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ONEPLUS BUDS Z: BEST BUDS ON A BUDGET

Richa Kapoor

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Earbuds, earpods, earplugs or earphones – call them by any name, but they are all equally important for all of us. OnePlus has made an addition to their kitty of buds with the Buds Z and we take a look at how it fares.

CONTENTS

Inside the box, you get a pair of the Buds Z earbuds, three pairs of differently sized silicone ear tips (with one pair pre-installed on the buds), a capsule-shaped case, a Type C cable to charge the OnePlus Z case, and a user manual with a warranty card.

CONNECTIVITY

The Buds Z connects simply and seamlessly. As long as you have NFC on your smartphone, all you need to do is flip open the case and your device is ready to connect. The process takes just a few minutes.

AUDIO QUALITY

The most important feature for earphones is always audio. For me, the first check for a good device is easy connectivity, followed by its sound.

OnePlus has placed a 10 mm dynamic driver for a decent amount of bass in its earbuds, with added bass boost technology. You also get HD audio options, which are available in settings. The earbuds also support two Bluetooth codecs, the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and SBC (Smart Bitrate Control). OnePlus has also included 3D Stereo with Dolby Atmos support and panoramic sound for a futuristic surround sound experience. To enjoy the audio at its best, make sure you are listening to music or movies which have been recorded and optimized with Dolby Atmos.

However, while audio quality is great, call quality on the OnePlus Buds Z is not as good in comparison. You do get dual mics on each of the buds, which help to pick up your voice.

The earbuds also have automatic ear detection, which means that if you pull out one or both the buds, whatever you’re listening to pauses automatically. Bring the buds back into your ear and the audio will resume on its own. This is definitely a rare feature to find at this price point.

TOUCH

The OnePlus Buds Z come with a circular touchpad on each bud. You can double-tap on the touchpad to answer a call or to change the soundtrack. Google Assistant can also be used by double-tapping on the touchpads. However, the touch command features can be customized to your liking, with a different function for each bud too, by going to the Bluetooth settings on your phone.

BATTERY

These earbuds, together with the charging case, deliver up to a total of 20 hours of playback – this number is based on the 5 hours which you can get from the earbuds and an additional 15 hours after using the charging case. (The 20 hours of total battery life is valid while playing music with the volume set to 1/3, in AAC mode.)

VERDICT

Priced at Rs 2,999, the Buds Z are a great pick for many. They have a lot of features to boast about, at a price which can be cheaper than other premium earbuds. The only disappointments for buyers can be the fact that they don’t get full noise cancellation with the Buds Z, the buds are IP rated but not totally IP67 and IP68 compliant, and the bass audio is not the best. However, on the upside, it is a pair of light earbuds, which are convenient to use and available at a very competitive price.

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Auto & Tech

IT’S WORTH IT: ONEPLUS 9R 5G HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Richa Kapoor

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One Plus 9 R fares is a good value for money phone. The performance, display, design, built quality, and camera speaks for themselves.

OnePlus has one more addition for you to choose from, OnePlus 9R 5G. Is it just another replica of a previous device in the array or does it have features that make it distinctive? Let’s find out.

DESIGN

OnePlus 9R is very similar to the OnePlus 8T from last year. This I mean it’s the same phone barring the 2 differences — the chipset and the new design. The chipset that you get in the 9R is the SnapDragon 870 compared to the last year’s SnapDragon 865 in the 8T. In the design of the One Plus 9R, the outer shell is metallic aluminium whereas the regular One plus 9 which is Rs 10,000 more they have used a fibre plastic frame

The front and back of this device has the Gorilla glass 5 (benefits are improved drop performance, up to 1.2m high resistance to scratch and sharp contact damage high retained strength after use superior surface quality).

At the bottom of the phone, you get a secondary noise cancellation. The quality of the buttons used is good. They are very tactile like the alert slider given on the side of the phone to change the mode between ring, vibrate mode & silent mode. The haptic on this phone is like the vibration motor which is of very good quality.

On the bottom of the phone, you have stereo speakers which work well. Next to it is the type c port to connect your charger and the dual sim tray. You don’t get an option of expansion of the memory as it does not have a slot for the micro SD card. As we look at the back of the phone we have a Quad camera setup.

DISPLAY

You get a 6.55inch 1080p or Full HD plus display. This is the Amoled and 120 Hertz. It’s a 20 to 9 panel with a 402 PPI which is not the sharpest display in the market but again it’s nice as it’s got the support for SRGB (sRGB is a standard RGB (red, green, blue) colour space) as well as the P3 colour gamut (is a common RGB colour space for digital movie projection from the American film). You also have the wide van L1 Certification to give a high-quality video and image viewing on this device. Flanking the display is going to be stereo speakers that support Dolby Atmos and you also get an inbuilt fingerprint scanner.

