not been available for sale in Australian and US markets. Another choice we may think about is the Huawei Honor 6, which also has nice screen, well-performed camera and similar price; however, the harshly customized software being shipped in this phone shall bother many customers.

In short, at the price range being offered, the Moto X Play is undoubtedly a worth-considering, or even, a must go-to for whom that looking for a new handset.

Oppo R7 Review

The newly launched Oppo R7 has caught quite a lot of attention from tech-users. Let’s take a deep look at this handsets with our review below.

Pros: luxurious package with slim metal design.

Cons: battery life is not as good as expected.

Bottom life: great and appealing looking phone with 4G technology at mid-range price.

 

Following the success of the Oppo R5, Oppo R7 has been launched with the similar slim and beautiful metal design as its predecessor. Of course, there should be some differences, the R7 is a little bit thicker and larger with more polished look. While there were some issues about the performance in the R5, the R7 performs smoothly without any lag, especially the rapidly start camera app  – the biggest matter in Oppo R5.

The Oppo R7 is available for USD 400 on Chinese online retail store. For Australian market, the price is around AUD 449 online or via Dick Smith exclusive. This price tag is considered pretty high for device that has mid-range specifications like this phone.

 

Design and build

The AMOLED screen display featured on the Oppo R7 is in 5-inch size and has HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixel. The phone has dimension of 5.6 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.2 inch and weight at 5.2 ounces. There are 2 colors available: gold and silver.

We can say appealling design is the focus of the Oppo R7, and in fact, Oppo did take effort to make their R7 distinct from the new Galaxy range of Samsung. By this, the metal trim running around the edges make the difference. This band is just wide enough for micro-USB ports and audio jack. In contrast, such difference shall make the phone edges not smooth and thus, shall not bring the comfortable feeling for users when holding the phone in hands. Obviously, your palm shall not be pleasant as the metal edge keep digging into.

The Oppo R7’s back cover is the main thing that brings the luxious look and feel to the phone as is made from metal material – aluminum-magnesium alloy. The 13 MP rear cam is placed on the top left of the phone.

Similar to other siblings, the Oppo R7 is also featured with menu keys that is physical touch-sensitive. The volume rockers are located on the right side while the power button is place on the opposite. As the frame is just 6.3mm thick, users may worry that these buttons are too tiny, but don’t need to worry about that, they are enough for their functions. For me personally, the keys’ clickiness in this phone is quite my favorite, however, the arrangement of power button bothers me a bit as I’ll sometimes hit this button when taking landscape photos or picking up the device.

The slots for dual-SIM 4G are placed right above volume rockers. The slot for microSD SIM also can host the microSD card which can support up to 128 GB external memory.

 

Oppo R7 Review Buy

Oppo R7 Review Buy

Hardware

As mentioned before, the specs of Oppo R7 are just in middle range, thus, it’s not surprise as they cannot be as impressive as those of the high-end devices. The Oppo R7 is powered with a Snapdragon 615 1.5GHz octa-core processor of Qualcomm. As my experience with many similar phones, this processor helps the phone perform smoothly without issues. Intensive games or highly demand apps can be run fine.

The Oppo R7 offers 16 GB internal storage and users can expand their space for up to 128 GB external memorty. RAM is 3GB and the cameras being equipped are 13 MP and 8 MP – rear and front-facing cams respectively. Battery life is a little disappointment for me as it’s non-removable and is just powered at 2320 mAh. But one good thing is fast-charging technology is supported and it is claimed to reach 75% battery life (from totally drained 0%) in just 30 mins. Actual experiment’s result comes out quite close as the phone hit 72% after the same period of time.

There are 3 versions available for 4G network support: international version for LTE networks (like Three or EE), the exclusive Optus version in Australia (however the Oppo website’s unlocked version can work on other carrier like Telstra) and the US version that can works on AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

 

Software and apps

The operating system being shipped with the phone is the Android Lollipop 5.1.1 for Australian version, while the international ones runs the Android KitKat – the older OS version. But whichever OS version the phone runs, the Android-based Color OS of Oppo still overlay the original one and thus, not much Android stock can be seen on the R7.

The launcher of Oppo is customized with some interesting Oppo’s signature features. Among those is gesture control. This feature shall allow users to quickly access phone application. For instance, by drawing O letter, camera shall be activated, music can be turned on by swiping downwards 2 fingers on the off screen. On an on screen, camera can be activated by multiple fingers pinching close and screenshot can be taken by sliding up and down 3 fingers.

The themes on Oppo R7 can also be customized as users can choose various visual effects when switching, opening or closing apps. Users can also be provided with backup service – the O-Cloud sync to backup their data like contacts, messages. However, this backup feature is only compatible with Oppo devices.

For users who want to manage their apps groups by groups, they will be somehow disappointed as there will be no availability of app drawer. All applications shall be put right on the homescreen of the Oppo phones with Color OS, similar to iPhones with iOS. Another similar things with iOS is the arrangement of control buttons (such as changing data/ Wifi settings, changing phone modes…): they are located on pull-down menu.

For many smartphones with large screen, icons may look awkward when appearing too large as user interface is not fully optimized for large display. However, this is not the issue in the screen display of Oppo R7 as the icons appear just fit enough with the screen.

 

Camera and video

As mentioned above, the R7 is equipped with auto-focus 13 MP rear cam and 8 MP front-cam with the support of LED flash. The rear cam can record video up to full-HD quality with 30 fps.

Layout of camera app on the R7 is quite simple: big shutter button on the bottom. Users can also add filter to their shots just by tapping the top-left button while the phone is hold in landscape position. The button on the top-left corner let users access to various features and filters such as: panorama modes, HDR modes or Ultra HD feature (which allows you to create a super-fine resolution photos by merging many shots into one).

One more interesting feature is the GIF animation creator, which allows user to capture movable images without sound, motions of the captured GIF can also be reversed for more fun.

If you feel not enough with the default modes, you can go to Oppo’s camera shop to download more modules for more choices of photo editing. For example, the Expert mode shall let you adjust the shutter, the focus of the shoot and ISO, exposure index of the photos.

Similar to other siblings which have powerful and well-performed camera features, the Oppo R7 gets things handled pretty well. Photos taken are vibrant, colors are vivid and true to life, captured objects appear with fine details. In low-light conditions, the shots are not super fine but it’s totally understandable as optical stabilization is not supported.

The front-facing camera also works quite well, however, the focus only works well for center faces. Thus, when taking selfies, anyone who is off-center shall look a bit blurry.

 

Performance

For normal and basic daily tasks, the R7 totally can handle them well without any issue. The 3GB RAM offers you enough oomph for performing multi tasks at a time. When switching between apps, you shall not have to reload them – which often happens in device with less RAM. The R7 is also responsive and work smoothly without lag – the issue I’ve met on the Oppo R5.

In comparision with other phones with similar Snapdragon 615 processor (such as the Alcatel One Touch Idol3, the Xiaomi Mi 4i), the R7 get similar results on the test.

 

Battery life

When it comes to power lasting competition, the R7 falls behind with its 2320 mAH battery. Surely what you have to carry around is the charger as it cannot last until the end of the day (especially for heavy users). But what’s make you less worry is the quick charger, which shall boost the battery power up to 75% just in half an hour.

As the result of our video test, the R7 lasts for 9 hours 5 minutes, which is not a very good result. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi Mi 4i can last up to 13 hours in the same test (however, this one has 3000 mAh battery).

Oppo R7 Charger Review Buy

Oppo R7 Charger Review Buy

 

Call quality and data speed

The quality of the call is good as I encountered no issue making calls. Voice from both 2 sides is loud and clear, no distortion or buzzing is detected. However, voice from speakers seems quite loud for the size of the device, and it’s also hard to hear in crowded place.

As in 4G network of SingTel, the phone reached 99.44 Mbps and 35.89 Mbps in download and upload speed respectively. Of course, this result shall vary depending on network quality, time and region.

 

Conclusion

The Oppo R7 is a complete package of a beautiful design and mid-range spec with reasonable price. It also comes a little bit cheaper than the Huawei Ascend P7 – the similar handset. Overall, this is undoubtedly a good choice to consider for users who are looking for a phone with 4G support.

HTC Desire 626 Review

The newly launched HTC Desire 626 has received great attention from users. Let’s take a look at our deep review about this good looking smartphone.

Pros: attractive and appealling outlook, budget-friendly price, good call quality.

Cons: inconsistency in quality of photos and videos, cumbersome performance, inresponsive automatic brightness.

Bottom line: at its price range, this HTC Desire 626 can be considered the most attractive looking device you can find. However, if you are looking for a faster and stronger performance handset, consider another choice.

