India Travel Guide, Endlessly Fascinating

January 29, 2017 by


India is a huge country from all points of view, starting with its 3,3 million square kilometers of land surface and ending in its 1,4 billion population. Everything is great about India, a bamboozling yet incredibly beautiful place, endlessly fascinating and for most part, a timeless place.


India is stretched between the majestic snowy caps of Himalaya mountains and the golden and beautiful beaches of the Indian ocean, larger than life so to speak, boasting its incredible melange of both natural and man made wonders, ranging from astounding ancient temples, frenetic and lively cities, mystical monasteries, lost kingdoms hidden in the jungle, pristine national parks, mesmerizing and colorful markets, lavish palaces and a place where you can admire some of the world’s breathtaking monuments.


Traveling to India can be best described as a veritable assault on one’s senses. As soon as you get off the plane, you’ll be “hit” by India’s sounds, smells, sounds and sensations, which are to be experienced at maximum intensity, especially if you’re visiting the country for the first time.

I bet that your first day in Rajah country will be pretty intimidating, but you’ll get used to it in no time. By the end of your first week here you’ll feel like home and you’ll stop noticing the chaos and the noise, which will slowly and seamlessly become part of the ordinary life.


What’s most important, you’ll soon discover that the incredible sensory stimulation will slowly become strangely addictive and you’ll have a hard time accommodating with normality when you’ll get back “in the world”.

In our day and age, multiculturalism is the mantra, at least in liberal circles, but America was at its inception and until the 1960’s a veritable melting pot of cultures, where all the immigrants became Americans, vowing to protect and uphold the Constitution and to live the American dream. Well folks, India is also a true melting pot of cultures, but in a sort of antithesis to traditional America.


Basically, India is one of the most diverse nations on Earth, being home for an incredible number of ethnicities, cultures and religions, which unlike “politically correct” Western world, are somehow managing to live in perfect harmony, except from the Muslim minority which fought tooth and nail for Pakistan, but that’s another story.

India has one sixth of World’s population  and it’s also harboring an extraordinary array of deities and gods, with its over one billion people living in anything basically, ranging from inner city shantytowns to high rise apartments (the nouveaux rich) or in remote villages in primitive huts, where life hasn’t changed much in the last thousand years.


India is a magic place which mesmerized westerners since it was discovered, and you could easily spend your entire life trying to explore all its relics which were left behind by forgotten ancient empires, not to mention India’s dramatic landscapes and its incredible biodiversity, ranging from frozen Himalayan deserts to tiger filled jungles.

It’s very probable that during your first trip, you’ll be taken along the Golden Triangle, a cool itinerary which zips from the world famous Taj Mahal at agra to the country’s colonial capital Delhi and then to Jaipur, the cosmopolitan capital of Rajahstan.

The Zangdok Pelri Temple, Leh Valley, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir State, India.

If you have enough time, you can try to pay a visit at least some of the thirty two UNESCO listed sights, from ancient fortresses to creaking mountain railways and mangrove forests, not to mention temples overflowing with forgotten deities.

It’s impossible for one to absorb all India has to offer in just one visit, as the country must be enjoyed and savored like a buffet table, i.e. repeating your visits year after year, trying to “sample” your next dish. And speaking of India’s  strong points, rest assured that each visit will make for a feast of friends, as the country has one of the best cuisines in the world.








Moto G4 Plus Review, Powered Up

January 29, 2017 by


The Moto G4 Plus has some pretty big shoes to fill, as the original Moto G was a hit back in the day, earning a well deserved, almost legendary status both for itself and for the company. Truth be told, the Moto G actually put the company on the map in many countries, especially emerging markets like China or India, due to the smartphone’s excellent price/features ratio.

The Moto G4 Plus was built and designed following the same principles: great build quality, lots of features, above average performance and affordability. Basically, in the best bang for the buck category, the Moto G4 Plus is a main contender, except from obscure Chinese brands. And speaking about Chinese brands, it’s worth mentioning that the Moto G4 Plus is not a true blue Motorola smartphone, as Motorola was bought by Lenovo, a Chinese state owned corporation, but that’s not very important now, is it?


