Best budget smartphones in India 2018: phones under Rs 10,000

This year has been great in terms of phones if only low-cost smartphones are considered. Phones with latest mid-range processors are already in at affordable prices. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is the most recent example of one such phone. 

Moreover, there is a lot to come in the coming days. We are expecting the Moto G6 series to launch in Indian market. There would be more phones to choose, but if you’re fine with a phone that offers good value for money and handles mild usage at ease, you can go for the phones below. 

They are priced under Rs 10,000 and do everything you expect from a phone at this range.

For just Rs 9,999, the Redmi Note 5 replaces the Note 4 for the top spot. The new phone is an update over its predecessor. It has a new 18:9 display with a slightly better camera and software optimisations. The smartphone has everything that one expects from a phone of this range. 

The Snapdragon 625 with 3GB RAM is good enough to sail you through intensive usage with a phenomenal full day battery life.

Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review

Honor’s 9 lite looks dapper in the Sapphire Blue colour variant. It has everything going for it in the design department with the shiny 2.5D glass on back and for Rs 10,999, it’s one of the better designed smartphones available right now. 

The 18:9 aspect ratio display is vibrant and is reason enough to buy it. It also has a quad-camera setup. The front-facing cameras capture some good pictures while the rear one leaves much to be desired. There’s no fast charge support which might be a deal breaker for some.

But for people who can turn a blind eye to these things, the 9 lite is a unique smartphone at this price.

Also read: Honor 9 Lite review

The Redmi 5 succeeds the Redmi 4 from Xiaomi. It’s is a huge upgrade over its predecessor in terms of display and internals, but the design still remains identical to the older Xiaomi phones. 

It runs Snapdragon 450, which is the latest chipset for budget phones and works pretty well in day to day usage. There are three RAM variants of the phone but the 3GB variant at Rs 8,999 offers the best value for money proposition. Despite of a cut in the battery, it can easily sail you through a full day of usage. The build is solid and new display looks like a great alternative to consume media on the go.  

Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi 5 review

Although Xiaomi has now released the Redmi 5 at a same price as the Redmi 4, the Redmi 4 is still an option you can consider. When compared to phones that fall under its league, the Redmi 4 still stands strong with its impressive battery life and decent performance. Those who prefer a compact phone that can get the basics done, the Redmi 4 is still an option. 

The only issue with the phone is its software, which is still stuck on Android Marshmallow. Thankfully Xiaomi has released the latest MIUI 9 for the cover up.

Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi 4 review

Moto’s G series has always been appreciated for offering great specs at affordable price. It seems that Moto only focused on specs and amidst this, the design, somehow took a back seat. But, with Moto G5, the company tried to change the scenario by offering both good looks and specs at an affordable price.

The Moto G5 is the first phone from the smartphone maker which was launched with an aluminum body.  And, along with this, it also has a fingerprint scanner which is again a part of the big change in design which the company introduced last year when it launched Moto G4 Plus.

Though not superior to its predecessors, the Moto G5 is an good performer with decent specs and the new metal body gives it a premium feel.

Read the full review: Moto G5

The Redmi Y1 is the first selfie-centric phone from Xiaomi. It comes with a powerful 16-megapixel front sensor along with the similar Snapdragon 435 processor which is also found in Redmi 4. The phone also falls into same budget smartphone category where the company’s other handsets like Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4 and Redmi 4A are leading the segment.

It comes in two variants – 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage and 4GB RAM/64GB storage which are priced at Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999 respectively. Both variants provide the advantage of expanding the storage capacity up to 128GB.

The Moto E4 Plus is the first to feature a fingerprint sensor in the E-series. The highlight of the phone is its huge 5,000 mAh non-removable battery, which provides tons of power and can last more than a day even with aggressive usage. 

So, if you are a busy smartphone user tired of charging your phone multiple times a day, this handset can fix your battery concerns.

There is also something for the selfie lovers. The company has worked on the 5MP front camera of the, coupled with a LED flash. 

The all-metal design gives it a svelte look and the curved back makes it ergonomic, allowing it to slide easily into your pocket.

Read to know more about Moto E4 Plus

  • Best phones under Rs 15,000 in India for 2018

Plusnet tops Ofcom broadband satisfaction – and these are its best deals

Sorting your broadband can be a frustrating business, especially when something goes wrong. That’s why the tech world waits so eagerly for the results of Ofcom’s customer service survey.

