Xiaomi’s Redmi series have been gaining popularity among Smartphone users over the past few years and for good reasons. Its low price points and amazing features have given them a vivid competitive advantage against competitors like Samsung and Apple. So much so that even other Chinese players have found them hard to compete with. Xiaomi has since been cranking out quality Smartphones and becoming one of the leading Smartphone brands in recent years.
This year, Xiaomi has introduced its trump cards, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, to capture the low-mid end market, being the successor of one of Xiaomi’s best-selling phone series, Redmi Note. Once again, Xiaomi has proven itself to be a company which is capable of coming up with great design and build quality.
After pushing powerful components and cutting prices, Xiaomi has started to focus on premium aesthetics and build quality, which appeals more to its users. This new budget-centric smartphone will surprise its users with its array of flagship and premium features such as its metallic design, excellent build, as well as its fingerprint sensor.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 : The Specifications
Credits to : SpecOut
Full-Metal Body Featuring a Fingerprint Scanner
With most Smartphone makers now using metal builds for their upcoming smartphones, it is not surprising that Xiaomi is also jumping on this bandwagon with its latest Redmi Note series. Although the Redmi Note 3 may feature some design elements of its predecessor, it is the first Xiaomi Smartphone that sports an all metal body which gives it a more premium look as compared to the matte finish plastic build of the Redmi Note 2. It is incredibly gorgeous in its gold incarnation (which is also available in dark grey and silver) with a sandblasted smooth outer shell and featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display. There is a thin, glossy rim that runs along the edge of the front facia, which is elevated above the rest of the front display which helps to protect it from scratches when the phone is placed face-down.
Turn the device around and the resemblance to the rear side on the Meizu MX5 is uncanny. This new device also features a round fingerprint scanner, located just below the 16MP camera on the rear side, allowing its users to use the fingerprint scanning capability more efficiently. The smooth matte finishes of the metal body help to prevent unwanted fingerprints and provide a better grip for its users. Taking a closer look at the device, the power button and volume controls are spotted on the right side of the Note 3, and provide exceptional tactile feedback and responsiveness.
While on its left, the device houses the SIM card tray which can accommodate both a micro-SIM card and a nano-SIM card (or a microSD memory card). Both slots are capable of supporting 4G network.
It is surprising that the Redmi Note 3 can include an aluminium body with so many aesthetic details in a Smartphone that costs below S$300, the kind of premium feel and build quality that is unseen for a device at this price point.
Fingerprint Sensor for Added Security
Fingerprint sensors are making smartphones personal and more secure at an entirely whole new level, and the Redmi Note 3 is the company’s first smartphone to incorporate this fingerprint scanning technology. The scanning device uses Trustonic’s TEE chip-level fingerprint security which is at the same level of protection as that of the Apple’s Touch ID. This new feature allows users to unlock their phones in just 0.3 seconds and with just a contact on the fingerprint sensor with the finger. For the Redmi Note 3, this security enclave is created with the help of Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment.
Other than for unlocking purposes, the fingerprint sensor can also be used to enable Child mode and File Explorer, allowing its users to have more control over their devices.
Just a small note to users is that the Redmi Note 3 will need to take about 12 scans to register a fingerprint and to setup the feature. Users can register up to five fingerprints on their devices.
Super Performance with Qualcomm Snapdragon 650
Redmi Note 3 is really fast – flagship fast. The device might be a low budget smartphone but there is certainly nothing low-end about the power it contains. It is fuelled by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 chipset paired with an Adreno 510 GPU and 3GB RAM. The Snapdragon 650 packed in the device has a hexa-core processor with two Cortex A72 cores and four Cortex A53 cores. Like its predecessor, the Note 3 delivers more performance than its price tag would suggest. Everything is very smooth, and minimal lag is experienced when running more processor-intensive tasks. All in all, the Redmi Note 3 excels in performance when compared with competition in this price range.
MIUI 7 based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
The Redmi Note 3 runs on MIUI 7 on top of its Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, similar to the Redmi Note 2. On the Note 3, the MIUI 7 interface has been optimized to run 30% faster; it is fast and supports a theme store with a diverse selection of options to customize the phone. MIUI 7 also has a bunch of well-designed apps for things like email, notes, data usage tracking, remote controls for appliances and texting for its users. Topped up the MIUI 7 is a new feature that allows four individualized UI themes which will offer different characters to the phone – High Lief, Rose, Pink Blush and Ocean Breeze.
