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.
Asus AC2900 (RT-AC86U): High-end Performance with Decent Coverage for Singapore’s HDB
Whether you’re into competitive gaming, 4K video streaming, or just a typical internet user, the Asus RT-AC86U will keep your network safe and running smooth like butter. The RT-AC86U is a high-end dual-band router powered by a speedy 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and has an AC2900 speed rating.
Asus has built on the AiMesh firmware platform allowing you to pair multiple routers together to create a customized “Mesh” Network. The RT-AC86U supports this newly developed AiMesh technology, but it also features some of Asus’s latest technologies that it has implemented into some of its most powerful routers, such as the MU-MIMO, the WTFast game accelerator (useful for online gaming), the AiProtection (by Trend Micro) and the Adaptive QoS.
Futuristic look, But Not Versatile
There’s something inherently fearsome about the RT-AC86U’s red-eyed angular angry bee look. It features a rectangular case covered with a black matte finish with a diamond pattern on top. The RT-AC86U’s matte black and red color scheme and design offer a refreshing change from the typical uninspired black box design that you see with most routers.
As compared to the AC1200G or the typical router, the Asus RT-AC86U is very sleek as it stands upright with three antennas, a few status lights with an overall compact design. It consists of four Gigabit (LAN) ethernet ports and a WAN input on the rear along with a USB 2.0 and a super-fast USB 3.1 port. However, the only trade-off is that you can’t lay it down flat or mount it on a wall which some of the routers in the market can.
Top-notch Performance on the 5GHz Wireless Frequency
The performance of the Asus RT-AC86U is very impressive, especially on 5GHz. With NitroQAM™ technology, maximum data transfer rates on the RT-AC86U’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks are 750Mbps and 2,167Mbps respectively, giving RT-AC86U combined total speed of 2,917Mbps. Whether you’re playing an online game in a heated competition or streaming a live video at 4K UHD, buffering and lag are simply not an option.
Reliable Long-range Performance for Singapore’s HDB
RT-AC86U features a innovative antenna design and the new Range Boost technology. It also has an extra internal 5GHz antenna to provide the ultimate 5GHz quad-stream performance. Both Wi-Fi range and signal stability improve dramatically. AiRadar further focuses Wi-Fi signal on your devices, making your Wi-Fi faster, clearer and stronger. RangeBoost also significantly improves mid- to long-distance Wi-Fi coverage.
From tests, it shows that the ASUS RT-AC86U is able to provide a stable signal throughout a typical Singapore’s 4-room HDB apartment. With the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) near the main door, and the modem/router being setup at the same position, the ASUS RT-AC86U is able to cover from the living room all the way to the common bedrooms. The only issue is that none of the routers (AC1200G or RT-AC86U) are able to cover the far-most main bedroom.
Features: MU-MIMO, WTFast and Adaptive QoS for Better Online-gaming
MU-MIMO technology allows the Asus RT-AC86U to connect to multiple devices and simultaneously provide Wi-Fi to each at their top speed. The only thing is that your device needs to have MU-MIMO-capable hardware to make use of this feature, which is only made available on the 5GHz band.
The Gamers Private Network® (GPN®) from WTFast® performs route optimization automatically, choosing the most efficient route for game packets. This will result in consistently-lower ping time and minimal packet loss. This optimization is good for accelerating one selectable device at a time, so you can enjoy the best results on supported competitive multi-player online games.
QoS features on the Asus RT-AC86U give you easy access to prioritize your network traffic. You can use the adaptive QoS’s automatic settings to prioritize selected types of traffic like games or streaming. You can also manually set which traffic and devices get priority.
Asus also included a commercial grade security, AiProtection, together with Trend Micro. This feature will provide your connected devices with extra protection from malicious attacks and viruses. The feature monitors your entire network to prevent attacks as well as neutralize any devices that may get infected. You also have easy access to parental controls to restrict access to certain sites on your devices.
The Verdict: ASUS RT-AC86U
The ASUS RT-AC86U is a router that cooks up decent wireless performance from a gamer-friendly recipe. Its performance puts some of its competitors to shame, while keeping the price point to a lower budget. However, as compared to the basic Asus AC1200G, the RT-AC86U does not outperform much in terms of signal coverage.
The addition of high-end features like MU-MIMO, advanced traffic prioritization with extras like GameBoost and AiProtection, makes Asus RT-AC86U a perfect router for gamers looking to improve their HDB home’s network. It’s powerful enough for all your current devices and ones you get in future. If you are looking for a boost in signal coverage, then you might want to look somewhere like using a WiFi Mesh (TP-Link Deco, Asus Lyra System, Netgear Orbi, Google Wifi or Linksys Velop) or simply adding another WiFi Extender to your home.
BenQ EW3270U: 4K Entertainment Monitor with HDR
In recent years, tech and gaming enthusiasts have seen 4K monitors make some serious headway and many of such displays becoming far more affordable. Now that the HDR format is becoming increasingly common for games like the PlayStation 4 (PS4), brands are finding ways to work on technology to enhance the gaming experience, taking it to new heights.
