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A little while back, I wrote a review about Huawei’s smartphone champion of this year, the Huawei P8, an impressive handset with a premium look and capable hardware worthy of occupying its throne as a flagship. As we all know that premium quality doesn’t usually come cheap, the phone’s price is a little bit spicy and may leave some of you scratching your heads, asking yourselves if you can’t find something similar, but more affordable – this is when the P8lite steps in. This mid-range handset is meant to draw the attention of those who are seeking to acquire a smartphone with decent specs, attractive design and, the most important, with a reasonable price. Costing almost two times less than its premium sibling, the P8lite features a 5 inches display, an octa-core processor, a 13 megapixels primary camera and a 5 MP secondary one, Android 5.0 Lollipop, dual-SIM support and more. Keep reading and find out more!
Inside its retail package, the handset comes among its charger, a USB cable which serves for recharging the device and making data transfers and a pair of headphones.
Let’s check out its appearance. The P8lite doesn’t feature a metallic body, like its flagship brother, thus lacking that special elegance and premium touch present on the latter, but is made from a high quality plastic, being very well put together and solid too. Its looks are also great and quite classy too. The P8lite measures 143 x 70.6 x 7.7 mm and has a weight of 131 grams, being a slim and lightweight handset which is a pleasure to handle and easy to fit into pockets. Even though it’s only imitating metal, a subtle frame surrounds the body and offers it an additional touch of class. The rear features a brushed pattern that rejects fingerprints or smudges and offers a good hand grip. Also here is a glass strip, at the top, meant for resembling more with the P8.
The Huawei P8lite features a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that offers a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a pixel density of 294 ppi. The image quality is more than decent for a device from this price segment, with pleasant colors, wide viewing angles and a good sunlight legibility.
At the software department, the Huawei P8lite comes loaded with Android 5.0 Lollipop which has been significantly customized with the company’s proprietary EMUI 3.1 user interface. The lockscreen displays a “sunshine” effect when you swipe over it and shows the clock, widgets or shortcuts and also changes its wallpaper automatically through Huawei’s Covers feature.
Beyond the lockscreen is the homescreen, which supports a maximum number of nine panes and has support for widgets, folders, wallpapers and themes. As an App drawer isn’t on board, your applications also show up on the homescreen and are uninstalled directly from here.
The notification area holds your notifications on one page and the quick toggles and a brightness slider on the second.
For enhancing your experience, which will be very smooth and enjoyable, the P8lite also features motion control and gestures, enabling you to mute your ringer by flipping the phone, draw letters for accessing applications, double touch the screen for waking it up and more.
Let’s see what’s cooking at the hardware department. The Huawei P8lite is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 620 chipset, having a 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 octa-core processor, Mali-450MP4 GPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, which can be extended with a microSD of up to 128 GB that uses the secondary SIM slot. The US version of the phone holds a Snapdragon 615 chipset, which is better for gaming and the like. Anyways, if you’re going to be using the handset for daily tasks, the user experience delivered will be pleasant and hassle-free.
For snapping pictures, the P8lite is the proud owner of a very capable 13 MP camera which captures stills with a maximum resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels and is helped by a dual-LED flash in low light conditions. The camera interface reveals support for HDR, Panorama, manual settings for adjusting the ISO, white balance and more.
The pictures produced will please your eyes with pretty colors, good contrast and a high amount of details.
The camera is also very capable when shooting videos and will deliver some smooth 1080p clips @30 fps.
A 5 MP front facing camera is also present for enabling you to take satisfying selfies or just make video calls.
Among the most useful apps and features that come on board the Huawei P8lite are a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, Google Maps for navigation, an FM Radio, the Phone Manager app for offering you control privacy settings and other features, a file manager, the WPS Office suite for handling document files, two very capable video and audio players and more.
The Huawei P8lite is kept “alive” by a 2200 mAh battery and will last for almost two days if used moderately.
In 2013, the Motorola Moto G was one of the most successful smartphones from the area of mid-rangers, having an impressive package of features that came for a small price, and this combo will always be popular among customers.
