Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30: The obvious choice

There have never been more options in the highly competitive $200-$250 price segment. In a clash between reigning smartphone stalwarts and sprightly upstarts, it is the consumers who end up winning.

Realme is one such upstart that has carved out a definite niche for itself by providing top-notch hardware, great cameras and an equally good software experience. In our Realme 3 Pro review, we found the phone to be a fairly competitive device that presents itself as an alternative to the popular Redmi Note 7 Pro.

However, Samsung too has been hitting it out of the park with their refreshed focus on the mid-range. The Samsung Galaxy M30 is one such phone that packs a gorgeous AMOLED display and a huge battery. Which one should you choose? We help you make a decision in our Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30 comparison.

Design

Both phones employ a polycarbonate finish that is equal parts resistant to damage from drops and a bit of a scuff magnet. We’ve had the two phones around for a few weeks now and there are very clear and evident signs of scratches and scuffs. Keeping up with the latest design trends, both phones have a gradient-rich design that looks quite good. The Realme 3 Pro has a bit more flair to it. Between the more interesting color scheme and the gold trim around the camera module, the Realme 3 definitely has a more interesting look from the back.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 showing back of the phone

Flip the phones over and the Realme 3 Pro and Samsung Galaxy M30 look remarkably similar. Both devices have a waterdrop notch and large displays. To be fair, there is little room for differentiation here, as all smartphones move towards a homogeneous design with minimal bezels, small notches, and the smallest chin possible.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 front notches

Other differences are fairly minimal. Button layouts between the two phones differ, and the Realme 3 Pro sports a Micro-USB port, which is a definite downer. The two phones weigh approximately the same, which is an interesting point given the much larger battery capacity on the Galaxy M30.

Display

While the notch might have stylistic differences, the biggest differentiator between the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30 is the kind of screen used. The Realme 3 Pro has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD panel while the Galaxy M30 sports a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. The difference is stark and while the Realme 3 Pro’s screen looks quite good, the deep blacks and vibrant colors of the M30 can’t be beat.

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 showing display

Viewing angles are generally great on both phones but the Super AMOLED panel on the M30 really takes the cake for being one of the most visually appealing displays at this price point. The Galaxy M30 allows you to adjust screen saturation levels and color profiles to suit your preferences. The Realme 3 Pro too lets you change the saturation levels, but the implementation just isn’t as effective. As an aside, both phones support the Widevine L1 DRM so you should have no trouble streaming high resolution content from Netflix and others.

Performance

Realme 3 Pro

  • Snapdragon 710
  • 4GB or 6GB RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • micro SD expansion

Galaxy M30

  • Exynos 7904
  • 4GB or 6GB of RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • micro SD expansion

As far as performance is concerned, there really is no comparison between the two phones. The Realme 3 Pro is, by far, a much more powerful device compared to the Galaxy M30. The Snapdragon 710 chipset used on the Realme 3 Pro ensures that it can handily keep up with any and all tasks you might throw at it. Be it heavy multitasking or just regular day-to-day use, there is enough power under the hood to ensure no slowdowns or noticeable lags.

The Galaxy M30’s Exynos 7904 chipset is a definite downgrade in comparison. Yes, you might not notice much of a difference in regular day-to-day tasks, but heavier apps and games will definitely take just a bit longer to start. Simply put, it is a slower processor and it shows once you start pushing the hardware.

Avoid the Galaxy M30 if gaming is a priority.

Graphics capabilities are where the two phones differ the most. Where the Adreno 616 GPU is able to crank out high frame rates at the maximum graphics setting in PUBG, the M30’s Mali G71 MP2 struggles at delivering a solid frame rate even at the medium graphics option. The M30 is one to avoid if gaming is a priority.

Realme 3 Pro AnTuTu
Screenshot of the Samsung Galaxy M30 AnTuTu benchmark results.

Benchmark scores validate our own tests and there is a huge difference between the Realme 3 Pro and Galaxy M30 in the AnTuTu benchmark.

Battery

A bigger battery or faster charging, that’s what you will have to choose between when deciding between the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30. A 4,000mAh battery is no slouch and the Realme 3 Pro can easily last you well over a day of use. Add to that VOOC 3.0 charging and you’ve got a phone that can be topped off from scratch in just about 70 minutes.

Bigger battery or faster charging, what do you prefer?

The Realme 3 Pro has great battery life but the Samsung Galaxy M30 manages to top that with an enormous 5,000mAh battery onboard. The phone comfortably manages two days of use. While not as fast as VOOC charging, the 15W fast charger included with the phone can top off the phone fairly quickly.

Camera

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 close up of cameras

Realme 3 Pro

  • 16MP, f/1.7
  • 5MP depth sensor
  • 25MP front facing camera

Galaxy M30

  • 13MP, f/1.9
  • 5MP ultra wide camera
  • 5MP depth sensor
  • 16MP front facing camera

The Realme 3 Pro’s dual-camera array faces competition from a triple-camera combination on the Galaxy M30. It would be hard to call either phone as best in class, that crown goes to the Redmi Note 7 Pro, but they are both capable of capturing perfectly serviceable shots.

