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Spain Travel Guide, Viva Espana!!!

Spain

Spain is one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations, known officially as the Kingdom of Spain and one of the most attractive places to spend your vacation in the Old Continent.

Spain is located in the south west of the European Union in the Iberian Peninsula. It has a population of 46 million people and a land surface of 504,000 square kilometers. Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the east and south, on the northeast and north by Andorra, France and the Bay of Biscay and on the northwest/western border by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.

Dating back to the former empire, Spain also owns the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, paradisiacal places to say the least, along with many other smaller enclaves in the continental Africa. All these territories make Spain the second largest country in the EU and the sixth in terms of population numbers.

Spain is regarded as an exotic country, populated by very kind and friendly people, with a chill out lifestyle, cities vibrant with nightlife and an awesome cuisine. Oh, and corridas, don’t forget the bull fights!

Boasting with beautiful beaches, an intense nightlife and lots of historical places imbibed with culture, Spain makes for a very diverse country and a big surprise for the clueless tourists, but that we’ll try to remedy with this article.

corrida

What to see, what to do in Spain

 It’s hard to begin, because Spain is home for world class museums, delicious cuisine, flamboyant fiestas and modern art galleries, a scenic countryside , beautiful sunny beaches, green islands, a myriad of attractions are waiting for you here, believe me folks.

Its main cities are Madrid-also the capital, Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and the list goes on and on.

St James Way is an ancient pilgrimage route that will lead you to Galicia, a province in northern Spain where you can admire St James Cathedral, in Santiago de Compostela.

Strange as it may seem, skiing is an interesting option in Spain, especially on its world class winter resorts in the Cantabrian/Pyrenean regions.

Avila is on the UNESCO’s world heritage sites and it’s famous for its 11th century architecture and also for being the birthplace for St Teresa, a 16th century mystic.

avila-spain

Bullfighting is the trademark of Spain’s culture, a highly controversial tradition that still lives in the big cities like Madrid, go see a corrida before you die!

Barcelona is a place where you can immerse yourself in culture and beauty. To mention just a few popular destinations, let me tell you about the Gothic Quarter, Rambla, the old Barceloneta, Sagrada Familia, the old cathedral, the Palau de la Generalitat, the Episcopal Palace, the list is huge.

barcelona-spain

Bilbao is the city that hosts the marvels inside the Guggenheim Museum, making this place a world renowned tourist destination and for a good reason.

Cordoba is a melting place of Moorish and Spaniard culture, an ancient place filled with culture and history, the former capital of the 10th century Caliphate, when Spain was conquered by Moors and a World Heritage Site.

If you are passionate about dance, go visit a Flamenco club in Sevilla or Andalucia.

Roman-Bridge-Cordoba-Spain

Madrid, Spain’s capital and the main city can be described as the Mecca of art lovers, boasting with its Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, which harbors modern art masterpieces including some of Picasso’s work. Don’t miss Madrid’s royal palace, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor.

madrid

The Northern Province of Asturias is famous for its picturesque green valleys and fishing villages, having old Celtic roots and a strong cider drinking culture.

There are lots of old monasteries in Spain, both Gothic and Romanesque, especially in the northern part of the country, like San Juan de la Pena, San Juan Duero or Santo Domingo de Silos.

The ancient university from Salamanca features superb pieces of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, like Plaza Mayor, majestic cathedrals and fascinating art collections in the Museo Art Nouveau y Art Deco.

Salamanca

Sevilla is a hedonistic place and the capital of the historical province of Andalusia, the city that lives through Flamenco, Don Juan and Carmen.

Alhambra is an impressive fortress built by the Moors and Spain’s most important piece of Islamic architecture. Toledo is the old capital of Spain and boasts with its magnificent cathedral that harbors paintings by El Greco and also with Alcazar.

alhambra3

Food and Drink in Spain

Spain has a strong culture of eating and drinking, Mediterranean style, and Spaniards are taking their food and wine very seriously.  Specialties include paella, rice dishes, all kinds of stews of beans with meat, tortillas (potato omelette), gazpacho (a type of tomato based soup), pork products of all sorts, seafood and fresh vegetables. As per drinks, you’ll enjoy Spanish cerveza (beer), brandy, wine is the national drink and various sweet sherries.

