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HiSense launches LTE phones

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Hisense has released a trio of LTE-enabled Android smartphones equipped with dual-SIM slots and compatible with all networks in South Africa.

Hisense provided the following information:

Hisense INFINITY PureShot LTE (L671)

Although designed for selfies, the Hisense INFINITY PureShot LTE can easily be seen as the Jack-of-all-Trades in the line-up, offering a range of features at a very strong price point. This 5-inch (720×1280 resolution) device’s stand out feature is its unique camera setup. With a 13 megapixel camera at the back, the PureShot has the unique distinction of also including an LED flash for the front facing five megapixel camera. This should help when capturing selfies in low-light environments, further enhanced by an 85 degree wide angle lens, coupled with auto-face detection and intelligent white-balance.

The Hisense PureShot is no slouch in the hardware department either, making use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8929 (1.36 GHz) octa-core processor and a solid 2GB of RAM. With 16GB of onboard storage available, it includes a microSD card slot to further enhance storage by up to 128GB. Ensuring the resilience of the phone is the 5-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen, while the smartphone includes a 2200 mAh removable battery.

The Hisense Infinity PureShot (L671), which runs on Android 5.0 (Lollipop), will retail at approximately R3 499.

Hisense INFINITY K8 (H910)

The INFINITY K8 is the apex of the new Hisense LTE line-up, boasting a 5.5-inch Full HD Gorilla Glass 3 screen (1080×1920). Its coffee coloured metal frame and leather finish back lend the unit the merit it deserves as a flagship device, backed by compelling internal specifications.

Doing the hard work is a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8939 octa-core processor running at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM, with 16GB of storage space (with expandable microSD storage) available. Catering to photographers’ needs is a 13 megapixel back facing camera with LED flash, and an eight megapixel front facing unit. To ensure a decent battery life that can power this Android device efficiently, the K8 comes equipped with a 2700 mAh battery.

Apart from robust innards and its Full HD screen, one of the stand-out features of the Hisense INFINITY K8 (H910) is its price, retailing for approximately R4 999.

Hisense INFINITY Pulse LTE (L682)

Rounding off Hisense’s trio of LTE smartphones is the Hisense INFINITY Pulse LTE (L682). Also including a dual SIM slot, this unit features a 5-inch IPS touchscreen (720×1280), an eight megapixel main camera and a five megapixel front facing snapper. The kick in its bonnet is provided by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, with users provided with 16GB of storage.

The Hisense Infinity Pulse LTE (L682) has the honour of breaking through the sub-R3 000 price barrier, offering solid specifications and 4G connectivity in the region of R2 799.

An all LTE affair

According to Mark Zhang, Product Manager at Hisense South Africa, the company’s new line-up is a boost for customers on the hunt for the best value for money. “All three of our new smartphones are LTE enabled, allowing for fast internet access and speedy video downloads. Hisense have also included dual-SIM slots to ensure that users can switch between networks when they want,” Zhang notes.

It is, however, the Hisense Infinity PureShot LTE that stands out for attention, with Zhang believing it provides customers with one of the most full featured front facing cameras on a smartphone ever. “The fact that the PureShot includes not just a flash on the back of the unit, but also on the front makes it a must for those who loves selfies.”

As a final highlight, Zhang points to the smartphones’ costing. “If you look at what is on offer for each phone, and then look at the price, it’s easy to see that, pound-for-pound, the three new Hisense smartphones offer the best value for money in the South African market,” Zhang enthuses. “I can strongly recommend that customers compare our phones to any others before making a choice. They will be pleasantly surprised,” Zhang concludes.

The Hisense LTE enabled smartphones will be available from November 2015 at retail stores nationwide.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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