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Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

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               Vivo has been on a roll of announcing several camera-centric smartphones from this past quarter, and that hasn't stopped them from announcing few more devices joining their alley, now that the term "Dual Selfie" fits their key tagline. The recently announced Vivo V5 and the V5 Plus have successfully classified those thoughts on their journey when it comes to the "Moonlight Selfie Flash" appeal. Today Vivo Smartphones announced the newest member of that family, the all new "Vivo V5s". Well to put into simple words, the new Vivo V5s could be called as the upgraded Vivo V5 inside the body of Vivo V5 Plus, while falling under a mid-range pricing segment. The device does have handsome looks to it, however, drawn from the top tier competition. But does the Design and Dual front camera are enough to satisfy the thoughts of an avid user, when it comes to 2017?. Also isn't performance; a core aspect of any device? Well, let's find that out in our in-depth Vivo V5s hands on impressions.

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

Vivo V5s vs Vivo V5

               Isn't matte black, the new black; when it comes to the smartphone manufacturers? Let's just stop right there, as we all know and quite solidly appreciate it. Seemingly enough the new Vivo V5s is also available in the new matte black variant, which resembles the recently announced "Vivo V5 Plus IPL Edition" smartphone. Let's just dwell on the changes/upgrades on the new device considering Vivo V5 in mind.

Design and Ergonomics:

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?
               If we keep the design resemblance to the iPhone aside, I must say Vivo has done a commendable job. But as we all know from where they've got the design; which for the better sake of the audience is a sad reality. Having said that, in fact, the Design & even the Build keeps the essence of it's elder sibling, the Vivo V5 Plus. Though there is one particular change in the newer model with the V5s, typically on the front. Now the physical home button is not clickable, but as an advantage, the fingerprint sensor is always awake; even when the device is in sleep mode. It also keeps the signature 0.2-second fingerprint unlock feature. Another noticeable difference, when compared to V5 Plus, is that now on the Vivo V5s, you won't notice any camera sensor bump. That, in turn, iterates less wobbling, when kept flat on any surface. Whereas on the other hand, I didn't felt the need to look at the camera sensor, while placing the device in my pocket. Speaking of the colors, the Vivo V5s is available in two accounting the "Matte Black" and "Crown Gold" colors. Lastly, the phone is about 154g in weight which isn't heavy in my opinion.

Display & Software Info:

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

                A 5.5 inch 720p HD IPS LCD panel(267 PPI) cannot oddly satisfy the needs of an everyday user, especially when it's the year 2017. Well, it's sad to see a 720P display(2.5D curved) on the new Vivo V5s considering it's price & an upgrade over the current Vivo V5. However, I felt the color correction was on point, while the software gets densely situated with some modes to tweak the same. Though it was quite funny to witness the launch event, when the officials said that the device had an HD display, rather than being precise. But in their defense, the display isn't truly a headlining feature of the new Vivo V5s, and I might consider accepting that fact. The new Vivo V5s also gets the latest Color OS 3.0 update, but sadly it's built on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0 which isn't a new story; if you're familiar with the company's announcements. It's quite skeptical whether Vivo would release a Nougat Update to this device since their quarterly refresh cycles are always on the roll. While the blue light filter mode gets oddly touted as eye protection mode, which is simply a fancy gimmick.

Camera Specifications:

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

                 It has got a 20MP camera on the Front along with the moonlight selfie flash. Speaking about the Moonlight Flash, I've thoroughly enjoyed this feature with the Vivo V5 Plus in the past. Not sure whether it stays the same on the new Vivo V5s, let's just find that out in its review. Speaking about the rear side, it has got a 13MP sensor, which to the point seemed right. The camera app comes with face beauty 6.0 feature which helps in getting a fair skin tone. Fun fact, when it comes to Vivo smartphones, my coverage notes always have the front camera mentioned ahead as that of the rear. Funny isn't it? Sometimes the world in front of us is beautiful too, Vivo should make a note of this.

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

Other Specifications: 
  • It runs on 1.5 GHz Mediatek MT6750 64-Bit Octacore processor which gets coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB Internal storage at its default. Whereas the Mali T860 MP2 GPU comes to the rescue.
  • The expansion is available up to 256GB via an external hybrid sim slot.
  • It has AK4376 Hi-Fi Audio Chip, supporting output up to 115 dB.
  • It also comes with 3000mAh Li-on non-removable battery.
  • The phone supports 4G LTE network, while supports VoLTE. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 & WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac.
  • Apart from that, you will also find all the usual sensors on the Vivo V5s.

