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Phone Wars 5.5: Entering Phablet Territory

Phone WarsPhone wars 5.5: Entering Phablet Territory

Introduction
Bigger. Better. More bang for the buck. That seems to be the trend of late as all major phone manufacturers are shifting their flagship devices to the ‘5 inch plus screen’ phone category.
Background

From the ‘iPhone’ which was launched in 2007 with a now minuscule 3.5 inch screen, smart phone screen sizes have steadily grown with each passing year. It seemed to stabilize around the ‘5-inch’ mark in 2013 with notable flagships sporting displays in this size range (HTC One (M7), Huawei’s P6 and the LG G 1(Optimus) from the year before, all had screens sized 4.7 inches).
However, shortly after this in August of the same year, the LG G2 pushed the bar with its 5.2 inch display and following its success the HTC One also became available in the ‘5-inch plus’ category with it ‘M9 Plus variant’ and the story goes on from there.
Even Apple wasn’t left out of the fray as the iPhone 6’s 4.7 inch display was an alarming deviation from the 3.5 and 4 inch screens of the iPhones 4,5 respectively and their incremental iterations, the 4s and 5s.
The real stunner however was the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple shocked the world with a true life phablet, establishing 5-inch plus devices not only as increasingly popular, but also relevant.
Today we see an increasing number of entrants into this device range as most phone makers pitch their flagships or top of the line phones in this screen size category (examples are the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Huawei Mate). With improvements in hardware design and reduction in component sizes, phone makers can comfortably shave off ugly bezels from the 5-inch Elder brothers to allow for more screen space and BAM! You have a ‘plus 5-incher’.
Ratio Decidendi
Why would people want bigger screens? We’ve highlighted just one reason:A Larger Working Area
Well, believe it or not ‘5 inch plus’ phones are way more comfortable to use than their 5-inch counterparts. These devices depending on their proximity to the 6-inch mark are actually a comfortable substitute to a Tablet and boy are they a delight for gaming.

This is proven no better than by the iPhone 6 Plus’ cannibalization of the IPad. Many iOS users gleefully ditched their iPads for this big boy as the screen was large enough to do serious work, with the device still fitting into the pocket (hopefully without bending, sorry apple :)).
The name ‘Phablet’(From ‘Phone’ and ‘Tablet’), which is what these category of phones is called reflects how they are supposed to rid the owner of the dilemma of carrying 2 devices, which in many cases they do.
Watching movies or reading on your iPad or even your 7 inch tab is definitely way better than on your phablet, but the average 4.5-5 inch is awkwardly unsuitable for either so the Phablet sports a much welcomed middle zone.
While people complain about the phone not fitting comfortably in one hand (people who have small hands can find using them tacky at first), its obvious advantage in larger screen real estate seems an adequate compensation. After all, no matter how inconvenient it may seem to hold one phablet, it certainly is less arduous than either owning 2 devices(a phone and a tab) or enduring the awkward ordeal of using a tab as a phone(Gosh people look odd putting tabs over their ears :D).
So yes, this device category makes sense, plenty sense.

The Review

Leaving the comfort of the robust background above, the write-up forges ahead into a comparative analysis of this device category, taking all the entries from the Phone makers with adequate representation and support in the Nigerian phone market and pitching them head to head against one another.

Phone Rater 5.5 Table

 

Infinix Zero 3- Batosai…The Giant Slayer
Position: No 1
Score: 73.38%
Pros: Mad Processor (2.0GHz Mediatek Helio X10)
Mad Shooter (20.7 MP Sony sensor)
Cons: Cliché Aesthetics

X552_HD-PICTURE_CHAMPAGNE_FRONT
Infinix’s most recent effort blasts the ceiling off of its competitors, pulling through on raw processing power with its Mediatek Helio X10 Processors clocking in at a deafening 2.0 GHz. It accommodates such computing torque with a roomy 3GB of RAM, giving its animal of a CPU room to operate without lag.
All this machinery is put use in the Camera department with the Zero 3 sporting a stunning 20.7 MP Sony sensor. These cats were not playing when they put this phone together. They meant war! This phone boasts of 4K picture and video recordings.
While the phone wins on its performance features, it scores pretty low in the fundamentals sub category losing points due to Carlcare’s declining customer service experience (10 working days to pick up a device is totally unacceptable). It also sheds considerable points in the ‘beauty’ department because of Infinix’s evident lack of design creativity. The design team seems to have reverted to the Zero one design, only with a bigger screen. So at the first impression it’s like you’ve seen it before, only you haven’t.
Its lack of an AMOLED display like it’s immediate predecessor was also initially a source of concern (it sports an IPS Full HD LCD though), however a wholesome consideration of the other specs of the phone show that Infinix pulled nothing short of a miracle putting this device together as comparable specs are only found in the flagships of well reputed Manufacturers.
All Hail the King!