Visa Requirements

Spain is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport for entering Spain, just an ID. For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

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Huawei Honor 6 Review, Hard to Beat!

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Last year, in August, Huawei released a smartphone oriented towards the area of customers which need a pretty capable device that would also go easy on their pockets. I’m talking about the Huawei Honor 6, a very good looking fella that comes packed with a rich list of specs which includes, among others, an octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 5 inches Full-HD display, a 13 MP primary snapper, an ample 3,100 mAh battery, support for a microSD card and more. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? It sure does and all of these goodies are kept inside a slim and lightweight body made from glass, which is definitely a looker. Oh, and its price is a little over $300, so if this isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is. Keep reading to find out more.

Inside its retail box, the Huawei Honor 6 comes accompanied by its charger and a microUSB cable that serves for re-charging the unit and making data transfers. Headphones aren’t included, but that’s not something of importance, as we’re dealing with a  budget device, after all.

As I was previously saying, the Honor 6 stands pretty well in terms of appearance. It measures 139.6 x 69.7 x 7.5 mm and has a weight of 130 grams, which is quite impressive for a device that carries inside a big battery. It’s also very elegant due to its thin profile and all-glass design, which certainly turns heads, but also attracts fingerprints, so you should clean it a little more often than usual for keeping it free from smudges. It can also feel slippery, so you should handle it with some extra care in order to avoid dropping it.
The handset is very well put together and seems pretty solid too, which is great for a device that wanders in this budget area.

The Huawei Honor 6 holds on its frontal side a 5 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen which offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and has a pixel density of 445 ppi. The image quality is very good and will please your eyes with beautiful colors, great viewing angles and a very good contrast. The sunlight legibility isn’t anything to write home about though, as the screen is a little too reflective.

At the software department, the Huawei Honor 6 features support for Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which was heavily customized with the company’s proprietary user interface, the Emotion UI v3.0. The lockscreen displays the time and date, along with a shortcut for the camera. Swiping from the bottom will show a panel that holds weather information and several shortcuts.
The homescreen holds your apps, widgets, folders and five shortcuts on the bottom dock. You can have a maximum number of nine homescreens and customize them as you like, including with themes. Also worth mentioning is that your applications will appear directly on your homescreens, as the interface lacks an App drawer, and uninstalling them is made from here.
Your notifications are displayed, naturally, in the notification area, on the first of two tabs, the second one being reserved for quick toggles.
The interface is pretty friendly and intuitive (at least for an Android connoisseur) and will offer a pleasant user experience once you get used to it properly.

Let’s check out the hardware area. The Huawei Honor 6 comes powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 920 chipset, having a quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A15 processor and a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Mali-T628 MP4 GPU and comes in  two flavors, with 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, which can be extended with a microSD card of up to 64 GB. The handset is a very decent performer, delivering a great user experience in almost any case. Lag issues or freezes are out of the question if you don’t abuse it with power hungry 3D games.

In its connectivity drawer, the Huawei Honor 6 holds support for quad-band GSM, GPRS, EDGE, dual-band 3G, LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with DLNA and Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with LE and A2DP, NFC (market dependent) and microUSB 2.0. The device also has an Infra-Red port.

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For taking photos, the Honor 6 features a 13 MP snapper 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 situations. Among other features, the camera application reveals support for HDR, Panorama, filters and more. The photos produced are very good, with accurate colors and a good amount of resolved detail.
The video camera is also a capable performer and will produce some fine 1080p videos @30 fps.
A front-facing 5 MP camera joins the party for enabling you to make video calls or take selfies.

Some other handy tools and features from the Huawei Honor 6’s backpack are an FM Radio, a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, Google Maps for finding your way around, Google Now as a personal assistant, some great media players for video and audio playback, the Kingsoft Office 5.5 for managing document files, the stock browser and Google Chrome for offering a great browsing experience and much more.

