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10 Programming Languages You Should Learn Right Now

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The tech sector is booming. If you’ve used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed this.

As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

The in-vogue languages vary by employment sector. Financial and enterprise systems need to perform complicated functions and remain highly organized, requiring languages like Java and C#. Media- and design-related webpages and software will require dynamic, versatile and functional languages with minimal code, such as Ruby, PHP, JavaScript and Objective-C.

With some help from Lynda.com, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most sought-after programming languages to get you up to speed.

1. Java

Java

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What it is: Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems in the 1990s. It’s one of the most in-demand programming languages, a standard for enterprise software, web-based content, games and mobile apps, as well as the Androidoperating system. Java is designed to work across multiple software platforms, meaning a program written on Mac OS X, for example, could also run on Windows.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Lynda.com, Oracle.com, LearnJavaOnline.org.

2. C Language

C Language

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What it is: A general-purpose, imperative programming language developed in the early ’70s, C is the oldest and most widely used language, providing the building blocks for other popular languages, such as C#, Java, JavaScript and Python. C is mostly used for implementing operating systems and embedded applications.

Because it provides the foundation for many other languages, it is advisable to learn C (and C++) before moving on to others.

Where to learn it: Learn-C, Introduction To Programming, Lynda.com, CProgramming.com,Learn C The Hard Way.

3. C++

C Plus Plus

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What it is: C++ is an intermediate-level language with object-oriented programming features, originally designed to enhance the C language. C++ powers major software like Firefox, Winampand Adobe programs. It’s used to develop systems software, application software, high-performance server and client applications and video games.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Lynda.com, CPlusPlus.com, LearnCpp.com, CProgramming.com.

4. C#

C Sharp

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What it is: Pronounced “C-sharp,” C# is a multi-paradigm language developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET initiative. Combining principles from C and C++, C# is a general-purpose language used to develop software for Microsoft and Windows platforms.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Lynda.com, Microsoft Virtual Academy, TutorialsPoint.com.

5. Objective-C

Objective-C

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What it is: Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language used by theApple operating system. It powers Apple’s OS X and iOS, as well as its APIs, and can be used to create iPhone apps, which has generated a huge demand for this once-outmoded programming language.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Lynda.com, Mac Developer Library, Cocoa Dev Central, Mobile Tuts+.

6. PHP

PHP

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What it is: PHP (Hypertext Processor) is a free, server-side scripting language designed for dynamic websites and app development. It can be directly embedded into an HTML source document rather than an external file, which has made it a popular programming language for web developers. PHP powers more than 200 million websites, including WordPress, Digg andFacebook.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Codecademy, Lynda.com, Treehouse, Zend Developer Zone,PHP.net.

7. Python

Python

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What it is: Python is a high-level, server-side scripting language for websites and mobile apps. It’s considered a fairly easy language for beginners due to its readability and compact syntax, meaning developers can use fewer lines of code to express a concept than they would in other languages. It powers the web apps for Instagram, Pinterest and Rdio through its associated web framework, Django, and is used by Google, Yahoo! and NASA.

Where to learn it: Udemy, Codecademy, Lynda.com, LearnPython.org, Python.org.

8. Ruby

Ruby

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What it is: A dynamic, object-oriented scripting language for developing websites and mobile apps, Ruby was designed to be simple and easy to write. It powers the Ruby on Rails (or Rails) framework, which is used on Scribd, GitHub, Groupon and Shopify. Like Python, Ruby is considered a fairly user-friendly language for beginners.

Where to learn it: Codecademy, Code School, TryRuby.org, RubyMonk.

9. JavaScript

JavaScript

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What it is: JavaScript is a client and server-side scripting language developed by Netscape that derives much of its syntax from C. It can be used across multiple web browsers and is considered essential for developing interactive or animated web functions. It is also used in game development and writing desktop applications. JavaScript interpreters are embedded in Google’s Chrome extensions, Apple’s Safari extensions, Adobe Acrobat and Reader, and Adobe’s Creative Suite.

Where to learn it: Codecademy, Lynda.com, Code School, Treehouse, Learn-JS.org.