The latest launched low-budget device of HTC – the HTC Desire 626 seems like an entry-level smartphone rather than a mid-range one. This 5-inch device is just equipped with a 8 MP rear cam and a decent processor. The attractiveness of this phone among budget-friendly & decent performing Android handsets is the appealling design which comes in 6 different colors (including the color choices of the Desire 626S).

The strategy of HTC to distribute globally the Desire 626 as a value purchase is a good one. It can be obviously seen that HTC is using the entry and middle level handsets to boost their sales and profit, especially the budget users.

 

Price and availabilty

As this one is globally distributed, users have to check with the network provider or retail stores for the detailed price. Generally, the price is around USD 200 in the US market – no contract bond. There are many carriers provide the HTC Desire 626 in the US such as: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile… with offered payment varies from USD 0 – USD 8 monthly for 24 months or USD 6 monthly for 30 months.

 

Design and build

The screen display of the Desire 626 is in 5-inch size with HD resolution at 1280 x 720, pixel density at 294 ppi. The phone has dimension at 5.8 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.32 inch and weighs 5 ounces.

Users can firmly believe in HTC when it comes to the device’s design, whatever the price is. Even the Desire 626 may not look the most eye-catching, there’s still intangible value that makes the device a cohesive, seamless and appealing handset. This feeling is similar to the case of Motorola Moto G .

Colors play an important role in the attractive look of the phone as there are 6 color choices available (for example: black & red, blue on blue…). The review model in my hands is in white, black and blue color combo. However, in Australian market, there is just 1 color option offered: blue on blue model.

Another good thing is the unibody design as there are just few gaps in it. As the back is curved around, it may feel like the front is a little bigger than the phone’s back.

The phone arrangement is as follow: volume rocker on the right and it’s above the power/ lock button, slots for microSIM card and micro-SD card are on left, the bottom edge hosts the port for micro-USB, the headphone jack is on the top, on the phone’s front located the speaker grilles above and below the screen and lastly the back is the house for the 8MP cam with LED flash. Impressively, the micro-SD card can be up to 2TB.

 

HTC Desire 626 Review Buy

HTC Desire 626 Review Buy

Software and apps

The Android 5.1 Lollipop is the operating system being shipped with the Desire 626. As the Android 6.0 Marshmallow is coming very soon, the device can be updated but it shall take some time.

Similar to other HTC siblings, HTC’s Sense comes with the phone and in the Desire 626, it’s the HTC Sense 7.0. There are several specialized applications, especially in camera segment: the familiar Zoe Highlights, the HTC Print Studio (which allows users to creat photo books, e-cards…) and another app that helps users applying different visual themes.

 

Camera quality

As mentioned before, cameras being featured with the Desire 626 are 13 MP and 5 MP – rear and front cams respectively. The rear cam can capture video up to 720 HD quality.

Camera app in this device is quite easy to use. Users can control flash or swicth between different shooting modes just right on the phone screen. For instance, switching to Selfie mode or Panorama mode just requires a press on the button and to reveal more camera settings (such as macro mode or selfie-beauty mode), users just need to press the ellipses button on the screen.

The Zoe – which is familiar on every HTC phones – helps users creat highlight videos about their captured clips and photos.

As usual, image quality is better when taken outdoor under full sunlight rather than indoor with low lighting condition as photos are brighter with finer details. Thus, users shall satisfy with their landscape or out door shoots.

As expected, the indoor pictures cannot be as crisp as in higher-end cameras. Photos taken with low-light conditions or night shots are flat, invivid, somehow blurry with noises.

In contrast, the 5 MP front-cam works pretty well as pictures come out with true to life colors and in focus (of course, under abundant lighting). However, beauty mode for selfies shall require ducking into settings if you want to beautify your selfies.

When it come to video capturing, issue appears as I did notice noise and stuttering situation. Even under abundant lighting, motions are sometimes blur especially when capturing jumping jack objects.

For many users, they often forgive such cons in cameras of budget-friendly devices. But for me, I can see many low-budget phones with well performing cameras, and thus, this issue is quite hard to defend.

 

Performance and battery:

The processor being equipped in the Desire 626 is the Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 201 at 1.1 GHz clock speed. This is quite not an advantage as there many middle or even entry-level devices out there that are using the faster 2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor.

One easily seen noticeable slowdown is the game streaming: when playing Riptide GP2 – my baseline game in comparing phones’ performance, the Desire 626 is more stuterring and less responsive. Another factor can be mentioned here is longer bootup: it takes around 50 seconds while in other similar phones, this action just takes around 30 seconds.

However on the other side, it just takes a little time for shot-to-shot: around 2 seconds between each shot including time for auto-focus.

 

Battery life

The Desire 626 is shipped with a 2000mAh battery. As our test of video streaming, this device last for just around 7.5 hours, which is not a good result (even we can say the result falls on the bottom) as the second shortest lasting phone – the Huawei P8 Lite – can last for up to 8 hours 3 mins. This might be the reason for the dim screen as this is the way to reserve juice for battery.

Generally, this device can hardly last for a whole day, even with normal users.

 

Call quality and data speed

As the Desire 626 is distributed globally, the phone can work well both on CDMA and GSM network with different network version available, LTE is also supported. As I’ve tested in AT&T network in San Francisco, data speeds are within the average range as I usually get.

However, as this device just got mid-range specs, Wifi network is just supported at 2.4GHz speed, not the fastest 5 GHz as in other higher-end devices. Actually, this one doesn’t matter to me, just a note for you to be aware of.

Regarding the call quality, as mentioned earlier, the Desire 626 brings great quality when making calls, both through speakerphone and earpiece. Voices from both sides are loud, clear and impressively rich. It just feels like my calling partner is just nearby next to me eventhough he’s in New York – 3000 miles away. In relatively quite space such as in a office or in car, calls can be easily and comfortably made through speakerphone.

 

Conclusion

What I love in this HTC Desire 626 are its appealling design, the buget-friendly price, the excellent call quality it brings. However, what bothers me more is the phone’s poor performance in comparision with other devices in the same category. Some issues can be listed here are: the dim screen as if the phone is running out of battery shortly so that users have to stick their face to the display, the lagginess streaming and the short battery life.

Overall, the price tag and attractive look cannot help the Desire 626 stand out of the crowd. If you are willing to pay for just  a little extra cost for pricier phone, the extra value you get shall surely be much more than what you can get from the Desire 626. Some outstanding examples are the 16GB Motorola Moto G with stronger processor, better camera with customizable design or the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 with much better 13 MP cam and far more fancier specifications.

In short, if HTC want to become a strong competitor in this mid-range & lower range segment, they shall have to work more to cut down the price of Desire 626 or to improve this device’ performance.

Motorola Moto X Pure Review

Let’s take a look at our deep review for the Moto X Pure of Motorola.

Pros: customizable design, expandable storage, quick charging and loud speakers.

Cons: weirdly massive size, average battery, not really attractive price.

Bottom life: if you are looking for a massive-sized phone and want to express yourself through the device’s outlook, the Motorola’s Moto X Pure is the choice for you.

Honestly, the Moto X Pure Edition – which is globally known as the Style Edition is in my favorite list as this one has an affordable price. And one more important reason is that this device is unlocked and can be able to work on all popular US networks such as: Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T. Similarly, the international Edition – the Moto X Style can also work on all networks wherenver region it’s sold.

Moreover, following the Motorola Moto X in 2014, the 5.7-inch-size Moto X Pure also offers customizable designs. By offering this service, users can have several alternatives for their own phones such as: trim colors, back cover material, which shall make the device very personal and unique. This is surely a competitive advantage of the Moto X Pure Edition among the ocean of similar looking smartphones.

Motorola Moto X Pure Back Review Buy

Motorola Moto X Pure Back Review Buy

However, what bothers me is the massive size of the handset, which makes me feel cumbersome most of the time as my hands are comparatively small. Another so-so features can be listed here are: battery life, camera quality.

Generally, besides the customizable designs, Motorola does not introduce anything new in the Moto X Pure. Especially, when place next to the large-screend handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, the OnePlus 2 and ZTE Axon Pro, the Moto X Pure does not really stand out at all.

 

Availability

In US market, the price of the Moto X Pure starts from $400. Price shall varies depending on designs and internal memory capacity.

In UK market, the price shall be £399 and £434 for 32 GB and 64 GB versions respectively.

For Australian market, the Moto X Pure shall only availbale in Vodafone network with a contract. Thus, there shall be AUD80 and AUD 100 plans for users with AUD 3 repayment monthly.

