Feb 2, 2012

New Maruti Suzuki DZire Launched

With a boot just 145mm longer than the current Swift, the new Dzire has been resurrected with a quirky yet queer design. Priced between Rs 4.79 Lakh to 6.54 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 5.80 to 7.09 Lakh for the diesel version, this betrunked three box sedan now also features a dual tone dashboard, integrated stereo (higher variants) and a host of safety equipment

Maruti Suzuki unveils its new Swift DZire in Delhi. Seen with the car are Mr. S Nakanishi MD and Mr. Mayank Pareek MEO (Marketing and Sales)

As a competitor in a bare bones entry level sedan market, the Maruti Suzuki Dzire was built for the clear purpose of being a cost effective mass market three box passenger car. And having sold over 3.3 lakh units till date in the domestic market, it’s safe to say the vehicle did what was expected of it.

With the arrival of the new Swift model in 2011, it was only a matter of time before MSIL got busy with carving out the look for its next generation Swift Dzire. With a boot just 145 mm longer than the current generation Swift hatch, the new Dzire has now been launched with a refreshed look and feel. Restricted to 3995mm in length to take advantage of the lower excise duty advantage for cars under the 4,000mm mark, the boot on the new Swift Dzire has been compromisingly reworked (Read : Boot Space Comparo), but still offers a healthy 316 litres of trunk space.

Host of safety features on the new Swift Dzire

Performance and fuel efficiency figures on the new face-lifted or rather boot deflected sedan has certainly gotten better with both the petrol and diesel models. The K12M VVT petrol engine powered model delivers 87PS of power @ 6000rpm and a decent 114Nm of torque @ 4000 rpm. But is now capable of going from 0-100kmh in just 12.6 seconds, and offers a company claimed fuel efficiency of 19.1 kmpl.

The acclaimed 1.3litre DDiS engine will continue to power the diesel version generating 75PS of power @ 4000rpm and a solid 190Nm of torque @ 2000rpm. Going by the reputation of this engine, a forward sprint of 0-100kmh in just 14.8 seconds and a company claimed efficiency figure of 23.4kmpl shouldn’t be too far from the data that our rigorous Road Test (Read : First Drive) of the car will eventually fetch us.

For added convenience to city dwellers, MSIL has also introduced a four speed automatic transmission with the petrol engine model for now. Hopes are however that this mechanism is extended to the diesel version as well in the future.

Dual Tone Dashboard and Integrated Stereo

Cosmetic upgrades on the new car are also quite apparent with the inclusion of an all new dual tone dashboard, an integrated stereo on higher models and climate control air conditioning. Safety on the new Maruti Swift Dzire is one of the most noteworthy improvements with a host of safety features such as front dual SRS airbags, ELR seatbelts, ABS, Brake Assist, EBD and an Engine Drag Control system all now part of the this reworked next gen D’zire package (Read : Special Coverage).

Priced between Rs 4.79 Lakh to 6.54 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 5.80 to 7.09 Lakh for the diesel version the new Swift D’zire will go head to head against the likes of the Tata Indigo CS, and continue to compete against the Toyota Etios and Mahindra Logan. If one were to go by the new D’zire’s on paper credentials, it could very well prolong its long standing success in this segment in the years to come.


LXi: Rs 4.79*  Lakh
LDi: Rs 5.80* Lakh
Vxi: 5.32* Lakh
VDi: Rs 6.31* Lakh
Zxi 6.19* Lakh
ZDi: 7.09* Lakh
Auto: Rs 6.54* Lakh

*All prices are ex-showroom Delhi

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Feb 1, 2012

Engine and Transmission on the New 2012 Bajaj Pulsar

The new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS uses a 199.5 cc SOHC - 4V engine that produces 23.52PS on tap at 9500 rpm and makes 18.3Nm of torque at 8000 rpm. The engine is liquid cooled, a first for a homegrown machine and one which is compact, high tech, has all the robustness of design and build to benefit from the new combustion technology perfected with the three-spark plug head

The Pulsar 200 NS comes in with 23.52PS on tap at 9500 rpm and makes 18.3Nm of torque at 8000 rpm