10. SQL

SQL

What it is: Structured Query Language (SQL) is a special-purpose language for managing data in relational database management systems. It is most commonly used for its “Query” function, which searches informational databases. SQL was standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the 1980s.

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Dacuda unveils PocketScan wireless scanner

While we have seen how popular wireless speakers have become over the years, do spare a thought when it comes toscanners. Most of us would not give two hoots about a scanner, really, since there isn’t too much to deal with here – just pop in a particular page, and let the scanner get to work, right? Well, perhaps what you see here might change your perspective as well as viewpoint on what a scanner is all about. I am referring to the Dacuda PocketScan wireless scanner, where it has been touted to be the world’s smallest wireless scanner available to users regardless of where they are on the globe. Basically, you can pick up the limited Kickstarter edition of PocketScan at a promotional price point of $99 – but when the calendar bids adieu to July 19, then the sticker price would touch the $169 mark.

This will be a public launch that will follow PocketScan’s Kickstarter campaign, which was a huge success by itself as it managed to surpass the $50,000 mark by raising a cool $542,732 in June last year, which have resulted in it being one of the most successful projects in Kickstarter’s history back then. Needless to say, Dacuda has taken all of that money and put it to good use, completing the trust in the campaign by contributors, and have shipped PocketScans to thousands of backers worldwide. In fact, the PocketScan worked so well, close to 90% of all users would actually recommend it to their friends.

The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to what the PocketScan is capable of – imagine scanning and personalizing favorite recipes, or how about having text in foreign languages being translated easily and read out loud? Oh yeah, antique pictures that are all yellow on the sides can be preserved for all posterity too, even if those are too big for traditional scanners, they can easily be cataloged and treasured.

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iBall Slide WQ77 Windows 8.1 Tablet Available Online at Rs. 6,999

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iBall’s new Slide-series tablet, the Slide WQ77, has gone on sale via an e-commerce website priced at Rs. 6,999.So far iBall has not officially unveiled the Slide WQ77 tablet for the Indian market, and at the time of writing, the tablet was not listed on the company’s website.

The iBall Slide WQ77 runs Windows 8.1 out-of-the-box and the Flipkart listing claims that the tablet will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when it’s launched later this year. It also comes with a 1-year Microsoft Office subscription, and 1TB of free OneDrive cloud storage. The online retailer for a limited period is also offering a free Teewe HDMI media streaming dongle worth Rs. 2,399 with the Slide WQ77 tablet.

It features a 7.85-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels. The iBall Slide WQ77 is powered by an Intel Atom Z3735G processor (4 cores, 4 threads, base clock 1.3GHz, burst up to 1.83GHz) coupled with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. It comes with 16GB of built-in storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 64GB).

The Slide WQ77 tablet sports a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The tablet is backed by a 4000mAh battery, the tablet also sports connectivity such as a USB with OTG functionality, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It measures 136.3×204.3×8.3mm and weighs 367 grams. The tablet is currently listed in Metallic Blue colour.

Last week, iBall in partnership with Microsoft India launched its first PC-on-a-stick device, Splendo. The Windows-based minicomputer, which is meant to turn a TV into a PC or Smart TV, was priced at Rs. 8,999. The iBall Splendo would go on sale in early July across the country and be available via online and TV retail channels. Much like other PC-on-a-stick devices, the iBall Splendo could also fit in a pocket. The device required to be plugged into the HDMI input of the TV and is claimed to provide a complete Windows PC experience.

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Coolpad Dazen X7 Review: Trying to Punch Above Its Weight

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We recently reviewed the Coolpad Dazen 1 (Review), a budget workhorse. Coolpad has another, more expensive, phone which sells for just under Rs. 20,000 – the Dazen X7. This phone has an octa-core Mediatek MT6595M processor, which we haven’t tested yet. Moreover, the design of the Dazen X7 incorporates metal edges on a  predominately glass body to create a premium look.

