NEW DELHI: A car that was first launched in India almost 2 decades ago is back in the market with everything new about it but the name. The name Skoda Octavia still excites many car lovers in the country and the new generation of the sedan aims to attract a fresh set of buyers towards itself and the Czech car brand. Yes, the market has evolved, and it is now dominated by SUVs of various shapes and sizes. In the middle of this, the big question is: Will a luxury sedan be able to hold fort?
The Octavia has been completely redeveloped; it gets a new, light design which makes it look more muscular than before. According to Skoda, every panel of the car is new. It is 4,689 mm long, 1,469 mm tall, 1,829 mm wide, and comes with a wheelbase of 2,680 mm. The classic chrome laden grille is flanked by narrower, new headlights featuring Bi-LED technology and daytime running lights which come as standard. The car is available in 5 colour options—lava blue, candy white, magic black, brilliant silver, and maple brown—with the last two exclusively available on the more expensive Laurin & Klement variant.
The new Octavia gets premium beige suede leather upholstery complemented by chrome highlights. The multi-level dashboard has been completely redesigned while the two-spoke multifunction steering wheel gets paddle shifts and black leather. The new 25.4 cm display infotainment system gets a touch slider to adjust the volume or the map. Smartphones can be paired to the infotainment system, offering access to infotainment apps. The premium canton sound system on the L&K features 12 speakers, including a subwoofer, and has a power output of 600 plus watts. The car also gets a 2-zone climate control for front passengers while the new lighting system assists in safety and turns red when the front doors open.
The Octavia also comes with gesture-operated LED reading light unit, smartphone pockets on the front seat backs, a storage compartment in the front doors for an umbrella, easy open-cup holders, a pair of USB C Ports in the dashboard and centre console, a USB C port behind the internal rear-view mirror and roller sun blinds. The car offers 600 litres and 1,555 litres luggage space after folding down the rear seats. The electrically controlled 5th door or boot hatch opens and closes at the mere touch of the button on the remote control. It is equipped with a virtual pedal enabling contact-free access. However, a major miss on in the car is the absence of a sunroof.
A first for the Czech auto manufacturer in India, the fourth generation Octavia features ‘shift by wire’ technology and electric parking brake. A rocker switch is integrated into the centre console which controls and electronically conveys the gear selection to the transmission unit. The car runs on a turbocharged 2.0 TSI petrol engine which delivers 190 PS of power and a peak torque output of 320Nm.According to the company the sedan comes with a fuel efficiency of 15.81 kmpl.
The standard safety equipment on the higher Laurin & Klement includes 8 airbags, iBuzz fatigue alert and AFS (adaptive front-lighting system). In addition, the car also comes with ABS (anti-lock braking system), ESC (electronic stability control), EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) and tyre pressure monitoring system. The car is also equipped with the “MyŠKODA Connect” connectivity solution that helps one in case of an emergency with features such as roadside assistance and SOS. It also helps keep the car secure in the owner’s absence with features like geo fence, time fence, etc. It also offers useful information driving behaviour and trip analysis.
The base or Style variant of the car is priced at Rs 25.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India) while the Laurin & Klement version will set you back by Rs 28.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India). This means the car is now much more expensive than what it was earlier, and at a time when sedans are not finding much favour with the buyers such kind of pricing may not help the brand. But the name Octavia has done wonders for Skoda in the Indian market before, so do not be surprised if history repeats itself.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com
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ONEPLUS NORD 2 5G GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY
OnePlus Nord 2 5G, a OnePlus device we have been waiting for since the brand made its way into the market, is now available and what we have always associated OnePlus with are good specs and better pricing. Over the years, we saw a jump in the price of smartphones and were wondering if OnePlus is drawing back on its biggest USP. Well, Nord 2 5G seems to have been a good rethinking by the brand in terms of price and specs.
Specifications: OnePlus Nord 2 5G sports a full-HD+ AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and supports HDR10+. OnePlus has used the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor to power the Nord 2. You get 6GB, 8GB and 12GB LPDDR4X RAM options with the OnePlus Nord 2, and either 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Storage is not expandable on the Nord 2. There is support for dual 5G, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, and five satellite navigation systems. The OnePlus Nord 2 is a dual-SIM device.
