Nikon Coolpix P1000 Review | NDTV Gadgets360.com


Achieving a high level of optical zoom on DSLRs and full-frame cameras typically requires using a large and heavy lens, like the ones you’ve probably seen being used at sporting events or for wildlife photography. However, the zoom ranges of such lenses are still lower compared to what can be achieved with point-and-shoot cameras, due to their smaller sensors and larger crop factors.

Nikon’s compact Coolpix P900 led the charge for a while, offering an impressive 83x optical zoom. Recently, the company launched its successor, called the P1000, which boasts of a staggering 125x optical zoom. There’s also 4K video support this time. All this in a package that can easily fit in most backpacks, makes the Nikon P1000 a very interesting option for those looking for the highest possible zoom range. We’ve been using P1000 for several days, and it’s time to see if it’s worth its Rs. 75,990 asking price.

 

Nikon Coolpix P1000 design and ergonomics

The camera ships in a pretty sizeable box, and for good reason. The Coolpix P1000 is a chunky camera that’s roughly the size of an average professional DSLR. In fact, it occupies a similar volume to a Canon 5D Mark III with a 100mm macro lens. It’s also quite heavy at 1.4kg and the design of the lens and placement of some of the buttons require you to use it with two hands at all times.

The plastic body feels sturdy and has a subtle texture that allows for a good grip. The hand grip is chunky, with plenty of rubber inserts, giving you the feel of a DSLR. The camera is front-heavy due to the 17-element lens array, so it’s not the most ergonomic design. This is something that couldn’t be helped, considering the purpose it’s trying to achieve. The front of the lens has a ring around it that lets you adjust focus in manual mode, but it can also perform different functions like exposure compensation, ISO or white balance adjustment, depending on what you set it to.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 front ndtv nikonThe Nikon Coolpix P1000 has a plastic build and can be heavy to handle

 

The left side of the lens has a button for a ‘snap-back zoom’ feature and zoom lever. ‘Snap-back zoom’ is useful, as once you press it, the viewfinder zooms out a little for you to re-frame your shot, and once you release it, it snaps back to that zoom level. The zoom lever lets you make minor adjustments to the zoom level. The shutter button also has a zoom lever, and it can be programmed in an interesting way, which we’ll get in to in the next section.

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 has a pop-up flash as well as a hot shoe for attaching an external flash. The 0.39-inch OLED viewfinder has a resolution of 2.35 million dots and diopter adjustment. We like the fact that the viewfinder protrudes outwards quite a bit, so when you look through it, your nose doesn’t touch the display easily, preventing sweat and grime buildup. The controls on the top include a mode dial, command dial, power button, and customisable function (Fn) button.

All the ports are placed on the left of the camera and are covered by rubber flaps. These include a microphone input, Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB, and an accessory terminal. At the back, we have a 3.2-inch display with a 921k dot resolution. It can be fully articulated, which is good, but there’s no touch support.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 screen ndtv nikonThe rear LCD display can be fully articulated

 

There is a smattering of buttons here, all of which are big and chunky and have good feedback. This includes a button for video recording, an AF/AE lock, one for manually switching between the LCD screen and the EVF, and a multi-selector wheel with a fixed set of shortcuts.

In the box, you get a removable battery that’s rated for 250 shots per charge, a Micro-USB cable, a charging adapter, a Micro-HDMI cable, and according to Nikon’s website, a 16GB Class 10 SD card.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 specifications and features

To achieve this level of zoom while still keeping the size of the camera relatively portable, Nikon has stuck with a 1/2.3-inch sensor with a 16-megapixel resolution, which is the same one used on the Coolpix P900. The camera has a focal range of 4.3mm to 539mm and an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/8. When you account for the 5.6 crop factor, you get the equivalent of a 24mm to 3,000mm focal length.

The Coolpix P1000 only uses contrast detection autofocus and has an ISO range of 100 to 6,400. It also supports lens stabilisation for stills, and a combination of this plus electronic stabilisation for movies. Other features include support for SDXC cards, RAW (NRW format), video recording at up to 4K at 30fps, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g.

The camera also supports Nikon’s SnapBridge software, which lets you connect to Android or iOS devices wirelessly. You can have images automatically transferred to your smartphone as they are taken, which works even if the camera is off, as long as Bluetooth is on. Remote photography is also possible as the app lets you control the focus, zoom, and other parameters right from your phone. All of this works well, just as we’ve experienced on previous Nikon cameras.

The menu system is very simplistic and easy to master, even for novice users. The settings are spread across four main sections — Stills, Movie, Wireless, and Miscellaneous. One of the settings worth paying attention to is Zoom Memory, which lets you set various levels for the zoom lever on the shutter button. This way, you can jump directly from 24mm to 200mm, 800mm, and so on, making it faster to get to specific zoom levels with just a few taps.

ou can even set the zoom position when the camera starts up, from the default 24mm, up to 135mm. Electronic stabilisation isn’t supported at 4K but it is available for other resolutions. The camera can shoot 1080p video at 60fps and even 480p video at 120fps.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 performance and battery life

In our ISO test, we check to see a camera’s tolerance to noise as we go up the ISO scale. The Coolpix P1000 doesn’t have a very large range and you can manually increase or decrease it only in full stop increments. Noise reduction was kept at the standard level for this test.

Details were maintained well till about ISO 1600, but at ISO 3200, there was noticeable reduction in details in the effort to suppress noise. At the highest ISO setting, the image was hazy and details looked mushy. To be honest, we weren’t expecting outstanding performance, given the tiny sensor.

Nikon P1000 ISO test ndtv cnikonNikon P1000 ISO test

 

The main reason anyone would want to buy this camera is for its zoom capability, which is simply amazing. It can make objects that are literally kilometres away seem like they are right in front of you. The contrast detection autofocus is not bad at a range up to 1000mm, however, it starts getting slower as you approach the maximum zoom level. At 3000mm, the Coolpix P1000 really struggled to focus at times, so much so that we had to zoom out a bit in order lock focus. If you’re shooting handheld then make sure you’ve got a good grip on the camera, as the weight shifts forward as the lens extends outwards.

The Coolpix P1000 is a great tool for capturing distant objects like the moon. In fact, this camera has a Moon shooting mode that automatically enables a three second timer, offers a shortcut to jump to 1000mm zoom, and assigns the command dial to let you select filters to give the sky a different colour tone. When shooting handheld, the camera’s vibration reduction works very well in compensating for slight hand movement, even at the maximum zoom level.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 400, f/7.1, 2,200mm (35mm, tap to see full size)

 

Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 1,600, f/5.6, 1000mm (35mm, tap to see full size)

 

There’s a Bird shooting mode that disables the shutter sound so you don’t scare away any wildlife. The slow autofocus at high zoom levels really limits this camera’s potential for serious wildlife photography as we missed a couple of great shots of birds while we waited for the focus to lock. This doesn’t give you a lot of confidence when shooting fleeting moments, which is a bit disappointing.

Image quality is decent under good light but is quite mediocre in low light. In landscapes, we noticed decent detail and colours. Dynamic range was also pretty good. Macros shot at the widest focal length had good colours and sharpness but this reduced once we went up the zoom range. The image quality started degrading slightly once we went beyond 1000mm, which was noticeable at a 100 percent crop. Colours were still captured well but objects lacked good definition.

They also appeared flat, since the higher up the zoom range you go, the narrower the aperture gets. In low light, details were mushy, and edges around objects weren’t always well defined, even without pushing the ISO to 6,400. You could extract more detail and sharpness if you save your photos in the RAW format, if you have the time and willingness to play around in Adobe Lightroom.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 180, f/4, 18.9mm (35mm), tap to see full size

 

At full zoom, focusing is tricky and images often look soft (Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 1,600, f/8, 3000mm, tap to see full size)

 

Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 1,600, f/4, 105mm (35mm), tap to see full size

 

Nikon Coolpix P1000 camera sample: ISO 1,100, f/3.2, 30mm (35mm), tap to see full size

 

4K videos aren’t stabilised, so footage is a little shaky if you move about. If you’re staying still and shooting footage at high zoom levels, the lens stabilisation works well. The picture is sharp and clear at zoom levels up to around 1000mm, after which it starts getting a bit soft.

