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Bluetooth Speakers

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Audio – Bluetooth Speakers

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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Bluetooth speakers are undoubtedly one of the most popular gadgets around. A few years back, what started off as a way to appeal to the urban youth has now evolved into serious business line for audio makers. As a result, the very nature of the products have evolved manifold over the past years.
Wireless Bluetooth speakers essentially started off as a makeshift alternative to powered desktop speakers, and the general consensus usually was, “this is about as good as you can expect.” However, today’s market has some seriously appealing wireless Bluetooth speakers from a wide range of manufacturers. From the likes of Bose and Bang & Olufsen to more mainstream companies like JBL, the latest wireless speakers are built to be good sounding speakers that also match the design standards of an urban lifestyle.
Additionally, while 2016 was the year where speakers became multifunctional, 2017 has been the year where the core audio performance has been improved. As a result, you now have more speakers within reasonable budgets, which sound really, really good.

2017 Zero1 award winner: Bose SoundLink Revolve+

Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus

When it comes to core performance, Bose has truly outdone its competitors this year. The lantern-shaped wireless speaker is the first 360-degree firing speaker from Bose in the wireless and portable space, and is a nod towards the trend of cylindrical speakers being belted out by all audio companies in this industry.
The shape has had benefits, as the SoundLink Revolve+ does not need to be placed at a specific angle to get the best audio output, and that makes considerable difference when it comes to everyday usage. Alongside, it produces commendable audio performance, with clean, well-composed and superlatively balanced sound that makes it stand out among a crowd of other Bluetooth speakers.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ excels in pronouncing the mid frequencies, all the while retaining deep lows and clean highs. All this is coupled with the sweet, warm timbre, and very low distortion levels in its sound. The design of the speaker may be a bit polarising, but there is no doubt to its premium positioning from the single sheath metal body and indented rubber buttons.
To sum all that up, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is the Zero1 Best Performing Bluetooth Speaker of 2017.

Best Buy: UE Wonderboom

The Wonderboom is a typical example of what Logitech’s audio specialist arm, Ultimate Ears, has always excelled at – build small, ultra portable and impressively good-sounding speakers at affordable prices. While the UE Roll 2 was our budget pony for 2016, this year’s Zero1 Best Buy award has gone to its new family member – the Wonderboom.
The UE Wonderboom retains the depth of low frequencies, and vocals and soaring guitar riffs also sound well balanced and clean, in tandem with bass lines. Its small dimensions mean that it can fit into almost any corner of tightly packed backpacks, and the reasonably small price tag means that even more people can afford it.

Laptop

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Laptops – Gaming

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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The PC Master Race is all inclusive but gaming laptops were always seen as a step down from their desktop counterparts. But from what we’ve seen this year, that clearly doesn’t hold true. Also, the gaming laptops that we tested this year included humongous beasts that came with their own carrying cases so that you wouldn’t have to invest in those separately. That was until COMPUTEX 2017 where we saw the MAX-Q laptops for the first time. With a few carefully laid down guidelines regarding the performance metrics and cooling assembly, NVIDIA has helped hardware manufacturers to build gaming laptops which pack in all the power of desktop graphics but without all the bulk. As with any new category of products, these are very expensive right now, but rightfully so. We’re a bit unfortunate since the taxation makes it even more expensive but for enthusiasts, price was only a secondary consideration. And this year’s winner epitomises that very fact.

2017 zero1 award Winner: ASUS ROG-GX800VH (7th Gen)

ASUS ROG GX800

With two GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI, there was absolutely no doubt in our minds that the ASUS GX800VH was going to be this year’s Zero1 Award winner the moment it arrived. But we kept our minds open, we waited for the Predator 21 X and we waited for the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI but neither of them turned up. Both are equally expensive but we have to give it to ASUS for bringing such a beast to the Indian market. Powered by a Core i7-7820HK and two GTX 1080 GPUs, we saw a Fire Strike 1.1 score of 24,468. And that’s the highest we’ve seen this entire year. When you compare that against a single GTX 1080, then we’re looking at nearly a 40 per cent gain in gaming performance. The unit comes with a liquid cooling attachment and two power adapters, so for all intents and purposes, you can throw portability out of the window but that’s a minor trade-off for the performance gain that you get at the end of the day. You don’t get the full potential of the laptop without connecting the cooling unit. So you have portability should you need it and when the need arises, you can call in the big guns.