Galaxy M30 Outdoors Realme 3 Pro Outdoors Galaxy M30 Outdoors

Realme 3 Pro Outdoors

Out and about in bright daylight, the Realme 3 Pro has a cooler cast to the image and it gives the image a slight saturation boost that makes colors pop. The Galaxy M30 too doesn’t quite get the colors right but the warmer cast might make the images a bit more appealing to look at.

Galaxy M30 Outdoor Wide Angle

The one area where the Galaxy M30 definitely has the Realme 3 Pro beat is in the secondary wide-angle camera. Picture quality falls far short of excellent but the sheer flexibility can’t be beat. The ultra-wide camera offers a lot of opportunities to get creative with photography.

Galaxy M30 Realme 3 Pro Galaxy M30

Realme 3 Pro

The Realme 3 Pro’s HDR mode is a lot more effective at containing highlights and bringing out details from dark areas. The Galaxy M30, on the right, burns out the yellow petals. The Realme 3 Pro does a much better job here.

Galaxy M30 Indoors Realme 3 Pro Indoors Galaxy M30 Indoors

Realme 3 Pro Indoors

In less than perfect lighting, noise levels go up on both phones. While I prefer the warmer color signature of the Galaxy M30, the image is noticeably softer compared to the one captured by the Realme 3 Pro. Noise levels are also higher than you would expect. In extreme low-light conditions, the Realme 3 Pro has a night mode built-in, that can produce a brighter but extremely noisy image.

The Realme 3 Pro can capture 4K video at 30FPS as well as super slow-motion 960fps video. The Galaxy M30 on the other hand maxes out at Full HD video recording. Recorded footage looks comparable on both phones, but the lack of any form of stabilization tends to make videos look shaky.

Software

Realme 3 Pro

  • Android Pie
  • Color OS 6
Samsung Galaxy M30

  • Android Oreo
  • Samsung Experience 9.5 UI

There are pros and cons to the software approach on both devices. The Samsung Galaxy M30 still runs on Android Oreo. With the upcoming release of Android Q, it is appalling to see a top-tier manufacturer ship a phone with such an old software build. That said, Samsung Experience 9.5 on the phone has been polished to a sheen and the user experience is incredible. Samsung has done a brilliant job of optimizing the software for the hardware and you will struggle to find slowdowns or jitters in the interface. There are ample features here to customize your entire phone usage experience.

Meanwhile, the Realme 3 Pro runs a newer build of Android. Color OS 6 runs on top of Android Pie and it too, gives you a lot of options to tweak the phone’s interface to your liking. Unfortunately, in our review, we observed that the software wasn’t quite polished enough. From the awkward translations to some less than optimal hard-coded options, the Realme 3 Pro’s software needs a bit more work.

Specs

  Realme 3 Pro Samsung Galaxy M30
Display 6.3-inch IPS LCD display
2340 x 1080 resolution
6.4 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels (~394 ppi), ‘Infinity-V’ Super AMOLED
Processor 2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
Adreno 616 GPU
Exynos 7904 (2 x Cortex A73 at 1.8GHz, 6 x Cortex A53 at 1.6GHz)
Mali-G71 MP2
RAM 4/6GB 4/6GB
Storage 64/128GB 64/128GB
Micro SD Expansion
Camera 16MP (IMX519) + 5MP dual rear cameras
25MP front-facing camera
Rear: 13MP, f/1.9, 5MP, f/2.2 Ultra Wide 120 degrees, 5MP, f/2.2 Depth Sensor
Battery 4,045mAh
VOOC 3.0 fast charging
5,000mAh, USB-C
15W Fast Charging
Software ColorOS 6.0
based on Android 9 Pie
Android 8.1.0, Samsung Experience 9.5
Dimensions 156.8 x 74.2 x 8.3mm
172grams
159 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
174 grams
Price 13,999 rupees – 4GB RAM/64GB storage
15,999 rupees – 6GB RAM/64GB storage
16,999 rupees – 6GB RAM/128GB storage
14,990 rupees – 4GB RAM/64GB storage
17,990 rupees – 6GB RAM/128GB storage

Value for money

As more users upgrade from entry level smartphones to something with a bit more grunt, smartphone manufacturers are doing their best to offer the best possible hardware package in this segment. Both the Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30 offer rather good value for money by targeting very different audiences.

It is clear that the Galaxy M30 is directed towards users who aren’t too demanding from their phones and need something that does the basics right. Couple that with great battery life and you’ve got a winner on hand. The Galaxy M30 is priced at 14,990 rupees (~$210) for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version, while you can step up to the 6GB RAM variant with 128GB of storage for 17,990 rupees (~$250).