How many times has it been said that the heart of a Ferrari is its engine and just as many times it has been mentioned that if one had to denote the signature Ferrari engine it had to be a V12. Maybe this sort of a geneology could also be applied to the Pulsar because the DNA of this brand is its engine technology – homespun tech that has proved itself in the art of making power and delivering efficiency without being harmful to the environment. The DTSi twin spark digital ignition technology came up through the simple expedient which has remained a Joseph Abraham hallmark to this very day: initiate complete and total combustion as quickly as possible so that no unburnt fuel goes out as harmful tailpipe effluents while power and torque are high without the need to drink more fuel. If that’s not all the obvious benefits to this approach mean not much is needed by way of exhaust after treatment and also the fact that the engine operates at a higher efficiency always.

This is the sort of approach that is carried on in the new motor as well but one that has now been taken to newer heights with the employment of what is indeed the world’s first ever three-spark plug head on a single cylinder motorcycle engine! Again let us not be so simplistic as that in just sticking up three sparklers and hoping it will take care of everything else. There is method in the madness and also another way as to the differentiation of the design and character that Joseph and his team have adopted when configuring the engines for the KTM Duke 200 and the Pulsar 200 NS. While the former is a double overhead cam unit operating four valves, the latter is also a four-valve head but a single overhead cam unit actuates these four valves. The engine is liquid cooled, a first for a homegrown machine and one which is compact, high tech, has all the robustness of design and build to benefit from the new combustion technology perfected with the three-spark plug head.

The engine is liquid cooled, a first for a homegrown machine and one which is compact and high tech

First off let us clearly outline the fact that the bottom end and the reciprocating mass comprising of crankshaft, connecting rod and piston of both the Duke 200 and the Pulsar 200 NS are common. The bore and stroke of both bikes measures 72mm x 49mm making for a 199.5cc swept volume. Apart from that, everything is different and the top end is key to the new Pulsar mill. What Bajaj learnt from the DTSi success was that the people didn’t know much what it stood for but knew it helped deliver power and efficiency so in the new Pulsar 200 NS they decided to skip the techno babble and go straight to the point and term the new top end as the one encompassing the Triple Spark technology.

Again unlike the Duke 200 which runs fuel injection with a large 38mm venture throttle body, Joseph adopted a 33mm venture Ucal carburetor which helps give consistent fuel metering and also with the superbly configured pent roof combustion chamber and slight squish bands designed in, the Triple Spark layout employs a central master plug and two slave plugs on either side. A completely independent mapping system is wrought into the ignition that works on its own using Bajaj Auto’s very own proprietary algorithms to help the flame front propagate completely all over the combustion chamber. Nothing has been left to chance and while earlier Pulsars with the DTSi tech did produce a pronounced engine knock on the top end (happens always when rapid combusting is called for), this time the combustion is even more rapid but the knock is all but eliminated thanks to the water jacket helping to muffle the sound.

Go back to our Special Coverage. Also read the First Ride of the new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS here.

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Design & Style Overview of the new 2012 Bajaj Pulsar

Many a time a successful product is very difficult to replicate and take forward. History has shown more products biting the dust in their second evolved avatars and mind you many rivals would be thinking the same about the second generation Pulsar. Sadly the second avatar is not an evolution but a revolution, probably the nicest of them all, and maybe that�s why the urge to think out of the box yet deliver in time honoured brand strength is what this stunning new Pulsar 200NV is all about, says Adil Jal Darukhanawala who got first crack at this most important new motorcycle of 2012

Design and Style on the 2012 Bajaj Pulsar

A decade of dominance is one way to look at the legacy of the Bajaj Pulsar but an even greater significance of this sporty motorcycle is the fact that it created the sports bike class in Indian motorcycling unlike at any other time in Indian motoring history. The first gen Pulsars were great for their time and truly set the cat amongst whatever one would care to term the competition but today the latter is more evolved, more determined and more eager to break free and try to usurp leadership of the Pulsar class.

