In recent times, we have seen a real blast of wireless earphones. There was a time when only specific brands would make earphones and then, when the time came for wireless, we saw big smartphone companies make their way in — especially with Apple and Samsung which entered the market first — and now it seems like no one else is left behind. Just like smartphones, we now have an abundance of wireless earphones. The newest in the lot is the Vivo TWS Neo.
Like many others, the design cue has been taken from Apple’s AirPods. The case is white and glossy. It is compact, easy to hold and can be carried in your pocket. It comes with Type-C charging at the bottom. The pairing indicator is on the front with the Vivo logo.
The earphones are noticeably light and make for a comfortable pair for your ears. The earphones are also IP54-rated for dust and water resistance, making them suitable for basic outdoor and fitness uses. The TWS Neo also has a distinct touch sensor. The controls involve swiping up and down on either side to adjust the volume, a double-tap on the left to play and pause music and a double-tap on the right to skip to the next track. There are also sensors at the top of both earpieces, which are used for wearing detection. These are default settings which can be customised using the Vivo Earphones app.
The Vivo TWS Neo has 14.2mm dynamic drivers, with stable Bluetooth 5.2 and multi-point connectivity for up to two devices. There is also environmental noise cancellation to enhance sound for voice calls. The earpieces weigh 4.7g each. There is also a dynamic low-latency mode, which promises to reduce latency to 88ms. A great specification of the Vivo TWS Neo is its support for the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec.
The most important part of wireless earphones is the sound. In that department, if you are looking for a mid-range wireless earphone, the TWS Neo might leave you a little disappointed. The aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec does improve some of your experience. But all in all, if you are someone who likes to listen to heavy bass music and metal, you would be left wanting for more. Lighter genres of music are still pleasing to the ear. The aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec is not yet available on all devices, so in that case, the earphones will leave you wishing for better. Otherwise, the earphones fare well while taking calls.
The battery life of the earphones is decent, depending on usage. If you are someone like me who always has their earphones on, then they will last a maximum of 4 hours. Although, the pod helps you charge them quickly and reuse.
With the number of options available, the TWS Neo has a lot to watch out for. The pair is comfortable and looks appealing and light. But music lovers would find the sound quality a bit heartbreaking. They might have to choose another pair for better audio options. Priced at Rs 5,990, the TWS Neo could be a pick for someone who values it for the look and comfort factors.
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TWITTER’S NEW FEATURE LETS IOS USERS SHARE TWEETS DIRECTLY ON INSTAGRAM
Washington: Microblogging site Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will let iOS users share tweets directly to their Instagram Stories. This update will help users save their camera roll from getting clogged with tweet screenshots.
As per Mashable, the social media platform is enabling the feature that allows users to share a tweet to their Instagram Stories with only a couple of steps. Users might be familiar with these steps if they frequently share their IG Stories on Facebook too. To share a tweet, just tap on any tweet, then tap on the share button, and then tap on Instagram Stories. That’s all you have to do.
Twitter will ask you for permission before launching the Instagram app, and it goes without saying but you will need the app installed in order to let the feature work. Once you’re on the Stories page on Instagram, you’ll notice that the tweet you’d picked now has neatly rounded corners and a pleasant card-like design to it.
Notable reverse-engineering guru Jane Manchun Wong has also noted that once you share a tweet on IG Stories, the card doesn’t really give you an option of opening the tweet on Twitter.
So in case you want to open or interact with that tweet, you’ll still have to open the Twitter app and search your way through.
ZOOM ADDS NEW OPTIONS TO SHARE PRONOUNS
Washington: Video teleconferencing software company Zoom recently announced that it will be adding new a feature that caters to pronouns, along with options to manage when they’re displayed. According to The Verge, pronouns will appear in parentheses next to people’s names in calls, essentially the same as how they’ve looked up until now when people have manually entered them. They’ll also be visible under people’s names on their profile cards. By default, pronouns will be visible on the profile pages for accounts on the free Basic Zoom plan, as well as for accounts with a single licensed user. With multiple users, the field will be off by default for accounts, though administrators can turn it on in their account settings. People can also decide whether they want their pronouns to be shared in meetings and webinars. In the profile settings for Zoom there are options to always share, never share, or to ask during every meeting if pronouns should be displayed. This flexibility could be useful for people who use different pronouns in various settings, but it’s important to note that pronouns are currently always visible in the profile card. As per The Verge, Zoom is among several sites and services that have rolled out dedicated pronoun fields recently. Instagram and Slack both added them last month, and Twitter is working on a pronoun field for its revamped profiles.
SAMSUNG TAB A7 LITE IS LIGHT ON PRICE, HEAVY ON CONVENIENCE
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is now available. Galaxy Tab A7 Lite comes in one storage variant that offers 3 GB RAM + 32 GB internal storage. The LTE model will cost you Rs 14,999 and the WiFi model is priced at Rs 11,999. Customers can get up to 6 months of no cost EMI on Galaxy Tab A7 Lite.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite features an 8.7-inch screen with 1340×800 pixel resolution with support for only 4G connectivity. It has two variants – Wi-Fi and LTE and they weigh 366 and 371, respectively. At the back, there’s an 8-megapixel primary shooter, and the front panel carries a 2-megapixel camera. Customers can choose between the 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage model or the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage option. The onboard storage is expandable via a microSD card up to 1TB. The tablet comes with a 5,100mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging via a USB Type-C port. It comes in Grey and Silver finishes.