Stabilisation works well at 1080p and 30fps, but the footage has a mild shimmer effect when you move about, which is a side effect of electronic stabilisation. At 3000mm, the Coolpix P1000 exhibits a lot of focus hunting, due to which we were forced to dial down the zoom a bit.

Video quality is decent in low light but gets a bit noisy and soft at high zoom levels. Continuous autofocus isn’t very quick as it takes a good number of seconds to lock focus when you change your framing or the focal length. There is a manual video mode but there’s no way to change the focus point, like you can for stills, which is a little disappointing. This means you’ll have to move your subject or the camera, to get what you want in focus.

The LCD display produces a decently sharp image but the brightness isn’t very high at the default level, so we had to max it out when shooting in daylight. The EVF produces good image quality, and the switching between the two is quick, thanks to the eye sensor. The eyepiece uses plastic instead of a soft rubber lining like most high-end cameras, which isn’t very comfortable for prolonged use.

There’s only one programmable button, which can be set to change the drive mode, metering, ISO, etc. Having a few more customisable buttons or dials would have been nice. The camera has a maximum burst rate of around 8fps but you can also shoot a small video clip at 60fps or 120fps, and extract stills from it.

Battery life is not great, but we managed to get a little more than the rated number of shots per charge on average. We managed to squeeze in a few short 1080p and 4K video clips, but overall battery life could have been a lot better. With the bundled wall charger, it takes around three hours to fully charge the battery.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 zoom out ndtv nikon

 

Verdict
The Nikon Coolpix P1000 offers the longest zoom you can hope for from a camera that can fit into a backpack, which is a big accomplishment in itself. This comes at a high price of Rs. 75,950 and honestly, at this price we also expect very good image quality, which this camera struggles with.

It does offer excellent lens stabilisation even at full zoom, a fully articulating LCD display, good grip, and decent quality 4K videos. Unfortunately, the autofocus doesn’t inspire confidence, which limits the type of photography you can achieve with this camera. Also, low-light and battery performance was a bit weak, and lets not forget that it’s a handful to carry around.

If you’re simply looking for high zoom, then the older Nikon Coolpix P900 makes a lot of sense. It still has a decently large 83x or 2000mm zoom level, and packs in similar guts as the P1000 (with the omission of 4K video and RAW support), all for a price of just Rs. 32,950.

If you’re looking at better image quality, then the Panasonic DMC-FZ2500 is a great option at around Rs. 80,000. It only has a 20x zoom, but it’s more feature-packed and the 1-inch sensor should give you better image quality. Lastly, if you want better zoom levels from a 1-inch sensor camera, then Sony’s RX10 III and RX10 IV are some of the best you can get, but their prices go beyond Rs. 1,00,000.

Price (MRP): Rs. 75,950

Pros

  • Impressive zoom range
  • Very good lens stabilisation
  • Fully articulating display
  • RAW and 4K support

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Average quality JPEGs
  • Battery life could be better
  • Autofocus can be sluggish

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Build/ design: 3.5
  • Image quality: 3
  • Video quality: 3.5
  • Performance: 3
  • Value for money: 3.5
  • Overall: 3.5



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TVS Radeon Road Test Review


The Radeon is an all-new 110 cc commuter motorcycle from TVS and the company is hopeful of generating volumes in the all-important 110 cc segment. But is it a good option? We spend some time with the new TVS Radeon to see what exactly it offers.




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The TVS Radeon uses the same engine as the TVS Star City Plus

The 110 cc commuter motorcycle segment in India is highly competitive. All players have multiple models in this segment and with the launch of the Radeon, TVS too has four models which include the Sport, Start City Plus and the Victor. The TVS Radeon is positioned between the Sport and the Star City Plus and TVS believes the Radeon will provide the push that the company needs in order to grab a larger slice of the pie.

Also Read: TVS Radeon: All You Need To Know

TVS Radeon

Looks and design

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(The styling of the TVS Radeon is somewhat similar to that of the Hero Splendor Plus)

Plain, simple and staid! That’s how we would describe the design of the TVS Radeon. The overall silhouette of the Radeon does resemble the largest-selling commuter motorcycle in the segment, the Hero Splendor, particularly the rear section.

irofhhi(The instrument console is fully analogue and gets a twin-pod design)

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the styling could have been more contemporary, and it does look all too common, and a bit dated, even though the details are modern. There are a few details which add just the right amount of flash to the motorcycle. The brown seat, the champagne gold engine cover and the knee pads on the fuel tank along with the chrome bezel on the headlamp make the bike look stylish. Nothing over the top, here!

Also Read: TVS Radeon vs Rivals: Specifications Comparison

6c4c0nj(The Radeon gets a strip of LED daytime running lamps right below the headlamp)

Then you also have a strip of LED daytime running lamp at the bottom of the headlamp, which sums up the modern bits on the bike. There is an old-school twin-pod instrument console which offers basic information but is fully analogue and offers good readability. Overall, it is a decent looking motorcycle and that should work with the intended target audience. What really impressed us is the fit and finish on the bike. The build quality is solid and the plastics along with the paint are done well too.

Engine and performance

490ls9hk(The engine is the same unit as the one on TVS Star City+ and the champagne gold engine covers look good too)

The TVS Radeon uses the same 109.7 cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor from the TVS Star City Plus but gets an all-new single-cradle tubular frame. The engine makes 8.3 bhp at 7,000 rpm and peak torque of 8.7 Nm at 5,000 rpm. The engine itself is quite smooth and offers peppy performance, for a 110 cc motor. The motorcycle stays the happiest between 40-60 kmph. Rev the engine harder and slight vibrations creep in, but it isn’t bothersome. The exhaust note too is better than most other 110 cc motorcycles. Overall, the Radeon offers good performance and it doesn’t mind sitting at 60 kmph for long durations either. TVS claims fuel efficiency of 69.3 kmpl and with a fuel tank capacity of 10 litres including reserve, the motorcycle has a real world range of over 650 kilometres on a single tank.

Ride and handling

5hn0136c(Engine performance is peppy and the Radeon can slice through traffic easily)

Tipping the scales at 112 kg, the Radeon loves to filter through traffic. We like the agility that the motorcycle offers. One of the reasons for it is the firm suspension. It is a bit too hard for our liking but then it aids in good handling too. Undulations and broken tarmac does not pose a problem but potholes and speed breakers could give your spine some workout. TVS offers what it calls ‘Synchronised Braking Technology’ on the Radeon, which works on the same premise as Honda’s combi-brake system, although TVS could have offered a front disc brake as optional fitment! The Radeon rides on 18-inch wheels shod with tubeless tyres, and the bike has a ground clearance of 180 mm, which is more than sufficient to deal with regular day-to-day obstacles on the commute.

0pismfl8(The suspension on TVS Radeon is a bit too hard. It could have been a little softer)

The upright seating position and the seat itself is quite comfortable, making it easier for putting in long hours of in-city riding. The seat height too is in sync with the average height of Indian riders, making it accessible for most buyers.

Verdict and Pricing

3jl7bgng(For the price, the Radeon offers good performance, solidity and is a well-engineered workhorse)

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The TVS Radeon is priced at ₹ 48,990 which is in-line with its rivals such as the Hero Splendor Plus, Honda CD 110 Dream DX and the Bajaj Platina ES 100. The 110 cc motorcycle segment is very competitive and quite important too as it plays a big role in generating volumes. The TVS Radeon is a quality product and is definitely worth consideration if you are looking to get a commuter motorcycle for yourself. The only thing which is a tad disappointing is the slightly outdated design. But in all, the TVS Radeon certainly is a well-built and well-engineered commuter workhorse, and that’s reason enough to consider it.

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7th Generation BMW 3 Series Sedan Review


The BMW 3 Series sedan is a big deal – and always has been. It’s one of those iconic models that commands attention, sets benchmarks and gets plenty of attention. So when a new generation comes out, the whole world sits up and takes notice. Being amongst the first from India (literally since I was in a smaller first group – which won’t matter since we all have the same embargo!) to drive the car is special. They’re claiming this to be the most innovative, most intelligent, and most connected car from BMW – ever!