Design: OnePlus Nord 2 5G takes its cues from its family. Looks a lot like the 9 Series. It has a big 6.43-inch display with a hole-punch camera on the top left corner. The panel has thin bezels, and only the chin is slightly thicker. You get a glass back for a premium feel and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection at the front and back. The button placement is quite good, with the power button on the right and the volume buttons on the left of the frame. The device is easy and comfortable to hold. The alert slider, a common sight on most OnePlus smartphones, is on the right just above the power button. The device misses out on a 3.5mm headphone jack. You get a secondary microphone on the top. The USB Type-C port sits at the bottom next to the dual-SIM tray.
I have the Green-Wood for review and what wins my heart is the back of this device. The mat finish nicely finished back. Making it look so distinctive and unique. If you want a device based on looks, get this one. You get your regular camera module is on the top left corner, and packs in three sensors. They are coloured in lighter green with a chrome-looking frame making it feel and look premium.
Software & performance: OnePlus Nord 2 runs OxygenOS 11.3 on top of Android 11. You get Google apps along with a few OnePlus apps and Netflix preinstalled on the device. OnePlus guarantees two years of software updates and three years of security updates with the device.
The device does offer a smooth experience. The default setting is at 90Hz, therefore using the device is a sleek and easy process. Using multiple apps and even using the device for video meetings didn’t lag or crash out at all. Did give the device to a gamer and the response was positive. High graphic games fared well will not result in high loss of battery.
Camera: OnePlus Nord 2 5G has a triple camera setup with a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 primary camera. The primary camera has an f/1.88 aperture and OIS. There’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 119.7-degree field of view, and a 2-megapixel mono camera.
The primary lens gives you desirable images with no quality loss. You can capture memorable images which look natural. The ultra-wide-angle will capture enough but not up to the mark.
The portrait mode does its job well. Separating the object well from the background keeps the edges crisp.
OnePlus has introduced Nightscape Ultra mode on the Nord 2 to capture better photos in low light. It might take longer to capture an image on the Nightscape Ultra mode, but the results are brighter and better.
You get a 32 MP front camera and the selfies derived are as good as you would have wanted.
Overall, the camera is great in daylight and bright lighting. The Ultra-wide might not be the best but now you have Nightscape Ultra mode making your night and low light photography great.
Video recording tops out at 4K 30fps on the Nord 2.
Battery: The OnePlus Nord 2 weighs 189g and packs in a 4,500mAh battery. To top up the battery quickly, it comes with a Warp Charge 65W charger in the box which can be capable of taking the battery to 58 percent in 15 minutes and 98 percent in 30 minutes.
Verdict: Nord 2 5G is a device for everyone. Well priced with good specification. You get the device at a starting price of Rs 27,999 for the base variant which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s also an 8GB RAM, 128GB storage variant priced at Rs 29,999, while the top-of-the-line option with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is priced at Rs 34,999. Nord 2 is available in blue haze, gray sierra, and green-wood.
AUDI Q5 MAKES A COMEBACK IN INDIA WITH NEW DESIGN AND FEATURES
The launch of the Q5 facelift earlier this week has become Audi’s 9th product in India for 2021. Historically, the Q5 has been amongst the company’s bestsellers globally.
German luxury car brand has been on a launching spree in Indian in the year 2021. Be it electric cars, performance cars or luxury sedans—the list is quite long. But it is the highest-selling Q range of cars that were missing in action. And it is an important segment as almost half of the total sales of the brand come only from the Q category of cars. That void has now been filled with the launch of the Q5 facelift earlier this week, which has become Audi’s 9th product in India for 2021. Historically, the Q5 has been amongst the company’s bestsellers globally. The pandemic delayed its arrival in India by quite some time but now the SUV is here in 2 trims – Premium Plus and Technology. Audi says the new Audi Q5 combines a sporty character with excellent everyday usability and comes with a wide array of infotainment and assistance options. It is being manufactured at the Skoda Auto Volkswagen India plant in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
The front of the Audi Q5 comes with the trademark single-frame grille with an octagon outline
The sharpened exterior design of this highly successful model emphasises the Q identity
Audi Q5 Interior
The front of the Audi Q5 comes with the trademark single-frame grille with an octagon outline, which has sharper and better-defined edges. While the grille and the slats have chrome garnishes, the skid plates, roof rails, and the new foglamp casing get silver accents. The car also gets new 19-inch alloy wheels which differ in design according to variants, wraparound shoulder line, LED combination lamps, panoramic sunroof, and aluminium roof rails. It is available in five colour options – Navarra blue, Ibis white, Mythos black, Floret silver and Manhattan gray. According to Audi, the sharpened exterior design of this highly successful model emphasises the Q identity and embodies the Quattro DNA.