In terms of appearance, the Moto G4 Plus is definitely a Motorola smartphone, you can tell from distance even if you don’t notice at first the iconic M logo on the back. Unlike many other smartphones, the Moto G4 Plus doesn’t feature that cool full metal jacket chassis, nor a glass/metal sandwich built. Truth be told, there’s not an ounce of metal in the Moto G4 Plus, as this droid is entirely made of plastic.

However, the smartphone doesn’t look cheap at all, being built like a tank, feeling solid in the hand and also incredibly grippy. Plastic has its obvious advantages over metal, i.e. it doesn’t scratch easily, it will not bend, get bumps and all that nuisances you’d expect in an aluminum made smartphone. Not to mention a glass one, like the S7, which is as fragile as a snowflake.

Keep in mind that the Moto G4 Plus  is a budget droid, hence you’ll not have to break the piggy-bank in order to buy it, hence you should appreciate its qualities despite some shortcuts made by the company in order to keep the price on the down-low.

To begin with, the Moto G4 Plus boasts a 5.5 inches wide full HD 1080 IPS LCD display of above average quality, with great contrast and sunlight legibility.

I could actually say that this droid is among the best in its category screen quality wise, given its 401 pixels per inch density and color calibration out of the box.

The hardware is nothing to write home about, as the Moto G4 Plus runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC, a relatively dated architecture, an octa-core variety relying on A 53 Cortex CPUs and an old Adreno 405 graphics processing unit.

The amount of RAM on-board differs, as you can buy the Moto G4 Plus with 2, 3 or 4 GB, depending on the price. The smartphone runs on a clean cut Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with zero bloatware. It’s worth mentioning the phone’s dual SIM capability and LTE Cat.4 connectivity, together with the dedicated micro SD card slot, up to 256 GB.

The battery is pretty good, offering an autonomy of 70 hours (endurance rating), which is not bad for a 5.5 inches wide smartphone of 1080p resolution. However, don’t expect miracles, as the Moto G4 Plus is pretty good on daily/regular use, but the dated hardware cannot keep up with the latest games. If you’re a heavy gamer, this is not the droid you’re looking for.


Where the Moto G4 Plus really shines is in the camera department, as the 16 megapixels snapper boasts a relatively high end sensor, the Omni Visio  OV16860 PureCel Plus-S respectively, coupled with a f/2.0 lens and offering an excellent opportunity for photography aficionados to test their skills. The camera is great, both for still pics and videos (full HD), but then again, I am talking about low-mid range devices here, as per its price. Do not expect flagship quality in a ~$250 smartphone (or cheaper).

Basically, if you’re looking for high quality materials and an excellent build quality,a good display an above average battery , a pretty good camera and decent overall performance, the Moto G4 Plus is easy to recommend.


Vatican Travel Guide

January 26, 2017 by


When speaking of world’s smallest sovereign nation, most people are probably thinking about Monaco or San Marino. However, this is not the case. As you have already guessed it by now from my preamble, the honor of being the smallest country in the world goes to Vatican City, which is actually a state in itself.

What’s very interesting about Vatican, and I am not talking about its huge walls which surround it completely, walls which were built to prevent a Muslim invasion in a time when Muslims were all over Italy, Spain and Europe generally speaking, this tiny self-contained nation, the home of the Pope which is the lighthouse of the Catholic world is basically situated inside the city of Rome. And I mean entirely within the city of Rome,like concentric circles.


Basically, traveling to Vatican, the monument of Christianity is actually visiting Italy with a twist, and that’s kind of cool if you come to think about it. There are lots of visitors in a sort of pilgrimage to Vatican, for religious reasons that is, but you don’t have to be Catholic to have a blast whilst cruising this medieval fortress.

