Around an year ago, Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest and leading telecommunication service provider, took a bold step with the launch of their own “Dialog branded” smartphones to the local market. The Dialog i-series as it was known, offered smartphones running Android OS at less than Rs.9000. Decent hardware offerings and competitive pricing made the devices popular around the country. This led Dialog to launch an upgraded K-series later that year.
Meanwhile, Dialog also became the the first operator in Sri Lanka to introduce 4G LTE for mobile devices, last year. Mobile LTE brought unprecedented high speed internet on smartphones at affordable prices. On the other hand, it also had hardware limitations since subscribers needed to have 4G enabled smartphones, that cost a fortune in Sri Lankan market. To overcome this limitation, and as part of expanding their self-branded device line-up, Dialog has launched Dialog Q 143L – an affordable 4G enabled smartphone to the Sri Lankan market. This Android powered device has been priced at Rs.34,990. Dialog also offers free voice, SMS and data bundles along with the device for a limited period of time. Dialog also offers credit card payment plans to their customers who want to purchase this device. And yes, the device is network locked for Dialog.
This Android powered device has been priced at Rs.34,990.
We were lucky enough to try out the device at the time of launch. I have been playing with the device for a while now and even took the risk to use it as my daily driver for few days.
Inside the Box
Inside the box: Power adapter, Data cable, Headset, Battery, and the Device
The device comes in a simple packaging. Inside the package, you get a wall adapter, a USB cable that can be used for charging and data transfer, and a standard headset along with the device itself and a battery. For a detailed look, check out our exclusive un-boxing video below:
Hardware Specifications and Design
The Dialog Q143L can be considered as a mid-range device, considering the specifications and price. The device is manufactured by ZTE, which holds a huge market share in many Asian countries along with competitor Huawei. To be more specific, Dialog Q 143L is a re-branded version of ZTE Grand X LTE T82, which was originally released during the latter part of 2012. True, the original hardware is pretty old for 2014, but it still manages to stack up well against the mid range offerings available today.
The Dialog Q143L packs a 1.5 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset powered by ARMv7 processor, a power efficient model in the market. The device has 1GB of RAM along with 4GB of internal storage. If that sounds underwhelming, note that it supports upto 32GB of external storage support via a microSD card and thankfully the device comes with a 4GB microSD card preinstalled. I did not encounter any issues related to internal storage during my temporary usage. But I do think installing large games and apps might pose an issue if you are a heavy user, and specially if the apps cannot be moved to external storage. The Q143L sports a 4.3 inch qHD screen (540 x 960 pixels) with around 256 ppi of pixel density. The screen looks crisp. I did not encounter any specific issue while browsing or playing games. The device measures 130.9 x 65 x 11.2 mm and weighs around 150 grams. The device does feel a bit bulky once the battery is inserted. I did feel the difference since my current device weighs around 20 grams less than Q143L.
But I do think installing large games and apps might pose an issue if you are a heavy user, and specially if the apps cannot be moved to external storage
Front View: Plain and Simple
The front display looks plain, except for the speaker grill on top. There are no physical buttons on the front. The nexus-style onscreen buttons appear only when the device is unlocked. The silver-outline gives the device a premium look. The device does not feel cheap on hand. The overall design is compact, and well suits one handed usage. The rear of the device has a textured finish which provides a good grip. It also has a little hump at the bottom edge, which reminds me of the Galaxy Nexus. Another notable addition is a rear flap next to the camera, which, once opened, reveals the external antenna connector. Even though we rarely see this on devices these days, it can be useful if you are planning to use the device as a 4G hotspot and require steady coverage.
Textured back. The little hump reminds me of Galaxy Nexus.
Dialog Q143L is equipped with an 8MP camera with autofocus capabilities and an LED flash. It is also capable of recording 1080p videos. There’s nothing extraordinary here. But 8MP is the best offering on a mid-range device. It more than enough for the daily Instagramming needs one might have. But I must admit, I am not a fan of the camera interface. It takes up almost half of the screen thereby limiting the viewfinder area. The camera software does not have anything special to offer either. The device also has a 1.3 MP front facing camera which can be used with video calling apps.
The device is powered by a 1900 mAh removable battery which is one of the positive aspects of the device. The device has been optimized well that it easily managed to last more than one day of average use, with 4G data switched on almost all the time.
Connectivity: LTE for the win!
If you are not aware, Dialog offers it’s mobile LTE connectivity on 1800 MHz band.