Let’s find out if the Dazen X7 can distinguish itself to be a serious contender, especially in a market flooded with options. We are really interested in what Coolpad, known primarly for being an OEM, can do when it starts promoting its own devices instead of avoiding the limelight.

coolpad_dazen_x7_cover1_ndtv.jpgLook and feel
At first glance, the candybar design of the Dazen X7 seems impressive thanks to its chamfered metal edges and glass back. It has great build quality and feels sturdy. Our white review unit literally glistened in the light and caught a lot of reflections on the glass as well. With dimensions of 146.6×73.6×6.5mm, the Dazen X7 is not too big to for a phone with 5.2-inch screen, but the sharp edges dug into our palms when we were holding it. The 131g weight feels reassuring. As far as phones with 5.2-inch screens go, we still think that Motorola hit the nail on the head with the Moto X (Gen 2) (Review |Pictures) with respect to the ergonomics.

On the rear, the primary camera and flash are placed on a metal plate that juts out, which makes them susceptible to scratches. The right side of the phone has two slots, one accepts a Micro-SIM card whereas the other is a Nano-SIM slot that doubles up as a microSD card holder. This side also has the power button. The volume rocker lies on the left. Both buttons have sufficient tactile feedback.

coolpad_dazen_x7_front_camera_ndtv.jpgThe 3.5mm jack and a microphone are on the top of the Dazen X7. The bottom has the Micro-USB port and two rows of machine-drilled holes on either side. The phone has a mono speaker therefore only the right side emits sound. In fact, in an anomaly that could be specific to our review unit, the holes hadn’t been punched all the way through on the left, which looked odd to say the least. The earpiece is above the screen along with the proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and front camera. Coolpad makes use of on-screen buttons for navigating through the operating system.

Specifications and software
Coolpad uses an octa-core Mediatek MT6595M SoC clocked at 1.7GHz with PowerVR G6200 graphics. The MT6595M is a toned-down version of the MT6595, which we tested first on the Lenovo Vibe X2 (Review | Pictures). The phone also has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage space which can be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card. It also supports USB OTG, if you run out of space.

The 13-megapixel primary camera has a fast aperture speed of f/1.8 and can shoot 1080p videos at 60fps. On the other hand, the front camera can capture 8-megapixel selfies. The Dazen X7 can connect to Indian 4G networks but only using the primary SIM. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and A-GPS.

The 5.2-inch Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1080×1920 which translates to a pixel density of 441ppi. It is rich in colours but has a warm tone. The sunlight legibility of the phone is pretty good but when viewed at any angle, the colours start degrading. Our only gripe with the display is that it doesn’t extend up to the bezel of the phone, thereby creating a black border that looks really distracting.

coolpad_dazen_x7_camera_ndtv.jpgThe Coolpad Dazen X7 runs the now-outdated Android 4.4.2, with a custom skin on top. Like the Dazen X1, even the Dazen X7 gives users the option to switch between a traditional Android layout with an app drawer or one without it where all the applications – default and downloaded – are lined up on the home screens. The icons have a flat, colourful design. The most annoying thing about the custom skin is that the capacitive buttons can be pulled up or hidden by swiping up or down, respectively, from the bottom of the display. Many times, when trying to perform this action, we would accidentally hit one of the icons in the dock instead, which would then open the corresponding app. Also, all the notifications are bunched up inside the notifications shade thereby adding an extra step to the process of dealing with any particular notification.

coolpad_dazen_x7_capacitive_buttons_ndtv.jpgSmart control options in the skin allow users to double-tap to wake the phone, or jump directly into specific apps by tracing gestures – like M to play music or C to open the camera. A theming app called Coolshow is available for customisation. Coolstore is a curated app store by Coolpad, although it is pretty barren at the moment. Other third-party apps include WeChat, Whatsapp, Snapdeal, Facebook, Swiftkey and WPS Office.

Performance and camera
While we didn’t face any slowdowns during our test period, the phone did heat up when we played games and ran intensive benchmarks. That aside, the MT6595M proved to be a pretty capable SoC and the benchmark numbers also show that.