The Realme 3 Pro is meant for gamers or users who demand more from their hardware. The software isn’t as polished and the battery isn’t as big, but the Realme 3 Pro’s Snapdragon 710 can run circles around the Exynos 7904 on the M30. The Realme 3 Pro starts at 13,999 rupees (~$200) for 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and goes up to 16,999 (~$245) for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.

A third alternative, of course, is the Redmi Note 7 Pro. A brilliant package, the phone combines a Snapdragon 675 chipset with a flagship level 48-megapixel camera that is capable of capturing truly brilliant photos. The base model of the Redmi Note 7 Pro with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is priced at 13,999 rupees (~$196) while the higher-end option with 6GB RAM with 64GB of storage is available for 16,999 rupees (~$243).

Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30: Our Verdict

Realme 3 Pro vs Galaxy M30 back and logos

Between the Realme 3 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M30, we would opt for the Realme. For our money it offers better performance, a battery that lasts long enough and a camera that resolves a bit more detail. That’s not to say that the Galaxy M30 is a bad phone but the antiquated software build does not exude confidence and it remains to be seen how well the lower-end hardware holds up over years of use.

Getting started with Spotify in India


Spotify finally launched its music streaming service in India in February 2019, after numerous stops and starts and despite a legal battle with Warner Music Group that rages on even today (more on this later). Indian audiences were certainly clamoring for the globally popular app, given that Spotify in India surpassed a million installs in less than a week. If you’re yet to make the jump, or consider if you even should, here’s everything you need to know about Spotify in India!


Getting started with Spotify in India

Creating an account

You can download the Android app from the Google Play Store. Spotify is also available on iOS, on Windows (also via the Microsoft Store), and on the web. You can sign up for free with an email address or log in with Facebook. Using the Facebook option makes it much easier to share your Spotify playlists, what you’re listening to, and other recommendations with friends and family.

Of course, you can control exactly what and how much information you want to share, if any. If you want to avoid it completely though, signing up with an email address may be the better way to go. With the email address signup, you will need to verify the account. Providing your date of birth, gender and adding a profile name completes the account creation process.

Adding your music preferences

spotify india language selection
spotify india select artists
spotify india select artists based on genre

Once your account is set up, you’ll be able to select the languages you prefer – this includes English, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujurati, Kannada, and Bengali. This might seem like a lot, but competitors like JioSaavn and Wynk Music add another five regional languages to their portfolios, so Spotify India has some catching up to do here.

You now get to select your favorite artists. There’s a minimum of three, but the more you select, the more well-rounded the daily mix playlists will be right off the bat. Tapping on the name of a singer brings up more options (like music directors or female singers they’ve worked with). This was actually a really fun thing to do, bringing up old favorites that I wouldn’t have thought off right away. You can also find artists based on genre.

spotify india daily mixes
spotify india album recommendations
spotify india - global releases

After selecting at least three artists, the Spotify app homepage opens. Based on your previous selections, at least one “Daily Mix” will automatically be created for you. Scrolling further down will show more album recommendations, trending songs, editors’ picks, new releases, and a whole lot more. If you’re hoping to get listening right away, Spotify has more than got it covered.

The settings menu

spotify india app settings 1
spotify india app settings 2
spotify india app settings 3

Tap on the gear icon at the top right corner of the home page to go into the settings menu. You can disable or enable a data saver mode, add a crossfade, allow explicit content, normalize the volume, set audio quality, update your language choices, set your social media preferences, and a whole lot more. There are a bunch of settings here that will let you cater the app experience to exactly how you like it.


Curating your music and podcasts

Adding songs, playlists, and podcasts to Your Library

spotify india how to search for music
spotify india finding an album
spotify india album info

As great as it is to have random, but well put together playlists created for you, you’ll still want to create your own to get the most out of the music streaming service. To find specific songs, artists, or podcasts, hop on over to the Search tab at the bottom of the app page. Just start typing a name, and what you’re looking for should pop up in the search results.

spotify india recommended playlists based on genre or language
spotify india popular playlists
spotify india rock party album

If you aren’t particular, you can also go through a variety of recommended playlists based on genre,  language, era, mood, and even the season. If you like a specific playlist, or even a few songs from one, you can add them to your library by tapping on the heart icon next to the name of the song or the playlist.

spotify india podcast categories
spotify india finding a podcast
spotify india android authority podcast

The same goes for podcasts as well. You can search for a specific podcast or scroll down in the search page to podcast section. You’ll have a lot of podcast recommendations based on a variety of categories or you can just look through the top charts. Once again, if there’s one you like, you can save it to the library by tapping on the heart icon at the top right corner of the page.

spotify india liking songs
spotify india how to hide a song from playlist
spotify india additional song settings

If you are listening to a Spotify-created playlist and like what’s on, you can also save the entire playlist or add specific songs to your favorites by tapping on the heart icon. On the flip side, if you don’t like a particular song, you can tap on the stop sign (next to the heart icon) to hide the song. Tapping on the three vertical dots icon gives you even more options, including adding the song to a playlist, adding it to queue, viewing artist information, and sharing the song.