Being  huge monuments to Catholicism, the world famous Saint Peter Basilica and obviously the Vatican Palace itself are the main “selling points” of this holy place where the pope resides when he’s not campaigning for multiculturalism and a world without borders, not to mention interfering with the US elections and what not. I don’t like much Pope Bergoglio, who isn’t even European, marking a world first in this regard, but I am digressing.


Inside the Vatican Palace you’ll be able to stand in awe in front of the legendary work of Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel, which claims to have and arguably it does the most famous ceiling in the known universe. While here, you’ll be flabbergasted to see Michelangelo’s magnum opus and I am talking about The Last Judgement.


One thing that must be taken into account is that one doesn’t simply walk into the Vatican. Visiting Vatican City can be a bit of an effort, as the place is usually very crowded, being very busy all year round and at most times of the day, but if you will it, it is no dream.


Just be patient, join the queues and be at peace with putting up with multitudes of tourists, this is a small price to pay after all if you’re into art and culture and what made the Old Continent great back in the day.

Following the masses and the guides, you’ll be able to take a peak at the state’s assorted treasures, especially inside the Vatican Museum, where you’ll be able to stand in front of an extraordinary collection of paintings wearing the signatures of masters like Giotto and Raphael in the Pinacoteca Vaticana.


Naturally, you’ll also be able to  wash your eyes so to speak with artifacts dating from classical antiquity and even older stuff, as there are museums in the Vatican dedicated to older finds, from the Egyptians and Etruscan’s.  The Vatican was the leader of the Papal States for over a millennia until Italy’s unification in the nineteenth century.


If you’re going to visit the Vatican, be advised that the official languages in Vatican City are Latin and Italian, but you’ll most probably be able to find a guide who knows English, at least approximately. Before the “latino” Pope (he’s an ex bouncer with heavy left political leanings) somehow got inside the Vatican, the holy place was home for a German Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, who was a very conservative Cardinal before being upped in the Catholic church’s ranks and he was heavily criticized by the trendies of our times for his hard line denouncements of important issues which plague the Western civilization, like birth control, moral relativism and the promotion of LGBT by the multicultural mass media. Ratzinger was the first Pope in history to resign and his place was taken by this guy Bergoglio, who is a true social justice warrior and not much of a Catholic Pope.




Google Pixel Review

January 26, 2017 by


The Google Pixel is one of the most sought after Android running smartphones of 2016 and it marks the Alphabet company’s return as a serious contender among the big dogs like Apple and Samsung.

The thing is that Google’s former Nexus line of droids was something very interesting, a melange of decent prices and excellent performance, aimed at offering the best Android experience possible for the money. The best bang for the buck, you know the drill.

Well, with the Google Pixel, things were changed radically. The Google Pixel and the Pixel XL (its bigger kin) are now boasting high end specs and premium looks and feel, and as a logical consequence, the prices skyrocketed. Basically, the Google Pixel costs just as much as an iPhone 7 if not more and that’s a bold move from Alphabet.

However, considering that Google has access to all of our metadata and internet search history, our bank accounts and all that, I bet that they planned this move pretty good, it wasn’t just a “fluke”, and I refer to the fact that despite its steep price, the Pixel line was a hit in terms of sales.

With the Pixel, Google is aiming at giving Apple’s iPhone 7 a run for its money so to speak, being a true flagship smartphone and on top of that, with the affordable Nexus line discontinued, the fans of the Google brand do not have much choice after all.

Starting at $650 (in the US) or if you want the XL model add $120 on top of the $650, the Google Pixel comes with unlimited storage space for videos and photos via cloud storage, i.e.  Google Photos and that’s pretty cool.

The Pixel is built and designed around Google’s ecosystem which is pretty vast and obviously, it will offer a Google-focused experience.

The Google Pixel comes with a sturdy chassis built from metal, featuring a premium unibody design and it boasts its 5 inches wide AMOLED display of full HD 1080p resolution and a 441 pixels per inch density.