As time passes, the standards increase, so we now have a 3rd generation Moto G that was released in July and keeps the series’ tradition by bringing some great specs for a more than affordable price – $179.99. Some of its key features are a 5 inches display, a Snapdragon 410 chipset, a 13 MP primary camera and a 5 MP secondary one, a water resistant customizable body, Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and more. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? The Moto G 3rd gen really has a lot to offer without emptying your pockets, find out more details about it by reading the next review.
Inside the retail box that holds the Moto G 3rd gen stands the handset itself and a charger. The lack of any other accessories is understandable, considering the phone’s small price.
Let’s check out its appearance. The new Moto G stands at 142.1 x 72.4 x 11.6 mm and tips the scale at 155 grams. Its design isn’t too different from the previous versions, but was significantly improved in terms of quality, now having an IPX7 certification for being water resistant for up to 1 m and 30 minutes. This is a feature that doesn’t come with budget phones, being one of the Moto G’s major pluses over the players from this league. Another neat thing is that you can customize its appearance, before purchasing, through the company’s customization program, Moto Maker.
Overall, the new Moto G looks and feels great, being solid, good looking and easy to manage with one hand due to its grippy rear cover.
The frontal part of the handset is occupied by a 5 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen which offers a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, a pixel density of 294 ppi and is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Naturally, the image quality is noticeably better than its predecessors’ and pleases the eye with punchy colors, good contrast, increased brightness and wide viewing angles. The sunlight legibility is very decent.
One of the best things about the Moto G is its software. The handset comes loaded with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop which is almost in its purest vanilla form, having some subtle tweaks from Motorola, but free of any kind of bloatware.
The handset offers a neat feature called “Notifications on a glance” which detects when you pull it out from your pocket or purse and shows the clock and icons for notifications without waking up the phone. Some other useful features enable you to activate the camera by twisting your wrist twice or turn on the flash light by making a chopping motion.
After unlocking the phone, you’ll be greeted by the homescreen, which holds support for widgets, shortcuts and wallpapers. Your applications are held by the App drawer. A finger swipe reveals the notification area, while a secondary one will pop up the quick toggles menu, which also holds a brightness slider and a settings key.
At the hardware department, the new Moto G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset, having a quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 processor and Adreno 306 GPU. The handset comes in two versions, with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, or with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory. The handset is a very capable performer and will deliver a stellar user experience for a device from its segment, handling daily tasks without any hiccups.
Free international calls and texting with tap4call on your smartphone.
For taking pictures, the Moto G 3rd gen is equipped with a 13 MP camera with autofocus which captures stills with a maximum resolution of 4128 x 3096 pixels and is assisted by a dual-LED flash in low light conditions. The phone delivers some nice looking photos, with accurate colors, good contrast and plenty of details.
The video camera is also a capable performer and will shoot some good looking 1080p videos @30 fps.
A 5 MP front-facing camera is also present for enabling you to make video calls or just take selfies.
Some other apps and features offered by the new Moto G are two decent media players for audio and video playback, a GPS receiver with A-GPS, Beidou and GLONASS support, Google Maps for navigation, Google Now as your personal assistant, an FM Radio with RDS support, Google Chrome for offering a great browsing experience and more.
The Motorola Moto G 3rd Generation is powered by a 2,470 mAh battery and will stay alive for almost three days if used moderately.
Once upon a time in America there was a saying: see Rome and die. Or was it “see USA and die”? Well, all things considered, the United States of America can be regarded as the new Roman Empire, the new Rome or whatever you choose to call it. Being the world’s only superpower left, all roads now lead to Rome. Strike that, all roads nowadays lead to…America, the New World.
This short intro is meant to highlight one simple fact: the USA is one of those places you should see during your lifetime if you’re addicted to travel. Even if you’re a “native”, I bet there are places you never visited until now, because the USA is a huge country, a place of staggering bio-diversity and natural beauty, from the impressive skyscrapers of NY to the majestic mesas of Arizona.
Ok, there’s also the dramatic view of the Grand Canyon and Manhattan’s legendary skyline, I don’t even know where to begin and nothing can prepare you in advance for the sheer awesomeness of these places which have no equivalent anywhere in the world.