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions: Budget Selfie Expert?

                   The Vivo V5s is priced at Rs.18,990 INR and would be available starting 6th May 2017 in both online and offline retail outlets. However, if you speak about online, it will be exclusively sold via Flipkart(link). So for a such a price; what do you get when compared to Vivo V5? Well, you're getting an upgraded internal storage in the body of Vivo V5 Plus. I can't provide my final verdict as I've used this device for only about a day. So stay tuned for its full review which will be live soon on both our Blog and YouTube channel. The only factor which I feel should've got upgraded would be the processor, probably a Qualcomm Chipset. So what do you guys feel about this new Vivo V5s, will it make the cut? Let me know in the comments below.

Vivo V5s Hands-On Impressions Video:

Also See - Vivo V5 Hands-On Video.

Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart exclusively for Rs.25990 [Matte Black Variant].

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Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart

                Vivo has been on a roll of announcing selfie-centric smartphones for a while, and their launches have been no slouch either. The company's latest announcement is a clear resonance of their vision when it comes to improving the selfie camera by announcing a dual camera lens system on the front with the new Vivo V5 Plus. Now that the IPL has been powered by Vivo Smartphones, the company has gone ahead and launched a new all matte black Vivo V5 Plus limited edition smartphone. This phone was launched on 4th April in Hyderabad; The company has also made exclusive tie-ups for the sale of the Vivo V5 Plus limited edition smartphone. So let's find out more on the same. 

Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart exclusively for Rs.25990 [Matte Black Variant].

Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart

So on 4th April, Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition(Matte Black Variant) was introduced the company which was announced to support the 10th Anniversary of IPL, our country's biggest sport whereas at least everyone is united. Speaking about the differences from an ordinary Vivo V5 Plus, you can find a Vivo IPL logo engraved on the back of Matte Black Aluminium unibody design. Whereas to compliment the phone and it's exclusivity, Vivo has tied up with Flipkart to launch this limited edition device exclusively only on Flipkart. On top of that, you will find the pricing even more attractive, since it gets priced Rs. 2000 less than the usual Vivo V5 Plus.  The limited edition variant is priced at Rs. 25990 while it is currently available on Flipkart & Several other retail stores offline. That been said, you better be quick to buy this matte black variant as the stocks are limited.  The Vivo IPL logo on the back compliments the die hard cricket fans and offers a refreshing look providing a unique experience.

              Commenting on the launch Mr. Vivek Zhang, CMO, Vivo India, shared “We are pleased to announce our exclusive partnership with Flipkart to offer limited edition Vivo V5Plus smartphone. With this partnership, we aim to use the exclusive online market. Today, one cannot ignore the power of the online medium, & through this association, we want to give a chance and comfort to consumers across both mediums to own this exclusive product. The idea behind the launch of limited edition phone was to offer our customers with not just the phone but an experience they can cherish for a lifetime. We have given strictest attention to the design & feel of the phone, & our focus is to offer an exclusive experience to the crazy cricket audience. We are hopeful that the limited edition V5Plus phones will draw enormous attention from the audience.”

Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition now available on Flipkart

Vivo V5 Plus Limited Edition Specifications:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-core processor coupled with 4GB RAM.  
  • 64GB Internal Storage.  
  • 5.5 inch Full HD IPS LCD Panel with Gorilla Glass Protection.  
  • 20MP/8MP Dual Front Camera and 16 MP Rear Camera.   
  • 3055 mAh Non - removable battery.  
  • FunTouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0.   
  • 4G LTE Network.  
  • Vivo IPL Logo.  
  • Available only in Matte Black Color.

            Mr. Ajay Yadav, Head – Mobiles, Flipkart also shared his thoughts extending on their exclusive partnership rapport. The original Vivo V5 Plus was launched a while back, and as a matter of fact, I had used this device for more than a month now. I have enjoyed using it while it's review will up shortly on our blog so stay tuned. It is hands down the best device when it comes to taking selfies under Rs. 30000. So are you excited for the launch of the new Vivo V5 Plus limited edition? Would you buy this device? Let me know in the comments below as it is IPL season and what a better to time to amplify that feel with this new smartphone.