Also Read: Exclusive: New BMW 3 Series Pre-Booking Begins

BMW 3 Series
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New BMW 3 Series models coming to India will include – 320d and 330i

India is going to get the 320d and 330i when the seventh generation car gets to us in mid-2019. And so let me tell you, I have driven both extensively. (And then there’s also another special variant that we won’t be getting – but am still happy to have driven! But more on that later). The new 3 Series has grown marginally over its predecessor: in length (+76 mm), wheelbase (+41 mm), width (16 mm), and height (+1 mm). It now carries the new face of BMW sedans – quite literally, and yet maintains a taut, compact proportion to exemplify and justify the segment it belongs to.

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We drove both, the BMW 320d and the 330i extensively

The new 3 Series Model Line

The sports sedan has a more pronounced hood with key lines that imply power. There are definite character lines in its flanks and sides, and the rounded top of the boot lid, tapering off to the sides is a nice touch. The car gets LED lights as standard, but you can also opt for Laser Lights at the top end. The twin rings are now completely unwound but the 4-eyed look persists, as does the kidney grille – that has grown tremendously – almost snarling now! Weirdly the LED DRL on the 320d was shorter than the much nicer one on the 330i. Can’t fathom why that is. Laser lights are optional.

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New BMW 330i M-Sport gets a different bumper altogether compared to the 320d

The bumper gets a defining character at the two ends, which will be the characteristic signature of the 3 Series over other BMW sedans according to the design team. Having said that you get various styling elements depending on which trim you buy (Luxury/Sport line). And the M-Sport gets a different bumper altogether – that’s more pronounced, muscular and has black fog lamp housings and at the rear, a black diffuser to offset the M-Sport elements and twin tailpipes. Strangely though while the Sport Line gets a black finish for the kidney grille, the M-Sport has chrome! The 3 Series has a 136 mm ground clearance – but I have to say – visually, the car rides really low. We have been promised an added 15 mm for India, but I would still worry about the low ride.

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The new BMW 3 Series has a 136 mm ground clearance

The cabin of the new 3 Series is vastly new and in part improved. BMW says the idea was to be cockpit like (yes we have heard that before) and orient everything more towards the driver. The virtual cluster sees massive changes, including a tacho that goes counter clockwise for aesthetic symmetry and to keep the centre free for ample navigation or other displays. Being virtual, it changes colours and animation – depending on Sport/Sport Plus, Eco Pro, or Comfort drive modes. There is also a new effective, comprehensive and easy to read head-up display that has grown in size, but not distractingly so. The steering has a new shape and overall the emphasis was to make the dash and instruments along with the steering and central console more driver oriented – more cockpit like too. The new iDrive 7.0 comes with a large 12.3-inch screen and has the new interface that we also saw on the latest X5 just a few weeks ago. It’s got more features, is more intuitive and offers better connectivity options.

A More Digital and Connected 3 Series

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The cabin of the new 3 Series is vastly new and in part improved

It also offers a new digital assistant. Yup – looks like everyone is doing these now. So say “Hi/Hey BMW” and the assistant will respond to help you with various features or help of any kind. Yes it’s like the “Hi Mercedes” feature I just saw on the new Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, but BMW has tried to make it more conversational, intuitive, intelligent and also lets you change the name. So I promptly tried changing the name in my test car to Jewel. I was told it’s not a great option since it has too few syllables. This went on through names like Bernadette, Helga, Boris, Helmut, until finally the only name that seemed to work? ‘Sakhu-bai!’! Yes I know! And so no more discussion on this please! While it takes a while to get used to it, there are a few clear advantages. First, you don’t have to say ‘Hey BMW’ (or Sakhu-bai for that matter) and then wait for a response before making your request. So basically you can do it in one go. (BMW- 1 : Alexa/Siri/Mercedes- 0). You can also ask it to navigate you somewhere, like a pre-saved ‘home’ address, or find you a mall or coffee shop (yes I asked for the nearest Starbucks, and found 3!), or the remaining time or distance on your journey, should you be using navigation.

It can also do more interesting things. You can ask it how much fuel you have left (or driving range), the tyre pressure situation for all tyres, engine oil levels, etc. So basically any car status related information. And then you can also tell the car you’re feeling warm or cold, and it will ask you what temperature you would like to set. It will do that just for the driver or passenger area depending on who asked! It will also start seat/steering warming, look for music or call someone on your connected phone. And it will work with Siri through Apple CarPlay too. But here’s the kicker. Like the X5, the 3 Series also offers two themed comfort programmes – and if you say “Hey BMW I feel tired”, it will activate the ‘Vitality’ programme. Say you’re stressed and you will get the ‘Relax’ programme. Each comes with its own music, AC fan and temperature settings, and ambient light + wallpaper on the screen. Interesting, and somewhat like the themed programmes Mercedes-Benz now offers too.

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The steering has a new shape and overall the emphasis was to make the dash and instruments

But all this – while very exciting is sadly academic to you and me – because these features, along with the assistant are only available through BMW Connected Drive. And according to the head of the programme for the 3 Series, it won’t be offered on the India spec for starters. Well boo hoo! I just wasted three paragraphs telling you all about it. Coz I tried it, got excited, and then was told I can’t have it. So well, I guess I took you down the same path! You will get the rest though, including navigation and smartphone connectivity, so do not despair. The car also adds an app based control (unlike the fancy smart key on the 5 or 7 Series) to open or lock the car and access its on board stats. iDrive gesture control is of course standard.

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The BMW 320d available to us was the Mineral White

On to the cars I drove now. Auto Today’s Yogendra Pratap and I decided to take two engine types, and swap them between us, so we got enough time on both. So we had the same exact cars with us for 2 whole days. The 320d available to us was the Mineral White with Sport Line trim, and 18-inch wheels, while the 330i was in a new Portimao Blue shade, with M-Sport trim and 19 inchers. You can get the Luxury Line too remember, and in Europe or the US, also have 20 or 21-inch wheels too. The Portimao Blue (apt since we were testing in Portugal’s Algarve region, where Portimao is) replaces the Estoril Blue. Both names that belong to Portuguese towns and corresponding tracks! And yes before you can ask I did have the chance to drive the new 3 Series at the Portimao track! But wait for that bit in a separate story.

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The BMW 330i’s Portimao Blue shade replaces the Estoril Blue

Testing the 330i Petrol Sedan

The 330i has a 2 litre, 253 bhp, engine that has 400 Nm of peak torque. It is mated to an 8-Speed Steptronic transmission. There is a lower spec 320i variant with a180 bhp/300 Nm petrol motor, and the range topping 340i with 367 bhp and 500 Nm. Neither of those (nor the 330e plug-in hybrid that gets to Europe/USA in summer 2019) will come to India, so let’s focus on the 330i – the variant I began my drive with (not just because it was blue – that was a mere coincidence I promise!) The petrol is punchy, responsive, and reasonably quick. It maintains the sporty character you expect from a 3 Series, but does not dazzle you in any way. The gearbox is very quick though, and changes are especially more fun in Sport or Sport Plus with the transmission pushed into S (sport) mode too, and using the paddle shift makes it even better. But there is a very obvious sense that the car has grown – and when you’re driving you are constantly aware of that. In the Indian context that may not be a bad thing, but as global 3 Series benchmarks go, that’s a negative for me.

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The ride quality, steering and handling are spot on though is better than the last car

Ride quality, steering and handling are spot on though – as you would expect from a 3er. And if anything I think, ride quality is better than the last car. Throw in the slightly better leg and knee room at the rear, and the new 3 will be a better chauffeur driven sedan now than before, for sure. In Sport or Sport Plus is where the car comes alive. Most of you may prefer the comfort mode though. Having said that there is now adaptive or air suspension on this car and so while Sport/Sport Plus changes throttle, steering and engine behaviour, it doesn’t make the ride any stiffer or harder. Not a bad thing to be honest. The Sport drive mode has a new feature – it lets you drive in Sport, Sport Plus or Sport Individual. This is cool, because it will let you keep the throttle or engine to be in Sport Plus, and say the steering to be in Comfort. So, you get the exhilaration but avoid the fatigue of a harder steering. That’s a nice touch methinks!