Runner up: MSI GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro

For less than half the price of the GX800VH, you get the GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro. You get the same Core i7-7820HK but just one GTX 1080 GPU. The GT75VR comes with a mechanical keyboard which is a rare thing to find on gaming laptops. And the display is a treat to look at. Since it does have a GTX 1080 that’s air-cooled, you can expect quite a lot of noise during heavy gaming sessions, so it’s best to get a headset with the GT75VR.

Best Buy: Acer Nitro V AN515-51 and ASUS GL553VD

When you’re buying a gaming laptop, the 80-90K is the sweet spot because that’s where you get a GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti. You’re already compromising when getting a gaming laptop, the least you can do is ensure that you can game on it. Both, the Acer and ASUS laptops sport an Intel Core i7-7700HQ along with an NVIDIA GTX 1050. The GL553VD comes with 8GB RAM while the AN515-51 comes with 16GB. And if you look at the pricing, the difference equals the RAM module’s cost, so they’re practically the same.

Graphics cards

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Desktop – Graphics Cards

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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The Graphics cards segment has been dominated by NVIDIA for quite some time. We were on the fringe of seeing an all out war break out between the two rivals after AMD’s VEGA launch. Unfortunately, VEGA didn’t make the cut and it seems we’ll be left with incremental upgrades for the coming year(s). There’s a bit of uncertainty over the number of years before we see some real competition. And for now, it seems to be rooted around one man – Raja Koduri. The erstwhile head of the Radeon Technologies Group which brought out Radeon VEGA has left AMD and joined Intel. With a new technology group under his guidance, Intel is now planning to come out with discrete graphics solutions. These things take time so perhaps we might see some interesting developments from the Blue camp in about two or three years. Till then, we’re stuck with the Green camp who’ve delivered a really powerful architecture in Pascal after Maxwell. And now it seems NVIDIA might not release Volta anytime soon, instead they’re coming out with Ampere which is geared for the consumer market. Let’s look at this year’s contenders.

2017 zero1 award Winner: ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme

ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme

The Titan Xp might be NVIDIA’s most powerful graphics card but it’s more of a compute card rather than a gaming card which is why we don’t see board partners coming out with Titan Xp SKUs. So the next best thing is the GTX 1080 Ti. Among all the GTX 1080 Ti(s)that we received this year, the ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme is this year’s best performer. It’s a 3-slot graphics card with a triple fan cooler that’s built to ensure cool operation and has the thermal headroom should you further overclock the already factory-overclocked graphics card. Its got a 3DMark Firestrike score of 23371 which is the highest we’ve seen from any GTX 1080 Ti. NVIDIA’s reference card clocks in at around 22800. 4K gaming at 60 FPS is the norm when you pack a GTX 1080 Ti. Even a poorly optimised title like PUBG when played on Ultra setting at 4K resolution gives 40-45 FPS and that is quite impressive.

Runner up: Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Ultra X4

With a lower clock speed than the ZOTAC card, the Inno3D iChill GTX 1080 Ti Ultra X4 comes in at a close second. The synthetic benchmarks are what set the two apart, but when you look at real world gaming performance, then they are very similar. The iChill card has a unique cooler unlike any we’ve seen so far where they’ve added an intake fan on the top side of the graphics card. It’s a weird setup that you can check out later in our detailed review. For now, it remains the second best graphics card we’ve tested.

