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ASUS dumps its ZenUI for Android Oreo in its new Zenfone Max Pro M1

Right from launch of Zenfone 2 series in India, ASUS has always kept somebody as a close competitor in front of its eyes. I am not sure, whether it works as a strategy to give targets to your team or it backfires as a marketing strategy as it always acknowledges the competitor to be the one who has set the benchmark. Whatever the case might be, but ASUS has still not shied of adopting this trick. 

But it has changed one thing since launching of Zenfone 2 almost two and half years ago. That time it went on challenging the king straightaway- iPhone 6S Plus. Might be the target consumer for it that time would have been not the iPhone buyers, but those consumers who always dream of an iPhone but were aware that they are not going to have all the money in the world to buy an iPhone. iPhone or Apple as such continued to be the antagonist even for the Zenfone 3 series.

Also read: ASUS goes premium, in show and in phones as well

Since than ASUS has stuck itself to challenging competitors more from its segment.It was Gionee M5 plus against Zenfone Max, Oppo F1 Selfie expert against Zenfone Selfie and now Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro against Zenfone Max Pro M1 launched today. A pro v/s a pro! It was the global launch for the latest smartphone from the ASUS stable in Delhi. Clearly ASUS is repositioning itself in the under-20K Rs smartphone segment.

This phone is the extension of the Max series of phones meant for heavy power users. Hence ASUS has maximised it with some newest features, few of them are firsts for an ASUS phone, just like it is the Android 8.1 Oreo. ASUS has dumped its trademark ZenUI for this phone.

As for the other features, ZenFone Max Pro packs a massive 5000mAh battery, a 15.2 cms (5.99) FHD+ Full View display and a dual-camera system into an compact metal body. It is powered by the fast and energy-efficient Qualcomm® Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platform, with Adreno 509 graphics for enhanced responsiveness and outstanding gaming performance. The smartphone’s exquisite design features a stylish aluminum-alloy body and 2.5D-curved display glass, and is available in two stunning finishes: Deepsea Black, and Gray. But users will certainly miss the Corning Gorilla Glass protection in this price segment. The hallmark of the ZenFone Max Series is the huge battery capacity, designed for serious travelers and those who need maximum battery endurance. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) has a high-capacity, high-density 5000mAh battery — the most powerful in the ZenFone Max Series — but here again users will miss the fast charging support, that is almost a norm now elsewhere. 

Also read: Zenfone 4 Selfie: Putting a jigsaw puzzle together

Immersive Display and Audio

The 15.2 cms (5.99) Full View FHD+ (1080 x 2160) display in the ZenFone Max Pro features stunning 450cd/m2 brightness, class leading 1500:1 contrast ratio and an 85% NTSC color gamut to provide users an magnificent visual experience. The ultrawide 18:9 aspect ratio and slim bezels provide a greatly expanded viewing area that makes viewing photos and watching widescreen videos incredibly immersive, and when browsing the web there’s less need for scrolling. Multitasking is also easier, as two apps fit comfortably side-by-side on the screen. 

Max Box

For powerful, immersive high-quality sound, the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) features a five-magnet speaker driven by an NXP smart amplifier that delivers higher volume with lower distortion. Compared to single-magnet speaker performance, the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) delivers 41% louder sound, 14% better low-frequency response and 12% less distortion. When coupled with Max Box, the volume can increase up to 2X louder. This Max Box comes free box packed with every unit of new phone. Interestingly, this Max Box will remind old-timers of the Audio Booster that came with Nokia 7210 Supernova almost a decade back. Actually that Audio Booster from erstwhile Nokia looked more durable and stylish in comparison to this Max Box from ASUS.

Also read: Its now dualfie time with Vision 3

Dual rear cameras

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comes with a dual-camera. Main one is a 13MP sensor with a f/2.2 wide-aperture lens. The secondary 5MP rear camera is a dedicated depth-sensing camera for bokeh effect in portraits and close-ups. Through the initial looks, the camera leaves much to be desired. It also has a 8MP front camera. It also has led flash light with both rear and front cameras. All other trademark ASUS beautification features are also there. ZenFone Max Pro (M1) shoots video at up to 4K UHD resolution.

Dual SIM slots and an expandable storage upto 2TB

The 2.5D-curved front edges make the ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comfortable to hold, with significantly less bulk than a standard 6-inch phone. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is available in two stunning finishes to match the user’s style: Deepsea Black and Meteor Silver. The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) comes with two SIM slots supporting 4G LTE, and an additional microSD slot to expand storage by up to 2TB. Its convenient triple-slot tray lets users install two SIMs and a microSD card in one easy step.