Talking about the display panel experience in itself is amazing in my opinion. You get plenty of brightness whether you’re watching videos or playing games or just scrolling through the Ui. The smooth 120-hertz refresh rate and the 240-hertz touch sampling rate means that this display is going to be smooth and fast.

CAMERAS

This is the same camera set up from last year. You get a quad-camera set up on the back and a single 16-megapixel IMX 417 sensor on the front. This is the same camera system from the OnePlus 8T. So if you like the photo results on the One plus 8T you will like the photos on this device and this does not collaborate with Hasselblad. The main feature that you would miss in the One Plus 9R is the 8K video shooting which you get in the One plus 9 and 9 Pro. You also get the 48 Megapixel main sensors with an ultra-wide camera with a depth sensor and a macro sensor. The other two cameras are just there to fill the numbers. The ultra-wide and the main camera do a good job even in low light conditions you can get good shots.

SOFTWARE

You get an Android 11 of the box and you also get oxygen OS which is pretty much close to stock and there’s no bloatware. It’s smooth. Google features with one plus specific features are added as well. These are hidden in the Ui and are not on your face like you have to use it kind of thing. If you want you’ll be able to find them easily. I felt It’s a very clean, minimal, smooth and fast software experience. If you are into heavy usage or you multitask a lot, the oxygen OS has to be your best bet. You also get speedy Android updates. OnePlus has been really good with that.

PERFORMANCE / SPECIFICATION

The Specs that are powering this display is the Qualcomm™ Snapdragon® Triple 870 Chip. You have an option of 8 or 12 gigabytes of RAM, 128 to 256 gigabytes of storage to choose from.

BATTERY

You get a 4500 MaH battery that supports Warp charge 65. There is no wireless charging.

For me, being a heavy user of the phone after a 100% charge at the beginning of the week the battery did last me a full week on a single charge where my battery came down about 20% by the end of the week before I had to recharge the battery again for the coming week. All in all, the battery life of this device is really good.

One drawback that I noticed is that if you have your hotspot on in this device the battery tends to drain down pretty fast.

PRICE

The base model 8GB RAM +128 GB storage is priced at Rs 39,999. The Top Variant model you get 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage is priced at Rs 43,999.

One Plus 9 R fares well at the price it is offered. It checks most of the boxes and provides you good value for money and the experience overall is good. The performance, display, design, built quality, and the camera is an experience in itself. The device has barely anything to complain about. This can be a great pick.

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OLD OR NEO? MAHINDRA TUV300 MAKES A COMEBACK AS BOLERO NEO

For enhanced fuel efficiency, Bolero Neo also gets a Micro hybrid setup with a start-stop function along with an Eco mode.

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Homegrown Auto major Mahindra’s biggest claim to fame always has been to make rugged SUVs that can take on the tough challenges thrown at them by the punishing Indian roads. The Bolero has been acing this task for decades and has consistently been the company’s largest selling car for years. Adding to the Bolero’s portfolio is the Bolero Neo, a new sub-4-metre SUV from the company which essentially is the refreshed version of the TUV300. Clearly, Mahindra believes the Bolero name will give the car greater success than what it has been able to achieve till now.

LOOKS

The silhouette of the 7-seater SUV pretty much reminds me of the TUV300 but take a closer look and there’s a lot that differentiates the two. The vertical slat grille gets a generous amount of chrome and truly stands out. The bumpers get more curves and lesser edges which makes for a slightly more premium look. The imposing stance is helped further with static bending headlamps that also come with DRLs. What catches your attention first is the body cladding that runs across the door handles from the front to the rear. Square wheel arches with cladding and a side-step also add to the SUV character while the 15-inch alloy wheels add a bit of premiumness. A sporty spoiler and the spare wheel mounted on the door make up for an otherwise ordinary-looking rear. In all, there are seven colours to choose from — rocky beige, majestic silver, highway red, pearl white, diamond white, napoli black, and royal gold.

INTERIORS

The cabin is designed by the Italian giant Pininfarina which is now owned by Mahindra. And it is definitely more likeable than before. Premium fabric seats are also better than earlier while the driver’s seat can be adjusted for height. The front two rows get a centre armrest while the twin-pod instrument cluster is mostly analogue but gets a small display at the centre that gives some useful information. The familiar seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, seen on many other cars from the brand, is here too and responds well to your needs. Mahindra’s Blue sense mobile app also helps you in accessing the system and control some of its functions. What’s missing here is a rear parking camera and the car just gets reverse parking sensors. The third row gets side facing seats that shockingly come without seat belts. With a lack of proper space, it will be better to use the third row more for luggage storage. The car gets a boot space of 384 litres.