Next we Drive the 320d Diesel

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New BMW 320d gets the 2 litre, 186 bhp, 400 Nm motor

The 320d gets the 2 litre, 186 bhp, 400 Nm motor. There is a lower variant – the 318d with 147 bhp and 320 Nm, and the top end diesel 330d with 260 bhp and 580 Nm or peak torque. But neither of those will come to us. So let’s get back to the 320d shall we? This is the model that has formed the backbone of sales for the 3 Series in India (and well in Europe too in the past), and so it’s fitting that it will come back to our market. It is ample, does the job, but is not dynamically thrilling in any way. The car is also not electric in its response, nor is it sporty like the 320d from the E90 5th gen car. Having first driven the 330i I was willing to accept that maybe it’s the comparison that was throwing me. But I spent all afternoon trying to push the car hard, and was still left a touch underwhelmed. The great things are the handling and the very precise steering, which almost get enhanced in some ways on the diesel. And also tried out the car’s semi-autonomous and driver aid features like the auto lane keeping and the limited self-drive. They work well enough though I still feel Volvo has got this down with its Pilot Assist over the three Germans.

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The car gets semi-autonomous driver aid features like the auto lane keeping and the limited self-drive

The time spent with the new 3 Series on the winding, rolling and sometimes narrow roads of the Algarve region was still very fun – and also comprehensive. We also got an inadvertent chance to drive both cars through some broken and non-existent roads. It held itself very well, and still offered great ride and composure, despite the relatively lower profile tyres and lower ride. I was the less worried about its prospects in India as a result.

The Track Monster: M340i xDrive

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We got to drive the BMW M340i xDrive at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – or the Portimao Circuit

It’s almost strange that we were at a 3 Series event and the big focus of the discussion from the company had also been on the tech on board, rather than the car’s dynamics. Thankfully that changed the following day when I got to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – or the Portimao Circuit. It’s a brilliant track and I have had the chance to navigate its quick corners and blind elevation changes before, so was raring to go. Awaiting me there was that awesome new BMW M340i xDrive sedan. It packs a brand new straight-six belting out 367 bhp – that’s nearly 50 horses more than the most powerful version of the previous F30 (6th gen) sedan. It also gets 50 Nm more peak torque at 500 Nm and does 0-100 kmph in 4.4 seconds. That’s half a second faster than the last car!

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The M340i xDrive gets a new straight-six that makes nearly 50 horses more than the most powerful version of the previous gen car

First off, let me tell you this engine also sounds great! It is enhanced by the M Sport exhaust unit. And yes you get it to pop and crackle in Sport Plus mode. Shorter, sharper gear changes on the 8-Speed Steptronic make the drive fun, as does the new updated xDrive system. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is variable and you get terrific traction as a result. The car maintains a rear-wheel bias so you don’t lose the essence of the 3 Series. The M Sport differential is electronically controlled, and gives you superb agility. The way the M340i travels out of a corner is inspiring for a 4-door. The standard M Sport suspension is good, but the Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers takes things to a whole other level. The car sits lower by 10 mm, gets a new lift-related damper control function. It also has the new Variable Sport Steering which is just fantastic, and gives you perfect feedback as you’re pushing the car into a sharp corner throwing it sideways.

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The way the BMW M340i travels out of a corner is inspiring for a 4-door

The M sport brakes (with the blue painted M logo callipers) also do a fine job. I had the chance to experience the new car at high triple digit speeds, with the electronics switched on. Then also had several goes with them off, and the car is happy to let itself be oversteered a touch, and flip its tail out into a nice steady drift. The 19 inch mixed tyres are optional, though the standard package includes 18 inch mixed size tyres.

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The car gets the Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers

As you can see by my exhaustive descriptions of the experience and the equipment, the M340i xDrive is the variant to get. But as I warned you at the top, it ain’t coming to us. Not at the outset anyway. Sigh… that’s too bad! It also looks the part with some distinct styling changes. There is the very sharp mesh grille with almost a claw-like pattern that’s almost Black Panther inspired. Then there is the body coloured rear spoiler and trapezoidal exhaust pipes, unique air intake struts and contrast coloured exterior rear view mirrors. The interior is way sporty, finished in black, with a M340i badge on the instrument cluster. Tearing down the track my only question was – if they had already pushed this M Sport variant to such a dynamic and exhilarating level, what are they going to possibly down with the next generation M3/M4 when they arrive? Phew! The new gen car is claimed as the most aerodynamic in its class, and I now believe that for sure!

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The BMW M340i xDrive will not the coming to India

The new 3 Series also has a reversing assistant, like we saw on the new X5. What it does is, it always keeps the last 50 metres you drove in its memory. This allows the car to simply reverse in exactly the same path. So imagine a narrow street or a tricky parking spot you go into nose-first. Getting out can be a pain, and so you turn on the reversing assistant and the car will do it for you. All you have to do is regulate the speed with the brakes, and the car takes care of the steering and keeps a lookout for any obstructions with the multiple sensors on board. Better head up display and collision warnings are also a great addition.

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I went in expecting a lot from the G20 3 Series, and I have left satisfied. The car is engineered to a new level, offers a lot more to a potential buyer, and maintains BMW’s promise of a sports sedan that energises you. Could it have been sharper? Had I only driven the 320d, my answer would have been an emphatic yes. But after driving the M340i I am very convinced this is all set to become the segment benchmark again. And yes, I cannot wait for it to arrive in India. Considering BMW has begun taking bookings at the dealer level – a story we exclusively reported to you on carandbike, I guess that the launch isn’t as far away as we think.

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Super Micro Says Review Found No Malicious Chips in Motherboards


Computer hardware maker Super Micro Computer told customers on Tuesday that an outside investigations firm had found no evidence of any malicious hardware in its current or older-model motherboards.

In a letter to customers, the San Jose, California, company said it was not surprised by the result of the review it commissioned in October after a Bloomberg article reported that spies for the Chinese government had tainted Super Micro equipment to eavesdrop on its clients.

Super Micro had denied the allegations made in the report.

A person familiar with the analysis told Reuters it had been conducted by global firm Nardello & Co and that customers could ask for more detail on that company’s findings.

Nardello tested samples of motherboards in current production and versions that were sold to Apple and Amazon.com, which were both named in the article, the person said.

It also examined software and design files without finding any unauthorized components or signals being sent out.

He said the company was still reviewing its legal options.

Apple, Amazon and US and UK officials have all said they have no knowledge of any hardware attacks via Super Micro.

© Thomson Reuters 2018



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BMW G 310 R Vs KTM 390 Duke Comparison Review


The BMW G 310 R has been one of the most-awaited products from BMW Motorrad India. Manufactured by TVS Motor Company, the G 310 R is BMW Motorrad’s answer to the small displacement segment (300-400 cc) and although it proudly wears the German brand, it’s completely made in India. Priced at ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom), the BMW G 310 R though comes at a premium, but what it makes up for is in the way the bike is engineered and in overall build quality.

Also Read: BMW G 310 R Road Test Review

The KTM 390 Duke may wear an Austrian brand name, but it’s also made in India, of course KTM is owned by India’s Bajaj Auto. And priced at ₹ 2.54 lakh (ex-showroom), the KTM 390 Duke is the BMW G 310 R’s closest rival. On paper and specifications, both bikes seem evenly matched, although it’s the KTM which has a slight displacement and power output advantage (373 cc vs 313 cc; 34 bhp vs 43 bhp). But then, it’s not just about a slightly larger engine and more performance on paper, but the sum of everything which differentiates a great bike from a good bike. So, let’s get things rolling!

Watch the BMW G 310 R First Ride Review Video Here:

Design and Features

The KTM 390 Duke has been around for a while now, and even though the bike got a comprehensive nip and tuck in 2017, it’s the BMW which feels newer and better built. The upside down gold-coloured forks, impeccable fit and finish, nicely contoured body panels, and particularly the Pearl White Metallic, BMW ‘HP’ race colours of our test bike certainly give the BMW G 310 R an aura of premium quality, even when standing still. Overall build and paint quality is pretty good, and the G 310 R feels solid and built to last.

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The BMW G 310 R has a well-proportioned, stylish and sporty design and has excellent build quality

The instrument panel is digital and has all the required information on display, but the clutch and brake levers are non-adjustable, something which should have been standard considering the ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom) price tag. It’s definitely got road presence, and the BMW does look and feel solid, and has good proportions too. The seat is comfortable, and the cushion is neither too hard, not too soft, and is perfect for long hours in the saddle.