Your Library

spotify india playlists in your library
spotify india podcasts in your library
spotify india how to create your own playlist
spotify india adding songs to a custom playlist

Your Library is where you’ll find the playlists and albums you’ve like and your favorite artists. Any songs you’ve liked will be in the “Liked Songs” playlist. Switch to the Podcasts tab to find your favorite shows, recent episodes, and downloads. Yes, while you’ll need the premium subscription to download and listen to music offline, there’s no such restriction with podcasts, which is fantastic.

Of course, you don’t have to leave it all up to Spotify and you can create your own playlists. First, give the playlist a name. Then tap on the large “Add Songs” button to get started. Spotify contributes here as well with long lists of suggestions that are curated from your favorites and recent listening habits. You can also search for a specific song or go the “Songs you liked” section to add them. Tap on the plus/add icon. You’ll now find your newly created playlist in the library.

Listening on other devices

spotify india how to listen on other devices
spotify india how to connect to other devices
spotify india how to connect to your computer

You have your playlists ready and podcasts queued, but what if you don’t want to listen to them on your phone? The good news is that Spotify isn’t restricted to one device and you can use the mobile app as a remote to control music playback on another platform. When listening to a song, you’ll notice a small display and speaker icon at the bottom left of the screen. This opens the “Connect to a device” page that will let you control any music playing on your computer or TV, or through a Wi-Fi speaker. Tap on an option and follow the on-screen instructions.


The Spotify India catalog

spotify india missing songs by charlie puth
spotify india missing songs by linkin park
spotify india missing songs by coldplay

Spotify is considered one of the best music streaming services across the globe, in part due to the incredible catalog it has to offer. Unfortunately, Spotify’s launch in India was far from smooth because of an ongoing legal battle with Warner Music Group. English music from a long list of global superstars is sadly not available on Spotify India at the moment and this will only end when the issue with the licensing deal has been resolved.

Want to listen to Charlie Puth, Ed Sheeran, Linkin Park, or Coldplay or the host of other artists who signed with WMG? You’re better off holding on to another music streaming service for now.

Spotify’s trouble with licensing deals doesn’t end with WMG. The company has also been forced to remove over 120,000 Hindi and regional language songs because of an agreement not being reached with SaReGaMa India Ltd, a major record label in India.

spotify india karsh kale broken english album art
spotify india comedy podcasts
spotify india ted talks daily podcast

It’s not all gloom and doom though. There are still quite a few licensing deals that Spotify has managed to get with Indian and international record labels, so the catalog is far from a barren wasteland. One of Spotify’s strongest suits has been its recommendations, and it remains a great way to discover new artists and previously unheard songs. Of course, there’s a lot of popular music available as well.

There’s even some music that I haven’t been able to find on any other Spotify competing apps, like a 2006 Karsh Kale album that I was only able to find on Spotify and YouTube Music.

The best part for me is the availability of podcasts on the app. Granted, I’ve never thought it was a big deal to switch between my music streaming and podcast apps. It’s still nice to have everything in one place though. I also can’t attest to how complete Spotify’s podcast catalog is here, but I found everything that I listen to.


Spotify Free vs Spotify Premium

spotify india reasons to go premium
spotify india more reasons to go premium
spotify india how to go premium

The free version of Spotify in India is far less restricted than it is in the U.S., the U.K, and others. For example, while the mobile app only lets you use Shuffle Play in other markets, that isn’t the case here. You also don’t have to worry about track skipping limits, not being able to play any track or create custom playlists. In fact, you have full access to the complete catalog that is available in India on the mobile app with the free tier.

There are ads to deal with of course, but having a 30-second ad play after every six songs and the occasional popup that asks you to subscribe to the premium service isn’t intrusive or annoying by any means.

That said, there’s still enough of an advantage to going premium or there wouldn’t be any point to having the option. For starters, ads go away completely. Audio quality also gets a boost to 320kbps from the standard 160kbps (high quality) and 96kbps (normal quality). Streaming with higher quality audio will require more data, but it isn’t as much of a data hog as you’d think, and data caps aren’t as much of a concern anymore.

Spotify Premium prices fall in line with the subscription rates of competing music streaming services in India for the most part. It may seem a touch more expensive than some, but that’s because services like JioSaavn have drastically cut their prices as a response to the arrival of Spotify and YouTube Music this year. Spotify also offers various prepaid plans that come with long-term discounts and you also get to take advantage of a 30-day free trial.