Under the hood, you’ll find Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821 system on chip, which makes for a quad core architecture with its Kryo CPUs clocked in pairs at 2.15 GHz and 1.6 GHz respectively.

For gaming and heavy stuff, there’s a new sheriff in town, the Adreno 530 graphics processing unit together with plenty of RAM, to the tune of 4 GB.

The main camera has 12.3 megapixels and it comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a 2016 flagship, the likes of laser assisted auto-focus, f/2.0 phase detection, dual LED flash, 4K video recording and all that jazz. The secondary snapper is an 8 megapixels variety while the Pixel will is available in 2 flavors, 32 GB or 128 GB of native storage capacity.


Another interesting factoid is that the Pixel is the first smartphone to be shipped running on Android 7.1 Nougat on board, which means it’s fully optimized for the respective OS and everything will work buttery smooth, as was the case with all Nexuses in the past.

In the connectivity department, the Google Pixel has it all and then some, including LTE Cat. 12, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 2×2 MIMO and even NFC support for Android Beam and Android Play.

There’s also a bio-metric device on board obviously, Google’s Pixel Imprint authentication system, meaning that Google will have now your fingerprints too in their humongous database and I am not kidding either.

The non removable battery has a capacity of 2770 mAh and that’s quite enough for a 5 incher with AMOLED yet nothing to write home about in terms of endurance (64 hours).

The main drawbacks of the Google Pixel are its price first and foremost, and a distant second-third etc being an arguably boring design, the lack of wireless charging and/or an IR blaster, there’s no FM radio and no full water resistance.

If you want unlimited space for your pictures and videos and maybe the best camera on the market in low-lighting conditions, plus 2 years of Google updates and 3 and a half of security patches (guaranteed), well, the Pixel is an interesting option.



Monaco Travel Guide

January 26, 2017 by


Monaco is one of the most interesting places on Earth if you’re a millionaire (or billionaire, even better) or a Formula 1 pilot. I mean, Monaco is a tiny, tiny state, more of a city, having an area of just 0.8 square miles and a population of 37,863.


I think only the City of Vatican is tinier, but I’m digressing. Monaco is a constitutional monarchy ruled by Prince Albert since 2005.Like most of the Euro monarchies, Monaco oozes privilege, and I am not talking about that stupid politically correct imbued term,but of real privilege.


The thing is, Monaco is home for the world’s elite, Bernie Sanders’s millionaires and billionaires boasting their latest acquisitions, whether we’re talking about the latest Ferrari face-lift or multi million euro yachts. In Monaco you’ll find more Russian oligarchs than in Sankt Petersburg and more high end yachts glinting  in Monte Carlo’s smug harbor than in London.

Monaco is a place filled with top notch resorts and amenities and that’s the reason why world celebrities, including movie stars from Hollywood and basically the who’s who of the Fortune’s Top 500 are flocking here, riding an unending flow of Rothschild Chateau Lafitte Champagne.


Besides its opulent lifestyle which is the opera (as in created) of the nouveau-riche class from Saudi Arabia, I mean here’s where sheikhs and princes are boasting their latest gold plated/diamond encrusted Porsches and Mercedes Benzes, Monaco’s Mediterranean members-only clubs and very discreet banking system together with the heavily policed streets make for a sanctuary of wealth and hedonism if it ever was one.

The Principality  of Monaco is basically a 200 hectare piece of real estate but I think this is the place where you can buy some of the most expensive houses and condos in the Old World (or maybe is it London?). However, one of the cool things about Monaco is the fact that if you’re rich or lucky enough to get a piece of property here, you’ll be automatically upped in the ranks, becoming a Monaco citizen.

Monaco Cityscape_Ultra HD.jpg

But that’s easier said than done, believe me folks. World’s smallest country after Vatican is more than it meets the eye. Visiting Monaco would make for an interesting opportunity to admire on of Europe’s most historical city states, and, why not, to enjoy in culinary feasts with your friends in the city’s terrific restaurants. But get that platinum Visa card ready, just in case.