In AnTuTu and Quadrant, the phone scored pretty high scores of 44,854 and 17,089 respectively. In fact, the AnTuTu score is within touching distance of what the OnePlus One achieved. Even the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited and GFXbench scores of 12,780 and 18.3fps were fairly impressive.

coolpad_dazen_x7_rear_ndtv.jpgThe phone played all the videos we threw at it without any fuss. The sound from the loudspeaker was pretty tinny and low, and also crackled at high volume. Our review unit’s box didn’t include a headset so we used our own to test the audio quality and we had no complaints. The cellular radio struggled to latch on to a 4G network and the connection kept switching to 3G. The sound quality in calls wasn’t too great either. The battery lasted 8 hours and 35 minutes in our video loop battery test, and in regular usage we managed to squeeze at most a day out of it with 4G/3G being constantly active.

coolpad_dazen_x7_camera_sample_ndtv.jpg(Click for full size image)

The 13-megapixel rear camera is an above-average performer. Under bright sunlight the details are pretty clear and the noise levels are also low. However if the light is even slightly dim, which we experienced a lot thanks to the overcast monsoon conditions in Mumbai, the camera struggles to expose areas under focus. The key elements in our sample shots were underexposed.

In low light situations, despite the fast f/1.8 aperture, the camera tends to generally lower the ISO and shutter speed to around 1600 and 1/10 respectively. This means that the resulting images are blurry and full of noise because the camera cannot handle shakes. Thankfully, the camera app has a Pro mode that gives users full control over the ISO and shutter speed settings. The 8-megapixel front camera on the other hand is great for selfies. The video quality of both the cameras is average at best.

Verdict
Priced at Rs. 17,999 and available exclusively on Snapdeal, the Coolpad Dazen X7 has a tough battle ahead. It is not very impressive, and phones such as the Asus Zenfone 2(Review | Pictures), OnePlus One (Review | Pictures), and Xiaomi Mi 4 (Review |Pictures) are all available in and around that price range. Coolpad has priced the phone a little too high in our opinion. Having said that, the phone does many things right.

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Phicomm Passion 660 Review: Another Day, Another Chinese Smartphone

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From being comprehensively dominated by Nokia just a few years ago, the Indian mobile phone market has come a long way. With the advent of smartphones, the market is now a free-for-all with a growing list of players.With India on track to become the world’s second largest smartphone market by 2019, everyone wants to get in on the action. A long list of Chinese companies are already present and well-established in India, including Xiaomi, OnePlus, Lenovo, Huawei, Oppo, Coolpad, Gionee, Meizu, ZTE and Vivo. The latest to join this list is Phicomm, a brand that we admittedly knew very little about before its launch in India. Its first product is the Rs. 10,999 Passion 660, which is being sold exclusively through Amazon India. Does it offer the same value for money that Indian consumers have come to expect from Chinese products? We find out in our review.

phicomm_passion_660_main_ndtv.jpgLook and Feel
The Phicomm Passion 660 is all about sharp edges and straight lines. Although it’s relatively slim at just 7mm, it sports a block-like shape. It has a one-piece metal frame, although the metal is exposed only at the sides. The back has a matte finish, which continues along the top and bottom as well. Although contoured edges would have been better to hold, the sharp lines are not too bad, and the phone looks pleasantly different from most other smartphones.

The review unit we received was black, but the Phicomm Passion 660 is also available in white as per information provided to us by the company. It isn’t exactly black; we’d say it’s more of a very dark shade of grey. It looks nice nonetheless, and the silver of the metal along the sides adds a welcome variation to the look.

phicomm_passion_660_speaker_ndtv.jpgThe power button and SIM slots are along the right, while the volume rocker is on the left. The 3.5mm port is on the top, and the microUSB port is on the bottom. On the whole, this is a very well designed smartphone.

The Phicomm Passion 660 is extremely light and compact for a device with a 5-inch screen, weighing in at just 110g. The front features Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. The three soft keys are off-screen at the bottom. The single speaker is at the back, and feels weak and underwhelming. All in all though, the Passion 660 is comfortable to use and boasts of impressive ergonomics.

phicomm_passion_660_standing2_ndtv.jpgSpecifications and Software
The Passion 660 uses a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core SoC, with 2GB RAM and 16GB of in-built storage. The device is dual-SIM capable, although the second slot doubles up as the microSD card slot. The phone supports cards of up to 64GB. This means you have to choose between having a second SIM card and additional storage, which we feel is a bit limiting. The main SIM slot supports Micro-SIM cards, with 4G support (including band 40 compatibility for 4G in India), while the second slot supports Nano-SIM cards.