Spotify prices in India

  • 119 rupees (~$1.70) per month subscription with a 30-day free trial.
  • Prepaid plans
    • 13 rupees (~$0.20) for 1 day.
    • 39 rupees (~$0.60) for 1 week.
    • 129 rupees (~$1.85) for 1 month.
    • 389 rupees (~$5.55) for 3 months.
    • 719 rupees (~$10.25) for 6 months.
    • 1,189 rupees (~$17) for 1 year.
  • Students will receive a 50% discount on all available plans.

The discounts given with the long-term are definitely worth taking advantage of. The annual plan works out to 99 rupees (~$1.40) per month and is cheaper than the monthly subscription. You will also need a valid credit card to opt for the monthly subscription, while you can use debit cards, Paytm, and UPI to pre-pay.


Spotify in India – does it deliver?

Spotify has unfortunately been off to a shaky start in a market that isn’t short of competition and things haven’t really gotten that much better. It may have the download numbers, but that’s likely because of the initial wave of excitement that surrounded the launch. Of course, people aren’t blocked from using more than one music streaming service either.

Spotify enjoys a certain global brand recognition that very few products or companies do. However, the competition is extremely stiff in India and Spotify is quite late to the party. JioSaavn slashed its prices by around 70%, the premium Wynk music subscription is free for Airtel (one of India’s largest networks) users, and Amazon Prime Music is included with a Prime subscription.

An apt comparison for Spotify would be YouTube Music that also recently launched in India. The subscriptions are similarly priced. However, the regular YouTube app was already the most popular “music streaming” app in the country. Easier access to just music and more features will only help YouTube Music. All competing apps also have better catalogs, at least for the moment.

I know I’m making things sound far direr than they actually are. Licensing deals will be done (hopefully). Spotify will react to the price gouging (probably). Some free subscription deals with network carriers can happen (maybe). The apps are refined, the catalog will get better, and there’s one thing that Spotify has that no other Indian music streaming service does – podcasts.

Have you signed up to Spotify in India? Why? Why not?

How to use Samsung Pay on the Galaxy A70 in India

Samsung Pay Galaxy A70 home page.

Samsung’s flurry of budget-friendly smartphone launches in India continues with the release of the Samsung Galaxy A70. The latest addition to the ever-expanding Galaxy A family is all set to join the extremely competitive premium mid-range segment. However, the Galaxy A70 comes with a flagship-level feature that further separates it from its lower-tier siblings and the pack: Samsung Pay support.

Here’s everything you need to know about using Samsung Pay on the Samsung Galaxy A70!

Samsung Pay features in India

Samsung Pay allows you to pay at most retail stores in India by simply pointing your Samsung smartphone towards a payment terminal, instead of swiping a credit or debit card or sharing your payment information. The service also supports mobile wallets like Paytm and Mobikwik, and enables money transfers using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Samsung Pay Galaxy A70 card identification

One of the reasons for Samsung Pay’s popularity is because it works with all regular swipe-based card machines that support NFC or MST (magnetic secure transmission). MST sends a magnetic signal from the smartphone to the payment terminal’s card reader to emulate swiping a physical card. Since there’s no hardware or software upgrade required to the payment terminal, Samsung Pay isn’t hindered by the lack of adoption of modern terminals.

Not to be outdone by the numerous e-payment options available in the country, you can also clear mobile, internet, electricity, water, landline, DTH, and other bills using the Samsung Pay app. Samsung is also looking to help you with your personal finance needs, with offers for credit cards and personal loans available, as well as the ability to check your credit score directly through the app.


How to set up Samsung Pay

  • As long as you have an eligible Samsung smartphone, like the Galaxy A70, you will see a Samsung Pay app icon on your home screen or in the app drawer. Tap on the icon to get started.
  • You will need a Samsung account to use the app. If you have one already, simply tap the Sign In button after the introductory video plays and enter your login information. If not, you can create an account on this page. Register with an email address (that will be your Samsung ID) and create a password.
  • You will next have to register a payment authentication method. You can use the in-display fingerprint scanner or set up a PIN. The fingerprint scanner is the first option that shows up, but you can skip it and choose to use a four-digit PIN number instead.
  • You can now begin adding the needed debit and credit card information. You can register up to 10 cards at a time.
  • On the screen that pops up after the authentication method page, tap on Add Card. You can use the in-app camera to auto read the card details or enter the information manually. Follow all the instructions on the screen to complete the card registration process.

Samsung Pay Galaxy A70 home page

How to make payments using Samsung Pay

  • Once you’re done adding your debit and credit card info in the Samsung Pay app, you are ready to start making payments.
  • To launch the Samsung Pay app, all it takes is a simple swipe up from any screen, whether in-app, on the home screen, and even the lock screen.
  • The app will show the cards you have saved. You can swipe left or right to switch between them.
  • Once you select the card, you can authenticate the payment using your fingerprint or by entering the four-digit PIN.
  • Place your phone next to the card machine and your payment should be complete. Keep in mind that you will have to place the phone to the side of a regular machine and above if it’s an NFC-enabled card reader.
  • If the cashier asks for the last four digits of your card number, share the number that appears below your actual card. It is helpfully marked “Last 4 digits for the cashier.”