The connectivity options are what make this device stand out from the rest and make it worth the buck. Apart from supporting, the usual 2G, 3G and even DC-HSDPA (dual carrier) the Q143L provides support to 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz LTE bands on category 3, which means download speeds upto 100 MBPs. If you are not aware, Dialog offers it’s mobile LTE connectivity on 1800 MHz band.
The OS: Outdated but doesn’t disappoint.
The Dialog Q143L runs on Android 4.0.4 aka Ice Cream Sandwich. In my opinion, this is the only notable area (apart from internal storage) where I would have loved improvement. The reason is that the OS is pretty outdated for 2014, even though there are large number of devices still running ICS. But since ICS is visually similar to Jelly Bean, you will not need to worry much. It also offers support to almost all the latest apps in Google Play. Google recently released Android 4.4, aka Kitkat, a much smoother and updated version. Notable part of KitKat is that it is designed in a way to run smoothly even on low end devices with standard hardware configurations. I do feel Dialog should consider providing an OS update to KitKat on Q143L which will definitely improve the quality of the device.
The UI gives a Nexus feel
Since this is a Dialog branded device, Dialog has added their personalized booting animations to the device. Dialog Q143L also comes pre-installed with many Dialog branded apps including D-App, MyTV, Star Points App and My Traveller App. It also has SETT browser, which supports browsing local language websites, pre installed. It is specially useful since Android ICS does not offer full support to local language font rendering. Overall experience feels smooth since there is no noticeable visual changes done to the default look of Android (unlike Samsung or HTC devices). The UI almost feels like that of a Nexus device. Other little additions are the unlocking pattern/animation and the shortcut options available on the home screen when you swipe the unlock icon. It is enabled through the Mi-EasyAccess app that comes pre installed.
The overall performance is good. The device feels snappy. I did not face any issue in running most apps. Those who love to play games on their phones need not to worry too. Dialog Q143L is powerful enough to run most of the games, including the ones with heavy visual effects. But when running heavy apps, I did feel a slight lag. It is rather common in any device of this specs in my opinion. I do feel this can be overcome with a software update. I also ran some benchmarks tests on the device. The Q143L scored 10879 on AnTuTu Benchmark; slightly higher than galaxy S2. It also scored 1633 on PassMark performance Test. In this case slightly lower than Galaxy Nexus. On Quadrant Standard, the Q143L performed better much better than Galaxy Nexus and got a score of 4577. On CF-Bench, the CPU and memory benchmark tool, the Dialog Q143L once again scored better than Galaxy S2 with a score of 11727. Even though the benchmark scores are affected by various factors, the Q143L gave some consistant results mostly in the range of galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus, two extremely popular Android devices.
So how does the Dialog Q143L stack up against the competition in the current market? Is it really worth spending 35K on this 4G enabled smartphone? As I mentioned earlier, the options available for 4G enabled devices in Sri Lankan market is very limited, specially when it comes to affordability. So the Digit team did some market research and came up with a head to head comparison of the cheapest 4G LTE enabled handsets in the Sri Lankan market. There are two types of offerings in the local market. One is from the authorized dealer of a certain brand. The dealer provides the warranty and after-sales service. Prices are standardized by dealers for the local market. Usually smartphones sold through Sri Lankan mobile service providers also come through these authorized dealers. Apart from dealers, there are mobile phone shops that import the devices directly and sell it locally. The warranty and service is provided by the respective shops.
The difference I am trying to highlight is the price. In the local market the authorized dealer prices are usually very high compared to prices at mobile phone shops in places like Liberty Plaza. Also availability of certain variants/ models of the smartphones also differs between authorized dealers and non-dealers. Taking all this into account we came up with the following chart.
Note that there is a wide gap between price ranges. For example the cheapest of the list, LTE enabled Galaxy Ace 3 variant was available only at selected shops. (Not with authorized dealer). The closest competition to Dialog Q143L in terms of price were, Xperia V and Lumia 820. But then again their prices from authorized dealers were clearly higher than that of Q143L. Overall, considering the warranty, after sales services and the additional benefits, I feel Dialog Q143L can be considered as the most affordable 4G LTE enabled smartphone in the Sri Lankan market. This is specially applicable if you are a Dialog customer.