 

The Gionee M5… The Pretty, Plus sized Lady

Position: No 2
Score: 72.41%
Pros: Huge Battery Life (6,020 mAh)
2 GB Ram
Super AMOLED Display
Cons: Heavy. Weight.

gionee-marathon-m5-1

Before the Zero 3’s release late last year, the Gionee M5 defiantly topped this chart with a battery life that is simply larger than life. Gionee’s commendable quality and the M5’s above par performance features keep it chasing hard on the heels of the Infinix Zero 3 and well ahead of its peers with a battery score that doubles that of every other phone except the Infinix Note 2.

While the rating model doesn’t take into consideration the GUI’s of the phones beyond the OS iteration, Gionee’s interface is so well designed that it is worthy of note.
The Amigo 3.1 is very well done, increasing accessibility by separating Notifications from quick access settings using the ‘slide from the top’ gesture for Notifications and the ‘slide from the gesture’ for quick settings. It also comes loaded with a plethora of High-contrast HD themes to flaunt its super AMOLED display.
The phone itself is a beauty to behold as its face boasts of proper detailing with Chrome trimmings set against a white background(it is available in white) and very slim side bezels. However, it scores low in the Aesthetics and Ergonomics department because of the sheer bulk of its 6020mAh battery which pushes the phone’s weight to an unsexy 212Grams, weighing 33.33% more than its contemporary (the S-Plus) with the same screen size.
Something noteworthy is the fact that the dimensions of the M5 are comparable to a phone with half its battery size (the Gionee S-Plus), with only a 1mm disparity in their width.
This phone aesthetically reminds you of a very pretty plus sized lady and if you don’t mind the weight, it’s worth the buy.

 

The Gionee ELIFE S Plus… Powerful. Beautiful. Balanced.

Position: No 3
Score: 70.86%
Pros: Good Pricing
2 GB Ram
Super AMOLED Display
Cons: Still Checking…

 

gionee-splus_blue_front3_base

Here’s the category favourite. The S Plus excels into the Top 3 Position, not because of superlative performance in any one particular performance feature or sub category. The secret to its success is in a very well rounded performance across all indices. It is the most balanced value offering in the category. Sporting a very good, but not spectacular processor, which clocks in at a decent 1.5GHz across its 4 largest cores, the S Plus is set to deliver enjoyable performance with an ample RAM of 2GB(though there is an international version which has a 3GB RAM, the Nigerian Version is advertised as 2GB and is found to be rightfully so)
In the Aesthetics and Ergonomics sub category the phone also doesn’t do too badly. While it doesn’t have a face as pretty as the M5, the S-Plus is a beauty in in its own right with a 70.4% screen-to-body ratio. It flaunts a delicious HD Super AMOLED display and with Gionee’s reputed Amigo GUI the phone offers a delightful user experience.
While the fact that the side bezels on the screen are discretely concealed (only apparent when the screen is lit up) may not sit too well in the overall appearance, it doesn’t seem to affect the phone’s aesthetic appeal to the point of earning a listing as a ‘con’.

 

Asus Zenfone ZD551KL(The ASUS ‘Selfie’)

Position: No 3
Score: 70.86%
Pros: 13MP Front Camera
3GB RAM
Full HD Display
Cons: Aesthetically Awkward
Pricey

asus-zenfone-selfie-2

Asus’ entry ties in with the Gionee S Plus for 3rd position.
The most obvious feature on this phone is its 13MP front facing camera, hence it is unsurprisingly called the ‘selfie’. From the first glance, Asus leaves no room to wonder what the phone’s priorities are.
The Performance features on the ‘Selfie’ are pretty decent. It surprisingly sports an above par Snapdragon processor, the 615, which clocks in at 1.5 GHz on its 4 fastest cores, and with 3GB of RAM to work with, the ‘Selfie’ isn’t found wanting in the performance department.
While it may be arguably pricey as it is the second most expensive phone on the list, the greater source of concern for this phone would be in the aesthetics department.
With the selfie, ASUS prioritizes function over aesthetics to the point where it may be a source of concern. Apart from the sheer awkwardness of having such a huge sensor in the front of the phone, ASUS exacerbates an already delicate situation by displacing the earpiece from the sacred Centre-top spot, to fit the 13MP shooter and its double LED flash. All In front!
ASUS boldly displays a component on the face of the phone that others are discrete about in a bid to emphasize a feature that other devices do pretty well. It feels a bit superfluous, overkill maybe.
Other phones sport 5MP cameras that are pretty decent, one is therefore left to wonder how much detail a 13MP camera can take in considering the limitations of distance when shooting selfies.
But the phone is in the top 5 because of other things (Thankfully), notably performance and ASUS’s quality support (@ Ensure).