Monaco’s natives are true blue polyglots but the official language is Monegasque, which is a dialect of sorts, something between Italian language and French.

Serpentine Monte Carlo Monaco

Another uber-cool thing about Monaco and one of the reasons for which being a Monaco resident means that you’ll never have to worry about getting a job unless you really want to is that Monaco citizens don’t have to pay taxes. That’s why the rich of the planet are buying property here like there’s no tomorrow and live the dream of freedom. Because where else in the world can you live tax-free except for Monaco?

If you think you got what it takes to visit the Rich Island, and I mean cash, lots of cash, Monaco offers lots of interesting events annually, the likes of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in May, Tennis Masters Series in April, together with various arts and films festivals all through the year.


Monaco is a place where luxury hotels are the norm, along with glamorous nightclubs and some of the world’s most famous casinos. Monaco’s history with casinos is also a great story to tell, i.e. back in 1850 the head of state built a casino for himself, for providing him with a steady flow of income, instead of raising taxes on the Principality’s citizens.

Away from the Monaco’s glamour and shiny lights, the area’s balmy climate and the Principality’s seaside location make it a great place to visit during the summer.

Monaco’s cuisine is similar to France whilst specialties include Socca, Barbagiuan, Stocafi and Fougasse.










Huawei Mate 9 Review, Big is Beautiful

January 24, 2017 by



The Huawei Mate 9 follows into the steps of the P9 but with a twist. Yes, it’s flagship stuff inside out, but while the Huawei P9 was, how should I put it, more pocketable, the Huawei Mate 9 is the definition of a phablet, being aimed at users who spend most of their time pecking at their smartphones, i.e. watching movies, videos, live streams and what not.

And for that kind of heavy usage, there is no replacement for displacement. Err, screen real estate, but I think you know what I am talking about.

Arriving seven months after the P9, the Huawei Mate 9 was released actually in two flavors,the regular or “vanilla” if you like and the Porsche Design, which is a rare gem due to its prohibitive price.

The  Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design costs twice as much as the proper version, yet it features a very interesting dual curved design. However, for all intents and purposes, we will focus on the Huawei Mate 9 today, because after all is said and done, I can’t think of a good enough reason to spend one grand (or more) on a smartphone branded Huawei. Nor a Vertu for that matter or even a gold plated iPhone, but hey, that’s just me, I don’t consider smartphones to fall into the bling/social status category. That’s what diamonds and Bugatti’s are for, gadgets are for everybody, or at least that’s my opinion and it’s the best in the world.

Kidding aside, true to its traditions, the Huawei Mate 9 boasts a 5.9 inches wide display and a huge 4000 mAh battery, everything packed tight into a full metal jacket aluminum unibody.

It’s already sounding pretty cool, doesn’t it? But wait, it gets better: this flagship phablet made in China runs on Huawei’s best/in-house made Kirin 960 system on chip, which marks a debut for ARM’s latest and greatest Cortex A73 CPUs, which are thirty percent faster than the previous generation. That’s quite a boost in terms of sheer power by any metrics, right?


And speaking of world-premieres, the Huawei Mate 9 is powered by a Mali G71 graphics processing unit, i.e. this GPU is first seen here, featuring Vulkan support and being aimed at Virtual Reality applications.

Oh, and then let’s take a look at the camera. As we’re already accustomed with, Huawei works with Leica for providing them with high end optics for their flagships and of course, this is the case with the Huawei Mate 9.

This smartphone boasts a 20 megapixels/10 megapixels dual camera setup , with both monochrome/color sensors respectively but this time there’s optical image stabilization and 4 in 1 auto-focus, unlike the P9. Basically, the technology matured and more than that,it evolved into something beautiful.

Another first for the Mate lineup  is that the Huawei Mate 9 is capable of recording ultra High Definition videos, or 4k in the parlance of geeks.

