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Weekend smartphone deals: Sony Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S4, Huawei Ascend Mate

August 17, 2013 |

This weekend we are surprised to find eBay hogging the deals chart as all the offers we have come up with are through sellers on eBay. Online retailers like Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal, Saholic, etc are miles away when it comes to offering discounts to its customers as compared to eBay. Let’s get started:

sony xperia z ultra header
First up it’s the recently launched Sony Xperia Z Ultra smartphone that is loaded with some of the best mobile hardware components you will ever see. Powered by the blazing fast quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM, 6.44-inch display with 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, 16GB internal storage, 8-megapixel rear camera capable of HD recording and a 2-megapixel front one, the Xperia Z ultra is the best smartphone from Sony till date. The smartphone is available for just ₹39,924 as compared to its MRP of ₹44,990.

sony xperia z header
Second in line the Xperia Z from Sony and this time the smartphone’s prices have gone down due to the launch of its successor – the Xperia Z Ultra. Available for just ₹31,784 from eBay, the Xperia Z boasts of a 5-inch display with 1,080 x 1,920 pixel resolution. Powered by the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad core processor, the Xperia Z comes with 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2.2-megapixel rear one, 16GB internal storage, 2GB RAM and other usual refinements.


Just as a reminder, that both Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra are dust-proof and water-proof.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung hogged the limelight a few months ago after releasing the Galaxy S4 smartphone and it is still one of the most sought after smartphones in the industry. Available for just ₹33,699 the 5-inch smartphone is powered by Exynos 5 Octa Core (1.6 GHz Quad + 1.2 GHz Quad) Processor, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage expandable using a microSD Card, 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front one. The smartphone comes with all the usual refinement and connectivity features.

htc 8s
If you are into Windows Phone smartphones and are not really bothered by the brand, we would recommend you go for the HTC 8S Windows Phone 8 smartphone available from eBay for just over ₹13,000. The phone comes with 4GB internal storage, 512MB RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera, 4-inch display with 480 x 800 pixel resolution protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, Beats audio and Windows Phone 8 operating system. The phone doesn’t comes with a secondary camera meaning that you will not be able to place video calls. This one may be a bummer. However, the phone is a good entry level Windows Phone 8 smartphone and if you are not willing to spend a whole lot on a platform you are not comfortable with yet, the HTC 8S may be a smart choice.

huawei Ascend Mate
Last but not the least it’s the Chinese brand Huawei with its Ascend Mate smartphone. Not the most talked about smartphone in town, the Ascend Mate is definitely one of the most powerful smartphones out there. Boasting a 6.1-inch anti-scratch Toshiba IPS+ Corning Gorilla Glass display with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution the phone is powered by a 1.5 GHz Hi-Silicon K3V2 + Intel XMM6260 quad core SoC. The smartphone comes with front and rear camera of 8-megapixels and 1-megapixel, a massive 4050 mAh battery, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and rest of the other standard features.

We strongly advise you to read our Tech Deals disclaimers should you have a purchase intent. Tech Deals are not sponsored. Instead they are chosen based solely on how good of a bargain they are.

Sony to officially launch Xperia Z Ultra in India today

July 30, 2013 |

Sony is going to officially launch the Xperia Z Ultra smartphone in India, a day early then what we had reported earlier after it was listed on websites of multiple online retailers in India.

The handset has been listed for ₹44,900 and packs a huge 6.4-inch full HD display with Triluminos technology. The smartphone is powered by a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with expandability of up to 64GB using a microSD card, 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front one.

Some of the other features are Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi, microUSB, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, water and dust proof, just 6.5mm thick and 212 grams in weight. Sony has used aluminum chassis instead of a plastic one in Xperia Z for durability. The Xperia Z Ultra was announced back in June.

You can find further information about the Xperia Z Ultra on Sony Mobile’s official site.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra landing in India on July 31

July 23, 2013 |

Sony Xperia Z Ultra has been listed on one of India’s leading online portal indicating that the flagship handset should be nearing its launch date – which according to our sources within the company is the last week of July.

Announced back in June, listed first in Hong Kong, the Xperia Z Ultra has been priced at HK$6,198 which comes out to be ₹50,000 but, we expect Sony to keep the cost somewhere in the ₹47,000 to ₹49,000 mark rather than the seemingly high ₹50k mark.

The Xperia Z successor is dustproof and waterproof and features a massive 6.4-inch powered by full HD Triluminos technology, is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at a whopping 2.2GHz, has a very slim profile with just 6.5mm thickness and 212 grams weight, is constructed using aluminum chassis unlike its predecessor – the Xperia Z which has been made from plastic.

