February 03, 2016

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ASUS Zenfone Zoom (ZX551ML) Review - Premium looking Camera-Centric Smartphone

Asus Zenfone Zoom

First of all, I was invited to attend the Zenfone Zoom Launch Event in Agra by Asus India. Thank you so much Asus India for the invitation and sponsoring the travel and hotel expenses. The Event was really well-organized by the Asus India Team. I really learnt so many things from this tour which will be really helpful for my carrier ahead. बहोत बहोत धन्यवाद असुस इन्डिया.

Let’s come to the topic “Asus Zenfone Zoom”, the device launched in India by ASUS CEO “Jerry Shen” in Agra (India) on 22nd January 2016. Because I was present in the Event, I’ve got some time to get my hands-on Zenfone Zoom. Although I’ve also got a unit of Asus Zenfone Zoom from the Asus. I am writing this article after using it for almost 7 days. First take a look at what comes inside the Zenfone Zoom Box.

Unboxing
Contents inside the Zenfone Zoom box

The things that are included in my unit are:

  • Asus Zenfone Zoom Smartphone
  • A Leather Strap
  • Adapter (Supports fast charging)
  • MicroUSB – USB Cable
  • Headset (Zenear) (with extra ear-buds)
  • Zencredible Cards
  • Warranty Card
  • User Guide
  • Zenny
Let’s talk about the device from the different perspectives.
Display
Zenfone Zoom Display

The device comes with FHD 5.5-inch IPS display with 403ppi (Pixels Per Inch) Pixel density which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The brightness is on the both sides for me, bad and good! How? The lowest level of the brightness really helps to use the device in the night I mean the lowest level really makes screen looks so deem that you can easily perform your work without  shrinking your eyes and the bonus for the night is the Bluelight Filter which really works great for reading the articles/messages/etc in the night. Then what’s bad about brightness? The highest level of brightness doesn’t provide so much light in the outdoor conditions which means that if you take photos outside, you might have to check twice to see that the shot has been taken is equal to your requirement or not.

Build and Design
Zenfone Zoom Design

No doubt, The Smartphone looks very premium from the every viewing angle and when you keep it in your hand, it feels really premium and the leather finish of the back cover gives little grip to the hand. On the top: It has 3.5 mm jack, Microphone. On the bottom: Micro-USB Port, Microphone. No buttons/ports on the left side. On the right, it has Volume lockers, Power button, Dedicated recording and capture buttons. (Good job Asus for the Dedicated shutter buttons) On the front, it has the ASUS Logo below receiver, Front-facing Camera, necessary sensors. The 5.5 inch display and at the bottom, it has 3 capacitive buttons. (which are still not backlight) Below that there is metal-portion which also comes in many Zenfones which I think makes the device look more premium. (As much as previous Zenfones do) On the back side, it has the Camera which is 13MP with 3x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), Dual-color Flash, and Laser Autofocus. The lens used in the Camera is the HOYA Lens. Back also has the Asus and Intel logo stitched. A little bump to protect the camera when device kept on the back side. And on the bottom the Speaker grill. Speaker is loud enough.

Software
To be frank, I really don’t like the decision to put the Android 5.0 in the Zenfone Zoom. Because it’s 2016, Marshmallow launched and already arrived on many mid-range devices. Anyway it runs on ZenUI which provides lots of Customizations which is good. ZenUI works nice and provides great functionality but I would be happy enough if they’ve provided 5.1 instead of 5.0. (At least) 

Hardware
Instead of using any Snapdragon Processor, Asus used 64-bit Intel Z3590 Quad-Core Processor which is clocked at 2.5GHz. As similar to some Zenfones, Zenfone Zoom also comes with 4GB of RAM. 128GB of Internal Storage is definitely a great move by Asus. +1 Asus! And the great thing is that it also provides extension up to 128GB via MicroSD. Out of the box, you’ll get near about 111GB Available space from 128GB (internal storage). Total storage you can get in Zenfone Zoom is up to 256 GB. In my opinion, 3000mAh battery is not enough for the phone which is having 4GB of RAM and 2.5 GHz powerful CPU. Anyway will come on the battery life later on. The GPU used in Zenfone Zoom is PowerVR G6430. One thing that is surely tiny but definitely life saver (sometimes) is the Leather Strap. I’ve really used it, believe me, it adds more premium-ness to the Smartphone and makes the Smartphone less risky. The Smartphone weighs 185g. ASUS Zenfone Zoom is ASUS’s first device to have NFC Technology.