So that’s everything you need to know about making payments using Samsung Pay on the Samsung Galaxy A70! It’s great to see Samsung finally bringing this incredibly useful feature to the mid-range market, and it will hopefully make its way to the slew of other budget-friendly smartphones that Samsung has introduced in India this year.

Amazon Kindle (2019) review: The best Kindle for most people

Amazon’s Kindle e-readers are part of that rare breed of devices that don’t need to be upgraded all that often. Over the last decade or so, I’ve gone through four, maybe five Kindles. I started off with a Kindle Keyboard. It eventually broke in an unfortunate accident, so I replaced it with a touch-enabled Kindle 4. That was followed by a second generation Paperwhite because, well, having a built-in light is amazing. More recently, I upgraded to the new Paperwhite with waterproofing only because my Kindle from 2013 was finally starting to show signs of age.

 If Amazon had released the 2019 Kindle earlier on in the year, this is the model I would have chosen.

Amazon Kindle 2019 placed on top of older kindles

Design

The new Kindle (2019) is smaller than the model it replaces while retaining the same six-inch display. There are still substantial bezels along the sides, but that is fine since it is a device you’ll be holding in your hands for hours on end. The bezels provide your fingers with leverage points. The reduction in size definitely makes it easier to carry the new Kindle around in your back pocket.

Amazon Kindle 2019 front display

I like that the edges on the new Kindle are ever so slightly curvier than those on the last-gen model. It helps the design flow a bit more organically and makes it comfortable to hold in any orientation. In fact, I’d say that I prefer the form factor of the new Kindle over the larger Paperwhite

The back of the Kindle is made of hard plastic, unlike the rubberized finish on the Paperwhite, and I really think this is for the better. In my experience, the rubberized texture catches lint and doesn’t age too well. I did find the new Kindle to be a bit slippery. You might want to invest in a case to protect it from falls.

Buttons and ports remain the same. Yes, the Kindle still has a microUSB charging port, but we are willing to forgive that since you can go weeks without having to charge it. The power button, on the other hand, can be a bit hard to press down. Generally speaking, the ergonomics of the new Kindle don’t leave much to complain about.

Display

There is quite a big difference between the display on the regular Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite. The new Kindle carries over the six-inch E-Ink Carta display with a pixel density of 167ppi. This is little over half of the 300ppi resolution of the Paperwhite’s E-Ink Carta HD display. In real world use, you’d be surprised by how little it matters.

Amazon Kindle 2019 text comparison

By all accounts, resolution does make a difference in text rendering and in reading. Close examination if the screen of the new Kindle will reveal a mild blur around text, indicating a low resolution panel. However, this difference fades from view once you start reading a book. Unless you’ve got both Kindles sitting next to one another, you won’t know that you’re missing anything. That is, unless you read a lot of graphic novels. High-quality graphic content definitely shows off the advantage of the higher resolution display on the Paperwhite.

The new Kindle still has a 167ppi display and four LEDs compared to five on the Paperwhite.

The new Kindle sports four LEDs compared to the five on the Paperwhite. After a week of use, my eyes could not discern the difference between the Paperwhite and the entry-level Kindle. Lighting on the new Kindle is just as evenly spread and bright as that on the Paperwhite.

Unlike the Paperwhite, the basic Kindle’s display does not sit flush with the surface. Depending on who you ask, this could be a real advantage. Yes, dust and lint does get caught in the corners, but this is less aggravating than having to constantly wipe fingerprints off the plastic display as on the Paperwhite.

Living with the 2019 Kindle

While the experience of using the refreshed 2019 Kindle is very similar to that of previous devices, there was one thing that stood out to me: I often had to tap the page twice to shift to the next page. This continued to be the case despite tapping harder or changing positions. I suspect this might have something to do with touch sensitivity. Hopefully Amazon should be able to patch it in a software update.

Amazon Kindle 2019 in hand

Being able to carry your entire library with you is definitely a big part of the Kindle’s appeal. Unlike the Paperwhite, the basic Kindle still ships with just 4GB of storage. Unless you plan to read a lot of graphic novels this will be enough for hundreds, if not thousands, of books.

If you often find yourself reading at the beach, the Paperwhite is the model you need to look at.

The 2019 Kindle lacks any form of waterproofing. That’s not likely to be a big complaint for most users, but if you often find yourself reading at the beach you might de well to consider the Paperwhite instead.

And that brings us to battery life. Frankly, in my week of testing and reading through two novels, I’ve still not been able to fully deplete the battery. With screen brightness set to a third of the maximum setting, and an hour of reading each day (and even more on the weekends), I’ve drained the battery perhaps 50 percent. No matter how aggressive your use case, you’ll find it hard to run down the Kindle’s battery in less than a week.

