Editor-in-Chief & Publisher: MIR JAVED RAHMAN


REVIEW

Almost Perfect PIXEL Phones


Issue Date 04 - 10 Feb, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Almost Perfect PIXEL Phones Almost Perfect PIXEL Phones

The pixel is Google’s first foray into the smartphone world. It offers the best ‘pure-android’ experience out there. The Pixel and Pixel XL have minor differences, mainly in the screen size and resolution – the Pixel is five inches and 1080p; the Pixel XL is 5.5 inches and Quad HD. The battery is also bigger on the XL – 3.450mAh compared to 2,770mAh. But apart from that, they’re pretty much the same.
Let’s start with the design. Unfortunately, the built of the Pixel is just a little underwhelming. It is solid with its aluminum body and glass panel on the back, but it doesn’t exactly shout premium. But at $1,000 for the 128GB Pixel XL, it really should.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the back of the device. This is the ideal position when the phone is in your hand but relegate it to a table or desk and you will need to either pick it up or use your passcode.
These phones are very light, feel excellent in the hand and are pretty compact, too. The rounded edges make them comfortable to hold, and everything about them feels very solid. The phones are made of aerospace grade aluminium and are less prone to scratches. It’s also quite thick, at 8.5mm, but the tapered edges do a good job of masking that.
The other thing Android fans will notice: the new home screen. Gone is the app drawer, replaced by a small arrow prompting you to swipe up. Do this and you’re presented with all your apps. Swipe down to get back to your home screen. It’s incredibly snappy.
The other thing you’ll notice is the Google Now button that sits top left. Tap it and you’ll get trending searches, or simply enter your search term. You can also search for apps, music and pretty much anything on your phone. It’s nothing new, but again, it’s incredibly fast. If one thing’s for sure, the phone and OS are working in perfect harmony. Simply put, if you want the latest and greatest version of Android, as soon as it comes out, the Pixel is the way to go.
Both smartphones feature a 12.3megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture lens.
The company had the lens and sensor rated by DxO (expert camera testers), and the Pixel came out top in their ranking of smartphone cameras with a score of 89.
The Pixel is a very fast smartphone, just like all flagships in 2016. It runs on Qualcomm’s latest 64-bit, quad core Snapdragon 821 processor backed up by 4GB RAM. Both devices have either 32GB or 128GB of storage, with no option to expand via MicroSD. That’s a bit of a shame, as most modern Android devices have the ability to expand their storage by slotting in a card.
In use, both phones have very solid battery lives, easily managing a full day when being used more heavily, and stretching up to a day and a half between charges with light use. Both Pixel and XL feature quick charging, with the ability to replenish seven hour usage from a measly 15 minute charge.
The back of the Pixel and XL features a glass panel which looks like a trackpad but is nothing more than a design feature (and probably a way of opening up the antennas for better signal). These phones could definitely be your next smartphones.


A cast from the past

A cast from the past

Chromecast Ultra does a very good job of streaming stuff to your TV and now in 4K but it’s tough to tell exactly who it’s for. When TVs weren’t smart as standard, having a streaming stick made sense. Now? Not so much.
The Chromecast Ultra is basically an upgraded version of last year’s Chromecast, only it can also stream UHD content from Netflix, YouTube and that’s about it. On the outside, it looks exactly the same as the original, but it costs twice the price at $69.
Setting up hasn’t changed: just plug the Chromecast’s HDMI lead into a spare port on your TV and then hook up the power lead into a spare socket. Then you just need to connect it to the internet via Wi-Fi.
Buy any 4K TV today and it’ll come pre-installed with the same suite of apps as the Ultra, but most come with one key extra. Make sure your broadband is fast enough to handle UHD content. Netflix recommends 25 MBS per second, and you’ll need to be on its $9.99/month plan to watch the likes of Daredevil and Stranger Things in 4K. Chromecast’s lack of a central interface lets you cast from inside your apps means streaming is a little natively on your TV, but 1080p quality is great and streams load quickly. If you’re a proud member of team Android, you can cast your phone’s screen onto your TV, which means playing the likes of Angry Birds on a huge display. Plus, in future you should be able to cast homemade 4K video.
The Chromecast Ultra streams well, is simple to use, and is supported by most streaming services (other than Amazon Instant Video). But, if you own a 4K TV with the full selection of on-demand apps, you simply don’t need an Ultra. Even if you want to cast Chrome tabs to a TV, you’re just as well off with the cheaper HD version. The Ultra is basically redundant in the era of smart TVs, specially with limited 4K content.

 



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