Atlas beige and Okapi brown in leather leatherette upholstery with inlays in Piano black finishing make for the interiors of the new Audi Q5. The 25.65 cm multimedia touchscreen comes with the third-generation modular infotainment platform MIB3. It has Audi’s latest MMI Touch, voice controls and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Another highlight is the B&O premium sound system with 19 speakers that produce 3D sound effects at 755 watts output. The SUV also gets 3-zone air-conditioning and contour ambient lighting with 30 colour options. You also get sensor-controlled boot lid operation, park assist with parking aid plus, electric front seats with driver memory, and an Audi phone box with wireless charging.
Audi says the redesigned Q5 promises better performance and an enhanced driving experience. Its 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine generates 249 HP of power and 370 Nm torque which propels the car from 0 to 100 kmph in 6.3 seconds. It can reach a top speed of 237km/h. The car offers Adaptive suspension with damping control which is a boon on broken roads and most undulations are not felt inside the cabin. With Audi Drive Select, the driver can choose between six modes, ranging from comfort, dynamic, individual, auto, efficiency and off-road. And of course, there is the Quattro four-wheel-drive system that enables optimal grip in challenging terrains.
SAFETY & PRICES
The new Q5 gets as many as 8 airbags, including rear-side airbags, to enhance the safety of its occupants. While the Premium Plus variant is priced at Rs. 58.93 lakh the more expensive feature-loaded technology trim will set you back by Rs. 63.77 lakh (ex-showroom). Deliveries of the new Q5 will begin soon.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com
SAMSUNG ONE UI 4.0 UPDATE COMING TO INDIA SOON, OFFICIAL ROADMAP REVEALED
Korean tech giant Samsung recently revealed the Android 12-powered One UI 4 update roadmap for India on its Samsung Members app.
The company confirmed the roadmap, according to which Indian customers can expect One UI 4.0 to drop starting December. The Galaxy S21 series, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the Z Fold 3 will be the first to get Android 12 in India. Customers should receive an update notification in December, assuming everything goes well according to plan.
Availability is subject to change — the company added at the end of its lengthy list of devices.
Galaxy phones that should get Android 12-powered One UI 4.0 in January 2022 are Galaxy S21/S21+/S21 Ultra, Galaxy S20/20+/S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 FE, Galaxy S10/S10e/S10+, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy Note 20/20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 10/10+, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Fold, and Galaxy Z Fold 2. Samsung will continue releasing One UI 4.0 for tablets, mid-range and low-cost phones — Galaxy A/M/F series — from February 2022.
Samsung has already started rolling out Android 12 for the Galaxy S21 series in countries like the USA and in Europe.
Samsung One UI 4.0 India update schedule:
1. December: Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G, Galaxy S21 5G, Galaxy S21+ 5G, Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
2. January: Galaxy Fold, Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note 10 series, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Note 10 Lite, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S20 FE, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy S20 FE 5G
3. February: Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy A52, Galaxy A52s 5G, Galaxy A72
4. April: Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A32, Galaxy F62, Galaxy Tab S7 FE
5. May: Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy A31, Galaxy M31, Galaxy M21, Galaxy M31s, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, Galaxy A22 5G, Galaxy F22, Galaxy F42 5G, Galaxy M21 2021 Edition, Galaxy M32, Galaxy M32 5G, Galaxy M42 5G, Galaxy M52 5G
6. June: Galaxy A21s, Galaxy M51, Galaxy Tab A7, Galaxy Tab A7, Galaxy F41, Galaxy A22, Galaxy F12, Galaxy A22, Galaxy F12, Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
7. July: Galaxy M11, Galaxy M01, Galaxy A12, Galaxy F02s, Galaxy M02s, Galaxy M02, Galaxy A03s, Galaxy M12
As per GSM Arena, the stable update will bring a fresh look of the home screen, buttons, menus, and background to the table. Various emojis, GIFs, and stickers have also been added to the keyboard.