As I was saying at the beginning of the review, the Huawei Honor 6 is kept alive by a 3,100 mAh battery. It will endure almost three days under a moderate usage or two under an intensive one.

Serbia Travel Guide, Discover the Balkans!

uvac_serbia

Serbia is a small and coquette country located in the Balkans, one of the former six republics of the ex-socialist republic of Yugoslavia.

Serbia is neighbored by Bosnia and Herzegovina on the western border, by Montenegro on the south, Croatia on the North West, Bulgaria on the south-east, Hungary to the north, Romania on the north eastern border, Macedonia and Albania on the southern one. As you can easily observe, Serbia sits on a major land-route if you travel from, let’s say Turkey to central Europe, making for a strategic point if you’re into exploring the old continent.

With a land surface of 81,361 square kilometers and a population of almost 10 million, Serbia sits on the crossroads of European trading routes and history, being a very hospitable country who welcomes tourists while its capital Belgrade is world renowned as one of the emerging/developing capitals of Europe.

The Serbs speak English pretty good and Serbia is filled with tourists in the summer, most of them being German, Italians, English and French who gather here to enjoy the mix of cultures, religions and ethnics that make Serbia unique.

Serbia-Djerdap-gorge-river-Danube

What to see, what to do in Serbia

Well, Serbia is not your regular mass-travel destination but this is a good thing, because while you’re here you can enjoy one of the hottest and less known, actually undiscovered Eurotrip destinations.

The capital is Belgrade and offers everything, ranging from a tumultuous night life and beautiful girls to lots of art galleries and museums, everything spiced up by a multitude of cafes and restaurants, not to mention some of the trendiest nightclubs in the European Union. The Old Town is the place for architecture buffs, because here you shall find the Belgrade Fortress, Kalemegdan Park and the Cathedral of Saint Sava, also Princess Ljubica Conac, a residence built by Turks back in the 19th century.

Belgrade_old_town

Djerdap National Park spreads over 64,000 hectares and its main point of interest is the river valley, which is made out for gorges. This is not the only national park in Serbia that’s worth visiting, while you’re at it go see Fruska, Gora, Sara, Tara and Kopaonik. Fruska Gora is perfect for hikers and animal lovers (bird watching) and also harbors a few old monasteries.

The kings of Serbia used to be crowned, back in the old day that is, in the Monastery of Zica, located next to Kraljevo, making for an interesting example of the Serbian school of architecture (Morava).

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Another interesting urban dwelling is Novi Sad, far away from Belgrade (I almost wrote Baghdad) , a lively town boasting with its elegant city Centre and its picturesque medieval fortress that overlooks the great river Danube.

Up north from the capital Belgrade sits the old province of Vojevodina, a place of beauty, filled with wild-life and wooded hills, home of Orthodox churches and monasteries. Far up north you’ll discover Subotica, where you can admire the heavy influences of Hungarian architecture along with an interesting array of secessionist art.

tesla museum

While living the wild life in Belgrade, stop for a little history lesson at Nikola Tesla museum where you can enjoy some impressive live demonstrations of his magnificent inventions that shaped the 20th century. Also in Belgrade you can take a peek at the Museum of Yugoslav History where Tito (the former “dictator”) is buried; there’s lot to learn about Serbian culture here, it’s worth every penny.

novi sad

Food and drink in Serbia

Serbia is the grilled meat capital of the world. Along with animal meat, fish dishes are highly praised, but keep in mind that if you’re into veggie burgers, these are not the droids you’re looking for.

Serbian specialties include jellied pork, grilled minced meat (charcoaled), skewered meat, cabbage leaves filled with meat/rice, meat patties (lamb, beef, pork) and if so much meat made you thirsty, you’ll enjoy slivovica (a local brandy made from plums), rakija (a spirit made from grapes), various wines( Riesling, traminer, vugava) and last but not least, Turkish style coffee. As you can see, Serbians party hard and eat like real men!!!

cuisine

Visa Requirements

A valid passport is required if you wish to enter Serbia, but no visa. If you’re from the European Union, you can visit with only your national ID card.

