Asus Zenfone 4 is the smallest and most affordable member of the new Zenfone family. It comes with a 4″ WVGA IPS display and runs on the dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 1.2GHz processor. The rest of the specs include PowerVR SGX 544MP2 graphics, 1GB of RAM, 4GB expandable storage and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in charge of operations. Asus has announced it will be launching Android 4.3 Jelly Bean but will be getting KitKat shortly after.
The Zenfone 4 is made entirely of matte plastic and is a bit thicker compared to its siblings. It is a dual-SIM device with a snappy chipset at an extraordinary price though, so we are ready to forgive it the extra few millimeters around the waisline.
The entire front is occupied by the 4.0-inch IPS WVGA display with the typical Android capacitive controls below. The lonely camera is on the matte black, there is no LED flash.
The battery cover is removable and you can access the two SIM beds, the microSD slot and the battery whenever you want. In case you don’t like the black flavor, Asus will be offering white, red, blue and yellow colors as well.
The right side of the Asus Zenfone 4 has the glossy Power/Lock key and the volume rocker, while the left one houses the microUSB connectivity/charging port.
The 3.5mm audio jack is on top of the Zenfone 4, while the microphone pinhole is the only thing of interest at the bottom of the device.
The smartphone should cost just $99 SIM free and should launch in the following months.
The highly popular NEX lineup of cameras just got a new member. Oh, and they are no longer called NEX cameras, alright? Despite the naming convention change, the Sony A5000 is the pinnacle of what we came to know and love as Sony’s NEX lineup of interchangeable lens cameras.
The new Sony A5000 has a 20MP APS-C sensor, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, a flippable 3″ 460K-dot LCD, a built-in pop-up flash as opposed to a pop-on accessory, and a zoom control built into the body to control power zoom lenses. It also weighs merely 269g for the body with a battery, adding for a surprisingly compact and powerful camera package.
NFC connectivity allows for nearly instant pairing to NFC-equipped Android smartphones and tablets – be it for image sharing or for controlling the camera remotely with the smart device.
My only grudge concerns the Sony’s PlayMemories Camera Apps shop where you need to pay to add new features to your camera that should have been there in the first place, such as the Time-lapse app or the automatic Sync to Smartphone app.
The Sony A5000 should ship in March 2014 in black, silver and white with a 16-50mm kit lens for a combined retail price of $600.
Nikon had a slew of announcements at the CES 2014 – first and foremost, it’s the brand new D3300 DSLR, but also the company revealed it would show their yet unannounced D4S DSLR in Las Vegas.
Along with the D3300, Nikon also announced its new collapsible 18-55 VR kit lens and the second generation of the full-frame 35mm 1.8G lens.
The highlight feature of the 24.2MP Nikon D3300 is the lack of optical low pass filter – much like on Nikon’s more expensive camera gear. The wide ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable up to 25,600), the 11-point autofocus system, the 5fps continuous shooting mode and the FullHD video capture with full-time autofocus would make it a versatile entry-level camera for aspiring photographers (and why not soccer moms, too). The Nikon D3300 is also Nikon’s first DSLR camera to pack a well overdue Easy Panorama Mode.
The Nikon D3300 is kitted with the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens, which has a spanking new collapsible design, allowing for a more compact size when not in use. The lens has the same Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor and 3x zoom magnification (27 to 82.5mm), but its VR image stabilization is rated to compensate for up to four stops as opposed to three stops in the previous generation and its retractable design makes for “a camera package nearly 30% smaller and 25% lighter”. It’s some 30mm shorter than the previous generation, it has a 5mm shorter diameter and it’s 70g lighter.
The other new addition to the Nikon portfolio is the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens. It’s the new generation of the popular 35mm lens for full-frame (or as Nikon calls them FX format) cameras. Of course, owners of DX format cameras can use it too, but the resulting focal length of 52mm (in 35mm terms) is somewhat unorthodox and too long for proper street photography (though I know some guys that swear by this sort of focal length for candid portraits).
The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 is the most recent of Nikon’s primes to be updated to a G version, following the highly successful AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.8G and 85mm f/1.8G lenses. The lens 35mm f/1.8G lens has a Silent Wave autofocusing motor and will focus from as close as 25cm.
Nikon also used the opportunity to tease its upcoming high-end DSLR model, the Nikon D4S. The camera is still in development and it’s not even officially announced yet, but Nikon will be showcasing it at the CES 2014 showroom floor.
The new Nikon D4S will build upon the highly revered Nikon D4 and will have a new image-processing engine and more advanced autofocusing performance. There are no official press photos of the D4S yet.
Availability and pricing
The Nikon D3300 along with the two new lenses will become available in February 2014. The Nikon D3300 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens will launch in Black, Red and Grey for a suggested retail price of $650/€650. The NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II will also be sold separately for a suggested US retail price of $250 before taxes. The NIKORR 35mm f/1.8G lens will have a suggested retail price of $600/€580. There is currently no pricing or availability info about the Nikon D4S.
The hotly anticipated Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is already drawing attention from carriers and phone stores. A couple of UK-based retailers have chimed in that they've started taking pre-orders.
Phones4u offers the Xperia Z1 Compact on contract with Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile and Orange. The phone itself is free, monthly taxes start at £30. If you pre-order from Phones4u, the retailer will throw in a Sony wireless speaker (SRS-BTX300, valued at £120) and up to £65 in movies and music.
The phone will be delivered on January 31 for those who pre-order today.
If you don't want a contract, Unlocked-mobiles offers the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact on pre-order for £440 (including VAT). The stock will arrive in early February.
All four color options for the Z1 Compact – Black, White, Pink and Lime – are available. We checked other UK-based sites for more offers, but there's nothing yet.
You can read more about Sony's new super mini in our extensive hands-on.
Android, which is installed on products made by Samsung, HTC, Sony and many other manufacturers, is forecast to reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, up 26 percent on last year, with the strongest demand in emerging markets.
Apple's iOS and Mac OS operating systems are expected to be in 344 million new iPhones, iPads and Macs this year, Gartner added, representing a 28 percent jump on the number of devices shipped in 2013.
"There is no doubt that there is a volume-versus-value equation, with Android users purchasing lower-cost devices compared to Apple users," Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman said in a statement on Tuesday.
Microsoft's Windows operating system, which dominates the PC and notebook segments, is forecast to be in 360 million new devices, up from 328 million in 2013.
Growth in the PC and notebook segment has been hit by the popularity of tablet computers, sales of which are forecast to increase by 47 percent this year to 263 million, according to Gartner.
"Users continue to move away from the traditional PC as it becomes more of a shared-content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users' increasingly different usage demands," Gartner research directorRanjit Atwal said.
Sales of mobile phones are expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace, with the focus moving away from top-end premium devices to mid-level products, he added.
Gartner said it expects combined global shipments of all devices to reach 2.48 billion units this year, up 7.6 per cent on 2013.
© Thomson Reuters 2014
Nokia has launched two new Lumia phones in India. The first is the Lumia 1320, which shortly follows the flagship Lumia 1520 launched last month. The Lumia 1320 is priced at INR 23,999 ($385).
The Lumia 1320 has a 6.0-inch, 1280x720 resolution display, dual-core 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 5 megapixel camera, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory and microSD card slot.
The Lumia 525 is more of a budget offering. It is priced at INR 10,399 ($167). It has a 4.0-inch, 800x480 resolution IPS LCD, 5 megapixel camera, dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal and memory with microSD card slot. The Lumia 525 also comes with free Gameloft games worth ₹2,025.