DESIGN & DISPLAY
Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is a perfect gift and an add on gadget in someone’s kitty. It can be so well placed in your handbag and carry along in your hand without any worry. It gets an 8.7-inch display and runs on Android 11 OS. The display might not be the brightest but surely does the job well. You get a thick bezel on the top & bottom. Your volume rockers and plug on button are on the right. What made viewing better for me was the magnet on the cover. It simple makes placing the tablet easy while watching any content.
Galaxy Tab A7 Lite runs on an Octa-core 4×2.3GHz + 4×1.8GHz processor. It is not designed for multi-tasking or for some high-end gaming. The processor is good and well responsive. You can do your day to day working on it without a problem. You might find a bit of lag if you are working on multiple tabs at one point in time.
If you are using the device to view content, then it works in the aspect of convince not quality. You will be able to easily view your OTT platform shows without any hindrance. If you are specific about the visual quality, then may be you will be disheartened. Would not call it a device for gamers as you will not enjoy the graphics too much & the lag would be a bit of a disappointment.
Not really a camera device. It is decent for your Zoom meetings and online calls. The front camera does show the picture a bit grainy, but it does the job so not much to complain about. You are getting a 2MP lens so that the best you can achieve.
The tablet comes with a 5,100mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging via a USB Type-C port It charges 50% in 15 mins which works well for me. The battery lasted nearly 2 full days for me. The usage wasn’t intense, but I did use it generously.
Even though everything I mentioned above seemed to be mediocre in the device I would still give it a thumbs up. Reason being it falls right with its pricing. At a starting price of Rs 11,999 I find it a perfect device to gift. For someone who watches a lot of content this device is very convenient. It wins in its size and style for me.
NEW JAGUAR F-PACE AND RANGE ROVER VELAR HIT THE INDIAN ROADS
After getting the all-electric I-Pace in the market in March, the month of June has seen the arrival of two new SUVs from the house of Jaguar Land Rover.
British luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover has been on a launching spree in the country over the last few months. After getting the all-electric I-Pace in the market in March, the month of June has seen the arrival of two new SUVs from the brand — the updated Jaguar F-pace and the new Range Rover Velar. While the former is priced at Rs 69.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India) the new Velar is priced starting at Rs 79.87 lakh. The diesel variant of the SUV is priced at Rs 80.71 lakh.
The new exterior design on the F-PACE includes a new sculpted bonnet with a wider power bulge. The enlarged grille features Jaguar’s heritage logo-inspired ‘diamond’ detailing, while the side fender vents feature the iconic Leaper emblem. A new front bumper with redesigned air intakes and dark mesh details can also been seen on the SUV. The super slim all-LED quad headlights with ‘Double J’ Daytime Running Light (DRL) signatures are new too and according to Jaguar they deliver increased resolution and brightness. At the rear, new slimline lights feature Jaguar’s double chicane graphic, first previewed on the all-electric I-Pace. The new bumper design and sculpted new tailgate also help the new F-Pace look different from its predecessor.
The F-Pace has an all-new interior which offers enhanced connectivity. 2 new colorways have been introduced in Mars Red and Siena Tan while the new cockpit design is bolder with greater focus on the driver. A new centre console sweeps up to the instrument panel and incorporates wireless device charging feature. The new gear selector features an upper section finished with ‘cricket-ball’ stitching; the lower part being made of precision-engineered metal for enhanced tactility. Other key features include reclining seats on the second row, four zone climate control, interactive driver display and a panoramic roof.
The new Jaguar F-Pace gets the brands latest Pivi Pro infotainment technology which can be accessed through the all-new 11.4 curved glass HD touchscreen. Jaguar says its enhanced clarity and simplified menu structure allows users to access or view up to 90 per cent of common tasks from the home-screen in two taps or less. In addition to this, the cabin also gets an air purifier which captures ultra-fine particles including PM2.5 particulates to improve occupant health. The new F-Pace also has gets features like a 3D surround camera, meridian audio system, and a smartphone pack.
The SUV is available for the first time in the R-Dynamic S trim with Ingenium 2.0 litre petrol and diesel powertrains. The 2.0 litre petrol engine delivers a power of 246 bhp and 365 Nm of torque while the 2.0 litre diesel delivers a power of 201 bhp and 430 Nm of torque.
RANGE ROVER VELAR
Land Rover says that the Velar offers a great balance of sophisticated design and intelligent technology with good all-wheel drive capability on every terrain. The burnished copper bumper accents, bonnet vents and side vents on the R-dynamic make the car look unique while the bonnet badge, tailgate script and grille are finished in shadow atlas. The door handles on the Velar retract when not in use and that has always been one of the highlights on the car. Their flush design creates clean, pure lines which improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce wind noise.