Q143L is a mid range Android device targeted at Dialog customers who want an affordable device to experience the high speed internet offering. In other words, Dialog has tried to bridge the gap between high end specs (LTE) and affordability, with the Q143L. It is a welcoming move. It is also a bold step taken by a Sri Lankan service provider to launch their own branded device which may lead to them launching latest devices with affordable contract plans like in many other countries. Looking at the specs and network limitations, the Q143L may not be for the expert users who like more customization. It is rather suitable for new users looking to convert to Android from other platforms (like Blackberry) or users who want to try a smartphone for the first time. The LTE connectivity is definitely the winning point of the device while the OS and internal storage could have been better.
You know you have thought about it, every time that we drop our phones on the ground we wish we had a better case. With every scratch and every ding, we wish there was a way to prevent it all from ever happening. There are literally hundreds of thousands of smartphone cases out there and most boast about being the most secure. But when it comes to smartphone security Honda has probably taken the one most epic step with their airbag smartphone case.
Yup, you read it right! Honda recently presented their airbag smartphone case, and it is something out of a science fiction movie, or perhaps I should say that it looks like something that NASA might have put together. Remember the Mars rover landing where they had a bunch of airbags attached to the vessel which came down to the surface and allowed it to bounce securely? That is exactly what this airbag contraption looks like and does.
Of course, it’s all a ploy, and it is a relief to know as psfk puts it, “that even Fortune 500 companies can have a sense of humor”. We are all looking for the perfect and most secure smartphone case, and we always get disappointed it seems as there simply is no case that completely keeps our smartphones safe. Well, without the phone being completely enclosed in the case itself that is.
Honda even went as far as creating an emotional video about how impossible it is to find a suiting and secure smartphone case. Their prototype named Case N is based on Honda’s airbag technology. Honda is after all one of the leading companies when it comes to airbag technology, and this smartphone case is a funny way to inject that into people’s minds. However, I can’t stop thinking that there must be a way to miniaturize the size of their smartphone case and make it into a real one. It would certainly be quite useful to have a case that deploys its airbags when detecting a fall. It would definitely save a lot of people a lot of money.
The LG G Pad 8.3 tablet is the latest addition to LG’s G Series line up of premium mobile devices.
Set to officially debut this week at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, the LG G Pad 8.3 builds on the recent launch of the LG G2 phone and boasts a Full HD display, a powerful 4600mAh battery for long-lasting usage time and weighs just 338g.
The G Pad is equipped with a 1920 x 1200 WUXGA (Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array) display capable of delivering picture quality with even higher resolution than a standard Full HD display.
In addition, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Processor with 1.7GHz Quad-Core CPU enhances the viewing experience with powerful performance as users will be able to enjoy Full HD content without any compromise.
The LG G Pad 8.3 meets the demanding requirements of the convergence age by improving connectivity between multiple devices. With the unique QPair app, every call and message received on a smartphone will appear on the G Pad. Users can then send simple replies through the LG G Pad 8.3. QPair also allows the G Pad to easily connect to other manufacturers’ smartphone and tablets (Jelly Bean OS recommended) and notes created on the G Pad’s QMemo can be seamlessly saved into users’ smartphones and shared from either device.
The LG G Pad 8.3 will be rolled out globally in key markets including North America, Europe and Asia as well as other regions starting in the fourth quarter of 2013.
LG, global leader in electronic technology, and the first to produce innovative new products, is set to introduce the world’s first smartphone with embedded fingerprint scanner for online security at your fingertips.
Passwords are easy to crack and difficult to remember. Just think how easy it would be to scan a fingerprint, for example, to check your Gmail account or authorise an online payment? This, thanks to LG, will be a reality very soon, probably as early as next month.
Meanwhile, a group of 24 internet companies, dubbed the Fast Identity Online (Fido) Alliance, is pushing for doing away with passwords to counter rising global e-commerce fraud. These global scams cost companies in North America alone more than US$ 3.5 billion last year.
Fido, which PayPal and Google are part of, believes that fingerprinting of biometrics is an effective solution to the global problem. Formed only last July, it is intent on paving the way for consumers to use their fingerprints, instead of passwords, to access online shopping, banking or payment portals.
In fingerprint scanning, the embedded scanner in smartphones is activated and users are prompted for their fingerprints when they go online to make purchases or change personal details. Fingerprints cannot be forged, and therefore, this system would present absolute online security.
Since LG introduced their Optimus L-Series, a range of innovative stellar smartphone handsets, and the mind-blowing Optimus 4X HD – the pride and joy of LG, the company has had record sales which have boosted them to be one of the first three largest smartphone manufacturers in the world. Smartphones are essentially mini computers.