Some of the other notable features of the smartphones are an 8-megapixel rear camera with “Exmor RS for mobile” sensor, HD recording capabilities for images as well as films, NFC, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and compatibility with any capacitive stylus or metal pen.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z review

June 30, 2013 |

Sony hasn’t been having a lot of luck when it comes to tablets despite the fact that some of the tablets it launched were brilliant while having a distinctive design. Further, Sony has been a late entrant into the tablet market where even Microsoft is having a hard time. Sony launched tablets powered by Tegra 2 SoC while everyone were launching Tegra 3 powered tablets and those featuring resolutions as low as 1,280×800 pixels as compared to 1,920 x 1,200 or above being released by others.

Xperia Tablet Z is the latest from Sony and is definitely a strong contender as it packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor instead of the Tegra 3, features a ultra-slim and ultra-light body and boasts of 1,920 x 1,200 10.1-inch display.

xperia tablet z side header

Design

Sony hasn’t done anything fancy this time around like it did with Xperia Tablet S, but has kept the design such that the overall weight of the tablet is just 495 grams making it incredibly light allowing most adult users to hold it comfortably using just one hand while use of two hands will allow for easy viewing of movies or videos or web browsing for hours at a time. Further the tablet is just 7mm thick, making it incredibly thin.

These two things might not the appealing to everyone but, business users would appreciate the portability this tablet brings because of its weight and slim design. The thin design may give you a feeling that the tablet is flimsy and would be a ‘handle with care’ object but, it is quite the opposite. The tablet is rock-solid when you hold it and has a scratch-proof glass. The tablet is water and dust resistance just like its smartphone siblings the Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra and according to Sony can be immersed in water for about 30 minutes without any damage.

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Connectivity

One thing you will notice out of the box is that all the ports (inputs / outputs) are concealed by small plastic flaps – for waterproofing. So, if you want to charge the tablet you will need to remove the plastic cover that hides the micro-USB connector – same goes for microSD slot, the microSIM slot (for the model we reviewed) and even the headphone socket.

Sony has left out the HDMI output – the reason we believe is that the Japanese electronics giant doesn’t believe in wired connections and it wants the tablet to connect to its Bravia TV siblings through the Wi-Fi screen mirroring option or through NFC transceiver for one-touch mirroring. In case you do want to connect using a cable Sony has the micro-USB port that supports MHL video output. We didn’t have a Bravia TV at our disposal to test this feature so we can’t tell how well this works but, this feature would definitely appeal to those who already own a Bravia TV.

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Screen & Sound

Xperia Tablet Z’s 10-inch screen has a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution with 224ppi (pixels per inch) and is definitely a good working resolution for an Android tablet. The ppi of Tablet Z don’t match that of Google’s Nexus 10 but, that shouldn’t be a deterrent I believe. You can movies at 1080p and gaming experience is better than that on the Nexus 10. All in all, the vibrant, sharp and crystal clear screen provides you a gorgeous display.

Sony has started including its Mobile Bravia Engine 2 in its smartphones and the Tablet Z also features this engine that adds a little to the display. If you are watching a HD video or high resolution photos they do look stunning while the blacks kind of leap out of the screen. And if you fancy catching up on those TV shows you have missed, then this tablet would definitely fill in.

There is not much in the sound department to write about as the volume is limited and so is the bass but, the stereo spread is definitely better than most of the tablets out there and more or less equal to that of the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle HD 8.9.

xperia tablet z angle header

Software

Sony has decided to go with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for its Xperia Tablet Z and has customized the basic UI putting in a few enhancements keeping in mind functionality and design. Tablet Z comes loaded with Apps like Sony Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, Sony movie player app, Walkman-branded music app, photo album app, a Sony Select app, and Sony’s Socialife app.

Sony hasn’t probably worked on the keyboard as Tablet Z doesn’t offer a lot of improvements over the standard Jelly Bean model and I did err a lot while typing a note. What is worse though is that standard Android model has been removed but, its not that you are stuck with that. You can install keyboard apps available on Google Play store like Swiftkey for tablets and they should work just fine. On a special note Sony’s mail client works great with Exchange ActiveSync and Google Sync but, may need a little tuning as the account setup process is rather clunky.

xperia tablet z header

Camera

Sony has touted the capabilities of the Xperia Tablet Z’s cameras since its launch and has been saying that the 8-megapixel rear camera branded Exmor R for mobile provides a great performance in low light conditions. In our tests though, the tablet hasn’t been able to perform that well in low light conditions. Natural colours and detail to come out prominently but, there is a lot of noise in pictures taken indoor and the outdoor photos aren’t all that impressive either. The good thing is that there is software that provides a full range of scene modes, some nice built-in effects and an intuitive UI. The front camera may be deemed good for voice chats only. Nothing else!