The ZenFone Max Pro (M1) is easier to use and more convenient than ever, with a new face unlock feature that lets users unlock the phone simply by looking at it — the perfect solution for messy or gloved fingers. In addition, ZenFone Max Pro (M1) sports a rear fingerprint sensor. Although both the features are yet to be tested in actual conditions for their efficiency.

A hands on experience

Special Launch Day Offers and Pricing

ZenFone Max Pro (M1) smartphone is also the first smartphone to be co-marketed and distributed online under the recently announced partnership between ASUS and Flipkart. It goes on sale from 3rd May 2018. Flipkart launches ‘Complete Mobile Protection’, India’s end to end post sale assurance at a special introductory price of just Rs. 49 in partnership with Asus especially with this phone. It offers comprehensive coverage and ultimate convenience to the customer with doorstep pick up and drop service. In addition, there is an extra Rs. 1000 off over regular exchange of models and to spread buying cost a special no cost EMI, upto 12 months on all credit cards and Bajaj Finserv Limited. ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) will be available in two variants namely 3GB / 32GB for Rs.10,999 and the 4GB / 64GB for Rs. 12,999. There will be soon a third variant as well- a 6GB / 64GB with 16MP + 5 MP rear camera and 16 MP front camera. That will be available for 14,999 Rs. But only sometime later.

Also read: ASUS goes MAX with its new Zenfone

Vodafone also has an offer on ZenFone Max Pro M1 for benefits up to Rs.3200. Offers include, Free additional data, Free Red Sheild Device security plan for 2 years and weekly telecom and non-telecom offers for youth customers.

Have you used any ASUS smartphone? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Its now Dualfie time with Vision 3

Smartphone makers are getting as obsessed with selfie features as are the smartphone consumers with their phone selfies. Just a few months back ASUS tried to widen the selfie with a 120 degree FOV (field of view) ’wefie’ and now InFocus mobiles have gone a step further with their Vision 3 smartphone which gives you a ‘Dualfie’, where you can capture in a single shot image from both the from as well as the rear camera. Thus when you are taking a selfie, you can also show what is happening in front of you, i.e. behind the camera! What more, this front camera also gives you 120 degree FOV.

Only catch might be that the rear camera is 13MP and 5MP dual lens and front camera is 8MP, which some people might feel as just OK with current industry trends. But what needs to be considered is that this camera also gives class leading 5.7-inch full vision screen and 18:9 or 82.4% HD High-resolution screen ratio display. When all this comes with just a price tag of 6,999 INR than it is worth a bargain. The phone goes on sale from midnight today i.e. 20th December exclusively on Amazon.

Phone was launched in Delhi today by Dr. Luo Zhongsheng, Global CEO for Sharp & InFocus Mobile. With this launch the US company has put some big goals in front of it for the new year. This company has all its phones manufactured by Taiwanese company Foxconn. Production and assembly is placed in the hands of Foxconn while InFocus handles global sales and marketing teams around the world. Company this year also launched some low cost high performing smartphones like Turbo 5 Plus and is now trying to catch up with other competitors like ASUS and Oppo.

Phone is equipped with a powerful 4000mAh non removable battery tempting enough to enjoy videos on a bigger screen. Supported by a full screen Vision 3 also sports single key split screen to work on 2 apps simultaneously. The larger screen makes this feature more viable to use. Front camera also comes loaded with industry standard beauty features and allows up to 7 levels of beauty modifications. The front camera also sports background blur feature to blur out unnecessary background and give more sharpness to the subjects. Another interesting camera feature of the InFocus Vision 3 is that is allows users to click and share photo stories in a grid. Grid photography allows users to take photos creatively, which can be directly shared on social media and with peers.

As for built, phone is powered by MediaTek MTK 6737H quad core 1.3GHz processor and the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. Vision 3 comes loaded with 2GB RAM + 16GB variant which is expandable up to 64GB memory (through micro SD). Infocus has also introduced its latest UI with new-look icons and design and named it Smile UX. Vision 3 is a dual SIM smartphone that accepts Nano GSM SIMs in both the slots. On connectivity front, options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OYG, FM, 3G and 4G LTE networks.

The smart Fingerprint sensor allows the users to save up to 4 sets of fingerprints and access multiple applications at the touch of a tip. It also has standard gravity sensor, ambient light sensor and proximity sensor. What can be a game changer for InFocus is that it plans to bring face detection ID to Vision 3. This technology was much talked about recently with launch of Apple’s iPhone8 and iPhoneX. If InFocus is able to put it together in its low priced Vision 3, than it can certainly catch a many eyes as it would be first in class and category.