Also See - Vivo V5s Hands On Impressions!

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review - Think Twice.

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ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review
             Lately, Asus has been quite particular in launching several devices hitting the mid-range market specifically in India. Though that thought process comes up with different tags such as Laser, Max, Selfie. That being said there's not something new which can be a called a refresh at least here in 2017. However, that statement might be pulled out as the company recently announced  the new "Asus Zenfone 3S Max." The crown jewel of this device is that it comes with Android Nougat pre-installed, which makes a striking marketing appeal in their alley. Having said that the "Zenfone Max" series has been quite popular among the users in the country due to the massive battery capacities.  We have reviewed the late Zenfone Max(Snapdragon 615) & new Zenfone 3 Max earlier, where the battery labels have successfully classified our thoughts in a good sense. So does the new Asus Zenfone 3S Max signifies itself from its predecessors; when it comes to a quarterly refresh cycle as of 2017? Let's find that out through our in-depth Asus Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review.

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review - Think Twice.

Design & Built:

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review

             Well just like the previous Asus Zenfone 3 Max(ZC553KL) design, the new Zenfone 3S Max(ZC521TL) follows a similar footprint as the material used here is almost the same. Sure the unibody design looks good, but at the same time, it is a dust magnet. Other than that the device feels compact, while a little heavy considering the 5000mAh battery which is thoughtful. A mid-range device cannot look good and be lightweight at the same time, fair enough right? Otherwise, the company would need to chase through the pricing. I like how it is designed and built, but your taste may vary. Though the most prominent change the company has made from the past is the introduction of a physical home button on the front, which doubles as a fingerprint reader. Speaking of the camera, there isn't any unnecessary camera sensor bump, so don't worry about the wobbling after laying the device on any flat surface. On the front, you would be greeted with On-Screen buttons, which sort of provide haptic feedback. So finally this review will not include that there are no backlit buttons on this device, haha.

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review

              On the flipside, the front glass panel is gorgeous; I am not speaking about the display. Since 720p HD display isn't good at least in 2017, come on Asus. The glass panel on the front curves on the edges giving it the look and feel of a 2.5D panel. Speaking of which the network antennas have been situated around the edges, that is why you will not notice any ugly borders on the back. Rest of the I/O ports are right, whereas the only disappointment is the hybrid sim slot. The Asus Zenfone 3S Max is available in two different colors - Black and Sand Gold(True to its name). On a side note, the earphones that come inside the box are quite reliable.

Processing Power & Statistics:

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review
               If we speak about the Zenfone Max generation considering the Zenfone 3 Max to 3S Max, there is a drop in performance. However, that trade off is reflected respectively if we compare the pricing of these two devices. The Zenfone 3S Max runs on a 1.5 GHz Mediatek MT6750 processor which gets backed by 3GB RAM. So the performance was decent when it came to day to day use, though when it came to gaming it struggled a bit and a considerate amount of heating got observed. That been said, it is a VoLTE device and would efficiently handle Reliance JIO's network. The Zenfone 3S Max comes with 32GB of internal storage and expansion is available up to 2TB. Though technically speaking the performance of this device did not quite impressed me, and In my opinion, the transition from Zenfone 3 Max to 3S Max was not up to the mark.

Camera Performance and Review:

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review
              So the Zenfone 3S Max has a 13MP Camera on the rear and an 8MP sensor on the front. Speaking of which both cameras are average, there's nothing spectacular to talk about other than the manual mode. There's also a Yellow/Blue tint which I have observed while you fire up the rear camera, though it was an issue with my unit; but when I received a replacement, everything was good. The dual tone LED flash is also present on the back, which does its usual job. The manual mode in any smartphones produced by Asus is a blessing given to users. It just amps up any conventional camera to it's greatest possible extent, considering that you have tweaked the right settings. Though the photos were decent enough, but their quality kept my inner self, hesitating. Focusing was not on point, and a fair amount of noise gets observed during low lighting conditions. I feel that the company has taken the cost cutting point regarding camera performance quite seriously. It can satisfy your social media needs, but other than that don't expect anything else.