Right at the very start I must pour cold water on the above assumption of the competition because the spanking new Pulsar 200NS (the suffix standing for Naked Sports) has redefined what a Pulsar is and stands for while pushing the envelope so further away from the rest that the fact that the Pulsar continues to remain a dynamic target is attested once again. First off there is nothing remotely close about the new Pulsar from its predecessors barring the name! In fact, even the typescript is subtly changed and while the apparent visage is stunning and tightly packaged, the technology across the bike has helped the Indian motorcycle cause leapfrog itself into the next decade! When Joseph Abraham, chief technology officer of Bajaj Auto and head of Stars Ahead, the R&D department of the company does things, he doesn’t do things in half or three-fourths but goes the whole hog and this has been the case with this stunning second generation offering.

ZigWheels.com has not just the complete details about the new bike but we also managed a short riding session aboard this new powerhouse to bring you this exclusive no-holds-barred story of what promises to take Pulsar power to a whole new level and beyond anything the competition has on offer.

Design and Style on the 2012 Bajaj Pulsar

It might be very easy to say Bajaj Auto had the help of its Austrian partner KTM to help it design the new second generation Pulsar when the real story is that Bajaj Auto in fact did the whole shebang with the stunning new small capacity KTM Dukes! Also not very well know is the fact that Rajiv Bajaj is very strong on design and knew that his team had to have a top class design team and while he wasn’t averse to getting many international consultants to help out in the past, he then went and hired some of the best in the world to work and set up a truly modern state-of-the-art design studio within the company. Among the many things incorporated within Bajaj Auto’s Stars Ahead set-up was the coming on board of none other than ex-BMW Motorrad design whiz Edgar Heinrich and he worked closely with Joseph Abraham to perfect the overall stance, makeup and proportions of the new Pulsar (Read : First Ride).

As can be seen from the exclusive images of the Pulsar 200NS, the lineage can be made out to a certain extent but then the bike and its stance and proportions are different, radical, wild and appealing in the way the mass centralization has been taken to a whole new level. The most apparent bit about the new bike is its striking style with the wrap around tank shield, the split seat, the Darth Vader headlamp, the colour coordinated theme and sculpted front mudguard, the delectable rear registration plate carrier, etc. The bike is in the streetfighter mould and makes no apologies about this fact of its makeup. In fact it thrives on its aggressive, in-your-face appeal and the extent to how far the stylists have gone to can be found in the rear view mirrors which have been specially drawn and sculpted to carry a homogenous look all across the vehicle.

Courtesy: zigwheels

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

2012 Bajaj Pulsar : Exclusive Photos, Technical Highlights, First Ride Impressions

One of the biggest success stories in the Indian two-wheeler industry, over the years the Bajaj Pulsar has continued to become a bigger brand than its maker itself. But if you thought that Bajaj Auto was content with a 50% market share in the premium class of motorcycles, think again. The next generation of the Pulsar is all set to devastate its competition. Welcome the all-new 2012 Pulsar 200NS. Your one stop source for everything you wanted to know about the brand new Pulsar

The most awaited motorcycle of 2012 and one that will set the course of Indian motorcycling for the next decade to come, the all-new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS has made its grand arrival. Expected to be priced under a lakh of rupees (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Pulsar 200NS is as good as it gets! Head to our special coverage of the new Pulsar!


India’s second largest bike-maker Bajaj Auto took the wraps off the next-generation Pulsar today in Mumbai. Revolutionary, radical and realistic, the new Pulsar 200NS (the NS denoting Naked Sports) will be the successor to the country’s highest sold performance motorcycle, the Pulsar. After completing a successful decade long stint and crossing the esteemed milestone of selling over 4 million Pulsars, Bajaj Auto is geared to make its second innings an even bigger success with the new Pulsar and it has all the right weaponry in its arsenal to take on the premium motorcycle market in the country once again.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and world class level of components, the brand new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is entirely engineered by Bajaj Auto and it is a marvel how its maker has managed to package the best of everything into one motorcycle without demanding a hefty premium for it. Powered by a 199.5cc 4-valve, liquid-cooled single cylinder engine, the Pulsar 200NS achieves the goal of more from less in an absolute modest fashion yet rewarding the rider with all the jollies he desires.