Camera
Zenfone Zoom Camera

The most amazing thing in this Smartphone is the Camera. Because the main focus of the company is to make Thinnest 3x Optical Zoom Smartphone. The phone looks slimmer than I’ve expected.

From the specs, 13-MP Pixel Master Rear camera with 10-Element HOYA Lens which supports 3x Optical Zoom/12x Total Zoom (Digital Zoom). It also comes with 4-Stop Optical Image Stabilization, Laser-Autofocus and Dual-color Flash.

While the Front Camera is 5-MP which comes with f/2.0 Aperture with 88-degree wide-angle lens. From Real Camera, Photos can be captured in Super Resolution mode which could be of up to 52 MP. And definitely the Manual Mode comes with so much great features like 32-seconds long exposure, Manual Focus, etc. In my opinion, the front-camera could be 8 or more Megapixels, then it would be a perfect combination. 

The photos I’ve taken with the Auto mode without Zoom are the photos which are not the best photos but definitely the Optical Zoom and the Manual Mode performs very well. The OIS really works great, while taking shots many times my hand shook but the images were come out to be great. The light and the objects clarity after the full Zoom really make the device stand out from the crowd. For example if you take an image where there is not much light while you’re taking the image (with full zoomed), it really comes out to be brighter and with clear details after the image got processed. And in the focusing, it focuses really fast thanks to the Laser-Autofocus. While in low light, I would say with the flash you can get nicer images than without the flash. While there are also Low-Light mode, Night mode which makes image better. But I prefer the flash in the Low Light mode where the objects are close enough.

I’ve uploaded Sample 1080p (FHD) video recorded in Zenfone Zoom on YouTube. Click to watch the video. I’ve also uploaded some sample shots taken from Zenfone Zoom down below.
Sample Photos (Click to Enlarge)

Sample shot taken from Zenfone Zoom

Sample shot taken from Zenfone Zoom

Sample shot taken from Zenfone Zoom

Sample shot taken from Zenfone Zoom

Sample shot taken from Zenfone Zoom

Performance, Battery life
In the battery life, I was disappointed in the first two days, but maybe after the OTA Update, I was almost getting Screen on time near 4 hours and 25 minutes. One thing I’ve noted is that right after the full-charge it loses over 6-10% in just 10-15 minutes of usage. And the biggest issue I’ve found is that the Android OS is taking too much battery. Asus can definitely fix this issue via OTA updates because this is not in the all 5.0/4GB RAM devices. I’ve also reported the Android OS issue with the ZenUI Team on the 2nd day of my testing. I wish they could fix it as soon as possible.

On the performance side, no doubt the 4GB RAM rocks, multitasking is buttery smooth. But most of the time I can only see near 1.5 GB of RAM free without any background running apps. (After cleaning the recent apps) There may be some RAM Management issues out there which should be solved as soon as possible. While writing this I’ve opened 15 Apps on the Zoom one after one, Without any lag, I can move back and forth between the apps thanks to the 4GB of RAM. No doubt the RAM makes the device faster but the Management issues should be fixed.

In the Gaming side the device performs very well. I’ve not encountered any lag while playing games. But one thing I’ve noticed is that the device got little warmed in the both the metal sides while playing Real Racing 3.

The things that may not have been covered in above topics:

Pricing & Availibility:

The Asus Zenfone Zoom is sold in India via Flipkart at price of INR 37,999. Will be available to purchase from Asus Exclusive Stores starting Feb. 2016.

Improvements I appreciate:


  • Power Button, Volume buttons are on the right side. (Thanks Asus)
  • Used HOYA Lens instead of any Toshiba lens.
  • Made thinnest 3x Optical Zoom device.

Pros: 


  • The device charged from 4% - 100% in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Supports OTG.
  • Double tap to wake, Double tap to sleep, ZenMotion – Draw C on screen to launch Camera (while in sleep), etc.
  • Multi-Touch supports up to 10 fingers.
  • Provides 4 battery saving modes which really helps to save the battery. Super saving mode really does the job greatly. In my testing, I’ve turned on Super saving at near 1 am and at 3 pm it only drained 2% battery. (9% to 7% to be precise) (14 Hours on Standby)
  • Call quality is great. Provides Auto-Call recording functionality in-built.