Overall Software & User Interface:

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review
                Asus Zenfone 3S Max is the company's first device to run Android Nougat 7.0 having the look and feel of the same old Zen UI. Speaking of which it runs on ZenUI 3.0 with all the glorious bloatware, it seems as if Asus is trying to compete with Google regarding providing core apps. Though the user experience gets a boost due to a snappy interface and overall performance, even the top tiers smartphones by Asus have not received this update yet. The Mobile Manager & Game Genie app integration throughout the apps might come in handy, but they seem annoying at some point of time. The only thing which I felt using was the Zenfit app from the amount of bloatware thrown on the device, it was a decent experience using this app. That is the reason why whenever I setup any new Asus device, I first download, Google now launcher & Gboard for a much cleaner experience. Since I feel Asus is trying to provide a lot here on this device, but that approach has let them forget to provide those resources on a clean basis due which you see a lot of junk. The main reason for this is competition.

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review

                The signature gestures made their way here, whereas the fingerprint scanner provided almost 70% accuracy. Though the overall experience felt snappy, it felt on the undercooked side. I said that because there's one thing which makes this device go nuts and unstable, it will be uploaded shortly on our youtube channel. Asus you better update the software on this device, it is mighty unpredictable.

Battery Life & Reception:
ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review
                Even though the software was not stable, the battery life on this device was quite good. I was getting almost a day of battery backup with heavy usage. Whereas nearly one and a half day of battery backup on moderate usage. Though if you compare the same on the previous Zenfone 3 Max, surprisingly I was getting a similar battery backup. So honestly speaking it is quite hard to answer; whether why did Asus went ahead and announced this device just for the sake of the "5000 mAh" battery tag. 

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max ZC521TL Review: Final Verdict

ASUS Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review    
               I have never had mixed conclusions about a device while writing a review or judging my last opinion, because using the Zenfone 3S Max felt like a gamble due to the presence of strong competitors in the budget segment. The Asus Zenfone 3S Max retails for Rs. 14,999 INR, well such a pricing seems arrogant after using the device for nearly a month. If you are spending Rs.15000 from your pocket, you should better join the Moto G5 Plus, Honor 6X or even the Redmi Note 4 league. However, if Asus is your way to go, the original "Zenfone 3 Max" is already a beautiful device though you have to consider extending your budget a bit. So that is all we had to say about our Asus Zenfone 3S Max ZC521TL Review, make sure you are subscribed to our Youtube channel to be the first to know when its video review drops. 

Links to buy:
- Amazon
- Flipkart

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max ZC521TL Review Video:

Also Read: Asus Zenfone 3 Laser Review.

Brainwavz B100 Review - Not the usual design.

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           Recently Brainwavz announced a new segment in their Earphones saga, the "B Series." These new series supported earphones are supposed to produce high-grade audio by utilizing an advanced Balanced Armature Speaker technology. Well for us, It is another day, another time where the company sent us their latest earphone "Brainwavz B100". while looking at the price, it seems like the company has wired alternatives for BLU & Delta series which we have tested and loved so far. So after using the B100 for more than almost a month, here is my detailed Brainwavz B100 Review considering whether the balanced armature tag suits for itself.

Brainwavz B100 Review - Not the usual design.

  • It has a rated impedance of 50 ohms.
  • It operates under frequency range ranging between 15 Hz to 22 kHz.
  • Sensitivity level is 110 dB at one mW.
  • Has 1.3m Y-cord OFC Copper cable with 3.5mm gold plated audio connector(45-degree angle).
  • Brainwavz claims that the B Series is the most affordable earphones in India to have Single Balanced Armature.

Design and Built:

Brainwavz B100 Review

              The design of the B100 earphones at first glance might be a bit different to swallow, especially when you look at the main units. While I am saying this since they are meant to be snapped over the ears only. Therefore you would need a bit of a learning curve here, though it will not be an issue since the large units would make you understand that implementation. These are comfortable and fits in snugly, while the tangling gets reduced to the over the head mechanism which comes into the play. The B100 tend to have a big unit which by no means is heavy due to the plastic build, though the big size inculcates the "Balanced Armature Sound Mechanism." The same central unit design does not feel appealing at all and won't exude that premium touch. If you head down, the cable seems to be made of a premium material with a matte feel all over, which is about 1.3 meters long. As suspected from the official specs, Oxygen Free Copper cable plays its part here. However, again there's simply a Y-Cord extension in between the main units and the audio connector. The absence of an in-line mic particularly at such kind of a price seems depreciating from a user's point of view. Also, the last thing which I prefer on any earphone is a straight audio connector, since the user experience stays throughout while sliding your phones in and out from your pocket. However, the Brainwavz B100 does not chase that league since the 45-degree audio connector can be a bit of a mess, as the audio plug might come out while drifting through your pockets for changing tracks.