Fed by a 33mm Mikuni carburetor, the engine pumps out 23.52PS at 9,500rpm and 18.3Nm of torque at 8,000rpm. Developed in-house by Bajaj Auto, the new Pulsar once again comes with ground-breaking of triple spark plug for improved efficiency without having to compromise on overall performance.


It is incredible how Bajaj Auto has managed to get absolutely every single aspect of performance (Read: First Ride)  motorcycling for the street so right. But when you trace the Pulsar’s development over past ten years, the picture becomes a lot clearer with consistent updates every year, an R&D division that is always on its toes yearning for a faster and quicker Pulsar, teams dedicated to get feedback from online biking forums and motorcycle blogs and to top it all, a visionary like Rajiv Bajaj heading the operation.

This is exactly what millions of Indian bikers and countless Pulsarmaniacs have been expecting from the bike-maker that brought power to the people a decade ago (Read : Ten Years of Pulsar) in the form of the Bajaj Pulsar. And in its newest avatar, it pays a fitting homage to the icon that the Pulsar brand has become over the past ten years and one that will continue to reign supreme for the coming ten years as well.

The new Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is expected to hit the roads by April 2012 but the price for the motorcycle is yet to be disclosed. Although it is expected that the price will be on the higher side of the current out-going Pulsar 220F DTSi, the company has clearly stated at the unveil of the bike in Mumbai that the price will be under the one lakh rupee range.

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Jan 31, 2012

New Bajaj Pulsar unveiling today! Exclusive feature follows soon!

thumb_new_pulsar Ten years after the first Pulsar twins made their debut, Bajaj Auto is now ready with an all-new Pulsar that will be unveiled today in Mumbai. Stay logged onto ZigWheels for an exclusive feature on the new Pulsar. It is meaner, badder, quicker and faster than ever before!

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Dec 26, 2011

Biometric advancements in technology - must read

Recent attempts at using holographic and fibre optic technology have received critical acclaim including a holographic laser projector that projects interactive images onto any surface. For example, a working keyboard could be projected onto your desk

Eye Tracking: Control Anything With Your Eyes

Eye tracking technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Traditionally used by marketers, two companies are now building systems that allow disabled people to control their wheelchairs by simply moving their eyes.

Biometrics: Receive Emails Direct to Your Vision

Back in November, we reported on the story that bionic contact lenses are being created to view emails directly in your eyes. According to our poll, a staggering 56% of respondents would be willing to use this type of biometric technology.

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Dec 24, 2011

HERO IMPULSE: Bike of the Year, 2011 ET ZigWheels

The Impulse is a sensible offering at the right time but what is impressive is the fact that its maker did the correct thing to shod it with the right dual purpose tyres otherwise it would have been a tarmac-only machine

The one big thing which strikes at the very core of the Hero Impulse is not that Honda gave Hero a brilliant parting gift but the fact that the Japanese bike maker knew what sort of machine this country needed, for the masses! I have also held the view that dual purpose on-off road motorcycles are the proverbial SUVs of the two-wheeled world and just as we see the bulk of Scorpios and others of their ilk proliferate in two-wheel drive form, the Impulse is a no-nonsense humble machine packaged not just to look the part but also deliver a most important and welcome new direction to mass-market commuting.
Hero Impulse - ZigWheels Bike of the Year 2011

 While the enthusiasts might cry hoarse about the Impulse having the very same and proven mechanicals as found on other 150cc Hero Hondas, this is the key to reliability and usability while also giving much needed excitement and smiles on all those who ride to commute. Suddenly we find better control, a more dominant and comfortable perch on the saddle and typical refinement and ease of use for the everyday bike rider.


The Hero Impulse (Read : Road Test) is a sensible offering at the right time but what is impressive is the fact that its maker did the correct thing to shod it with the right dual purpose tyres otherwise it would have been a tarmac-only machine. This simple expedient along with its robust but simple chassis and sorted out suspension geometry makes the Impulse probably the right tool to tackle Indian roads. By so doing it has also helped its maker get off to a flyer sans the Honda suffix.

Mention must also be made about the two other bikes which the Impulse pegged back. Both the Honda CBR250R sports bike and the large hearted Boxer 150 commuter from Bajaj Auto are stand-out offerings in their respective categories and for sure both are destined for leadership in class. The Impulse though took the top spot given its welcome all-new take on motorcycling which thankfully is for the masses while also satisfying the specialists - somewhat! Hard to fault this approach.