ZenFone 4 Selfie : Putting a jigsaw puzzle together

Front cameras of your smartphones are again in focus. Just a year after it upgraded its Zenfone Selfie to launch a new set of diamond cut phones, ASUS has come up with a whole series of Zenfone 4 for selfie addicts. Zenfone 4 Selfie series has already been launched by the Taiwanese maker in other countries and now it comes to India. On Thursday, it launched three models in the ZenFone 4 Selfie series- Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, the top notch one with a price tag of Rs 23,999 and then there are two models of Zenfone 4 Selfie- one with the dual cameras and another with just single camera. Dual camera version comes at a price tag of Rs 14,999 and single camera version for Rs 9,999.

ASUS has also announced to extend its partnership with e-retailer Flipkart and hence these phones will be available exclusively on Flipkart. To celebrate the Flipkart’s upcoming Big Billion Day, the dual camera version of Zenfone 4 Selfie will be available with an additional discount of Rs 1000 (i.e. for Rs 13,999) on the BBD. These phones will be available from 21st September onwards.

Third major take-away of the day with ASUS was the latest version of ZenUI. Answering all the prayers of its users ASUS has now cleaned up its user interface of all those irritating pre-installed applications. Wow!! So now ZenUI 4.0 comes up with just 13 pre-installed apps, almost a third of what used to be 35 apps in its ZenUI 3.0. Many of those useless apps have been completely wiped out and few others have been clubbed together in single app. This ZenUI 4.0 sits atop Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS which will later be upgraded free to Android O. Another wonderful thing. Actually this was the first launch of ZenUI 4.0 worldwide. Fairly, ASUS is also providing all users with ZenUI 3.0 to upgrade free to first ZenUI 4.0 and then to Android O.

Asus sent a jigsaw puzzle as an invite to today’s event. Clearly, putting together a great smartphone is a real jigsaw puzzle. Has Asus been able to do that really? Will be known only when hands-on reviews are out. But first impressions are quite descent.
Specially Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro has got a premium touch to it with a metallic unibody. This being a high-end phone is best of the lot. Will talk about lot of other features later. Most talked about one is the transit from selfie to wefie when you actually take photos from the front camera of not you alone but of a bigger group and background. That’s when you need a wider front camera. Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro gives you a 120 degree FOV (field of view) second front camera with an aperture of f/2.2. Duopixel main front camera gives you a 24MP quality with 83 degree FOV and aperture of f/1.8.

With a ‘Selfie Master’ app, portrait mode and its beautification technology, this ASUS phone knows where its heart lies. Another highlight of this camera is 4K quality video recording with both its camera- front as well as rear. That is claimed to be first in the segment feature. Dual sim capable phone comes with a 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. It supports expandable storage upto 2TB through a dedicated micro SD card slot.

How willing are you to have a phone for live streaming!

 

Honestly enough, I never tried live streaming myself on any social media platform. Never found any occasion to do so, or if there was an occasion, it never came to my mind. Although, before Facebook or Instagram, I had opportunity to go live for my YouTube channel. I would have loved to do that given the number of subscribers, but still I didn’t. That makes me really wonder, whether people go live on social media platforms that often! I have indeed seen a few facebookers going live, but not in big numbers. Having said that, I still find it a cool idea to have a smartphone dedicated to live streaming. ASUS has been leader in many technological innovations and now it claims that its Zenfone Live is the first phone to have live beautification technology.

So, the idea of phone depends on how willing are you to go live streaming. But then, will you go for a phone for just live streaming on social media platforms? It can be an added advantage but can it be the main driving force for your decision to buy a phone?

Zenfone Live comes in three exciting colours- Navy Black, Rose Pink, and Shimmer Gold.

Given that one needs to live stream itself quite often- what would be the requirements! A good connectivity which doesn’t breaks the streaming or freezes it, good microphones that can relate the sound as desired and of course a good camera that captures you beautifully. All these three things are also necessities of modern smartphones. But for this phone ASUS has specifically worked upon last function the most. In this regard, ASUS has sensed that a live streaming most means broadcasting oneself and one hindrance to that is the apprehension about how one would look on the camera. That’s the reason for ASUS to work upon the live beautification technology which can control the way you look on live streaming. That means that you can control the fairness or sharpness of your features.

Still not reviewing the phone as yet to get a unit for the full review. Just discussing here the features of the phone.  ASUS claims that ZenFone Live’s front-facing camera is made for snapping sharper, clearer selfies. The sensor has extra-large, 1.4μm pixels that improve sensitivity to light by up to 200 percent compared to smartphones with standard smaller pixels. ZenFone Live also has a soft-light LED flash that illuminates true skin tones, and it’s equipped with a wide-angle lens with an 82° field of view — so users are able to frame, capture details in wide angle and broadcast it to the world.

ZenFone Live also has a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0-aperture, five-prism rear lens, and benefits from ASUS PixelMaster’s industry-leading low-light technology to increase light sensitivity by up to 400 percent. It also enhances noise reduction and boosts color contrast by up to 400 percent. It supports up to 12 different camera modes, including real-time Beautification, Low Light and Super Resolution modes, to captures beautiful, high-resolution photos.