 

The Infinix Note 2(2 GB)

Position: No 5
Score: 70.02%
Pros: Larger Screen Area
2 GB Ram
Good Pricing

Infinix Note 2-2

Cons: Declining Customer Support Quality

This is the largest entry that makes it into the top 5. It is another beautiful entry by the makers of the ‘Zero 3’. It packs the same processor as the Gionee S-Plus, and has a HD display sprawled over 6 diagonal inches. This 2GB RAM version only loses out to the Gionee S Plus because of the S-Plus’ superior AMOLED display, and Carl Care’s declining Customer Service(A 10 working day repair period is totally unacceptable for a computing device of any sort).
However, just like S-Plus, the Infinix Note 2 does everything well and has a very balanced score across all categories.
It’s aesthetics are appealing as the wider viewing area is adequately compensated for by really slim side bezels and it’s availability in Gold, White, Dark Grey and Light blue make it a delight for either gender of users.

 

Honourable Mentions

The Samsung Galaxy J7

Position: No 7
Score: 67%
Pros: Super AMOLED Display
Samsung’s Quality

Cons: 1.5GB RAM?
Cliché Aesthetics(Design Replicates Galaxy Note 2 Exactly)

Samsung Galaxy J7

This phone is meant to be Samsung’s attempt at a Mid-Ranged phone but Nigeria’s declining exchange rate and market forces have forced it up steadily and as at the time of this writing, it cost N70,000. The phone is worthy of mention because it started out(initially priced at N48,000 November last year) as a remarkable attempt by the South-Korean manufacturer at a Mid-Ranged phone and it is noteworthy because of its Processor, an Exynos CPU which clocks in at 1.5GHz and a Super AMOLED HD display. Why Samsung choose to use a 1.5GB RAM on this device is left to them to tell us, but 512MB couldn’t have cost so much more.
Aesthetically it’s boring, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 reincarnated. It tries to be appealing to behold with a Faux Chrome mid frame, but its still so ‘Samsung-ish’.
All in all, it would definitely have been a force to contend with if it wasn’t so pricey.

Conclusion
It’s pretty awkward that none of the big 6(Samsung, Sony, LG, Sony, HTC, Huawei) feature on the top 5 phones in the Mid range phablet review. This either proves that they reserve phones with comparable specs as these for their High End devices or that the upcoming Phone Makers are the kings of these category.
The Infinix Zero 3 attempts to slays all contenders with it’s top of the line specs, but the Gionees weren’t to be pushed aside with the M5 and S-Plus coming in hard on its heels in 2nd and 3rd position respectively.
Asus’ Selfie is an impressive entry, the huge camera in front  nonetheless, though a bit on the pricey side.

The Big OEM’s need to understand the Nigerian consumer market and the importance of proper pricing. While there’s the dilemma of their having to maintain a consistent price regime globally, the Nigerian Socio-Economic situation is the primary dictator of its Consumer buying patterns. Majority of Nigerians don’t have the flexibility of eased payments available in other markets, most purchases are cash, upfront, thus pricing is very, very important.
Samsung’s attempt in the J7 is commendable (it was released last year at N48,000). But forces of demand and supply steadily etched the price up, the dollar exchange rate hasn’t helped. Hence they are once again without a formidable competitor in this category of mid-ranged phones.

 

At the end of the day, the consumer always wins, there are more than enough entrants in this category to satisfy the most diverse of tastes.

 

Credit: GSMArena.com for Phone Specs and Photos

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Solo Review: itel 1701… making sense

  VItal stats  
Processor Quad core 1.2ghz
Ram/ROM 1gb/8gb
OS Iteration android kit kat 4.4
` display 600×1024
Sim dual sim
Battery 3100mmah
Price N18,000 (8gb Micro sd incl.)

Value offerings in the tablet segment are rare, that’s why when we find one we’re compelled beyond any reason to write about it.

7-Inch tabs are no big deal, but rarely ever have we seen one that offers such a mix of value, beauty and performance like the iNote Prime.

For emphasis, a tab with comparable hardware (and even an earlier iteration of the operating system), the Tecno P9 (Phantom Pad Mini) sells for N28,000 a 10K difference

While the specs may not be Jaw dropping, (Quad core.1GB is almost entry level these days), the iNote Prime sits apart in its overall value presentation when compared to other Tabs with Similar specs.

Itel 1701 versus other 7-Inchers

7-Incher Category Phone Rater

 

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10 APPS TO KEEP YOU PRODUCTIVE AT WORK AND AT HOME

You’re busy. We all are. The average working class individual in the 21st Century is an acrobat, upwardly mobile on the career ladder as we try to juggle family (kids, spouse, parents, siblings), academics(you’re still gunning after that MBA and the other one dozen short courses) and our faith (rehearsals, services, events). I need not belabor you with details you already know.
The 21st century presents the working class with more challenges than any other generation because of the explosion of information, freedom of communication etc.