ENGINE

The Bolero Neo is built on third generation chassis shared with Scorpio and Thar and it comes with the all too familiar Mahindra mHawk engine. The 1.5-litre engine makes around 100 bhp and 260 Nm of torque that is an improvement of around 20 Nm when compared to the BS4 engine. It is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and for the time being, Mahindra is only offering the Neo with this option and there is no automatic model. The car certainly has a go-anywhere set-up, thanks to the body on frame construction, rear-wheel drive and multi-terrain technology. This mechanical locking differential gives the wheels more traction and is engaged when one wheel loses traction and the difference between the two wheels is around 100 rpm. This doesn’t make the car an all-wheel-drive vehicle but will bail you out from tricky situations. For enhanced fuel efficiency, there’s a micro hybrid setup with a start-stop function along with an eco mode.

SAFETY & PRICE

The Bolero Neo gets safety technology such as standard dual airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD), and cornering brake control (CBC). The SUV also gets an ISOfix child seat mount but it is not a standard feature. There are three variants of offer: N4, N8, and N10 while N10 optional comes with multi-terrain technology. Prices start at Rs 8.48 lakh and go up to Rs 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom) for the N10. The price of N10(O) has still not been revealed. Mahindra says, with the launch of Neo, the Bolero SUV portfolio would now have the existing Bolero and the new SUV. So, both the urban and rural can take their pick can pick their choice of wheels.

The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com

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ICREATE LAUNCHES AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE INNOVATION CHALLENGE FOR THE TWO-WHEELER AND THREE-WHEELER EV IN INDIA

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iCreate (International Centre for Technology and Entrepreneurship), innovation-based startup incubator, has launched EVangelise, a grand challenge aimed at identifying the next generation of innovators in the electric vehicle sub-components segment. Planned in three stages over seven months, EVangelise is targeted at startups, college students, research institutions, independent innovators, and EV enthusiasts, with revolutionary innovations in sub-components used in 2W & 3W electric vehicles.

* EVangelise is a three-stage, international challenge open to startups, college students, research institutions, independent innovators, and EV enthusiasts with innovations pertaining to two-wheeler and three-wheeler EV sub-components.

* A total of Rs 88.5 lakh will be given as assured cash prizes to winners across four innovation categories and three stages.

* The top three winners will get cash prizes of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 7.5 lakh, and Rs 5 lakh, besides assured incubation support of Rs 50 lakh each, access to iCreate’s facilities, market connections, and industry mentorship.

* The event will culminate in an EV Expo against the backdrop of the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, where 18 finalists will showcase their innovations, alongside India’s leading EV companies and sub-component manufacturers.

* The grand finale will feature a one-of-its-kind EV race at the Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue.

* Applications are open from 15 July 2021.

Anupam Jalote, CEO, iCreate said, “EVangelise aims to identify and nurture some of the brightest minds from across the world, by using the power of innovation in addressing key problem statements of the EV industry. This event has been conceptualised to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the country with sophisticated, energy-efficient and sustainable transportation solutions for the Indian market, thus aligning with India’s 2030 EV ambitions of having 80% of two- and three-wheeler sales as EVs. We believe these innovations also have the potential to help Indian EV manufacturers gain a position of global leadership. iCreate envisions a 25% energy efficiency over current EV configurations through a multitude of efficiency-enhancing innovations such as regenerative braking, waste heat recovery, and more. With EVs as one of our focus areas, we have experienced first-hand, the technology potential in this segment. iCreate is thrilled to announce the launch of EVangelise and invite EV enthusiasts from all over the world to come and witness history in the making.” EVangelise has been designed to cover the four sub-component levels of an electric vehicle: Electric Powertrain (motor + controller); Battery, BMS, and Hybrid Energy Storage Systems; Regenerative Braking Systems; and Intelligent Vehicle Management Systems. With EVangelise, the goal is to create a tech package that can be used by mass manufacturers for accelerating EV adoption in India, and to gain a dominant market position in the global market. Participants can get more details at www.EVangelise.org.in or emailing at EVangelise@icreate.org.in.

With NewsVoir inputs

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OPPO RENO 6 5G IS MORE THAN A SLEEK LOOKING SMARTPHONE

If you are looking for a smartphone with good looks and great battery life, then Oppo Reno 6 5G can be your pick.

Richa Kapoor

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Oppo, as a brand is known for introducing a smartphone with cutting edge technology stunning looks and above all multi-functional camera setup. This time around it is no different. Oppo introduces Reno 6 5G in the Indian market is this device just beauty or does have some brainy mechanism let’s find out?