The SUV comes with features such as 3D surround camera, electronic air suspension, cabin air ionisation with PM2.5 filter and new Pivi Pro infotainment system. According to the carmaker the new Velar is cleaner, safer, and smarter than before and is one of the most technologically advanced luxury SUVs in the world.
Like the F-Pace the new Velar too is available in the R-Dynamic S trim on Ingenium 2.0 litre petrol and diesel powertrains. The output is also same on both these engines. The 8-speed automatic transmission has been finely tuned by Land Rover engineers to combine smooth shifting with rapid response. The company says closely spaced ratios ensure that gear changes are almost unnoticeable.
Torque-on-demand all wheel drive (AWD) delivers both on road performance and full off-road capability. The all terrain progress control (ATPC) system enables the driver to set and maintain a steady speed in challenging conditions such as mud, wet grass, ice, snow, and dirt roads.The SUV is available in four colours – fuji white, portofino blue, sartorini black and silicon silver.
The writer is Senior Editor at carandbike.com
ONEPLUS NORD CE 5G HAS MORE HITS THAN MISSES
It is time for a device with a strong core. OnePlus launches Nord5G CE. CE literally stands for ‘Core Edition’. Nord 5G made its way into the market in July last year and now it’s time for an upgrade with some new editions and competitive pricing. Let’s find out if Nord 5G CE is the upgrade you have been looking for.
OnePlus Nord has kept the design cue simple and like the previous model, CE 5G gets the similar Blue Void colour. The device is slim at 7.9mm and is light to hold at 170g. It is an easy device to be used with a single hand having the power button and volume rockers placed on the side centre. The device is curvy, making it easier to grip. Having a minimalistic bezel around the device, it is slightly larger towards the chin. The phone gets a micro SIM slot but misses out on a micro-SD slot. The device does get a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of the device alongside USB Type-C port and speaker.
Flip the device and you get a Blue Void striking colour with a triple lens camera module which does protrude out a bit but it’s not really a problem. The matte finish at the back helps keep the finger marks away.
The 6.43-inch AMOLED display has full-HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. It also has an in-display fingerprint scanner and Asahi Dragontrail glass for protection. Powering the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor. You get 6GB of RAM on the base variant of the Nord CE 5G, and a 12GB RAM on the top range that I had for review.
There are only two storage options on this smartphone—128GB and 256GB. The Nord CE 5G has support for Bluetooth 5.1, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and six satellite navigation systems. There is support for dual 4G VoLTE, as well as 5G connectivity.
SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE
Nord CE 5G has the same ease and magical experience of the software which OnePlus has been well-known for. The device runs on OnePlus’ custom OxygenOS. The device has a clear interface, easy to use, and comes with good add-ons like two years of Android updates and three years of security updates.
The device is a pure delight for anyone and everyone. It is seamless while multitasking. You can switch from apps without hesitation. There is no trouble or lag that you would face using this device. Being light and handy makes the process even easier.
For gamers this device is a delight. You can play with the Game Mode on and not be disturbed during your game time. The graphic display is good; the only hindrance faced was the device heated up a little post a long gaming session.
OnePlus has packed a 4,500mAh battery into the Nord CE 5G which is slightly bigger than the one in the original OnePlus Nord. This phone supports 30W fast charging and comes with a Warp Charge 30T charger in the box. Having the default 90Hz refresh rate, the device can run for over 18 hours.
OnePlus Nord CE packs in a triple camera setup. It has a 64-megapixel primary camera with an Omnivision sensor, f/1.79 aperture and EIS; an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 119-degree field of view; and a 2-megapixel black and white camera. For selfies, it has a 16-megapixel camera with an f/2.45 aperture.
Daylight photography generated desired results with the primary lens. Ultra-wide lens did give you what you were looking for in an image but the quality might not be too good.
Low light photography is also not too good. In the Nightscape mode, the phone takes eight exposures and combines them into one photo. This process takes about 7-8 seconds. The output of that is much better.
Front camera gives you results as desired. The portrait mode works well with your selfies, giving the depth you would want from a selfie camera.
Video recording tops out at 4k 30fps for the primary camera and 1080p 60fps for the selfie shooter.
PRICE & VARIANTS
OnePlus Nord CE 5G price starts at Rs 22,999 in India for the base variant which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs 24,999, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage variant is priced at Rs 27,999.
All three variants are available in the dark Charcoal Ink finish. The 8GB variant is also available in a Blue Void colour. The 12GB RAM version gets the above two and you get a Silver Ray option as well.
Nord CE 5G is a device which fares well in all departments. Camera might not be the best offered by OnePlus, but the overall experience of the device is good. You get a capable device in 3 variants and colour options with an above average performance and software. The Core Edition does make an impact, but it does face competition.
SKODA OCTAVIA IS BACK WITH A NEW LIKEABLE CHARACTER
First launched in India almost two decades ago, Skoda Octavia is back in the market with everything new about it but the name. Will the luxury sedan be able to hold fort?
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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