So, we have a phablet with a premium aluminum unibody design, a 5.9 inches LCD IPS display of full HD resolution, 2.5 D glass, 96% NTSC and 373 pixels per inch density, a high end/in house made Kirin 960 SoC i.e. an octa-core CPU architecture, an octa-core GPU, an i6 co-processor and 4 GB of RAM, a Leica branded/co-engineered snapper, 64 GB of internal storage, expandable via micro SD, a finger print scanner, LTE Cat 12, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even an infrared blaster and finally a fast charging 4000 mAh monster of a battery.

The main shortcomings are the full HD display, which is not quite flagship grade, yet it improves the performance of the smartphone dramatically, the lack of dust and water proofing which would have been nice to have, but not a deal breaker and the lack of any mention about the display’s glass protection, like it was the case with the P9. That one’s really weird.

But bottom line, if you’re seeking for a cool top shelf phablet with a great display (even if it’s not AMOLED), looking and feeling as premium as they come, with a dependable battery and an epic camera, offering class leading performance at all levels, the Huawei Mate 9 is very easy to recommend.








011Now Android app has been updated

January 12, 2017 by

We have updated 011Now smartphone app for Android phones to the version 3.2. The international calling app works faster now. As usual first calls are on us – try it for free.


Get it at Google Play

Ukraine Travel Guide

December 28, 2016 by


Ukraine can be described as a very large and mysterious country, very little known to “outsiders” (read Westerners) despite its huge size, which makes it one of the biggest countries in Europe.

With a land surface of 603,700 square kilometers and a population just shy of 45 million, Ukraine was always associated with its larger than life neighbor, which is Russia. And by larger than life I don’t mean God President Vladimir Putin, but the fact that Russia is the largest country in the world by a wide margin.


Now, despite its colossal neighbor, Ukraine  stands out on its own right due to its beautiful scenery and cultural diversity, which is hardly a surprise. Thing is, Ukraine in its current form is a weird place, as it was a former member of the USSR and large territories which nowadays comprise Ukraine were taken from the neighboring countries, including Russia, Romania and Poland. Oh, and I almost forgot Crimea, which was given to Ukraine by Khrushchev, the former USSR president 60 years ago, but now it was taken back by Russia.

The idea is that Ukraine is made from what some are calling an unholy alliance of diverse peoples, hence the cultural diversity which is not always a good thing, especially if we’re considering the de-facto civil war in East Ukraine.


Thing is, Ukraine is a very interesting place, having a reputation of being home for a tough and “manly” people, hardy folk which are formidable by any metrics. Just like in Russia, smiling at a stranger in an Ukrainian city is deemed as a clear sign of madness, however, once you get to know the place and the ice is broken so to speak, you’ll end up falling in love with Ukraine and its people.

As you’re getting accustomed to the folks around, you’ll be surprised to see how warm they are behind their “cold blue eyes”, as they’ll invite you home for a borscht after showing you around and all that jazz.


Ukraine’s scenery is also tough, and I mean the outdoor life, especially during the winter, when snow covers most of the country and the temperatures plummet. However, except for the harsh winter, the climate of Ukraine is surprisingly mild during the rest of the year.

Considering Ukraine’s verdant and idyllic interior, which is very natural as in unspoiled, this country is the ideal destination for outdoors enthusiasts, i.e. cyclists and hikers.

Ukraine Tourism Cathedral Church Lviv Sights City

Another thing to contemplate, like an additional reason for visiting Ukraine, are the Carpathian Mountains,  spilling over the border with Hungary, Poland and Romania, offering an epic view as they dominate authoritatively the west of the country, while the eastern region and the center of Ukraine is mostly flat plains carpeted with cereals and sunflowers.

The south of Ukraine is very comparable to the Mediterranean climate, and I am talking about the Black Sea coastline, not to mention the Crimean peninsula, which used to be part of Ukraine until recently, making for one of the most interesting traveling destinations in this part of the world.


Even in heavy winters, the landscape is still flabbergasting, due to the plethora of Soviet era buildings and old churches where you can dive in and take shelter in case of emergency.