Amazon Kindle (2019) price and availability

The all-new 2019 Kindle is priced at 7,999 rupees (~$115) in India. Meanwhile, the Paperwhite costs 12,999 rupees (~$190). At that price point, the new Kindle absolutely knocks it out of the park.

It has a front-lit display, a great form factor, and a screen that will be satisfactory for most users. We reckon most buyers will be happy with the trade-offs compared to a Paperwhite, such as the lack of waterproofing and higher-resolution display, for a price point that’s almost 40 percent lower. The sheer value for money here can’t be beaten. This is a small investment that will last years.

Amazon Kindle 2019 front of eink display with books

If you’re in the U.S., the basic Kindle runs you $89 versus the $129 price of the Paperwhite. That’s a $40 difference for the waterproofing, storage increase, and resolution boost. If you find yourself reading at the beach or in the shower, the Paperwhite might be worth the extra cost. For most users, the basic Kindle will suffice.

The Kindle is one of my all-time favorite gadgets. It does only one job, but it does it exceptionally well. With its fantastic form-factor, lighting, and access to a larger library than you’ll ever need in your pocket, the new entry-level Kindle is one of the best e-readers around. 

That concludes our Amazon Kindle (2019) review? Will you buy this gadget?

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Mi Fan Festival 2019 makes cheap Xiaomi devices even cheaper

Xiaomi earlier today announced Mi Fan Festival 2019, a customer-focused event that’s only available to India residents.

Of note are discounts on Xiaomi products. including smartphones, speakers, USB cables, and more. Highlights include the Pocophone F1 for 4,000 rupees (~$58) off , 55-inch Mi LED TV 4 Pro for 9,000 rupees (~$130) off, and Redmi Note 6 Pro for 5,000 rupees (~$72).

Mi Festival 2019 also features a flash sale that sees the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Pocophone F1, Mi Soundbar, 32-inch Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and other products on sale for one rupee. The products are available each day of the sale at 2:00 PM local time, though quantities are expected to be extremely limited.

Accompanying the flash sales is a mystery box sale that offers boxes of product bundles for 99 rupees ($1.43). The bundled products are worth up to 2,400 rupees ($34.68), so would-be customers are saving quite a bit with the bundles.

The mystery box sale kicks off at 4:00 PM local time each day of Mi Festival 2019.

Editor’s Pick

Mi Fan Festival 2019 isn’t just about discounts, however — Mi.com also plans to roll out two interactive games. One game is Fun and Furious, an online racing game that awards players with prizes like the Redmi Note 7 and Mi Sports Bluetooth earphones. The other game is Play and Win, which lets you spin a virtual wheel to win coupons and free devices.

Fun and Furious is now available, while Play and Win launches Thursday, April 4. Play and Win will be available from 10:00AM to 2:00 PM local time until Saturday, April 6.

Mi Fan Festival 2019 starts this Thursday, April 4 and goes through Saturday, April 6. The event will be held across Mi.com, Mi Home, Mi Store, and Xiaomi’s partner online and offline stores.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

HTC might return to India, but not in the way you’d expect

Even though HTC ceased smartphone operations in India, that doesn’t mean the company still won’t have a presence in the country. Citing three senior industry executives, The Economic Times reported that HTC might license its brand out to smartphone makers in India.

According to the report, HTC wants to license its brand out for smartphones, tablets, and mobile accessories. To make that happen, HTC is reportedly in advanced talks with Micromax, Lava, and Karbonn. One of the senior industry executives alleged that Lava and Karbonn will team up to offer a joint bid for HTC’s brand license.

By licensing its brand, HTC would get a royalty from whichever Indian smartphone maker wins the bid. We don’t know if HTC would get a large royalty sum at the outset or a royalty every time a device and accessory are sold in India.

Editor’s Pick

Regardless of how HTC would get its royalty, licensing its brand is not a surefire way to regain relevance in India. Currently, the Indian smartphone market is dominated by the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo, and Vivo.

According to Counterpoint, the four aforementioned companies accounted for 64 percent of the Indian smartphone market. That’s compared to just five percent market share for Micromax, with Lava and Karbonn thrown in the “Others” category that accounted for 31 percent.

When reached for a statement, HTC told The Economic Times that it’s looking for strategic options for India and “will have more to announce at a later date.” Android Authority reached out to HTC for a comment on the report and will update this article if we get a response.

In the middle of its legal battle, Spotify quietly launches in India

  • Spotify is officially available in India.
  • Unfortunately, the Premium membership options are only available to existing Spotify users.
  • The launch comes as Spotify is in a legal battle with Warner Media Group.

India residents clamoring for Spotify to be available in the country, rejoice — earlier today, the popular music streaming service quietly launched in India. The strange thing about the launch is that it happened as Spotify is contending with a legal challenge from Warner Music Group.