The BenQ EW3270U is the perfect 4K HDR monitor for high-quality home entertainment, whether you are looking for a cinematic movie watching experience, an exemplary display for your PS4, or just a great 4K monitor to pair up with your gaming desktop. It’s designed to offer excellent visuals through its 32-inch 4K display which comes with BenQ’s latest HDR and Brightness Intelligence Plus (BI+) technologies.
Elegant, Simple and Straightforward
The BenQ EW3270U has a very basic design and somewhat similar to the EL2870U model. The key difference is the increase in size, measuring at 657.9×476.27×194.6mm, compared to 522.2X726.4X215mm of the EL2870U. On a side note, the EW3270U has an additional USB-C™ port which is absent on the EL2870U model, giving you the flexibility to connect to your favorite devices.
What is HDR gaming?
Credits to: PlayStation 4 Pro
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of the latest and best function you may need on video right now. This technology started out as a niche feature, but now it has taken the market by storm. With this feature, you can watch films and TV shows, and even play your favorite games in HDR.
HDR PC gaming is also gaining momentum, and HDR monitors are very slowly making their way into the market. They are mostly branded as either AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync HDR. In recent years, Sony and Microsoft have even come together to form the HDR Gaming Interest Group (HGIG), inviting TV manufacturers and game developers to participate in improving the HDR gaming experience. This proposed initiatives will also change how a game console and TV inter-operate.
HDR is a far more exciting display tech for games than 4K, whose mammoth pixel counts often don’t truly come into their own unless you’re using a huge TV. However, as someone who plays and spends an insane amount of time with the screen, gamers demand the sharpest possible image. And at the same time, with an HDR console (PS4, PS4 Pro or XBOX One X) and a supporting HDR TV or monitor (like the EW327U or EL2870U), it boosts the sense of depth and presence to games (and films) in a way that a mere pixel count cannot.
What HDR does is to expand the range of brightness, contrast and color displayed, bringing it closer with what the human eye can perceive. Brighter whites, darker blacks, more shades of color and, you will get a more true-to-life picture.
Hyper-Realistic Video Quality with HDR
Credits to: Wccftech
The BenQ EW3270U features a 32-inch VA panel with a max resolution of 3840×2160, 60Hz refresh rate and 3000:1 contrast ratio. As compared to the EL2870U, other than having a bigger screen size, the EW3270U has a higher native contrast and Dynamic Contrast Ratio (DCR), capable of deeper, more vibrant colors with more visible details in shadows and highlights.
The BenQ EW3270U is nice and crisp as you would expect with a 4K resolution. The addition of AMD FreeSync, an adaptive synchronization technology that is used to reduce screen tearing, gives gamers drastic increased visual performance and ultra-smooth gaming experience.
Credits to: AMD
4 Levels of HDR and BI+ Modes
HDR and BI+ are the prime features on the EW3270U and EL2870U. Given that there are various modes to use, it’s relatively simple to set up the monitor to your liking with excellent color accuracy. There’s a button with a shiny gold badge situated on the bottom right of the bezel that toggles HDR on and off. This simple hotkey switches between 4 levels of HDR and BI+ modes to balance maximum contrast and vibrancy and fully enjoy the splendid image performance of HDR while maintaining your viewing comfort. After activating it, an on-screen display will pop up to tell you whether the HDR on display is emulated or native (if it’s native it just says ‘HDR On’). The hotkey button also can turn on BI+ technology.
The BenQ’s BI+ technology gently soften bright areas while keeping dark details crystal clear. It does this via the ambient light sensor that detects the ambient light levels and the color temperature of the environment, while automatically adjusting on-screen brightness and color temperature to fit the surroundings to deliver the most comfortable viewing experience.
VA of EW3270U vs. TN of EL2870U
Most gamers are aware of the fact that monitors come in different resolutions and screen sizes, and that monitors can be either a glossy or matte screen surface. However, an average consumer is clueless on the LCD panel technology used in their monitor. A monitor’s panel type is a critical feature that determines how it performs as well as the kind of tasks it is best suited to accomplish.
Comparing TN (EL2870U) and VA (EW3270U), it is not hard to understand that TN panels are the kings when it comes to response time. However, VA panels win in terms of providing a slightly wider and better viewing angle. From a visual standpoint, VA panels also perform much better than TN panels with better black uniformity and high contrast ratios.
The BenQ EW3270U is a great gaming monitor with vivid colors, millions of pixels, all the ports you could ever need. The HDR and BI+ technologies are useful to have, catered for professionals, gamers, or home users.
Watching movies and playing games are great when there is HDR content. Retailing for roughly S$899, (12.12 sale at S$749 at Lazada), the EW3270U represents excellent value for money.
