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Moto Z family arrives in SA

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The eagerly-awaited arrival in South Africa of the Moto Z phones from Motorola brought with it a family of add-ons called Moto Mods.

Lenovo has introduced South Africans to what it calls “the next era of mobile technology” with the launch of the Moto Z smartphone, which is joined by Moto Mods that enable users to choose the capabilities of their smartphone. It also brings the Motorola phone brand back to South Africa after a long absence.

Lenovo provided the following information:
The Moto Mods Family includes the JBL SoundBoost speakers so users can take the party with them, the Insta-Share Projector so they can share content as and when they want, power packs from Incipio so consumers are never out of battery, and the Hasselblad True Zoom, that will enable aspiring photographers to capture precious moments on the go.

Made from military aircraft-grade aluminium and stainless steel, the new Moto Z is durable, yet thin – just 5.2 mm – and ultra-light with a 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display. The smartphone is equipped with a powerful Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 820 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB or 64 GB of storage inside. Those looking for even more storage for pictures, videos and apps can add a microSD card up to 2 TB.

Moto Z has a high-resolution 13 MP camera with optical image stabilisation and laser autofocus, which helps users take beautiful, true-to-life pictures in any light and condition. The front-facing 5 MP camera includes a wide-angle lens, which is great for fitting friends in the picture. Moto Z also includes an extra flash on the front camera to ensure users look their best, even in low light.

The smartphone comes with a water-repellant coating, which shields the phone from rain, splashes or spills. With the fingerprint reader, a touch is all it takes to instantly wake up the phone. Moto Z supports up to 30 hours of battery, so people can go all day and well into the night without needing to stop and recharge their phones. When in need, the TurboPower™ Mod provides up to 8 hours of power in just 15 minutes.

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Moto has teamed up with Hasselblad, who has been at the forefront of the imaging industry, to design an imaging experience that completely transforms mobile photography. Add advanced imaging capabilities to the phone in a snap, and create and share like never before. Featuring 10x Optical Zoom and a Xenon flash, all is needed is to just focus on getting the shot – lighting and distance will never stand in the way of capturing the perfect image. Customers can expect even more control and flexibility with the ability to shoot in RAW format, in addition to the physical shutter and zoom controls, guaranteeing a great handling experience. With True Zoom, users will also get free access to Hasselblad’s Phocus software for streamlined editing control and the highest quality output. Users will also be able to share beautiful results with family and friends while still in the moment with automatic backup and unlimited free storage for two years with Google Photos.
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For those who enjoy listening to loud music, the Moto Z offers a high-quality JBL SoundBoost that will give the smartphone a boost with powerful stereo sound in a snap. The Mod includes a built-in kickstand that is guaranteed to make videos and music more immersive.

The JBL SoundBoost also includes 10 hours of battery life that allows people to listen longer without using their phone’s battery. The speakerphone also ensures that calls come in loud and clear no matter the location
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The Moto Insta-Share Projector snaps easily onto the Moto Z phone and enables instant sharing of photos and videos. The Mod projects up to 70” on any flat surface so the big screen is with users every step of the way. With the integrated kickstand, people can project at any angle which allows friends and families to gather together to watch their favorite pictures, shows, and even games.

The Insta-Share Projector comes with built-in battery that provides users with up to one extra hour of screen time before using the phone’s battery.
The Moto Z will be available at select retailers:

·         Takealot.com from 1 November 2016
·         Cellucity from 1 November 2016
·         Dion Wired from 13 November 2016

Moto Z will be available in Black & Lunar Grey. The pricing will start from:

 

Moto Z (comes with Moto Style Shell) R12,999
Moto Insta-Share Projector Mod R 4,699
Incipio offGrid Power Pack Mod R 1,199
JBL SoundBoost Mod R1,699
Hasselblad True Zoom Mod R 4,299

 

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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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