Also Read: BMW G 310 R First Ride Review

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The KTM 390 Duke looks sharper and sportier, with its sharp creases and sporty design

In comparison, the KTM 390 Duke looks sportier, with the sharp creases on the bodywork and the orange-coloured exposed trellis frame as well as colour-coordinated wheels and standard hand guards. The KTM also looks more premium with its distinguishing LED headlights (which the BMW misses) and the feature-rich, full-colour TFT instrument panel. And it is smartphone enabled, with the KTM My Ride app and is certainly a stand-out feature, and even offers a range of customisation options and a long list of necessary information.

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The KTM 390 Duke comes with standard hand guards and also gets adjustable levers, which the BMW misses out on

And the KTM’s standard dual-channel ABS also gets modes – Road, Moto (ABS on front wheel only), and it can be switched off completely. The BMW also gets dual-channel ABS, but it cannot be switched off. And while the KTM gets adjustable levers, the BMW misses out on those, as well as the LED headlight.

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The KTM 390 Duke gets a full-colour TFT screen which is smartphone connected, and offers more features and information

Also Read: 2017 KTM 390 Duke First Ride Review

Engine and Performance



















Specifications BMW G 310 R KTM 390 Duke
Engine Type Single-cylinder DOHC, liquid-cooled, front intake Single-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled
Engine Displacement 313 cc 373.4 cc
Maximum Power 34 bhp @ 9,500 rpm 43 bhp @ 9,500 rpm
Peak Torque 28 Nm @ 7,500 rpm 35 Nm @ 7,000 rpm
Maximum Speed 143 kmph 167 kmph
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed
Frame Tubular steel bridge-type with rear subframe Steel Trellis
Front Suspension 41 mm front fork, non-adjusable, with 140 mm travel 43 mm, inverted WP fork with 150 mm travel
Rear Suspension Spring preload adjustable shock, with 132 mm travel WP monoshock with 150 mm travel
Front Tyre 110/70 x 17, Michelin Pilot Street Radial 110/70 x 17, Metzeler Sportec MS
Rear Tyre 150/60 x 17, Michelin Pilot Street Radial 150/70 x 17, Metzeler Sportec MS
Front Brake 320 mm disc with four-piston ByBre caliper 300 mm disc with four-piston ByBre caliper
Rear Brake 240 mm disc with single-piston ByBre caliper 230 mm disc with single-piston ByBre caliper
ABS BMW two-channel ABS, not switchable Bosch 9.1 MP two-channel ABS, switchable with three modes
Kerb Weight 158 kg 139 kg (dry)
Fuel Tank Capacity 11 litres 13.5 litres
Price ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom) ₹ 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom)
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The BMW G 310 R has a strong mid-range but the engine feels vibey at high revs

The 313 cc, reverse-inclined, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine belts out 34 bhp at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. The engine is peppy, with a strong low and mid-range, and that is where the BMW G 310 R is happiest at. There’s ample top-end too, and our test bike crossed 140 kmph with ease, but getting there and sitting at high triple digit speeds all day may not be what you’d want to be doing on the G 310 R. This BMW may be well built and feel solid, but after around 7,000 rpm, the vibrations will begin to creep in. There’s also some buzz on the footpegs and handlebars, but the vibes from the fuel tank is what gets to you. But it will happily cruise at 110-120 kmph, and with enough top end to reach more than 140 kmph, if the need arises, but the engine isn’t happy sitting at high revs for too long.

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The KTM 390 Duke also has slight vibrations from the engine at high speeds, but the vibrations aren’t as pronounced as the BMW G 310 R’s

The KTM 390 Duke also has a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine. But it’s slightly larger at 373 cc displacement, and if it’s pure performance you’re looking for, it’s immediately apparent which one brings more joy as the revs climb. The 390 Duke’s engine puts out more power and torque as well – 43 bhp at 9,000 rpm and peak torque of 37 Nm at 7,000 rpm. But it’s the way the 390 Duke performs and accelerates that makes it the more fun bike to ride. The KTM 390 Duke now gets ride by wire, and throttle response is crisp, and accelerating through the gears is pure joy and entertainment.

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The BMW G 310 R feels rock solid and stable, but it’s the KTM 390 Duke which is the more fun bike to ride, with its hooligan personality

If the BMW feels solid and stable, it’s the KTM which will get you grinning as you whack open the throttle. There’s a bit of vibration on the handlebar and footpegs, but nothing as disturbing as the buzz on the BMW’s fuel tank. And there’s some amount of vibration to be expected from a performance-oriented single anyway, so you learn to live with it, and appreciate the 390 Duke for what it offers. You can cruise comfortably all day at 120 kmph, and given enough tarmac and if you’re keen to brave the windblast, it will go all the way to 152 kmph.

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The BMW G 310 R is a nimble handler, quite likeable and remains planted even around a fast corner

Ride and Handling

On the move, the BMW G 310 R has a supple ride – comfortable, planted and taut. Over minor road undulations and the occasional broken stretch, the BMW sails over quite comfortably. Ride quality isn’t exactly plush, but it’s not too harsh to make you complain about being uncomfortable. The ergonomics are spot on, and you have a neutral and comfortable riding position, with the handlebar and footpeg positioned with easy reach to make a long ride not very tiring. Handling is taut, and the G 310 R feels stable and planted, even around a corner. The Michelin Pilot Street radial tyres offer very good grip, and even when leaned over while taking a fast corner, the BMW G 310 R feels planted, and without any sense of the bike weaving or feeling out of control.

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The KTM 390 Duke feels more alive and is an excellent handler. Ride quality is taut and slightly stiffer than the BMW

The moment you switch to the KTM, what is immediately obvious is the different riding position. The seat height of the KTM 390 Duke is higher and the handlebar is placed forward as well, so the rider sits with a slight crouch towards the front, over the fuel tank and engine and knees naturally falling into the recesses on the fuel tank. It’s a sporty riding position all right, but not overtly aggressive to make it uncomfortable, even for extended periods in the saddle. That said, the seat cushion material is slightly on the stiffer side, although the KTM offers more room for the rider to move around, particularly when negotiating a set of corners.

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The BMW G 310 R oozes quality, while the KTM 390 Duke looks sportier, even when standing still

Verdict

The BMW G 310 R is a well-built, well-engineered roadster which certainly oozes quality and has the performance and hardware to make it quite a likeable bike. It’s not exactly the go-fast street hooligan, if that’s your idea of having fun on two wheels. But it does everything to satisfaction, and will do most things expected of it with satisfaction, and that includes a decent highway cruising speed as well, and fantastic brakes. But, at ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom), the BMW G 310 R is still on the expensive side, despite its premium fit and finish and solid build quality. That price tag is what robs the BMW of making it a great entry-level performance roadster with an attractive price to performance ratio.

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The BMW G 310 R has solid road presence, but it’s the KTM 390 Duke which has more features, better performance and has the less expensive price tag between the two

The KTM 390 Duke on the other hand, makes for the more entertaining bike to ride and at ₹ 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom), the KTM is significantly less expensive than the BMW. It also boasts of European brand value, and has a long list of features which the BMW lacks. But most of all, it’s the KTM which comes out tops, whether it’s pure performance, handling or the sheer joy of riding an entertaining street naked. And with a price difference of more than ₹ 50,000, it’s difficult to ignore the fact, that the KTM will bring more fun, more joy, every time you take it out for a spin, and at the same time, at a much lower cost. So, in the ultimate analysis, it’s the KTM 390 Duke which comes out tops in this comparison.

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(Photogtaphy: Rakesh Singh and Azam Siddiqui)

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Nissan Kicks First Drive Review


We have the first impressions on the much talked about upcoming Nissan Kicks compact SUV. The big play is on styling and some cool tech. But how does the car drive? And are setting up for a battle royale with the Hyundai Creta? Read on!