Xiaomi has done a fantastic job with its theme store which allows its users to switch up the look and feel of the Note 3 with just a couple of taps, and there is an ever-expanding range of themes to choose from. Overall, MIUI 7 offers a pleasant user experience and performs very well across the board.
16 MP Sensor Focusing on Quality
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 sports a 16-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera has a wide f/2.0 aperture which allows both landscapes and macro shots captured in daylight with good details. Colour reproduction is excellent too.
In addition to its high megapixel count, Redmi Note 3 has dual ISP processing capability for producing exceptional image quality. Photos produced by the device have visibly lesser noise and enhanced dynamic range. Xiaomi has also added on the timelapse and slow motion feature among other features for video shooting as well along with a full-HD video recording support.
Redmi Note 3 Key Features
Full Metal Body – Sturdy and resilient frame which has an added elegance in its design.
16 MP Camera – Strength in producing professional quality photos with 0.1s Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and powerful dual image signal processor. Paired with its 5MP front-facing camera.
Fingerprint Sensor – First device by Xiaomi with this feature for added security.
Dual Sim – Ability to accommodate a micro-SIM card and a nano-SIM card. Best of both worlds!
MIUI 7 – Beautiful and intuitive, with the ability to customize the phone with thousands of themes, wallpapers, icons and more.
My Take on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
The Redmi Note 3 is a well-rounded smartphone, both literally and figuratively, that punches above its weight. The full metal body and fingerprint sensor are good-to-have additions to the Redmi series, and make the Note 3 feels relevant in 2016. It offers exemplary build quality, solid performance, and a great feature set. The MIUI 7 has also been improved as compared to previous versions and it is quite likable.
Powered by Snapdragon 650, it is primed to be one of the most powerful low-end devices in the market right now. In conclusion. I find that Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is easily one of the best smartphones available in the market at this price point. A phone that packs all the essential features needed, as well as powerful add-ons that make this device hard to resist.
Looking ahead, I have high hopes for what Xiaomi plans to bring in to compete with its competitors. It is surely a brand that we need to keep a lookout for.
BenQ EL2870U: 4K HDR Gaming Monitor with Eye-care Technology (Recommended for PS4)
There are tons of monitors in the market these days, ranging from your $50 run-of-the-mill basics with a single VGA or DVI port to your top-of-the-line Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) monitors with multiple HDMI and display ports. Having said this, if you want a top-of-the-line monitor with the best technology like 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, you are usually looking for quite an investment.
Almost everybody is familiar with 4K monitors since they have been around for quite some time. These types of monitors can also come with integrated HDR support; however, devices that come with both 4K and HDR support aren’t that common in the market, thus making BenQ EL2870U monitor something unique and rare.
The EL2870U is a 28-inch 4K gaming monitor that is designed using the classic Twisted Nematic (TN) display technology. Unlike other 4K monitors in the market, the BenQ EL2870U may seem to be a relatively affordable 4K monitor, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a bargainous entry into the beautiful, brightly-colored world of high dynamic range gaming. What makes the EL2870U different from your usual 4K gaming monitor is that this monitor not only has a super-fast 1ms response time, but it also has HDR compatibility – a feature that is commonly linked to Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angles (AHVA) and In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitors.
This monitor’s ability to provide breathtaking visuals with its 4K display and HDR support makes it ideal for all types of uses on both PC and 4K HDR console gaming like the PlayStation 4 (PS4).
Solid and Sturdy Build
The BenQ EL2870U features a minimalist design, and the simple grey color tone works well with the monitor, giving it a futuristic touch. The EL2870U has moderately thick bezels (~18mm thick at the sides and ~23.5mm at the bottom) with some weight and heft to it. Pairing with a small but sturdy base, the monitor sits solidly on any desk.
In contrast with the AOC I2757FH known for its ‘borderless’ design, the EL2870U still feels a bit thick on its bezels. Nonetheless, comparing them side by side, one can see that EL2870U is a more sleek and well-designed monitor.