To ensure that the user’s voice is always heard, ZenFone Live has a pair of highly sensitive MEMS microphones that are expertly tuned and precisely positioned to reduce noise. This careful arrangement means that speech pickup is crystal clear, so users are able enjoy live-streamed social-media fun in total clarity — whether the backdrop is a busy street, a noisy bar, or the hustle and bustle of a shopping mall.

ZenFone Live features a powerful speaker with a five-magnet design and metal voice coil to produce loud and clear audio with supreme quality in every scenario. This speaker is powered by a smart amplifier that increases audio resolution and loudness while ensuring that the speaker is not damaged.

ZenFone Live also features DTS Headphone:X™, a revolutionary surround-sound technology that synthesizes a full 7.1-channel virtual surround-sound experience, making all content sound better over headphones. With this unique combination, ZenFone Live produces delivers audio that’s up to 67 percent louder than the previous generation, while also extending low-frequency reproduction by up to 17 percent and reducing distortion by up to 15 percent.

BeautyLive app introduces the world to real-time beautification, allowing users to create and maintain the perfect look when going live on their favorite social-networking sites.

BeautyLive combines smart software algorithms and hardware acceleration to automatically smooth skin and remove blemishes, and it integrates seamlessly with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The result is the ability to craft and broadcast instant glamor that keeps the user looking as beautiful as they want to be throughout every live-streaming session. The BeautyLive feature works with both front and rear camera.

 

 

ZenFone Live’s brilliant 5 inch IPS HD display shines brightly through strong glass that is precision-milled at the edges to create a gentle, 2.5D curve. The natural, ergonomic feel of the glass flows around to the back, for comfort that matches the fine style. ZenFone Live also has an impressive 75 percent screen-to-body ratio, for more screen and less bulk.

The ZenFone Live features a premium build quality with sandblasted metallic finish that feels as great as it looks.

To enable all these features in a decent phone apparatus Zenfone Live has got Qualcomm® Snapdragon™  Quad-Core Processor with Adreno 305 GPU. On storage front it has 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM (MicroSD support up to 128GB SDXC) and 100GB of Google Drive space for 2 years. AT 2650 mAh, the battery might be a bit turn-off, but than there has to be some compromise.

It has got multiple connectivity options- Dual SIM Dual standby (2G/3G/4G); Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi-Direct, Miracast, hotspot, Bluetooth V 4.0; LTE Cat. 4 and GPS/AGPS/GLONASS.

Like it or hate it, but ASUS’ standard ZenUI app is there to boost up many performances. Phone comes with Android 6.0 with ZenUI 3.0. And, all this comes for mere 9,999 INR for the starting model!

So! Wanna Go Live!! I will certainly like to go live next time I am travelling, but still not sure whether I would need the BeautyLive App!!

 

Now Zenfone 3 goes Max!

Asus launched its Zenfone 3 series in August this year, less than three months back. (Read the post: ASUS goes premium) Earlier in June it had launched superpower version of its phones- Zenfone Max (Read Review: A Power Packed Maximiser.) It has quickly realised that it is time to combine the battery of Max with premium features of Zenfone 3. Hence came the idea of Zenfone 3 Max which was launched in India today, 9th November 2016. At the onset, I will like to tell you that Zenfone Max had a 5000mAh battery, while Zenfone 3 Max has a 4100mAh battery. Probably the additional features of Zenfone 3 have not let room for a bigger battery!

zenfone3max1Well, the new smartphone will be available in two variants, 5.5 inch (ZC553KL) and 5.2 inch (ZC520TL), priced at INR 17,999 and INR 12,999 respectively. Prices already look very competitive. But few catches. The basic model of Zenfone 3 series (Zenfone 3 Laser) launched in August had the price tag of 18,999 INR. Zenfone 3 Max is cheaper than that. Whereas, Zenfone Max launched in June carried a price tag of 12,999 INR for its uppermost model. So, while the battery goes less powerful in Zenfone 3 Max (in comparison to Zenfone Max) it gets improved features and better processor. Hence, theoretically as well as practically it is not any of the phones of the earlier Zenfone 3 series with improved battery, but it is entirely a new phone which has been gelled with the already launched Zenfone 3 series as there is always a good market for smartphones with high-performing batteries.  Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL is available from today in all the major E-tailers and Retailers in India while Zenfone 3 Max ZC553KL will be available by end November’16.  Both models will be available in three stunning metallic colours – Titanium Gray, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold.

zenfone3max2

Unlike earlier Zenfone Max and like the current Zenfone 3 series, this smartphone sports a 2.5D contoured glass touchscreen in a finely sandblasted full-metal, aluminum alloy-body with brilliant diamond cut chamfered edges, matched around the back by a gently curving rear cover that feels natural to hold. The display is surrounded by a slim, 2.25mm bezel that gives it a high 75% screen to body ratio enhancing the sleek look of the phone while minimizing bulk, giving users as large a screen for as compact a phone size as possible.

