In case if you out for a holiday or a trip, here is our weekly wrap-up covering all the news, announcements & launches happened over the past seven days. Samsung has launched the dual-SIM variant of Galaxy Note 5 in India via company’s official e-store. The 32GB variant is priced at Rs. 51,400 but there are no details about the sale of 64GB variant. The single-SIM Galaxy Note 5 has received the price cut and is now retailing at Rs. 47,900 for the 32GB variant and Rs. 53,900 for the dual SIM variant.
The Blackberry Priv, the first Android-powered Blackberry device is about to launch in India on January 28th. The device was made available for pre-orders in October in the U.S for $699 (approx Rs. 47,200) and was later available for sale in November. On the other hand, the Moto X Force with Shatter-Proof display is also teased by the company suggesting the India launch to happen on February 1st. The recently launched Moto G Turbo Edition has received the Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
After announcing more than a year ago, the ASUS Zenfone Zoom is finally launched in India along with a hefty price tag of Rs. 37,999. The device will be available in the colors Pure Black and Ceramic White and will be exclusively sold through Flipkart. While in China, ASUS has unveiled the Pegasus 5000 with a 4,850mAh battery. It will be available in the 2GB and 3GB RAM variants priced at 1299 Yuan (approx Rs. 13,350) and 1799 Yuan (approx Rs. 18,500) respectively.
From this week, the instant messaging service, WhatsApp is made free by removing its $0.99/year fee. There are other reports suggesting few other changes coming soon. The Video Calling service is already mentioned with the screen shots from Beta iOS app. This time, the Android version shows the option to share the WhatsApp data with Facebook for an improved experience on the later. The option to make the end-to-end encryption visible to the user at the other end is also on cards. Though there is no official word from the company, we can expect these new features in the next few weeks.
The OPPO F1, the first smartphone in the newly announced F-series is available for pre-orders in Europe starting this week. The same device will be launched in India on January 28th. It comes with a premium build quality sporting an Aluminum body along with not so great specifications. It is priced at €229 and is shipped along with a Selfie stick for free. ZTE Nubia Prague S is the latest device under the Nubia series. The build metal device is priced at 2,499 Yuan and will be available in Silver and Rose Gold colors
The major launch of this week comes from the LeTV, which had recently changed its name to LeEco under its globalization process. The company has officially debuted the Indian smartphone market by launching two superphones Le Max and Le 1s. Both these devices come with great build quality and high-end specifications that too with an aggressive pricing. The Le 1s and Le Max are priced at Rs. 10,999 & Rs. 32,999 respectively and they will give tough competition for the other smartphones in their price categories.
Both the devices run on customized EUI 5.5 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. The company also mentioned the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to be released sometime in March. The Sapphire Edition Le Max with Sapphire glass display and 128GB internal storage is also announced; it comes with hefty price tag of Rs. 69,999. Check out the review of the Le Max and stay tuned for the more popular Le 1S Review.
Intex, the Indian smartphone manufacturer, has listed a new low-cost Aqua Air II smartphone priced at Rs. 4,690 on its website. The dual SIM device runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop. It features a 5-inch FWVGA (480 x 854) display along with a Gorilla Glass protection. Under the hood is the MediaTek MT6572W dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.
The camera is a big let down on this device; it has a 2MP rear camera with an LED flash and a VGA front camera. There is a MicroSD card slot for storage expansion up to a maximum of 32GB. The device is backed by a 2,300mAh battery that is as rated to give 4 hours of talk time on 3G and 6 hours on 2G network. Connectivity options include 3G HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0 port.
The ultra-low-cost tablet maker, Datawind has launched two new smartphones PocketSurfer 2G4X & PocketSurfer 3G4Z priced at Rs. 2,499 & Rs. 3,999 respectively. Both these devices come with a one-year free internet with the carriers Reliance and Telenor. Though the usage of internet is limited only via Pocketsurfer browser and will not support downloads and streaming of audio and video content.
The PocketSurfer 2G4X runs on Android 4.2.2 Jellybean while PocketSurfer 3G4Z runs on Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. The devices come with very basic specifications like a 1GHz single-core processor, 256MB RAM and 512MB internal storage on PocketSurfer 2G4X. The devices can be purchased via online and offline stores across the country.
Samsung had unveiled the Galaxy A (2016) smartphones in December last year in China and now this month the company also announced the Galaxy J1 (2016). In early this week, the all new Galaxy J5 (2016) has been spotted on GeekBench with the model number SM-J510X. According to the listing, the device sports a 5.2-inch HD display and is powered by a Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor. There is 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage along with a MicroSD card slot.