For better visibility and customised appearance, One UI 4.0 offers redesigned and upgraded widgets.
NEW-GENERATION MARUTI SUZUKI CELERIO LAUNCHED WITH MASSIVE UPGRADES
Maruti Suzuki has gone ahead and launched a brand-new generation of the car in the market, one that apart from new design and features also gets a new engine as well as platform.
Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki has been a dominant player in the hatch segment for a very long time. Amongst many other cars that have contributed to this success is the humble Celerio which has been around for a few years. Now the company has gone ahead and launched a brand-new generation of the car in the market, one that apart from new design and features also gets a new engine as well as platform. And yes, in the times of high petrol prices, Maruti says the new Celerio is the most fuel-efficient car in India.
The new Celerio comes with a 3D organic sculpted design.
The new Celerio comes with a 3D organic sculpted design which has ensured an altogether new face on the car. It gets animated sweeping front headlamps, droplet-styled tail lamps and all-new radiant signature front grille with chrome and these contribute to a more contemporary look. The top variant also gets 15” Urbane black alloy wheels and front fog lamps. And you also get electrically adjustable side view mirrors and an oddly placed but practical keyless entry switch. The car is available in 6 colours including two new options – solid fire red and speedy blue along with arctic white, silky silver, glistening grey, and caffeine brown.
The Celerio has now grown in size which means it is more spacious with bigger cabin space, increased wheelbase, extended shoulder room, larger legroom, and enhanced luggage space. The AC vents get chrome accents while the side air vents get a bold barrel theme which look nice. The gear shift lever is new and comes with ergonomic grip in AGS variants. The 7-inch Smart Play studio infotainment system with smartphone navigation now finds a place in the Celerio. It is also compatible with Apple carplay and Android auto. New features like first in segment engine push button start and pollen type AC filter have also been introduced on the car. The steering can be tilted for adjustment and gets mounted audio controls. Second row is decent on space and the seat gets a 60:40 split format. The new Celerio gets an impressive boot space of 313 litres which is 40 % more than earlier and a lot better that its rivals and even the Swift!
The new Celerio gets the next generation K-Series engine with Dual Jet, Dual VVT which according to Maruti makes it the most fuel-efficient petrol car in India. The cars offers a mileage of 26.68kmpl on the VXi AGS variant but all other variants too will deliver in the range of 25 kmpl. A segment-first feature like Idle Start-Stop also contributes to getting better efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 19% across variants.
The engine is mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed Auto gear shift system. It makes 66 bhp @ 6000 rpm and around 89Nm@3500rpm which make it a nimble, agile car to drive. It’s a got a light clutch and a smooth gearbox which help in ensuring an easier ride. A big highlight on the new Celerio is its ride quality. The suspension is tuned well to take on the challenges of Indian roads and most bumps are taken care of well during the drive.
The new Celerio is built on Suzuki’s signature HEARTECT platform which means it gets a smooth structure for effective absorption and dispersion of impact force. The platform, according to Maruti, improves the crash, rigidity, and overall strength of the car. It sees an extensive use of high tensile steel and gets more than 12 safety features like dual airbags and ABS with EBD. It also offers a first-in-segment hill hold assist function with AGS and complies with all Indian safety regulations like frontal-offset, side crash, and pedestrian protection.
The 2021 Celerio has come in 7 variants in all – 4 of which are manual and remaining Automatic. The manual range starts at Rs. 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom) and goes up to Rs. 6.44 lakh. The AGS is priced between Rs. 6.13 lakh and Rs. 6.94 lakh. Looking at the features and upgrades it offers the car feels like a value for money offering when compared to its rivals. The impressive mileage figure is a huge bonus and there is always the Maruti trust factor to bank upon.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com
NETFLIX GAMES NOW AVAILABLE ON IOS
Popular streaming giant Netflix has officially brought its new gaming service to all iOS users. As per The Verge, the gaming service uses Apple’s in-app payment system, even though the main Netflix app does not. The gaming service was brought to all the subscribers on Android recently, but earlier due to some clashes with Apple, it was not made available to the iOS users.