 

Design and build

The Moto X Pure comes with a huge screen: 5.7 inch in size with 2K resolution (2560 x 1440). Correspondingly, the dimension is pretty massive as it is a phablet, which is at: 6.1 inches x 3 inches x 0.4 inch at 6.3 ounces in weight.

In comparision with the Moto X in 2014, the Moto X Pure’s display 0.5 inch larger. though it’s still not as large as the Google Nexus 6. But at the end of the day, the overall size of the Moto X Pure can be considered massive and it shall not easily fit users’ pockets and be controlled by 1 hand (even with big hands users).

Not talking about the massive size, the Moto X Pure is quite an attractive and well-built device. The curvy back and the smoothly curved glass panel of the screen shall conform users’ palms. The metal M logo of Motorola is now smaller and placed in the elegant metal strip on the back.

However, please be aware that the Moto X Pure is just water repellent – which just can stand few water drops on the surface, unlike the Moto G (the cheaper device also released this year) – which is submersible underwater.

One more good thing is that users shall have better experience with music and movies audio with the dual front speakers being featured in this device as they both output the music and movies audio (phone call audio shall be ouput on speaker only through bottom grille).

As mentioned above, the most interesting thing on the Moto X Pure is its customizable look. Users are offered with many options in base color (black/ white), accent colors, back cover’s color and also back cover’s materials (such as bamboo, leather, wood or plastic).

For some users, such offer may trivial to them. But for me personally, having my own customized looking handset (without the phone case) make it truly mine among the ocean of similar-looking smartphones.

Talking about the big display, in maximum brightness setting, it’ll be easily and comfortable to view under direct sunlight outdoor. While the minimum brightness setting is very useful for you in the dark to usefully avoid eye-strain.

The viewing angle of the screen is also wide and the touching-responsiveness is also very good. The screen offers me comfortable experience as games, text, YouTube videos and HD movies are all displayed crisp and smooth. There are also 2 color modes for users to choose between under Display setting: vibrant and normal. Colors shall be vivid and bright under normal color mode, while colors shall be richer and more saturated under vibrant mode.

 

Motorola Moto X Pure Review Buy

Motorola Moto X Pure Review Buy

Software and features

The operating system being shipped with the Moto X Pure is the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The device is also enriched with the Minimal Motorola software with various useful gesture controls. Comparing to the Nexus line and the Moto X Play Edition, the Moto X Pure is not the “purest” Android handset, unlie its name. However, it really close to the untouched Android experience so you do not need to be disappointed.

Firstly, as this device is unlocked and not sticked to any exclusive carrier, there will be no carrier bloatware available on the device. What users will get is the usual Google apps set such as: YouTube, Gmail or Google Chrome…

Secondly, you are still provided with many useful features via Moto apps without the overlaid user interface from the manufacture (like the TouchWiz in Samsung devices or the Sense in HTC devices). These useful features (Moto Assist, Voice, Display and Actions) can be accessed via just one single Moto application. For example, when you have a scheduled meeting noted in Google Calendare, the Moto Assist can adjust your setting and switch the device into vibration mode and all missed calls will be replied with a pre-composed message. Some more helpful gesture controls can be listed here are: launching camera by twisting the wrist while holding the phone or turning on/ off the flashlight by chopping hand in the air.

The Motorola Voice – the voice input feature which is similar to Google Now, works pretty well with both 3rd party and built-in applications. With this Voice, users can navigate with Maps, set alarm, post updates on Twitter/ Facebook or search for a title with one song is playing…

Lastly mentioning are the Moto Connect and Migrate. With Moto Migrate, users can input all apps, files and contacts from their previous devices into the Moto X Pure while with the Moto Connect, users can easily manage other Motorola’s gadgets they have (such as the wireless headphones or the Moto 360 smartwatch).

However, there are still some factors that bother me. For instance, in order to update Facebook status by Moto Voice, users need to update the latest version of Moto app. Moreover, while Moto Voice can help you dictate your posts on Facebook, it cannot do it on Twitter. With Twitter, the Moto Voice just can help you activate Twitter window to type your message you need to post. The chopping gesture (to turn on/off flashlight) also does not smoothly work.

Overall, as mentioned before, there’s not any substantial new software being offered in the Moto X Pure, there are just some small tweakes. Thus, frankly speaking, this new device offers you the same tricks as last year’s edition.

 

Camera and video

The rear camera on this device is the 21 MP one and the front cam is 5 MP. Video can be recorded up to 4K quality and 1080p quality with rear and front cam respectively.

There are not many editing features in the original camera app. However, HDR shooting mode, geo tagging, digital zoom, touch-focus module are all available in both cameras. Moreover, both rear and front cams have their own flash and night-shooting mode is also shipped in both cams. There are 2 aspect ratio for taken photos: the wide 16:9 or the squarish 4:3.

Slow-motion videos can be captured in both cameras with quality up to 720p. What more interesting is that photos can be captured during video recording. Audio is well picked up and there is no lag when the camera is moving.

Regarding the rear cam particularly, this camera can capture panoramic pictures, scan QR/ bar codes for a search via Google. As mentioned above, it can record ultra-HD video quality: 4K – which is at 3840 x 2160 pixel.

Picture quality is pretty good with decent look. Under outdoor light or good-condition indoor light, the photo colors are true to life and objects are crisp with well-defined details. However, when trying a close-up shot, the result does not satisfy me as the focus jus lock on and a clear photo was snapped. Under low-light conditions, digital noise and graininess are noticeable even exposure is somewhat improved.

As the front cam is wide-angle, there will be more space and content captured into the picture frame. In contrast, the picture corners shall be elongated.

Generally, the camera just does not greatly impress me as it just get things done well for everday shots, which are just good enough for online posting or printing out in small size.

 

Performance

The Moto X Pure is featured with 1.8 Ghz 6-core Snapdragon 808 of Qualcomm, which is lower in clock speed comparing to the predecessor (2.5 Ghz). However, the Snapdragon 808 still performs smoothly and swiftly. RAM is now 3GB and 3 options of internal storage are available: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB, with expandable storage up to 128 GB by MicroSD card (this is not available in 2 previous versions).

As my real experience, I have encountered no lagg or sturring problems while opering daily tasks. Intensive games are also smoothly and quickly rendered with solid gaming experience.

Regarding the network that the device can work on, it’s wonderful that the Moto X Pure can works well both on GSM and CDMA technology.

As for call quality, it’s great with appropriate volume range, voice from both sides are loud and clear without any distortion or buzzing.

The battery in this device is non-removable which is powered at 3000mAh. You may expect this can help the device last long. But the result may not as good as you expect. Due to the result of our test, the device just can last for nearly 9 hours of continuous video streaming, while the predecessor – the Moto X with small screen and 2,300 mAh batter could last for more than 10 hours.

But good news for the Moto X Pure battery is the Turbo Power charger, which helps users quickly juice up the battery (around 1.25 hours to charge the phone from 0% to 100%).

 

Conclusion

There are pretty many good things being offered by the Moto X Pure such as: pure Android experience, attractive price, large expandable storage, customizable design and the capacity to work in all network technologies. Therefore, this device shall be a worth-considering choice for many users.

However, if money is not your issue, there will be many viable options for you in massive size handsets, which are more powerful, long-lasting and stylish.

OnePlus 2 Review

Let’s take a look at our detailed review for the OnePlus 2 – a newly launched smartphone with elite performance and very attractive price.

Pros: high-end performance, affordable price, nice design. Good quality rear cam.

Cons: wireless and fast charging is not available, unhelpful USB Type-C port. Software bugs that bother the phone users.

Bottom line: the phone packs the attractive design with strong performance at a very budget-friendly price. However, it’s not really easy to acquire as it only available via invite system of OnePlus.

The newly launched OnePlus 2 is now being surrounded by a lot of compliment as it’s the complete package of good camera, powerful processor, eye-catching design at a very attractive price tag. Thus, it’s no surprise that phone users are now paying great attention on this smartphone.

However, there are still some features not available on this product such as: wireless charging, fast charging and NFC, which are skipped to cut down the cost.

Overall, the design of the OnePlus 2 impressed me a lot as it has greatly improved in comparision with the predecessor OnePlus One. Since the out-look construction is more expensive, the OnePlus 2 costs more than the original OnePlus 1: USD 330 and USD 390 for 16GB and 64GB version respectively. Still, such price tags are way cheaper than most of the high-end handsets currently available on the market. (for example: the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 64 GB version shall have full  retail price at around USD 800)

But getting this product is not really easy as users shall need an invitation (which is available on social media such as Google +, Twitter and Facebook or OnePlus forum’s contest) to make a purchase as the OnePlus 2 is not distributed via retail stores or carriers. This is surely quite a burden for interested buyers.

