Saturday, March 22, 2014

Google Nexus 7

Perhaps the most sought after Android devices are the ones, which belong to the Nexus category. Owning a Nexus might be called the second best thing, after owning a Lightsaber. So here I am, reviewing the Nexus 7 2013 for you.
The new Nexus 7 is a great improvement over the previous one, the Nexus 7 2012. The Nexus 7 2012 came is two versions, the 16GB one, and the 32GB one. Google has opted to keep the memory sizes same, so the new Nexus also comes in 16GB and 32GB versions. This is where lies the major flaw. Google should have provided a 64GB one, considering no Nexus ever has a card slot.

                The Nexus 7 2013, or let's call it just Nexus 7, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 chipset, also dubbed as the S4 Pro, or the Snapdragon 600. It boasts of a quad core Krait 300 CPU, clocked at 1.5GHz. Now this is actually a great improvement over the previous quad A9 Tegra 3, present in the 2012 version of the Nexus 7. The Tegra 3, which may have been a flagship in it's time, does have some nice features to boast of, like extra special effects in games, but the Snapdragon 600 out-performs it by a wide margin. The new Nexus 7 also has a quad core Adreno 320 GPU, clocked at 400MHz. Being modest here, the Adreno 320 is a nice GPU, which is just 2 steps short of the Adreno flagship, the Adreno 420, present in the Snapdragon 805.
The Nexus 7 also contains 2GB LP-DDR3 RAM, which is 1GB more than it's predecessor. This means, multitasking will be a breeze, and gaming will be a pleasure, with even the most GPU intensive titles, such as Modern Combat 4 and N.O.V.A 3. There are a load of sensors present, which is usual for most Nexus devices. There is an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, a light sensor, a magnetometer, a gyroscope (which, of course, means you can use the Photosphere). The Nexus 7 comes with a 3950mAh battery, which translates to around 18 hours of normal usage. Which means, you do have to plug in the device at the end of the day.

Performance in Games:
                      One of the best features about Nexus 7 is gaming. Gaming on a 7 incher is ever-pleasing and entertaining. The Nexus 7 does manage quite heavy games with ease. It can play Modern Combat 4 (optimized by default) at around 30-35 fps, the lowest being 23fps, and the highest being 48fps. It can also play Asphalt 8 at high settings (highest available) at 35-45 fps, the lowest being 28fps and the highest being 54fps. GTA Vice City ran at 35fps average, the lowest being 24fps, and highest being 49fps, at optimized settings. Other games like Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, GT Racing 2, Riptide GP2 ran flawlessly at highest settings.

           The Nexus 7 has an IPS LCD, with a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels, and has a staggering ppi of 323. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which is scratch proof and shatter proof. The screen is actually a great improvement over it's predecessor, which has a resolution of 1280x800, and a ppi of only 216. The Nexus 7 2013's screen has great viewing angles, and good color reproduction. It's quite a pleasure to watch movies, or read text or browse through your favorite stuff on Flipboard.The light sensor enables you to use auto brightness. Auto brightness is recommended, because it's not entirely feasible to change the brightness manually in each environment, and it can also save your eyes from searing in the night.

Connectivity options:
                      The Nexus 7 comes in WiFi only options. However, there is a 3G version called the Nexus 7C, which costs 5000 bucks more. The Nexus 7 has Bluetooth v4.0, Wifi, NFC, Wifi Direct and Miracast Wireless display. It also comes with Qi Wireless Charging certification, so you can use it with any wireless charger. There is a micro USB port in the bottom, and a 3.5mm jack on the top. 

              This is where the 2013 version scores over the 2012 one big time. The 2012 had only a 1.2MP shooter on the front, capable of 720p video. The 2013 version has a 2.1MP shooter, and a 5MP autofocus primary camera at the back, both capable of 1080p video. The primary camera is pretty decent for casual shots, but then, who holds up a 7 incher to take pics? The camera lacks HDR, and the UI is the stock Android one, allowing little customizations. But there are thousands of apps out there, that may help click better pictures.

               The Nexus 7 2013 comes with Android 4.3 out of the box, upgradable to Android 4.4.2. The UI is stock Android.

         The Nexus 7 2012 had a dotted back that allowed for grip, but looked awkward and repulsive. The 2013 version has a matte faux-rubberized finish, with the word "nexus" emblazoned horizontally, which implies that the tablet is best in the landscape mode. The back has a nice feel, and the rubberized finish allows for better grip, so bid a goodbye to falling tablets. The stereo speakers are present at the top and bottom, allowing for a nice feel of surround sound. The audio quality is nice, but the speakers could be a little higher in audio levels. The whole body is around 2mm slimmer than the predecessor, and 50g lighter. The 50g actually makes a big difference, with the slimmer body amplifying the placebo. 

                     The Nexus 7 scores around 21000 in Antutu, 21048 to be precise, 59.7 fps in NenaMark 2, and 9124 in Quadrant. It also manages 8921 in GFXBench, in 1080p T-Rex Offscreen, and 253MFlops in Linpack Multi Thread.

            Google has nailed it yet again. The Nexus 7 2013 is a killer deal for this price, considering no Nexus, except this and the outdated 2012 version, is available for less than 20000. I would say, grab it while it's still there. 

Where to get it from:
               Flipkart:       16GB:          Grab it!
               Flipkart:       32GB:          Grab it!
               Amazon:      16GB:          Grab it!
               Amazon:      32GB:          Grab it!

Monday, March 10, 2014

No time to read the novel? Spritz up.

You recently bought your favorite novel, but damn these work hours and tiredness, you can't even read a word. To top that, your novel is a 500 page thriller that you know you simply can't put down. What do you do? Get an e-book and read in whatever spare time you have? No.
Thanks to developers at Spritz, you can now read an 85000 word novel in around seventy nine minutes. No, I am not joking around.

Spritz believes that there exists an "optimal recognition point" within each word, that allows us to identify it. It also believes that most of the time is spent in searching for the next optimal recognition point, or ORP as we may call it, on the page. They designed the text to align the ORP directly with the eye, which is featured in red. The user has to just read the word that pops up.

The popping speed is user-definable. They have released some images to illustrate this phenomena.
 250 words-per-minute
350 words-per-minute
500 words-per-minute

After three years of development, Spritz is now in beta in the Android platform. They plan to expand to iOS shortly afterwards. There isn't any ETA. But we all are waiting hard to download this and finish an average sized novel in under an hour.