Performance

The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.5GHz powers the tablet and is the same SoC that can be found on Google Nexus 4. With 2GB of RAM, the UI elements of the tablet just feel like a breeze when interacted with and apps load in an instant.

Xperia Tablet Z scores 2001 on Geekbench 1.2 benchmark which puts it ahead of its Tegra 3 powered sibling Xperia Tablet S and just slightly behind Nexus 4 and Samsung Exynos 4412-powered Nexus 10. Gaming may be considered as Tablet Z’s forte as it managed 13 fps off-screen frame rate in the GFXBench T-Rex HD benchmark, and 32 fps in Egypt HD. These numbers can be considered the best you could get up until Tegra 4 and Snapdragon 800 officially arrive on some tablets / smartphone.

Battery life

We presumed that the Tablet Z, because of its slim design, would be packing a battery that wouldn’t be able to provide much backup. But to our surprise, it did manage to pull off a descent 10 hours through mixed use and about seven and a half hours at constant HD movie streaming over a Wi-Fi connection. However, gaming takes a toll on the battery and about half an hour of Real Racing 3 drained 15 per cent of the battery, which is not surprising.

Verdict

Xperia Tablet Z is probably the best Android tablet out there in terms of design – it is light and powerful and would take anything you throw at it – well computationally. The battery life is very good, screen is great, and resolution excellent.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z available for just ₹40,853

June 30, 2013 |

It hasn’t been even two weeks and Sony Xperia Tablet Z is already available on a discounted price from eBay for as low as ₹40,853.

This particular model of Xperia Tablet Z is both Wi-Fi and 3G capable giving mobile users the most out of the tablet. Some of the features of the tablet are quiet similar to that of the Xperia Z.

A quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 clocked at 1.5GHz powers the tablet, has 2GB of RAM, 16GB onboard storage, a 10.1-inch screen 1,920 x 1,200 pixel screen powered by Sony’s own Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and Reality Display technology, an 8-megapixel rear camera with Exmor R technology and a front facing 2.2-megapixel one.

Some of the other features of the tablet include NFC, a microSD card slot, a microUSB cable, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, IR capabilities, thickness of just 7.2mm and weight of less than 500g. The tablet comes with Sony’s music app that allows you to download as many as 1.5 million songs for free (data rates may apply) and there is this Sony Live app that allows you to watch TV shows such as KBC, Indian Idol and online TV series being showed on Sony and Sab TV channels.

This particular deal also brings with it a free leather case costing ₹3,000. You can read our review of Xperia Tablet Z here.

We strongly advise you to read our Tech Deals disclaimers should you have a purchase intent.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra announced

June 25, 2013 |

Sony has officially announced, as expected, the next in Xperia range of smartphones – the Xperia Z Ultra featuring a massive 6.4-inch screen.

Based on Sony’s OmniBalance philosophy, the Ultra Z has a slim profile and is 6.5mm thick and weighs slightly over 210 grams. The phablet is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC clocked at 2.2GHz and is loaded with 2GB of RAM. It provides 16GB of onboard storage which is expandable to 64GB using a microSD card. The handset will be available in three colours – Black, White and Purple.

The phablet has an 8-megapixel rear camera with Exmor RS sensor and a 2-megapixel front facing one. The battery is a huge 3000mAh one and in terms of connectivity the phablet offers 4G LTE, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0. Like its predecessors, Xperia Z, the Xperia Z Ultra is also dust and water proof and has been certified with IP55 and IP58 certifications.

The Xperia Z Ultra features the Triluminos technology in its 1080×1920 pixels display and according to Sony the technology is capable of producing greater range of rich, natural colours to deliver true, natural shades. The Ultra Z is also equipped with X-Reality for mobile, which analyses each image and reproduces lacking pixels to optimize quality for the sharpest videos.

Some of the other features of the Xperia Z Ultra are handwriting recognition functionality, new and updated Sony Media Applications including new apps for Walkman, Movies and Album, among others. The phone will be made available globally in Q3, 2013 but exact date of release will depend on the region. Sony hasn’t revealed any information about pricing.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia C smartphones expected at MAE 2013

June 24, 2013 |

Sony is expected to launch its smart wearable wrist device tomorrow at the Mobile Asia Expo (MAE) 2013 in China and alongside the smartwatch chances are it will also unravel its Xperia Z Ultra and the Xperia C phablet.