The country’s capital and main city is Kiev, a world famous name, founded in the 8th century and displaying a huge variety of architectural styles and buildings. Kiev used to be the capital of Kievan Rus, which was the precursor of the Russian empire, not to mention the modern Russian Federation, which is basically the same thing running under a different public relations policy. I am just kidding, but then again, who knows for sure?


One of Europe’s oldest cities is also located in Ukraine, and I am talking about Lviv, a magical place where you can imbibe in baroque architecture and also some magnificent pieces from the Renaissance period.

Odessa is best known for the Potemkin Stairway, which is the place where the legendary The Battleship Potemkin movie was filmed, directed by Sergei Eisenstein. Ukraine has been recently in the news (in a bad way I mean) due to the civil war involving Russian separatists on the border, but except for Eastern Ukraine, the rest of the country is perfectly safe to visit anytime.











Nubia Z11, Play Hard, Go Pro!

December 28, 2016 by


The Nubia Z11 marks the company’s decisive departure from its ZTE roots, i.e. Nubia split from ZTE and started on its own about a year ago, but in this short period of time, this tiny Chinese company managed to achieve a sort of greatness of its own.

And the  Nubia Z11 is the finest example of what I’ve been telling you in the preamble. While ZTE is a relatively obscure company for the Westerners, and obviously the same can be asserted with regard to Nubia, which is definitely obscured by the clouds of Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Motorola and the like, the former is usually fighting a war on the middle Earth.

Of course, if you’ve been watching the Lord of the Rings, or God forbid, you’ve read the book, by middle Earth I mean the mid-range front. What I am trying to tell you is that ZTE is concentrating on building cheap and capable mid-range droids, while the  Nubia Z11 is the definition of a flagship by any metrics.

Boasting solid high-end specs and design, a stylish and sexy exterior and many other refinements, the  Nubia Z11 has all the features for becoming a best seller. However, the sad part of the story is that despite its obvious qualities, the  Nubia Z11 will fail to make the company great. Why?

Well, because that’s how the world works, marketing is 90% of success and branding is everything. But let’s not anticipate.


To begin with, the  Nubia Z11 comes in a cleverly designed (on two levels) box , in the company’s signature red and black colors. What’s worth mentioning about its content is the premium pair of headphones the  Nubia Z11 comes with and the USB Type C cable, which features a cool mini USB to Type C adapter.

The smartphone is cleverly designed, with the curvy front panel boasting smart optics which simulate an edge to edge screen while the back panel is made from metal. The screen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 whilst the ARC 2.0 design, besides looking cool it provides some level of shatter protection, featuring a buffering-layer between the chassis metal frame and the screen’s glass.

The overall design of the  Nubia Z11 is minimalist and I mean that in a good way, as this baby reminds me of old school Nokia Lumias or Sony Xperias, which I totally love, though the front looks like an iPhone ripoff.

The chassis is built using Series 6000 aluminum, which is light and sturdy, feels premium and provides excellent grip for your hand.

The display is essentially bezel-less and it looks quite impressive, measuring 5.5 inches and boasting full HD 1080p resolution, with a 403 pixels per inch density.


Overall, the display quality is above average, wit impressive color accuracy, good contrast and excellent sunlight legibility, considering that what we’re dealing with here is not an AMOLED.

Connectivity wise, the  Nubia Z11 has it all, ranging from 4G LTE on both SIM (yes, it’s a hybrid-dual SIM), VoLTE support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3.5 mm headphone jack (the sound quality is impressive due to the audiophile-grade DAC inside the smartphone), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, USB Type C and the whole nine yards.

The battery is a sealed-in 3000 mAh variety which comes with an endurance rating of 76 hours, and that’s quite enough in my view, offering at least 2 days of autonomy on a single charge even if you’re an enthusiastic smartphone aficionado.

The  Nubia Z11 runs on a custom version of Android, the Nubia UI 4.0, which is clean and subtle, works/runs well and all that jazz.