Gionee Elife S5.1 Review, Slim and Extra Sharp

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If slim smartphones are your cup of tea, you might want to take a look at the Gionee Elife S5.1, a mid-range device which was the world’s thinnest smartphone for a while, until its throne was claimed by an Oppo handset. The S5.1 was released a few months ago, in November 2014, and brings a tempting package of features which consist in a 4.8 inches Super AMOLED display, a MediaTek MT6592 chipset, an 8 megapixels primary camera and a 5 MP secondary one and more. This good looking fella will also go easy on your wallet, being available for a small price and offering quite a lot for it. Feeling interested? Follow the next review and check it out.

The Gionee Elife S.1 comes in a box filled with goodies, being accompanied by a microUSB cable, its charger, a pair of headphones with in-ear buds, a leather flip case, a rubber back case, a microUSB to USB adapter and a little tool for ejecting the SIM card. Impressive, isn’t it? Let’s carry on.

Now, we’ve reached to my favorite part: its appearance. The Gionee Elife S5.1 is definitely a looker and has some smartphone-supermodel measurements. It stands at 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.1 and weighs 97 grams, being also very light besides super-thin. Its sides are covered by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 and the entire body is surrounded by an elegant metallic frame. Although looking at it is very pleasing, the phone requires more attention than usual due to its dual-glass body, which isn’t something you’d want to drop too often. Nevertheless, the device seems to be very well put together and quite solid too, being made of high-quality materials that offer it not only beauty, but reliability too.

The Elife S5.1 features a 4.8 inches Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that offers a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, a pixel density of 306 ppi and is protected, as I mentioned before, by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. As expected, the screen offers some beautiful and vibrant colors, excellent contrast and some very wide viewing angles. The sunlight legibility is also very good, due to the high brightness levels and low screen reflectivity.

In terms of user interface, the Gionee Elife S5.1 comes loaded with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which was deeply customized with Gionee’s own OS, Amigo 2.0. The lockscreen features two panes: one of them displays the date and time and the other holds a widget that features four shortcuts towards the camera, recorder, torch and “fake call”; the last is quite interesting (and sneaky) and will make your device receive a fake call whenever you need an escape from an unpleasant conversation or something like that.
The handset supports a maximum number of nine homescreen panes, which can be customized with widgets, folders and themes. Due to the lack of an App drawer, your applications will be shown on your homescreens and can be uninstalled directly from there.
The notification area holds a tab with your notifications and another one with quick toggles and a brightness slider.
At the hardware department, the Gionee Elife S5.1 features a MediaTek MT6592 chipset, having an octa-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A7 processor, Mali-450MP4 GPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, which isn’t expandable. The handset is a decent performer and would do a magnificent job with some more RAM. If you don’t abuse it with a lot of apps and tasks, it’s okay, but otherwise, some unpleasant lag will unfortunately appear.

Let’s check out the connectivity package. Here, we’ll come across support for quad-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE, dual-band 3G, dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct andHotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 2.0 with USB On-the-go support for enabling you to connect USB peripherals to it.

For snapping pictures, the Gionee Elife S5.1 is packed with an 8 megapixels snapper with autofocus which takes stills with a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and is assisted by a LED flash in low light conditions. The photos produced reveal a good image quality, with accurate colors, good contrast and a fair amount of resolved detail. HDR and Panorama are supported.
The video camera is also okay and will produce some decent 1080p videos @30 fps.
For taking selfies, there’s also a 5 MP front-facing camera on board.

Some other handy tools offered by the handset are a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, Google Maps and Navigation for getting around, an FM Radio with RDS support, the Kingsoft Office for handling documents, a file explorer, Google Now as a personal assistant and much more.

The Gionee Elife S5.1 relies on a 2,050 mAh battery and will last for two days under a moderate usage.

GioneeElifeS5.1_pic2

Norway Travel Guide, Fjords and Natural Beauty

Alesund

Norway is a Scandinavian country  which is the northernmost, westernmost and even easternmost of all three of them (Scandinavian countries, that is).