Audio output and ergonomics:

Brainwavz B100 Review
              The primary focus of this earphone would be a solid punchy bass, in my opinion, whereas Vocals are crisp, while rest seems a bit flat to my taste. The company has boasted the single balanced armature feature a lot & it seems prominent after my usage. It means that the drivers inside the Brainwavz B100 earphones amp up when they get connected to specific devices. The sound you might hear when attached to a phone, laptop or any audio equipment will have different sound stages. Though most of such technical stuff depends on the audio format, higher that bit-rate better the output. The Highs & Lows seem satisfying, though according to me consistency was not observed. That got usually followed when I tried audio tracks which had heavy bass & where the usage of instruments filled the track on the heavier side. Overall we were happy with its performance & It seems like with the new B series, Brainwavz has hit the sweet spot.  

Inbuilt accessories and warranty info:
                So inside the B100 Box, you would find a Hard Shell case which is a bit elongated from the usual one we have received in the past. Speaking of which it houses - Six set of silicone ear tips(S, M, L), a single set of Comply Eartips, a shirt clip, velcro tie & some warranty paperwork. Since we are on the that, the Brainwavz B100 gets two years of warranty. 

Pricing Details:
                 It is available for Rs.4199 INR on both Amazon & Brainwavz's official website. Links to buy - Amazon.

Brainwavz B100 Review

Brainwavz B100 Review: Our Final Thoughts?

                 A crispy output considering vocals, a good bass performer, striking design aspect make it a good choice for the price. However, I would not mind having a metal built & an In-line mic for the price at which it gets currently sold. However, looking from an overall perspective, the Brainwavz B100 might just suit the needs of any audio head who wants to try something new, simply consider the balanced armature sound in this case.

Also, check - Brainwavz BLU 200 Review.

Samsung Pay now official in India: Mobile Payments Service.

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              Recently the entire internet has been flooded with massive leaks about the upcoming Galaxy S8 & S8 Plus while speaking of which Samsung has been determined to retain its image due to the uncertain events from the past. The company has geared up for its global launch of the upcoming Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus tomorrow which would be happening on 29th March 2017. While we're excited about the same, the company has been progressively moving ahead when it comes to bringing world-class innovations at its core. As a result of which on 22nd March 2017, the company took a major stand in specifically digitizing the economic transactions in India by launching "Samsung Pay" service. Samsung Pay is a service launched to make your transactions cashless with some added benefits, which is a welcome change when it comes to demonetization. Now some of us might be wondering why didn't the company go ahead with Android Pay and launched a new ecosystem? Well, Android Pay functions only on NFC, whereas when it comes to "Samsung Pay" you don't require NFC chip to make transactions. As you can simply wave/tap your phone on any swipe-in machine and the payment gets initiated. It is that straightforward and secure as it integrates company very own "Knox" feature. You don't require any necessary hardware for the payment to take place, though "Samsung Pay" is made available only for select Samsung devices. Let's dive deep to know more about the same.

Samsung Pay India Mobile Payments

Samsung Pay now official in India: Mobile Payments Service.

                So Samsung Pay works with company's very own patented Magnetic Secure Transmission(MST) technology, which can be called as a breakthrough when it comes to digital payment services. Along with MST, Samsung Pay also supports NFC payments. Though as we all know not every store supports NFC payments service; at least in India. To counter that MST works like a charm, with MST technology when a user waves/taps his/her smartphone over any standard card payment reader, the phone transmits electromagnetic waves which replicate the gesture of an ordinary credit/debit card swipe. Sounds like a science fiction movie right? Since that is how we felt when we tried it for the first time at the launch event. So essentially you can perform transactions with the help of your Samsung smartphone anywhere across the country. On top of that, the company has tied up with PayTM & Indian Government's UPI App(BHIM) while provided support built right into the app. Samsung has also partnered with several card networks and issuers such as Visa, MasterCard, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, American Express, Axis Bank, SBI Card and Standard Chartered. Whereas Citibank India is also jumping on the bandwagon, and they'll soon support their credit cards on Samsung Pay in the coming months.