Therefore it is a grave travesty when individuals living and working in this day and age don’t manage their lives taking advantage of tools available to them by their incidence in this jet generation.
I’m talking about technology and the case in point is the way we use mobile devices, phones and tabs in particular.
All the average individual does with their devices is

 

Call
Text
Email
BBM
Browse
Facebook
Whatsapp
Linda Ikeji(For the gist savvy)

 

This is so nineteen ninety-nine (1999)…
YOU ARE UNDERMINING YOUR DEVICE’S CAPABILITY! GROSSLY!! And you need to stop right now!!!
If you use an android or IOS device, you have access to at least 1 million apps. That‘s a lot. Apps that many means your device has got limitless capabilities.

 

This writeup highlight apps that help you stay productive at work and at home, whether it’s making lists or reading stuff, they will help you strike a great work-life balance and help you stay involved with all the stuff that really matters. They’re all free too.

(For live links to these apps, visit our blog: www.thegoodstuff.com.ng/blogs and locate this article)

Utilities

Wunderlist

After over a year of searching for a good ToDo list app, Wunderlist has solved most of my list creation needs.

Wunderlist allows you to create folders where you can keep different lists and set reminders to manage the different areas of your life, your work todo, your shopping list, vacation plans etc.

It’s also great for sharing and collaboration, i.e. members of a team or people that work together can share tasks and monitor progress using it e.g tasks can be delegated to members of the team with that app and the progress of those tasks can be updated.

Your lists are also available across all your devices, PC, Tab, Phone.

Available on : iOS, Android and Windows App Store

 Evernote

Great, multiple award winning note taking app. This app helps you take notes and access them across all your device platforms- Phone, Tab, PC. It’s also got some cool features like including photos in your notes plus a bunch of other stuff.

Sign in with 1 user name across your devices and the address you copied off the internet yesterday on your laptop is readable on your phone without any transfers.

Available on : iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry OS 10

Swiftkey (Keyboard)

This highly intuitive keyboard experience saves you time. A lot of it! Forget the default keyboard and the others, Swiftkey is where it’s at!

This keyboard learns your frequently used words automatically and has one of the most intelligent prediction systems ever, the more you type, the more it will likely predict what you want to type next.
It suggests your contacts and colleagues last names, phone numbers, email addresses etc.

It also allows you to sync across your multiple android, Windows and iOS devices such that you have an identical typing experience when typing on any of your phone(s) and tabs. As if that wasn’t enough, YOU CAN SWYPE!

Available on : iOS, Android and Windows App Store

Pocket

This has to be my single most important utility. It helps me store stories, news, articles, pictures and videos I come across online such that I can view them later without visiting the same web page.

The internet is a maze of information and information is only as useful to how well it can be referred to. With this app, I have my own personal library (almost 2,000 web pages strong over the last 2 years).

The beauty of it is that it plugs into all your browsers and readers and you can pull pages and content from wherever you’re reading from to read or view later.

You can also download the articles so they are available when you’re not connected to the internet.

Available on : iOS, Android, Available as  ‘pstpwn’ on Windows App Store, ‘Mnemonia’ for Blackberry OS 10

 

Readers, Note Takers and Office Suites

Feedly

If you read (which you should by the way), this app is a life saver.
This is a News reader that sources content from RSS feeds and Blogs.
This tool extracts different stories from your favourite websites and blogs of choice and instead of having to visit the 1 dozen sites and blogs, Feedly brings everything together in one viewing and from 1 app.
It also saves you time and data you would otherwise spend visiting the websites/blogs and waiting for their pages to load.

For instance I’m subscribed to Entrepreneur.com, The Verge, CNNMoney, Muscle and Fitness, Businessday. During the day, Feedly serves me fresh content from these sites as they are uploaded, all in one viewing and via one app. You can also use the ‘Pocket’ app described above to save stuff to view later.

Available on : iOS, Android, Try ‘Readiy’ on Windows App Store and ‘gNewsReader’ on Blackberry OS 10.

Kingsoft Office Suite

This is a pretty decent office suite (beats all the other free and even some paid for office suites in my humble opinion).

It essentially handles all your Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
It allows you to save to .pdf and YOU CAN ALSO SAVE TO YOUR ONLINE DRIVE (Google Drive, One Drive, Drop Box etc).

It also presents your documents just as seen on PC.

Available on : iOS, Android and Blackberry OS 10

Adobe Reader ®

Yes, the very inventors of the PDF format have their app available for download. While there are a host of other PDF readers out there, Adobe ® Reader is still the number one PDF handler. It allows commenting and very decent annotation on PDF’s so you can highlight, underline etc. It’s also got ‘Night Mode’ to improve visibility and conserve battery at night.
Available on : iOS, Android, Windows and Black Berry OS 10

Some more Utilities

 Opera Max

Most of us know their browser, but Opera has this fantastic app that helps reduce the amount of data your android device guzzles every month. Still in the Beta phase (i.e. they are still testing it) and technically ‘not available in our region yet’, this app helps you shave off some valuable MB’s of data by compressing your pictures and some other stuff.

