ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) is Your Affordable Dual Sim 3G Phablet

ASUS Fonepad 7 (FE170CG)

ASUS Fonepad 7 (FE170CG)

ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) is an affordable Dual SIM 3G phablet device for you who want smartphone and tablet in one package and does not cost you a bomb.

(Note the model number FE170CG because ASUS has several FonePad 7 models.)

The 7-inch (1024 x 600 pixels) Android device is powered by Intel Atom Z2520 1.2GHz dual-core processor (with Intel Hyper Threading Technology) and 1GB RAM. The phablet storage is available in 2 variants: 4GB or 8GB, both supports MicroSD memory card up to 64GB.

ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) supports Dual Micro SIM, Dual Standby with 3G connection. Dual cameras with 2MP at the rear and 0.3MP at the front. Front speaker with SonicMaster technology.

Yes, ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) can make phone calls.

It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (Android 4.4 KitKat upgradable) with new ASUS ZenUI. The build-in battery is 3950 mAh. It will last for 10 hours with single charge, Asus claims.

ZenUI is ASUS’s latest mobile device interface with more than 200 software tweaks over previous ASUS interface. It features modern flat design, customizable themes, animations, new sounds and ringtones. What’s Next and Do It Later features help you to be more productivity.

ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) weight 290g, 11cm width and 10.7mm thick. It is available in several colours: Black, While, Red, Blue. 4GB model is only available in White.

It is already available now at your local IT stores and resellers. The FonePad 7 (FE170CG) in Malaysia is RM 499 (4GB) and RM 599 (8GB). I would recommend you to buy Android devices with at least 8GB storage.

If you doubt about ASUS Fonepad 7 performance, as your reference, ASUS send me a chart comparing FonePad 7 benchmark scores with other competitors: (click/tab for full size image)

Asus fonepad 7 performance benchmark scores
Asus fonepad 7 performance benchmark scores

ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) photo gallery

For more information, visit ASUS Malaysia

Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM with Windows Phone 8.1 Available in Malaysia

Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1
Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1
Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim with windows phone 8.1

Windows Phone fans who are waiting for a budget smartphone with Dual SIM capacity would be happy to buy the new Lumia 630 Dual SIM.

Lumia 630 is the first Lumia smartphone with Dual SIM capacity. The display is 4.5-inch ClearBlack screen (854 x 480), and it is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It is also the first phone comes with latest Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 features

Windows Phone 8.1 includes a bunch of new features, such as:

  • Cortana, the virtual assistant like Google Now and Siri
  • Internet Explorer 11 as default web browser. Support WebGL, InPrivate mode, Reading more, gestures.
  • Automatic apps updates.
  • Redesigned Windows Phone Store
  • New apps; Battery Saver, Storage Sense, WiFi Sense
  • Phone call can automatically switch to Skype video call from within the phone call interface.
  • Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view.
  • Live tiles with background image
  • New notification center — “Action Center”
  • “Word Flow” keyboard allows you to swipe through letters to type.
Nokia Lumia 630 front back
Nokia Lumia 630 (front & back)

Lumia 630 has 512MB RAM and 8GB phone storage, expandable to 128GB using a MicroSD card. You will also receive 7GB free OneDrive cloud storage. It has a 5MP auto focus primary camera without flash, no front camera (read: no selfie).

Overall, Lumia 630 specs is better than previous Lumia 525. But Lumia 630 has only half the RAM (512MB vs. 1GB) and missing two-stage capture key (camera key).

Lumia 630 Dual SIM is available in Malaysia in bright yellow, white, and black. The recommended retail price is RM549. The changeable shells available in bright orange, bright green, bright yellow, matte black, and matte white.

➤ Microsoft Malaysia

Compare 6 All-New Lenovo A- and S- Series Smartphones: S860, S650, S660, A859, A680, A526 (May 2014)

Lenovo Malaysia launched 6 all-new A- and S- series smartphones in May 2014
Lenovo Malaysia launched 6 all-new A- and S- series smartphones in May 2014
Lenovo Malaysia launched 6 all-new A- and S- series smartphones in May 2014

Lenovo Malaysia announced the availability of its all-new A- and S- series smartphones in May 2014.

The new S-series smartphones are S860, S650, S660; new A-series smartphones are A859, A680, A526.

Yes, total 6 new smartphone models! They have similar specs with a little different. I was dizzy looking at the specs sheet at the media launch event! I spent time at home to sort them out and compare specs-to-specs.

Here you are, the ONE article compares all 6 Lenovo phones. Guess which model is Best Value among the six? Read on to find out.

(Don’t forget to read my thoughts at the end of article)

[box type=”info”]Info: S series is “elite entertainment smartphones” designed for video, music, and gaming. The series has high resolution display and studio-class audio. It is the main series of Lenovo smartphones. A series, on the other hand, is entry level smartphones at lower price.[/box]

Despite different series and price tags, all new Lenovo smartphones are powered by the same MTK 6582 1.3GHz Quad-core processor and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. They are also all support Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby and support Dual 3G.