But now an official tweet by Netlfix itself announced the news, also informing that the service gives users access to a limited selection of mobile games without ads or in-app purchases.
The Verge confirmed that the five launch games are already available as individual downloads from the App Store. These launch games include ‘Stranger Things: 1984’, ‘Stranger Things 3: The Game’, ‘Shooting Hoops’, ‘Teeter (Up)’, and ‘Card Blast’. The recently announced game titled ‘Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story’ that will cost USD 10 on Switch and PC, will be available for free to Netflix subscribers.
According to The Verge, other cloud gaming platforms, like Microsoft xCloud, Nvidia Geforce Now, Google Stadia, and Facebook Gaming, have struggled to find footing on iOS due to Apple’s demanding App Store restrictions.
However, Netflix was given the chance unlike other platforms that have attempted to sidestep Apple’s policies by launching as web apps, but this obviously doesn’t provide the best gaming experience.
The users who will launch the Netflix Games apps individually without an account are prompted to sign up for Netflix using Apple’s in-app system, as per The Verge.
After the user does that, then Apple receives a 30 per cent cut of their payments for the first year, then 15 per cent of each payment after that.
Netflix has still not enabled the option to send new customers through Apple’s payment system in its main app, but this odd arrangement sounds enough to get Netflix Games on iOS.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS 2 HAS AN AUTOMATIC USER ATTRACTION
Buds2 has a curved design which fits well in your ears. They have a very subtle design which helps them not to bulge out of the ear like their predecessor.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is a perfect ear bud for any android user. You have been waiting for something like this. It is well priced and designed so it has an automatic user attraction. Taking its ques from the Buds Pro, Buds 2 is a successor of the Buds and seem to have checked all boxes before making the entry.
The Buds 2 come in a case that’s similar in size and shape to the Buds Pro and Buds Live. Samsung has kept the similar box aesthetics for the entire range. The box is small easy to keep in your pocket, supports wireless charging. It comes in a nice glossy white box with a matte finish inside. The buds by themselves have a glossy finish would like to see a matte finish buds sometime soon.
Buds2 have got a curved design which fit in well in your ears. They have a very subtle design which helps them not bulge out the ear like its predecessor.
Voice call quality on the Buds2 is better than expected. You take calls or online meetings none of them seem to suffer at all. The mic catches your audio well without any trouble.
Noise Cancellation is one big high point for me with the Buds2. I found the noise cancellation way better than the rest. Specially for taking meetings and if you are working out the noise cancellation was amazing. The only problem is you really hear nothing else.
Batter life of the Buds2 is good but shouldn’t be compared to Buds Plus. Samsung estimates they’ll run for up to five hours of continuous playback with ANC enabled (with the case stretching that to 20 hours). Turning noise cancellation off will extend that to 7.5 hours (or 29 hours including the case). Until and unless one is travelling and must have the buds2 on for long number in any other situation the battery life is more than enough.
Buds2 are IPX2 rated that means they might not a pick for athletes as they are not the best in class when we talk about sweat and water resistance.
Buds 2 have a two-way driver design with a woofer and tweeter in each earbud. The bass and treble are kept in check for people to enjoy music on the device. Buds2 might not be the best in class for music delight, but they don’t fall short of being convenient and above average.
There’s no auto-pause when you remove an ear bud. When you remove one ear bud, ANC is automatically disabled on the other to prevent discomfort, and ambient mode is switched on to help you hear. Once you reseat the original ear bud, noise cancellation kicks back in. The Buds 2 recognize single, double, and triple taps, and you can also assign a function for a press and hold gesture.
The Galaxy Buds 2 priced at Rs 11,999 are simply the best pick you can have in this price range. They are well priced and have a very upmarket design. Buds 2 come with good audio quality, ANC & wireless charging.
What could have been better it’s water resistance quality. Rest is on point for the Galaxy Buds 2 making it a desirable product.
Buds 2 has a two-way driver design with a woofer and tweeter in each earbud. The bass and treble are kept in check to enjoy music on the device. Buds2 might not be the best for music delight, but they don’t fall short of being convenient and above average.
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