According to reports the Xperia Z Ultra is going to pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and feature a 6.44-inch display capable of full HD resolution. The device has been codenamed Togari L4 and will soon join the Xperia range of smartphones.

Some of the other rumoured specifications of the phone are Adreno 330 graphics chip, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 8-megapixel rear camera with Exmor RS sensor and a 2.2-megapixel front one. Xperia Z Ultra is also said to be running Android Jelly Bean 4.2 update with Timescape UI.

On the other hand the Xperia C is dubbed to be more of a budget-friendly smartphone featuring a 5-inch display with dual-SIM support and a quad-core MediaTek mobile processor. We expect that Sony will put in an 8-megapixel camera and load the Xperia C with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and a custom UI on top of that.

Keeping the display at 5-inch would place the smartphone in line with other smartphones of this display-size segment and a quad-core processor will definitely up the ante against other such smartphones.

Is Sony launching its smartwatch tomorrow?

June 24, 2013 |

Sony has been busy hinting at a watch like device – a smartwatch – since a few days now through its @sonyexperia Twitter account and according to the tweets there are all the chances that the Japanese electronics giant will be launching its smartwatch at the Asia Expo 2013 (MAE 2013) tomorrow.

In a June 21 tweet, Sony revealed an infographic which talked about how one third of all smartphone owners wanted a wrist wear which was smart. The same day in came a tweet which had an alleged photo of Sony’s smartwatch. Considering that the twitter account is an official one there is no doubt about the looks of the smartwatch.

Sony, it seems, wasn’t done with its teasers and again after a few hours a tweet teased a probable name for the smart wrist device. “Pocket watch / wristwatch / digital watch / LiveView / SmartWatch / ? #itstime #MAE13” read the tweet.

According to other sources, apart from the official Twitter account, it is believed that the smartwatch will carry features such as NFC, touchscreen and will be waterproof. According to CNET, there will be three icons below the screen “just like the company’s current Xperia smart phones”.

Sony Xperia Z down to ₹34,880

June 22, 2013 |

Little known online retailer Lataji Online is selling the Sony Xperia Z smartphone for a mere ₹35,999 a price that includes 19 per cent discount on the maximum retail price as well as full one-year manufacturer’s warranty but, doesn’t include shipping.

The Xperia Z made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year and is equivalent to HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 when it comes to specifications but, the smartphone doesn’t score quite well in the processor department. Sony hasn’t put in the latest snapdragon 600 processor and has a system-on-chip clocked at 1.5GHz only.

If we sideline the SoC the rest of the specifications are top notch. 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE connectivity, 16GB onboard storage, dust proof and water proof, NFC, a rear 13-megapixel camera with Exmor RS HDR imaging technology with a front facing 2-mehapixel one, a microSD card slot, a 5in 1,920 x 1,080 display infused with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 and Reality technology makes this handset a definite buy if you don’t have a budget for the HTC One and don’t fancy Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones.

Sony launches first 4K TVs in India

June 19, 2013 |

Sony, for the first time in India, has launched 4K range of televisions with four times the resolution of a full HD TV (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) – the X Series Bravia TVs with prices starting from over ₹3,00,000.

According to Sony, its 4K X-Reality PRO engine not only reduces visual noise but also corrects image shapes and the TRILUMINOS Display LED will bring out rich, authentic colours with subtle tones. Sony claims that the backlighting in its 4K TVs will also replicate hard-to-reproduce red and green colours.

Sony has integrated its unique display technologies with QD Vision’s Color IQ optical component thereby significantly widening the colour gamut that its 4K TVs will provide. The new technology, Sony claims, will enhance the quality of images and videos captured by its ‘TRILUMINOS Color’ compatible digital cameras and camcorders. If you have Sony branded Blu-ray Disc players, you are in for a treat as Sony revealed that the content from these players will also be displayed with improved quality.

A pair of stereo speakers flanking the display based on magnetic fluid speaker technology is the USP of the 4K TVs from Sony. According to the Japanese consumer electronics giant, its speakers utilize a Signal-to-Sound Architecture and couple that with Sony’s unique digital signal processing technology and you have a smooth midrange, lower vibration and deep bass.

Some of the other features of the TV are Wi-Fi connectivity, SMART TV capabilities, cross-device connectivity, One-touch mirroring and TV SideView among others. The X Series Bravia TVs will be available across all Sony Centers and major electronic stores across India.

The 55-inch model KD-55X9004 is priced at ₹3,04,900 and the 65-inch model KD-65X9004 will carry a price tag of ₹ 4,04,900.