Samsung Pay India Mobile Payments

                The UPI integrated into the Samsung Pay app which is backed by Government of India would be a lot helpful, as it features functions such as transferring funds from any bank account. Though it is an upcoming feature, it'll be useful in future as it would serve justice to the word - "Make In India" campaign. Jumping on the security features, the company triggers up to three tokens of security layers while initiating a payment via "Samsung Pay." It goes like - Fingerprint Authentication, Card Tokenization, and the final layer consists of the Samsung Knox security platform. Following is how a typical transaction via Samsung Pay functions:

  • First, fire up the app and add your Debit/Credit card details. 
  • Select a particular card & authenticate via Fingerprint/PIN to initiate the payment gateway.
  • Next simply take your phone towards the Standard POS Card Reader.
  • Now the POS Card Reader will get your details, so go ahead and enter your PIN, after the seller enters the required amount.
  • Next thing you know is that the transaction is complete.

               On the launch, Mr. HC Hong, President & CEO - Samsung Southwest Asia shared his thoughts, “Samsung Pay is an example of how we continue to push the boundaries of innovations to make life simpler & better for consumers. I am confident that Samsung Pay will redefine digital payments & contribute to a Digital India.”

               Mr. Thomas Ko, Global GM of Samsung Pay also took the stage to address, “When we launched Samsung Pay, our goal was to enable consumers across the globe to make payments that are simple, secure & accepted almost everywhere. Over the past year and a half, this vision has evolved into building a complete digital wallet solution, allowing customers worldwide to not only make payments but also use membership & transit cards, receive deals and rewards and more.”

Samsung Pay India Mobile Payments

               Samsung Pay might change the face of digital payments as it's implementation​ is just flawless. Any Shop Owner/Business person doesn't require to have access to any specialized hardware. While on the other hand, we as a user don't need to carry our Credit/Debit cards for succeeding any transaction. It'd be quite helpful if you forgot your wallet at home. That being said the company has made this service available on select devices only. It's available only on the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, Note 5, S6 Edge+, Galaxy A5(2016, 2017) & lastly the Galaxy A7(2016, 2017). Upon asking the officials present at the event whether why it doesn't support on devices such as Galaxy S6, S6 Edge; they said that "Samsung Pay requires special hardware to function." Although to my knowledge both the Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge both are having a better hardware than A5 & A7. But then why Samsung?

               They also showed us a demo on up to how this service would make it's way onto their wearable ecosystem starting with the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. Though it was in the development phase and it'll be available to the masses in the coming months.

Was Samsung Pay Launch too late in India?

Samsung Pay India Mobile Payments

              It took Samsung a bit long to announce Samsung Pay in India if you consider the demonetization point into perspective. But it is quite good to see that they thoroughly tested their platform before announcing it in the country. After globally launching in July 2015, Samsung Pay is now available globally in 12 markets & just this past week, India joined the league. We have got a dedicated video on the Samsung Pay service which would be soon posted on our Youtube Channel, so make sure you're subscribed. So that's almost everything which we got to know about the Samsung Pay service if you want to know more visit here. 

Link to download the app: Samsung Pay.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review: Will The Shutter Tag Amplify Itself?

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Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review

             After launching a serious upgrade in the Zenfone series in mid-2016, Asus has gotten a lot of attention by the Media and Users. Now for some, that fact might be on the positive or on the negative side. Positive, because they added quite a fancy shiny armor in their lineup by launching the Zenfone 3 series. Whereas negative, as the company moved away from the budget friendly segment to compete with the top tier competition. Their current pricing setup might not be a cup of tea for everyone, But it seems fitting in my opinion if you look at their target competitors. Does this mean that the company wants to move away from the budget friendly segment? Well, That answer might change as they recently announced the Zenfone 3S Max which has been priced under Rs.15,000 segment. That been said, The premium price tag hasn't let Asus cut off some their most iconic smartphone labels such as Max, Laser & Zoom variants. Speaking of which you can check most of these reviews on our blog, Though the Laser series is what we have missed in the past. But the brand came to the rescue, So today let's find out more on our Asus Zenfone 3 Laser Review (ZC551KL) in all its glory after about a month of usage.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review: Will The Shutter Tag Amplify Itself?