Well the results are in, and it’s Plusnet that’s leading the way with a massive 86% overall satisfaction rate from its customers. That’s better than the likes of Virgin Media (83%), Sky (83%), BT (who incidentally owns Plusnet, 79%), TalkTalk (72%) and…well, everybody else.

And the even better news is that Plusnet is also one of the cheapest internet providers out there. You can scarcely get cheaper than the company’s broadband deals at the moment – we’ll tell you exactly what its most affordable plans are.

Cheapest Plusnet broadband deal:

Plusnet’s best fibre broadband deal:

Fastest broadband deal from Plusnet:

Plusnet can’t help you if you’re looking to get a combination broadband and TV deal, but you can add landline call packages. It’s £4 extra a month for evening and weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines, or £8 for international calls.

You can see the whole range of the providers offerings by taking a look at our best Plusnet broadband deals comparison.

Compare all of today’s best broadband deals:

If you want to compare Plusnet’s broadband deals to what else is on the market then we’ve popped a handy comparison chart at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, you can head to our main broadband deals page for the whole list and more information to help you choose.  

Tesla Model Y release date, news and rumors

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk first set out on his dream of making electric cars not only cool, but profitable, the automotive world seemed to let out a collective chuckle. 

Update: Elon Musk has confirmed the Model Y will go into production in 2020, which is later than originally expected.

13 years later and Tesla is one of the coolest car makers on the planet, and with a recent report of taking £2.79 billion in revenue, it clearly isn’t doing too badly with sales either.

Now that the Model 3 has officially hit the roads, we are looking forward to the next car that Tesla is working on. The Model Y is Tesla’s new compact SUV, and completes the running joke in Elon Musk’s naming scheme, with the Model S, Model X and the recent Model 3. 

The Model 3 was originally going to be called the E, making it a perfect fit, but due to a legal clash with Ford over the use of the letter E, Tesla went with it’s visual numerical equivalent. 

To be fair, the fact that the Y is coming along makes us a little more comfortable with the joke; it’s still juvenile but at least a car manufacturer hasn’t just plastered the word sex over its range.

Although to be fair, it does mean it can make jokes like this:

There isn’t a great deal known about the Model Y at the moment but everything we know we’ve included below and we’ll keep you up to date with developments as and when we hear them.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The compact SUV from electric car giant Tesla 
  • What’s the range? Currently unknown
  • How do I reserve one? You can’t yet
  • When is it out? 2020
  • What will it cost? Currently unknown, likely less than the X
  • How fast is it? Currently unknown

Tesla Model Y: What is it?

The Model Y will be the first compact SUV offering from the electric car manufacturer. It makes sense as a move for Tesla, considering the success of other compact SUV’s like the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape in the US market. Musk is obviously aware of the value of the compact SUV market, referring to it at the “biggest product segment in the world”.

According to a tweet from Musk, the Model Y is going to be built off the Model 3 chassis. This is interesting as Tesla already has an SUV (the Model X), so the fact that it’s being built off the chassis of the 3 potentially means it is aiming for a similar customer base. 

The Tesla Model 3 is beauty on a budget

The Model 3 was a departure from the usual modus operandi; starting at $35,000 (£30,000, about AU$45,700) it was the first car that sat in a price bracket that was more ‘general consumer’ friendly. 

According to the tweet from Elon Musk confirming that the Y is going to be built of the 3, he also confirmed that the ‘Spacebus’ was going to be built off the X. This is almost definitely going to be a minibus, but considering Musk’s other project SpaceX, the naming has led people to jokingly speculate that it would be for non-earth driving.

Information about the Model Y is still pretty thin on the ground considering that it’s in the early stages of its development. 

We know what it’s going to look like… well, we have had a very shadowy glimpse of what it’s going to look like thanks to the image shared by Musk.

Tesla Model Y: Release date

Originally Musk had claimed that the Model Y was going to be manufactured in a way entirely independent of the Model 3, and was due for a 2019 / 2020 release. 

However, at an earnings report, Musk changed his stance and said “The Model Y will be using substantial carryover from Model 3, which means it will come to market much faster.” 