Designed for photography enthusiasts, Zenfone 3 Max features extraordinary 16MP/8MP (5.5”- ZC553KL) and 13MP/5MP (5.2”-ZC520TL) rear + front cameras that deliver crystal clear images. ASUS’ iconic PixelMaster camera captures beautiful, high-resolution photos with zero shutter lag and is loaded with powerful camera modes to capture every precious moment. The industry-leading Backlight (Super HDR) mode lets users see clearly through daytime shadow, Super Resolution captures multiple shots simultaneously for a single photograph with stunning 64MP(5.5”- ZC553KL)/ 52MP(5.2”- ZC520TL) detail and Low Light mode takes clear and bright photos, even in poor lighting.  The 16MP f2.0 camera of the Zenfone 3 Max ZC553KL features triple technology autofocus system which ensures a superfast focus time of 0.03 seconds.— laser, phase detection and conventional contrast detection for continuous auto-focus — into one harmonious system that automatically selects the best one depending on the subject, lighting and range. When shooting handheld videos with Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL), an electronic image stabilization (EIS) system counteracts hand movements to ensure the resulting videos are stable and shake-free.

Stronger battery allows users to use the phone for a full working day and beyond. As with Zenfone Max this phone also doubles up as a fast-charge power bank for charging other devices. The product comes with inbox OTG cable for reverse charging and File Transfer. Despite this incredible battery performance, Zenfone 3 Max weighs only 148 grams (5.2’’- ZC520TL)/ 175 grams (5.5’’- ZC553KL) and  up to 8.5mm thick at the sides, making it one of the lightest and most compact smartphones with a battery that is more than 4000 mAh in capacity. To optimize performance, the smartphone also offers five selectable power modes that enable users to regulate their usage according to their needs – Performance mode, Normal mode, Power saving mode, Super Saving mode and Customized mode.

Here is the video of the launch event-

For added security and convenience, Zenfone 3 Max has a fingerprint sensor that is conveniently positioned near the top of the rear panel, allowing the user’s index finger to rest naturally upon it. The fingerprint sensor allows rapid locking or unlocking of the phone, and can also be used for authentication by other apps. The sensor functionality is integrated with the camera as well, allowing you to double tap to open the PixelMaster Camera app, and a single tap to capture the photo. It registers up to five separate fingerprints, and accurately detects fingerprints regardless of the orientation of the finger on the sensor in as swiftly as 0.3 seconds.

Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 (ZC553KL) is equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 64-bit octa-core processor. Together with an Adreno 505 graphics processor, the smartphone provides a greater responsiveness and ability to run graphically demanding games. While  ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.2 is powered by a 64-bit quad-core processor, a Mali T720 graphics processor and a 3GB RAM.

KEY POINTS:

  • Beautiful metallic design: Elegant sandblasted aluminum-alloy body with rounded edges, 2.5D contoured display glass and diamond-cut edges
  • Advanced camera: Excellent 16MP/13MP PixelMaster camera with industry leading Backlight (Super HDR), Super Resolution and Low Light modes for exquisite photographs
  • Extreme battery life: All-day talk time from a powerful, yet compact 4100mAh lithium-polymer battery
  • Remarkable reverse charging capability: Equipped with an OTG cable for charging other devices as well as for file transfers
  • Responsive Fingerprint Sensor: Fingerprint sensor unlocks in 0.3 Sec. with 5 fingers, 360 Degree Recognition and Camera Integration

Asus goes premium, in show and in phones as well!

The launch of Asus Zenfone2 series was for mass and Zenfone3 series was launched for class. The difference was quite striking- in the phones of the new series as well as the launch event. Exactly an year ago launch event for the Zenfone2 series was in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the event though hi-tech looked like a mass event. But Zenfone3 was launched in India on Wednesday in a Delhi 5* hotel for a select audience in a fashion show type atmosphere. There was a different feeling altogether for the event, and that applied to the new series as well. (See at the bottom a exclusive video of the event.) 

Huge anticipation!
Huge anticipation!

ASUS CEO Jerry Shen was there to announce the launch and marking the availability of the latest ZenFone 3 range of smartphones during the Zenvolution event, making India one of the first countries to have access to the stunning new line-up of smartphones.

Well, here I am not reviewing the phones or the other gadgets, but talking just about the show. Regional head for India & South Asia Peter Chang introduced the phones and the laptops. Besides the Zenfone3 series smartphones, launch was also for ASUS ZenBook 3 and ASUS Transformer 3 Pro PC.