Design & Built:

 Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review
            So the first thing that you would notice about the devices falling under Rs.20000 segment from Asus is that those devices would hold a unibody aluminum metal design. Rather than the usual glass back which is prone to fingerprints, Thankfully the metal built eliminates that appeal. Though, the material used here feels chartered heavily towards scratches in my opinion. If you observe carefully, Asus has implemented an oleophobic coating for the fingerprint sensor on the back. I wish that they would have applied it throughout the back plate. But still the phone feels sleek, and one-handed usability won't be an issue for many. But that elegant appeal is whacked immediately If you as a User find the camera sensor bump annoying. It bulges out to quite an extent, But hopefully, it performs quite well given the fact that it houses a laser autofocus mechanism. We'll talk about this in its particular segment. If you move away from the camera and head over to the cut outs, which are the I/O ports across the Zenfone 3 Laser, you would be instantly disappointed. The Micro-USB port, AudioJack, Speaker grills are quite edgy and sharp, and it might end up hurting you & there is no pun intended here. Also, the Hybrid SIM slot might not be a cup of tea for some. It eliminates the choice to put 2 SIM cards if the user chooses to insert an external memory card along with a single SIM slot. On top of that the tray is quite fragile and might break easily without applying any huge pressure, So do keep a note of this. On an overall basis, the Asus Zenfone 3 Laser feels like a solid compact device which anyone would love to get a hold of, but with some minor issues.

Display Quality:
              The Asus Zenfone 3 Laser has a 5.5 inch Full HD IPS LCD panel giving a pixel density of 401 ppi. But don't let the screen size confuse you into thinking that it's a large device because it isn't. The phone gets quickly acquainted for single-handed usability, So does the specs sheet clarify that it has a 77% screen to body ratio. On top of that, It has got the 2.5D curved glass on the edges which helps in providing a uniform look throughout the device. Moreover, it has got capacitive navigation buttons on the bottom, While sadly they're not backlit as always. Speaking about the visual appeal, the Zenfone 3 Laser manages to provide rich tones with true blacks, As if it had an AMOLED display. As you might've read in our previous reviews, ZenUI allows to you tweak the display settings according to your liking. Sunlight legibility was nice, While the proximity sensor performs agile enough when it comes amping up the brightness in outdoor lighting conditions.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review

               However, the oleophobic coating present on the front panel can be a bit of mess, As it brings back the infamous fingerprint smudges which we hated in our Asus Zenfone 3 unit. Though the Full HD display manages to produce accurate colors in several lighting conditions and it's one of our favorite features from this device. If you feel that the color temperature is not up to your expectations, you can always tune it into the inbuilt display settings which are customized by the company. Whereas the viewing angles were up to the mark; even during broad daylight. Speaking of outdoor lighting conditions, you can even use this phone with a pair of gloves & the touch response is pretty decent.

Processing Power & Stats:
              The Zenfone 3 Laser(ZC551KL Variant) comes with a 1.4 Ghz Snapdragon 430 Octacore Chipset backed with 4GB RAM. It sports Adreno 505 GPU and has about 32GB of inbuilt storage with an option of expansion of up to 128GB. Though everyone might not love that extension; since it holds a Hybrid SIM slot. But I noticed that it had a Snapdragon 435 chipset when I checked it via the CPU-Z application. That was quite funny, as even the box contents mention it explicitly that the device has a Snapdragon 430 Chipset. Also, it was the first time that the CPU-Z app had shown me such information. But speaking about the performance, It was quite nice. I was able to get decent frame rates in all the games I tried on this device. Asphalt 8 was running smoothly on medium graphics settings, and there wasn't any lag even on high settings. Day to day usage which includes running loads of apps in the background and juggling between them was also smooth; I suppose 4GB RAM was handling everything quite nicely. The device didn't heat up to a greater extent, even after playing games for a longer period. Though mostly the Older ZenUI took a lot of weight in its alley burning a lot of RAM in the background.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review

               I hope Asus pushes Nougat update soon for this device, As I've recently started using the Zenfone 3S Max and Let me tell you, It's beautiful. There are hardly any devices which I like after using the Stock ROM, While Asus brings back that appeal with their Nougat Skin. Also since the Zenfone 3 Laser has VoLTE support, The call quality was excellent having Jio onboard, and I didn't face any issues which I had confronted with my earlier Zenfone 3 Max. Fingerprint scanner also felt accurate during my testing period, but the only thing which I hate the most here is the rectangular format available for scanning. I wish it had a fingerprint scanner just like the one from the Zenfone 3 Max. On the contrary, the unlocking speeds were quick and snappy.