 

Design and build

The phone comes with a dimension of 5.9 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches, 6.2 ounces in weight and a full-HD 5.5-inch screen display at 1920 x 1080 resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. There are also 4 cover designs being offered. Thus, while the size of the screen display remains the same, the OnePlus 2 is a little bit smaller than the original OnePlus 1. The frame of OnePlus 2 is made of metal, which shall bring premium feeling to users instead of plastic rim. The rear covers also come in 5 different designs for users to choose. For me, I chosed the black sandstone version and the sandpaper feeling makes me worry-free about slipping. If you want smoother covers, options for you are: bamboo, black apricot, rosewood and Kevlar and they are all available at USD 27.

Back to the original OnePlus 1, the raised screen is among the key design elements. This element stays still in the OnePlus 2 and actually I think this element is better on the OnePlus 2 due to the metal frame. Such raised screen also brings a distintive flair to the OnePlus 2, which cannot be found on other phones.

The fingerprint sensor is located below the screen and this shall be used for waking up the devices. What makes it interesting is this sensor is not a button, it’s actually a shallow depression. By placing the finger over, the phone shall be turned on even when the screen is not on.

Unlike other handsets, the SIM card slot of the OnePlus 2 is neatly hiden behind rear cover instead of being placed along the phone’s edge. However, these slots are only for nano-SIM, which means users shall have to purchase a new nano SIM card or trim down the normal SIM card.

In order to reserve the left place for Alert Slider, the volume keys are now moved next to power button on the right. There are 3 settings for the slider: mute all notifications, receive only prior alerts or receive all notifications. Actually, this is truly a helpful way to manage the device’s usage, however, users still have to manually set the priority applications.

The reversible port of USB Type-C is on the bottom of the device, which is now very new among smartphones. Though, this is not a USB 3.0 port, it’s still the USB 2.0 one and thus, the transfer speeds cannot reach 5 gigabits/ sec and still stay the same as on other current devices.

Next to the USB Type-C port are the speakers, actuall they are just single speaker, not the dual one.

Of course, the main camera is located on the back of the phone, this is a 13 MP rear cam with laser-assist focus. The front-cam is a 5 MP one.

Unfortunately, there’s no slot for micro SD card, which means the memory is not expandable (it’s fine for 64 GB ver but not for 16 GB ver). Also, the battery is not removable.

OnePlus 2 Review Buy

OnePlus 2 Review Buy

Hardware

The processor being shipped with the OnePlus 2 is the Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 810 with 1.8GHz speed. As mentioned before, there are 2 options for internal memory: 16GB and 64GB. There are also 2 versions of RAM: 3GB (for 16GB memory model) and 4GB (for 64GB memory model). The battery is embedded and powered at 3,300mAh.

Someone may say that the 810 processor shall make the device overheat but OnePlus did claim that this situation shall not happen on their OnePlus 2 as the Oxygen OS is optimized to well handle the hardware.

In comparision with other top-end devices, there are 3 noticeable features that the OnePlus 2 lacks are: NFC, quick & wireless charging. Another less noticeable thing is the disappearance of microSD card but actually this shall be the trend as the recent Galaxy Note 5 also comes without it.

In the US, the OnePlus 2 shall work on 2 carrirer networks: T-Mobile and AT&T. Verizon and Sprint networks are not compatible for this device.

 

Operating System

The operating system being shipped with this OnePlus 2 is the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. There is also a feature named Shelf available to help users quickly access their frequent apps, themes are customizable on the phone.

OxygenOS – an Android Lollipop 5.1-based custom skin – comes with the OnePlus 2 this year. Thus, users can get familiar with the OxygenOS very quickly if they are used to the Android. This is also not problem even for iOS users.

However, there’s one thing I hate is the big size of the app icons. In my opinion, the manufacturer should give users option to down-size the icons and the gaps between icons.

Since the Oxygen OS is still new, bugs are unavoidable (for instance: the palm detection). But they can be fixed by software update.

 

Camera and video

Talking more about the 13 MP rear cam, this one is shipped with optical image stabilization, added with laser-assit focus, dual-LED flash and featured with f/2.0 aperture. The camera sensor is also larger in order to take higher quality shots under low-light conditions. This rear cam can record video at 4K quality. As mentioned before, the front-cam is 5MP one.

There are several basic modes  to be listed here are: real-time filter, HDR and paranoma. Exposure can also be locked by holding finger on 1 spot. However, HDR is not auto though this feature is auto in other top-end devices such as iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

Generally, the camera quality has greatly improved in the OnePlus 2 and it does not disappoint the users. Colors are true to life with sharp and in-focus objects. In order to review the recently captured photos, users have to swipe to the left, though this gesture, in landscape mode, does not work well.

The quality of video recording is also very high: up to 4K with rear cam and up to full-HD with front cam. The camera also adjusts quickly when lighting conditions change, and so does the focus when the camera is moving.

Another thing that impressed me is the DOF effects, this works pretty good in the OnePlus 2 though it way far can compare to a DSLR. Clear Image mode is also quite helpful as it will combine multiple photos to make a final clearer-looking shot.

 

Performance

As the processor is really powerfull, it’s no surprise that the OnePlus 2’s performance is lag-free and very smooth. Quickly start camera, smooth game streaming even with intensive game like the Asphalt 8.

In comparision with other phones that also use Snapdragon 810 processor like the ZTE Axon Pro and HTC One M9, the OnePlus 2 performs noticebly well.

 

Battery life

The 3,300mAh unremovable battery shall make users expect the device to last quite long, especially when the power-draining 4K screen display is not available on the OnePlus 2.

In real experiment, the results of video streaming is not as good as we expect: the OnePlus 2 just lasted for 9 hours and 46 mis while the Galaxy Note 5 can last up to 15 hours. Luckily, in moderate use, this device can easily last for 1 full day.

 

Call quality and data speeds

The OnePlus 2 works both on GSM and LTE networks, 2.4 GHz & 5GHz Wifi dual-band is also featured on the device.

Regarding the call quality, it’s pretty satisfactory as there’s nearly no distortion or buzzing occur when making calls. Voice from both 2 sides are clear and loud. Audio speaker’s volume is also proper without any issue.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the OnePlus 2 is a smartphone aiming in high-end market that choose price advantage as a competitive feature. This device can bring you excellent performance that you can find in another handsets with almost twice the price.

If you want to find other simliar options, Xiaomi Mi Note and ZTE’s Axon Pro are also worth-considering.

In conclusion, if you don’t mind the “invitation only” purchasing method, the OnePlus 2 surely will satisfy you with its performance, its design and its price tag.

BlackBerry Passport Review

Let’s talk about the comeback of a “once upon a time” hero – BlackBerry with the BlackBerry Passport.

Pros: powerful hardware, clever keyboard which brings great experience for editing and reading.

Cons: the awkward square shape, lack of several key apps which can be easily found on Play Store of Google.

Bottom Line: BlackBerry focuses on making a great physical keyboard for the product but forgets to make a comfortable-to-use device.

The BlackBerry Passport plainly is an efficient product, which is the symbolic feature of the BlackBerry: professional and business-focused. With a powerful hardware, some smart features and a great operating system BlackBerry OS 10.3, the device is surely a strong competitor in the elite smartphone range.

The BlackBerry Passport shall be on sale with the price of $599 for the US market, €649 for the France and Germany market, £529 for UK market and CND$699 for the Canada market. For Australia market, the Passport is brought to customers exclusively by Optus with the price of AU$899.

Design and Specs

The BlackBerry Passport is featuring with a distinctive square shape – which is nearly the same as the US passport. This shape shall immediately draw attention from everyone when you are holding the device. The phone is 3.5 inches wide, which is wider than many big-sizes smartphone such as the IPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. However, both these 2 competitor devices offer larger screen displays than the one on BlackBerry Passport (BlackBerry Passport has 4.5-inch screen, iPhone 6 Plus has 5.5-inch screen and the Note 3 has 5.7-inch screen).

But be aware that the BlackBerry’s targeting customers are totally different from the market-niche of these 2 abovementioned products: the BlackBerry Passport is created mainly for nebulous “professional” consumer. If you still fall into a physical keyboard – which has been forgotten for so long nowadays, the BlackBerry Passport is definitely a go-to for you.

