Gone are the days of being restricted to Wi-Fi usage in shopping centres, office blocks or even ‚”accidentally‚” using neighbours’ connections, writes DARRON SEHAYEK, after trying out Cell C’s Huawei E586 Mobile Wifi Router.
Huawei is already synonymous with great products for mobile connectivity, especially the 3G dongles used by most connected laptops in South Africa.
Its E586 Mobile Wifi Router, packaged with a cell bundle, will pleasantly surprise the user. Sure, there are other devices available that do a similar job but I do not think they’re remotely comparable.
I’ve been using an alternative router for over a year and, while it certainly served its purpose, it was neither aesthetically pleasing nor continuously reliable. In fact, it was so large, that transporting it was more of a pain than anything else and often caused me to leave the Internet at home due to the fact that it was cumbersome and unreliable.
But with today’s technological advances, it’s a minimal requirement to have both speed and reliability when connecting to the Internet. This device is not only fast and lightweight, but also houses a slot for a microSD card. A built-in (and removable) battery allows for completely cordless use.
The advantage of complete portability is that you no longer have to keep the device connected to either a USB port/power supply or 2/3 pin plug. Simply charge the device using its supplied USB data cable, which acts as a dual-purpose charger and connectivity to your computer. The charging time is quick and you’re ready to go in just under 2 hours.
My device also came with a small, practical and modern docking station, which not only keeps the router safely in place but simultaneously charges it while inside.
Incidentally, it also happens to use the same charger as a BlackBerry (and many other devices using micro-USB). So, if you have a Blackberry charger spare, my suggestion would be to use this to charge the modem via the included docking station and to keep the actual data cable with you, just in case you ever need to charge the device via USB.
The data cable also comes with a 2-pin plug adaptor, which means you can charge it anywhere with electricity. A great add-on, as many suppliers these days seem to be leaving these out of the boxes due to costs and space constraints.
The initial setup was a breeze. Simply plug the included data cable into the device, then into your computer and allow it to auto-install. Once done, go to the admin page described in the easy-to-understand instruction manual and follow a few more settings prompts such as WPA2, router name and password (recommended, else your neighbours may just use your internet connection as their own).
The device takes a full-sized SIM card (so no need to change to micro). Another great feature of this device is that it shows you (approximately) how much data you have used. No more removing the SIM card just to check the balance used/left. Simply turn on the device, allow it to authenticate and connect and you will see how much data you have used.
I got 7 hours worth of usage out of the battery before I had to charge it and since the price of data has decreased dramatically, I have no excuse for not staying online for longer.
In a nutshell: Modern looking, great battery life, truly compact, includes a handy docking station for optional use, up to five users can share one connection and real value for money at less than R1500.
It would appear Cell C is not only focusing on great service and great pricing but also introducing impressive devices that ultimately make our lives much easier and make us wonder how we ever managed without them.
My verdict: 9 out of 10.
Hisense adds AI-cameras to handsets
Hisense has entered the AI-camera space with the Infinity H30, aimed at the mid-range market. BRYAN TURNER tests the new camera technology.
Click below to read the review.
While many know Hisense for its TVs and appliances, it has an impressive lineup of smartphones. Its latest Infinity H30 smartphone packs a serious punch in the mid-range market, including features like a low-bezel screen and AI camera.
Out the box, the phone comes with the usual charger, charging cable and earphones. There is a surprise in the box: a screen protector and a clear case. A nice value-add to the already affordable smartphone.
The polycarbonate plastic body feels premium, especially for a device in this price range. It has a colour changing body, depending on the angle at which it is held. The colour of the device we reviewed is called Ice Blue, and shimmers in darker and lighter blues. Aesthetically, this is a big win for Hisense.
The 6.5″ screen is a narrow-bezelled FHD+ display with good colour replication. Hisense is known for creating colour-accurate displays and it’s good to see it continue this legacy in its smartphones. The shape of the display is interesting, taking some design notes from Huawei’s Dewdrop display with what Hisense calls the “U-Infinity Display”. It makes the phone look really good.
On the rear of the phone, one finds a dual-camera setup with fingerprint sensor. On the bottom of the phone, there is a speaker, a USB Type-C Port and a headphone jack. The speaker’s placement on the bottom isn’t optimal and the sound is muffled if one accidentally covers the single speaker area.
The 4,530mAh non-removable battery is very capable, providing a good 12 hours of medium usage (checking messages every half hour and playing an online game every hour) until it reaches 20%. The battery capacity isn’t the only power feature of the device; it runs on the latest Android Pie operating system, which includes AI power-saving software measures to keep background apps from using battery.
It is a little disappointing to see the device came with some pre-installed games. Fortunately, one can uninstall them. Hisense makes up for this by issuing Android updates and security patches as the come out. This, coupled with the MediaTek Octa Core processor, provides a good user experience for playing games and multi-tasking.
The H30 has a whopping 128GB of on-board storage, and it can be expanded even more with a MicroSD card. The 4G-LTE capabilities are perfect for most high-speed broadband situations, with around 40Mbps download and around 10Mbps upload in an area with good cell service.
The 20+2MP rear camera configuration is good at taking shots on Auto mode, but pictures can be better after figuring out all the camera modes available. There is a professional mode for those who want to be extra creative with their photography. It also includes a baby mode, which plays various noises to make a baby look at the phone for a better picture. The AI mode can be enabled to make full use of the processor in the device, and fif the camera mode to be selected based on scenes photographed.
The 20MP front camera performs equally as well. This camera is the reason for the U-like shape at the top of the screen. The camera app has beauty-face filters, for those wanting a slimmer face or smoother skin.
Overall, the Infinity H30 is a prime example of a good phone in an affordable price range. The camera is very capable, and the AI processing helps what would otherwise be a regular camera. The aesthetically pleasing colour saves the day, and makes this mid-range device look like a high-end flagship. The device is retailing for R5,499 from most major carriers.
Nokia 9 PureView pioneers new camera tech
Nokia packed five camera-lenses into its latest high-end flagship, but does more lenses mean better pictures? BRYAN TURNER took it for a test run.
Nokia is not new to the high-end mobile photography market. In 2012, it led Mobile World Congress (MWC) with its 41MP Nokia 808 PureView. This year, Nokia returned to MWC with its next PureView handset: the Nokia 9 PureView.
Instead of pushing megapixels, the mobile device maker chose to focus on intelligent exposure and sharp focus quality. It achieved this with a set of five cameras on the rear of the device – the most ever on the back of a handset. All of the lenses are 12MP f/1.8 lenses, and three of them are monochrome. The five lenses work in tandem to blend the best parts of a captured image. This is achieved through software image blending, which has been trained to know what’s good and bad about the image.
Lighting is dramatically improved with a monochrome sensor. About 2.9x more light can be captured with a monochrome sensor when compared to a conventional sensor. Huawei showed off the advantages of integrating a monochrome camera with the P9.
Why three monochrome lenses?
Detail can be captured at three different lighting settings, one to absorb a lot of light, one to absorb a little less light, and one to absorb very little light. These photos can then be blended into one great photo, without the user having to worry about setting the camera’s exposure manually.
Only five lenses have been mentioned so far but the back of the device sports seven holes. The sixth hole is for the flash and the seventh is for the depth sensor. This sensor captures the depth of an image, so autofocus can be a little sharper and focus depth on bokeh images can be adjusted after the picture is taken. This adjustment feature is especially useful when a subject’s hair has been “bokeh’d out”.
Click here to read about the other features of the Nokia 9 PureView.