Camera Review & Thoughts on Laser Series: 
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review
Source: Asus
                Speaking of the numbers, the Asus Zenfone 3 Laser has a 13MP Rear Camera with F/2.0 aperture. While as the name suggests, it has got a laser autofocus mechanism on board with dual tone LED flash. On the front, it has an 8MP camera sensor. It records 1080p(30fps) at the rear, while the same stays even on the front. Both the rear and front sensors have EIS inbuilt which helps in making the footage a tad bit less shaky. So the laser tag signifies itself in this phone since Asus claims that the device focuses under 0.03 seconds. That stays true to its words since we've personally tried using on several occasions and the results were flawless. The Zenfone 3 Laser manages to take crisp shots under daylight for the price. In fact even better than Competitors offering devices priced higher than Zenfone 3 Laser. You would be stunned to find out its performance in low lighting conditions, Not only does the rear camera does a decent job, but the front camera is no slouch either. Yes, the photos taken in low lighting conditions from the front camera aren't perfect, But they're well damn ideal for the price. I was amazed to see it capturing a video from the front camera without any frame drops or artifacts in low lighting situations.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL camera Review
Source: Asus

               There are ample amount of modes available in the camera app which are just pointless for an average user, but they might fix the need for some. I prefer the manual mode; It just provides a wide open canvas for creating a great shot. Though the magic only happens, if you've got the time for it. Low Light mode is also useful for those quick snaps. Overall the rear camera does a decent job of producing rich toned shots with the right amount of color reproduction. Though you might observe noise and over saturated photos when the subject gets out of focus or the object is constantly moving. We feel that it'll tick all the marks to satisfy your social media needs.

Software Experience & Battery Life: 

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review
Source: Asus
       The Zenfone 3 Laser runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with ZenUI 3.0 on-board. All the Zenfone 3 series have the exact same software on board, besides the new Zenfone 3S Max. The skin user interface has improved a lot over a couple of years, and it has gotten smoother. But I recently started using the Zenfone 3S Max which comes with Android Nougat; This just amplifies the user experience as the Nougat Skin is incredibly smooth and snappy. I wish the Zenfone 3 Laser receives the nougat update soon. But don't get the fact that the older ZenUI might shallow the UI experience, as that's not the case here. The 4GB RAM does its job at its core to fulfill the performance requirements, in turn, helping to navigate throughout the OS. One of the best perks which Asus provides is 100GB of free Google Drive storage. But every perk has its downside as in turn; the company fills the device with a decent amount of bloatware. The thing which hurts the most is that 8GB gets reserved for this stuff. But that's just me; some might like the fact that 8GB is kept separately for the inbuilt apps and flashable ROM; while the rest 24GB gets held for the user to accommodate.

               Speaking about the Battery department; the Zenfone 3 Laser sports a 3000 mAh non-removable battery. I got about 6hours of screen on time with heavy usage; while about 10-11 hours of SOT with moderate/little usage. I wasn't impressed by its battery performance, But the fact that it got me nearly more than 7 hours on my extended usage is a good thing, in my opinion.

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review - Satisfying or Not?

Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL Review

                Looking with an overall perspective, a Solid Camera, Metal design & Built, 4GB RAM, accompanied by a decent 5.5-inch display, seems like a good choice, Especially the fact that it now retails at Rs.16,999. The few facts which I miss is the Type-C USB port & the Nougat Update. The day Asus pushes out an update to this device here in India, That'll instantly become an excellent choice for the users looking for a decent mid-range device. But again Lenovo's Z2 offers a decent set of specs at this price, but I won't recommend that phone since the ZUK tag is not going to be alive after a while as Cyanogen recently aborted the ZUK project. All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Zenfone 3 Laser to anyone, Only if the Android Nougat makes its way here.

Links to buy: Flipkart

Also See: Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC553KL Review

Image source: Asus

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