Compare new S series smartphones (S860, S660, S650)

Compare Lenovo S-series smartphones: S860, S650, S660
Compare Lenovo S-series smartphones: S860, S650, S660

S860

Lenovo S860 (RM 1169) is the king among the new smartphones. It has best cameras, 5.3-inch HD display, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, plus a 4000mAh battery for 24 hours 3G talk time. The phone even includes a USB on-the-go cable to charge your other devices. The metal body phone build quality is good. It has stereo speakers at the bottom, too.

However, S860’s battery is non-removable and it does not support micro SD memory card to expand its storage space.

Lenovo S860 smartphone (front & back)
Lenovo S860 smartphone (front & back)

S660 vs S650

S660 (RM 749) and S650 (RM 699), as you can see from their model number and price tag, have similar hardware specifications.

The major different is the battery capacity. S660 is 3000mAh versus S650’s 2000mAh. The 1000mAh battery juice different gives you 2 hours more talk time on S660.

The other different is phone materia – S660 is aluminium and S650 is polycarbonate (read: plastic).

For RM50 extra, S660 has higher battery capacity and better phone material than S650. Good?

Compare new A series smartphones (A859, A680, A526)

Compare Lenovo A-series smartphones: A859, A680, A526
Compare Lenovo A-series smartphones: A859, A680, A526

A859

If S860 is the king, then A859 (RM719) would be the queen among the new smartphones. Despite categorized as A-series smartphone, A859 has S-series specs. It has 5-inch HD display, 8MP+1.6MP cameras, 8GB phone storage.

Lenovo A859 smartphone (front & back)
Lenovo A859 smartphone (front & back)

A680 vs. A526

The other two A-series phones – A680 (RM499) and A526 (RM469) – are priced under RM500. Both models have similar specs, such as 5MP+0.3MP cameras, 4GB phone storage. The different is the display size – 5-inch vs. 4.5-inch, both same resolution).

Best Value: Lenovo A859

Among the 6 new Lenovo smartphones, I would give Lenovo A859 the Best Value award.

It has specs higher than S-series phones (S660 and S650) with better display, higher resolution front camera for selfie. The price is only RM719, RM30 cheaper than lower specs S660.

Do not buy Lenovo S650! For only RM20 more, you get better display, better front camera, bigger battery on Lenovo A859. Buy S660 only for its 3000mAh battery capacity.

Thoughts

I do not understand why Lenovo want to release many phones with similar specs and prices. Could not be simplified?

Want to have more choices for customers? I think it is more confusing instead. A salesman would not take the time memorizes all the phone models and specs. Would customers research the phone models like I did in this article? No, most phone buyers only ask for salesman’s recommendation. At the end, phone buyer is not buying the right phone for their needs.

The 6 new models could slash to only 3 models:

  1. S860 – highest specs
  2. A859 - medium specs
  3. A526 - entry level

S660 and S650 are duplicated. Do not need to have.

In the same price range, A859 is already overlapping the S-series models. This is agreed by Lenovo Malaysia when I asked during media event.

Now Lenovo Malaysia is selling a total of 19 smartphone models and more are coming later 2014…

Hands-on: Motorola Moto G is ‘Value For Money’ Android Phone

Moto G in LiewCF's hand
Moto G in LiewCF's hand
Moto G in LiewCF’s hand

Moto G is a budget Android smartphone with Quad-core processor and dual-SIM support.

Motorola and Brightstar launched Moto G in Malaysia on 16th January 2014. LiewCF was invited to the launch event to have first hand experience with Moto G.

Read on for my thoughts on Moto G – “An Exceptional Phone at An Exceptional Price”.

Standard design

Moto G is not a high-end smartphone with outstanding design. Instead, it has a low profile, standard phone design which you are familiar and comfortable with.

You will found power button and volume controller at the right side, microUSB port at the bottom, headphone jack and microphone at the top.

Its curved body with interchangeable soft plastic back cover (Motorola Shell case) is comfortable to hold.

Moto G is 4.5-inch display and weight 143 g. It is not lightest nor thinnest phone, but I like it.

4.5-inch is the perfect smartphone screen size, in my opinion. Not too big to be hold by one hand; not too small for reading.

Value for Money

For less than RM 800, Moto G gives you Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 16GB memory. The 4.5-inch display is 720p HD at 329 ppi. Motorola claims that it is “sharpest HD display”.

Though not a Full HD display (are we asking too much?) but it is bright and clear. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is used for scratches protection. The same glass is also used in Samsung GALAXY S4 and Lenovo Vibe X.