View Photos

The new Nissan Kicks comes with bold styling, premium features, and a lot of smart features

Kushan Mitra drives the new Nissan Kicks not only on the road but also gets a taste of it on the white desert. A good way to start an SUV review, we think. The landscape between Bhuj and the village of Dhordo at the start of the White Desert that separates Gujarat from Sindh is barren. But the fleet of Nissan Kicks compact SUVs or Sports Utility Vehicles storming across the sandy plains gave a much-needed splash of colour. The Nissan Kicks was unveiled a few months ago and discussions about the cars exterior design have gone on for a while. The ‘floating roof’ concept that is popular with carmakers nowadays is particularly well executed on the Kicks. But how is it to drive, given that the Kicks is Nissan’s version of the Renault Captur – a vehicle that didn’t set the market alight when it launched. The cars we tested are all top-spec diesel manual variants, featuring the same 1.5 litre 110PS (108 bhp) dCi engine that we have known since the Duster, mated to a six-speed gearbox. There is a petrol option with a 1.5 litre 106PS (104 bhp) engine as well which has a five-speed box that we didn’t drive. Surprisingly, given the demands of consumers in this segment, Nissan India is not launching the car with an automatic option – just like the Captur didn’t. Nissan executives admitted that’s a miss, and hinted that an automatic – possibly a standard torque-converter box – is on its way for both engine options. Hope it comes sooner than later given about 30 per cent of that market is now going auto.

Also Read: New Nissan Kicks Production Begins In India; Launch In January 2019

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The India-spec Nissan Kicks is bigger than the Kicks sold in the global markets

Also Read: 2018 Nissan Kicks First Drive Review

From a drive technology point of view, the Nissan Kicks has a Hill Start Assist feature, Vehicle Dynamic Control (Nissan’s name for a stability program) as well as a 360-degree camera for reversing and driving into tight spots. The camera works until the vehicle crosses 10 kilometres per hour. The ‘All Round View’ feature is a first-in-class USP and is really useful in tough situations. As for drivability, the road to Bhuj was very straight and level for the large part so there was not much one say on the handling front. Ride quality however on the few bumpy, rather undulating asphalt was better than one would have expected, although these were factory fresh cars. But given how we liked both departments on the Captur, this is not altogether surprising. NVH (or noise and vibration) levels are superb. After a little start-up clatter, the Kicks is very quiet both inside and outside. The engine also delivers enough power when you need it, acceleration from 30 kmph per hour in third gear is very good and even when you’re on sixth gear at around 1200 revs and doing 80 kmph, the Kicks can easily climb to highway speeds without seeming to strain. The car also does not feel uncomfortable going fast for extended periods of time. The 75 kilometres between Bhuj and Dhordo were covered in just over an hour, and yes it helped that the cows in the area had gone to sleep – possibly smart given its election season!

Also Read: Nissan Kicks Becomes The Official Car For The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup

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Nissan Kicks gets dual tone interior with lots of premium and soft touch material

Drivability niggles now! Firstly the cruise control buttons – the only buttons on the steering – are a bit confusing. The telephone and media operations are behind the steering wheel a la Renault, and you cannot use them with a smartphone interface like Apple CarPlay. Irritatingly for a Japanese car the turn indicator stalk is on the left and most painful in our opinion is the cramped space down at the pedals. There is no dead pedal and you genuinely have nowhere to rest your foot in the footwell. This is peculiar given that there is a lot of space in the passenger footwell! The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the Kicks for India is likely a left-hand drive car that has been hurriedly brought to market without some important changes being made. The transmission tunnel certainly seems to have a path that creates more space on the passenger side instead of the driver’s!

Also Read: 2019 Nissan Kicks Interior Revealed Ahead Of Launch

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Nissan Kicks’ eight-inch floating display features both Apple Carplay and Android Auto

The eight-inch floating display, similar to those on some luxury or premium cars has a superb resolution; much better than anything on any other mass market brand. The touchscreen is responsive and the system starts up and works fast. Of course, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sound system does the job well with audio quality being par for the course. The faux leather-wrapped dashboard and door trims do exude a feeling of luxuriousness, and the overall black and brown interior trim is pleasant on the eye – and rather different too (in a good way!). The rear seats though might feel a bit tight for those of you of larger dimension (particularly if the front seats are pushed back) with knee-room being an issue. Also with the sharply raked window, which looks nice from the outside does make the car feel a bit dark at the back. Of course, many of these issues and niggles will get sorted out as you begin to bear with/get used to them.

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Nissan Kicks definitely does tick all the boxes as a credible Creta competitor

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Will the Kicks give substantial competition to the Hyundai Creta – that’s the million dollar question now isn’t it? Hyundai’s runaway superhit is hard to beat, and so much will depend on the price. Hyundai prices the Creta where it does – because it can. And we know simply going cheaper (read Renault Captur) isn’t always enough. The Nissan Kicks definitely does tick all the boxes as a credible Creta competitor but it might need to undercut that car fairly significantly. So we await the launch now for the prices. But as a first impression, the Kicks makes a good one. The car is also unique enough in terms of looks and features to stand out. And Nissan certainly needs a hit in India. Perhaps this is the Kicks-start it needs!

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Infinix Hot S3X Review | NDTV Gadgets360.com


Hong Kong-based Transsion Holdings’ Infinix brand has unveiled yet another smartphone in its Hot series in India, the Hot S3X. The phone, which has been launched just eight months after its predecessor the Hot S3, brings with it minor upgrades such as a larger display with a notch, dual rear cameras, and an improved selfie camera.

With a slight price hike to Rs. 9,999, can the Infinix Hot S3X be a worthy upgrade to the Infinix Hot S3, which impressed us during our review period? We find out.

Infinix Hot S3X design

A departure from the previous generation’s matte finish, the Infinix Hot S3X sports a glossy gradient back panel with a slight mirror finish. It doesn’t look as plain as before, and the curved sides provide a good grip. We got the Ice Blue colour for review, and this phone is also available in Black and Grey options, both of which also have a similar gradient design. The finish is prone to fingerprints and smudges, but Infinix has you covered with a bundled soft TPU case in the box.

The phone sports a large 6.2-inch HD+ display panel with a resolution of 720×1500 pixels and a rather odd aspect ratio of 18.75:9. The top border has been replaced by an iPhone X-like notch, but the chin remains quite large. All corners of the screen are hard to reach with one finger, and this phone is not made for one-handed usage.

There are onscreen navigation buttons in place of capacitive or physical keys, below the display. The 16-megapixel selfie camera, dual LED flash, and earpiece are placed within the notch.

infinix hot s3x gadgets 360 2 Infinix

 

The right of the handset has the volume buttons and the lock/ power button. We did not like the placement considering there is no difference in the texture of the buttons, and we ended up with several unintended presses. The tray on the left can house two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card at the same time. The Micro-USB port, external speaker grille, and a microphone are placed on the bottom, while the 3.5mm headphone jack is on top. The new dual camera setup on the rear is placed vertically. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor’s placement makes it feel natural to use.

Infinix Hot S3X specifications and software

Infinix has gone with the same octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC on the Hot S3X, as it did with its predecessor. Now quite dated, this processor has eight Cortex-A53 CPU cores running at speeds of up to 1.4GHz, coupled with an Adreno 505 GPU. Interestingly, the Hot S3X competes directly with the company’s first Android One-based smartphone, the Infinix Note 5 (Review), which is powered by a MediaTek Helio P23 SoC that performs better at least on paper. There is only one configuration of the Hot S3X, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. We noted that there was only about 21GB of free space on the first boot. Storage can be expanded by up to 128GB using a microSD card.

The 6.2-inch HD+ panel does not have any advertised protection. It has decent viewing angles and good visibility in sunlight. The maximum brightness could have been better, but the lowest setting is comfortable for use in the dark. Infinix has opted for the same 4,000mAh battery as that in the previous-gen Hot S3, and it also supports 10W charging.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Micro-USB with OTG, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and GPS. The Infinix Hot S3X is a dual-SIM smartphone with two Nano-SIM slots, both of which support 4G. You can use mobile data on only one SIM at a time.

infinix hot s3x gadgets 360 3 Infinix

 

The phone ships with the custom Hummingbird XOS 3.3 Lite, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. An Android 9.0 Pie update hasn’t been announced yet. While the functionality of this UI is similar to stock Android, the design is completely different. It has a default rounded square shape for all icons, and adds ugly white borders to icons that don’t adhere to this design scheme.