The device has a 5-inch full-HD (1920×1080-pixel) screen with average sunlight legibility. The cameras are 13-megapixel at the rear and 5-megapixel in front. The battery has a fairly standard capacity of 2,300mAh. It’s interesting to note that the device has a pedometer, compass and barometer, with preinstalled apps for all three. Other hardware-based specifications are ordinary, such as standard Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with the regular set of sensors.

The Phicomm Passion 660 runs Android 4.4.4 with the company’s own Expect user interface layered on top. It’s clean, well designed and easy to navigate around, for the most part. It also, importantly, uses an app drawer, which keeps the home screens free of clutter and makes using widgets a bit easier. The settings menu has some limitations though, and we felt that the UI isn’t as customisable and tweak-friendly as many other UIs we’ve seen.

phicomm_passion_660_flat_ndtv.jpgOne of the features we found interesting was Wave Gesture. This allows you to unlock the phone, pull down the notification menu and scroll through pictures by waving in the air, which is recognised using the front camera. In practice, this rarely ever worked well, and you’re better off using the touchscreen for all of these functions. As previously stated, there is preinstalled software for the pedometer, compass and barometer, as well as useful apps for wireless disk usage, sound recording and data backups. The phone is refreshingly free of bloatware, which we were rather impressed with.

The rest of the software is basic and looks like it’s been designed for beginners. Some key features that you’d find in nearly every other UI is missing from Expect, such as detailed battery usage statistics and control over call settings and network-based requests. And as is the case with a lot of small smartphone manufacturers, Android and UI updates aren’t quite guaranteed.

phicomm_passion_660_standing3_ndtv.jpgCamera
The Phicomm Passion 660 employs a Sony-built Exmor IMS 214 sensor in the 13-megapixel rear camera, while the front is a 5-megapixel shooter. Both cameras are capable of shooting full-HD video. The camera software offers a decent number of settings and tweaks that should keep most people happy, including face detection, timer, exposure, white balance and anti-banding. There are also a handful of filters, a zero shutter mode and a burst mode. You can even set the volume rocker to act as a shutter key, which is convenient. Unfortunately, it lacks a Panorama mode, while HDR has been oddly named ‘Sunset’ mode.

Pictures taken with the camera are decent enough in terms of detail and colour reproduction. Sharpness and accuracy in the detail are impressive, while colours feel realistic and lifelike. However, brighter shades tend to be oversaturated, even consuming a bit of the detail from darker shades around. Daylight, in particular, looked too bright and could have been better. Low light shots are impressive though, and the phone brightens up the shots just enough to avoid noise and deterioration in the detail. The front camera is standard and performs as expected from a 5-megapixel shooter. Videos are pleasant enough, although not fantastic by any means.

phicomm_passion660_camerashot_ndtv.jpg(Click for full-size image)

Performance
Ordinary performance for day-to-day tasks on the Phicomm Passion 660 was decent enough. Most apps and menus loaded quickly, and the system did not crash even once during our time with the phone. There were occasional moments of lag, but these were few and far between. The Passion 660 did have some trouble running our test videos, though, with some stuttering on the larger 1080p ones. Our most challenging video, a 1080p 40mbps file, would not even load up on the device. Certain graphics-intensive games and videos showed similar flaws, but it’s fair to say that the 660 will handle most of what you throw at it with ease.

Benchmark scores were decent as well; the Passion 660 scored 30,216 in AnTuTu and 16,168 in Quadrant, both of which are close to the scores of the Nubia Z9 Mini (Review |Pictures), a device that uses the same Snapdragon 615 SoC but costs a lot more than the Phicomm Passion 660. In GFXBench and 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme, the phone scored 15fps and 5534 respectively.