Basically, you can spend your whole life in the United States, the leader of the free world, and you’ll feel like you’ve only scratched the surface. The US is epic, regardless the scale you’re using. Where in the world you can do the things available here, like the majestic spectacle offered by the Niagara Falls, the trekking opportunities courtesy of South Dakota’s Black Hills, the cruising opportunities along California’s Pacific Coast, the skiing resorts offered by Lake Tahoe or Vermont? Where can you taste the life of a cattle rancher better than in Texas/Midwest or listen to jazz concerts like in the New Orleans? As you can see, the options offered by this magnificent country are endless and as diverse as they can be. The USA is a micro-universe in itself, with spectacular landscapes, a rich cultural life and endless scenery, with beauty screaming through all its pores! I am being lyrical, I know, but I have all the reasons in the world for that.
Even the people inhabiting this godly place are diverse as the country itself. You’ll find all races here, in a melting-pot of cultures society, ranging from the gun-slinging Texans to colorful Cubans or the Alaskan Inuits. Generation after generation, emigrants from all over the world stamped their national identities over everything, from music to food, manners and language.
What to see, what to do while in the USA
Well, the list of travel-opportunities in the US is virtually endless; I will try to mention the most important ones in a “crash-course” of travel advice for “when in US”.
Music lovers are bound to visit Graceland, the sprawling residence of the king of pop, i.e. Elvis Presley, which hosts over 500,000 visitors ear after year.
The Grand Canyon National Park is visited by more than 5,000,000 people every year and it’s hugely popular thanks to its impressive sheer dimension and the fact that you can admire its beauty from your car, while driving over the South Rim.
For nature lovers I must recommend Liberty Bell Center in the Independence National Historical Park and the world-renowned Niagara Falls. The latter sits near the Canadian border and it’s 12 millennia old.
New York is one of the most impressive cities in the civilized world and while here, among other things, you should pay a visit at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, a place built in the memory of the victims of that nasty terrorist attack which claimed the life of 3000 people in the World Trade Center Towers.
Sin City, aka Las Vegas looks eerie and it’s that kind of place which attracts gamblers and high-life lovers from all around the world. The iconic Vegas Strip is the main street which runs through “Sin City”, making for a fabulous experience, flashing with its ubiquitous neon lights and casinos built like modern-day pyramids or landscapes from Paris and New York.
The DC (country’s capital) harbors the White House, which is the US president’s official residence, open to visitors and being a piece of history in itself. If you’re a tourist from a foreign country, you’ll receive a free/guided tour via your national embassy in Washington.
Disneyland is a half-century old legendary theme park, the most famous world-wide and filled with magical attractions for your inner child (or your kids, ok, I’ll give you that). The whole park is basically divided into “themes” as in lands, like Frontierland, Toontown, Adventureland and so on and so forth. The most popular attractions are represented by Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones or Space Mountain.
Phone calls and texting to and from USA
Use Tap4Call app for free calls and texting!
Food and Drink
Americans are among the fattest people in the world, i.e. they love to eat and drink until they burst! Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but while in the US you can eat until you drop. Food is a cult here and specialties include hamburgers (I recommend you Ruby Tuesday), fried chicken (as in Kentucky Fried Chicken, right?), barbecue (caramelized ribs are EPIC), cheesecake, apple pie, key lime pie etc. Regional drinks include “always” Coca Cola, excellent regional wines, beer, specialty coffees (Star Bucks anyone?) and myriads of cocktails (Manhattan, Vieux, Sazerac). Oh, I forgot, just pay a visit to Tennessee and bow to Jack Daniels distilleries (the same goes for Jim Beam), world’s greatest bourbons.
To enter the US you’ll require a valid passport and a visa.
Bahamas is the perfect destination for the summer ahead, because when you say Bahamas, you automatically infer beautiful sandy beaches, tons of sun and lazy afternoons.
Also, Bahamas is synonym with silence, peace, relaxation, just like paradise on Earth should look/feel like.