Cons:


  • No fingerprint scanner, No wireless charging, No 4k Recording, No Dual-Sim
  • Capacitive buttons aren’t backlight. Asus, please make it backlight. Or either switch to on-screen buttons. I really love on-screen navigation buttons.
Conclusion
If you’re a photo enthusiast and/or have the knowledge of how to take shots with Manual mode then the device definitely for you. Or you want a buttery smooth device with some features like Fast-Charging, 128GB of storage then this is for you. Or if you're a Zenfone fan, definitely this will make your experience better. (And mainly if you don’t have budget issues)

Congratulations for reading the whole article (1600+ words).
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January 07, 2016

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Asus will be launching ZenFone Zoom in India on 22nd January

Asus ZenFone Zoom

Asus will be launching the ZenFone Zoom at Agra on 22nd-23rd January later this month. While It'll will be launching in the US in early February which could be priced at $399. The catching thing about the smartphone is that, It'll feature 13MP Rear Camera with 3x Optical - Zoom, Laser Auto Focus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and 10-element HOYA lens. It also comes with dedicated Shutter button. ZenFone Zoom has been showcased in CES and IFA 2015.

The device will be powered by quad-core processor with a 4 GB RAM in a sleek, stylish form factor. It'll support Fast-Charging and bundled with 3000 mAh battery. It will comes with 5.5" FHD(1080p) IPS Display.

This device seems to be the game-changer for the camera enthusiasts. The phone will be having different camera modes which are also present in ZenFone series like Super Resolution, Beautification, Depth of Field and specially the Low Light Mode in which Asus claims that it increases light sensitivity by up to 400% for no-flash low-light shots.

The internal storage will be either 64GB/128GB while it may also be launched in 32GB variant and as on the most ZenFone devices, This device will also support the expansion of the memory via a microSD card.

That's all we know about the Asus ZenFone Zoom. We'll update this post when we'll get more information about this device in the future.
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January 06, 2016

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Asus Officially Launched ZenFone Max and ZenWatch 2 in India

ZenFone Max with ZenWatch 2

Recently, Asus launched 2 products in India, Which are ZenFone Max and ZenWatch 2. While ZenFone Max has been announced at ZenFestival in August '15. The design of both the products seems attractive and nice.

Asus ZenFone Max
The ZenFone Max is powered by Qualcomm 8916 (Snapdragon 410) quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and comes with 16GB of Internal Storage which can be expandable upto 64GB via microSD Card.

The 5.2 mm thin body of the ZenFone Max also packs in a 13MP rear and 5MP front PixelMaster camera and f/2.0-aperture lens with laser auto-focus. Asus claims the camera supports Low Light mode to capture up to 400% brighter photos at night, without the need for a flash.

The ZenFone Max comes with a powerful 5000 mAh battery. The phone runs on Android v5 (Lollipop) on top-of ZenUI. The pre-bookings of this device has been started on Amazon.in and Flipkart.com. The phone will also be sold at ASUS Exclusive Stores and with other retailers from the second fortnight of January. The price of this device is Rs. 9,999.

One thing I've noticed is that the power button which mostly in the top side of the ZenFone 2 series has finally been moved to the right side of the phone. Good move, Asus!

Asus ZenWatch 2
After the success of ZenFones, Asus finally launched the ZenWatch 2 in India. Some key features are:

  • Control your smartphone’s camera through viewfinder preview, gesture shutter and timer shutter
  • Mute an incoming call on the smartphone by covering the ZenWatch with your hand 
  • Find My Phone for identifying your phone’s location 
  • Business Helper to quickly access upcoming agendas, mails, and call log right from your wrist
  • Fonehelper to control phone settings like Wi-Fi, volume and hotspot from the watch

The ZenWatch 2 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with a 512MB RAM and 4 GB memory. Available in interesting colours (Silver and Gunmetal for WI501Q, Silver for W1502Q), the watches come in two strap variants - Rubber and Leather.

The ZenWatch 2 will be available in two sizes – 1.63” (WI501Q) and 1.45” (WI502Q) for a price of Rs. 14,999 and Rs. 11,999 respectively. ZenWatch 2 is available on Flipkart and will be sold at ASUS Exclusive Stores at a later date.

Battery: WI501Q comes with 400 mAh while WI502Q comes with 300 mAh battery.
Display: Both the variant will have AMOLED screen, WI501Q with 320 x 320 resolution and 278 ppi while WI502Q with 280 x 280 resolution and 273 ppi.
The Strap size of WI501Q is 22mm could be Rubber or Leather while WI502Q's Strap size is 18mm could be Leather only.
Size: WI501Q is of 49 x 41 mm, weighs 60g while WI502Q is of 45 x 37 mm weighs 50g.