The Infinix Hot S3X has custom versions of basic apps such as Phone, Contacts, Camera, Weather, and Messages. There’s also the Phoenix Web browser. The phone also has Infinix’s own apps preloaded: Carlcare for after-sales support; XHide to hide pictures, videos, and voice recordings; XTheme to help you with different themes; and the XClub customer forum. A ‘Freezer’ feature helps you free up RAM and prevent specific apps from running in the background for a stipulated amount of time.

Other than that, you get the Phone Master app for cleaning up RAM, locking specific apps, managing data usage, and more. A handy Smart Charge mode helps you with reminders to avoid overcharging the battery. You can swipe down on any of the home screens to open up Google Search.

With the latest version of XOS, you can now also use gesture navigation instead of the onscreen buttons. Like most other interfaces out there, you can swipe up from the middle-bottom to go to home, swipe up from the bottom left to open the app switcher, and swipe up from the bottom right to go back. One-handed mode can be activated by simply swiping left or right across the navigation buttons, but this mode did not seem to work when using navigation gestures. You cannot hide the display notch.

Infinix Hot S3X performance, battery life, and cameras

With players including Xiaomi and Realme focusing aggressively on the sub-Rs. 10,000 and sub-Rs. 15,000 price segments, expectations are high. In our experience, the Infinix Hot S3X did not offer performance worthy of its Rs. 9,999 price tag. Overall UI performance was below average, and we noticed several stutters and instances of lag in our daily usage.

Even the fingerprint sensor was not up to the mark; it was accurate but didn’t unlock the smartphone quickly enough. We have come to take blazing fast unlocking speeds for granted even on budget phones, and the Hot S3X seemed significantly slower in comparison. The phone also vibrates every time you unlock it, which could be frustrating for some. On the other hand, the fingerprint scanner does offer added functionality such as allowing you to take photos, accept calls, browse through pictures, and dismiss alarms using gestures.

To our utter disappointment, face unlock using the selfie camera was even slower, leading us to use a lock pattern most of the time.

infinix hot s3x review gadgets 360 5 Infinix

 

The display on the Hot S3X offers good colour reproduction, and watching videos and browsing photos was a pleasant experience. Even games looked vibrant on the 6.2-inch screen.

The dated processor showed its weakness in the benchmarks we ran on the Hot S3X. It scored 58,389 in AnTuTu, and in Geekbench, it got a single-core score of 652 and a multi-core score of 2,075. GFXBench’s Car Chase test ran at a paltry 5.3fps but the T-Rex test gave us a decent 26fps, which is similar to what we observed with the Infinix Hot S3 earlier this year.

Heavy apps took their sweet time to load, and there was noticeable stutter when scrolling through Facebook and Twitter. We were left killing apps frequently in an attempt to make the experience more fluid, which speaks volumes about the phone’s RAM management.

Lighter games like Subway Surfers and Candy Crush ran smoothly on the Infinix Hot S3X. Our experience with heavier games such as Shadow Fight 3 was also largely fine, with a hint of stutter especially during the tutorial.

The Infinix Hot S3X has a 4,000mAh battery, just like the Hot S3. It managed to clock only about 11 hours and 5 minutes in our HD video loop test, compared to more than 13 hours for its predecessor, which is still good for the price point. As for day-to-day usage, even if we started our day with a 100 percent charge in the morning, we needed a quick 30-minute boost by 4-5pm to get through the evening. Our usage included checking email, browsing social media apps a few times, and scattered light gaming sessions. The phone charged from 0 to 100 percent in 2 hours and 10 minutes with the bundled 10W charger.

Camera performance is one of the highlights of the Infinix Hot S3X. It has a 13-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor at the back for portrait shots. The app, however, does not show previews of portrait shots as you are trying to frame them. This often led to shots that were out of focus, which was frustrating. Other than that, the camera app offers fairly basic controls and modes including AI Camera, Video, Beauty, Portrait, Panorama, and Night.

The XOS Camera 3.0 app offers quick toggles for elements like HDR control, delayed capture, touch capture, gridlines, level, watermark, and more. There is no professional mode so you cannot manually control the ISO, white balance, shutter speed, etc.

Daylight shots were above average with good clarity and overall colour reproduction. The rear camera handled brightness and contrast levels well. Landscape shots and photos of the sky were exposed well, without parts of the scenery getting blown out.

Tap to see full-sized Infinix Hot S3X camera samples

 

Even low light performance was decent, and the phone could take good portrait shots even at night. The Hot S3X could not manage good landscape night shots, but we aren’t complaining much at this price. Stability was also a bit of an issue and you need to stand still until the photo is saved to avoid blur.

The 16-megapixel fixed-focus front camera gave us mixed results. It takes crisp and clear selfies, but artifically whitens them too much for our liking. That said, some people might prefer this mode.

In low light, selfies are not beautified too much, but they fall short on clarity. The front-facing LED flash helps when taking selfies without a good light source nearby. Video recording maxes out at 1080p for both cameras.

Verdict
The budget segment in India is getting tougher to crack, with super value-for-money options right now. The Infinix Hot S3X is not a huge upgrade over the Hot S3, but rather a lukewarm update with some current-day features such as a display notch and dual cameras. It is lacking in terms of overall performance and the user experience, but has decent cameras, a vibrant display, and a good design.

With a price of Rs. 9,999, you are better off going for the Realme 2 (Review) or Redmi 6 Pro (Review). If you can stretch your budget slightly, you could choose the more powerful Nokia 5.1 Plus (Review) or Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 (Review).

The Infinix Note 5 (Review), the company’s first Android One smartphone, is also a good option in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment.

 



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1st Test: Nathan Lyon Explains Why Aaron Finch Didn’t Opt For Review


After failing to impress in the first innings, Aaron Finch managed to score only 11 runs in the second innings on Day 4 of the Adelaide Test. Finch’s dismissal has now become a major talking point in cricketing circles because the Australian opener decided not to opt for a review, even after taking a quick suggestion from his batting partner Marcus Harris. Finch was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashiwin in the 12th over of the Australian second innings. In the wake of Finch not opting to challenge the on-field umpire’s decision, Nathan Lyon has attempted to clear the air by backing the batsman’s idea of not opting for the DRS. Lyon said that the review might have not helped the opener.

“I don’t think he was going to get away with it. I spoke to the third umpire and it was out anyway. There was inconclusive evidence to overturn the decision,” said Lyon in the post-match press conference.

Finch is playing his first Test series at home, after making his Test debut against Pakistan in Dubai in October this year.  

Unfortunately, Finch had failed to impress with the bat against Pakistan, too. Further talking about his poor run of Test form, Lyon said, “Finchy’s fine. It’s been a great learning curve for Aaron. He’ll take a lot out of this first Test match at home and be better for the run.”

Australia ended Day 4 of the Adelaide Test on 104 for four, requiring another 219 runs to win with six wickets in hand. At stumps, Shaun Marsh (31) and Travis Head (11) were at the crease, battling it out for Australia to avoid the defeat.





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1st Test: Nathan Lyon Explains Why Aaron Finch Didn’t Opt For Review


After failing to impress in the first innings, Aaron Finch managed to score only 11 runs in the second innings on Day 4 of the Adelaide Test. Finch’s dismissal has now become a major talking point in cricketing circles because the Australian opener decided not to opt for a review, even after taking a quick suggestion from his batting partner Marcus Harris. Finch was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashiwin in the 12th over of the Australian second innings. In the wake of Finch not opting to challenge the on-field umpire’s decision, Nathan Lyon has attempted to clear the air by backing the batsman’s idea of not opting for the DRS. Lyon said that the review might have not helped the opener.

“I don’t think he was going to get away with it. I spoke to the third umpire and it was out anyway. There was inconclusive evidence to overturn the decision,” said Lyon in the post-match press conference.

Finch is playing his first Test series at home, after making his Test debut against Pakistan in Dubai in October this year.  

Unfortunately, Finch had failed to impress with the bat against Pakistan, too. Further talking about his poor run of Test form, Lyon said, “Finchy’s fine. It’s been a great learning curve for Aaron. He’ll take a lot out of this first Test match at home and be better for the run.”