Considering that under the hood you’ll find a cool Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset and an Adreno 530 GPU with 4 GB of RAM, which all they have to take care of is a full HD display instead of a QHD, it’s needless to say that the  Nubia Z11 is a true powerhouse in terms of performance.


The only thing that keeps it from achieving true greatness is the Nubia 4.o UI, which needs more optimization. The camera is a fairly common 16 MP variety featuring the IMX298 Exmor RS sensor, with OIS and all the bells and whistles expected from a flagship, offering a more than satisfying multimedia experience and 4 K videos, nota bene.

Bottom line, if you don’t care about the branding on your droid, the Nubia Z11 is an excellent choice, i.e. you’ll get high-end quality and features for a low-mid-range price.







Lebanon Travel Guide

December 27, 2016 by


Lebanon is a true gem of a traveling destination, being home to beautiful golden beaches, the Mid-East’s most famous party-city and blessed with quite a few World Heritage Sites. Basically, Lebanon has all the ingredients for becoming a hot-spot on any intrepid tourist’s bucket list, making for a classic yet hugely understated traveling destination.

However, the understated part is relatively normal and understandable, considering the country’s troubled past and the current reality which is pretty far from being rosy, to say the least. The thing is that Lebanon is still recovering from its violent civil war which raged into the country for fifteen years, from 1975 to 1990.



Nowadays, this tiny 10,452 square kilometers country with a 6 million population is affected by its bordering Syrian conflict, which spills refugees across its borders. Not to mention the fact that Bekaa Valley, which is very close to Lebanon is a stronghold of Hezbollah, a militant group supported by Iran. The idea is that caution is required for Lebanon’s visitors.

Nevertheless, Lebanon is today a relatively peaceful country which welcomes visitors from all around the world, even if the peace is somewhat fragile. Beirut, the country’s capital was regarded before the civil war as the Paris of the Middle East and today it makes for a very friendly and warm party town, which is almost sandwiched between the foothills of Lebanon Mountain and the Mediterranean Sea.


Basically, this beautiful city is located between the sea and the mountains, which makes it the ideal place for starting visiting Lebanon. This bustling city is world renowned for its dramatic coastline, its friendly and welcoming people and, very important for food aficionados, for its delicious cuisine which is arguably the best in the Middle East.

Sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Arabia, Lebanon benefited from the best (and some say from the worst) of both regions. Influences from the West and the East abound and, unlike in other muslim countries, it’s not uncommon to hear DJs competing with the muslim call to prayer in the livelier parts of Beirut.


The city’s buildings are still marked by the past military conflicts, yet Beirut is a progressive, forward and out of the box thinking capital, where the biggest issue nowadays is not terrorism but traffic congestion.

Truth be told, if you’re a Westerner, crossing the road in Beirut may seem like an extreme sport, at least initially, before getting accustomed with the rules of the land so to speak, or the lack thereof.


Despite its tiny size, Lebanon harbors no less than five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including one of the world’s oldest Phoenician ports, the city of Byblos respectively, together with the ancient remains of Baalbeck, located in a sensitive area, the one I’ve told you previously, the Hezbollah controlled Bekaa Valley, making for one of the most representative examples of Greco-Roman pieces of architecture still standing.


Other highlights of visiting Lebanon include old and impeccably preserved Christian monasteries in the Holy Valley, because Lebanon, just like Syria and Egypt back in the day, was one of the first Christian countries in the world. After the Islamic expansion, they were conquered and submitted to muslim rule in the 9th and 10th centuries AC.

The country is also renowned world wide for its magnificent cedar forests, as well as for its ancient cities, the likes of Tripoli and Tyr, with the former being home to one of the oldest seaports in the world.


If all these historical sites are not enough for you, dear reader, you can always go skiing on Mount Lebanon, regardless how weird this may sound for you, as Lebanon is not exactly the most obvious place in the world for hitting the slopes. Regardless, Lebanon is one of those rare places where you can enjoy the sun, beautiful sandy beaches and skiing in just one day, and that’s what makes the country unique.