Moto G model in Malaysia supports Dual SIM, Dual Standby, Dual 3G. While other phones only support only one active 3G SIM, Moto G support two active 3G SIM cards with speed up to 21Mbps each!

For battery life, Moto G build-in 2070 mAh battery could last up to 24 hours, claims Motorola.

Moto G has dual cameras, too – 5MP rear camera with LED and 1.3MP front camera. Both cameras could capture 720p HD video.

Moto G camera app is simple. It does not have many fancy features like Lenovo Vibe X. It just works – tap anywhere to capture, tap & hold for burst shots.

Moto G owners will get extra 50GB Google Drive storage space FREE for 2 years, on top of standard 15GB free storage space — Total 65GB Google Drive cloud storage to store your emails, documents, photos, and other files. [Thanks, Kevin Ng]

Motorola was a Google company before Google sold it to Lenovo for $2.91 billion, weeks after launching Moto G in Malaysia. The promised “guaranteed upgrade” Android 4.4 KitKat for Moto G has been roll out worldwide before Google-Lenovo deal. (Thankfully!)

Hopefully, it is not the last Android update for Moto G. I guess Moto G will not receive quick Android update under Lenovo…

Motorola apps

While Moto G keeps its Android version as clean as stock Android, it has two useful apps:

  1. Motorola Assists – similar to iOS’ DND feature, Assists is an app to easily set custom profile settings, such as Meeting (auto reply, silent ringtone) and Sleeping (silent ringtone).
  2. Motorola Migrate helps you to migrate to Moto G from other Android phones or iPhone. Everything (photos, videos, SIM contacts, call history, text messages) will be transferred to Moto G in 3 steps.

Moto G is not…

Keep in mind that Moto G is a budget phone. It does not have some features you found on other high-end (read: expensive) smartphones:

  • No FullHD – Moto G 4.5″ display is HD resolution (), not FullHD (1920×1080). It makes a difference when you are watching Full HD video on smartphone.
  • No NFC – Moto G does not have NFC. You can not tap smartphone with others to exchange information. When is the last time you use NFC, anyway? However, No NFC also means Moto G does not support Wireless Charging.
  • No 4G LTE – Moto G is dual SIM 3G/HSPA+ but it does not support 4G LTE super fast wireless broadband connection.
  • No memory expansion – Moto G does not support external memory card like microSD. You only have the build-in memory, either 8GB or 16GB. I would advise to buy 16GB version. For extra RM100 you get double memory space for your apps, musics, videos and photos.

Moto G Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 @ 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android 4.3 (jelly bean), guarantee upgrade 4.4 in early 2014
  • Memory: 8GB or 16GB
  • weight: 143 gram
  • 4.5 ” 720p HD, 329 ppi, gorilla glass 3, water-repellent coating
  • 2070 mAh battery (up to 24 hours)
  • Dual SIM Dual Standby Dual 3G/HSPA+ up to 21Mbps
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 5MP rear camera with 720p video capture
  • 1.3MP front camera with 720p HD video capture
  • Dimension: 65.9mm x 129.9 x 6.0–11.6mm

Moto G shells

Colourful Motorola Flip Shell
Colourful Motorola Flip Shell

Motorola designed 2 cases for Moto G: Flip Shell and Shell. Flip Shell protects Moto G’s back and screen, Shell only cover the smartphone’s back.

Colourful Motorola Shell
Colourful Motorola Shell

Flip Shell is available in 7 colors and Shell is available in 5 colours. Flip Shell and Shell retail price is RM 128 and RM 78, respectively.

Price and Availability

In Malaysia, Motorola Moto G is RM 698 (8GB) and RM 798 (16GB). Moto G is available for sale through major telcos, retailers, consumer electronics stores and Lazada online store.

Thoughts

Moto G browser loaded LiewCF.com
Moto G browser loaded LiewCF.com

Moto G has set a new hardware standard for budget smartphone in 2014. With the same specs, the other Android phones would cost you RM 1,000. Moto G is value-for-money.

Other manufacturers will need to develop smartphone that match (if not better) Moto G specs and price.

If you are looking for a budget Android smartphone that works, buy Moto G.

Review: CSL Switch Mars Mi450 Dual-SIM Android Smartphone

CSL Mi450 front
CSL Mi450 browser loads LiewCF Tech Blog
CSL Mi450 browser loads LiewCF Tech Blog

Spice CSL launched two Android smartphones with Dual SIM Dual Standby capability, Switch MARS Mi450 (RM699) and Switch PLUTO Mi406 (RM599) in last February. I received a Mi450 loan unit for review. Read on to find out if it worth your money or not.

What’s in the box?

CSL Mi450 package
CSL Mi450 package

Inside the Mi450 package box, you get Mi450 phone, microUSB cable, charger head, headset, removable battery pack, 2x screen protector, warranty card, user manual, and 20 mins credit for S-unno, a VoIP call service.