Along the rear side of the monitor are the inputs which are all designed for easy access. It has two HDMI 2.0 ports, one 1.4 Display Port and a 3.5mm audio jack. Other buttons are situated on the bottom right to change the monitor’s settings as well as to power it on. Also, there’s an additional button located on the front right side of the monitor with a shiny gold badge, giving you control on its HDR; the button helps the display if the mode is set on active. This feature can be utilized to automatically start-up the BI+ (Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology) or the HDR mode even when the content doesn’t support HDR mode.
The monitor also offers 100 VESA holes, centrally, for alternative mounting to be used with an aftermarket arm or bracket. This standard mounting hole pattern provides you with the luxury of mounting it if you are not keen on using the default stand.
28-inch with HDR capability
The BenQ EL2870U features a 27.9 inches screen with a max resolution of 3840×2160. What’s even better is its fast 1ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate and 1000:1 contrast ratio. With a brightness of 300 and an available LED backlight, the display looks stunning, the colors are vivid and punchy, adding excellent details to your gaming and HDR video content. The super-fast 1ms response also eliminates motion smear for smoother video and gaming. Dynamic action and dramatic transitions are rendered perfectly without lag or ghosting, giving you vibrant, realistic, and precise images.
The monitor’s ability to display HDR content even without any HDR signal is mainly due to its HDR emulation from BenQ. It brightens up the visuals while also improving the image contrast. Precision brightness is what this gaming monitor offers, and it provides ultra-fine details for your viewing and gaming enjoyment.
The EL2870U’s HDR hotkey on the front can allow you to readily switch from four levels of BI+ and HDR modes based on specific conditions in diverse viewing environments. This feature also lets you enjoy brilliant HDR display performance while simultaneously maintaining increased levels of viewing comfort when watching or gaming in dimly lit environments.
Industry-Leading Eye-Care Technology
Global safety authority TÜV Rheinland certifies BenQ EL2870U’s High Flicker-Free, Low Blue Light, and Brightness Intelligence Plus as truly friendly to the human eye.
Brightness Intelligence Plus (BI+) Technology reduces eye strain in any lighting environment due to prolong usage. The BI+ leverages on its light sensor that is fixed on a panel to detect ambient brightness as well as color temperature levels. By doing so, it automatically adjusts on-screen brightness and color temperature to fit your surroundings. It also gradually adjusts the screen’s brightness based on your usage time. This feature protects your eyes while simultaneously delivering adequate image quality for that specific environment.
Part of the Eye-Care technology is BenQ’s High Flicker-Free and Low Blue Light technology as well. These are features that are necessary for a gaming enthusiast who is concerned about the effects of prolonged hours of staring at the screen.
Superb Performance with AMD FreeSync™ Technology
Watching 4K videos on EL2870U is pretty enjoyable as it can produce clearer, deeper and richer images. Fine details can be seen clearly so you can surely take advantage of this excellent viewing experience from EL2870U.
On top of this, the EL2870U’s extreme resolution enhances the standard image quality while gaming or watching films, even much more accurate for HDR content like on the PlayStation 4.
Since the EL2870U is being designed for casual gamers who want an affordable 4K gaming experience, BenQ has incorporated support for AMD FreeSync to help enhance the experience for gamers.
Perhaps this is one of the best features offered by the EL2870U, an adaptive sync technology that reduces screen tearing in games by synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor to the framerate of an AMD Radeon video card. Both the AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync behave very similarly, but essentially the main difference is the cost.
Thoughts on the BenQ EL2870U
The BenQ EL2870U is an excellent 4K affordable gaming monitor, and it has everything a gamer can ask for in a budget-friendly 4K gaming monitor. It also has useful daily features if you want to limit eye fatigue with its eye-care technology. However, one drawback of this monitor is its audio performance. Even at full volume, they sound thin and distant. Therefore, it is recommended to get a set of external speakers or a good gaming headset. Other than this, the BenQ EL2870U is still built with quality and superb implementations that gamers and enthusiasts look for.
Quick Review: SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Earbuds
Wired earbuds and earphones are the things of the past. Let’s face it: No matter how good they may sound, untangling the cords of your favorite earbuds can be a nuisance, so is carrying a set of juggernaut earphones. Wireless technology, on the other hand, frees you from the cables that tether you to your music. And now more and more smartphones are ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack and adopting this wireless trend.
But when it comes to true wireless experience, the marketplace isn’t without its fair share of poor-functioning products. From short battery life to poor connection, sometimes you may wonder if it is better for you to go back to your wired lifestyle. Nevertheless, this trend is here to stay and will be widely adopted while better products are coming in its way.