Previously, there were several devices attempting the full-QWERTY keyboard with the somewhat odd square shape such as Acer BeTouch E210 or the HTC ChaCha, but the effect was not strong. However, things are totally different with the BlackBerry Passport. The device looks really sharp with stainless-steel frame, which brings a premium feeling for customers when holding the phone. Also, the Passport can comfortably sit in the pocket.

The square screen display of the BlackBerry Passport is in 4.5-inch size with resolution at 1440 x 1440 pixel and 453 ppi pixel density. The screen is gorgeous, and with such width, it can display around 60 characters on each line. This is nearly close to the print industry standard, where 66 characters each line is considered optimal. Thus, the Passport brings great reading experience to the readers.

The display quality is good with crispy text, vivid and true-to-life colors. The screen can also be very viewable under both indoor and outdoor as it is a glossy IPS LCD. Of course, under direct sunlight, this level shall go down a bit.

The Keyboard

Physical keyboard is somewhat inseparable with the BlackBerry device. With the BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry has brought things up to a higher level. The familiar 4-row keyboard (which was seen on the BlackBerry Bold/BlackBerry Q10) is now replaced by the new 3-row keyboard. This means a mix of virtual and physical keyboard, with context-sensitive row located on the display’s bottom edge.

The physical keyboard of the BlackBerry Passport has been “enriched” with some smart gestures and features. Firstly, this keyboard is touch-enabled, which works pretty well. Predictive text is also a useful feature for faster typing, though it requires some practice to get used to. When it comes to document editing, my experience is very satisfying. The magnifying glass shall immediately appear just by slightly double-tapping on the keyboard. Then, the keyboard can be used as a touchpad or a cursor. All functions are smoothly and precisely operated. However, please be noticed that you still need to use 2 hands to manage things with this Passport due to its abnormal width.

Software and features

The operating system being shipped with the BlackBerry Passport is the BlackBerry OS 10.3. This system is really strong and powerful, except the limited app selection. However, good news is that some Android apps can also run on this BlackBerry OS. Amazon Appstore is pre-installed on the phone, and users can download apps they need as what they often do with Android handset. Unfortunately, Google Play Store is not available and thus, users are blocked to an ocean of applications provided on this market. For me, it’s a true sadness as all my favorit Android games and apps cannot be found. Luckily, as mentioned before, as some Android apps can run on the Passport, if you have APK file of the app, problems are solved!

BlackBerry already offered their native mail and calendar applications for the Passport. The only Google service can be found on Amazon Appstore is the Google Talk. But it lacks many new features such as free SMS and free voice calls. Of course, BlackBerry’s BBM is available and it welcomes the join of users from Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

The square display may not optimize with some apps, and in this case, this will look quite odd (such as the Angry Birds).

BlackBerry Passport Review Buy

BlackBerry Passport Review Buy

The BlackBerry 10.3 OS

If you are happy enough for the BlackBerry’s ecosystem, the BlackBerry 10.3 OS surely shall not disappoint you. The handset does a great job on emailing and messaging, which has been the strong point of BlackBerry from the beginning.

Users can be able to rapidly respond to many frequently-used actions such as messaging, emailing or file managing by Instant Actions – the sidebar on the right of the hub. The Priority Hub, which is similar to priority inbox of Gmail, shall let you quickly access your important messages as you flag them.

Other useful gestures to mention are: swiping down with 1 finger from the screen top to access app setting, swiping down with 2 fingers from the screen top to access general phone settings and swiping up from the screen bottom to minimize an app or access multitasking screen.

BlackBerry Assistant

Similar to Siri for Apple iPhone, Google Now for Android phones and Cortana for Windows Phones, the BlackBerry Assistant is for BlackBerry phones. Users can call for their assistant by pressing on the voice assist button then start talking with it. With the help from this assistant, they can order the phone create calendar events, send text message/ emails or dictate notes. Users can even order their assistant to activate some hardware functions such as turning on flashlight. However, it requires quite a long time to handle the orders with the Assistant: around 10 seconds.

Performance

The hardware of the BlackBerry Passport is also a spotlight as it is equipped with a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU processor and a 3GB RAM. This kind of CPU is the same as what you can find in the Samsung Galaxy S5. The processor helps the phone handle flawlessly even with graphics-intensive games.

Internal storage being offered on the Passport is 32GB and it can be expanded up to 128GB more by microSD cards.

As my test for call quality on AT&T network and in San Francisco, everything was great. My calling partner sounded clear and loud, and they feel the same about my end.

Premium phone trimmings such as NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 802.11 b/g/n+ac Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi direct and Miracast  are all supported on the Passport.

A clever feature can be noted on the Passport is the microphone in earpiece of the phone – which measures sound pressure inside user’s ear to dynamically adjust volume, which shall very helpful in enhancing conversation experience.

The speakerphone of the BlackBerry passport is also very good. Though it’s a little light on bass, the conversations come through clear and loud. However, I would not recommend this one for music.

Regarding battery life, the device is powered with a 3,450mAh battery, which can last up to 12 hours of video streaming and 18 hours of talking time. According to the real results of or battery drain test, the Passport lasted impressively up to 26 hours and 41 mins of non-stop talking time.

Camera

Actually, I did not expect a good camera on the Passport. But I was pleasantly surprised with the camera here as the autofocus is not sluggish and the taken shots are fairly nice. The phone also will suggest some tricks to enhance the quality the captured products. For example, it will suggest the “Time Shift” mode to take continuous shots of faces so as to capture the right face when the cam detects one.

However, the annoying thing may be due to the shutter sound since we have no way to disable it.

Conclusion

I didn’t think that I will like the BlackBerry Passport this much as it is truly a fantastic phone for me. The sturdy outlook brings me the feeling of a proper professional and the clever keyboard helps me much on easy handling with text-heavy tasks. With this device, my response time to emails or texts is dramatically increased and this surprises many of my friends and colleagues. The BlackBerry’s ecosystem is not bothering me as I can access enough good apps here, no need for the further expansion from Google Play Store.

The only one thing that annoys me is the ridiculous width of the phone, which is not comfortable to hold or manage.

LG G Vista Review

Let’s take a look at our review for te supersized smartphone – the LG G Vista.

Pros: affordable price, massive screen display, interesting and useful customized software from LG.

Cons: the massive size may be troublesome for some users, internal storage is limited and the 720p resolution is not good enough for such massive size of the screen display.

Bottom line: the LG G Vista is a worth considering choice for people who are looking for a budget-friendly big-sized phablet.

Similar to the ZTE Boost Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – the LG G Vista, with its massive 5.7 inches screen, has joined the battle among massive phablets world.

Despite of the big size, the on-contract price is not big at all. Instead, the LG G Vista’s price tag is very affordable. For on-contract service, it only costs $50 on AT&T and on Verizon, it’s even free. Without contract agreement, the LG G Vista cost $400 and $355 on Verizon and AT&T respectively. Reason for such low price is the mid-range specification: the 720p resolution of the screen, the 8 MP cam and the 400 CPU Snapdragon. The device is like the scaled-up size but scaled-down specs of the LG G3.

As the pictures taken on LG G Vista is not the best and it’s processor is not the most powerful, it does not mean the Vista is not a good handset. Actually, its performance can be considered reliable at an attractive cost. Thus, in general, this device is my recommendation for users who has small budget but still look for a phablet.

Design

As mentioned previously many times, the LG G Vista is huge. Although there are still many bigger devices such as: the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega, the 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1320, the LG G Vista is still pretty massive with dimension at 5.99 inches x 3.12 inches x 0.36 inch (length x width x thickness). You can only manage the handset with 2 hands unless you have massive palm.  With such big size, obviously small handbags and jean pockets are not the place for the Vista, suitable place for this gadget is the shoulder bags. The 5.93 ounce weight may be hefty for some users, however, in consideration with the massive size of the Vista, this weight is surprisingly light.

The IR blaster (which assists the Quick Remote app to control various home appliances) and the headphone jack are placed on the top of the phone. On the bottom edge sits the Micro-USB charging port. Different with other brands’ handsets, the volume rocker, the control buttons and the power/sleep button are all located on the back cover of the LG G Vista. Two small speakers’ slits sit right below these buttons. This arrangement is similar in the brothers of the LG Vista such as the G2 Mini, the Flex 2 and the G3. The slots for microSD and removable battery can be approached by opening the back cover.

Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is used for the 5.7 inch screen display of the Vista, with 1280 x 720 HD resolution and pixel density at 258 ppi.  It’s far more to be compared with the elite device such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (whose resolution is up to 1440p), however, it’s still forgivable with such affordable price tag. In general, everything appears on the Vista’s screen quite bright and crispy and the screen is viewable under direct sunlight. The viewing angles are also wide and colors are vivid. The screen is also very responsive.