DESIGN

Oppo Reno 6 5G has a very sleek and captivating design. As you slide the device out of the box you are impressed by the way it looks. The ultra-slim design with a flat-edged frame and curvy edges make the device very comfortable to hold and good to look at. The dimensions of the mobile are 156.8 mm x 72.1 mm x 7.59 mm (height x width x thickness) and weighs approximately 182 grams. Making the device very light to use. It is available in two colours Stellar Black and Aurora.

DISPLAY

Oppo Reno 6-5G comes with a 43 inches flat AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, a 90Hz refresh rate, and a 91.7% screen-to-body ratio. The screen is great with minimal bezel at all sides. The only thing that bothers me is the punch hole on the left corner. It distracts my attention for sure. But the device is easy for viewing content. You can enjoy watching your movies & shows on a clear & bright display.

PERFORMANCE & SOFTWARE

Oppo Reno 6 5G, is equipped with Octa-core (2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A78 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55) MediaTek MT6877 Dimensity 900 5G (6 nm) processor for enjoying a speedy and lag-free performance. Multi-tasking is no issue on this device. You can blaze through multiple applications simultaneously, browsing the web, and playing games. Having multiple tabs at the same time or playing games none of it seems to be bothering the functionality of this device.

Oppo Reno 6 5G gives you a clutter-free and user-friendly UI as it runs ColorOS 11.3 based on the Android 11 operating system. The device comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 2 TB.

CAMERA

Oppo is known for its camera, the brand has always worked a bit extra on the camera setup. This time around it is no different, the device gets a triple rear camera setup. There is a 64 MP primary camera with f/1.7 aperture, an 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a 2 MP macro sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Features on the rear camera setup include HDR, panorama, LED flash, and more. On the front, the phone sports a 32 MP camera with an f/2.4 aperture for selfies and video calls.

The Primary lens gives you great results. They are a bit beautified but that is a give in with an Oppo device. The ultra-wide-angle results are a bit blurry on the edges which were a bit of a disappointment. The low light photography is not the best in class but does the job. The front camera is good for selfies and posting as you look better in the imagination than in real life. The device is good for video calling and even for attending meetings and classes.

BATTERY

The smartphone houses a Li-Po 4300 mAh non-removable battery that supports 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging. The device gets charged quickly and has great battery life. Making the device experience better.

VERDICT

Oppo Reno 6 5G smartphone price in India is Rs 29,990. At this price, you get a sleek device, great display and amazing battery life. Low light photography is the real downside of this device and at this price range, you have multiple options in the market. If you are an Oppo loyalist and someone who is looking for a smartphone with good looks and great battery life then this can be your pick.

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HOW IQOO 7 HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE MARKET DISRUPTOR

Richa Kapoor

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Mid segment has always been a very competitive market for the smartphone industry. The number of entries is always many but the one which are able to make a mark are few. iQOO7 enters the market as more or less well-rounded device. Will it be a market disruptor? Let’s find out.

DESIGN

The brand has worked well with the designing of the device. Making it look smart up to date and good looking. The curvy edges give it the sleekness you would be looking for. The rare gets AG matte glass which not only feels premium but also keeps fingerprint smudges away. iQOO 7 measures only 8.4mm in thickness and weighs less than 200 grams, making it a slim and handy device. The sides are polycarbonate, with the power button and volume rockers at the right side. It also features a flat bottom that holds the single speaker grille and Type-C port, SIM tray, and a mic.

The rear gets the triple camera setup which is well placed and designed in a way which goes well with the aesthesis of the smartphone.

DISPLAY

iQOO 7 gets a 6.62-inches Full HD+ AMOLED panel with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. The screen is very comfortable to the eye. Viewing angles are great and under direct sunlight the panel is bright enough for direct viewing.

You have a thin bezel running all over the phone with a punch-hole notch at the top.

The iQOO 7 supports DRM L1 certification which means that it can stream Full HD content on apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime videos. Notably, HDR is not supported on OTT platforms except YouTube. The device comes with an intelligent display chipset that does Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation (MEMC). Basically, it interpolates animation frames in an attempt to make animation more fluid even slow-motion effects look better with MEMC. All in all, the display is sharp, smooth, produces rich colors, you will thoroughly enjoy watching content and playing games on this device.

CAMERA

The Triple rear camera on the iQOO 7 comprises of Sony IMX598 48MP primary sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide angle that doubles as a macro camera, and a 2MP monochrome lens. At the front, it gets a 16MP shooter for selfies and video.