That's all about ZenFone Max and ZenWatch 2, let me know your thoughts about these products in the comment section below.
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December 04, 2015

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Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 6 (ZE601KL) Launched in India at Rs. 17,999

ZenFone 2 Laser 6 (ZE601KL)
Asus has already launched 3 variants of Asus ZenFone 2 Laser in India which can be purchased via Flipkart. Today a new variant launched named as Asus ZenFone 2 Laser 6 with model number ZE601KL. The ZenFone 2 Laser 6 comes with Qualcomm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor Snapdragon 616, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM (Internal Storage).

The phone sports 13 Mega Pixel Rear Camera which comes with large f/2.0-aperture and 0.03 seconds auto-focus feature as per Asus says. The Front Camera is 5 Mega Pixel camera with large f/2.0-aperture, wide-angle (85˚) lens.

The device will be available on Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon from today midnight and will retail at Rs. 17,999. It will also be available on offline channels, from the second week of December.

The device comes in three colours - Red, Silver and Gold. The display of this screen is 6.0 inch which is FHD (1920 x 1080 Resolution) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 Protection.

The device also supports Micro SD Card up to 128 GB. The Battery is 3000 mAh Li-Polymer which is removable. The device runs on Lollipop based Asus ZenUI 2.0.

The other variants are sold in India near Rs. 9700 - 13000. While this variant costs Rs. 17,999.
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November 20, 2015

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Asus LolliFlash (AFLU001) Review

Asus LolliFlash
Asus LolliFlash
After reviewing Asus ZenFlash, In this post, I am reviewing the Asus LolliFlash.
First impressions of the Asus LolliFlash would be “Easy to use and tiny”.
It’s actually dual-color flash because it spreads light via two colors: White and Yellow.
Asus LolliFlash will spread the light in 3 phases.
  • 1st phase will spread low or I would say medium light. (Asus call it low level)
  • 2nd phase will add little more light to the 1st phase. (Medium level)
  • 3rd phase will add little more to the 2nd phase. (High level)
Actually the 3rd phase is best if you’re shooting or capturing in the location where there seems to be no light.
This LolliFlash comes in 5 different colors: White, Red, Blue, Yellow And Black. It also comes with multi-color filters which you can mask to the LolliFlash.
To connect the LolliFlash to your device is simple, simply attach the LolliFlash via 3.5mm Audio Jack. Here connect means that to use LolliFlash while shooting, you don’t have to hold it yourself, it can be attached to the smartphone via 3.5mm Jack. There will not be any notification in your smartphone like LolliFlash has been attached or like that.
The good thing is that after attaching the LolliFlash, you can rotate it as per your requirement. (360 degree rotation)
LolliFlash is used to charge via a Micro USB Port. Asus says it takes near 100 mins to full charge. But for me it took near 60 – 65 minutes to full charge. The capacity of the LolliFlash is 65 mAh.
Asus says that the battery life can last near 3 hours (in low level) and 20 minutes (in high level). I’ve tested in high level it lasted near 22 minutes.
Asus LolliFlash
Asus LolliFlash
As you can see in the above image, There is a power button in the left side of the LolliFlash which is used to switch it on or off. This button is used to transform from one to another phase.
For Example:
If the LolliFlash is off right now.
  • Press the Power button -> Switches to 1st phase.
  • Again Press the Power button -> Switches to 2nd phase
  • Again Press the Power button -> Switches to 3rd phase
  • Again Press the Power button -> LolliFlash turns off.
This LolliFlash is available to buy in India via Flipkart and Amazon.in. The price of Asus LolliFlash is Rs. 899.
Conclusion
It’s really worth the money as per my experience. It will come handy if you often shoot in low light and yeah mainly while taking selfie at night. I would say the light it produces in high level(3rd phase) is really good.
That’s all.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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October 28, 2015

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HTTPS Encryption to Blogger Blog



This is goodnews for blogs who don't have setted up custom domains for their blogspot blogs,
They can now activate HTTPS encryption on their blogspot blogs.

What is HTTPS ?

HTTPS ( stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer, or HTTP over SSL)

  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser; or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Outlook).
  • HTTPS is a Web protocol built into its browser that encrypts and decrypts user page requests.
  • (HyperText Transport Protocol Secure) The protocol for accessing a secure Web server and using HTTPS in the URL instead of HTTP directs the message to a secure port address rather than the default Web port address of 80. The session is then managed by the security protocol.


How to activate HTTPS Encryption ?

 
To enable it in your blog, you must follow below steps:
Select the blog for you want to enable HTTPS encryption.
On the left, click Settings > Basic > HTTPS Settings.
In HTTPS Availability, select Yes.

Also Attached screenshot below.


And there is also written turning on https will make what changes.
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