Design

CSL Mi450 front
CSL Mi450 front

At the first glance, Mi450 looks like HTC One X. The design is sleek and has a curved plastic body with round corners, 2–3 millimeter (mm) thicker than iPhone 4S. The rear cover is a piece of thin plastic.

I like the Mi450 phone size. I think 4.5-inch is perfect for my hand size. The phone is not heavy, and curved body make it nice to be held in your hand.

4 capacitive buttons (home, menu, back, search) located at the bottom of the 4.5-inch display. At the top, you get 3.5mm audio jack and power button.

The rear camera is at the top center and LED flash located under it. Bottom of the back is speaker. Micro USB port is located at the side, volume control buttons at the other side.

Specs

CSL Switch MARS Mi450 is a 4.5-inch (960×540 pixels) display smartphone running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2GHz dual core CPU, with 512MB RAM and 4GB ROM. Mi450 supports Micro SD up to 32GB. The smartphone is equipped with dual camera: 5MP auto focus with LED flash rear camera and VGA front camera.

Mi450 supports Dual SIM Dual Standby (more on this later), WiFi 802.11b/g, WiFi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth, A-GPS. Removable battery’s capacity is 1800 mAh, standby time up to 4 days as claimed.

Apps

Mi450 app icons
Mi450 app icons

Personally, I dislike Android phone with many pre-installed apps because they are mostly useless and affecting the system performance. Mi450 doesn’t have the problem. What you get is an Android smartphone with a clean and simple theme with cute rounded corners app icons.

TouchPal Input V5 is pre-installed to help you type faster and better on touchscreen phone. S-unno VoIP app is also pre-installed allows you to make cheap International calls/messaging (20 mins credit included in the box).

Performance

The display’s colour is good, text is clear but too easy to leave prints on the glass. The small speaker at the back is surprising loud. When you hold the phone, the sound from the speaker actually bounces back to you you through your palm.

Mi450 benchmark results
Mi450 benchmark results

According to AnTuTu Benchmark, S CSL Switch MARS Mi450 received 6,615 points. Slightly lower than Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is also powered by dual-core 1.2GHz CPU. In Quadrant benchmark, Mi450 scored higher than Samsung Galaxy Nexus, received 2,652 points. For your reference, the latest high-end Android smartphones are scoring over 10,000 in AnTuTu Benchmark.

Though not a high-end smartphone, Mi450 does not have problems handling most of the mobile games in the market. I tested Angry Birds, Death Dome (3D), Temple Run (3D) and the performance is good. No lag, no crash. It took some time to load the games, though.

Dual SIM Dual Standby

CSL Mi450 with dual SIMs installed
CSL Mi450 with dual SIMs installed

CSL Mi450 supports Dual SIM Dual Standby, a feature you won’t get in high-end smartphone. Dual SIM Dual Standby is useful that you can use two phone numbers (example: Home and Work) in one phone.

There’s two SIM slots under the rear cover. Only one support 3G (WCDMA) and the other is 2G (GSM) only. Make sure you have insert the correct SIM card.

Installing SIM cards is easy, simply remove the battery pack and slot in the SIMs. No tool needed.

Mi450 dual sim feature
Mi450 dual sim feature

Under Android Settings, you can turn on/off each SIM. There’s a small SIM icon in SMS message to indicate the message was sent to which SIM number. You can select which SIM to be used in Calls and SMS.

Camera

CSL Mi450 5MP auto focus rear camera
CSL Mi450 5MP auto focus rear camera

Nothing “WOW” about Mi450 5MP camera. The control is basic — touch to focus, tap to shoot. Auto focusing delay is about 1 second, and camera capture delay is 0.5 to 1 second. No burst shots.

Mi450 camera settings
Mi450 camera settings

I found the photos are over contrast and colour are a bit off. Check out the sample photos captured by Mi450 below. Click to enlarge for full-size photos. All are not edited.

LiewCF’s Buying Advice

Comparing to other budget smartphones in the market, S CSL Switch MARS Mi450 has bigger display and better body design that runs Android 4.0 (latest version is 4.2 Jelly Bean).

I would recommend Mi450 to those people who need to carry two phone numbers on-the-go and only need a middle range smartphone with larger display.

  • Pro:
    • Sleek design
    • Dual SIM Dual Standby
    • Uncluttered Android 4.0 (ICS)
    • 4.5-inch display
  • Con:
    • Plastic build body
    • Camera is so-so
  • Rate: 3.5/5
  • Price: RM699

➤ S CSL Malaysia

I would like to thank S CSL for the opportunity to review S CSL Switch MARS Mi450. This is a paid product review with honest write-up. Interesting to submit your products for review? Get in touch with me.