The daylight photography was on point. The AI helps detect well and generate good images if you disable AI you might get better results depending on the light. Low light -photography might not be as perfect but does the job well. Ultra-wide mode makes the picture look a bit doctored in comparison the macro mode gives way better results.

The selfies you click will be as good as its competitors and in some cases even better. The selfie shooter doesn’t make the picture look unnatural and painted.

Performance: Under the hood, iQOO 7 is powered by a 7nm Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 processor. The smartphone is backed by Adreno 650 graphics engine. iQOO 7 runs on Android 11-based FuntouchOS 11.1 and coupled with up to 12GB RAM (LPDDR5)and up to 256B (UFS 3.1) storage. Performance is for sure the high side for this device. Using it as a main device for over 10 days didn’t make me feel a glitch even once.

VERDICT

At over Rs 34,000 this device is for sure a market disruptor. With performance equivalent to that of a flagship the device has everything going well for itself. This can be a real pick for someone who is looking for a smart, sleek, well rounded smartphone in the mid- segment.

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TATA LAUNCHES DARK EDITIONS OF ALTROZ AND NEXON RANGE

Tata dark range brings in more exclusivity and premium feel. The idea is to give the cars a more premium and exclusive look with an all-black theme both on the exterior and the interior.

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NEW DELHI: Tata Motors has announced the expansion of the Dark range of vehicles which covers different cars in the company portfolio. What started with the Harrier Dark in August 2019 has now been taken to cars—the Nexon sub-compact SUV, Nexon electric and the Altroz premium hatchback. The idea is to give the cars a more premium and exclusive look with an all-black theme both on the exterior and the interior. While the Tata Altroz Dark Edition is priced at ₹ 8.71 lakh, the Nexon Dark Edition is priced at ₹ 10.40 lakh. The electric version of the SUV is priced at ₹ 15.99 lakh, while the Harrier Dark Edition will set you back by ₹ 18.04 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom Delhi.

ALTROZ DARK

The Altroz Dark is available in the top variant XZ+ for petrol both with naturally aspirated and turbo engines. The new top of the line variant of the hatch comes in a new cosmo black exterior body colour with dark tint finish on 16-inch alloy wheels and premium dark chrome across the hood. The granite black interior theme with metallic gloss black mid pad and the leatherette upholstery with deep blue tri-arrow perforations and deco blue stitching, all add to the premiumness of the Altroz Dark. The dark mascot on the exterior and the dark embroidery on the front headrest also add to the theme.

NEXON DARK

The Nexon in its dark avatar sports new charcoal black 16-inchalloys, dark mascot, sonic sliver highlights on the body along with matte granite black cladding on the exterior. The interiors offer special dark interior pack and premium leatherette upholstery with Tri-arrow perforations on seats and door trim. The front headrests sport special dark embroidery in line with the theme of the interiors. The new Nexon dark will be offered in XZ+, XZA+, XZ+(O) & XZA+(O) variants of the SUV, in both petrol and diesel fuel options.

NEXON EV DARK

The Nexon EV Dark will be available on the XZ+ and the XZ+ LUX variants of the car. These variants will adorn a premium midnight black exterior colour with satin black humanity line and beltline, dark mascot, and all-new charcoal grey alloy wheels. The interiors of the car get dark themed glossy piano black mid-pad with premium dark themed leatherette upholstery along with tri-arrow perforations on seats and door trims. These are highlighted by EV blue stitches on the seats and a leatherette wrapped steering wheel. The car also gets Tyre pressure monitoring system. Additionally, the Nexon EV XZ+ variant will have rear seat central armrest with cup-holders, 60:40 rear seat-split and adjustable rear seat headrests.

HARRIER DARK

The Harrier dark offers all-new Oberon black colour with a tinge of deep blue making the SUV look a bit different. It also sports the bigger 18-inchblackstone alloys which enhance the sporty stance of the car. Inside, the car offers a premium dark theme with exclusive touches to the key interior elements. The benecke kaliko leatherette upholstery carry special tri-Arrow perforations with deep blue undertone to it enhancing overall premiumness. Also, the front seat headrests sport a special Dark embroidery complementing overall dark theme on the interiors. The car will be available in 3 trims XT+, XZ+ & XZA+.

The Dark range is now available at Tata dealerships and is open for bookings. Tata Motors also decorated the dealerships in the Dark theme to add to the customer’s experience. Additionally, to add aesthetics and accentuate the styling, the company is also introducing exclusive merchandise, which will consist of Dark branded premium leather jackets and T-shirts. In addition to this the company has also introduced a tyre puncture repair kit, as a priority customer offering, to increasing the convenience quotient in the range.

The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com

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