Zenfone3 series smartphones are in four models- the basic Zenfone3 has two high-end versions- Zenfone3 Ultra and Zenfone3 Deluxe. There is also a low end version- Zenfone3 Laser.

Next were ASUS ZenBook 3, an ultra-sleek and lightweight notebook with a premium aluminum design, and ASUS Transformer 3 Pro,  which company claims to be the world’s most versatile PC.

What was similar from the last launch of Zenfone2 with this one was the fact that ASUS felt its competition with Apple both the times. While earlier it tried to compare its phones with Apple in terms of features, while this time it tried to match Apple’s premium feel as well. Hence were the prices which had a touch of luxury segment. Perhaps ASUS has realised that the way to consumers heart is not just by the features, but through the luxury feel as well.

The products were showcased in a fashion show produced by designer-duo Shivan & Narresh. Well, it looked impressive- Look for yourself-

And then, there was the show-stopper- leading lady of silver screen – Sonakshi Sinha. Another thing that haven’t changed from the last time was the brand ambassador. Sonakshi continues to be there promoting ASUS phones diligently. She was stunning in her dress and was all smiles. Look for yourself-

A great show put together by ASUS. But, wait for the reviews and then it will be left to see whether it has guts to steal the hearts of the Indian consumers.

See the video to have a feel of the electrifying launch-

A mouse does a ‘Yoga’ and becomes a remote control!

Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker and a significant player in tablets and smartphones, has announced the launch of its latest convertible laptop in India, the YOGA 710. Powered by a 6th Gen Intel Core™ i7 processor, the new 14-inch YOGA 710 boosts high performance and long battery life so users can leave their cords at home for longer. It is the perfect fit for travelers and mobile multi-taskers who are productive on the road. The YOGA 710 comes with one of the most unique accessories – the wireless YOGA Mouse which can also double up as a remote control for an on-screen presentation.

Remarkably connected YOGA 710 for extreme travel-readiness

YOGA 710Beautifully slim and light, YOGA 710 is one of the most powerful and portable convertible laptops in the market that enables users to multitask seamlessly between videoconferencing, emailing, editing photos and more on-the-go. The most promising feature of the Yoga 710 is its innovative antenna that physically integrates into the Yoga hinge, covering a greater surface area, and making signal strength 20 percent better and more stable, avoiding the problem of unreliable Wi-Fi connections among mobile users.

With a Next-Generation NVIDIA® discrete graphics card, YOGA 710 provides richer visuals and a faster operating experience, making the device perfect for gaming and multimedia. The addition of Dolby Audio™ Premium energizes entertainment with rich, powerful sound that dynamically adjusts audio to deliver home theater quality in a virtual surround sound experience. It also has an up to 256GB solid state drive (SSD) for fast access to movies, pictures, and files without having to use an external hard drive. With up to 8 hours of battery, users can enjoy a movie marathon and still have charge to squeeze in a couple of hours of work. The FHD (1920×1080) display makes everything from movies and photos to games and video chat look sharper.

YOGA Mouse – ultimate travel mouse for both work and play

YOGA-mouseThe ultra-slim YOGA mouse is a multifunctional device that’s wireless and can be converted into a remote control for media player, presentations and other applications. The mouse supports both Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz wireless connection for maximum flexibility and computing on-the-go. It includes a rechargeable battery which is integrated and sealed inside, avoiding the need to buy spare batteries. The mouse also consists of an adaptive touch display when in flat mode provides additional control for presentation and entertainment.

Commenting on the launch, Bhaskar Choudhuri, Director, Marketing, Lenovo India said, “Today, consumers expect their gadgets to add value to their active, on-the-go lifestyles. YOGA 710 is a laptop that caters to these new-gen mobile workers and travel enthusiasts who need work, recreation, and social connectivity on-the-go, and with minimal connectivity hassles. YOGA 710 comes with just the right specs and form factor that enable this. The flexible YOGA mouse adds on to the style quotient of the device. We’re excited to see how Indian consumers respond to this distinctive combination of style and specification.”

ASUS upgrades its Zenfone Selfie

Selfie expert smartphones are selling like hotcakes. Close on the heels of Oppo’s plans to launch its F1s Sefie Expert Camera, ASUS has already launched upgraded version of its Zenfone Selfie in India. Zenfone Selfie, launched last year was a huge success for its selfie specific features.

After that smashing success  ASUS has launched a newer version of the Zenfone Selfie (ZD551KL) in India. Crafted to give selfie habits a makeover, the all-new Zenfone Selfie offers a powerful performance with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor combined with a 3GB RAM and 16GB memory that is expandable up to 128GB. The Zenfone Selfie also comes with a diamond cut back, beautifully fashioned and aimed at delivering a luxury and designer experience to the user. For a price of INR 12,999, the smartphone is available on Amazon now, and will be in retail outlets from September onwards.