LG G Vista Review  Buy

LG G Vista Review Buy

Software features

Android 4.4.2 KitKat is the operating system being shipped with the Vista. With this OS, you will have all Google apps as you expect such as Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Drive and Google Hangouts. Other portals to approach many services supplied by Google Play such as Play Books, Play Music, Youtube.. are also available.

Device for AT&T network shall be preloaded with apps such as DriveMode (which lets users send messages while driving faster than 25mph), FamilyMap (which lets users locate their family members via AT&T account) and My AT&T (which lets users check account info and data). Mobile Locate app is another goodie since it helps pinpoint your phone’s current location if it gets lost or stolen. AT&T Live – the news app is also available to let you watch TV shows with 7 days of trial usage for Mobile TV. Other services and apps being supplied by AT&T can be listed here are: apps for navigation, for setting mobile hotspot and voice mail, for connecting to public Wifi and for usage manager. Through AT&T Locker, 5GB of cloud storage is also available for free.

With Verizon network, featuring app to be mentioned is the My Verizon Mobile (which helps users checking their data usage, caller ID and cloud services). Apps which are similar to AT&T’s are also available such as navigation, voice mail, message… Several Amazon Apps can also be found on the LG G Vista for Verizon.

Similar to other LG’s handsets, LG G Vista is also baked in with some signature software of LG such as Dual Window – which can be accessed by long-pressing “back” key on screen. Just by dragging 2 apps’ icons to the bottom or top of the screen, this software shall help you split screen of the 2 chosen apps. KnockCode shall help you in unlocking lock screen or turning on the device by just 1 action. Guest mode, QSlide and QMemo+ are also very helpful. So, my recommendation is you should take sometimes to discover these features too optimize your using experience of the LG G Vista.

The specs of LG G Vista are not impressive at all: just 1.5GB Ram, 8GB built-in storage and NFC support. However, it’s still forgivable with the mid-range phablet like this, except the 8GB internal storage and it the approachable storage is even less.

Camera and video

Though the photo quality taken by the 8 MP cam shall not be impressive, it’s decent and acceptable. Under ideal lighting conditions, things are in-focus with clear outlines. Obviously, with lower lighting conditions, objects shall be a little bit blurred with soft outlines, less in-focus and contains digital noise. At times, colors appearance lacks of vibrancy and there will be an unattractive yellow cast on the photos when using flash.

Talking about video capturing, the results are good with well-displayed 1080p HD video quality. Still objects and moving objects are both captured well and in-focus with true colors and well picked-up audio. However, the camera shall need some seconds to adjust the focus and lighting. Good thing is that no lag is found between viewfinder’s live footage and the camera’s moving.

Setting options for camera are kept to minimum with just HDR and panorama shooting mode, grid lines, timer and voice-activated shutter. Pictures can be taken in 4 different sizes and video can be captured at 2 standard resolution with the rear cam. With the 1.3MP front-cam, there are 2 sizes for photos taken and 1 size (720p) for video captured. A “beauty meter” is included in the front cam to beautify the selfies.

Performance

About call quality, as my test in San Francisco on both Verizon and AT&T network, the results are both good. Call quality is reliable with no conversation dropped, consistent audio and appropriate volume range.

According to 4G LTE speed test, in terms of web surfing, data speeds are overall similar in both 2 networks with averagely 6 – 8 secs to load. Obviously, this result is variable depends on locations and online time.

The engine of LG G Vista is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, which is popular among mid-range smartphones nowadays. With this processor, daily and basic tasks can be easily executed without issues. Other more advanced actions many take more time to process such as editing photos or playing graphics-intensive game like Riptide GP 2.

According to the results on Quadrant benchmark tests, the LG G Vista gots 8,969 scores while the LG G2 Mini and the Motorola Moto G (2014) got 8,369 and 8,839 scores respectively.

The 3,200 mAh battery can helps the device last easily a workday without charging, with maximum brightness and mild usage. LG claims that the Vista can last up to 26 hours of talking time and 15 hours of general use. For my real test, the Verizon model last for 17 hours and 21 mins of video streaming while the AT&T version just last for 14 hours and 48 mins.

Conclusion

If you are looking for an elite phablet to smoothly and quickly handle all difficult and easy tasks, LG G Vista is not the choice for you. Instead, look for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the upcoming Galaxy Note 4.

However, if you are looking for an affordably priced devices, the LG G Vista is a worth-considering option among other mid-range handsets I have experienced.

ZTE ZMax Review

Let’s take a look at our review for the ZTE ZMax – a newly launched “phablet” with an attractive price.

Pros: Affordable prepaid price, nice display, decent battery.

Cons: Hefty weight, large size which is uncomfortable on hands, dimming screen and NFC is not supported.

Bottom line: this phablet is worth to consider with an attractive price even though there are still some flaws about the outlook.

Generally, we cannot say ZTE Zmax is the best smartphone with big screen in the mid-end smartphone range. With the big screen size – which is at 5.7 inches, the phone is so heavy and thus, not comfortable to hold by one hand. The camera is just at decent level, not great at all. And even though the screen display is at 720p – the standard resolution for budget-friendly phablets, the display of the screen is quite dimmer than the others with similar size and similar price.

However, the ZTE ZMax is pretty cheap, on T-Mobile, you just have to pay $10.5 monthly in 24 months off-contract (which is totally $252). This price tag is so attractive especially when you compare to the high-end phablets with average cost to be $750 and the mid-end phablets with average cost to be $400.

Another good thing is the performance of the ZMax is decent, which is better than we expect with gadget at this price. Of course, with such price, the specification of the device cannot be on the top impressive, the processor cannot be the strongest and the operating system is not the most updated Android version. But after all, the phone handles well with your demand of basic daily tasks such as: web browsing, call making without issues. Therefore, in conclusion, among the budget-end phablets, the ZMax is a reliable choice.

Design

The dimension of the ZMax is at 6.4 x 3.3 x 0.35 inch (length x width x thickness) and 6.7 ounces in weight with thick top and bottom bezels, which brings a hefty feeling for the users. In comparison with AT&T’s LG G Vista, which also has the same 5.7 inches screen display, the LG phone is 0.77 ounces lighter and 0.41 inch shorter than the ZMax. With such a massive size and also the flat back, it will be quite difficult for user to manage the phablet with only 1 hand unless they also have a massive palm size. Surely, don’t expect it to be fit with your pockets

The volume rocker and the slot for microSD card are located on the left side of the device while the power/ lock button and SIM card are located on the opposite side. On the top is the headphone jack and the bottom houses the port for charging. In order to approach the SIMcard and microSD card, a small pin key included shall be needed for popping out the tray. Like every other smart devices, the main camera of ZTE Zmax sits on the back cover with the flash and audio speaker’s slit.  Be aware that the battery is non-removable as the back cover is totally embedded.

Another thing I do not like is the fingerprint collective back plate as the material used for the back plate is slick plastic. Thus, the device looks oily almost all the time and I even feel like I will drop this phablet very easily, especially when I hold it with 1 hand.

The arrangement on the front is as follow: the front cams sits above the screen display and on the display bottom sit the 3 softkeys (setting, home, back). You can long-press setting key to get straight to recent apps. The screen display of Zmax has resolution at 1280 x 720 pixel and it uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3. As mentioned before, 720 p resolution is standard for such kind of phablet, but the 1080 p surely looks much better with such screen size.

For me, I really not impressed with the Zmax’s screen. Even thought the screen is responsive with sharp text and icons, the color display is washed out with grayish white and lacks of vibrancy. When putting the LG G Vista and the ZMax side by side, even with the same resolution, difference is noticeable as the G Vista of LG has more superior display with bright and vivid colors.

Zte Zmax Review Buy

Zte Zmax Review Buy

Software features

The operating system being shipped with the ZMax is the Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which is lightly skinned OS. With this OS, you will have the assist of Google’s package such as: Google Chrome, Google Now, Gmail, Google Drive, Hang outs, Maps, Search and Youtube. Via Google Play, you can also access to many kinds of Google’s service such as Newsstand, Books, Movies, Music or Game.

There are also many pre-installed apps from T-mobile such as My T-Mobile Account (which let you know our data plan), T-Mobile TV (which streams ESPN, Fox News… channel) and from other 3rd Party like Amazon’s app and Lookout – the security service app.

Apps for basic tasks such as: calendar, clock, alarm, calculator, email, notepad, sound recorder, video and music player, file manager and task manager are also available and can be easily approached like in other devices. There are also an useful tools called App Source, which lets users categorize and tidily organize their apps.