While I don’t like the fact that it makes the quality of the photos I view on my BBM, Browser drop, if you’re into data management, this might be your thing.
It also has the added advantage of blocking some apps from your data altogether, plus it tells you per time which app is most guilty of zapping your precious internet plan.

Available on : Android

VLC Player
The cone player is out on mobile and yes it plays all the formats like it does on PC ( ‘mp4’,’flv’, ‘mkv’ and the many others we’ve never heard of).

Available on : iOS, Android, Windows and Black Berry OS 10

Xender

Ever heard of Flash share? Well if your device doesn’t come with the greatest app sharing tool in the history of modern man, don’t despair. Xender will do you a lot of good. Works pretty much the same way as Flash share, i.e. it allows you to share apps (this means you can copy the apps on your friends phone/tab) between android devices using the Wi-Fi on both devices. So it’s not only neat and tidy, its super-fast.
It works with devices that also have Flash Share or Xender installed and you can also transfer files of any sort and size (Pictures, Movies and Music)

Available on : Android

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Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right 8-Incher

Introduction

To 8 or not to 8:

8 inches is the perfect size for many things and a tab may arguably be one of them. Before the advent of the I-Pad mini, tablet sizes were clearly defined between the 7 inchers and the 10 inchers. With the exception of Samsung’s almost accidental foray into making an 8.9inch tab, tablet sizes seemed almost cast in stone. If wasn’t 7 inches or 10 inches, it really it didn’t exist. However, Apple in it’s consistent tradition of first’s released the I-Pad mini and as usual everybody else goes, ‘Hey look what Apple did’ and shamelessly dub the form factor, hence the birth of this size of tablets.

Really, what’s the big deal about an 8-Incher?

Apple’s choice can be attributed to the fact that all I-Pads have an aspect ratio of 4:3, as opposed to the standard 16:9, found in most 7 inch tablets. This is perfectly suited for reading as the aspect ratio is the same as a sheet of paper (8.5x11inches) thus allowing for optimum viewing of documents and books.

The 8 inch tab is an obviously scaled down device with the same design ideology that went into making the larger IPad, thus reading regular documents, pdf’s etc is very pleasurable as the text doesn’t have to be rearranged or inappropriately re-flowed.
The 8-inch form factor is optimized for reading over video, as traditional 7 inchers are designed with a video mind set i.e. 16:9, thus are more optimized for watching movies which are filmed with the same aspect ratio.

So if reading is your thing, the iPad mini, its descendants and their relatives are the way to go.

Other 8 Inchers

Apple isn’t the only one that designs 8-inch tabs, as a matter of fact quite a number of android device makers including the big names have 8-inch tabs for the reasons stated above.

Thus the essence of this article is to help locate the most valuable 8-inch deals out there.

What to look out for when buying any device

Everyone can buy a phone, we can all walk into a store, go online, go to computer village to buy a phone, that’s not a big deal. The real task however is to be able to locate a device that presents the highest value (Long term and short term) within our budget.

My father in his wisdom says ‘marrying a wife isn’t a big deal, giving her money for soup every day is where the problem is’. Buying a phone is not as important as what happens 6 months down the line. Phones depending on the individual have a life span of anything between 6 months and 2 years and cost a substantial sum, thus phone buying decisions must be pragmatic and informed.

In my humble opinion, the 2 biggest considerations when buying a phone are:

  • Support: warranty and repairs
  • Spares: Availability and Cost

 

Our Contestants

Ipad Mini, Lenovo Yoga 8, LG G-Pad 8, Tecno Phantom Pad 2, Huawei Media Pad 8, Archos,

 

Brand Quality Price (5) Customer  Support(5) Processor (4) Ram (4) Battery Life (3) Camera and Picture Quality Resolution – by ppi Software OS/GUI Tweaks Aesthetics & Ergonomics (3) Total Score
iPad Mini 2 5 0.1 2.5 4 3 4.5 4 5 5 4 128.5
iPad Mini 3 5 0.1 2.5 4 3 4.5 4 5 5 4 128.5
iPad Mini 5 1.2 2.5 3 2.5 4.5 3.5 3.5 5 4 122
Lenovo Yoga 8 3.5 1.6 3.5 3 3 5 2.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 117.5
LG G-Pad 8.0 4 1.4 3 3 3 3.5 3 3.5 4 3 113
Tecno Phantom Pad2 3 2.1 3.5 3 3 3.5 3 3.5 2.5 3.5 112.5
Huawei Mediapad M1 3.5 1.6 3 3 3 4 3 3.5 2.5 3.5 111.5
Lenovo A6500 3.5 2.2 3.5 3 3 3 2.5 3.5 2.5 2.5 109.5
Archos 80B Xenon 2.5 2.45 2.5 3 3 3 1 3.5 3.5 3 99.75
                       
   

 

Verdict
 
I-Pad Mini: The scores say it all. The iPad minis take the day coming in at 1st, 2nd and 3rd on our chart. This only goes to buttress the fact that price isn’t the sole determinant of value, in spite of scoring close to zero on price, the iPad minis still manage to steer a clear lead of between 5 and 11 points of the closest competition.Yoga 8: The Lenovo Yoga 8 leads the android devices, its Great Battery life has even the iPad minis biting the dust, its score line is also bolstered by fantastic customer support from ‘Ensure’. Upgradeability and functional design and ergonomics also help bolster it as the highest ranking android 8 incher. 