Blessed with an incredible natural beauty and wealth (as in petroleum resources in the Northern Sea), Norway is a highly developed country and an ideal travel destination. Bordered by Sweden, Finland and Russia, Norway is best known for its awesome and intricate fjords that stretch around its western coast.

With a population of 5,1 million people and a land surface of 385,252 square kilometers, Norway features a rugged yet stunningly beautiful landscape which was carved by the Ice Age. You’ll find everything here : forested mountains and hills, luscious valleys and waterfalls, beautiful fjords and waterfalls, you name it, they have it!

If you plan to travel to Norway, I’d recommend you to do it during the summer months when the weather is delightfully pleasant. The flipside to that coin is, for winter lovers, the period between December and April, if you like snow of course.

The Arctic North is filled with precipitous glaciers and the untouched wilderness of Norway is one of those places where the sun shines in the middle of the night in the summer time, not to mention the stunning Northern Lights that illuminate the skies in the long, cold winter nights.

Trondheim, Bergen and the country’s capital Oslo are cosmopolite and picturesque cities, but the real treat of visiting Norway are its natural wonders, the great outdoors.

fjords

 What to see, what to do in Norway

 Let me begin with the Northern Lights, more beautiful than Aurora Borealis and hauntingly beautiful, a natural phenomenon that is caused by the magnetized particles thrown from our Sun which interfere with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating a magic light show. The Northern Lights are best observed in the Arctic Region, from October to March.

Northern_lights_Svolvaer2_Lofoten_Norway_740

If you like Art Nouveau buildings, look no further than Alesund, a greatly overlooked municipal center.

Pulpit Rock is the place to spend a few days if you’re a die hard hiker, being basically a 600 meters tall cliff which offers a magnificent view over the cerulean  waters of Lysefjord. The view from up there is absolutely stunning!

Preikestolen_Pulpit_Rock_Lysefjord_Norway

Polar bear watching is a rare treat and Svalbard is the last place in Europe where you can enjoy the sight of these majestic animals.

Norway’s largest fjord is called Sognefjord and can be best admired via a funicular trip from Bergen which offers the traveller a panoramic view over the port of Bergen and the 7 mountains that surround the port.

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The best preserved, actually impeccably preserved fortress town of Scandinavia is located in Norway and it’s called Fredrikstad; also the largest glacier in Europe is in Norway too: Jostedalsbreen. These places make for the gathering place of adventure lovers (read hikers) from anywhere in the world.

Another immensely popular tourist destination in Norway is Hardanger Fjord, 47 miles east of the city of Bergen, boasting with its scenic mountains, plateau, waterways and orchards. Here you can visit Norway’s largest national park Hardangervidda along with the biggest glaciers: Hardangerjøkulen and Folgefonna. The most impressive waterfalls in the area are Låtefossen,Vøringfossen and Steinsdalsfossen and while you’re here, pay a visit to the various museums available for culture buffs.

The world’s strongest whirlpool is the mighty Maelstrom, an immensely powerful tidal current that can be admired four times a day 19 miles east of the city of Bodo.

Maelstrom

Norway is home for 28 medieval wooden churches, like the Stave Church, the oldest one which dates from 1130.

Norway in a nutshell is a tourist tour available in Bergen, a 1-3 days trip that will reveal the country’s top tourist attractions.

Oslo, the main city and the capital boasts with its awesome collection of museums, like the Thor Heyerdahl (the celeb explorer) Kon Tiki Museum, the Viking Ship Museum and the Munch Museum.

Trondheim is the former capital of Norway and makes for an interesting pit-stop in your epic journey, especially its magnificent Nidaros Cathedral and Ringve Museum.

For snowboarding and skiing aficionados, look no further than the 1994 Winter Olympics resort located in Lillehammer, a 2 hours drive north of the capital Oslo.

oslo

Food and Drinks   

The national dish is obviously fish, along with potatoes, meat and veggies. A popular hot snack is pølse, a kind of sausage. Breakfasts in Norway are really important and huge, offering a large variety of fish, cheese, meat, boiled/fried eggs, served buffet style.