Selfie Front_Diamond TextureZenfone Selfie offers a 13MP front camera with a f/2.2-aperture, wide-angle (88-degree) lens, dual color real tone flash and selfie panorama. It also supports macro photography that allows the users to capture objects over 6cm. The phone also sports a 13MP rear camera with a f/2.0-aperture, auto- laser focus lens and a dual-color real tone flash. MicroSD card support ensures that users always have space to save their precious memories. A heavy duty battery of 3000mAh also enables diverse and heavy modes of usage.

Commenting on the launch, Peter Chang, Region Head – South Asia & Country Manager for ASUS India said, “The new Zenfone Selfie perfectly encapsulates the creativity of the ASUS design team with the stunning diamond cut back fashioned to deliver a stylish and luxury experience for the consumers. Apart from the design, the smartphone also offers great performance levels with its 3GB RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 to match the users’ performance needs.”

Zenfone Selfie is available in a range of exciting colours – Glacier Gray, Sheer Gold, Polygon-Illusion Diamond White, Illusion Polygon Blue, and Illusion Smooth Pink, to suit every user’s personal style and fashion sense.

A power packed Maximiser : ASUS ZenFone Max

Almost two years ago when I went to Uttarakhand Himalayas for 14 days to document the Nanda Devi Rajjat Yatra, I was carrying my old love Nokia C7 phone with me (as a phone companion only, my camera gears were altogether different). I loved that phone for its toughness and camera quality. The phone had a 1200mAh battery and the Sonilex power bank that I carried on the trip had a 3600mAh battery, theoretically enough to charge my phone three times. Last year when I got a ASUS ZenFone2 Laser, it had a 3000mAh battery.

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Now last month I received new ZenFone Max for review and when I opened the box six days after receiving it, the message said that the phone had been in the box in the power on mode ever since it left ASUS India office. The phone was actually on and the power meter on the phone indicated that it still had 33 percent battery, sufficient for stand-by time of 13 days. Rough calculation indicates that fully charged phone would have been sufficient for stand-by duration of around 33 days. Now thats tremendous. The ZenFone Max comes with a massive 5000mAh battery.

Having said that, fact is that the phone we are discussing here is the upgraded version of the ZenFone Max which was already lunched early this year with the same battery. Actually, one thing that phone exceeded all expectations was for its battery life. With smartphones now almost 18 hour companion for many of us in a typical 24 hour time, battery life is something we always crave for. And, undoubtedly ZenFone Max was among early trendsetters in this regard with a few other companies too coming out with similar powerful batteries.

Zenfone-Max3The new ZenFone Max has few other upgrades as well. Though default lower version still comes with a 2GB RAM (you have to shell out another 3,000 Rs for a 3GB RAM model) the internal storage has been just doubled to 32 GB from 16 GB. The base model of new ZenFone Max costs Rs 9,999 and the 3GB RAM model for Rs 12,999. The difference in price seems rather too steep just for additional GB of RAM. The new Max also comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-Core processor whereas the initial launch had a Quad Core Snapdragon 410 Soc processor. Snapdragon 615 Soc is now a normal feature in this segment. That would have compromised some of its battery strength as the better processor consumes more of battery, but still the 5KmAh battery is strong enough to give a powerful performance. Another upgrade has been on the OS. ZenFone Max originally came with Android Lollipop. The upgraded max comes with Android Marshmallow 6.0. Hence there is change in the appearance with few of the Marshmallow’s apps marking their presence.

Zenfone-Max5To launch an upgraded phone in just under five months at the same price (Rs, 9,999) for the basic model would have certainly needed some guts. But then many other specifications are the same- such as camera, 5.5 inch screen, screen resolution (720 x 1280), dimension, weight and even look & feel. Phone has a descent look. Although it is slightly bigger and heavier than my ZenFone2 Laser but still comfortable enough to hold. Plastic back cover has a leathered texture and there is a metallic rim all around which gives it a premium feel and a solid build. All buttons (power and volume) are on the right side. Micro-USB slot it at the bottom and audio jack socket on the top. It has two 4G SIM slots and a micro SD card slot for an expandable memory upto 64 GB. That means you can effectively carry almost 96Gb space with you; almost as too many ASUS ZenUI controlled Apps consume a lot of space and many people find that an irritant. You always have a app or two updating in your phone’s backyard. But on the battery front backed by Android M 6.0.1 and ASUS ZenUI, the new ZenFone Max includes advanced features to satisfy power users. The Power Saver mode helps users manage and extend the battery life even more. With five battery modes and two smart switches that users can configure to make their own battery optimisation settings and help the battery last even longer.