And trust me, Bahamas is as close to the idea of paradise as any other lucid dream of any of the great poets who tried to picture the garden of Eden. I am being melodramatic, I know, but Bahamas…
Ok, getting back to our business, let’s take a look at a few quick facts and we’ll go from there. The Bahamas are basically an archipelago which consists of over 2,000 (as in two thousand) islands, many of them small in size and formed on coral reefs. As you can imagine, a trip to Bahamas is like studying evolution in real life.
The Bahamas sit in the Atlantic Ocean, contrary to many believes that put them in the Caribbean Sea. That’s not the case.
Having a relatively small population just shy of 300,000 and a land surface of almost 14,000 square km, the Bahamas were first discovered by Christopher Columbus and soon after that, they became a British colony. The official language is English, along with various local dialects, but you can get around just fine if you’re speaking the lingua franca.
Its beautiful, sandy beaches are very quiet and crowd free, hence Bahamas will offer you the intimacy of a secluded retreat along with nothing short than a paradisiac experience, thanks to its marvelous, epic scenery. Basically, you can see Bahamas and you’ll die after that with a smile on your face, regardless of the circumstances. Seriously.
Bahamas can be described as Caribbean squared, with crystal clear waters harboring ancient and mysterious ship wrecks, incredibly beautiful coral reefs and an awesome tropical landscape; all these make for Bahamas a place that will keep you grinning for as long as you’ll stay there.
What to see, what to do in Bahamas
If you’re into contemplating God’s green Earth, i.e. thick mangroves, natural creeks, vividly colored corals and bird filled forests, well, go explore world’s 3rd largest barrier reef Andros, in the Out Islands.
Beaches are the trademark of the Bahamas, a sight to be seen and explored thoroughly, with alabaster sands and mellow waters, home for a large number of marine birds and rustling palm trees.
Blue Lagoon Island can be your “real life” experience of the “Return to the Blue Lagoon” movie, a peaceful place where you can closely interact with the abundant population of bottle-nosed dolphins (Flipper, rings a bell?).
As I already told you, Columbus discovered the Bahamas when he was looking for the New World, hence you can visit his landing spot which is located near Cockburn Town in San Salvador, that’s also a world-class scuba diving spot.
If you’re a colonial era aficionado, Eleuthera is imbibed in old colonial charm and it’s also described as the diamond of the Out Islands. This is the place where the first colony was spawned in the Bahamas and boasts its pineapple plantations and dormant colonial villages. Visiting here feels like a trip back in time of some sort, making for a unique experience, once in a lifetime.
You can go fishing in the Abaco Islands, though fishing can be “performed” virtually anywhere in the Bahamas; but, Abaco Islands are the place where world class fishing tournaments are held every year, so it’s a little bit different.
Golf is almost a national sport in the Bahamas, which hosts some of the best golf courses in the world, the most representative one being at Cable Beach.
Don’t forget to attend, if time allows obviously, the Junkanoo festivities (they take place on New Year’s Day and on Boxing Day), Bahamas’s “numero uno” party, where you can admire dance bands roaming the streets and fabulous street processions.
The Lucayan National Park is another paradisiac place to be seen while visiting the Bahamas, spreading on over 40 acres and featuring a huge underwater cave system, which harbors a unique wildlife.
Also, if you’re a city slicker, you can go shopping in Nassau, or sailing in the Exumas archipelago, or go scuba/wreck diving of the Abaccos Islands. (I said or a lot, I know).
Phone calls in Bahamas
You can use cheap or even free service with Tap4Call smartphone app.
Food and Drink
Being an insular country, it comes as a no brainer that fish/sea-foods and the like dominates the Bahamas cuisine. Ok, seafood along with various other things, like potatoes, fries, plantain or rice. A hugely popular side dish is the pan cooked bread with milk and butter, namely the Johnny Cake.
Specialties include chowders and fritters (conch), salads, stews, all served with lots of pepper, lime onion and chopped tomato. Broiled/minced rock lobster is a local delicacy, along with land crabs and souse (a type of soup made from peppers, meat, onion, celery and water). Afterwards, you can enjoy a delicious desert called guava duff, served with a sauce made using sugar and rum. Speaking of rum, the local “spirit” is Nassau Royal, which is served in coffee or straight up. Kalik is the local beer while coconut water mixed with gin and sweet milk makes for a delicious beverage.