For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

MAHINDRA XUV5OO: Car of the Year, 2011 ET ZigWheels

With the XUV500 Mahindra has moved away from its Jeep-inspired lineage but kept its tough-as-nails DNA intact

The most talked about vehicle over the past year, even prior to its launch was Mahindra’s so-called global SUV which as everyone now knows manifested itself as the XUV500. The term global SUV is a misnomer for this is a vehicle which blurs the distinction between saloon, SUV or soft-roader and also MPV while being right on the ball as regards design and build, mechanicals and packaging, ride and handling, performance and fuel efficiency. However, what is important is that all these attributes which we mention are always a given for any decent car maker offering an all-new product.

But for Mahindra & Mahindra it was also a mighty challenge to move into mainstream automotive manufacturing courtesy the XUV500 breaking new ground as the firm’s first all-monocoque offering, the first Mahindra with a transverse engine layout driving the front wheels (of course an all-wheel drive offering is also part of the range) via a six-speed transaxle, again a first for the venerable jeep maker.

And did I say jeep maker? Well, banish this thought once and for all because with the XUV500 Mahindra has moved away from its Jeep-inspired lineage but kept its tough-as-nails DNA intact. In fact it might have sharpened it in many a new way while also delivering a sheen of polished refinement to the art of all-terrain motoring. That the XUV500 (Read : Road Test) turns in a strong performance from the moment one gets into the driver’s seat is just as much of a revelation as is the space and the comfort for the occupants, the superb ergonomics and the high value user proposition it maintains from end to end.

Of course, there are certain style elements which might not be to everyone’s liking and some details in the cabin are quirky while there are certain elements which yet need beefing up (the clutch for instance) but none can beat the magic of the package at a price point which makes the competition weep! Makes one wonder why the MNC car makers couldn’t conjure up such a package or did they give up even before they started?

Source: Zig Wheels

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Dec 18, 2011

Aakash tablet goes on sale for Rs 2500 online

Datawind, the maker of the world's cheapest tablet has put up for sale about 30,000 tablets online at a price of Rs 2500 each, with a delivery period of seven days.

The seven inch tablet with Android 2.2 is now available through its portal aakashtablet.com. "We have put up on sale about 30,000 tablets online, which will have a cash on delivery of 7 days. We have achieved pre-sale orders of about 400,000 tablets from individuals and corporates. But current supplies will only be limited for individual buyers," Datawind CEO and founder Suneet Singh Tuli told ET.

Aakash's next commercial version called the Ubislate 7, which has a faster processor, is slated to be launched late January. Ubislate 7 is set to have a 700 Mhz processor compared to
the 366 MHz processor in Aakash. Ubislate 7 will be priced at Rs 3000 for sale online.

Datawind though seems to be struggling with customer service issues for online retail, even though the sale is only for a limited number of tablets.

According to sources, the Indian government is also planning to provide a new specification for Aakash, which may come with a faster processor and better battery life. The current version of Aakash has a battery life of about 1.5 hours. An email to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, which is supplying the tablets to schools and colleges remained unanswered.

The government till now procured only 10,000 tablets. It has still not procured the remaining 90,000 tablets for distribution in schools and colleges, even as other nations have expressed interest to the government for similar low-cost computing initiatives.

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Your boss too checks your Facebook profile

Sharing your thoughts and experiences with your friends on social networking sites has become a customary way of communication.

But not all the personal two-pence you put out on the webscape is safe with employers now keeping an eye on your online antics. In an age where blogs, micro-blogs and social networking sites are blurring the line between private and professional lives, you could do well to wise up and work on your manners to 'block' yourself from risking your job.

Share smart
To share anything and everything on your Facebook (FB), Twitter or blog is not as good an idea as being judicious is. Whatever enters the web world seldom gets erased completely and software is designed to fish out 'deleted' information even after years. If your luck is star-crossed, an offensive 'comment' you made and 'deleted' can also be retrieved and used against you.