G-Pad 8.0: While the quality of the LG G-Pad 8.0 speaks for it, it’s pricing and mediocre design weigh down its overall value offering.

 

Tecno Phantom Pad 2: With just 0.5 points shy of the G-Pad, Tecno’s Carl Care  support, etches up their rating, as they score higher than most on price. Shamelessly mimicking the iPad mini also helped their points on design, but poor OS upgradeability, inconsistent product quality push it behind the LG G-Pad. But it’s a cool tab nonetheless

 

Huawei Media Pad M1:  cool with famtastic design and superb battery life, it falls short on OS Upgradeability(too much uncertainty shrouds whether or not it’s upgradeable). Its also slightly pricey.

 

Lenovo A6500 A decent moderate tab with uninspiring design(Except you like huge bezels), mediocre camera and poor options for OS upgradeability.

 

Archos 80B Xenon: European Manufacturer and new entrant into the Nigerian android game leaves feeling there’s more to be desired. This tab tries to push the value line by turning the price knob alone, but lack lustre specs push it to the bottom of the table. It’s support rating is also hurt as a fresher and it receives our bench mark score of 2.5. We hope this improves as the brand grows in the country.

 

 

Conclusion

iPad minis definitely are the way to go, but My pick among the android devices is the Lenovo Yoga 8(if you can find it, because at the time of this writing it’s scarce). But if you can’t afford that, you’re better off buying the Tecno Phantom Pad 2.

 

 

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TOP 15 APPS EVERY NIGERIAN SMART PHONE USER MUST HAVE

An android device is a gateway to a vast universe of applications with over 1.3 million and counting as at the time of this publication. Thus the mobile phone (and tablet pc) have become everything from a guitar(bass or electric) to a fitness tracker. This leaves you (and me of course) with an average of 118 apps a day to check out for the next 30 years, assuming it stops growing now

We however have taken time to shortlist 15 apps we believe are absolutely essential for every android user. They are particularly suited to include apps that are only fully functional in Nigeria and they are all free ;-).

Click on each app name to download it from Google’s Play Store™ and open the link with the Play Store™ app on your device.

Security

Avast Free Anti-Virus

Most PC users are familiar with this security solution. This app scans every app installed or about to be installed and reports malicious ones. It carries out periodic scans on your device to locate malicious content it might have missed during the installation phase and it also comes with an app locker to restrict access to your apps.

Avast Anti-theft

Ever lost a phone? This security solution discreetly tracks your phone’s location and sends SMS’s with your phone’s location (coordinates too) whenever there’s a sim card change. You can also remotely lock your phone amidst other cool stuff (this last features and the others however are only in the paid for version)

Utilities

Swiftkey (Keyboard)

This has to be the most intuitive keyboard experience for me ever! Forget the default android keyboard and the others, Swiftkey is where it’s at! This keyboard learns your frequently used words automatically and has the most intelligent prediction systems I’ve ever come across, such that the more you type, the more it will likely predict what you want to type (imagine your keyboard predicting ‘efo’ after you type ‘eba’ :D). It also allows you sync across your multiple android devices such that you have an identical typing experience when typing on any of your phone(s) and tab. As if that wasn’t enough, YOU CAN SWYPE! I nearly screamed when I found out it had become free. If you don’t have this app, you’re doing your android experience a grave injustice.

Opera Max(NOT THE BROWSER)

Most of us know their browser, but Opera has this fantastic app that helps reduce the amount of data your android device guzzles every month. Still in the Beta phase( i.e. they are still testing it) and technically ‘not available in our region yet’, this app helps you shave off some valuable MB’s of data by compressing your pictures and some other stuff. While I don’t like the fact that it makes the quality of the photos I view on my BBM, Browser drop, if you’re into data management, this might be your thing.
It also has the added advantage of blocking some apps from your data altogether, plus it tells you per time which app is most guilty of zapping your precious internet plan.

VLC Player (Beta)

The cone player is on android, and yes it plays all the formats like it does on PC ( ‘mp4’,’flv’, ‘mkv’ and the many others you’ve never heard of).

Dictionary

If this didn’t come with your phone download the latest version here, and for grammar freaks like meself, it pronounces the words. It’s totally offline too.