You can watch the latest movies, watch TV shows, listen to your favourite music, browse the internet with a touch of your finger, and even if you don’t understand how to use a computer, you can swipe down important notes from a business phone call, take gorgeous lifelike pictures and record high definition videos.
Abans, the agent for LG in Sri Lanka, say that they hope to launch the new LG smartphone with fingerprint scanning in the third quarter of this year.
Singer Sri Lanka (PLC), national distributor for Huawei, has launched the much anticipated Ascend W1, and also simultaneously launched the Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 smartphones in the local market.
Packed with enticing features, including a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual core possessor, a 5-megapixel AF dual camera with flash and 4GB onboard storage (with expandable storage up to 32GB), the Ascend W1 also has a powerful battery which gives users up to 470 hours of standby time, considered the longest among all smartphones in its class and considered extremely practical for users on the go.
“The Windows 8 mobile platform is considered the most intuitive and streamlined interface, placing focus on ease of use with the introduction of its innovative Modern UI, a key feature of which is the user’s ability to multi-task efficiently,” stated Asoka Pieris, CEO Singer Sri Lanka PLC. “The Ascend W1 is a smart and stylish alternative for consumers looking for great technology at a competitive price.”
“The Ascend W1, powered by the intuitive Microsoft Windows 8 operating system and featuring cutting-edge design, ensures that this is a smartphone geared for productivity and functionality to complement the consumer’s lifestyle,” explained Daniel Sun, CEO Huawei Technologies Lanka Ltd. “Seamlessly integrating Windows applications and tools from the familiar desktop Windows operating system, users will find that the Ascend W1 is akin to a personal computer in the palm of their hand.” The Ascend G510, which was also launched with the Ascend W1, possesses great functionality; equipped with 1.2GHz dual-core CPU together with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal memory, the smartphone boasts outstanding specifications in a smart and stylish package. In addition, the Ascend G510 also comes with a 4.5-inch 850×450 IPS display, 5-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera and is powered by a 1750mAh battery utilising HUAWEI’s leading battery optimization technology, thus giving users 30% longer standby time. A key feature of the Ascend G510 is the NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities. Huawei’s Ascend Y300, targeted at youth, brings users the very best technology and smartphone experience in its class. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen, a 1730mAh battery, five megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, panorama function and video record at 30 frames per second.
The Ascend Y300 runs Android 4.1 Jellybean, giving users access to hundreds of thousands of apps via the Google Play store. Face Detection is a new and exciting feature of Jelly Bean products which can be enjoyed by consumers in both the HUAWEI Y300 and G510 models. “We are excited about the introduction of this range of HUAWEI smartphones to the local market and to see our strong partner, Singer brings the Windows Phone 8 experience through the HUAWEI Ascend W1 to more Sri Lankans,” noted Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager – Microsoft Sri Lanka who was a special guest at the event.
The range of smartphones will be made available at Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores and dealers island-wide and are available with a two year warranty. Singer Sri Lanka PLC is exclusive distributor for the Huawei range of smartphones and devices in the country. With a 161 year tradition of service excellence, Singer is recognised for its diverse multi-brand product portfolio.
The company has a strong presence and expansive network island-wide in order to make Singer’s range of products easily accessible, and presently stocks a range of world-renowned Huawei devices. Singer is the No. 01 destination for smart phones, stocking the world’s leading brands which are made available at over 390 Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores island-wide and offers the best range and value for money.
Source: Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 simultaneously launched in the country DailyFT
Mozilla announced the first two smartphones based on its operating system, Firefox OS on Monday: the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire.
The two devices will soon be available through Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom. Telefonica announced that the ZTE Open will be offered in Spain starting on July 2 for 69 euros ($90).
Individual partners will release the dates of availability for each market. Mozilla said that the first Firefox OS will launch in Central and Eastern Europe under the wing of Norway-based Telenor “this year.”
Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which was one of the main topics during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is a HTML-based, open source mobile OS that should provide a user-friendly alternative to Android, especially on entry-level handsets. Mozilla hopes to conquer much of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America with Firefox OS — most of which are currently dominated by cheap Android devices.
ZTE Open is a 3.5-inch smartphone with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 256MB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, A-GPS and Wi-Fi.
Alcatel One Touch Fire boasts nearly identical specs, but is powered by a Qualcomm processor.
Online IT magazine founded in February 2009 with 50+ contributors. Up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of IT news with focus on bringing out IT news from all corners of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan IT site that engages with an unprecedented 150,000 readers on a monthly basis. Get in touch with us if you have news that needs publishing on our site or to cover an event in Sri Lanka.