Shishir Dave, a seasoned HR (Human Resources) consultant, says, "In a flourishing metro, Facebook-Twitter usage is very high among the working class. The trend of online surveillance is catching up and there are agencies to do background checks. We get many requests from employers to check up online profiles of prospective employees to find out whether (s)he is a job-hopper, party animal, alcoholic, has criminal antecedents, etc. You never know which post or remark may boomerang on you. If you are already down and your boss needs to hammer a final nail in, even an abusive tweet or a post could be it."

Ask yourself : What impression does my online paraphernalia give to an employer?

Think before you upload
An employer discovering unflattering or inappropriate photos can be disastrous to your image. Uploading intimate, obscene, wasted-looking or drunken party pictures are obviously a strict nono. Un-tagging yourself from friends' indecent pictures may also save blushes. Dave says, "We usually warn out-of-hand employers to behave themselves. It is better to give them the benefit of doubt once. If the employee persists with his loose-talks or improper behaviour online, we issue him/her a notice and eventually decide to sack them. But in most instances, a warning has always sufficed."

Ask yourself: Do I want colleagues to see this?

Choose 'friends' wisely
In US and UK, tons of employees have been given the boot for wisecracks online. A Massachusetts teacher, Dr June Talvitie was shown the door for calling her students 'germ bags' and their parents 'snobby, arrogant' on Facebook. An IT teacher in the UK was shown the door for posting a 'jesting' comment on her rowdy teenage students. In both instances, a school staffer had squealed on the professors.

So think twice before adding someone who you haven't met or before posting an off-hand comment. "You never know how and via which friend your post can land up in the newsfeed of higherups," Dave adds.

HR assistant in a British bank, Stephanie Bon, got fired for her post: "Our new CEO gets 4,000 pounds an hour. I get 7. That's fair." Again, it was Bon's colleague who reported her. Dave explains, "The work ethics in America and Europe is very strong and hence employees run into trouble if they make inappropriate comments. Calling your boss an ass in the US may fetch you a libel suit and pink slip, but in India, you get away saying a lot of things online as a proper system is not in place to deal with these instances."

Ask yourself: Will this get me fired?

Safe surfing
To keep your networking profile secure, up your privacy settings to the hilt. But then, nothing actually is private as the internal security walls are not too difficult to break open with the correct software. "HR can easily crack open private information of an employee if it receives a tip-off on his misbehaviour," says Dave. "But even if the top boss wants, it is logistically impossible for the HR of big companies to track employees' online lives. So unless a staffer complains against a particular post, we don't keep a watch on him."

Ask yourself: Would I say this aloud at work?

Overdoing the updates
Status updates can get really immediate, with dense minute-byminute account, especially with the on-the-move Tweeple sorts. But it may not always be a grand idea to let the world know which mall you are shopping in or which coffee shop you are chilling out at. This cautionary goes especially for girls, who could be enlightening their potential stalker with dangerous details. Let us not even get in to how your boss and colleagues will think of you as somebody who does nothing except fool around on FB or Twitter.

Ask yourself: Does anyone care if I'm buying toilet paper?

Being overcautious online spoils the sole purpose of its carefree existence. Just go easy on excesses. The safest bet for cribbing and ranting about your depressing job would be at that good old haunt - the nearest bar!

10 Things that give you away

1 References to drug abuse

2 Extremist or intolerant views

3 Criminal record

4 Proof of excessive alcohol consumption

5 Indecent pictures

6 Foul language

7 Links to unsuitable websites

8 Lewd jokes

9 Silly e-mail addresses

10 Silly groups

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Review

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
As fans of Google's Android mobile software well know, each new version is named after a sugary treat, such as Gingerbread or Honeycomb. Android is about to get even sweeter with Ice Cream Sandwich - a smooth, feature-rich operating system that will run first on the delectable Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

The combination of Google's software and Samsung's hardware makes the Galaxy Nexus one of the best candidates to compete with Apple's latest iPhone, though its price is steep. It will be available Thursday in the US for $300 with a two-year Verizon Wireless contract.