On the core functions, I found the calling quality and the browsing experience on the phone very satisfying. I have found 4G browsing on my ZenFone2 Laser also very satisfying and same has to be the case with ZenFone Max as well. There is change in colours as well. The initial ZenFone Max was launched in two colours- Black and White. But white is gone this time around and with black come two other colours- orange and blue. Orange colour really make it look more chic and fashionable.

While talking about the battery, it isn’t replaceable. It means, your phone and the battery are going live the same life-span. Secondly, the charging time for the battery is far too much than expected in these running times. The reason is the charger. The same 5.2v charger for a 3000mAh battery phone and a 5000mAh battery phone simply won’t work.

Zenfone-Max2For me as a traveler and a photographer, a descent camera with a powerful battery life is just something one can ask for. Added to it is a processor good enough for multitasking when you need to check mails and also reply to comments on your latest blog post and in the end watch a small film in the night in the confines of your tent as well. You can easily have a couple of days small trip to a countryside with a single charge. And you can still have some battery left to lend some power to your friends with Samsungs and iPhones from you Max. Yea, ZenFone Max can be used as a power bank as well and the phone actually comes with a OTG cable for this purpose. I am not reviewing the camera functionalities as they are the same as in earlier ASUS phones (read reviews of ASUS ZenFone2 Laser and ASUS ZenFone Zoom) and I have found them quite upto the mark this time as well with ZenFone Max. But there is slight change in the camera app making it more friendly with better control options.

Overall, it is a very descent smartphone without being too heavy on the pocket. But it needs to be wary of its competitors as things are moving very fast in this segment. Besides the battery, the camera and the processor, a quick upgradation of other features will be key to remain competitive. But remember, its the battery which it will be remembered for.

ASUS unveils a home robot companion – Zenbo

ASUS ZenboNow Asus brings you a home robot- Zenbo. This is a friendly and capable home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families

ASUS Zenbo arose from Chairman Jonney Shih’s ambition to enable robotic computing for every household. Zenbo is meant to address the needs of each family member in this ubiquitous computing era. With a full range of capabilities, including the ability to move independently and understand spoken commands, Zenbo can assist in the home and interacting with him is easy and fun.

Zenbo is designed for everyone, but he has specific functionality that helps senior family members safeguard their health and well-being as well as enjoy a connected digital life. As a home care assistant, he proactively provides convenient, spoken reminders of important information, such as doctor’s appointments, medication and exercise schedules, and anything else that needs to be remembered. Zenbo also monitors the home for emergency situations — such as falls — and immediately responds to them by notifying specified family members on their smartphones, no matter where they are. When they receive an emergency notification, family members can remotely control Zenbo to move nearby and use Zenbo’s built-in camera to visually check on their loved one. Zenbo is also a friendly companion who helps to bridge the digital divide between generations by making it easy to accomplish a variety of online tasks — including making video calls, using social media, shopping, and streaming movies and TV shows — using voice commands and guided help.

Zenbo is also a fun and educational playmate for kids who entertains them with interactive stories and learning games that foster their creativity and logical thinking skills. With his high-quality, built-in stereo sound system, Zenbo can play children’s favorite songs and even dance along to the music, making for fun playtime activity. Zenbo is also an expert storyteller who keeps children entertained during the day and helps them fall asleep at night. Zenbo includes a built-in library of stories that he tells in a variety of entertaining voices, while displaying accompanying images on his screen and controlling the room lighting to add a new level of interactivity and fun to story time. Zenbo also comes with educational games and an interactive encyclopedia that make learning fun.

In addition to working with seniors and kids, Zenbo is also a hands-free household helper who enriches the home with a broad range of skills that make life easier and more enjoyable. Zenbo can connect to and control many smart home and traditional devices, including lights, TVs, air conditioners, and more. Homeowners can even use Zenbo’s built-in screen to view visitors at the door and then unlock it with a simple voice command. He can also help out in the kitchen, reading recipes out loud and functioning as a voice-controlled timer, so home chefs can stay focused on cooking. With his built-in camera and ability to move around the house, Zenbo is a great family photographer who helps preserve special and everyday moments alike. When homeowners are away, Zenbo provides peace of mind that their home is safe by acting as a remote-controlled home security camera that is accessible from anywhere via an intuitive smartphone app.

Zenbo supports a growing number of custom apps that expand his capabilities and bring new features to users. The free Zenbo Developer Program provides members access to the Zenbo SDK and a library of information they need to bring their creative ideas to life. Additionally, Zenbo Partners can work with ASUS to help build a rich, robotic ecosystem that will enhance Zenbo and enrich users’ lives.