India residents can buy a Spotify membership in one-day, one-week, one-month, three-month, six-month, or one-year increments. Here are the prices:

  • One day: 13 rupees (~$0.18)
  • One week: 39 rupees (~$0.55)
  • One month: 129 rupees (~$1.81)
  • Three months: 389 rupees (~$5.48)
  • Six months: 719 rupees (~$10.13)
  • One year, 1,189 rupees (~$16.76)

If you’re a student, you can get a one-year membership for 59 rupees (~$0.83) a month. If students want to just try it for 30 days without committing to Spotify, they can pay 66 rupees (~$0.93) for 30 days. Everyone else gets a 30-day free trial, after which they pay 119 rupees (~$1.68) each month.

Curiously, Business Insider India reported that a Premium subscription is only available to existing Spotify users. New users can still sign up for the free tier, but they’ll have to wait if they want a Premium subscription.

Also, the only way to pay for a subscription is with Visa or Mastercard. Prepaid plans also have Paytm and UPI payment options, in addition to Visa and Mastercard.

Editor’s Pick

As nice as it is for India residents to officially get Spotify, the launch comes at a curious time for the music streaming service. Yesterday, Warner sued Spotify to stop the latter’s use of the former’s catalog. The issue is Spotify tried to gain the rights to Warner’s catalog through an amendment to India’s Copyright Act of 1957. The amendment lets broadcasters obtain licenses without consent from the copyright owner, but it’s unknown whether Spotify can be classified as a broadcaster.

Until a decision is made on the matter, Bombay’s high court allowed Spotify’s India launch to proceed. However, Spotify launched in India without Warner’s catalog. Warner/Chappell is Warner’s publishing arm and hosts artists like Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, Fat Joe, and many others.

The Realme C1 (2019) might be the entry-level phone of your entry-level dreams

If you’re looking for a long-lasting phone that won’t break the bank, your search might be over — Realme announced the Realme C1 (2019), the company’s latest entry-level smartphone.

On the outside, the Realme C1 (2019) features a 6.2-inch display with HD+ (1,520 x 720) resolution and a 19:9 aspect ratio. There’s no fingerprint sensor, but the front-facing 5-megapixel camera supports facial recognition. The software identifies 128 facial points to unlock the phone in 0.3 seconds.

Around back are dual 13 and 2MP cameras that support beauty and portrait modes.

Under the hood, the Realme C1 (2019) features Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor, either 2 or 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage. The phone runs ColorOS 5.1, which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

Editor’s Pick

The real head-turner is with the huge 4,230mAh battery. Thanks to the large battery, low-end processor, and undemanding specs, the Realme C1 (2019) lets you make calls for 44 hours, listen to music for 18 hours, and browse websites for 18 hours.

The software further extends the battery life by restricting apps in the background and cutting off apps randomly waking up in the background. With the features enabled, the phone saves anywhere between five and 11 percent of power.

The Realme C1 (2019) will be available starting February 5 in India. Residents can pick up the phone in either Navy Blue or Mirror Black through Flipkart. The 2GB/32GB variant will sell for 7,499 rupees (~$106), while the 3GB/32GB version will sell for 8,499 rupees (~$120).

Oppo quietly launches the R15 Pro with a Snapdragon 660 and 6GB of RAM

Oppo

Established as one of the top smartphone manufacturers in India, Oppo announced the R15 Pro earlier today. The phone is not to be confused with its higher-end cousin, the R17 Pro.

Starting on the outside, the R15 Pro features dual rear 16- and 20-megapixel cameras and a 20MP selfie shooter. As with a growing number of smartphones, the R15 Pro supports AI scene recognition. The phone can identify 120 scenes and automatically tweak the camera settings to hopefully take sharp pictures.


Meanwhile, the front camera supports several portrait modes and Oppo’s AI beauty mode. We actually tolerated the beauty mode on the R17 Pro, so the same might be said of the mode on the R15 Pro.

Editor’s Pick

The R15 Pro also sports a headphone jack and USB Type-C port at the bottom, a fingerprint sensor around back, and a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution up front.

Under the hood, the R15 Pro features Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 660 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a 3,430mAh battery that supports Oppo’s fast VOOC charging. Unfortunately, the phone runs the older Android 8.1 Oreo instead of the newer Android 9 Pie.

Indian residents can pick up the R15 Pro from Amazon India for 25,990 rupees (~$368). The phone is available in Cosmic Purple and Ruby Red.

The devolution of this key feature of WhatsApp will prevent mob-lynching in India

There are plenty of reports surface almost every day here in India about mob-lynching. The disastrous event does not entirely thrive on social media like WhatsApp, other catalysts occasionally play a critical role. In the wake of these chaotic events, both the Indian Government and WhatsApp have taken some steps to lessen the activities which…

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