Best Buy: PowerColor RED DEVIL Golden Radeon RX 580

AMD refreshed their entire Polaris lineup early this year with the RX 500 series. However, their RX 580 and RX 480 units have been extremely hard to come by thanks to cryptocurrency miners who’ve wiped the aisles clean. The same can be said of the GTX 1060 series from NVIDIA. Speaking of NVIDIA, they didn’t have any mid-range launches this year. And since the law of diminishing returns makes the 1070 Ti pale in comparison to the RX 580 in terms of value for money, we picked the RX 580 as the best buy among all the cards released this year.

Laptop

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Laptops – Thin and light

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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Every year like clockwork, laptop makers bring newer models of their flagship thin and light laptops to India with the latest CPUs. This year though, this whole process was marred by long and unwanted delays. Subsequently, due to various reasons, most of these latest laptops miss out on the newest Intel Core 8th gen processors. The end result is that most ultrportables available today in India are refreshed models with older 7th gen Intel processors or older models with minor spec bumps. In either case, you aren’t getting the best of what is available overseas. Nonetheless, of the thin range of ultrabooks available today, here are our top picks.
While there is no industry wide defined parameter for thin and light laptops, we believe that laptops in this category should be lightweight. Hence, for the Zero 1 Awards and going forward, only laptops weighing 1.5 kilograms or lesser will be considered in this category.

2017 Zero1 Award Winner: Lenovo Ideapad 720s (13-inch)

Lenovo 720S

While there weren’t many thin and light options to choose from this year, the best among the few was the Ideapad 720s. It is now better looking, has a sturdier build, rocks a fingerprint scanner, but ends up with similar specifications as its predecessor. That said, there are subtle differences in performance between this machine and its predecessor.
Lenovo has turned down the Intel HD 620 graphics on this machine, which we believe has helped the machine to be more reliable. The dual fan cooling solution in this slim chassis is now less noisy at full chatter and the heat management has also improved. Beyond that, the performance offered by the Intel Skylake i7-7500U is snappy as always and the laptop can easily take on all kinds of day-to-day tasks you may want to throw at it.
The best thing we like about the Ideapad 720s is that even though it is a thin and light laptop, it doesn’t compromise on ports. You still get two USB type-A 3.0 ports along with two USB Type-C ports with one supporting Thunderbolt. The 7-8 hours of battery life is just as good as last time and while the keyboard is good, Lenovo’s new touchpad is far better than the one we used last year on the Ideapad 710s.

Best buy & Runner up: Asus ZenBook UX430UQ

Running just behind the Ideapad 720s, we have the Asus Zenbook UX430UQ. The UX430 is a 14-inch machine, which is essentially crammed in a 13-inch laptop chassis. Asus has done so by slimming down the side bezels, just like the Ideapad 720s. This has also helped it to maintain weight and at just 1.25 kg it is less heavier than many 14-inch laptops we have currently in the market. It offers a similar performance as the Ideapad 720s as it is also powered by the same Intel Core i7-7500U processor.
Apart from the larger display, Asus also managed to cram in a full-size SD card reader along with a micro HDMI port in a 0.63-inch thick chassis. The only thing we think is missing from the I/O array is Thunderbolt support but USB 3.1 is more than enough. As for battery life, the 50 Whr battery of the UX430 offers a similar battery performance as the Ideapad 720s and hence can easily go through a normal work day.
The best part is that, it has more storage, a fingerprint scanner and a slightly lower price tag making it the better buy in the category.

Wireless Router

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Networking – Wireless Routers

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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We first saw AC5300 routers back in 2015 when the high-speed protocol was introduced and made their way into India. The sad thing is, not much has changed since then. Those brands which brought the flagship units for sale in India were met with dismal reception and we’ve hardly seen any new units since then. However, that did not stop manufacturers of other products from incorporating the newer 802.11ad technology. We’ve seen motherboards such as the ASUS Prime X299-DELUXE which came with an onboard Wireless AD solution sporting speeds of up to 4600 Mbits. Enthusiasts and early adopters who go for such products will have to get 802.11ad routers sans official Indian support. So we’re looking at a stagnant market where brands are hardly any brands are bringing in the newer and shinier stuff. On the other hand, we’re seeing more brands introducing mesh routers. These generally have multiple units which are to be strategically placed around the premises to eliminate any and all dead spots. Let’s take a look at this year’s Zero1 Winner.