Other features to mention here is the 2GB RAM, the 16GB of internal storage space (with up to 32 GB expandable by microSD card) and the support of Bluetooth 4.0. However, it’s pretty weird when NFC is not supported in the ZTE Zmax as this technology  is commonly found in many mid-range smart devices even though is not widely used.

Camera and video

The quality of photo taken by rear cam of the ZTE is up to 8 mega pixels. This number is just decent, not impressive at all for devices at this range. Overall, pictures taken are clear and in-focus. However, for objects located outside of center focus area, they appear blurry. The color display also lacks of vibrancy as colors appear muted. Even in the environment with plentiful lighting condition, artifacts and digital noise are very noticeable. When flash is on, the taken picture shall be in bluish hue, especially in white background.

The above situations happen similarly with video capturing. Good thing is both still and moving objects are clear and in-focus although the camera takes few seconds to adjust for new focus points and new lighting conditions. The camera also picks up the audio well. There are also not much lag between the viewfinder and the camera movement.

Features available for cameras are: timer, geo-tagging, digital zoom at 4x, grid lines, time-lapse mode for video capturing and screen shot while video recording. There are also many (up to 18) shooting modes for users to choose to suit with their capturing purposes such as: HDR, panorama, Instagramesque filters, sunset and macro… Picture sizes are also various to choose from (9 sizes) and video resolutions are similar (5 resolutions). The front-cam has 2 picture sizes and 3 video qualities to choose from.

Editing options are also very versatile as you can rotate, crop, decorate your photos by tinkering it in the gallery app.

Performance

As my test in San Francisco, the call quality is quite good. No call was dropped with continuous and consistent connection. However, audio should be clearer as I still can hear my partner’s voice fine by actually her voice is a bit low and slightly thin.

Talking about the data speed test, the result is not really positive. On Ookla test, the average download rate is shown at 4.93 Mbps while the upload rate is shown at 7.53 Mbps on T-Mobile 4G LTE network. It’s quite lagging since as my experience with the same network on LG G3, the speed is very impressive.

To load the New York Times, it takes 6 seconds and 9 seconds for desktop Site and mobile Site respectively. While with the CNET’s site, the results are 14 and 9 secs for desktop and mobile version respectively. Finally, the Temple Run 2, which weighs 45.8 MB, was completely downloaded and installed after 2 mins and 16 secs.

The engine of the ZTE Zmax is featured with 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor (which is similar to other mid-range handsets). With this processor, simple and basic tasks can be easily handled without problems. Even intensive graphics game like the Riptide GP2 can be also played smoothly without sluttering.

The device’s battery is powered at 3,400mAh and can last for up to 14 hours of talking time.

Conclusion

Although there are still many flaws to mention with the ZTE ZMax, with this attractive price tag, this phablet is still a worth-considering option for you. Especially for users who just demand simple and basic daily tasks.

LG Realm Review

Let’s take a look at our detailed review for the newly launched budget-friendly LG’s phone – the LG Realm.

Pros: helpful exclusive software of LG, nice indicator light, low price.

Cons: low-quality screen display, slow 3G speed, limited internal capacity (4GB).

Bottom line: the LG Realm is actually not a bad device. However, with just $20 more, users can have another better choice – the Motorla Moto G with stronger hardware and more attractive design.

Among the market for budget-end Android smartphone, the LG Realm – which costs $80 – is not a bad choice, but it’s also not the best choice so far due to its limited 4GB built-in storage, the low-resolution display and the lagging 3G data speed.

Talking about good things, there are some extra softwares of LG that stand out such as: the shining LED home button, the double-tap function to turn on/off the screen. However, regarding to the specification of the phone (such as screen display quality or the internal storage), definitely, the Motorola Moto G also for Boost Mobile does much better with just $20 more.

Design and build

Actually, the LG Realm is the CDMA version of the GSM LG Optimus L70. Thus, if you know the predecessor L70 well, for sure you will be easily familiar with the Realm.

The LG Realm mostly looks like a basic black rectangular, its corners are curved and there is a thin silvery border to embellish the plain black look. The back cover is made of plastic and prettified by a black-on-black squares pattern. This pattern adds some more dimensions to the device, and it’s also the shining LED indicator running around the home button.

For users with small hands or prefer using the phone with 1 hand, the dimension of the LG Realm is surely very comfortable. The phone stands at 5 inches x 2.6 inches x 0.38 inch (tall x width x thickness), 136 grams heavy and has 4.5-inch screen size. Thus, it’s very easy to slip the LG Realm into the pocket.

Talking about the LCD display, the resolution of the LG Realm is at 800 x 480 pixel – which is quite suitable for a screen at 4.5 inch size. However, the pixel density at 207 ppi is quite disappointing since it’s cannot display well under strong sunlight. The HD photos shall be pixelated when being viewed on this low-resolution screen display.

The front camera and the speaker grille are located above the phone screen while the home button and capacitive buttons are located blow the screen. (the Capacitive buttons also can calls up Google Now and Google Search). The port for Micro-USB (also for charging) is located on the bottom edge while the 3.5mm headset jack is on the top edge. On the left edge lies the volume control buttons and on the right edge lies the power/lock button. Of course, the rear cam of the phone is located on the back cover, along with the LED flash below. You can see the slot for microSD card when removing the back cover.

LG Realm Review Buy

LG Realm Review Buy

OS and apps

The operating system being shipped with the LG Realm is the Android 4.4 – which is the best benefit for this device so far. This operating system is up to date, thus, the phone is  benefit with good stability and latest features of Android device (such as Google Now).

Moreover, the LG Realm is also racked up with some addendum-ons and especially, the custom Android skin. There are several widgets that you may also like such as: the QSlide – which is used for quick-launching the app, the Quick Memo – which can be quickly accessed by sliding up from screen bottom.

When carefully looking up at the settings, there will be some interesting extras that users can find such as you can set up the screen so that brightness shall turn off from 12am to 6am every night. However, for me, I still prefer the automatic screen brightness and prefer to be able to read the screen in odd hours in case of my regular insomnia.

When the battery just remains around 30%, battery saver shall jump on to suggest users to optimize the remaining juice. With this suggestion, you can choose to turn off wireless connection like Wifi or Bluetooth, or to turn off auto-sync and vibration, or to shorten screen timeout, reduce brightness. LG’s Guest Mode is also interesting for me.

Though Bluetooth 4.0 is supported in the LG Realm, NFC protocol is not.

Regarding applications on the phone, LG and Boost Mobile already put many apps into the device such as LG backup, Mobile ID profile or Boost Music. There are also an app update center from 3rd-party and many other apps. All of these you can hide or ignore if you feel they are not necessary.

Cameras and video

The rear cam of the LG Realm is the 5 MP one, which is shipped with LED flash and autofocus and various settings options to modify specs of the photos such as color effects, white balance, ISO… Unfortunately, the HDR mode is not available even though Panorama mode, burst shooting and sports mode are all available here.

However, as the phone is not really fast, obviously it shall take a little bit longer to process everything on the LG Realm such as: auto-focusing or moving to next shot. The quality of photos taken is up to standard, though colors still lack of vibrancy and focus is not really crispy.

The LG Realm can capture video with 800 x 480 pixel WVGA standard. Such thing is good enough for taking daily moments or posting short clips to social network. For those who demands higher standard, these grainy clips surely cannot satisfy them. Users can also take quick movie for MMS by selecting MMS video, they can also choose for longer format but whenever the storage capacity runs out, your video capturing shall be restricted.

The front camera of the LG Realm is a VGA cam with 0.3 MP resolution. With such kind of spec, pictures taken shall be gray out (especially for skin tones) and extremely soft-focus.

Performance: Data, speeds, battery life.

Talking about data network of the LG Realm, the phone supports 3G network that runs on Sprint. As my test in San Francisco by Speedtest.net diagnostic app, the speed is terribly slow. In real life, the speed is somehow more livable. Web-browsing is quite ok as the web-sites are now being optimized for mobile device. Youtube videos can stream quite smoothly though the initial buffering shall takes an amount of time. Considering all of the above, the LG Realm is the one you shall prefer to use with Wifi as it supports 2.4GHZ network.

As the LG Realm is basically a version of its predecessor phone, the 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core– the faster chipset that we currently see in entry-level device of this year – is not shipped with this phone. Instead of this quad-core chipset, the processor here is still dual-core – the 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 which shall slows performance down.

Obviously, with just a dual-core processor, the performance of the LG Realm shall be uneven and sluggish. Thus, users shall have to wait a little while to complete a normal task. Although play games (particularly with games being optimized for weak-performing gadgets) is quite ok, surely you will cannot have rich experience with intensive graphic or more processor-demanding games as you will have with a higher-end devices.