If you want to enter Paradise Lost, you’ll only require a valid passport, no Visa is needed.
If you were wondering about the title, rest assured: that’s the actual, official motto of Barbados, a small insular country located in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles islands.
By small, I mean that Barbados only has a land surface of 167 square miles and a petite population of ~280,000 souls, as per the 2013 census.
Regardless, Barbados which means “the bearded people” is a top-notch tourist destination, and that’s why we are here, right?
Being located in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean, Barbados sits right in the path of hurricanes, in an area that’s named “the hurricane belt”. Nevertheless, this is a country that boasts with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with fine white sands and deep, blue, crystal waters.
The Platinum Coast of the island is a legendary tourist trap, filled with high end resorts, luxury hotels and spas, golf courses, gourmet restaurants and all the benefits of modern civilization.
Along with the 21 th century blessings, a trip inside the island (using a Jeep preferably) will reveal old and decrepit sugar mills, ancient plantation houses, traditional/colonist era churches and maybe the best rum in the world.
What to see, what to do in Barbados
Let us start with the country’s capital and largest city, Bridgetown, the place to be in if you want to learn about the colonial history of the place. You can visit National Heroes Square, which harbors a 19th century old statue of Lord Nelson, the neo-gothic Parliament building, one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere (Bridgetown Synagogue that is) and the vividly colored DaCosta’s Mall.
Chalky Mount Potteries are famous for their quality yet inexpensive art works; while you’re here you can pay a visit to local craftsmen that still do pottery work using 300 years old designs, tradition and machinery.
If you’re a colonial architecture buff, there are quite a few places to enjoy while in Barbados: The Jacobean St Nicholas Abbey (Persian arches and beautiful gardens), Farley Hill (hibiscus and poinsettias covered ruins), The George Washington House and Museum(an epically restored plantation) or Tyrol Cot(the former residence of Sir Grantley Adams, Barbados’s first premier and an awesome piece of architecture from the colonial era).
Crane Beach brags with its pink sands, being an idyllic location, perfect for spending your honey moon with your loved one. The waters are calm here, making for a nice surfing party if you’re into water sports.
The national sport in Barbados is cricket, a boring sport suitable for old people yet a national obsession here.
Carlisle Bay is a legendary place where you can discover ancient ship wrecks, as in wreck diving, maybe the most romantic type of scuba diving that is. There are a couple of hundred reported ship wrecks waiting to be discovered here.
Go driving on the East Coast Road, a rough and tough coastal highway taking you to one of the most popular tourist destinations, Bathsheba, and letting you admire along the way the beautiful coral reefs and the inland sugar cane plantations.
Fishing in Barbados is an art in its own, and if you’re a fish lover, here you can catch everything, ranging from tuna to shark, since all kinds of fish enjoy Barbados clear and deep waters.
Barbados harbors a magnificent botanic garden, Welchman Hall Gully’s, where you can admire exotic spice trees and rare fruits.
If you’re into lakes, waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites, Harrison’s Cave has much to offer in what is usually called a jaw dropping scenery.
Scuba diving and horse racing are local delicatessen to say the least. You can go galloping along the white sandy beaches, in the sunset, or enjoy Barbados’s coral reefs, where seahorses and giant sand eels are a common occurrence.
The oldest rum producer in the world is in Barbados, on the west coast of the island, under the improbable name of Mount Gay Rum. You can drink responsibly and rest assured, it’s okay to be gay after you’ve sipped a couple glasses of the sugar cane made liquor.
Food and Drink
Barbados’s cuisine is an eclectic choice of foods where you can eat virtually anything, from fish and chips snacks in good ol’British tradition to global cuisine.
Specialties include cutters (big fish sandwiches served with spiced cornmeal, tomatoes, peppers and onions), conkies(the same cornmeal, this time blended with pumpkin, coconut, raisins and all sorts of spices, put together and steamed inside a banana leaf), rice’n’peas(coconut flavored), sea eggs, pickled pork, grilled pigtails, crane chubb, breadfruit and plantains.