2017 Zero1 award Winner: ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Being the only brand with an AC5300 product that was released this year, ASUS ends up with the Zero1 Award. It’s still based on the Broadcom BCM4366 chip that was released a couple of years ago but there have been hardware revisions since then that have helped it improve performance. This chip in particular is the newer BCM4366E. Moreover, ASUS has switched to the BCM4908 for the CPU on the GT-AC5300 along with double the RAM and flash storage. Another feature that stands out is that this router packs in eight RJ45 ports which is a first time for us. If you are curious about the ROG branding, then you need not look further than the UI. The router UI has QoS settings placed under the Game Boost tab, and there’s a neat feature which has a ping list of popular multiplayer titles along with the different server locations. We didn’t find an option to add more entries to this table which was kind of a bummer. Essentially, it’s an improved RT-AC5300 with a swanky UI and newer hardware. Oh, and don’t forget the eight LAN ports.

Runner up: Linksys EA7500

Linksys has been one of the more expensive brands since the time they were a Cisco subsidiary. The quality of components used by them has been more or less top-notch with a build quality that puts most of the competition to shame. The Indian SKUs that were launched earlier this year, however, ship with Mediatek SoCs and not Broadcom SoCs, so that’s a major difference as compared to the international SKUs. However, it’s still one of the best AC1900 routers we’ve tested this year. Unfortunately, most AC1900 routers we checked out were released in India last year and don’t qualify for this year’s Zero1 Awards.

Best Buy: Xiaomi Mi 3C

Leave it to Xiaomi to bring hardware and software features of higher-end devices into the entry-level segment. Everything from the polished UI which is based off of OpenWRT, the inclusion of four antennae, remote control app and a great build make the Mi 3C a really good router. Especially when one is getting all of these for a measly price of `1,199. Unfortunately, it’s the only SKU from Xiaomi that’s selling in India, they could easily make a killing if they introduced the dual-band router in India as well.

Smartphone

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Smartphones – Cameras

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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A lot of the discourse around smartphones this year has been around the camera. Most smartphone makers want to tell you that their cameras will make DSLRs obsolete. Well, that’s certainly untrue. However, they sure can make for great point and shoot cameras nowadays. And the top three camera phones this year prove how.
Interestingly, cameras improved across price points this year. You can now get dual cameras for as low as `11,000, while dual-pixel sensors have become quite common as well. Asus even used a dual-pixel sensor on the front camera on its phone. Granted, Asus didn’t quite get the implementation right, but it’s certainly a sign of things to come.
But without further ado, let’s just get to this year winners.

2017 zero1 award Winner: Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL is not only the best Android phone you can buy today, it’s also the best camera phone on offer. It has a 12.2 MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and 1.4 micron pixel size. But hardware is not what makes this camera great. That credit goes to Google’s impressive software, driven by machine learning. The company must have put all the learnings from years of image uploads and its learnings from last year’s Pixel smartphone to good effect.
In practice, the Pixel 2 XL/Pixel 2 are the perfect point and shoot cameras out there. They do falter with white balance at times, but most will probably not mind it. Google’s focus though seems to have been on producing the highest details a smartphone camera can produce. In our comparison tests, the phone consistently performed better than the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 in all kinds of conditions.
But all that processing should take a lot of time, right? Google has smartly moved that processing part to the photo gallery, so you can click back to back shots. So, with the impressive focusing speeds, you can click back to back images without fail. Admittedly, we would have preferred a more consistent imaging experience, but we have no qualms in awarding the Pixel 2 XL this year’s Zero1 for best camera phone.