Specialties include sweet brown cheese, roasted reindeer/wild elk, baked cod, porridge and cloudberries. Regional alcoholic drinks include schnapps and light lager.

polar bear

Visa Requirements

Norway is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport, just an ID (if anything). For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

Xiaomi Mi Note Review, Quite a Looker!

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Nowadays, the market area that belongs to smartphones is seeing a fast and continuous growth, as there are more and more manufacturers that deliver impressive and tempting features through their products, thus offering a big amount of choices especially for the average user, which doesn’t aim for flagships. The Chinese from Xiaomi are doing a pretty good job so far, offering some high quality products for a price which is far below the flagship standard. In January, they’ve launched the Xiaomi Mi Note, a phablet that packs a 5.7 inches screen, a Snapdragon 801 chipset, dual-SIM support, a 13 MP camera that shoots 4K videos , a 3,000 mAh battery and much more. If you’re interested, check it out in the following review and see if it’s what you’ve been looking for.

In its retail box, the Xiaomi Mi Note comes with its charger and a microUSB cable. If you buy it from their online shop, you’ll also receive a leather case, a screen protection, a touch pen and a USB OTG adapter.

Let’s check out its appearance. The Mi Note stands at 155 x 77.6 x 7 mm and has a weight of 161 grams, which is more than reasonable for a handset that packs a 5.7 inches display. The handset is a pleasure to look at, having some supermodel measurements that offer it elegance and style and a beautiful design given by its glass sides which are surrounded by a classy metallic frame. The device seems very well put together, but its beauty comes at a cost. Its attractive rear side is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 and has curved edges, which add to its gorgeous appearance, but attack its grip, making it slippery and easy to drop if you’re not being very careful when handling it. A case will solve this problem, otherwise just be cautious when holding it.

The Xiaomi Mi Note packs a 5.7 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, has a pixel density of 386 ppi and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The frontal screen also has curved edges and some very slim bezels. The image quality is very decent, with beautiful colors, good contrast and wide viewing angles, but the sunlight legibility is pretty average, as the screen is quite reflective.

At the software department, the Xiaomi Mi Note is packed with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which has been customized with Xiaomi’s proprietary launcher, the MIUI v6. The interface is pretty minimalist and intuitive, so you’ll have no problems adapting with it even if you’re an Android newbie. Following the lockscreen, which displays your clock, is your homescreen, which can be customized with effects and themes and supports an unlimited number of panes. The homescreen holds four shortcuts and you can add folders or widgets. Due to the lack of an app drawer, also here are your applications.
The notification area holds two tabs, the first displaying your notifications, while the second features quick toggles, a settings key and a brightness slider.

In terms of hardware, the Xiaomi Mi Note relies on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, having a quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 64 GB of internal storage, which can’t be expanded, as there’s no card slot. This rich list of powerful features enables the handset to deliver a flawless performance, so you don’t need to worry about lag or freezes – these things won’t happen, no matter what task you throw at it.

In its connectivity package, the Xiaomi Mi Note holds support for quad-band 2G, tri-band 3G, LTE Cat. 4, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac with Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP and LE, microUSB 2.0 with USB On-the-go and USB Hub support.

For capturing photos, the Xiaomi Mi Note offers a 13 MP camera with autofocus that takes stills with a maximum resolution of 4128 x 3096 pixels and is helped by a dual-LED flash in low light conditions. The camera also features optical image stabilization, HDR, Panorama, manual settings and more. The photos produced reveal a great image quality, with beautiful colors, a high amount of details, good contrast and low noise levels.
The video camera is also a very decent performer and will deliver some great 4K videos.

Some other handy tools offered by the Mi Note that might interest you are a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, the WPS Office suite for handling document files, a Security application (for malware-scanning, cleaning RAM, handle data usage and more), two great media players and more. Also worth mentioning is that the handset delivers an excellent audio output.

The Xiaomi Mi Note is packed with a 3,000 mAh battery and will endure almost two days under a moderate usage.