Sadly though, that’s not going to happen, as on a recent conference call in May 2018, Musk confirmed the Model Y wouldn’t enter production until early 2020.

Tesla Model Y: What we’d like to see

At the moment it looks like the Model Y is going to follow in the footsteps of the Model X in that it is going to have the ‘Falcon doors’ that open up rather than out. While this is a feature that definitely makes an impact, we aren’t sure it’s something we really need.

The Model X with its ‘wings’

As with all the electric cars coming to market at the moment, one of the main features that we are really bothered about is range between charging. While the infrastructure to support charging of electric vehicles is improving, it still isn’t in a place where we would feel 100% confident that moving to an all-electric vehicle wouldn’t negatively affect our driving patterns.

Given that the Model 3 has a starting range of approximately 215, there is a possibility that the Y would be similar, but our concern is that the larger car could have a negative impact on range.

Ideally we would like to see the ability to tow that we saw in the Model X carry over to the Model Y. When introduced, it was the first electric car to offer the feature, and to be honest, if the electric car is going to truly replace the combustion engine vehicle, it will need to be able to handle the heavy lifting that its fossil fueled counterparts are currently capable of. 

On top of that are the features that we’ve come to know and love from Tesla, like it’s showstopping Ludicrous mode that ramps up the acceleration to (as you’d imagine) ludicrous levels.

As we learn more about the Model Y we will update this piece so keep checking back here for all the latest.

  • Want to know more about Tesla’s latest offering the Model 3? Check out: Tesla Model 3 release date, news and features

The crowdfunded Misty II robot can be coded to do almost anything

Some of our favorite smart toys of 2018—from Anki Cozmo to littlebits’ Droid Inventor Kit to LEGO BOOST—all have block-based coding interfaces, encouraging kids to learn how to code as they control their robo-buddies. 

Others, like Sphero’s R2-D2 and BB-8, focus less on hand-coding and more on cool features, like the Force Band. 

Now Misty Robotics, a spinoff of Sphero, has announced Misty II, a crowdfunded robot that can be coded to do pretty much anything you want, from greeting guests to controlling your smart home devices to bringing you a beer—that is, if you’re a good enough coder to teach it how. 

Designed for more serious robot fans, Misty II retails for $3,200 (about £2,350, AU$4,250), but as of publication a limited number are on sale for 50% off. 

Robots coming to US backers should ship out December 4, while international buyers will have to wait longer (no specific date was provided).

To justify the price tag, Misty Robotics (MR) stuck tons of tech goodies onto the robot. It runs on two Snapdragon processors (no word on which model), a Windows 10 IoT Core, and an Android 7 operating system for navigation. 

Misty II’s head comes with a 4K Sony camera for facial recognition and a 4.3-inch LCD display to express emotions. 

Credit: Misty Robotics

Misty II comes equipped with some handy capabilities out of the box. It will map your household for self-navigation, recognize the faces of its owners, greet visitors with unfamiliar faces, self-charge when it needs to (it apparently has “up to two hours” of charge), respond to voice commands, and show off its “adaptive personality” engine.

“We are focused on creating the personal robot of the future that developers and makers can build upon as well as share skills and ideas for what a robot can be,” Ian Bernstein, Founder and Head of Product, said in a statement. 

“Crowdfunding the Misty II robot aligns with our mission of building a community for developers and makers… We are excited to see what they build on Misty and then share with the larger community.”

Misty II will recognize and respond to people or objects with different emotions based on its mood | Credit: Misty Robotics

The Misty Robotics site lists a number of skill ideas to code into the Misty II, such as guarding your house while you’re out, “interpreting Ikea instructions”, changing the TV channel for you, and playing with your pets. 

It uses a simple Blockly coding interface, and MR claims coding your bot to perform tasks like these will take less than 30 minutes. 

But more advanced actions will likely require knowledge of Javascript, which Misty II also supports. 

Misty II comes with a cute backpack for storing computer attachments like USB sticks or Arduino hardware for advanced computing. 

You can also control it with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. And its operating system can run Tensorflow, Caffe, and WindowsML “within hardware optimized runtimes”. 

Who is this for?

Is Misty II truly something that casual robotics fans with no coding knowledge can enjoy, or will most of Misty II’s coolest tricks require getting hardcore into coding?