Sound output from the single speaker on the device is weak, and you will definitely need headphones whenever you use this phone for movies and music. The Passion 660 has decent sound in phone calls and holds network decently enough. The battery lasted 8 hours and 36 minutes during our video loop test, which is average. However, the phone tended to drain its battery much quicker in ordinary functions and day-to-day use. The battery would usually be completely drained by early evening for us.

phicomm_passion_660_set_ndtv.jpgVerdict
Phicomm might be just another Chinese company in a market so full of options, and it’s becoming hard to keep track of them all. The Passion 660 does get a lot right, offering genuine value to potential buyers. It’s well designed, has a decent camera, boasts fantastic ergonomics and has an impressive spec-sheet. However, the lack of customisation options, underdeveloped user interface, poor battery life and inconsistent performance are key weaknesses that will bother a lot of users.

If you’re in the market for a sub-Rs. 15,000 Android smartphone, you might automatically be drawn to brands like Xiaomi, Yu and Micromax because of the amount of buzz they have succeeded in creating. But if you look beyond the hype, you’ll find that products like the Phicomm Passion 660 may also have what you’re looking for. The Phicomm Passion 660 is available now on Amazon.

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Lenovo A7000 Review: Multimedia Phablet on a Budget

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As phones started becoming smart, people discovered they could do much more than just make calls. Today, there are many who use a phone to surf the Web, chat with people using messenger apps, listen to music, watch movies, and play games. These capabilities don’t require high-end hardware anymore. Lenovo understands there is a huge market for affordable multimedia smartphones, and has engineered the Lenovo A7000 for precisely this reason.

With a big screen, meaty battery and powerful processor, the A7000 ticks all the right boxes for a smartphone. This 5.5-inch phablet is pretty affordable and has another interesting trick – it’s the world’s first phone to feature Dolby Atmos. Let’s see if the A7000 is worth its salt and can overcome the intense competition in this price range.

lenovo_a7000_rear_profile_ndtv.jpgLook and feel
If we have to put it bluntly, the Lenovo A7000 looks like someone stretched the Lenovo A6000 (Review | Pictures) from its corners and flattened it, which is to say it looks strikingly similar to its smaller sibling. In our review of the A6000, we said we really didn’t mind its utilitarian design, and we stand by that for the A7000 as well. The phone has an unassuming design with rounded edges and a matte-finished rear. It is only 8mm thick and weighs 140g. The A7000 is quite possibly one of the most ergonomic budget smartphones with a 5.5-inch screen.

lenovo_a7000_front_camera_ndtv.jpgThe entire phone is made of plastic but it doesn’t feel cheap. We found it  to be adequately sturdy and it should be able to withstand some amount of rough usage. The right edge of the phone houses the volume rocker and the power button. These are made of metal and have great tactile feedback. There is a microphone at the bottom. The top edge, on the other hand, has the 3.5mm audio port and the Micro-USB port. There is a row of capacitive buttons below the screen, which aren’t backlit, so finding them in the dark will be a hassle.

The earpiece, front-facing camera, and ambient light sensor are all above the screen. The primary camera and its dual-LED flash sit in the top left corner of the rear. The speaker grille is towards the right of the rear and is out of the reach of your fingers when holding the phone, thus not blocking any sound. However, sound is somewhat blocked when the phone is placed flat on its rear. The rear cover is removable and underneath it lie the battery, two Micro-SIM card slots and a microSD card slot.

lenovo_a7000_right_ndtv.jpgSpecifications and software
Under the hood, the A7000 uses an octa-core MediaTek MT6752m SoC clocked at 1.5GHz; an entry-level version of the MT6752. This SoC has integrated Mali-T760MP2 graphics. Lenovo has gone with a generous 2GB of RAM but a not-so-generous 8GB of internal storage. The storage space can be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card, and there is also support for USB OTG. The USB OTG feature can also be used to charge other devices, which might come in handy in emergencies.

lenovo_a7000_battery_ndtv.jpgThe A7000 has an 8-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash, and there is also a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. One of the SIM cards can be used to connect to 4G networks even on the 2300MHz frequency band used in India. The other connectivity options are Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The battery has a rated capacity of 2,900mAh.