Xender

Ever heard of Flash share? Well if your device doesn’t come with the greatest app sharing tool in the history of modern man, don’t despair. Xender will do you a lot of good. Works pretty much the same way as Flash share, i.e. it allows you to share apps (this means you can copy the apps on your friends phone/tab) between android devices using the Wi-Fi on both devices. So it’s not only neat and tidy, its super-fast.
It works with devices that also have Flash Share or Xender installed and you can also transfer files of any sort and size (Pictures, Movies and Music)

Google Chrome Browser

Chrome is on android and it’s worth a mention because it doesn’t come pre-installed (I’m talking about the tri-coloured ring browser not the one found by default on your phone). It could be quite heavy on system processes so if your device is dragging already, don’t even bother. It however provides the one of the most noteworthy android browsing experiences because of how seamlessly it integrates with the operating system.

Readers, Viewers, Note Takers and Office Suites

Feedly

This News reader sources content from RSS feeds and Blogs. This means this tool extracts different stories from your websites and blogs of choice and instead of having to visit the 1 dozen sites and blogs, Feedly brings everything together in one viewing and from 1 app. It also saves you time and data you would otherwise spend visiting the websites/blogs and waiting for their pages to load. What’s more, with Feedly you can ‘Pocket’ interesting stuff to read later. This leads us to the next app

Pocket

This app is used for storing stories and content of interest from web browsers and content aggregators like Feedly so you can refer to them later. It allows you to keep stories, pictures and videos you find for use later. Cross synching across you devices is also featured i.e you can access stuff you pocket on one device on another device once you have Pocket installed and you’re logged in with the same profile.

Adobe Reader ®

Yes, the very inventors of the PDF format have their app available for download. While there are a host of other PDF readers out there, Adobe ® Reader is still the number one PDF handler. It allows commenting and very decent annotation on PDF’s so you can highlight, underline etc. It’s also got ‘Night Mode’ to improve visibility and conserve battery at night.

Kingsoft Office Suite

This is a pretty decent office suite (beats all the other free and even some paid for office suites in my humble opinion). It essentially handles all your Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
It allows you to save to .pdf and YOU CAN ALSO SAVE TO YOUR ONLINE DRIVE(Google Drive, One Drive, Drop Box etc). It also presents your documents just as seen on Please to a large extent.

Evernote

Great, multiple award winning note taking app. This app helps you take notes and access them across all your device platforms Phone, Tab, PC. It’s also got some other cool features like including photos in your notes plus a bunch of other stuff. Sign in with 1 user name across your devices and the address you copied off the internet yesterday on your laptop is readable on your phone without any transfers.

Messengers

Blackberry Messenger

This is more of a link to the app on Play Store than anything else

Whatsapp

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Gionee P4

Gionee P4: the perfect blend of Pretty, Price and Power

If you’re on a budget and you don’t want to compromise performance and style, look no further, the P4 is your last bus stop.

Spec Sheet Display

4.5 Inch Processor

1.3GHz Quad Core (MTK 6589) Front Camera

2-megapixel Resolution

480×854 pixels

1GB Ram

Android 4.2

Storage 8GB

Rear Camera 5-megapixel

Battery capacity 1800mAh

Click here for full Spec sheet

Just recovering from the tortuous ordeal of one of the most horrible phone experiences ever (The Motorola Electrify 2, this phone froze for 30 minutes every 5 minutes), the Gionee P4 has given me cause to smile again and I didn’t have to break the bank. 😀

Okay. Before we get started, at EnterpriseWare we’re fans of value i.e. selling good quality at a terrific price and the Gionee P4 has tugged our value button in such a way that I’m still excited after 1 week of using it.

I feel something like the euphoria of proposing to your dream girl and she says yes then 5 days down the line you’re still peeking at her picture, not believing your eyes and grinning like a He-goat.

Enough with the metaphors, let’s see why this phone is so compelling I had to write about it. And just in case you’re wondering, shhhh,‘I don’t work for Gionee and as at the time of this writing I haven’t been to their office

About Gionee

I start with a bit of a story to buttress the credibility of this manufacturer. 3 years ago my father got this phone from a Chinese business associate, big white piece of equipment, it was a Phablet and reminded me of a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 more than anything else. This was way before the Nigerian Android Invasion heralded by Tecno late 2012 into 2013. At the time I thought nothing of it, I discarded it as a ‘Chinko’ phone, but 2 years down the line I’m selling android phones of all shapes and sizes and for some reason I take time to check the ‘Chinko’ phone out. Its OS is Ice Cream Sandwich (4.04), the build quality is fantastic and it runs pretty smooth with a really cool interface.

Incidentally at the time I was stunned but for some reason I didn’t check the name (It was rather discretely inscribed) but one thing was clear, it was a really good phone.

Eventually one day this year I take time to look at the phone (yes it’s still working 3 years after) and guess what name was on it? Yours truly, Gionee. At that point, the brand earned my respect. So in writing this article I did some digging and found out this about the company

Brief history and profile of Gionee mobile company:

Established in 2002, Gionee is a technology company engaged in mobile device Design, R&D and Manufacturing. From 2005 Gionee forward integrated itself to do business in its own brand in markets across the globe.