Runner Up: Apple iPhone X

Scoring out of 55, the Pixel 2 XL got 46.5 point while the iPhone X came in at 44.5. That’s a very accurate representation of how close these two cameras are. The iPhone X has two 12 megapixel camera on the back, with Apple’s telephoto implementation. The iPhone X’s camera also has f/1.8 aperture, though it still doesn’t do as well in low light as the Pixel 2 XL or Samsung Galaxy Note 8, albeit for different reasons. The Pixel 2 XL produces more detailed photos, while the Note 8 produces noticeably brighter shots. Of course, the Note 8 smudges the details in the process.
Yet, the iPhone X has an excellent smartphone camera overall. Apple usually focuses on true to source imaging, but the company seems to have put some emphasis on producing more vibrant colours this time. As a result, it loses some details, which you will only see if you compare it side by side with the Pixel 2 XL.

Best Buy: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

When it was launched, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 had the best camera on the market. Now it falls behind both the Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X. Many would argue that the Note 8 shoots the best low light photos smartphone can, but in producing brighter photos, the phone compromises on details quite significantly.
Surprisingly though, the Galaxy Note 8 is the cheapest which makes it the best buy.

Cabinets

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Cabinets – Mid-tower

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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A good cabinet or chassis is important when building your PC since it’s going to house all your components, ensuring they connect to each other easily. Just like the other components, the price ranges from extremely low to exorbitant levels. Many factors come into play when picking the right cabinet for yourself such as build quality, front I/O parts, cable management, transparent side panel, liquid cooling support, etc. It’s difficult to include all the necessary features in low-end cabinets but we are seeing more mid-range mid-tower cabinets supporting premium features and even good build quality. With RGB lighting and tempered glass side panels becoming the fad lately, companies are trying to push these features onto cabinets in the `6k price bracket. More cabinets are dropping support for optical drives, which further makes room for better cooling support. Apart from what we’ve seen in the country, the international market is witnessing the introduction of wooden parts on the exterior. We weren’t able to test too many PC cabinets launched this year, but among the ones that have arrived in our test labs, here are the ones that will give you the best cooling performance out of the box.

2017 Zero1 Award Winner: Cooler Master MasterCase H500P

Cooler Master MasterCase H500P

The two 200mm RGB fans on the H500P along with the additional 140mm exhaust fan on the rear were able to keep the system running steady at a nice and cool temperature. If you plan on relying only on an air cooling system, there is a lot of room for airflow inside the H500P. The front panel has an acrylic cover with vents for the sides to allow air inside. It would be interesting to test whether using a mesh front panel would drastically cool down the interiors. In our stress testing, the CPU managed to touch 59 degrees Celsius while the GPU reached a maximum temperature of 64 degrees. Performance aside, the build quality is questionable on such an expensive cabinet, especially on the plastic top and front panel. They are really flimsy and it’s easy for them to accidentally come off with next to no effort at all. The metal used by the fan mounting brackets on the top and front panel are thin enough to bend with your hands. Keeping these problems aside, the cabinet does a good enough job to win itself a Zero1 award.

Runner-up and Best Buy: Zebronics Premier ZEB-916B

It’s wonderful to see affordable cabinets displaying airflow similar to expensive ones. Since our primary cabinet testing is done on cabinets in their factory-shipped setting, higher number of stock fans are always an advantage. This becomes pocket-friendly for consumers, since otherwise they would have to buy after-market fans. The ZEB-916B is a basic cabinet and doesn’t really include premium features nor is it generous with support for liquid cooling. When we started off the stress testing, we found the CPU running at about 70 degrees Celsius while the GPU touched a maximum temperature of 65 degrees. Although the temperatures on load were high, the idle temperatures were the lowest in this cabinet, resulting in a lower temperature delta. Already proving its cooling performance, the low price of the ZEB-916B allows the cabinet to take away the Best Buy award.