The 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen has a resolution of 720p, which translates to a pixel density of 267ppi. The screen is protected by Asahi’s Dragontrail glass. The saturation levels of the display are a not too high and it looks decently crisp as well. The brightness and viewing angles are not too bad either.

lenovo_a7000_screenshot_ndtv.jpgThe phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with Lenovo’s Vibe UI 3.0 skin on top of it. This skin does not use an app drawer. It provides users with a good number of customisation options and there is a separate theme app which makes the whole process easier. The notification slider and multitasking cards are lifted from Lollipop with one tiny exception: Lenovo has added its own quick settings to the ones that are present by default. Other than Lenovo’s own Shareit and Syncit apps, most of the other preinstalled apps can be uninstalled, which you might actually want to do because there are a number of them.

Performance and camera
The A7000 is pretty powerful and we really didn’t see it choke or stutter at any point during our time with it. Opening multiple apps wasn’t a problem either. Even the graphically taxing Asphalt 8 ran without dropping frames.

lenovo_a7000_top2_ndtv.jpgIn the AnTuTu and Quadrant benchmark tests we achieved scores of 30,159 and 14,714 respectively. The graphics benchmarks, 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme and GFXbench, returned scores of 22fps and 5,990 points respectively, which show that the A7000 could be a great phone for gaming.

While the phone did play all our sample videos without stuttering, we noticed some strange artefacting in our heavily encoded 40Mbps sample. Videos in other formats and at other resolutions played just fine. We were really eager to test Dolby Atmos functionality on the A7000, but unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown.

Dolby Atmos on the phone is basically an app that can be used to tweak its sound handling according to the content that is being played – such as music or movies. Frankly, it looks like a sophisticated equaliser app that just lets you play around with the sound frequency levels to create a sense of space. We tried a ton of content ranging from music to movies to games, and the difference between regular stereo and Dolby Atmos was nothing to write home about. In fact, the phone failed to play Dolby’s own lossless demo.

Even at its maximum volume level the sound is not very loud through either the speakers or the headset. It is not all bad though – the quality of sound is really good, which should come as a relief for people who are willing to live with the low decibel levels.

lenovo_a7000_speaker_ndtv.jpgThe phone handles calls without any issues – we didn’t face any call drops whatsoever and the quality of sound was pretty good too. We were really impressed with the battery life on the A6000, which lasted 10 hours and 12 minutes in our video loop test. With the A7000, Lenovo actually betters that: the 2900mAh battery lasted 10 hours and 58 minutes this time. If used moderately, users should easily be able to get one and a half days’ worth of usage with the A7000, which is really good.

lenovo_a7000_camera_sample_ndtv.jpg(Click for full size)

The camera app in the A7000 is minimalistic and we really had fun using it. The 8-megapixel camera is a really fast shooter for a budget phone but it takes average photos at best. Our daylight samples were underexposed and some of the details looked smudged. However, colours were natural and there was no pixellation at full resolution. Low-light shots were almost unusable because the software obfuscates a lot of detail. The front camera can capture some really good selfies, though. Even with continuous autofocus, the camera struggled with holding focus while capturing videos.

Verdict
At Rs. 8,999 for the A7000, Lenovo has once again played the pricing card right. It is at least Rs. 1,000 cheaper than competing phones such as Micromax’s Yu Yureka(Review | Pictures), the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G (Review | Pictures), the Huawei Honor 4X (Review | Pictures) and the Infocus M330 (Review), which definitely gives it an advantage. The Lenovo A7000 is a great phone for gaming and for general usage.

Unfortunately, the multimedia features that were played up during the launch didn’t live up to our expectations. This doesn’t mean that the Lenovo A7000 cannot do multimedia at all, it just doesn’t do anything extraordinary as advertised. All in all, the A7000 is a great phone and its price is its biggest advantage.


Lenovo A7000 in pictures

Lenovo A7000

Lenovo A7000

₹ 8,999

  • Design

  • Display

  • Software

  • Performance

  • Battery life

  • Camera

  • Value for money

  • Good
  • Superb value for money
  • Good battery life
  • Power-packed performance
  • Bad
  • Underwhelming camera
  • Dolby Atmos hype unwarranted
Read detailed Lenovo A7000 review