Like the previous phone in the Nexus line, the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus was jointly developed by Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. It features a slim frame with a large, curved glass screen that's comfortable for chatting with friends and excellent for watching videos. There are 32 gigabytes of built-in storage space on the Verizon version of the phone, but no external slot for a microSD memory card.

The screen, a pocket-busting 4.65 inches at the diagonal, makes the iPhone's 3.5-inches look diminutive. And despite the size, the Galaxy Nexus manages to weigh just 4.8 ounces, slightly less than Apple's offering.

On it, videos and Web pages looked crisp and bright, with rich colors. I started watching a video during testing - an HD copy of "The Help" that I rented from Google's Android Market - and had to force myself to break away to test other features of the device.

With the latest version of Android under the hood, the Galaxy Nexus is packed with new and improved features. Many of them are great; others are simply great in theory.

Overall, the software looks fresher and less cluttered. The virtual "buttons" that usually sit at the bottom of the screen have been redesigned. There's still a "home" and a "back" button, but no "menu" button to pull up various options within an app. Instead, there's now a "recent apps" button that shows what you've been doing lately on the phone.

Another neat change: The buttons are completely virtual, so they change directions when you flip the phone sideways and disappear when you're viewing photos or videos.

Other changes to Android include an overhaul of its virtual keyboard, meant to make it easier to type without messing up - something I've always had trouble with on the stock Android keyboard. I was often able to type more accurately than in the past, but sometimes still ended up with unintended words in my messages.

The Android browser and Gmail are updated, too. Gmail's new functions include the ability to search emails while offline, while the browser is zippier and has a "request desktop" option so you can check out webpages in their non-truncated desktop version.

One new feature that falls into the "great in theory" category is Face Unlock, which uses facial-recognition technology to unlock the phone from standby mode. To set it up, you take a picture of your face with the phone. Then, all you have to do to unlock the phone is stare at the screen after you press the power button.

Most of the time it didn't work, though, probably because the phone couldn't recognise my face from certain angles. I was also able to fool it by holding up a shot of my face on an iPhone. So much for security.

Ice Cream Sandwich also has Android Beam, which lets you share such content as a Web page, map or video between two Android phones by bringing the backs of the phones close together. It only works with phones that have this Android software and near-field communication technology, though, so unless you and your friend both buy the Galaxy Nexus you'll be out of luck at launch.

More immediately useful was the phone's 5-megapixel camera, which is the snappiest I've seen on any Android phone. There was almost no shutter lag between shots, even when I had just turned the camera on.

Still, I would have preferred a higher-resolution sensor-8-megapixel cameras are quickly becoming common on smartphones. In addition, photos I took could have been brighter, though this can be improved on somewhat by using some of the available editing options, including numerous color filters and adjustable contrast options.

Like the iPhone 4S and some other high-end smartphones, the Galaxy Nexus can record high-definition videos in 1080p - the best resolution you can get on a consumer camera. I had some fun taking sunset videos with a time-lapse feature, and there are some goofy filming effects to play around with, too.

And yes, you can make calls on the Galaxy Nexus. Its thin body and curved screen make it comfortable to hold against your ear, and calls generally sounded good.

Sadly, high-speed networks guzzle battery power like a milkshake, so I wasn't able to spend a ton of time using the device on a single battery charge.

The phone Google loaned me to test was a version that works with AT&T or T-Mobile, so I couldn't test its speed or battery life with the carrier actually selling it in the US, Verizon, or with its high-speed 4G network.

Using both T-Mobile's standard 3G and speedier HSPA+ networks, at least, I got about three hours and 15 minutes out of the Galaxy Nexus for surfing the Web, streaming a movie, sending instant messages, chatting on the phone and other activities. The phone got quite warm with all this use. Over Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network, it's possible that the phone's battery would drain even faster if you're doing a lot of downloading.

Another bummer: Verizon is blocking the Galaxy Nexus from supporting Google Wallet, which is supposed to allow the phone to be used to buy items in some stores by tapping it to payment terminals.

Generally, though, the Galaxy Nexus is a well-rounded smartphone that serves up a noticeably freshened-up version of Android with sleek hardware. Delicious, indeed. 

For Wheels 'n' Gadgets Updates, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Hot Sonakshi Sinha, Car Price in India