“Misty II is built for programmers, students, and entrepreneurs interested in robots but have never been able to ‘program a robot’ because they were either too expensive, required a degree in programming, or lacked useful skills for everyday tasks,” MR’s product page reads. 

So, hobbyists interested in advanced robotics will have an opportunity with Misty II to learn coding with a fun platform that they wouldn’t normally get outside of a robotics company or engineering program.

But, as with Segway’s crowdfunded Loomo companion robot, Misty II has a high price tag for people who won’t be using it for professional development. People looking for a cute robot companion and nothing else might want to look for a cheaper alternative. 

You may also want to hold out for Misty III. CEO Tim Enwall told CNET that the next iteration of Misty could have improved AI and battery life, among other things. 

  • Smarten up: get the best vacuum cleaner for your home

Facebook is using your Instagram hashtags to teach its AI image recognition

During the opening F8 2018 keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the company’s latest Instagram updates: Spotify integration, AI-based anti-bullying comment filters, AR camera effects and four-way video chat. 

During the Day 2 keynote, Facebook revealed how your daily Instagram updates are giving its AI technology a deep-learning crash course in image recognition—one that’s apparently made its AI even smarter than Google’s at categorizing objects in photos. 

Facebook pulled this off, amazingly enough, by instructing its AI to read photo hashtags and interpret photos’ subject matter. 

Using this strategy, called “weakly supervised training”, Facebook’s AI achieved a record 85.4% accuracy rating on an industry-wide test of image recognition, beating out Google’s previous record. 

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A Facebook Engineering blog post went into detail on the methods. Facebook gave the AI 3.5 billion Instagram images to learn from, labeled with 17,000 hashtags for categorization. 

Facebook then trained the AI to push aside nonvisual or vague tags and focus on ones that provide the most specific categorization. 

The team was able to train their AI using this method in just a few weeks by spreading the process across 336 GPUs at once. Compared to the usual method of teaching AIs to categorize photos using visual clues, this method was much faster and less labor-intensive.

A “supervised learning process often yields the best performance results,” the post reads, “but hand-labeled data sets are already nearing their functional limits in terms of size. Scaling up to billions of training images is unfeasible when all supervision is supplied by hand.”

Thus, while most object recognition software can figure out that a subject in a photo is a bird, Facebook’s AI will use hashtags or captions to figure out that it’s actually, say, a Meadowlark. 

Facebook’s AI potential

Some important things to note, in light of Facebook’s recent privacy scandal: Facebook’s engineers only used public photos to train its AI—nothing from private accounts. 

Plus, the AI is focused on object recognition, not facial recognition. So, it won’t be using hashtags to figure out which of your Facebook friends is your #bff. 

Instead, it’ll be using this information to improve automated audio captions for the visually impaired. And the engineers also foresee “using AI to better understand video footage or to change how an image is ranked in Facebook feeds”, or to “improve the way we resurface Memories on Facebook”. 

Overall, Facebook’s AI technology has been a major focus of F8 2018. On Tuesday, Facebook revealed that its Messenger AI assistant could now automatically translate messages in other languages. 

And today, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, said at F8 that the company uses AI to automatically remove spam, fake accounts and propagandist content from Facebook, including “two million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaeda content”. 

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KEF and Porsche Design are releasing three new astro-themed audio designs

High-end audio manufacturer KEF and Porsche Design are bringing an extra dash of style to its already luxurious space-themed series of audio product. 

Today the pair announced a new jet-black edition of the Space One Wireless and Motion One In-Ear headphones as well as the Gravity One Bluetooth speaker – dubbed simply, the Black Edition.

While the Space One Wireless headphones have been out for some time, the latest edition not only sports a new visage, but will also support aptX HD and 30 hours of battery life with noise cancellation turned on. 

The Black Edition headphones and speaker aren’t exactly cheap, but their prices aren’t astronomically high, either: The Space One Wireless will come in at £349 ($395); the Motion One at £219 ($250) and the Gravity One will cost £329 ($380). 

So when will you be able to travel to the edges of space and time to snag a pair? The Black Edition headphones will come out on May 2, and will be available worldwide through Porsche Design’s website.

  • Speaking of wireless audio tech, check out our list of the best wireless headphones