Australia ended Day 4 of the Adelaide Test on 104 for four, requiring another 219 runs to win with six wickets in hand. At stumps, Shaun Marsh (31) and Travis Head (11) were at the crease, battling it out for Australia to avoid the defeat.





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Exclusive: Audi e-tron First Drive Review


Audi’s ‘most important launch of the year’ as a spokesman called it, was carefully choreographed: in 2015, the brand launched a concept car, followed by a Sportback derivative; over the year 2018, Audi organised ride-alongs and drives at various stages of development, and now we got to drive the series production version of the fully electric Audi e-tron. The event took place in Abu Dhabi, where winter temperatures are particularly comfortable not only for motor journalists, but also for lithium-ion batteries. The local terrain is varied: In addition to urban environment, there are highways with relatively high, but strictly monitored speed limits between 120 and 160 kmph; there are challenging sand tracks, and a mountain route that is one of to the most beautiful the Middle East has to offer: The road to Jebel Hafeet Park takes 21 bends from the ground level up to a proud 1240 meters. From the top there is a view of the thermal springs of the Green Mubazzarah – and the prospect of elevated recuperation rates on the downhill run. Part of the energy invested in the way up is regained and fed back into the batteries upon descent.

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The production version of the Audi e-tron has not changed much from the concept stage


Audi

The production in the former Audi A1 plant in Brussels has already begun, and the models we drove display the high degree of perfection that can be expected from an Audi production car. The slight delays in the market launch are due to a new software release, which should improve the driving comfort. Speculation that there are difficulties in price negotiations with LG, the supplier of the battery cells, are denied by Audi. And they assert that battery prices will continue to decline in the future – an important narrative in the introduction of E-mobility that must remain unchallenged.

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The Audi e-tron gets a a taillight strip that extends over the entire width

From the outside, not much has changed since the 2015 concept: The e-tron, which delivers a drag coefficient of just 0.27, is proportioned like an extended Q5 – but it looks a lot different. From the toothy front end to the angular horizontal lines and a taillight strip that extends over the entire width, the e-tron looks impressive and is significantly farther removed from a Q5 than the rival Mercedes-Benz EQC model is set apart from the GLC, not to mention the electrified variant of the BMW X3. Although the e-tron is based on Audi’s established MLB architecture, the changes are extensive. For instance, the Ingolstadt developers have completely changed the crash structure. The crash resistance of the batteries significantly exceeds the already legal requirements.

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The Audi e-tron is proportioned like an extended Q5 – but it looks a lot different

Compared to the Q5, the extended body has practical advantages: At a length of 4901 mm, the e-tron offers plenty of space for up to five people, with a lot of knee room for the rear passengers. Luggage space is quite generous with a rear 600 litres. Incidentally, there is an additional trunk under the front hood, affectionately known as “frunk”. It is very modestly sized at an additional 60 litres and almost completely filled up by the included charging cables. Apparently, Audi does not expect this frugal space to be eagerly used: There is no unlocking button on the remote key nor in the interior; instead, you need to use a conventional hood pull.

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The Audi e-tron gets cargo space of 600 litres at the rear while there’s 60 litres available up front

The interior and cockpit of the e-tron appear in a futuristic style. The horizontal dashboard is characterized by generous touch-sensitive glass surfaces. Materials and workmanship are of the highest order, and the four-spoke steering wheel fits the style as well as the wide gear selector. From the standpoint of aesthetics, it is regrettable that Audi left the large compartment in the centre console without any cover. Place your mobile devices, cables and other miscellaneous items aimlessly in the open space, and you may unintentionally add a chaotic touch to an otherwise ultra-clean cockpit.

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The Audi e-tron’s horizontal dashboard comes with touch-sensitive glass surfaces

Directed from the cockpit is a powertrain that convinces from the start. Two electric motors, one on the front and and one on the rear axle, together deliver 353 bhp and 561 Nm of torque; in boost mode, the numbers climb up to 400 bhp and 664 Nm – for up to eight seconds. To use this mode, the “S” mode must be preselected via the selector lever – a superfluous gimmick because the e-tron has a kickdown pedal anyway. Step-off is brisk, and strong acceleration continues until above 150 kmph, when the torque seems to drop noticeably. The sprint from 0 to 100 kmph takes 6.6 seconds, or 5.7 seconds in “S” mode. At 200 kmph, the e-tron is governed.

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The Audi e-tron can do a 0-100 kmph sprint in just 5.7 seconds

Consumption and range are a critical chapter: The e-tron is supposed to reach over 400 kilometres in the WLTP cycle, a figure that turned out to be completely unrealistic. In fact, on the first 186-kilometer run, we consumed over 75 percent of the available electricity. While lunching, the diesel generators were working at full steam to pump the e-tron to 100 per cent again. Yet the afternoon drive, which remained below 300 kilometres, would have ended with an empty battery on the roadside were it not for Audi’s “Range” mode, which cuts heating and air conditioning and limits the maximum speed to a low 90 kmph.

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The Audi e-tron has a range of 400 kilometres on a single charge which during the drive turned out to be completely unrealistic

Of course, there are different options for charging, and the e-tron is even designed for inductive charging. It is a pity that this comfortable, albeit expensive and less efficient approach is not yet offered to the customer. Anyone who considers buying an e-tron should be aware that longer trips must be well-planned – and he needs to be prepared for hefty electricity costs and potentially long waiting times for recharging. Considering the hefty weight of 2490 kilograms, around 700 of which must be attributed to to the 95 kWh lithium-ion batteries, the handling is remarkably light-footed. With its variable power distribution and the precisely controlled ESP system, it can offer some sideways fun. Yet with its default understeering characteristics and considerable body roll, Audi has not put a sports car on the wheels here yet.

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The handling of the Audi e-tron is remarkably light-footed

And no off-road vehicle either; although the ground clearance can be increased by several millimetres. Thanks to that feature and the electronically controlled four-wheel drive, the e-tron comes relatively far, but there is only so much this architecture will allow.

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The Audi e-tron gets electronically controlled four-wheel drive but it’s no off-roader

On the other hand, the comfort is top-notch at upper-class level. Spacious, comfortably air-sprung and very quiet, the e-tron glides across the street like a luxury sedan – well into high velocities. The electric motors are well encapsulated, suppress those pesky high frequencies. It is no small feat making an electric car quiet, especially given that counter-noise systems do not function reliably in the frequency spectrum of electric motors.

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The Audi e-tron is spacious, comfortably air-sprung and very quiet, and glides across the street like a luxury sedan

The Audi e-tron offers assistance systems of the highest standard, thanks to Audi’s Modular Infotainment System MIB 2+. And there is a special gimmick: at additional charge, the conventional exterior mirrors can be replaced by cameras; at the same time, an image is projected in real time on screens in the front door panels. Unfortunately, the stylistic effect is less spectacular than expected, because the cameras are relatively bulky. And the projection is hard to get used to: The clarity and natural three-dimensionality of a conventional mirror is missing. We would not spend any money on this extra, and we are not surprised Audi doesn’t plan to roll these mirrors out across the model range.

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The Audi e-tron receives the company’s Modular Infotainment System MIB 2+

On its German home market, the starting price for the e-tron is 79,900 Euros. For this hefty amount that would get you, for instance, a top-level Audi Q8 50 TDI, it is already very well equipped, although the price can of course easily pushed up – for example, when the standard 18-inch wheels are substituted by 19- or 20-inch model or the beautiful panoramic roof is ordered. For the interior, Audi offers numerous attractive combinations as well.

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At an additional charge, the conventional exterior mirrors can be replaced by cameras on the Audi e-tron

But the e-tron’s real competitors are other electrics. The most important of the Audi e-tron 55 Quattro are the Jaguar I-Pace EV 400 and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC 400. From the USA comes the ageing Tesla Model S and the portly Tesla Model X. There will be more premium electrics down the road, not least an electrified BMW X3. And that’s a good thing, because competition stimulates the business.

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The Audi e-tron competes with the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace EV 400 and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC 400

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Given its real range and the problematic charging structure, one thing remains unchanged with the new Audi e-tron: A potential customer should know exactly what he is getting into with an electric car. The ‘most important Audi of the year’ doesn’t change that at all.

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