The internal storage available in the LG Realm is 4GB, but unfortunately, only 1.3GB is user-accessible. That means there will be a high possibility that you will need a microSD card to expand the phone’s storage capacity (which can be up to 32GB expandable). The RAM being equipped for LG Realm is the 1.2GB RAM.

For battery life, the Realm’s batter is powered at 2,100mAh, which can last for a work day. As our talking time test, this phone can last for up to 17 hours. Video streaming test shall be run later. The result of FRR measurements shows that the digital SAR of the LG Realm is at 1.2 watts/ kg.

Call quality

As my test in San Francisco on Boost Mobile network, the call quality is absolutely okay as HD Voice technology of Sprint is applied for the phone. At medium-high setting, volume from both ends call line is sufficiently loud with naturally sounded voice. However, when my calling partner is silent, there was some white noise or fizzling out.

Conclusion

If you are a loyal customer of Boost Mobile and a under $100 smartphone is what you are looking for, the LG Realm is a good choice for you. With the decent rear cam and other useful widgets, this phone can handle well with your demand in normal daily tasks. However, be aware of the low 3G speed.

Finally speaking, the LG Realm is not the best choice at low-end smartphone currently as with just $20 more, the Motorola Moto G is definitely a much better choice with fast data network, high performance processor, nicer looking screen, more capable storage and better quality camera.

 

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Review

Let’s take a look at our detailed review for the Huawei Ascend Mate 7.

Pros: super long-lasting battery life, bright and bold screen display, decent camera, smoothly operate fingersprint sensor, pretty large internal storage: 16GB.

Cons: old Android OS version, many unnecessary pre-installed apps.

Bottom line: although the software is a little bit weird, the long-lasting battery life along with huge & bright screen display shall be the attractive point for users who loves gaming and movies.

The launching of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus – which has 5.5-inch screen – is surely a proof that era of big phones is coming very close. Such kind of “huge thing” is not strange to Huawei, as this brand did introduce several devices with palm-stretching size before.

The latest member in Huawei’s “big-size family” is the Ascend Mate 7. I’m still wondering about the number 7 since it does not stand for 7th generation or the 7-inch-size screen display at all. This phone supports 4G LTE, has full HD 6-inch-screen, 13 MP cam, fingerprint scanner and octa-core processor.

The Ascend Mate 7 shall be available for purchase in late October and its price has not been fixed yet. According to Huawei, price shall be very competitive.

Design and display

Frankly speaking, the Ascend Mate 7 is quite a giant with a 6-inch screen. The device’s dimension is at 157 mm x 81 mm (length x width). With such huge size, it’s obviously impossible to use this with one hand, unless you have a giant palm size. It is claimed that with very narrow bezel, the screen accounts for 83% of the phone’s front face. Thus, there’s almost no wasted space on the face.

There will be 3 colors available on for the Huawei Ascend Mate 7: silver, light gold and dark grey – exactly the same as iPhone 5S‘ color range. Color’s hue is all in matte metal, which is much nicer than the other plasticky low-cost phones of Huawei. The device’s back cover is curved with lines crossing both at bottom and top, fingerprint scanner is located right under the rear-cam.

The device is comfortable to hold on hands and it also looks quite fancy like elite devices thanks to its narrow metal bezel. Slot for microSD card can be seen on side, which requires removal tool to approach.

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Review Buy

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Review Buy

Fingerprint sensor

As mentioned before, the fingerprint sensor sits right under the rear-cam – the exact location that users’ index finger shall naturally rest when picking up the device. Obviously it’s very convenient, although you will need to pick up the phone to unlock instead of stabbing on the screen of the lying phone.

The fingerprint scanner works accurately and it can recognize user’s finger in every direction. The failure possibility is very small, even the Galaxy S5‘s scanner fails more often as my real experience.

You can wake the phone up by touching finger over the scanner, this feature can also be used for authenticating payments (by PayPal) and for taking pictures (especially helpful and convenient for selfie pics).

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Back Front Review Buy

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Back Front Review Buy

Display

Previously, it was gossiped that the Ascend Mate 7’s screen shall have 2,560 x 1,600 pixel display resolution, which is even higher than full HD (same as the LG G3‘s screen). Since then, when holding the device on hand, the Mate 7’s screen I’m seeing now has a lower resolution: just at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

That’s a pity since such big size screen of Mate 7 deserves more pixels to maximize its capacity. At least, at 367 ppi, the pixel density of the Mate 7’s display is higher than the iPhone 6. As real experience, the display is super crisp with defined-edges icons, clear looking text and high-resolution photos.

The colors are also bright, vivid and vibrant, which are very true-to-life. The screen display also has excellent viewing angles. These factors all make the Mate 7 an attractive choice for Netflix addicts.

Android software and Huawei additions

The operating system being shipped with the Mate 7 is the Android 4.4.2 KitKat. This is quite a disappointment since it’s sort of an outdated version (current latest OS version of Android is 4.4.4). For budget mobile, older OS version maybe forgivable, but for higher-end device like the Ascend Mate 7, it’s inexcusable.

There are many changes for Android interface being made by Huawei. This is the reason why users cannot immediately realize that they are on an old operating system. Visually, the interface on Mate 7 is totally different from the regular Android as app tray is not available. Instead of using app trays, applications and widgets shall be arranges across multiple homescreens.

For me personally, such kind of arrangement is very messy since it’s too hard to always keep everything tidy and in order without app tray, especially when you are using many widgets and applications. Users have to swipe many times through homescreens to find the application they need to use. This is similar in Apple’s iOS thus, if your previous device is an iPhone, you’ll find it not difficult or inconvenient at all.

Various themes can be applied to customize and modify the phone’s interface by changing color scheme, app icons and background photos. It’s so good that you can put your stamp on your things. However, choices are quite limited: there are only 6 themes to choose from and I like none of them. It’s also hard to find further themes to download as official Huawei store is not currently available. After several searching, I did find some themes which are downloadable from some forums, but it’s quite risky and dangerous for the device when installing things from unknown sources and I will not suggest doing this.

There are also some good changes such as: customizing navigation buttons’ orders (those buttons are located on the device’s bottom) or adding shortcut button to pull down noti bar (as pulling down notification bar is tricky when using this massive device by 1 hand). Moreover, Phone Manager can help you clear out unnecessary files and stop background processes in just a blink of an eye. With this tool, you can even set up “Harassment Filter” to block calls/ text from unknown numbers or from specifically assigned numbers. I really like this feature.

There are many unnecessary pre-installed softwares, which let down the device quite much such as: games like Real Football 2015, Dragon Mania, Bubble Bash Mania or apps like Bitcasa and Todoist. It is annoying when seeing too many stuff the first time turning on the phone, not mentioning about the messy and cluttering interface.

Processor and battery performance

The processor being equipped for the Ascend Mate 7 is an octa-core one, which is made up of 2 quad-core processors. One quad-core unit, which is a little bit less powerful than the other, shall be used for basic functions. The other more powerful one shall be used for more demanding tasks like taking photos or gaming. Such processor is very powerful as it achieves 4,468 scores on Geekbench test and 11,401 scores on Quadrant test.

As my real using experiences, the device’s performance is decent. It handles gaming well: intensive games like Asphalt 8, N.O.V.A 3 or Dead Trigger 2 can be all smoothly played. HD videos can also be streamed effortlessly without buffering, user interface is really responsive with quick apps and camera opening.

Thanks to the huge body of the device, the battery is powered at 4,000mAh and this is totally not just impressive on paper. According to my test, the Mate 7 can last for up to 17 hours of video streaming, which is the best results I’ve seen so far. (On the same test, the Galaxy S5 lasted for 15 hours and the iPhone 6 last for just around 10 hours).

Of course, batter life can be differed depending on each user’s usage, but this phone can easily last for several days with normal using with basic tasks.

Camera

The rear-cam of the Mate 7 is the 13 MP one, which can deliver great captures.

My first shot with this camera looks great with vibrant and true to life colors, even exposure and fine details. However, for landscape shots, color display is not really excellent. Instead, the exposure is even.

HDR mode is also included for the camera.

Conclusion

There are many noticeable things to talk about with the Huawei Ascend Mate 7: the massive screen, the great quality displays with sharp, vibrant color, the powerful octa-core processor and the most interesting and valuable thing is the super strong battery.

However, the phone’s huge size may not attract everybody and the device’s software is quite confusing and messy with many unnecessary stuffs. But after all, with such features, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is absolutely a worth looking choice, especially with an attached affordable price.