Smartphone

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Smartphones – Android

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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The iPhone has now won the best premium smartphone category two years in a row, but it’s Android that really owns the market. With over 80% market share, it’s the ecosystem that most Indian users are used to, and most future users will eventually be accustomed to. And being the dominant platform means there are just too many smartphones to choose from.
From last year’s 14nm fabrication process, this year we move to 10nm chipsets. The two big ones here are the Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm and Samsung’s Exynos 8895. But while the processors bring evolutionary updates in terms of speeds, Android phones jacked up storage and memory this year. You can also get better screens at lower prices now, along with significantly better cameras.

2017 Zero1 Awards Winner: Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL has had its issues, but its display is much easier to use with the “Saturated Mode” added to its software. Yet, the Pixel 2 XL comes with an iron-clad promise of Android updates, and an Android experience the way Google actually intended.
But what makes the Pixel 2 XL the best Android phone on the market is the excellent camera it sports. It doesn’t have the highest camera specifications out there, but Google’s software mumbo jumbo does the trick. The Pixel 2 XL camera excels at producing the best details possible. Images are extremely sharp and it edges past the iPhone X by a slight margin. In fact, we compared three of the best smartphone cameras today, to confirm that the Pixel 2 XL indeed has the best camera out there.
There are more things to like here. For instance, Now Playing is one of those little things that can turn you into a fan. Google wants this phone to be sold for its AI and ML prowess, and it has done a pretty good job of that.

Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

If it wasn’t for the Pixel 2 XL’s camera, the Galaxy Note 8 would have been the best Android smartphone this year. It has 6GB of RAM, a display that’s rivalled only by the iPhone X and an excellent dual-camera system. Samsung had a lot riding on this phone, and it’s safe to say that the horrors of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 are behind it. The company doesn’t sell the Snapdragon version in India, but its Exynos 8895 has proven to be just as fast. While price doesn’t really matter in the premium range, the Note 8 is also slightly cheaper than the Pixel 2 XL.

Best Buy: OnePlus 5T

At a starting price of Rs. 32,999, the OnePlus 5T is without a doubt the most value for money Android phone you can buy today. Yes, it’s not an upgrade to the OnePlus 5, but it’s still a better phone. You get better low light camera performance and improved colour reproduction on the screen. Of course, 18:9 aspect ratio allows a bigger screen, but with the same overall footprint. The OnePlus 5T is incredibly fast. In fact, it’s even faster than the Google Pixel 2 XL at times. It recorded the highest benchmark scores amongst Android phones today, and has more RAM than all of its competitors.
All things considered, the OnePlus 5T is the phone to pick for everyone who wants the best of Android but can’t afford the exorbitant price tags on the Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy Note 8.

Television

Zero1 Awards 2017 – TVs – HDTVs

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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It’s been a good year for televisions so far. Sony jumped onto the OLED bandwagon, while LG made its OLED TVs slimmer and more attractive. Samsung announced its QLED technology, making the QLED Q8C the first TV to cover 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space. There were also new entrants in the high end TV space, with companies like Panasonic selling comparatively cheaper 4K HDR TVs.
Of course, there was improvement in the lower price segments as well, but we’re concerned right now with 4K and HDR televisions selling in the country. How did that segment fare? Well, here’s are the top picks from this segment.

2017 Zero1 award Winner: Sony Bravia A1 65-inch

Sony Bravia A1

Sony’s entry into the OLED market is good news for everyone. It means we can expect more companies to jump onto the OLED bandwagon in future. However, for 2017, the Zero1 Award for best television in India goes to Sony’s A1 65-inch. It’s the perfect mix of style and performance, that anyone spending this much money on a television would expect.
On our tests, the Bravia A1 returned contrast ratio ratings of over 180,000:1 at 50% brightness and with no direct light falling on the screen. That’s more than any television has achieved on our tests so far. Sony promises 1000 nits brightness on the panel as well, which is perfect for HDR video as well. Speaking of which, the Bravia A1 is one of the few televisions that offer both Dolby Vision and HDR10 support.
Granted, the Bravia A1 is not the loudest television, but it combined Acoustic Surface technology and a sub-woofer mounted in the kickstand to provide very rich audio output. Explosions sound more real, while dialogue is crisp when watching movies.