On the camera front, the J5 (2016) features a 13MP rear camera with autofocus and an LED flash and a 5MP front camera for selfies. Just after the Galaxy J5 (2016) listing, the Galaxy J7 (2016) with the model number SM-J710X is found on GeekBench. The J7 (2016) comes with a much better specifications than the J5 (2016). It includes a 5.5-inch Full HD display and is powered by a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz.
The device comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage along with an expandable storage option. The device comes with the same set of cameras as on the Galaxy J5 (2016). While the listing shows only the single SIM variant of the device, we can also expect the dual-SIM variant for developing markets like China and India.
The Honor 5X will be launched on January 28th in India; this is the same device that was launched in the U.S at the recently held CES 2016. Few other rumors suggest the launch of Honor Holly 2 Plus alongside the Honor 5X. The Holly 2 Plus will be the successor Honor Holly that was launched in India in December 2014. It is priced at Rs. 6,999 and includes some competitive specification at that time.
It features a 5-inch HD display and is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek processor along with 1GB RAM. The device has an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP selfie camera. The Honor Holly 2 Plus is said to sport the same 5-inch display but comes with 2GB of RAM. It also has a much-improved cameras, a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera on the front. The device will be backed by a 4,000mAh battery and will offer 4G LTE connectivity.
Skywin, a very little known smartphone manufacturer, has launched a new entry-level smartphone called Skywin Alta Gem. The device is priced at Rs. 6,499 and is exclusively sold through Flipkart. The device comes with OnePlus One like Sandstone finish on the back that gives a nice a grip to hold on. It features a 4.5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480) resolution display and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core processor. There is 1GB of RAM and 7GB of internal storage that can further expandable up to 32GB.
Coming to the camera department, it has an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and an LED flash and on the front is the 5MP front camera. The Alta Gem is backed by a 2,000mAh battery that much fell short of lasting a single day of usage. The dual SIM device offers connectivity options like 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0 port. It comes in Black and White color options.
Bush Eluma is a Windows 10 powered smartphone from the smartphone manufacturer Bush based out of U.K. The entry-level device come with a price tag of £79.95 and feature polycarbonate body with a glossy finish. The device comes with a 5-inch IPS display with HD resolution and is powered by an unknown quad-core processor. It has 16GB of internal storage that can be further expandable upto 128GB.
There is an 8MP rear camera with an LED flash and a 5MP front camera. It offers dual SIM dual standby and supports 4G LTE connectivity. The device is backed by a 2,100mAh battery that is rated to deliver 8 hours of talk time and lasts upto 160 hours on standby. It weighs about 152 grams and comes with two years of manufacturers warranty. It is available only in Black color while a White colored back cover is provided for free.
This week, Leagoo has launched a 6-inch phablet with a massive 6,300mAh battery. Even with such a large battery, the device measures only 8.5mm thickness but weighs around 241 grams. The 6-inch display comes with Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and 2.5D glass laid on top of it. It is powered by a MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and coupled with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage.
It has a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, and a dual tone LED flash, and on the front is the 5MP selfie camera with f/2.4 aperture. There is also a fingerprint added on the rear of the device. According to the company, the 6,300mAh battery can be fully charged in two hours by the support fast charging. The phablet runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with Leagoo OS 1.2 UI overlaid. It will be available in Black, Gold, and Silver color. The pricing and availability of the Shark 1 are still unknown.
Swipe Virtue is the latest smartphone from the company that had earlier launched few low-cost smartphones and tablets. The latest device is priced at Rs. 5,999 is exclusively sold through Snapdeal. The 5-inch display of the device comes with HD resolution and sports 2mm narrow bezels on each side. Under the hood is the 1.3GHz MediaTek processor coupled along with 2GB of RAM. There is 16GB of internal storage along with a MicroSD card slot.
Talking about the camera, it has an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a 5MP front camera for selfies and video calls. It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with company’s customized skin laid on top. The 2,500mAh battery is what keeps this device powered on. Connectivity options on this device include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS, and a MicroUSB 2.0.
Samsung Gear S2 & Gear VR
After waiting for quite a few days, Samsung has finally launched the Gear S2 smartwatch and Gear VR headset in India . The Gear S2 is powered by Samsung’s own Tizen OS and sports a circular design with rotating bezel and a touch interface. It comes with a 1.2-inch display with 360 x 360 resolution protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 display. Under the hood is the dual-core Exynos 3250 coupled with 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage.
There are two variants of Gear S2 priced at Rs. 24,300 for standard model and Rs. 25,800 for Gear S2 classic. While the Gear S2 can be used even with non-Samsung devices, the Gear VR headset is compatible only with Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6, and S6 Edge. It is priced at Rs. 8,200 and will be available in Frost White color. They can be purchased online exclusively through Flipkart and will be available offline through Croma and Reliance Digital stores.