As for drinking, rum is awesome here and there are myriads of rum based cocktails to choose from.
If you want to enter and have fun in Barbados, you’ll require a valid passport but no Visa. Have fun.
As you might already know, smartwatches have become some of the most fashionable gadgets from nowadays and gain more and more terrain among those who own a smartphone, but wish to have access to their notifications and other features in a more convenient way(which means easier and quicker). These devices can also look very good and actually replace the usual stylish looking watch in terms of aesthetics, which means that not only you’ll be wearing technology on your wrist, but also an appealing accessory. Some of the best looking smartwatches are, in my opinion, the round-shaped ones, because they can easily pass as a regular timepiece, and I’m going to compare two of my favorites in the following review: the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R.
Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch was announced a year ago, in March 2014, and was released in the same year, in September, being one of the most attractive devices of its kind and among the first ones to sport the Android Wear operating system. As a performer, it’s a pretty capable fella and won’t let you down especially if this is the first smartwatch that you buy, but its major asset is, of course, the appearance that I’ve been telling you about. Which is customizable in a lot of ways and you’ll see what I’m talking about a little bit later.
The LG G Watch R was released in the same period as the Moto 360, in October 2014, and is its primary competitor. We’re also dealing with a round-faced smartwatch that could easily pass as a regular one and can be worn as a fashionable accessory due to its sleek design. Performance-wise, the G Watch R is a little more potent than its rival, which means that it will deliver a smoother experience, but not by far. On the other hand, it fails to surpass it in terms of design (at least, that’s what I think), so it’s up to you to decide what’s more important (the brains or the looks or both) and which one you’d prefer, most according to your personal taste.
Let’s check out these two and see what they have to offer, including the accessories that join them in their retail boxes.
The Moto 360 comes accompanied by a wall charger, a Qi wireless charging dock and an USB cable. The LG G Watch R comes with a power adapter, a charging dock and an USB cable. I must say that I consider Motorola’s retail pack to be more generous than LG’s.
In terms of design, both devices are made from metal and are IP-67 certified for being dust and water resistant, so you’ll be having no issues when washing your hands and stuff like that if you were wearing any one of them.
Both smartwatches come with leather bands, which can be changed, of course, and seem to be of a very good quality that will last over time. The difference between them is that the leather found on the Moto 360 is softer and more flexible than the one offered by the G Watch R. The Moto 360 can also come with a metallic wrist band, which is a big plus if leather bands aren’t your cup of tea.
When it comes to their weight, the Moto 360 is lighter than its competitor and tips the scale at only 49 grams, while the G Watch R weighs 62.
Regarding colors, the G Watch R features a dark grey coating and that’s the only color it comes in, unfortunately, while the Moto 360 comes in a natural stainless steel finish, champagne gold and black. Also worth mentioning is that Motorola’s gadget can be ordered with a thin 18mm metallic band for looking nice on a lady’s wrist too.
Let’s take a look at one of their most important features: the display. The Moto 360 holds on board a 1.56 inches IPS LCD screen which offers a resolution of 320 x 290, a pixel density of 205 ppi and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Although physically round, the display doesn’t offer a circular image as it features a tiny black bar at its bottom (thus its resolution) that holds the ambient light sensor and LCD driver. This isn’t a matter of great importance, if you ask me, as my guess is that you’ll quickly get used to it and ignore it. In terms of image quality, the screen offers some nice looking colors, fine contrast and good viewing angles. The sunlight legibility is decent, but could have been better.
The LG G Watch R offers a fully circular display, so if the black bar of the Moto 360 is inconvenient for you, I’m guessing that you’ll like LG’s device better. Its screen is a 1.3 inches P-OLED unit with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels and a pixel density of 246 ppi. These specs are clearly superior, thus the LG offers better colors and superior contrast than its competitor, but tends to be reflective, so the sunlight legibility will to suffer because of this. Also, LG’s screen doesn’t feature Gorilla Glass protection.