Runner Up: LG OLED 65C7T 65-inch

LG has always been amongst our favourites when it comes to televisions. Its top TVs lost out to Sony’s Z9D last year, and this year the OLED 65C7T takes second place. Now, that doesn’t mean this isn’t an absolute high end television. In fact, most won’t even be able to tell the difference between this and the Bravia A1 mentioned above. Under the same test conditions, the LG television returned contrast ratio readings of about 130,000:1, which is excellent.
What really puts this television behind the others is its audio performance. You would need an external soundbar for a clearer and richer audio. The TV often falters in differentiating dialogues from background scores.
Nevertheless, the LG OLED 65C7T is an excellent TV to buy. It produces excellent picture quality and supports all the newest technologies. LG’s WebOS is amongst the better television operating systems today, and the OLED 65C7T would impress anyone who hasn’t seen the Sony Bravia A1.

Best Buy: Sony Bravia A1 55-inch

We were going to give this one to the Samsung QLED Q8C. But inch to inch, the Bravia A1 doesn’t only outperform that TV, it also costs the same. So, it only makes sense that the smaller screen size should be the best buy. At 55-inch, it delivers the same picture quality as its larger variant. Given that it’s a full `1 lakh cheaper than the 65-inch version, it is certainly the best buy amongst top end TVs today.

Smartphone

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Smartphones – Budget

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0

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This year, we saw the smartphone market shift focus from the sub-10K category to the better equipped mid-range smartphones. That being said, the budget smartphone segment was not neglected completely and companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo, Micromax, Lava, and more, made sure that consumers had a hard time choosing the right phone. We saw features like fingerprint scanners, dual-cameras trickle down to the budget category this year. Micromax even brought the much hyped unvisium display with a 18:9 aspect ratio display to the sub-10K smartphone category with the Canvas Infinity. When it comes down to performance, some of these budget smartphones can give mid-tier smartphones (10K – 20K) a run for their money. Hence, these devices still offer the most value for your money. However, we at Digit were looking for more than just specifications and headline features. Out of the dozens of phones we reviewed this year, here are the ones which are our top picks.

2017 Zero1 Awards Winner: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (3GB + 32GB)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The Redmi Note 3 had won this category last year and this year, the Redmi Note 4 take away the Zero1 in the sub-10K category. Because of its unmatched performance with the Snapdragon 625 SoC, it can run most applications, and although gaming is not completely stutter free, it is better than other devices in the same price bracket.
Xiaomi also improved on the design with this phone. The metal exterior looks and feels more premium than its predecessors and can be considered as a benchmark for this category. The same can be said about the battery life, by the large 4,100mAh battery on the device. During our testing, it gave us eight hours of screen-on time on medium-to-heavy usage and can easily run for more than two days for light users.
The 13MP rear camera on the phone is decent at best and could have been better, but as they say, you can’t have everything.

Best Buy: Lenovo K8 Plus (3GB + 32GB)

The most well-rounded device for your money is the Lenovo K8 Plus. With the latest K-series, the company now has a new approach to software and UI. Some of the elements have been borrowed from Motorola, which is a good thing. Thanks to the new approach, the phone feels faster as it combines a good set of hardware with a stock like Android interface.
Inside you get a MediaTek Helio P25 SoC paired with 3GB RAM. The 2.5GHz Octa-core SoC from MediaTek is almost as fast as the Snapdragon 625 SoC used by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, but only loses by a margin. The phone is quite snappy in day-to-day performance and apart from the occasional frame drops during gaming, the phone is quite a reliable performer. The 4,000mAh battery doesn’t disappoint either and can keep up with even the heaviest users for a day easily. The best feature of the K8 Plus is the rear dual-cameras, which is currently the best in the category.