Of course, wireless connectivity isn’t the only innovation that wireless earbuds bring to the table: You’ll find some brands or models with noise-cancellation, extended battery lives, Hi-Res Audio support, etc.
SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Earbuds
The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are fully sweat-resistant truly wireless earphones that fit comfortably and securely. Compared to other Elite brands, the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds is a bang for the buck, as it does not lose out in terms of its build quality and design. This set of earbuds are also great for wire-free beginners as they are intuitive to use.
Sleek Design with Comfort: The in-ear units themselves feature a sleek-looking profile, and they’re stunning. Bundled with the set are three sets of silicone tips and the ergonomic design ensures a perfect seal in your ears, serving up a comfortable fit with excellent passive noise isolation. The specifications of the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are really basic. However, upon listening, they didn’t seem to fair too bad. The sound comes through clear and detailed, with a nice bass to it.
Ample Battery with Extra Juice on the Go: The battery life is not the best on the market, but just enough for daily usage. A charge entitles you with 2-3 hours of use time, and the charging case adds two extra charges on the go.
Easy Pairing with Average Connectivity: Once out of the charging case, it will enter the matching state, and the left and right earbuds are automatically paired. Concurrently, the earbuds also go into an automatic-pairing mode, with alternating red/blue light, looking for the previously paired device. (It pairs perfectly with the Huawei P20 Pro!)
Another great feature of the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds is that the earbuds can work together or separately. Therefore, it allows you to have the flexibility to use them individually to either alternate the earbuds for extended use or to share one side with friends or family.
Connectivity has nothing to boast about as sometimes you will get a small skip or beat of the missed music.
Smart Charging Box with 300mAh Capacity: The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds have a really simple design that rests beautifully in the charging case. The charging case serves as a container to house the earbuds and acts as a portable charging to refuel the earbuds. There are also red-light indicators to show that the wireless earbuds are charging in storage. It has a micro USB port for charging via the power socket, as well.
Other Neat Extras: There are some features you don’t usually get in an ‘entry-level’ true wireless earbuds such as a voice prompt for low-battery notification, as well as for pairing status. You will also have simple control on the earpieces to either start or stop the playing of the media.
Good or No Good?
The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are the one to start your wireless lifestyle. Pairing is easy and intuitive, and it offers almost everything you want, and nothing you don’t. Best of all is the price of less than S$50 (£35.99). It is definitely the wireless earbuds you should give a try!
Huawei P20 Pro: Three-Eyed Beast with Great Speed and Battery Life
Huawei has continuously improved its smartphones over the past few years, posing a serious threat to the dominance of Samsung and Apple. The P20 Pro is Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, and arguably its best phone yet. It brings a remarkably well-built device with a triple camera system and loads of style, competing against top rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and iPhone X.
Huawei has fulfilled all the apparent must-haves for a 2018 phone. It reduced the bezels and provided an option to remove the notch. It has a glass back, which has become quite a favorite material of choice for premium mobile phones. It also features multiple cameras and top-notch specs, which are pretty much a standard for a flagship, but it’s what Huawei did beyond the usual suspects that make it so appealing.
Premium Design and Build Quality
Concerning looks, the P20 Pro is a slightly larger version of the P20. It measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm and weighs about 180g. Aside from the P20 Pro’s improved physical appearance over the Huawei P10, it adopts an uncannily iPhone X-like in design. The dimensions and ergonomics of this phone approach close to perfection as the device melts into your grip and can be used comfortably single-handedly. For a phone built with glass on both the front and back, the P20 Pro feels surprisingly rigid and durable.
It also comes in a range of colors including its signature Twilight (also the one I am having). Purple at the top transits smoothly to a greenish-turquoise at the bottom, the sort of finish you will see more often on a supercar than a phone. Other colors are Midnight Blue and Black which are pretty safe colors.
On top of its design, the Pro version gets full IP67 dust and waterproofing which makes it great for outdoor photography on a rainy day. However, this also means that you have to sacrifice the removable battery and external SD card slot.
The final aspect of its design worth noting here is the absence is the headphone jack, but this can be easily taken care off by using a USB-C to 3.5mm converter that is bundled with the phone, or you can simply paired it with a wireless earpiece.