In terms of appearance, the Moto 360 has tiny bezels and a minimalistic design which will appeal to you if you prefer a more simplistic design. The G Watch R, on the other hand, has large bezels that hold clock markings, having an appearance that gets closer to a real watch than the Moto 360’s.
In conclusion, both smartwatches have capable displays, but the G Watch R, which is smaller, offers a slightly better image quality.
The smartphone that I’m going to be reviewing today comes from Archos, a French manufacturer that is mostly known for making tablets (at least, that’s what I know them for). Their flagship goes by the name of Archos 50 Diamond and sports some tempting specs, such as dual-SIM support for those of you who depend on two carriers, a 5 inches 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 615 chipset, a 16 MP primary camera and an 8 MP secondary one, a bloatware-free Vanilla Android 4.4.4 KitKat and much more. All these come inside a handset that will pull around $300 from your wallet, which is a more than reasonable price for a big amount of offerings. Feeling tempted? Keep reading and find out more.
Inside its retail box, the Archos 50 Diamond comes accompanied by its charger, a microUSB cable for making data transfers and re-charging your unit and a pair of headphones with in-ear buds.
Let’s take a look at it. The Archos 50 Diamond stands at 146 x 70.4 x 8 mm and has a weight of 142 grams, which is reasonable for a device of its size. Its design is nice and simple, consisting in a rectangular body with curved lines that define its bottom and upper parts and a matte finish for its rear-side, which offers a good hand grip and keeps away fingerprints and smudges. The phone comes in two tones, black and yellow, the latter being dedicated to those of you who are fond of crazy colors.
The handset’s build quality seems top-notch, solid and reliable, just how I like it.
The Archos 50 Diamond features a 5 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a pixel density of 440 ppi. The image quality is beautiful, with punchy colors, good contrast and wide viewing angles. The sunlight legibility is also very decent for a device that comes at this price.
At the software department, you’ll be pleased to find out that the Archos 50 Diamond holds support for a “clean” Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which wasn’t burdened with any bloatware, but offers a pure Android experience. A Lollipop update is in the works, so you’ll be soon enjoying the latest and greatest from Android.
The lockscreen will greet you by showing the date, time, swiping left will pop up the camera shortcut and swiping right will display some widgets. Beyond the lockscreen is the homescreen, which supports an unlimited number of panes and holds shortcuts, folders and widgets.
The Notification area holds your notifications and an icon for accessing quick toggles.
Browsing through the friendly and intuitive interface is done smoothly due to the lack of bloatware, but mostly thanks to the handset’s hardware. The Archos 50 Diamond is powered by a Snapdragon 615 chipset, having a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and a quad-core 1 GHz Cortex-A53 processors, Adreno 405 GPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, which can be expanded with a microSD card of maximum 128 GB. As you probably figured if you’re a techie, the handset belongs in the mid-range area, but is a very good performer and will handle tasks without hassle, offering a pleasant user experience free of any kind of lag and inconveniences like that.
Inside its connectivity package, the Archos 50 Diamond comes with support for quad-band GSM, GPRS, EDGE, tri-band 3G, quad-band LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC and microUSB 2.0.
The Archos 50 Diamond comes with a 16 MP camera on board and can capture stills with a maximum resolution of 5312 x 2988 pixels and is helped by a LED flash in low light situations. The camera application offers support for HDR, Panorama, manual settings for adjusting the white balance, contrast, ISO, exposure compensation and metering, and much more. The camera offers some good looking pictures, with plenty of details, accurate colors and a good contrast.
The video camera is also a capable performer and will deliver some pleasing 1080p videos @30 fps.
Also on board is an 8 MP front-facing snapper for making video calls. Or taking selfies.
Some other useful features that might interest you are a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, Google Maps for navigation, the Google Chrome browser, which delivers a great browsing experience, some capable media players for audio and video playback, an FM Radio and more.
The Archos 50 Diamond holds inside a 2,700 mAh non-removable battery and will endure two days and a half under a single charge if it’s being used moderately, with two SIM cards inside. If you use only one, you can expect it to perform even better.