Being a technology company Gionee has set benchmarks of quality in domestic and international markets. Gionee ranks no. 2 in Mainland China selling over 23 million units annually.

The export business is in excess of a million units monthly catering to well established brands overseas as an ODM(Original Design Manufacturer: this means they design and produce phones for other phone companies who then brand them as they please).

Gionee is now in the process of setting up its brand business globally and has a strong presence in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Vietnam, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand and NOW India. (Source : gionee.co.in/company.html)

My Experience selling Gionee

Awesome product really. Not one manufacturer defect issue yet, though to be honest we haven’t sold as many Gionee as the major android Nigerian Android Brand, even at that, we still haven’t had any issues or complaints.

We’ve made an awesome 80% of our sales of the P4 strictly through referrals, WOW!

The P4: Game Changer

gionee-pioneer-p4 (1)
Phones and cars alike are differently suited for different climes. As nice as the Google Nexus Series is or the Motorolas X, G or Droid, are they may not be too smart a phone choice in Nigeria for 2 reasons:

  1. Support
  2. Spares.

The Nigerian phone market has its own demands and peculiarities based on the needs of the people and their environment (Socio-Economic particularly) With regards to the above Gionee has pretty decent support (I’ve had the cause to fix a client’s damaged phone).

We like

  • Processor power: With a 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor, this phone isn’t the most powerful in the market but this engine will easily handle multi-tasking (even from a phone monster like me) and though gaming not jaw droopingly terrific but it’s not bad at all.
  • Ram: 1Gb. Still not the largest in the market, but you won’t catch this phone hanging. Helps gaming
  • Form factor: Coming in at 135mm( Length), 66mm(Width) and 9.05mm(Thickness), this phone is slim and sleek and fits comfortably into your trouser or inner jacket pockets.
  • Price: Selling in the N17,000 –N18,000 price range (We sell at N17,000 with a Bonus 8GB Memory Card), this phone is a dream come true.
  • Camera: Its definitely not a Cannon, but its pretty decent. I was shocked to find out it was 5MP after some days of use. Really good stuff. It also records videos in FULL HD!
  • Pre-installed Apps: The P4 comes with a lot of pre-installed goodies tools and utilities. These enhance the value immensely, all sorts of performance boosters, cache clearers, a battery monitor. It comes with the coolest document editor
  • Operating System/User Interface: Obviously, someone tinkered with the Android Operating System and they didn’t do badly with it. This isn’t stock android, nope. Unlike many other android devices, Gionee has modified the Jelly Bean Operating system and it well… looks good. While I might have some reservations, overall it’s not been a bad experience.

Some terrific features available on the Operating System

  1.  Add a Password to your SMSs: You can add a password to SMSs from a particular sender e.g. you can encrypt your bank Notification Messages
  2. You can Block off calls from a number with the phone instead of barring your line from all incoming calls
  3. It comes with a power saving mode similar to what comes on the Samsung Galaxy S5. This mode reduces your processor performance, puts of all your connections apart from mobile reception and optimizes your phone to conserve power when you’re in most dire need.

We don’t like

  • I still haven’t figured out how to switch between calls properly i.e. ending an ongoing call to answer an incoming call. If it’s possible on this phone it’s not as simple as it should be
  • It’s also lost the default android functionality that calls up most recently dialed numbers when the first few digits are inputed. This functionality is now restricted to only names and numbers stored in your phonebook, not your call log.

Gionee P4 Scores on Phonerater

Brand Quality
(5)
Price (5) Processor (4) Resolution (3) Screen Size (3) Customer Support (5) Ram (4) Battery Life (3) Software OS/GUI
Tweaks (2)
Aesthetics and
Ergonomics (3)
Camera and Picture
Quality(3)
Total Score
Gionee P4 3.5 3.3 3 3.5 3.5 3 3 2.6 4 3.5 2.5 127.8

            (Note: all scores are out of a possible 5 points)

The Gionee P4 comes in a decent 3rd place in our Category 2 phones (127.8 out of a possible 200), coming behind the Infinix Zero and theInnjoo i2s. This easily sets it as the most valuable phone deal if you’re working with a budget less than N20,000.
To see the full Category 2 phone ratings click here.

Conclusion

Diligence is in detail.

Today Android phones are a dime a dozen, thus standing apart requires paying attention to the overall user experience and presenting that offering at an affordable price. The P4 stands apart not because of any one thing in particular, but it edges out the competition by paying attention to detail where others didn’t , like its Operating System(Too many manufacturers just slap our faces with stock android), the camera, design and almighty price.

The Gionee P4 is a great phone for the reasons I’ve highlighted. It will serve well, it won’t go hanging on you. The build is strong and sturdy and if you ever need help during the lifetime of your device, Gionee offers fantastic support.

I’ve got just one question for you, what are you still waiting for?

Enterpriseware Offering @ N17,000 (This phone is available in Hot Pink, Black, White and Blue.)