Editors’ Picks: Top 5 Tech Features For SITEX 2018
SITEX, Singapore’s long-running Consumer Lifestyle IT Exhibition, is back for the 30th time this week. Organized by SGtech, managed by SingEx Exhibitions Pte Ltd, this annual event is happening from today to Sunday, at Singapore Expo Halls 5 and 6.
Visitors can look forward to amazing deals on the latest gadgets and tech gizmos. They can also experience the latest technologies via the four experiential zones – Travel Tech & Active Fit, Portable Audio, Smart Home and Living, and Gaming.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 tech features for SITEX 2018:
#1 Vivo V11
Vivo is launching the all-new V11 smartphone at SITEX 2018. The V11 handles the basics of battery, display and performance well, at the same time adding a few extras like its In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology and the AI Camera.
At 156 grams, the Vivo V11 is lightweight and durable. The Nebula and Starry Night colorway on its shiny back panel gives this phone a unique and premium look.
Despite having a big display at 6.41-inch (16.29cm), the Vivo V11 does not feel like a large phone. Featuring a Halo FullView™ Display at 2,340 x 1,080 resolution, the phone can produce stunning images for a vibrant, ultra-vivid experience.
The Vivo V11 also features a 12MP (24 million photosensitive units) + 5MP dual rear camera combination, and 25MP AI front camera with AI technology.
The Vivo V11 is available for pre-order at S$599 (without contract) in Nebula and Starry Night exclusively at the Vivo booth 5C02 (Hall 5). Customers who pre-order the Vivo V11 will receive complimentary delivery, a JBL GO portable Bluetooth speaker worth S$89.90 and V11 gift box worth S$49.90.
#2 Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
Casio’s Pro Trek WSD-F30 is the outdoors smartwatch even watch fans will adore. Casio has invested the last few years making smartwatches that are designed for adventure and active enthusiasts, and 2018’s iteration of the Pro Trek Smart WSD F range is a more refined version of that range.
The WSD F30 is a rugged piece of gadget, while it may not appear to be designed for military-grade protection, it should well survive some tough knocks and tumbles. It is water-resistant up to 50-meters, making it ideal for active use. Featuring a 1.2-inch dual-layer display and a resolution of 390 x 390 with capacitive touchscreen, it delivers clear visuals when looking at it in bright lighting.
You can select any of the 3 modes to suit your activity – the monochrome and color display separately to maintain optimum visibility in any environment, also to provide efficient power management for battery saving.
The watch also comes with Google’s Wear OS software, which means you’ll be able to download apps off the Play Store while also using it with your iPhone or Android devices. You can also have a choice of using Google Maps or the mapping technology by Casio, to give you an accurate location during your regular outdoor adventures.
#3 Sony WH-1000XM3
Released in August 2018, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones are the latest in Sony’s line of flagship headphones. The Sony WH-1000XM3 are clearly the decendents of 1000XM2 and the 1000X before them; the overall shape and look are almost the same.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 is more comfortable than its predecessors as it is lighter, and has a thicker headband cushion that is wrapped with faux leather on the super soft ear cups. The headband is also more oval in shape to fit the head better, while allowing for more compact carrying.
Sony’s new QN1 HD processor on the WH-1000XM3, improves both audio processing and noise cancellation. Noise canceling headphones have a challenge dealing with mid to high-frequency sounds, like human voices, but the WH-1000MX3 delivers pretty well.
In addition, the Adaptive Sound Control feature allows you to set your preferred level of noise cancellation based on your needs – ranging from full noise cancellation, wind noise reduction, and allowing through various amounts of ambient noise. Pairing with Quick Attention, you can simply communicate without removing your headphones.
Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones are retailing at S$549 at booth 5D01B (Hall 5).
#4 Secretlab SoftWeave™ Series
Secretlab is well-known for its high quality, comfortable gaming chairs. The SoftWeave™ Series features a woven-fabric trend, known for its lightweight, breathable and durable properties. The fabric is custom-made and meticulously engineered based on the latest and high-quality 350gsm short-yarn available in the market.
The SoftWeave™ series will be made available across the THRONE, OMEGA and TITAN, come equipped with the award-winning features of the respective models – such as the multi-tilt mechanism, four-directional armrests, velour memory-foam lumbar pillow and inbuilt lumbar support system respectively.
If you’re interested in purchasing one, do head over to Secretlab at SITEX:
- OMEGA 2018 (SoftWeave™ series): S$499 (U.P. S$650)
- TITAN (SoftWeave™ series): S$579 (U.P. S$730)
- THRONE 2018 (SoftWeave™ series): S$429 (U.P. S$530)
#5 Google’s #madebygoogle
When Artificial Intelligence, software and hardware come together, it can unlock all kinds of possibilities. Featuring a family of consumer hardware products like Google Chromecast, Google Pixel 3 and Google Home.
Be sure to experience #madebygoogle in real life and try out their newest products just inside the entrance of Hall 5.
That’s all for now. See you there!
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