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ZTE Blade S6 Review, Truly Capable Droid

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The ZTE Blade S6 is one of the most recent releases from the smartphone market and should spread some fear among its mid-range competitors. This pretty looking fella comes packed with some impressive features that should please anyone who’s looking for a capable handset, but doesn’t exactly aim for flagships. The Blade S6 sports a Snapdragon 615 chipset, having an octa-core processor, Adreno 405 GPU, dual-SIM support, a 13 MP primary camera, a 5 inches display and comes loaded with Android’s latest and greatest update, Lollipop. These features are followed by some more goodies, so keep reading if you want to find out about those too. Oh, and I must also mention that the phone will  go easy on your wallet too, being a tempting combination between a rich list of features and an affordable price.

In its retail package, the ZTE Blade S6 is accompanied by its charger, a microUSB cable for making data transfers and re-charging the device, a small tool for ejecting the SIM card and the user manuals.

As I was previously referring to it as being pretty, now I’ll go ahead and talk a little about that. The ZTE Blade S6 obviously resembles with Apple’s current flagship, the iPhone 6. This is not the first time when I’m coming across a device that steps into those footprints, so it’s not something unheard of. If you’re familiar with the iPhone’s design and like it, my guess is that you’ll also enjoy the Blade S6. The handset measures 144 x 70.7 x 7.7 mm and has a weight of 134 grams, being really slim and lightweight, exactly like its high-end inspiration. Some of their common features are the matte finish from the rear-side, the rounded corners and the round capacitive key that sits between another two.
Although entirely made from plastic, the Blade S6 seems to be very well put together and looks very stylish and elegant.

The frontal part of the body is occupied by a 5 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that features a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and has a pixel density of 294 ppi. The image quality isn’t something to write home about, as it’s pretty average. The colors are pleasant and the viewing angles are good, but the sunlight legibility leaves something to be desired.

At the software section, the Blade S6 is one of the few Chinese releases that come with support for Android 5.0 Lollipop. The OS has been subtly tweaked by ZTE, but the interface is intuitive and minimalistic, so if you prefer Android in its pure and “raw” form, you needn’t worry about the customizations, as they’re light and friendly. The lockscreen holds your notifications, as well as a widget for displaying the time and date and two shortcuts of the camera and dialer. After the lockscreen comes the homescreen, which can support a maximum number of 18 panes and serves for holding your folders and apps, which can be uninstalled from here due to the lack of an app drawer.
A swipe down on the screen reveals the notification area, which displays your notifications (naturally), and two swipes reveal the quick toggles and a brightness slider.
The handset features support for several gestures: the pocket mode increases the phone’s vibration and ringer, covering the display or flipping the handset will silence it if you’re receiving a call, a shake will quick launch an application when the phone is locked and more.

In terms of hardware, the ZTE Blade S6 is based on a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset, having a quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 and a quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, Adreno 405 GPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, which can be extended with a microSD card of up to 32 GB. The phone will handle any task without any hassle, thus offering a pleasant and smooth user experience.

Connectivity-wise, the Blade S6 holds support for quad-band 2G and dual-band 3G, LTE Cat.4, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac with Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and microUSB 2.0

For taking pictures, the ZTE Blade S6 offers a 16 MP snapper with autofocus that captures photos with a maximum resolution of 4128 x 3096 pixels and holds a LED flash for assisting in low light situations. The image quality is decent, but disappointing, considering that there are a lot of smartphones with 16 MP or less that deliver a far better performance.
The video camera is good and will deliver some pleasant 1080p videos @30 fps.
There’s also a front-facing 5MP camera for making video calls.

Among its offerings, the ZTE Blade S6 also provides a GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS support, Google Maps for navigation, an FM Radio, the Android browser and Google Chrome for providing you with a great browsing experience, a task manager, the WPS Office for managing document files, the Android Device Manager, Google Now as a personal assistant and much more.

The ZTE Blade S6 is kept alive by a 2,400 mAh battery and will endure two days under a moderate usage.

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