Bright 6.1 Inch OLED Display
The all-new HUAWEI FullView Display (Full HD+ 2,244 x1,080 pixels resolution) looks stunning, and the colors are vivid and punchy. Watching Netflix on the P20 Pro is enjoyable. The display also supports Natural Tone so that it will adjust the color temperature of the display based on ambient lighting. There is also an option to change the view mode, text size, and screen resolution to make sure the display satisfies the different needs of its users.
Leica Triple Camera Paired with Master AI
The camera is the one major selling point of the Huawei P20 Pro. The P20 Pro features a Leica triple camera with supposedly the highest pixel count available on a modern smartphone; the camera configuration is comprised of a 40MP RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor, and an 8MP sensor with a telephoto lens.
The P20 Pro’s main camera sensor is extra large, more than double of what you get with an iPhone X or a Galaxy S9, leading to some shockingly impressive low-light performance. Image quality from the P20 Pro is, by a great margin, the best that Huawei has ever produced, and even more superior to those on the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X.
Photo Mode vs Night Mode, Solaris@One-North (Singapore)
Photo Mode vs Monochrome Mode, Wat Intharawihan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Photo Mode vs Night Mode vs Monochrome Mode, Wat Intharawihan (Bangkok, Thailand)
The camera features of the P20 Pro don’t stop there. There’s a nifty six-second long exposure mode which leaverages on its AIS (Artificial Intelligence Stabilisation) and ISO (up to 51,200) to deliver sharp night shots without the use of a tripod. The Kirin 970’s NPU (Neural Processing Unit) is also used together with all the camera hardware to avoid blurring caused by shaky hands.
The Master AI is awesome! It is an AI-powered recognition engine that analyses visual information from the viewfinder in real-time. Based on the information obtained, the Master AI auto-suggests features scene and facial recognition in order to set the best camera mode for the user. The engine is also capable of learning and adapting to its user’s behavior so as to provide the user with a customized camera experience.
Master AI, Fyn Hotel (Bangkok, Thailand)
Improved EMUI 8.1
When it comes to software, the P20 Pro runs on Android 8.1 with Huawei’s EMUI custom skin. At first glance, EMUI has been made to copy Apple’s own mobile operating system by ditching Android’s usual app drawer and handing its users a suit of Huawei’s apps to use. Compared to a clumsy iOS rip-off a couple of years ago, it has improved quite a bit to achieve quite an acceptable user experience today.
Similar to Samsung, Huawei offers a feature called App Twin, which allows you to run multiple instances of the same mobile app. This feature enables you to be logged into multiple accounts of the same social or messaging service. Huawei also has a split-screen feature, of course, and a sophisticated screenshot tool.
Powerful Performance and Long Battery Life
There are no corners cut on performance, with its octa-core Kirin 970 processor, the most powerful Huawei has made to date, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This beast packs more than enough power to handle multiple demanding apps at once. From experience, the phone performed extremely well and everything runs smoothly. The performance on the P20 Pro is snappy and responsive for every task thrown at it.
Another key feature of the P20 Pro is its massive 4000mAh non-removable battery. This ultra-battery life is more than enough to see the handset through at least two days of moderate use. On heavy usage, the P20 Pro can still left with 20% juice after 1 whole day. The Super Charge fast-charging feature also outweighs Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and LG’s Quick Charge 3.0, which will get you to about 60 percent in 30 minutes.
The powerful synergy between the excellent ergonomics, stunning display, professional cameras, and responsiveness of the Huawei P20 Pro shouldn’t be underestimated. In building the P20 Pro, Huawei is aiming to build a flagship phone that’s good enough to compete with the iPhones and Galaxies of the world. When it comes to the camera for still shots, the P20 Pro is by far the best in the market. That said, Huawei still has much to improve on its EMUI and video-capturing capabilities. Add in the long battery life and dual SIM slots, the Huawei P20 Pro definitely a phone that deserves your attention.
Update: 9 July 2018
Although Huawei P20 Pro has been an awesome phone, there is a slight lag whenever you are taking a photo at 40MP. When the Huawei team was contacted, they weren’t sure what is causing the issue and since then, I have been waiting for a solution to solve this problem. Besides this, Google Map seems to be slightly inaccurate and the phone does not work for Instagram Boomerang.
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